28th Parliament · 1st Session
The House met at 1 1 a.m.
TheClerk - I have to inform the House of the unavoidable absence of the Speaker. In accordance with standing order 14 the Chairman of Committees, as Acting Speaker, will take the chair.
Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr G. G. D. Scholes) took the chair, and read prayers.
– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:
To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth:
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament should not admit into the law of this land a principle which violates a fundamental right, the right to life.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Sinclair, MrArmitage and Mr Luchetti.
To the Honourable the Speaker and the members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth:
That grave concern is felt at the imminent introduction into the Commonwealth Parliament of legislation to permit abortion on demand.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled should not admit into the laws of this land a principle which violates a fundamental right - the right to life.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by MrArmitage, Dr Forbes and Mr Eric Robinson.
To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of certain citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Honourable House will not extend thelaws governing abortion and will uphold the right to life of the unborn child.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Daly.
– My question is addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister. I ask the honourable gentleman: Will he give an undertaking on behalf of the Government, forthwith and unqualifiedly, that this Parliament will not be treated with contempt and that the Parliament will continue to sit until there has been adequate time for consideration by the Parties in Opposition of all the matters before the House and adequate time for debate of these important matters by the Parliament; and this week should be regarded as a normal sitting week; and that we should return next week for a normal sitting week and thereafter until the business of the House is adequately covered?
– This matter, of course, has been carefully considered by the Government. In these circumstances the appropriate reply should come from the Leader of the House.
– In reply to the question of the Leader of the Opposition about the sittings of the House, let me say that this Government has given more consideration to honourable members, in relation to both private and government business, than any government in the last 23 years. The question is interesting in view of the fact that on 3 May I moved that there should be a slight extension of the sitting hours each day because the Government desired to get through the business of the House and also to give honourable members an opportunity to debate the issues. Hansard of 3 May records that every member of the Opposition voted against the proposal to extend the sittings of the Parliament even for about an hour a day. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, said that the Opposition was not even prepared to sit for a minimum of additional time each day to get through the business of the House. This Parliament has never sat into the early hours of the morning such as the previous Government made us do in order to pass legislation by exhaustion. The House has not sat after 11 p.m., and furthermore it will not sit in this session after 11 p.m. However, I mention to the right honourable member that we on this side of the House have a very big legislative program. We have about 30 Bills to pass. There is to be considerable debate on those Bills. We acknowledge the rights of honourable members to debate them. The Government has already considered this matter. In order to put the Leader of the Opposition at ease and give his colleagues the opportunity of acclimatising to the Canberra winter, I am happy to say that we will be sitting on Friday of this week and into the following week to complete the business of this Parliament.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Is the Minister aware of an article in last Thursday’s Age’ in which attention was drawn to the emergency situation at the Dandenong and District Hospital whereby patients are being forced through overcrowding to sleep on balconies? Will the Minister, as a matter of urgency, refer these appalling conditions to the national Hospitals and Health Services Commission?
– These complaints have come to my notice - not through the Press but directly - and have been referred for attention not to the Hospital and Health Services Commission, because unfortunately the Commission as such, has not yet been established but to an interim committee which has been set up and which depends on my departmental officers for servicing. It will be some time before we can process the urgent needs of individual hospitals and voluntary organisations. In the meantime it would help considerably if the State authorities, the Church authorities and others concerned were to make detailed submissions to the interim committee, or to the Commission when it begins to operate as such, so that a system of needs and priorities can be set up for Commonwealth aid in this sort of activity. We envisage that when the national health insurance scheme is fully operative in the middle of next year approximately half of the costs of State hospitals will be met by the Commonwealth, which should be of considerable help to those hospitals in which these problems arise. In the meantime, if we could get from the State authorities more detailed submissions and some indication of the needs and priorities it would help in the making of an earlier decision by the committee, by the Commission after it is so constituted, and by Cabinet.
– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Does the honourable gentleman regard the 6 per cent or thereabouts interest paid by permanent building societies to their depositors as being excessive, at a time when inflation is running at about 8 per cent, thereby giving the depositors a net return of approximately minus - I repeat the word ‘minus’ - 2 per cent per annum in real terms? Does he, by his irresponsible statements, deliberately intend to bring these hundreds of thousands of thrifty people to disaster? If that is not his intention, is he prepared to give a meaningful reassurance to them here and now?
– For the information of the honourable member, I state that I will be receiving a visit this afternoon from Mr Hall of the permanent building society associations in New South Wales. I will take the opportunity to indicate to him that I have every confidence in the financial stability of the building associations.
– A quick change of heart.
– It is not a change of heart. 1 resent the fact that certain sections of the Press have, it seems to me, misconstrued the words which I said. I shall repeat those words.
– Do not repeat them; they have done enough damage.
– I want to repeat them. I must say that never in my political experience have I seen a statement as fatuous as the one issued by the former Treasurer in response to what was said. I indicated when I was asked about it - I shall repeat it - that I believe that interest rates are better low than high. I acknowledge the difficulty of lowering them overall very quickly. I went on to say - and I repeat it - that I believe that as we have imposed social control over certain areas of credit extension, we ought to look at the situation as it applies to other areas. Then I referred to what would happen if we were to do it suddenly. I indicate that I have no intention of doing it suddenly; I am going to consult with the interests involved to indicate the ideas that I have and to listen to the defences that they have.
I at least give the honourable member the reassurance that what I said was not intended to provoke unrest among people who have deposited money with those institutions. I still believe that for home owners to be borrowing at 74 per cent to li per cent places a very intolerable burden upon them. I think that many groups in the community have been priced out of the market by high building costs, high land costs and high interest costs, and surely H should be the concern of all of us to try to lower any and all of those elements.
– My question, which is addressed to the Treasurer, refers to the CommonwealthState committee to examine the question of inflation which was established after the recent conference between the leaders of the Commonwealth and State governments. Is he aware that the attitude of the Victorian Premier on inflation has been interpreted by the Leader of the Opposition in this House in the following terms: “You can’t cure h on a single throng (sic) of just prices; it has got to be a prices-incomes policy’? As a pricesincomes policy has suddenly become orthodoxy for the major Opposition party, can the Treasurer indicate the probable impact of such policies on industrial unrest and inflation?
– The present Government has indicated always that it is concerned about the problem of inflation.
– But it does not do anything.
– Neither did the honourable member’s Government. Inflation is no new thing in Australia.
– It is at 8 per cent.
– It was running at 8 per cent in the time of the previous Government, and there seemed to be no great concern about it. What we have endeavoured to do is to indicate that the solution of this problem requires the co-operation of both levels of government and it is not approached merely by being concerned only about wages. If one likes to indulge in the circular, dog chasing its tail, type of argument, I suppose it is true enough that if wages rise they have some effect upon prices. But equally, if there is no restraint upon prices one cannot be surprised that wage-earners seek to restore their standards of living by seeking increased wages.
There has been a lot of talk in a lot of places about what is called a prices-incomes policy. I repeat what I have said several times in this House: To get a prices-incomes policy in Australia, the minimum conditions of its success are that in the process there should be trustful co-operation between employer and employee groups with the Government at least trying to hold the ring and not intervening on one side as against the other, as did the previous Government. I suggest that that is the minimum condition. Another condition to getting employee co-operation is to do something about prices. That is what we have endeavoured to do in our 3 -pronged approach. We have the Prices Justification Tribunal, the legislation for which is not yet through the other place; the Prices Committee; and we are seeking the co-operation of the States as well in trying to do something about retail pricing in particular.
– You are going into reverse on the wages front.
– This is not an easy problem, as the honourable gentleman who is interjecting knows. There are very few examples, if one likes to cast round, of incomes policies being successful. I suppose the best example is the Scandinavian countries and even there it is not an unmixed success; but such success as has been achieved has been achieved because there have been better working relationships between employer and employees groups in those countries, andI hope we can get better relationships here.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer and is supplementary to that asked by the honourable member for Bradfield. Is the Treasurer aware of the alarm that his statements have caused among the investors in permanent building societies and amongst the building societies themselves? Is he aware that these building societies have been an important medium for long term loans and finance for home builders amongst the wage earners of this country? Is he aware that the loss of confidence his statements have caused could deny to thousands of potential young home owners the finance to build their own homes? In view of the Government’s attitude to the permanent building societies and their interest rates, what other plans has the Government for ensuring the enormous volume of long term low interest rate finance that would be needed for home buyers and builders so as to maintain the high home building rate which this Government inherited from the former Government when taking office?
– IfI am required to amplify the answer I gave to the previous question I simply say this: If what I said on Thursday has caused concern, I hope that what I am trying to say now - that I intended no such thing - will at least restore the sudden lack of confidence that seems to have been occasioned by the remarks that I made. I have indicated that I was not reflecting in any way upon the stability of any particular organisation. I had simply pointed out, as is obvious enough, that these concerns have mushroomed to a considerable extent, that they have been able to induce as a source of lending loans from people who would have preferred to have left the money in the savings bank at a lesser rate, and that at least that has had effect of pushing up the interest rate charged for the building of some homes. It is all right to suggest that, because of inflation at 4 per cent, 5 per cent. 6 per cent or 7 per cent - whatever you like - an interest rate of 6 per cent is negative. This of course conveniently begs the question that only some people in the community are lenders of money and that very large numbers are borrowers, and surely both sides suffer from the effects of inflation.
– What about the savings banks? They are large lenders.
– If the honourable gentleman wants to get into a philosophical debate about interest rates generally, I am prepared to do that. However with all respect I do not think that question time is the time to do it. But surely one has to try to adjudicate equally or equitably between lenders and borrowers in the process. Some lending institutions have had controls placed upon them that have made it difficult for them to do some of the things that the building societies are able to do. Surely the question is whether the privileges of one, because of the lack of social regulation, are greater than they should be. I am prepared to discuss those matters with the building societies, and I intend to do so this afternoon. If any reassurance is required, let me say that I have not reflected upon the financial integrity of any of these organisations. I have merely suggested that if I were to do suddenly what I think ought to have been done a good number of years ago it might cause some immediate difficulty. At least I give the reassurance that I will not do things suddenly; that I will do them only after the fullest consultation with the interests involved and after considering the information that I will obtain from Treasury and Reserve Bank officials.
– Is the Treasurer aware that the Federal Branch of the Australian Medical Association has circularised all its members requesting donations of $100 or more to a fund whose purpose will be to prevent a health scheme being introduced for the benefit of patients? Will such donations be allowable deductions for taxation purposes either as a charitable donation or as a cost of medical practice? If a group designed to protect the rights of patients was formed, would solicited donations for such a group be tax deductible?
– Certainly the expenditure would not be allowable as a charitable item. I can assure the honourable gentleman of that. The only items that are allowed as deductions for income tax purposes are expenses necessarily incurred in earning income. With all respect, I doubt whether the levy is of that kind, and I would be surprised indeed if it came within the eligibility of a legitimate business expenditure.
– I ask the Prime Minister about a Caucus decision described by commentator Allan Barnes as ‘one of the most significant taken since Labor came to office’. My question is in 2 parts. Firstly, has Caucus ruled that in future all Cabinet decisions relating to changes in bounties, subsidies and tariffs must be first approved by Caucus before announcement? Secondly, if so, how does the Prime Minister propose to prevent the inevitable speculation and possible chaos that could occur on stock exchanges if such proposals are leaked between the time of introduction to the Party room debate and the subsequent public announcement of the Caucus decision?
– I do not have with me the standing orders of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party but there is a provision to the effect that any decisions like this must be made if practicable. The honourable gentleman is probably referring to the practice whereby tariff proposals are brought in at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, that is, after the banks and stock exchanges have closed. That practice, of course, will be followed.
– But will Caucus be informed?
– No, of course not. The Caucus will not be informed of any of those matters which, by custom, are very properly announced in the House at 4 p.m.
– What about any Caucus committees?
– No Caucus committee either would be informed of them.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Urban and Regional Development been drawn to a report in today’s Press of statements made separately by the GovernorGeneral and by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia in which they criticise the centralisation of offices and industry in inner city areas? According to this report, the Governor-General suggested that the practice was uneconomic and inefficient, and that offices and the office staff should be decentralised. Can the Minister give this House an indication as to how this Government will overcome the difficulties in moving industries, particularly those in the tertiary sector, away from the present nodes of concentration and how it will better balance residential, industrial and servicing industries in the developing areas of existing cities and new growth centres?
– My attention has been drawn to a report of the speeches made by the Governor-General and the Chief Justice of Australia. I commend the statements of those 2 gentlemen. It is a fact that there has been an overbuilding of the central business districts of our capital cities. The Government has taken positive action to rectify this development. The first decision made by Cabinet in the area concerned the proposed development of the Woolloomooloo site for Commonwealth Offices in the central business district of Sydney. The decision was made to develop an Australian Government centre at Parramatta instead, some 15 miles from the centre of Sydney. We are examining also sites in various parts of other cities away from the central business districts, particularly in Melbourne. We are re-examining whether we should use the Spring Street site in Melbourne. One has to bear in mind that during the last 10 years the previous Government permitted the overbuilding of office space by insurance companies in the central business districts of our cities. Investment for this type of development alone increased from $144m in December 1961 to nearly $ 1,200m in December 1972, an increase of something like 700 per cent. In the same period the insurance companies increased their statutory reserves by little more than 200 per cent. Therefore we will be having discussions with insurance companies to try to encourage them to decentralise their investment in commercial development at nodes along transport corridors so as to bring about a balanced development of transport within the major cities. The Treasurer has taken action to curb foreign investment in real estate. The Government is now examining this question to ensure that if there is foreign investment in real estate in Australia the Government will be able to determine where the development should be located. There are some of the positive actions taken by the Australian Government to try to bring some balance to the development of Australian cities. At present the 2 major crisis cities are Sydney and Melbourne. It is our aim to take positive action to bring balance and a better quality of living to those major cities.
– Will the Minister for Social Security consider removing the 16-year-old qualifying age with respect to invalid pensions in order to provide relief for families who hear the immense physical, psychological and financial burdens of caring for their severely handicapped or retarded children at home?
– I appreciate the honourable member’s concern about this matter. It is a concern that I have shared for many years. I believe that something must be done, but I am not sure exactly what. I do not think the answer lies merely in eliminating the age barrier of 16 years in relation to invalid pensions. To do this would mean, for instance, treating an infant of very tender years on exactly the same basis as one would treat an adult invalid pensioner, and to that extent there would seem to be some anomaly. It seems to me that other areas need to be explored in this regard. In fact, I am carrying out a survey to establish the best way in which some sort of financial attendance support can be provided to assist parents or responsible people with a commitment for an invalid infant. The sort of thing I have in mind would be much broader than something merely for invalid children. But all I can say at this time is that it is a policy matter. Of course, the timing for its implementation has to be judged in the context of all the other commitments we will have from time to time. I conclude by saying that I hope we can do something fairly early.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Education. Is it correct, as reported in this morning’s ‘Australian’, that the proposed teacher assistance will be delayed until 1 July next year?
– I point out that 2 features of the report of the Cohen Committee were the timing and the amount of money recommended. The Government has accepted the timing in its report, and the assistance to teacher education will commence on 1 July this year - not 1 July next year, as was indicated, possibly because of a misprint, in the Australian’ newspaper. Financially, the Government has moved far beyond the Cohen report, which recommended that the Commonwealth contribution to teacher education over the next 2i years should be $83.9m.
Instead, the Government is offering the States $188m. I take this opportunity to say that the Cohen report is a notable statement on education planning, and its implementation will contribute to the quality of teaching throughout Australia. The Australian Government thanks Dr Cohen and the Committee for their outstanding service and the State education authorities for their co-operation.
– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. I refer to the question directed last Thursday by the honourable member for Forrest to the Prime Minister in relation to rural finance, in answer to which the Prime Minister announced that a submission in relation to rural finance had been presented to Cabinet by both the Treasurer and the Minister for Primary Industry. When will the Prime Minister release to this House and to the Australian people the results of the Cabinet’s decisions on this all-important subject?
– The decision concerned amendments to and relaxations of the Commonwealth Development Bank legislation. Accordingly, the details of the decision will appear in that amending legislation when the Treasurer introduces it.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that certain State Premiers and their deputies are now gathering in London on an abortive and unnecessary mission? Does the Prime Minister agree with the comment in some sections of the Press that there was no consultation between his Government and the States on these various issues? Finally, does the Prime Minister not agree that decisions affecting the future of this nation ought to be made here and not by a remote body some 12,000 miles distant?
– I take it that the honourable member is referring in particular to the Government’s proposal to introduce legislation to abolish appeals to the Privy Council from State courts or from them through the High Court. The Labor Party’s policy to abolish appeals to the Privy Council has been in force, I should think, for at least a generation and probably longer than that. We regard it as anomalous and, in fact, objectionable that legal matters between Australian citizens should be determined by a court sitting in another country, composed of judges appointed by the government of that other country and delivering its judgments in the form of advice to the head of state of that other country. I would have thought that this was a proposition to which persons of all parties which can form governments in Australia would subscribe and would have subscribed for many years past. My predecessors in this post and earlier Attorneys-General have taken steps to limit appeals to the Privy Council. The Constitution enables the Parliament to pass, of its own motion, legislation to limit such appeals. The Parliament has, on the initiative of the Leader of the Opposition when he was Attorney-General,I think it was - was it not?
– No. It was my successor, the honourable member for Parramatta.
– I thank the Leader of the Opposition. It was the honourable and learned member for Parramatta who introduced legislation, which was supported on both sides of each House, to limit appeals to the Privy Council as far as it was thought proper to do so. There was one exception. The legislation permitted appeals to the Privy Council from the High Court where those appeals had gone to the High Court from a State court. That exception was made because it was thought that by removing the possibility of an appeal from the High Court in thai circumstance one would encourage appeals directly from State courts to the Privy Council. With that one exception, the preceding Government did all that it could under the Constitution to limit such appeals.
What the Australian Government now proposes to do is to act under the Statute of Westminster to request and consent to legislation in the British Parliament, to be introduced by the British Government, to discontinue appeals to the Privy Council from the State courts, whether directly or through the High Court. The provision of the Privy Council to act in those matters is a service which the British Parliament permits and the British Government provides. It is, we believe, appropriate for the Australian Government and the Australian Parliament to ask the British Government and the British Parliament to end that service. We are the largest of all the Queen’s realms in the Commonwealth where such appeals still persist. Nobody, I believe -
– At that early time, we did consult with the States to determine whether they would join in abolishing the appeals.
– I do not know whether or not that was so. I do not remember that matter arising in the course of the debates or in the honourable gentleman’s second-reading speech. But to take up the matter which the honourable gentleman has mentioned by way of interjection, it is known that it is impossible to get all the State governments to agree at any one time on any such matters. It would surely be absurd to ask the British Government to introduce legislation to abolish appeals to the Privy Council from the courts of those States whose governments at any one time wanted to abolish those appeals and then to leave the right of appeal to the Privy Council available from the courts of those States whose governments at the time did not want to abolish appeals to the Privy Council.
It ought to be understood by Australians and it ought to be a matter of pride to Australians that the judges of the Australian High Court have been of calibre equal to any of the judges who sit on Australian appeals to the Privy Council That is no disparagement of the capacity and status of members of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. But I believe that everybody in the House would acknowledge that Australian High Court judges have been and are the peers of any of the judges who, in our time, have sat on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
– Hear, hear!
– I appreciate the fact that the right honourable member for Lowe concurs in the proposition that I have put.
– Is the Prime Minister prepared to give the House an assurance that the only other occasion on which he or his Government will put forward a proposal to seek legislation of the United Kingdom Parliament affecting Australia will be to achieve the amendment of the Statute of Westminster to provide that the United Kingdom will never again legislate for Australia? Why does he not now seek to amend the Australian Constitution with regard to Privy Council appeals by referendum of the people or by joint act of the Australian Parliament and the Parliaments of the States? Is his failure to discuss with the States the proposed amendment of the Statute of Westminster because of his desire to achieve a unitary system of government within Australia without consulting either the States or the Australian people?
– Like most members of the House I would prefer a unitary system of government. I can, however, give the honourable gentleman the assurance that I do not propose in any way to ask the British Government to introduce legislation in the British Parliament to bring about a unitary system of government in Australia. This is something which, I believe, the Australian people are well able to achieve for themselves and which I am confident they will achieve. The honourable member. asked several questions. I hope he will forgive me if I do not remember all of them but I will try to answer the general questions which he has raised. I have not sought the concurrence of the States in approaching the British Government on this matter because I accept the principle which my predecessors - certainly going back to Sir Robert Menzies - always asserted and which successive British governments have always acknowledged, that the proper means of communication between Australia and Britain are through the Australian Government and the British Government. The State governments are, in constitutional terms, the governments of British colonies. The Statute of Westminster expressly prevents action under it being taken which would end the federal system of Canada or of Australia.
Perhaps it will be of interest to honourable members who were Ministers in the previous Government if I inform the House of information which I did give to the British Government about the Australian Government’s attitude to another proposal, for an amendment to the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act. It was proposed last year that the Australian Government and the State governments should introduce legislation requesting and consenting to British legislation (exempting State shipping - in effect, intrastate shipping - from the operation of the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act of 1894). I told the British Government that as far as I knew none of the State governments had introduced such legislation and the new Australian Government did not propose to introduce such legislation. The reason I gave to the British Government was that my Government believed that this was a matter appropriate for determination by the Australian people at a referendum. To take the course which was proposed last year would have the very great disadvantage of substituting 7 merchant shipping codes for two. Instead of having an Australian merchant shipping code for the Territories and for interstate shipping, and a British merchant shipping code for intrastate shipping in each of the 6 States, we could have the absurd situation - the break of gauge syndrome - in which we had different merchant shipping codes, not only from this Parliament in respect of the Territories and of interstate shipping but also from each State parliament in respect of intrastate shipping along its coast. That, I believe, would be an absurd situation. I appreciate the support which the honourable member for Moreton expresses by his intervention.
I shall do nothing, and I trust my Government will do nothing, to disperse jurisdiction further in Australia. It is a great handicap to our economy, and particularly to the transport aspects of it, that we have this archaic and divided jurisdiction over shipping round our coasts. I told the British Government that in due course my Government would be seeking, through a Bill passed by this Parliament, a referendum to enable this Parliament to pass laws in respect of shipping and navigation as was recommended unanimously by members of the Australian Country Party, the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Labor Party on the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review which was set up on the motion of Sir Robert Menzies back in the 1950s.
To sum up, my Government will not proceed with the proposal last year for Commonwealth legislation which would have been necessary, and State legislation, which would have been completely superfluous, for a British Act amending the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act of 1894. This Government will proceed with legislation requesting and consenting to British legislation discontinuing the use of the Privy Council by this part of the Queen’s dominions.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Transport. Is the Government participating in a survey in Queensland in regard to Queensland railways? If so, what can Brisbane expect as a result of the. survey? Could the Minister give details of Commonwealth assistance for upgrading the urban railways?
– It is true that approximately a fortnight ago a survey was commenced in Brisbane to determine the passenger requirements of the new electrification of the urban transport system in the Brisbane city area. This is the. result of an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State to ascertain what would be expected by the people who will be using that railway. It is being undertaken to ascertain, for example whether they want air-conditioning and what type of carriage they want. In fact the survey is unique. It is one of the first surveys of its type ever conducted in Australia and we think that probably it is the first of its type conducted in the world to find out what the commuter really wants to be incorporated into a new system that is being introduced. The honourable member will recall that in February this year I made a statement on behalf of the Government in which I said that it is prepared to assist in upgrading public transport on the basis of $2 to $1. All the State governments have submitted their programs.
Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Scholes)Order! Will the Minister speak into the microphone at the table.
– I apologise to members of the Opposition. I understand their problem of not being able to hear. When I was on the Opposition side I could not hear when a Minister faced in a certain direction while speaking. Honourable members will recall that in February this year 1 made a statement on behalf of the Government in which I said that we propose to make funds available to the States, on the basis of $2 to $1, for the upgrading of their urban transport systems. All of the States have submitted their programs to me and these are in the. process of examination by my Department. A program is to be prepared for inclusion in the next Budget From memory, the Queensland Government submitted a program of about $60m for the Brisbane area. On the ratio of $2 for SI, the Commonwealth contribution would be approximately $40m. As a result, the electrification of the Brisbane urban system could be commenced and its buses and other urban transport facilities could be upgraded.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. The honourable gentleman was in the House this morning when the Leader of the House said that the Parliament would continue to sit next week. I ask the honourable gentleman whether he will undertake unequivocally to make a statement this week on foreign affairs and agree, again unequivocally, to provide adequate time next week for the purpose of that foreign affairs statement being debated? In the course of making that statement, will he give details to the House of what he has attempted to achieve in foreign affairs and the degree of success that he assesses he has had, so that that can form a measure for debate and judgment by the House?
– I am as anxious as the honourable gentleman to let the people know the achievements of the Australian Government in the field of foreign affairs. I am as frustrated as anyone in the place that I cannot get the opportunity to deliver this statement. I am optimistic in view of the fact that we will be sitting longer that I will be able to make the statement, and I hope that honourable members in general will then see that the proceedings of the House are directed to relevant issues so that this supremely important statement can be properly debated.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Scholes)Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. Over the weekend the ‘Sydney Morning Herald* represented that I was opposed to the Prices Justification Bill on the ground that it would be too drastic and effective. This is exactly the opposite of the truth. I support the principle of prices justification but I believe that the Bill will be ineffectual and naive. What I did say was that I was opposed to what I regarded as the sinister side purposes of this Bill which were not allowed to be debated because the Committee stage was not called on. I was hoping that the Senate would correct the omissions which we were forced to make. here.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. During the answer to a question the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) misrepresented me when he said that most members of this House preferred a unitary system of government. I for one do not.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. In the Grievance Day debate on the last sitting day I took the opportunity to draw the attention of the House to what 1 believed were the inadequate and evasive answers to questions given by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) at question time and to questions on notice, his use of Press conferences to circumvent-
-Order! Would the honourable member show how he has been misrepresented?
– Yes. May I just explain the point I was making? I referred to his use of Press conferences to circumvent-
-I ask the honourable member to show how he has been misrepresented.
– And the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly)-
-Order! I ask the honourable member to show how he has been misrepresented.
– The Minister for Services and Property in reply to the point I made about inadequate time being allowed to debate the far-reaching legislation in this House said:
Do not honourable members opposite -
He had been referring to me throughout his speech - want the Prime Minister to give to the Press information in regard to parliamentary affairs and other matters?
Later he said:
Therefore, if the criticism is made -
And I had made it - that the Prime Minister is given this information to the nation it is made on false grounds.
I made it clear in my remarks that I did not think that the Prime Minister should not speak to the Press but that he should not use those occasions when he did to circumvent the forms of the House and to prevent debate taking place, particularly on major matters such as foreign affairs. I was further misrepresented when the Leader of the House said of me:
I made it clear that I believed there should be adequate time in which to debate the farreaching proposals now before this House. My point was that there should be more sitting days and, indeed, the Minister for Services and Property has just announced that he will permit this. There should be adequate debate but whether there will be remains to be seen.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. The honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) stated that I said he had voted against a motion for the extension of the sitting times of the House. The statement I made stands because the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch), on behalf of the Opposition, opposed the extension of sitting hours for a short time each day, and I understand that the honourable member for Curtin is still a loyal member of the Opposition. Consequently he was linked with the rest of his colleagues in voting against an extension of the sitting times of the House.
Mr GARLAND (Curtin) - I wish to make a further personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– I have been further misrepresented. I made it perfectly clear in my personal explanation a few moments ago and last Thursday that I sought adequate time for the debate of these matters and that the motion to which the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) was referring has had the result of cutting down Committee consideration of important matters.
– Pursuant to Section 76a of the National Health Act 1953-1972, I present the second annual report of the operations of the registered medical benefits and hospital benefits organisations for the year ended 30 June 1972.
– by leave - The Australian Government has decided to ratify the convention adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1958 - No. Ill - abolishing discrimination in employment and occupation. This will be the third ILO human rights convention ratified by Australia in the period since the present Government came to office, the others being Convention No. 87 - Right to Organise, 1948; and Convention No. 98 - Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949. Only one ILO human rights convention will remain unratified - No. 100 which deals with equal remuneration for work of equal value. I am consulting the State Ministers for Labour with a view to early ratification of that convention.
The House will recall that the Whitlam Government in the very early days of its reign briefed counsel to intervene in the national wage case to support the application by the Australian Council of Trade Unions for equal pay for work of equal value. To a large extent the application was successful. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission provided for a phasing in operation which my Government, of course, does not accept as being essential, at any rate so far as the Commonwealth Public Service is concerned. We are currently discussing ways and means of making it possible to give effect to the principles enunciated by the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in respect of equal pay, so that females employed by the Commonwealth may have the benefit of the judgment of the Commission in respect of this important matter.
The extent to which ILO convention No. Ill has been accepted as a basic human rights instrument is demonstrated by the fact that 79 countries have ratified it. The ratification of this convention is a very important step. We regard it as a most significant step and we are proud to be able to announce that it was this Government, after such a short period in office, which has been able to ratify that important convention. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) is about to leave the chamber. If he will come back the honourable gentleman will find this speech of mine very important because it does deal with human rights. The ratification means that Australia is at last joining with the other responsible members of the international community in affirming opposition to discrimination in employment and occupation. It testifies to the Australian Government’s determination to remove discrimination in employment and occupation from the Australian scene, not simply by removing cases of blatant discrimination but also by taking positive action to promote real equality of opportunity in employment.
Discrimination is an anti-social offence. That is how the Government sees it and that is what it is. It affects not only those people who are directly affected as active agents or as its victims. It is as much a matter of general concern as any other social problem. It is a human rights problem. It is a moral problem. It is an economic problem. To practise discrimination is to practice injustice, intolerance and all of the things against which a Christian nation ought to turn its back. To ignore discrimination is to ignore injustice. In purely economic terms the community as a whole loses its investment in education and training, and individuals lose their own inputs in time and effort if they are prevented from accepting occupations or employment commensurate with their qualifications and experience because of discriminatory practices.
Discrimination in employment and occupation must have an adverse effect on the overall productivity of the work force. If certain people are denied the opportunity of joining the work force because of some reason associated with religion, politics, race, sex, nationality or any other factor like that, productivity must suffer because fewer people than the number otherwise employed are working in the work force. It reduces the capacity of individuals and groups to earn wages and salaries at levels to which their qualifications, skills, experience and ability rightly entitle them, thereby restricting their capacity to improve their standard of living.
Discrimiation can take many forms. It can be the result of racial hatred, blind prejudice, fear and intolerance, or, in some cases, ignorance. I have seen examples in this Parliament of the discrimination that comes from blind prejudice where certain members of the Parliament have stood in this place and made speeches based upon blind prejudice accusing upright, decent Australians of being enemies of the State and agents of a foreign power, based purely upon political hatred and political prejudice.. It is not always easy to determine whether particular action constitutes discrimination; it is very difficult indeed. I anticipate that the pursuit of the policy of non-discrimination in employment and occupation will throw light on such cases. Such cases and such issues should not be put aside or swept under a carpet of community apathy. Instead they should be examined, clarified and, if necessary, acted upon.
Provisions of the Convention
International Labour Organisation convention No. Ill is unusual among international labour standards in that it requires the declaration and pursuit of a policy, rather than compliance with specific standards. Most conventions specify specific standards and require compliance with those standards. This convention is a declaration of intent, a declaration of a government’s policy, in this case in respect to discrimination on grounds of politics, religion, race, nationality or sex in employment or in employment opportunities. The convention requires ratifying countries, first to declare a national policy designed to promote, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof, and, secondly, to pursue the policy enunciated in accordance with the range of action specified in the convention. For the purpose of the convention, discrimination’ includes any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of oppportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.
I would like to emphasise at the outset that this statement and the ILO convention are concerned only with discrimination in employment and occupation. Of course, discrimination can occur in a much wider range than simply in the employment field. For example, it can occur in the field of housing, admission to organisations, clubs and societies, access to public places and facilities, access to finance and participation in sport. South Africa is a glaring example of the last instance to which I have made reference. However, this convention is not concerned with these kinds of discrimination. Any distinction, exclusion or preference in employment based on the inherent requirements of a particular job or special measures of protection or assistance provided for in other ILO conventions or recommendations are not deemed to be discrimination within the meaning of this convention No. 111.
Measures affecting individuals justifiably suspected of, or engaged in, activities prejudicial to the security of the state are not deemed to be discrimination under the convention, provided that the individual concerned shall have the right of appeal to a competent body established in accordance with national practice. So if a person belonged to a subversive organisation and he was likely to be a threat to the security of the country, of course we would have a right to exclude that person from employment in sensitive areas of government where his bent or prejudice could be of detriment to the country’s security. So I want to make it clear that when we talk about discrimination in employment we are referring to discrimination of that kind where the nation discriminates for its own protection. The AttorneyGeneral (Senator Murphy) is considering the establishment of an appeals commission which would, among other things, cover this sort of situation.
We say that where discrimination is practised for the purposes of safeguarding the nation’s security, that discrimination has to be justified. There has to be a real justification for its use. Therefore, a person against whom a veto is made in regard to employment must have a chance to appeal against the decision in order to establish, if he can, that it is based upon wrong premises. As I said, we propose to do that. Apart from declaring a policy, the convention requires a ratifying country, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice:
Application of the Convention in Australia
Ratification of this convention by Australia requires declaration of the policy as defined in the convention. This statement fulfils that requirement. Secondly, it requires that the policy be pursued. I shall deal now with the action already taken or proposed to fulfil the requirements for specific action I have listed. In pursuing the policy the Government is relying quite heavily upon a program of action drawn up by a tripartite working party established by the National Labour Advisory Council for this purpose. Here I acknowledge this initiative of the Council when my predecessor, the Honourable Phillip Lynch, who is sitting in the wings of the chamber, was chairman. Goodness only knows whether his Cabinet would have allowed him ever to have ratified the convention. It probably would not have done so, but that Cabinet no longer exists and today we have a forward-looking Cabinet which acts promptly in ratifying these kinds of conventions.-
I shall deal with each requirment separately. The first requirement, requirement (a), is to seek the co-operation of employer and worker organisations and other appropriate bodies in promoting the acceptance and observance of this policy. I have already written to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Associated Chambers of Manu factures of Australia and the Australian Council of Employers Federations to seek their co-operation in promoting the acceptance and observance of the policy. In the near future I shall be writing to other employer and worker organisations to advise them of the policy and to seek their co-operation in pursuing it. 1 shall also be writing in the same vein to such groups as the United Nations Association and its associated Committee on the Status of Women and to significant bodies representing Aboriginals, women and religious groups. Naturally the Government will be relying also on the support of Federal and State members of Parliament. I am pleased that so many honourable members have seen fit to remain in the chamber while I explain this important convention to the Parliament. The Government will rely also on the political parties in ensuring that the policy is made effective. In addition, I have sought the cooperation of the State Ministers of Labour both for ratification and for the program of action to give effect to the requirments of the convention. I am happy to report that all of them have agreed to ratification and to the program of action. At this stage I thank personally the State Labour Ministers for the fine degree of co-operation which they have given to the Commonwealth and to me personally. They could not have been more helpful. I hope that their co-operation will be acknowledged by their respective States, whether they be Ministers of Labour representing Liberal Party governments, Country Party governments or Labor Party governments. The 6 Ministers are entitled to the fullest credit and fullest commendation for the way they have co-operated in giving effect to these International Labour Organisation decisions.
The second requirement, requirement (b), is to enact such legislation and to promote such educational programs as may be calculated to secure the acceptance and observance of the policy. In its workers education manual, Fighting Discrimination in Employment and Occupation’, the International Labour Office has pointed out that legislating against discrimination does not necessarily remove discrimination. We need more than legislation. We need more than penal sanctions against discrimination. What we really need is education - to educate the public to resent and to turn their backs on discrimination and to reject discrimination not because they fear penalties for discrimination but because of a deep sense of the injustice which is entailed in discrimination. Overseas experience suggests that fundamental changes in community and individual attitudes are necessary before discriminatory practices can be eradicated and, especially, before the more positive goal of achieving a situation where everyone has equal opportunity in employment and occuptation on the basis of their own abilities, their own qualities and their own desires can be achieved.
These are, course, long term tasks requiring the creation of a climate in which discrimination will wither away by reason of the fact that people in our society will have become enlightened enough to want to see an end to discrimination. Moreover, where there is legislation to outlaw discrimination, the obtaining of convictions can present difficulties and the number of convictions can give the impression that an anti-discriminatory policy is working whereas indicators relating to the relative employment positions of various groups can show at the same time that very little real change is occurring. Furthermore, in the Australian context statutory machinery already exists in some areas for dealing with alleged discriminatory action; for example some industrial tribunals in respect of dismissals and Public Service Board appeals machinery in respect of promotions and dismissals. Where these established arrangements are appropriate for dealing with cases it would be undesirable, in my view, to interfere with their operation.
Finally, the adoption of comprehensive legislation would require complementary Commonwealth and State legislation and this would inevitably, of course, delay action. We do not want delay. We are prepared, willing and determined to do everything necessary to eliminate delay so that we can begin the great work which is in front of us and which we are now obligated to undertake by the terms of convention No. 111. It is for these reasons that emphasis is being placed on promotion of a climate of opinion favourable to the policy of equality of opportunity by education programs and by seeking to resolve discriminatory situations by conciliation rather than by legislative and court action. However, this does not preclude legislation either on a particular matter or generally at a later stage should the need for such action become evident. Should that need arise, my Government will not hesitate to legislate to prevent discrimination. I would be surprised to find any opposition from the other side of the Parliament to such a proposal. One thing, I am sure, on which the Parliament is united to a man is the elimination of discrimination in this field.
In view of the emphasis placed on developing a climate of opinion favourable to achieving the objective of equality of opportunity in employment and occupation, it is esential that a wide range of educational programs should be developed. In the first instance it is necessary to publicise the Government’s policy and the availability of the machinery at the national and State levels. I am arranging for a wide distribution of this statement and for the preparation of articles, pamphlets, posters and other information designed to foster public understanding and acceptance of that policy. I am pleased to say that in my Department we have a senior officer, with people under his jurisdiction, who is noted for his tremendous grasp of ILO conventions and ratifications and of ILO policies and machinery. Perhaps no other person in the southern hemisphere has a better grip of the subject than Mr Keith McKenzie of the Department of Labour. He is actively pursuing the policies which I have just outlined. Right now he is supervising the preparation of material, pamphlets, posters and other educational material. He will see that it is distributed as widely as possible, and he will do all things possible to ensure that this is not just an empty gesture but that what I am making today is the announcement of a policy of a real, determined intention by the Government to stamp out the kind of injustice to which I have been referring.
In carrying out these activities I am enlisting the support of organisations and groups and I have mentioned some of these under a previous heading. I shall also be calling on the Women’s Bureau of my Department ;o broaden and intensify its activities in the field of women’s employment, paying particular attention to promoting equality of opportunity for women and co-ordinating the work of other agencies and organisations involved in this area. I am pleased to say that the Women’s Bureau is being strengthened. Its Director, Mrs Lyne-Brown, has been involved in the discussions that were necessary for this paper to be prepared. Tomorrow she will be brought to die Parliament to listen to the debate on paid maternity leave, if that debate is called on tomorrow. But in any event, she will advise and consult with me on questions affecting women generally.
In association with my colleague, the. Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland), I shall be seeking the support of the media, particularly of newspaper proprietors, in publicising the policy and the avenues open to people who consider they are victims of discrimination. A difficult and complex matter to be faced is the elimination of discriminatory practices in advertising job vacancies. It is not so long ago that advertisements or notifications that appeared in the Government ‘Gazette’ actually discriminated between sexes. My Government has taken steps to ensure that the Government ‘Gazette’ shall not discriminate between sexes and that positions that are vacant shall be advertised without any reference being made or preference given to a male as against a female. Requirement (c) is to repeal any statutory provisions and modify any administrative instructions or practices which are inconsistent with the policy, and requirement (d) is to pursue the national policy in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority. Action has been taken in recent years to remove, from legislation and awards those provisions which discriminated in employment on the grounds of race or colour.
In relation to discrimination on the basis of sex, action taken in the Commonwealth and State jurisdictions has brought legislation, awards and administrative practices into closer conformity with the convention. An examination of the Commonwealth Public Service Act and Regulations and administrative instructions is currently under way with a view to removing any remaining traces of discrimination against women in the Commonwealth Public Service. Any instances of sex discrimination in awards will be taken up with the unions and employers concerned. I am sorry to say that there is within this Capital Territory now a discrimination against women in the engagement of apprentices. This is not the Government’s fault; it is not the employer’s fault; and it is not wholly the unions’ fault. But it is the fault of someone. It is perhaps the fault of the 3 of them jointly. But this is something which we propose to take up with the parties concerned as soon as possible.
The Parliament will be glad, of course, to recall that my Government recently appointed Justice Evatt, a most outstanding woman in the. law, to the Bench of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. She is presidential member of the Commission. This appointment was not simply a gesture to women. We were able to appoint Justice Evatt to the position because she had better qualifications in our view than anybody else offering, men or women. That is why we appointed her. It was not an empty meaningless gesture to women but a recognition .aid acknowledgement of the tremendous capabilities and competence of a woman. She has taken up her duties and is already carrying them out with great distinction to herself personally and to the Commission of which she is now a presidential member. So far as is known there are no legislative and administrative instructions or official practices which discriminate in employment on the grounds of religion. There, may be some cases in practice where there is discrimination on grounds of political opinion, national extraction or social origin within the terms of the convention. There may be and there probably are some cases of discrimination in practice, but there is none in theory, or if there are any such cases in theory they will be removed as soon as we are able to identify them.
Requirement (e) reads: to ensure observance of the policy In the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority.
The Government will ensure that the national policy is observed by the vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under its direction. In the vocational training field I am advised that present practices are in accordance with the convention’s recommendations. My Department is examining existing arrangements with a view to ensuring that all categories of persona have equal access to vocational guidance and receive equal treatment in this area. Particular attention is being given to Aborigines and to women in this regard. In the operations of the Commonwealth Employment Service, what is involved is drawing up guide lines to eliminate the discriminatory practices associated with notifying and filling job vacancies; for example, where employers specify that only men should be referred to fill vacancies which could be filled by women, or specify that they do not want Aborigines.
Initially it is intended that the CES should not refuse to accept discriminatory notifications of vacancies or to deal with employers who adopt discriminatory attitudes towards persons referred to them for employment. This sort of stringent approach could work only where the Government employment agency had a monopoly of placement services and even then may simply result in discriminatory ‘gate’ engagements. However, the CES itself will operate in a completely nondiscriminatory way. The Government has control over the CES and it will exercise that control to ensure and to guarantee that there is no discrimination at the level of the Commonwealth Employment Service. For example, if a discriminatory notification of vacancy is received the CES will refer those who are considered to be the most suitable applicants irrespective of the discriminatory specification. In addition, the possibility of making eligibility for contracts involving the expenditure of public funds dependent on observance of the principles is being examined. Requirement (f) reads: to indicate in ite annual reports on the application of the convention the action taken in pursuance of the policy and the results secured by such action.
In accordance with the obligations it accepts on ratifying the convention, the Government will ensure that this is done.
Committees on Discrimination in Employment
The Government will establish machinery at the national and State levels to deal with allegations of discrimination in employment and occupation. The National Committee on Discrimination in Employment will be organised on a tripartite basis and comprise an independent chairman and other representatives appointed by the Government plus one representative of employers and one of the trade unions. I have already asked the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Associated Chambers of Manufactures and the Australian Council of Employers’ Federations jointly on the employer side to nominate their representatives. I have the name of the ACTU nominee and before the week is out 1 hope to be in a position to give the names of all of the members of the national committee. The House will be pleased to learn that the Chairman of the Committee will be an outstanding Australian - a very great Australian who is widely respected and whose appoint ment will be endorsed by both sides of the Parliament when it is announced. I cannot announce his name just yet, but it is a name which will attract the unanimous support of the Parliament when it is announced.
The Committee will be assisted in its operations by a panel of expert consultants, including academics, and people drawn from Government agencies, women’s groups, Aboriginal groups and religious denominations and bodies. The pleasing thing I am able to say is that the Government is going to set the first example by cutting through all forms of discrimination that are based upon a person’s politics, religion, sex, race or nationality. When I announce the membership of the various committees the House will recognise that the Government is practising what it preaches because the people who have been chosen to sit on the various committees will be people of outstanding competence and ability whose politics, religion, race or nationality will be outside the popular ones. They will be appointed because this Convention gives effect to a policy of no discrimination on the grounds of politics, race, religion, nationality or sex.
The main functions of the Committee will be to consider allegations of discrimination in employment referred to it by State committees, to interpret the requirements of the national policy, to promote equality of opportunity in employment and to advise the Government on the necessary action to ensure full compliance with the policy. Other functions will be to co-ordinate the national education campaign to which I have already made reference, which is designed to promote equality of opportunity in employment, and to undertake studies, possibly involving the panel of expert consultants, on various topics in this field. The Committee will publish regular reports on cases it considers, and provide an annual report on its activities in which it will assess progress in implementing the policy and make recommendations to ensure the effective application of the policy. I shall table those reports in the Parliament. The Parliament will have the opportunity, if it so desires, of debating the reports tabled each year. So honourable members from both sides of the Parliament will be able to become involved in this laudable objective of removing completely from this part of the globe discrimination in employment.
As I have already mentioned, the National Committee will be” asked to advise the Government on forms of discrimination not covered by the ILO Convention itself - for example, discrimination on the ground of age, which is considered to require action in Australia. There is a lot of this going on in Australia today - far too much. Too often one sees advertisements in newspapers of vacancies which stipulate that no one above 45 years of age should apply or that applicants must be between 25 and 35 years of age. Too much of this goes on in Australia today. We are determined to see that it is eliminated. Sometimes the elimination of it will require retraining, perhaps relocation and some vocational guidance, but we are determined to ensure that whatever is needed to be done is done to put an end to the idea that at 45 years of age a man is dead from an employment point of view.
The ILO convention is concerned with specific grounds of discrimination in employment, but it makes provision for extension after consultation with representative employer and worker organisations and with other appropriate bodies, into other areas where abolition of discrimination might be pursued, for example, discrimination in employment on the ground of age. The Government therefore proposes that it will be open to the Committee machinery to receive and investigate cases alleging discrimination in employment on grounds beyond those listed in the convention. The Government is not content just to eliminate discrimination on those grounds specifically referred to in the convention. We are determined to go beyond the requirements of the convention, to move into areas of discrimination not mentioned by the convention at all - al] areas of discrimination no matter upon what ground the discrimination is based. The National Committee will then be in a position to advise the Government on other forms of discrimination in employment and occupation considered to require action in Australia.
One important result of the operation of the National Committee will be that for the very first time it will be possible to make an informed estimate about the extent to which discrimination in employment and occupation exists in Australia. Whether this objective is achieved will depend on whether people bring examples of discrimination in employment and occupation to the Committee’s attention. I hope that anyone having a genuine grievance will not hesitate to tell the Committee. The State committees will be organised on a tripartite basis with an independent chairman, 2 government representatives, and one trade union and one employer representative. One of the 2 government representatives will be nominated by the State government concerned and the other will be nominated by the Australian Government. The main function of the State committees will be to consider allegations of breaches of the national policy relating to discrimination in employment and occupation.
It is envisaged that allegations, however they are raised - including approaches direct to a Minister for Labour, by representations from a Federal or State parliamentarian, or by complaints to government departments or the committees - will be investigated initially by the secretariat to be established to service the Committees on Discrimination in Employment. Of course, this secretariat will be located in my department. Where a complainant has recourse to other forms of redress - for example, through proceedings before a court or an industrial tribunal, or to existing appeals machinery - he or she will be advised of the available avenues and the complaint will ordinarily not be pursued if these avenues have not been exhausted.
I remind the Parliament that until quite recently there was at least one example of a trade union rule discriminating against a person on the ground of race. A person of Asian extraction had no right to join the union unless he got special permission from the union’s federal executive. I am pleased to say that as a consequence of this matter being brought to the attention of the union concerned by officers of my Department, this rule has since been eliminated from the rule book.
– Actually, it was a fairly large union.
– A national one?
– Yes, it was a large national union. There may be other unions like it; I do not know. But that is a matter that we will examine. I have already had a talk with Mr McKenzie about this. We will ask that there be an examination of union rules to ensure that where there is any relic of this discrimination against a person belonging to a union on the ground of race, the matter is brought to the notice of the union concerned. The union will then be given an opportunity to amend its rules to make them comply with the convention to which I am now referring. If complaints cannot be dealt with in the ways that I have mentioned, the investigation officers of the secretariat will seek information from the parties concerned. In cases of discrimination covered by the convention, they would then attempt to resolve the matter using their good offices. There will be no attempt to prosecute or to bludgeon the persons who commit the offences into submission; they will simply have pointed out to them the enormity of the thing and how unjust it is for a system like this or for such a thing to be permitted in this day and age in this country.
Where this intervention does not produce a solution, the. matter will be referred to the State Committee which will operate in whatever manner it considers most appropriate to resolve the matter in accordance with the declared policy. Where a matter cannot be resolved in this way by the State Committee, the State Committee will be free to send the matter to the. National Committee. It will be mandatory to do so where the case involves questions of principle and matters involving interpretation of the requirements of the policy. It is envisaged that reports of complaints considered by the State Committees will also be published in the annual report so that the world at large can see who in Australia is disregarding this important human rights convention.
Australian society is an egalitarian society. If it is not perfect in this regard the least we can do is to remove impediments to the full realisation of each person’s abilities according to his or her desire. In declaring this policy I believe that I am reflecting the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of Australian people. I am sure that members on both sides of the Parliament will support this policy and that they will support the action which the Government has taken to pursue this policy.
I thank the House for giving me leave to make this statement and I thank honourable members on both sides for the attentive hearing which I have received from them. I sin cerely hope that when next year’s annual report is presented in the Parliament there will be an opportunity to debate its contents, and that from then on every year the Parliament will take a real, lively and continuing interest in seeing that this convention is in fact honoured and carried out.
The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,
Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its Forty-second Session on 4 June 1958, and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to discrimination in the field of employment and occupation, which is the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of an international Convention, and
Considering that the Declaration of Philadelphia affirms that all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity, and
Considering further that discrimination constitutes a violation of rights enunciated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopts this twenty-fifth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight the following Convention, which may be cited as the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958:
For the purpose of this Convention the term discrimination’ includes -
Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof.
Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice -
Any measures affecting an individual whois justifiably suspected of, or engaged in, activities prejudicial to the security of the individual concerned shall have the right to appeal to a competent body established in accordance with national practice.
Each Member which ratifies this Convention undertakes to aply it to non-metropolitan territories in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation.
The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.
The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration in accordance with article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations full particulars of all ratifications and acts of denunciation registered by him in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Articles.
At such times as it may consider necessary the Governing Body of the International Labour Office shall present to the General Conference a report on the working of this Convention and shall examine the desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the question of its revision in whole or in part.
Shoud the Conference adopt a new Convention revising this Convention in whole or in part, then, unless the new Convention otherwise provides-
This Convention shall in any case remain in force in its actual form and content for those Members which have ratified it but have not ratified the revising Convention.
The English and French versions of the text of this Convention are equally authoritative.
I present the following paper:
Discrimination in Employment and Occupation - Ministerial Statement, 22 May 1973.
Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed -
That the House take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Mr King) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Whitlam, and read a first time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend section 88 of the Public Service Act 1922-1973 and the Second and Third Schedules to the Act. Section 88 empowers the Governor-General, where an Act, regulation, etc., confers powers and duties on the holder of an office, to direct an officer to exercise or perform those powers or duties during a vacancy in the office or when the office-holder is absent or unavailable to perform the duties. Where the occupant of a Public Service office is absent or unavailable, or the office is vacant, the chief officer of a department may direct another officer under Public Service Regulation 116 to perform, on a temporary basis, the duties of the office. However, where these duties comprise the exercise of statutory powers and functions under other Acts, etc., these cannot be performed and exercised unless there is also a direction by the GovernorGeneral under section 88. The amendment to section 88 will enable an officer who is performing the duties of an office in a department pursuant to a direction under regulation 116 to exercise and perform also the statutory powers and duties which attach to the office without the necessity for action by the Governor-General under the section. This will simplify the procedures.
The lists of departments and permanent heads in the Second and Third Schedules to the Public Service Act are to be amended to bring them up to date by the inclusion of the changes that have been made since the Schedules were last amended in 1967. While the Public Service Act provides that the Schedules are deemed to be amended by a notification in the Gazette of the creation, abolition or variation in the name of a department or of an office of permanent head, it is considered desirable that the Schedules themselves be amended from time to time to incorporate changes made over a period. The opportunity is also being taken to make a number of formal amendments to the Act in accordance with current drafting practices. I commend this Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr King) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Barnard, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
On 7 December I announced the following benefits for members of the regular forces. All members of the regular forces including Citizen Forces and Reserves on continuous full-time service who are honourably discharged after 3 years continuous service, or earlier on medical grounds provided the member could have completed 3 years under his existing engagement or undertaking, will be eligible for:
Post discharge vocational training scheme for the purpose of reestablishment in civil life
All other current entitlements are not affected.
A maximum of$6,000 for agricultural occupation and $3,000 for business loans. Applications must be lodged within 12 months of discharge.
All members of the Regular forces including citizen forces and reserves on continuous fulltime service, who serve beyond 3 years initial service will be entitled to A, B, C and D above, and to:
A re-engagement bounty of $1,000 will be payable to any such member who, after 6 or more years service, is on an engagement, or who undertakes an engagement which will provide a further minimum period of 3 years service before reaching the prescribed retiring age. The earliest point when the bounty will become payable is at the 6 year service point for all ranks except apprentice entrants where the minimum service period is 9 years. The bounty will be payable on one occasion only during a serviceman’s career. Re-engagement will not be a right. It will be subject to normal eligibility criteria. Any member who once having received the bounty and is subsequently discharged for misconduct, inefficiency or on request without sufficient compassionate grounds will be required to repay a portion of the bounty on a pro-rata basis related to the shortfall in service.
Unless discharged earlier on medical grounds, the above benefits will not apply to the following:
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Defence Re-establishment Act 1965-1968 to provide for some of these benefits. Other benefits which were contained in my announcement of 7 December 1972 have already been provided for by the legislation or are in the process of being provided for by regulation. I refer to repatriation benefits, war service homes benefits and re-engagement benefits. The benefits concerned which are provided for by this Bill are presently available to national servicemen under the Defence Re-establishment Act. This Bill extends the benefits to all members of the regular forces, including citizen forces and reserves on continuous full time service, who are honourably discharged after 3 years continuous service or earlier on medical grounds, provided the member could have completed 3 years service under existing engagement or undertaking. Certain existing resettlement benefits for members of the regular forces who have long term service are not affected by this Bill.
The Bill provides for the establishment of an additional training scheme to be known as the former regular servicemen vocational training scheme. The benefits under this scheme will be similar to those already operating in favour of national servicemen under the national service vocational training scheme. Trainees who will be eligible for these benefits and who commenced training on or after 7 December 1972 will be able to claim the benefits which this scheme will provide. Part IV of the Defence Re-establishment Act is in very wide terms, and desirably so. It enables the Minister to make arrangements for the post-discharge vocational training of national servicemen and now, as a consequence of this Bill, of former regular servicemen where it is considered necessary or desirable for their effective resettlement. Training may be full time, part time or by correspondence. Part IV allows arrangements for the States for the use of State facilities. It permits the Minister to pay to trainees allowances and expenses on tuition and late fees. It also makes provision for text books, tools of trade and so on. The development of the vocational training scheme in relation to former regular servicemen which this Bill now authorises will, of course, require the working out of some details.
The Bill further provides for rehabilitation treatment and training benefits under the Defence (Re-establishment) Act to be extended to former regular servicemen as defined in the Bill. That Act already applies certain provisions of the Social Services Act 1947-1973 to national servicemen. This Bill, therefore, also applies, subject to variation, those provisions. In accordance with Government policy, the means test provisions of the Social Services Act will not apply to former regular servicemen. Finally, the Bill provides for re-establishment loans to be extended to former regular servicemen. These loans are for agricultural and business purposes. Under these provisions a former regular serviceman will be eligible for such a loan where this would be necessary to enable him to reestablish himself in a business, profession or occupation including farming in which he was engaged prior to call-up. I am sure that they will be found most valuable for some at least of these former regular servicemen who have rendered service. The Bill is complementary to other measures such as defence service homes and repatriation benefits which the Government is in the process of extending to servicemen not only in recognition of their occupation in present day circumstances but also in pursuit of the Government’s determination to provide an adequate volunteer force. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr King) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Hayden, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The fact that I have already introduced 2 Social Services Bills into this House since the Parliament was reopened on 27 February is evidence of the Government’s intention to proceed as quickly as possible with a progressive re-structuring of our social security system. Honourable members will recall that the first Bill which I introduced early in March gave substantial increases in age, invalid and widows pensions retrospective to December last, and also provided for substantial increases in unemployment and sickness benefits.
The second Bill which I introduced on 5 April gave effect to another of the Government’s election promises and provided for the continuation of age, invalid and widows pensions to Australian pensioners proceeding overseas, irrespective .of their destination and without any of the restrictions which had been imposed by the previous Government and which had limited the. operation of their reciprocal pension portability scheme to 4 countries only. The present Bill is a further step along the road to realising the Australian Labor Party’s objective of removing anomalies and discriminatory practices imposed by past governments. The Bill fills a gap in our existing structure for which there has long been a need.
The Bill introduces a completely new benefit to be known as supporting mother’s benefit. The classes of women to whom the new benefit will be payable under this Bill are (a) unmarried mothers, including deserted de facto wives and de facto wives of prisoners; and (b) married women not living with their husbands (deserting wives) or wives who have been separated for various other reasons, provided that the women be living with, and have the custody, care and control of a child (or children) of whom they are the mothers. These women are those who are not at present eligible for a widow’s pension under the Social Services Act and who, with their children, have been subject to discrimination in the level of assistance available to them in the past. As with widows pensions, supporting mother’s benefit will not be payable if the women return to live with their husbands or if they are living with any man on a de facto basis.
The new benefit will become payable 6 months after the date of the event which gives rise to eligibility - for example, the birth of a child or separation. For the moment these women will continue to be the responsibility of the States for the first 6 months, and the States will continue to receive assistance from the Commonwealth under the States Grants (Deserted Wives) Act during that period. There will, however, be some women who will become eligible to the supporting mother’s benefit who have not received State assistance because they would have been excluded by the State means tests.
At this point, I would like to interpose and say that I am anxious to have all cash social welfare payments made by the Commonwealth in an effort to reduce anomalies. At the present time, pensions and benefits from the Australian and State government authorities are complicated and confused by their conflicting means testing for benefits, by anomalies and by a perplexing range of benefits which have developed in a spasmodic way. If the Australian Government assumes responsibility for all personal benefit payments it will relieve the States of these financial programs which they often find to be beyond their resources.
I have already had talks with my counterparts in a number of the States on this matter and I am happy to say that the reaction has been mainly favourable. Further discussions will take place at a meeting of Commonwealth and State Welfare Ministers expected to be held in June next. I am hopeful that when these talks are finalised benefits payable to women through these proposed amendments will be paid immediately instead of requiring a 6 months’ lapse, as is necessary now. I still regard the position brought about by this Bill on its enactment,
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I still regard the position brought about by this Bill on its enactment, although a considerable improvement on present practices, as not without its anomalies. I repeat that we aim to end these anomalies, but the important thing about this Bill is that it is a clear demonstration of this Government’s determination to bring an end as quickly as it can to the discrimination that existed against women and, in this case, certain classes of women such as unmarried mothers, deserted wives or wives who have been separated for other reasons. This is a good start in this direction and in this area. It is not as much as we want to do or will be doing, but the start has been made and we will press on with the further improvements I have mentioned; that is, the Australian Government accepting full responsibility for the operation of these benefits instead of resorting to involved CommonwealthState arrangements which not only cause difficulties for beneficiaries but are often an unreasonable imposition on States.
Returning now to the Bill, the rate of supporting mother’s benefit will be the same as the rate of class ‘A’ widow’s pension, including mother’s allowance, additional pension for children and, where applicable, supplementary assistance for those mothers who are paying rent. Honourable members will recall that these rates in weekly amounts are: pensions, $21.50; mother’s allowance, $4, or $6 if the child is under 6 or an invalid; additional pension, $4.50 for each child; and supplementary assistance, $4. The means test and other conditions for payment will be broadly the same as those applying to class ‘A’ widow pensioners; for example, the residence qualifications will be the same and it will also be a responsibility of the supporting mother to seek maintenance from the father of the child if, in the circumstances of her case, it would be reasonable to expect her to do this. I understand that in Tasmania a deserted de facto wife of 12 months’ standing may sue for maintenance for herself and children, but in the other States she may claim maintenance for children only.
The supporting mother’s benefit will be portable on the same basis as widow’s pension, that is, a woman receiving supporting mother’s benefit may continue to receive this benefit outside Australia so long as she remains a supporting mother. Supporting mothers will also be eligible to participate in the national rehabilitation service and to participate in the training scheme for widow pensioners. They will be eligible, subject to the same conditions as class ‘A’ widows, for hearing aids at the nominal hire of $10, for reduced telephone rental and reduced fees for radio and television licences. Pending the outcome of negotiations with the Australian Medical Association concerning the pensioner medical service, supporting mothers may be covered by the subsidised health benefits plan. A funeral benefit of $40 will also be payable on the death of a supporting mother if the funeral expenses are met by another supporting mother or by a pensioner.
A word about children: The Government believes that when a mother gives birth to a child she should not be discriminated against merely because conception may have occurred after she became a widow or after she became separated from her husband. This form of discrimination, which has been practised in the past, involves undesirable moral overtones. This Bill will remove such discrimination. In future, both for widow’s pension purposes and for supporting mother’s benefit, a widow’s own child or a supporting mother’s own child will qualify them for the respective pension or benefit, irrespective or whether their child was conceived before or after the date of widowhood, desertion or separation. This Bill therefore amends the old definition of ‘child’ which has remained in the legislation since 1942 and introduces a new definition, which defines a ‘child’ as any child born of the mother or a child of whom she had the care prior to the date on which she became a widow or a supporting mother, including a child who was an adopted child at that time.
A further advance made by the Bill is that the additional pension of $4.50 a week for children will be payable for all other children in the care of the widow or supporting mother, whether those other children are qualifying children or not. A deduction of $6 a week for each dependent child will continue to be made from the widow’s income and will also be made from the supporting mother’s income before the means test is applied. This, in effect, gaves a class ‘A’ widow or supporting mother with one child a permissible income of $26 a week plus a further $6 for each other child dependent on her. A child will also be accepted as being in the custody, care and control of a widow or supporting mother where that child is not living with the widow - for example, where it is living away from home to attend school, provided the widow is making a reasonable contribution towards the child’s maintenance. This now applies to widows’ pensions and will be extended to supporting mother’s benefit.
The Bill will come into operation on the date of royal assent and the first payment of the new benefit will be made on the first widow’s pension payday after that date. The Bill also provides that any mother who lodges a claim for benefit within 3 months of the date of royal assent, will receive payment from the first payday after the date of royal assent if she was a supporting mother and otherwise eligible on that date. I had originally indicated that the date of commencement of the new benefit would be the 1 July 1973. However, because of the Government’s heavy legislative program, it would seem that it will not be possible for the Bill to be passed through both Houses of the Parliament before the Budget session. The cost of the new benefit is expected to be $26m per annum or $21m for 1973-74 but its value cannot be measured in terms of money alone. As I previously mentioned, it will place all supporting mothers with children in the same position as widows with children and will remove the unjustifiable discrimination which has hitherto existed. Its effect will perhaps be felt mainly by the children of the women concerned. I commend the Bill to the House.
– Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement about one part of the second reading speech of the Minister for Social Security (Mr Hayden).
-Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The Minister in his second reading speech said:
I had originally indicated that the date of the new benefit would be 1st July 1973. However, because of the Government’s heavy legislative program, it would seem that it will not be possible for the Bill to be passed through both Houses of the Parliament before the Budget session.
I wish to say to the honourable gentleman that the Opposition will support this legislation. We would not want to see the benefits deferred until the Budget session. Therefore, we will co-operate with the Government in order to give this Bill a quick passage through the* Parliament.
– Will you take it now?
– We could take it through.
– All right. It is not controversial. Go ahead.
– lt is not controversial. Is it your intention to go ahead with it now?
– Mr Speaker, I should like to move-
-Order! The Leader of the Opposition must seek leave to continue the debate.
– I seek leave to continue the debate.
-Is leave granted?
– I have no doubt about the commendable and sound intentions of the Leader of the Opposition, but with the best will in the world and the greatest determination he will not be able to control at least one honourable member on his back benches and to proceed with this legislation now would completely disorganise the program of the House, which 1 have already indicated is very tight.
– You would not let one speech stop a Bill like this going through, would you?
– We do not mind the Leader of the Opposition-
– We will bring it on if they will give it a speedy passage, but- not today.
– We will give it a speedy passage if you bring it on.
– But we want some assurance before we do this. For instance, the honourable member for Mackellar obviously wants to extend the debate. He tends to moralise in matters such as this and to use social service benefits as a penalty, as they once were.
-Order! The right honourable gentleman has asked for leave to continue the debate and that request cannot be debated. It is a case of yes or no.
– The Leader of the House has said that this Bill can be listed for next week if arrangements can be made for it to be given a speedy passage.
– That will be fine.
Debate (on motion by Mr Snedden) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Hayden, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of the Bill is to complement the provisions of the Social Services Bill (No. 3) by providing for the supply of hearing aids to supporting mothers suffering from defective hearing. The Bill proposes to amend section 9a of the National Health Act 1953-1972 to make available to supporting mothers who require them, hearing aids on the same bases as apply to pensioners. Accordingly, the Bill provides for the issue of hearing aids to those supporting mothers who would be eligible for the new social service benefit under means test provisions at the level of those which came into force in 1967.
Section 9a currently provides for the supply of hearing aids to pensioners at a charge of $10, and for the maintenance of the hearing aids so provided. It also provides for the supply of hearing aids and their maintenance without charge to persons under the age of 21 years. It is estimated that the number of persons requiring hearing aids under the provision will not exceed 100 each year. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Gorton) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Hayden, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of the Bill is to complete the provisions of the Social Services Bill (No. 3) by providing for concessional rate broadcast listener’s and television viewer’s licences to supporting mothers. This Bill amends the definition of pensioner in section 128 of the Broadcasting and Television Act to include persons who are in receipt of a supporting mothers benefit, thus enabling them to partake of the concessions. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Gorton) adjourned.
– I rise to a point of order. I draw your attention to the fact that the Minister for Social Security has just made a second reading speech about a Bill different from the one he has presented. I should like to give him the opportunity to submit the Bill about which he made the second reading speech.
– Thank you for your indulgence and forbearance. We came straight from the draftsman to the House and it would appear that the Bill I have presented is the wron,; Bill although the speech is the appropriate speech.
-I think the best advice is to leave the matter in abeyance and right it later.
Bill presented by Mr Beazley, and read a first rime.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill amends the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act in 5 ways: It makes provision for special superannuation arrangements for New South Wales and South Australian teachers now teaching in Commonwealth schools; it provides benefits by way of book and equipment allowance to Commonwealth Teaching Service scholars; it provides benefits by way of special financial assistance for Commonwealth Teaching Service scholars; it repeals existing provisions for officers absent from duty in relation to child birth; and it enables the Commissioner to provide, and the authorities to use, members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service for special educational duties.
The special superannuation arrangements for the New South Wales and South Australian teachers will allow those teachers who elect to join the Commonwealth Teaching Service to transfer their current superannuation contributions and benefits without additional cost, without medical examination and without probation. In the absence of this amendment it would be very difficult for many of these teachers to transfer to the Commonwealth Teaching Service. In a large number of cases the additional cost of superannuation would be such that there would be real hardship involved in making the transfer.
Earlier this year the Government decided that the holder of a Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarship should be given an annual book and equipment allowance of $80. The existing provisions of section 45 of the Act do not cover a benefit of this kind, and it is necessary therefore to add to the legislation to encompass this benefit. Similarly there is nothing in the existing section 45 of the Act which covers the accommodation costs incurred by the holders of Commonwealth Teaching Service scholarships who undertake practice teaching in places remote from their training institution. It is considered that the holder of one of these scholarships who undertakes practice teaching, for example, in the Northern Territory, should be assisted with the accommodation expenses incurred in the Territory. The Bill makes provision for this.
It is proposed that separate legislation should be introduced which will provide for a Commonwealth code in relation to maternity leave similar to that which operates in other matters which apply to the generality of Commonwealth employment, for example, compensation and furlough. This legislation repeals existing provisions of the Act which relate to maternity leave.
The definition of teaching duties contained in section 4 of the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act appears to limit the ways in which members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service may be employed. No modern education system can operate without the services of persons with teacher training and with teaching background and experience who have special competence in a variety of fields. These services are not only needed in schools. There will always be responsibilities in head offices of education authorities which call for qualities most likely to be possessed by members of the Commonwealth Teaching Service. Examples are. educational research, curriculum development, the preparation of text materials and teaching aids, to say nothing of guidance and counselling services, including psychological and educational clinics. Other support services attached to education authorities include master teachers who can be used to visit schools and by example, guidance and encouragement raise the quality of teaching. The amendment contained in clause 4 of the Bill is designed to widen the. function of the Commonwealth Teaching Service Commissioner to meet .the requirements I have outlined.
The Commonwealth Teaching Service carries responsibility for the education of a significant proportion of the Aboriginal child population of Australia, some of these children being taught in their own languages. Part of the Teaching Service may in future form the expatriate teaching service in Papua New Guinea, carrying responsibility for secondary and technical education there. In Arnhem Land the Service operates in one of the world’s most precious ecological environments. It must work to give equality of opportunity to all children in the Northern Territory - children who live under some factors of disadvantage in their schooling. It is also the teaching force for the Australian Capital Territory, which ought to be a laboratory for new and valid educational ideas. The Commonwealth Teaching Service’s responsibilities to the nation - and probably in future to other nations - are therefore very great and its calibre should be very high.
The steps taken in the Bill today are all steps towards creating such a teaching service. They coincide with action being taken to launch an extensive school expansion and improvement program in the Northern Territory, and with the establishment of secondary colleges in Canberra. These colleges will constitute a form of broad and high calibre secondary education, recognising in its scope and structure the adult status of fifth and sixth formers. I believe Parliament should enact this legislation.
Debate (on motion by Mr Gorton) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 3 May (vide page 1682), on motion by Mr Charles Jones:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition opposes this Bill. I move:
That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: This House declines to give the Bill a second reading because it does not give effect to the statement of intention of the previous Government but would be used as a vehicle to implement the whole of the socialistic policy of the present Government.’.
I believe that the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) in his second reading speech attempted to mislead the House, as I will proceed to show. In his second reading speech he quoted from a speech made on 24 October 1972 by Sir Reginald Swartz, who was representing in the House of Representatives Senator Cotton, then Minister for Civil Aviation. Sir Reginald said:
It is the intention of this Government, therefore, to introduce in the first sittings of the new Parliament a Bill amending the Australian National Airlines Act so that there is no question about TransAustralia Airlines having the powers enabling it to engage in activities closely related to airline operation and to give effect to the Government’s decisions.
I stress that what was said by Sir Reginald Swartz, representing Senator Cotton, was ‘in activities closely related to airline operation’.
The Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation went on to say that the additional powers that the previous Government was contemplating giving to TransAustralia Airlines were, firstly, in aviation engineering work for outside organisations; secondly, in Commonwealth contracts; thirdly, in the establishment and operation of hotels and other kinds of accommodation; fourthly, in the establishment and operation of road transport services; fifthly, iri the acquisition of shareholdings; sixthly, in the field of aerial work and charter operations; and, seventhly, in operations in Papua New Guinea after independence. The Minister then went on to make this quite extraordinary statement:
The amendment of the Australian National Airlines Act to widen TAA’s powers is one matter concerning which this Government is in complete agreement with the previous Government. It therefore has no hesitation in bringing forward this Bill, which is designed to give TAA the additional powers mentioned so that it will be in a fair and equitable position compared with Ansett Transport Industries Ltd in respect of its operations under the 2-airline policy.
Having made that broad, sweeping and, I believe, quite inaccurate statement, he then went on to say that he need not go any further into the Bill in detail. He left it to us to study the Bill and to find out for ourselves that it was quite inaccurate to say that he was simply picking up the proposals of the previous Government.
Let me remind the House that the Minister carefully avoided stressing any reference to the references by Senator Cotton and Sir Reginald Swartz to ‘activities closely related to airline operation’, and ‘for the convenience of its passengers’ in mentioning road transport and hotels. The fact is that the Bill goes far beyond anything contemplated by the previous Government. In brief, the Bill would convert TAA into a transport and hotel commission and proposes that TAA would achieve its objectives by unfair and unequal competition.
Let me detail the advantages this Bill seeks to give to TAA. Firstly, if it sees fit, the Government may make available unlimited funds on whatever terms it considers appropriate, and TAA will be immune from numerous charges, rates and State and municipal taxes to which its competitors in many fields of commerce are subjected. It was a fundamental part of the previous Government’s administration of the 2-airline policy that the 2 airlines should, as far as practicable, have comparable cost structures in order to be able to compete on equal terms. This required, for example, that the government airline should be subjected to normal Commonwealth and State tax laws, that its borrowings should be at commercial rates and that it should have a dividend target and be expected to operate profitably. In addition, the Commonwealth, in the airlines agreements, understood that it would not exercise any of its powers under or by virtue of an Act to discriminate against the private enterprise airline.
The Australian National Airlines Bill 1973 indicates a determination to ignore these principles and to provide a completely new system of competition which is different from that contemplated by the previous Government when it agreed to extend TAA’s competence to engage in activities incidental to its airline operations. For example, the Bill implements completely the Labor Party platform which provides that the Commonwealth shall ‘compete actively with private enterprise in interstate transport by sea, air or road*. The Bill also is stamped with the clear intention that ‘actively’ means with the full resources of the Commonwealth and without even elementary protections to ensure that the competition will be fair.
Let me give the House some examples of this. I mention, firstly, clause 13 of the Bill which relates to borrowings by TAA. It states that the Treasurer may lend to TAA out of moneys appropriated by Parliament any amount which the Minister certifies is in his opinion necessary for the exercise of TAA’s powers - I stress the following words - at such rates and on such conditions as he determines. This would permit loans to TransAustralia Airlines interest-free or at noncommercial interest rates which it could then use to establish companies, acquire shares on the Stock Exchange and enter into partnerships with other organisations. In each of these situations, TAA would be competing with other private enterprise organisations, and therefore a minimum safeguard must be the requirement that advances to TAA for these purposes shall bear interest at a rate not less than the rate prevailing in the commercial market place.
Secondly, we come to the use of TAA staff superannuation funds. Since its inception, TAA has used its superannuation provisions in the business. These provisions or funds now total about $29m and are increasing at the rate of several million dollars a year. Access to these provisions has constituted an increasingly unfair advantage. There is every indication that the present Government proposes to repudiate action set in train by the previous Government to withdraw these funds. Because of their magnitude and the fact that TAA is to be authorised to compete with private enterprise undertakings in many new fields, it is vital to record the recent history of these funds. The former Treasurer, the honourable member for Bruce (Mr Snedden) announced in his Budget Speech of 15 August 1972 an appropriation of $25m. This was to assist TAA to introduce new accounting arrangements for superannuation. He said that there would be an offsetting receipt of $21m from the Australian Airlines Commission. That is, the funds would be held in trust by the Commonwealth Superannuation Board on behalf of the Commission’s employees. Senator Cotton, as former Minister for Civil Aviation, reaffirmed this in his civil aviation policy speech to the Senate on 29 August 1972. The use of superannuation funds in the business is quite contrary to normal practice for a commercial enterprise of the Commonwealth. We proposed changes which would have meant that TAA’s superannuation arrangements would have been similar to those adopted by over 30 other Commonwealth instrumentalities. At present, TAA gets an advantage of at least $500,000 a year from the use of its superannuation funds.
Let me deal now with TAAs liability to pay rates, taxes and charges. The original Australian National Airlines Act of 1945 expressly exempted TAA from income tax. This was amended by the Menzies Government in 1952 to require TAA to pay all Commonwealth rates, taxes and charges and such other rates, taxes or charges as the minister specified. As it is believed that past ministers have not required TAA to pay some State taxes such as stamp duty and payroll tax, .the Commission is already in a unfair competitive position. The new section 37 appears to extend greatly TAA’s immunity from tax. Unless prescribed, presumably by regulations, TAA will not be subject to taxation under any laws of a State or a Territory. Thus it will avoid stamp duty and will be exempt from municipal rates, the road transport ton-mile tax and the very substantial liquor licence payable by its competitors.
What other advantages will TAA obtain from this Bill? The provisions of the Bill propose to vest TAA with wide powers to engage in intrastate transport; that is, air and land, aerial services - that is, general aviation - hotels and other establishments or enterprises providing accommodation, recreation and entertainment or other services or facilities as incidental to the primary functions of the Commission as set out in section 19 (1) (a). Each of the proposed new sections relating to the vesting of TAA with these functions includes a remarkable further proposed subsection which invokes placitum (XX) of section 51 of the Constitution. That relates to the corporation power. It is invoked on a basis which is clearly intended to give TAA the widest possible powers to operate hotels, accommodation services, etc., permissible under the Constitution. If this were not the intention, there is no reason to include these additional provisions. In each case it would fully meet the intention of the previous Government if TAA were permitted to engage in each of these fields, only to the extent that it was clearly incidental to the operation of airline services.
The previous Government agreed to support references from State parliaments on the matter of air transport and to adopt those references by appropriate legislative action. The proposed amendment to section 19a and proposed new section 19b purports to do this and to that extent are clearly unobjectionable from the point of view of State governments since positive initiative is required by State governments before their rights can be affected. State rights are further protected by provisions inserted by the previous Government in section 19a, which required the consent in writing of the Premier of a State to the establishment and operation of intrastate airline services and also permitted the Premier to revoke this consent. Having inserted these provisions, that would have been sufficient but a new and remarkable section 19c is to be inserted. It has the clear and blatant intent of making a reference of powers by State governments totally unnecessary and also, if it withstands legal challenge, will make it quite unnecessary for the Commonwealth to hold a transport referendum as contemplated by the Labor Party.
Proposed section 19c not only invokes the Commonwealth’s incidental powers but in paragraph (b) of sub-section (2) also purports to vest TAA with unlimited powers to engage in intrastate transport both on air and land. It states:
As the present Government has argued for a wide interpretation of the corporation power, it is a gross deception not to have invited Parliament’s attention to the fact that provisions were included in the Bill which seek to make vast inroads into existing areas of State sovereignty without the approval of State governments. For example, by virtue of this section, a reference of power is not necessary before TAA engages in purely intrastate air and road services, and it can do so without the permission of the Premier. This makes a mockery of the safeguards of State interests inserted in section 19a by the previous Government. Furthermore,. TAA apparently can engage in such road and air activities with complete immunity from road taxes, licence fees and other charges payable by its competitors. It must be suspected that an intention of this provision is to test, for other purposes unconnected with TAA but under the cloak of TAA’s respectability established during the previous administration, the scope of the corporation power of the Commonwealth. Trans Australia Airlines will also have the right to operate bus services in Papua New Guinea, even though it has never been invited to do so.
Under proposed new section 19j, TAA may do all things necessary or convenient to be done in connection with or as incidental to the performance of its functions. This provision is wide enough, even if it is not presently contemplated, to permit TAA to acquire shares in Ansett Transport Industries up to $250,000, without ministerial approval and to any extent with the Minister’s approval but without further reference to Parliament. This is contained in clause 9, amending section 21 (2). Under this clause TAA clearly can obtain control by the purchase of shares of any or, for that matter, all major road transport operators and any hotel or accommodation chain which provides accommodation for air or road passengers -that is all hotels and motels. Such a provision clearly goes far beyond anything contemplated by the previous Government. What I am saying is that while the Government has the power in this House to introduce most or all of these measures giving TAA the advantage of unfair and unequalgain the Minister should not have attempted to make out that it is merely picking up the previous Government’s proposals.
The whole nub of the argument is this: Do the Minister and the chairman of TAA seek the powers that are given to them in this Bill? The Minister says: ‘No’. In answer to a recent question on this matter which appears in Hansard the Minister said:
All that we want is TAA to have a sufficient number of hotels as part of its business to assist it in the tourist expansion program which it is undertaking.
He went on later to say:
AH that is proposed is what my predecessor Senator Cotton promised TAA, that is, that it would be permitted to operate hotels.
The Minister concluded his answer by saying:
So all that I am doing is implementing a Liberal Party promise.
Sir Frederick Scherger, as Chairman of TAA, says that he has no intention of turning TAA into a nationalising vehicle for all forms of transport. So if these men mean what they say -and one accepts that they do -they have no need to seek the additional powers sought in this Bill which could allow some future Labor government to go very much further than these 2 gentlemen propose going. In this case the Government should have no difficulty in agreeing to the proposed amendments which will be brought up in this House by my colleague the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) and in the Senate and which will ensure that a future government will not go further than previous governments had proposed.
Alternatively the present Government could give us a firm commitment by giving forthright answers to a number of questions. I hope that the Minister will give us these answers because they are important not only here but also when this Bill is discussed in the Senate as it will be in the near future. Firstly, does the Minister agree that TAA should be subject to the same taxation charges as its competitors? Secondly, does the Government intend to allow Ansett Transport Industries to have equal access to government business? Thirdly, what limits are being set on TAA to prevent it from obtaining a monopoly in the hotel field or to prevent unfair competition? Fourthly, will TAA be required to maintain a commercial dividend rate? Fifthly, will the staff superannuation funds be used at all or will they be used at less than the commercial interest rate? Sixthly, will TAA be able to operate internationally, for example in Papua New Guinea after independence, and if so will TAA be immune from taxation in Papua New Guinea under this Bill and did the Papua New Guinea Government agree to this? Seventhly, will TAA separate its accounts into airline or non-airline activities as ATI is now forced to do? Eighthly, will the Treasurer give an assurance that rates on money borrowed by TAA will be comparable to market interest rates? Ninthly, does the Minister propose to allow TAA to operate interstate road transport of goods and passengers without the authority of the States? Tenthly, is it proposed that TAA will engage in aircraft crop dusting or charter services in competition with the hundreds of light aircraft operators? Lastly, what is meant by ‘recreation and entertainment’ which this Bill allows TAA to engage in
One could speak at great length on this matter. However, there are a number of people from this side of the House in particular -I believe that some 10 honourable members want to speak on this Bill -and we have been told that the debate has been limited to 3 hours. In view of this I will not speak any longer. Not only do 10 members from this side wish to speak but also we have a good many amendments which we would like to move. However, obviously the Opposition will have no chance of moving all of these amendments and considering and discussing them fully, so we feel that we must oppose the Bill. I believe that this Bill should be resisted by all non-socialists with all the strength at their commend.
– I second the amendment. Mr Speaker-
– It is the usual procedure to have one speaker from each side.
-Order! The honourable member for Gippsland is seconding the amendment. It is not a matter of one speaker from each side being called. If the honourable member wishes to claim the right he can speak immediately.
– The first plank in Labor policy is the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange. This Bill is a major act by this Government to reach that goal. It is a blatant effort by the Labor Government to foist on the Australian people socialist domination in civil aviation, road transport, hotel-motel industries and many other ancillary industries. What is more, the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones), who is at the table, is guilty of the same duplicity that he has shown in respect of the shipbuilding industry. In relation to that industry he continually has been making claims that the Australian coastal trade will be reserved for Australian built ships. Yet he has given permits for more imported ships in 4 months than any previous Minister responsible for these matters gave in a year. This Bill is not designed to give legislative expression to matters in which the Government and the Opposition are in agreement. Instead it is (intended to provide the legal basis for a radical restructuring of the Australian land and air transportation industries. It is designed to permit domination by a statutory body over civil aviation, road transport, accommodation and other undefined industries.
This is a disturbing enough matter, but in many respects equally disturbing is the deceitful nature of the second-reading speech relating to this Bill by the Minister for Transport. Second-reading speeches traditionally have been intended to explain and amplify legislation. The Minister’s second-reading speech obviously was designed to obscure the full implications of one of the most farreaching pieces of legislation introduced into this House. The speech by the Minister includes a quotation from the Minister for
National Development of the last Government, wherein it was foreshadowed that the Australian National Airlines Act would be amended so that Trans-Australia Airlines could engage in activities closely related - mark those words - to airline operations. It is on the strength of those words that the Minister has introduced a Bill that will in its effective use of the corporation power and paragraph (xx) of section 51 of the Constitution give a Federal government instrumentality unbridled power and unlimited advantages, financial and otherwise in civil aviation, road transport, the hotelmotel industry and many ancillary industries. It is this Bill which so clearly attempts to usurp the sovereign power of the States which the Minister says has the agreement of the Government and the Opposition. That is not true. There can .be no such agreement on this Bill. The excesses of power in all fields proposed for TAA in this Bill are streets ahead of the moderate proposals and incidental powers proposed by the previous Government. What is worse, the Minister made no attempt in his second-reading speech to spell out the full implications of the main clauses of the Bill. It is not from reading the speech that people involved in the industries concerned can understand the Bill; it is only after close study of the separate clauses of the Bill that the true extent of the socialist ambition emerges.
There are many aspects of the Bill that call for comment. In his speech the Minister said:
Clause S sets out the basic functions … in different language, but adds the power to’ transport passengers and goods by land as well as by air, or partly by each means, and to provide for the Commonwealth aviation, land transport and engineering services and other services which are within its resources.
The speech says nothing more, but the Bill speaks volumes. Firstly, there is no suggestion that TAA’s power to engage in road transport is in any way related to or limited by its activities in air transport. It is plainly not intended to be just an incidental activity to assist TAA’s traditional customers. The potential power in this clause is even more clearly understood when the financial power to be given to this body is known. The body plainly should no longer be called only the Australian National Airlines Commission but should have added to its title ‘Land Transport and Hotels Commission*.
As can be seen from clause 13 of the Bill, the Commission’s financial capacity comes in 2 ways: From the power to borrow moneys necessary for the exercise of its powers, with the Treasurer’s approval, and from money appropriated by the Parliament. The Bill enables the Commission to have access to Commonwealth funds at potentially preferential borrowing terms for the purposes of financing its entire range of expanded activities. There is an obligation on the Treasurer to agree to allow the Commission to borrow money if the Commission determines that the loan is required for the exercise of its power and the performance of its duties or functions.
The significant addition to the principal Act are the words ‘the exercise of its powers’. The significance comes from the fact that clause 7 seeks to amend section 19 of the Act to allow the Commission to form or participate in companies and to acquire or dispose of shares. The combination of this power with the financial power means that TAA can take over, buy out or buy part of any transport operation that it likes, and there are no limits at all to the number of operations into which TAA can enter. It can, in the exercise of this power, take over established operators like Thomas Nationwide Transport, Brambles or IPEC. It can, if it wishes, go on to the market and purchase a majority of shares in any public company - even its rival, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd - without further reference to this Parliament. It requires only the approval of the Minister, whose sense of business knowledge and judgment are even less than his love for Ansett Transport Industries.
But the Bill goes further. It allows TAA the right to buy out or set up supporting industries, such as engineering workshops and garages. Having bought out or set up a large road transport organisation, it would be a logical step for the socialist to enter the engineering and garage field not only as an incidental to its main activity, but as a progressive step in the control of the transport industry. Again, under the powers given in this Bill, TAA could decide that it is necessary to commence the manufacture of tyres and spare parts and even to control its own petrol and fuel outlets. There is contained in the Bill a real and direct threat to all road transport operators and ancillary industries. This is clearly stated in clause 5 which refers to new section 19 (1) (c) of the Act, wherein it is stated that TAA may provide to the Commonwealth ‘aviation, land transport and engineering services and such other services as can conveniently be provided by the use of the resources of the Commission. The second reading speech does not even attempt to define the meaning of the words ‘and such other services as can conveniently be provided by the use of the resources of the Commission. But it is quite obvious that the powers now given to the Commission, or to TAA as it is better known, will turn it into a bureaucratic or socialistic monster of a size unequalled in Australia’s history. Indeed, this Airlines Bill makes the Banks Nationalisation Bill look a real puny.
As I said earlier, these powers extend to the area of ‘hotels or other establishments or enterprises providing accommodation, recreation, entertainment or other services or facilities’. Again, this clause is given further unknown power and unmeasured thrust by calling into use in the Bill the powers conferred by paragraph (xx) of section 51 of the Constitution. It is quite plain that TAA can build or take over hotels and motels in any number, and it can enter into any of the ancillary industries associated with the hotel and motel industry. By the inclusion of that Commonwealth power in this clause, we are left to wonder whether the Labor Government wants to challenge State laws on TAA property. Such a situation could lead to TAA hotels in Victoria having poker machines installed, or attacks on State vice laws in all States. There is every encouragement for TAA to enter the liquor trade, taking over a vineyard or entering, in a large scale way, the food industry. Again, it is a far cry from an incidental activity or power as proposed by the previous Government. Once again, this power is not explained by the Minister in his second reading speech. This Bill carries other extraordinary features. One of these is the clause relating to the liability of the Commission to pay rates and taxes.
Clause 16 - proposed new section 37 - permits TAA to escape the payment of all State charges. So TAA, which will now be an active competitor not only in the airlines field but also in road transport, the hotel and motel industries, engineering industries, garages, holiday resorts and any other supporting industry it chooses to enter, will be exempted from paying local government rates, payroll tax, road tax, liquor licensing fees or any other
State taxes or fees unless specified by regulation. It should be a positive part of this Bill that TAA is required to pay all local fees and charges paid by its competitors. This Bill is not only an unfair and discriminatory blow to local government and State government revenues, but it also puts TAA into an extraordinarily favourable position that will help to crush its competitors. No airline, individual engineering shop, garage, hotel, motel or road transport operator could withstand such unfavourable competition. But the State governments’ position is further denigrated by this Bill. Indeed, the cold, clutching hand of centralist control is clearly seen by inclusion in this Act of a new section 19c.
State rights and control of transport had been protected specifically by the previous government. Also where powers had been referred by a State, TAA’s rights were clearly understood. The extraordinary thing now is that this Bill deliberately includes a provision, proposed new section 19c, which has the intention of making reference by the States unnecessary and which also makes it unnecessary for the Federal Government to. hold a referendum if it withstands legal challenge. Proposed new section 19c also gives the clear right to TAA to engage in intrastate transport both in air and on land and is an obvious threat to air services still under the control of State governments. Yet once again the Minister’s second reading speech made no mention of this provision or this intended challenge to the States to have any rights at all in the transport field. It is quite clear from this provision that the Commonwealth Government is asserting that the concrete pipes case gives it unlimited power in the State. Further legal challenge to such an assertion is imperative. The State governments have no option but to challenge if they are to retain any vestige of integrity let alone sovereignty. The acceptance by the States of this assertion will lead to complete Federal Government dominance in almost every policy field, and matters that the States have seen as their prerogative, which are already being aborted by the Commonwealth through financial blackmail, will become policy fields for the Commonwealth alone.
Over recent weeks everyone in this Parliament has become conscious of the senseless way in which the Minister for Transport handled the problem of a new domestic air ser- vice for Papua New Guinea. We had a fine statement from the Minister for Territories (Mr Morrison) on 30 April, telling the world that to all intents and purposes, Papua New Guinea was in fact virtually self governing, and that Papua New Guinea Ministers were finally responsible in many areas of policy that he listed, and which included transport. Then on 3 May the Minister for Transport decided that he was immune from that statement by his colleague and decided to act like a colonial dictator by telling the Chief Minister that Papua New Guinea would have to go along with his fixed idea on what should constitute the Papua New Guinea airline. Mr Somare rightly replied that the Minister for Transport is both arrogant and intolerant. Clause 7 - proposed new section 19C - of this Bill confirms that. The Minister knows that this Legislation will apply to the Territories because the Acts Interpretation Act provides that ‘Territory’ includes any territory governed by the Commonwealth under a trusteeship agreement. He has cunningly contrived to combine that fact with inclusion of the word ‘transport’ so that TAA will get the rights to operate bus services and road transport generally in Papua New Guinea. Indeed the question of consultation with the Papua New Guinea Government does not arise and it is plain that the Minister proposes to continue his vendetta against the Papua New Guinea Government by presenting it with a fait accompli. The simple fact is that this Bill will, if passed by this Parliament, apply now so that when independence in the next few years comes, the Papua New Guinea Government will have to negotiate with established operations in that country served by TAA and started there without consultation with its Government and after the Minister for Territories has said it is in charge of its own transport policy. Trying to deceive the emerging young nation of Papua New Guinea is deceit of the worst kind. The ramifications and powers included in this Bill are much wider than those required to give TAA the right to join in industries closely related to its airline service. The Minister for Transport has been both deceitful and dishonest in his whole approach.
-Order! Those words are not very parliamentary.
– I will withdraw the words.
– They contain imputations.
– I will withdraw the sentence rather than be unparliamentary. I will be moving a number of amendments to the Bill to give TAA proper powers to engage in related activities and at the same time to protect Australian industry from a monolithic socialist structure. The amendments will reflect more accurately the attitude taken by the previous Government when it decided to extend TAA’s activities into closely related fields. If, as the Minister for Transport says, it is his wish to give expression to the joint view of the Government and the Opposition on this matter, he will not find it difficult to accept the amendments. At the present time the Bill carries powers that are totally unnecessary to give expression to these closely related activities. I have prepared a number of amendments. I do not know whether the time that will be allowed for debate will preclude our giving attention to each of these amendments; so I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard a list of the amendments as they are now presented to the House.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The amendments read as follows) -
– I support the Bill. I thought that ail honourable members would have taken a similar attitude towards it, firstly, because what is being sought in the terms of the Bill is in line with the proposals which appeared to me to be agreed to by the previous Government and, secondly, because honourable members opposite are supposed to believe in competition between business rivals. How often have we in this country heard brave statements, particularly from the Liberal Party and its supporters, about the need for competition. However, whilst they appear to believe in competition, when some instrumentality has been able to put forward real competition in the past private enterprise has been protected by the government in office. It appears that, according to them, in the field of air transport competition the private airline company should receive the additional cream in an area in which the people’s airline should not be permitted to participate.
The views of the previous 2 speakers from the. other side of the House appeared to me to be in contrast with the views expressed by Sir Peter Abeles who is a director of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. In the ‘Australian’ newspaper today he is reported as saying that he could see nothing sinister in the Federal Government’s plans to widen the powers of Trans-Australia Airlines. The article goes on to express the view that this appears to be a progressive move. Despite some of the opinions that have been expressed, I am confident that the Government is not seeking an advantage for TAA over the other airline. 1 believe that the proposed policy which will be applied to TAA’s extended activities will stringently relate these activities to its airline business and will prevent them from proving to be an advantage for TAA over Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. This surely can be interpreted only as a fair approach and one which deserves commendation - not condemnation, which appears to be the attitude of honourable members opposite here today.
The Government is making a genuine endeavour to provide an opportunity for TAA to compete on an equal footing with Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. There is no intention of legislating to give TAA an unfair advantage, nor is the Government attempting to threaten other commercial enterprises in the fields of road transport and accommodation. The people whom we believe are important - the people of Australia - are the ones who will benefit from the proposals being put forward by the Government. For far too long, I submit, there have been advantages made available to Ansett which have provided beneficial results and which have reacted against the interests of TAA. For example, in 1960 an exercise took place which went under the redoubtable title of ‘an exchange agreement’. At that time AnsettANA took over 3 Viscount aircraft from TAA and in return handed over 2 DC6 aircraft. According to the then Minister for Civil Aviation the values accepted by the operators were £560,360 for the 2 DC6 compared with an amount of £677,700 for the 3 Viscount aircraft. From that deal it can be seen that Ansett came out in front by about $250,000. It appeared to be a good business deal for Ansett-ANA at the time and one which was not so good for TAA. That is only one instance of action which was taken by the previous Government which provided an advantage to the private airline, an advantage which as I have stated reacted against the interests of TAA, the people’s airline.
Over a period of years we have witnessed many actions which have resulted in favourable treatment being given to Ansett Transport Industries. This has resulted in the revenue earned by that company exceeding the earnings of TAA. The returns for 1971-72 show a total income of $208m for Ansett Transport Industries while TAA earned $120m. In airline revenue alone Ansett Transport Industries’ income of $150m exceeded TAA’s income by 25 per cent. I submit that this was not because of any better management provided by Ansett Transport Industries but because of the operational advantages which governments permitted. The dedicated people who manage and those who operate TAA have done a magnificent job at times against very heavy odds. Given an opportunity to conduct an expanded operation of business activity these people will provide the nation with an example of what can be achieved through fair competition. 1 repeat that I am a little astounded to hear some of the honourable members opposite objecting to competition. I have heard over many years many people of Liberal Party persuasions say that we must have competition, that it does some wonderful things for the country; it brings down prices and it provides better services. For that reason it is somewhat bewildering to find that when an opportunity is provided to give competition in the airline field there is opposition to the move.
There has in recent times been in circulation much propaganda concerning TAA not paying rates and taxes. I believe that honourable members opposite know that that is not correct. While there is no legal obligation for TAA to pay certain rates and charges the practice has been for TAA in fact to pay these in some way. One would only have to examine the annual reports of TAA to see that this is correct. Since this Bill was proposed parliamentary representatives have been contacted by Flag Motels Ltd through telegrams and letters. I received a telegram pointing out that there was some concern in the minds of the people conducting Flag Motor Inns, and that they were protesting against the terms of the proposed Australian National Airlines Bill giving Trans-Australia Airlines unfair powers of competition. As I continue I hope to show that there is no desire by the Government to gain any unfair advantage whatever for TAA. However, I was wondering whether the people associated with Flag Motor Inns and others who are so much opposed to the expansion of the Australian people’s airline - TAA - and who now come to the defence of private enterprise had the same concern when means were made available to Ansett Airlines of Australia and others to expand and whether they then forwarded telegrams and made protests about that.
On the question of business acumen, it will be recalled that about one year ago when the takeover battle by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd for Ansett Transport Industries Ltd was in progress, ATI shares were valued at $1.10. By majority the shareholders rejected a proposal for a takeover, and there can be no doubt that they took notice of the advice, presumably given by Sir Reginald Ansett, not to sell. I believe the current value of ATI shares is 71c. I suppose the shareholders can be excused for believing that they have suffered a loss in the value of their shares because they took the advice of this business leader at that time, advice which now appears to have been very bad. One may well ask why, in 1973, there is so much opposition from honourable members on the other side of the House to the Government’s action which will permit TAA to compete on a very fair basis. One may well ask whether they have changed their minds since the latter part of 1972. If they have not, it appears either that the previous Government provided false information to TAA and the nation or that at least some honourable members opposite did not support what the previous Minister for Civil Aviation had promised. In August 1972 the former Minister for Civil Aviation said:
The Government has decided further to give TAA greater opportunity to undertake outside engineering works, including Government contracts, and to enter into mutually beneficial arrangements with surface transport carriers and hotel/motel operators. This is designed to improve Trans-Australia Airlines ability to continue to compete effectively, especially now that it faces additional competition.
Those remarks of the previous Minister for Civil Aviation were important at that time to the airline operators in this country, particularly to Trans-Australia Airlines, and of extreme importance to the Parliament and consequently to the nation. I make this claim because the former Government was in the process of introducing an airlines Bill. In the Senate on 31 October 1972, not very long after that first statement was made, the following statement is attributed to the then Minister for Civil Aviation:
The Government has recognised the need to widen TAA’s base. It has undertaken to legislate accordingly in the next session of the Parliament. I have mentioned that I have presented to the Senate on 29 August 1972 a comprehensive White Paper on civil aviation policy. This is not done very often in the Australian Parliament, but I have regarded it as a useful way to proceed in regard to civil aviation. I have done this on more than one occasion. The purpose of this Paper was to give the Parliament and the Australian community an opportunity to examine the relevant facts before the legislation came forward or before the issues were decided.
It appears that not only on 29 August but also on 31 October 1972, admittedly in the dying stages of the last Parliament, the former Minister for Civil Aviation made statements explaining that TAA’s base of activity was to be expanded. Of course, that was the purpose of the promise that was made.
As I stated earlier, TAA has first class administrative officers and, generally, its personnel are dedicated and efficient. Its record proves the truth of this statement beyond any doubt. I suggest that, had the Government in 1972 not provided some incentives for future expansion of TAA’s operation, it would have been politically embarrassed towards the close of the last Parliament when introducing its Australian National Airlines Bill. The previous Government - I am sure that most honourable members here and many people throughout this nation will recall this - pushed that legislation through towards the end of the last Parliament, only a few short months before the new Parliament met early this year. By taking that action, it extended the agreement from 31 December 1977 to 31 December 1982. At that time, the action, taken virtually at the end of the last Parliament, was described by a Labor member as being ‘typical of handouts the Government gives to its friends’.
With the knowledge of the competent administrative officers of TAA, I for one cannot imagine that an agreement would have been reached unless, as I stated earlier, some incentives had been provided for expansion in the future. Therefore, I expect that this is why the Minister at the time gave assurances to Parliament and to the people that certain additional operational activities would be entered into by TAA. The present Government is taking steps to see that the pledge that was given is not departed from. If some honourable members opposite wish to welsh on the pledge of a Minister of the previous Liberal Government, given only 8 months ago, that is their business. I support the Bill as I believe that the nation will benefit from the action that the Government proposes.
I listened to the speech of the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon), who took the Parliament and those people of Australia who are listening to the broadcast of this parliamentary debate on a trip. He had the Government taking over vineyards and poker machines, manufacturing motor vehicle tyres and expanding and breaking out into various fields of industry. I submit that that sort of submission to this Parliament and to the people of Australia from an honourable member who should know better not only is getting away from what the Bill is all about but also is a means of endeavouring to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Australia and to instill into the minds of the people fears about what this Government will do. Unforunately, for far too long those have been the tactics of some people who are opposed to the philosophy of the Australian Labor Party. But, fortunately, we have found that, by and large, the average Australian today is a wake-up to the tactics of people who want to instil fear into his mind.
There is nothing to fear from any legislation an Australian Labor government puts forward in any (field because our policies are aimed at giving a better deal for this nation and its people and providing, particularly to the efficient instrumentalities within this nation such as TAA, the opportunity to compete and to provide better working conditions and services to the people in order to make this country of ours a better place in which to live. I do not accept the type of propaganda which has been expounded here by people who should know better. I can point, as can any member of this chamber if he is honest, to legislation which has been passed by Labor governments, not only in this session but also by previous Labor governments, and which has lifted the standards of the people of this country and certainly has done much for the progress of Australia. I have not been here for very long, but I advise people who should know better not to get into this habit of trying to introduce side issues and to tell fairy stories to the people of Australia, because the people are too intelligent to fall for that line. I certainly support the Bill.
– We are all entitled on occasions to indulge in flights of fancy and the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Doyle) has had his fling this afternoon. I should have thought, speaking for myself, that it was fancy in the extreme when he declared that the people of Australia have nothing to be frightened of from the Labor Government. I do not want to inflict a lesson in history upon the honourable gentleman but that argument would have been hard to sell in 1947 when the cry went out to nationalise the banks. As you know, Mr Speaker, instinctively I shy away from saying anything that is hurtful or upsetting to people and, as a consequence, I am sorry that I cannot agree with the honourable member for Lilley that this is simply a contest between Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. It is to do the Queen’s English a singular form of violence to read this Bill and then to conclude that all that it concerns is a conflict between TAA and Ansett Transport Industries. A more superficial reading of a Bill would be impossible to make.
I am grateful to the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) for his constant regard for me, on a personal basis. When I took to him a copy of the ‘Platform, Constitution and Rules’ of the Australian Labor Party he wrote in it an inscription. I will spare him the embarrassment of reading what is in it but I indulge myself to the extent of saying that it is couched in felicitous language. I think it adds little to the authenticity of the document when I say that the inscription was written by none other than the Prime Minister of Australia who leads the Labor Government. The relevance of that is simply this: The prime objective of the Government, which my honourable friend leads and of which the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) is a distinguished member, is democratic socialisation. That, in a word, is the ultimate aim and this Bill, far from being a conflict between 2 airline operators, is the first significant expression of the Government’s basic socialist belief. I do not condemn honourable members opposite who hold those beliefs and who expound them but what I do confess to is a mild form of irritation that they do not do so boldly.
I know that there are those valient souls, many of whom support my side of politics albeit fitfully, who say: ‘Well, of course, the Constitution is against any form of socialisation.’ I have heard the Prime Minister himself say words to this effect: ‘There is section 92 of the Constitution - a barrier over which the socialist cannot clamber.’ Of course, that simply is not true and the Bill says in the most explicit of terms that that is not the case. This is the first significant foray by the new socialist Government into the world of commerce.
– Ooh, says the Minister for Transport. I must say to him that I owe him an apology. I never thought for one moment that he had a sense of humour, let alone a robust sense of humour, until I listened to his speech when he said: T need not go into the Bill in any detail.’ I say to the honourable gentleman that he made a grand imperial job of not going into the Bill in any detail. So, if people want to find out what is in the Bill they should look at the Bill. To read the second reading speech of the Minister for Transport and then to imagine that they will apprehend from that an understanding of what the Bill is all about, would be like look ing for Alice in Wonderland in a meeting of the Labor Party Caucus, and I do not think that is quite on. The Australian National Airlines Act was first introduced in 1945. The then Minister for Civil Aviation was the late Mr Drakeford and he had this to say - these are the words he actually used: in introducing this measure: for the nationalisation of airlines.
He went on to propound his argument. I mention that because there was a vigorous display of frankness by a Labor Minister in introducing this measure for the nationalisation of airlines. But in this instance all we hear from the Minister sitting at the table is: I need not go into the Bill in any detail’. Was it modesty that swept over the honourable gentleman? Does that draw him back from being frank with this House and the country? If it is modesty I congratulate the Minister on having added another virtue to those that now adorn him.
After Mr Drakeford introduced the Bill there was one of the epic struggles in the courts as to whether there could be one government-run airline in the country or otherwise. The socialists lost out and they did not take the loss with any great sense of grace.
– And you lost out when you tried-
– If the Minister for Education wants to come into the debate, I would welcome his intrusion rather than his sitting on the sideline making observations which are desperately academic and highly irrelevant and for the most part grossly inaccurate. This Bill is an emphatic expression that the socialists have not lied down - and I use ‘lied’ not in its vulgar sense but in its technical sense, as to whether you are horizontal or perpendicular. This is the first major attempt by my friends opposite to show that they are not as overwhelmed, that they have not been put out of business, to the same extent that many people thought was the case.
The honourable member for Lilley and the Minister himself have said: ‘Well, TAA is a first rate airline operator’. That is not under challenge. I do not know any honourable gentleman on the Opposition side who contends that for one moment. It has been a superbly run airline staffed by people with a sense of vocation for their industry. That is not the question. The question is: To what extent is the Government prepared to branch out into a great field of operation? This Bill seeks to test to the ultimate the corporations power of the Commonwealth. They may be wrong but even if they fail on this occasion they will know precisely to what extent they may go in order to set up structure after structure after structure of government run enterprises. Never before, or rarely, have I seen put in a Bill where they propose to get their head of power from. I invite the country to look at clause 6 which deals with a reference of power before or after the commencement of a particular sub-section. Since when is a government, no matter what its political kidney may be, entitled to assume that there will be a reference of power made to it either by the people or by the State? No government and no parliament should seek to legislate in anticipation. It could well be that the other 4 States which have not been attracted to the idea of making a referral would say: ‘No, we will have nothing at all to do with it’. But here, the honourable gentleman, led by the Minister for Transport, is proceeding on the basis that this power will be referred to this Parliament.
My friend the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) spoke earlier this afternoon about the advantages which are to be conferred upon this enterprise. One cannot, you know, simply describe it as TransAustralia Airlines from now on because, if this power is a valid use of power, TAA is put in a position where it can branch into any form of activity at all. We could even have established the Charlie Jones health camps run by that sympathetic PT instructor, the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James).
– And you would be the first there for a holiday.
– No doubt the honourable member for Bowman would be the person who would do the ringing of the bell first thing in the morning.
– He would be in charge of recreation.
– That may well be the case. The simple truth is that under this Bill, if it is passed into law, this body, the commission, will have passed through some metamorphosis and become something else - will be able to enter into any form of business. Is that seriously disputed? It will be able to form any form of company. Is that disputed? It is all very fine for the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh) or any of his colleagues to say: ‘Ah, that is not what we intended’. It is not what they intended that counts. What counts is the language used in this Bill. After all, in the years to come we may not have such gentle, moderate-thinking people as the Minister for Transport. Who knows, we may have some of the wild men who come out of the West and seek to administer this Bill in a way that would bring fright to the Australian people.
Under this Bill the Commission, or whatever it may be called, will be able to purchase or acquire any form of shares. Is that contested? Under this Bill the Commission would have access to a completely unstated amount of capital. Is that contested? Also, this capital will be at an unspecified rate of interest. There is nothing in the Bill to say that it has to be at bond interest or at the prevailing bank interest rates or due competitive interest rates or anything of the sort. When the honourable member for Lilley asks the question rhetorically: ‘I did not know that honourable gentlemen opposite were worried about competition’, of course, he is asking a question which is perfect in its sense of absurdity. It is not competition that we complain about. What we complain about is the possibility of manifestly unfair competition. What other transport body in Australia, be it Ansett or any other body, can have access to capital in unspecified quantities and at unspecified rates of interest? If honourable gentlemen opposite, know what that body is, and possibly they may be aroused from their massive silence to say what it is.
– Perhaps IPEC would have been-
-I would be grateful if at long last the Minister will get on his feet and give us the benefit, dubious as it may be, of his view on this Bill.
As the honourable member for Gippsland pointed out also this afternoon, the other advantage to be thrust upon this body is that it will be put in a trading position where it will pay no State transport taxes of any description. What other body in Australia is put in that position of advantage of not having to pay road tax or stamp tax? If this body goes into the hotel business no obligation will be thrust upon it to pay any licensing fee. The contentions which I make are not a matter which stem from the prejudice of partisan politics. I submit that the points I am raising can be seen by looking at the Bill itself. Simple English is used in clause 5 and surely its meaning is clear. This clause provides that under proposed section 19 (1), the Commission can enter into any form of transport partly by air and partly by land between prescribed places. And it is not limited in terms of saying it must be closely connected with an airline.
If honourable gentlemen opposite want to be upstanding about this and sweep themselves to the sense of virtue where they already regard themselves as having been entrenched, why do they not put in these provisions in matters closely allied or connected with air transport? I would have thought that would not be imposing too great a strain upon them. Another provision in the same proposed subsection of the Act is ‘land transport and engineering services and such other services as can conveniently be provided’ for the Commonwealth and authorities of the Commonwealth. What is the limit to that? Under this provision any engineering work could be established anywhere in Australia not for the purposes of servicing an airline operator but for the purposes of servicing the Commonwealth. It could service any department of state whatsoever. If my honourable friends opposite hold the views they have expressed I do not object to their holding them, but what I do object to is the reticence they have in stating their views so that we and the people of Australia may understand what they are about.
The second provision to which I refer is the proposed section 19e. It provides:
The Commission may . . establish, maintain and operate, or make arrangements with other persons for or in connexion with the establishment, maintenance and operation of, hotels-
That is not for the purpose of being closely connected with airline operations. But under the power provided in this proposed new section a hotel could be established at Cunnamulla for the purpose of providing a country retreat for members of the Labor Caucus. The term ‘recreation’ you will agree, Mr Deputy Speaker, is most expansive. Some of us indulge in various forms of recreation which may not always be looked upon with admiration by others; it is all a matter of taste. But in the Bill we have this generic term ‘recreation*.
Under this provision Harry Miller could be put out of business. Is that the intention of the Minister for Transport? It is to no avail him getting up and indulging in banalities and saying that this is not what the Government intends. The intention of a Bill is to be gleaned from the 4 corners of the Bill. I have stated the language which is used in the Bill. Again, what is meant by ‘entertainment’?
– I will give you some idea.
– The honourable gentleman, of course, has most artistic and cultural instincts which he reveals in a most becoming fashion. But I am not quite so sure that this would always be the case with what the authors of this Bill propose. Under this Bill the casino in Hobart could be taken over some time in the future. Some people take the view that horse racing is a form of recreation. The Brisbane Amateur Turf Club could be taken over under the heading of providing recreation and entertainment.
The Bill goes on to refer to ‘services or facilities’. It is a test for the Minister for Transport to specify in the Bill that all of these services and provisions are to be closely allied with the air transport industry. That is a simple request to make. It does not ask the honourable gentleman to do very much. In one blow he could cut back all of the criticism that is made of this measure. The honourable gentleman should not think for one moment that it is only Ansett Transport Industries that may have some concern with this Bill. There are hundreds of motels which have been established throughout Australia and on current indications they are not making much of a do of it. Under this Bill the Commission at some time in the future would be able to exacerbate whatever economic distress those motels may be afflicted with.
Just in passing, I say to the Minister, really and truly, of all the oddities to be put into a Bill the preposition ‘if is the greatest. I refer to the words ‘if Papua New Guinea becomes an independent country’. Would the honourable gentleman be prepared to address a mass rally at Port Moresby or in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and say: ‘I have just written into a statute of the Australian Parliament the words: “if Papua New Guinea becomes an independent country”.’ This wording is an insult to the whole independence movement of Papua New Guinea. The honourable gentleman would be well advised to get rid of it.
I warn this House and I warn the country that this Bill is the first major foray by the new socialist Government to test the extent of the Corporation’s power. This is the first major expression to see that the basic political belief which the Government holds, is given expression to. If the Minister wants to have a quarrel about that he can have the quarrel here in the Parliament. I can assure him that when the fighting starts outside he will know that he is being punched.
– I am afraid that I cannot repeat some of the remarks I made last week when I entered a debate after the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen). I knew his attitude could not last. Today he does not have on his Australian jersey. He is not speaking as an Australian. I think that for a moment during his speech he thought that he was taking a trip to fantasyland with the Premier of Queensland, who was there last weekend. His remarks were typical of the style we have grown to expect from the Opposition in the few months that I have been able to judge its performance. It is still the same old Liberal Party that was discredited to the extent that it was defeated in such a resounding way at the polls last December.
I noticed that in an article in the ‘Australian’ this morning dealing with the Opposition, headed ‘The Opposition - Six Months Later’, the author considered the way that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) has been performing. The article contains a remark which is true of the Opposition’s attitude to this Bill and true of its general performance. It is:
Perhaps without realising it, he-
Meaning the Leader of the Opposition - gives a series of clues to the fact that his is the same Liberal Party with the same faults, the same lack of flexibility and the same preoccupation with protecting big business interests. The Opposition today, Country Party and Liberal Party alike, the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) and perhaps to a less extent the honourable member for Moreton, have come out with the same propaganda that we would expect to hear from them. They put forward the same philosophies that were put forward in the leading article in the ‘Courier-Mail’ this morning by Alan Underwood. Obviously the speeches of Opposition members are in the style of that article. It is the same propaganda which
Ansett Transport Industries Ltd has been putting forward in recent days. It is the same propaganda that was mouthed this afternoon by Opposition spokesmen.
As the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) has assured the House and as I am certain he will state in no uncertain terms in his summing up of this debate, it is not the intention of this Government to put TransAustralia Airlines at any advantage in comparison with Ansett Transport Industries. It is the endeavour and the intention of the Government to put TAA on an equal footing with Ansett Transport Industries. It is the intention of the Government to put into effect matters on which it had been the intention of the previous Government to legislate should it have been the Government of this country following the last election. Clearly, the previous Minister for Civil Aviation expressed these intentions when he introduced the Airlines Agreement Bill into the Senate on 26 August last year. These intentions were fully known to TAA, to Ansett Transport Industries, to the members of this Goverment and I am sure to the honourable member for Farrer and the honourable member for Gippsland. They knew that it was the intention of the previous Minister for Civil Aviation to introduce similar legislation to the Bill now before the House, should the previous Government have been in a position to do so after the last elections.
This was the assurance given to TAA. It was in terms that the Australian National Airlines Commission accepted the extension of the 2-airline agreement which Ansett Transport Industries wanted so badly. My understanding of the situation at that time was that TAA would not have signed the agreement if that assurance had not been given. The assurances were given and the 2-airline agreement was signed. It is on the basis of those assurances that this Bill is today before the House. The conditions of this Bill are based on the objectives of the previous Government. They are in the form that had been intended by the previous Government. The fear campaign and the fear tactics that the Opposition is sponsoring in this House today, which have only recently been devised, arise from the carefully contrived fear campaigns brought to the attention of the Opposition by Ansett Transport Industries. As I said earlier, today honourable members opposite are speaking in this
Parliament on behalf of Sir Reginald Ansett, and I would not doubt that we might hear during the course of this debate from such honourable members as the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), a former Minister, who probably has every reason to get up and speak today on behalf of Ansett Transport Industries. He will be quite anxious to pay his debt of gratitude to the Director of Ansett Transport Industries who, I am led to believe, played a very prominent role in the honourable member’s last election campaign. This is the big pay-off to these people.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I must draw your attention to the speech which the honourable member is making. The words which he has just used are a direct reflection on a member of this House and I object to them. I ask for their withdrawal. They have nothing to do with the Bill.
– I withdraw, Mr Deputy Speaker. It would not be my intention to say that these things were an accomplished fact. They just left me open to the suspicion that they might be. It is the Government’s intention to allow TAA to diversify its activities and to enter into the type of enterprise in which we have seen Ansett Transport Industries successfully engage. Surely the Government airline is entitled to have the power to engage, in a small way, in these additional activities. After all, they are related to the airline’s basic function, which is to provide airline services, ft is for this reason that the previous Government and now in turn this Government have recognised that the carriage of people and goods by road, in an area in which previously TAA has been denied the opportunity to operate, needs the flexibility that is contained in the provisions of the Bill.
I do not doubt that TAA will use the services of existing companies. After all, they are the experts in their field of operation. But it is clearly unacceptable for the airline to be in the position that it has to rely entirely on these services and not be in a similar position to Ansett Transport Industries which in the past has had the opportunity to develop such services for itself when it saw the need so to do. If nothing else, surely it would provide an incentive to the existing road transport operators to enter into more mutually beneficial arrangements with TAA than they have been prepared to do in the past.
A similar comment applies to the hotel field, which is the other field mentioned in the fear campaign that was introduced into the debate today. TAA could benefit its passengers if it had ready access to accommodation, preferably by means of arrangements with existing hotel operators. This is not to be taken as a threat to the established interests in the hotel and motel field. Surely it is reasonable for TAA to have the same opportunities as have been extended to Ansett Transport Industries in the past, when TAA sees the need for the establishment of these facilities. If the present facilities operating in this area are inadequate, TAA must be in a position to establish such facilities. Until now it has been denied the opportunity to do so.
I am sure that there is no intention by TAA to engage in the construction of large hotels throughout Australia. I believe that projects of this kind would be frowned on by the Government. The simple provision is made for TAA to do as we, in Opposition last year, suggested it should do when we introduced into this Parliament discussion on a matter of public importance. This will enable us to have an even-handed 2-airline policy. That is the Minister’s intention in the provisions of the Bill and he is to be complimented for it. The Government does not intend to make TAA into a great hotel and motel accommodation chain, which the Flat motel interests have suggested is the intention of the Bill. Neither, would I believe, are we interested in the Airlines Commission using Government money to establish uneconomic accommodation facilities. The facilities which presently exist and which are shown to be economic are the facilities which TAA would use, as it has used them in the past. This legislation gives TAA the flexibility in its operations which the previous Government denied the airline. lt has been suggested also in the fear tactics used in the campaign against the legislation before the Parliament that TAA gets away without paying any of the taxes, charges and rates which its competitor, Ansett, has to pay. As with all other Commonwealth instrumentalities, TAA is not legally liable for such taxes or rates. However, the practice adopted by the previous Government - and I see no reason to suggest that the present Government will not continue the practice - was that TAA, in the same way as other Government instrumentalities, was either made legally liable to pay the bulk equivalent of such taxes or directed to make equivalent ex gratia payments to the State or local authorities in lieu of these taxes. In other words, TAA pays all the usual State and local taxes. It always has paid these taxes, and I believe that it would be the Government’s intention that TAA should continue to do so.
This would happen even if TAA branched out into the road transport field. So the fear tactic that was used in argument today, that there would be competition in the road transport field by an organisation that would not be paying road taxes has no sound basis for consideration as a worthwhile argument against the provisions contained in this Bill. I understand that in the past the only taxes from which TAA has claimed exemption have been land tax and stamp duty. But the savings from this exemption amount to the colossal sum of $12,000 per annum. During 1971-72, TAA paid the following amounts: municipal rates, $103,292, water rates, $72,177, garbage rates, $2,064, land tax, $5,973, and Department of Civil Aviation water rates, municipal rates and sewerage rates, $25,697, making a total of $209,203. So, of course, the argument that TAA does not pay taxes does not stand up under examination.
The provisions in the Bill which extend to TAA the opportunity to compete with Ansett Transport Industries so that TAA receives a fair share of the internal revenues from airline passenger and freight activities show that these provisions are warranted when a comparison is made of the revenues achieved from both of these sources in 1971-72. TAA now earns 58 per cent of the total Ansett Transport Industries revenue. I sought and obtained the agreement of the shadow Minister for Transport to incorporate a table in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– The Government’s policy, as written into the Airlines Agreement, is the continued existence of the company as well as the Commission and the maintenance of competition between the two. The policy also is to secure and maintain a position in which there are 2, and not more than 2, operators of trunk airline services, one being the Commission, each capable of effective competition with the other. There is no suggestion that this policy will not continue, and in fact the agreements already undertaken by the previous Government give every security for the continuation of this policy at least until 1982. The former and present governments, and the airlines, have recognised that for the successful implementation of the policy the 2 airlines must be financially stable. Such a balance, one with the other, will enable them to compete from a position of equal strength and security of knowing that they are being given a fair opportunity to operate efficiently and effectively in competition one with the other. This was certainly denied them by the previous Government, and this is certainly one of the main intentions of this Bill. It is the intention of the Government to see that because of its greater size, extent of diversified activities and greater commercial freedom Ansett Transport Industries Ltd is not in a dominant competitive position. The current situation is one of serious imbalance. The Government will not allow this situation to continue. The Bill is specifically designed to correct that imbalance. It is fair and reasonable. I have great pleasure in supporting it. 1 commend the Bill to the House.
– by leave - I wish to make a very brief statement on this Bill which may be of interest to honourable members, particularly when they come to deal with the clauses in Committee. As honourable members will be aware, I have circulated an amendment which the Government proposes to move in the Committee stage so that at least honourable members will have it on record. It is obvious that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) wants to deal with it at this stage. I am happy to have that occur. The Government wants to make clear that the Bill now before Parliament is no different in substance or design from that which the former Liberal Government promised Trans-Australian Airlines last August and also in October. It might assist the progress of this debate if I were to indicate now that the Government proposes to suggest several amendments during the Committee stage of the Bill that will put our intention beyond any reasonable doubt. These amendments arise out of representations that have been made to me in the past few days by various organisations and individuals who had what I think were unfounded concerns about how some of the provisions of the Bill might be used. Therefore we propose to amend the Bill so as to provide that TAA will be required to show separately the results of its aviation and non-aviation activities in its annual accounts which are tabled in this Parliament. This will put it on the same basis as is Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, which is now required to do this under the recently amended Airlines Agreements Act.
We also propose to show clearly that our only desire is to see that TAA is able to compete more effectively and fairly with Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. We will propose an amendment which will ensure that TAA’s activities in the areas of accommodation, transport and engineering are related to the level of activity by ATI in these areas. As an example. ATI’s most recent accounts disclose that its total revenue in 1971-72 was $208m, including airline revenue of $150m. On this basis the amendment would allow TAA to plan its operations for ensuing years on the basis that it would be permissible to earn non-aviation revenue in the same proportion. This will show that we do not intend to allow TAA to swallow up various other interests in the accommodation, engineering and transport fields. I hope that by foreshadowing these amendments at this stage of the debate the way .might now be clear for the Opposition to honour its public promise of last August, which it repeated in writing to TAA last October, and join with the Government in passing this Bill which is designed to ensure that Australia has a fully competitive, evenhanded 2-airline system.
– From the speeches made by honourable members on the other side of the House in the course of this debate, it seems to me that this piece of legislation is presented by the Government as though there was a dichotomy of views and that the Government was speaking for Trans-Australia Airlines and the Opposition for Ansett Transport
Industries Ltd. I want to make it abundantly clear that this is absolutely not the attitude of the Opposition. I do not believe it is the attitude of the Government, that is, that the Government supports TAA and the Opposition Ansett. The fact is that TAA is a fine airline and the fact is that Ansett Airlines of Australia is a fine airline. The fact is that we in Australia are extremely lucky that we have an internal airline system based on what is known as a 2-airline policy. It has given us a record of safety and a fleet of front line aeroplanes flying throughout this vast continent which we otherwise would not have had. As I understand the position, the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) and the Government support the 2- airline policy as strongly as does the Opposition.
– We will retain it on an even-handed basis.
– The Minister interjects kindly to say that it will be retained on an even-handed basis. This is the whole nub of the proposition. That is what we want to do - retain the 2-airline policy on an even-handed basis. That was the statement of policy which was made when we were in government by Sir Reginald Swartz, who was Minister for National Development representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. That is what we wanted and that is what the Minister has said is the purpose of this Bill. It is from that point we must pursue the argument and the debate. Three weeks ago the Minister for Transport introduced the Australian National Airlines Bill 1973, I believe, innocently. He said that he was anxious to implement Liberal Party promise. All that is proposed, he announced, was to implement what his predecessor, Senator Cotton, as explained in this House by Sir Reginald Swartz, promised of TAA. It was to be an innocuous little affair in which everybody could agree because the policy adopted by the Government and the Opposition was the same. I am afraid that it was not to be that innocuous little affair at all because it was not just a matter of the present Government updating legislation. It is clearly disclosed that that is not the intent of the Bill. One can only look at the Bill on the basis of the words used. That is how it would be interpreted by the courts and how it must be interpreted by the public. If that is all it was, the Bill would be agreed to.
In government the Liberal and Country Parties gave their firm commitment to provide TAA with extended powers to engage in activities closely related to its airline operations to enable it to compete on equal terms with Ansett Airlines. We stand by that commitment. The Opposition will support any Bill that puts into effect the decisions we took in government last year. The Minister is adamant that the Bill does no more than implement our promises. At least he was adamant until the statement he has just made, but 1 will deal with that in a moment. The reality of the Bill must be examined clause by clause. What are the new functions of the Australian National Airlines Commission. Proposed section 19E(2) deals with the new functions of the Commission. It reads as follows:
The power of the Commission . . . may be exercised (a) for the purposes of the efficient, competitive and profitable conduct of the business of the Commission in respect of its function under paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) of section 19 or otherwise as incidental to the carrying on of that business;
Proposed section 19c (1) provides -
The Commission may, to the extent provided by sub-section (2), transport passengers or goods for reward by air or by land, or partly by air and partly by land, between places in the one State.
What that amounts to is this : Under the terms of the Bill the Airlines Commission will be able to transport passengers and goods by land without statutory limit The Commission will be able to transport passengers and goods and provide accommodation and other undefined services and facilities without statutory limit The Commission will be able to provide land transport to the Commonwealth and such other services as can conveniently be provided by the use of the resources of the Commission without statutory limit. The financial resources of the Commission are not defined, but when the financial powers are examined the resources are seen to be immense.
Proposed section 19c provides that the Commission may transport passengers by land within a State. This function has been extended without any consultation with the States. The Bill will extend all the powers of the Commission to the full extent of the corporations power, as yet undefined by the courts. Proposed section 19d provides that the Commission may provide services that involve the use of aircraft without statutory limit. They will include general aviation, crop dust ing and all small plane charter operations. Proposed section 19e is a fascinating one. Under it the Commission may establish hotels without statutory limit. The Commission may operate enterprises providing recreation - whatever ‘recreation’ may mean in this context - without statutory limit. It may maintain entertainment establishments without statutory limit. There is no reason why it may not provide casinos, cinemas, theatres, live stage shows, night clubs, roulette wheels - anything it wishes. As the Bill is written, there is no statutory limit. The Commission will be able to make arrangements to operate establishments to provide other undefined services and facilities without statutory limit. The Commission’s power to operate in each of these fields will be extended by the full backing of the corporations power.
Under proposed section 19g the Commission will be able to operate immediately road transport in Papua New Guinea. The Bill uses the words ‘if Papua New Guinea becomes an independent country’. The Minister ought to know that his own Government has decided that it will become independent. There is no ‘if about it. The Government is forcing independence upon Papua New Guinea. Not only does the Bill extend TAA’s functions into new areas but also, with the financial powers it has under this legislation, the Commission - not TAA - will be able to monopolise every industry in which it engages. The Commission will be all-powerful and untouchable. The Commission will have power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for the performance of its functions. It will be able to form companies, subscribe for or otherwise acquire shares in a company, take over or buy out competitors and drive them out of business - not just in the field of airlines but through the whole range of operations from entertainment, recreation and hotels to engineering services.
The Commission will be able to buy shares to the value of $250,000 or any higher amount which may be prescribed by regulation. In other words, after this Bill is passed, a regulation may come in substituting $250m for the $250,000. There is no statutory limit on that. It can be done just by regulation. The powers that are provided will be enhanced by strong financial backing. Under the proposed amendments to section 31 the Treasurer may approve borrowings in such amounts as he thinks necessary for the Commission to perform all its duties and functions. ‘AH its duties and functions’ are to provide hotels, recreation, engineering services, general aviation services, small plane services, etc. So, if it is to do that, the Treasurer may approve the borrowings. It can then borrow all the money it needs on the public credit of the Commonwealth for the purpose, if it wishes, of actually buying out Ansett Transport Industries Ltd or any of the major transport companies. There is no statutory limit. In all these borrowings it will have the full backing of the Commonwealth.
The Treasurer will be able to approve borrowings by the Commission of any amount and under any terms that he thinks fit. Where is the even-handed dealing there? The Commission can be lent money from the Commonwealth at no interest, but I would think that its competitor could not borrow money for commercial use at under 8 per cent or 9 per cent interest. The Commission can use the money to establish casinos, to build cinemas and theatres, to operate hotel chains or to construct any type of edifice with the profits earned from any type of service or any facility that it wishes to provide. It can be a monopoly. It will no longer be an airlines commission which is operating an airline service; it will be a commission that can operate in any or all of this wide variety of fields and in a totally monopolistic manner. This is the type of power that would be conferred on the Commission by this legislation. It would enable the Government to transform TAA, that very efficient organisation which we know as merely an airline operator - major airline operator though it may be - and make the Commission the operator of all these things, such as hotels and theatres, and on uneven terms. There is no even-handedness here.
Yet the Minister is adamant that this Bill does no more than implement the LiberalCountry Party Government’s promise. That was never any part of our intention or promise. We must ask whether this is naivety or just a drafting catastrophe. Is the Minister being extraordinarily ignorant of the consequences of the Bill, or extraordinarily deceptive? He made a statement today to try to cure the situation. In a moment I will come to that and show that it goes nowhere near curing the situation. I think the truth is that the intention was to make this Bill do just what it says; that is, to create the opportunity for a giant monopoly vehicle to give effect to Labor Party policy to achieve the Party’s socialistic aims. The functions of the Commission are limitless and the financial backing is immense. I believe that the intention is best expressed in the words taken out of the Labor Party’s official platform which state clearly what the Government has in mind. This was not stated back in the 1920s or 1030s when Labor was responding to a socalled class war. This is from its very last conference at Launceston in 1971. It reads:
With the object of achieving Labor’s socialist objectives, establish or extend public enterprise where appropriate by nationalisation, particularly, in tha fields of banking, consumer finance, insurance, marketing, housing, stevedoring, transport and in areas of anti-social private monopoly.
Of course, the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) has always said: ‘Do not talk about nationalisation. We do not have the power to do it because section 92 of the Constitution will stop us’.
But the Government has found a convenient way to do it here; that is, by giving some innocent, efficient body like TAA these powers and then providing it with unlimited finance so that it can buy out its competitors and become a monopoly in a commercial manner. The Minister now says in an ingenuous way that during the Committee stage he will suggest some amendments which will put the Government’s intentions beyond any reasonable doubt. He says that all our fears were unfounded. If they were unfounded, he would not be wanting to amend the Bill now. The fact is that they were well founded and he knows that he has to do something about it because this Bill does not respond to the second reading speech which was put to this House and to the public of Australia. He knows that he has to try to get himself out of it the best way he can. He has made an admission that he did not understand the significance of the Bill which he himself introduced into this Parliament, and that is why he wants to amend it. The way in which the Minister chooses to amend it is expressed in these words:
We will propose an amendment which will ensure that TAA’s activities in these areas of accommodation, transport and engineering are related to the level of activity by Ansett Transport Industries in the same area.
The Minister thinks that will cure the position. It most certainly does not cure it because what he has in mind - and he gave the figures - is that if Ansett Transport Industries total revenue was $208m in 1971-72 the amendment would allow TAA to plan its operations for the ensuing years on the basis that it would be permissible to earn non-aviation revenue in the same proportion.
If this amendment is passed this is the consequence: If Ansett by way of a totally unrelated company goes into mineral exploration and finds a diamond mine which produces $100m worth of diamonds a year that will enable the Airlines Commission to have $100m worth of night clubs. That is the way in which the proposed amendment is made. It is a ridiculous way to try to cure the situation. One needs only to state the example which I have just given to see how ridiculous the amendment is. That is why we cannot support that amendment. I am quite sure that when the Minister looks at it again he will find that it in no way answers the problem that he has, that is, to persuade the people that what he stated were his intentions really were his intentions and that what is in the Bill is not his intention. What he should do with this legislation, if he wants to amend it, is to say that there will be an even handed dealing in competition between TAA and Ansett and that TAA will have the power to do these things, but only incidentally to the operation of its airline service. That is what should have been done. The proposed amendment is no way whatever to cure the immense damage which has already been done by the Bill in the way in which the Minister has proposed it. If this legislation were passed it would be a tragedy because not only would we on the Opposition not want it but also the Government, it says, does not want it either.
We will introduce amendments which will have the effect of reducing the effect of the Bill from the present statutorily unlimited monopolistic capacity which it gives to the Airlines Commission and pull it back to where it ought to be, as we both agree, that is, to give statutory power to the level of the policy statement that we as a government made last year. We are agreed on that. We have the amendments to do it. We would alter the functions of the Commission as explained in this Bill to read in this way:
The functions of the Commission are
to transport passengers and goods for reward by air between prescribed places, and
within the limits of its powers under this Act or any relevant State Act, to transport passengers and goods for reward by air or in association with its powers in this section and, within those limits, to provide land transport accommodation, and other services and facilities associated with the exercise of its powers under paragraph (a).
We will move an amendment to transfer money from the TAA superannuation fund to the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund so that TAA’s superannuation funds are not used as a subsidy for its commercial operations. We will also move an amendment to require the Commission to give its accounts in accordance with the uniform Companies Act and to separate the airline and non-airline operating results. The Minister has an amendment of that kind. We will examine it to see whether it is appropriate. The wording of the Minister’s amendment is different from ours but we may be able to come to some arrangement to support that amendment. But we are certainly not going to support his other proposal to cure the Bill because it does not cure it at all. Another amendment the Opposition will move will provide that the Minister must accord the Commission and its competitors equal treatment. That is consistent with evenhanded dealing. We will be moving for that.
We know that we will not be allowed sufficient time to move all our amendments. The Government will not give us time to move and to argue them. Therefore, on the motion that the Bill be now read a second time the Opposition will support the amendment which has been moved by my colleague the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), which reads:
This House declines to give the Bill a second reading because it does not give effect to the statement of intention of the previous Government but would be used as a vehicle to implement the whole of the socialistic policy of the present Government.’
We will vote for that amendment and we would need no greater confirmation of its necessity than the Minister’s own statement.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Berinson)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Despite what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) has said one would wonder, on an examination of the statements that have been made and what is proposed in this Bill, what the argument is about. It is quite obvious to anybody who examines the Bill that it is necessary to have some sort of measuring stick. The arguments of the Leader of the Opposition about diamond mines and so on are just not credible. As far as I know, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd does not own any diamond mines, although in the past it has certainly been given advantages that Trans-Australia Airlines did not have. For instance, honourable members will remember that in past years there have been arrangements as to cross charters of aircraft. I refer to the cross charter of Viscount aircraft owned and operated by TAA with DC6B aircraft operated by Ansett Transport Industries, or Ansett Airlines of Australia, or whatever name the company happened to be operating under at that stage. In the past TAA was prevented by virtue of government policy from buying modern jet aircraft such as the Caravelle when it became available. Ever since the Liberal-Country Party coalition came into power in 1949 TAA has been at a disadvantage compared with the private airlines in Australia.
This Bill proposes to put TAA on an equal footing with Ansett Transport Industries in the field of transport. All the additional clauses in the Bill mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition are clearly related to transport and ancillary services. I think it is appropriate that we should have a look at some of them. Clause 5, which seeks to amend section 19(1) of the Act reads, in part:
Clause 7 seeks to amend section 19f of the Act. This clause deals with joint services. It reads, in part:
passengers or goods are to be transported between -
In the past by buying into other companies operating within the States Ansett Transport
Industries has been able to compete on an unfair basis with TAA because TAA has not hitherto been able to operate in this field. This Bill proposes to put the whole thing on a firm and equal basis. I would also like to quote what was said by a former Minister for National Development, Sir Reginald Swartz:
It is the intention of this Government, therefore, to introduce in the first sittings of the new Parliament a Bill amending the Australian National Airlines Act so that there is no question about Trans-Australia Airlines having the powers enabling it to engage in activities closely related to airline operation and to give effect to the Government’s decisions.
Having regard to that statement it appears to me that what the argument is about is a question of interpretation. It has been claimed by the Opposition that, by wording the Bill in the way in which it has been worded TAA will be at a distinct advantage. 1 think it is clear from the amendment now proposed by the Minister to define and give a measuring stick to the operation of the Act, that there is no intention whatsoever for TAA to force Ansett Transport Industries Ltd out of business. All that we are asking is that the people of Australia, as shareholders in a great business, be able to receive their dividends by way of service, and in the money that flows from it to the people, equivalent to the dividends received by the shareholders in Ansett Transport Industries Ltd.
Despite all the talk by the Leader of the Opposition, the Government supports a 2airline policy in Australia. We, as the Government, are happy with the situation as it obtains at the moment. The Bill does nothing to alter that situation. We believe that TAA should be in a position which will enable it to operate in a proper and competitive way. We do not intend to let TAA operate in the interests of private companies. Th. people have a right to expect that their airline operates in a competitive way. As to the question of socialism that has been raised, and having regard to the statements that have been made, one would be stretching one’s imagination a great deal to justify the claim that this measure represents socialism by stealth or anything else. This is an operation within the capitalist framework of this country’s economy. Do not let anyone on either side of the House fool himself. This is a capitalist country in the economic sense. This Bill certainly does not do anything about it, however much anyone in this place or outside it would like to see that situation altered. The associated activities of TAA are ancillary to the operation of that business. This Bill particularly as it is now defined and as the amendment defines it, will enable TAA to operate In a competitive way. It will in no way damage Ansett Transport Industries. The Government believes in a 2- airline policy. We agree that the airlines of Australia, both government and privately owned, have offered a valuable and safe service to the people of Australia. The safety record of Australia’s airlines is second to none in the world. This Bill does nothing more than carry out the stated intention of the previous Government. 1 commend the Bill to the House.
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
I call the honourable member for Griffith.
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
– Is the Minister closing the debate?
– That is not my understanding of it. Are you closing this debate?
– Well, you are just a gagger. Arrangements have been made.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to order. If the Minister is not called to close the debate one of the other members of the Parliament must be given the call.
– I uphold the point of order. I call the honourable member for Griffith.
– Mr Deputy Speaker-
Motion (by Mr Hansen) put:
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Mr Berinson)
Majority .. ..8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr
Fairbairn’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (The Deputy Speaker - Mr J. M. Berinson)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 - byleave - taken together, and agreed to.
Section 19 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section substituted: 19. (1) The functions of the Commission are-
– I move:
The functions of the Commission are -
Proposed new section 19, as contained in the Bill, would give Trans-Australia Airlines full and unlimited powers to operate as a road transport commission. There is no suggestion that its powers to engage in surface transport arc to be related to its air transport activities. What is important about the Government’s proposed provision is that what are referred to therein are not activities in which the Australian National Airlines Commission is empowered to engage. They are presented, in the legislation, as functions of the Commission. The amendment limits the transportation functions of the Commission to its airline activities. Its other activities must be associated with the exercise of its airline function. My view is that the amendment meets the spirit of what was proposed by the previous Government and, as the Minister for Civil
Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) claims that the Bill fulfils the purposes of the previous Government, the amendment should be accepted. If the Minister is genuine in his view - he stated in his second-reading speech that there is agreement between the Opposition and the Government on what was agreed to prior to the last elections as to the functions of TAA - there should be no difficulty in the Government’s accepting the amendment because it clearly puts into proper perspective the agreement reached between the previous Government and TAA prior to the last election. In his second-reading speech the Minister said that he has taken that agreement as the base for changes to the Australian National Airlines Act. I submit to the Committee that if the Minister is serious in saying that there is common ground here, the Minister should have no difficulty in accepting the amendment which I have moved.
– During the second-reading debate many statements were made which were, in effect, attempts at drawing red herrings across the trail. Honourable members spoke of diamond mines and similar operations suggesting what could happen if one of the parties to the 2-airline agreement discovered a diamond mine. They suggested that Trans-Australia Airlines could set up a chain of hotels and motels, establish tourist resorts and take over almost every transport organisation in Australia today. From the way they spoke one could imagine that TAA could go even further. But that is not the true position. Had I had the opportunity of closing the secondreading debate I would have replied to some of those statements, and it would have been at a time earlier than midnight tonight.
– You gagged the debate.
– That is right; the Government gagged the debate. Had it not done so the debate would have continued until probably the time for adjournment of the House. The Government was not prepared to allow that situation to develop. What the Government is trying to achieve by this Bill is the right for TAA to operate on equal terms with its competitor, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. The Government is trying to carry out the terms of the letter which was written to Sir Frederick Scherger by the former Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator
Cotton, in which he agreed with a number of points which were put to him by Sir Frederick Scherger, the Chairman of the Australian National Airlines Commission. The letter deals with aviation, Commonwealth contracts, tourist accommodation, road transport services, subsidiaries, aerial work, charter operations, investment of moneys not immediately required, operations in Papua New Guinea after independence and amendments to the general financial arrangements.
The honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), who is Opposition spokesman on this matter, dealt with the question of road transport. It is agreed that the Bill is written in the broadest terms so that there will be no ambiguity about what TAA can or cannot do in the field of transport. The Government wants TAA to be able to do what its competitor is able to do, namely, to operate tourer buses and road transport in association with its airline activities. Ansett Transport Industries operates in a much broader field than that. 1 do not have in mind that TAA will take over any furniture-carrying organisation, as has been done by ATI. The Government is not setting out to achieve that objective. However this clause, as it is now worded, will allow TAA to operate and do all things which are necessary with respect to tourer buses and activities of that type. To show where the Government stood I made a brief statement on the foreshadowed amendment during the second-reading debate. This was to enable members of the Opposition to know what the Government was aiming to do. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) more than covers the position because it would mean that TAA would not be able to extend its activities. By an amendment which the Government will move later TAA will be required to break up its accounts into 2 sections, one covering aviation operations or its airline operations and the other its other operations. Ansett Transport Industries is required to do this by an amendment to the legislation moved by the previous Government when it was in office.
The Government is trying to achieve what we believe was the agreement entered into between the previous Government, TAA and ATI. As its part of the bargain ATI has an open-ended agreement for an extension of the 2-airline agreement. All the Government is trying to do is to give TAA what it was promised. It might be of interest to honourable members if I were to incorporate in Hansard a copy of the letters from Sir Frederick Scherger to Sir Donald Anderson, the Director-General of Civil Aviation, and the reply by Senator Cotton, the then Minister for Civil Aviation. I am prepared to incorporate copies of those letters in Hansard.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Dr Jenkins)Is the Minister seeking leave to have them incorporated?
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The documents read as follows) - 13 October 1972
Sir Donald Anderson, C.B.E.,
Director-General of Civil Aviation,
Aviation House, 188 Queen Street,
Dear Sir Donald,
Your letter of 13 October advised that the Minister had requested that the Commission advise the specific assurances required to enable it to accept the proposed Airlines Agreements, so that the Commission’s proposals could be submitted to the Government for consideration.
As advised in my earlier letter, the Commission believes that to be capable of effective competition within the Government’s policy, it is necessary for the Australian National Airlines Act 1945-72 to be amended so as to remove legal doubt as to the powers of the Commission to engage in activities closely related to airline operation, and to have normal commercial powers to invest moneys not immediately required. The Commission believes the extension of its powers to be an integral part of the Government’s revised policy and the necessary legislative amendments should be introduced at the same time as the Airlines Agreements are extended.
Accordingly, the legislative amendments necessary to enable the Commission to accept the proposed Agreements and the timing thereof have been set out in detail in the attachment.
I would appreciate you forwarding these advices to the Minister for consideration by the Government.
My earlier letter dated 11 October set out certain amendments required to the proposed Airlines Agreements, which are under consideration by your Department.
As soon as a reply is received on these two matters, the Commission, as requested, should be able to advise promptly as to whether the extended Airlines Agreement is acceptable.
The Commission would wish to have an assurance from the Government that concurrently with the legislation to approve the proposed 1952-1972 Airlines Agreement, and to amend the Australian National Airlines Act 1945-1970, the following amendments to the last named Act will also be introduced:
Amend Section 19 to specifically empower TAA to engage in aviation engineering work for outside organisations.
Amend Section 19 to specifically empower TAA to engage in any operation or work required by the Commonwealth or any instrumentality of the Commonwealth.
Amend Section 19 by adding a new sub-section specifically empowering TAA for the convenience of its passengers to establish and operate or assist in the establishment of hotels or other types of accommodation and road transport services and to perform all activities incidental thereto or in connection therewith.
Amend Section 19 to give TAA a specific power to acquire subsidiaries or shareholdings in companies or establish and operate subsidiaries for the purposes of the Australian National Airlines Act.
Amend Sections 19 and 19a to give TAA a specific power to engage in aerial work and charter operations.
Amend Section 34(2) of the Act by adding at the end of the sub-section the words ‘or in any other manner approved by the Treasurer’.
To permit the implementation of announced Government policy to amend Section 19 of the Act to empower TAA to operate within Papua New Guinea after independence, if requested to do so.
The Commission would wish to be further assured that if the Commission so requests, Section 19a of the Act will be appropriately amended to empower TAA to establish, maintain and operate intrastate air service operations in any State where the State Government has enacted legislation referring sufficient power to the Commonwealth to enable it to do so.
I refer to your letter of 11 October 1972 in which you advise that the Commission considers that it could not agree to accept the proposed Agreement extending the Two Airline Policy unless it had an assurance setting out in some detail amendments to the Australian National Airlines Act to extend its powers in incidental activities and investment.
At my direction the Director-General requested you on 13 October 1972 to state specifically the further assurance which the Commission seeks.
You replied to the Director-General on 13 October 1972 and he has brought that letter to my attention.
As I previously informed you, it will be very difficult for the additional amendments to the Act to be dealt with before the present Parliament ends, but it has been the intention of the Government to introduce any legislation necessary to give effect to its presently stated policies on TAA’s operations as soon as possible. 1 thought 1 had made this position quite clear to you in previous correspondence.
However, in the light of the reservations expressed by your Commission 1 now confirm that as far as this Government is concerned, the Commission has a firm assurance that, in the first sittings of a new Parliament a Bill amending the Australian National Airlines Act will be introduced so as to give TAA the powers requested in your letter to Sir Donald Anderson dated 13 October 1972 and that, in presenting the proposed Airlines Agreement Bill 1972 I will make a statement to that effect.
In the light of this further assurance I look forward to your early confirmation that the Commission will sign the Two Airline Agreement subject to satisfactory settlement of the 2 clauses on which you still have some reservation and which were mentioned in your letter of II October 1972. The Director-General has pursued discussion with the Commission and the Company on possible drafting amendments to these clauses.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Scherger, K.B.E., CB., D.S.O., A.F.C.,
Australian National Airlines Commission, P.O. Box 2806aa, G.P.O., Melbourne, Victoria 3001.
– 1 thank the Committee. At this stage I should like to put on record a copy of a letter which I received today from Sir Frederick Scherger but I do not know whether I have time to quote it fully. In this letter to me Sir Frederick confirmed that the agreement - the Bill that we are debating here today - is in conformity with what he understood the agreement between himself and Ansett Transport Industries provided through the legislation of the then Government in October of last year. People have said that this is not what was proposed, but here is the man who was one of the central figures in it. Here is the man who refused to sign the agreement in the initial stages until such time as was written into the Bill those things which we are putting forward to the Parliament today in the form of the amendments that this Bill provides for.
An article in today’s ‘Australian’ states:
Sir Peter Abeles said last night be could see nothing sinister in the Federal Government plans to widen the powers of TAA.
The statement by Sir Peter, a director of Ansett Transport Industries and chief executive of TNT, a major shareholder in the company, is in direct conflict with the attitude of the Ansett organisation.
If I might say so, the largest shareholder in ATI is in conflict with what Opposition members have been saying here today, and the red herrings that they have been attempting to draw across the Bill. As I said in my second reading speech, I took it that this would be a formal Bill and one on which there would be very little debate because I considered that all I was doing was to put into operation those things which the former Government had promised TAA. The drafting of this Bill was carried out in consultation with Sir Frederick Scherger. What has gone into this Bill has been with his knowledge and approval his interpretation of what was promised to TAA.
We are setting out to try to word the various amendments which we are proposing in the Bill in such a way as to allow TAA to enter into the operation of tourer buses and to carry goods and passengers if need be in relation to its airline activities. Ansett can do this; why cannot TAA do the same? We believe that the amendment proposed by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) will place restrictions on TAA. We do not want that to happen. We want TAA to have the opportunity of doing the things which ATI are doing. To prove our sincerity I gave the Opposition notice of the amendment which I propose to move at a later stage which will place the restraint on TAA whereby it cannot become this great monstrous transport operator or the operator of chains and chains of hotels. I do not want to be the Minister of the biggest string of pubs in Australia. What I want to be is the Minister in charge of the airline operating and competing with its competitor on fair and equal terms. That is all we are asking for.
– I would like the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation to clarify one point for me. Do I take it that it is the Government’s intention in widening the powers of TAA in the terms of this Bill not to allow the commercial operations of TAA outside of its transport operations to exceed the present commercial operations of Ansett Airlines of Australia? In other words, in the terms of the amendment which is proposed by the Minister, do I assume that the Minister will not widen the powers to allow TAA to go into commercial operations to any greater extent than Ansett Airlines of Australia operates at present?
– It has been a bit of a struggle for me to obtain the opportunity of speaking in this debate this afternoon. The subject we are discussing is most interesting and I believe the legislation before us is an indication of the new Government’s long term policies. I must draw the attention of the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation to the fact that his quotation of what was said by Sir Peter Abeles was only a journalist’s interpretation of Sir Peter’s comments. To indulge in a little bit of genuine quotation, I quote Sir Peter Abeles:
I haven’t seen the legislation but they should be in the Bill.
Sir Peter went on and said that he accepted the Minister’s intention in good faith. I would think that any member of this Parliament and particularly a Minister who intends to quote someone as a source should refer to a person who at least is aware of what he is referring to and does not come out publicly and say.
I haven’t seen the legislation.
I believe that the amendment which has been moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) is a necessary one. We have heard honourable members on the other side of the House protest strongly that this legislation will not lead to what Opposition members suggest it possibly could lead to. I will accept in good faith, as Sir Peter Abeles, the Minister’s intention. But I ask the Minister to reflect the type of government of which he is a Minister - a party dedicated to socialism. I would like to quote from the Twenty-ninth Conference of the Australian Labor Party held in Launceston in 1971 to show that this is not a figment of my imagination. Section V of the platform of the Australian Labor Party which relates to economic planning states:
With the object of achieving Labor’s socialist objectives, Labor will establish or extend public enterprise, where appropriate by nationalisation, particularly in the fields of banking, consumer finance, insurance, marketing, housing, stevedoring, transport and in areas of anti-social private monopoly.
– Very good. That is the best part of your speech.
– The honourable member for Bowman said that this is the best part of my speech. He parades himself in this House as a middle of the roader, yet he is nothing but a warped tool of the trades hall.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Dr Jenkins)Order! I ask the honourable member for Griffith to come back to the clause under discussion.
– Very well. That will teach him to come into it. The Bill as it stands - and I know that we are discussing a proposed sub-section at the moment - is such as to allow the present Government, or if there happens to be a disaster and that Government continues after the next election, to introduce changes to implement the Labor Party’s policy.
The Minister has admitted that the Bill has been ‘written in broad terms’. I repeat it. We heard a fine contribution this afternoon by my friend and colleague the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) who went through this Bill clause by clause and showed the House the inconsistencies in the Bill and the areas where the Bill can be manipulated. The Opposition spokesman said, and rightly so - and I note that this amendment is just suggesting certain changes - that certain changes were mooted by the previous Government. The facts are that we did not moot the changes which the Government is attempting to foist on to the Australian people right now. I believe that the erection and creation of hotels by airline companies is a necessary project in certain cases. For instance, if someone is going to northern Queensland and has to fly through Brisbane, the last flight into Brisbane may be so late that that person cannot catch another plane until the next day because of the curfew. People in these circumstances have to be accommodated somewhere. The previous Government proposed to introduce these measures to enable Trans-Australia Airlines, as Ansett Transport Industries had done in the past, effectively to accommodate these people by taking them from the company’s terminal at the airport to, for instance the city terminal and just sending them upstairs to spend the night. They could come straight down in the morning and enter the transport to return to the airport. That is fair enough and I have absolutely no opposition to this. But I oppose the concept or the possibilities of the Government introducing legislation which will enable TAA to be used and manipulated in the future to allow it to implement some of the socialist objectives to which I referred earlier.
There is no doubt that the Australian Labor Party, the Government, is dedicated to socialist objectives. To all those people who are now writing to members of the Parliament pleading that they are free enterprise people who do not support this Bill and would like to see it opposed, I take this opportunity to remind them that the Australian Labor Party’s Federal platform has been available for a long time. If they did not see fit to make a close study of what the Party would do when it achieved power, it is a little late to start crying and whinging now. In concluding, I ask the Minister to consider carefully the amendments proposed. There is a whole string of them. Lord knows how many this Bill needs, but there is a whole string of proposed amendments. I ask the Minister to consider them carefully because the Opposition is trying to put in precise terms the objectives that the Minister for Transport claims that the Government is trying to implement by the passage of this Bill.
If the Minister is really sincere he will not allow his Party in the future to twist and change this Bill and use it to achieve objectives which his Party basically believes in. If he wants to join our side for the next vote - I am not suggesting he should gag the debate - and bring some of the honourable members on his side with him to defeat their viewpoint I believe he will be doing the nation’s long established free enterprise system a good service. The honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr McKenzie) amazed me earlier. I quote from a sentence he used. He said: ‘Do not kid ourselves this is a nation built on capitalism.’ Being the honourable member for Diamond Valley and coming from Victoria, recalling the election results of only last Saturday I think if I were a member of the Australian Labor Party I would suddenly be waking up to what the Australian people want. Honourable members on the Government side have tried to portray us as being a Party which is interested only in Ansett. This is not true. We are interested in a fair go for both airlines. This is not our legislation. It has been changed. If the Government is sincere it still has the opportunity to introduce changes to make this Bill tight so that it defines the purposes of the Act and is not a loose Bill which can be manipulated to meet the socialist objectives to which I have referred.
– -It is interesting to note honourable members of the Opposition crying tears of blood about a proposal to give Trans-Australia Airlines rights to compete in the aircraft and travel industry in Australia. The proposed amendment moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) seeks to prevent TAA from occupying a competitive position. This has always been the philosophy of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party and always will be.
– That is not true. It is a 2-airline policy.
– Those parties believe in a 2-airline policy where one airline is guaranteed profits and the other airline has its hands tied behind its back. Hence, they continued throughout the whole of their period of office to refuse to grant rights to allow TAA to operate intrastate routes in States other than New South Wales. On the other hand, when Ansett Transport Industries Ltd sought a competitive position on routes which were exclusive to TAA it quickly was granted those rights. The facts of the matter are that the parties opposite are talking through their pockets and through the pockets of their Party organisations. I think that sums up in a nutshell the position of those parties on this Bill. They are seeking campaign funds and nothing more or less.
– The honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) said that this Bill is a proposal to give TransAustralia Airlines rights to compete in tourism. We do not object to it competing in certain areas but not going beyond the aviation field provided it competes on fair terms. But is it competing on fair terms? The Bill does not provide for this. Time and again this Bill provides for advantages to be made available to TAA which are not available to other transport organisations or to other hotel or motel organisations. Firstly, TAA has the advantage of $29m of superannuation funds of which the agreement we are now discussing will divest TAA, as has happened in every other case. This provides an enormous advantage of available expanding capital to TAA. This amount is rising at a rate of more than $2m a year.
The Opposition is all for competition on fair and just terms. But what are these fair and just terms? Honourable members should have a look, for example, at the way that Government business is allotted in Canberra and see whether an even number of people on Government tickets leave Canberra by
Ansett as compared with TAA. Of course, more go by TAA. There are so many of these fields.I am sure that I will be ruled out of order if I go too far into the question of why terms and conditions are not fair. I hope I will be allowed to mention the fact that under this Bill that we are discussing TAA is to be relieved of tax in a number of areas in which it had previously to pay tax. We do not carry a torch for Ansett or for any of the other airlines, but there should be an equality between the advantage’s given to the different airlines. I am the first to admit that TAA is an extremely efficient and well run organisation. But we do not want it to have advantages which will enable it gradually to swallow up the other airlines, and not only the other airlines but also hotels and road hauliers. This is what it is all about.
The honourable member for Corio said that we had not agreed to intrastate operations by TAA. This is quite wrong. We had agreed to intrastate operations in Western Australia, as the letter which has been tabled by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) shows. But one of the reasons that we did not allow this earlier is that Ansett Transport Industries which had purchased the MacRobertson-Miller airline, the airline which was operating in the area, was perfectly able to provide all the transport needed in that area and in fact is still able to do so. However, because we believe in fair and just competition, we agreed that on certain days TAA should operate from Perth to Port Hedland and on to Darwin.
The Minister accused honourable members on this side of the chamber of introducing red herrings. He said that the Government intends under this legislation and under this clause in particular to carry out the terms of the agreement which the previous Government had arranged with TAA and Ansett Airlines. The Government says that what it is doing now is exactly what we had promised to do. But of course this is not so. If the Government were to accept the amendment which had been moved by my colleague the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon), then it would be carrying out the agreement, because the amendment states:
Clause5, page 2, omit sub-section (1) of proposed section19, substitutethe following subsection -
The functions of the Commission are -
to transport passengers and goods for reward by air
And I stress the words ‘by air’ between prescribed places; and
And I draw special attention to these words and, within those limits, to provide land transport, accommodation, and other services and facilities associated with the exercise of its powers under paragraph (a) . . .
That is quite different from the clause that we have before us, which states:
This is where the great difference arises between the two. The Government has conveniently omitted the words ‘for the convenience of its passengers’. It has used an absolutely broad brush. I think that the Minister said that the Bill is written in broad terms. He can certainly say that again. As he has tabled the correspondence between Sir Frederick Scherger and Senator Cotton, let me refer to the letter. Of course, it is true that Senator Cotton stated:
I now confirm that as far as this Government is concerned, the Commission has a firm assurance that in the first sittings of a new Parliament a Bill amending the Australian National Airlines Act will be introduced so as to give TAA the powers requested in your letter to Sir Donald Anderson dated13 October 1972, and that in presenting the proposed Airlines Agreement Bill 1972I will make a statement to that effect.
There is an attachment to the letter. Let us see what was said about tourist accommodation and road transport services. The then Minister, Senator Cotton, said that he would amend section 19 by adding a new sub-section specifically empowering TAA for the convenience of its passengers - and I stress that - to establish and operate or assist in the establishment of hotels or other types of accommodation and road transport services and to perform all activities incidental thereto or in connection therewith. So the Minister for Civil Aviation is not being absolutely on the level with us because he has made no reference to the words for the convenience of passengers’. Another phrase was used, and although I do not have it before me at the moment, it meant the same. In other words, they must be things which were directly associated with air transport. In other words, TAA could provide an hotel, it could provide a bus to take passengers to the hotel, but it could not engage in interstate road transport.
The Minister said that TAA is not intending to enter into the furniture transport field. I do not know what he intends. I am not interested in what he intends or what he does not intend. What I am interested in is what the Bill allows him or some future government to do. There is no doubt at all, from my quick reading of the Bill, that it allows TAA to carry all sorts of goods interstate or intrastate with or without permission from the State. The Bill provides that within the limits of its powers under this Act or any relevant State Act, TAA can transport passengers and goods for reward by air or by land. The Minister might very well say: ‘I am not going into the transport business; I do not want to be the greatest owner of hotels in Australia’. But we want to be sure that the Bill is so drafted, because unfortunately whatever a Minister says here is not looked at by a judge when the matter comes up before a court. That is the position that I take. Finally, let us remember that all these conditions which were offered by the previous Government were conditional on the agreement to hand over the superannuation funds. TAA is trying to keep all the plums; it has forgotten that there is a quid pro quo.
– This concern that the Opposition has expressed and set out in the amendment is a matter, I am sure, that we can well appreciate. If there were any genuine grounds for the concern there would be some reason for the efforts which honourable members opposite are endeavouring to make in order to get the Committee to do what they suggest. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) has given a clear undertaking, particularly after the amendment was introduced, that these things are just not going to happen. There appears to be no purpose in the Minister or the Government considering any further the terms of the proposals set out in the amendment which was moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon). I again refer to an article that was quoted, to some extent, by my colleague the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Doyle) earlier today. Quoting the words of a director of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, Sir Peter Abeles, the article states:
I know the intent of the Minister (Transport Minister, Mr Jones) has been to make TAA competi tive. We always feel competition on an equal basis is good for everybody’.
Sir Peter said that he did not object to any provisions in the Bill allowing TAA to buy shares in Ansett Transport Industries . . .
He also said that he did not have any objection to the provisions of the Bill and that he did not believe there was any intention that TAA should take over the hotel industry.
– He also said that he has not seen the legislation.
– He certainly made many other comments. If the honourable member for Griffith wanted me to read the whole article to the Committee, I would be delighted to do so, but the limited time imposed on this debate does not permit me to do that. I think that it is far more fitting for me to quote from a speech made in the Senate on 29 August last year on the civil aviation policy of the last Government than to quote from an article in this morning’s Press referring to what was said by Sir Peter Abeles. If one takes it right from the horse’s mouth one sees what the intention of the previous Minister was regarding this matter. It is easy to relate that to the intention of this Government. Probably it would amount to the same thing as Sir Peter Abeles is reported to have said in this morning’s Press, and it is probably the one thing which the honourable member for Griffith wanted me to quote. Sir Peter Abeles said he had not read the legislation in detail but he had enough trust in the Minister for Civil Aviation, in the Government and in TAA or the Australian Airlines Commission to know that these great bogies that have been trotted out today were non-existent and were not likely to arise to put TAA into the position of doing all these horrible socialistic things that the Opposition is suggesting it would do. The Minister for Civil Aviation in the previous Government, Senator Cotton, said - I quote from the Senate Hansard of 29 August 1972:
The Government has decided further to give TAA greater opportunity to undertake outside engineering work, including government contracts, and to enter into mutually beneficial arrangements with surface transport carriers and hotel-motel operators. This is designed to improve Trans-Australia Airlines abilities to continue to compete effectively, especially now that it faces additional competition.
Surely those proposals mentioned in the statement are in line with the proposals before us today. Accordingly, there seems to be no reason why the Bill cannot be supported. If honourable members opposite were genuine in their expressed concern - I would hope that they were - let them rest assured that that concern should be allayed by the undertakings that have been given by the Minister in the proposals he has put, particularly in the amendment he proposes to move in Committee to safeguard the future operations of TAA in these various fields. As Ansett Transport Industries Ltd increases its activities in its fringe operations, in parallel but at a lower level - in fact, following behind Ansett Transport Industries Ltd - there will be comparative increases in these operations by TAA.
– I support the amendments moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon). I believe that the alteration proposed is absolutely necessary to fulfil the real intentions expressed by honourable members on both sides of the Committee. It is extraordinary that the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh) can say what he said. One can only be left with the clear thought that he has not read the Bill. It was the intention of the former Government to amend the Australian National Airlines Act so that Trans-Australia Airlines would be able to engage in activities that were closely related to its airline activities, and the Opposition still wishes that to occur. The Opposition parties want to ensure that the opportunities that are available to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd are equally available to Trans-Australia Airlines. The 2 airlines should be free to compete with each other and have equality of access to the opportunities available. We want the 2-airline system to be competitive in all aspects, and we believe that the Australian people want the airline system to operate in this way. But I have listened this afternoon to propositions put forward, first by the Minister and then supported by speakers on the Government side, which run contrary to this.
The Bill could effectively undermine the 2- airline agreement so that TAA could become the sole operator. One does not need to be of great ability to look clearly at the Bill before us and to become convinced on this point, but on the Government side there seems to be a complete denial of the real facts, the real intentions of this legislation. I think it was the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) who said that he wanted to see a competitive situation with the 2 airlines com peting on equal terms. Obviously he has not read the Bill because the provisions of the Bill go far beyond this and they give specific rights to Trans-Australia Airlines that are not being provided for Ansett Transport Industries. I think the sooner the Parliament recognises this the better. Undoubtedly there are those on the Government side who well know this to be the position but they are trying to hoodwink the people who might be listening to this debate, and they certainly want to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting people on this issue.
– How many shares do you have?
– I do not have a single share in Ansett Transport Industries. That is not the issue. The amendment foreshadowed by the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation is an admission of guilt that he came into this Parliament with a Bill, that he took it to the second reading stage and that he was trying very shrewdly to put something over this Parliament. I think that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) very effectively exploded that situation this afternoon. The foreshadowed amendment does nothing to correct the imbalance which we find in this legislation so far as the 2- airline agreement is concerned. It is patently clear that TAA could become the Government’s weapon in an attack on free enterprise. This, I am sure, will be clearly recognised by the people of Australia. Let me repeat that members of the Australian Country Party and members of the Liberal Party want to see a competitive situation with the 2 airlines competing on equal terms but we are diametrically opposed to a situation in which exclusive opportunities will be given to Trans-Australia Airlines. That is what this legislation does, and the foreshadowed amendment certainly does not remove that impediment in the legislation.
Therefore the amendments already before this Committee - those proposed by the honourable member for Gippsland - are the first step in the direction of correcting a very serious imbalance, in fact, a denial of real justice in this matter, and the other foreshadowed amendments that would follow would, of course, serve the purpose, of correcting this very iniquitous legislation. I hope that the Committee will see clearly the difference between the 2 propositions we are considering. If it was the intention of the Bill only to equalise opportunities available to the 2 airlines, the Bill should be withdrawn and redrafted to ensure that this and this only is what is done. I challenge the Minister to do just that because I believe that that is what is required. As I said a moment ago, that stage can be reached by dealing with each of the amendments that have been moved by the honourable member foi Gippsland. The other proposition put forward by the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), which proposes that the House decline to give the Bill a second reading, would also give us the same opportunity to ensure that this very unjust legislation is not proceeded with. lt is interesting that the Minister at this early stage of Committee consideration is not really coming forward with an answer. I am wondering whether he is having some second thoughts about the legislation, and perhaps this Parliament might learn a little later in the course of this Committee consideration his real attitude. We have seen him shift his ground once already this afternoon, but there is certainty justification for him to shift his ground a great deal further if he is to avoid a situation in which he and his Government will stand guilty of putting before this Parliament propositions which they have not clearly owned up to, propositions which, by a series of fairly obscure comments by back bench members, they have attempted to camouflage but which they have not succeeded in camouflaging.
The Bill as it stands would specifically exclude TAA from the responsibility of paying certain State charges. It would exclude it from the responsibility of many of the requirements of the existing commercial enterprise of Ansett Transport Industries in the operations in which it is engaged. I believe that this would be completely unfair competition. If the Bill proceeds as proposed it will leave this totally imbalanced situation, a situation that really would be intolerable as far as the continuation of the 2-airline agreement is concerned. I think that is the fundamental consideration. The first amendment before the Committee, I believe, brings to the light of day very clearly the one fundamental consideration that what we do today must ensure that we preserve the 2-airline agreement. If by virtue of this legislation we in fact wrecked the 2-airline agreement, what would be the outcome? It is obvious that we would end up with a government controlled one-airline system in this country. We would end up with a monopoly, not in the hands of free enterprise but in the hands of the Airlines Commission. This would be a retrograde step for Australia. I think that honourable members on both sides of the chamber have taken some pride in what has been built up under the 2-airline system. Let us not destroy it today.
– It has been very interesting to listen to the honourable member for Cowper (Mr Ian Robinson) and before him to the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) on this subject because, after 23 years in government, every time the present Government presents to the Parliament some progressive legislation we hear them say: ‘We were going to do that. It was our intention to do something about that’. But the inescapable fact in this case is that over the years the previous Government gave a particular advantage to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd and showed a particular bias against the government airline. The previous Government would have liked to do away with the government airline, but it was not game to do so because over the years the support by the Australian people for the people’s airline became well known and that action would not have been tolerated.
Over the years Trans-Australia Airlines has tried, unsuccessfully, to compete with Ansett Airlines on an interstate basis, but the previous Government consistently refused to allow it to do so. Before that, when TAA wanted to purchase a plane the LiberalCountry Party Government would not allow it to purchase them until Ansett was prepared to purchase the same plane. TAA had to wait. At all times TAA has been unable to compete on fair terms with Ansett Airlines. Let me instance one case. It has been well known around Sydney for years that Ansett Airlines receives freight at airline charges to be sent to Melbourne and other places. Although the freight can be transported to Melbourne by road overnight, people have to pay airline costs to have goods transported from Sydney to Melbourne. The goods are loaded on to express semi-trailers at the terminal near Mascot airport and transported overnight to Melbourne. Of course, TAA is not entitled to be in the business of road transport and it has to transport its goods by plane.
If the former Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) was sincere in what he said, perhaps he will tell us why, on 7 occasions over the last 5 years, his Government refused TAA the right to operate between Perth and Darwin, even though it was not an intrastate activity. This Bill seeks to put on some basis of equilibrium the rights of the people’s airline - TAA - which has been such a successful venture. I assume that this offends the free enterprise ambitions of honourable members opposite, but the Bill will give the people’s airline - the airline that has served this country so well over the years - the right to compete on the same basis as its competitor. I can see no reason why the Government should apologise for this.
The honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) made a great song and dance about what appears in the platform of the Australian Labor Party. Let me say this: The Australian Labor Party has a platform. It makes no apology for that. It is a democratically decided platform which is freely available to all people and which was freely available before the people made their decision last December. The ‘Australian’ newspaper today says that the 2 key pamphlets, the Federal constitution and the official party platform, of the Liberal Party are not available to anybody. Not only are they not available, but also one cannot find out whether there is any platform setting out the aims and aspirations of the Liberal Party. The article says that the pamphlets will not be available until February or March next year. So, while the honourable member for Griffith is having a go at the Labor Party for what it is prepared to put before the people of Australia, he should remember that his own Party is not prepared to place before the people what it has in mind.
The reason for such a hullabaloo from honourable members opposite is that their great benefactor, Sir Reginald Ansett, is highly offended by the thought that this Bill may introduce into his business some competition that he does not want. Over the past 2 decades he has had a pretty fair run and he does not want to see the government airline put on a basis where it might be able to compete freely and provide a very good service for the Australian people. So much for the crocodile tears of the Opposition! It would defend Sir Reginald no matter what the situation happened to be,, as it has done over the years. All the Government is doing now is - as the Opposition freely admits it wanted to do - placing TAA on a fair competitive basis with the other airline that operates in Australia.
– Very briefly, I say to the honourable member for Cook (Mr Thorburn), who has just resumed his seat, that he ought to remember the history of tha dual airline policy and take into account that the government of the day - which was of the colour of the present Opposition rather than the colour of the present Government - had to search the length and breadth of the land to find somebody or some firm to take over the role of competitor with what was in those days, to all intents and purposes, a government monopoly of the transportation of passengers through Australia. That is why my Party believes in a dual airline policy. It is for the same reason that people on this side of the chamber can hardly be blamed for saying that honourable members opposite do not believe in a dual airline policy.
If honourable members opposite want any more proof of why we might be suspicious about this matter they should look at what their own Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones), who is in charge of this Bill, said the other day in relation to the proposal by the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea. This nation has been setting up as a nation the last bit of genuine colonialism. It has nurtured and looked after Papua New Guinea in the process of making that Territory an independent nation. Contrary to the wishes of the man who will be the Prime Minister of an independent nation in years to come, the Minister for Transport threatened fiscal reprisals and said that he must not allow the degree of capital holding of one Australian company to be, part and parcel of the future airline policy of a future nation which is our next door neighbour. So, do not ask us why we are suspicious of the Government’s attitude to this Bill.
– Everybody is suspicious.
– The honourable member is right; everybody is suspicious. This is particularly so as the Bill does not define the areas which the amendment moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) seeks to define. Let us have a look at some of the remarks that have been made in relation to this clause. The Opposition has been accused of looking for campaign funds. I do not think that is a particularly nice or fair contention to fling around this Parliament.
-It is scurrilous.
-Yes, it is scurrilous. It can be countered very easily by examples that would not make members of the Government Party happy. But that is a subject perhaps for an adjournment debate and we should not allow it to muddle our thinking now. The use of superannuation funds was mentioned as applying to Trans-Australia Airlines but not to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. We say that this is not fair and equitable treatment. The Bill contains a provision which, admittedly, is loose in its meaning but which implies that State governments may rebate State taxation measures in relation to TAA but not in relation to ATI. Frankly, I do not think that this is more than a fond socialistic wish of the Government of the day, but let us look at what it could do. State taxes on liquor licences could be remitted from one of those 2 companies.
-Land tax could be remitted but it could apply to Ansett Transport Industries. Other charges include water rates and sewerage rates.
-And also payroll tax. Probably more important is the ton-mile tax. Just look at the implications. I do not think it is more than a blithe socialistic dream. But provision is made in this Bill. Honourable members opposite should not talk to us about whether we believe in the dual airline policy. This Bill provides for the exemptions. We cannot be blamed nor can the people of Australia be blamed for feeling that there is some hidden factor in this Bill that might react to their detriment. I do not think for one minute that the people of Australia believe any more than I do in the grasping all-embracing giant monolithic structures with all the built-in potential for gross inefficiency and all the built-in potential for a lack of initiative. I do not think that the people of Australia want structures of this sort. I know that honourable members on this side are fearful in regard to them. I have dealt with the sheer inertia of these big monolithic structures. I have dealt briefly with the fact that honourable members on this side of the House saw years ago the need to draw up a scheme of competition to protect the air-travelling public of this country. We have achieved a great deal over the last 20 years. The Government of the day says that the situation needs to be improved. I do not quarrel with that. I hope I will never quarrel with a suggestion that there is a need to alter a circumstance to fit new conditions, but this is not what the Government is doing in this legislation. I have demonstrated that the treatment would not be equal. I have demonstrated how this Bill does not say what the Government says it will do. The Act itself is wider ranging than is this legislation. I believe that because of these circumstances there is a right for the people on this side of the House to put to the Australian people the other side of the picture. Part and parcel of this are the amendments which have been moved by the honourable member for Gippsland. I think the nation would do well to have alook at the amendments. The amendment to clause 5 reads:
The functions of the Commission are -
For want of a better name, this became known as the Cotton declaration. It is what the previous Government promised the people of Australia it would do if it was elected in Decemberlast year. It is not for me to spell out the 7 or 8 conditions that the Government put in a statement which it made publicly and to which it committed itself if it was returned to office. It was not returned. This Government has taken up the issues with which the previous Government was involved. But it has gone too far and for honourable members opposite to accuse honourable members on this side of the House of being fearful of the intention of the Government in regard to this Bill is most surprising because the Government has given us every reason to be fearful in the type of Bill which is now before the House.
-Clause 5 which we are now discussing is a most important section of the Bill because it deals with the functions of the Australian National Airlines Commission. This is what the argument is all about in relation to what the future position may be. Let me say at the outset that the dual airline system in Australia has been built up over 20-odd years by previous governments and despite what might be said by Government supporters today it has been built up very successfully. I think that Australia generally is proud of the service. This is what we want to preserve. We feel a little concerned, as has been mentioned in the debate, over this Bill. Statements have been made by Government supporters and the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation has made clear his intentions. The Minister has made a number of statements relating to this Bill. I think if we dealt with those statements the people would only become more confused. If this Bill becomes an Act we can rely only on the Act for interpretation. If it becomes an Act it has to be interpreted and that is what the Opposition supporters are concerned about.
It is along this line that I raise my protest on this Bill. Clause 5 reads, in part:
The functions of the Commission are -
to provide to the Commonwealth and authorities of the Commonwealth, for reward, aviation, land transport and engineering services and such other services as can conveniently be provided by the use of the resources of the Commission,
This Bill would, if passed, give the Commission very wide powers in relationto resources. Regardless of what the Minister may have said in his second reading speech and regardless of what he may subsequently have said in this debate it is still the Act itself which has to be interpreted in regard to the. services that may be carried out by the Commission on behalf of the Government and the people of Australia. My main point is that anything done by this Bill or any futureBill which upsets the dual airline system in Australia is a discredit to this nation. We have seen this service built up over a number of years. It is not easy to build up a successful airline service in a country consisting of 13 million people in an area of about 3,000,000 square miles.
The Opposition is concerned that the dual airline service will in fact be disrupted if the powers set out in this Bill are put into operation. I ask the Minister: Why has he included these clauses in the Bill if he does not want to use them? If he does not want to use the powers or if the Government has no intention to use them why not take them out? It is of not a bit of use for the Minister to make certain statements in the House if he leaves he Bill in its present form. He should remove these clauses from the. Bill.
– The Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation, the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn) and I have had some discussions as you, Mr Deputy Chairman, will have noted and we have been able to reach an accord that I think will suit the convenience of both sides of the House. I thank the Minister for his generosity in looking seriously at our amendments because they have been put forward by the Opposition only after a great deal of study and expressed concern about the Bill. I should like now to withdraw the amendment to clause 5 and to substitute another amendment.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage) - Does the honourable member seek leave to withdraw his first amendment?
– I seek leave to withdraw my first amendment and to move another.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Is leave granted? There being no objection leave is granted.
Amendment - by leave - withdrawn.
– I move:
Omit sub-section (1) of proposed section 19, substitute the following sub-section:
The functions of the Commission are -
to transport passengers and goods for reward by air between prescribed places;
within the limits of its powers under this Act or any relevant State Act, to transport passengers and goods for reward by air or in association with its powers in this section and, within those limits, to provide land transport, accommodation, and other services and facilities associated with the exercise of its powers under paragraph (a); and
to provide to the Commonwealth and authorities of the Commonwealth for reward, aviation, land transport and engineering services and such other services as can be conveniently provided by the use of the resources of the Commission, and the Commission shall carry on business for the purpose of performing those functions.’.
The Minister accepts that this, in a sense, has narrowed the amendment to provide for the Commonwealth and the authorities of the Commonwealth.
– -The Government accepts the compromise amendment reached between the Government and the Opposition. In the amendment moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) proposed subsection 1 (b) states: . . to provide land transport accommodation . . .
That should read: ‘. . . to provide land transport, accommodation . . .’ The Government accepts the amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.12 to 8 p.m.
Bill presented by Mr Daly, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill is to provide for an additional representative for the Australian Capital Territory in the House of Representatives. The provisions of the Bill are to (a) provide for 2 members of the House of Representatives for the Australian Capital Territory elected on the basis of single member electorates, with effect from the first sitting of the Twenty-ninth Parliament; (b) provide for full voting rights for both members for the Australian Capital Territory with all the powers, immunities and privileges held by other members of the House of Representatives; (c) divide the Australian Capital Territory into 2 single member electorates, of which one electorate shall embrace part of the Australian Capital Territory proper and the other electorate shall embrace the remaining part of the Australian Capital Territory plus the Jervis Bay territory - to be effective immediately following the expiry or dissolution of the Twenty-eighth Parliament; and, (d) provide - (i) for the setting up of a distribution committee, and (ii) for the inviting of suggestions and objections and preparation of a report to Parliament, along similar lines to that provided for the distribution of a State into electoral divisions.
The Australian Capital Territory was given representation in the Australian Parliament in 1948 on the initiative of the then Labor Government, with effect from the 1949 elections, on the basis that the member representing the Australian Capital Territory had the same voting rights as the member for the Northern Territory at that time, namely, that the member could vote only on a motion to disallow an ordinance affecting the Australian Capital Territory. In 1959 he was given the same additional right as was given in that year to the member for the Northern Territory to vote on any Bill that related solely to his Territory, namely, the Australian Capital Territory. In 1966, after years of advocacy by the former distinguished member, the late Jim Fraser, and the Australian Labor Party, the member for the Australian Capital Territory was given the right to vote on any matter after the ensuing general election for this House.
These constitutional developments were in accordance with section 122 of the Constitution which provides, in part:
The Parliament may make laws for the government of any Territory surrendered by any Slate to and accepted by the Commonwealth, . . . and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament, to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.
The number of electors enrolled in the Australian Capital Territory increased from 11,841 in 1949, when the Australian Capital Territory was given its first representation, to 48,127 in 1966 when the member for the Australian Capital Territory was given full voting rights in this House. Today there are 85,282 electors on the roll for the Australian Capital Territory. This number exceeds by 5,385 the number of electors enrolled in the next largest Australian electorate, which is Diamond Valley, with an enrolment of 79,897.
In 1970 the then Minister for the Interior indicated that his Government: bearing in mind the provisions of section 122 of the Constitution, favours the principle of providing representation for a Territory commensurate with its development and population growth.
He went on grudgingly to admit that:
What a remarkable conclusion to be reached, at a time when the Canberra electorate had already grown much larger than the majority of electorates in Australia. But in typical fashion, having acknowledged the need, the Minister was overcome by the inertia from which he and his Government suffered over the years. The inescapable fact was that by comparison with the States the Australian Capital Territory was and is underrepresented in respect of both population and electors.
Under the provisions of the Representation Act, in determining the number of members of the House of Representatives a quota is ascertained by dividing the number of people of the States as shown by the census by twice the number of senators - that is, by 120. The number of members to be chosen in each State is then determined by dividing the number of the people of the respective State by the quota. The quota based on figures derived from the 1971 census was 104,376. The number of members determined for each State and the resultant average population per member in respect of each State were as follows:
The average population per member for the States, taken as a whole, on figures obtained at the 1971 census was 101,010. The population of the Australian Capital Territory at the 1971 census was 144,100 which was 42.66 per cent above the average for the States. The population of the Australian Capital Territory is expanding rapidly and at 30 September 1972 it was approximately 162,000, while the electoral enrolment for the Australian Capital Territory as at 27 April 1973 was 85,282, including 561 18, 19 and 20-year-olds.
While the enrolments for the several divisions in the States range from approximately 42,000 to 80,000, these are evened out at a redistribution. However, the enrolment for the Australian Capital Territory cannot be similarly adjusted. It continues to grow with the increase in population. The average enrolments for divisions in each State as at the end of April 1973 were as follows:
It is estimated that the electoral enrolment of the Australian Capital Territory will exceed 120,000 by December 1975- the normal time for the next general election of members of the House of Representatives - and 185,000 by 1980, an annual increase of about 9 per cent. If an additional member for the Australian Capital Territory were provided as from the next House of Representatives election on the basis of the Territory being divided into 2 divisions, the estimated average number of electors per division - about 60,000 - would be in reasonable conformity with the average for the States combined, namely 58,741 as at 27 April 1973, and considerably in excess of that for Tasmania.
Once again it remains for the Australian Labor Party to take the necessary action to ensure proper representation for the Australian Capital Territory in the House of Representatives. Of course we propose to go further and there will be a cognate Bill relating to representation in the Senate, which, together with the Bill before the House, will give a measure of justice to the Australian Capital Territory at this stage of its development. Moreover we will keep the matter under review and introduce further legislation as the population increases and the need develops.
I need not emphasise to members of this House the challenge and the burden associated with representation of such a large electorate comprising such highly sophisticated electors as one finds in the Australian Capital Territory. Honourable members will recall the toll which such representation took of our late lamented friend Jim Fraser and which no doubt contributed to his untimely death. I never cease to be amazed at the conspicuously effective and untiring service given by my distinguished colleague, the honourable Kep Enderby, in performing his ministerial duties as Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory and in discharging the unequal burden of representing this electorate which should have been divided much earlier. The Australian Capital
Territory, with no mayor, no local government representatives and no State members means that the people are entirely dependent on their member of the Australian Parliament to a much greater extent than possibly anywhere else in the world. Every grievance from the municipal to the national level ends up as the responsibility of their representative in the Australian Parliament. He is the mayor, the alderman, the ombudsman and their parliamentary representative all rolled into one.
The Australian Capital Territory with its rapid growth, population and development, its wide diversity of interests and its multiplicity of problems makes the demand for additional parliamentary representation unanswerable. Briefly, let me compare it with, say, the State of Tasmania. That State with a population of approximately 393,000 less than two and onehalf times that of the Australian Capital Territory with approximately 162,000, has 35 members of the House of Assembly, 9 Legislative Councillors, 10 senators and 5 members of the House of Representatives - a total of 69 parliamentary representatives plus over 500 local government representatives, whereas the Australian Capital Territory is represented most ably by a single Labor Party parliamentary representative. Of course there are 8 elected Advisory Councillors for the Australian Capital Territory but these worthy members can do not more than advise the Minister in local matters.
Before I conclude I wish to refer to one or two aspects of the legislation which are no doubt of interest to the House. Firstly, 1 refer to the provision for the legislation to take effect from the first sitting of the twenty-ninth Parliament, and that may be much earlier than a lot of people think. This arises from the differing legal opinions as to whether it would be constitutionally practicable to provide for the election of an additional member for the Australian Capital Territory during the term of the current Parliament. The Solicitor-General has advised that if the Government wishes to so provide, in his view such a law would be valid. However, because a doubt exists about the matter, the Government considers that the wisest course is to defer the election of the additional member until the next general elections for the House of Representatives, particularly as separate legislation is being introduced to provide for 2 senators for the Australian Capital Territory to be elected before that time. The election of the senators will in the interim period provide the additional representation so urgently required in the Australian Capital Territory. Secondly, under the provisions of the Bill the tolerance between the electorates must be. not more than 10 per cent, with additional provision for further redistributions whenever the Governor-General so directs.
This Bill is a further step in the fulfilment of the Government’s promise to provide additional representation in the Australian Capital Territory. It is progressive legislation, all too long delayed, to give to the people of the Australian Capita] Territory increased representation in the Australian Parliament. It is a move which should commend itself to all the democratically-minded and one that should receive the support of both sides of this Parliament. In addition it is urgent because of possible coming events. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Ian Robinson) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Daly, and read a first time.
– 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to provide for Senate representation for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory on the basis of 2 senators for each Territory. The Bill provides for the election of 2 senators each for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory and that such senators have the same powers, immunities and privileges as senators representing the States; that the first election of Territory senators be held at the same time as the next Senate elections in the several States or at the same time as the next general elections for members of the House of Representatives, if such is held before or in conjunction with the next Senate elections; that the term of the first Territory senators be from the date of their election until the eve of polling day for the ensuing general election for members of the House of Representatives; that after the first election for Territory senators, elections be held at the same time as the general elections for members of the House of Representatives; that after the first election of Territory senators, the terms of Territory senators be the period between each House of Representatives election; and for the Territory senators to be elected under the same system of proportional representation as that currently applicable to the election of senators representing the States, except in the case of a single casual vacancy when such vacancy shall be filled by the holding of a by-election adopting the procedures used for filling a single casual vacancy for a State senator, as far as may be applicable.
Under another Bill to be presented later today, Territory senators will be excluded for the purpose of determining the number of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in the several States in pursuance of section 10 of the Representation Act. The Bill before the House is an historic Bill. It is introduced by this Government in furtherance of our belief that while ever the national Parliament remains bicameral it is in accordance with the political tenets of the Australian Labor Party that all parts and all the people of Australia should be represented in both chambers. The platform of the Australian Labor Party that all parts and all the people tal Territory and the Northern Territory to be represented by senators with full voting rights. It is a great honour for me to initiate this historic legislation. With this legislation the Australian Labor Party asserts the particular responsibility this Parliament bears towards these 2 mainland Territories which are under the direct control of the Parliament. The Australian Parliament passes laws concerning both of these Territories. These laws must be approved by both Houses of Parliament. And in respect of these Territories, the laws are wider in scope than it is possible for Parliament to pass for other parts of the nation, for they include matters relating to municipal and State functions which would normally be the prerogative of State governments.
The Government and the Australian Labor Party believe that the administration of the Territories should be accountable to a Parliament in which the views of the citizens of the Territories can be stated in both Houses by those responsible directly to the electorate of the Territories. Honourable members will know that before the Commonwealth accepted the Northern Territory from South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory from New South Wales, residents of both of them were represented in the Parliaments of those 2 States in the same way as all other residents were represented. The Territories were incorporated in electorates for the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales and the House of Assembly of South Australia. The Northern Territory was included in a province for the Legislative Council of South Australia and the citizens of the area now comprising the Australian Capital Territory were eligible for appointment to the Legislative Council of New South Wales. When the Territories were surrendered to the Commonwealth their citizens were disfranchised and were denied parliamentary representation for a considerable time.
In 1922 the Northern Territory was given representation in the Australian Parliament by one member in this chamber. He was not entitled to vote on any matter. In 1936 he was given the right to vote on a motion to disallow an ordinance affecting the Northern Territory. In 1959 he was given the further right to vote on any Bill which related solely to the Northern Territory. Whether or not a Bill was related solely to the Northern Territory was determined by the Presiding Officer or, if there was objection to the ruling of the Presiding Officer, by the House. In 1968 the member for the Northern Territory became entitled to vote on any matter. In my second reading speech on the Australian Capital Territory Representation (House of Representatives) Bill I recounted the history of representation of the Australian Capital Territory in the Australian Parliament. I shall not repeat it. The Australian Labor Party has struggled for years to give adequate and effective representation to both Territories. Lip service was given to this concept by members of the Opposition. They had the opportunity but took no action.
Honourable Members will recall the efforts of the late lamented Jim Fraser in this regard. We all recall the maiden speech of the distinguished Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) in this House. The Labor Party asserted its view that further representation for the Territories was long overdue when private, member Bills were introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) then Leader of the Opposition. These. Bills were taken to the second reading stage on 7 November 1968 and 20 August 1970. But the parties now in opposition would not allow these Bills to come to a vote. In his 1968 speech on the Territory Senators Bill the Prime Minister, as Leader of the Opposition, also pointed out that there is nothing unusual in having more members for the Senate than for the House of Representatives for any Territory. Tasmania and Western Australia at this stage have more senators than members in the House of Representatives and in 5 States in the United States, Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, Vermont and Wyoming, there is but one member of the House of Representatives although there must be 2 senators under the Constitution. Accordingly, this is not without precedent under the American Constitution on which our Constitution is based or under the Australian Constitution itself. The Prime Minister in presenting the Labor Party policy at the last Federal election made it clear that further representation would be given to the Territories if Labor were elected.
Honourable members will recall the maiden speech of the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) when he advocated appropriate recognition of the Territories. In 1970 when the private members Bill, proposed by the then Leader of the Opposition (the Territory Senators Bill) was debated in this House the then Minister for the Interior aside
I know that the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) is desirous of speaking. His name is on the list of speakers. He supports the view, that has been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition.
But of course the honourable member for the Northern Territory did not speak on the Bill - he was not allowed; it would have been embarrassing.
– How do you know?
– Because I was here. The then Minister for the Interior adverted to the matter in his speech on the Territory Senators Bill in 1970. He admitted that the question of representation was of little importance to the Government. He said:
The Leader of the Opposition has challenged me because, on the last occasion this subject was debated, in 1968, I do not think I had time actually to reach that conclusion.
The conclusion to which he was referring was the one reached in 1970 after 2 years of concentrated thought and no doubt with monumental single mindedness which he stated as follows:
While no formal decision has been taken in the matter it can be said that the Government, bearing in mind the provisions of Section 122 of the Constitution, favours the principle of providing representation for the Territory commensurate with its development and its population growth, but it considers that the present time is not appropriate to introduce senatorial representation for each Territory as proposed by the Bill.
The time is never appropriate for those who do not wish to move. Justice delayed is of course justice denied and yet it was in the Senate that action was taken by this Parliament which so profoundly affected the Territories.
The Prime Minister when debating the Territory Senators Bill in 1970 drew attention to the fact that there have been several motions in the Senate to disallow ordinances concerning the Territories and he listed a number of instances where such ordinances had been debated. There are committees in this Chamber dealing with the Northern Territory. There is a Joint Committee of the 2 Houses on the Australian Capital Territory, there is a Public Works Committee, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory Committees, Public Accounts Committee, Public Works Committee and many others. However, no senator from the Territories is here to sit on them although they are matters of vital importance. Is it not strange that there is not one elected representative of either Territory in the Senate to expound the case for the local inhabitants? Surely this is a situation which in all fairness must be corrected.
The provisions contained in this Bill are on similar lines to those proposed by the Prime Minister in the Territory Senators Bills introduced by him when Leader of the Opposition in 1968 and in 1970. The justification for the provision of senatorial representation for the Australian Capital Territory and for the Northern Territory was expounded by the Prime Minister on these occasions and such justification has continued to exist and to grow with the growth and the development of the 2 Territories. It is unthinkable that such significant parts of Australia are not represented in both Houses of the national Parliament. Since 1967 the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council has been pressing for Senate representation of the Australian Capital Territory. At its meeting on 1 1 December 1967 the following resolution was carried:
This Council advises the Minister that the Australian Capital Territory should be allowed representation in the Senate and seeks the Minister’s assurance that he will do everything possible to persuade the Government to introduce the necessary legislation in Parliament in order that citizens of this Territory are no longer denied adequate and proper Parliamentary representation.
The continuing development of the Australian Capital Territory and its high percentage population growth highlights the need for this Territory to be represented in both Houses. The Legislative Council of the Northern Territory has sought Senate representation for the Northern Territory on several occasions over many years. In 1969, the Legislative Council asked by resolution for the representation of the Northern Territory in the Senate by 2 senators. The Northern Territory, comprising an area of 520,280 square miles, is a vital part of Australia which should be represented in the Senate in addition to the representation of its people in the House of Representatives.
Before I deal with the main argument in support of the Bill I should perhaps refer to the position under the Constitution. Section 7 of the Constitution provides:
The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State directly chosen by the people of the State . . .
The Constitution further provides for an initial number of 6 senators but that the Parliament could make laws increasing or diminishing the number of senators for each State but that equal representation of the States was to be maintained and no original State could have less than 6 senators. The Constitution therefore provided for equality of State representation irrespective of the area or the population. Section 121 of the Constitution provides that:
The Parliament may admit to the Commonwealth or establish new States, and may upon such adminisMon or establishment make or impose such terms or conditions, including the extent of representation in either House of Parliament, as it thinks fit.
The Australian Parliament therefore could admit new States but was not required to accord equality with the original States.
But Section 122 of the Constitution is relevant to the question of representation of a Territory in the Federal Parliament. It provides that:
The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit
It is clearly permissive. It was therefore the clear intention of the founders of the Australian Constitution that Parliament should be empowered to permit representation of resi dents of the Territories of the Commonwealth in the National Parliament. It seems clear beyond doubt also that they recognised the injustice of disfranchising a person simply because he transferred from a State to a Territory of the Commonwealth.
I now refer briefly to a further section of the Constitution which is relevant to the Bill. Section 24 provides that:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by rae people of the Commonwealth, and the number of such members shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of senators.
The Bill before the House will increase the number of senators by 4 making a total of 64 senators in all. I mention here a very significant matter. On the basis of advice by the Commonwealth legal advisers, the provision for Territory senators by virtue of Section 122 of the Constitution does not cause an alteration in the number of members of the House of Representatives by virtue of Section 24. Therefore the 4 senators representing the Territories will be excluded in determining the number of members to be chosen in the several States, in pursuance of Section 10 of the Representation Act.
Having established the constitutionality of the measure, I would like to turn now to the reasons why it is necessary and desirable to extend representation in the Senate to the 2 Territories. Senate representation for the States is based on equal representation irrespective of population. While the number of people or the number of electors is not therefore a significant factor in Senate representation, the estimated population as at 30 September 1972 and the enrolment as at 27 April 1973 in respect of each State and Territory is as follows:
The population of each Territory is increasing at a much greater rate than the populations of the States but at the moment the only representation in the Australian Parliament of either Territory is one member in the House of Representatives with no representation in the Senate. On the latest information available from the National Capital Development Commission it has been assessed that the population of Canberra could reach the half million level between 1992 and 1996 and that a population of 600,000 at the year 2000 is feasible, based on a decreasing percentage growth rate.
In respect of the Northern Territory I am advised that the projected population for 1980 is assessed at 165,000 rising to 275,000 by 1990. These figures are those on which joint agreement has been reached between Government departments for planning purposes. Perhaps I might be permitted to quote the remarks of the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory when he made his maiden speech in this House on 20 August 1970. The honourable Kep Enderby said: lt is interesting to compare the situation in the Australian Capital Territory with the situation in Tasmania … as far as Tasmania is concerned it has approximately 3 times the population of the Australian Capital Territory. In terms of numbers on the electoral roll the proportion is probably the same . . . Tasmania has 10 senators, 5 members of the House of Representatives, 19 members of its Legislative Council and 35 members of its Legislative Assembly, making a total of 69 politicians representing Tasmania as compared with one member representing the Australian Capital Territory, an electorate of approximately one-third of its size.
The only good thing about that is that there is not one Country Party member among those representatives. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory continued:
In addition Tasmania has a system of local government. There is no local government or territorial government in the Australian Capital Territory. Territorial government in the Australian Capital Territory comes directly from and is the law-making power of the public servants and beyond the public servants of this House, and of the Senate by way of review. This is all the more reason for adequate and proper representation in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. There is no local government or state government equivalent in the Australian Capital Territory.
Need I say more than what the honourable member for the A.C.T. said then. The argument today is even more cogent. The residents of both Territories are people who in all respect are similar to those who reside in the States. In 1970 the Prime Minister described the Australian Capital Territory as:
The fastest growing, the youngest and in many ways the most affluent and best qualified electorate in Australia.
Honourable members will see this from its member. The then Prime Minister continued:
It is an electorate which, incidentally, should now have 2 representatives in this place as well as in the Senate, because there are many instances in this chamber where 2 members of the Country Party together represent no more persons, no more residents, than the Labor member of the Australian Capital Territory has to represent singlehanded.
This position still applies.
The people of both Territories pay taxes in accordance with the law. They are subject to the same laws but are not represented in the Senate where they are surely entitled to have presented to that House the views of the residents of their respective Territories. Again, because the Australian Parliament is responsible in the Territories for making laws in respect of matters reserved under the Constitution to the States, the Government should be answerable to both Houses of a Parliament each of which includes appropriate representation from the Territories. This Bill provides for representation for the Territories in the Senate in a manner different in extent and nature from the representation of the States in the Senate and as I pointed out, this difference is authorised by the Constitution. In particular, instead of having 10 senators for each Territory as there are for each State there will be 2 senators for each Territory.
Two senators are suggested because it would be proper to have an even number representing the Territories. If only one senator alone represented a Territory, almost certainly the one party would be represented for long periods. It is probable that both senators would belong to the same party. It would appear then to be more democratic to have an even number elected each time for each Territory thus following the pattern of the major parties providing that each would have a representative in the Senate. The term provided for each of these territorial senators is not 6 years, the constitutional period for state senators (except in the case of double dissolution - always likely to be on); the term for territory senators will be the life of the House of Representatives. The main difference in representation which the Bill provides for the Territories as distinct from the States is the term of office. The Constitution expressly provides requirements as to the terms of office for senators representing the States. The Constitution leaves it to this Parliament to determine the terms of office for senators representing the Territories.
The Government has adapted the method which was unanimously agreed to 15 years ago by the Constitutional Review Committee, upon which all parties in the House were represented. It was recommended by the Committee that the Constitution should be amended to provide that there should be an election for half the senators every time there is an election for the House of Representatives. The Committee believed that this would cut down the number of elections and so minimise the distraction of elections and the difference between the 2 Houses. The decision to bring the elections of territory senators into line with those of the House of Representatives is in accordance with the Constitutional Review Committee’s findings. Both senators will be elected every time there is a general election of the House of Representatives. So for the Territories there will be elections for both Houses of Parliament at the same time. When this Bill passes the Parliament, the writs will be issued for the elections of senators for the Territories concurrent with the next Senate general election or House of Representatives general election, whichever is the sooner. Thereafter all the senators for the Territories will retire at each House of Representatives election.
There is perhaps one further point to which 1 should refer. In the past, some honourable members have seen some inconsistency in the platform, constitution and rules approved by the Federal Conference of the Labor Party in Melbourne in 1969 and the attitude of the Government towards representation in the Senate. It is true that it is well established Labor policy to abolish the Senate. The Labor Governments view on this point was cogently presented by the Prime Minister when, as Leader of the Opposition, he spoke on the second reading of the Territory Senators Bill on 7 November 1968. He said: lt has been said quite correctly that the Australian Labor Party is in favour of the abolition of the Senate. One of the first planks to the Party’s platform provides for an amendment of the Constitution to abolish the Senate. This is one amendment of the Constitution which would require the support of a majority of the voters, not only in Australia as a whole and in a majority of the States, but in every State. Accordingly it would be a difficult amendment to carry … Be that as it may, the situation is that as long as this is a bicameral legislature, in the name of democracy and decency people throughout the nation should have a vote for both chambers. Everyone is subject to the laws and therefore everyone ought to have a vote to choose the members of each House of Parliament which makes the laws.
As importantly, the Government believes that this legislation goes far towards achieving the basic principles of the Labor Party’s platform on constitutional matters which reads as follows:
The restoration of Parliament as the principal organ of democracy and social and economic change, the maintenance of effective Parliamentary supervision over the administration. The adaption of procedures and privileges of Parliaments and their committees to contemporary standards of efficiency and justice.
I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Ian Robinson) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Daly, and read a first time.
– I move:
The main purpose of this Bill is to amend the formula in the Representation Act under which the number of members of the House of Representatives is determined. Section 24 of the Constitution provides, in part:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth, and the number of such members shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of senators.
Section 24 further provides that the number of members chosen in the several States shall be in proportion to the respective numbers of their people and the section goes on to specify the manner in which that number is to be determined until the Parliament otherwise provides. As honourable members will know, Parliament has otherwise provided in the Representation Act. A short time ago I introduced the Senate (Representation of Territories) Bill which provides for senatorial representation for the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The Government’s legal advice is that section 24 of the Constitution does not have application in relation to senators who may be provided for a Territory under the provisions of section 122 of the Constitution. In other words, the requirement contained in section 24 for the number of members of the House of Representatives to be as nearly as practicable twice the number of senators does not relate to Territory members or senators provided under section 122 of the Constitution. Furthermore, ‘the people of the Commonwealth’ in the context of section 24 are the people of the States.
The formula in section 10 of the Representation Act for determining the number of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in the several States, sets out that a quota shall be ascertained by dividing the number of people of the Commonwealth by twice the number of senators. The number of members to be chosen in each State is determined by dividing the number of people of the State by the quota; and if on such division there is a remainder, one more member shall be chosen in the State. Clause 3 of the Bill before the House makes it clear that in applying the formula provided in section 10 the people of the Commonwealth’ are the people of the 6 States and do not include the people of any Territory.
Clause 5 of the Bill which substitutes the words ‘the Senators for the States* for the word ‘Senators’, makes it clear that Territory senators are excluded from the formula for determining the number of members of the House of Representatives to be chosen in the several States. Thus, consistently with section 24 of the Constitution, the introduction of Territory senators will not affect the representation of the States in the House of Representatives.
Opportunity is being taken in clauses 4 and 6 of the Bill to make some amendments of a formal nature to sections 7 and 13 of the Representation Act. The present provisions of these sections do not take into account the fact that one House of the Parliament may be sitting although the other is not. At the same time it is desirable to bring the period within which regulations are to be tabled under subsection (2) of section 13 into line with the period of 15 sitting days provided by the Acts Interpretation Act in relation to regulations generally. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate ton motion by Mr Ian Robinson) adjourned.
– by leave - Early this afternoon I introduced an amendment to the Broadcasting and Television BUI in association with the
Social Services Bill (No. 3), and in rather grievous error addressed myself to the last clause alone of the amending Bill. Unfortunately the preceding clauses dealt with entirely different matters to the last one, namely rates of remuneration to the Chairman and members of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. What I did of course was done in error and I have assiduously spent the afternoon looking for someone to blame - a fruitless task for neither volunteer nor conscript would come forward. But I must come to the point, for when people are once in the wrong each line they add is much too long.
As I said this afternoon the purpose of the Bill referred to is to complete the provisions of the Social Services Bill (No. 3) by providing for concessional rate broadcast listener’s and television viewer’s licences to supporting mothers. This Bill amends the definition of pensioner in section 128 of the Broadcasting and Television Act to include persons who are in receipt of a supporting mothers benefit, thus enabling them to partake of the concessions.
The Bill also takes the opportunity to amend the Act in respect of the rates of remuneration payable to the Chairman and other full time members of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and to the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The rates of remuneration fixed by sections 11 and 43 for the Chairman and other full time members of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and for the General Manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission have been superseded by rates fixed by the Remuneration and Allowances Act 1973, which received the royal assent on 1 April 1973. It is therefore necessary to include in this Bill 2 clauses to amend those sections. These clauses are expressed to come into operation on royal assent. In other words, clauses 2 and 3 make no change in the salaries but merely bring the Broadcasting and Television Bill into line with the Remuneration and Allowances Act. I think that we are all entitled to make a mistake - at least once.
– Mr Speaker, I take it that the necessary formalities have been covered.
– They have been covered. The debate on the Broadcasting the Television Bill was adjourned earlier today.
– Despite the fact that certain things were left out earlier, there is no doubt that the whole matter will be covered in future debate?
– A slight error occurred earlier today.
– I move:
Mr Speaker, the Customs Tariff Proposals which I have just tabled relate to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff to implement the Government’s acceptance of a recommendation by the Special Advisory Authority on industrial type plastic coated knitted gloves. The changes operate from tomorrow.
The Special Advisory Authority found that emergency action is warranted to protect the Australian industry manufacturing industrial gloves coated with artificial plastic material in relation to imports of complete coated gloves and of liners and other parts used in the manufacture of the complete gloves.
He recommended a temporary additional duty of 20c per pair on gloves of the industrial type that are coated or covered with artificial plastic material. On uncoated liners used for making plastic coated industrial gloves he recommended a temporary additional duty of 27) per cent. These temporary duties are additional to the 12) per cent applying under the General Tariff and the free rate applying under the Preferential Tariff.
The proposals also include 2 changes of an administrative nature to bring tariff classification of certain terpene alcohols and room deodorisers into line with the Brussels Nomenclature. No changes of duty are involved. I commend the proposals.
Debate (on motion by Mr Ian Robinson) adjourned.
– Mr Speaker, pursuant to statute I present the report of the Special Advisory Authority on industrial type plastic coated knitted gloves.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Motion (by Mr Morrison) - by leave - agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent (a) the Papua New Guinea Bill and the Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Bill being presented forthwith and read a first time together and one motion being moved without delay and one question being put in regard to, respectively, the second readings, the Committee’s report stage and the third readings of the 2 Bills together, and (b) the consideration of the Bills in one Committee of the Whole.
Bills presented by Mr Morrison, and together read a first time.
- i move:
That the Bills be now read a second time.
The purpose of this legislation is to give effect to a series of decisions reached jointly with the Government of Papua New Guinea. These are to transfer responsibility for the Public Service and for auditing the accounts of Papua New Guinea to local executive authority, to implement the recommendations of a report on the future of overseas officers in the Public Service and to make minor amendments to the description of Papua New Guinea in conformity with the terms of the border agreement between Australia and Indonesia signed in February 1973.
There are 2 Bills involved. One is to amend the Papua New Guinea Act. The amendments proposed have 4 objectives. Firstly, they will remove the power of the Minister for External Territories under section 30 to appoint officers and engage persons on contract for the Public Service, thus enabling Papua New Guinea to legislate to develop its own national public service - an essential authority for a country approaching full selfgovernment and independence. Secondly, they will repeal section 30a, which guarantees the payment of certain benefits for overseas officers. This section will be superfluous with the passage of the Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Bill, to which I will refer later. Thirdly, the amendments provide for the cessation of Australian responsibility for auditing the accounts of Papua New Guinea. In this regard it will be noted that the transfer of responsibility is to apply to accounts in respect of transactions occurring after a date to be fixed by proclamation. This will retain authority for the Australian Auditor-General to complete his final audit, and enable the Papua New Guinea Auditor to commence his responsibilities at the beginning of an appropriate financial period. Fourthly, the amendments will give effect to certain provisions of the border agreement between Australia and Indonesia signed earlier this year. The agreement provides for the recognition of the 14 border markers erected by a joint IndonesianAustralian border survey team in 1966-67. The amendments to the descriptions of the Territories of Papua and of New Guinea are in accordance with the Agreement, concluded with the concurrence of the Papua New Guinea Administrator’s Executive Council and signed on behalf of Australia by the Chief Minister of Papua New Guinea. It provides that the boundary is to lie along the geodetic lines linking the border markers except where the border follows the course of the Fly River.
I now turn to the Bill titled the Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Bill. This Bill is complementary to the proposed amendments to the Papua New Guinea Act and is designed to come into operation on the date on which responsibility for the Public Service is transferred to the Papua New Guinea Government. At the present time there are some 5,000 permanent and contract overseas officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service and the Police Force who were appointed as permanent officers or engaged on contract by the Minister for External Territories. The Papua New Guinea Government has indicated that it wants to retain the services of many of these officers and that it sees a continuing need for staff from Australia for some years beyond independence. The Australian Government has given an undertaking to Papua New Guinea that the help of Australians will be available for as long as that help is needed and desired. The Papua New
Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Bill provides the framework under which this may be accomplished and gives effect to the recommendations of a report on the future employment security of overseas officers in the Public Service.
The report on employment security arrangements sprang from an independent inquiry into the employment security of overseas officers and the provision of future staff by Australia. The inquiry was set up by the previous Government in August last year and was carried out by Mr A. M. Simpson, C.M.G., a leading Adelaide businessman. His report was accepted in principle by both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments and was published. Copies are available from the Parliamentary Library. The Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Bill, in giving effect to the Simpson recommendations, reflects a decision taken jointly by Papua New Guinea and the former Australian Government and endorsed by the present Australian Government. Its provisions will result in major changes to the existing framework under which the Australian Government provides staff for Papua New Guinea.
Under the Bill permanent and contract overseas officers and temporary overseas employee superannuation fund contributors in the Public Service and the Police Force, and staff of the Electricity Commission of Papua New Guinea who are supperannuation contributors, will be separated from their respective Papua New Guinea services and will become part of an Australian Staffing Assistance group. The persons in this group will not be members of the national Public Service of Papua New Guinea and they will not compete with local officers for promotion within that service. They will however be made available to occupy and carry out the duties of established positions in the Papua New Guinea national Public Service and in other areas of public employment until there are Papua New Guineans available to fill these positions and their services are no longer required. Their employment under the Australian staffing assistance legislation will then cease and they will eventually rejoin the Australian work force. The Commonwealth Teaching Service will shortly be recruiting teachers for service in Papua New Guinea and for the period of that service they will form part of the Australian staffing assistance group. Similarly, staff seconded from other areas of Australian public employment will also serve in the group in line with Australia’s undertaking to provide continuing staffing assistance to Papua New Guinea. The Bill provides for the prescribing by regulation of the terms and conditions of service and the superannuation, retirement and employment security benefits of the overseas officers who will make up the staffing assistance group. Removal of these matters from Papua New Guinea legislation and their prescription under Australian legislation will meet the assurances given to these officers by the Australian Government that their terms and conditions of service would not be altered without the consent of the Australian Government. The Australian Government will, therefore, as part of its aid program be accepting full and direct responsibility for the cost and payment of the remuneration and other benefits of employees in the staffing assistance group.
Other changes recommended by Mr Simpson relate to employment security arrangements for employees in the staffing assistance group. Modifications will be made to the employment security scheme for permanent overseas officers to update its benefits in line with rising costs since 1966 and to provide officers with certain options as to pensions, compensation or alternative employment on premature termination of their careers. A scheme of compensation for premature termination of contracts of employment made by the Minister under the Papua New Guinea Act will also be introduced. These matters will be prescribed by regulation. The Bill itself is designed to provide the basic framework under which the Simpson recommendations may be given effect. Pending the introduction of regulations prescribing terms and conditions of employment it provides for the continuation of the relevant provisions of appropriate Papua New Guinea Ordinances and the regulations and determinations made thereunder. In so far as superannuation, retirement and employement security benefits are concerned the Bill continues certain provisions in the existing Papua New Guinea law and preserves the continuity of pensions and the rights of contributors. The regulations to be made by the Governor-General will provide the detailed mechanism necessary for the effective administration of the Act, and will set out the terras and conditions of employment and other benefits available to persons to be absorbed into the Australian staffing assistance group. It is essential that the provi sions of the Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Bill and the necessary regulations to be made thereunder become operative on the date on which responsibility for the Public Service is transferred to the Papua New Guinea Government. This is scheduled for 1 August 1973. The Papua New Guinea Government is proceeding with complementary Papua New Guinea legislation to establish a national public service and the object is that both the Australian and Papua New Guinea legislation will commence concurrently. I commend the Bills to the House.
– These Bills are most important pieces of legislation. Without any false modesty may I say that, as with so many recent matters relating to Papua New Guinea’s movement to self-government, these Bill formalise in the main decisions reached during my period as Minister for External Territories. It could hardly be expected therefore that the Opposition would oppose the legislation. Indeed, so far as the former Government was concerned, both Liberal and Country parties in Cabinet accepted the matters contained in these Bills with the exception of the border agreement between Indonesia and Australia. But there the guidelines had been set; in fact, we had been hopeful of bringing that matter to fruition but we were unable to do so.
What is a more important reason for our support is that there was acknowledgment by the Australian Government of the importance of the need for Papua New Guinea to have the transfer of this responsibility made as soon as possible. During 1972 the then Australian Government and the Papua New Guinea Government decided jointly to transfer responsibility. Inter alia, the decisions on the matters before us covered, firstly, the transfer of the responsibility for the Papua New Guinea Public Service and the Public Service aspects of statutory authorities from the Minister for External Territories to local executive authority by August 1973; secondly, the implementation of the recommendations by Mr Moxon Simpson on arrangements appropriate for the employment security of overseas officers in the Papua New Guinea Public Service; and, thirdly, the transfer of the AuditorGeneral’s function in respect of Papua New Guinea to a Papua New Guinea AuditorGeneral.
In the short time to which I have agreed to confine my remarks I want to speak particularly about the Simpson report. The problem of employment security for overseas officers was long drawn out, to say the least. At some stages it appeared to be impossible to resolve. Last year, when Cabinet endorsed my suggestion that Mr Simpson should be appointed to conduct a full scale, independent inquiry into both the employment security of overseas officers and the provision of future staff by Australia, I suspect - indeed, I was told - that few people other than the officers in the Department of External Territories and myself believed that Mr Simpson would be successful in recommending acceptable and appropriate solutions. However, Mr Simpson handled the matter thoroughly, expeditiously and perceptively. His report was endorsed by all concerned and speaks volumes for the outstanding service that he rendered to both governments. I commend to honourable members the reading of the copies of the report which the Minister for External Territories (Mr Morrison) has made available. They will see in the earlier part of the report the matters with which Mr Simpson had to wrestle and the essential criteria that he adopted.
In clause 31 of his report at page 20 he says:
In my recommendations I have tried to balance equitably the following needs:
for Papua New Guinea to be able to retain a solid core of experienced overseas permanent and contract officers until independence, and thereafter;
for Papua New Guinea to be able to dispense on just terms with the services of overseas officers when they are no longer needed because of localisation, constitutional development or other reasons;
to provide overeas officers with just compensation for any loss of career or premature termination of services as a result of Papua New Guinea’s rapid progress towards selfgovernment and independence;
to provide overseas officers, both permanent and contract, with clear information on which to plan their future and, in particular, to assure them by appropriate Commonwealth legislation that the financial inducements to them to continue to serve in Papua New Guinea will in fact be met; and
to consider the ability of Papua New Guinea to meet the financial liabilities under the employment security arrangements which I consider should be made as a result of my inquiry.
In the whole process of the transfer of legislation and administrative functions to Papua New Guinea, probably no single matter occupied quite as much time as this. Its importance has not been lost on the present Govern ment, which has accepted the decisions we reached last year.
In endeavouring to alleviate the difficulties and uncertainties faced by the expatriate officers in Papua New Guinea, it was necessary for Mr Simpson to balance a number of needs, which I have just quoted. He did this admirably. The principal change that he proposed is the separation of the permanent and overseas contract officers from the Papua New Guinea Public Service, deeming them to be employees of the Australian Government for as long as their services are required in Papua New Guinea. Thus their terms and conditions of service, superannuation and retirement benefits and employment security arrangements will be covered by Australian legislation. Many of Mr Simpson’s proposals flowed from that basic change and are included in the legislation that has been presented to the House. Naturally, the cost of these proposals is high, but it must be borne in mind that much of the expense is involved in contingent liabilities which the Australian Government would have had to meet in any case - that is, for the previously existing retirement benefits, fares and removal expenses and payments for pro rata leave. As I recall, Mr Simpson’s own words in this connection were: “The whole exercise amounts to paying out the present value of an already existing future liability’. Fortunately, Cabinet accepted the advice that Mr Simpson gave in that regard.
I have indicated how valuable Mr Moxom Simpson’s report was to me as Minister. I also wish to record the dedicated and seemingly endless work so tirelessly carried out on a project of this enormity by the officers of the Department of External Territories. With selfgovernment formally occurring on 1 December 1973, or at least as soon as possible thereafter, and with the undertaking to transfer the Public Service in August, it is essential that this legislation, so thoroughly reviewed before today, be passed without delay. If Mr Simpson’s report had not been supported by the previous Government and endorsed by the present Government, I am certain that Papua New Guinea would have been totally unable to deal with emergency situations such as last year’s famine or with the extensive program for selfgovernment and independence. I know that at the time we received the report both the Chief Minister and the Administrator shared this view with me.
The legislation dealing with overseas officers represents a more than fair response to an independent inquiry and a report which was both comprehensive and sound. It has gone a long way towards restoring confidence and morale among overseas officers. Whilst the Papua New Guinea Government’s policy is and must be to localise these officers as rapidly as possible, the legislation allows and encourages such officers to continue serving for as long as their services are needed by Papua New Guinea. Australia, as well as Papua New Guinea, owes these officers a great debt. This legislation provides for them to continue in the full knowledge that their conditions and benefits are assured. It is the very least that we could do. As I said, it is a fair response to the very real difficulties faced by expatriate officers.
In regard to the transfer of audit functions to the Papua New Guinea Auditor-General to be appointed, I have nothing further to say other than that the previous Government had agreed to this transfer. Also, the border agreement commenced some years ago with the markers being laid. I think the Minister said that it was in 1966-67. It is symptomatic of the friendly ties between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea which brought about a successful agreement earlier this year. Finally, I want to refer to the movement in Papua New Guinea to self-government and independence. I have spoken frequently yet briefly on the sensitivity of this movement. Honourable members know the feeling I have about the transitional stage which Papua New Guinea has been reaching. I recognise, as I have said in this Parliament before, that there will be strains and stresses, but I hope that they will be kept to a minimum.
I have also mentioned in the House before the matter of the Papua New Guinea national airline agreement. Having criticised the Government for the manner in which this matter was handled, I am glad to say that the Government reassessed the situation and reappraised its own duty and the fact that it had not executed that duty properly. I commend the Ministers for the agreement that was reached at the weekend on the future airline for Papua New Guinea. Communications are an important element in the development of Papua New Guinea. Quite apart from that, the development of an airline is important to any emerging country and we should have met the requests of Papua New Guinea earlier than we did and adopted a different manner in our approach to negotiations. At any event, a change in attitude occurred last weekend on the part of the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones). I commend the Minister and particularly the Minister for External Territories on reaching a successful conclusion to that agreement. We support the Bills.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bills together read a second time.
Leave granted for third readings to be moved forthwith.
Bills (on motion by Mr Morrison) together read a third time.
Debate resumed from 15 May (vide page 2147), on motion by Dr Patterson:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Bills before the House amend the principal Wool Industry Act and declare the necessary provisions to incorporate financial arrangements for wool promotion, research and the cost of administering the Australian Wool Corporation in 1973-74. lt has been decided to continue the involvement of the Government in this matter for one year only rather than the expected triennium so that the feasibility of longer term commitments by the Government can be examined. As a former economic research officer on wool marketing I am of the definite opinion that research programs must be given a longer guarantee than the present 3 years and that assessment of the value of promotion of wool must be looked at critically and constructively. The years 1971 and 1972 saw the loss of many scientists and research officers in the rural industries where research was dependent on industry funds. It is important that the skills and services of such highly qualified people be fully utilised and that the future of such people be given a greater degree of stability.
There has been criticism that the Government should not have raised the level of wool growers’ contribution by one per cent but the tax will be now at the same level as in 1970-71. The Commonwealth contribution last year amounted to $27m and I know of no other industry where this sort of money is spent on promotion by the Government. It is equivalent to the amount spent on the subsidisation or stabilisation of the entire Australian dairy industry. Forms of primary production that I was engaged in raised all promotional funds from the farmers themselves. If estimates of the receipts for wool for the present season hold, the wool cheque will be more than double that of last year. It will be the second highest cheque on record even with a staggering drop of one million bales in supply and the receipts of many individual wool growers are quadruple that of last season’s depending on what time in the season they sold.
I was delighted the other night to meet a friend from the electorate of Wannon who received an average of 300c per kilo for his wool this year, compared to an average of 75c last year. Although some organisations have expressed concern at the Government’s move all growers I have spoken to can see the reason for our action in asking growers to contribute partially to the promotion of their own product. Given that wool will continue to possess a diminishing percentage share of the world textile market - and hereby will be subject to continuous fluctuations in price - and given that it will probably always be feasible for government to place a floor price under the market and given that it will be near impossible for government to place a ceiling on the market price I believe that most growers appreciate the need partially to finance promotion and research in the industry’s interests.
The only thing that can be said with a degree of certainty about wool prices is that they have been and will continue to be random. We know something of the factors governing demand but the best description of future market behaviour is that as fashion is one of the major parameters, the future demand may ultimately be given by the whims of the weather and the woman’s mind. As fluctuations in price will continue it seems to me that it would be better for government to guarantee a percentage of promotion and research funds and to adjust its further contribution according to the fluctuations in the contributions of the producers, and it seems to me that this should occur in definitional terms for periods of 5 years. It may be appropriate to make a few comments on price projections for wool. The projection for wool prices involves 2 main operations: (a) the determination of the quantitative structure relationship within the market and measurement from historical data of the impact of various supply and demand influences on wool prices; and (b) the projection to the future of the changes in this structure and in these influences and the consequent calculations of the net impact of these changes on price. Research has analysed many aspects of the world market for wool and has identified many of the major elements influencing changes in the level of wool prices. Most work has centred on attempting to quantify the impact on wool prices and changes in factors such as wool supply and demand influences, tastes, population, competition from substitute fibres, industrial activity, size of wool stocks, movement in future markets for tops, end use of fibres, inter fibre competition, wool industries in consuming countries and aspects of the international wool trade including such matters as the United States tariff.
More sophisticated econometric studies have also recently been carried out but no matter how sophisticated and general in coverage all projections of price suffer from a number of limitations. As a result any price prediction of the world wool market must inevitably include a substantial component of subjective assessment and this all probably boils down to the simple fact that the market is still so complex as to defy accurate analysis due to the demand for wool being a derived demand and that wool as a durable industrial raw material typically undergoes a long and complicated manufacturing process. Some work has been done on the value of wool promotion to the industry but I am still not convinced that we are spending wisely, and this view is shared by many in the industry. I often think that money spent on marketing research would pay greater dividends than promotion and that the promotional budget thereby could be better spent in this way. It is all right to say that people now recognise the wool mark but recognition is no guarantee of a desire or ability to purchase. Perhaps a pair of socks for every Chinese is more important than for wool to be identified with high fashion. In the current period of high wool prices it well may be valid to say that promotional money is being wasted. Although this situation is difficult to avoid, given the need for an ongoing program there does seem some need to ensure that surpluses arising out of increased industry contributions due to a rising market in one year should not simply be spent for the sake of advertising. Such funds would be better placed in reserve for the next annual budget and mention of this matter has been made by the Minister for Northern Development (Dr Patterson) in introducing these Bills.
The Bills of course are part of the decisions of government with respect to the wool industry which are of a continuous and parallel nature in adapting to the changing rate of innovation or possibly the opportunities for innovation in the industry. For too long innovation was stymied by just about every group within the industry - growers, brokers, buyers, rural organisations and governments and a vast system of alibis developed whereby each group blamed the other for lack of progress. As a former public servant I will not betray information gleaned by virtue of my job other than to say that I was often sympathetic to the problems of the Ministers of the day in trying to effect change but at other times very critical of them and other groups within the industry. The collapse of wool prices in 1971-72 coupled with the disastrous drought made growers and buyers very much aware of the need for change, and this plus the spur of private buying induced the brokers to accelerate adaptation, innovation, and flexibility in selling systems based largely on objective measurement. Flexibility or choice must remain at the core of the wool selling systems but even with accurate specification of all wool parameters the auction system, to my mind, has a fair way to go before it can be totally replaced. The current situation of the world wool shortage points to the advantages of auction whereby scarce supplies of wool can be allocated to the world requiring it. The Australian Wool Corporation is the most powerful organisation the industry has ever had by way of a marketing authority. It has the power to acquire the clip given the concurrence of all State governments. Although I critically contest the past Government’s action in appointing the board of the Corporation immediately prior to the election and although critical of some decisions since, particularly with respect to testing contracts and the relationship to IWTO, I believe that the strength of the Corporation will ultimately depend on the strength of the administrative divisions within it and the quality of its advice and research. Now that it has the power, it is no sense running to government or the industry through the Australia Wool Industry Con ference every time it has a problem. This is only getting back to the alibi approach and the situation whereby previous governments could fob off decisions.
The Corporation will soon be making some specific recommendations on marketing and a broader statement of desirable goals. The Corporation is still a very conservative organisation. I can see little by way of a specific recommendation to Government other than with respect to a lot building plan. It is this and other unknowns in the market that lead me to believe that the Corporation does not currently have the desire or the ability to acquire the entire clip and that as far as acquisition is concerned that it should proceed in stages, possibly voluntarily, where technical feasibility is present giving proven cost benefits to growers and where the Corporation can back its buying with confident marketing techniques.
Acquisition, if seen as feasible in all ways can be gradually introduced and to my mind gradual introduction would be way ahead of premature action. But ‘gradual’ could mean only a couple of years. Objective measurement has proved to be a catalyst within the industry, and even if the potential cost savings were not great it is essential for rationalisation of the industry in specifying its product on rational, modern and scientific criteria. There is need in Australia for an independent standards laboratory or authority so that at all times buyer confidence in the accuracy of wool specification can be maintained. It was my pleasure to work in several areas of experimentation with respect to objective measurement and, despite the tactics of some brokers to protect what they saw as their legitimate commercial interest, their co-operation in the main was excellent. Large firms such as Elder Smith Goldsbrough Mort Ltd, Dalgety Australia Ltd and Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Co. Ltd, and smaller firms such as Grazcos Co-op Ltd, and the Southern Farmers organisation were a pleasure to work with and it is good to see that they are now innovating and seeking to provide flexibility in marketing systems.
All Queensland wool will be sold on certificate in Sydney in the coming season. Interlotting is being carried out between brokers in the Brisbane centre and many of the co-operative brokers have combined to provide more efficient services to the grower.
The firm Economic Wool Producers continues to experiment widely and innovate. It has introduced a computer sale by tender system and has shipped from other than the main ports. Grazcos and Compagnie d’Importation de Laines in Western Australia are handling bulk classed wools by more efficient mechanical means and various systems are being tried with respect to lot building. There are moves to amalgamate the rehandling facilities of all firms in each of the storage centres. Although there are still many problems associated with lot building by visual appraisal, the development of portable sonic fineness wool testing equipment will facilitate objective appraisal. I believe that the results of a recent trial at Goulburn have been most encouraging. If driers of wool samples are in situ, a fineness tester will be able to give results within half an hour, lot building will be extremely rapid and the cost will be cut. It is in these areas of wool handling that acquisition - that is ‘acquisition’ defined as where there would be typing on receival, valuation and 100 per cent payment in a short period, of, say 3 weeks - is both technically feasible and economically desirable. Lot building in some recent trials in Western Australia has increased the average lot size from 5i bales to 14 bales with 35 per cent of wool being able to be interlotted Experimental results have been much higher.
There is still a lot of work to be done on the transportation, handling and storage of wool. There may still be one problem with respect to feasibility inasmuch as lot batches may limit the flexibility of mills, but I doubt whether this will be a major problem. The potential for economies in regional handling, transport and storage has not yet been fully explored although the Bureau of Transport Economics did one study and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics has some work in hand. The mention of the port of Portland and its difficulties prompts me to state that I consider that this port should be more closely examined for the shipment of large parcels of wool, a necessary precondition for the calling of a ship. There are approximately 560,000 bales of wool produced in an area surrounding Portland which is closer to Portland than to the Adelaide or to Geelong-Melbourne markets. Wool is mainly sent to Melbourne from this district due to the situation of continuous sales. With objective measurement this would not apply. Regional handling in other centres depends on economics and/or the accounting techniques used by existing broker firms but the picture is less clear than it is at Portland where I think a real opportunity exists. The honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) took the opportunity to make several statements on the Government’s rural and general policies, I think for political purposes to feed the rural Press with alarmist statements. He has alleged hostility where there is only an attempt at a balanced approach. He has spoken of doctrinaire outsidetheParty views as having influence when the opposite is the fact. The previous Government relied almost entirely on Public Service advice, despite the claim of the Country Party, whereas in this Government it is the members who are given every opportunity to discuss the options before Cabinet. I resent the fact that the Opposition should cast so many aspersions on the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) because he is a senator. The former Government had Senate Cabinet members and to criticise the Minister on these grounds is petty and shows contempt for the Senate. I do not want to be accused of dragging politics into this House of all places, but it may be of relevance to point out to the situation that we have inherited. The rural scene was not perfect despite the presence of a specialist party in Government. Nor could it really have been expected to be so. There are short term problems and long term problems in agriculture that bedevil all governments. But clearly some measures in the past have not worked and need to be reexamined.
It is natural that with a change of government every group in the industry wishes to consult the Minister and ask for a definitive statement. Once the general priorities, assumptions and studies have been done the Government can map out its outline. However, this is not to say that industry leaders have not been able to see the Minister. He has made it one of this main purposes to see as many national organisations as possible. What the Government inherited in many areas was a series of patch-up jobs caused by he need to act either in a crisis situation or as a result of other pressures. The previous Government was committed to measures with respect to retraining and reconstruction but many of the 8,600 farmers and their families who left the land over the 5 years up to 1971-72 were virtually forced off their land. Retraining schemes have been virtually useless. The percentage contribution of rural industries to the gross national product has been dropping and was down to 5.9 per cent of the gross farm product in 1971-72, and the percentage of Government support has been rising and represented 18 per cent of total farm income in 1971-72. But happily in some rural industries this situation has changed. The reason why blacksmiths and real estate agents do not receive Government assistance is because they can manage without socialistic subsidies. 1 am pleased that the honourable member for Wannon still says that self help is the best way today.
We claim no great credit but the weather has got a lot better since December, the drought has broken, wool and beef prices have risen dramatically and the prospects for wheat have never been brighter. There was a lot of talk of revaluation compensation and allegations were made that the Government had departed from the principle of compensation for demonstrable and unavoidable losses due to currency movements. However, the critics conveniently forget the fact that after the 1971 devaluation of the United States dollar the then Prime Minister, now the right honourable member for Lowe (Mr McMahon), made it clear that the dicey system of compensation was out and would be replaced by assistance for industries in difficulties. This is similar to the method we have adopted. In this period of fairly frequent exchange rate alterations it is not feasible to keep up a system of compensation based on rough arithmetic. lt would not only be costly but also endless. The Government believes that the best method is by helping industries in difficulty to adjust to market realities, and that industries enjoying sound returns should be able to bear the consequences. Compensation of the applicable percentage would have had little effect on net grower returns given the return to profitability. To have considered such a small percentage of the total economy as the reason for not revaluing would have been reckless and would have caused even higher rates of inflation.
Much has also been said about rural reconstruction money being cut in half. When rural reconstruction was commenced in 1971-72, the aim was to provide SI 00m to the States over 4 years, but in 1972-73 it was decided to pay the full amount in only 2 years. We do not dispute the wisdom of this, because the conditions were at a crisis point. When the scheme commenced and into the second year, prices were low, costs were rising, drought was widespread and credit was difficult to obtain. When Labor this year committed S36m to rural reconstruction for 1973-74, the situation was very different. Prices were rising strongly, especially for wool and meat - more than 80 per cent of applicants for rural reconstruction are in the sheep, wheat and sheep and beef areas - the drought had broken and credit was much easier to obtain from commercial sources. In addition, applications for assistance under the scheme had declined significantly, especially for debt reconstruction. This was a reflection of improved conditions in the rural sector where incomes have been rising strongly in 1972-73.
Part of the problem of reconstruction is that each State agency is semi-autonomous. I have a lot of sympathy for the position of New South Wales; but if that State had spread applications at an even rate until June 1973, as promised by the New South Wales Minister for Lands to the past Government, or if the average amount granted per farmer had been able to be a little less, more assistance could have been given to more farmers. lt is not competent for this Government to say how the State agencies should determine the allocation of moneys, but some people are saying that New South Wales may have been too generous in paying off hard core debts. As I understand it, the New South Wales Minister did not ask for an increased percentage of the funds but simply for more funds. If he wanted $22m for New South Wales, then some $72m would have had to be advanced-
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Luchetti) Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I find myself in agreement with much of what the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Kerin) said. Of course, in the wool industry there has been a remarkable transformation from the deplorable state of impoverty that faced everyone - not only the wool industry but also every other sector - only 2 years ago. More than any other agricultural commodity, wool is fundamental to agriculture in Australia. For a long time we have been told that Australia has ridden on the sheep’s back. We have seen Australia develop not peculiarly because of the income earned from wool but predominantly because wool is a commodity which is part of nearly every farm and part of every primary production budget in the major part of Australia’s rural sector.
This means that, in terms of the buoyancy of the industry, most farmers are affected to a greater or lesser degree by their wool cheque. It is therefore important that we take note of the changes that have taken place in the wool industry. To those 2 supporters of the Labor Government who were officers of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and are now members of the House, I think it should be said that they served the people and the wool growers far better in their former role than they do as parliamentarians. I think it is necessary that there be, within the services available to government, a reservoir of knowledge which constantly prods the system in order to generate a new approach.
The wool industry itself, probably more than any other sector, has been essentially conservative because it has been such an important income generator and because, until recent years, it was said with some validity that irrespective of the quantity of wool produced there would be no real difficulty in selling wool. Only in the last 18 months have people come to accept that there are factors which need to be taken into account in relation to the production of wool - factors which relate to synthetic substitutes, fashion trends and trends in the costs of different styles of producing different types of end fabric, all of which affect the salability of wool.
The things that I want to say to this House in regard to this Bill relate, firstly, to what I see as a very necessary momentum for change which will be fundamental if the industry is to survive. Of course, this relates not only to competition from synthetics but also to the entire traditional way in which wool has been marketed and the way in which the wool industry looks on itself. It is necessary that the chain between the fibre on the sheep’s back and the fibre as it appears in the suits, the fashion goods, or whatever the end products might be that are seen by the consumer, be modified to meet the escalating costs which, unfortunately, have eroded considerably the past profitability of the industry.
Wool is a product which, fortunately, through its own inherent or natural properties, has been able to regain its primacy as a textile fibre. But it is no use relying just on that in the future. Objective measurement techniques and changed methods of shearing and of handling wool at every stage will be increasingly necessary if wool is to remain competitive. The Bill before us tonight fortunately provides - albeit for the short term of one year - additional funds which will enable, at the stage of promoting the finished product, increased funds to be made available to enable the International Wool Secretariat to continue to operate.
It has been true that, over the last few years, a great deal has been said in criticism of the existing institutions within the wool industry. I deplore the statements that have been made by some honourable members opposite, particularly the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Whan), regarding the constitution of the Australian Wool Corporation. The Corporation was generated out of a very real need to change the past patterns of marketing the wool clip. Regrettably, in making the appointments to the Australian Wool Corporation it was not possible to appoint the personnel to the Corporation as early as I, as Minister for Primary Industry in the previous Government, might have liked. The reason for that was simply that the availability of the man who we hoped might have been managing director of the Australian Wool Corporation was dependent on a meeting of the International Wool Secretariat and the appointments of the other members of the Corporation were dependent on the availability of the man who now has been nominated as full time chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation. I refer to Mr Alf Maiden, who is about to take up his appointment.
The Australian Wool Corporation represents an amalgam of the Australian Wool Board and the body known as the Australian Wool Commission. It is obvious that a body representing the wool industry in the promotion sense and a body representing the wool industry in the marketing sense must have many areas where there is a common bond. That common bond covered a whole field of administrative detail and it was utter nonsense to maintain 2 organisations when a total marketing concept was forced on the industry in order to achieve the cost savings in the areas to which I referred a while ago and in the areas of objective measurement and changed selling techniques of which the honourable member for Eden-Monaro was a pioneer. It is a great pity that a reflection has been cast not only on the Australian Wool Corporation but also on the integrity of individual persons who have been appointed to that body. Those allegations are completely unjustified. Regarding the appointment of those men, I can assure this House and the Australian people that at no time did I select persons for those positions other than because of their inherent qualifications for the tasks which they were required to fulfil. The changes which this Bill introduces do not, of course, touch specifically on the functions of the Australian Wool Corporation so much as on those of the International Wool Secretariat.
One of the few steps that the present Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) has undertaken with which I find myself in agreement is in looking at the operations of the International Wool Secretariat. Indeed, one of the reasons that I am so hopeful for the promise given to the industry through the appointment of Mr Alf Maiden as incoming chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation, is that it will bring to the Corporation and the International Wool Secretariat a greater integration of purpose - an integration of purpose which is part of the continuous change towards an integration of the function of what formerly was 2 bodies within Australia and one outside Australia, is today one body within Australia and one body outside Australia and what I hope in the future will be looked at as an allied body both inside and outside Australia. Of course, I am speaking of the former dual organisation of the Australian Wool Board and the Australian Wool Commission which today is the Australian Wool Corporation and, outside Australia, the International Wool Secretariat. To the degree to which these 3 bodies are capable of integration - and I am sure that Mr Maiden will achieve this - there will be a more effective use not only of taxpayers’ funds, to which reference is made in this Bill, but also of the funds which producers will be asked to contribute to a greater degree through this Bill.
One of the reservations I have about the Bill is that regrettably it takes no account of what in the recent past have been marked fluctuations, upwards and downwards, in the price received for the wool clip. I think it would be a great pity if the Bill is seen as automatically imposing upon producers a continual obligation to contribute according to the maximum which is specified in the Bill. I believe it necessary that instead of financing the International Wool Secretariat for one year it should be financed for a longer period. The wool growers’ contribution and the Government’s contribution need to be related to the returns received from wool at any particular period. In other words, it is a great pity that in this Bill there has not been an accommodation for fluctuations in wool prices so that when returns are low contributions by wool growers can be reduced and the contribution by the Government increased. It is imperative that the International Wool Secretariat at the same time should have a projected contribution from the Australian wool industry and the Government combined which will enable it to plan its program not on a short-term basis but on a long-term one.
It is deplorable that nearly 6 months after this Government has come into office it should introduce a measure which fails to take into account the long-term needs of this, Australia’s major export industry. It is quite paradoxical that one of the principal motives laid down by the present Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) for his assumption of office - one of the claims he made in his policy speech - was that it was necessary that there be long-term planning within the whole totality of government and yet here, in rural policy, we find provisions of a short-term nature. Instead of longterm planning, it is short-term planning. Instead of planning for the future, the Government is planning for today. The Government should be concerned with how wool might in future be able to offset all the difficulties of transformation from subjective measurement to objective measurement, all the difficulties of competitive promotion against synthetics and all the difficulties concerned with its general competition not only with other synthetic woollen substitutes but also with cotton and other natural fibres. The Bill provides, for 12 months only, an increase for the International Wool Secretariat budget. To my mind this Bill, more than any other that has come before the House, demonstrates the ad hoc character of the financial administration of this Government with respect to the rural sector.
In terms of the future of the wool industry, there are very marked changes in which I think producers, wool brokers, other marketing organisations and buyers need to be associated. The honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Kerin) this evening referred to the role of the innovators in the wool industry. The innovator he referred to significantly was Economic Wool
Producers Ltd and, to a lesser degree, some of the private wool buyers, particularly Compagnie d’Importation de Laines, known as CIL. I think it needs to be said that innovation is easy if one handles only a small percentage and a selected percentage of the Australian wool clip. The wool industry is a complex industry but it is no more complex than any other producing sector. If one looks at the percentage of wool which can be absorbed by a big proportion of the textile industry one can see that there are in the quality fibres opportunities to sell and to market without any real doubt. But there are difficulties with the coarser and stronger fibres. Some of the dust stained wools and some of the burry wools are fibres which need more complex handling. There are still difficulties in handling them objectively and it is these wools that have created problems in introducing a lot building plan.
I think it a great pity that there has been criticism of the degree to which wool brokers are capable of introducing new methods of handling and marketing wool. I am critical of the wool brokers because I think they have been too slow in moving into new methods of handling wool, but do not let us think only of Economic Wool Producers Ltd whose initiative is largely the product of reports of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Do not let us think only of EWP and CIL as innovators, for these 2 organisations still hold and handle only selected parts of the Australian wool clip. The wool brokers are an important part of marketing wool. They have played an important function not only in marketing but also in financing wool growers. They still have a role to play but I believe it is now up to them to ensure that they demonstrate to the whole industry that in their actions they have the interests of the producers, buyers, and the Australian nation at heart.
I hope that the lot building plan can be introduced in the near future. It is through a lot building plan that we can accelerate changes incorporating much of what has been traditional and good in marketing wool. I believe a great deal has been achieved in recent times in changing the whole of the concept of the selling and handling of the wool clip. There still remains a great deal to be done. This Bill regrettably does not take us as far along the trail as one might have expected.
Indeed, with the technical expertise that should be available to the Government through 3 former senior members of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 2 of whom have been associated with the wool industry and who today are supporters of the Labor Party Government, I think it deplorable that we have a Bill introduced in this Parliament which provides only short-term ad hoc assistance to Australia’s major industry. While I support the Bill, I believe it does no more than provide just a token payment to an industry which in the last 12 months again has established its primacy as Australia’s major export generator.
– I thank the honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair) for the nice things he said about me. In this friendly frame of mind I feel I should thank - and I would be most ungracious if I did not take this opportunity to thank - the honourable member for Wimmera (Mr King), because it may not be known that he brought the power of his realm to bear on Eden-Monaro in the intersts of the Labor Party. Members of this House may be unaware that the honourable member for Wimmera has released a Press statement in Eden-Monaro which has given me the opportunity to point to the evils of Yennora, to this insidious Dalgety-inspired Australian Wool Board nightmare which, of course, is the main thing attacking the only natural wool handling centre in Australia - Goulburn. I am very grateful to the honourable member for Wimmera for giving me this platform to reinforce once again the claims of Goulburn as a decentralised wool handling centre.
The Bill we now have under consideration sets out the arrangements for financing wool research, wool promotion and the administrative costs of the Australian Wool Corporation. The honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the President of the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council, Mr Lee Steere, have criticised the level of wool tax. The current wool tax is exactly the same as that established by the previous Government at the beginning of the 1970-73 triennium. In 1970 the tax was set at 2 per cent of the gross value of all wool shorn. The current tax is the same 2 per cent. During the 1971-72 season, an additional .45 per cent was charged to cover the cost of the cost of the administration of the Australian Wool
Commission. This was subsequently reduced to .4 per cent, the same as that charge now to be levied under the current Bill. Because wool prices fell to very low levels the 2 per cent tax was reduced to 1 per cent for the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. This reduction was partially offset by an increased government contribution. Uncertainties in the flow of research funds during the period of low prices have created serious difficulties for organisations involved in wool research. This coupled with the need to examine carefully the expenditure, of money on wool promotion is the reason - the stated reason - why the Government has restricted the present arrangements to one year.
It would appear that the honourable member for Wannon and others, including his grazier supporters such as Mr Barston in Victoria, have failed to read the second reading speech of the Minister for Northern Development CDr Patterson). In this speech it is clearly stated that the Government is examining ways of developing both the research and promotion programs on a longer term basis. The honourable member for Wannon has little regard for the facts. They tend to spoil his image of the devil socialist Government. Contrary to his claim, the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) did consult the members of the Australian Wool Industry Conference executive before drafting the present Bill. Industry leaders may find it less embarrassing and more effective if they check the facts with the real Government instead of following the hallucinations of a superseded squire.
In regard to the method adopted for financing research, it should be pointed out that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and other research bodies find the present procedures quite unsatisfactory. Funds dependant on market price movements soon fall out of phase with the requirements of continuing research. For most projects, 3 years is far too short a time. The stages in effective research can be enumerated as the statement of the broad area for research, investment in capital equipment, assembling staff, detailed research planning, generation of data, analysis of that data, publication, and the development of the applications of this research.
Universities can rarely reach the publication stage in this particular series of research events. Often they can complete only the analysis and sometimes only succeed in completing the data collection phase. The position for universities has been aggravated in the past under the wool industry fund because the Wool Board research committees have displayed very little appreciation or consideration for the problems associated with organising physical research in particular through universities. The current shortage of wool technologists can be traced back to the withdrawal of Wool Board support for training technologists at the University of New South Wales. A 3-year funding period hardly ever allows research groups such as the CSIRO to develop the applied aspects of their work and it is essential, in my view, to extend the funding period to at least 5 years if such applied research is to be undertaken and the final fruits of research are to be gleaned for the industry’s benefit.
On balance it would appear now to be better to fund research on a continuing and assured basis from consolidated revenue and to transfer the tax revenue either into consolidated revenue or into promotion. It is the view of many supporters of the Government that the $29.4m that is proposed to be spent on wool promotion should be subjected to detailed examination. Much has been made of the idea that detailed expenditure statements of the International Wool Secretariat should remain confidential. This claim does not impress me. A similar plea for confidentiality was made for withholding the costs and benefits of Yennora and the price averaging plan. Both projects could not be justified in economic terms and the cloak of secrecy was invoked to cover the extent to which vested interests profited from both these schemes.
On other occasions such as the reserve price debate, confidentiality was invoked to cover a complete absence of research or objective argument to support aspects of the case made at that time by the Wool Board. In the present case, this Government has the responsibility to ensure that §29. 4m of industry and taxpayers’ money is properly spent. There is a great deal of circumstantial evidence that it is not. Most good research workers employed by the IWS fail to publish after they are employed. The main economists in the IWS have displayed a dismal understanding of work carried out in Australia in their economic fields, and it is personally known to me that they cao read. Productive research is outgoing. It requires the stimulus of a regular exchange of ideas via publication and discussion. The lack of this outgoing approach in both theIWS and the ancestors of the present Wool Corporation should be a cause for great concern among research workers.
The current Bill will provide$1.8m for the administration of the Wool Corporation. This could be a significant year for the Corporation. We await with interest the next wool marketing report in what has now become an endless saga of reports.I note with interest the support offered to the World Corporation by the honourable member for Wannon. Does he really support the concept embodied in Yennora that runs against the logical development of decentralised wool handling, a concept that not only is uneconomic but would eliminate selling centreslike Portland? Objective measurement and sale by sample are pointing directly to decentralised wool handling as the most economic way in which wool can be handled in the new marketing system. Consequently, such a system would enhance a port such as Portland. The honourable member for Wannon supports the Wool Corporation in its centralising policy which is typified by Yennora. Does the honourable member for Wannon and his fellow socialist haters support the policy of the Wool Corporation in directing all of its wool testing business to the Australian Wool Testing Authority at the expense of the other 2 testing houses? This is an area in which competition is absolutely essential if standards of testing are to be maintained.
Yet, during the last 12 months, the Australian Wool Corporation has sent 28,500 bales out of a total of 31,000 bales to the Australian Wool Testing Authority. None at all went to the new firm Austcare because it may introduce a competitive element into the business and so threaten the livelihood of the Australian Wool Testing Authority. Is it just a coincidence that the Chairman of the Australian Wool Corporation is also the Chairman of the AWTA and that Mr Neville is also on both groups? Why does the honourable member for Wannon so strongly support this exclusive Government contract in regard to wool testing and so violently fight a simple equalisation for Trans-Australia Airlines?
The honourable member for Wannon claims that I am concerned about the report on wool marketing to be produced by the Wool Corporation. He is right. Look at the record. A reserve price scheme recommended by the AWIC was badly researched by the Wool Board and beaten as a consequence at the referendum. The abolition of small lots was justified in what I view as a dishonest research report which freely acknowledged the vested interests of the selling brokers.
I would like to quote from page 2 of the report on wool marketing presented to the Australian Wool Industry Conference on 31 October 1967. The report states:
At the same time, research conducted by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics clearly demonstrated that the abolition of small lots would cost growers more than it saved brokers and buyers. Yet this became the main plank in the Wool Board’s subsequent marketing policy. These developments led to the present price averaging plan in which the Government pays a subsidy to offset selling brokers costs. The Corporation has had a major problem in trying to rid itself of this inspired marketing idea. A pattern has developed. The Wool Board and the Wool Commission -the same men, different names - constantly have failed to deliver credible posicies.It became necessary for the previous Government to set up crash committees to save face -the Crawford Committee, the Objective Measurement Committee and the Randall Committee -each as a consequence of the failure of the Wool Corporation or the Wool Board or the Wool Commission to deliver the goods.
This is now our Government; it is the Opposition’s Corporation. Is it any wonder that I am afraid the report that emerges from this Corporation will be inept. I will be the first to praise the Corporation if that report is soundly based, on sound research principles. What makes it even worse for this Government is that both Sir John Crawford and Sir Richard Randall, who have been able to salvage something in the past, are now busy doing other things. In my view wool marketing, which will be the great issue for the Wool Corporation in the next few months, needs only one objective, and that is to sell wool at the best possible price for the grower.
In considering the factors involved in developing an efficient wool marketing system, the Wool Corporation would need to examine the scope for developing new marketing techniques, the supervision of standards, the price formation mechanism, price equalisation, new handling procedures and the level of processing which it is prepared to be involved in. I believe it is vital to separate the functions of research, supervision of standards and marketing. I hope the new scheme incorporates this separation of functions. Research in wool marketing requires a completely different environment from that required to operate a commercial system. Research must be carried out in an environment in which innovation blossoms. To carry out a systematic marketing program it is necessary that all members of the staff follow a certain pre-defined set of laws and rules about the practices adopted by the organisation. These 2 functions are contradictory. On the one hand the research worker needs freedom to change his mind and on the other hand, in order to run a bureaucracy or an efficient commercial organisation, it is necessary to have rules which all members of that organisation understand and respect.
There needs to be continuity of practice on the one hand and discontinuity of practice on the other. To put these 2 together, as has been done in the past, in the Wool Corporation is to make a grave error. So, the research function and the commercial functions of this new marketing body should be separated in the Act. It is also clear, of course, that the rule making function of any marketing organisation needs also to be separated from its commercial operations. How can an organisation which has a vested interest in the outcome of the rules make the rules for the whole industry? Therefore, I believe it is necessary to separate out from the new marketing organisation these 3 separate functions of research, rule making and the commercial operation in the market. In addition, I believe it is important that the Wool Corporation should act as a commercial marketing organisation and that it should not adopt the practice that has been adopted in the past of going overseas for advice alone and functioning only as a greasy wool marketing operation. It is in the interests of Australia that the new wool marketing body should market at all levels in the conversion system - greasy wool, tops, yarn, fabric and the employment of designers to ensure that we have some influence on the total world demand for wool.
I believe that it is absolutely essential that the new wool marketing organisation should be organised on a vertical basis in economic terms rather than a purely horizontal basis which deals exclusively in the marketing of greasy wool. Of course, the development of objective measurement and sale by description should be encouraged. It is my firm belief that if these developments are encouraged we will be leading towards a decentralised wool handling system in Australia in which wool is handled very close to the point of production and sold by sample. Probably computer bidding will take place at points around the world. It should also be clear now to most people who have studied the detail of the new technical developments in wool marketing that we are on the threshold of selling wool by description alone, which will give us more freedom in regard to the handling and transport of wool. But in order to realise this freedom it is essential that the price formation mechanism be changed from the present progressive bidding system to sealed bidding which allows impersonal bidding on a computer.
Sealed bidding, coupled with sale by description alone, will give the wool market of Australia a completely different complexion. The role that containers have played in the past will be shown to be very restrictive in this new marketing operation. I believe it is important that the wool industry and this Government face up to a potential point of conflict in the transfer of wool from the grower to the overseas consumer. There are many aspects which I believe ought to be incorporated in the new wool marketing plan. In particular, I believe it is important to separate the marketing function and the insurance function. We have often had a great deal of confusion in the past because we have confused the role that, for example, a floor price and a flexible reserve price played in the market with the price formation function. In fact, these are insurance devices put into the market in order to equalise the flow of income to growers. The floor price and the flexible reserve price were carefully examined and set out in the Crawford Committee’s report which formed the basis for the Wool Commission. The use of both of these devices coupled together will allow the new wool marketing organsation to bring into the market an element of insurance which has to. date been missing.
I suspect that the present Wool Commission has been very tentative indeed in its use of the flexible reserve price. The theory of this device is that the reserve should always be held on an upward market just below the market price so that when the market peaks the Corporation purchases wool at the time when the price falls. The fact that the Corporation is there at the peak with its reserve enables it to hold prices up and prevent the sudden and disastrous decline in wool prices that has become a characteristic of the wool industry in the past. The flexible reserve price should have been used, in my view, to a greater extent in the past season than it appeared to be used. On the downward trend, the Wool Corporation has control over the rate at which the price declines by virtue of its use of the flexible reserve. When the price reaches the floor price the Corporation moves in to purchase. On the subject of the floor price, I believe that there ought to be, in settling this floor price, two separate components, namely, a commercial component which is the responsibility of the new Wool Corporation and based on commercial decisions and expectations alone and, if necessary, a welfare component which should be the responsibility of this place. A welfare component in a commercial operation is a matter of political judgment which should be made in the political environment. I commend the Bill to the House.
– I think that the honourable members for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and New England (Mr Sinclair) have forcefully debated the Bill. Much of what the honourable members for Macarthur (Mr Kerin) and Eden-Monaro (Mr Whan) have said shows an understanding of the industry. We on this side of the House support the amendment which reads:
That ali words after That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not refusing the bill a second reading, this House deplores the fact that the Government’s decisions were made without proper consultation with industry leaders, the fact that a three year program has been cut to a one year program, making forward planning virtually impossible, and thirdly, the fact that the present Government has broken an undertaking given by the previous Government to the Australian Wool Industry Conference.’.
The honourable member for Eden-Monaro has much criticism of the Australian Wool Corporation. He said that the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) had had consultation with the executive of the Aus tralian Wool Industry Conference. This I doubt - or perhaps they did not understand what one another said. In discussion with me, the representatives of the farming and grazing organisations in Western Australia, where I have grown wool for many years, indicated that there had not been any consultation with the Government. Perhaps the Minister just told the AWIC what was going on. During its life the Australian Wool Board reported to the industry through the Australian Wool Industry Conference. Now the Australian Wool Corporation, which is a body structured from the Australian Wool Board and the Australian Wool Commission, will do the same.
One of the matters that the Board referred to the growers last year was the budgetary requirements of the International Wool Secretariat for research and promotion, in addition to the requirements of the wool production research institutes in Australia, and the research carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, State Departments of Agriculture and institutes of agriculture and State universities. This financing, as we know, was done by means of a grower levy and Federal Government subsidies. As has been stated tonight, because of the low values of wool in recent years budget requirements have had to be curtailed extensively, particularly internationally. Growers’ contributions have been 1 per cent of gross proceeds deducted as a tax. The Commonwealth Government has met the difference between grower contributions and the budgetary requirements. In fact, the Commonwealth has paid up to $27m in a year.
The Australian Wool Board prepared the budget for the next triennium - 1973-74, 1974-75 and 1975-76. In 1972 the Commonwealth Government suggested to the Australian Wool Industry Conference that the Government would contribute 533m in the first year of the triennium, rising to $42m in the final year on the basis of the grower contribution increasing. After debate, the AWIC agreed to growers contributing 1.6 per cent - an increase of 0.6 per cent - for promotion and research, and in addition 0.4 per cent as a levy for the administrative expenses of the Australian Wool Corporation, provided that the Federal Government agreed to maintain its contribution at the levels proposed. This was a firm commitment entered into by the previous Government and now, without consultation with the wool industry, this Government has broken that understanding.
The Wool Tax Administration Act of 1964 allows for a maximum tax of 2 per cent on wool growers in order to finance promotion and research, and the Wool Industry Act allows for a maximum of 0.4 per cent for financing the administrative costs of the Wool Corporation. Following the change of government, the industry could not obtain an indication of the Government’s acceptance of the Australian wool industry’s recommendation, which caused some concern to the Australian Wool Corporation because of its need to be able to implement policies based on a knowledge of income available to it to meet both domestic and international spending through its contributions to the International Wool Secretariat.
The Government, when it did make an announcement, caught the industry by surprise in that it adopted 2 new policies. Firstly, it did not consult the industry prior to making its decisions which were somewhat different from what the industry had previously discussed and, secondly, it adopted a policy of enforcing the total contributions payable by growers through the system of taxing and levies as allowable under the various Acts of Parliament. In so doing, the Government also appears to have adopted a third new policy - that of contributing on a dollar for dollar basis, a principle which is not unacceptable to the industry but which is fraught with danger in the wool industry where prices can rise 200 per cent to 300 per cent in a year and fall just as dramatically. To enlarge on that, the industry’s budgetary requirements need to be assessed and calculated for a lengthy period in advance. This is necessary not only from the technical point of view of planning research programs often in advance but also to attract skilled labour which would not be attracted if it were aware that research was to be controlled by a financing scheme which could be substantially decreased if the price of wool fell in any one year - a situation, as I have just described, not unknown to the wool industry.
The Government appears to have assessed what the likely average return per bale will be for the next 12 months and, on the basis of a 2.4 per cent levy and a tax, has calculated a payment by growers of $22m. To this the Government has agreed to add an additional $22m for only one year commencing 1 July 1973. The Government has announced that it will reappraise the position in the light of the then current situation and the anticipated situation in December 1973 and then, early in 1974, will go to the industry with its recommendations for the years 1974-75 and 1975- 76. Should growers returns fall below the estimated level, the Government’s contribution will decrease below the anticipated level of $22m, and so some projects might require to be curtailed or abandoned. Should values increase, it is expected that surplus funds will be allocated to a trust reserve account from which growers’ payments could be assisted in years of low income.
The Government has stated that the Wool Corporation’s reserves will be available to meet deficits which might arise if increases in the costs of programs prove to be greater than anticipated or if the revenue from the tax is less than expected. These statements cause some concern in view of the Labor Party’s pre-election platform promises of marketing reform. If - and I emphasise ‘if - the industry is placed in a position of relative stability through marketing reform, long term planning of expenditures can be made in the light of a certain degree of return made possible by that stability. Therefore, growers should not need to contribute possibly substantial amounts to a reserve fund in order to provide for future years of low income. I mention this in a constructive context for the Government to consider.
As a wool producer myself, I have nothing but admiration for the Wool Corporation, which got a slight hammering from the honourable member for Eden-Monaro, and for its personnel and the manner in which it has conducted its and our business over the last 2 years. But the legislation which controls the Wool Corporation makes it dear that the profits, which could be approximately $25m over the last couple of years of operation, made by the Corporation should go into reserves and not be returned to the growers. I believe that this money should be used by the Corporation actively to enforce a sound reserve price scheme and not used for areas other than that of market control.
In conclusion, it appears that this Federal Labor Government has transferred at least $10m from the wool industry for other purposes this financial year. While it can be argued that the industry can afford it this year, the Government had done this without providing for effective stability in the industry or marketing provisions for the long term requirements of the industry in the areas of research and promotion.
– This legislation provides a good example of the Government’s attitude, to primary industry. I am referring not so much to the legislation itself as to the way in which it was prepared and introduced. Firstly, there was no consulation with the industry and, secondly, the Government repudiated an arrangement entered into by the previous Government. This situation has been brought about at a time when wool is facing a dangerous situation as a major textile fibre. As the Managing Director of the International Wool Secretariat pointed out recently, the real test of wool’s market position will come when wool products in the shops reflect the recent price rises for raw wool. The IWS will need every cent it can get to maintain demand in the light of probable considerably increased prices. Let us never forget the simple fact that the price that wool growers get for their product is ultimately determined by the demand for wool. It is not the slightest use having the best selling system in the world if no one wants what you have to sell. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that the IWS have not only adequate funds but also a guarantee of continuity of funds.
That is where this legislation falls short of requirements and so endangers wool’s position in the world textile market. This is especially serious coming just at the time when it seems that years of hard work by the IWS in association with some brilliant research work by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has achieved real breakthroughs in new’ products and processes. Machine washable wool, permanent press wool fabrics and wool cigarette (filters are just a few of the new developments which have opened up new horizons for wool. But there is no reason to suppose that wool is any different from other products when it comes to getting maximum market acceptance for these exciting developments. They need promotion, and promotion on a massive scale, if we are to convince the buying public that wool products justify their price premium. It would be disastrous if at this crucial time there was any lack of confidence in the IWS of the Australian Government’s determination to stand with the industry in providing the funds essential for this promotion and research.
I now come to two particular aspects relevant to the responsibilities of the Australian Wool Corporation. The first is the general question of getting wool off sheep. I deliberately do not use the term ‘shearing’ because there has to be a completely open mind in approaching this problem. Perhaps it is not generally realised the threat that is posed to the wool industry by shearing costs. These costs are rising at about 7 per cent a year, and in practical terms this means that shearing costs double about every 12 years. Of course, if woo] prices rise at a comparable rate it should not be a major problem, but if there should be a substantial fall in wool prices shearing costs will become a crucial factor in the future of the industry.
Some years ago in this place I advocated a major research program into getting wool off sheep. I am delighted to note that a great deal of work has been going on in this field, but the present wool prices must not be allowed to divert attention or funds from this vitally important work. There are many exciting prospects for research. Chemical shearing is one, the use of advanced cutting mediums such as gas or laser beams is another. Mechanical aids to handle and restrain sheep is yet another fertile field for intensive research effort because that is where the major cost - labour cost is relatively most important. One of the very few good things, probably the only good thing, to come out of recent years of drought and disastrously low wool prices has been the upsurge in interest in cost cutting methods, not only along the lines I have just described but also in handling wool between shed and customer and in the actual selling procedures. That is the second topic I wish to speak about in this debate.
The success of Economic Wool Producers, which has proved in practice the theories which a lot of us have for years believed to be true, and the very encouraging results of the Australian Objective Measurement Project, have removed any doubts that the future marketing of the Australian wool clip will be closely associated with core testing and subsequent sale by sample and description, perhaps eventual sale by description alone. No single fact has greater implications for all those engaged in the industry than this. In particular, it has revolutionised the sorts of facilities which will be required if growers - I emphasise ‘growers’ - are to get maximum benefit from the cost savings which are potentially available. Traditional wool stores and methods of displaying wool will become virtually irrelevant.
This brings me to the main point I want to make. The Australian Wool Corporation is now responsible for wool stores in Australia, including the Yennora wool complex. It is apparent from what I have just said that the Yennora complex has become overtaken by technical advances. It is already out of date even before it has been brought into full operation. I realise that a substantial investment has been made in Yennora. I realise too that h represents an advance on the previous fragmented location of wool stores in the Sydney area. But the fact remains that wool growers will not get maximum benefit from new wool selling techniques if Yennora or similar complexes become part of our selling system. They probably are better than what we have at the moment, but that is not the point. 1 use as an analogy the argument over what are the most efficient types of shipping for Australian exports. The real argument is not about whether container ships are better than conventional ships. It is whether container ships are better than the more advanced ships such as vehicle deck ships, roll-on rolloff ships and so on. We now have clear evidence that container ships are, for many types of cargo, including much Australian produce, less efficient and more expensive than are some of the other sorts of ships I have just mentioned. Exactly the same thing applies to wool handling. Fortunately we are not nearly so deeply committed to Yennora-type complexes as we are to container shipping.
I appeal in the strongest terms to those who are responsible in this field to ensure that no decisions are made which will deprive wool growers of the potential benefits available to them from the earliest introduction of new cost savings techniques. The Australian Woo] Corporation carries a heavy responsibility, and the Government deserves strong criticism for limiting its financial commitments to supporting the AWC operations to one year thereby repudiating the previous Government’s undertaking to provide funds for 3 years. By its action the Government has introduced an element of uncertainty into our promotion and research program at a time when continuity and confidence are more necessary than every before.
– The Bill before the House, as was mentioned in the second reading speech, is designed to amend the Wool Industry Act to incorporate the arrangements to apply in 1973-74 for the financing of wool research and promotion, and to meet the cost of the administering and marketing functions of the Australian Wool Corporation. There have been a lot of comments tonight on the whole ambit of wool marketing and its possibilities of the future. I believe that there has been fairly general agreement about the desirability of those advancements. There is little doubt that these advancements will be made. The pioneering stage or selling by sample will lead finally to selling by description. I do not think we need waste a great deal of time in developing an argument of that kind. The point about which I am concerned is a very important one. Wool selling methods have been developed in such a way that success will be achieved.
This Bill deals with the amount of funds that are made available for the purposes I have mentioned. The part that concerns me very much is the fact that the Government has decided that it will reduce the amount of money that it makes available at a time when the industry has just come out of one of its most difficult periods. The Minister for Northern Development (Dr Patterson) in his second reading speech said that the Government decided that the only course it could justify in the current circumstances was to adopt measures to apply for 1973-74 only. What are the current circumstances which would allow for that or make it necessary? Does it mean that the Government will go out of office and leave the new LiberalCountry Party Government to deal with the subsequent years? Why is it needed for only one year?
The Bill mentions as one of the reasons the difficulties arising from the inescapable increases in salaries and other costs which become more uncertain the further ahead programs are planned. What a weak excuse that is for not proceeding to plan along the lines that are needed if we are to have forward planning. Does this not also mean that these increased costs will have to be faced by the wool grower? It is not only a matter of the difficulties the Government will face as a result of these increased costs. There is no concern on the part of the Government for the worries of the wool grower; but, if there is any problem in relation to what the Government has to do, that is a matter of very serious concern. So we find, as we have found so many times in the short history of the present Government, that it has very little concern for the problems of primary producers.
I emphasise again that the Government takes no account at all of the position with which wool growers would be faced when making their contribution should there, unfortunately, be any serious decline in the wool market. The wool industry has demonstrated that at last it has achieved the success that many of us felt it would achieve as a competitive fibre in the world textile market. That success has come mainly as a result of government and industry financial commitments to the wool industry for research and promotion. If the finance that has been provided for research and promotion is of the value I believe it to be, it certainly should be continued. Why should it be reduced at a time when it is proving its worth in maintaining stability in the strongest export income earning industry in the Commonwealth today?
One of the major shortcomings of the Bill is that it allows for this Government and industry commitment for only one year. The Minister for Northern Development is an agricultural scientist, as are others who have spoken in this debate tonight. I ask him whether he can name one rural research project of major complexity which could be funded and completed successfully in one year without some contingency planning for natural setbacks or the need for the research program to be undertaken for a longer period than one year. I think the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Kerin) said that no other industry has received this type of support. No other industry has provided for this country the amount of export income that the wool industry has provided.
The Bill also provides for a significant increase in grower contributions without any form of regulatory mechanism to help growers out of their increased commitment should there be a sustained depression in the wool market. It is a one-sided operation, with concern only for what the Government might have to provide and with no concern for what the industry might have to face. It is a Bill designed to skim the cream off the wool market for the Government at a time when the industry is recovering from its worst recession and is making plans to put itself on a more secure footing. The Government’s attitude demonstrates very clearly its lack of understanding of primary industries generally and the wool industry in particular. This industry has suffered extremely low prices over a number of years, lt has suffered drought for years on end and, in some parts of my electorate, there has been up to 10 years of drought. Yet, immediately there is a rise in the price of wool and some return to favourable seasonal conditions, the Government wants to take from the industry an increasing amount to finance this research program. The research program and the wool promotion program not only will help the people who are engaged in the industry but also will be of benefit, through the improvement in the finance obtained by the industry, to the whole of the Commonwealth. We should keep that in mind.
In his second reading speech the Minister drew attention to the fact that prices have recovered to relatively high levels and the value of wool production has risen to an estimated $ 1,329m in 1972-73 from $664m in the previous year. That simply demonstrates the value of this industry to Australia. My time is limited and 1 am trying to make the most of it by taking out those points that I feel should be stressed. Reference was made to rural reconstruction. I point out that in many areas rural reconstruction is still necessary. One of the reasons why it is necessary is that, as the prices of wool have increased and the wool industry has become more prosperous, the cost of restocking has become very high. Many people are still having the gravest difficulty in getting back on their feet, even with the assistance of rural reconstruction. I know of cases where it has been found that, because of the higher costs of stock for restocking, the growers do not have the capacity to service the debts.
The wiping off of this difficulty immediately it rains or immediately there is some increase in prices shows in clear relief the lack of understanding that is so constantly and so characteristically associated with the attitude of the Government towards the wool industry in particular and towards primary industries in general. The Government says that the Bill provides for a reasonable balance. What sort of a reasonable balance is it when viewed against the background of what I have already said? The amount of tax also has been increased, as was admitted by the Minister in his second reading speech. Currently a tax of one per cent is imposed on all shorn wool and a levy of 4 per cent is collected on all wool sold at auction. Where there is no provision for a lower amount, the tax is to be increased to 3 per cent; but where the provision has been made there will be a rise from 1.4 per cent to a total of 2.4 per cent. These continual cost increases are being loaded on to our primary industries at a time when they are really struggling to get back on their feet after one of the most severe times they have ever experienced.
I emphasise that the drain on finances that is caused by the extra contribution that is now required by the Government makes that return to reasonable prosperity ever so much harder. This demonstrates not only the lack of understanding but also the lack of sympathy of the Government towards primary industries in general and, on this occasion, the wool industry in particular. We should never forget the great contribution made over the years to the national economy by the wool industry even when it was struggling. Recovery does not happen overnight. I want to compare the attitude of this Government with that of the previous Government which was prepared to provide, instead of the $22m that this Government is providing, no less than $33.2m in 1973-74, $38m in 1974-75 and $4 1.8m in 1975-76. That is the sort of contribution that would have helped this industry and would have helped the promotion of the industry through the Australian Wool Corporation. As far as primary industry is concerned, this Bill represents the only type of treatment we can expect to receive from this Government.
– in reply - The Government rejects the amendment for the following reasons: Although the tax has been increased it is the same as was levied prior to 1970-71. This has not been brought out by the Opposition. The fact is that the total amount of funds required for 1973-74 for the promotional research program is not being reduced. What is being reduced is the basis of the contribution. Another point which has been consistently made is that the Minister for Primary Industry (Senator Wriedt) did not consult the industry. That is incorrect. He consulted the Australian Wool Industry Conference. He gave the Government’s reasons for the variance. He discussed it with AWIC. He did not debate the question.
In regard to the allegations that the Government has broke an undertaking, it is a fact that an offer was made on the eve of the last elections with respect to a continuing forward program. That offer was not in any way conveyed to this Parliament. It was not by any stretch of imagination debated in this Parliament. It was not an offer in the true sense of the word which in any way could bind an incoming government. It is completely absurd to say that the Government has broken an undertaking. Apparently some letter was written to the industry on the eve of the elections putting forward this proposition. In regard to the comments made regarding the Australian Wool Corporation, the Government has no opposition to the new head of the Corporation, Mr Maiden. I worked with Mr Maiden for 15 years prior to entering the political arena. I know him well. I respect him and I can assure the House that he will make an excellent contribution to the wool industry in Australia.
– Would he know the difference between a corriedale and a merino? The Minister for Primary Industry did not.
– He is the man that your Government appointed.
– I was not in this place then.
– My goodness. There is no weakening whatsoever with respect to the Government’s obligation to a continuing program of research. This has been made clear by the Minister in his second reading speech and it has been made clear to the industry and to the AWIC. For those reasons the Government rejects the amendment.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr MalcolmFraser’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker- Hon. J. F. Cope)
Majority .. .. 12
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Australia-Indonesia Border - Discrimination in Employment
– Order! It being past 10.45 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House of 1 March I propose the question:
That the House do now adjourn.
– I rise this evening to place on record and to emphasise what I believe was the outstanding work that was done on behalf of Australia by the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, now the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr N. H. Bowen) in a negotiation of the boundary between Australia and Indonesia during his term of office. When the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Bill was before the House last week I unfortunately was not able to speak on it or I would have made these comments at that time. I believe that there has not been full recognition in this Parliament in this country of the honourable member’s skill, or of the importance of the agreements which he signed on behalf of the country in May 1971 and October 1972. Those agreements were signed, as the House is aware, and their ratification by both countries is not in doubt. The House also is aware that relations have been difficult in the past between our 2 countries but they are certainly not now, and I acknowledge the good relations which this present Government has continued with Indonesia. I instance in particular the contact made by the Minister for Defence (Mr Barnard) on his recent visit to Indonesia.
Boundaries between countries are extremely sensitive matters. In the history of nations, the disputes, incursions and wars that have resulted from the placement of boundaries and the areas over which countries have sovereignty are without number. Yet last year an amicable agreement was reached by the former Minister for Foreign Affairs and, as will be seen by the map which was appended to the Bill circulated last week, it was not simply a mean line between the coastlines of those countries. It was, in fact, drawn closer to Indonesia and in that sense was in Australia’s favour. The matter was largely concluded last year; and in election periods, particularly in the mood of last year, there is not much room for praise. I for one take this opportunity to ackncwledge this very great achievement. I believe that when the history of our country is written by the truly objective and detached in those days yet far off, the great work there was in this negotiation with Indonesia will be seen and it will be greatly praised,I think, together with those initiatives the honourable member began in other fields many of which have been carried on by this present Government and perhaps accelerated.
– I was much impressed earlier today to hear the very sincere words from the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) when he was talking about the International Labour Organisation convention and the need to abolish all kinds of discrimination.
– Order! I ask the honourable gentleman to remember the standing order that states that honourable members must not debate, during the adjournment debate, matters pertaining to a Bill that is before the House.
– It was not a Bill.
– Or a statement.
– At any rate, I do not intend to transgress the Standing Orders. I wanted to say how impressed I was particularly with the point he made that the Government intended to do something about discrimination against age. I think that this assurance will touch the hearts of many of us.
-Order! Why look straight at me?
– Therefore, I was rather shocked to find how so far out of line and sympathy the Minister was with his own Government. Mr Speaker, you will remember that last week the House passed the Prices Justification Bill. I would like to read clause 7(2):
A person, other than a Judge, who has attained the age of sixty-five years shall not be appointed or re-appointed as the Chairman or as a full-time member, and a person, other than a Judge, shall not be appointed or re-appointed as the Chairman or as a full-time member for a period that extends beyond the date on which he will attain the age of sixty-five years.
I just want to point out that once again the unhappy Minister for Labour, sincere though he is, well meaning though he is and eloquent though he is sometimes is out of touch with the Government. Apparently, the left hand of the Government does not always know what its right hand is doing. We have the Government putting through the House last week a Bill which contained a most blatant kind of discrimination on the grounds of age.
-Order! I remind the honourable member that the debate on the Minis,ter’s statement was made an order of the day. So therefore-
- Mr Speaker, I am speaking about what happened last week. I pointed out that it was only last week - I think that I am in order in referring to what happened last week - that the Government passed through the House a Bill which contained the most blatant discrimination against age. Yet, we have this unhappy, well meaning and sincere Minister coming into the House and making a statement that the Government, amongst other things, intends to abolish all sorts of discrimination against age in relation to employment. It looks very funny to me. Mr Speaker, I dare say that you and I will be equally amused. Of course, you, who sit there above the stress of politics, absolutely insulated from the sordid goings-on in the Party room, will join with me in regretting the kind of-
– Yes, double talk. It is worse than that. It is double thinking that goes on in the Government. It has a left hand and a right hand, a left wing and a right wing. There is not always sufficient communication between them. Mr Speaker, I see that you are just about to rise, as you should, and draw my attention and that of the House to the fact that it is 11 o’clock. I bid you a very good night.
– I wonder why the honourable member does not take his long service leave. It being 11 o’clock, the House stands adjourned until 1 1 a.m. tomorrow.
House adjourned at 11 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Labour, upon notice:
– In answering the honourable member’s question, I have assumed that he is asking for information about employees in my Department, that is temporary and exempt staff, and not about officers who are permanent members of the Commonwealth Service. On this assumption I am advised that the information is as follows:
asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:
What is the intention of the Government regarding the use and development of the Williamstown Rifle Range.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Any change in use and the future development of the land comprised in the Williamstown Rifle Range will depend upon the availability of a suitable alternative site.
The matter is receiving urgent attention and it is anticipated that discussions will be initiated with the Victorian Government authorities regarding a proposed site which is at present under consideration.
Apart from determining if the site is available the questions of establishing range facilities to replace those existing at Williamstown and where responsibility for costs in this connection willlie must also be settled. This may take some time to resolve.
The previous Government’s agreement to release 20 acres of land on the western boundary of the range land will be implemented when final conditions for the transfer of this portion are completed.
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Education, upon notice:
What was the date on which (a) the Report of the Nation-wide Survey of Educational Needs was first made available to the Australian Education Council, and (b) each authority participating in the Survey made public its section of the report.
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Government Schools in the Australian Capital Territory-October 1971
Non-government schools throughout Australia -
I understand that the dates on which the State Education Departments released their reports on government schools were as follows:
New South Wales-December 1972
Victoria -May 1972
Queensland -June 1971
South Australia -December 1970
Western Australia -March 1971
Tasmania -June 1971
asked the Minister for Education, upon notice:
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The former Government’s legislation for nongovernmental schools will continue in force. Under the Capital Aid for Schools Program a sum of $9m is available for non-government schools in 1973-74. These funds will be distributed as originally envisaged, but after 30 June 1974, the balance of the $48m provided for non-government schools under the States Grants (Schools) Act 1972 will be distributed on the basis of recommendations made by the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission or the Australian Schools Commission which is to be established.
The secondary schools libraries legislation continues in force until 31 December 1974, pending examination by the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission or the Schools Commission itself of a different system and the adoption of any such system by the Government and the Parliament. Similarly, the science laboratories grants will continue until 30 June 1975.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) On 8 May 1973 I tabled the Report of the Treasury Committee on Superannuation. The Report reviews the present superannuation arrangements for Commonwealth employees and includes recommendations for a new superannuation scheme. The Government has taken no stand on the Report at this stage and has expressed interest in receiving comments on the Report from interested persons and organisations.
asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Governments concerned following the Inquiry referred to in (1).
Vernon Committee of Enquiry into the Economy (Question No. 460)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Mr J. H. H. Beale Arts and Science graduate with experience in Market Research.
Mr G. T. Bills Senior Lecturer in Economics, formerly with BHP.
Mr G. R. Bruns Assistant Chief Economist at the ANZ Bank.
Professor G. G. Firth - Professor of Economics. Mr J. C. Fowler - Graduate Trainee with BP Australia.
Mr W. P. Goodwin Retired Journalist formerly with the News and Information Bureau.
Mr R. L. Gray Research Assistant to Sir John Crawford at the ANU.
Mr E. F. Herbert , Personal Assistant to Dr Vernon at CSR.
Mrs L. Jorgensen Arts Graduate with Economics Honours - Research Assistant at ANU.
Mr R. H. Scott Economist with Reserve Bank.
Mr R. B. Scotton Chief Economist with the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney.
Mr R. L. S. Starling Bachelor of Science (Economics) Honours, University of London.
Mr J. R. Thomas B.Ec. Assistant Manager, Investment Department, Reserve Bank.
Dr D. B. Williams - Visiting Professor, Agricultural Economics, University of Melbourne.
Dr F. B. Horner; Level 3
Mr A. W. McCasker, Level 1
Mr J. Cassidy Class 8
Mr P. J. Dixon Class 9
ds - Class 6, later Class 7
Miss K. Gleeson; Class 9
Mr A. J. Glenn; Class 5
Miss V. A. Green; Class 1
Mr J. A. D. Haddon Cadet
Dr S. F. Harris Class 10, later Level, 1
Mr A. J. Hawke- Class 1
Mr J. Hickey Class 7
Miss S. E. Hyne; Class 2/3, later Class 4
Mr D. F. Livingstone ; Class 11
Miss M. G. N. Morris- Class 8
Mr F. G. H. Pooley Class 7
Mr J. T. Sullivan Class 5
Mr B. A.Usback Class 2/3
Mr A. G. F. Weatherstone; Class 7, later Class 8.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
Australian National Committee of the International Wool Textile Organisation (Question No 473)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
I am informed that the functions of the Australian National Committee of the International Wool Textile Organisation are:
Mr C. R. Nichols , Chairman
Mr S. S. Nevile
Mr R. C. Dixon
Mr C. Grimshaw
Mr S. N. Ross
Mr R. H. Moniez
Mr S. Coombe
Mr C. F. Stagg
Mr H. B. Leigh
Mr Forester G. Stuart
Mr M. Elliott
asked the Minister far Education, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:
Concerning the six guns jettisoned by Captain Cook off the coast of Queensland, (a) by whom were they (i) discovered, (ii) recovered and (iii) cleaned or otherwise restored, (b) what process or procedure was used in their restoration and (c) who has possession of them now.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Great Britain, New Zealand, The Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, The Queensland and New South Wales Governments.
The remaining cannon was retained by the Australian Government.
asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:
Concerning the anchors referred to in his press release of 13 April 1973, (a) by which department or other authority were they (i) discovered, (ii) recovered and (iii) cleaned or otherwise restored, (b) what process or procedure was used in their restoration and (c) who has possession of them now.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
David Hume of Melbourne. The two anchors from Matthew Flinders’ ship ‘Investigator’ were located by an expedition from the Underwater Explorers’ Club of South Australia and recovery was carried out by this expedition and by the Commonwealth Lighthouse vessel ‘Cape Don’.
Ship Wrecks off Australian Coast (Question No. 502)
asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:
In the plans of his Department to establish rehabilitation clinics outside the metropolitan areas, isit the
Intention of the Department to establish such a clinic in the Northern Spencer Gulf area of South Australia, in either Port Pirie or Whyalla.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Approval has been given to the development of a rehabilitation clinic in Port Pirie, and this will provide a service to the Northern Spencer Gulf area including Whyalla.
Income Tax Deductions: Pre-school Fees (Question No. 512)
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
These districts roughly approximate the area of the Murray Electoral Division.
asked the Minister for Education, upon notice:
What was the (a) number, and (b) percentage of students enrolled in fi) government, (ii) Catholic, and (iii) other non-government schools in (A) each State and Territory, and (B) the Commonwealth who (I) commenced the first year of secondary education in 1967 or 1968, and (II) enrolled in 1972 for their final year of secondary education (Hansard, 18 April 1972, page 1765).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Final 1972 school enrolment information is currently being compiled by the Commonwealth Statistician. I will provide the information sought by the honourable member as soon as possible after publication of these details.
asked the Minister for Minerals and Energy, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Education, upon notice:
What are the names of the non-government schools in each State, other than Catholic and special schools, which failed to answer the questionnaires of the National Survey of Educational Needs (a) before the due date of 22 February 1971, (b) before the deferred date in mid-April 1971 or (c) at all.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The honourable member will appreciate that the intention in the 1970 Survey was to seek collective estimates of needs on a State basis rather than details for individual schools. Consequently there is a limit to the fullness of the record available of the names of individual schools returning questionnaires as at different dates over the considerable period that has elapsed since the questionnaires were issued in 1970.
In any case, the most meaningful of any such lists would presumably be the list of schools not returning questionnaires at all. The list set out below shows those non-government schools in each State (other than Catholic and Special schools) which are shown in my Department’s working papers for the Survey as being schools from which returns were not received at any stage.
I would stress, regardless of whether or not a particular non-government school returned a questionnaire in 1971, the current situation in all States has been examined within recent months by the Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission. The Interim Committee’s report is expected shortly.
Names of the non-government schools in each State, other than Catholic and special schools, which failed to answer the questionnaires of the National Survey of Educational Needs at any stage:
New South Wales
Albury Grammar School, Albury.
Ascham School Ltd, Edgecliff.
Danebank Church of England Girls School,
Presbyterian Ladies College, Orange.
Ravenswood Methodist College, Gordon.
Roseville College, Roseville.
Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar, Cremorne.
Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar, Darlinghurst.
Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar, Moss Vale.
Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar, North Wollongong.
Meriden School, Strathfield.
Avondale College, Cooranbong.
Australian International Independent School Ltd, North Ryde.
Blue Mountains Grammar School, Wentworth Falls.
Claremont Church of England School, Randwick.
Currumbena School, Lane Cove.
Glenaeon Dalcross Schools Ltd, Middle Cove. Loquat Valley School, Bayview.
Moriah War Memorial College, Bellevue Hill.
Newcastle Adventist Central School, Hamilton.
Presbyterian Ladies College Kindergarten School, Strathfield.
St Andrews Cathedral School, Sydney.
St Lukes Church of England Girls School Ltd, Brookvale.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Lismore.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Mullumbimby.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Murwillumbah.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Macksville.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Special School, Hamilton.
Sydney Co-Educational Independent Progressive School, Beecroft.
Trinity Memorial Grammar School Ltd, Orange.
Tyndale Parent Controlled Christian School, Seven Hills.
Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Erina.
Masada College, Killara.
Beth Rivkah Ladies College, East St Kilda.
Christ Church Grammar, South Yarra.
Clarendon Presbyterian Ladies College, Ballarat.
Firbank Church of England Grammar, Sandringham.
Little St Margarets, Malvern.
Moriah College, Elwood.
Queens Church of England Girls Grammar, Ballarat.
St Pauls School, Frankston.
Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar, Canterbury.
Yeshivah College, East St Kilda.
Adass Israel School, Elsternwick.
Cathedral College, East Melbourne.
Lutheran School, Hamilton.
Tabor Lutheran School, Penshurst.
Waverley Private School, Caulfield.
Warrayura Lutheran School, Mountajup. Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, Bendigo. Seventh Day Adventist School, Geelong. Seventh Day Adventist School, Warburton.
Thornburgh and Blackheath Colleges, Charters Towers.
St Barnabas School, Ravenshoe.
Rockhampton Grammar School, Rockhampton.
St Gabriels Church of England Girls School, Charters Towers.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Townsville.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Cairns.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Toowoomba.
Church of England Boys School, Toowoomba.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Zillmere.
Concordia Primary School, Toowoomba.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Mackay.
Kalimna Salvation Army Vocational Training Centre for Girls, Toowong.
Mt Gravatt Adventist Church School.
Ipswich Girls Grammar School, East Ipswich.
St Peters College, St Peters.
Westminster College, Marion.
Saltash College, Adelaide.
St Johns Lutheran School, Eudunda.
St Peters Church of England Grammar School, Glenelg.
Concordia College, Highgate.
Good Shepherd Church Day School, Broadview.
Immanuel Primary School, Novar Gardens.
Loxton Lutheran Parish School, Loxton.
Ernabella Mission School, Alice Springs.
Fregon Mission School, Alice Springs.
Carmel College, Carmel.
Methodist Ladies College, South Perth (Penrhos).
G. Korsunski- Carmel School, Mt Yokine.
Montessori School, Wanneroo.
Willuna Native Mission School, West Perth.
Geneva Primary School, Latrobe.
Seventh Day Adventist School, Launceston.
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra Girls Grammar School, Deakin.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The terms of reference can be summarised as follows:
Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to be classified ‘SECRET’ and to submit the report through the Secretary, Department for Foreign Affairs.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) No aid commitment has been made to North Vietnam. Assistance for humanitarian purposes is under consideration.
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Executions in Yugoslavia (Question No. 517)
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows: (1), (2) and (3). The salaries of diplomatic staff serving in Phnom Penh have not been reduced. They are identical to the salaries paid to Australian diplomatic staff of the same rank stationed elsewhere. However, subsequent to a Public Service Board inspection last year of localliving costs and following several currency variations the local allowances which supplement the salaries of officers in Phnom Penh have been reduced (in some cases to nil).
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Has the Australian Government taken any action to protest against (a) the judicial murder of a family of 5 Iraqi Jews in Baghdad and the previous public hanging of Jews in that city; (b) the detention and murder of Pakistani prisoners-of-war in Indian POW camps; and (c) the judicial murder of Asian and Ugandan citizens in Uganda.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
How many staff are employed by each of the 27 Ministers in (a) Canberra, (b) the capital city in the State in which the Minister lives, (c) other capital cities and (d) the electorate office in the Minister’s electorate.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
As I have said in answer to 2 previous questions (No. 190, House of Representatives, Hansard, 13 March 1973, page 534 and No. 184, Senate Hansard, 10 April 1973, .page 992) I have approved the following basic staff establishment for each Minister:
One Private Secretary
One Press Secretary
One Adviser-Research Officer
Two Assistant Private Secretaries
One Steno-secretary, Grade 1
Any variation from this basic establishment requires my personal approval.
Ministers are still making appointments, within their establishments, to their personal staff. When these appointments have been completed, I shall make available to the Honourable Member and to the House details of the staff employed by each Minister and by office-holders of the non-Government parties.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 May 1973, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1973/19730522_reps_28_hor84/>.