28th Parliament · 2nd Session
The House met at 3 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the GovernorGeneral.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. J. F. Cope) took the chair, and read prayers.
The Usher of the Black Rod, being announced, was admitted, and delivered the message that Her Majesty the Queen desired the attendance of honourable members in the Senate chamber forthwith. (Mr Speaker and honourable members attended accordingly, and having returned)-
Bill presented, and read a first time.
-I have to report that the House this day attended Her Majesty the Queen in the Senate chamber, where Her Majesty was pleased to make a speech to both Houses of the Parliament The speech will be included in Hansard for record purposes. (The speech read as follows) -
Mr President, members of the Senate.
Mr Speaker, members of the House of Representatives.
I am delighted to be in Australia again and to be taking part directly in the working processes of this Parliament.
This is the second occasion on which I have addressed this Parliament and the first time with my new Royal Style and Titles to which I was pleased to give my assent last year.
As you know, because of my constitutional duties which relate to the United Kingdom, I must, after opening our Parliament here today, return immediately to London.
I very much regret that because of this I shall not be able to carry out my program in full, though it is my intention to return to Australia as soon as practicable and to visit Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.
However, I am particularly pleased that by opening this Australian Parliament I am able to perform personally an important constitutional duty as Queen of Australia.
This Parliament assembles at a time of deep concern on the part of my Government and the people of Australia at the loss of life and property in the recent floods in Queensland and New South Wales.
My Government has already provided substantial assistance to those who have suffered grievously and it will continue to do so.
It is reviewing the whole national approach to the handling of natural disasters.
In this session my Government will continue with its policies of reform and innovation. It will use its constitutional powers resolutely to press its program to fulfilment.
My Government believes the economy is basically strong and buoyant. Nevertheless, it regards inflation as a most urgent domestic problem and will continue its efforts to contain it.
It believes the many anti-inflationary measures it has already taken are having an important restraining effect.
My Government is committed to the greatest possible measure of Australian ownership of the nation’s industries and resources. To this end it will proceed with its plans to expand the activities of the Australian Industry Development Corporation and to establish a National Investment Fund. The Companies (Foreign Take-overs) Act will be replaced.
My Government will also introduce legislation to fulfil its constitutional responsibilities with respect to banking, insurance and financial corporations. The Financial Corporations Bill will be re-introduced. There will be legislation on new insurance companies and on the supervision of insurance brokers.
Legislation will be submitted to Parliament to establish an export bank and to permit loans by the Commonwealth Development Bank for certain tourist development projects.
Legislation will be introduced for a limited tax deductibility for home mortgage interest payments for home-owners.
The importance of the creation of a new Ministry of Minerals and Energy has been confirmed by the events of 1973 associated with the developing world energy crisis.
Although Australia is in a more fortunate position than most comparable nations in this crisis, my Government will not be complacent in planning for the future energy needs of the Australian nation. It stands ready to join with other nations in search of solutions.
Central to my Government’s plans is the creation of a Petroleum and Minerals Authority by legislation which, while passed by the House of Representatives last year, had its passage interrupted by the adjournment of the Senate.
The recently-established Pipeline Authority is closely co-operating with the companies concerned in the planned early development of natural gas discoveries on the North West Continental Shelf. The construction of the first sector of the national pipeline grid has begun.
My Government is paying special attention to the development of the use of various forms of energy.
A new road program which emphasises national responsibilities and priorities, including interstate highways and export roads, will be prepared.
My Government will set up a new Road Safety and Standards Authority.
Legislation will be introduced to set up an Australian Land Commission to co-ordinate land acquisition programs throughout Australia.
Special studies of the Pilbara region in Western Australia and the Burdekin and Bowen Basins in Queensland, already in hand, will continue.
Legislation to provide financial assistance to Queensland for the Ross River Dam and to Western Australia for water supplies for the Gascoyne plantations and Carnarvon will be presented.
My Government will introduce legislation, as required, on the recommendations of committees of inquiry on Land Tenure and the National Estate.
It will continue its activities to control pollution and protect the environment.
It will propose legislation for a National Parks and Wildlife Commission to assist in the establishment of a system of national parks, including such areas as the Great Barrier Reef, the Central Australian wilderness and the Australian Alps. It is intended that Aborigines be among those trained to care for the parks.
My Government will again bring before the Parliament legislation to check the development of monopolies and restrictive trade practices which was first under notice by Governments as far back as 1960.
The legislation will also provide for the protection of consumers from unfair trade practices.
There will be legislation for the control of the Securities Industry and for a National Companies Act which will establish uniformity - a principle sought by earlier Governments since the late 1950s but acknowledged to be unattainable through separate Acts of the States.
The strengthening of trade relations around the world will remain a major objective of my Government.
Revised anti-dumping legislation and a new 5-year export incentive plan will be introduced. Legislation will be presented to revise arrangements for assistance to the shipbuilding industry.
Legislation will be introduced for a 3-year wool research and promotion program and for a new domestic Sugar Agreement between the Australian and Queensland Governments. It is anticipated that legislation will be introduced for a new 5-year wheat stabilisation program.
My Government will continue to seek to improve industrial relationships by introducing legislation further to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
My Government has under study the requirements for better use of manpower resources in human and social as well as economic terms, and the development of an integrated manpower policy to achieve these ends.
A uniform Industrial Safety Code in the area of Australian Government employment will be initiated.
Legislation will be introduced to establish a National Committee for Trade Union Training and a National Trade Union College.
The report of a committee of inquiry on integrating all official data systems will shortly be received.
I have just come from Papua New Guinea where I saw at first hand the progress there in this period of self government.
My Government will seek a timetable for independence for Papua New Guinea in consultation and agreement with the Papua New Guinea Government and subject to the endorsement of the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly.
In its foreign relations my Government, whilst confirming the importance of historic associations with the Commonwealth of Nations and with the United States, will also pursue its firmly established and forwardlooking policies which acknowledge the need for a new spirit of regional and international co-operation in an increasingly inter-dependent world.
My Government believes it can make an important contribution to economic and social development and political co-operation in the Asian and Pacific region. It remains concerned that this region has no machinery for informal consultations comparable with the Commonwealth of Nations or with existing arrangements among the African States and the countries of the Americas.
To advance those policies the Prime Minister has visited a significant number of Asian and Pacific countries with which Australia has formal relations.
Increased overseas aid will be given through a new body, the Australian Development Assistance Agency.
My Government will negotiate with the Japanese Government to conclude a broad bilateral treaty to be known as the Treaty of Nara.
In its relations with the People’s Republic of China, my Government will make further efforts to develop the understanding and accord already achieved.
My Government will continue to show a sympathetic interest in Africa. It will work to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, apartheid and colonialism. It will press for world disarmament in general and nuclear disarmament in particular.
In Defence, my Government will proceed with the major re-organisation and other reforms begun last year. The amalgamation of the former Service departments into the Department of Defence will be completed.
Legislation will be introduced to establish a uniform code of discipline and justice for the Defence forces.
The betterment of Australia’s social welfare system remains a major objective of my Government. It is determined that Australia will once again be a world leader in this field.
Increases in social service and repatriation pensions and further special provision for longterm residents living abroad will be submitted to the Parliament.
The program for ending the means test will continue.
Legislation extending for a further five years grants to the States for dwellings for single age pensioners will be proposed.
The National Rehabilitation and Compensation Committee, which recently had its terms of reference extended to cover the sick as well as the injured, is expected to report at the end of June. Other reports are expected at or before that time from the Independent Non-Parliamentary Inquiry into Repatriation, appointed in October 1971, from the Poverty Inquiry, appointed in August 1972 and extended last year, and from the National Superannuation Committe of Inquiry appointed last March. Legislation resulting from the reports will follow.
The Social Welfare Commission will develop the Australian Assistance Plan.
In keeping with its constitutional responsibilities to provide hospital benefits and medical services, my Government is determined to act on a national basis to give all Australians access to high quality health careat reasonable cost.
A national hospitals program being developed by the Hospitals and Health Services Commission will be . gwen early consideration. The Commission’s report on a medical rehabilitation program is now being studied.
In its education program my Government will continue to direct assistance to schools and students according to need.
My Government, having brought about the abolition of fees within the area of tertiary and technical education, and having introduced comprehensive forms of assistance to upgrade primary and secondary education, is now concentrating its attention on the area of child care and pre-schooling.
It will introduce legislation to establish a Technical and Further Education Commission and a Curriculum Development Centre to evaluate and develop teaching and learning materials.
A Science Council is being planned.
In accordance with its declared policy my Government will assume the constitutional responsibility for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders given to the national government by referendum in 1967.
It intends to eliminate any remnants of discriminatory State legislation against Aborigines, a hope declared but unfulfilled by an earlier Government.
My Government, on receipt of the report of the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission which is expected shortly, will legislate to give effect to its policy on granting land rights to Aborigines in the Northern Territory.
Legislation will be introduced to create an Aboriginal Loans Commission.
My Government will introduce legislation to provide a simple, flexible form under which Aboriginal or Islander communities can incorporate for economic and social purposes.
The rights of the individual citizen will be the subject of a group of proposed laws on human rights and the prevention of racial discrimination.
Provision will be made for two ombudsmen - one for civilians and one for the Defence Forces.
A comprehensive system of appeals against administrative decisions is under consideration.
My Government will proceed with a Freedom of Information Bill.
The Family Law Bill will again be put before the Parliament.
A bill to remodel the Federal judicial system by the creation of a Superior Court of Australia - an institution first mooted by a previous Government more than a decade ago - will also again be put before the Parliament.
My Government believes that the High Court of Australia must become the final court in all matters pertaining to Australia and to the legal rights and obligations of its citizens. There have been consultations with the United Kingdom and my Government will proceed with its legislation to abolish appeals to the Privy Council.
I inform honourable senators and members that I have decided not to refer to the Privy Council petitions addressed to me by the State of Queensland and the State of Tasmania concerning rights to the seabed. My Australian and United Kingdom Ministers were agreed that the High Court of Australia is the appropriate tribunal to determine the issues raised in the petitions and, accordingly, that the petitions should not be referred to the Judicial Committee.
My Government will propose the establishment of statutory bodies for the Australian
Archives, for the Australian Council, for the National Gallery and for assistance to the film and television program industries.
It will continue its support for sporting and youth organisations.
My Government will present legislation to enable the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation to insure loans for tourist accommodation, and legislation to license travel agents.
Legislation to enable the Australian Tourist Commission to enter domestic tourist promotion will be introduced.
Legislation will be introduced, in accordance with the Constitution and for the first time, to provide for an increase in salary for the Governor-General.
My Government will bring legislation before the Parliament early in the session to enable proposals for constitutional reforms on a series of matters to be put to the people at the same time as the forthcoming Senate elections.
Bills will be submitted to alter the Constitution to ensure that Senate elections are held at the same time as House of Representatives elections; to alter the Constitution to ensure that the members of the House of Representatives and of the Parliaments of the States are chosen directly and democratically by the people; to alter the Constitution to enable the Commonwealth to borrow money for, and to grant financial assistance to, local government bodies; to facilitate alterations to the Constitution and to allow electors in Territories, as well as electors in the States, to vote at referendums on proposed laws to alter the Constitution; and to alter the Constitution with respect to the interchange of powers between the Commonwealth Parliament and the State Parliaments.
My Government will conduct a general review of the Electoral Act and associated Acts with a view to the introduction of early amending legislation.
This program for the new session of the twenty-eighth Parliament is seen by my Government as a continuation of the progressive policies of reform which it has pursued vigorously and unflaggingly since assuming office, and for which it has a clear mandate from the Australian people.
Mr President, members of the Senate.
Mr Speaker, members of the House of Representatives.
With confidence that you will fulfil to the utmost of your abilities the deep responsibility the Australian people has placed upon you, I leave you to carry out your high and important duties.
Motion (by Mr Whitlam) agreed to:
That a Committee consisting of Mr Riordan, Mr McKenzie and the mover be appointed to prepare an Address-in-Reply to the Speech delivered by Her Majesty the Queen to both Houses of the Parliament and that the Committee do report at the next sitting.
House adjourned at 3.47 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 February 1974, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1974/19740228_reps_28_hor88/>.