House of Representatives
10 April 1975

29th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. G. G. D. Scholes) took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.

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– I call for petitions. I ask honourable members to remain silent during the reading of petitions. They are extremely important to a number of people and I believe that honourable members are entitled to hear them.

The Clerk:

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

Metric System

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

That the plan to obliterate the traditional weights and measures of this country is causing and will cause widespread inconvenience, confusion, expense and distress.

That there is no certainty that any significant benefits or indeed any benefits at all will follow the use of the new weights and measures.

That the traditional weights and measures are eminently satisfactory.

Your petitioners therefore pray:

That the Metric Conversion Act be repealed, and that the Government take urgent steps to cause the traditional and familiar units to be restored to those areas where the greatest inconvenience and distress are occurring, that is to say, in meteorology, in road distances, in sport, in the building and allied trades, in the printing trade, and in retail trade.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Lynch, Mr Bonnett, Mr Cadman, Mr Duthie, Mr Hunt, Mr Hurford, Mr Kerin, Mr Macphee and Mr Reynolds.

Petitions received.

Family Law Bill

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

That marriage is an exclusive lifelong partnership between one woman and one man, which should not be dissolved at the will of one party after 12 months notice nor without a reasonable attempt at reconciliation and

That a husband should normally be responsible for maintaining his wife and children within marriage.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Family Law Bill 1 974 be amended

  1. To require a reasonable attempt at reconciliation with the aid of counselling at least twelve months prior to the application for a divorce;
  2. To specify three objective tests for irretrievable breakdown, namely

    1. intolerable behaviour,
    2. b ) desertion for at least 2 years,
    3. separation for at least 3 years;

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Sinclair, Mr Lucock and Mr Reynolds.

Petitions received.

Family Law Bill

To the honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. We the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia by this our humble petition respectfully showeth:

  1. That the present matrimonial laws are archaic. unrealistic and cruel and the cause of so much distress, bitterness and injustice as to make their continued operation intolerable to the vast majority of fair minded citizens of Australia and that the Family Law Bill at present before Parliament should be passed without delay.
  2. That the ground of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage determined by a maximum of twelve months’ separation, embodied in the Family Law Bill already passed in the Senate, be the sole ground for divorce.
  3. That there is widespread dissatisfaction with the enormous discretionary powers given judges in the present legislation and that the non-fault maintenance concept (according to need) based on specific criteria, as enunciated in Clause 54 (2) of the Family Law Bill 1974 No. 2, should be tried and we humbly pray Members of the House will restore this concept fully by deleting Clause 75 (n) from the new Bill “as read a third time”.

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

Petition received.

Family Law Bill

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

  1. 1) That the “Family Law Bill 1974” fails to give the family the protection presumed to be guaranteed it under Section 43, for rather than preserving the lifelong union of married couples to the exclusion of all others, the Bill deals mainly with the legalizing of its destruction through easy and unjust divorce, together with the legalizing of the evasion of responsibility on the part of parents (Sections 43, 48, 49, 50 )
  2. That the Bill counts the period ofirretrievable breakdown’ as from the first declaration of ‘separation’, even in cases where a period of cohabitation has interrupted the legal ‘separation’, evidencing a change of heart and an attempt at reconciliation by both partners. (Sections 48, 49. 50)
  3. That in the dissolution process, the Bill refuses to recognise any guilt, and since the Bill gives to parents ‘joint custody’ of children, the question of actual care and control of children seems to be vaguely left to welfare officers. (Sections 6 1-65)
  4. That children of 14 years and over are allowed to choose their guardians, who need not be either parent, in effect contravening the present law that prevents children under 16 years freeing themselves from parental control: and furthermore the Bill specifies that no order regarding such 14 year old children may be made that is contrary to the wishes of the child. (Section 64)
  5. That after the dissolution of the marriage, the wife may be forced to work to support herself and her children, and in some cases her ex-husband, as well as being liable for legal costs. (Sections 72-76)
  6. 6) That under this Bill the loose term’ irretrievable breakdown’ could be used as an excuse for divorce of convenience and for financial gain in various ways, including increased pensions, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will do everything possible to promote and preserve the permanency of the married state, and not admit into the law of this land any provision for such easy divorce that threatens the stability of family life- for although the present divorce system has weaknesses these will not be righted by an even weaker and a more unj ust ‘ Family Law Bill ‘.

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

Petition received.

Family Law Bill

To the Honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled: The humble petition of undersigned citizens of Australia and members of Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Roman Catholic Churches respectfully showeth:

That the undersigned persons believe that the Family Law Bill, currently being debated before Parliament, strikes at the very foundation of Society- the Family unit. If this legislation is passed by the Parliament, it will have the most profound consequences for the future of Australia.

We believe it imperative that the legislation should be defeated unless all obnoxious provisions directed at the destruction of the Family unit are removed.

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

Petition received.

Hobart City Council: RED Scheme Grant

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of residents and land owners of the area of Ridgeway- Hobart, Tasmania respectfully showeth whereas:

  1. Ridgeway was one of the early settled areas of the City of Hobart and is situated in close proximity to one of the City ‘s sources of water supply.
  2. That we have suffered bush fires and a lower standard of living due to no reticulated water supply being available.
  3. Inflationary increases in estimated costs of servicing our allotments with a reticulated supply.
  4. Stagnation of our land due to only rain water being available.

YourPetitioners request that your Honourable Parliament takes immediate action to:

Make available to the Hobart City Council a Special Grant under the ‘Red’ Scheme for urgent labour intensive works such as the laying of a water main to Ridgeway.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr Coates and Mr Duthie.

Petitions received.

Hansard: Subscription Rate

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

That the increased price of the Hansard subscription will place it beyond the financial reach of most people;

That it is basic in a Parliamentary democracy that electors have easy access to records of the debates in their Parliament;

That making Hansard available only to an elite who can afford it is at odds with the concept of open government.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government will reduce the cost of the Hansard subscription so that it is still available at a moderate price to any interested citizen.

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

Petition received.


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

That whereas uranium found in vast quantities in Australia is the raw material for the nuclear fission reaction,

And whereas presently assured reserves of uranium in Australia represent a potential production of over 540 000 kilograms of Plutonium 239 if utilized in Light Water Reactors overseas,

And whereas the Maximum Permissible Inhalation of Plutonium 239 is 0.00000025 gram,

And whereas Plutonium 239 is one of the most dangerous substances human society has ever created, causing mutations and cancers,

And whereas there are no methods of safely and absolutely confining Plutonium from the biosphere for the requisite quarter of a million years,

And whereas Plutonium coming in contact with the air forms an aerosol cloud of micron-sized particles, its most dangerous form,

And whereas the export of uranium may return to us an import of Plutonium particles dispersed in the global environment via the circulation of the atmosphere,

And whereas there are no sure safeguards against the military use of nuclear fission, and the nuclear proliferation represents a prime environmental threat to all forms of life on the only earth available to us,

And that it is therefore an act of self-preservation to demand a halt to all exports of uranium except for bio-medical uses,

Your petitioners humbly pray that the members, in the House assembled, will take the most urgent steps to ensure:

  1. That further mining and export of uranium from Australia except for bio-medical purposes be banned.
  2. That the Australian Atomic Energy Commission be transformed by the rewriting of its charter into an Australian Energy Commission to further the understanding of energy flows through our society and to promote national economicindependence and self-sufficiency.

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

Petition received.

Child Endowment

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth that

Child Endowment received by families has declined relative to average earnings so that today it is about 20 per cent of its value in 1949.

The Interim Report of the Australian Government’s Commission Into Poverty recommended a substantial increase in Child Endowment as a way of alleviating poverty.

This report pointed out that increased Child Endowment deserved priority and would be advantageous to the community in the long run.

It specifically recommended increasing child endowment from 50 cents to $ 1 . 50 for the first child; from $ 1 . 00 to $2.00 for the second child; from $2.00 to $4.00 for the third child; from $2.25 to $7.00 for the fourth child; and to $8.00 for subsequent children.

Your petitioners humbly request that the Government increase Child Endowment in the September Budget.

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

Petition received.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of the latest reports from Vietnam giving further credence to the charges that the Government has buckled under pressure from Hanoi, will the Prime Minister produce the evidence publicly or through me privately to lay to rest these disquieting imputations? Protestations and unsupported explanations are not enough when there are widespread reports that the Australian Government can be and has been manipulated by the will of Hanoi. In a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon I said:

I would like to take this opportunity again to request a private reading of the cables to Saigon and Hanoi. I would treat them with absolute confidentiality and if they are even handed-

The Prime Minister says they are-


-Order! The honourable member is giving a considerable amount of information.


– I will continue:

My only public comment would be to confirm the consistency that you contend to be reflected in the messages.

Is it not in the interests of his own and the Government’s credibility to take up this invitation?


– I have not seen the honourable member’s letter because, as I told him and as he knows, I was away last night.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I am sorry.


-I have nothing to add to what I said yesterday in answer to his question without notice. The principle that I stated then was stated constantly by our predecessors and has been observed by us. Even in respect to the invitation by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam for Australia to send military advisers to Vietnam, our predecessors refused to table the communication. I will quote the words which were used:

  1. . there is a well-established principle in those matters that communications between governments are confidential to the governments concerned. The Government does not believe it is appropriate to depart from that principle in this case.

Those words were constantly used.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– By whom?


– This was an answer actually given by the Leader of the Opposition to the present Minister for Science when the Leader of the Opposition was Minister for Defence on 25 September 1970- Mr Malcolm Fraser in answer to Mr Morrison. The honourable gentleman presumably is basing his question on the lead story in today’s ‘Age’ which is headed: ‘Whitlam Defers to Hanoi’. The basis of it appears to be right at the foot of the story on the front page. It states:

North Vietnam’s protest was disclosed by British diplomats here who said their Hanoi embassy had received a similarly worded protest about a frigate being sent to evacuate refugees.

I want to make it plain that there has been no cable, no written protest from Hanoi in these matters at all. There have been communications with Hanoi on 3 matters. The first was when Hanoi was informed of our intended response to the plea from the Government of South Vietnam through the United States that we should give humanitarian assistance. Secondly, Hanoi expressed concern later to us that this might be aiding South Vietnam against North Vietnam or the Provisional Revolutionary Government. Thirdly, we have been in touch with Hanoi about the possibility of flying international relief supplies into North and central Vietnam as we are into southernmost Vietnam.

The Government’s attitude in this matter was made plain from the very outset. On 2 April my

Press statement said that 7 Hercules transport aircraft, together with other aircraft currently based at Butterworth, would be made available for use in a humanitarian role in Vietnam. The task of the aircraft was to ferry supplies and materials intended to meet immediate and critical human needs. It is true that after the Phan Rang incident when South Vietnamese troops barged aboard a CI 30 aircraft we decided that the position would not arise where officials or soldiers of the South Vietnamese Government would be aboard our aircraft. It was never intended that they should be aboard our aircraft. I need no prompting to suggest that that should be precluded. I would apprehend that there is not a single member in the House who would suggest that Royal Australian Air Force aircraft should be used to ferry South Vietnamese soldiers. We are not engaged in a Dunkirk operation. Australia does not have allies anywhere in Indo-China and has not had allies in Indo-China since 1972.

We have been concerned to relieve human sufferings and this country, under my Government, has spent millions of dollars in rehabilitating Indo-China- much more in South Vietnam than in North Vietnam or Cambodia- and it is spending millions of dollars, usually through international organisations, in relieving suffering in Indo-China. I believe we are justified in doing that. But we cannot be compromised by the hijacking of our aircraft. I get a bit tired of this denigration of the RAAF and of Australia’s efforts in Vietnam. Let me read a statement which our ambassador in Saigon issued yesterday. He stated:

Completely objective foreign observers have been enormously impressed by the incredible effort of the RAAF in moving essential basic supplies with such powerful efficiency. In 4 days alone the RAAF moved 750 000 pounds of food and medical supplies. The air lift is in the truest sense a real humanitarian effort. The RAAF’s involvement in the relief of distressed civilians in Vietnam began on 28 March when a-Dakota aircraft from air base Butterworth Malaysia flew to Saigon and was placed on stand-by.

The following day, within 6 hours of a request for air transport assistance in Vietnam, 6 RAAF C 1 30 aircraft left their base at Richmond, New South Wales, and flew to Butterworth to join another CI 30 already positioned there. The 7 CI 30s began relief flying in earnest on 2 April, when about 1400 refugees were flown from Phan Rang on the east coast to Can Tho, south-west of Saigon. RAAF Dakotas also began flying Red Cross supplies from Saigon to Can Tho. The fourth of April was a particularly busy day for the RAAF crews. Two CI 30s carried 80 000 lb of food from Saigon to Phu Quoc island. Another

CI 30 carried 24 000 lb of blankets from Bangkok to Saigon and two other CI 30s transported 194 orphans, 8 escorts and a medical team of 8 doctors and nurses from Saigon to Bangkok. In addition, two other CI 30s evacuated 35 Australian civilians from Saigon to Bangkok. On 5 April the RAAF flew 7 C 1 30 sorties.

Mr Sinclair:

– A point of order, Mr Speaker. On a matter of such significance which has such policy overtones’, might I ask the Prime Minister to make a statement -

Mr Duthie:

– He is making one now.

Mr Mathews:

– He has made it.


-Order! I suggest that honourable gentlemen listen to the point of order and then I will rule on it.

Mr Sinclair:

– May I ask the Prime Minister to make a statement on this matter after Question Time instead of making a statement during Question Time, contrary to the intent of Standing Orders.


– Order! There is no substance in the point of order. The Chair can rule on answers to questions only with regard to relevance. I would think that the matter is relevant. The question did ask for a considerable amount of information. I think that it is probably taking an inordinately long time to provide that information, but the answer is in order.


-On 5 April the RAAF flew 7 CI 30 sorties. Two flights from Bangkok to Saigon carried 65 000 lb of rice, powdered milk and tinned meat, and 5 flights from Saigon to An Thoi, Phu Quoc island, carried a massive 136 000 lb of food and UNICEF stores from Saigon to An Thoi. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week the RAAF workload increased even more. On Sunday 7 CI 30 sorties flew 150 000 lb of food, mostly rice, from Saigon to An Thoi. On Monday they doubled the effort, flying 300 000 lb of rice, milk and soup along the same route. Tuesday’s RAAF effort included the freighting of 167 000 lb of rice, again from Saigon to An Thoi

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. What progress has been made in the creation and operation of a land commission program in South Australia? At what price will the blocks be made available to young home seekers? Will the land commission scheme stabilise the price of land in South Australia? Finally, what States are now participating in the land commission and is there any reason why the scheme should not be extended to the whole of Australia?

Minister for Urban and Regional Development · REID, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– As honourable members will be aware, the land commissions in South Australia were set up in the first year of the Whitlam Government. Last year the Government made available $8m to buy virgin land on the fringe of Adelaide. There are now 3000 blocks of land in the pipeline and tomorrow the Prime Minister, the Deputy Premier of South Australia and I will turn the first sod for the sale of land to young people. The cost of the land will be approximately $5,800 for a block approximately 10 miles from the Adelaide GPO.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– You will have to get a depression to get your land prices down.


-Order! If honourable gentlemen want to ask questions I suggest that they rise and get the call. The Minister should answer only those questions which are asked in that manner.


– This land will be approximately $10,000 a block cheaper than land made available in Sydney and approximately $8,000 a block cheaper than land made available in Melbourne. Because the South Australian Government has adopted the positive policy of entering into agreement with the Australian Government on land commissions, it probably will be the only State in Australia at this stage that will be able to stabilise land prices at a time when we predict that within 6 to 9 months there will be a large increase in the price of urban land for young people. The other 2 areas that will be able to stabilise the price of land will be Canberra and Albury-Wodonga. The honourable member asked whether we are making any progress with other States. Yes, we have just entered into an agreement with the New South Wales Liberal Government. It has set up an urban land council and this year $10m will be made available for land in New South Wales and in addition, approximately $ 10m will be made available for a development corporation in the south western sector of Sydney, between Liverpool and Campbelltown. We are also finalising agreements with the Western Australian Government on an urban land council. Also, we are finalising an agreement with the Tasmanian Government and next week the Deputy Premier of Queensland will be coming down to have discussions with me on the matter of a land council. The only State (that has failed to make any real headway with ‘our urban land council is Victoria but I feel that the job that has been done in South Australia in keeping the price of land at less than $6,000 a block will set an example that all other States will have to follow.

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– The Prime Minister tried to suggest there had been some denigration of the Royal Australian Air Force and devoted a long reply to justification of the RAAF. It is not a question of denigration of the Air Force and he well knows it. In recognition of the principle that the Prime Minister enunciated, that communications between governments are normally confidential- and that principle I would support- I had therefore put to him the alternative, and asked him concerning it, that I should be allowed to see the cables that had been sent to Hanoi and Saigon. In view of his reply. I ask him if I can also see the cables that have come from Hanoi and Saigon on a completely private and confidential basis. In view of what he regards to be the situation of a Leader of the Opposition, and did when he was in this position, I ask him: Would he not agree that that is information that ought properly to be made available when public matters of this kind are under discussion? He ignored this particular point in his 10-minute answer.


– The answer is the same, Mr Speaker.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister and concerns sections of the Corporations and Securities Bill dealing with company law. Has the Prime Minister seen suggestions that such provisions would more properly and effectively be included in a Companies Act of uniform terms throughout Australia? What meaning, if any, is there in the term ‘a’- that is, singular- ‘Companies Act of uniform terms’? Is this not a subterfuge for dispensing with a single national Companies Act and relying on the good graces of State governments to pass uniform legislation? Finally, I ask: Does the track record of State governments, for example with the Moore v Doyle legislation, give any cause for hope that State governments could be relied upon to pass uniform company legislation?


-Efforts were made in the late 1950s and into the 1960s by successive Australian Attorneys-General- Sir Garfield Barwick and Mr Snedden- to get uniform trade practices and uniform companies laws passed by the 1 1 Australian State Houses of Parliament. No such uniform legislation ever resulted. AttorneyGeneral Hughes also tried to get uniform legislation on trade practices. The fact is that for over 15 years we have tried but have not succeeded in getting a uniform companies law in Australia. Clearly, Australian companies operate more and more beyond the boundaries of any one State. Company operations are impeded, they are made much more expensive and they are made much less efficient by the fact that we do not have a uniform companies law in Australia.

In the light of the decision in the concrete pipes case- it is one of the most significant decisions which the High Court has ever given and a case in reference to which I take the opportunity once again to praise the advocacy of AttorneyGeneral Hughes- it became clear that the Australian Parliament did have the responsibility of passing corporations laws. My Government has tried to do this in many respects. There is legislation at present before the Parliament to exercise those corporations powers which the High Court has said repose in this Australian Parliament. In fact, this constitutional power was availed of by our predecessors in a couple of instances, the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1971 and the Companies (Foreign Take-Overs) Act 1972. My Government has continued this task of at last giving Australia modern corporations laws. In a mixed economy it is impossible to have efficiency, economies and expedition unless corporations act in a modern national context. That is what we are trying to achieve. Fifteen years of effort by the States have not achieved it. It clearly rests upon this Parliament to do something which the Constitution stated it could do.

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– In addition to reading the lead story by Mr Michael Richardson in the Melbourne ‘Age’, did the Prime Minister turn to page 10 and read the balance of the story which was in that part of the ‘Age’ newspaper? In that part, did he read the reference to the offloading of the heavy plastic sheeting which in fact was aboard the Royal Australian Air Force aircraft for some considerable period to the embarrassment of all concerned? Is he aware that several junior members of the RAAF crew involved expressed to some persons in Saigon at the time the fact that they were ashamed to be Australians in view of the instructions and the uncertainty that emanated in the directions being given them by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra? Will he assure this House that in future operations by the RAAF there will be no such avoidance of on the spot responsibility which in fact caused inordinate delays in the provision of the service by the RAAF aircraft over the course of the days referred to by the Prime Minister in his reply? Will he also advise this House what the RAAF aircraft did on 3 April -


-Order! The honourable member has asked about 6 questions up to date. If he expects an answer, I suggest that he makes his questions shorter.


-Will the Prime Minister advise the House for what purpose the RAAF aircraft were used on 3 April?


-The answer to the first few questions is no. I will give an assurance to the House that the Royal Australian Air Force aircraft will be used for the purposes for which they were sent to Saigon and other points in South Vietnam, that is, for humanitarian purposes. I regret that the actions of some South Vietnamese soldiers and officials should have compromised the RAAF in its objectives and in the obligations which it is undertaking to international relief organisations such as the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and obligations which it has to the Government of Malaysia whose air base at Butterworth it uses. Mr Speaker, I am not going to be deflected from these matters by stories from journalists who might have their noses put out of joint because they have not been allowed to go on aircraft. We have thought that relief supplies were more urgent than the presence of some of the journalists concerned.

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– There will be no need for anyone to take out private medical insurance from 1 July. I recommend to the public not to waste their money doing so because their medical needs will be covered by the medical plan of Medibank. With regard to hospital insurance, in agreement States there will be no need for anyone to take out insurance for public ward treatment, but for intermediate ward or private ward or private hospital treatment, as a matter of preference, people ought to take out private insurance. In agreement States, contributions will be considerably reduced by between 20 per cent to 30 per cent. In all, people will be saying between $2 and $3 a week which they presently contribute to private health insurance funds. Unfortunately, in non-agreement States people will have to take out private hospital insurance for public ward, intermediate ward, private ward or private hospital treatment. They will have to pay the present full rate, that is, they will be denied the savings with regard to hospital insurance available to people in agreement States, but they will have the benefit of the medical insurance plan which, as I pointed out, is free, due to the actions of the Liberal and Country Parties.

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– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. I ask: Is there a basic disagreement between the Government and the Reserve Bank about the Government’s monetary policy? Is it a fact, as reported in the Press, that this disagreement has been strongly expressed in a letter to the Treasurer from the Governor of the Reserve Bank? Does the Governor’s letter reflect the view expressed in his speech to the Australian Association of Permanent Building Societies that the growth in the money supply must be reduced? Finally will the Government continue to ignore the advice of its principal monetary adviser?

Dr J F Cairns:

– The answer to the first 2 questions is no. The answer to the third question is that the responsibility for determining monetary policy lies both with the Reserve Bank and the Government, and that responsibility will be properly exercised. There is no basis for the Press reports on which the honourable member’s question happens to be based.

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– I address a question to the Treasurer concerning the measures taken by the Government earlier this year to revive the motor car industry. Can the Treasurer inform the House to what extent the industry’s fortunes have been restored since the measures were implemented?

Dr J F Cairns:

– The House will be aware that in December evidence had accumulated that the Australian automotive industry was in very serious difficulties. We had exact quantitative figures of accumulated stocks which showed that there had been very excessive over-buying from overseas, at rates which were running at well over 17 000 vehicles per month. The Australian market had become glutted by these excessive purchases from overseas, and great difficulties had been caused not only for the Australian producing industry but for the importing industry as well. I emphasise that this caused difficulties for the importing industry as well. “

There was strong, convincing evidence that the Government could not possibly avoid the fact that if action were not taken there could be up to 10 000 retrenchments in the industry directly, and possibly another 10 000 indirectly. Had these retrenchments occurred that would have struck a blow at the whole of the secondary industry structure of Australia. It was a very vital and significant problem that had arisen, as I said, I think because of the miscalculation of the importing sector of the automotive industry. Having been satisfied, as a result of lengthy discussions with all sections of the industry as well as with others, of the need for it a plan was arrived at that was calculated to reduce the stocks- both the imported stocks and the Australian produced stocks- of vehicles in Australia. That was done substantially by reducing the rate of sales tax, which meant that stocks could be reduced without any added cost to the consumers of the motor cars. We hoped that the problems of the industry could be solved without imposing costs upon the purchaser of a car- and I emphasise that.

Mr Kelly:

– How is that working out?

Dr J F Cairns:

-I think the honourable member for Wakefield would sound disappointed if anything done to protect Australian industry could possibly be successful. The plan, adopted by the Government in conjunction with the industry, has been magnificently successful. The daily sales rates in February 1975 were an all-time record and exceeded the sales in February 1974 by more than one-third. They should be compared with the sales for the month of January 1975, which were the lowest since 1972. These facts speak for themselves as a vindication of the Government’s recent policies. 1 emphasise that the policies were evolved after a very fruitful series of discussions between the Government, the unions and the industry. The latter two parties- the unions and the industryhaving seen a policy that was likely to work, have carried out that policy to the letter. The Government stands by that policy. The House will be aware that the sales tax rate will increase again by Vh per cent in May and in each subsequent month. The economic factors at present justify the maintenance of that policy. It was directed towards encouraging short term or rapid purchases of vehicles to clear stocks. That has been achieved. I point out to the industry and to’ all those involved that I stand ready to discuss with them the problems that may arise in order to arrive at practical solutions to ensure the adequate development of the Australian industry and the maintenance of production.

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-I direct a question to the Prime Minister. His Government has believed for some considerable length of time that the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia was inevitable. Will he advise the House why his Government did not direct the Department of Foreign Affairs and other appropriate departments to prepare in advance comprehensive contingency plans for the relief of Vietnamese refugees and war orphans? Will he also advise the House why it was not until last Friday that an interdepartmental submission was prepared recommending which classifications of refugees should be allowed entry into Australia? What was his decision regarding those classifications? What was the substance of the classifications? How and when will the Government permit, or how does it propose to expedite, the entry of refugees into Australia or elsewhere?


-My Government and its predecessors always thought it possible that there might be a change of government in Saigon and there have been discussions in the Department of Foreign Affairs- the former Department of External Affairs- as the honourable gentleman would know, on this contingency for some years. The situation with regard to refugees is that the South Vietnamese Government has not relaxed its policy on exit permits in any respect other than as regards orphans. There have been suggestions that certain people would be seeking asylum in Australia. No applications have been received. Applications for permanent residence are being processed expeditiously. I do not think that the South Vietnamese Government, whose interests the honourable gentleman may have in mind, would be advanced by propounding proposals for the taking of its officials and its generals away from the country. The Government of South Vietnam has not urged other nations to take its officials, its generals or its orphans from the country.

The suggestions- the pressures- have come from outside. It is very damaging for any government to give the impression that it is preparing to quit. The South Vietnamese Government, whether prudently or not, has given no such indication. We are in touch with the South Vietnamese Government on a variety of matters; we have been all along.

As regards orphans, my Government took the initiative in having a conference of all the relevant State ministers. As a result of that conference last year it was possible for the orphans to come here last weekend. I suspect there were some’ children in the party who were not orphans, but it was possible for the children to come here in circumstances which would have made it impossible before last year’s conference. The situation is that the South Vietnamese Government requires that there should be permission from it for orphans to leave the country. That seems a perfectly reasonable requirement. The Australian State governments require that people who are to adopt children or who are to be foster-parents must be approved by them. That seems a perfectly proper requirement.

The Australian Government ‘s role, as we see it and as we expeditiously fulfilled it, was to make it possible for the eligible children and the suitable parents to be brought together as quickly and safely as possible. I forget the exact figures, but I think the number of orphans who came from South Vietnam to Australia under these arrangements last year was quadruple the total number who had come in all the previous years. There had been pressure to bring orphans from South Vietnam to Australia under the government of our predecessors. Very few indeed came, but I believe the number that came last year was 4 times as great as the number that had come in all the previous years. That was made possible because of the arrangements made by my Government; that is my Government brought together the State Ministers and officials concerned, and the arrangements which were then made have facilitated the operations last weekend and possibly will facilitate operations in the future. As regards adult refugees, the Government of South Vietnam has shown no inclination whatever to change the rules which it has applied for very many years.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Social Security. I refer to the tribunal system which the Minister has set up to ensure that applicants for pensions and benefits receive fair treatment from his Department. Has the Minister received proposals that files of persons who receive pensions or benefits from his Department or who have applied for such should be available for access by those persons? Has he been able to give this matter serious consideration?

Minister for Social Security · OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · ALP

– An appeals tribunal system has been established in each State within the Department of Social Security and staffed by one departmental representative, because of the benefit of experience that he can bring to bear in such a tribunal, and 2 outside people who are selected because of their qualifications and experience in various fields and who accordingly, because they are outside people and experienced, can bring impartiality to bear in judgments on appeals. I have received proposals that the files of the Department of Social Security should be available for access by people who are receiving or have been receiving from the Department or who have applied to the Department for pension or benefit and where there is some dispute. I am personally attracted to this in general principle. In saying that I would point out that it is consistent with a principle I propose to implement under Medibank whereby, following a report of the committee of inquiry into the protection of privacy affecting the Medibank program, after 1 July people in Australia will be able to have access to their personal records retained with the Health Insurance Commission. They will be able to have any errors or inaccuracies in those records corrected.

I would like to see a similar principle introduced in relation to the files compiled on individuals in the community and held by the Department of Social Security. There may be some difficulties. For instance, in the opinion of medical specialists it may not be in the best interests to make available to a particular client a medical report of a rather crucial and personal nature, such as one advising of a terminal disease or of an acute psychiatric disorder. I mention this as an illustration. It is my proposal that the proposition should be referred to the committee of inquiry into the protection of privacy when it resumes which I hope will be fairly soon. From this we should have with proper safeguards for the general public an arrangement whereby individuals will have access to their files and perhaps advocates operating on behalf of individuals may also have access to files with the authority of clients so that there may be maximum guarantee of individual rights so far as my Department is concerned.

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– Is the Prime Minister aware that there are now 19 North Vietnamese army divisions in South Vietnam? If he is not aware of this I inform him that there are now that number in South Vietnam. Were these armed forces invited to South Vietnam? In Australia’s cable to

Hanoi on the observance of the Paris peace agreement was there any mention of the presence of North Vietnamese army troops in South Vietnam? If not, why not? What response to Australia’s cable has the Prime Minister received from Hanoi?


– I do not believe either Saigon or Hanoi has sent replies to the messages I sent to each at the same time and in substantially similar terms. Mr Speaker, might I amplify an answer which I gave to the previous question asked by the honourable member for Bradfield about orphans? I have the precise figures now.


-Could I ask the Prime Minister to do that after question time has concluded.


– Yes.

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– Is the Minister for Social Security aware of the resolution passed at the Bendigo Conference of the Australian Natives Association which stated that the Association would cooperate fully with the Australian Government in order to ensure a speedy and efficient introduction of Medibank? Having regard to previous published statements does the Minister see this as a change of heart and a trend involving other similar organisations which will assist in the long overdue introduction of Medibank?


– I have noted the comments on behalf of the Australian Natives Association. They certainly contrast with the mild diffidence which was expressed on behalf of that Associationa friendly society- by its president, Mr G. Simpson, in November last year. According to the ‘Age ‘he stated:

The Government has cut its own throat with a rusty knife through its legislation. Hopefully the result will lead to tetanus.

Although this was a rather encouraging comment in terms of the co-operation we could expect from the Association I did not allow myself to be prejudiced in favour of or against the Association! I was impressed by a letter of 3 February from the Australian Natives Association which conveyed a resolution from the Association. It stated:

That because of the unsatisfactory offer of reimbursement for the week involved and the temporary nature of the offer of agency and other unknown factors it be not taken up at the present time -

Obviously, that is the offer from us-

But that we would be willing to give consideration to any further offers or suggestions made by the Government with respect to agencies.

Unfortunately for the Australian Natives Association there has been no adjustment or alternative offer proposed since the offer put to it. However, a considerable time has passed since the offer was put to the Association and there is not much time left now before the introduction of Medibank. In fact the time is so short that it would not be possible to reopen offers to the private health insurance funds, whether they be open funds or friendly societies, proposing that they take up agency arrangements.

The facts are that we have received more than adequate offers of agency arrangements through the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. We do not require any alternative sources of agency servicing in the community. It is not our fault that the Australian Natives Association, in common with a number of other funds, has been approaching me through third parties seeking to reopen the offer of agency arrangements. It is the fault entirely of the Board of the Australian Natives Association that it wished to play politics earlier this year. Members of the Australian Natives Association ought properly to blame those people. I repeat, it is not possible to offer an agency arrangement for the Australian Natives Association or any other health insurance fund in Australia because it is too late; the boat has gone.

page 1466




– My question which is addressed to the Minister. for Urban and Regional Development is related in part to his answer earlier today. Did he say or imply, as stated in the ‘Bulletin’ of 5 April, that it would help to have the formerly proposed capital gains tax on land owners in operation and that, to pursue policies connected with urban and regional development, he intends to keep trying to persuade Cabinet to impose a capital gains tax? Is that his view? ?Mr UREN- Mr Speaker, as you are aware, publicity has been given, to this matter. A submission was put before Cabinet. It did not relate to .a capital gains tax but to a speculative tax on urban land. Cabinet decided against it. It is known that I was very much in favour of it, but I have no further comment to make.

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– Has the Minister for Transport seen statements which claim that a bridge across the wash away on the TransAustralian railway line at Zanthus had been constructed and completed by the Western Australian Government Railways before the Commonwealth Railways could get organised to complete the task?

Minister for Transport · NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA · ALP

-I noted an article in one of the newspapers this morning relating to a statement by the Minister for Railways in Western Australia. The article stated:

Mr O’Connor said that it was originally intended that the Western Australian Railways would start on one side of the gap and the Commonwealth Railways would start on the other. But the West Australian Railwaymen finished the Bridge before the Commonwealth had organised itself to start.

I do not know whether that statement was made. Assuming that it is a statement made by the Minister for Railways in Western Australia, I cannot for the life of me understand why Ministers must resort to making untruthful statements in order to try to build up their own egos when the facts are not there. The real position is that after this break occurred -

Mr Nixon:

– Don’t climb down again.


– Would the honourable member say that again?


– Order! The Minister will answer only those questions which are directed to him-


– Would the honourable member interject a little louder?


-Order! If the Minister answers questions other than those directed, to him in the proper manner I will ask him to sit down.

Mr Whitlam:

– And I will support you.


-Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for his support and I assure you that, unlike members of the Opposition, I will accept your rulings. The facts of the matter are that after consultation between the Commonwealth Commissioner for Railways, Mr Smith, and the Western Australian Commissioner for Railways, Mr Pascoe, it was agreed that because the Western Australian Railways Civil Engineering Branch had considerable experience in building the type of bridge that was necessary to bridge this break in the line, the Western Australian Railways Civil Engineering Branch would be the constructing authority.

The Comrail contribution to restore the line would be the provision of some thousands of tons of rock spoil to be transported in the main from the Whyalla region. That was the arrangement. The Western Australian Department was to be the constructing authority. We were to provide the spoil and, most important of all, the Australian Government through Comrail was to be the financing authority.

It is beyond my comprehension why Ministers cannot come out and tell the truth on these issues. These are facts. This is typical of the attitudes of State Ministers. They distort facts and fail to tell the truth. For example, this week the New South Wales Minister for Transport said that his Government was buying two additional hydrofoils for use in Sydney Harbour. But he did not go on to tell the people of Sydney that the Australian Government was providing twothirds of their cost. I can pick out case after case of such distortion, just as I was able to blow out the distortion, half truths and lies of the BjelkePetersen Government just recently.

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– For the information of honourable members I present the report on paper by the Temporary Assistance Authority dated 11 March 1975.

page 1467


Mr Les Johnson:
Minister for Housing and Construction · HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– For the information of honourable members I present a report in 3 volumes entitled ‘Report on Cyclone Tracy, Effect on Buildings’ dated March 1975, together with a statement on that report.

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-Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. The honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Clayton) misrepresented me in a debate on 8 April. This is the first chance I have had to reply to him. He said:

For 13 years the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) contributed to publications of one Mr Eric Butler, a raving anti-Semetic megalomaniac and author of the publication ‘International Jew’. Even when challenged in the House about his associations with Mr Butler’s League of Rights the honourable member avoided dissociating himself from the League of Rights.

The honourable member has not been a member of the House for long and I do not blame him completely for what he said because this sort of thing has been said before. I want to place the facts on record. In the 1940s I paid annual subscriptions to the ‘New Times’ publication, a publication produced by the League of Rights. These publications were mostly used by the League of Rights at that time to expose communist subversion in the Western world, including Australia. I have never attended any League of Rights meetings or activities. I do not support or subscribe to any anti-Semetic views of Mr Eric’ Butler or any other views he may have. Indeed, I have the highest regard for the Jewish people and am a staunch supporter of the State of Israel. In my late teens and early twenties I was an avid reader of many political journals including the Communist Party ‘Tribune ‘ newspaper. I want to make it clear now that I neither support the League of Rights and its extremist views nor the Communist Party. I reject completely both organisations and dissociate myself completely from their aims, objectives and extremist views. For the record I once again dissociate myself completely from the League of Rights and its founder, Mr Eric Butler, whom I have never met.

But I have fought at least one campaign against the League of Rights, in 1972 in my own electorate. I have probably done more in that particular area to fight the League of Rights than any other member of this Parliament. I reject these allegations very strenuously indeed.

Minister for Tourism and Recreation · Lang · ALP

- Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?


-Yes. In today’s issue of the ‘Australian’ is an article headed ‘How they voted on family bill’. It goes on to say: ‘The following members of the House of Representatives yesterday voted in favour of the second reading of the Family Law Bill’. It lists a number of names. It then states: ‘The following members voted no; ‘, and lists a number of names. It goes on further to say: ‘The following members were absent or abstained from voting: ‘. In that list of members the 4 tellers are listed as having abstained from voting. So, taking that as the measure of the accuracy of this article, I should like to point out, as the House well knows, that when the question was put that the Bill be read a second time no division was taken. If the reporter who wrote this article wishes to know more about procedures inthe House I certainly would be prepared to inform him. But I cannot but feel that this is part of the program against some of us who wish to see certain sections of the Family Law Bill amended and that this is a deliberate campaign to distort our motives.


-Mr Speaker, I intended to raise the same point as the Minister for Tourism and Recreation raised. I do not think there is any reason for me to take up the time of the House further.


-I think it is unfortunate that reports of this nature are made. To my knowledge no honourable member voted against the Family Law Bill although honourable members may have used their voices. There was certainly no division so there is no basis for any report appearing on the way members voted.

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Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


-I have received a letter from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Malcolm Fraser) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The need for this House to look to its practices and procedures to become more effective for the good government of Australia.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)

WannonLeader of the Opposition

– I take this first opportunity to give what are personal views but at the same time views which I believe can advance the cause of this House of Representatives. I do this even though this is Grievance Day because I am particularly concerned about the role of private members on both sides of this Parliament, which has resulted largely from the actions of governments. I mention governments in the plural quite deliberately. What I say is rooted in a concern for the reputation, for the role and for the effectiveness of this House of Representatives. I believe there is a widespread concern throughout the Australian community on this very point.

There is a responsibility on the Government and also a responsibility on the Oppositionprobably a greater responsibility on the Government because the Government has the power and the numbers which would be necessary to achieve reforms if it so wished. It is worth noting that any democratic government governs by consent and not by force. Certainly that is a truism. But that consent can be reinforced and maintained, even when laws are often opposed by particular individuals, only when there is general respect throughout the community for the institution of Parliament, for the institution of the House of Representatives. I believe that that respect has been put in jeopardy over a quite significant period. What I am talking about is not a question for the Joint Committee on the Parliamentary Committee System. It is much broader than that and, I believe, much more significant. Incidentally, I believe that a joint committee on committees is the wrong way and always was the wrong way to go about this business because this House ought to look to its procedures and practices and the Senate ought to look to its procedures and practices. The problem that we have is a problem in the House of Representatives. There has been a slow process of erosion of its authority and its status and we need to ask ourselves how this has occurred and why it has occurred.

But what are the faults? There is too much rush, not enough time for significant legislation, not enough time for major debates. I think that the debate earlier this week was the first significant foreign affairs debate almost in the lifetime of this Government. There is not enough time for significant committee stage debates. There is not enough time for those who have a particular interest to give true and proper attention to reports of the Industries Assistance Commission. Much of this rush and lack of time comes about because of the increasing concern and the increasing activities of this Parliament on matters that affect the general well being of the people of Australia: But the procedures of the Parliament have not changed to allow us to pay attention in a proper manner and in proper order to the increased activities and responsibilities that have been adopted by the Parliament. Very often there is too much passion on many matters that ought to be dealt with with a degree of impartiality. Only when there is a willingness for real debate can we distinguish areas of agreement within this Parliament or areas of disagreement, and preconceived views coming into this Parliament do not assist in the good government of Australia and in getting to a sensible conclusion. Sometimes views are too rigid and attitudes too preconceived, leading to inflexibility and an inability to listen and respond to arguments. I believe that all governments at times have been responsible for acting in that way.

The status of the Parliament has been reduced by the recently adopted practice of making major policy statements to the media rather than to this Parliament. I think it is worth noting that when the Peacock-Sinclair mission returned from South Vietnam and Cambodia its members behaved quite deliberately as Ministers ought to behave in government. They said that they would be reporting to the shadow cabinet and there was an intention to report to this Parliament. That intention was overrun by another debate and a statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) himself. That is an example of the way in which people with something significant to say ought to report the matter to the Parliament and to the people of Australia. We need to look at the procedures in Question Time. There is certainly an Opposition role in that and it has been recognised, but there is also a Government role concerning the . length of answers. I think it is worth noting that the longest answer given today took 10 to 11 minutes. If I do the Prime Minister an injustice by adding one or two minutes to the actual time of his answer I apologise to him. We could well look to see whether or not we should have a system of supplementary questions to probe individual Ministers more closely and to get closer to the truth of a particular matter. To make life slightly easier for Ministers we might have a circumstance, as happens in some other parliaments, where not all Ministers are subject each morning to Question Time. A group of Ministers would know that it was their day to answer questions and they would also know that they would be in for a more effective grilling at Question Time than can occur under the present procedures. I believe that these matters have not been properly examined over many years. There is an inadequate role, I believe, for private members of Parliament, whether they be on the Government side or on the Opposition side. Governments very often like committees that will consume the time of private members, but committees that consume time are sometimes quite different from committees that lead to effective government and the effective use of private members of Parliament as an effective watchdog over government in the interests of the people of Australia.

That is a list of categories of some faults that I have seen over a period of years. I first started to look at these matters over 10 years ago and reports on them are already in the parliamentary record. But there is no point in talking about the faults unless one is prepared to propose some remedies, and I believe that one of the most effective things we could do would be to establish an effective committee system. We have standing committees, special service committees, a Public Accounts Committee and a Public Works Committee, for example, but we have no general purpose committees such as there are in the House of Commons which enable that House to decentralise its business and get through more work with much better examination and more expedition than we are able to.

There is one great and glaring omission in the special purpose committees so far as this House of Representatives is concerned. There is no estimates or expenditure committee, as there is in the House of Commons. It is important to note the difference between the Public Accounts Committee, whose principal purpose is to see that monies have been spent as Parliament ordered, and the Expenditure Committee, which has operated in the United Kingdom in one form or another for over 30 years, probably nearer to 40 years, on a basis of determining whether departments are drawing up their estimates economically. That Committee operates within the framework of government policy, not challenging policy but in a manner that does not allow departments or Ministers to pad votes. It is the best possible safeguard for the public purse in the United Kingdom.

This Parliament has no such arm, no such weapon, and no government has so far shown any inclination to establish such an expenditure committee. The effective workings of this Parliament would be greatly increased if a committee on expenditure were established. This would not be a committee to examine estimates between their presentation to the Parliament and the passage of the Budget; that is what happened originally in the United Kingdom and it was found to be an ineffective process. Their Expenditure Committee sits throughout the year and gets to the details of the formation of estimates by departments. It examines, again within the framework of government policy, the principles and procedures adopted by departments to see that their estimates are done economically. It is not a practice that Permanent Heads would especially like, I imagine; it is not a practice that governments would especially like, but it is a practice that this Parliament ought to like and approve because it would do much to strengthen this Parliament, this House of Representatives, as a watchdog over the administrative arm of government.

I believe also that there would be room for a special committee to examine Industries Assistance Commission reports to see that consistency and commonsense are shown in the way in which the Commission is going about its business. With present procedures there is generally not adequate time for these reports to be examined as we now go about our business.

Then I come to the question of general purpose committees. The United Kingdom Parliament has four. A parliament of the size of the Australian Parliament could, I believe, with great advantage establish two such committees. The purpose of these committees would be to deal with non-political legislation through all stages and perhaps the committee stages of some other legislation that is more important than that. There would need to be a steering committee reflecting the composition of this House which would judge the handling of legislation.

Should it go to one of the special purpose committees or should it go to the House and go through the procedures that we now follow? The more important matters would certainly have to be dealt with by the whole House. In such committees in the House of Commons there is a core of permanent membership but at the same time there is a floating membership, dependent on the interests of particular members, so that they are not excluded from debates on any subjects which happen to interest them. If this system were to be adopted, the two special purpose committee could sit concurrently, but obviously there would need to be another chamber in which that could occur. I am not being facetious; there could be an underground railway to a second chamber built on top of a bowling green which would probably be the nearest place where such a chamber could be established. At the same time, I believe that there is a need for a secretariat for the Standing Orders Committee. I find it odd that an Australian Parliament that has been operation for 75 years still looks back to May’s Parliamentary Practice rather than compiling its own detailed practice. I believe that an Australian May’s would be an advantage and it is one of the things that I would have thought even this Government might wish to embrace.

I believe that reforms of this kind would result in a better examination of many matters. They would enable the House to do more business more expeditiously and much more effectively. Forums would be provided where there would be less heat, more logic and a more considered debate. It would promote informal debate and there would be a more meaningful role for private members if Parliament were re-organised along the lines that I have suggested. I hope very much that the Government might take to itself the responsibility of initiating measures that would lead to this kind of examination of the procedures of this House of Representatives.

It would not be an adequate response to say that there is a Joint Committee on Committees because I have been talking about matters of much” wider significance than the role of that Committee. While not decrying its purpose, I strongly believe that each House needs its own committees, its own systems and its own procedures. I half believe sometimes that one of the purposes of the Joint Committee on Committees was’ t’t . nobble the effectiveness of the Senate Committee system. If that was its purpose, it is certainly not one which would advance parliamentary government in Australia.

In these matters, we should be looking to the authority and the dignity of Parliament. These matters can only work and only proceed if the Government, which has the majority in the House of Representatives, wants them to work in that way and wants private members to have the most meaningful role and most effective role that is possible. The Opposition has a role to play, but it is the Government which has the power to act. While this Government is in power, we will cooperate with it in achieving these objectives. When this Government is out of power, if it has not acted, we will act in these matters.

Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House · Grayndler · ALP

– In the course of his address, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Malcolm Fraser) dealt with the rights of private members and the need for private members to be given the opportunity to participate in an effective way in the work of the Parliament. So, I remind the Leader of the Opposition that this is the one day in every 2 sitting weeks when private members are given the opportunity to participate in their own way in the doings of this Parliament. Here, today, we have the Leader of the Opposition infringing on that time and preventing, amongst others, 6 members of his own side from speaking as well as at least 5 members on the Government side.

The situation is that the Opposition is continually complaining about the lack of time available to private members. Today, we find the Leader of the Opposition taking away the rights of private members and then saying in the course of bis speech that private members ought to be given more time for speeches in this Parliament. Yesterday was the day for this matter of public importance to be proposed for discussion. But the Leader of the Opposition, desiring to impress his audience before somebody else takes his place, wanted to make his speech while the proceedings of the House were being broadcast, so he did not propose this matter for discussion yesterday. Consequently, we find that he puts this proposal forward today.

I would suggest that he might start by reforming the Senate. That a first-class place to commence reforms to the parliamentary system.’ He could bring his own people into line in that chamber and see that that reform is made. I would’ suggest also that he might make a submission to the Joint Committee on Committees and see whether he could not get a procedures committee appointed through that body. He might give formal evidence also to the Joint Committee on the Pecuniary Interests of Members .of. Parliament. In many ways, he could objectively put his proposals forward, if he so desires.

I admit that this is a subject for debate. It is an important one. But it is not one which should take up the time allotted for speeches by private members of this House. My responsibility as the Leader of this House is to protect the rights of all private members, Government and Opposition. I have no intention whatsoever of allowing the Leader of the Opposition, in the temporary time that he is to occupy that position and in the temporary period that he will be Leader of the Opposition, to prevent that right and to take up the time of the Grievance debate by bringing forward for discussion in this House a matter which could well be debated on any other day of the sitting week. Having said so, in accordance with the policy of this Government of maintaining the rights of private members, I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he might debate this subject at a more appropriate time, and I move:

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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– In the Parliament Act which was passed last year, sections 4 and 5 designate the site of a new and permanent Parliament House and also set out a parliamentary zone which is under the direct control of the Parliament. To date, the Parliament has established no machinery by which it will deal with its responsibilities under sections 4 and 5 of that Act. The Joint House Committee meeting this morning asked the Presiding Officers to draw the attention of each House to this fact. I do so now. This is not something on which the Presiding Officers can initiate action. I draw the attention of this House to the fact that there is some necessity for each House to act in this respect. I draw the attention of the House of Representatives to the fact that sections 4 and 5 of the Act place responsibilities on this House. I think some consideration should be given to the machinery by which the matter is to be dealt with.

page 1471


Employment and Unemployment- Macarthur

Division: Electorate OfficeBroadcasting Leadership of Liberal Party of Australia - Indo-China -Industrial Relations- Chiropractic Treatment

Question proposed:

That grievances be noted.


-This morning I wish to highlight what I believe is a dangerous and creeping disease which, to my mind, has reached almost plague proportions in this country. I wish to expose the exploitation of the scheme that has been designed to benefit people in need, people who are less fortunate than we are and people who, fortunately, are in a minority in this country. I refer to the exploitation of the unemployment benefits scheme in this country.

I measure the cost to the nation in 2 ways. Firstly, there is the moral cost which I consider is extremely important and has far reaching effects. Secondly, one can measure the cost to the country in dollars. I am very disturbed at the moral attitude of the Australian people in relation to the acceptance of unemployment benefits when they are not really in need of them. I am appalled at the deterioration in the approach to the acceptance of unemployment benefits. I will endeavour to outline some of the problems which exist.

This Government stands condemned for its encouragement of laziness in the Australian people. We have easy hand-outs- it is a case of easy-come, easy-go, which has resulted in no incentive being offered the Australian people. I submit that any nation will prosper and flourish only if its people are industrious. There must be, as I think everyone will agree, a good average rate of productivity. But there are no shortcuts to widespread affluence and a better way of life - the better way of life and affluence that we would hope everybody in this country could enjoy.

Why is work a dirty word in this nation today? Why is work shunned by so many Australian people? Why is work not looked upon as an essential prerequisite to happiness and success? Yet, people seek happiness and success in this nation without effort, without being industrious and without concern for the present and future. There is an attitude in this country in which people say that the country owes them something. I submit that it owes them nothing at all but rather that they owe the country something. This Government, through its laxity, is encouraging a significant proportion of people to exploit, to deceive and to trick the honest people of this nation by accepting unemployment benefits. We have countless thousands of these people in Australia. We have a sick society. This Government has to do more than sit on the bedside and watch the disease which is spreading, but also it must make sure that the disease does not reach an incurable stage. There has to be a positive cure, some positive action, and this’ Government must get tough.

I emphasise that there are genuine people in this country who are deserving of unemployment benefits. Let us look at the economic situation in relation to the exploitation of unemployment benefits. With respect to unemployment benefits, a single person gets $31 a week. A married couple receives $51.50. These benefits are to be increased shortly. If a married couple has children, an unemployment benefit of $5 a week is payable in respect of each child. The average pay-out could be around the $60 a week mark. In round figures we have 270 000 people unemployed in Australia today. Approximately 180 000 of those people are on unemployment benefits. A little bit of simple arithmetic reveals that approximately Slim a week or $600m a year is being paid out in unemployment benefits.

I wish to emphasise this exploitation as officers of the Department of Labor and Immigration right throughout this country say, I understand that the situation is the worst .that they have ever experienced. The position is out of hand. It is really running riot. Let us assume that an office of the Commonwealth Employment Service wishes to contact 10 men, to place those 10 men in employment. This may be through the RED scheme or in relation to some unemployment relief money. It may be in respect of an inquiry from an employer.

They do not send telegrams to 10 people; naturally there would have to be a few more people involved to do that. But in some instances they have to send 25 or 30 telegrams. I shall cite an example- it is not in my electorate, but I believe that it is typical- where three times as many men as required are contacted. Expressed in terms of percentages of those contacted, 45 per cent were referred and 35 per cent were placed. Apart from the 45, per cent who were referred, there is a remainder of 55 per cent. Fifteen per cent failed to answer, 20 per cent advised that they had started work, 5 per cent had left the area and 15 per, cent advised that they were not available. The .remainder of the 55 per cent had actually lodged’ a statement and were receiving unemployment benefit.

Let us look at another situation where a man and a woman are living in a de facto relationship. Let us say they are both earning $109 a week- a total of $2 1 8. If they were both registered for unemployment benefits they would be receiving $31 each-a total of $62. A total of $280 a week would’ be coming into the household. An important section of the Department of Social Security deals with the provision of a supporting mother’s benefit. In some areas it has been proved that up to 75’. per cent of the women receiving that benefit were actually living with their husband or a man in a de facto relationship.

Let us take the case of young people in this country. Four, five or six young men or young women or mixed company may occupy a flat and pool their resources. Let us take the situation of 5 people living in a flat with $155 a week coming in. They are paying rent of perhaps $35 a week, and if we say that their food costs another $80 a week, they are left with a balance of about $40 for incidentals, clothes, etc.

Mr Young:

– Overseas trips.


-As the honourable member for Port Adelaide says, they might even be able to save for an overseas trip. This Government shortly will provide that sort of money for people without their making any effort. We have the situation of people working under false names. We have more offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service being opened and more offices of the Department of Social Security being opened. People can flit from one office to another to register and pick up more than one benefit weekly. I believe that as a part solution- I do not believe the problem can be fully overcome because it is one which will face any government- there ought to be more social security inspectors put out on the road to do spot checking. We should tighten up on the supplying of income statements. At the moment I understand there is a white form that has to be filled out, followed a week later by a green form and then no more income statements are required from individuals who have registered for unemployment benefit. We have a situation that has relaxed the rules for individuals, because we had a. reporting system that operated on a weekly basis. I realise the extra load involved for the officers of the Commonwealth Employment Service offices, but we have now changed to a monthly reporting system. I believe that it is a flexible system and that the individual officer in charge of the office has the right to make more frequent checks apply to people registered in his office. But here again a man can register while he has a job but still go back to the employment office once a month for 10 minutes to report. The system is therefore easier for those who want to exploit it. With a Budget that is running at about $3,000m over the mark by the end of the financial year I believe it is an area that this Government could well look at. People in this country today are acting like leeches and are sucking the blood from the Government in the form of massive unemployment benefit cheques to which they are not really entitled.

I wish also to refer to the situation of the average labourer who is getting approximately $90 to $100 a week, depending on what part of the country he lives. A man on the dole- one of the dole set- he could be a married man with 4 children- currently receives $7 1.50. Of course he has no tax to pay and no fares. One might say that he is better off than a labourer. If he is working one or two days a week and let us say he is earning $25-$30 a day, he would receive $60 a week for working 2 days. If he were receiving $71.50 in unemployment benefits and $60 from working 2 days, he is getting about $ 130 a week. That anybody can work 2 days a week for $130 and have 5 days off is an indication of the freedom that this Government has allowed and the way that this country is progressing at present. I emphasise again that I do not begrudge the individual who genuinely cannot get work receiving those benefits. It is the obligation of this nation to look after those unfortunates. I believe that the Government has to act to eliminate the loafing dole set. It stands condemned, and as the Queensland Secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Mr Bevis, stated -

Mr Martin

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


– I wish to raise in the grievance debate today the most serious event which has affected me personally during the time I have been in politics. The situation I will outline goes beyond the normal hustle and tussle of politics, beyond hard uncompromising politics and beyond boots and all politics. I am used to the insults of local Liberals. I am used to the arrogance of the New South Wales Premier, who now advises our joint constituents that he will not attend meetings and functions- I instance the Kiama pre-school opening 3 weeks ago- where I or any Federal Government member is speaking, even where joint finance is involved. I have adjusted to the not so subtle pressures applied to local newspaper editors, particularly at election time. This is why I now have a mandate for tyranny by their definition.

When elected in 1972 I sought an electoral office in the most populous part of my electorate, at Campbelltown. That is one of the largest subdivisions in New South Wales and has almost 17 000 voters. There were few offices readily available and the one chosen in early January 1973 was a first floor one at 100 Queen Street. The lease was for 2 years. There is access to the main street, which is Queen Street, but the office is at the back of the building. Although, listed in the directory in the foyer of the building

I have been unable to put up the usual gold lettering on a window or a glass door. A small wooden plaque put up disappeared, and as signs on my car while parked in the same town have been destroyed, there seemed little sense in continuing putting one up.

I have tried to gain other accommodation during the last 2 years, but have been unsuccessful. In January 1975, when the lease expired, I heard that accommodation was available in the centre of town, so I asked an estate agent who is a member of the Australian Labor Party to make preliminary investigations. Offices which he had available were not altogether satisfactory, so he contacted other agents, one of whom had excellent accommodation available on the first floor of a building at 186 Queen Street in the centre of the town facing the street. I contacted the Department of Services and Property to make an inspection and to find out the lease position of my existing office, the lease of which was being renewed monthly. There was contact in January and February and approval was given under delegated authority for a 2-year lease to be taken out on suite 1, 186 Queen Street, on 1 1 February 1975. The usual actions to set up the premises were then taken, but as the lease was for 2 years it was not a registerable contract, and the deal was to be finalised by the payment of rental and an exchange of letters.

On 15 February 1975 the Liberal Party preselected its candidate for Macarthur and not long afterwards acquired by lease, rent, gift or purchase, accommodation directly below my existing office, but facing Queen Street. The quarters were formerly a restaurant known as the Steakhouse. The premises were set up as a campaign committee room and there was an official opening involving the new member for Pittwater, Mr Webster. Apart from the embarrassment of having to tear down all the smiling Bill Snedden posters, the office has functioned smoothly, being manned all the time. Apparently the Campbelltown Liberals thought this to be a master stroke- a coup- the divine right to rule upheld! On the understanding that the lease .was proceeding with my new office the . commencement date of 10 March 1975 had . been determined and rental was paid until 30 April 1975 by the Department. An officer of the Department and my secretary went to the new office on 1 1 March to see what alterations were necessary and were informed by the agent that pressure was being brought to bear on him by local,;Liberals who did not want me to move, or if I ‘.did move, they wanted to have an office below me again. My secretary and the officer and I dismissed this as a joke. However, a more serious turn of events took place and the agent came under increasing pressure. On one night, I believe he had 25 phone calls. He was socially ostracised, pressured and finally, I believe, blackmailed. The people putting the pressure on included Mr Green, the full-time Liberal Party organiser, and members of the Campbelltown elite, including a home unit producer who also lends money and who formerly had a timber business in the town, a well known chemist, a doctor and others whom I see no purpose in naming.

On 13 March, or thereabouts, the nerve of the agent concerned collapsed and although the cheque did not arrive in his office until Friday, 14 March, he returned the cheque for $244.78 with a letter dated 12 March stating: ‘The premises are no longer available due to circumstances beyond our control’. The agent has not come to see me with any information and I am not naming him because he has suffered enough. There are some Liberals who have an idea of a fair go. I shall say no more about that.

It is strange that an item appeared in the ‘Illawarra Mercury’ on Friday, 14 March stating that I had moved out of my office and that the Liberals were moving in. The new office- the office I was trying to get- still has not been let. I make no allegations about my opponent’s role in this matter. He either knew about it or if he did not he had better express an opinion as to the actions of some of his Campbelltown helpers. The actions of the local Liberals in Campbelltown is not only childish, stupid and smartalecky but also totally wrong in principle. The Department has never heard of this happening before and is seeking the advice of the Deputy Crown Solicitor on it. I am still seeking different accommodation, but I dare not move lest some other unsuspecting estate agent is to be subject to the same thuggery. I am now thinking of moving to another town, but I am wondering whether the Liberal Party will again use the same tactics. The office is not for me personally, as a dreaded Labor person, thereby involving the loss of image which has been quoted for the Campbelltown elite, but for the people of Macarthur, for whom the Liberal Party has no respect. In fact, two-thirds of the representations I make are made on behalf of Liberal voters. I am going to have to ask the people of Macarthur whether they wish me to have an office in Campbelltown or, for that matter, in the electorate. The office I now hold is only held subject to a one-monthly renewal; so what security of tenure do I or does the Department of Services and Property hold? The office is not for me personally and is no different from offices leased by other Australian government departments throughout the electorate. I regard this example of Liberal stupidity, arrogance and blackmail as very serious and I ask the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) and the Attorney-General (Mr Enderby) to look into the matter.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

-My concern is with the subject of broadcasting. It relates to some events which are occurring or are about to occur in Adelaide. It is about a possible concentration of interests in broadcasting and, what is more aggravating in this respect, a possible concentration of political interests. It is quite clear that from the earliest days of broadcasting in this country there has always been a concern by governments, by way of legislation, to spread the interests in respect of broadcasting and, certainly, television. Section 90C of the Broadcasting and Television Act makes it quite clear that a person shall not have a prescribed interest in the licence of more than one metropolitan broadcasting station in any State. That section also indicates the number of stations within a State and throughout Australia in which a person may have an interest. For the purposes of the Act ‘a person’ is also defined as a company which has a direct or indirect control over those stations. Carrying the matter a little further in respect of television, the Royal Commission on Television in 1 954 made it quite clear that it set its face against an involvement, directly or indirectly, by any political party in television. At page 95 of its report the Royal Commission had this to say:

We would add, however, that in our opinion it would be most undesirable for licences to be granted to representatives of political parties whilst conditions exist which severely limit the number of stations established in any one area.

Those 2 points make it clear that it is a concentration of interests, certainly a political arrangement in the concentration of those interests, that has to be of concern in the dissemination, the distribution and the awarding of media licences throughout Australia.

I return to the situation in Adelaide. In what I have to say I am suggesting nothing improper in terms of the interests of the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford). I hope that that is understood. I am concerned with the principle of what may occur. It is quite clear that in that city there is to be a new broadcasting licence awarded. One of the applicants for that licence is Festival City Broadcasters Pty Ltd. Two questions arise in respect of that organisation. Firstly, does it offend against the spirit of the Act as interpreted over the years? Secondly, if a licence were awarded to that body would its awarding not offend against the true intent of what has been of concern in the interpretation of that Act since the late 1930s and certainly explicitly since 1942? The Australian Labor Party has what has been judged to be a significant interest in one broadcasting station in Adelaide- 5KA, or is it 5AK?

Mr Young:

– It is 5KA and it is not very significant.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

-It is significant enough to be of concern to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board under the Act. The Labor Party was asked whether it was interested in making another application. For one reason or another it was not. That having occurred, that interest was then taken to a body which is very closely associated with the Labor Party and which has an effective interlocking directorate with the Labor Party- the Trades and Labour Council of South Australia. That body, through its unions, has been prompted and invited to take an interest in Festival City Broadcasters. Through a number of unions it has at the present time a 20 per cent or 25 per cent interest in Festival City Broadcasters, which has made an application for the new licence that is to be awarded to Adelaide.

The question to be asked- it is a very important one- is: If a licence were awarded to Festival City Broadcasters would the awarding of that licence offend against the spirit of the Act and the true intent of the Act? I believe that it would offend against the true intent of the Act because it is clear from the way in which a letteragain I suggest not an improper one- from the honourable member for Adelaide was disseminated that, having been refused an interest in the new station by the Australian Labor Party Executive, he went to another and an affiliated rallying point, that is, the Trades and Labour Council. Some things were said in that letter which I think were better not to have been said. They are important to this point and they need to be made known. I refer to his second letter. I want it to be understood that I am not imputing improper motives to the honourable member for Adelaide.

Mr Hurford:

– You will read the whole letter, will you not?

Mr Kevin Cairns:

-I will read in context the appropriate parts of the letter and the appropriate parts of a telegram. The appropriate letter of 25 November had to say, in 2 parts, that the effective rallying point for the new station was to be a form of political propaganda. I read the following words from the letter

I have reason to believe that it will be the successful applicant for the fourth commercial radio licence because the Government and the Broadcasting Control Board, from what I can gather, are anxious that the station should not be an anti-Labor one and because the Company has amongst its directors the necessary expertise to ensure a successful operation.

Again I say that the rallying point is a political organisation which has a majority, a controlling, interest in another body which has a controlling interest in its own station in Adelaide. I believe that those matters ought to be investigated and investigated very clearly by the Board.

I have raised this matter because I am concerned in another way about the hearings that occurred in respect of the application by Festival City Broadcasters. I believe that some insults were offered to the Board for which it did not require apologies and I am concerned, without making any specific allegations in terms of the membership of the Board, that it may be leaning over backwards not to offend those who have made an application on behalf of Festival City Broadcasters. This is a matter that ought to be investigated. The nature of the control of both organisations deserves to be looked at extremely closely. After all, both of what I would say are the rallying points and what could be the controlling interests in both stations as defined by the Act require obedience from their affiliated members, affiliated organisations and constituent parts. When there are interlocking directorates which comprise similar people from the constituent parts we are in serious trouble.

This is important because the media have become so important in this nation. They have assumed a position from which they can influence crucially the ideas and values of a whole people. The dissemination of control and the lack of concentration of control in the media are things whose significance cannot possibly be overestimated. When there is a doubt, even the slightest doubt- I believe there is more than the slightest doubt- that such a dissemination of interest cannot and will not occur in Adelaide if this licence is awarded in this way, the matter needs to be brought forward, and precise investigations, certainly more than have so far occurred in terms of the hearings of the Broadcasting Control Board, need to be pursued. So far they have not been pursued.

A number of us have been concerned about what I consider to be a lack of balance in some of the broadcasts of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Some of us have been concerned about the very quick changing of membership of the Broadcasting Control Board. We were concerned about the attempt to introduce Bills into this Parliament last year to terrorise independent media in Australia. I believe that in order to clear the air the nature of the controls, of the rallying points, for each of these applications- the one that exists now and the one for the controlling interest in station 5KA- deserves to be investigated by the Board, and more questions should be asked than the Board has so far asked in respect of the application by Festival City Broadcasters. The matter concerns much more than Adelaide. It concerns the whole of the Commonwealth and the whole of the media industry within this country.


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

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MartinOrder! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


-I claim to have been grievously misrepresented. Incidentally, the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) gave me no notice, which he should have if he observed the normal courtesies of this House, that he was going to raise this matter, which applies to me very directly. I want to make it clear that it is true -

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– I suggested no improper motives on your part.


-The whole implication was against me personally and it affected me personally. Normal courtesy would have required you to raise this with me personally so that I could have documents here to help me in this personal explanation. I intend to make my personal explanation straightaway because the proposition is so easily answered. Yes, I am a director of one of the applicant companies for the fourth commercial radio licence in Adelaide. There are 5 directors of the company. Three are members of the Liberal Party, the politics of one other are not known and I am the fifth. I have one voting voice out of five on the board of directors. It is not true that the Trades and Labour Council has a 25 per cent share in the company. The Trades and Labour Council has no shareholding. In fact the unions concerned are individual unions organised by me.

I might add also that one of the applicant companies is almost entirely a Liberal Party company. How the honourable member for Lilley can impute against me or the Australian Broadcasting Control Board that if Festival City Broadcasters was chosen it would be a political choice is completely beyond me. It is not a Labor company. It is the only company which has a directorship which covers all of the political parties and therefore could be said to be the only neutral company which is applying for this station licence. The parts of the letter read by the honourable member for Lilley were taken completely out of context. Elsewhere in the letter it would be found that the words I used were: ‘The concept which this company hopes to sell to the Broadcasting Control Board -

Mr Chipp:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I do not want to be harsh on the honourable member for Adelaide, but I submit that he is going further than a personal explanation. Although I have some sympathy with him for wanting to speak now, may I suggest that he ask the next Labor speaker on the list to yield or, with the indulgence of the Chair, make his personal explanation after 1 o’clock, because the Opposition has 6 speakers to speak on Grievance Day. I feel that in fairness to them, Mr Deputy Speaker, I should raise this point of order and request that you ask the honourable member either to be brief and conclude his personal explanation now or seek leave to make it after 1 o’clock.


– I think the point is well taken. If the honourable member for Adelaide has any further explanation it might be proper to make it at the end of the debate.


– I may take an opportunity later when I have the relevant documents with me to complete my personal explanation, but in all fairness I am not going to yield to a member from this side whose turn it is to speak now. I am making a personal explanation. My name was used very widely in the speech by the honourable member for Lilley. I shall conclude on this note -


– Order! I think it would be more proper to make the personal explanation at the conclusion of this debate. I call the honourable member for Port Adelaide.

Port Adelaide

– It is interesting to note that the Opposition always tries to attack any diversification of the media in Australia. It never uses the name of Fairfax, Jones or Packer. It is frightened out of its wits at the thought that someone else who represents a different point of view may one day have a significant ownership in the media. The sooner that happens the better. I am sure the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford) will clear up any misconceptions about the views that have been expressed by the honourable member for

Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) about the situation in Adelaide. I am not altogether happy with the applications for the fourth commercial radio licence in Adelaide. Of course, my own view is that the South Australian trade union movement exclusively should be given the licence so it can express a view against the media which every day attack the Labor movement in that State.

However, I rise this morning not to speak on the matter of the media, although I would be happy to, but not to let the week pass without mentioning the most significant political event that has taken place since the House adjourned one month ago. I refer of course to the demise and to the shifting from the office of Leader of the Opposition to the back benches of the right honourable member for Bruce (Mr Snedden) -an event which is worth mentioning in this House because the right honourable member for Bruce, in spite of the fact that he represents a political Party other than mine, is a colleague of the other 126 of us who sit in this House and obviously something ought to be said about the events that led up to his political assassination. As in most tough businesses- and I suspect that politics is as tough as any of them- a certain amount of loyalty and comradeship is necessary for the political parties and for the individuals in those political parties to survive. When we look around to try to find what the right honourable member for Bruce could have been guilty of it is very difficult to pinpoint the reason why 37 members of his Party would throw him out of office. He almost became the Prime Minister in May 1974. A couple of hundred more votes in 3 seats would have made him the Prime Minister, not the Leader of the Opposition.

We seem to be dictated to now by the computer. Because the Press of Australia with its various market research teams tells us that he may not be popular with the sample of 2000 people who were asked questions we find that the political parties in Australia no longer have room for a gut reaction to politics but merely want to be dictated to by the computers, the market research people and the John Singletons of the world and make their decisions based on what they say. So we find the right honourable member for Bruce, who not only almost won the elections in 1974 for his Party, who worked harder than any other member of his Party throughout that period -

Mr Bourchier:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Is the honourable member for Port Adelaide going to tell us about the assassination of Mr Cope?


– Order! That is not a point of order and the honourable gentleman well knows it.


– I can understand why the honourable member is a bit touchy. He happens to be one of the persons who have reached a recognised position as a result of the change of leadership. We are all aware of the part he played in it. Because the computers tell the political parties- and remember that 2000 people of 13 million were asked the questions- whether a leader or a political party is popular or not the Liberal Party jumps, aided and abetted of course by the pushing and stabbing of the Australian Country Party. So the Liberal Party is now going to live with this fact. It will have to live with it because the same thing that happened to the right honourable member for Bruce will happen to the present Leader of the Liberal Party, because the market research teams, whether they want to or not, will also say that he is not popular with the Australian electorate. Then the Liberal Party will have to get rid of him.

Mr Giles:

– What are you so worried about then?


– I am just concerned that a once great Party, the Liberal Party, is no longer able to deal with the proper business of its Party. It is bringing all politicians and all political parties into disrepute because of its actions over the past month. Throughout the 2 weeks which led up to the assassination of the honourable member for Bruce we saw 30 pieces of silver being shuffled around like a political football. No one wanted to hold them for too long. It is significant that after the honourable member for Bruce was defeated we had 30 shadow Ministers. Perhaps each shadow Minister took one piece of silver because that is what happened in the Liberal Party -

Mr Bourchier:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. There are 3 1 shadow Ministers.


– Now there are because the Leader of the Opposition -

Mr Chipp:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! Before this point of order is taken I remind the House that Standing Orders allow the person who occupies the chair to take certain action against honourable members who raise frivolous points of order or who take points of order which in fact are not points of order. I call the honourable member for Hotham.

Mr Chipp:

– This is certainly not frivolous.

Mr Keating:

– It is the first time it is not.

Mr Chipp:

– The young hypocrite -


-Order! A point of order is being taken.

Mr Chipp:

– I thought marriage might have helped the honourable member for Blaxland but it has not. It has made him worse. The honourable member for Port Adelaide suggested that each of the shadow Ministers took a piece of silver. That contains an implication which is unpleasant. Knowing the honourable member I am sure that he did not mean anything unpleasant or improper. But it sounded improper and it would so read in Hansard.


-Is the honourable member asking the honourable member for Port Adelaide to withdraw?

Mr Chipp:

– Yes, I am asking him to withdraw the imputation.


-Is the honourable member offended by the remark?

Mr Chipp:

– Yes, I am.


-I ask the honourable member for Port Adelaide to withdraw.


-I thought that if it were good enough to be in the Bible it would be all right to be in Hansard. I withdraw. Let us have a look at the role of the honourable member for Bruce and at the role of the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser). Members of the Liberal Party have elected a person who they say will lead them to victory. As I say, they will be dictated to by the market research teams and by the computers. They will be puppets at the end of strings as people tell them whether they are popular. What was the role of the honourable member for Wannon? Since his election we have heard people saying that now there is a new Leader that they will have to be loyal Liberals and support their new Leader. That principle hardly applies to the honourable member who has been elected Leader. Did he give loyal service or lip service? There is a fair bit of difference. In an interview with Michael Willesee not long ago, when asked about the role of Mr Snedden, Mr Fraser stated:

I think Mr Snedden has performed well. I think he is performing well, as I believe that Mr Snedden must be and will become Australia’s next Prime Minister.

These are the words from the person who, since Mr Snedden was elected Leader of the Liberal Party in 1973, has not let up for one instant in trying to take over the role of Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Bourchier:

– I raise a point of order. I do not wish to make a frivolous point of order. Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask your ruling on whether it is permissible for a member of the Government to make a personal attack on the Leader of the Opposition without advising him that he is going to do so and without the Leader of the Opposition being present?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MartinThere is no substance in the point of order. That is a code of conduct which, in this House, is sometimes honoured and sometimes not honoured.


-Throughout this disgraceful period we saw the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lynch) depicted in a cartoon in Melbourne as sitting in the middle of an open telephone book saying: ‘I am just looking for another name to whom I will be loyal.’ The honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock) was dispatched from the flat of the ‘Godfather’ and then dispatched to South-East Asia and disgraced as the show went on to see who would be Leader and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. I believe that the role of the honourable member for Bruce in this House has been honourable. He has worked hard for his Party. He did not deserve the action which was taken by his Party in replacing him with the honourable member for Wannon. Are the honourable members asking for miracles from the honourable member for Wannon? He has not changed. As someone once wrote, a dinosaur will not change his spots. Let us look at his role in education. Who almost made a complete fiasco of the Karmel Committee legislation which came into this House in 1973? It was the honourable member for Wannon. Schools in Australia almost missed out on $500m because of the role the honourable member played in this House.

Then he was given responsibility for industrial relations. ‘He said that employers ought to ask themselves what kind of people they wanted in . charge of the trade union movement’- as if it is the responsibility of the employers to decide and to elect who will run the trade union movement in Australia. Those views are rejected unanimously by the trade union movement. Of course in foreign affairs the honourable member for Wannon has always been a hawk- conscription, intervention in Indo-China, and all the things which stand for the late 40s, the 50s and the early 60s, all the old attitudes and old philosophies. The Liberal Party now expects that the views being expressed by their new Leader will, in some miraculous way, attract back to their fold the thousands and thousands of voters whom they need to win the next election. My prediction is that if the Liberal Party allows itself to be guided by the machinery of the market research teams it is making a very sad mistake.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MartinOrder! The honourable member’s time has expired.


-Mr Deputy Speaker -

Mr Keating:

– Colonel Haw-Haw.


-I will deal with you later, lad. It is quite obvious that the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) is worried. He has good reason to be worried now that the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has become Leader of the Liberal Party. As the months go by the honourable member for Port Adelaide will understand why his worry is so well founded. But this is not my purpose this morning. I wish to draw to the attention of the House and make some comments about the debate on the statement by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) on Indo-China. We find in Hansard that the Minister for Science (Mr Morrison) stated in his impassioned plea to the House:

We are not concerned about politics but about people.

What wonderful words. He spoke them after he had wept on the arrival of the orphans at Mascot in Sydney. A newspaper article stated:

The off-loading of those first fragile orphans was slow. One was blind. A few were polio victims. A girl had both legs broken. There was a baby 2 days old. The worst were carried in caressing arms. Bill Morrison, Minister for Science, wept.

I ask the Minister when he started to weep. Was it on the trip up to Bangkok? Was it on the way back? Or was it just when the Press arrived to see the Minister for Science greeting the children to Australia? Has he wept since? Would it be possible for him to give a demonstration in this House of his tremendous worry and compassion for those unfortunate children? He says: ‘We are interested in people, not polities’. What a cheap and nasty political trick to have his photograph taken with babies, the unfortunate victims of war. Let us have a look at the plight of these children from the time it was decided to bring them from Saigon. It took 26 hours to get those unfortunate children to Australia. They were left waiting on the tarmac at Saigon for 3 hours in tropical heat. They were carried to Bangkok in a Royal Australian Air Force aircraft which was not designed nor ever meant to carry sick babies. Then they were transferred to a Qantas flight to come to Australia. I simply ask the question: Why was not the Boeing sent to Saigon so that these unfortunate children, instead of suffering the hours of heat and the hours in a plane not equipped to take them, could come direct from Saigon to Australia if we were concerned with people and not politics? Having got them here and having placed them where they could receive attention we then had the next charade by those who show an interest in people and not politics in the actions of the Prime Minister. On Sunday afternoon, complete with camera crews, he must have his photograph taken holding a baby from Saigon. Is this concern for people and not politics? What a cheap and nasty way to attempt to get the votes of the Australian people by showing concern. If we are so concerned about these people what are we doing about people in Phnom Penh right now? Does the Minister for Science know what goes on in Phnom Penh right now? Is he aware of the job being done by Dr Penny Keyes, an Australian woman, who struggles to help these unfortunate people in the most indescribable conditions? She is not sitting aboard a luxury aircraft or weeping to show her concern as she steps from the door. I saw Dr Penny Keyes struggling with an untold number of refugees. If the Minister wept after what he saw on that aircraft, I can assure him that he would cry himself to death if he went to Phnom Penh.

Politics, not people. Another cliche used by the Minister was: People voting with their feet. Unfortunately this cliche is true, and nothing that the Minister said in this House the other day will change it.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MartinOrder! I refer the honourable member for Riverina to standing order 7 1 which states:

No member may allude to any debate or proceedings of the same session unless such allusion be relevant to the matter under discussion.

Mr Lucock:

– Do not try to protect the Minister.


-Order! I will pretend that I did not hear that last comment. The purpose of this standing order is to prevent the continuation of a debate at a later date after the debate is concluded.

Mr Sinclair:

– Do not take up his time.


– I am not doing it for that purpose. Any allusion to the debate the other day is out of order under standing order 7 1 . The honourable member may refer to any matter concerned with his overseas visit but he may not refer to the debate on Tuesday.


-I would like to refer to . General Troung, Commander of the First ARVN Division. The Division and this man have been in continuous war operations 7 days a week for 15 to 20 years. I have factual evidence that General Troung had one week off last March. For the last 4 years he has served in Military Region 1 in Vietnam with his Division. In the last year he has seen his Division decimated, with 600 dead. In continuous operations against the North Vietnamese Army it suffered tremendous casualties. Had there been any political over-view by the NVA of the casualties they would have been withdrawn from combat, but it was quite obvious that the political purpose was to allow them to suffer those casualties in order to sap the strength of the First ARVN Division.

Nevertheless General Troung, suffering from tuberculosis and from an ulcer, commanded that Division for 15 years with tremendous honour. In the last year he has made a superhuman effort. Yet this man now stands under house arrest. This man who has made a superhuman effort should be given an accolade by everyone who thinks he cares for people. Let me draw a military analogy here in Australia. We had a tragedy in Darwin. An Australian Army general was put in charge of operations in Darwin. After a week it seemed that the general had suffered as a result of going to Darwin. He was brought back and we named him as Australian of the year after one week in, I suggest by comparison, very reasonable circumstances.

But those are the circumstances in regard to General Troung and his army under which the Vietnamese people are suffering at this moment. Instead of them receiving accolades, we write, them off. Because the people flee we make the weak excuse that they are fleeing from bombs. We do not understand the people, we have never tried to understand the people and we come into this House and say that they are not important. They are important only if we can make cheap political gains from their misery. Their misery will, go on. I have a document which tells what they face after Vietnam falls. It says:

Once all non- Vietnamese witnesses have been removed, they will proceed to exact payment of the ‘blood debts’. In a deliberately created atmosphere of terror, they will establish thousands of ad hoc ‘people’s courts’, before which will be arraigned all those individuals and groups the Party has decided to eliminate. Those unfortunates will be accused of ‘crimes ‘ which have no existence in civilised societies.

A conservative estimate of the number to be butchered is in excess of one million. It could rise to several times that figure. Because the battles will be over and the big guns will have ceased to fire, .peace will be said to have returned once more to Vietnam.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Sinclair:

– I move:

That the honourable member’s time be extended.


– I had called the Leader of the House.

Mr Sinclair:

– I have already moved a motion.


-I had called the Leader of the House. He was on his feet first.

Motion (by Mr Daly)- by leave- agreed to:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the consideration of Order of the Day No. 1, Government business, Grievance debate being continued until 1 o’clock p.m.

Mr Sinclair:

– I move:

That the time of the honourable member for Riverina be extended.

Question resolved in the negative.


-The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Sullivan) has made a very cynical speech in this Parliament. I find it very difficult indeed to sit silently and accept an attack made upon a man such as the Minister for Science (Mr Morrison) in the manner in which the honourable member for Riverina made it. He did not have the decency, the courage or the propriety to advise the Minister that he intended to make the attack. He made it here today under privilege and, in a cruel and cynical manner, imputed improper motives to the Minister for Science who had the decency to go to Indo-China in order to bring help and succour to those who are suffering. It ill behoves the honourable member for Riverina to make such cynical attack and then scutter out of this chamber before it could be answered.

I believe that what we have seen today is indicative of what is happening among the Opposition parties. There is no doubt that there has been a sharp veer to the right- a dangerous move for the people of Australia. Today we heard the honourable member for Petrie (Mr Hodges) make an attack on those who are unable to answer for themselves, those who are the victims of unemployment in this country. In his wild and sweeping assertions he cast doubt on every one of them, almost suggesting that large numbers of them are guilty of fraud against the Commonwealth and the Australian people. I deny that proposition categorically and I call on him to prove his assertion, if he can. Of course we all know that in every community there are some who will engage in fraud and deception. We know that at regular intervals such persons are prosecuted.

But today I want to refer to the changed attitude of the Liberal Party and its new Leader to industrial relations. If one looks back through the Press reports of the attitudes of the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) on certain industrial relations questions during the few months of this year one finds some very interesting things.

Mr Holten:

– He has got you worried.


-He has not got me worried; I can tell the honourable member that. In fact I congratulate the Opposition on electing him as Leader because I think that he represents a view which is completely unacceptable to 80 per cent of the Australian people. On 1 4 January this year the ‘Australian Financial Review’ carried a story headed ‘Mr Fraser opts for a trade union confrontation’. A headline in the ‘Australian’ of 4 March 1975 was: ‘Lib plan to bring back union fines’. The ‘Australian Financial Review’ of 14 February carried the headline: ‘ Fraser ‘s tough union stance’. On 2 1 March 1975 the Melbourne ‘Herald’ carried the headline: ‘Unions uneasy about Fraser’. On 23 January the ‘West Australian’ carried the headline: ‘Challenge by Fraser to unions’. Is this the same man who really claims that what he seeks to do is to get conciliation, to have an understanding, to get peace in industry? What does he say? An article which appeared in the ‘Australian Financial Review ‘states: . . . Malcolm Fraser, to move the Opposition’s industrial relations policy towards an uncompromising confrontation against union militancy.

Mr Fraser is circulating a 14page document among influential industrialists and employers throughout the country advocating an effective return to penal provisions, a powerful industrial ‘police force ‘-type operation and an elaborate framework for settling disputes that would make direct action virtually impossible within envisaged new industrial legislation.

I know that the honourable gentleman showed his program to a number of prominent industrialists and a number of senior management people and they all told him what to do with his document. They told him to file it away, to put it away for posterity, to put it where it would do no harm because they knew, and all sensible observers knew, that if his proposals were ever enacted, or attempted to be enacted, in legislation such action would lead to a confrontation of significant proportion.

A newspaper article, referring to the preamble to the proposals of the Leader of the Opposition, states: ‘There is overwhelming evidence around Australia,’ it claims, ‘that employers will not initiate any action that could lead to penalties on unions ‘.

But the Leader of the Opposition apparently knows better than that. He knows that that is because the employers are weak and only he is strong. The article goes on to state: ‘Further, there is the feeling that the commission is awarding what it considers the unions will accept and not what it thinks is appropriate. ‘

That is a serious allegation of impropriety against the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission by a person who at that stage was the Opposition spokesman on industrial relations and who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament. The honourable gentleman ought to clear this matter up quick and lively. He should not leave a threat, as it were, hanging over the head of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

Briefly, the Fraser plan will result in unwarranted and unwanted interference in industrial relations by a future Liberal-Country Party government The honourable gentleman and the Liberal Party deny the concept of individual and collective responsibility for the parties to industrial agreements and awards. According to the Liberal program he will set up an industrial inspectorate with extravagant powers- powers to penalise individual employees, powers to penalise and fine individual union leaders and powers to fine and penalise individual employers with or without the consent of the other party. If these proposals were implemented we would see in Australia the emergence of a kind of industrial Gestapo where someone knows better than the parties concerned, where a governmentappointed individual inspector will have the power to penalise an employee for a breach of an award even though the employer does not want this action to be taken.

We have the spectacle where irrespective of circumstances it will be possible for one of the Liberal-appointed inspectors to seek to fine a union official in the performance of his duty even presumably if that union official is trying to reach a settlement of an industrial dispute because the union is technically in breach of the law. There are honourable gentlemen sitting opposite who understand something- not much- about industrial relations. There are some who .have had some little experience in this field and they would know that there are many occasions when disputes occur spontaneously on the factory floor and the union officials are the people who have those disputes resolved.

Members of the Liberal Party want compulsory voting in trade union elections but they throw their hands up in horror when there is any suggestion that there ought to be compulsory membership of unions. So we have the spectacle under their proposal of, on the one hand, a person who says that he will not join a trade union, who does not vote, who does not pay anything, who does not take any part in union affairs at all and who has committed no breach, and on the other hand, a person who joins a union on a voluntary basis, who attends every union meeting for a period of 5 years, who pays his union dues and plays an active part in the union but who, because he forgets to vote in a union election, can be fined under this ludicrous and stupid proposal. There is never any suggestion that there should be compulsory voting for the election of directors of companies. In fact I find it incredible that the Liberal Party in New South Wales in one breath says there shall not be compulsory voting in local government elections and in the next breath turns around and says that there shall be compulsory voting in trade union elections. I am not opposed to the concept but I do not believe that it can be taken in isolation in the ludicrous way that the Liberal Party is suggesting.

The Australian work force is not about to accept these proposals. There will be confrontation. The Australian work force, the employees of this country, are not about to pay homage to the master on horseback. The Australian employees and their employers want a rational, sensible and intelligent industrial relations policy from their Government.


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

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I want to refer to the tragedy of South Vietnam and South-East Asia and my comments follow the remarks of our friend the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Sullivan). Government members and those who sit behind them are seeking today to condone their actions of recent years by holding up small children and saying: ‘Look what we are doing for the orphans. We are humanitarians. Our conscience is clear’.

I believe that if we turn back the hands of time for almost a decade it will be seen that the Australian Labor Party placed itself in a position whereby it contributed greatly to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives in Vietnam in recent years and, in the advent of a successful take-over by the North Vietnamese, will be responsible in some measure for the loss of approximately another one million lives. When we look back at the moratoriums and the many speeches that were made against the so-called ‘Free World’s’ involvement in that area we recall that members of the Government and Labor backbenchers time and time again claimed that the war in Vietnam was an internal matter- a civil war- and that the North Vietnamese were not involved. Regrettably some misguided clergy in our society came out in support of those views. There was naivety, a trust in God but a failure to recognise reality.

As a result of the moratoriums and the constant pressure, public opinion in this country and in the United States of America swung away from the concept of standing up for right. It became unfashionable to believe that we should stand against aggression from the North in Vietnam. We weakened. We pulled out our troops. The Paris Accords were signed. Agreements were made. The American assistance was withdrawn. But the assistance to North Vietnam from China and from the Soviet Union continued. It continued to such an extent that the South Vietnamese were not fighting just the North Vietnamese. They were fighting also two other major powers. I remind those on the Government side of the House who say that history shows that the Vietnamese and Chinese have historical and cultural differences, that in their own Party expediency dictates at times that they bury their differences and unify for the purpose of power. Honourable members opposite have done that successfully, welding both the right and left wings of their Party together for the last couple of years. How long it will last nobody knows, but it has been done. The same situation exists with Vietnam and China today. Although the countries have cultural differences they have a common purpose, namely, the spreading of the communist philosophy as far and as wide in the South-East Asian region as is possible.

I predict that should South Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand eventually come under communist control there will be in the future a revival of the ethnic differences. But one goal will have been achieved- that is, the spread of a philosophical belief. One of the great tragedies of the last decade has been that communism has succeeded because vocal elements within our own society have been so effectively outspoken that we fought a war with our hands tied behind our backs. Regrettably, there are elements within the Australian Labor Party, from the Deputy Prime Minister (Dr J. F. Cairn’s) down- at times I am quite convinced the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) also- who are quite happy to see the spread of communism in this region because they believe it to be the only solution. They talked about the corruption within the Government of South Vietnam. Those who have travelled extensively know that in poorer countries throughout the world regrettably some form of corruption is always evident. This is because the people in those countries do not enjoy the standard of living that we in this country enjoy. It is all right for us, receiving the salaries that we do and living in a nation that is wealthyone of the wealthiest nations in the world- to speak from our lofty heights and to condemn those who have empty bellies and who are prepared to sell themselves at times to try to improve their lot. I would prefer to live in a world in which there was no corruption, but it is unrealistic to believe that the world is without corruption because regrettably the sharing of the world’s wealth is not such that this Utopia exists.

If South Vietnam falls and a million people are massacred by way of reprisals by the communists every member on the other side of the House must share some of the blame. If next Sunday is to be a Sunday of prayer for the orphans of South Vietnam and for those people who have died or will die in the future, let there also be a prayer uttered for forgiveness for those clergy who through a naive approach assisted the friends of communism and the friends of the socialists to win the war of the minds of people in this country and in the United States of America. The Deputy Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Sinclair) earlier this week very aptly answered a point made by one of the Government Ministers when that Minister said that the only reason the people of South Vietnam were fleeing their villages was because they were frightened of the daisy-cutter bombs. The Deputy Leader of the Country Party pointed out that the people are not heading towards Hanoi but turning south to Saigon. If honourable members opposite have any compassion or any sense of realism they will accept the fact that the vast majority of the people of South Vietnam do not want to fall under the yoke of communism.

I sent a telegram to Dr J. F. Cairns last January when things started to blow up again in Vietnam. I pleaded with him to use his influence on the Hanoi Government to lay off South Vietnam. I pleaded with him to suggest to Mr Gough Whitlam that on his way home from his travels through the Greek ruins of Europe he call in at Hanoi and say to the Hanoi Government: ‘We are a friendly Government towards your cause; please lay off. ‘ Dr Cairns completely ignored that telegram. In recent times, by his public expressions, we have come to know why. He has reaffirmed his belief that that part of the world would be best served by a communist government. Today honourable members opposite sit in silence. They are the men who yesteryear condemned aggression and talked about those who were being murdered. Today because the communists are doing it they say absolutely nothing. They have exposed themselves for what they are- charlatans, shallow men who really only have an interest if the communists are losing. If the communists are winning, it is OK. That is how you have performed and that is how history will record your actions.


-We weary of the verbal barrages of Liberal Party hacks with their lines about the war in Vietnam. Several years ago the vote of the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) meant that nearly 400 Australians died in Vietnam. If any of the families of those boys who died in Vietnam are listening to the debate, I inform them that he was one of the men who sent their sons to their death. Furthermore, he never said anything when napalm bombs were being dropped on children in the villages and when they were being sprayed with burning liquid. Perhaps we could have heard a few of the honourable member’s bleatings a couple of years ago. So much for his hypocrisy. He also mentioned the way that the Australian Labor Party holds itself together and tried to suggest that there are divisions in the Party. Let me just say this: It is fair that the Parliament should discuss the machinations within the Liberal Party and the sad fact that the Australian people can no longer go to the polls and make a judgment upon the quality of a leader of the Opposition and have any confidence that that leader will be leading those parties for any length of time.

Let us look at the tactics of the Opposition over the last few years and the disastrous influence in Australia of organisations outside the Parliament that have no responsibility to the Australian people. For example, there are the establishment in Victoria, the National Civic Council, the Bank of New South Wales, the radio stations and the newspapers, which pressure you fellows opposite like a lot of doughboys to change leaders at their behest. Such organisations destroyed Gorton because he was an Australian first and a Liberal second. What was his sin? He happened to say to the States that he did not believe they should have sovereignty over the off-shore areas of Australia. He was taking the Liberal Party somewhat to the left. It could not be tolerated. So they sacked him in the middle of his term as Prime Minister after he had gone to the people, secured a mandate and in that sense was a Prime Minister in his own right. Former Prime Minister McMahon was defeated when he went to the people and honourable members opposite did not have him as their leader any longer. They tipped him out of his position after they were removed from government. Then there was Snedden who was elected by your Party to be your leader. He went to the people less than a year ago and honourable members opposite campaigned and said that he would be their leader. They suggested him for the position of Prime Minister. Now he does not even sit on the front bench in the Parliament. He has been struck down by that treacherous assassin Fraser, the Tudor House boy with the Tudor style of politics who always, throughout his parliamentary career, has shown himself to be a treacherous personality.

Let us look at what happens to the Opposition and at the influence of organisations outside the Parliament on it. For example, there is the National Civic Council. Look at the portfolios of the Leader of the Opposition when he was a Minister. He always had the ones important to the National Civic Council, such as Education. Prime Minister Menzies conspired with the National Civic Council to try to secure the Catholic vote by getting aid for private schools under false pretences to prop up the Greater Public Schools, the wealthy schools, and keep the Catholic vote. The National Civic Council said: ‘Fraser gets Education’ and he got Education. Later in his career the NCC said ‘Fraser gets Defence. We cannot have anyone who is a bit wobbly on Defence’. They wanted a hard liner as Minister. So he got the Defence portfolio. It does not matter where one looks at it, the pressure from this group was on the Liberal Party when it was in office and of course it would be on it today.

The spiritual home of the Leader of the Opposition is the National Civic Council. Make no mistakes about it. He is a hard line, reactionary, right wing character and this will carry on in the future. Do honourable members think that the middle of the road in Australia will get anything from the Leader of the Opposition? Do they think women’s groups, conservationists, the young people or interests like economic nationalism will matter to a person like the Leader of the Opposition? What will matter is what the Bank of New South Wales or the New South Wales Liberal Party machine thinks, or what is thought by the ‘Old Sugar Bags’ of the Victorian establishment, the sort of people with whom Senator Sir Magnus Cormack associates. Look at the machinations before the change of leader. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack held a meeting attended by Senator Cotton, who is the former President of the New South Wales Liberal Party machine. Senator Sir Magnus Cormack is a man of the Victorian machine. Look at the appointment to the front bench of the honourable members for Bennelong (Mr Howard), the former senior Vice-President of the New South Wales machine.

The honourable member for Bennelong and Senator Cotton were meeting the executives of the Bank of New South Wales who were pressuring them to change the leadership. The deals were done. The Australian people’s wishes, the Opposition’s promises to have the honourable member for Bruce as its Leader were cast aside and in the interests of shallow political manoeuvring the Opposition propped up the greatest hard liner in the Liberal Party because it believes that a hard, uncompromising line is a substitute for leadership and intelligence. I think the Opposition will find out very soon that the Australian people will not be conned by the subterfuges and deceptions which it seeks to put over them. They will recognise at an election that with the Leader of the Opposition at the helm of the Liberal Party as a government it would return to the politics of the 1 950s.

Look at our position in the world in the 1 950s under Sir Robert Menzies when he was Prime Minister and under successive Liberal governments. We were fighting Asians in Asia- a white European continental nation in Asia and the only one fighting our neighbours. That was the Opposition’s foreign policy. If we wanted to talk about Indonesia we talked to the Dutch. If we wanted to talk about India we talked to the British and if we wanted to talk about Indo-China we talked to the French. The Opposition parties cared not about any of the people who surround us. This Government has made steps to live with our neighbours. We are in a strengthened position in the world. But what would a government under the Leader of the Opposition do? It would go back to the shadows and dim, dark politics of the 50s when we were smarting at our Asian neighbours and living in fear of them all the time.

Of course the bogy of defence comes out. Mr Santamaria appears on television on Sunday with his staccato chatter and the Leader of the Opposition gets his orders during the week. Members of the Opposition perform in this chamber and so the old line is flogged again. The

Australian people will not cop it and nor they should. After the paltry change of leadership, the assassination of the honourable member for Bruce, the Leader of the Opposition put on the great act of statesmanship and said that members of the front bench would have no outside interests. What about his 8000-acre property? Do honourable members think that is not an interest or does not take time? What about some of the other people here who have interests? Senator Cotton has a business. The honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street) runs a farm. Senator Rae is a barrister. Senator Durack, that hack for the mining interests in Western Australia, is a barrister. The honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) runs a farm. The Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr Anthony) runs a piggery. The honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) runs a farm and the honourable member for Murray (Mr Lloyd) runs a farm.

They give half hearted support. They give lip service to their work in this place. All this stuff from the Leader of the Opposition about his ruling the roost is the old schoolboy mentality- 6 cuts and 500 lines for someone who does not follow the rules and do as he is told. The honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Ellicott) honestly said that he would like to keep up his practice before the Bar. He is a good barrister and an eminent legal practitioner. He was told: ‘No. You have to put up the show. You are supposed to say that it is only token and then we will put you on the front bench’. There are no marks for him for going on the front bench in those circumstances. What has happened on the other side of the House has been a sham performance. It has been brought about by pressures from all of the outside interests in Australia- the mining industry which pressures the Leader of the Australian Country Party and the Liberal Party, the Bank of New South Wales which nearly drove this economy to the brink of suicide because it would not go to the Reserve Bank under the Labor Government and pay penal rates of interest because it could not manage its affairs. It was nearly insolvent a year ago. This sort of organisation runs the Liberal Party.

The Press barons are still there. They have all the radio and television stations, a complete centralisation of the media. The Liberal Party knows where the power is and it takes its orders. The cream of the establishment does not come to this Parliament; only the second string of business and the second string of law come here in the Liberal Party. These second stringers come here representing the establishment and that is what is wrong. At least in the early days of this Parliament there was some quality in conservative politicians but now only second raters who cannot earn a dollar themselves and cannot do well in their own profession are picked up by the bright boys of the establishment. They come into Parliament and they take their orders. But of course the establishment needs to slot in a few people who have ability and it is the job of the outside interests to make sure that the able people drift to the top. Of course they are able inasmuch as they take their orders from outside interests to which the Australian people have no recourse.

When the Australian Labor Party is in government people have recourse to it. Our organisations are open to the public People understand what the Party is. It is not a special interest group. The Opposition does all this under the guise of respectability and statesmanship. How ludicrous and how shallow can one get? Shame on members of the Opposition for destroying a man who worked hard and got a decent electoral result for them. They never gave him a chance to go to another poll. They assassinated him in the middle of his term.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


-In this grievance debate made available to private members to raise matters of concern facing the public I wish to raise a matter concerning patients of chiropractors in Western Australia because I believe that they are being unfairly discriminated against by federal law. I have brought it forward because of the number of cases which have come through my electorate office in which persons who have received chiropractic treatment without reference to a chiropractor by medical practitioners have been necessarily refused reimbursement of the fees which they personally have had to incur for an injury which they have suffered in their work. This applies in the case where an employee of the Commonwealth Government is injured and needs chiropractic treatment.

In raising this matter I carry no brief for the chiropractors but I speak for their patients in Western Australia. As I have said, they are being unfairly discriminated against by federal law. I particularly refer to the workers compensation legislation or, to give it its full title, the Compensation (Australian Government Employees) Act 1971-73. Under the provisions of that Act fees incurred for chiropractic treatment are recoverable only if the treatment is given at the direction of a legally qualified medical practitioner. The injustice is worked in Western Australia because the law of that State, the Chiropractic Act of 1964 provides for the registration of chiropractors. Therefore it is not necessary in Western Australia for a patient to be referred to a chiropractor before the chiropractor can give the treatment that is necessary. For example, 2 persons are injured in the same accident. One is a State government employee or maybe an employee of a private employer and the other is an employee of the Commonwealth Government. Both go to a chiropractor. Neither is referred by a legally qualified medical practitioner. Both are cured of the injury. The State Government or private employee under Western Australian workers compensation law is fully reimbursed for the chiropractic fees incurred. The Commonwealth employee, however, receives no reimbursement whatsoever. I have had a number of cases of non-reimbursement and I have sought to have some sympathetic discretion exercised in favour of Commonwealth employees, but such is the rigidity of the Federal law to which I have referred that there is not discretion given to the Tribunal established under that Act or to the Minister responsible for administering it. So the situation exists that a Commonwealth employee simply cannot be reimbursed for fees he has incurred.

I have mentioned that in Western Australia chiropractors are registered. Registration is under an Act which was introduced after an exhaustive study of the practice of chiropractic in Western Australia. It was decided to establish a board comprising a legal practitioner, 2 chiropractors in practice in Western Australia and 2 persons nominated by the Minister. That board deals most exhaustively with a variety of matters affecting chiropractic practice in Western Australia, including the course of study which must be undertaken by chiropractors, the examinations that they must take, the professional and ethical standards of chiropractors in Western Australia and various other matters relevant to the practice of this profession. Before a chiropractor can practise in Western Australia, before a person can call himself a chiropractor, he must be registered under this State legislation. So we have then a complete system of regulation of the practice of chiropractic in Western Australia which is as effective in its own way as the regulation of medical practice and other professions such as the legal profession. I do not know of any public or private complaints about this system of registration of chiropractors. Indeed, it has appeared to serve the admirable social purpose of controlling an otherwise uncontrolled profession in a very sensitive field of therapeutic treatment for injury or harm. The practice of chiropractic covers a limited field, defined by the Western Australian law in these terms: ‘Chiropractic’ means a system of palpating and adjusting the articulations of the human spinal column by hand only for the purpose of determining and correcting without the use of drugs or operative surgery interference with normal nerve transmission and expression.

So it is a limited field of what one might call medical treatment. The number of persons in Western Australia who have received satisfactory treatment at the hands of chiropractors must be legion, and all those persons who have referred this matter to me have been thoroughly satisfied with the treatment that they have received. They wonder then why, as employees of the Commonwealth Government, they cannot receive full reimbursement for the fees they have incurred. For example, I notice that under the Commonwealth law physiotherapists and masseurs who are registered under the law of a State or Territory are recognised because the Act provides that a person who receives therapeutic treatment from such a physiotherapist or masseur can have his costs reimbursed.

All that I am asking for, then, is that chiropractors in Western Australia registered under the Western Australian Chiropractic Act of 1 964 be placed in the same position as physiotherapists and masseurs. It is not only in this area of workers’ compensation that this discrimination against Western Australia appears but also under social services benefits legislation in relation to fees payable to a chiropractor and fees payable to a chiropractor under the repatriation services legislation. One very practical example of discrimination is that fees payable to medical practitioners are available for tax deduction but those payable to registered chiropractors in Western Australia are not tax deductible.

There is a wide range of Federal law which clearly discriminates against persons in Western Australia who receive chiropractic treatment. I know that a committee has been instituted by the Minister for Health (Dr Everingham) to inquire into chiropractic, osteopathy and naturopathy, intended to be a scientific evaluation of chiropractic, osteopathy and naturopathy, and to report to the Minister for Health on the desirability of registering practitioners and, if so, under what conditions. I do not know whether it is the Minister’s thought that there should be a Commonwealth register of chiropractors, but of course that is simply not necessary. In the same way as legal practitioners and medical practitioners are qualified and registered under State law, so the same practice can be adopted throughout Australia as has already been adopted for the registration of chiropractors in Western Australia.

I began by saying that I carry no brief for chiropractors, but I do carry a brief for the people of Western Australia and I believe that in this particular instance the people there are discriminated against by the Federal law to which I have referred. I should hope that the Minister in charge of that legislation and of other fields that I have referred to will have a look at this matter to see that that discrimination is ended as quickly as possible.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– I wish to take a few minutes to enlighten the public about the Opposition’s shadow cabinet and its method of election, which is most intriguing in itself, quite apart from the numbers involved. Recently the Liberal Party, in its regular process of changing its leader, had to elect a new shadow ministry. Today we find that there are 61 Opposition members in this Parliament and no less than 23 of them are shadow Ministers- the list is getting longer every day- and there are 38 back benchers sitting behind them. The Government is interested to note the process by which the shadow Ministers are elected. The criterion is not whether you have the ability or not- the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has said that himself- it is whether you voted for him or not and the fact that you got into this Ministry does not mean that you are any good at all. We are wondering when the next seven or eight names are going to be announced, because the Leader of the Opposition got 37 votes and it is only right that the other six should be included. When ability does not matter, I am wondering how the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) missed out because he is a very ordinary performer but he would stand out like a beacon in front of those who sit on the Opposition front bench. If that is not enough, we find that on the back bench there are no less than eleven ex-Ministers, including 2 former Prime Ministers and one former Leader of the Opposition. Now they cannot even get into the first 31 and they have to sit on the back benches like 3 wise monkeys: See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Fancy the great honourable member for

Lowe (Mr McMahon) not being fit to get into a Ministry that includes even the honourable member for Stun (Mr Wilson) who is sitting at the table. He is really battling when he cannot beat that honourable gentleman.

In addition, we find that guidelines have been laid down. What talent has been wasted by these guidelines! There are no less than seven or eight barristers and seven or eight company directors who now must remain idle for years to come in order to fulfil their onerous tasks in the shadow ministry. Think of the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) closing down his small debts practice. His only client has to go elsewhere and the Queensland gaols are emptied out because he is handling defence. What about the wasted talent associated with the honourable member for Flinders (Mr Lynch). Any circus would want him as a tight rope walker. He is the greatest aerial acrobat in the Parliament. He walked between all the prospective leaders and still won when the numbers went up. The Country Party even found a farmer or so to sit on the front bench, and farmers are pretty hard to find in the Country Party. Now members of the shadow ministry have to give up their outside interests. I find these guidelines very strange.

The honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Ellicott), who, we are told, is the greatest legal brain on the Opposition side, said that he would not give away the one or two clients that he has in his legal practice. But, ultimately, he decided to do so. We find that now he is in charge of Aborigines and Tasmania. He has never seen Tasmania, and there are no Aborigines on that island. Here is the greatest legal brain on the Opposition side. He is now handling the great problems of Tasmania and those of Aborigines, particularly in Tasmania where, I understand, there are not any Aborigines. What a sacrifice he has made. What the nation is missing because of that sacrifice! Earlier, I saw the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) who now no longer is in his huge industry in South Australia. Is this not a wierd and strange collection of people? To the benefit of the Parliament today, I think we could move the Opposition front bench to the Opposition back bench, and move the Opposition back bench to the Opposition front bench, and we would not notice any difference at all.

How long is this state of affairs to continue? How long must we tolerate it? The way in which this situation has arisen is worth mentioning. I will do so in a few fleeting minutes as I promised my Country Party friend, the honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe), some time to participate in this debate. We cannot let these matters pass, even though they have been mentioned this morning. The honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) mentioned the meeting at the home of the Liberal Party Godfather, Senator Sir Magnus Cormack, in Melbourne. Here were Senator Withers, Senator Durack and the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) 2000 miles off course, thinking they were in Fremantle, walking up Toorak Road on a dark night. They saw the Godfather’s light on. They said: ‘We cannot get a Kentucky fry down the street. He is sure to have one on the ice. ‘ So in they go. And, who do you think wandered in about 8 o’clock or 9 o’clock that night, but the great tightrope walker from Flinders. He was looking for a Kentucky fry too. Then, in addition to that, when things are just going along nicely, Leilani’s owner arrived. I understand that the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock) has had to give away that interest and buy a greyhound now. He wandered in. But the Godfather dismissed him. He said: ‘ We have the tight rope walker instead of you ‘. It was all set up. The Godfather said: ‘Take a spoon each. You will be given the knives as you leave’. Consequently this was done.

But who else do honourable members think was looking for a Kentucky fry at about 1 o’clock in the morning but the present Leader of the Opposition. ‘My heavens’, he said, ‘fancy the Godfather waking up’. So, in this little conclave they sat and pondered over tea and biscuits. The honourable member for Bruce (Mr Snedden) later described it as a nice little party, amongst friends, to discuss political futures. He was so innocent. As they left, the Godfather said: ‘Take a knife each. You will want them later in the week, about Friday’. But he said to the tightrope walker: ‘We are not trusting you with a knife, because you might cut the rope you are walking on’. Arising out of this meeting, we now have a new Leader of the Opposition and this weird collection of, so we are told, prospective Cabinet Ministers. We have this great collection of guidelines. It was all too much even for the honourable member for Barker (Dr Forbes). He said that he could not put up with the sordid intrigue in this once great Party. As he will put up with almost anything, it must have been a really crook show.

The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) cannot get into this shadow Ministry. We know the brains that he has because he has told us so often how good he is. This is the weird collection which seeks to destroy this Government. Heavens, one only gets to know a Liberal leader and they change him. I have been here so long that I must keep their names in a book because, tomorrow, one does not know who might be there. Look at the vibrant, scintillating personality sitting at the table- the honourable member for Sturt. With the present Leader of his Party, he is going to lead the Liberals back to that new world, whatever it might be.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– Hear, hear!


– The honourable member for Lilley interjects. I am very sorry that he is not on the front bench because he is one who has a little to add. Such Opposition members are very scarce. He is one who could do the job. These are the people who hold those positions. But there are six or seven more to come. Positions are still being found for them. The new Opposition Whip, the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Bourchier), has a guilty conscience. Every time the former Leader of the Opposition is mentioned, he nearly has a heart attack and takes a point of order. I notice that the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) enjoys my joke. If he had voted the right way, his ability would not have mattered and he would have been Opposition Whip. This is how Opposition shadow Ministers are picked. They might as well be picked with a pin.

We are expected to accept that this situation will give new leadership to this country. Why, it is a fantasy. It is a real fantasy, but the public ought to know how these things are done. Opposition members talk about disunity on the Government side of the House. Why, I am learning every day from the Liberal Party. If I may coin a phrase, as one of my colleagues said this morning, more in sorrow than in anger I say these things: I am sorry for the machinations of members of this once great Party, for the problems they face, for the internal difficulties that they are up against and their problem of trying to fit two into one, as it were, with respect to their shadow ministry.

I say to the people of Australia: ‘You have seen the Liberals in action in the public gaze. You know how the Godfather runs them. If you want the company directors and the barristers to be back in business, you had better discard the present shadow Ministry’. The last change in the shadow Ministry means that the people will know precisely that shadow Ministry members are not picked on ability. The election of the present Leader of the Opposition is a temporary expedient to solve the leadership problem of the Liberal Party until somebody else bobs up.

Come what may, I know that, when the Australian people come to pass judgment, they certainly will not vote for anyone of those opposite who are in or out of the shadow Ministry. The Opposition has a first 1 1 and a second 1 1 . Speaking as I do now, I suppose I should say that they are Rugby men because, after all, they have all got to be good. Even the honourable member for Mackellar must sit up and try to be good in the Parliament. He knows that, if he does not, he will get his 40 lines, or be kept in if he does not obey the ‘head prefect’. Mr Deputy Speaker, these are the people who seek to displace this Government. I know that you will be in complete agreement with me when I tell you that that is an impossible proposition to accept.


-The Australian beef export industry is facing possibly its biggest crisis period in its history. The complete failure of the Federal Government either to understand or to act on the Australian beef crisis is damaging the economy of this nation. It is damaging not only the Australian economy but also our country towns and rural areas which depend on beef production for their survival. We on this side of the House have been urging in this Parliament for action, not talk, from the Government on the beef crisis. This Government has helped other industries, but not the cattle industry which, in past years, has been one of our great export earning industries bringing more than $652m into Australia in 1973.

It is true that the Government has made available through the Development Bank a mere $20m which is to be provided at commercial rates of interest to primary producers in the cattle industry who are in trouble. The interest rate on this money is 1 1 Vi per cent. Applications for this loan money have been disappointing. Cattle producers in their present financial plight cannot possibly service such a high rate of interest as 11½ per cent. What is required is $100m to be made available by the Reserve Bank to the cattle industry with a holiday period from the repayment of capital and interest of 2 years so that Australian cattle producers can get on their feet and make a contribution to the export income and the economy of Australia.

This . Government must alert its trade representatives throughout the world to make every effort to improve the sales of Australian beef overseas. It must increase finance to the meat canning industry and use every effort to reenter the American market, the Japanese market and the European Economic Community. It is true that small sales of Australian beef have been made to America and to Japan and that 40 000 tonnes of meat has been sold to the Russian market. But compared with the great quantity of beef in Australia at the moment- there are some 34 million beef cattle on the land- these sales are only small. Cattle producers were encouraged to increase beef breeding because of the valuable export markets. Now there are 34 million beef cattle in this country. The value of this great enterprise must not be allowed to perish through lack of Government understanding. This Government can make hundreds of millions of dollars available to other industries and other enterprises in this country. But it has neglected the beef cattle industry. In the long run it will be to the benefit, nationally and economically, of Australia for the Government to do all that it can to help viable cattle producers get on their feet and on with the job of producing export beef. So, I urge and request the Government to take some notice of these appeals which we on this side of the House are making.

I have been most concerned also by the fact that canned beef is being imported to Australia. I have made statements to this effect which have been publicised throughout our rural areas. At a time when we are finding it difficult to export our beef, canned beef products should not be allowed into Australia.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order! It is now 1 o’clock. In accordance with the Standing Orders, the debate is interrupted, and I put the question: “That grievances be noted ‘.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.

page 1489



-Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes, Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Isaacs (Mr Clayton) when he spoke during the debate on the Racial Discrimination Bill. At page 1289 of Hansard of 8 April 1975 the honourable member for Isaacs is recorded as saying:

When I began to address the House the honourable member was heard to comment -

He was referring to me- in reference to me -

That is, to the honourable member for Isaacs. He then went on to attribute to me words which I certainly did not use. I wish to place this on record without saying the words that he alleges I used. They are nowhere in the Hansard report except for his reference to them. This is a way of one honourable member smearing another honourable member, and giving someone at some future time the opportunity to use those words in a political pamphlet. Normally I would not be too sensitive, because we have to put up with things like this. But at the last election the same technique was used on me. Words in the Hansard record were taken out of context and distributed in a pamphlet. The words which the honourable member for Isaacs alleges I used are untrue; they were not said and they were not recorded in Hansard, which I believe makes it even more reprehensible. The honourable member for Isaacs also said, as recorded on the same page of Hansard: ‘The honourable member is becoming infamous for his bigoted racist comments’. I invite that honourable member or any other honourable member, or any person in the community to find a single comment -


-Order! The honourable gentleman is going beyond a personal explanation.


– I invite him to find any comments which I have made which have a racial overtone. This includes the words he says I used on Zimbabwe television in 1970. He was speaking of something I said on Rhodesian television. I said nothing about Rhodesia’s racial policies. Among other things I was talking about communist infiltration of the trade union movement and other bodies. There is nothing that has happened since that day to make me believe any differently about large sections of the trade union movement. I -


-Order! The honourable gentleman is now starting to debate the question.


– I am not debating the question, Mr Speaker. The point is that I made no reference to Rhodesia’s racial policies. I never have done and I never will do. The honourable member for Isaacs used the expression ‘Zimbabwe’. I make the point that the word is one which I have never used. For myself as an expression it is absolutely meaningless. It is like calling Australia ‘Wallaby’. There is no tribe, no language and no part of Rhodesia called ‘Zimbabwe’.


-Order! I think the honourable member has just about strained all of the latitude allowed him by the Chair. I think the honourable member now should let the matter rest.


– I appreciate your tolerance, Mr Speaker. This sort of situation has happened frequently. The trouble is that often we do not know about it. I know about it today and I wish to deal with it as soon as possible after it happened. I will do so in the future and every other time it happens. I reject what the honourable member for Isaacs has said. I have never spoken to the honourable gentleman and I am not interested in what he thinks.

Minister for Science · St George · ALP

- Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Does the honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented?


-I do, Mr Speaker. I was misrepresented this morning in this House by the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Sullivan). I have been trying to get in touch with him so that he might be here. He did not allow me the same courtesy this morning. He made a number of unfounded and completely inaccurate remarks about the arrival in Australia of the Vietnamese war orphans. He said: ‘What a cheap and nasty political trick to have his photograph taken with babies’. As far as I am aware there is no such photograph and certainly no such photograph has been published. I certainly did not pose for any such photograph with the Vietnamese babies on arrival in Sydney. I was fully engaged in ensuring that the children- particularly those who had been critically ill on the flight, who were taken to the Camperdown Hospital- were moved from the plane as quickly as possible. I may have wept, but that was after all those things had been accomplished and I make no apology for it. On the very next morning I visited the North Head Quarantine Station and the Camperdown Hospital. Had I conducted myself in the manner in which presumably the honourable member for Riverina might have conducted himself, I would have contacted the Press. I am sure that a number of journalists and Press photographers would have been only too happy to accompany me. I went with only my wife; I did not inform any of the media that I was visiting the hospital and quarantine station. The purpose of my visit was to see how the childrenparticularly those who had been very ill on the flight- had fared during the night.

I have also been misrepresented by the Premier of New South Wales. At a news conference on 8 April, as telecast by Channel 7 in Sydney that evening, Mr Lewis claimed that the children who were flown out from Bangkok were denied adequate care. I wish to make this personal explanation because I was in charge of that flight. He said that four nurses from the World Vision organisation were refused permission to assist the orphans on the aircraft. Mr Lewis further contended that the World Vision nurses were told not to help the children at all.


-Order! I think the honourable gentleman will have to make this statement by leave as a Minister. I do not think he can make it as a personal explanation.


- Mr Speaker, I acknowledge your ruling, but the statements which were made are a direct reflection on me. I shall not take very long, Mr Speaker.


– I realise that, but I also realise that the remarks are not of a personal nature. If I gave the honourable member the right to continue I should have to extend this right to others. The situation becomes so marginal that it becomes impossible. I suggest to the honourable gentleman that if he wishes to make a statement he should seek leave.


-I shall adhere to your ruling, Mr Speaker and be very brief. I categorically deny the allegations, and the representatives of the World Vision organisation in Australia have denied them. I am very concerned that the only people who appear to be seeking to make political capital out of this issue are the Opposition and the Liberal Premier of New South Wales.


– I am sorry, but the Minister would be out of order if he continued along those lines.


-Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes, Mr Speaker. In the ‘Australian’ newspaper this morning I was listed, among the members who were categorised as having voted against the second reading of the Family Law Bill. I wish to make it clear that I did not vote against the second reading of the Family Law Bill. I voted in favour of the amendment to the Family Law Bill. I voted in favour of the motion that the Bill be read a second time. It is my intention to support amendments to that Bill in the Committee stages.


– I ask the honourable gentlemen to resume his seat. Every member of this chamber was misrepresented by that article, whether they were said to have voted for or against, because there was no division on the question. The Whips were misrepresented more than anyone else because they were said to have abstained. I do not think personal explanations on this matter should continue, otherwise there would be 127 of them. I have made the situation clear from the Chair, and I think that should be sufficient.

Mr Ian Robinson:

– Will the newspaper make it clear?


-That is something which I think is up to the integrity of the Editor.

page 1491


Assent reported.

page 1491


In Committee

Consideration of Senate ‘s amendments.

Clause 10.

In the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers, the Corporation shall have regard to the relevant responsibilities of authorities of Australia, the States and Territories, local governing bodies and other interested bodies and consult with them where those responsibilities make it appropriate to do so.

Senate’s amendment No. 1-

In clause 10, leave out all words after ‘shall’, insert’, except as otherwise provided by this Act or the Defence Service Homes Act 1918-1975, comply with all laws of the States and Territories in which it operates’.

Senate ‘s amendment No. 2-

In clause 49, sub-clause (1), leave out the sub-clause, insert the following sub-clause:

1 ) Subject to this Act, the Corporation may acquire by agreement or by compulsory process any land for the purposes of the Corporation but may not acquire by compulsory process any land that is Crown Land of a State. This section shall not affect the power of the Corporation to acquire land for the purposes of the Defence Service Homes Act 1918-1975.’.

Mr Les Johnson:
Minister for Housing and Construction · HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

I would like to say a few words in support of that proposition. The amendments to the Australian Housing Corporation Bill 1975 are in relation to clauses 10 and 49. The amendments have come from the Senate. Clause 10, as amended, is designed predominantly to require the Australian Government to comply with all the laws of the States and Territories. The Opposition in the Senate considered that the Corporation, instead of having regard to the relevant responsibilities of the authorities of Australia, the States and

Territories, local government bodies and other interested bodies, should, except as provided by the proposed Act or the Defence Service Homes Act, be required to comply with all laws of the States and Territories in which it operates. Its amendment to that effect was agreed to. It is acceptable to the Government. I am quite happy to see that amendment incorporated in the legislation. There does not seem to be any problem with this matter because it has always been the practice of the Australian Government, particularly in respect to the defence service homes legislation, which is to be administered by the Housing Corporation, to meet the requirements of State and local government authorities.

The second amendment, which relates to clause 49 of the Bill, concerns whether it should be asserted affirmatively that the Australian Government should not acquire by compulsory process any land that is the Crown land of a State. All I want to say about that is that the Opposition in the Senate put forward the view that clause 49 ( 1 ) of the Bill, which provided for the Corporation, with the approval of the Minister, compulsorily to acquire the Crown land of a State, should be amended. The Government indicated in the Senate that it was prepared- to accept this amendment with the proviso that the provision which has always existed in the Defence Service Homes Act whereby the Director has power to acquire land in a State should be retained. In other words, we acknowledged the merit of the proposition put forward by the Opposition in the Senate and, since there has been no problem in respect of this matter in the operation of the Defence Service Homes Act, the view was put forward, contended and acquiesced in by the Opposition in the Senate that we should not affect or in any way alter the arrangements which have operated under the Defence Service Homes Act over many years. So I am happy to say that the amendments, which were supported unanimously in another place, in fact, have the acquiescence and agreement of the Government. I imagine that they will not be likely to attract much contentious argument in the House of Representatives.


-The position is as summed up by the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Les Johnson). The Opposition still believes that the Australian Housing Corporation Bill is a bad Bill.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– It is crook but they may do something good if they have goodwill.


– That is very much a matter of opinion. We believe that it is a bad Bill, but in the

Senate we had amendments to the Bill accepted by the Government and had some of the provisions taken out of it, Perhaps I should briefly refer to them. Naturally, as the Minister has implied, we will be supporting the amendments. We will be doing so for the very good reason that they were initiated by us. The Committee has decided to deal with both amendments together. Let us consider the first one. It relates to the reference to consultation with interested bodies in clause 10. Clause 10 reads:

In the performance of its functions and exercise of its powers, the Corporation -

That is the Australian Housing Corporation - shall -

Up to that point the clause has remained unamended, but from then on we have completely reversed it. The original clause went on to read: have regard to the relevant responsibilities of authorities of Australia the States and Territories, local governing bodies and other interested bodies and consult with them where those responsibilities make it appropriate to do so.

We have sought to reverse the clause completely. The Government agreed to our proposition. We have now come together with the view that the Corporation will in fact comply with all laws of the States, which is a reasonable sort of amendment. The fact that the Government has agreed would tend to confirm that.

I turn to the amendment proposed to clause 49, which reads:

Subject to this Act, the Corporation may acquire by agreement or by compulsory process any land for the purposes of the Corporation, including . . . land that is Crown land of a State.

The Opposition objected strongly to that proposition when it was debated in this chamber. That proposition has now been amended. The amendment that we have had inserted goes on to say quite the opposite. It says that the Corporation may not acquire Crown land by compulsory process. I do not see any point in delaying the passage of this Bill and wasting the time of the Committee any further, but I would like to repeat that we believe that it is not good legislation and we look forward to the day when we will be able either to confirm or to disprove that it is going to solve all of Australia’s housing problem’s, as the Government has suggested that it will do. We believe that it will only exacerbate those problems and that not one extra person in Australia will receive housing accommodation as a result of it. However, we support the amendments.

Mr Les Johnson:

– I would like to make one or two very brief comments upon what the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) has just said. In his reference to clause 10 of the Bill he expressed grave concern that the Bill proposed that the Australian Governmernt need not comply with all the laws of the States and Territories. It seems to me that the honourable gentleman has talked with a forked tongue in relation to this matter in that the provision has been in operation for many years- I should imagine that it was in operation for the 23 years in which the Liberal-Country Party Government, of which he was a supporter, was in office- being incorporated as it was in the defence service homes legislation. So it is quite amazing that this new-found concern has manifested itself. It was not an evil provision for all those years. In fact, it was effectively available, without any challenge, and it is significant to note that it was not invoked. It has not been used by the Government since then. But it is amazing what can become evil under a Labor Government and what remains innocuous under a Liberal-Country Party Government.

I would like to say something similar in respect of clause 49 of the Bill in relation to the capacity that the Australian Government has under certain legislation and which it was proposed to have under this legislation to acquire compulsorily land owned by a State. The honourable gentleman has, probably for the first time, expressed concern about this matter, which also has been enshrined not only in the defence service homes legislation but also in the Lands Acquisition Act, which remains there at this moment and which has been there for decades. What I want is not just token opposition that is obviously designed to score some little debating point for the benefit of people who do not know much about these things. I want to see some evidence of a consistent application of principles. I think that the Opposition is going to find it very difficult to argue that the Australian Government should not have power to acquire land from anybody in the public interest under, for example, the Lands Acquisition Act. I suppose the honourable gentleman is aware that although this need not and will not be operative under this legislation, if the Housing Corporation or any other instrumentality of the Australian Government wanted to acquire land it could go ahead and acquire it anyway under the Lands Acquisition Act. So if there is ever a change of government the incoming government would have an obligation, if it intends to give effect to the principles the Opposition has espoused, to give effect to something it denied for the 23 years it was in office.

Finally, the honourable gentleman said that this is a bad Bill. I know that that is a generalisation that is hardly appropriate to make in the Committee stage of legislation, but let me assure him of this fact: I have painstakingly gone around this country talking to the people who are most deeply involved in the housing industrythe lending institutions, the master builders’ organisations, the housing industry organisations and the like- and I have found a great deal of enthusiasm for this legislation. I have no doubt that it will bring great benefit to the people of Australia because it is the most significant housing legislation that has been enacted in any Australian Parliament for some 30 years.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported; report adopted.

page 1493


In Committee

Consideration of Senate’s amendments and request for amendment.

Clauses 5 and 6.

Senate’s amendment-

Leave out the clauses, insert the following clauses: ‘5. (1) Bounty is payable in accordance with this Act on the production of compressors.

Bounty in respect of a compressor is payable to the manufacturer of the compressor.

A manufacturer is not entitled to receive a payment of bounty in respect of a compressor unless, during a period to which this Act applies-

the manufacture of the compressor has been completed at registered premises; and

the compressor has been used, either by the manufacturer or another person, as a refrigeration component in the manufacture of other goods that have been used, or are intended to be used, in Australia. ‘6. A power conferred on the Governor-General or the Minister by this Act shall not be exercised in such a manner that bounty under this Act would not be uniform throughout the Commonwealth, within the meaning of paragraph (iii) of section 5 1 of the Constitution. ‘.

Clause 16.

Senate’s amendment-

In sub-clause (1), paragraph (e), leave out ‘and sale’, insert, ‘storage, sale or use’.

Attorney-General · CanberraAttorneyGeneral · ALP

– I move:

It is probably not necessary to go over this matter once again. It has been before this place now on 3 occasions. Suffice to say that the original proposition has now been fairly extensively increased and the bounty will now go to all compressors made and used in Australia. I note- I say this to my good friend opposite, the honourable member for Berowra (Dr Edwards)- that the notes provided by my Department speak of representations that were made that led to this change. That is as good a euphemism for something else as I have ever come across. I know that when the honourable member for Berowra and I first faced each other on this measure back in September 1974 we were both agreed as to the measure. What happened in the Senate may be called the result of representations and may also be called the result of something else, but it has now been brought about.


-As the Attorney-General (Mr Enderby) has just pointed out, this legislation has worn something of a beaten track between this House and the other place. As was pointed out, when it first came before this chamber it was not opposed by the Opposition although the Opposition entered some significant caveats in relation to it. Subsequently there were representations, as referred to by the Minister, which made it clear that the Bill was unsatisfactory in its present form. In particular, the purpose of these amendments is to extend, the provisions of the Bill to all the firms in the industry, whereas previously in the interests of proposed rationalisation they were confined to only one. This has become necessary for various reasons, including of course the employment situation. The effect of proceeding as originally proposed would have led to significant unemployment in certain areas, particularly country areas of New South Wales. In the present situation of more than 250 000 unemployed in this country this was quite an unacceptable position.

The essence of the matter is that as it came before this chamber on 6 March it was a request and a recommendation. The request for additional funds was attended to on that occasion. The amendments which had been agreed to by the Senate on the previous day now come to us for formal acceptance. These amendments are in line with the views of the Opposition. They are supported by this side. So this should be the last episode in the saga. The amendments are agreed to. The Opposition supports them as they have come from the Senate.


-As one who has had an active interest in this piece of legislation, I fully understand that this is a procedural motion we are going through now. I made my comments on a past occasion and I do not intend to add to them. I appreciate the fact that the Government has seen fit to have a second look at this matter and has reached this conclusion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported; report adopted.

page 1494


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 5 March on motion by Mr Daly:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


-The House has before it the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill, a Bill obviously designed to change the electoral laws significantly. I suppose some of the amendments could be referred to as amendments to tidy up the law and the procedures. Some of them have been considered by earlier Ministers responsible for the electoral laws of earlier governments. However the Bill certainly embodies important proposed changes. I believe that they are part of the continuing effort by the present Labor Government and the Minister in charge of electoral matters, the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly), to change the laws in favour of the Australian Labor Party. Australia was faced not very long ago with 4 referenda proposals which had the same objective. Although there were 4 proposals I think there were about 1 1 elements involved in those questions. The 4 proposals were all defeated by the Australian people. Those proposals were designed to keep the Australian Labor Party in o’ffice as long as possible. The people of Australia saw through those proposals, and I believe they will see through what is intended in this Bill, this proposed law.

Around this building the Minister has a reputation for his electoral skills. I use the term somewhat loosely. There are many stories about his ability and about practices in ballots and elections in the Labor Party and in the country and about his involvement in various electoral phenomena. I also use that term loosely. So when we hear him talk later with sweet reasonableness, perhaps telling a few jokes and putting reasons for the amendments which are stated to be reasons of very high principle, we in this place at any rate, and I believe an increasing number of the Australian people, will know what value to place on what he says.

The Opposition’s shadow Minister in respect of these matters is Senator Withers, and I represent him in this place in these matters. He has empowered me to mention some things about the number of amendments which the Opposition will be moving to this Bill in the Committee stage. Those amendments will be moved in the Senate when the Bill, in whatever form, reaches it, if in fact they are not all accepted in this place. The Minister in charge of the Bill can make a great contest of this matter if he wishes and defeat those amendments. We will be dividing on them. But if there were any consideration of accepting some of the amendments, it occurs to me that this might be an appropriate time to consider them. I grant that the Minister has had an opportunity only since this morning of seeing these amendments. It may well be that because he needs more time with some of them it would be appropriate to adjourn this debate so far as the Committee stage is concerned. Of course, that is in his hands, because apart from being in charge of this legislation area he is also the Leader of the House.

These amendments are seriously proposed. We consider them to be of great importance in our electoral system. When we reach the Committee stage I shall give some detail about them and about our reason for the amendments. In some cases I shall do this somewhat briefly, for example, in relation to those clauses with which we agree. We do not want to spend a lot of time on those aspects of the Bill with which both sides agree. The Committee debate will follow unless the Minister wishes to adjourn the matter in order to consider the Opposition’s amendments. There are 47 amendments. Many of them are consequential. Most of them involve deletions of the proposed insertions into the law. So in that respect they are not very complicated. We are opposed to what it is suggested should be changed in the law. In most cases the change is proposed in order to help the Labor Party stay in power. Fairness is hardly the consideration. In fact, the Government has made -I shall come to this in a minute- most far-reaching changes. There is no need for such changes. By and large the law is fair to all. It has operated for many years. Parties on both sides of the House have won and lost elections under the existing method so the system cannot be too bad. It cannot require such far-reaching proposed changes. After all, the present Labor Government was elected at the last election on 49 per cent of the votes.

I do not see that the Labor Party can make many justifiable complaints about the electoral law. Many of the amendments proposed are really the result of inquiries made during the period when the Ministers were Mr Nixon or Mr Hunt. Of course we will be accepting those amendments. It is the far-reaching proposals to which we take some objection. The present Opposition in both chambers will oppose the present Labor Government’s attempt to introduce optional preferential voting, registration of political parties and alterations to the postal voting system. These proposed changes would disfranchise many voters without achieving any real benefits. For that reason the Opposition will oppose some clauses of the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill when they come before the Committee but it will support nearly twothirds of the 76 clauses in the Bill.

Mr Duthie:

– That is a miracle.


-It is not a miracle at all; it is just plain common sense. I hope that if the honourable member has followed my argument so far he will agree with me. The Opposition in the Senate rejected the second reading of the Bill on 28 November last year. The joint Opposition Parties now have decided to move amendments in the Committee stage. If they are accepted we will support the Bill; if not we will oppose it. The Opposition has no objection to clauses in the Bill which remove anomalies and which encourage fairness at elections. We support proposals for mobile polling booths and a number of other changes which effectively improve the present laws. But some clauses of the proposed legislation, while they may be superficially attractive, will have the ultimate effect of denying voters their basic rights and heavily disadvantage minor parties and independent candidates. On the surface the proposal to register parties might appear to have some attraction, but when it is subjected to a closer scrutiny extensive effects are revealed which impinge on elections in Australia for our representative parliamentary democracy.

The main argument in favour of registration of parties is that it will allow party designations to be printed on the ballot papers. How-to-vote cards already achieve that purpose without the great disadvantage which registration would impose. The net effect of registration as required by the Bill would be the perpetuation of the existing parties and the erection of a barrier to the formation of new parties. Surely the strengthening of the present major parties by the present parties is bad for the system. Large parties like the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party will have no difficulty meeting the requirements. Small parties which already exist and those which could be formed in the future will have great difficulty in securing registration. Yesterday the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) said in this House, as he has said many times, that he believes in a 2-party system like the British system. His likes and dislikes are not the issue. The British certainly do not have party designations on their ballot papers. Their system is flexible to the point where the present smallest party in the House of Commons was once the biggest.

The proposed voting proposals would have the effect of denying many people their right to vote. The political effect of the proposals could only be to assist the Labor Party. I believe it is quite disgraceful to suggest removing rights such as postal voting. which are so basic to our system. Optional preferential voting is a clear attempt by the Labor Party to alter the system in its own favour. These amendments are plainly an attempt by the Australian Labor Party to stack the deck. The Labor Party insists on full preferential voting in its Caucus elections. I ask why that is. It is because the Labor Party believes this to be the most democratic method of choosing a ministry. It is the best and fairest system and it gives everyone a right to express a preference between the two most favoured candidates. Labor should provide the people with the same democracy as it requires in its internal affairs- there should not be’ one law for the present Labor Government, which we might call the PLG, and another-for the people- but instead it is trying to entrench itself in government, on the pretext of making things simpler. Neither the Opposition nor the people will buy that sort of fiddle.

I refer to the aspects which the Opposition is prepared to support. They represent more than 50 clauses of the Bill. They include provisions for mobile polling booths in hospitals, the prevention of the use of unacceptable names on ballot papers, an increase in deposits, the provision of a vote for persons serving a prison term of less than 12 months and control on the dissemination of misleading electoral material. The Opposition will move amendments to extend the right of a person to remain on an electoral roll should he be going overseas but intending to return. The proposed legislation gives this right to public servants only. We shall delete the prison terms of less than 3 months which the proposed Bill provides. The Opposition believes that any offence carrying a maximum penalty of less than 3 months is better dealt with by a fine.

However, we will oppose clause 21 which relates to the registration of political parties. The Opposition’s basic attitude is that every citizen has the right to form a political party and every citizen has the right to contest an election. While the proposal for registration and subsequent inclusion of a political party’s identification on a ballot paper may seem superficially attractive, the legislation as it stands will involve a number of inequities. It will act to the great advantage of large parties but it will severly inhibit the growth of new ones. The Bill requires a party to nominate candidates in at least a quarter of the seats contested in any one State. That would mean that a party would have to contest 12 electorates in New South Wales in order to be registered. This would effectively affect the development of new parties and would disadvantage existing small parties. The clause contains a strong ‘catch 22 ‘ element which strongly favours the status quo.

Clauses 27 to 32 deal with postal voting. The Opposition believes that if voting is to be compulsory electors should be given every opportunity to have their votes counted. Postal votes are the only way by which many ill people, travellers or people living in remote areas can vote. The Opposition believes that the existing postal voting procedures are basically satisfactory. Any possible abuses can be avoided by requiring a different coloured form to be used from election to election. The Opposition will move an amendment to that effect in the Committee stage. The Government’s proposals require postal votes to be lodged no later than the close of the poll. This would replace the present 10-day delay from the close of poll to the counting of postal votes. It would effectively disfranchise anyone whose vote was held up by the Government’s erratic postal system. It would disfranchise those who did not submit their postal votes several days before the poll. The sick, the infirm and the traveller would be denied their right to exercise a vote.

Clause 39 proposes to reduce polling hours from the existing period from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to a period from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. As computers are now being used to process results, the current voting time should not cause any technical difficulties. The Opposition believes that, if people are forced to vote, they should be given as much time as possible to do so. Clauses 45 to 48 refer to optional preference. The Opposition believes that the present voting system has proved to be fair and just. If voting is to be compulsory the voters should register all their choices. I have referred to some reasons and I will refer to others when these clauses are debated in Committee. Sub-clause 6(a) deals with redistribution. It provides for any surveyor to be appointed to a redistribution commission regardless of his political ties. The Opposition believes that the States ‘ SurveyorsGeneral or a person with similar qualifications should be the person designated to sit on a redistribution commission, as the present Act requires. For the recent redistribution there seems to have been no difficulty in meeting the present requirement of the Act. In any case, the proposed boundaries are there for all to see.

I want to mention, too, because this is a rare occasion on which to raise these matters, in reasonably soft tones what I regard as some strange incidents which have come to my attention in the course of recent elections. In Western Australia we have seen several things of note happen: Firstly, the rather unusual circumstances surrounding the appointment of the Western Australian commissioners; secondly, the results of the boundaries of a special redistribution in Western Australia in which the Government gained nearly 60 per cent of the seats on 44 per cent of the votes. It was only 12 votes away from obtaining 60 per cent of the seats. Thirdly, in a count of the votes for the seat of Stirling- which, as honourable members will be aware, ran to within a margin of 12 votes- we saw a recount discovering that many votes or one or two more in ballot papers which up to then had been counted a number of times. I was present at the table as one of the two scrutineers when those votes were discovered. In one ballot box 1 1 1 votes were found in one bundle that was supposed to contain 100 and 97 in the other that was supposed to contain 100. That gave a net result of 14. Since the original phoned in, figures were correct and those votes counted in the divisional office were incorrect it was a stra’nge ‘proceeding. I repeat that the ballot papers were supposed to have been counted several times. T am not sure how many times they were counted but it was probably four or five times in practice:1

I refer also to the refusal of the opportunity to scrutineer a recount of the Western Australian Senate votes in spite of the fact that that count was carried over many days making it impracticable for any party to have it scrutineered- there were also many complaints from electoral officers that they were tired and working under difficult conditions- and in spite of the fact that a recount was allowed at an earlier Senate election for an objecting Australian Labor Party candidate, when the percentage difference was greater than was the case in the last Western Australian Senate election. That indicates to me and, I think, to any fair minded person- I am trying to be reasonably restrained in making these remarks- a certain pattern of events which I hope will not recur, because if it does or if anyone wants to debate it in more detail I will come into this House and debate it point by point. I have given only a general outline. I think it is proper to do so because it indicates some pattern which could be unfavourable.

I now return to the provisions of the Bill. Many of them are far reaching and aimed at keeping the present Labor Government in office. I remind the House and the Australian people that both sides have been elected under the existing electoral law. There is no justification for the present extreme proposals to change the existing electoral laws and procedures.

Mr Keith Johnson:

– I have been sitting listening very carefully to what the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) has been saying. He could have made a number of points. I appreciate that he curtailed his remarks to comply with the request to be brief. But I remind him that 20 of the 34 amendments now before us were instigated in the first instance by bis own Party when it was in government. He seems to know a lot about the voting system the Australian Labor Party uses in its Caucus room. He should have told us, if he intended to be fair and impartial, that in his own Party room they have a secret ballot to elect their leaders. The ballot papers are never seen by anybody except the chairman and then they are promptly destroyed. If he is talking about fair and honest ballots he should put his own house in order first.

The honourable member spoke about the development of a party and the definition’ of a party. He seems to complain that the Bill requires that a number of seats in each State be held” by a party for that group of people to be able’ to call itself a genuine political party. If the Opposition had its way and took that provision out of the act then we would have the crazy, chaotic situation of any individual being able to nominate himself as a political party. I am quite sure that the honourable member is well versed enough in the Westminister system of government that we use to know that that would only bring chaos to our whole political system. Perhaps he can see some advantage out of that to his own political Party. Frankly, I cannot. I can see it only creating confusion in the . minds of the electors and some sort of prostitution of a decent electoral system.

He spoke about the reduction of the hours of polling from the period 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to the period 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. He said that the extra 2 hours were not needed because computers were processing the results. Then curiously enough he went on to tell us about the time when he was in a polling booth as a scrutineer and stood and watched people counting votes by hand. If he can cite any occasion on which computers have ever counted ballot papers in this country I will go he. He knows very well that the counting of ballot papers is a manual task and computers are not used for this purpose.

The honourable member then made some scurrilous attack in regard to the most recent result in the electorate of Stirling He spent a few minutes of his time simply insulting and casting a slur on the electoral officers who conducted the election in that electorate. He said that there were too many votes in one bundle and not enough in the other. I would remind the honourable member again that members of political parties are not permitted to touch ballot papers in polling booths. This is purely and simply the task of the people employed by the Electoral Office. As a scrutineer he should know that he was able to stand and watch what they were doing but could not touch anything. An officer of the Electoral Office would have been responsible if there were more ballot papers in one bundle than another. Yet, the honourable member is trying to tell us that these people are under some sort of political guidance, jurisdiction- call it what you like- to put more ballot papers in one bundle than the other. I reject this charge out of hand. I trust that the people of Australia who are listening to this debate and who heard what the honourable member said will also reject that charge out of hand and regard it as being some sort of reflection on his credibility.

One of the most curious aspects of the debates that have taken place on this measure in both this House and the Senate when this same Bill was before us for consideration was the unwillingness of the Opposition to scrutinise and examine this legislation carefully clause by clause.

Neither in this House nor in the other Houseand the debate was not gagged- did the Opposition ask for the opportunity to examine the matter in Committee. In both Houses members of the Opposition simply voted against the motion for the second reading of the Bill. I repeat that in neither House did Opposition members avail themselves of the opportunity, which was not denied to them, to examine this Bill clause by clause. Yet in this place they did nothing to oppose the clauses that they found objectionable. If one cares to read the debates that took place on this measure late last year one will find that 2 basic oppositions were put forward to the Bill. One was that members of the Opposition did not trust the legislation because it was brought in by the Labor Party. Yet, as I have already pointed out, 20 of the 34 clauses in the Bill were introduced or proposed by the previous Government which now sits in Opposition.

The other reason they gave was that the time had not been made available to them for careful examination of approximately 34 changes to be made to the electoral law. Well, the best that can be said for that objection is that it is no longer valid because this document in its present form has been available since it was introduced in this House on 13 November 1974-5 months ago. Surely one of the vast army of Opposition spokesmen could have examined the Bill. In fact, they need only take one of the amendments each, there are so many of them.

To canvass fully all of these 34 points by a member in the 20 minutes available to him is, of course, impossible. But why cannot the Opposition disregard its policy of obstructionism and agree to those clauses to which it has no objection, so that the debate can be generated around those clauses to which it has objection? Let us air our differences and examine the fallacies and hypocrisies of our own arguments. Many of the 34 changes are purely of an administrative nature and simply bring this legislation into line with other legislation on these matters. For example, clauses 9 and 10 propose to change enrolment qualifications from ‘British subject’ to ‘status of a British subject’, which is in line with related laws. Clause 6 will enable the employment of support staff for Distribution Commissioners and simply overcomes a shortcoming in the present Act. This change should have been made years ago.

Clause 16 provides authority for alterations to the roll when a street is renamed or renumbered. All that does is save the poor old elector telling the returning officer something he already knows but cannot correct. How about allowing the appointment of Presiding Officers and/or Assistant Presiding Officers who are 18 years of age or over? Our present laws allow persons 18 years of age to vote but prevent the appointment of those same people as assistants at a poll. Clause 5 provides for an overseas Assistant Returning Officer, during his temporary absence or inability to perform his duties of office, to appoint a substitute Assistant Returning Officer and that could hardly be quarrelled with.

The Bill provides for the provision of fines as an alternative to imprisonment where relevant. Surely no one would ever advocate gaoling people when monetary fines provide sufficient deterrents. The Bill also provides for monetary penalties to match imprisonment terms. Again, this is in line with accepted practice. Clause 23 places members of the Legislative Assembly for the Northern Territory or of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly in exactly the same position as any member of any of the 6 State legislatures. In other words, the members of the assemblies of the territories will need to resign their seats no less than 14 days before a poll as do members of the State legislatures.

Clauses 42 and 44 make the asking of questions of voters at the discretion of the Presiding Officers, although a safeguard is provided that a scrutineer may require the questions to be put. But the real fact about this matter is that the present Act is in conflict with itself, and each time a voter is asked a question he is in fact challenged by the Presiding Officer as to whether or not he has the right to vote. Clause 27 provides for measurements to be in metric measure rather than imperial and again this is in line with contemporary practice. Clause 43 is concerned with the use of the term ‘given names’ rather than ‘Christian names’ and this simply and solely recognises the variety of views and religions which we encourage in our community.

Clause 54 seeks to correct an anomaly whereby a candidate can unwittingly place his candidacy in jeopardy because an election is announced less than 3 months before it is, held. Had he made a gift or donation just prior to the announcement of such an election he would be guilty of an offence. The Bill provides a perfectly fair and equitable defence for the candidate placed in this position. Clause 1 simply changes the title of the Act from the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1973 to the more descriptive Electoral Act 1 9 1 8- 1 974.

Surely none of these 13 amendment’s , can attract much reasoned opposition or argument, and therefore they should be agreed,, to’ and disposed of so that the remaining 20-odd amendments to the Act can be examined in detail. I readily concede that any or all of the remaining amendments can arouse healthy argument. Had the Bill been considered in Committee by both Houses last year the Government would be better informed as to the specific objections of the Opposition.

If I were a suspicious person I might be induced to think that the Australian Country Party or the National Country Party or the National Party, or whatever its name is for the time being- perhaps they are separate parties and not just separate names- is using muscle on the Liberal Party of Australia to ensure that the present archaic law remains unchanged. If I were uninformed of the contents of the Bill the opposition of the Country Party to it would be sufficient grounds for me to agree that the changes will bring electoral justice.

Let us examine those matters which will bring greater convenience to the elector and give no advantage or provide no disadvantage to any candidate whether or not he or she be a representative of a political Party. Principal among these matters must surely be a simpler way of expressing preference of candidates, indeed, a system of voting which would provide a choice for electors without in any way denying the right of voters. The Bill now provides for optional preferential marking of ballot papers. This would be more relevant in a Senate election than a House of Representatives election where generally there are fewer candidates. However, in passing I mention the general election of 1 966 for the House of Representatives when at least one long-standing and highly regarded member of this House lost his seat because of a fairly high informal vote. I refer to Mr Reg Pollard, then the honourable member for Lalor and a Cabinet Minister in the Chifley Government.

On that occasion there was a multitude of candidates 8 in all- for a single seat. Most of the candidates were members of the Royal Australian Air Force at Laverton which was situated in the Federal division of Lalor. They wished to leave the Service but could not do so unless they nominated for the Australian Parliament, in which case they were obliged to leave the Service. The number of informal votes cast on that occasion was extraordinarily high. The result was fairly close so a recount was conducted between polling day and the date for the return, of the writs. I was actively involved with that count for about a week. It became very clear to me that on the ballot papers excluded by the returning officer as invalid- of course, within the scope of the Act he had no option- the voters had expressed their order of preference correctly for 6 of the 8 candidates. Where did they go wrong? Pollard had 2 candidates’ names beneath his name on the ballot paper and the electors who wished to vote for Pollard started with his name, marked No. 1 beside it and went up the ballot paper marking the candidate above him No. 2 and so on until the candidate on the top of the ballot. paper was reached, he receiving No. 6 preference. The electors then went next to the candidate under Pollard and for some reason known only to them perhaps they gave him No. 8 preference and the one underneath him No. 9 preference. That was the position. There were 8 candidates and because of this confusion in the dying hours of filling in ballot papers the whole result was thrown out and a very fine prospective member was lost to the Parliament.

One could instance such examples time and time again in relation to Senate elections when ballot papers are marked and the clear intention of electors so far as the number of people to be elected is concerned has been expressed. But all of those good votes have been thrown out because somewhere about 73 or 74 the voters became tired and neglected to put a number on the ballot paper or put the same number in twice. One could go through all of these proposals that are before the House. Time does not permit this at this stage. It is probably more appropriate that that be done at the Committee stage of the consideration of the Bill. In conclusion, I simply say that there is agreement on this matter in the community. I do not think that members of the community look for any political advantage for any political party but look for a convenient way of filling in ballot papers so that their wish can be expressed. Certainly, there is a feeling in the community that the laws that govern the voting for candidates for this place or for the Senate need review. This Bill is doing that. Because of that it deserves the support of the House. I say without any fear or equivocation that I would rather suspect those who stand up and actively oppose the five amendments that have been put forward in this Bill. I commend the Bill to the House.


– I believe that I am one person who can speak objectively when we are discussing this Electoral Laws Amendment Bill. I have no axe to grind. I have fought my last election and so I can look at this matter, I believe, without prejudice. I was rather surprised that when the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) introduced this legislation on the second occasion he made a very short speech. He said: . . . . in the light of the fact that many of the basic provisions of the Bill were similar to those in the Commonwealth Electoral Bill 1971 presented to this House, and read a second time, by the then Minister for the Interior, the honourable member for Gwydir, on 31 March 1971. Thus the Opposition’s attitude to the earlier Bill can only be described as incomprehensible.

This is quite ludicrous. What he is saying is that because many or even some of the provisions in this Bill are similar to those in a Bill which was introduced by the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) therefore the Opposition ought to vote for the whole of this Bill. As I say, of course this is quite silly. When introducing the Bill on the first occasion on 13 November 1974 the Minister said:

The Bill is therefore far more substantial than that allowed to lapse in 1 97 1 by the coalition Government.

That statement represents a complete volte-face from what lie has said now.

I looked at the Bill very closely. I hope that every honourable member on this side of the Parliament has looked at it closely. It seems to me that there are 3 different types of amendment to the Act proposed by the Minister. Firstly- and all of us who know the Minister would suspect this- there are those amendments that are designed to assist the Labor Party vote. Secondly, there are debatable reforms with which some members of all parties would agree and with which some members of all parties would disagree. Thirdly, there’ are minor sensible tidying up amendments to improve the Act. One could go through a long list of them. For example, they cover the position in which a candidate has changed his name within 12 months prior to his nomination. We have all seen cases in which someone has changed his name, perhaps to H. E. Holt, by deed poll. We want to stop these sorts of things. The amendments prevent a person enrolling or nominating under a changed name in certain circumstances and prevent a person nominating as a candidate for election in more than one Federal seat on the same day. Of course, this would be quite stupid. If a candidate won both elections he could not take up a position as a member for both seats. There would have to be a by-election. The amendments deal with the use of given names instead of Christian names. I am sure that all honourable members would agree with many of these things.

The amendments about which I desire to speak are those in the first 2 categories, that is, those designed to assist the Labor vote and those debatable reforms with which some would agree and some would disagree. Amongst those changes that are designed to assist the Labor vote, of course, first and foremost comes the optional preferential marking of ballot papers. This is just an attempt to break down the preferential voting system. We know that Labor wants first past the post voting to be introduced. We know what an enormous advantage it would be to Labor if it introduced the first past the post voting system. The Labor Party is in power in England when it received something of the order of 35 per cent of the vote. How did it get into power? Of course, the combined vote for Liberal Party candidates and Conservative Party candidates would be well ahead of that for Labor party candidates. But Labor is ahead on the first count and therefore goes into office. I would never have come into this House if it had not been for the preferential voting system. There may be some people who say that this is an advantage of the first past the post system. Nevertheless, I am here because I received the preference of the other non-Labor non-socialist candidate. I say that this Bill represents an obvious attempt to try to break down preferential voting which I believe is the fairest system that one can possibly get anywhere in the world.

Next, there is the question of an earlier deadline for the return of postal votes and for the return of those votes direct to the respective returning officers. I can see advantage in returning postal votes direct to the respective returning officers because this might save a little time instead of the votes being handed into an assistant officer in the United States of America, England or wherever it may be. But here again we have to look behind this and to read the mind of the Minister for Services and Property. He knows that the Opposition parties- the Liberal and Country Parties- get an advantage in postal voting. It is beyond dispute that in normal elections postal votes probably run 2 to 1 in favour of the Liberal Party. It may be that 66 per cent of such votes would favour the Liberal and Country Parties and 33 per cent would favour the Labor Party. Therefore, the Labor Party has always sought to do anything that it could to restrict or cut out postal voting. Postal voting is perfectly fair as long as it is properly policed as it should be and can be. But Labor would do anything to abolish it.

I recall a by-election for the State seat of Albury. The sitting Labour Party member- I think this was in 1947- was defeated by the Liberal-Country Party candidate. The sitting Labor Party man was ahead when voting closed. But on the postal votes, Padman, the LiberalCountry Party candidate, got up and narrowly won the election by 150 votes. The Labor Party was in government in New South Wales at the time. It was so annoyed with this that it immediately changed the system and cut out virtually every form of postal voting. The result was that the Liberal and Country Parties would have won in 1950 but they had to wait until 1956 to win and to change the system to get back to a system under which any Australian is entitled to vote wherever he is in the world. This is what we on the Opposition side believe in. But the Labor Party does not because it knows it is disadvantaged by this system. It is proposed that instead of having up to 10 days after the end of voting for the postal votes to come in that postal votes should have to be in by the same time as the ballot closes on the Saturday night.

Look at the ridiculous situation. Goodness knows, it is difficult enough now for people overseas to get their postal ballot papers, fill them in and post them back again and get them in in time. But where there is a short election campaign period- the tendency is for the elections to become shorter and shorter and I think this is a good tendency because people get to know the issues relatively quickly- this would mean that 10 days before an election was held a person who was overseas would have to post his vote. It is quite ludicrous. As I said, this proposal is only an attempt to increase the Labor proportion of the vote. We know that in the present system governments win or lose very narrowly. We know that in 1 96 1 40 votes in one electorate were enough to keep the Menzies Government in office. A proposal that deprives people of hundreds of postal votes that would run strongly in favour of the Liberal-Country Parties would help to keep an unpopular Labor Government in office against the will of the people generally. So we are strongly opposed to these 3 proposals.

I come to the debatable reforms. There are some half dozen, such as the printing of party affiliation of candidates on ballot papers, registration of political parties and closing the polls at - 6/o ‘clock rather than 8 o’clock. I know there is something to be said for 6 p.m. closing but on the other hand there are problems, particularly for those people of religious beliefs who cannot vote until after the sun goes down. There is the question of increasing the amount of deposit required. Pesonally I am all in favour of a deposit high enough to ensure that the no-hopers do not clutter up the ballot paper. In fact at present people get a financial taxation allowance out of being a candidate. If they have to pay a small deposit and they lose it they actually do better out of standing than not standing. So I am all in favour of a deposit that will be high enough to ensure that we do not get an enormous number of candidates, such as the 73 in the recent Senate election in New South Wales. This creates chaos. On the other hand, I do not think anyone would want the amount to be so high that a person who had a reasonable chance of winning an election if he stood would be excluded from doing so.

There is also the proposal to preclude nomination for election to the Australian Parliament of a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory. I thought that any person who was a member of another Parliament- of course it depends whether one calls those Legislative Assemblies parliaments- who wanted to stand for the Federal Parliament would have to resign from a State Parliament in sufficient time to lodge his nomination. Of course this is a problem when an election is called without much notice and a member of a State Parliament desires to stand. He may have some difficulty in complying with the law. It is also proposed to change the qualifications for enrolment, voting and candidature from ‘British subject’ to ‘Status of a British subject’. Quite frankly I have not the faintest idea what this means but it appears to me to be part of Labor’s objective of undermining the Crown and the Commonwealth.

Let me get back to the one important debatable reform, one with which I find myself at some difference with some members of my Party. I do not doubt that some people on the Government side are at odds with members of their Party. I refer to the question of whether party affiliations of candidates should be printed on ballot papers. The opponents of this proposed measure state that their objection is based on the legal difficulty of how one interprets who is a candidate for a particular party. If we have a case, for example, of a Liberal who has not been re-endorsed and who is or was entitled at one stage to stand again if he was the sitting member and who proposes to stand as an independent Liberal, how does one determine what the actual nomenclature for him should be on the ballot paper? I wonder how valid this argument is and whether we are not in this respect really making a mountain out of a molehill.

The Commonwealth Electoral Office, the moment nominations have closed, distributes a list of the candidates throughout the length and breadth of Australia which gives party affiliations and states whether the candidate is an independent, or whatever the candidate himself has chosen to put. I honestly do not believe there would be the problems in this matter that many people see in it. On the other hand, there are enormous advantages. There is the clear indication of the party that one is voting for. Of course in a small metropolitan electorate all the booths are heavily manned and as one goes in one is given a how-to-vote paper. But this does not apply in many areas throughout the country and throughout the world. Imagine a person in, say, Fiji during the last election who got a ballot paper for the New South Wales Senate election with a list of 73 names. Who, unless he was a very close student of politics, could possibly know the party affiliations? The same thing applies in small country booths. I have a number in my own electorate and I know that you, Mr Deputy Speaker, have many in your electorate, where there might be only 70 or 80 votes cast in a day. It is extremely difficult to get all these booths manned constantly throughout the full 12 hours. Therefore many people vote without knowing accurately who are the candidates and for what parties they stand.

The same thing happens with absentee voting. I remember when I was voting absentee in Queanbeyan in a State election on one occasion a Liberal from Sydney came out of the booth and said to me: ‘I do not know whether I voted for the Liberal candidate. All I knew was that I had a vague idea that so and so was the sitting Labor member so I put him number three. But there were 2 others and I did not know, quite frankly, who they were. I hope I voted for the right one. ‘ I said: ‘I am afraid I cannot help you, I do not know either.’ If this sort of thing applies to people who are reasonable students of politics, how much more must it apply to those who go into the booth with no previous knowledge? I am sure that this proposal should be introduced. I have maintained for years, ever since I have been a member of this House, that we ought to abolish the system of handing out how-to-vote cards and have the party affiliation on the ballot paper. It would certainly reduce the informal voting.

We have been given as a reason or an excuse for not doing this: ‘Oh, but it does not happen overseas. No one else does it. ‘ I find this is completely inaccurate. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam), who is in the chamber now, will recall that he asked a question of the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) when he was in charge of electoral matters and that it was answered in June 1970. In his reply the then Minister for the Interior said: … the following list includes those countries where the arrangement of lists or ballot-papers, or the method of voting, involve identification of the candidate by party.

He proceeded with a list of 37 countries, some small and some we would not regard as really voting. Although one of them listed the name of the party on the voting papers there was only one party standing at the election. But many major countries were listed. I shall run quickly through the list. It states:

Austria: Official ballot paper contains names of the parties.

Germany (West): The ballot paper is official. It contains, for the election in the constituencies, the names of the candidates and their party.

Ireland: At the April 1965 elections, for the first time in Irish political history the names of political parties were placed after candidates ‘ names-

Italy: Ballot papers contain the symbols of the parties.

So one could go on. One often finds, particularly in the undeveloped countries, that a symbol is used to enable people who are illiterate or semiliterate to identify their party. This happens in many cases. Even in the United States of America party identifications are usually shown on the ballot paper. So it is quite obviously wrong for people to suggest that Australia should not do this because other countries in the world do not do it. In any case, that is no reason to me. Australia led the world in some electoral reforms, and I believe that even if other countries do not do it we should lead the world. I stress strongly that we should look once again at this question of putting party affiliations on the ballot paper. I believe that it would reduce enormously the number of informals. There is no doubt that some people who will not say it publicly do say privately: ‘But my party does better because it gets less informals than the other parties’, or something of that sort. I do not know whether that is so. Certainly so far as the Liberal-Country Party is concerned, I have no doubt that we lose a large number of postal votes, from which we score heavily, because our people do not know the affiliation of the particular candidates for whom they are voting.

There are aspects of this Bill with which one cannot help but be strongly in favour, and I congratulate the Minister and his officers for rectifying many of the minor faults. At the same time, there is also ho doubt that the 3 major matters that I mentioned are designed for only one purpose and that is to improve the vote of the Labor Party. There is another group of amendments about which we can have reasonable doubt, and no doubt these will be discussed at length both here and in the Senate.

Prime Minister · Werriwa · ALP

– This Bill is now being debated in this Parliament for the second time. It was first debated over 4 months ago. The Bill includes many provisions which were proposed by the Minister for the Interior, the Minister in charge of electoral matters in the previous government, in a bill which he introduced in March 1971. The other provisions cover matters which were shown to be urgently in need of correction by the double dissolution election a year ago. When the Bill came into this Parliament for the first time last November it was totally opposed by members of the Opposition in this House and in the Senate. Nevertheless, I want to be fair in these matters. The Opposition moves, however slowly, because now it says that it will accept, by and large, the amendments made by this Bill, which in fact reproduce those in its Bill of March 1971. So we move on to that extent.

In respect of the other matters which were shown to be urgently necessary last May, the Opposition has now circulated 47 amendments. I believe that the whole approach of the Opposition to this electoral Bill illustrates its dilatory tactics and its specious arguments. I shall indicate the contents of the Bill and the timetable. As the Minister for Services and Property, (Mr Daly) pointed out when he first introduced the Bill, it is designed to give the people a more democratic and efficient electoral system. The Bill is identical to the Bill which he introduced into this House on 13 November 1974. Opposition members voted against the whole of that Bill on 25 November. Three days later it was rejected in the Senate on the second reading; there was no debate in Committee, no debate clause by clause, no amendments. Yet that Bill contained, as the present Bill contains, 16 proposals which were originally embodied in legislation introduced in March 1971 by the previous Government. No debate ever ensued on that Bill. It was not withdrawn; the then Government never got around to debating it. It was still on the notice paper when the Parliament was dissolved at the end of 1972.

In a moment I shall deal with the more substantive provisions of the present Bill. Before doing so, I ask honourable members to look briefly at some of the 1 6 proposals which the Opposition rejected last year and which were contained in the legislation that it introduced over 4 years ago. The Opposition made no effort when the Government brought it on for debate to preserve the clauses of the Bill which reproduced the ones that the present Opposition had introduced in March 1971. Those clauses were just thrown out. The proposals which the present Opposition made in March 1971 and which this Government made last November included provisions for improving voting facilities for patients and inmates of hospitals, convalescent homes and institutions, franchise rights for representatives of a government or public authority who are posted overseas, and the prohibition of members of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly being elected to the Australian Parliament while still members of that Assembly. There were also provisions for candidates to declare changes of name, for banning misleading how-to-vote cards, for granting candidates a defence on charges of gift giving, for the renaming or renumbering of streets, for the regulation of electoral posters in certain places, and more realistic penalties for breaches of the electoral law. It appears that those matters now are acceptable. Second thoughts have induced the Opposition under its new leadership to accept at last matters which it proposed over 4 years ago.

During the second reading debate in this House last November members of the Opposition called for a joint all-party select committee to examine the whole field of electoral reform. That in itself was an unnecessary delaying tactic in view of the Opposition’s previous approval for many of the measures in the Bill. Further attempts at delay were still to come. In the Committee stage no attempt was made to move any amendments, to remove anything that was objectionable in the Bill or to insert any improvements in the Bill. On the third reading the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) moved that the Bill be delayed for 6 months. That is the technique for killing a Bill. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) went one better. He suggested that the delay be 9 months. He did not want to kill the Bill, he wanted a full gestation. The Opposition could not even agree on the time required to examine the Bill, half of which was its Bill. The honourable member for Moreton also made much of what he claimed was the Government’s unwillingness to allow consideration of the Bill in Committee. Yet when the Bill moved to the Senate on 28 November the Opposition voted against the Bill being read a second time. Under the Constitution, the votes being equal, the Bill was rejected. The Opposition prevented the Bill from being considered in Committee in the Senate. That is, some Opposition members wanted an examination committee of the House of Representatives. When the Bill went to the Senate and the Opposition could have done something about it, it prevented that course being taken. So much for the Opposition’s belief in opportunities for full debate.

As honourable members know, the principal reform proposed in this Bill is for optional preferential voting. Optional marking of preferences is a refinement of the present exhaustive preferential voting system. The arguments for this reform have been well rehearsed and are easily grasped. The reform will make for speedier counting of votes. It will make the task of voters less ardous and less confusing. It will reduce the number of informal votes. It will strengthen the democratic principle by allowing voters to allot preferences only for candidates they wish to elect while still permitting them to cast their preferences for every candidate if they so desire. The change involves no derogation from voters’ democratic rights; in fact, it will enhance them. It affects no particular party. Its sole objectives are greater simplicity, greater clarity and greater speed.

Australia’s electoral system is the most tedious in the world- the most protracted in the world. It is scandalous that the nation was without a Parliament for 3 months last year after the dissolution on 10 April. I do not believe that anybody could criticise the efficiency of the Electoral Office in counting the votes, but under the laws we made in this Parliament it was impossible to get a new Parliament until 3 months had elapsed since the previous Parliament had been dissolved. This was largely due to delays in counting the votes cast at the election on 18 May and the complicated preferential system in use at that election, especially for the Senate. Honourable members will recall the widespread exasperation and disgust in the community over the complexity of the ballot papers and the protracted nature of the count. (Quorum formed)

There was a remarkable unanimity of feeling on this question. The ‘Sydney Morning Herald ‘ in an editorial on 2 May 1974, before that election, said:

Formidable demands of unprecedented severity will be made on the knowledgeability, patience and physical stamina of voters. … On May 18 some Australians will certainly be envious of the simplicities of the US voting system. . . . Perhaps the quickest and easiest relief from the ordeal others now face would be to introduce the optional preference system (favoured by a section of the ALP, including Mr Whitlam). Under this it would be mandatory to number, say, only 10 squares instead of the 73 now essential in NSW. Think of it: 73. It’s incredible.

After the election, in an editorial on 25 May, the ‘Sydney Morning Herald ‘ said this:

If we are to continue to have compulsory voting and thereby remain unique in the English-speaking world, there is an overwhelming case for simplifying the mechanics of voting. Most experts agree that it is utterly unnecessary to force people to fill in every square. With 73 candidates, it should be made obligatory to fill in only the first 10 or 12, and voluntary thereafter. (For a half-Senate election, five or six should suffice). A very high informal vote, as is now indicated, makes a mockery of the compulsory voting provision.

In a further editorial on 14 June, the ‘Sydney Morning Herald ‘ said:

It took 1 1 days before Australians could be quite certain that Labor had retained control of the House of Representatives; it took 1 6 days before the exact size of its majority was established. These facts, combined with continuing uncertainty about the Senate result and the consequent delay before the new parliament can sit, added point to Mr Whitlam’s comments, at the declaration of the poll for his seat of Werriwa yesterday, about our electoral system. He described it as absurdly complicated and said that a country should not have to be without a parliament for three months. There will be very general agreement on those points . . . … Mr Whitlam drew attention to the time that will be needed to complete the counting for the Senate poll, and noted that the first time the new parliament can meet will be July 9- with July 16 or July 23 distinct possibilities. He was quite right to describe this, mildly, as not very satisfactory; and after their recent experience with outsize Senate ballotpapers most people will heartily agree with his view that voters should be required to fill in only as many squares on such ballot-papers as there are vacancies- that is, as in New South Wales on May 18, 10 out of 73. Next time- who knows?- There may be more than 73 candidates.

On 4 June, the Melbourne ‘Age’ said in an editorial:

It is absurd that people, parties and Parliament should be kept in suspense for days as to who definitely won the May 18 elections, for a fortnight as to the size of the Government’s majority, and for several weeks as to the crucial balance of power in the Senate. It is absurd that at least 10 per cent and possibly nearer 20 per cent of electors should have their Senate votes rejected as informal because the task of filling out their mammoth ballot-papers correctly has exceeded their understanding or exhausted their patience. Whatever its merits, the electoral process has shown itself to be too complex and cumbersome to work efficiently and fairly.

The process is at its most exasperating in the election of senators, although proportional representation produces, in theory, the most accurate reflection of the popular will within each State. In practice, more than half a million Australians will have been disenfranchised because of the long columns of unidentified candidates and the obligation to number them off without exception in consecutive order of choice. And the more candidates listed on the ballot-paper, the longer it takes to count, check and calculate results. The procedure could be- and certainly should be- significantly simplified and speeded up without abandoning the advantages of proportional representation.

On 14 June, the ‘Age’ published a further editorial. It said in part:

The point at issue- and it has been demonstrated beyond dispute by the May 18 elections- is that the present electoral system is absurdly complicated. It is so complicated that even five weeks after the election we still do not know how many seats the Government has won in the Senate. It is so complicated that 12 per cent of Senate votes in New South Wales were discarded as informal. If people are to be compelled to vote at all, then at least the process should be modified so that it is easier to understand, simpler to operate and quicker to produce results. This is precisely what the Government intends to do, and in a manner which is perfectly straight-forward and sensible. It is called optional preferential voting . . .

Optional preferential voting is exactly that and not anything else in disguise. Not that there is anything inherently sinister in first-past-the-post voting; This is the system used in Britain and most other democratic countries. Nor is there anything sacrosanct about preferential voting; it was introduced in Australia for no other purpose than to accommodate the Country Party and to avoid splitting the antiLabor vote, and it proved so unsatisfactory in Senate elections that it was superseded in 1 948.

But preferential voting for the House of Representatives and proportional representation for the Senate have proved reasonably fair and generally acceptable- and the Government does not propose to abandon them. There is nothing radical, mysterious or underhand about optional preferential voting; it improves- not destroys- the essential qualities of the present systems. It simply means that voters will not be obliged to place consecutive numbers in every square on the ballot paper to ensure that their vote will be counted. They need vote only for as many candidates as there are vacanciesone in each House of Representatives electorate and normally five on each Senate ticket. But voters who wish to rank all or several candidates in order of preference may do so and their preferences will be taken into account. The choice is theirs.

Another important proposal relates to the printing of party affiliations of candidates on ballot papers. This has obvious benefits for electors, allowing them at once to ascertain the parties the candidates are representing. In conjunction with that proposal we also propose the registration of political parties for purposes of identification and the printing of affiliations on ballot papers. There is nothing novel in such a procedure. It is widely practised overseas. Without going through all the countries which require or permit the party affiliations of candidates to be placed on the ballot paper, it is enough to point out that they include Austria, all the Scandinavian countries, West Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Britain and the United States of America- not a bad democratic line-up.

The Minister for Services and Property said during his second reading speech last November:

Australians can be justly proud of their electoral machinery. We have not suffered the electoral malpractices common to many other countries.

There is, however, no reason for complacency. This Bill is designed to speed up the electoral process, prevent possible electoral malpractices before they occur and improve voting facilities where they have been lacking.

The Opposition had an opportunity in Government to amend the Act with proposals with which they were in favour. They never got around to voting on the Bill. More than 4 months have passed since we introduced the present Bill. If the Opposition could claim in November that they needed more time to consider the Bill they certainly cannot claim that now. We have learned from experience that our electoral system does not meet the needs of our democracy. We cannot tolerate the situation where people are kept without a national Parliament for 3 months. We should not compel people to vote for scores of candidates whom they have no opportunity of identifying. We have made our electoral system a farce throughout the world. At least we ought to learn from our experiences and the examples of others.


– I call the honourable member for Hume.

Motion (by Mr Nicholls) put:

That the question be now put.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker-Hon. G. G. D. Scholes)

AYES: 60

NOES: 56

Majority……. 4



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee

Clauses 1 to 3- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 4.

Section 5 of the Principal Act is amended-


– I move:

Omit paragraph ( b).

This amendment is in many respects consequential upon the amendment to clause 21, which provides for the legislation of political parties and the insertion on the ballot paper of the names of political parties. The Opposition, as I foreshadowed in my contribution to the debate on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, will oppose that provision in this chamber and in the Senate. As this is the first time that the provision arises in the Bill, perhaps I ought to outline somewhat briefly the principles that are involved in it, most of which those in attendance will recognise are in conflict with much of the misrepresentation contained in the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) a few moments ago. This is an attempt by the Government to define what is a political party. Political scientists have been trying to do that for hundreds of years without success. This Bill has embarked in this clause on an ambitious sttempt to do so but has not succeeded in doing so.

The basic objection to the principle embodied in this clause is that under our parliamentary systemnot necessarily those of the countries referred to by the Prime Minister, many of which have very different systems- which is the result of evolution and of hundreds of years of development of a representative system of democracy in Britain, members of Parliament remain individuals. We have followed that system as it was basic to our way of life. That is a very important thing to the people of this country and to the operation of our parliamentary democracy. Although members of Parliament come here as successful party candidates they retain their individual identities. They are not the agents of their parties. There have been important occasions in the proceedings of this House on which members who have come in as party representatives- incidentally, those who have come in as Independents also have played an important part- have taken an individual role and a role that is sometimes at variance with that of their party. That has been a part of our parliamentary process. I suppose that that in the minds of most members of Parliament remains an attitude to adopt as a last resort; nevertheless it has been an important flexibility in our system. That principle was embodied in a very famous speech by Edmund Burke to the electors of Bristol when he pointed out to them what has become and what has been referred to by many scholars and political scientists as a classic assertion of the rights of an individual member of Parliament to do what his conscience dictates. Obviously most members of Parliament agree with almost all the principles and certainly the platform of the party which they adopted and which adopted them when they came here, but that is a different matter from going down the road to a point where one becomes simply a mouthpiece and an agent of a party, losing all identity in formalising that relationship. We object to that.

Of course, in practice the matter goes even deeper than that because once one tries to have party names registered one opens a can of worms. There has been a number of illustrations of this. Let me mention one that comes to mind. A few years ago a group of people in this country attempted to run a political party under the name ‘Liberal Reform Group’. It was a title that was deliberately chosen in order to mislead people who would customarily be attracted to voting for Liberal Party of Australia candidates. Certain legal action was instituted. It was only partially successful. We can see happening here an individual or a group of individuals trying to get a name as close as he or they can to that of the well established parties in a deliberate attempt to create confusion and to try to make the ballot paper a means of attracting some support for himself or themselves. Such a deliberate and misleading action is unfair and undesirable.

I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to what happens when any dispute arises. Who is to decide it? The person who is to decide it, without the right of appeal, is to be the Chief Australian Electoral Officer. How about that! That officer- a public servant- is to make decisions affecting the functions and operations of political parties. Surely it is part of our system that anybody can start a political party, that any person can stand as a candidate and that such political parties are able to have their names and their pamphlets clearly identifiable from others without any situation arising in which some officer of the Commonwealth has to make a decision. So we reject all of that as being quite unreasonable.

We think that this is a matter of great importimportance. Superficially there may be attraction to this proposition by many people who will say: ‘We know exactly which candidate is standing for which party’, but once we start on this registration system, once we start trying to define when a name is sufficiently different from another, and once we start dealing with peoplethere are some, but very few- in the community who are ever ready to take advantage of such legalities we start to get into a very difficult and undesirable position. I have outlined my arguments against this proposition. They pertain more to clause 21, but clause 4 is the first of the references to it in this Bill. Of course, for the reasons I have outlined and to which other speakers have referred, the Opposition is strongly opposed to this proposition and will object to it.

Port Adelaide

– I am not influenced by the arguments put up by the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland), who is the spokesman for the Opposition on this subject. It has been absolutely astounding to me that the electoral laws of the Commonwealth and the States have refused to recognise political parties. It is beyond the ego of anyone in this chamber to believe that he is a member of Parliament because of his outstanding talents. We are all here because we happen to carry with us the endorsement of our respective political parties.

Mr Hewson:

– Speak for yourself.


– I am speaking for myself in all due humility. I challenge the honourable member for McMillan to run at the next election without his party’s endorsement and see how he gets on. The laws of the country ought to recognise the reality of the situation. The argument has been advanced that perhaps troubles could arise because the Chief Australian Electoral Officer is the one who has to decide who is to carry what name. The Australian Labor Party has carried its name since 1890. It has received threats from breakaway groups like the Australian Democratic Labor Party. The Liberal Party of Australia has been threatened by groups such as the one mentioned by the honourable member for Curtin, that is, the Liberal Reform Group. But what has been the eventual result of the threats from those minor groups? Both of the socalled political parties to which I have referred have disintegrated. The matter could be overcome easily if the Liberal Party of Australia were to take to itself its correct title, that is, that of the Conservative Party. The Australian Country Party is quite safe because it is such a disreputable group that no one would want to take its name. I do not think that we are going to experience the problems enunciated by the honourable member for Curtin.

There are almost 40 countries throughout the world which give to political parties the right to place on the ballot paper alongside the name of a candidate the name of the political party for which he is standing. People in Australia are inundated throughout political campaigns with material showing them photographs and the political affiliations of the House of Representatives candidates endorsed by the respective parties in the electoral divisions and the Senate candidates endorsed in the States. We chop off access to this material 20 feet outside the polling booth. Why not allow the people who have been looking at this propaganda for the weeks, months and in some cases the year leading up to the election to have it before them in the polling booth in the form of a ballot paper which would give a display of not only the candidate but the political party to which he is attached?

There seems to be some unknown reason, which certainly has not been given by spokesmen on the other side of the chamber, as to why they maintain that this cannot be done. It seems to me that perhaps, like all their other arguments, the argument on this occasion is that they see some advantage for the Australian Labor Party. I would accept that. I think the Australian Labor Party has the most respectable name of all political parties in Australia, but that is no argument for the Liberal and Country Par- ‘ties opposing people being able to identify more easily on the ballot paper the names of the political parties that we represent and that put us in this chamber.


– It seems to me very strange that the Government should support this legislation and argue that one of the reasons why it has been brought forward is to eliminate confusion, because I believe that this proposal to register political parties has in it a potential for far greater confusion and mischief than presently exist. The honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) and the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) know very well that in the 1950s their own party experienced a few convulsions in the State of Victoria. They also know very well that there was a court action involving the ownership of the assets of the Australian Labor Party Victoria branch. They also know that, as I recollect the circumstances, the result of that court action was that the ownership of the assets resided with the old Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party. The point I am making in bringing this up is that confusion would be caused if a Party secured registration in close proximity to an election, there was a schism in the Party and there was the sort of result that occurred with the Labor Party in Victoria. There would be untold confusion.

I am not arguing against the printing of names and party affiliations on ballot papers out of any kind of political advantage. I will argue other propositions out of political advantage. I do not suppose there is any issue debated in Parliament in which every honourable members regards himself as an expert more than the isssue of electoral laws. We all think we know the best system of electoral laws. If the Government is trying to eliminate confusion and if it argues that the reason why this Bill has been brought in is to eliminate confusion, I think it is misleading not only this Parliament but also the Australian people. If it puts Party affiliations on ballot papers it will cause confusion. It does not need a very fertile mind to think of the numerous combinations and permutations of the name ‘Australian Labor Party’ that people could dream up. Some party might call itself the National Australian Labor Party. We all know the combinations that could be achieved. If the definition in the Bill enables members of a body or an organisation to come together with a political objective they can apply under clause 58 for registration. As the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) has pointed out, enormous discretionary power is then placed in the hands of a Minister or an electoral officer. I believe that a political party has to thrive or perish on its own performance, not because of any entrenched statutory authority that it might have. I argue that not only in relation to the printing of Party affiliations on ballot papers but also in respect of the payment of campaign expenses out of Consolidated Revenue.

The honourable member for Port Adelaide has made a number of contributions in this Parliament on the general subject of elections and election campaigns. A great deal of what he has said on other occasions I have agreed with. I know there are problems with the extent to which the media have sought to intimidate the process of political choice. I agree with that, but equally one thing which I will not accept and which is inherent in the arguments that he has put today, is that in some way you have to entrench the political status quo. All the provisions such as paying people’s campaign expenses out of Consolidated Revenue and putting names of political parties on ballot papers have as their purpose the entrenchment of the status quo. If the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party or the Australian Country Party cannot get enough people to man the polling booths and to hand out how to vote cards, it means that they are unpopular, and they have to suffer the consequences of . that political unpopularity. I cannot see that the cause of democracy is served in any way by taking away from political parties the responsibility of getting their supporters out to vote. I just cannot see the logical process of that. That is precisely what this Bill is designed to do. It is designed to give to political parties in this country a soft option. I do not think that political parties ought to have a soft option. I think they have to have the responsibility, whether their members sit on the other side of the chamber or this side of the chamber, of getting their supporters out to vote.

The idea that you can write into the legislation provision to give to a minister or an electoral officer, no matter how able either of those 2 ladies or gentlemen may be, a discretion or authority to decide national issues of registration of political parties is I think distorting the whole political process. Surely the essence of any democracy is the capacity of a group of people with ideas and objectives to come together, without having to go through any kind of legal procedure, and to put forward ideas, to sponsor candidates for parliamentary elections and to get people to support them. If we in any way interfere with that natural democratic process I do not think we will be eliminating confusion; I think we will be creating it. If we do this I do not think we will be serving the interests of democracy; I think we will be hindering the interests of democracy.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– I think the Opposition is putting the cart before the horse, as the debate that has taken place applies in complete detail to clause 21, but I shall broadly outline under this clause the attitude of the Government to the Opposition’s amendments. They came to our notice only earlier today. I make no complaint about that. At first glance I would say their purpose is designed to destroy completely the purpose of the Bill. That does not mean to say that we may not accept some of them, but I am extremely doubtful whether we will. In this House we will vote against them all because we have not had time to consider them in detail, and particularly as previously honourable members opposite have voted against their own amendments without having bothered to discuss them.

I do not think I have ever heard a sillier argument than that advanced by the honourable member for Bennelong (Mr Howard). Forty countries, including some of the greatest democracies in the world, have found none of the drawbacks mentioned by the honourable member. Certainly the attitude that the people are not entitled to know the party to which a candidate belongs must be the most antiquated thinking of any member of this Parliament. Does he mean to tell me that people of all ages in districts in New South Wales can be/ expected to know the names of 73 Senate candidates and their affiliations? I bet that many university students could not work them out. All this legislation seeks to do is to give every Australian the right to know who the candidate is that he is voting for. If a person is absent from his electorate it is important that he know the names of the candidate. Sometimes they are not available. I see no reason why in any democracy a person should not know who his candidate is and the party to which he belongs.

Certainly we have to have some method of registering the parties. Forty other countries have not found any problem in this regard. We have not heard the honourable member for Bennelong complain about the Australian Capital Territory, where elections were recently held in a manner that we propose in this Bill. In those elections the Australian Labor Party won a minority of the seats. So there is no benefit to the Labor Party in this proposal. If the Opposition objects on the grounds it has stated why did we not hear honourable members opposite speak on electoral matters relating to the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory? Do they think that Great Britain, Canada, the United States of America and other countries have not had the problems they have raised? The Opposition is denying the people of this country the right to know the candidates they may vote for or against. It is increasing the informal vote and in that way negating the real democratic approach that there should be in this country whereby people know precisely for whom they are voting. The fact that a party may not be able to get people to man the booths does not mean that it is not a popular party.

The Country Party and, for that matter, any person in the huge electorates, will tell honourable members that in many inaccessible places how-to-vote cards are forwarded, probably by mail, to be left at the booths. This does not mean that one has to man every booth. There are other methods. The fact that booths are not manned does not mean unpopularity. Many candidates have won seats with no booths manned. Having a good look at the members of the Australian Country Party I think the less they are seen the better because they would get bigger majorities. But I make the point that I have never heard such antiquated thinking. We are told that there are young, progressive Liberals in Parliament today, but they are telling the Australian people that they are not entitled to have the name of the political party put alongside the name of their candidate on the ballot paper. In relation to the broad terms of the amendments the Government will be voting against them in this chamber. I do not say that they will not be considered. But time does not permit me to see the ramifications of them. I have made a broad observation in relation to this clause although perhaps it may better have been made in relation to clause 21.


-I thought I explained why this matter had to be raised at this stage. It was because this clause was considered first. After all, we are taking the clauses in numerical order. If the Government had indicated that it would accept our amendment to clause 2 1 there would have been no need to press the point in relation to this early clause. I make one or two brief observations about what has been said. Certainly some rather specious arguments have been put up against the 2, 1 think irrefutable, arguments of principle which have been put forward. Honourable members on the Government side have attempted to sidetrack by introducing some detail. Let me answer the detail. One can hardly expect the percentage of informal votes to be less than they were at the last election. I have in front of me a schedule relating to elections. The highest percentage of informal votes is 3.7 and the percentages range down to one point something. As one looks down the list one sees that 1 per cent and 2 per cent are the order of the day. The Government will not reduce the informal votes below that percentage. There is a remarkably good vote. Of course it is evidence of the high literacy and understanding of the political system which exist in this country.

Honourable members have talked about the number of countries using this system. I think I pointed out somewhat briefly that many countries have a very different system from ours. But if 40 countries are using the system there must be 110 countries which are not. That is obvious from the number of countries today. Reference was also made to the 73 candidates for the Senate in New South Wales and people not knowing to which parties they belonged. As a matter of fact, the result arising from that unique ballot paper showed that the public of New South Wales approached the election with a high degree of understanding. They knew very well that the vast majority of those candidates were independent. They treated them accordingly, they were not attracted to their policies or their views. They did not know them. Those candidates got a very small vote. In fact, the major parties got about the same percentage as one might have predicted from polls and other sources. So to try to say that anything misleading happened there is a fallacious argument. One could go on.

The comments of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) on this subject seemed to imply that he did not want to compel people to vote at all. We know that it is his policy and the policy of his Party to have compulsory voting. That really destroys the whole line of argument which he tried to build up in relation to this clause and clause 21 which we will consider later. The gag was applied after the Prime Minister had spoken. Surely that was silly when we had said how much we wanted to debate this matter. In this debate it is all very well to talk about other countries. We have been used to a system here. It has worked pretty well. The present Labor Government comes along and wants to make far-reaching proposals for change. It is of no use talking about little bits and pieces and the technicalities with which everyone agrees. It is of no use trying to divert the argument in that way. ‘We are concentrating on the main issues. We have a system operating in this country. It has been tried and tested. It has been developed in a way which is suitable to us. It is really almost entirely irrelevant to talk about what happens in other countries where systems and conditions are different. We see no reason to change this system. We see a great deal of fault in the proposal and that is why this clause is being opposed.


-It was not my intention to speak in this debate. I do so as a result of a number of statements which have been made by members of the Government. As the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) who is in charge of this wandered in his comments I believe, Mr Deputy Chairman, that perhaps you will extend to me the courtesy to do the same. The first point I raise relates to a statement which was continually repeated by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) a few minutes ago when he kept telling us that Australia had no Parliament for 3 months. I am not too sure what he means by this because that is a long way from the truth.

Mr Calder:

– That is standard practice.


– I suppose it could be standard practice for the Prime Minister to tend to exaggerate. I do not know. But it confuses me when I know that certain factual things take place and the Prime Minister says completely the opposite. I remind the Committee that last year we had an election on 18 May. I have before me a paper dated 9 July 1974 relating to the opening of the Twenty-ninth Parliament. Surely to goodness that is not 3 months later.

Mr Nicholls:

- Mr Deputy Chairman, I must raise a point of order. At present the Committee is dealing with paragraph (b) of clause 4. It has nothing to do with Mr Whitlam ‘s speech which has just been delivered. The honourable member for Wimmera -

Mr Calder:

– The honourable member is just trying to waste his time.

Mr Nicholls:

– I am not wasting time. If the honourable member for Wimmera likes to keep to the point of the clause which the Committee is debating he can have his full go. But if he gets on to the Prime Minister’s speech on the second reading debate I shall raise a point of order again.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock)-I uphold the point of order raised by the honourable member for Bonython in the sense that during the debate in the Committee stage no reference should be made to what was said during the debate on the second reading. On the other hand, I think that sometimes it is allowable for an honourable member to use, as an illustration of a point he is making in relation to the clause before the Committee, something which has been said previously. I suggest to the honourable member for Wimmera and to other honourable members that too much attention should not be given to speeches made during the second reading debate.


– Thank you, Mr Deputy Chairman. I respect your ruling on this count. However, I have dealt with what I really wanted to say. After all, we on this side did not have an opportunity to speak during the second reading debate. If you recall the Government Whip applied the gag before one member of the Australian Country Party had spoken.

Mr Daly:

– The honourable member would not speak last time. His Party had a free go and it knocked the debate off.


– That is not quite right either. If my memory serves me correctly I was one member who spoke on this very Bill.

Mr Calder:

– The Minister should get his facts right for a change.


– As the honourable member for the Northern Territory has reminded me, the Minister should get his facts right. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to say a few words on this clause and, at the same time, to raise the matter of the untruths put forward by the Prime Minister. Mr Deputy Chairman, you have ruled that I have to stick to clause 4. The Minister for Services and Property raised a matter which I believe relates to clause 21. He started talking about the distribution of how-to-vote cards on polling day. Mr Deputy Chairman, I am not sure whether you will allow me to speak on this subject at this stage. After all, the Minister did.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock)-I suggest to honourable members on both sides that if the Chairman, whoever he might be, wished to enforce Standing Orders correctly perhaps 90 per cent of the speeches should not be made. Whether nor not that would be an advantage is another point. But a certain amount of leniency is always given by the Chair in Committee discussions particularly in relation to a Bill such as this one where the subject matter of one clause flows into another. I hope that in the discussions honourable members will keep as far as possible and practicable to the particular clause under discussion and if they happen to refer to other clauses I hope they will not want to make the same speech later when those other clauses come before the Committee.


– Thank you for your ruling, Mr Deputy Chairman. I will accede to it and reserve my comments on the distribution of how-to-vote cards until such time as the Committee deals with clause 21. I felt that I should make that comment. I am quite happy to accept the remarks made by the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) and the honourable member for Bennelong (Mr Howard) in relation to clause 4. 1 support them and urge that the Minister consider accepting these amendments.

Question put:

That the paragraph proposed to be omitted (Mr Garland’s amendment) stand part of the clause.

The Committee divided. (The Deputy Chairman- Mr P. E. Lucock)

AYES: 61

NOES: 54

Majority……. 7



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 (Distribution Commissioners).


-Clause 6 amends section 16 of the Act to provide that the Governor-General, on the advice of the Government, may appoint a person licensed or registered as a surveyor under the law of a State as a Distribution Commissioner for the purposes of proposing boundaries. At the present time the Governor-General may appoint as a Distribution Commissioner only the Surveyor-General of the State or, if obtainable, an officer having similar qualifications. The clause also provides that the Minister may engage staff to assist the Distribution Commissioners and that they be paid remuneration and allowances as the Minister determines. The Opposition is opposed to this proposed change in the law. There is a great deal, we believe, to be said for keeping the Surveyor-General or his deputy because he is a person who comes from a State public service where there is a tradition of objectivity and some separateness. This arrangement alleviates any doubts that certainly exist on our side as to possible Labor Party fiddling.

The appointments to the Commonwealth Public Service of Mr Menadue and Dr Wilenski are cases in point in our minds of the appointment of highly partisan people to positions such as the position we are now discussing. The fact is that we have always been able to obtain State officers to assist. The boundaries that are now open to objection have been drawn by such people. So to say that it is not possible to get these people and that the scope ought to be made wider is a fatuous reason and does not convince us that change is desirable. There is one rather prominent surveyor in the Labor Party in Queensland who particularly comes to mind.

I do not believe that the staff engaged for the purpose of assisting the Distribution Commissioners should be controlled in any way by the Minister. We intended to suggest that they ought to be employed by the Commissioners themselves. But we have received some advice that there would be difficulties because the Commissioners are not a body corporate. So we are left with doing what has been done before, namely, drawing on the resources of the Public Service itself. They are the reasons the Opposition does not agree to this clause and believes that what is proposed would be a retrograde and perhaps partisan step.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– The honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) is a great one for innuendo and insinuation. He is almost charging the electoral officers of this country with corruption. I suppose of all the public servants no men stand higher in public esteem than those who count the votes, particularly the man who controls and appoints the State electoral officers.

The honourable member has stated certain things about redistribution. I would like him to see some of the files I have seen associated with redistributions carried out in regard to certain appointments by those opposite. In connection with surveyors in one particular case this would make extremely interesting reading because I doubt whether the man concerned had any qualifications at all. The honourable member has cast aspersions on Dr Wilenski and Mr Menadue. To start with, they are not surveyors so they could not be appointed under this proposal.

State surveyors came into the field of electoral distribution at the turn of the century when they were possibly the only persons with the organisation and the mapping facilities and all those things associated with the drawing of electoral boundaries. But since that time we have established our own surveying section- an Australian surveying section which does commendable work for all concerned. Surveyors were originally appointed from the States because the Commonwealth at that time was not in a position to carry out this work. The change proposed by this clause would make possible the appointment of surveyors who would no doubt have the highest qualifications.

To show how foolish the Opposition’s amendment is, one part of the clause which the Opposition seeks to take out is proposed subsection (4) which states:

The Minister may, on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit, engage such persons as he thinks necessary for the purposes of assisting the Distribution Commissioners in connection with the distribution of a State into Divisions.

In other words, the Opposition does not even want the Distribution Commissioners to have a typist, a secretary, a person to help write the reports, a person to meet people or people to assist them in their general work. One only has to go to the Remuneration Tribunal to see a dozen experts sitting around who have been provided quite rightly to assist the Tribunal to reach a decision.

So the Opposition thinks at this stage that the 3 Distribution Commissioners should sit down and type or, if they cannot type, write out a report without anyone to help them do so. The Opposition would completely wipe out the facilities that ought to be available to the Commissioners. Quite frankly, when I took over my portfolio I was amazed at the lack of attention given to the requirements of electoral officers, particularly Distribution Commissioners who were given no staff at all from what I can see outside of those ordinarily available to them to carry out their important task. The provision which is sought to be taken out of this legislation is one which does give us the right to engage suitable back-up staff for the important work on which the Commissioners are engaged.

I do not accept the insinuations of the honourable member. As I say, I know of one case from my studies of the files where the Opposition when in Government in contravention of the Act appointed a person who was not even a surveyor. I hope that honourable members opposite know when they make such statements that I read the files. So I would suggest to the honourable member not to keep insinuating about what Labor does in these matters. What the Government does is done strictly in accordance with the Act. The present redistribution occurred that way. This was also the case with the redistribution that took place in Western Australia. In fact one of the Distribution Commissioners in Western Australiaother than the Surveyor-General of that State- was appointed by a Liberal Government. Yet the honourable member insinuates that things are wrong. The Labor party did not even ask for a recount in the electorate of Stirling where there was a 12-vote majority because it has trust in the integrity of those who count the votes. These vile insinuations do the honourable member little credit. The fact that the honourable member now wants the Distribution Commissioners to redistribute all the boundaries around Australia without even a girl to type their reports shows that this is merely an obstructionist tactic designed to stop any reform of the electoral laws that is of benefit to the people of Australia.

I do not know of many surveyors outside those in the Public Service but I do not doubt that in this day and age surveyors are available in many categories who probably would be just as useful as those we have now. The availability of such people enlarges the scope for recruitment. On many occasions the State Surveyors-General are not available. One cannot get them all the time. I know that in the case of the Western Australian redistribution we found that the demands on the time of the Surveyor-General of that State were such that he was sent away to various places at times when deliberations were taking place because of the important work that was needed to be done in that State. The clause widens the scope. There is nothing sinister in it. I think it ought to be supported. But even if the Opposition does not support the clause, to deny those drawing the electoral boundaries even the assistance of a typist is to me just an exercise in futility.


-I think I ought to say that in the light of the attitude of the Minister to divisions and the time that will be taken up by them the Opposition will not be dividing on this clause and others that follow. As I mentioned in my speech, we have strong views on some of the clauses. We will not be calling for divisions because if we do the Government will promote a guillotine motion which will have the effect of restricting even the amendments that can be proposed.

The Minister has said that he will consider the amendment. He has also said that he will not adjourn the debate so that the amendments may be considered and perhaps some of them passed by this Committee. The Bill will go to the Senate where the amendments will be moved again. Because of the negotiations that will go on and the arrangements that will be made in the Senate the Bill will have to come back here again. That apparently commends itself to the Minister as a more sensible course, though I cannot follow it myself. But I want to put on the record that that is the reason and the only reason why divisions will not be called on this clause or on other clauses.

As to the remarks made by the Minister, I want to say that I had thought I was not casting innuendos but was being rather explicit for him. If he desires me to do so I will be more explicit either publicly or privately. But there was no question whatsoever of innuendo and insinuation in what I said.

Mr Daly:

– In other words you say that the Distribution Commissioners are crook.


– I did not say that at all. What I did say was that the Government was crook. I also made certain references to the Minister but I do not want to contravene the Standing Orders by enlarging on them. I gave certain examples which were related not to the Commissioners but to appointments to the Public Service. I thought it was clear enough, but I will spell it out in words of one syllable if necessary, that if one is allowed to do something in this area one will do it in another area when it comes to arranging boundaries. That is what I am saying and that surely is clear enough. This is the place in’ which to raise these matters.

The Minister said: ‘You know, if you criticise like this I will produce evidence’. Well, OK, do that. I have heard that said on many occasions by the Minister and other Ministers. The Minister can do that as far as I am concerned, but there is no point in his trying to relate this matter to other issues. There is also no point in his trying to say that I have said something by way of innuendo when I think I have been pretty clear in what I have said. I do not think what I was talking about escaped the Minister.

Mr Daly:

– You mentioned the Western Australian Commissioner.


– Although this is getting away from the clause under discussion, since I have been challenged on this matter I remind the Minister that I pointed out that the Western Australian -

Mr Daly:

– You said that he was a crook.


– I did not say that at all. The Minister has been saying it. He has said that about 6 times.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order! I think that this has gone far enough. I ask the honourable member for Curtin to address his remarks to the Chair and the Minister to contain himself also.


-Mr Deputy Chairman, I certainly take your advice and say that if what I said is read, the facts that I have given will be quite clear.

There is another small point in respect of this clause. I agree with the Minister when he says that it is important to have staff. Are we saying that no staff have been used by the Commissioners from any quarter? Obviously, they have had some staff.

Mr Daly:

– Very limited.


– It may have been very limited. I have said also that we would have liked to see it provided and that we would have tried to find some way of doing that. But we know that because of the way these things are conducted, there is no opportunity to discuss them between each other. The Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) gave us all sorts of reasons why the establishment of this select committee of the Parliament was turned down. It was supposed to look into these matters. To try to get a co-operative effort without that situation we are left having to oppose the clause because we do not believe that it is sound or that in these electoral matters conditions of employment of staff should be set by the Minister. That is what this clause states and that is why we are opposed to it.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– I feel that the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) defeats much of his own argument. He says that the adoption of this clause will allow all sorts of malpractices to occur. He did not use the word ‘malpractice’ but I believe that is what he was leading to. I feel that the clause provides for the appointment of people with special attainments and the qualifications of surveyors. Perhaps there will be other qualifications which are relevant to drawing up distributions. It would allow persons with such qualifications to be appointed to a committee in a State for the carrying out of distributions of electoral boundaries in that State. I feel that that would be an advantage. One of the things that has disturbed me about the electoral distributions that have been carried out is that very frequently insufficient consideration is given to matters such as community of interest. Someone who has surveying qualifications and who has by experience shown that he or she can bring special advantages to bear in the position could act in a much better capacity than someone who is appointed as a surveyor-general from a State or someone else who was mentioned in the present legislation as being qualified.

I think that the argument used by the honourable member for Curtin is spurious insofar as it refers to the Government of the day. If any person is appointed and it can be shown that the person is aligned with any political party that forms the government of the day, that government must bear the odium of such an appointment. But the practicalities of politics are such that in the practical sense I do not believe that such malpractice can in fact occur. I believe that this clause gives much more flexibility than is contained in the present Act. I urge the House to support it.


– I will not delay the consideration of the Committee for very long. I was interested in the comments of the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) when he spoke of the appointment of a person as a Distribution Commissioner who was not even a surveyor. I draw attention to clause 6 which states:

  1. by omitting from sub-section (1) the words ‘and, if his services are obtainable, one shall be the SurveyorGeneral of the State or an officer having similar qualifications’ . . .

If there is any logic to the Minister’s argument with regard to the officer having similar qualifications, I ask the Minister why the words ‘and, if his services are obtainable, one shall be the Surveyor-General’ are used. Surely the SurveyorGeneral should be the person who, having been appointed to a high position in the State, would be eminently qualified to act as a Distribution Commissioner. I wonder why this has been done. In this case the appointment that has been made goes right down to the State. There is no query about this man’s appointment to his position. He is recognised as being one of the appointees. To put it mildly, if we are to talk about people being omitted or being put in I would like to know why the Surveyor-General of a State should be specifically omitted when he has held that position for so long. I believe that it is necessary when we undertake a redistribution of electoral boundaries that there be the highest confidence of the public in the Distribution Commissioners. I am not being critical of them. But if one of these commissioners happens to be the Surveyor-General, if his services are available, this gives a degree of impartiality which it is not easy to obtain or to convince the public has been obtained. I believe that to omit these words from this clause is a retrograde step.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– Under this clause the Surveyor-General of a State is not excluded from being appointed. The clause states that a person to be appointed shall be a person who is licensed or registered as a surveyor under a law of a State or internal Territory. That would include the SurveyorGeneral as one who is eligible for appointment.

Mr Corbett:

– But he is not necessarily appointed as he is now.


– No. The reason behind that is that the surveyors-general are not always available. Sometimes States refuse to make them available. In the event of a surveyor-general not being available or a State not desiring that he be occupied in this way, this clause gives anyone concerned with the appointment the right to pick a qualified surveyor. Of course, we also lose sight of the fact that we have men of great integrity in the Commonwealth Surveyor-General’s Department. They have been associated with redistributions in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and other places. The SurveyorGeneral is not excluded under this clause.

He is still qualified to be there. But the clause broadens the scope and makes it possible to appoint surveyors, surveyors-general or anyone associated in this area. The very restrictive method of appointment existing at this stage can cause complications and delays. It takes time to find out whether surveyors-general are available, whether their States will release them, whether a deputy is available and all that kind of thing. This proposal would broaden the position and at the same time expedite the process. But the surveyorsgeneral are not being excluded under this Bill.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 12- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 13.

After section 41 of the Principal Act the following section is inserted:- ‘41a. ( 1 ) A person (other than a person who is, or is entitled to be, enrolled by virtue of section 4 1 ) who-

  1. is qualified for enrolment;
  2. is in the service of Australia, a State or a public authority;
  3. has left, and is living outside, Australia for the purpose of performing duties in that service; and
  4. has affixed intention of returning to Australia and of living within a Subdivision, or the spouse of such a person who is living with that person, is entitled to have his or her name placed on or transferred to, as the case requires, the Roll for that Subdivision in respect of the address outside Australia at which he or she is living. ‘(2) A person referred to in sub-section ( 1 ) may apply for enrolment or transfer of enrolment, as the case requires, by filling in and signing a claim in the prescribed form, in accordance with the directions printed on the form, and sending the claim to the Registrar for the Subdivision in respect of which he or she is entitled to be enrolled by virtue of this secion. ‘(3) Subject to sub-section (4), a person who-
  5. is enrolled for a Subdivision by virtue of this section; and
  6. b ) changes his or her place of living from the address in respect of which he or she is enrolled to another address (whether outside Australia or not), shall, within 1 month after the date on which he or she commences to live at that other address, notify the Registrar for that Subdivision, in writing, of that other address.

Penalty: $10. ‘(4) Where a person who is enrolled for a Subdivision by virtue of this section commences to live at an address in that Subdivision within a period of 1 month after returning to Australia, sub-section (3) does not require him or her to notify the Registrar for the Subdivision of any other address in Australia at which he or she lived during that period. ‘(5) Where the Registrar for a Subdivision alters the address of a person who is enrolled for the Subdivision by virtue of this section to an address in the Subdivision, the person shall, for the purposes of this Act, cease to be treated as an elector enrolled by virtue of this section. ‘(6) Where a person who is enrolled by virtue of this section by reason only of being the spouse of a person changes his or her place of living to an address other than the place of living of his or her spouse, the first-mentioned person shall, on the expiration of the period of 1 month thereafter, unless during that period, he or she has resumed living with his or her spouse, cease to be entitled to have his or her name retained on any Roll by virtue of being the spouse of that person. ‘(11) The reference in paragraph (b) of sub-section ( 1 ) to a public authority is a reference to any public authority constituted by or under any law of Australia or of a State or internal Territory and, for the purposes of that paragraph, a person who constitutes, or is a member, officer or employee of, such an authority shall be deemed to be in the service of that authority.


– I move:

Omit paragraphs (b), (c) and (d), substitute the following word and paragraph: ‘and (b) has left, and is living outside, Australia, but has a fixed intention of returning to Australia and of living within a Subdivision. ‘.

This amendment provides for a new sub-clause to enable a person who is posted overseas in the service of Australia, a State or public authority to enroll in respect of his overseas address. The principal effect of the provision is that such a person, where not otherwise entitled to have his name retained on the roll, will be entitled to enrolment on the roll for the subdivision to which he has a fixed intention of returning but in respect of his overseas address. Provision has been made also to cover the enrolment of the spouses of the persons entitled to enrolment by virtue of this clause. The Opposition believes that while that in itself is desirable, the clause ought to be amended so that it applies to any person who has left Australia with the intention of returning and not just to a person who is a public servant. The provisions set out in sub-clause (b), (c) and (d) makes the clause restrictive to that extent. I will read out the sub-clauses. It states that a person: “

  1. is qualified for enrolment;

That is all right. But it goes on to say:

  1. is in the service of Australia, a State or a public authority;
  2. has left, and is living outside, Australia for the purpose of performing duties in that service; and
  3. has a fixed intention of returning to Australia and of living within a Subdivision.

Why should this be confined to such people? Surely if a man is posted overseas- let us say to the Bank of New South Wales in London for a 2-year period- he knows he will come back. Everybody knows he will come back. Why should he not have enrolment as well. There is a second limb to this clause but I suggest with your permission, Mr Deputy Chairman, that this matter be dealt with first and the other matter which involves a number of consequential amendments be dealt with later.

Amendment negatived.


-by leave-The Opposition objects to another part of this clause. I move:

In proposed section 41 a. (1), omit ‘or the spouse of such a person who is living with that person, ‘.

In proposed section 4 1 a ( 1 ), omit ‘or her ‘.

In proposed section 4 1 a ( 1 ), omit ‘or she ‘.

In proposed section 41a (2), omit ‘or she’.

In proposed section 4 1 a ( 3 ), omit ‘ or he ‘.

In proposed section 4 1 a ( 3 ) omit ‘ or she ‘.

In proposed section 4 1 a (3 ), omit ‘or she ‘.

In proposed section 41 a (4), omit ‘or her’.

In proposed section 41 a (4), omit ‘or she’.

Omit sub-section (6) of proposed section 4 1 a.

Omit sub-section ( 1 1 ) of proposed section 41a.

The amendments refer to the matter to which I was just speaking. They provide that a spouse of such a person who is overseas on behalf of the Commonwealth be similarly enrolled. Under the Opposition’s amendment, if the enrolment were extended to all persons overseas who had a fixed intention of returning to Australia of course a spouse would be covered. Indeed to single out the spouse in this way surely must be offensive to those who are taking an interest in such matters as International Women’s Year and in the rights of women and their position in the Australian community. It singles women out and gives them a right to vote simply because they are with their husbands or wives as the case may be. No doubt ‘spouse’ would apply mainly to women and in very few cases to men. We think that if this clause were widened as it ought to be widened to include Australian overseas who intend to come back the spouse- in most cases the wife- would appear on the roll in her own right which is surely as it should be.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 14 to 16- by leave- taken together and agreed to.

Clause 17 (Names on Roll may be objected to).


-This clause amends section 52 of .the Act to provide that when a person objects to a name on an electoral roll he shall lodge a deposit of $2 rather than the 50c provided for in the existing law. Lodgment of objection to a name on the roll surely should be as cheap as possible as part of our system of rolls, remembering that enrolment is compulsory and the accurate compilation of those rolls is an enormous task carried out by the Electoral Office. We do not think that cost should be a debarring factor in making the roll more accurate. Therefore, to increase the deposit for each person from 50c to $2 is unreasonable. If anyone wishes to raise an objection there should hardly be any expense involved. Perhaps it is a minor detail but it is really an important detail of the system that we are keeping. There seems no adequate reason for raising the amount. The notion that one should review amounts of money because of inflation surely has to be tempered with what the amount involved is to do. We believe it is quite wrong to put that extra imposition on people. Therefore we propose that the clause be deleted.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)-The question is that the clause be agreed to.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Clauses 18 to 20- by leave- taken together and agreed to.

Clause 21.


-The substance of this clause was debated a little earlier when the Committee was considering clause 4. Although I raised the major items of principle then I want on this most important clause to allude to the matter in a little more detail because of its importance. The clause occupies 6 pages of the printed Bill. It provides for the registration of parties and the insertion on ballot papers of the names of parties against candidates’ names. It is an enormous tangle. Of course the actual Bill, rather than the comments that have been made so far in the debate, only indicates the complexity of the clause and all the difficulties one would run into. The explanatory memorandum is, I think, longer on this matter than on any of the others. A new section 58A ( 1 ) is proposed. It provides a definition of a political party leader- a definition if you please- definitions of a party, a register, a registered name, a registered office and a registered party. Another proposed new sub-section provides that if the Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that two or more parties that are associated with one another and have a common leader and a desire to be treated as a party he may treat those parties as one party.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– That is a point. -


-Did you say: ‘That is a point’?

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– You have changed your leaders.


– I am glad the honourable member raised that, because the question of who makes that decision and the question of coalition parties and other parties within the community is one which immediately comes to mind. As I have already indicated, a determination can be made on the matter without the parties themselves having any right of redress at all. I tell honourable members that the parties are concerned about the implications of the provision, assurances of the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) notwithstanding.

Under this legislation a party has to qualify in respect of an election. Under another proposed new sub-section the Chief Electoral Officer shall cause the name of the registered party to be printed on the ballot paper. Another provision concerns the conditions for a political party to qualify- imagine, actually to have qualifications. - before it can be allowed to be put forward to the public as a party. It must fulfil certain qualifications for the purpose of having the name of that party printed on the ballot paper.

Mr Riordan:

– There are qualifications for candidates, are there?


– I think the honourable member for Phillip asked if there were not qualifications for candidates, if I heard him correctly. Of course there are, and what wide qualifications they are, since they bring into their ambit about 99.9 per cent of the population of the country. But here we have got qualifications that are by no means clear. They are not set out in the Constitution with any clarity and what we have is a determination of those qualifications by a Commonwealth official. Clause 58d (1.) states in part: . . . a party qualifies in respect of an election only if-

  1. in the case of an election of a Member of the House of Representatives … the number of candidates endorsed by the party . . . is not less than onequarter of the whole number of Divisions in that State;
  2. in the case of an election of Senators … the number of candidates endorsed by the party . . . is not less than one-quarter of the whole number of Senators to be elected for that State;
  3. in the case of a by-election of a Member of the House of Representatives … the party qualified under paragraph (a) . . . at the last preceding general election . . . ;
  4. in the case of an election of a Senator … to fill a casual vacancy or casual vacancies only … the party qualified under paragraph (b) in respect of the last preceding election of Senators ….

Clause 58g( Instates:

The leader of a party may . . . lodge with the Chief Australian Electoral Officer an application for the registration of a name in respect of the party.

Sub-clause (2) provides that the application shall set out the name of the Party, the name and address of the leader of the Party and the address of the office of the Party. So we have a great structure of registration and regulation being proposed by the Government in which an attempt is made to anticipate all sorts of conditions. There is reference in the Bill to what happens where parties amalgamate. Another subclause provides that a mere alteration in the name of the Party does not affect its identity; another that there shall be a register of the names of political parties. How this Government does love registers.

I have said enough about what is proposed by the Government in the Bill to show that a very complex set of provisions is provided. Government members may think that is funny but I do not. A very complex set of provisions is being proposed for the Parliament to agree to. It is the belief of the Opposition that these provisions are cumbersome and will lead to that legal quagmire to which I referred earlier in the second reading debate. I pointed out at that time the confusion that can take place, the encouragement that there will be to minor parties to use these provisions to mislead people into believing that their party is associated with another party. I pointed out that the formalising of the existing party structure gives advantage to existing parties and makes it very difficult for new ones because it is completely against the representative parliamentary democracy that has been developed in this country. That is an important point and, if I might say so, it was put very eloquently at this despatch box not very long ago by the honourable member for Bennelong (Mr Howard). It is no use saying, as the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) said earlier: ‘We have got to take cognisance of the existing position and the realities of political life ‘. There have been exceptions in our Parliament to what he is calling the reality, and they have been important exceptions. There have been people who have left parties- his and mine- and they have done it over important issues. So that formalising parties and formalising the position of members here and aligning them entirely with parties from a legal point of view is a step that we should not take. What is being proposed here goes in that direction to some extent, to an important extent, and it is something that the Opposition thinks ought to be resisted.

I emphasise those 2 main grounds for objectionthe individual nature of the position of members of Parliament in this Parliament and the legal difficulties and confusion that will arise with party names, with the tremendously cumbersome provisions that cover 6 pages of material which, when one reads it carefully, raises a lot of questions in people’s minds and therefore does not give the certainty that is necessary. I said earlier that it opens a can of worms. Those are substantial reasons for the Opposition ‘s objection to these provisions. To provide that New South Wales must have 12 seats in a House of Representatives election contested by a party before it can have its name on the ballot paper only goes to point up the difficulties that can arise and the unfairness of these provisions to small Parties. I understand that one such small party that does not happen to have a representative in the Parliament has protested- I think rather logically protested- against this proposal. It has also been argued that registration will establish the bona fides of political parties and will prevent a group of persons from adopting a name similar to that of an existing party. It does not do anything of the kind. It only opens up the opportunity for that and leaves the judgment on it to an officer of the Commonwealth.


-There is probably no other clause in this Bill that so starkly illustrates the gap between the Opposition and the Government on electoral reform as this clause. It comes down broadly to these terms. The Government seeks to have electoral reform whereby citizens of Australia in casting their votes will be able to do so with knowledge, with understanding, being able to identify clearly the persons who are offering themselves for election. This particular clause of the Bill is an integral part of that total program of the Government, and it is significant that the Opposition parties in this Parliament, the Liberal and Country Parties, have consistently opposed these proposals, no matter whether they be the disclosure of electoral funds, the method by which electorates are to be distributed within Australia or, as in this particular case, the mere identification of candidates. What possible opposition can there be in logical terms to advising electors of the political affiliations of candidates for whom they are voting? Why is it that the Opposition is so vigorously opposed to a clause which does no more than that? It is all very well to try to draw red herrings across the trail, but the simple reality is that the Opposition thrives on ignorance because when the population is well informed and is able to identify the parties on whose behalf particular candidates are nominated then the Opposition fears the result, and I believe it stands exposed. Opposition members can raise all sorts of side issues if they wish. This particular clause is as clear as it is possible to make it, and I congratulate the Minister on again bringing the proposal before this Parliament. If it is rejected in another place on this occasion, I hope the Minister will bring it forward again because there will be a time when this Parliament will see the overwhelming logic and wisdom involved in this proposition.

The simple proposal is that parties should be registered for the purpose of safeguarding the integrity of the name of the party and to prevent abuse, distortion and deception. That is what it is all about. The proposal does not prohibit in any way a genuine party from being registered; in no way does it prevent a legitimate party and a candidate on its behalf from being identified on the ballot paper. The restrictions are no more than are necessary to protect the integrity of the name chosen by any political party. It would be grossly unfair to allow a new party to assume the name of a party already in existence. In other words, this clause does no more than guarantee to a political party that it shall have the same rights to its name as a partnership, a trust, a firm or a company once it registers its name under appropriate legislation. What does the Opposition say about that? What does it say about the registration of business names? Does it oppose that? Of course it does not oppose it, but it opposes this provision for the simple reason that it does not want the Australian people to know who the Liberals are.

Mr Daly:

– I do not blame them either.


– I agree with the Minister. We cannot blame them but we ought to expose them, because that is what the Opposition is all about.

Mr Hewson:

– I will show you.


– My friend opposite interjects because he does not want anyone to know, if it is possible to avoid it, that he is in the Country Party.

Mr Hewson:

– I will show you.


– If the honourable member becomes well enough known he will find that he is known too well. I do not blame him for wanting to keep the name of his Party away from association with his name. On a personal basis, the honourable member may get a few votes. If the electors know that he represents the Country Party, he will be struggling. That, I believe, is the basis of this opposition. The Opposition believes that people should be kept in the dark; they should not be told all of the facts.

I believe that the Committee ought to adopt this clause. I sincerely and seriously suggest to the Opposition that it ought to re-think its attitude. To coin an expression which is well known, it ought to think again about this proposal. Really, in all seriousness, this is a legitimate and proper proposal. How often have those of us who stand outside polling booths on election day seen the confusion that some people have? How often have all honourable members, as I certainly have, felt the confusion of persons who are voting by post, who wish to vote absentee, and do not know for which Party a particular candidate is standing. Surely honourable members opposite either ought to be reasonable about the matter or ought to stand up, be counted, and expose their attitudes for what they really are. The attitude of the Opposition to this proposal is an attitude designed to achieve the deception of the electorate. If Opposition members oppose this clause again, they may rest assured that their attitude will be explained to the electorate. They can do their best in respect of that matter, but they have a responsibility in this Parliament and they must accept that responsibility if this clause is blocked. I believe that the proposition should be carried. I hope that the Opposition will not continue its obstruction of what is a most desirable reform.


-The clause that is being considered by the Committee at the moment, clause 2 1, is one of the major clauses of this legislation. It is a clause which, to my way of thinking, is one which, on the surface, is not objectionable. But it becomes objectionable when it is studied in depth. It will be most difficult to disagree with the concept that people should know what parties candidates who are standing for election to Parliament represent. In the Bill, six or seven pages are taken to express the provisions of this clause. The burdens placed on the democratic system by this clause, I think, are completely unwarranted. There is a fundamental right- an inalienable right, I believe -for individuals in a community to be able to offer themselves for election to a Parliament. No barriers should be put in the way of people offering themselves for election or being associated with political parties.

What concerns me is that people who are sincere in their intention to offer themselves to the electorate should be given that opportunity. People who are not sincere should have some restrictions placed upon them. A nomination fee does tend to discourage those whose candidature would be frivolous. I think that we have arrived at a situation in which at best the majority of those who do offer themselves for election are serious in their intentions. This clause will require a political party to field 12 candidates for the House of Representatives in New South Wales, 9 in Victoria, 5 in Queensland, 3 in South Australia, 3 in Western Australia and 2 in Tasmania to meet its provisions. This clause, I think, places a most severe burden on emerging parties. We must accept that there can be no restriction on the rights of people to group together, to form parties and, having formed parties, to offer candidates for election by the Australian people. If this Parliament legislates to make it more difficult for people to form together and to rally people to the same view, that will be a retrograde step. A basic freedom amongst Australians must be the ability for alternatives to be offered to the Australian people at elections. This is a fundamental right that must be protected.

The proposal concerning the registration of political parties follows on from the provision that party affiliations are to appear on ballot papers. This is typical and representative of the attitude that this Government takes towards regimenting and registering just about everything which could come vaguely within its ambit under the Constitution. In my mind, there is an argument for saying that the voter should be informed and there certainly is an argument for saying that, at a polling booth, a list of candidates and their parties should be displayed, perhaps on the ballot paper.

Mr Riordan:

– Why not?


– I am saying that I think there is an argument. What I am putting to the honourable member and the Committee is that in this legislation the manner of bringing about that situation is not acceptable to me. If the Government can propose a system by which, without going into registration and regimentation and without requiring six or seven pages of a Bill to set out the sub-clauses necessary, it can bring about a system under which voters may know what parties are represented in elections, it might be worthy of support. But the Government does not seem to be able to do that. The form in which this proposal is put forward is completely unacceptable. The registration question is one which has to be simplified if it is to be workable. There are a number of problems involved in this respect. I turn to proposed new section 58M which provides:

A Party shall not have more than one registered name at any one time.

Mr Keith Johnson:

– That puts your mob out of court.


-That is exactly the point. This is something which is occurring in the Australian Country Party at the moment. There is no reason to say that something similar will not occur in any other party at any time. Name changes resulted in the present party names of the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party. Political parties have a history over a period of changing their names. In the process of that name change, obviously there will be periods when duplications and things of that nature will occur. Although the principle behind proposed new section 58m is obviously a good one, there will be times when it will be really difficult for some groups to conform with that provision.

Returning to the question of registration, I shudder to think of the complications which will arise from this legislation. What we must do is encourage democracy in Australia and to encourage the development of democracy in Australia. That is what is important. There is no logical end to what the Government proposes. For instance, the honourable member for Phillip may say: ‘Okay, I want to put beside the name “Riordan” the party name ALP.’ I ask the honourable member: Why should he not put beside ‘Riordan- ALP’ the further qualifications ‘age 48’ -

Mr Riordan:

– Because it would be wrong.


-Or ‘religion- Anglican ‘-that would be wrong too, I suppose- and add ‘failed the Leaving Certificate, union representative’ and a series of other matters which the electorate is just as entitled to know in formulating a view as to how it will vote. The fact is that that information is available to the electorate in the newspapers and through how-to-vote cards. To my way of thinking, the only people who are not informed when they vote are those who do not want to be informed. What the Labor Party is trying to do is to educate its own electors who probably do not understand, cannot read, and things of that nature.

Mr Riordan:

– That is an insulting remark.


– It is not. I was making the point that there is no logical end to the proposition that the elector should be informed about what party a candidate belongs to. There are a large number of details about a candidate which should equally be made known to the electorate, apart from just the party to which the candidate belongs. The fact is that party groupings are conventional; they are not binding. When a man is elected by the electorate and he comes to this place, he sits with a party. He is not bound to stay with that party. He may choose to -

Mr Young:

– He will be if he wants to stay here.


– The honourable member for Port Adelaide has a consistent habit of stating what may be the obvious. But without wishing to drag down the tone of this debate, the fact is that that is the right of an elected member of this House. It is a democratic right and a constitutional right. It is a right that should not be interfered with. If I as a private member of Parliament am to be forced to make an association with a party which is binding and which will be represented on the ballot papers, and things of this nature, I think that this is something which should be taken very seriously and be looked at a lot more seriously than it has been. The basic point behind the argument I am putting is that it is democracy which is important in this instance. To my mind clause 21 seeks to tighten democracy, to restrict democracy and to develop a situation under the electoral laws of this country in which it will be more difficult for other than the established parties to contest electorates and it will be difficult to do anything to alter the political status quo in this country.

Mr Keith Johnson:

– After that exercise which was like an Alice in Wonderland exercise, I should like to ask one question: ‘Will the real Country Party please stand up?’ We are debating clause 21 of the Bill. Those who have spoken from the Opposition side against it seemed to speak with a great deal of naivety. They seem to be unaware of what is happening in the community generally. They do not seem to know as much about their pet subject as the community who voted for them. The honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) on one occasion or more during this debate has said that matters will be determined by public servants- the decisions will be made by a public servant. He made this point again when he talked about clause 2 1 , and asked who would decide. I rather thought the left side of his lip curled a bit when he said: ‘It will be decided by a public servant’. But the honourable gentleman did not say anything about what the alternative to that would be. It will be determined either by a public servant or somebody who is involved in the election- a member, a Minister, a Prime Minister or a leader of a party. Who could be more impartial than a public servant? Does the honourable member know that the Chief Returning Officer for Australia is a public servant? Is he not happy that a man as impartial as that gentleman presides over his elections? There is no -

An honourable member- They used to be.

Mr Keith Johnson:

-What was that snide comment? Who said that? Nobody has the courage to admit to having said it. The honourable gentleman ought to be a bit more wary in his language when he talks about public servants because in that area, impartiality is the key-note. Irrespective of that snide interjection by that person who masquerades over there as an honourable gentleman and will not own up to having made it, the people who conduct the elections in this country are honest and impartial. The honourable member for Hume (Mr Lusher) talks about there being some attempt by the Labor Party to deny individuals the right to stand for an election because of the registration of parties. That does not deny any individual the right to stand. I wonder why we talk about the registration of parties. How does one define a party? That is what the Bill sets out to do. Why do people want to call themselves a party? Clearly in the electorate there must be an advantage to being a party. It seems to me that if this is a fact, there is nothing wrong in asking people to have a qualification to be a party. Seven fellows are not allowed to go on to a cricket ground and call themselves a cricket team. It is insisted that there be 11 people. Fourteen men are not allowed to go on to a football ground and call themselves a football team. It is made sure that there are eighteen of them.

Mr Lusher:

– Or fifteen of them.

Mr KEITH JOHNSON I do not know about other sports, but I am speaking of football. In all of those areas where there is some sort of a qualification, it must be clearly defined. What is wrong with making the definition of a political party ‘one which will contest a quarter of the seats in a State’. There is nothing difficult about that; there is nothing strange or curious about it. It is no different from a cricket team or a football team in that respect. It is simply a method of defining what constitutes a party. If there is an advantage to be gained in the electorate by calling oneselves a party, then why should people not be prepared to contest the required number of seats and call themselves a party? What is strange about that? There always seems to be something sinister in these things when honourable members opposite speak. They only ever speak by innuendo; they never put forward anything positive that can be answered. The question of the registration of party names is important. It goes even further than that. I instance 2 cases in Victoria- Maribyrnong in one case and Casey in the other. The ALP candidate in Maribyrnong was named O’Brien.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

-J. O’Brien.

Mr Keith Johnson:

-J. O’Brien as my comrade from Diamond Valley reminds me.

Mr Lusher:

– Comrade?

Mr Keith Johnson:

-It is an expression that is used in the Salvation Army and the Returned Servicemen’s League. There is nothing wrong with it. Another J. O ‘Brien was nominated alongside him. On the ballot paper there were two J. O’Briens and nothing to distinguish either of them. When the honourable member for Casey (Mr Mathews) stood for election another R. Mathews appeared on the ballot paper. Apparently the people involved had not gone into the situation far enough and they got the initials wrong. These were deliberate attempts to run candidates with exactly the same names as those of the Labor Party candidates. One does not have to put on the ballot paper the size of a man’s shoes, his religion or what size collar he has. We are talking only of party political affiliations. But in the case of Maribyrnong if ‘J. O’Brien ALP’ were printed on the ballot paper, surely this would make the elector more enlightened. I do not hold my electors in contempt as the honourable member for Hume does. He pretends that they know nothing about what is going on. The electors in my electorate, because they vote for me, are extraordinarily intelligent. At the same time there are occasions when they are denied information and there is an embarrassment on the part of the returning officer, who is a public servant and an impartial person, when an elector comes to make a vote because he or she is going away. They are entitled to make a vote in the returning office. If they say to the returning officer ‘Who is the Australian Labor Party candidate?’ or ‘Who is the Liberal Party candidate?’ or ‘Who is the Democratic Labor Party candidate?’, of course he is in no way in a position to guide them, nor can he have any literature in the returning office to help them. That person has to take a punt on how he casts his vote. I think electors are entitled to something better than that.

The honourable member for Hume talks about the retention of democracy in our community. That sort of thing is so naive and so calculated to try to make a poor argument sound good, that it just does not go over. The retention of democracy in our community means that the most information that can possibly be conveyed to people on election day should be conveyed to them. The Bill- it will retain democracy more than anything else- sets out to do just that. The one piece of paper that the person must touch on election day should have on it as much information as is necessary to enable the electors to cast a vote. To pretend that the party system does not work in Australia and in Britain, which is a comparable country with a comparable parliamentary system, is to deny any reason. Without the party system this Parliament would not function. I invite honourable members opposite to sit down and think about that one. The community knows that. We are a pan of the community and we have organised ourselves into parties because we know that. How many times since Federation have Independents sat in this chamber? We know that the system does not work in that way.

The whole purpose of the exercise is to make sure that the respected and revered names of the present parties are not stolen and there is no attempt to steal them. As my friend the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Riordan) pointed out, honourable members opposite raised no objection when a provision was written into the companies legislation that no company is allowed to use a name that is very close to that of a competitor. They have raised no objection to that, but they do not want the names of political parties to be registered. What are honourable members opposite trying to hide? There is no reason why, as I have said, this information should not be placed on the one piece of paper that an elector will handle, that is, his ballot paper. Why should it not show the party affiliation of the candidates for whom he has to vote? An elector has every right to have that information made available to him or her. That is the best way of doing it. Of course, it will not be just a simple question of printing on the side of the ballot paper the party affiliations. Of necessity there will need to be some degree of regulation to make sure that even that practice is not prostituted or used to achieve bad ends. That is not the purpose of this clause. I support it. I could not conceive of any sound argument against it.


– I want to say only a few words in relation to clause 21, which concerns the identification of a candidate’s party affiliations on ballot papers. I take it that the members of the socialist party who sit opposite intend to have put down on the ballot paper just the initials of the party. After all one could imagine what would happen to a ballot paper if there had to be spelt out on it ‘The Australian Socialist Party’, or something like that, ‘The Liberal Party of Australia’ and so on. So we will have a situation in which a very cunning and snide group of people led by someone like the Leader of the House (Mr Daly) will be dreaming up all sorts of fantastic ideas for cooking ballots.

After all, the Leader of the House has claimed that that is his greatest forte. We will see all sorts of parties emerging, such as the Long Party, the Liberation Party, and the Leftist Party whose initials all will be LP. We will see the situation arising in which, after a number of names, there will be the initials LP and then there will be a name that is followed by the initials ASP for the Australian Socialist Party- or should the party of honourable members’ opposite be correctly described as the Australian Labor Party? I am not sure. We will find that this is one of the many guises that will be put forward by the cunning bunch of honorable gentlemen who sit opposite- on the Government benches- to cook the ballot again to suit their own ends. If this provision goes through one can back it right in that at the next election there will be a host of parties whose initials are CP and LP but who in fact will be giving their preferences to the Australian Labor Party. I oppose this provision because the real meaning behind it is the Australian Labor Party’s designs. It is another way of cooking the books to ensure that the socialists retain control of this country. The Opposition will oppose it vehemently.

Port Adelaide

– Honourable members opposite have been talking about something that is hypothetical and about something that has never happened in Australia. It is something that the Australian Labor Party has never encouraged. The most obvious exercise that has ever been undertaken to ensure that many candidates contest a ballot in order to bemuddle the people was undertaken, of course, during the Senate selection that was conducted together with the House of Representatives election following the double dissolution in 1974 in relation to which a political research team discovered that the Australian Labor Party would lose 80 per cent of the additional informal votes for every candidate above the number of 40 who ran at that election. A number of independents ran, taking the total number of Senate candidates to 73. We saw the disgusting spectacle of a 12.3 per cent informal vote being cast in New South Wales. More than 12 per cent of the people of New South Wales have no say in the Senate. The people of Australia wanted to see reflected in the Senate election what happened in the House of Representatives election, that is a Labor majority. The Australian Labor Party has never encouraged the running of a number of candidates because it always acts detrimentally to it.

I turn to the objections which have been expressed to the registration of political parties.

One could go on for ever saying that we ought to recognise the reality of the situation. The honourable member for Bennelong (Mr Howard) has said: ‘All you are going to do is to make the incumbents even safer’. The reality of the situation in Australia is that there is basically a battle between the conservative reactionary forces, represented by the Liberal and Country Parties, and the forces of the Labor Party and the Labor movement. There has never been any other political struggle in this country in spite of the emergence of some smaller political forces. No election, apart from those at the height of the Australian Democratic Labor Party’s popularity when it split away from the Labor Party, has been determined by those events. So we ought to look at what happens to political parties in the future. The honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Bourchier) said that it will mean new parties will be running candidates for certain seats at the next election in order to obtain the right to distribute preferences. Under this legislation they will have to held a certain number of candidates before they can register and they will have to pay deposits.

It has been said that some people will not want to be associated with a political party. Those of us who sit on this side of the House, who are endorsed by the political machine we representthe Australian Labor Party- and who are put here by the hundreds of people who go out and man the polling booths and who raise money for the pamphlets that are put out and the advertisements, want to be identified with the political party that we represent and want that identification to go right into the polling booth and on to the ballot paper. We want the name ‘Australian Labor Party’ to appear alongside the names of those who represent us.

Honourable members opposite should not try to push under the carpet something of which the honourable members who sit on this side of the House said honourable members should be ashamed, that is, the informal vote. I wish to point out that the informal vote is something that affects us more than it affects the conservative parties. When the exercise was conducted in 1974 of running a large number of candidates it was done with only one purpose in mind, that is, to see that the Labor Party did not get control of the Senate. Those who ran it knew very well that the Labor Party was going to be returned in the House of Representatives; so they ran many candidates for the Senate to try to defeat that very purpose. The people running in teams for the Senate can be identified more readily by the teams and not by their individual names. Those of us who sit on this side of the chamber are keen to see that happen. We are very keen to see the registration of political parties in this country. We are very keen to see these laws brought up to date with what in effect takes place in Australia, what is recognised by the Australian public.

Honourable members opposite ought to look closely at the provisions of this Bill. They should not be frightened because this clause is 6 pages in length. I know that the honourable member for Hume (Mr Lusher) said that he had had a look at it in depth, but he probably had a look only at the numbers on the pages. If honourable members opposite look at what it provides for they may see that it fits in with a recognition of even the Australian Country Party. This is an extremely important matter to the country and to the conduct of this Parliament. We owe it to our political parties and to our political supporters to have our names taken with us right into the polling booths. I support the measure, particularly the clause, very enthusiastically.


-Clause 21, which is before the Committee at the moment, is a very long and complicated clause. I support in general terms the arguments that have been put forward from this side of the chamber. What I would like to say something about in particular in the few minutes that I have at my disposal before the suspension of the sitting is the method of handing out how-to-vote cards. I saw a British documentary film a number of years ago which explained and depicted clearly the effectiveness of the system used in that country. In brief- it is probably known to most members of this chamber- it involves the placing of a howtovote card for each party and each candidate in each cubicle of a polling booth. I see several advantages in that as opposed to the current system of having each party’s representatives handing out how-to-vote cards en masse outside polling booths all day on polling day. Briefly the arguments that have been put against the proposal to have these how-to-vote cards put in the cubicles is that in Britain the vote is not compulsory whereas in Australia it is compulsory. That to me is not a valid argument. The argument that I have heard mostly- perhaps it is a valid one because all the party organisations seem to be in agreement on it- is that the present system is good for the morale of each party. They argue that it is more effective from a party’s point of view and its candidate’s point of view to have personnel belonging to that party standing outside the polling booth handing out the party’s own how-to-vote cards depicting precisely how that party wishes the people supporting it to vote for its candidates. The arguments against the current system I think are mainly on the grounds of economy. It costs each of the political parties a tremendous amount of money- an awful waste of expenditure- printing large numbers of howtovote cards. Every one of us who has been closely associated with elections over the years knows very well that there is always a tremendous lot of how-to-vote cards left over at the end of the day and these are simply thrown away.

The adoption of the system which I am recommendingI believe I was the first member of this chamber to put this recommendation forward some years ago- would not only have the advantage of saving money but would also avoid a lot of clutter of personnel and paper outside polling booths. Electors should be entitled to enter the polling booths without let or hindrance. Many times I have seen people held up because of being crowded around by supporters of all parties trying to thrust how-to-vote cards into their hands as they enter the booths. Finally I see great advantage from the point of view of party members and supporters themselves who stand for hour after hour on polling days handing out how-to-vote cards, many times in the hot sun and sometimes in the rain. It is always a very tiring exercise.


– I rise to make a very brief comment on clause 21. Proposed new section 58d ( 1) (a) states: … in the case of an election of a Member of the House of Representatives for a Division in a State to be held at a general election of Members of that House- the number of candidates endorsed by the party in respect of elections for the Divisions in the State (including the first-mentioned election) is not less than one-quarter of the whole number of Divisions in that State;

The honourable member for Hume (Mr Lusher) a few minutes ago quoted the virtual quotas of candidates that each party would have to have to be recognised as an official party to have its name, in accordance with this Bill, printed on ballot papers. The quotas he mentioned were New South Wales 12, Victoria 9, Queensland 5, South Australia 3, Western Australia 3 and Tasmania 2. This is virtually forcing groups of people to nominate for House of Representatives seats. This is completely contrary to the argument that the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly), the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) and Government supporters have been putting in support of provisions trying to cut down the numbers of candidates for the Senate. In the same Bill, under this provision it will be encouraging people to nominate for the House of Representatives.

I will be quite frank. I belong to a party which does not contest all seats throughout Australia. I make no apologies for saying that. I only hope that we can work more closely with our colleagues of the Opposition to make sure that in the future we do not have too many joint contests with one another. However, that is by the way. The important thing is that at present in Victoria my party holds 6 seats. If by chance the redistribution that has been put forward were to be adopted- I am not canvassing that matter now- we would find that we would have possibly a reduction in the seats that we hold, which in turn would mean that we would have to contest a lot of seats that are held by our colleagues in the Liberal Party. That may not be in the best interests. So the next move would be for the Australian Country Party to contest seats held by the Australian Labor Party. As the Labor Party does not hold any country seats in Victoria this would mean that the Country Party, to accede to the wishes of the Government in this Bill, would be contesting seats in the metropolitan area. That may be right; it may be wrong. It may be popular; it may be unpopular. I say that this Bill is contradictory. On the one hand the Government says: ‘Let us encourage people not to stand for the Senate’, but when it comes to the House of Representatives it says: ‘Let us encourage them to stand’.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.

Clause 21 agreed to.

Clauses 22 and 23- by leave- taken together and agreed to.

Clause 24.

Section 73 of the Principal Act is amended-

  1. by omitting from sub-paragraph (i) of paragraph (c) the words ‘Two hundred dollars’ and substituting the figures ‘$l,000’;

-This clause proposes to insert into the Act a provision which goes beyond the 1971 Bill. I am advised that it is the view of the Government that, having regard to the high number of candidates who were nominated in the election of May last year and the need to restrict frivolous candidatures, it is proposed that the amount of the deposit be $2,000 in the case of a Senate election -

Mr Daly:

-$ 1,000.


– I take the point made by the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly). The amounts proposed are $1,000 in the case of a Senate election and $500 in the case of a House of Representatives election. At present a candidate must lodge a $100 deposit for a House of Representatives election and it is proposed to increase that amount to $250. It is proposed to increase the amount lodged by a Senate candidate from $200 at present to $1,000. The Opposition has looked closely at this proposal and believes that, whilst a case can be made out for the increase in the deposit by a candidate for the House of Representatives from $100 to $250, the amount of $1,000 for a Senate candidate is excessive, the Opposition therefore proposes an alternative. I move:

In paragraph (b) omit ‘$1,000’, substitute ‘$500’.

I do not think that the clause needs a lot of argument. On the one hand, one can see advantage in trying to prevent frivolous candidatures but, on the other hand, there has to be some reasonable amount set down because the basic right of an Australian citizen to stand for Parliament must be protected as much as possible. It is possible to require too great an amount. In the case of the Senate, to raise the amount from $200 to $1,000 is to multiply it by five. That is a pretty big increase even in these times of very high inflation.

I link this effort to the attempt that we see by the Labor Government in other areas to make it more difficult for small parties and individual candidates. The Opposition Parties believe that to increase the Senate deposit by so much would debar many people seeking to stand for Parliament. I know that the Australia Party has protested about this matter and, in my view, validly protested about it. Obviously, it is the right of citizens to stand for Parliament and it is not proper for the large parties or candidates who are likely to be successful to protect their own interests by making the deposits prohibitive. The purpose of the increase is in the main to prevent people putting their names forward frivolously and unnecessarily clogging the ballot paper. In recent elections many people have availed themselves to this opportunity, and who is to say that it is wrong for them to do so? So I say that the system we have operating is a system that goes beyong the present situation in relation to the established parties and the current position. This system must operate to take account of circumstances which may arise in the future and which are different from the present circumstances. The system should not operate so that it unduly favours the larger parties.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said something about the value of a 2-party system in the United Kingdom. Of course, in days gone by, the Liberal Party, and not the Conservative Party, was the big anti-Labor Party. The position there has reversed itself because the public acceptability of the big parties has changed. Elements such as the period of polling, the way in which postal votes can be recorded, and the amount of deposits all form part of that system of fairness. The Opposition puts forward this amendment, believing that $500 is a more acceptable deposit for Senate candidates in these days than $1,000, which we believe is too much.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– The Opposition and the Government are on reasonably common ground with regard to this matter, since there is recognition that the deposit should be increased. What it gets down to is what is considered to be a reasonable amount. The Government has no wish to prevent people from standing for election to Parliament by imposing a high deposit, but I think it is generally accepted that some reasonable amount should be applied in this age of high prices, with money values changing, that will discourage what could be termed frivolous candidates. One of the facts of life is that in the recent elections in New South Wales certain people in the Bankstown district put up a number of candidates and increased the total number of candidates to 73. My information is that they intended, if they could, to make the number about 173, and they offered to pay deposits.

As honourable members know, for every 2 candidates nominated, the Senate ballot paper becomes about one inch or 1 lA inches longer. Unless something is done to prevent the type of activity to which I have referred, the next ballot paper for New South Wales will be huge. I have here a document written by a Mr Duncan and which is called ‘The Independent Political Research Organisation- a Special Report- Confidential’, and the subject is the Australian general elections, 18 May 1974. The document states that, if a great number of candidates can be nominated for Senate elections, this will cause so many informal votes that certain parties could be defeated. I do not mind incorporating this document in Hansard, if honourable members will let me do so. I will let them look at it later; it is circulated. The basis of the document was that the Labor Party could lose the Senate election in New South Wales if enough candidates were presented.

These people are working on the basis that in the very heavily industrialised seats represented by the Labor Party the proportion of informal votes would be the greatest, and the document goes on to prove this chapter and verse. The gentleman whose name is on this document canvassed around and gathered, I think, about 40 candidates. I think that half of them lived within half a mile of each other somewhere around the Bankstown area. The sum of $200 was involved, and this individual was ringing people up and saying, ‘If you are short of the deposit, do not worry about that- I will fix it up for you.’ To many people who have a lot of money $10,000 or $20,000 to pay as deposits for candidates would not be a worry, if this served certain purposes. There is a need to do something to prevent this sort of occurrence, because it does in fact affect the outcome of elections.

It is interesting to note in respect of this matter that in 1902, when the average weekly wage was f 2.2s, the deposit was $50 for both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In 1965, when the average weekly income was about $40, it was increased to $200 and $100 respectively. The sum has not been increased since about 1965, so honourable members can see that some adjustment is necessary to meet not only the costs involved but also to cover the increase that has taken place in the cost of living and to prevent the sort of conduct to which I have referred. When we consider that, amongst the 73 candidates, some received only 150 votes out of about 2 million votes, nobody could say that these were not frivolous candidates. Therefore, tremendous cost can be caused to the Government- and that is the people- in the conduct of a Senate election. If an irresponsible candidate puts in his name flippantly or if some unscrupulous individual nominates candidates by the dozen, he can make democracy impossible to work. I say that, with the informal vote running at such a huge number, something must be done. The Opposition will not agree to optional preferential voting which allows people to vote for a limited number of candidates. In that case it would not matter if there were 200 candidates; but if the Opposition does not agree with that system something must be done on the other side of the ledger, and that is to increase deposits.

As I say, we are on common ground, but it gets down to the amount involved. Probably some people in my party think it should be more, and probably some on the other side of the chamber think it should be $1,000 or $500, as the case may be; but we on this side think this is a reasonable figure in view of the costs that could be involved and the situation that exists. Whilst the existing situation may have affected the Labor Party last time, it could easily affect other parties next time. In the overall picture, it does affect democracy by the packing of ballot papers at a low cost, and in that way it defeats the real vote of the people.

The fact that we are on common ground is good, but I would like to see the Opposition support $1,000. I do not think it would mitigate against any serious contender for political honours, and it certainly would stop those who nominate and get 23, 50 or 150 votes, out of a couple of million, causing not only great inconvenience to some individuals but also great cost and at the same time a tremendous number of informal votes. I suggest to honourable members opposite that they will have to make up their minds. Either they will have to alter the Senate system of voting to make it simpler so that the number of candidates will not matter in relation to the number of informal votes, or they will have to face up to what is a reasonable amount for the deposit. We on this side think it should be $ 1,000, and that is why that amount has been put in the Bill.


-There are one or two points worth mentioning. In the first place, the Minister referred to the number of informal votes. I forget the adjective he used. But if he were to examine the informal votes in the election we all have in mind- the Senate election for New South Wales in which there were 73 candidates- he would find that the informal percentage was not greatly different from the percentage in the election held in 1 96 1 .

Mr Daly:

– It was in individual electorates.


– It may have been so in individual electorates, but it was not so taking the State as a whole- and the candidates were standing for the whole State of New South Wales. It is worth drawing attention to the factalthough many in this chamber and the Parliament would be aware of it- that in considering the question we should ask whether the large number of candidates made any difference. Really, it is a tribute to the intelligence of the electors of New South Wales- and I am not one of them- that obviously they were able to sort out the candidates fairly readily. It is difficult to look at the result and to think that any different percentage result might have come out of this had the number of candidates been much smaller. We have to face the fact that the overwhelming number of electors were quite clear about this. They made up their minds. Either they thought the candidates were frivolous or they thought they were of insufficient weight; but, whatever the reasoning was, those candidates did not get many votes as a percentage, and that is what matters in a Senate count under the proportional representation system that we use.

The Minister mentioned that we might have to consider a revision of the system. I remind him that it was brought in by a Labor government in 1948-49, and that the 1949 Senate election was the first election under the system. By. and large, probably it has served the country in the way that was intended. No doubt there are other systems. One could go on arguing about electoral systems until the cows came home, but that system has produced a far more balanced Senate than we knew previously, and I think there is a lot to be said for such a system. So, because there were 73 candidates in New South Wales in the elections in May 1974, I would not say that therefore we need to change the system or to frighten people off unduly. I think the core of this argument is whether the amount is unfair to the individual candidate. There is the old legal saw that hard cases make bad law. Let us not set up a situation that makes it difficult for an independent person who wishes to offer himself as a Senate candidate to nominate in an attempt to meet a situation which happened in New South Wales in May 1974 and which, I will be bold enough to predict, we will find will not happen in that proportion again, in spite of those who might think they have plenty of money and know how to defeat the electoral processes of the country. I do not think it will happen again- at any rate, to that extent. It will be seen in the years to come as being a unique occasion. In any case, I must say that I am delighted to see that in fact it did not have the effect it was intended to have, and it really only shows the strength of our present Senate election system.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 25 and 26- by leave- taken together and agreed to.

Clause 27.

Section 85 of the Principal Act is amended-

  1. by omitting from sub-section (2) the words ‘The application may be in the prescribed form and must-‘ and substituting the words ‘The application shall be on a form issued under the authority of the Chief Australian Electoral Officer and specified by him, by notice in the Gazette, as being the form to be used in relation to the election to which the application relates, and shall-‘; and
  2. by omitting sub-section (2a) and substituting the following sub-section: - ‘(2a) An application (other than an application made by the applicant in person at the office of the Divisional Returning Officer for the Division for which he is enrolled) shall be deemed not to have been duly made if it reaches the officer to whom it is made-
  3. where the officer is at a place in Australia- after 6 o’clock in the evening of the Thursday preceding polling day; or
  4. b ) where the officer is at a place outside Australia- after 6 o’clock in the evening of the Monday, reckoned according to the time applicable at that place, preceding the close of the poll.’.

– I seek leave to take together the 2 amendments appearing in my name in relation to clause 27.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock)- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


– I move:

Although I have moved 2 amendments, they are concerned with the same matter of principle. Clause 27 has 4 parts to it. It deals with the ‘substitution of metric measurements; it gives ah enrolled person who is in prison the right to vote even if his sentence is less than one year. The Opposition accepts those amendments as desirable. Clause 27 also provides that a postal vote application should be issued under the authority of the Chief Australian Electoral Officer on a form specified by him, by notice in the Gazette, as being the form to be used for the particular election. That provision appears to involve a gazettal each election in order to meet, it is suggested, some abuses. It is suggested that the activity of political parties preparing lists of electors who used postal voting facilities at earlier elections can lead to some sort of abuse. It is said that from these lists a great number of postal vote application forms- sometimes it runs into thousands in an electoral division- are partially completed well in advance of the next ensuing election and forwarded to those electors at or about the time of the issue of the writs without a precise knowledge of whether the persons concerned are in fact entitled to vote by post. It is said that that practice can lead to an abuse of the postal voting law and that it is undesirable. The Opposition questions in fact whether those assertions are right. The first amendment which I have moved proposes that there be one notice in the Gazette which will provide for different coloured forms being used to prevent a different gazettal at each election. If it is adopted that proposal will streamline matters considerably.

The other amendment I have moved proposes to omit paragraph (d). That amendment is consequent on the decision that postal votes must be returned to the respective divisional returning officers by the close of the poll. That proposition is put forward simply in connection with the motion which was moved elsewhere and is in line with the Opposition’s view that in a condition of compulsory voting there should be no restriction on the facilities that are provided and that therefore the cut-off time at the end of the polling day- be it 8 o’clock or 6 o’clock ultimately- will represent the end of the receipt of votes that can be included in the count. That, of course, is an important matter because there is not a great deal of time between the close of nominations and the polling day itself.

The ballot papers cannot be printed until the names are in. The postal voting procedure is that an application is made for a postal vote. That application usually has to go through the mail and then it goes back to the office. It has to be dealt with. Then the ballot papers, if they are ready at that stage, are sent out. Then they have to be posted back. We believe the principle of dealing with all the procedures which are necessary and with people in remote regions in bad. There ought not to be that restriction. Clause 27 (d) is connected with those matters. That is the reason why I have moved those amendments which I have mentioned. I think the second amendment is the more substantial. I would be interested to hear whether the Minister is interested in accepting that amendment which I believe streamlines matters considerably.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

-We think that the amendment moved in relation to the colour of the paper is very restrictive. Without going into all the pros and cons I think it has to be generally agreed among experienced politicians that there are those from all parties who endeavour to manipulate the postal voting system. It is important to consider this because one vote can cause the defeat of a member, the defeat of a government or the election of a government. Any infringement of the postal voting regulations is a very serious matter. It is known that certain over zealous supporters of all parties endeavour to use the postal voting system in a way which is not quite intended. One of the methods is to constantly have available a number of old forms. They are all filled in and on the day the writs are issued these forms are sent to everybody who voted last time asking them whether they want to vote and, in effect, almost soliciting.

It is known that members of this House have had up to 2000 of those forms ready to go out at the drop of a hat. They are old forms. I say quite frankly that a Liberal member, whose name I shall not mention, is involved. This is sailing pretty close to the wind. Our suggestion is that the Electoral Office should each year decide on a colour. That becomes the colour of the application for that election. The application in Queensland always has the year on the form- 1974, or whatever the case might be. But if we tie this down to a special colour we might find that there are no stocks of that colour available at that time. We might not be able to get white paper, green paper or red paper as the case may be. So I think that on this rather minor point we will have to give a reasonable amount of elasticity to the Electoral Office.

In relation to the return of the postal votes, under the postal voting system it is possible at this stage to vote after the close of the poll on the Saturday night. The postmark is no longer taken as the date on which one recognises the postal vote. As long as the vote comes in within, I think, 10 days afterwards it is accepted. There is nothing to stop a person voting on the Monday after the poll if he has the application form and if he back-dates it a couple of days. That could quite easily cost a member his seat. That is one reason why the postal votes ought to be in the electoral office on the night of the poll. Every person who gets a postal vote ought to be called upon to do what every other person in the community does and that is to vote before the close of the poll. It should also be the responsibility of the person who gets a postal vote to see that he gets it back in time. The only fair way to see that every vote is cast before the close of the poll is as we have suggested here. Certainly this will cause some inconvenience along the line, but at the same time it will place the onus on the person concerned to see that he returns it before the close of the poll. There are other factors.

In a Senate election one cannot possibly commence to fix the quota until every postal vote is in. Therefore if we allow this 10-day period it means that we will be held up until the very last vote is in. This clause will speed up the process. It will make certain that there is no manipulation of after polling voting. It has come to my knowledge from experienced scrutineers that they think that in one or two cases seats have been won or lost because of people who have voted under the present method after the close of the poll. Particularly in close voting this can happen. So this clause makes an attempt not to prevent people from voting but to see that all votes are in on the night the election is held. In practically every country if the votes are not in on the night of the poll they are not counted. That applies to

Great Britain, Canada and other countries. People know by half past 10 or 11 o’clock at night who has won the election because the votes are in the box. Certainly other countries do not have as elaborate a system as we have in relation to postal voting. But they have this method in a minor or lesser way. There is no reason at all why people who vote should not have their vote in on the night of the election. This system should cause a minimum of inconvenience. It will tie up loose loopholes and might well assist members from all sides of this Parliament in future from losing their seats or assist governments from being defeated by reason of the fact that people are voting in the present method when they should not be voting. That is why these 2 clauses have been introduced.

Port Adelaide

– I just add my voice in support of the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly). One area of electoral reform which has to be looked at very seriously by all those of us who are involved in politics is the application of postal voting. There can be no doubt, as a result of the common form which has existed over the years, that people who consider themselves smart electioneers have been able to manipulate the manner in which they are able to get people to cast postal votes. Conditions exist under which people are eligible for postal votes. I say 2 things about this. Firstly, many people who cast postal votes perhaps do not want to vote at all but are coerced into voting. Secondly, many people who cast postal votes are not eligible to do so because they do not comply with the laws set down on the postal vote form. One has only to look at the postal voting figures for the elections of 1972 and 1974 to think that an epidemic had hit Australia. By looking at the figures concerning postal votes that were cast one can see how expert the political parties of Australia are becoming at going around hospitals, nursing homes and old folks’ homes trying to make people vote when in fact they do not want to vote or they have an excuse for not voting.

Mr Lusher:

– The last election was in the school holidays.


– This one does not refer to school holidays. In New South Wales in 1972 2.49 per cent of the vote was postal. In 1974 the figure was 3.94 per cent. The postal vote in Victoria in 1972 was 3.06 per cent and in 1974 6.27 per cent. In Queensland the figure increased from 3.55 per cent in 1972 to 4.75 per cent in 1974. In South Australia the figure increased from 2.90 per cent to 5.25 per cent. In Western Australia the figure increased from 2.60 per cent to 3.63 per cent. In Tasmania the figure increased from 3.58 per cent to 4.95 per cent. There is no doubt that the people involved- not just the political parties but all candidates- are becoming increasingly aware, particularly in the marginal electorates, of the importance of postal votes. There can be no case or justification in this country for waiting so long after an election to decide who has won and who will govern Australia.

We were ridiculed throughout the country in May and June of last year because we could not decide, because of our system of voting, who may or who may not have won the election. This system can be applied fairly.- There may be other measures which have to be looked at in the years ahead, such as elections being held every 4 or 5 years on a particular date so that snap elections cannot be called. These things can be looked at in the future. In looking at the present system it seems to me that we have perhaps to be considerate of the people who may be involved in postal voting, to be considerate of the people who have put up with others going around canvassing in the hospitals and nursing homes and, as I say, be aware of the fact that candidates may be keeping forms from a previous election which they just post out hoping that the person concerned still needs a postal vote. I suggest and predict that the figures I have read out tonight from the States will continue to grow and people will become professional postal voters. That is the way the present system can be manipulated. I consider that what we are putting up in terms of having a new form and in terms of closing the poll on the night of the election is something reasonable and quite acceptable to the Australian community.

Northern Territory

– I did not intend entering this debate but the proposals being put up by the Government, to me and to the people I represent, are shattering.

Mr Keogh:

– Did you not hear them last time?


– I cannot hear the honourable member, whoever he happens to be. Quite obviously the Government’s proposals are aimed at the people who live in .the country. I ask the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) whether under this clause he is considering closing the polls at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. on the night of the election, bearing in mind that a great percentage of voters in the electorates of Kalgoorlie, the Northern Territory, Kennedy and in other remote places are often lucky to get their postal ballot paper on the day of the election and then technically, of course, they are not allowed to vote.

I have suggested on several occasions that this system has been used to deprive the country voter of his franchise. This is what the Govern- . ment is doing tonight. It is taking the vote away from the person who does not five in a city or town or within 5 miles of a polling booth. I am asking the Minister- in fact I am demanding it on behalf of the people of the Northern Territory and people who live in far away places- to adopt a reasonable attitude towards this matter, because the Government will disfranchise these people. I think that this is probably what the Minister is all about because he knows very well that the great majority of people who live in these areas do not support his Party. This is a patently very obvious method of doing away with their votes.

The Government’s proposal would debar from voting many people who live in my electorate which covers 520 280 square miles. These are people who support me. I say this straight to the Minister: This would be your purpose. If you think you can get away with this, your name will stink through the back country of Australia for ever, and so it should.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– I wish to make one or two comments and I shall not keep the Committee very long. I am appalled at the proposition put forward by the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) because he is in most things a generous and fair minded person.

Mr Calder:

– Come on.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

-No. We give him goodwill. We hand out large hunks of goodwill to the Minister, and he deserves it on occasions. But he does not deserve it for this. The Government’s proposal not only will affect people in the back blocks of Australia but it will effectively debar from voting or having a postal vote any person who is unable to attend at an electoral office on the Friday before the Saturday of the poll- that is, at any time after 6 p.m. on the Thursday. The proposal simply means this: A woman who may be pregnant and does not know precisely on what day she will have to go into hospital may have to go to hospital late on the Thursday. She would not be able to attend the electoral office in time to cast a postal vote and therefore she would be debarred from voting. In the words of the proposed amendment she would be debarred because she was not able to attend in person at an electoral office on the day before the poll. Any person who falls sick on the eve of an election or within 36 hours of the beginning of the election day would be effectively debarred from voting.

I suggest to the House and to any fair-minded person that that is not a reasonable proposition. That would be the effect of the amendment. The one great characteristic of the Australian voting system, which has been denigrated, rubbished and criticised, is that it is the only voting system in the world which is designed to guarantee that nobody is elected unless he gets 50 per cent plus one of the votes. It is the only electoral system in the world which guarantees that position. Why should there be generated artificial criticisms of a system which is different from other voting systems of the world, which has proven to be more perfect and better than other voting systems and which shows the world how a voting system should be developed? There is a greater awareness of electoral responsibilities, the obligation to vote and the capacity to vote in Australia and in its States than in other parts of the world. Why is it the Government’s intention to regress on that situation? What is happening seems to be a fashionable proposition to destroy and to rubbish the Australian legend with respect to voting. A particular ethos- a characteristic and a traditionhas been built up, but the Government wants to tear that aside.

This proposed amendment has in it the ingredients to destroy the proposition that nobody can be elected in Australia unless they receive 50 per cent of the votes plus one vote. The Government is seeking to provide by this legislation that a person can be elected with less than 50 per cent of the votes. That can occur in the United States, in the United Kingdom and in nearly every other voting system in the world, whether they have voluntary voting systems or whether they do not have compulsory preferential voting systems. Why do we want to go back to such a system when we have perfected a system which is the envy, and ought to be the envy, of all those who say a majority of the people in any country should be the ones to determine its government? I am appalled in general at the proposals put forward by the Government. I am particularly appalled at the threat to the people who live outside the capital cities, who live within large conurbations of population and who have the misfortune to fall sick suddenly on the eve of an election- within 36 hours or more of the beginning of the election day. I am appalled at the attempt to deprive these people of their right to vote. I am appalled that it should be said to them: ‘We can no longer provide the capacity to accommodate you. You may be sick on a certain day, but that is bad luck. You may expect a baby on a certain day but that is bad luck also. You are out of our consideration and out of our mind ‘.

No democratic government or government that respects the democratic system itself or the right of each person to vote could possibly support that principle. I can say only that the Minister for Services and Property, who has been good at getting votes himself, has had this proposition put on him by someone else. He did not know what he was doing. I am sure he is not aware of the consequences of his proposition. The Minister has a fine Irish name, ‘Frederick Michael Daly’. He is a man of some Celtic descent and people of that origin always have an acute and sensitive sense of justice and fairness. I appeal to the Minister to repair his ways. I am sure this proposal has been put on him by his own Caucus. I would not say that it has been put on him by his own advisers but he should tear himself away from those advisers and examine the Bill with his own sense of fairness and against his own background.


-Even voluntary voting will not do away with informal voting as I think was suggested by honourable members opposite a moment ago. Under the optional preference scheme for the Senate which existed from 1919 to 1931, informal voting throughout Australia was similar to what it is today. So, I do not think in these provisions we ought to be concentrating on improving the percentage of informal votes. In fact, I have a schedule- I will not bore the Committee by reading it- which indicates that percentage as pretty stable. The Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) mentioned that provisions in Britain were similar to this clause with respect to postal voting. He said that in Britain postal votes have to be in by the close of the polls. In Britain one can furnish a vote by proxy. I presume that the Minister is not for one moment thinking of introducing a proxy system into the Australian electoral system. What the Government would do by maintaining this provision would be to cut out a number of people who are at present able to register postal votes either because of delays in mail, because of remoteness, or because a person was ill and put off voting for a few days. The Government is shortening the length of these cut-off periods. That is to say, an application form cannot be issued after 6 p.m. on the Thursday preceding polling day. Another clause to which we will come soon provides that ballot papers cannot be counted if they are received after the end of polling day instead of, as is the case at the moment, 10 days after polling day. By doing this, the Government is disfranchising a significant number of people who have to use postal voting. Perhaps all these people do not have to use this method of voting. Perhaps to some it is convenient. But many people do need to use it. I think that people in the cities ought to remember the great remoteness of many people in this country. I will say more about the question of remoteness later in this debate.

People in country areas ought to be assisted to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice rather than prevented from doing it. I do not think any of us ought to place complete confidence in the regularity of the mail service. I hope that we understand the tremendous task involved in sorting the mail, and that delays are taking place. The honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) at whom I am looking was talking about reality when we were dealing with another clause a short time ago. I am referring to reality now. If there is a 3-week period between the close of nominations and polling day and that procedure has to be gone through, many people will not be able to do it.

Mr Keogh:

– Rubbish.


-Did someone say ‘rubbish’? Mr Keogh- Yes.


-The fact of the matter is that some people cannot manage to do this within the period of the 10 days presently allowed, and now the Government intends to cut out that 10-day period. How does the honourable member think that people will be able to vote in the remote regions of the north-west of Western Australia, in the electorate of Grey and in north Queensland? The honourable member who interjected is a Queenslander. He ought to be trying to protect the rights of these people. How does the honourable member think that they will get postal votes in in time? I ask honourable members opposite to be sensible. We know that even with the period that is provided now some votes are received too late. So if the period is reduced by 10 days, which is nearly one-third of the total period from the close of the nominations to polling day, a great number of people will be cut out from voting. For the life of me I cannot see any valid justification for that. It must be a system that is being proposed for other purposes. I ask honourable members, particularly those who come from city electorates, to remember the distances and the procedures that are involved in postal voting before committing themselves to vote in favour of this clause.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 28.

Section 88 of the Principal Act is amended-

  1. by inserting in sub-section (1), after the words ‘satisfied that it’, the words ‘is on the proper form,’; and
  2. by omitting sub-sections (1a) and (1b).

– I move:

Omit the clause, substitute the following clause: ‘28. Section 88 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting in sub-section ( 1 ), after the words “satisfied that it”, the words “is on the proper form,”.’.

This is a consequential amendment. In view of the procedure being adopted in this debate, to which I referred earlier, I do not press the matter any further.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Proposed new clause 28a.


-I move:

After clause 28, insert the following new clause: ‘28a. After section 88 of the Principal Act the following section is inserted: “88a. (1) The Divisional Returning Officer for each Division that exceeds 26 000 square kilometres in area shall keep a register, to be called the Register of General Postal Voters.

Where a person is enrolled as an elector for a Division referred to in sub-section (1), otherwise than by virtue of section 39a or 4 1a, and it is normally difficult for him to vote at a polling booth open in the State for which he is enrolled by reason of-

the distance between the address in respect of which he is enrolled and the nearest place in the Division that is normally appointed a polling place; or

the lack of adequate means of transport from that address to that place, he may at any time make an application in writing to the Divisional Returning Officer to be registered on the register for the Division.

An application shall be signed by the applicant in his own handwriting and shall set out the name and address of the applicant and the grounds of the application.

Upon receipt of the application, the Divisional Returning Officer shall-

if he decides that the application is properly made and that there is sufficient reason for registering the applicant under this section- register the applicant; or

b ) if he decides otherwise- reject the application, and shall notify the applicant in writing accordingly.

Subject to sub-section (6), the Divisional Returning Officer may at any time cancel the registration of an elector under this section, and in that event (except where the elector is deceased) he shall notify the elector in writing.

The Divisional Returning Officer is not empowered to register an elector or (except where the elector is deceased) cancel the registration of an elector under this section after 6 o’clock in the afternoon of the day of the issue of the writ, and before the close of the poll, for an election.

An elector who is registered under this section is, by force of this section, but subject to Part VI and to the regulations, entitled to vote at an election in accordance with this Pan.

As soon as practicable after the hour of nomination for an election the Divisional Returning Officer shall send a postal vote certificate and a postal ballotpaper or postal ballot-papers, as the case requires, to each elector who is registered on the register for the Division, other than an elector who has made an application under section 85.”.’.

By this amendment the Opposition proposes to add a new clause to the Bill. It refers to the difficulties I have just mentioned in a slightly different context. It refers to those people in remote areas and to the difficulty that they have in getting postal vote application forms and ballot papers in time and in having them returned so that their votes can be counted- in fact, so that these people can vote. I pointed out to the Committee that in electorates such as Kalgoorlie, Darling Downs, Kennedy, Leichhardt, Maranoa, Grey, Wakefield and the Northern Territory, a considerable body of people live in remote areas, and often journeys of hundreds of miles are involved in getting to polling booths. I believe, and the Opposition believes, that the remoteness of those people is such that special provision should be made in the electoral law to enable them to vote. So this amendment is moved. I shall refer to parts of it rather than read the whole for it is rather lengthy. It is a provision which exists in the State electoral law in Western Australia, a State with a high proportion of remote areas.

Mr Keogh:

– Is it not a gerrymander too?


– The honourable member for Bowman is not really disclosing very much knowledge of that system because if I understood him, he referred to gerrymanders in Western Australia’s electoral system. Was that the implication of your remark?

Mr Keogh:

– That is correct.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Luchetti)Order! I ask the honourable member to address the Chair.


– I will take your advice in that direction, Mr Deputy Chairman, but I would be happy to debate the matter with the honourable member at any time he likes. What is suggested here is that the divisional returning officer for a division that exceeds 26 000 square kilometres shall keep a register to be called the ‘Register of General Postal Voters’, and such persons shall receive automatically application forms for postal votes. The honourable member for Shortland (Mr Morris) laughs. I do not know why because surely people who are in very remote regions are entitled to receive an application. After all, the mailman does not call twice a day at their front gate. They probably would have one chance, and one chance only, of registering a vote.

From the interjections we have heard from members of the Labor Party, it is pretty clear that they are opposed to this in principle. Presumably it is because they think that these votes will not favour the Australian Labor Party. In other words, they are saying: ‘Let us cut out a group because they are against us’. It does not matter that they are Australian citizens. It does not matter that they are fully entitled to vote. Honourable members opposite say: ‘They are remote and we will try to prevent their vote being received at the polling place in time. ‘ The fact is that many remote areas are poorly serviced by electoral laws and procedures. I have already described, but it is appropriate to repeat briefly that the system is that application forms have to be filled out, returned, ballot papers posted out and received back at the counting place. The Opposition argues that these ballot papers should be allowed to come forward up to 10 days after polling day, as is the present position.

The electorate of the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) covers 900 000 square miles. I regret that I cannot convert that to square kilometres, but it is a vast area of land and there are a lot of people in it who need special consideration. I believe that remoteness is significant in the other electorates to which I have referred. These people must make a vote under the compulsory provisions of the Act, but it is more important than that. It is their right to cast a vote- a valid vote and an acceptable vote- if they possibly can. I have not any doubt that most of them want to do that. I have heard many complaints about procedures, particularly from those in the electorate of Kalgoorlie, but this is an important factor in South Australia and Queensland and the Northern Territory as well. I take this opportunity to make a plea to anyone who might be listening in these remote areas to do their best to get these votes in, even if it means considerable inconvenience in travelling to a booth because of the uncertainty of the mails.

I will not read the whole of this proposed new clause. I repeat that it is operating satisfactorily and well in the electoral procedures and laws of Western Australia. Incidentally, for the sake of the honourable members who expressed some noise of scepticism, it has operated there under governments from both sides of the Western Australian House, It is acceptable and regarded as necessary by both sides, and the Opposition here tonight takes the opportunity of moving this amendment in an attempt to get the Government to recognise the value of this provision in the electoral law.

Port Adelaide

-One always has to look closely at amendments moved by the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) because obviously somewhere one will come across the ideas of the Australian Country Party. Although the Country Party gave him the idea it did not give him the explanatory notes. A little earlier I said that the thing we have to be more careful of than almost anything else in the campaigning period leading up to an election is the growth of postal voting which has occurred around Australia, obviously in breach of the present Australian electoral laws. To set up an established and permanent register of postal voting of course takes it one step further. It would mean that postal voters obviously could be canvassed between elections. It would mean that they would not be encouraged to go to the polling booths and it also would mean, if one wants to look at it in bold terms of the voting patterns of those people who live in the remote areas, that the Aboriginal people perhaps would be denied a vote altogether.

A number of us on this side of the chamber are not too happy about the facilities that might be made available or the pressures that might be applied to Aboriginal people voting in remote parts of Australia. The honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard), whose division was mentioned tonight by the honourable member for Curtin, is not in favour of setting up a register of postal voters in his electorate. Under our laws people ought to be encouraged to go and vote at the polling booths. There is a provision under which people can obtain a postal vote if they are ill or too far away from their electorate to vote at a booth. They have plenty of notice about this. Of course our complaint is that postal votes come in long after the booths are closed and Australia and the rest of the world has to wait to see who is to govern this country.

Of course under the Opposition’s proposal a returning officer on the night on which the poll closes could say: ‘There is only 50 votes difference between the sitting member and the candidate for the other major political party’. He would immediately look at the postal voting register to see how many people he had not received votes from and would have an immediate check on whom he could get in touch with to go out and see those persons to make sure that some son of postal vote was recorded on behalf of those people. Then he would make sure that there was some evidence that the votes were posted before 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., whatever is the time specified in this Bill when it is finally passed.

There can be no doubt that it would be a major step backwards in electoral law to set up a register of any specific section of the voting public of Australia. Does the Opposition want a register of those in nursing homes, a register of those in hospitals, a register of those in army camps, a register of those who milk cows at 6 o’clock in the morning or a register of Catholics and a register of Methodists? We have electoral rolls and there are provisions, which apply fairly, under which people can obtain a postal vote. We say that Australia has to wait far too long for the return of those postal votes to get a decision for the country. We are asking for the time to be shortened. I am sure that every honourable member on this side of the chamber would oppose vigorously the imposition of any register of any specific section of the community, of the electoral public, under the electoral laws of Australia.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I have sat silently through this debate but a number of things have been said which I believe indicate a curious attitude on the part of the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) and members of the Government party. I recall winning my seat in the year 1966 and the efforts -

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Luchetti)Order! I ask the honourable member to relate his remarks to the proposed new clause.

Mr Donald Cameron:

-My word, I really will, Sir. You just listen. I recall the postal vote vendetta carried on in my electorate in which one of my postal vote workers was run off the road in true Chicago style by a party worker for the Australian Labor Party.

Mr Innes:
Mr Donald Cameron:

-That is right. The honourable member should just listen and he will learn. Its played tough in Queensland. I remember Party workers of the Australian Labor Party standing over the aged and the sick and threatening them that if they filled in their postal vote application form before the workers returned to do it for them, anything could happen. In my view, the suggestion of the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) is a good suggestion and should be expanded to include more persons than simply those who live in electorates which are larger than 26 000 square kilometres. The aged and the sick who are unable to get to polling booths on polling day should also be included in a register. This would mean that instead of Party workers descending upon the homes of the aged and the sick immediately the green light shines for an election as at present, the electoral officer would send out the application forms and the ballot papers.

One of the tragedies of this situation in that it is not only the Labor Party which has indulged in these tactics to which I have alluded throughout Australia. All parties have had a hand in such activities at some stage. This is because the system is such that if one is to survive one must join it. The system is a bad system. If we could introduce the system which is suggested by the amendment that has been proposed by the shadow Minister responsible for electoral matters, the honourable member for Curtin, I feel confident that it would prove workable and would not be open to fiddling as has been suggested by my newly arrived friend who is flushed still with the success of his victory less than a year ago in Port Adelaide. The suspicions which are in his mind are inherent in the minds of every Labor Party machine man who, in a position of responsibility, has had to work the system. There is no doubt that the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) knows how to work the system because that is why he is filled with so much suspicion.

I heard the Minister for Services and Property refer indirectly to me some time ago when he spoke of a member of the Liberal Party who had several hundred- I think he used the phrase ‘two thousand ‘-postal vote application forms ready to go out into the electorate last year when the green light was switched on. I have no compunction in admitting to following that system. My friend the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh) follows the system also. Members of the Labor Party in Queensland have suggested that I have indulged in an illegal practice, but they say this only before an election because they know that I work within the confines of the law. By sending out the application forms we are eliminating the possibility of the Party workers arriving on the doorstep of the aged, the sick and the crippled, taking away the application form and in a carefully contrived manner systematically submitting the application forms for a certain district on a particular date. They know that the forms will go in that morning and that the electoral officer will post the ballot papers out that night and the Party machine is ready to call at the home of the person next day, just after the postman arrives. What do the party workers say during the first visit? They say: ‘Dear, do not fill in that form until I have returned’. Because they have fed the application forms into the electoral officer on a particular morning they know that the ballot papers will be in the homes the next day. That system used to work before the Australian Labor Party took over the Post Office, but these days one never knows when the mail will arrive. The party worker goes back to the home, knowing that the postman has been, and says: ‘I was wondering whether -

Mr Keogh:

– I raise a point of order, Mr Deputy Chairman. The honourable member for Griffith seems to be experiencing some difficulty in putting over the story. I have with me a record of all the material that he sends out from his office for postal votes and I can give that material to him.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage)Order! That is not a point of order.

Mr Donald Cameron:

-The truth is that the honourable member for Bowman came to me and said: ‘Could I have your system? I have a dickey election coming up’. The party worker arrives at the home of the aged, the sick or the crippled after the postman has been and says: ‘I was wondering whether your ballot paper had arrived yet’. Normally it might be still in the letter box, on the sofa or in some other place. Then he says: ‘Dear, can I help you fill it out?’ That is where the fiddling really starts.

That is why I believe that the suggestion made by the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) ought to be extended beyond the open spaces to people who are permanently incapacitated and unable to get to the polling booth. Such an extension would eliminate a situation which presently exists in Australia and which I do not condone. But, while the system exists and the competition is there, I warn all my future opponents that if the seat of Griffith continues to exist they had better move fast because I have learned how to protect myself. However, I make this promise: I will never use gangster methods on people who are unable to protect themselves.

Proposed new clause negatived.

Clause 29 (Inspection of applications).


-This clause amends section 89 of the Act to provide that a person is not entitled to inspect applications made under sub-section (3) for the purpose of compiling lists of the names of persons who have made postal vote applications. Under section 89 (3) as it now stands, applications for postal votes are open for public inspection from and including the third day after polling day. That provision currently is used by political organisations and candidates to make lists of all postal votes for use at later elections. It is proposed to prohibit the listing of names of persons who apply for postal votes, except where the Divisional Returning Officer is satisfied that it is required in connection with a genuine inquiry into possible malpractice. Of course, that narrows the provision a great deal.

It is the view of the Opposition that the clause is intended to prevent persons from inspecting lists of those people who have applied for postal votes. Surely, in order to prevent abuse and to prevent parties from sending out unwanted postal vote applications, the change in the colour of the form that was suggested earlier by the Opposition should suffice. The Opposition does not accept the view that a question of abuse is involved. Surely there is no reason why somebody should not look up this information if he wants to. After all, this system should be as open as possible as part of our democratic system. If some people see fit to canvass others, as the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) mentioned earlier, or to approach them through this system, then I am afraid that the reason why that can be regarded as an abuse of the system eludes me.

I know that in Western Australia- and I would be very surprised if it was not universal- it is availed of by most parties and used in the same way. I cannot believe that there has been much objection to the system. No question of coercion is involved. There is a question of canvassing; but that is part of politics, and it used to be more intense than it is today.

Mr Keogh:

– It is coercion.


– The honourable member for Bowman says that it is coercion. If there is coercion I suggest that he report cases of it to the appropriate authorities and if offences have been committed no doubt action will be taken. I was accused earlier in the evening of having made innuendos about certain subjects. Here is a supporter of the Government complaining to me about abuses on which he has taken no action. I think I am entitled to assume from the way he is now trying to back off that he has not much evidence of what he has just said. Otherwise he surely would have done something about it because he is not noted in this chamber for drawing back or being a shrinking violet when he had anything hard to produce. The position is that this is a right which citizens have and they certainly include representatives and candidates of political parties. It has been open to all. There is no need to close it off and for that reason the Opposition is opposed to this clause.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– Briefly, the reason for closing off this section is to prevent things happening such as that which the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) admitted he was an expert in doing- the canvassing of postal votes, the applications being freely available, the forms being available from year to year. In effect he has been going very close to infringing the Act by canvassing and soliciting postal votes. This is quite contrary to the Act.

Mr Garland:

– Where?


– You cannot solicit postal votes, tell people that they can get them and all this kind of thing. Applications have to be made for them. Advertisements like the one I have here come out of this and they run very close to the wind. The situation is that we believe that if a person can prove to the satisfaction of the authorities that an application for a postal vote is necessary in connection with some infringement or otherwise then that person is entitled to have it but there should be no way whereby he can be canvassed against the spirit of the Act, in that way giving an unfair advantage. There are 2 ways to tie up the loose ends and to protect all people. The first is to have a special form for a given year and the second is to make these available only on certain conditions as laid down in the Act. I do not wish tq canvass the matter extensively but I mention for the benefit of honourable members that under section 87A of the Act a person shall not persuade or induce or associate himself with a person in persuading or inducing an elector to make application for a postal vote certificate and postal ballot paper. The penalty is $100 or imprisonment for 1 month. That advertisement by the honourable member for Griffith about postal votes goes terribly close to breaching the Act.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– It does not exceed the line.


– You are nearly as close as Senator Webster is.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I think that the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) has been a member here since 1943. Obviously he still has a lot to learn. Some people learn as much in 30 years on this earth as the Minister has in his first 65. He disregards the fact that the State rolls are even worse in some cases than the Federal rolls. In Queensland a person can obtain a State roll and every person who had a postal vote at the previous State election, or Brisbane City Council election or local council election, has a little stamp marked next to his name indicating that he had a postal vote or what they call a caller’s vote. I forget the exact name they use these days.

Mr Keogh:

– An electoral visitor’s vote.

Mr Donald Cameron:

-That is right, an electoral visitor’s vote. Therefore the Government will achieve nothing by bringing about this alteration unless it gets total agreement in every State. Personally I would like to see many of the changes that the Government proposes but in reality the Minister has not got his feet on the ground.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– Frankly, I am appalled at some of the things that have been brought to the light of day in the remarks of the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron). Everyone knows that some abuses occur. One has only to look at the voting returns for postal votes and the pattern of voting to be able to see that some extraneous influence is being brought to bear. In the last election, the result in my electorate of Diamond Valley was close. Recounts were necessary. My scrutineers reported to me that the number of votes coming in for the Liberal candidate from the first batches of postal votes- these were the first postal votes put out and were ones that had been solicited- showed a pattern of voting much more in favour of the Liberal candidate than was the voting trend in any sub-division in the whole electorate. The point I am making is that these votes were specially solicited. The clause which -

Mr Howard:

– You cannot prove that.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

-I cannot prove it. There is no way of proving it.

Mr Howard:

– If you cannot, why do you make the allegation?

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– It is reasonable to suspect that some -

Mr Howard:

– You have no evidence of it.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– The evidence is that the pattern of voting was completely different from any other pattern of voting in that electorate in that election. That ought to be evidence enough for the honourable member. The situation is that in many electorates groups, belonging not only to the Liberal Party, have gone out to hospitals where sick people are and have organised the votes. They know from an examination of the lists that these people are there and that their votes can be solicited. As the honourable member for Griffith said, these people are stood over and their votes are obtained. I think that this practice is completely wrong. It is something which ought not to be done. I can stand here and say that I have never done it, and to my knowledge no members of my campaign committee have ever done it. It is an action, I feel, that can be prevented only by having laws as are provided for in this clause which the Opposition opposes.

For the benefit of the Committee, let me read the relevant proposed new sub-section, which provides:

  1. A person is not entitled to inspect applications in accordance with sub-section (3) for the purpose of compiling a list or lists of the names of the persons who made the applications, except where such a list is genuinely required for the person solely for the purpose of, or in connection with-

    1. an inquiry into an alleged or suspected contravention of, or failure to comply with, this Act; or
    2. a petition under Part XVIII.

What we will never be able to do by legislation is to prevent candidates of any political party compiling special lists of names of people who are known to be infirm or ill whom they then canvass to solicit their votes. What we can do by agreeing to this clause is prevent an organised, large scale undertaking in which people are solicited and stood over to vote for a specific candidate. We believe in the democratic process- and I believe that if one could talk individually to members of this House one would find that they really believe in that process- and we will support this clause as it is a provision which is long overdue.

Clause agreed to.

Progress reported.

page 1538


Bill- by leave- presented by Mr Whitlam, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister · Werriwa · ALP

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to approve an agreement my Government has entered into with the Tasmanian Government in relation to the restoration of the Tasman Bridge over the Derwent River at Hobart, and to provide for certain related administrative requirements. It will be recalled that on 5 January last three spans of the bridge collasped into the Derwent River after the S. S. ‘Lake Illawarra’ collided with it. The ship belonged to the Australian National Line. The Australian Government has undertaken to meet the costs to the Tasmanian Government of the full amount of expenditure incurred by it and its authorities as a result of the disaster. This commitment is subject to the various expenditures being accepted by the Australian Government as attributable to the bridge collapse, and reasonable. In the event that the State makes any successful claims on the Australian National Line and /or their insurers, the Australian Government’s assistance will be correspondingly reduced.

The collapse of the bridge has created a wide range of problems within Hobart and has imposed many hardships on a substantial proportion of its residents. The agreement you are asked to approve will make a big contribution to solving one aspect of the problems, namely, the restoration of the Tasman Bridge to a satisfactory trafficable condition. On my visit to Tasmania in February I arranged for Sir Roland Wilson to act as my personal representative in relation to matters concerning the collapse of the bridge and its aftermath. On return from his first visit to Hobart on 3 March Sir Roland proposed, with the concurrence of the Premier of Tasmania, the arrangements now submitted to the House. These were included in broad terms in Heads of Agreement signed by the Premier and me in Canberra on 6 March, and the final agreement was signed by us on 1 April. It includes a number of machinery provisions which are selfexplanatory, but for the rest closely follows the original Heads of Agreement.

The restoration of the bridge is a very big and difficult task from an engineering point of view. The sunken ship lies in very deep water and the riverbed is overlain by a thick layer of mud which no diver can penetrate. Visibility is extremely limited, and strong currents make the work difficult and hazardous. Pans of the visible debris and pans of the ship have to be removed, and the area probed to locate any invisible obstructions to new or strengthened supporting structures, before the final reconstruction plan can be determined.

To overcome the problems of divided control and divided responsibility, the agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint Tasman Bridge Restoration Commission to superintend and direct the combined salvage and re-building operations. The powers and duties of the Commission are clearly set out in the agreement. The Chief Commissioner is to be jointly appointed by and be responsible to the Prime Minister and the Premier. One Associate Commissioner is to be appointed by the Prime Minister and another by the Premier. Each of the commissioners must be highly qualified in engineering and experienced in large scale construction projects. The Commission will have as its Chief Executive Officer the Tasmanian Director of Public Works, and the Commission will be able to borrow or recruit appropriate skilled staff as required. Pending approval of the agreement by both parliaments, an Interim Tasman Bridge Commission was set up and it was requested to commence, as far as practicable, performance of the functions of the Commission. It has now been at work for some weeks and is making good progress.

Sir Allan Knight, C.M.G., the Chairman of the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission, accepted an invitation to act as Chief Commissioner, and we are indeed fortunate to have the services of such a distinguished engineer and administrator. The Australian Government nominated as Associate Commissioner, Mr E. G. Warrell, M.C.E., F.I.E., presently Chairman of the Cities Commission, and the Tasmanian Government nominated Mr B.J. Donnelly, Bachelor of Engineering, M.I.E., who retired last year from the position of Director of Public Works. Both the Assoiate Commissioners are outstanding engineers and have a wealth of experience of works administration.

I regard these arrangements as an excellent example of close and fruitful co-operation between the Australian Government and one of the States. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Garland) adjourned.

page 1539


In Committee

Consideration resumed.

Proposed new clause 29a.


– I move:

After clause 29, insert the following new clause: 29a. Section 90 of the Principal Act is amended-

by inserting in sub-section ( 1 ), after the words ‘each postal vote certificate’, the words ‘, other than a certificate referred to in sub-section ( 1a),’; and

by inserting after sub-section ( 1 ) the following subsection: (1a) The Divisional Returning Officer shall mark each postal vote certificate issued under section 88a in the manner prescribed. ‘. ‘.

This amendment is consequential upon amendment 2 1 which we debated earlier. I do not propose to say more than that-

Proposed new clause negatived.

Clauses 30 and 3 1- by leave-taken together.


-This is a matter relating to the postal votes which we debated to some extent earlier. The main clause, which is clause 30, seeks to omit a sub-section of section 92. The effect of the amendment will be that a postal voter will no longer be able to post or deliver his postal vote to a divisional returning officer other than the divisional returning officer for the division in respect of which he is enrolled. I think it is pointed out in the memorandum that it would create delay if the new proposal were incorporated into the Act, that is, that postal votes cannot be counted if they are received after the close of polling on polling day. I referred to that situation in an earlier debate. It is the strong view of the Opposition that the present situation should remain- that 10 days after polling closes is an acceptable period for a postal vote to be received and counted. The arguments used in favour of this are consequent upon the change which the Government proposes. In our view it is an undesirable change. We oppose this clause believing that all divisions should be capable of receiving postal votes for other divisions; that it is part of the facilities, the rights, and the convenience that should be allowed to citizens; that to pass this clause will again increase the postal votes which will be invalid because they cannot be included in the count; and that it will deny the opportunity to electors to have their votes recorded. Clause 31 is consequential and I will not add to it.

Northern Territory

– I would support the Opposition amendment. I am certain that the Chief Electoral Officer would know of the confusion and the disadvantage to which people have been put and were put during the October Legislative Assembly elections in the Northern Territory. At that time there were only 1 8 days- I may be wrong, there might have been more- between the closing of nominations and election day. In that time a person has to make an application for a postal vote and if he lives 5 miles from a polling booth the paper has to be posted out. Honourable members should bear in mind that when nominations close the printing of ballot papers and how-to-vote cards must then start and they have to be posted to various places. Not every place in Australia has mail delivery every day. I heard the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) say this evening- he is dead right- that since the Australian Labor Party has been running the Post Office it is likely to take a week to get an ordinary airmail letter from A to B. For instance, if I post a letter from where I live to my secretary in Darwin it can take a week to 10 days and there is a jet service every day. One place which faces this difficulty is Borroloola. There are any number of places which are more than 5 miles from a polling booth and in which the people are entitled to vote. They have a fortnightly mail service, but as a result of some of the actions of this Government this may not last much longer. So the cards could be going out by motor car, motor lorry or something, in which case it could take 6 months to get to places like Inverway, Argadargada and Lake Nash. There are Australian citizens in these places. The honourable member for Tangney (Mr Dawkins) may laugh. He probably comes from some city suburb. He looks as though he does.

I ask the Minister for Services and Property to bear in mind that I am speaking seriously and that this sort of thing has happened again and again and the Chief Electoral Officer knows it as do his representatives who have at times appeared in Darwin in an endeavour to run elections. There is sheer and utter confusion. It is an utter denial of the right of Australian citizens to cast a vote. This is what the Government is setting about in this clause and, I think, the subsequent clause. It is just not on. You cannot just bring in laws that will stop people from having the right to vote. It has been said in this place, I am certain by the Minister himself or by people of similar philosophy: ‘What does it matter? They do not vote for us anyhow. ‘ If that is the philosophy behind this clause and this Bill, as I said you are fiddling with the rights of the Australian people and that is absolutely unjust.

Clauses agreed to.

Clause 32.

Section 96 of the Principal Act is amended-

  1. by omitting the words ‘up to the end of the period of ten days immediately succeeding the close of the poll by him, or received up to the close of the poll by any other Divisional Returning Officer or any Assistant Returning Officer or presiding officer in pursuance of sub-section (2) of section ninety-two of this Act’, and substituting the words ‘by him up to the close of the poll,’; and
  2. by omitting from paragraph (b) the words ‘, and that the vote contained in the envelope was recorded prior to the close of the poll,’.

-Clause 32 is the one which had led to some debate on the postal voting procedure, but the matter is really so important that it must be gone over clearly in the context of this proposed section. The present system whereby a period of grace of 10 days after polling day is allowed for the receipt of postal votes by the relevant divisional returning officer of votes posted direct to him is seen by the Government as a major problem, especially in

Senate elections where under the proportional respresentation system the quota for an election cannot be determined nor can the counting progress until the exact number of formal votes is known. That is understandable because that is part of the proportional representation system which, as I say, was brought into the Parliament by the Chifley Government. The Government has indicated that at the last Senate election the quota was not known until more than 2 weeks after polling day and therefore senators could not be elected until 3 weeks after polling day.

The Government’s argument in respect of this clause and a number of others- those relating to postal votes and those relating to other matters, such as the reduction in the hours of polling and in other procedures- is that they are all aimed at getting a quicker result. We believe that there may be other unstated objectives than that; but let me deal with that matter. Surely it is more important to provide reasonable opportunities for Australians to vote than to get a quick result and surely it is more important to get an accurate result than to have speed as the major objective. Earlier a supporter of the Government seemed to be indicating that he thought that the result of an election should be known within a matter of four or five hours after polling ceases. That may be desirable to him. I think that the system in Australia, and in other countries in our situation in which government is handed over freely and constitutionally and in which the result of an election may not be known for some days, is one that can be easily accepted if one gets an accurate result, a true reflection of what the people want, and one makes reasonable provision for the people to vote. After all we have a compulsory system of voting which surely means that the Government and, indeed, the Parliament should be providing for conditions that make it reasonably easy for people either to vote under compulsion or to exert their rights as they happen to see the situation.

This clause provides that only postal votes received up to the close of the poll should be counted. The Government seeks to provide under this Bill that the poll close at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. We believe that that is an unnecessary restriction. I have already mentioned that. The Government is also wanting to restrict the time in which postal votes can be received. That is a very important restriction because although 10 days may seem to be a long time to some and a short time to others there is often only about 21 days between the closing of the calling of nominations and polling day itself and, as I have said, the applications have to be made out and lodged and the ballot papers have to be printed and sent out in response to those applications. They have to go out in the mail to the people for filling in and sending back. That takes time. To try to squeeze that procedure into a period of less than 21 days- perhaps three or four days- is quite unreasonable. We believe that the present period of 10 days is the best solution. In fact, not a great number of seats is left swinging in the balance because of postal voting although there are certainly some. In the last election there were some, but that did not affect the functioning of the Government. It rarely will. In any case there is a well established constitutional practice under our system, which we inherited from the British, for the outgoing government to continue to governperhaps it can get a new commission as a caretaker government; that can happen under certain conditions- until the incoming government is ready to take over. The important thing, surely, is to ensure that the people who live in remote areas. those who are ill and those who are travelling have a fair opportunity to lodge a vote and then have it counted and not treated as invalid and ruled out of order. That is our substantial objection to this provision.

Earlier I referred to the deadline for application for postal votes and to one or two connected provisions. These provisions could result in a significant number of postal voters being disenfranchised. The number could be checked easily. I have no doubt that records are kept of the number of postal votes received. One could check on what percentage of people will be disenfranchised by such a change in the law. What is the purpose of it really? It cuts out people who should be able to vote. It does not improve procedures or the effect of procedures very much at all. One honourable member in discussing this matter on an earlier clause said, when commenting on my remarks about people in remote regions: ‘After all, they have plenty of notice’. That is what he said. If he does not recall it, he may read it in Hansard. It is not a question of notice.

Mr Young:

– Whom are you talking about?


– I am talking about the honourable member. It is a question of people having the ballot papers in their hands and getting them back to the polling booths. It is not a question of how much notice they have. That is the position. It may not occur in Port Adelaide. As a matter of fact it does not occur in my electorate but it occurs in many important regions of Australia. Really the arguments that the honourable member for Port Adelaide used just disclose a very partisan outlook. What I am saying is that remoteness is an important exception to make. Registers are not needed for all the other areas or fields to which the honourable member referred- certainly everyone would agree vith that- but there is a need for some recognition of the difficulty some people have in casting valid votes. Several of the provisions of the Bill mitigate against that, and one can only think that they deliberately do so, on the ground that somehow or other it will help the counting. The counting is important. It is important to have it reasonably efficient, but it is more important that people should have a reasonable chance to cast their votes and to have them counted.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Arm it age) - Order! Does the honourable member wish to move an amendment? I do not think I heard him do so.


-You are quite right, Mr Deputy Chairman. I formally move.

Omit the clause, substitute the following clause: ‘32. Section 96 of the Principal Act is amended-

  1. by inserting after the word ‘ballot-papers’ (first occurring) the words ‘and all applications for registration under section 88A ‘; and
  2. by omitting from paragraphs (a) and (b) the words ‘application for the certificate’ and substituting the words ‘relevant applications.’.
Port Adelaide

-Firstly, I do not recall having said that people in remote areas have plenty of time in which to get their ballot papers. I have a far better understanding of the way in which elections are conducted in this country than to make such a statement. I served my apprenticeship in remote areas. I know about these areas, in spite of the views that may be held by the honourable member of the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) about where we all come from. I come from the city, and if I look like I do I apologise to the honourable member for the Northern Territory.

Mr Calder:

– If the cap fits wear it.


-I do not mind the cap fitting at all. I feel quite honoured to serve a city electorate. The Government is doing so much to assist city electorates. Those people who are crying about the system never seem to try to dissect the differentials between those who may be entitled to postal votes and those who are not; nor do they try to dissect those sections of the community which in total are entitled to postal votes. We are not talking about just those who may live further than 5 miles from a polling booth. We are also talking about the manner in which people canvass the votes of the sick and the elderly. Should an election be forced again this year in the quite undemocratic fashion in which it was forced in 1974, and should postal voting be conducted in the way in which it has been conducted in the past, one can just imagine the role that will be played by the majority of doctors throughout Australia, in the light of their attitude to Medibank in trying to refuse the benefits of Medibank not only to all Australians but specifically to the 1 250 000 people who are not at present covered by health insurance. One can understand the role that will be played by doctors in the forcing of postal votes at any future election that may be conducted. Nevertheless, there will not be an election before the introduction of Medibank, and Medibank will be well accepted when the next election is conducted.

How can people justify what happened in 1974 when we all sat around twiddling our fingers to see who was going to govern this country? It is not just a question of what people are entitled to do under the laws about getting a postal vote. In a nursing home of 30, 40 or 50 people one only has to mention the word ‘vote’ and the whole place goes into turmoil, because elderly people become very concerned that they may have done something wrong or that they have forgotten to do something. People in hospitals are continually being barraged by representatives of the various candidates and the various political parties who are offering to assist them to obtain a postal vote.

The honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) said that we on the Government side of the chamber take a partisan approach. I think we are taking quite a bipartisan approach, because each candidate- especially those of us who have won our way here eventually- knows how best this system can be manipulated. The honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) knows that very well. One only has to look at the increase in postal voting in his electorate to see how well he is setting up a register of postal voters in his electorate. The honourable member for the Northern Territory gets an 84 per cent postal vote in the Northern Territory, which I think speaks volumes for the type of assistance and the type of expertise that is provided to him by the electoral office. Sometimes the volume of postal voting may depend upon how much notice of the election is given. In 1972 a great deal of notice of the election was given. People knew within a week or two when the election was going to be conducted. But in the Northern Territory when very little notice was given of the 1974 election- no one could have considered that the Senate was going to be so stupid as to block a money Bill- the postal voting in the Northern Territory increased by more than 12 per cent. So postal voting facilities were available to those people who wanted to use them. Surely we do not have to sit around for 10 days hoping that we can think up some methods by which we can manipulate the system in order to get a few more votes if at the conclusion of the counting on polling night we find that there is only a handful of votes between the candidates. I suggest to the House that this clause gives a reasonable opportunity for the Parliament to improve efficiency and the implementation of our electoral laws.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage)- I call the honourable member for Lilley.

Motion (by Mr Daly) agreed to:

That the question be now put.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The question now is: ‘That the clause proposed to be omitted stand part of the Bill’.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 33 to 37- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 38.

Section 106 of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section substituted:- ‘ 106. In printing the ballot-papers to be used in a House of Representatives election-

  1. the order of the names of the candidates on the ballot-papers shall be determined as follows:-

    1. the Divisional Returning Officer shall, at the place of nomination, immediately after the close of nominations and before all persons present, make out in respect of each candidate a slip bearing the name of the candidate, enclose each slip in a separate blank envelope of exact similarity and deposit the several envelopes in a locked ballot-box;
    2. the Divisional Returning Officer shall then shake and rotate the ballot-box and shall permit any other person present, if he so desires, to do the same;
    3. the ballot-box shall then be unlocked and an officer of the Australian Public Service, other than the Divisional Returning Officer, shall take out and open the envelopes from the ballot-box one by one; and
    4. the candidate whose name appears on the slip enclosed in the envelope first taken from the ballot-box shall be placed first on the ballotpapers, the candidate whose name appears on the slip enclosed in the envelope next taken from the ballot-box shall be placed next on the ballotpapers and so on until the placing of all the names has been determined;
  2. where a candidate has specified a former name or former names in a declaration made in pursuance of sub-paragraph (iii) of paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) of section 73, the former name or former names shall be printed after the name of that candidate;
  3. where similarity in the names of 2 or more candidates is likely to cause confusion, the names of those candidates may be arranged with such description or addition as will distinguish them from one another; and
  4. a square shall be printed opposite the name of each candidate.’.

-The Government proposes by clause 38 that in the House of Representatives election a draw be made by the divisional returning officer to determine the order in which the names of candidates are to be printed on the ballot papers. Such a draw would eliminate the deliberate selection of candidates whose surnames begin with a letter high in the alphabet so as to gain political advantage over the other candidates. The Opposition opposes this clause. We recognise that some argument can be made in favour of it, but we think on balance that the method of listing the candidates alphabetically which is in operation at present -it has been in operation, as far as I know, since the beginning of the Federation- is the best method and ought to be retained. The Government Party has a disposition to believe that all change represents reform. In its view the number of Bills dealt with by the Parliament represents the amount of good work being done, and that the number of words spoken and so on represents progress. So it is, I think, with this clause. The Government regards it as a reform because present arrangement is to be changed. I think the results of our elections show that people have enough intelligence to determine which candidates on the ballot paper they want. I have referred to the particularly low percentage of invalid votes. It is pretty clear that the number of votes that a candidate and a party get are rather closely related to polls which are taken, and we think that the present system at least is one to which people are accustomed. There is some certainty about it. It removes the lottery element, to which I know members of the Labor Party were very much opposed in another connection some while ago. There is no need for this change to take place.

Another proposal in this clause relates to candidates who see fit to change their name shortly before an election and presumably use that name to give them some advantage or perhaps even to embody a slogan. I think that has happened in one or two cases. In any case, we agree with what the Government proposes in the relevant parts of clause 38, and the amendment which I propose to move maintains them. I move:

Omit the clause, substitute the following clause:

Section 106 of the Principal Act is amended-

by inserting after paragraph (b) the following paragraph: - (ba) where a candidate has specified a former name or former names in a declaration made in pursuance of sub-paragraph (iii) of paragraph (a) of sub-section ( 1 ) of section 73, the former name or former names shall be printed after the name of that candidate; ‘; and

by omitting from paragraph (d) the words ‘except as otherwise provided by the regulations,’.”.

Those parts of the clause as proposed by the Government are in effect reinstated by the amendment I have moved, but the other part has been deleted.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– I do not see anything sinister in this proposal. It has become accepted practice in everything from cricket clubs to politics to draw for positions on the ballot papers when elections are being held as it is felt that that brings a degree of fairness because there are those who might vote straight down the ticket. In Senate elections the candidates draw for positions. There are a number of purposes in this. Personally, I am a bit opposed to this proposition. I have a name which starts very high in the alphabet. No doubt I have much to lose by this proposal.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage) -So have I.


– The Deputy Chairman, Mr Armitage, would not be a superenthusiast in support of the proposal. But as a fair-minded citizen he realises the substance in it. This brings the procedure into line with what is happening in another place in the draw for positions. There is no doubt at all that there have been deliberate selections of candidates whose names begin with letters high in the alphabet for the purpose of getting what is known as the donkey vote. It is estimated to be worth up to 3 per cent on an average which could put some people in or out quite comfortably. Some people have changed their names to ‘Aa’ and done other things like that in order to get a high position on the ballot paper. Without labouring the matter too far, I do not see that this is not a normal procedural advance in order to give fairness to the electoral system.

To oppose this proposition, for reasons which I think the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) did not in any way justify, seems to me to be opposing it for the sake of opposition. This brings the method into line with that of the Senate and of practically every other place where a vote is held. We now have the position that we in this House are elected on a system in relation to positions on the ballot paper which is different from that covering those who sit in the other place. This proposal would prevent manipulation of the ballot paper. It would also prevent people changing their names exclusively for this purpose. It would give all comers a fair go. Some of those who seek electoral reform say we should go further. A big section of the Australian public wants a circular ballot paper to overcome the things which we believe can be overcome by drawing for a position on the ballot paper. I think 9 out of 10 Australians would think this is a reasonable proposition. I cannot see why it is opposed by honourable members opposite.


-I agree entirely with the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) in the remarks he has just made about the advantages to be gained by those whose names start with A, B, C, etc. I entirely disagree with the remarks of the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) that there is not much difference between this proposition and the present arrangement. I think the honourable member for Curtin is pulling his own leg, and he knows it only too well. Every newspaper in Australia accepts the fact that there is a donkey vote. Every person associated with every divisional returning office throughout Australia accepts the fact that there is a donkey vote. I shall give some illustrations. I prepared a paper on this. Many years ago as an Opposition member I submitted an amendment. Let me give the Committee some illustrations which I think must carry some weight in regard to the argument which I intend to put. In 1955 in- the electorate of Banks in New South Wales a Communist Party candidate named Clancy who was well known in New South Wales was on top of the ballot paper. Eric Costa, an Australian Labor Party candidate, was No. 2 on the ballot paper. Clancy polled 3,300 votes out of a total of approximately 41 000 formal votes.

In 1958 when Clancy was not on top of the ballot paper and when approximately 49 000 people voted because of an expanding area he polled 1 700 votes. In my electorate of Watson, which I represented for 14 years, in 1961 a Miss Nappa was the Australian Democratic Labor Party candidate. She was not on top of the ballot paper. On that occasion I was. Incidentally I have been on top only 3 times in 9 elections. Miss Nappa was well known in sections of my electorate in 1961.

Mr Young:

– What was her name?


– Miss Nappa. She used to belong to the Labor Party. She was well known in the electorate.

Mr Young:

– Was she a local?


– Stop interjecting for a moment. She had workers at the booths. She had manifestos. She had stickers on posts everywhere. She got 1200 votes. In 1963 another DLP candidate was on the top of the ballot paper. He did not put out any bills or manifestos or have any workers, yet he received 2300 votes because his name was on the top of the ballot paper. Anybody who says that there is no advantage in a candidate’s name being on the top of the ballot paper is pulling his own leg. That principle is accepted in schools of political science. It is accepted by every newspaper in Australia. It is accepted by every district returning officer in Australia. It is accepted everywhere. Why should a person whose name starts with A have an advantage over a person whose name starts with W, Y or Z?

If honourable members wish to look at this matter closely they should read the speech of Mr Abbott. I am going back prior to World War II when the voting system for the Senate was changed. Mr Abbott made a speech on that occasion and suggested that the system for the House of Representatives should be changed to be the same as that for the Senate, but for some unknown reason the system was adopted only for the Senate. Since then, all candidates names on ballot papers for the House of Representatives have been in alphabetical order. As the Minister mentioned, some people have even changed their names to get on the top of the ballot paper.

In Queensland a candidate submitted his name for the electorate of Mount Gravatt, which was represented by Felix Dittmer before he became a senator. For some unknown reason the candidate pulled out of the election the day after nominations closed and said that he was not a candidate. It was too late to scratch his name off the ballot paper. Despite the fact that he was not contesting the election he polled 150 votes because bis name was on the top of the ballot paper. Yet we have a person saying that there is no advantage in a candidate ‘s name being on the top of the ballot paper. Of course there is an advantage. Every person in Australia knows that there is an advantage. Why should any person have an advantage over another just because of the alphabetical system? A draw out of the hat should be made, as mentioned by the Minister for Services and Property.


-I will be very brief. One need only ask why someone whose name is drawn out of the hat and is placed on the top of the ballot paper should have the same advantage as a person whose name is placed on the top of the ballot paper because of the alphabetical system. I did not say that there was not an advantage to be gained by a candidate’s name being on top of the ballot paper; I am talking about the order in which the names are placed on the ballot paper. I am saying that it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 39 (The polling).


-This clause seeks to reduce the duration of polling from 12 hours to 10 hours. It seeks to close polling booths at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. I suppose there is not a great deal to be said on this, except that it will restrict the hours of voting for people who are obliged by legislation to vote. We think the change ought not to be made because electors should be given as much chance as possible to lodge their vote at polling places. Some people will be inconvenienced. I think all members of the House know that many people vote between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. They also know that some people, because of their religious beliefs, do not wish to vote when the sun is up. We think that in this pluralistic society that consideration ought to be weighed also. I do not think the people to whom I have referred are insignificant in number and therefore should be expected to lodge a postal vote, particularly under the proposed restricted facilities for postal votes. But I repeat that because they have the right to vote and ought to vote and also because they are compelled to vote under law, the 12-hour voting period ought to be maintained. The Opposition opposes this clause which seeks to reduce the polling period from 12 hours to 10 hours.


– If the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) is going to raise the question of religious groups being denied the right to vote I would suggest that he check his facts fairly carefully. He is totally out of order and quite incorrect. I assume he is referring to orthodox Jews -

Mr Garland:

– No.


-They could not vote from sun-up to sundown. This matter was raised by opponents of the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Riordan) during the last election. Because of daylight saving orthodox Jews are not able to vote in elections held in December because sundown then occurs at 8.30 to 9 p.m. They would not be able to vote anyhow even under the provisions in the existing legislation. I have noticed that a few people who did not bother to check their facts quite outrageously tried to exploit this situation as if what the Government was proposing was some form of restriction of the right of orthodox Jewry to vote.

Most of the people who are now in this situation know that they are unable to vote and they cast a postal vote beforehand. I assumed that the honourable member for Curtin was repeating what had been raised in the last election campaign. If that is not correct I withdraw any suggestion that he was trying to exploit the situation.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 40.

After section 1 13 of the Principal Act the following section is inserted:- 113a.5(1) Where a hospital is a polling place, the presiding officer may make arrangements with an appropriate person, or appropriate persons, on the staff of the hospital for the votes of patients in the hospital or in part of the hospital to be taken in accordance with this section.

  1. ) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act: -

    1. a polling booth shall not be provided at a special polling place; and
    2. votes may be taken under this section at a special polling place at such time or times as the presiding officer determines, being a time or times between 8 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening on polling day or on one or more of the S days preceding polling day, and at no other time.

– I move:

In proposed new section 113A(5)(b), omit ‘6’, substitute ‘8’.

This clause is consequential upon the earlier clause. I have formally moved the amendment and I will not further add to it.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 41 agreed to.

Clause 42.

Section 1 15 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting sub-sections (1) and (2) and substituting the following subsections:

  1. 1 ) The presiding officer-

    1. shall put to every person claiming to vote ( not being an elector enrolled by virtue of section 4 1 a) the following questions: -
    1. Is your real place of living within the Division of (here state the name of the Division in respect of which the elector claims to vote )?
    2. (if the question numbered (i) is answered in the negative)- Was your real place of living at any time within the last 3 months within the Division of (here state the name of the Division in respect of which the elector claims to vote )?

    3. may, and at the request of any scrutineer shall, also put to any person claiming to vote all or any of the following questions: -
    1. Have you already voted either here or elsewhere in this election (or in these elections, as the case requires)?
    2. Are you of the full age of 1 8 years?
    3. Have you the status of a British subject?
    4. Are you qualified to vote? and

At the end of paragraph (a) of proposed sub-section (1) add the following sub-paragraph: ‘(iii) Have you already voted either here or elsewhere in this election (or in these elections, as the case requires)?’

Omit sub-paragraph (iii) of paragraph (b) of proposed sub-section ( 1 ).

These amendments involve the questions that are asked of electors when they present themselves to vote, and in particular the question: ‘Have you already voted either here or elsewhere in this election’ or ‘these elections’, as the case requires. The Opposition believes that this question is one that ought to be made mandatory. I am advised that in practice this question is seldom put. I have seldom heard it put because it has been considered unnecessary or inappropriate. Now that we have the Bill before us and the Act is open for amendment the Opposition believes that this change ought to be made. I have moved that, and the consequent amendment.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 43 and 44- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 45 (Marking of votes in Senate election.)


-Clause 45 concerns the proposed optional preference voting system and, of course, is a major and some would say the major proposal contained in this Bill. The Opposition is strongly of the view that it ought not to be imposed on the people of Australia. Many of the arguments, of course, have been canvassed in this debate and on other occasions. I believe that a full preferential system is the fairest. It is a simple system but it is the fairest because every voter has the opportunity to express a preference between the 2 most favoured candidates. Unless one candidate receives half of the votes to begin preferences must be distributed. They are distributed and candidates are eliminated until someone has a majority. In many cases those receiving fewer votes are eliminated before the determination between the 2 most favoured candidates is arrived at.

Every voter in an election under our present system has a say in that final decision. I know that points can be made for and against all voting and counting systems but on balance this is a simple system. It is a system which we have had for a long time and, I believe, it has produced the best results. The Opposition opposes this clause which in effect establishes the optional preference system as a method for marking ballot papers for Senate elections and House of Representatives elections. It is difficult to follow the arguments that are put by the Government in this matter. I listened to the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) during the second reading debate a few hours ago. He made as many misrepresentations as he could in favour of his case. But surely we must ask ourselves: Why is change necessary? What is the motive behind this proposed change of the Government. We know that it is not very long ago the Australian Labor Party had a different policy. Its policy was first past the post voting. Many people believe that the system proposed now by the Government comes very close to first past the post voting. Many believe that this proposal is a step along the way. That system is quite unfair. The people of Australia realised it was unfair. First past the post voting was apparently dropped from the Australian Labor Party policy when it was realised that it was unacceptable to the Australian people.

The Government has now suggested a compromise. Why is it necessary? Why do we need these far-reaching changes to the voting system and to the counting system. Is the present system so unjust? After all, the Government was elected twice in recent years under the present system. Both sides of the House have been elected under the present system. It cannot be too unjust or too unfair or obviously that result would not have been achieved. In fact, the present Labor Government won the last election with 49 per cent of the votes of this country. The Government has sometimes attempted to argue that this proposal will result in a quicker count. There cannot be any quickness about the Senate count which is where the greater amount of time is taken. After all, for most House of Representatives seats the number of candidates is relatively small and the time taken for the count, relatively speaking, is usually quite short. Then again, the people are forced to vote. I believe that it is their right to vote and that it should be availed of by them. Nevertheless, the high percentage of voters is the result of the compulsion on them. A small fine for not voting achieves a 92 per cent or 93 per cent vote in most areas.

This system has been operating for some time. I see no need to change it. It is simple. The intelligence of the Australian people is such that they are able to number ballot papers in many cases from one to three or from one to four. What happened in the Senate at the last Federal election has been cited as though it will become a regular feature of elections. I am sure that it is not. I refer to the fact that in New South Wales there were 73 candidates on the ballot paper for the last Senate election. The vast majority of people not only followed the ballot paper to the end accurately but clearly expressed their choice. I would like anyone to tell me if he thinks the result was any different from what was expected from an analysis of the polls. I ask the honourable member for Port Adelaide whether the result of the election was any different from what he expected a few days before the election. I believe, and I understand that most Australians whose view can be interpreted from the gallup polls on the subject also believe that the preference system of voting is the better one, the fairer one and the simpler one.

Indeed, I notice that the instructions that are given on how to vote in the proposed scheme are far more complicated than those in the scheme that we have at present. I will perhaps come to that later on in an amendment. There are almost twice as many words and it is much more difficult to follow. I suppose that this will be a feature of it and that people who go through it for the first time will have to try to unravel it. But informal votes, a feature of the proposed system which has been emphasised by the Prime Minister, were equally as high in the Senate when voting was voluntary. So if that is any criterion we cannot expect the percentage of informal votes to drop very much. The low percentages of informal votes at the moment are remarkably good. They are the result of the literacy in this country and, I think, the people’s intelligence and understanding of the political process. It is fair enough to make things as simple as possible, but I think it is somewhat insulting to assume that the matter can be simplified further to include the votes of a significant number of people who supposedly are not casting valid votes at present.

I am sure that many honourable members have scrutineered election counts, not in elections at which they have been candidates but at other elections. They will know that a high percentage of informal votes come from blank ballot papers. So, clearly people have either given up or wilfully put them in the ballot box in that way. It is their right to do so if they wish, but it does not indicate to me that such people cannot understand the system. It may indicate that they do not wish to co-operate. We have all spoken to enough people in our electorates to know that there are a percentage of such people about. The Opposition believes that this move would be a retrograde step. It does not help. It is suggested that there are other motives behind it, but I will not go into that on this occasion. I merely express the Opposition ‘s opposition to the proposal.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

- Mr Temporary Chairman, I wish to raise a point of procedure with the honourable member for Curtin. I suggest that as clauses 45 to 52 are all covered in the amendments and are all related to the matter that he has just spoken on, we can take one vote on his amendments numbered 32 to 39.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Martin) -Is the honourable member for Curtin agreeable to that procedure? The Minister is suggesting that a vote be taken on the honourable member’s amendments numbered 32 to 39 which deal with clauses 45 to 52 and clauses 65 on the basis that basically they deal with the same question.

Mr Garland:

– I am happy with that.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage)The question then is that clauses 45 to 52 be agreed to.

Port Adelaide

-Again in keeping with the feeling of the Committee I will make my remarks brief becuse most of what can be said on this subject has already been said in the presentation of this Bill on the first occasion in November last year and again today in the second reading debate. What we are looking at now is the comparison of systems that may be applicable in different arenas- of politics. There are people who would charge that we on this side are being inconsistent or are applying double standards because the system we use amongst 60, 70 or 80 people in the Parliamentary Labor Party or in the State branches of the ALP is not what we are proposing for the people of Australia. That is easily answered. There is a great difference between the 60 or 100 people who know each other intimately- and the 7 million people voting for 700 or 800 candidates whom they do not know.

All politicians should be acutely aware of how little they are known in their electorates. The highest figure I have ever seen for how well known a politician is was about 45 per cent; that is, 45 per cent of the electorate knew their member of Parliament. I do not say this in any derogatory way at all but it was a very high figure. Forty-five per cent of the electorate in a poll we once conducted knew the former member for Adelaide, Andrew Jones. Normally a member of Parliament would be expected to be known by 15 per cent to 25 per cent of his electorate 25 per cent if he is working very hard in his electorate and 15 per cent if he is putting out an occasional letter. So the vast majority of people not only do not know their member but also there is very little likelihood that they have ever heard, unless they are active in their particular political Parties, of his opponent. So if we add to that recipe a group or groups of political Parties that may be trying to manipulate the system we come up with a voting pattern which gives a result other than that intended by the Australian electorate. As I said a little earlier in the day, this is not innuendo. This is fact.

A group in Sydney called the Independent Political Research Organisation thoroughly researched the pattern of informal voting and concluded that for every candidate over 40 who might stand for the Senate in New South Wales we could expect an increase in the informal vote of 0.5 per cent and that 80 per cent of those people would be intending Labor voters. It is not true to say that in 1974 we had the usual informal vote. New South Wales becomes the critical area of analysis in looking at the manner in which the system can be manipulated. It had 73 candidates for the Senate and a 12.3 per cent informal vote in the whole State. In other words, 12 per cent of its people were not being represented in the Senate. As I said earlier, had their votes been formal or had the informal vote for the Senate election paralleled the informal vote for the House of Representatives election there can be no doubt that the Labor Party in New South Wales would have won 6 positions in the Senate. So we got a result in New South Wales that was not intended by the electorate by virtue of these people manipulating the system and because people did not know their candidates or teams.

In addition- and one could expect this of the Liberal Party- the highest informal vote in New South Wales happens to be among the migrant groups. In other words, they are the people who are being penalised most. If we look at division after division in New South Wales we will find that the informal vote is highest where there is the highest concentration of migrants, and this is because political Parties ignore the spending of money on avenues that may be of influence in the migrant communities, or cannot afford it. According to the observations made earlier in the campaign we did get a high formal vote. People were predicting a 25 per cent, 30 per cent or 40 per cent informal vote. But the major political Parties in the meantime spent fortunes trying to educate the community how to vote from 1 to 73. A larger portion of their budgets was spent on that aspect of the campaign than had ever been spent before.

The electorate of Sydney, which has a high concentration of migrants, had a 20 per cent informal vote at the 1974 Senate election. Not only is the Opposition justifying this but it also wants to see it continued. Why does the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) predict that it will not happen again? At the next election if the Liberal Party promises to put up the price of oil it could expect a couple of million dollars from its development friends and mining companies. It would be worth its while spending $50,000 to put up 50 additional candidates for the Senate, because it knows that in some way that may affect the formal vote intended for the Australian Labor Party.

The honourable member for Curtin says that the Australian people reject first past the post voting. My own view is that they do not; that they would accept overwhelmingly first past the post voting. Most people want to vote exclusively for the person they want to represent them. If they are highly sophisticated in their political attitudes or their following of politics in their electorate or their State they might be able to follow the ballot through to the first preferences, which we are giving them the opportunity to do. But no one can tell me that with lists of 10, 12, 20 or 70 candidates people anywhere in Australia are able to follow that through rationally. But people are sitting in this Parliament because of preferences well down the list, If people, especially the migrant community, want to vote for just the person they know or the person they want to represent them, under this legislation they can do so, and where people want to vote down the complete list they can do so.

I can understand the conservative attitudes of the honourable members who sit opposite but I have also had the opportunity over the past years of looking at the most conservative political chamber in Australia- the South Australian Legislative Council. Honourable members will all be pleased to know that next March the election for the South Australian Upper House will be based on proportional representation and also on optional preferential voting. So the people will be able to identify their team and not go any further than they want in voting or they may vote for 2 teams. Whilst Senator Hall may still give the Opposition some trouble next year even the Legislative Council in South Australia has made that step forward. I suggest in all seriousness that honourable members opposite ought to adopt the same attitude.


-The Opposition very definitely opposes the principle of optional preferences because it is a definite inducement to accept what the Government has not been able to get the people to accept, and that is first past the post voting. I remind the Government that it has always been keen on relating the percentage of votes cast to the percentage of seats won. Many times it has been quite unfair when it has compared seats won to the percentages of votes cast. I point out to the Government what could well happen under first past the post voting and indeed optional preference voting, which is a step along the way.

I think we have a first class example of this in Britain where we see that a Labour candidate may get 36 per cent or 37 per cent of the vote and the Liberal candidate and the Conservative candidate split the rest of the votes. In fact, 63 per cent of the electorate may vote against the Labour candidate yet because he is the first past the post he wins. If the Government were consistent it would realise that the Liberal Party, for instance, in the United Kingdom can poll millions of votes and yet win almost no seats. There is no relationship at all between the percentage of votes cast for the party and the number of seats won by it.

That is the sort of thing that happens under first past the post voting. It is the sort of thing that would happen under optional preference voting because I believe that that is an inducement to the people to accept first past the post voting- something that has been rejected, and rejected decisively, in the past. Some States will not accept it. We could well have the situation where Commonwealth elections could be decided on the basis of first past the post or optional preference voting and State elections decided on preferential voting. Of course this system can benefit nobody but the members of the Government Party. I think they would be honest enough to admit that fact. We believe that it militates against the operation of the democratic vote and we reject it.

Mr McKenzie:
Diamond Valley · ALP

– I disagree with what the honourable member for Fisher (Mr Adermann) has said. I believe that this system is in the best interests of the people. I will not canvass the reason that the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr

Young) put before the Committee because I think he covered this matter very adequately. The situation is that at the moment a lot of people are being deprived of a vote because of the system under which they vote. The Australian Country Party of course is a past master at making use of the present system. The present system of preferential voting was brought in by Prime Minister Billy Hughes at the behest of the Country Party after he had left the Labor Party in 1919 to organise votes in the interests of the conservative parties by ganging up and exchanging preferences.

This clause does not prevent people expressing a preference and optional preferential voting has nothing to do with first past the post voting. It is my understanding that the Labor Party has no policy in regard to first past the post or any other system of voting. So I am expressing a personal opinion when I say that I believe that the best kind of voting system for Australia and for this chamber and the system that would give the most flexibility would be a combination of optional preferential voting and proportional representation. Under that system we would have a proper expression of opinion and less informal votes as far as single member constituency candidates are concerned. We would also enable minority groups in the community to be represented without their being able to use political blackmail by using a balance of power. That is my personal preference.

A step along the way would be to give the people of Australia the opportunity to express a preference if they wish. That is the intention of this clause. Surely no reasonable person would object to that. Political parties and candidates will still give out how to vote cards and if they want a preference to be expressed their supporters will express that preference by voting according to the party ticket. I cannot understand why the honourable member for Fisher is so concerned about the matter. I do not believe that this clause will change the present voting patterns nor lead necessarily to first past the post voting.


– I suppose that if in his heart of hearts the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) were completely candid about this legislation, he would agree with me that the real gravaman of this Bill is contained in clauses 45 and 46. If he had to lose every other clause in the Bill he would hang on to clauses 45 and 46 to the bitter end. I can tell by his reaction that he knows that what I am saying is the truth. It seems to me that the members of the Government are being totally obsessed by the 73 Senate candidates in New South Wales in the double dissolution election campaign last May. Those 73 people have really got to the members of the Australian Labor Party. In indulging in that fatal flaw of argument of going from the particular to justify the general I suppose that we have heard reference to these 73 Senate candidates in New South Wales about 100 times already during this debate. I think 50 of those mentions would have come from the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young).

It has been argued constantly, both during this debate and on the other occasion that this Bill was before the House, that it is wrong to compel people to extend their preference beyond the first preference to cast a formal vote. If it is wrong to compel people to extend their preference beyond the first preference I would like the Minister for Services and Property, when he speaks to this clause, to justify his Government’s commitment to a system of compulsory voting, because if it is wrong to compel people to do things when they vote, how can one possibly justify compelling people to vote? If the Government is worried about compulsion in the electoral system, it ought to go back to basics and concern itself with whether or not people ought to be compelled to vote at all. It has been pointed out by Government supporters that optional preferential voting is not a first step to first past the post voting. In a very quick statistical example I think I can establish that it is. I will take a sample electorate of 100 people and 3 candidates named Smith, Brown and Jones. Smith gets 41 primary votes, Brown gets 39 votes and Jones gets 20 votes, making a total of 100 votes. Under the present system, the preferences of the candidate with 20 votes, that is Jones, are distributed. Let us say that the other 2 candidates get 10 votes each. Smith ends up with 5 1 votes, which is an absolute majority, and Brown ends up with 49 votes. But with optional preferential voting, perhaps only 10 of the 20 people who voted for Jones had distributed their preferential beyond No. 1, so there are only 10 second preference votes to distribute. Let us say that five of those go to Smith and five of them go to Brown. Smith ends up with 46 votes and brown ends up with 44 votes. Under the optional preferential system the first candidate, Smith, wins with 46 of the 100 votes. If anyone can possibly argue that that is not another form of first past the post voting I do not think he is paying regard to logic.

The whole purpose of preferential voting is to be absolutely certain that when all the preferences have been counted, when all the votes have been counted, whoever wins can say that a majority of the people voted for him, either as a first preference or as a second preference. The great danger in having optional preferential voting is that, although superficially people will say that it is not first past the post voting, one can end up with a situation where a person wins without having a majority of the people voting for him either directly or through their second preference, and the example I have just quoted indicates that. It is all very well for those who apologise for optional preferential voting to say that people will have an option. The fact of the matter is that there will be a natural bias in the system towards people not extending their preference beyond No. 1. I am very intrigued about the form of the new Schedule, Form F, on page 34 of the Bill. It states:

Your vote must be made by placing the number 1 in the square opposite the name of the candidate for whom you vote as your first preference.

Note the mandatory words that you must fill in. one square. Then the next paragraph states:

If you so desire, you may, in addition, indicate the order of your preference . . .

It is very clear from the wording of this new Schedule that the bias is in favour of people not extending their preference beyond No. 1. This is a real gravamen of the Bill. Clauses 45 and 46 are the 2 critical clauses of the Bill. They are a thinly disguised form of first preference voting. I am quite prepared to have an argument with any Government supporter on the merits or otherwise of first preference voting. There are arguments that can be presented for first preference voting. But let nobody in this Committee delude himself that optional preference voting is anything but a first step towards first past the post voting. It denies the basic principle that we have at the moment, that whoever wins can, without fear of contradiction, say confidently that the majority of people who casted formal votes voted for him, either in their first preference or in their second preference. That is the ultimate test, and that is the test on which the Government’s proposition fails.


-When one studies this clause I think one can say with a lot of confidence that it is the most undemocratic clause in the Bill. In fact, it actually disfranchises at the first count all supporters of a candidate other than the 2 leading candidates, and this was pointed out by the 2 previous speakers. That is one of the reasons why I believe that this is a most undemocratic system. I challenge the Minister on this point. In his own Caucus, for instance, there is a form of exhaustive ballot to elect the various leaders of the Party. It is the closest thing to a preferential vote that I can think of. The other reason the Labor Party does want it is simple- the Labor Party has exhausted its support from other groups of people. It will never get Liberal Party preferences, it never gets Country Party preferences, it never gets Democratic Labor Party preferences and now even the Australia Party has given it away.

Consideration interrupted.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Armitage)Order! It being 10.30 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House I shall report progress.

Progress reported.

page 1551



– It being 10.30 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House of 1 1 July 1 974, 1 propose the question:

That the House do now adjourn.

Mr Daly:

- Mr Speaker, I require the question to be put forthwith.

Question resolved in the negative.

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In Committee

Consideration resumed.


– I was stressing that one of the reasons the Labor Government wants to introduce this optional preferential voting system is simply that the Labor Party now has realised that it no longer will be the beneficiary of preference votes. I explained that the Country Party, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Labor Party certainly will never give their preferences to a political party which supports the principle of socialism. Now we find that other organisations like the Australia Party are starting to run away from the Labor Party’s cause. It is pretty obvious to me and to honourable members on this side of the chamber why the Labor Party wants to introduce this clause. I, like every other honourable member on this side of the chamber, will oppose the clause.

Minister for Services and Property · Grayndler · ALP

– Briefly I want to say that anyone who confuses optional preferential voting with first past the post voting does not understand any voting system. They are fundamentally different. Optional preferential voting for the Senate and the House of Representatives, particularly for the Senate, was in force in this country from 1919 to 1931. 1 would say that it is one of the most essential reforms required in the voting systems of Australia. The Labor Party policy is not first past the post voting, but I would not mislead honourable members by saying it is a policy that many thousands of people in this country want at the present time, particularly settlers from abroad who followed that system. Optional preferential voting is totally different. I will go so far as to say that irrespective of whether this is passed by this Parliament, it ultimately will come in because not one person in the 2 750 000 voters in New South Wales at the time of the Senate election in May voted intelligently or knew the candidates for whom he was voting. I defy the most intelligent person in this country to vote intelligently preferentially for 73 candidates, or in some cases for 7 or 10 candidates.

The Opposition should reconsider its position because the Leader of the Country Party (Mr Anthony) is on record as going for a form of optional preferential voting but for twice the number required to fill the vacancies. In its own way that was not a bad proposition. The honourable member for Wimmera (Mr King) has said that the Liberal Party and the Country Party will vigorously oppose this. The Liberal-Country Party Coalition Government introduced the optional preferential voting system of marking ballot papers for the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council election in 1959. The same system is used for the Papua New Guinea House of Assembly elections, also introduced by the Liberal-Country Party Coalition. The only reason that the Opposition is against it is that the Labor Party is introducing it now. Honourable members opposite know as well as I do that optional preferential voting would not change the result of one election in 100 years. The system is by no means new. It was in operation in Queensland many years ago and the record shows that the voting pattern did not change very much. I say to honourable members opposite that in the not far distant future this system will have to be introduced because the public demand for it will be tremendous. Newspapers throughout this country today are clamouring for this reform, as are the people. I suggest the honourable members opposite that they should not consider this matter on the basis of straight-out political opposition to what the Labor Party proposes but should seek to do for the Australian people what was done with respect to voting in the Australian Capital Territory and Papua New Guinea. Surely if this system is good enough for voters in those 2 areas, it ought to be good enough for the Australian public. I move:

That the question be now put.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Question put:

That clauses 45 to 52 be agreed to.

The Committee divided. (The Deputy Chairman-Mr J. L. Armitage)

AYES: 57

NOES: 53

Majority……. 4



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Clauses 53 to 56- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 57.

Section 1 64 of the Principal Act is amended-


-I move:

Omit paragraphs (c) and (d).

Sub-clauses (a) and (b) of this clause provide that sub-sections ( 1 ) and (2 ) of section 1 64 of the Act do not operate ‘after the close of the poll’ rather than ‘the return of the writs’, as at present. The Opposition agrees with that. Sub-clauses (c) and (d) remove the need for each article, report, letter, etc., published in a newspaper to be signed by the author when the newspaper contains a statement that the editor or proprietor will accept responsibility. The Opposition believes that each writer should be responsible for his writings. It is a simple question of putting the responsibility properly where it lies. The amendment seeks to confine it to the writer.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 58 to 60- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 61.

Section 170 of the Principal Act is amended by omitting the table and substituting the following table: -

Your vote must be made by placing consecutive numbers, beginning with the number 1, in the squares opposite the names of candidates so as to indicate the candidates for whom you vote and the order of your preferences for them. You must indicate the order of your preference for at least [here to be printed number of candidates to be elected] candidates. You may, if you wish, indicate the order of your preference for an additional candidate or candidates.

This means that you must use all the numbers [here to be printed 1,2, and so on up to the number of candidates to be elected] but may use additional consecutive numbers.


– I move:

In the second column of proposed table, omit ‘Fine not exceeding $100 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 1 month’, first appearing, substitute ‘Fine not exceeding $100’.

In the second column of proposed table, omit ‘Fine not exceeding $100 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 1 month’, second appearing substitute ‘Fine not exceeding $100’.

These 2 amendments seek to amend the proposed increases in penalties by removing the punishment of a prison sentence for electoral offences where that sentence is less than 3 months. The Opposition believes that a fine is a sufficient penalty for these relatively minor electoral offences. We believe that it is outdated and unnecessary to imprison persons for these offences. It is with that in mind that I moved the amendments which have the effect of removing any possibility of a prison sentence for persons committing these electoral offences.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 62 to 64- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 65.

The Schedule to the Principal Act is amended by omitting Forms A to F (inclusive) and substituting the following forms:-

FORME Section 104(1)


page 1553


[here to be printed the name of State]

Election of [here to be printed the number of Senators to be elected] Senators


FORM F Section 104 (2) and 105


page 1553


[here to be printed name of State]. Electoral Division of [here to be printed name of Division]. Election of one Member of the House of Representatives. Directions.

Your vote must be made by placing the number 1 in the square opposite the name of the candidate for whom you vote as your first preference.

If you so desire, you may, in addition, indicate the order of your preference for an additional candidate or candidates by using other numbers in numerical order beginning with the number 2. [*To be included only where there are more than two candidates].


– I move:

In proposed Form Eomit

Your vote must be made by placing consecutive numbers, beginning with the number 1, in the squares opposite the names of candidates so as to indicate the candidates for whom you vote and the order of your preferences for them. You must indicate the order of your preference for at least [here to be printed number of candidates to be elected] candidates. You may, if you wish, indicate the order of your preference for an additional candidate or candidates.

This means that you must use all the numbers [here to be printed 1, 2, and so on up to the number of candidates to be elected] but may use additional consecutive numbers. substitute- Mark your vote on this ballot-paper by placing the numbers [ here insert 1, 2, and so on, as the case requires] in the squares immediately to the left of the names of the respective candidates so as to indicate the order of your preference for them.

In proposed Form Fomit

Your vote must be made by placing the number 1 in the square opposite the name of the candidate for whom you vote as your first preference.

If you so desire, you may, in addition, indicate the order of your preference for an additional candidate or candidates by using other numbers in numerical order beginning with the number 2. [To be included only where there are more than two candidates.] substitute-

Mark your vote on this ballot-paper by placing the numbers [here insert “1 and 2” where there are two candidates, “1,2 and 3 “ where there are three candidates, “1,2,3 and 4” where there are four candidates, and so on .as the case requires] in the squares respectively opposite the names of the candidates so as to indicate the order of your preference for them.

Once again these are’ consequential amendments and I will not speak to them.

Amendments negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 66 to 76- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Schedule 1

SCHEDULE 1 Section66

page 1554


A- Formal Amendments

B- Amendments Relating to Penalties

The Principal Act is further amended as set out in the following table:-


-I move:

In Schedule l.Omit-

Section 109(1) . . Omit ‘Ten dollars’, substitute ‘$100 or imprisonment for 1 month’.

Substitute- Section 109(1) . . Omit ‘Ten dollars’, substitute ‘$100’.


Section 134 . . . Omit ‘Twenty dollars’, substitute ‘$250 or imprisonment for 3 months’.

SubstituteSection 134 .. . Omit ‘Twenty dollars’, substitute ‘$250’.


Section 176(1) . . Omit ‘Two hundred dollars’, substitute ‘$250 or imprisonment for 3 months’.

Substitute- Section 176(1) . . Omit ‘Two hundred dollars’, substitute ‘$250’.

These amendments are the final amendments and are consequential upon the earlier debate. I will not speak further to them.

Amendments negatived.

Schedule agreed to.

Remainder of Bill-by leave-taken as a whole, and agreed to:

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Third Reading

Bill (on motion by Mr Daly)- by leave- read a third time.

page 1554


Local Government in Australia

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:

That the House do now adjourn.


-Those members of the House of Representatives who are interested in local government must have been pleased this week to receive the Press release by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) to the effect that a special investigation is to be made into the problems of local government in Australia. This move has been supported by the Minister for Local Government in New South Wales, Sir Charles Cutler. Over the years many inquiries into the financing of local government have been held. They have been held by the various State governments and indeed there have been royal commissions into the financing of local government, but up to date there has been no real change in the method of financing local government. Rates are still fixed on the unimproved capital value of land and even the last royal commission which was presided over by Mr Justice Else-Mitchell did not really come up with anything new in this field.

The costs of local government today are extremely high. The wages of the administrative staff of councils, the materials which are used and transport costs have made it very difficult indeed for local government to carry on without imposing very high rates on the owners of land. Today, right throughout Australia ratepayers in shire and municipal council areas are screaming about the high rates that they have to pay in order to keep their local governing body in action. I know that the Federal Government has entered this field. Local government has been the preserve of the State governments but the present Federal Government has entered into this field and has made certain grants to local government authorities. The State governments make grants. There is a State government Grants Commission and there is a Federal Government Grants Commission. The Federal Government through the Department of Urban and Regional

Development is also making grants and through the regional councils, but even though assistance of this nature is being given to local government it still has not been able to reduce the rate structure. As a matter of fact, it is making it very difficult for shire clerks and town clerks to work out their financial agenda and their financial statements because they never know when these grants are going to be made. The only way in which they can prepare proper estimates is by knowing the amount of finance that will be made available at a given time. So they experience extreme difficulty in budgeting, even when these grants are made to them by the State and Federal governments. I point out also that the grants that are made by the Federal Government are not allowed as a deduction for rates. It is made very clear to local government that when a Federal Government grant is made under the Grants Commission it is made on the condition that it is not applied against rates. So there is no assistance in this respect in the alleviation of the rates burden.

The Federal Government takes millions of dollars out of the local government areas of Australia. I feel, together with my colleagues and other local government supporters, that the only way in which local government will receive any alleviation of the high rate structure is to receive a share of the taxation revenue of this country. That has to be made available to local government if it is to overcome the problem. I do not think that this money should be made available direct by the Australian Government. I think that it should be channelled through the departments of local government in the States. The various departments of local government in the States know best the needs and requirements of the various shires and municipalities under their control. They are the ones that should make the allocations from the grants made by the Federal Government. That would also permit the distribution of these funds to local government to be made in an economic manner because there would be no need for the Federal Government to have a tremendous staff working out what moneys should be made available to local government. As I have indicated, that could be done through the States. They know the requirements of the shires and municipal councils and they are the best ones to make the funds available. I feel strongly that the only way in which to assist to alleviate the abnormal rates that are being charged by local government to ratepayers is for the Federal Government to make money available to local government.

People thrughout Australia are finding it extremely difficult to meet their shire and municipal rate bill and local government throughout the Commonwealth is experiencing great financial problems. That is why I have submitted this suggestion to the Government for consideration. I think that the Minister for Urban and Regional Development is doing a splendid job. I think that he has the interests of local government at heart but I do feel that this is the only way in which to overcome this problem. I hope that some action will be taken along the lines I have mentioned.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 10.59 p.m.

page 1556


The following answers to questions were circulated:

Attorney-General’s Department: Grants for Programs (Question No. 1547)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. What programs does his Department or statutory authorities under his control administer which enable individual groups or people in the community to apply for grants from the Australian Government for a specific purpose.
  2. What is the name of each program.
  3. What is the purpose of each program.
  4. What are the conditions surrounding eligibility for a grant under each program.
  5. 5 ) When did each program commence.
  6. What is the legal authority for the existence of each program.
  7. How is the community informed of the existence of each program, and its entitlement to apply for a grant.
  8. How many applications for grants under each program have been received in each of the last 3 years or for the period of operation of the programs if it has been in operation less than 3 years.
  9. Who decides which applications for grants should be accepted.
  10. What percentage of applications for grants under each program have been successful in each of the last 3 years or in each of the years in which the program has been operating if it has been in operation for less than 3 years.
  11. What proportion of total funds allocated under each program in each of the last 3 years, or in each year the program has been operating where it has been in operation for less than 3 years, have been allocated to individuals as against groups.
  12. Are any attempts made to assess the extent to which the widest cross-section of the community is aware of the existence of the program, and the means by which applications can be submitted: if so, what attempts.
  13. What checks are made once applications are received for each program to determine if the attempts to widen access to the funds have been successful.
  14. Is he confident that the widest cross-section of the community is aware of the existence of the programs, and is aware of the application process.
  15. What procedures exist to assess the use to which the grants are being put, and to attempt some accountability for the money granted.
  16. What is the total amount that has been paid out under each program in each of the last 3 years or in each year of the operation of the program if it has been operating for less than 3 years.
  17. What is the total amount of money paid out for all such programs administered by his Department or authorities under his control.
  18. What attempts are made to ensure that the same individual organisations or persons do not receive several grants under different programs which he or other Ministers are responsible for and which, when added together, may be unwarranted.
Mr Enderby:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:


Grants by the Criminology Research Council from the Criminology Research Fund, pursuant to section 47 of the Criminology Research Act 1971.

Grants to approved marriage guidance organisations pursuant to section 9 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1959-1966.

Grants to legal aid organisations.

The remainder of this answer is set out in tabular form.

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Grants (Question No. 86)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Will he provide a list of all grants, to any organisation or individual, that are provided from moneys appropriated to his Department, or Authorities under his control, to undertake research.
  2. To what bodies have such moneys been advanced, and what was or is the nature of the research being undertaken as a result of the grants in each of the last three years.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) Yes, see below.
  2. Grants have been made to the following individuals and organisations for the purposes mentioned:

    1. One Urban Affairs Fellowship was awarded in 1973-74 to Dr Margaret Bowman of Monash University to undertake research with the Department on an analysis of local government functions throughout Australia. An allowance covering travelling and accommodation expenses incurred by the Fellow in carrying out her project was paid by my Department this amounted to $1,115.
    2. An amount of $1,000 was paid by the Cities Commission in June 1974 to Councillor P. Ritter of Western Australia to assist in the preparation of his publication ‘Encyclopaedia of Australian Planning. ‘
    3. An amount of $50,000 was given to the Australian Institute of Urban Studies in 1 973- 1 974 and a similar amount has been given to them for the current financial year. These moneys are not given for specific research projects but are a contribution towards the activities of the Institute.
    4. An amount of $15,000 has been made available to the Murray Valley Development League in each of the financial years 1 974-75 and 1 975-76 to defray the costs of
    5. obtaining additional research staff in the form of district development officers and
    1. general administrative expenses.
    2. An amount of $4,429 was paid in 1973-74 to Mr Kemter, a legal consultant who is preparing summaries of all legislation concerned with historic and environmental preservation. (0 The following projects were undertaken during the National Estate Program in 1973-74.


Project 14- Allocation to the New South Wales Government for the conduct by the State Planning Authority of a study of the historical aspects of Parramatta City Centre and its pan in the settlement and early development of Australia.

Grant: $3,500.


Project 3- Allocation to the Victorian Government for a study of old subdivisions and water pollution in the Dandenong Ranges. The scope of the survey has been proposed by the Public Interest Research Group (Victoria) and will be co-ordinated by the Town and Country Planning Board and local councils.

Grant: $20,000.

  1. Project 4- Allocation to the Victorian Government for a study of industrial ownerships on the west bank of the Yarra River in the Cities of Collingwood, Richmond and Northcote. The survey will be carried out under the direction of the councils involved and in consultation with the Victorian Town and Country Planning Board.

Grant: $10,000.

  1. Project 5- Allocation to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) for a study of 1 9th and early 20th century buildings in inner Melbourne. The survey will be conducted by the Committee for Urban Action.

Grant: $6,000

  1. Project 6- Allocation to the South Melbourne City Council for the assessment of conservation areas and for the development of preservation controls.

Grant- $10,000.

  1. Project 7- Allocation to the Fitzroy City Council for the assessment of conservation areas and the development of preservation controls.

Grant: $5,000


Project 2- Allocation to the South Australian Government for a conservation study of the Robe-Beachport-Coorong areas. This includes the coastline between Robe and Beachport, possibly extending to Gray, to connect to the Canunda National Park and also the surroundings of Lakes George, St Clair and Eliza. The area has three separate elements; the historic towns, the natural dune systems and bushland and the land which is privately owned.

Grant: $5,000.


Project 4- Allocation to the National Trust of Queensland for a study of the industrial archaeological site of Ravenswood. The 80 year old townscape of this former mining town remains intact. The study should determine the existence, condition and importance of all buildings in the town.

Grant: $10,000.


Allocation to the Municipality of Circular Head for a conservation study of the historic seaport of Stanley and adjacent scenic landscape, subject to appointment of consultants in consultation with the National Trust of Australia (Tasmania) and the Minister for Urban and Regional Development.

Grant: $5,000.

  1. Project 5- Allocation to the Municipality of Richmond as a contribution towards the cost of a conservation study of the historically important town of Richmond. The study is being subsidised by the Tasmanian Tourist Development Authority.

Grant: $2,000.

Government Advertising (Question No. 150)

Mr Lynch:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) What was the cost of the (a) attitudinal/motivational research and (b) advertising testing programs undertaken with respect to (i) the Health Insurance program, (ii) the Naional Savings program, (iii) the Emergency Telephone Interpreter Service program, (iv) the Army general enlistment program and (v) the Treasury Loans program since 1 January 1973.
  2. ) What were the names of the non-Government organisations involved in the programs, and what payments were made in each case.
Mr Morrison:

– The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. 1 ) (i) Australian Health Insurance Program

    1. Attitudinal/Motivational Research

ANOP Market Research carried out an attitudinal/motivational research project at a cost of $ 14,500.

Market Facts Pty Ltd had carried out a study along similar lines but in a simpler format and at a different time, at a cost of $1,880.

A payment of $ 1 ,000 was made to Spectrum International Marketing Services Pty Ltd, for an advertising effectiveness study.

  1. Advertising Testing Progam

ANOP Market Research have carried out an assignment pre-testing advertisements for the program and this research will cost $9,900.

  1. and (iii) Nil in all cases.
  2. Army General Enlistment Program

    1. Attitudinal/Motivational Research

Army GE program, arranged through George Kelly & Co. Pty Ltd at a cost of $16,000

Follow-up study, September 1974, through George Kelly & Co. Pty Ltd at a cost of $4,000

An in-depth attitudinal study of the Medical, Legal, Teaching and Engineering professions was carried out through George Kelly & Co. Pty Ltd in respect to Direct

Entry of these professions into the Defence Force at a cost of $5, 100.

A small research study among service members in the professions outlined above was carried out by Insight Advertising at a cost of $ 1 ,405.

A study on behalf of Service Colleges was conducted in September 1 973 by Michael Brownlee at a cost of $ 1 ,960.

  1. Advertising Testing Program

A study of post advertising attitudes was carried out in November 1974 by Masidan Research at a cost of $4,800.

  1. Treasury Loans Program
  2. Attitudinal/Motivational Research

ANOP Market Research have been commissioned to supply a syndicated report called ‘ANOP Continuous Savings and Investment Survey’ for 12 months from September 1974 at a cost of $1,000.

  1. Advertising Testing Program

An advertising testing project for the Treasury Loan Program was arranged through Market Facts Pty Ltd, at a cost of $750.

  1. The information required has been incorporated in the answer to pan ( 1 ) above.

Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 293)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration, upon notice:

Will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees, which have been established since 2 December 1972, of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

No. On 20 September 1973, my colleague, the Prime Minister, informed the right honourable gentleman in reply to a Question Without Notice about interdepartmental committees that, if he wished to know the composition and function of any particular Interdepartmental Committee, and for what period of time it had been active, the Prime Minister would be happy to provide him with that information (Hansard, page 1317).

I also refer the right honourable gentleman to the Prime Minister’s answer to his further Question Without Notice on this subject on 15 November 1973 (Hansard, pages 3373-4). If the right honourable gentleman wishes to have information about a particular committee on which my Department is represented, I will assist him as far as possible having regard to the Prime Minister’s answers to Question Nos 964 and 1057 (Hansard 27 September 1973, page 1714 and 24 October 1973, page 2665).

Land Development: Belmont Shire (Question No. 383)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. Which Government Departments are involved in the consideration of the development of 18 acres of land in the Belmont Shire in Western Australia.
  2. Is there an interdepartmental committee considering this matter.
  3. If so, what is its timetable, charter and terms of reference.
  4. On what dates and in what locations have discussions taken place with (a) the Western Australian Government and (b) the local government concerned.
  5. When does he expect that consideration will be finalised.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1) The following Departments have been involved in varying degrees in this matter:

Environment and Conservation, Housing and Construction, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Services and Property, Tourism and Recreation, Transport, Treasury, and Urban and Regional Development.

  1. and (3) A interdepartmental committee was not established, but interdepartmental discussions were arranged as necessary.
  2. On 2 August 1973 the Minister for Housing and Construction discussed the development of the land informally with two Shire Councillors and the Shire Clerk on the site. On the same day he discussed the matter with the Western Australian Minister for Housing.

On 20 March 1974 the Prime Minister formally recommended joint development of the site to the Premier and indicated that the Australian Government would welcome the involvement of the Belmont Shire Council if the Premier wished to invite the Council to participate. There have been continuing discussions with Western Australian authorities.

  1. 5 ) The proposal is still under consideration.

Australian Film Development Corporation (Question No. 518)

Mr Giles:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

Is the Government satisfied that payments made by the Australian Film Development Corporation are in the taxpayers’ interests and the interests of the Australian film industry.

Mr Morrison:

– The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

The Government has for some time considered that while much of the work done by the Australian Film Development Corporation has been of great assistance to the Australian film industry, and has been done in the taxpayer’s interests, there has been a need to revise and improve arrangements for Australian Government assistance to the film industry. With this in mind, the Government presented to the Parliament a Bill to establish an Australian Film Commission. The Bill having been passed, and having received assent, arrangements are now being made to establish the new Commission, and disband the Australian Film Development Corporation.

Land Sales: Adelaide Statistical Division (Question No. 526)

Mr Wilson:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) How many allotments of land were for sale in the Adelaide Statistical Division on the first days of May, June and July, 1974.
  2. ) How many of these allotments were for sale for $5,000 or less, and in which suburbs were they located.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) No statistics are collected on the number of allotments for sale at various points of time. An estimate based on information obtained from the South Australian Valuation Department indicates that there were between 2200 and 2300 allotments on the market in July 1 974.
  2. An indication of the price of allotments is best obtained by looking at what actually happened in the months of May, June and July 1 974. The major development areas where allotments were sold at an average price of less than $5,000 were Salisbury and Noarlunga. In Salisbury the average price of lots sold in May was $5,101, June $4,608, and July $4,996. There were 62 sales in these months. In Noarlunga the average price of lots sold in May was $4,885, in June $4,877 and in July $4,646. There were 274 sales in these three months in Noarlunga.

As stated above no authoritative information is available on the number of allotments actually for sale and the prices being asked.

Drug, Cigarette and Alcohol Advertising (Question No. 759)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

  1. Has the Minister received a recommendation, resulting from a conference of Victorian teachers, that a ban be placed on all forms of drug, cigarette and alcohol advertising.
  2. If so, what is the Minister’s attitude to the recommendation.
Mr Morrison:

– The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the right honourable member’s question:

  1. 1 have received a number of recommendations from various community organisations requesting that a ban be placed on all forms of drug, cigarette and alcohol advertising.
  2. My comments on these forms of advertising are limited to their exposure on radio and television, the control of which is administered by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, an independent statutory authority within my ministerial responsibility.


Section 100 (6) of the Broadcasting and Television Act provides that a licensee shall not broadcast or televise an advertisement relating to medicine unless the text has been approved by the Director-General of Health. For the guidance of advertising agencies and others who prepare medical advertisements, a statement entitled ‘Notes on the Broadcasting and Televising of Matters of a Medical Nature’ has been prepared by the Australian Department of Health.


All commercial broadcasting and television stations have been advised by the Control Board that cigarette advertising will be phased out over three years, commencing 1 September 1973. There will therefore be a total prohibition on such advertising on broadcasting and television stations from 1 September 1976.


The question of the banning of alcohol advertising was discussed at the Australian Labor Party’s Biennial Conference at Terrigal in February 1975. It was decided at that Conference that the proposed banning of such advertising should not be pursued.

Television: Lake Grace Shire (Question No. 948)

Mr Bungey:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

What action has been taken or is planned in regard to poor television reception in areas of the Lake Grace Shire and neighbouring areas?

Mr Morrison:

– The Minister for the Media has supplied the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

I am informed by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, which is an independent statutory body established by Parliament under the Broadcasting and Television Act, that limited field strength measurements in the Lake Grace area have been made. There are no immediate plans to improve the service in the area, but it will be added to the list of areas which will be investigated in the future with a view to determining whether an improvement in the service would be justified, bearing in mind the cost of this improvement and the number of people that would benefit from it. The Wagin translator which went into operation on 20 December 1 972 serves part of this area. (Civil Defence) (Question No. 1148)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. With reference to the answer to question No. 548 (Hansard, 19 September 1974), page 1621) in which the Prime Minister indicated that the form and frequency of exercises in Government Departments in civil defence preparedness are as determined by individual Departments, on what dates in the last 18 months have exercises of this nature been conducted in his Department.
  2. 2 ) Which officers and employees took part.
  3. How many officers and employees took part.
  4. What was the purpose of each of the exercises.
  5. Does he accept that this is an area where the Australian Government can give a lead to other employers.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows: ‘

  1. 1 ) No exercises in civil defence preparedness have taken place within the last 18 months in my department. However, regular inspections of our fire-fighting equipment and technical facilities are made. Owing to the fragmented location of our offices through several buildings it is impractical to conduct full scale fire, bomb threat and other drills without disturbing several other departments and private concerns. Action is in hand to conduct regular and comprehensive drills when we assume tenancy of our new premises.
  2. See (1) above.
  3. See(l) above.
  4. See(l) above.
  5. Yes.

Ministerial Press Releases (Question No. 1638)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) How are copies of Ministerial press releases circulated.
  2. To whom are they circulated.
  3. How many copies are circulated in total.


  1. What is the total annual cost, including salary and , administration charges, in producing and distributing Ministerial press releases.
  2. How many public servants in the Department of the Media are involved with the distribution of press releases.
Mr Morrison:

– The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the right honourable member’s question:

  1. 1 ) to (3) I refer to the Prime Minister’s answer to Question 1629 (Daily Hansard, 19 November 1974, page 3726).
  2. The cost of producing and distributing press releases is -. shared between the Minister’s office and the Department’s salaries and administration costs, but these costs are not separately indentifiable
  3. The Ministerial Document Reproduction Unit has a staff of four whose functions include the distribution of the weekly consolidation of all Ministerial press releases, on a list provided by the Prime Minister, and the distribution of Ministerial statements to all parliamentarians. The number of persons employed on this work has not increased since this Government assumed office. The total time involved in he distribution of press releases issued by the Minister for Media amounts to no more than one-sixth of one person’s time.

Australian Broadcasting Commission: Journalists (Question No. 1711)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) How many journalists did the Australian Broadcasting Commission employ on 2 December 1 972.
  2. How many does it employ at the present time.
  3. What is the total wages and salary bill for these journalists.
  4. How many journalists were employed in the information service of the former Department of the Interior on 2 December 1972.
  5. How many journalists are employed in the Australian Information Service at the present time.
  6. How many journalists were employed in the Department of the Media when it was first created.
  7. How many journalists are employed in the Department of the Media at the present time.
  8. What is the percentage increase in the number or journalists employed in the Department of the Media over that period.
  9. What is the annual wages and salary bill for the journalists presently employed in the Department of the Media.
  10. What percentage increase does this represent over the wages and salary bill for journalists employed in the Department of the Media when it was first created.
Mr Morrison:

– The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the right honourable member’s question:

  1. $3,989,500.
  2. There were 77 journalists employed in the Information Service of the former Department of the Interior on 2 December 1972.
    1. The Australian Information Service has assumed responsibility for Immigration publicity functions and 27 journalists were transferred from the former Department of Immigration (9 overseas, 18 in Australia). The number of overseas information posts has been increased from 20 to 25.
  3. Apart from the Australian information Service, 1 only at Film Australia (previously the Commonwealth Film Unit).
  4. In addition to the total for Australian Information Service in (5) above there are four other journalists employed s follows:
  1. 8 ) 49 per cent increase which includes officers transferred from Department of Immigration.
  2. $1,468,305. .
  3. 10) 76 per cent. The percentage includes the increase in salaries awarded over the period.

National Archives (Question No. 1723)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice:

What action has the Government taken to date on the report submitted to the former Minister on 28 September 1973 by W. K. Lambe concerning the development of the National Archives.

Mr Lionel Bowen:
Special Minister of State · KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

On 7 March 1974 when I tabled the report by Dr Lamb in Parliament, I outlined the measures the Australian Government intended to take in relation to the Australian Archives. Action is being taken towards filling the position of DirectorGeneral. A preparatory study group within the Archives office has been preparing material which will be considered by a Task Force to be established following the appointment of a Director-General. Work has also been proceeding on the drafting of legislation and although this work has been delayed because of other more urgent legislation, I hope that it will be ready for introduction by about the end of this year.

Archives (Question No. 1728)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Has a director-general for archives been appointed.
  2. Has any offer for this job been withdrawn or any recommendation for the post been likewise withdrawn; if so, why, and what are the details.
Mr Lionel Bowen:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No.
  2. The position was advertised in March 1974 and close consideration was given to applications received. No appointment was made and the position is now being readvertised both within and outside the Australian Public Service. Notification of the vacancy will appear in the Australian Government Gazette of 10 April 1975.

Australian National Gallery: Purchasing Commissions (Question No. 2201)

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) What is the name of every member of every purchasing commission who has gone overseas to inspect or buy significant works of an for the National An Gallery.
  2. What is the name of each gallery or agent through which any overseas purchase has been made, and which purchase has been made from which gallery or agent.
  3. Has any member of any purchasing team had any business connection, direct or indirect, with any gallery or agent with whom the negotiations have taken place for a particular purchase.
  4. What commissions have been involved on the purchase of works of art overseas.
  5. Who has benefited from those commissions.
Mr Whitlam:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) and (3 ) The Australian National Gallery does not use purchasing commissions in connection with acquisitions overseas. The procedure is for the Director to inspect and report to the Interim Council on possible important acquisitions and as necessary the Interim Council obtains and takes into account advice from independent authorities and experts.

Such acquisitions require the recommendation of the Interim Council and must receive Ministerial approval.

  1. The names of galleries or agents from whom works of art have been acquired for the Gallery in all areas since 1969-70 have been supplied, along with details of the works of art, in my answer on 8 April 1975 (Hansard pages 1329-53).
  2. and (5) Works of art for the Australian National Gallery are acquired on proper terms, from reputable galleries, dealers and other vendors in accordance with the normal mechanisms and processes of the art market. Commissions payable to a gallery or dealer are customarily a private matter between the gallery or dealer and the vendor. So far as the Australian National Gallery is concerned the sole exception was the purchase of the painting ‘ Blue Poles ‘ by Jackson Pollock. In this case the arrangement agreed to with the vendor required the Australian Government to pay the settled purchase price of $US2m in two components -$US 1,900,000 directly to the vendor, and $US 100,000 as a brokerage fee payable separately to Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York, the dealer in the transaction.

Double Taxation Agreements (Question No. 2210)

Mr Connolly:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) With which countries has Australia concluded double taxation agreements.
  2. When were these agreements concluded.
  3. 3 ) With which countries are negotiations in progress.
  4. Which countries have requested negotiations anil when were these requests made.

    1. With which countries has Australia requested negotiations and when were the requests initiated.
Dr J F Cairns:

ns-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) Australia has concluded comprehensive double taxation agreements with seven countries. The countries concerned, and the dates on which the agreements were signed, are- the United Kingdom (29 October 1946, revised 7 December 1967); the United States of America (14 May 1953); Canada ( 1 October 1 957);

New Zealand ( 12 May 1960, revised 8 November 1972); Singapore ( 1 1 February 1969); Japan (20 March 1969); and the Federal Republic of Germany (24 November 1972).

Limited agreements dealing only with the taxation of airline profits have also been concluded with France (27 March 1969) and Italy (13 April 1972).

  1. Negotiations are presently in course with France for the conclusion of a comprehensive double taxation agreement and with Greece for the conclusion of a limited agreement dealing only with airline profits. Talks have also been held with the United Kingdom and the United States concerning possible revision of aspects of the comprehensive agreements currently in force with each of those countries.
  2. Requests for the commencement of negotiations for comprehensive double taxation agreements have been received from Belgium (1972), Denmark (1963), Fiji (1974), Greece (1964), India (1973), Iran (1974), Ireland (1956), Israel (1971), Italy (1957), Malaysia (1968), Netherlands (1958), Norway (1960), Philippines (1974), South Africa (1972), Sweden (1951), Switzerland (1961) and Yugoslavia ( 1 975 ).
  3. Australia has not requested negotiations with any other country.

Personal Income Tax (Question No. 2222)

Mr Garland:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Has a study been carried out of the effects to taxpayers of amending the law to provide for the lodging of joint returns by married couples, or by families, after providing lower rates of income tax.
  2. ) If so, what is the result of that inquiry.
  3. If not, will he have the matter examined, and advise the result.
Dr J F Cairns:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes. Possible alternatives to the present individual basis for the personal income tax unit are among the many taxation issues examined by the Taxation Review Committee during its review of the Australian Taxation system.
  2. The Final Report of the Committee will be published before the end of the present parliamentary session.
  3. See answers to ( 1 ) and (2 ).

Taxation: Deductions (Question No. 2223)

Mr Garland:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Has he had an inquiry conducted into the effects on taxpayers of providing for a standard deduction to replace in certain circumstances, present concessional deductions, as provided for under the United States income tax law.
  2. If so, what is the result of that inquiry.
  3. If not, will he have the matter examined, and advise the result.
Dr J F Cairns:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) Yes. Replacement of separate and specific concessional deductions by a standard deduction is one of the many taxation issues examined by the Taxation Review Committee during its review of the Australian taxation system.
  2. The Final Report of the Committee will be published before the end of the present parliamentary session.
  3. See answers to ( 1 ) and (2).

Community Broadcasting Groups (Question No. 2348)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Which community broadcasting groups and persons did the Priorities Review Staff consult in the preparation of its report on the expansion of radio services in Australia.
  2. When were they consulted.
  3. What form did the consultations take.
Mr Whitlam:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:


Al tentative Radio Association Community Radio Federation Inner City Radio

Warringah Media Community Group

Mr C. Bentley, General Secretary, The Workers’ Educational Association of New South Wales.

Mr D. Crowley, Director of Adult Education University of Sydney.

Dr P. Pockley, Adviser, Public Affairs The University of

New South Wales. Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters.

In addition discussions were held with, or letters received from, community and ethnic groups with an interest in the use of radio, union representatives, tertiary institutions, the Australian Council for the Arts (now the Australia Council ), Government departments, the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board.

  1. July 1974.
  2. Correspondence, submissions and informal discussions.

Bureau of Environmental Studies (Question No. 2173)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Further to question No. 37, who are the current staff members of the Bureau of Environmental Studies, and what qualifications and past experience does each person have.
  2. Will he provide a list of all research projects that have been completed or are currently being undertaken by the Bureau.
Dr Cass:
Minister for the Environment and Conservation · MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA · ALP

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The current staff members of the BES are: Director, Mr K.. E. Thompson; Assistant Director, (Programs & Requirements), Mr J. R. Sands; Clerk/( Class 10) (Internal Studies Section), Dr L. A. Woods; Clerk/(Class 10) (Requirements Section), Dr B. H. Pratt; Clerk/(Class 8) (Programs Section), Mr M. E. Lester (presently on leave without pay); Senior Research Officer Grade 2, (Consultant Studies Section), Mr H. J. Rose; Research Officer Grade 2 (Requirements Section), Mr M. G. Hyman; Graduate Clerk (Programs Section), Dr R. St. L. Bruce; Graduate Clerk (Environmental Indices Branch) Mr J. T. Craig; Graduate Clerk (Environmental Indices Branch) Mr G. S. Yeomans; StenoSecretary, Mrs M. Cutler; Steno-Secretary, Mrs K. G. France.

The following additional staff are expected to commence duty with the BES in the near future: Assistant Director (Studies Management), Dr R. M. Green; Assistant Director (Environmental Indices Branch), Mr D. MacRae; Clerk/(Class 10) (Consultant Studies Section), Mr J. A. Sa; Clerk/(Class 8) (Internal Studies Section), Dr N. A. Gradwell; Clerk/(Class 8) (Consultant Studies Section), Dr E. N. Can.

The professional qualifications of staff appointed to the BES include biochemistry, civil engineering, mathematics, zoology, chemical engineering, business administration, environmental studies, marine biology, operations research, agriculture, economics, inorganic chemistry and physics.

The experience of BES staff covers a wide range of research and studies activity which has been carried out in research institutions, universities, government and private industry. The experience includes environmentally relevant work relating to water, sewerage, soil conservation, transport, industrial wastes, air pollution, biological ecosystems, urban planning, mathematical modelling, welfare economics, health physics, radio-activity, agriculture, forestry, fishing, plant pathology and natural history.

Interviews have recently been conducted following advertisement for sociologists, economists and human geographers.

Applications are currently being received in response to an advertisement for persons with expertise in statistics, mathematical modelling, meteorology, geography, earth science, botany, environmental law, institutions and organisations, psychology, resource economics and ecology.

  1. The BES manages the Australian Water Resources Council Water Research Fund, which is financed through my Department. Current research projects in this program are as follows:

Field study of evaporation.

Hydrologic investigation and design of urban storm-water disposal systems.

Drilling and development problems in unconsolidated sediments.

Modelling a stream-aquifer system.

Burdekin artificial groundwater recharge study: Numerical modelling of an aquifer system with intermittent recharge.

Burdekin artificial groundwater recharge study: The effect of siltation on recharge rate.

Burdekin artificial groundwater recharge study: Analysis of the movement from recharge channels and pits.

Land use and salinity particularly in South Western Australia.

Corrosion of groundwater pumping equipment.

Technical and economic evaluation of surface treatments for increasing runoff from small rural catchments.

Representative basins Program.

Burdekin artificial groundwater recharge study: biological problems in artificial recharge of groundwater.

Photogrammetric measurement of surface velocities in streams.

Efficiency in industrial, domestic and municipal water use.

Influence of metering, pricing policies and incentives on water use efficiency.

Water flow measurement in channels.

Application of Remote Sensing techniques to hydrogeological problems.

Multi-objective planning for water resources management.

Direct measurement of seepage from channels. Transmission losses in streams.

Legal, institutional and administrative aspects of groundwater management in Australia.

Review of Australia ‘s water resources.

Geomorphic parameters of representatives basins.

Movement of seawater into a coastal aquifer.

Soil moisture in a representative basin.

Morphometric analysis of Tasmanian freshwater bodies.

Effects of plantation management on timber and water yield.

Genesis of nitrate in groundwater.

Effect of water pollution on substratum fauna.

Chemical forms of heavy metals in water.

Systems for analysis of organic pollutants in water.

Survival of coliform bacteria in saline sediments.

Runoff from cattle feedlots.

An econometric model of water quality.

Irrigation development in the Gwyder Valley, New South Wales.

Relationships between BOD and instrumentally determined fractions in water.

Effects of sublethal levels of pesticides on estuarine fish.

The release and recycling of toxic metal pollutants from lake and river sediments through biological action.

Management of water quality in reservoirs.

Lethal and sublethal effects of cadmium on aquatic animals.

Mineral nutrient requirements and utilisation by algal flora of freshwater lakes.

The following additional projects have recently been commenced, or are about to commence:

Soil conservation study (an Australian/State government task force project).

Field testing an algal harvesting process under summer conditions.

Time as a social indicator.

Water quality problems in national parks.

Institutional framework of water resources management.

Water resources data collection network design.

A dynamic approach to the optimisation of a complex urban water supply scheme.

Nutrient, major ion and heavy metal budgets within aquatic ecosystems.

Hydrological relationships between small and large catchments.

Simulation of the urban runoff process.

Hydrologic parameter assessment in Queensland using remote sensing.

Relationship of shallow groundwater supplies to geomorphology and stratigraphy in eastern Tasmania.

Hydraulic behaviour of an unconfined aquifer.

Rapid spectroscopic methods for trace element investigations in natural waters.

A field investigation of the drainage processes in a tropical rainforest catchment.

Application of mathematical models to management of phytoplankton growth in lakes and reservoirs.

Effects of artificial aeration and destratification on water quality.

Eutrophication of the North Pine River Dam.

Phosphorus balance of Lake Burley Griffin.

Birds, Animals and Reptiles: Protected Species (Question No. 1904)

Mr Hunt:

asked the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Will he list all the protected species of animals, birds and reptiles in Australia.
  2. Which of these protected species are liable to protection under international obligations or agreements.
Dr Cass:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

In reply to the honourable member’s question I have compiled for each Australian State and Territory (excluding external Territories) a list of unprotected native fauna. Species of native fauna not listed are protected. This approach was adopted because there are in excess of 1300 species of native mammals, birds and reptiles.

The honourable member will notice that the status of some species varies from State to State for example the Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa) is regarded as a game species in Victoria while in New South Wales it is considered threatened and consequently fully protected.

This situation creates particular management problems near State borders where a species is protected in one State but unprotected in the adjacent State. This is the type of nature conservation problem which is appropriate for consideration by the Council of Nature Conservation Ministers.

In answer to Part 2 of the honourable member’s question I have given the titles of the international conservation agreements which refer to individual species and the names of Australian native species currently listed.

Australian Capital Territory. The Animals and Birds Protection Ordinance 1 9 1 8- 1 966 protects all native fauna except the following animals which appear in the Schedule:


Rabbits, Native Dogs, Foxes,Tiger Cats, Hares, *Native Cats,Flying Foxes,*Venomous Snakes.


Sparrows, Starlings, Lorikeets (including all fruit eating parakeets), Crows, Silvereyes, Cormorants, White Cockatoos.

All domestic pests and parasites.

Northern Territory. The Wildlife Conservation and Controt Ordinance 1962-1969 protects all fauna except those species listed in the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Schedules to the Ordinance.

Sixth Schedule-Ducks and geese of all kinds except Magpie Geese, Burdekin Ducks and Pygmy Geese are protected from 1 November to 30 June in the Territory north of the 1 8th parallel of south latitude.

Magpie Geese are protected from 1 January to 3 1 July in the Territory north of the 18th parallel of south latitude.

Seventh Schedule- The following species are partly protected and may be taken under licence:

*Red-collared Lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubitorquis )

*Varied Lorikeet (Psitteuteles versicolor)

*Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii )

*White Cockatoo (Kakatoe galerita)

*Galah (Kakatoe roseicapilla)

*Corella (Kakatoe tenuirostris)

*Little Corella (Kakatoe sanguinea)

*Cockatiel (Leptolophus hollandicus)

*Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus)

*Port Lincoln Parrot ( Barnardius zonarius )

*Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius)

*Bourke Parrot (Neophema bourkii)

*Budgerigah(Melopsittacus undulatus)

*Zebra Finch (Taenipygia castanotis)

*Banded Finch (Stegnopleura bichenovii)

*Black-ringed Finch (Steganopleura annulosa )

*Chestnut-breasted Finch (Donacola castaneothorax )

*Yellow-tailed Finch (Donacola falviprymna)

*Pictorella Finch (Donacola pectoralis )

*Star Finch (Bathilda ruficauda)

*Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton)

*Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda )

*Black-tailed Finch (Poephila atropygialis )

*Masked Finch (Poephila personata )

*Gouldian Finch (Poephila gouldiae)

*Marine Crocodile (Crocodilus porosus)

Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

*Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

Eighth Schedule-Pests

Feral Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Feral Donkeys (Equus asinus)

Feral Pigs (Sus scrofa)

Feral Camels (Camelus dromedarius)

Feral Cats (Felis catus)

Foxes ( Vulpes vulpes crucigera )

Feral Goats (Capra prisca)

Dingoes or Wild Dogs (Canis familiaris)

Black Rat (Rattus rattus)

Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

House mouse (Mus musculus)

*Snakes of all species

*Little reddish fruit bat (Pteropus scapulatus)

*Goulds Fruit Bat (Pteropus gouldii )

Great Toad (Bufo marinus)

Ninth Schedule- Prohibited Imports

Domestic Sparrow ( Passer domesticus )

Java Sparrow (Padda oryzivora )

Spice finch (Lonchura punctulata)

Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnotus jocosus)

Indian Myna (Acrodotheres tristis)

English Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Senegal Turtledove (Streptopelia senegalensis )

Indian Turtledove (Streptopelia chinensis)

Great Toad (Bufo marinus)


All exotic fauna other than the Javan Rusa Deer (Cervus timorensis) is unprotected. All native fauna other than that which appears on Schedule 1 1 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1975 is protected:

Schedule 11- Unprotected Fauna.


Carnivora other than Pinnipedia-Bears, lions, dogs, etc.

Insectivora- Moles, hedgehogs.

Artiodactyla, other than Cervus timorensis (Javan Rusa deer)- Cloven hoofed animals.

Perissodacryla- Horses, donkeys, etc.

Primates- Apes, monkeys.

Subungulates- Elephants.

Pteropus policephalus and Pteropus scapulatus- Fruit bat or flying fox.

Lepus europaeus- Hare.

Oryctolagus cuniculus- Rabbit.

Sciurus palmarum- Indian Palm Squirrel.


Card uelis carduelis- Goldfinch.

Chloris chloris- Freenfinch.

Passer domesticus- Sparrow.

*Zosterops lateralis- Eastern Silvereye.

*Phalacrocorax carbo- Black Cormorant or Shag.

*Phalacrocorax varius- Pied Cormorant.

*Phalacrocorax salcirostris- Little Black Cormorant.

*Phalacrocorax melanoleucus- Little Pied Cormorant.

*Corvus cecilae- Crow.

*Corvus coronoides- Raven.

*Strepera graculina- Pied Currawong.

*Cacatua galerita- Sulphur-crested or White Cockatoo.

*Cacaua roseicapilla- Rose-breasted Cockatoo or Galah.

*Platycercus elegans- Crimson Rosella.

Platycercus eximius- Eastern Rosella.

Sturnis vulgaris- Common Starling.

Pycnonotus jososus-Red-whiskered Bul Bul.

Turdus merula- Blackbird.

Passer montanus- Tree Sparrow.

Acridotheres tristis- Indian Myna.

Streptopelia chinensis- Indian Turtle Dove.

*Corvus bennetti- Little Crow.

Lonchura punctulata- Spice (nutmeg) Finch.

Lonchura ferruginosa- Black-headed Mannikin.

Anas platyrhynchos- Mallard Duck.


All native fauna with the exception of reptiles and amphibians that is listed on the Third Schedule of the Game Act 1958 is fully protected. There are however a number of species of birds on this list which may be taken by licence during an open season:

*Blue-winged Shoveler ( Anas rhynchotis).

*Chestnut-breasted Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides).

*Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa).

*Black Duck (Anas superciliosa).

*Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons).

*Hardhead (Aythya australis).

*Maned Goose (Chenonetta jubata).

*Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus).

*Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea).

*Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis).

*Japanese Snipe (Gallirago hardwickii).


The Queensland Fauna Conservation Act 1 974 protects all the State’s fauna except the following species which are listed specifically as unprotected.

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia).

Indian Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis).

Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis).

Hare (Lepus europaeus).

Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

House Mouse (Mus musculus).

Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus).

Ship Rat ( Rattus rattus ).

Dingo (Canis dingo).

Fox (Vulpes vulpes).

Feral Cat (Felis catus).

Feral Pig (Sus scrofa).

Feral Goat (Capra hircus).

Feral Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius).

Feral Donkey (Equus asinus).

Brumby (Equus caballus).

Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis).


Exotic fauna is unprotected. All Native fauna is protected with the exception of the species listed in the Ninth Schedule to the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1 972.

*Zebra Finch (Taeniopygnia castanotis).

*Budgerigah (Melopsittacus undulatus).

*Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata).

*Grey-backed Silvereye (Zosterops halmaturina ).

*Galah (Kakatoe roseiapilla).

*Little Corella (Kakatoe sanguinea).

*Australian Raven (Corvus coroncides).

*Little Crow (Corvus bennetti).

*Australian Crow (Corvus orru cecilae).

*Little Raven (Corvus mellori).

Wild Dog (Canis familiaris).

*All venomous snakes.

Western Australia. Exotic species are unprotected. The Fauna Conservation Act 1950-70 protects all native fauna except amphibians, venomous snakes and the following species of birds and mammals:

*Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis)

*Gould’s Flying Fox (Pteropus gouldii)

*Little Flying Fox (Pteropus scapularis)

*Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

*White-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchusbaudini)

*Galah (Cacatua roseicapilla)

*King Parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus)

*Port Lincoln Parrot (Barnardius zonarius)

*Western Rosella (Platycercus icterotis)

*Budgerygah (Melopsittacus undulatus )

*Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus)

*Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus )

*Wedge-tailed Eagle ( Aquila audax)

*Little Falcon (Falco longipennis)

*Silvereye (Zosterrops gouldi)

*Raven (Corvus coronoides)

*Little Crow (Corvus bennetti)

*Crow ( Corvus orru )

The following species are considered game species and may be taken under licence during a declared open season.

*Red Kangaroo (Megaleia rufa)

*Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)

*Wallaroo (Macropus robustus)

*Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

*Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)

*Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons)

*Mountain Duck (Tadorna tadornoides)

*Maned Goose (Chenonetta jubata )

*White-eyed Duck (Aythya australis)

*Whistling Tree Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata )

*Pied Goose ( Anseranas semipalmata)

*Plumed Tree Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

*Blue-winged Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)

*Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)

*Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)

*Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)

*Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)

*Brown Quail (Synoicus ypsilophorus)

*Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

*All species of finches.

In addition to this the following species of native fauna are regarded as vermin in certain districts in Western Australia under the Vermin Act 1 9 1 8- 1 970.

*Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis)

*Red Kangaroo (Megaleia rufa)

*Wallaroo (Macropus robustus)

*Wombats (Vombatus spp.)

*Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

*Galah (Cacatua roseicapilla)

*Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla)

*Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)

*Musk Lorikeet (Glossopsitta concinna)

*Port Lincoln Parrot (Barnardius zonarius)

*King Parrot (Aprosmictus scapularis)

*Red-capped Parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius)

*Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus)

*Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans)

*Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius)

*Western Rosella (Platycercus icterotis)

*Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)

Tasmania-The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970 protects fully all the fauna native to Tasmania with the exception of reptiles and amphibians and those species listed in part II of the First Schedule which are partly protected and may be taken under licence during an open season. Females and spikies of the Fallow Deer (Dama dama) are fully protected.

Part II-Partly Protected Wildlife

*Grass Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)

*Freckled Duck (Stictonetta naevosa)

*Mountain Duck (Tadorna tadornoides)

*Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)

*Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)

*White-eyed Duck (Aythya australis)

*Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)

*Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)

*Musk Duck (Biziura lobata)

*Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons)

*Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea) *Blue-winged Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)

*Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)

*Muttonbird (Puffinus tenuirostris)

*Brown Quail (Synoicus ypsilophorus)

*Japanese Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii)

*Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

*Yellow Wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa)

Chinese Ring-neck Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

Fallow Deer ( Dama dama) (adult males only)

*Brush Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

*Water Rat (Hydromys chrysogaster)

*Bennett’s Wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus)

*Pademelon (Thylogale billardierii)

The following five species may be taken without licence.

*Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

*Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

*Black-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscescens)

*Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

*Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

The Australian Government is a signatory to the following six International Conventions and Agreements which obligate the protection of native fauna:

Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of Australia for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Birds in Danger of Extinction and their Environment.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.*

Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals-.

International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

Convention Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat.

Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The first four Conventions and Agreement specify the protection of particular groups of animals which for convenience have been appended. The remaining two Conventions imply the protection of Australian waterfowl and fauna in general which can be regarded as being part of this country’s natural heritage.

*It should be noted that the list of fauna contained in Attachment II is currently being rationalised and will differ in some groups from the present form.

Attachment 1

Attachment II


Appendix I


Macropus parma- Parma Wallaby

Onychogalea fraenata- Bridled Nail-tailed Wallaby

  1. lunata- Crescent Nail-tailed Wallaby

Lagorchestes hirsutus- Western Hare-wallaby

Lagostrophus fasciatus- Banded Hare-wallaby

Catoprymnus campestris- Plains Rat-kangaroo

Bettongia penicillata- Brush-tailed Rat-kangaroo

  1. lesueur- Lesueur’s Rat-kangaroo -
  2. tropica- Northern Queensland Rat-kangaroo

Wyulda squamicaudata- Scaly-tailed Possum

Burramys parvus- Mountain Pygmy Possum

Lasiorhinus gillespiei- Gillespie’s Wombat

Perameles bougainville- Western Barred Bandicoot

Chaeropus ecaudatus- Pig-footed Bandicoot

Macrotis lagotis- Rabbit Bandicoot

  1. leucura- Lesser Rabbit-eared Bandicoot

Planigale tenuirostris- Narrow-nosed Planigale

  1. subtilissima- Kimberley Planigale

Sminthopsis psammophila- Sandhill Dunnart

Sminthopsis longicaudata- Long-tailed Dunnart

Antechinomys laniger- Kultarr

Myrmecobius fasciatus rufus- Rusty Numbat

Thlacinus cynocephalus- Tasmanian Tiger


Zyzomys pedunculatus-Central Thick-tailed Rat;

MacDonnell Range Rock-rat

Leporillus conditor- House-building Rat

Pseudomys novaehollandiae- New Holland Mouse

  1. praeconis- Shark Bay Mouse
  2. shortridgei- Blunt-faced Rat Shortridge’s Mouse
  3. fumeus- Smokey Mouse
  4. occidentalis- Western Mouse
  5. fieldi- Alice Springs House, Field ‘s Mouse

Notomys aquilo- Northern Hopping-mouse, Gulf Mouse

Zeromys myoides- False Swamp-rat, False Water Rat Aves

Sula abbotti- Abbott’s Booby (Christmas Island )

Fregata andrewsi- Christmas Island Frigate Bird (Christmas Island)

Tricholimnas sylvestris- Lord Howe Island Woodhen (Lord Howe Island )

Psephotus pulcherrimus- Beautiful Parrot. Paradise


Psephotus chrysopterygius- Golden ShoulderedParrot

Hooded Parrot

Neophema chrysogaster- Orange Bellied Parakeet

Neophema splendida- Splendid Parakeet. Scarlet

Chested Parrot

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae- Norfolk IslandPara keet (Norfolk Island)

Geopsittacus occidentalis- Night Parrot

Atrichornis clamosus- Noisy Scrub Bird

Psophodes nigrogularis- Western Whipbird

Amytornis goyderi- Eyrean Grass Wren

Dasyornis brachypterus longirostris- Western Bristle


Dasyornis broadbenti littoralis- Western Rufous Bristle Bird

Meliphaga cassidix- Helmeted Honeyeater

Zosterops albogularis- White Breasted Silver Eve (Norfolk Island)


Eretmochelys imbricata imbricata- Hawksbill Turtle (Torres Strait)

Pseudemydura umbrina- Western Swamp Tortoise

Appendix II


Dendrolagus inustus Dendrolagus ursinus- New

Guinea Tree Kangaroo (New Guinea )

Dugong dugon- Dugong


Falco subniger- Black Falcon

Falco longipennis- Little Falcon

Falco hypoleucos- Grey Falcon

Falco cenchroides- Nankeen Kestrel

Falco berigora- Brown Hawk

Megapodius freycinet abbotti, Megapodiusfreyeinet nicobariensis- Scrub Fowl ( New Guinea )

Numenius minutus- Little Whimbrel, Pygmy Curlew

Goura cristata- Common Crowned Pigeon ( NewGuinea)

Goura scheepmakeri- Scheepmaker’s Crowned Pigeon (New Guinea)

Goura victoria- Victoria Crowned Pigeon ( NewGuinea)

Caloenas nicobarrca pelewensis- Nicobar Pigeon (Indo

Australian Archipelago)

Probosciger aterrimus- Palm Cockatoo (Australia).

Great Black Cockatoo (New Guinea )

Phonygammus keraudreni- Trumpet Bird

Ptiloris paradiseus- Paradise Rifle-bird

Ptiloris magnificus- Magnificent Rifle-bird


Crocodylusjohnstoni- Freshwater Crocodile

Crocodylus novaeguineae novaeguineae- New Guinea Crocodile (New Guinea)

Crocodylus porosus- Saltwater Crocodile

Chelonia mydas- Green Turtle

  1. depressa- Flatback Turtle

Eretmochelys imbricata bissa- Hawksbill Turtle

Caretta caretta- Loggerhead Turtle

Lenidochelys olivacea- Pacific Ridley

Dermochelys coriacea- Leathery Turtle

Varanus tristis tristis- Black-headed Monitor

Varanus tristis orien talis- Freckled Monitor

Varanus semiremex- Rusty Monitor

Varanus acanthurus acanthurus- Spine-tailored Monitor

Varanus acanthurus brachyurus- Ridge-tailed Monitor

Varanus acanthurus primordius

Varanus acanthurus insulanicus

Varanus caudolineatus

Varanus gilleni- Gillen ‘s Pygmy Monitor

Varanus eremius- Desert Pygmy Monitor

Varanus brevicauda- Short-tailed Pygmy Monitor

Varanus timorensis scalaris

Varanus timorensis similis- Timor Tree Monitor

Varanus glebopalma

Varanus glaueni- Glauert’s Monitor

Varanus varius- Lace Monitor

Varanus indicus- Mangrove Monitor

Varanus gouldii gouldii- Gould ‘s Sand Goanna

Varanus gouldii rosenbergi- Rosenberg’s Goanna

Varanus gouldii flavirufus- Central Sand Goanna

Varanus giganteus- Perentie

Varanus spenceri- Spencer’s Goanna

Varanus mertensi- Merten’s Water Monitor

Varanus mitchelli- Mitchell ‘s Water Monitor ( MonitorGoanna)


Neoceratodus forsteri- Australian Lungfish

Attachment III

The following Australian seals are protected under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals, which was signed by Australia in August 1 973:

Hydrurga leptonyx- Leopard Seal

Arctocephalus doriferus- Australian Fur Seal

  1. forsteri- New Zealand Fur Seal

Mirounga leonina- Elephant Seal

Leptonychotes weddelli- Weddell Seal

Lobodon carcinophagus- Crabeater Seal

Attachment IV

Australia, as a member nation to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, is obliged to protect from commercial exploitation the following species of whale:

Balaenoptera musculus- Blue Whale

Megaptera nodosa- Humpback Whale

Neobalaena marginata- Right Whale

In addition to these three species the females of all whales accompanied by suckling calves are fully protected.

The commercially exploited species which occur in Australian waters are:

Balaenoptera physalus- Fin Whale

Balaenoptera borealis- Sei Whale

Balaenoptera brydei- Bryde’s Whale

Physeter catodon- Sperm Whale

Although allowance is made in the Convention to exploit these species the situation in Australia is that only Sperm Whales are harvested.

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 2048)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 380 which Him appeared on the Notice Paper on 16 July 1 974.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 380 which I gave on 25 February 1975. (Hansard. page 698).

Ministerial Councils: Contact with States (Question No. 58)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Will he provide a list of all formal committees, councils, etc., that have been established which enable him or officers of his Department to maintain contact with State Government Ministers or State Government officers.
  2. ) When was each body established and by whom.
  3. What is the (a) composition and (b) function of each body.
  4. On what occasions has each body met in the last two years and for what purpose.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) to (4) I refer the right honourable member to the answer provided by the Prime Minister to Parliamentary Question No. 41 on 3. 10.74, Hansard, pages 2233 to 2237.

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Interdepartmental Committees (Question No. 297)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

Following his answer to question No. 1074 of 15 October 1973 and in the light of the Prime Minister’s guarantee in the House on 7 November 1973 that the information will be made available, will he provide a list of the interdepartmental committees established since 2 December 1972 of which officers of his Department are members.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer 1 gave on 13.1 1.73 (Hansard, page 3278) and to the Prime Minister’s answer to his question without notice on 15 November 1973 (Hansard, pages 3373 to 3374).

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Research Fellowships (Question No. 2056)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 768 which first appeared on the Notice Paper on 3 1 July 1 974.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 768 which I gave on 25 February 1975. (Hansard page 698)

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Research and Development Staff (Question No. 2058)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 877 which first appeared on the Notice Paper on 2 August 1 974.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 877 which I gave on 25 February 1975 (Hansard page 698)

Community Publication (Question No. 2059)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 895 which first appeared on the Notice Paper on 2 August 1 94.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 895 which I gave on 25 February 1975 (Hansard pae699)

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Ministerial Press Releases (Question No. 2064)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 1647 which first appeared on the Notice Paper on 1 3 November 1 974.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 1647 which I gave on 25 February 1975. (Hansard, page 702.)

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Management Consultant Firms (Question No. 2057)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 806 which first appeared on the Notice Paper on 3 1 July 1 974.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 806 which I gave on 28 February 1975. (Hansard, page 958.)

Adelaide Urban Land Prices (Question No. 2055)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

When will he answer my question No. 767 which first appeared on the Notice Paper on 3 1 July 1 974.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer the right honourable member to the answer to question No. 767 which I gave on 28 February 1975. (Hansard. page 958.)

Land Development Costs (Question No. 1196)

Mr Hunt:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

Will he provide up to date relative land development costs in the ACT compared to those in the States.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

I refer to previous question No. 390 and my reply which sets out servicing costs per hectare for capital cities other than Brisbane (not available) and Canberra. I also draw your attention to the comments contained in that reply which refer to the problems associated with the collection and use of this type of information.

The average cost of development of land for private detached dwellings in the ACT for 1973-74 was $4,423per lot. This includes charges for the supply of water, sewerage. roads, kerbs and guttering, and land acquisition but is ex elusive of headworks costs, disposal costs, and roads of a national or territorial nature.

This compares with very general information which has recently become available to my Department which indi cates development costs of the following order on a State basis.

These figures do not include the cost of land acquisitionor the provision of water and sewerage headworks.

Community’ (Question No. 1416)

Mr McLeay:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1) How many copies of the publication Community have been printed.
  2. How many individuals and organisations are on the mailing list.
  3. ) Will he make this list available to the Opposition.
  4. Will he invite Members of the Opposition to contribute to the publication.
  5. 5 ) What is the cost of each issue.
  6. What are the names and qualifications of each contributor.
  7. Has any fee been paid to a contributor: if so, to whom and how much.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is:

  1. ) The total printing is now 1 1 000.
  2. At present the mailing list totals 6500 plus local councils and regions, each of which gets three copies. The total is therefore approximately 9500. Other copies are distributed in response to individual requests and at seminars and conferences. The list includes Parliamentarians, libraries, academic and professional institutions, citizens’ groups and private individuals.
  3. The list is computerised form. A printout is held at the Department of Urban and Regional Development which interested Members may consult.
  4. The first issue of Community contained an open invitation to any contributor. Members of the Opposition have been specifically invited to contribute. Initially Mr John Gorton was invited, when he was Opposition spokesman on urban affairs. Invitations have since been extended to current spokesmen on urban affairs, regional development, housing, the environment and related matters.

Contributions from whatever source are subject to editorial judgement as to length, relevance of topic, standard of English and adequacy of treatment.

  1. No. 1- $2,493.48; No. 2- $2,53 1.95; Nos. 3-5-Estimated cost is $2,500 for 1 1 000 copies.
  2. The names and descriptions of contributors accompany their articles.
  3. 7 ) Fees at rates determined by the Australian Journalists ‘ Association are paid only to professional journalists and freelance writers who are normally paid for such contributions. A total of three have been paid.

River Murray Waters (Question No. 1496)

Mr McLeay:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. Have any studies been undertaken on the. quality of water upstream from Albury?
  2. If so, who conducted the studies, what are the conclusions, and how much did they cost?
Mr Uren:

-The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes,
  2. The Cities Commission has briefed Messrs Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey to produce a report titled ‘River Murray in Relation to Albury/Wodonga’. This report will be available in the next two months. A conclusion of the report is that the quality of water in the Hume Reservoir and the River Murray upstream of Albury is satisfactory for the demands which will be made upon it by the development of Albury/Wodonga. The portion of the report covering the water quality upstream of Albury has not been separately costed.

Department of Urban and Regional Development: Publications (Question No. 1590)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. ) What is the name of each publication prepared by his Department for distribution to the public.
  2. How often is the publication printed.
  3. Which offices of his Department are responsible for the preparation of each publication.
  4. What is the purpose of each publication.
  5. 5 ) What is the cost of each edition of the publication.
  6. How many copies of each edition of the publication are produced.
  7. How many people receive the publication.
  8. Is it distributed free of charge.
  9. If so, to whom and how is it distributed to them.
  10. 10) If not, what is the selling cost of the publication and what are the retail outlets.
  11. When was the publication first produced.
Mr Uren:

-The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. to (11) I refer the right honourable member to the information provided by the Minister for the Media in reply to question No. 1581 in the Hansard of 4 December 1974 at page 4590.

Decentralisation (Question No. 1732)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

What is the best reference source which details the Government’s policy on decentralisation.

Mr Uren:

-The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

There is not one detailed reference source of the Australian Government’s policy on decentralisation. However the following sources contain the basis of the Government’s policy:

Urban and Regional Development 1974-75 Budget Paper No. 8, Canberra 1974.

Cities Commission, ‘Report to the Australian Government. A Recommended New Cities Program for the Period 1973-78 ‘Canberra 1973.

Department of Urban and Regional Development. ‘National Program for Urban and Regional Development’ Canberra 1973.

Department of Urban and Regional Development First and Second Annual Reports.

5 ) Cities Commission, Second Annual Report.

Regional Freight and Traffic Flows (Question No. 1734)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) With reference to the answer to question No. 247. what are the terms of reference of the Joint Transport Studies inter-departmental committees on inter and intra regional freight and passenger flows.
  2. Is this a standing inter-departmental committee.
Mr Uren:

-The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) The Joint Transport studies IDC has developed from a decision of the government to authorise the Departments of Urban and Regional Development and Transport to initiate joint studies into urban, inter-urban and regional passenger and freight movement. The terms of references arc:

The studies should be conducted in two parts:

  1. studies of intra-urban passenger and freight movements: and
  2. studies of inter-urban and regional passenger and freight movements.

The states can be invited, to contribute staff to work on the studies.

The studies can be conducted with the assistance or the Bureau of Transport Economics and Roads- the Departments of the Treasury, Manufacturing Industry and Environment and Conservation to collaborate in the studies.

The studies should examine the technical, economic and political feasibility of introducing new transport technologies into Australia.

  1. Yes, The committee meets monthly with meetings alternately chaired by the Permanent Heads of my Department and the Department of Transport.

Camden Park Estates (Question No. 1735)

Mr Snedden:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) With reference to the answer to question No. 248 concerning the preservation of the Camden Park Estates, what action has taken place since 3 1 January 1974 and since the receipt of the confidential letter from the chairman of the Committee of Inquiry on the National Estate.
  2. What discussions has he had with the New South Wales Government on this matter.
  3. Does he wish to see the Camden Park Estate preserved.
  4. Is he confident the Estates will be preserved.
Mr Uren:

– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) and (2) Acquisition of the major portion of the Camden Park Estate owned by Taiga Pty Ltd has been under consideration by the New South Wales and Australian Governments since Mr Snedden ‘s earlier question. The question of the Camden Park Estate is being dealt with as part of the negotiations for the whole of the South West Sector of Sydney and the stage reached in the negotiations gives confidence that agreement will be reached. The necessary preparations for the designation and acquisition of land in the South West Sector are under way so that action may be put in hand as soon as a financial agreement has been concluded.
  2. Yes.
  3. Yes.

Hospitals: Plans (Question No. 1786)

Mr Lloyd:

asked the Minister for Housing and Construction, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Which architectural firms have been approached by officers of his Department or any other department to discuss possible plans for Australian Government hospitals.
  2. Are Yuncken Freeman, Conrad and Gargett and the British firm of Llewellyn Davies among these.
  3. Have any of these firms been asked to produce plans for Australian Government hospitals in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne; if so, what deadline has been set.
  4. If the Government decides not to proceed with its hospital program, will it be able to cancel the arrangements with these firms or is it required to pay for final plans and specifications.
Mr Les Johnson:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Since 1 July 1974, the Department of Housing and Construction has approached the following architectural firms to discuss plans for Australian Government hospitals:

Yuncken Freeman Architects Pty Ltd Conrad, Gargett and Partners Gordon Jenkins and Associates Llewellyn Davies.

  1. See(l).
  2. The Department of Housing and Construction has the task of conducting feasibility studies into the construction of Australian Government hospitals, and in the course of these studies, has called on Yuncken Freeman Architects Pty Ltd. Conrad Gargett and Partners and Gordon Jenkins and Associates for drafting assistance on a minor scale.

Llewellyn Davies were engaged by the Department of Housing and Construction on a fixed fee basis to review the planning for a proposed hospital in the Australian Capital Territory.

  1. No commission has been entered into with private architects to prepare final plans and specifications for hospitals in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne.

Minister for Urban and Regional Development : Personal Staff (Question No. 1864)

Mr Connolly:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) How many persons are on his personal staff.
  2. ) What are their names, designations and salaries.
  3. Which of them are (a) permanent or (b) temporary public servants.
  4. From which departments have the permanent public servants been seconded.
  5. How many advisors and consultants have been or are employed by him, and what are their names and salaries.
Mr Uren:

– The answers to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. to (5) I refer the honourable member to the reply to question on notice No. 1862, provided by my colleague, the Special Minister of State, at page 4841 of the Hansard of 5 December 1974.

Parramatta Electorate: National Estate Projects (Question No. 1922)

Mr Ruddock:

asked the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, upon notice:

What applications have been received for assistance as part of the National Estate for projects within the Electoral Division of Parramatta during (a) 1973-74 and (b) 1974-75 to date.

Mr Uren:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. On the recommendations of the Committee of Enquiry into the National Estate, a grant from the 1973-74 national estate program was made to the New South Wales State Planning Authority for a study of historical aspects of the Parramatta City Centre.
  2. During 1974-75 to date, applications for national estate assistance in the Electoral Division of Parramatta have been received in respect of:

Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta Roxy Theatre 18 Great Western Highway, Parramatta ‘Brislington’, Parramatta

Linden House, Parramatta

Old Catholic Cemetry, North Parramatta

Queen’s Wharf Park Restoration and HMAS Parramatta Memorial

Parramatta River Regeneration Master Plan

Survey of Parramatta River foreshore

Wavertree’, Parramatta

Postmaster-General’s Department: Assistance to Appeals (Question No. 1949)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

  1. What technical facilities are provided by the Postmaster-General’s Department to (a) television and (b) radio stations for use in association with the conduct of telethon or similar fund raising appeals.
  2. Does the Department charge for these facilities; if so what were the rates charged on each occasion during the last 2 years.
  3. What charges were levied by the Department on each (a) television and (b) each radio station in respect of each telethon conducted during the last 2 years.
Mr Lionel Bowen:

– The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. 1 ) The television or radio station concerned is provided with temporary exchange lines terminating on telephone handsets or headsets. The numbers of such lines requested range from one to about six in the case of country radio or television stations to larger groups (in some cases more than 100) for capital city radio or television station appeals. In addition, a number of temporary extension telephones on the station ‘s existing switchboard are sometimes required.

For the special appeals conducted by television stations for victims of the Brisbane floods in February 1974 and the Darwin cyclone disaster, television programme relay facilities were provided between participating stations.

  1. Yes, as a general rule. However, because the appeals for funds to assist the victims of the 1974 Brisbane floods and Darwin cyclone disaster were treated as events of national importance, the charges for the television relay facilities provided were waived.

The rates charged for temporary telephone exchange lines are prescribed by the Telephone Regulations. These lines are made available on the basis of: an installation fee a rental charge for each week or part thereof at the appropriate rate for an ordinary service, plus a 50% surcharge the prescribed charges for calls.

In normal circumstances, a standard installation fee (currently $40) is applied for a temporary exchange line. However, in special cases, the Regulations provide for the charges and conditions to be determined by the Department.

Where large numbers of temporary lines are required, application of the $40 installation fee for each line can prove to be inequitable, particularly if the event occurs regularly and the line plant and wiring in the premises for the temporary facilities are in place. In such cases, the installation fee may be based on the actual costs involved in connecting and recovering the temporary services.

Telephone Directory: Western Australia (Question No. 1983)

Mr Garland:

asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Did the Postmaster-General or his predecessors examine the many representations that there should be a single telephone directory for Western Australia and not one for Perth and others for other regions in Western Australia.
  2. If so, what were the findings of the most recent examination.
  3. What was the saving and precisely how was this calculated.
  4. How many pages in the Perth and other Western Australian directories, including covers, (a) advertise Post Office facilities and (b) repeat instructions within a single directory and repeat them throughout the directories.
  5. What would be the estimated saving if the yellow pages were made a separate volume, supplied on request, and a West Australian directory without advertising by the Post Office or anyone else was compiled, eliminating a generous allocation of space for instructions as occurs on page SOS and repeated on page 741, and page 740 and consolidating instructions and information in. the first pages as is now presently done, and what would be the resultant saving in pages.
  6. How many enquiry calls are received per annum for telephone numbers within a State but outside the region covered by the telephone directory for that region.
  7. 7 ) Why is most of the general information put in the front of the directory but the postcode listing at the back.
  8. Why is the index for the yellow pages at the back and not the front.
  9. 9 ) Is the layout of the telephone dirctory a bit of a j urnble
Mr Lionel Bowen:

– The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. Yes.
  2. The production of a single telephone directory for Western Australia is not practicable because its thickness would exceed the capacity of the binding machine of the contractor, the State Government Printer.

If it were practicable to do so additional paper costs of approximately $ 168,000 at current prices would be incurred compared with the paper costs for the production of two directories comprising one for Perth and one covering all Western Australia country districts similar to those issued in August 1974.

The needs of subscribers whose regular calling habits extend beyond the area covered by their directory, can be, and are being met by supplying them with copies of both the Perth and the Western Australia Country directories on request, and without charge.

  1. Additional paper costs of approximately $ 18,000 were incurred in producing the current directory for Penh and the one including all Western Australia country districts compared with the cost of paper for directories comprising one book for Penh and five covering different country regions which were issued in August 1973.
  2. Eleven pages in the current Penh directory and five in the single Western Australia Country directory show advertisements of Post Office facilities. The design of the printing contractors ‘ machinery makes it necessary for the directories to be printed in sections which must have a minimum of 16 pages and it is the practice to use any spare space or pages in the last section of the white or yellow pages to advertise Post Office facilities rather than leave them blank.

In the Penh directory, there are three pages of repeat instructions or information. There are none in the Western Australia Country directory. The equivalent of about 22 pages (including covers) of instructions or information is repeated in both directories.

The directories issued in 1973 comprising one book for Perth and five covering different country regions contained seven pages of advertisements for Post Office facilities in the Penh directory and a total of 24 pages in the five country books. Repeat instructions and information were shown on a total of 122 pages throughout the six books.

  1. Under the arrangements suggested by the honourable member the alphabetical book would require approximately 25 fewer pages than the combined total of the present alphabetical sections and a State-wide classified directory would contain an estimated 100 fewer pages. However, there would be no saving in paper costs for the alphabetical directory because Penh subscribers would receive about 180 extra pages of entries for country subscribers while the latter would receive abut 470 extra pages of entries for Perth subscribers. Ai this stage, it is not practicable to estimate the saving if the yellow pages were made a separate volume supplied mi request because of the difficulty in making a valid estimate of how many subscribers would not require a copy.. On litis point it is mentioned that many callers find the classified listings in the yellow pages the most convenient and quickest way of locating the telephone numbers of businesses particularly where they are not certain of the exact name of the linn or organisation concerned. If a caller did not have the yellow pages book it would be normal for him to seek help from a ‘Directory Assistance’ operator. The handling of such calls is quite expensive in terms of operators, switchboards and accommodation and any marked increase in the calls could result in additional costs which would more than offset the savings in paper costs.
  2. The particular statistics requested are not maintained. However, of the total directory enquiry calls made by metropolitan subscribers in each State, the proportions for intrastate telephone numbers outside the areas covered by the capital city directories and interstate numbers range between 25 per cent and 34 per cent. For Perth the figure for 1 974 was 25.7 per cent.
  3. The purpose is to make it easier for people, in general, to locate the Postcode section and also easier for those who consult the Postcode listings frequently to remember where they are located.
  4. The insertion of the index for the yellow pages at the front of this section instead of at the back would involve the printer in extra work which would delay the production 01 the books by about two weeks.
  5. The layout is thought to follow a logical sequence and incorporates the views of an outside consultant, the results of customer opinion surveys and most of the recommendations made in 1971 by the Senate Standing Committee on Social Environment in their report on the content form and presentation of telephone directories. The layout is reviewed regularly and the Department welcomes suggestions aimed at improving the directories.

Voluntary Welfare Organisations: Financial Assistance (Question No. 2225)

Mr Chipp:

asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

  1. Has an appropriation of $2m been set aside to provide financial assistance to voluntary welfare organisations throughout Australia.
  2. If so, has a public announcement been made as to Unavailability of these funds.
  3. What criteria will be used to allocate money in this fund.
Mr Hayden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Federal Cabinet has approved the establishment of.’ a Special Provision of Capital and Recurrent Financial Assist?ance for Community Welfare Agencies experiencing serious financial difficulties. An amount of $2m has been set aside to provide ‘emergency’ assistance to voluntary welfare agencies.
  2. My Department has notified each of its State Head” quarters and requested them to advise details of community welfare agencies in their State which come within the category of agency to be assisted under this program. Applications received are currently being assessed.
  3. Criteria for the provision of financial assistance are:

    1. that the assistance is made available, only to nonprofit, charitable, benevolent and religious bodies;
    2. that the assistance only be made available where it does not result in any diminution of grants, or assistance in kind, from other government sources;
    3. that the allocation of assistance be based on the relative needs of organisations and of the people served by the organisations, taking account of existing governmental assistance in particular areas of activity, relative access to funds from public appeals, and the relative significance of the services provided;
    4. that the assistance be provided with the general aim of achieving a balance of necessary services in the community in the light of overall community needs and the encouragement of voluntary initiatives;
    5. that in determining applications, consideration to be given to the aims of, and standards of service provided by the organisations;
    6. that the grants will be of an emergency ‘once only’ type-not a continuing Australian Government contribution to the organisations’ normal annual income.

Financial assistance under the provisions of this fund is an interim measure only and in the longer term, it is envisaged that the Australian Assistance Plan will provide a source of financial assistance for community welfare agencies.

The major purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to worthwhile existing welfare community agencies in serious financial need.

Bricklaying (Question No. 1775)

Mr Berinson:

asked the Minister for Housing and Construction, upon notice:

What was the approximate rate for bricklaying per 1000 bricks in each of the capital cities during the March and September quarters of each of the last five years.

Mr Les Johnson:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

No official statistics of bricklaying rates are produced by my Department or by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The rates listed below are the average from a sample of Bills of Quantity or Schedules of Rates for successful tenders for Australian Government building projects in the capital cities. No reliable data are available for Hobart although rates for home building are generally thought to have risen in that city from about $65 in the September quarter of 1970 to about $ 1 00 in the September quarter of 1 974. It should be borne in mind that rates can vary between different types of construction such as house building, office building, etc., and may also vary within each type of construction. The following figures, however, provide a general guide to bricklaying rates generally:

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 April 1975, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.