House of Representatives
13 October 1977

30th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Lucock) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 1953


The Clerk:

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

Broadcasting and Television Programs

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 because television and radio

  1. affect our social and moral environment,
  2. are family media watched and heard by many children at all times, and
  3. present too much explicit violence and sex, they therefore need stronger control than other media and the existing standards need stricter enforcement in both national ABC, and commercial sectors.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Australian Government will amend the Broadcasting and Television Act, in relation to both national and commercial broadcasters, to legislate:

  1. for adequate and comprehensive programs in the best interests of the general public,
  2. for a ‘dual system of regualtion’ enforced by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal by internal regulation and external control,
  3. for an independent consumer body to represent the best interests of the general public, and
  4. for immediate and effective penalties to be imposed for breaches of program and advertising standards.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petitions received. by Mr Armitage and Mr Eric Robinson. Petitions received.

Telephone Charges

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of undersigned electors of the Divisions of Mallee and Darling respectfully showeth:

That charges for long distance telephone calls in remote parts of Australia are exhorbitant.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that rates for long distance telephone calls in remote parts of Australia be reduced.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr Fisher. Petition received.

Excursion Air Fares to Europe

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

That the cost of air fares between Australia and Scandinavian countries is excessive when compared to the fares charged to other points in Europe.

We express a desire for negotiations between the Commonwealth Government and the Governments of the Scandinavian countries to negotiate an excursion fare for all points in Europe at a level that is currently being charged to Great Britain and more than 20 other major cities in Europe.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr Jull. Petition received.

Tertiary Education Assistance

To the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens (students, parents, teachers) of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the decision by the Government to withdraw all forms of financial assistance to students of non-state tertiary institutions is in total conflict with stated Government education policy.

The decision will result in a shortage of places for training secretarial and clerical students and an inordinate demand upon the State Government education systems.

At a time of severe economic disruption, this action must lead to a serious worsening of the current employment situation, particularly school leavers.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Federal Government will act immediately to reverse its decision.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr Martyr. Petition received.

page 1953



page 1953



Mr E G Whitlam:

– I direct a question to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. He will remember that two days ago, first the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security and then the Prime Minister himself, said that the Minister would be having some discussions with the National Labour Consultative Council before the Minister for Social Security made her statement on proposals that special benefit or unemployment benefit payments should not be made to persons who have been refused work by employers because of electricity restrictions, and other proposals that unemployment benefit should not be paid to young men and women who leave school this year before schools resume next year. I ask the Minister. Did he have discussions yesterday with the National Labour Consultative Council? Is it a fact that representatives of both the employers and the employees on the Council objected to both proposals?

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · LP

-The last Dart of the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition is not correct. This question is a little difficult to answer in detail because by agreement of all the parties in the National Labour Consultative Council the proceedings in the Council and the papers which are distributed within the Council for its use are to be regarded as confidential. That was agreed by all the parties in the interests of having a frank and oper forum so that views could be freely expressed. I am able to say, without violating that, that the employers indicated that they had always supported what have become known as the Chifley 1947 proposals regarding the payment of unemployment benefit. They have not considered any other proposal than that with their constituent members and, therefore, that was the only view they could put at the present time. That has been their policy. They have not considered anything else and that remains their policy.

Various views were expressed by members of the Council on other issues which were raised. The first is the payment of unemployment benefit in the context of the stand-downs resulting from the electricity strike, and the second and quite separate issue is the payment of benefit to school leavers. Bearing in mind the confidential nature of the Council which is, I emphasise, by agreement, it would not be appropriate for me to divulge the nature of those discussions. As I understand the position, the Minister for Social Security will be clarifying the Government’s attitude in relation to both issues.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– Is she making a statement today?


-I am not sure about the timing of it

page 1954



Mr Peter Johnson:

-My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that Australia’s rate of inflation has fallen substantially?

Prime Minister · WANNON, VICTORIA · LP

– It is a fact that Australia’s inflation rate has come down substantially, and any attempts to demonstrate any other situation assuredly will fail. Inflation has come down 7 percentage points, based on the implicit price deflator for the gross domestic product for the year from the June quarter 1976 to the June quarter 1977. Between the June quarter 1975 and the June quarter 1976 the inflation rate was 16.2 per cent. Between the June quarter 1976 and the June quarter 1977 it was 9.1 per cent. That is a very substantial improvement indeed. The Leader of the Opposition has criticised the use of the implicit price deflator, but countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development frequently use it and comparative information which comes from this source. It is legitimate to use this concept as a measure of inflation during a 12-month time span. It is an appropriate means of comparison.

In terms of the number of percentage points by which inflation was reduced from the first half of 1976 through to the first half of 1977, Australia had a better performance than the seven major OECD countries. The figures ranged from 15.7 per cent to 10.7 per cent. Again that is based on gross domestic product deflators. In terms of the percentage reduction- a different concept- in the rate of inflation for the period from the first half of 1976 through to the first half of 1977, Australia’s performance was matched only by that of Canada, again using gross domestic product deflators. This information is derived from the OECD Economic Outlook of July 1977, and the information is accurate.

In the first half of 1977 consumer prices rose at an annual rate of around 9 per cent. This increase was lower than the average increase recorded by our major trading partners. This calculation again is made using OECD data. The Australian measure is the full consumer price index. The question, therefore, of the adjustment for hospital and medical charges in that period does not arise. Of course, it is true that some countries have a lower rate of inflation than Australia, but I have been saying that the lowering of the rate of inflation in Australia has been greater than that in all other countries except, on one basis, Canada where the comparison was equal.

The Leader of the Opposition also has said that there has been no indication of a slowing down in the rate of wholesale price increases. I think the honourable gentleman should check his facts, because even as he was speaking yesterday the Statistician released the July price index of materials used in manufacturing. In the three months to July the rise was 1.7 per cent- a very low rise indeed. In the three months to April it was 6.9 per cent. There has been a marked lowering from that time. Let us compare the latest result with the 1976 figures. In the three months to July 1976 the rise was 3.6 per cent. The 1.7 per cent is a very low figure indeed. The Leader of the Opposition suggested that an appalling increase in inflation is under way. I suggest that the honourable gentleman look at the statistics that are coming out and that will come out over the coming days and weeks.

The honourable gentleman also indicated that figures I had used concerning the increase in gross domestic product of 3Vi per cent were inaccurate. Again let us look at the facts. In 1976-77 gross non-farm product increased by 3V4 per cent. In the last full year of Labor’s term in office, 1974-75, it decreased by 0.2 per cent. This indicates a very considerable turnaround. The figures which have been used are accurate. They indicate quite plainly, as most informed commentators outside the House are now recognising, that prospects in Australia for further reductions in inflation are better than they have been for a very long period. That is solely the result of the policies of the present Administration. I think we all know that the honourable gentleman has for a long time been dealing in counterfeit currency and Iraki money. That has left him incapable of discerning between fact and his own fantasy.

Mr Young:

– I take a point of order. I ask that the Prime Minister’s prepared speech from which he was reading be tabled.


-There is no point of order.

Mr Young:

– He was reading the document. I have asked for it to be tabled. He just folded it up in front of him.


-There is no point of order.

Mr Young:

– There is a point of order. I have asked for the document the Prime Minister was quoting from to be tabled.


-Order! The Prime Minister quoted certain figures.

Mr Young:

– He read from the document. He read the whole answer.


-Order! The honourable member for Port Adelaide will resume his seat. I suggest that he think about some of the things he is saying. The Prime Minister read portions from a paper in front of him. He also made comments off the cuff in answer to the question. If the Prime Minister desires to table le paper he has the right to do so. The Prime Minister knows the forms of the House. There is no necessity for him to table the paper if it is confidential.

Mr E G Whitlam:

-Mr Acting Speaker, I take a point of order. Not only has the Prime Minister got rights in this House but also all other honourable members have rights. It is your duty, with respect, to uphold those rights. One of the rights that honourable members have is that if a Minister quotes from a document any member of the

House is entitled to have that document tabled. The only way in which a Minister, including the Prime Minister, can avoid that obligation is to say that the document is confidential. When this point is taken, Mr Speaker always asks the Minister who is asked to table the document from which it is alleged he has been quoting whether the document is confidential. You have not even gone through that formula. If you had observed -


-Order! If the Leader of the Opposition had been listening prior to his taking the point of order he would have known that I said that the Prime Minister has a right not to table the document if he says it is confidential.

Dr Klugman:

– You never mentioned it.


-Order! The honourable member for Prospect will remain silent. I shall expect him to read Hansard tomorrow and see that what I have said is correct. I suggest that the honourable member for Prospect also consider what he said. When the Leader of the Opposition rose, the Prime Minister had not been given the opportunity to say whether the document was confidential.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– I shall be happy if you give him that opportunity.


-Order! I have already said that the Prime Minister has a right not to table the document if he claims it to be confidential. I am now waiting to see what the answer is from the Prime Minister.

Mr Wentworth:

– I take a point of order. Mr Acting Speaker, I draw your attention to the exact words of standing order 32 1 . It states:

A document relating to public affairs Quoted from by a Minister . . . unless stated to be of a confidential nature . . . shall . . . be laid on the Table.

I direct your attention to the meaning of the word ‘quoted’ in that Standing Order. The purpose of the Standing Order is this: If a Minister quotes from a document and uses the authority of that document by saying that it is a quotation it should be tabled unless it is confidential. But if a Minister is simply reading from notes he is not quoting from a document because he is not naming the document. The matter is of absolute substance because it goes to the meaning and purpose of the standing order, which is a very proper purpose. I would admit -


-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. 1 point out to the honourable member and to other honourable members that when a Minister is answering a question or is making a statement, it is almost impossible for the Chair to know whether a document is confidential. It is impossible to know the degree to which the Minister is using that document.

Opposition members- Oh!


-There may be some members in the Opposition who are clairvoyant. In reply to the point of order raised by the honourable member, the situation at the moment is that I have asked the Prime Minister whether the document is confidential.


-Mr Acting Speaker, on two grounds I do not propose to table the document: First, it is not a document but a collection of notes and it has no other authority attached to it; and, secondly, some aspects of it are confidential.

page 1956




-My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. How have the policies of this Federal Government assisted State governments -and in particular the New South Wales Government- to bring down Budgets which provide for a significant expansion of services, according to Press reports on the New South Wales Budget, without increasing State tax rates and charges?


– I congratulate the New South Wales Premier for exploiting the opportunities given to him by the beneficence of our policies in not putting up taxes and not placing new charges on the people of New South Wales. In addition to this, of course, I understand there have been a number of concessions in the New South Wales Budget itself. Now, $2,35 lm -


-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– I am just looking at the Prime Minister’s notes.


-Order! I would suggest that the House comes to order. I would suggest that the Leader of the Opposition remains seated until such stage as he receives the call?

Mr E G Whitlam:

-Well you look. You can look without standing.


-The Leader of the Opposition and some of those who sit behind him quite deliberately make an attempt to disrupt Question Time to prevent answers being given. They take frivolous points of order which are not points of order. As we well know, Mr

Speaker Scholes, when he was in the chair, sought to name people even before they were on their feet if he thought they had a point of order. This Parliament would get through many more questions in the course of a day if the honourable gentleman behaved in a proper parliamentary manner. The honourable gentleman is behaving more as though he were visiting Taronga Park Zoo. Let me make it quite plain: This Government will not allow the Opposition and the Leader of the Opposition to turn this Parliament into the kind of place in which he feels most at home.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– Are you looking?


– Let me make it quite plain: The sums that we have given to New South Wales in this last year of $2,35 lm -

Mr E G Whitlam:

– Are you looking at the document?


-. . . represents 7 1 per cent of the State revenue budget.

Mr Charles Jones:

– I rise to take a point of order. My understanding is that the Parliament is dealing with questions without notice. If the Prime Minister is fair dinkum and he is not a humbug -

Mr Charles Jones:

-. . . and the question being asked is not a Dorothy Dix question, why does not the Prime Minister turn over the copious notes- the prepared reply- he has in front of him? Let us have the question treated as it should be, if the question is a question without notice.


-Order! No point of order arises. Questions have been asked in this manner and Ministers have quoted figures ever since questions were first asked in the Parliament. Without the interruptions, the number of questions asked by honourable members would increase considerably. It has been pointed out many times from the chair that a Minister has the right to answer a question in any manner that he desires, providing that his answer is relevant to the question.


– I will repeat the figures: $2,35 lm made in revenue payments to the State of New South Wales-sums that the New South Wales Government can spend in any way it wishes- represent over 7 1 per cent of its revenue budget. That is an increase of 33 per cent over two years. Because of that increase, which far outweighs and far exceeds what would be needed to cover the rate of inflation, the New South Wales Government has been able to bring in the kind of Budget it has presented in recent days. This can be taken as a mark of the generosity of the Commonwealth in dealing with the financial situations of the States. One of the significant reasons this was done was to establish the circumstances in which the States could bring in budgets which would not increase taxes and which would not impose new taxes that would add to the consumer price index. This is all part of the general program of the Government to bear down on inflation.

page 1957



Mr E G Whitlam:

– I ask the Prime Minister a question without notice.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I take a point of order, Mr Acting Speaker. Is it in order for the honourable gentleman to read a question?


– I suggest that that is also something that has been done by honourable members over many years.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– I am quoting from a photostat of the Hansard green of my question yesterday. Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister a question about the implicit price deflator. The exact words I used were: . . . whether he disputes and repudiates table 6 in statement 2 of the Budget Papers which shows that the standard of living of the Australian community had in fact fallen during 1976-77.

The right honourable gentleman has it incorporated in the notes he is reading and he has marked the particular passage that I have quoted in ink. His answer- again quoting from the Hansard green- was that he would want to check the table, I ask him whether he has now checked table 6 in Budget statement 2 tabled in August this year, and does he notice that the real household disposable income for all households in Australia, deflated by the implicit price deflator, which he chooses, was smaller in the June quarter of 1977 than in the June quarter of 1976. Will he agree that, as the population increased in the year 1976-77 by 1.1 per cent, the disposable income of individuals fell still more during that year?


-The honourable gentleman makes himself plain, but he should compare the full year 1976-77 with the full year 1975-76. In those circumstances let me give the honourable gentleman the facts. Firstly, deflating by the full consumer price index, we have a reduction by 0.5 per cent, consistent with what I said; deflating by the consumer price index excluding the hospital and medical services we have an increase of 1.7 per cent, consistent with what I said; deflating by the personal consumption deflator, we have an increase of 1.6 per cent, consistent with what I said.


– I call the honourable member for Corio.

Mr E G Whitlam:

- Mr Acting Speaker, I ask that that document be tabled. You will have noticed that the Prime Minister was quoting from it.


-The Prime Minister has said that the document -

Sir William McMahon:

- Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order -


-Order! I am answering the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Scholes:

– Do not forget that I have the call.


-Order! Neither the honourable member for Corio, nor any other honourable member will get the call unless the House comes to order. In regard to the request made by the Leader of the Opposition, I point out that the Prime Minister said two things in reply to the previous request for tabling. He said, firstly, that portions of the document were confidential and, secondly, that there were only certain quotes in that document.

Mr Hayden:

– How do you know it is the same document?


-Order! The honourable member for Oxley will remain silent.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– It is a different document

Mr Bourchier:

- Mr Acting Speaker, should not the Leader of the Opposition be seated while you are speaking?


-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The reply is exactly the same. I call the right honourable member for Lowe on a point of order.

Sir William McMahon:

- Mr Acting Speaker, I intervene in this debate with reluctance. I would like to draw your attention, and that of the House, to page 432 of the nineteenth edition of Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice. It has long been the rule in the House of Commons, and I believe that it ought to be applied here, that only public documents need be tabled. This matter goes back to 10 August 1893. This is what May says:

On 10 August 1893, the Speaker ruled that confidential documents or documents of a private nature passing between officers of a department -

Mr E G Whitlam:

-Bill’s birthday.

Sir William McMahon:

– I am trying to save the Leader of the Opposition from apoplexy. I have said that only public documents need be tabled in the House. May goes on to say:

Indeed, it is obvious that, as the House deals only with public documents in its proceedings, it could not thus incidentally require the production of papers which, if moved for separately, would be refused as beyond its jurisdiction.

Sir, if you read May carefully you will see that interdepartmental minutes, minutes passing from departments to Ministers and notes from a department to assist Ministers are not to be tabled and should not be tabled unless the Minister agrees. Sir, I hope that you will read this carefully and apply the doctrine in the House. I hope that such a ruling will save the Leader of the Opposition from the attack of apoplexy which is about to descend upon him.

Mr Scholes:

- Mr Acting Speaker -


-Order! The honourable member for Corio will resume his seat. In regard to the point of order raised by the right honourable member for Lowe, the detailed matters that he raised can be considered and studied by the Standing Orders Committee. I repeat to the House what I said earlier. If a Minister reads from a document and then claims that the document is confidential, that is the end of the matter. I also point out that if a Minister says that he only quoted from a document it also has been the practice that that is the end of the matter. In this instance both those conditions have been fulfilled by the Prime Minister. Certain honourable members who have been in this House for a long time should appreciate that point. I hope that the House will realise that that is the position. Prior to Question Time a number of honourable members came to me and said that they wanted to ask a question. A Speaker who calls a member is, for that member, the most popular Speaker in the House, but in the opinion of the 99 others who do not receive the call he is like the man referred to in a certain biblical quotation. We are not assisted when points of order are raised during the time that Ministers are answering questions. Some of the answers from Ministers are getting a little lengthy but I also point out that over a period of time some of the questions have become a little lengthy.

Mr E G Whitlam:

- Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order. The Prime Minister in his answer to me was quoting a document different from that from which he quoted in answer to the previous question asked from this side of the

House. You have not asked the Prime Ministernor has he volunteered the informationwhether he regards the document from which he was quoting in answer to my question as confidential. If he says it is confidential, of course under the Standing Orders that is the end of the matter. But I point out that this is a document relating to public affairs. Obviously it must be because it related to a question asked him yesterday. It is a document different from the previous one. You have not asked him whether he regards it as confidential.


– I accept what the Leader of the Opposition has said in his point of order. I also remind the honourable gentleman of my comment in regard to this matter. If a Minister is only quoting portion of a document in relation to his answer then the document is not required to be tabled. A document is required to be tabled only when a Minister has quoted from it as it stands, and has not merely taken figures from it. The ruling from the Chair has been given on two counts; firstly, on the matter of confidentiality and, secondly, where figures have been merely quoted from that document.

Mr Scholes:

- Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order. We can argue the rights and wrongs of documents all day. I think the procedures of the House over a long period in regard to this matter have been simple, concise and clear to all honourable members. I believe that where a request for the tabling of a document is made all that is required from the Chair is that the Minister be asked whether the document is confidential. The Minister says yes or no and that is the end of the matter.


– I point out to the honourable member for Corio and to the Leader of the Opposition that there are two factors relating to the document. That has already been done in the House.

Mr Hayden:

- Mr Acting Speaker, I raise a point of order which may clear the matter up. I think it can be clarified promptly by your pointing out that it was not necessary to consult the Prime Minister because you had already consulted your prejudices.


-Order! There is no substance in the point of order. The honourable member for Oxley should have sufficient experience to know that no point of order arises.

Mr E G Whitlam:

- Mr Acting Speaker, in relation to your second ruling, you are not in a position to know whether -

Motion (by Mr Sinclair) put:

That the Leader of the Opposition be not further heard.

The House divided. (Mr Acting Speaker-Mr P. E. Lucock)

AYES: 73

NOES: 27

Majority……. 46



Any member may at any time raise a point of order which shall, until disposed of, suspend the consideration and decision of every other question.

I put it to you that ‘every other question’ must go to the point of the question being put. I believe that it is completely out of order to gag a point of order.

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Mr Cohen- Mr Acting Speaker-


-Does the honourable member for Robertson wish to take a point of order?

Mr Cohen:

– No, Mr Acting Speaker. I just want to ask you whether you would talk with the-

Mr Cohen:

– I want to ask a question. I have not been able to hear what has gone on in this House this morning nor, for that matter, for the last few days. I suggest that we check the audio system in this House because I am having great difficulty in hearing the proceedings. I have raised this matter with other members and they too are having great difficulty in hearing what is happening in the House.


-The honourable member for Robertson might possibly be lucky on occasions.

Mr E G Whitlam:

– That is your best comment today.


– I might make another one later too. I assure the honourable member for Robertson that I accept what he has said. The acoustics in this chamber are not good. I have asked on earlier occasions that they be looked at, and I shall certainly do so again.

page 1960


Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs · WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

-(Warringah-Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs)- Pursuant to section 42 of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 I present the annual return to Parliament of persons granted Australian citizenship during the year ended 30 June 1977.

page 1960


Minister for Aboriginal Affairs · Stirling · LP

– For the information of honourable members I present the report of the Tasmania State Grants Commission on financial assistance to local government. Due to the limited number available, copies of this report have been placed in the Table Office and the Parliamentary Library. The recommendations made in this report have already been made available to members from Tasmania.

page 1960


Mr Eric Robinson:

– Pursuant to section 78 of the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942 I present the annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission 1976-77.

page 1960


Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Farrer · LP

– Pursuant to section 45 of the Industries Assistance Commission Act 1973 I present the annual report of the Industries Assistance Commission for 1976-77, together with a statement outlining the action taken during the year 1976-77 on reports made to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs.

page 1960


Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd-Labor Government Spending-Prime Minister’s Lodge- Foreign Investment in Australia- Pensioners- Department of Social

Security -Resignations from the Liberal Party- Unemployment Benefits- Assistance for Small Businesses-Australian Economy -Australian Capital Territory Financial Arrangements- Commissioner for

Community Relations- Training Courses-Aviation Industry- Overseas Travel by Ministers

Question proposed:

That grievances be noted.


-The random, ad hoc nature of the Government’s uranium policy emerges with crystal clarity from its policy for the Mary Kathleen uranium mine. The Government continues to sink more and more Commonwealth funds into Mary Kathleen. It is sinking money into a mine that does not make a profit and will never make a profit. The Government’s so-called loans to Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd actually are grants because there is no prospect of repayment. Instead of making its recent grant to Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd of $9m, the Government would have been much better off giving each of the 300 workers at Mary Kathleen $30,000 severance pay and then closing the mine. At least this would have ended the process of government subsidies. It would have softened the impact of the unemployment which must come when the mine closes.

In retrospect, it is clear that the Mary Kathleen mine should never have been reopened. At the time of the advent of the Labor Government late in 1972, Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd had contracts for the supply of about 4,800 tonnes of yellowcake, but Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd needed contracts for the remaining 2,000 to 3,000 tonnes of uranium in its reserves to have any chance of making the mine profitable. The Labor Government’s decision that no new uranium contracts be approved until Australian

Labor Party policy was formulated made the economics of the mine even more risky. Since the mine has reopened it has run into serious production problems- Its maintenance costs are very high, due to the deterioration of the equipment during the 10 years it was out of commission. Wrong assumptions about ore grades and quantities were made and wrong conclusions were drawn about the size of the pit.

I refer the House to an article in the National Times of 18 September last in which the many problems of the mine are detailed. As a result of these mistakes Mary Kathleen is a very unprofitable mine. Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd is now losing money at the rate of $ 16m a year. It lost $8,378,000 in the first six months of this year. Based on the trading figures over the last six months, a conservative estimate would be that Mary Kathleen Uranium Ltd would have to get $46 per lb of yellowcake to make the mine profitable. That is over $10 per lb more than the current world contract price for uranium.

Currently the Mary Kathleen mine is producing at less than 50 per cent of capacity. In the June quarter it produced only 100 tonnes of yellowcake. It will not be able to meet the 1977 existing contract requirement of 948 tonnes. The ore reserves of Mary Kathleen Uranium have recently been downgraded by 10 per cent. In the Australian Financial Review of 6 October John Byrne revealed that the board of Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd had warned its shareholders that there was little hope of a return on capital. That warning was given before the loss increased. The total investment of the Commonwealth Government now amounts to $ 16.4m, which includes $7.4m of the initial investment. The mine made a $12m loss in 1976. The loss will be greater this year, but recently Mary Kathleen Uranium secured a further $9m long term loan from the Fraser Government and an $ 1 1 m loan from Conzinc Riotinto. This follows a short-term loan earlier this year of $6m, $1.8m being from the Fraser Government. This action is rather surprising, seeing that Mary Kathleen has not made a profit and, in my opinion, will not make a profit in future.

Why has there been a change in opinion about Mary Kathleen? Eighteen months ago the Fraser Government tried to sell the Atomic Energy Commission’s 42 per cent equity in Mary Kathleen Uranium. Now it is giving to Mary Kathleen Uranium loans that cannot be repaid. It seems an astonishing turnabout. Obviously the attitude of Conzinc Riotinto is crucial. It seems determined to keep the mine open. It is too easy to say that CRA is concerned about its reputation in meeting existing contracts, particularly for Australian uranium. It would be easier, simpler and more profitable for CRA to meet its contracts through the mine of its parent company, Riotinto Zinc Corporation Ltd, at Rossing m Namibia, Africa. Conzinc Riotinto is keeping Mary Kathleen open to suit the political purposes of the Fraser Government. I want to stress and restress that opinion.

The big question is whether in return CRA will be allowed to ignore the Fraser Government’s policies on foreign equity in Australian enterprises. Will the price of CRA keeping the uneconomic Mary Kathleen mine going be approval to CRA to avoid the stated Fraser Government policy and to secure control of important Australian coal reserves? That is the question that this House and the Australian people should consider. Conzinc Riotinto knows that with the continuing world-wide cut-backs in the nuclear power industry, the real profits in the future will be from coal, not from uranium or nuclear power. Propping up Mary Kathleen is a small price to pay for CRA gaining privileged access to Australian coal deposits. The Fraser Government also has political motives for propping up Mary Kathleen. It wants to keep the pressure on the Labor movement. The Fraser Government hopes to use any industrial confrontation resulting from the shipment of uranium yellowcake as an excuse for calling an election. One only has to examine the front page of yesterday’s Australian to know the Government’s policy. That is where it leaks its stories. It coordinates its policy with that of the Australian. That is clearly defined. It hopes to overcome objections to the development of the Ranger mine by pointing to Mary Kathleen.

The Industries Assistance Commission in its report, after examining the situation, wants to throw Australian manufacturing industries on the scrap heap and put the workers out of work because of supposed inefficiencies. Yet the Fraser Government deliberately keeps Mary Kathleen going for political purposes, even though it is inefficient. If anybody has any doubt about what I say, I ask the Australian Financial Review and any other of these so-called responsible newspapers which look at the question of inefficient manufacturing industries to turn their attention to the inefficiency of this uranium mine, this political mine, at Mary Kathleen. The $ 10.8m that the Government has, in effect, granted Mary Kathleen this year would provide 450 jobs if spent in the building and construction industry. The present policy promises the Mary Kathleen work force unemployment when the political purposes of CRA and the Fraser Government nave been served.

Mary Kathleen is a political mine. It is economic idiocy. It has no useful purpose other than to serve the dubious political ends of the Fraser Government and the greed of CRA. The Australian people at large should know this. It is about time that the truth came out. I hope the speech I have made today will throw some light on the shabbiness and the collusion going on between the Australian Government and the foreign owned company Conzinc Riotinto of Australia.


– I was interested in the concluding words of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Uren). He said that it is about time the truth came out about mining at Mary Kathleen. We on this side of the House find it difficult to decide just who speaks for the Opposition on uranium mining policy. We can only regard the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition as being a not very thinly veiled attack on his own leader. In Brisbane last week it was reported in the Courier Mail that the Leader of the Opposition personally took credit for re-opening the Mary Kathleen mine and gave an assurance at Mount Isa that if the Labor Government came back into office the Mary Kathleen mine would be kept operating. How does that square with the statements by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the Mary Kathleen mine is being kept open to assist the political purposes of the Fraser Government? All I can say is that the Leader of the Opposition must be working for the political purposes of the Fraser Government. He is welcome to join our side if he wants to come and renounce his past sins.

I raise a grievance about the past extravagance of the Labor Government and the inconsistent way in which it is now nit-picking at the very small amounts of money being spent quite justifiably by this Government in comparison with the huge amounts spent extravagantly by the Labor Government. In three years the extravagant junketing of the Leader of the Opposition cost the Australian taxpayer $ 1.5m. This reckless use of public money included the use of special charter aircraft, repainted and refitted to suit the honourable gentleman’s personal tastes. It included personal retinues of up to 42 people including, on one occasion, the driver of the Leader of the Opposition to act as his personal valet and servant One junket alone took place at a cost of around $ 1 4,000 a day.

The aristocratic and expensive tastes of the Leader of the Opposition were brought to bear in Australia just as much as they were overseas. The honourable gentleman left his house in the western suburbs of Sydney and moved into Kirribilli House. Kirribilli House in Sydney was previously used as a place for Australia’s international visitors of state. It was converted to the personal mansion of the then Prime Minister. In a period of two years it was occupied by him for 332 days, almost a full year. This was an outstanding record for a man who was meant to be running the country from Canberra. The Leader of the Opposition was, of course, the Prime Minister who purchased an imported luxury limousine. I personally do not object to the Prime Minister of Australia having a high status car, but I recall that when the Labor Government came to office some publicity was given to the fact that the honourable gentleman rejected the old Prime Ministerial Rolls Royce and went to a more modest Ministerial Ford LTD. This was publicised as being evidence of the Labor background of this PrIme Minister and his less extravagant approach to life, but shortly afterwards he arranged for the purchase of an imported luxury limousine.

His Government also holds the record for the greatest number of personal staff members ever seen in the history of this country and the greatest use of VIP aircraft since the establishment of the special Air Force squadron. I do not think there is any need for me to go into the details of the scandals associated with the overseas loans affair in order to demonstrate the absurdity of the present public advertising campaign being conducted by the Australian Labor Party. My only comment on that is to observe that funds for the campaign could well have come from the foreign interests with whom the Australian Labor Party, and the Leader of the Opposition in particular, have been making arrangements in recent years. I wonder whether another Iraqi breakfast was conducted? I also note the irony of the way in which the Australian Labor Party, in the recent advertisements authorised by one David Combe, accuses the Government of loose spending. David Combe was a prime mover in the Iraqi money affair- the loosest and most disreputable attempted financial transaction Australia has known

Moreover, we know that the former Prime Minister spent without a care to have his portrait enshrined in all public offices throughout Australia.

Mr Neil:

– It was a terrible portrait.


– Surely this is the action of a vain and insensitive man. As my colleague, the honourable member for St George, notes, it was a terrible portrait anyway. Wherever possible, former Prime Ministers travelled by commercial airlines or made normal use of VIP flights. The Leader of the Opposition, when Prime Minister, chartered Qantas Airways Ltd jets at prodigious cost and forced the cancellation of the flights of hundreds of Australian citizens. Of course, he also authorised the use of a VIP aircraft by Mrs Whitlam. I do not complain about that, but it is hypocritical of him to come into this House and seek to attack the present Prime Minister for the use by Mrs Fraser of a VIP aircraft in perfectly understandable and open and explainable circumstances.

The Whitlam regime saw the greatest proliferation of personal staff since the court of Nero. One might say that they fiddled while Australia burned but there were private secretaries, research officers, Press secretaries, media secretaries and even a few ordinary secretaries.

I want to comment on an allegation made in the advertisements authorised by Mr David Combe concerning the redecoration of certain parts of the Lodge. These allegations are supposed to give an example of the extravagance of the present Prime Minister. I was interested to note that Mr Andrew Grimwade, the Chairman of the Committee on Official Establishments, yesterday released a statement repudiating those allegations. In this statement Mr Grimwade said:

The implication in Labor Party advertising that the Prime Minister was personally responsible for expenditure on improvements at The Lodge in Canberra was an unjustified misrepresentation of the facts.

The Committee on Official Establishments was set up by the Federal Government to advise on the operation and conservation of the four Official Establishments, including the Prime Minister’s Lodge. It is an independent advisory body. The Committee has no political interests and its work is solely in the interests of the nation and of the Australian people.

He goes on to say:

It is disappointing to find the essential up-keep of official buildings being used in an attempt to damage the person who, by virtue of his office, happens to be occupying the premises. The recommendations for the work of the Lodge came from the Committee on Official Establishments and not from the Prime Minister.

During its deliberations the Committee heard evidence from many people including the Leader of the Opposition, the Honourable E. G. Whitlam and Mrs Whitlam. From all the evidence gathered, no single objection was raised to the activities of the Committee nor to the proposals it was envisaging. Indeed, full support was given by everyone to the Committee.

The next paragraph is most important as well. Mr Grimwade went on to say:

It was completely unwarranted to infer that the Committee was involved in any ‘loose spending’. The Committee had focused the Government’s attention on the deplorable conditions in the service wing of The Lodge. The renovations have the full support of the Union involved and those working at The Lodge will benefit from the renovations rather than Mr and Mrs Fraser.

All capital and maintenance expenditure within the Official Establishments, including The Lodge, now comes within the oversight of the Committee.

I suggest that that gives the lie to the sorts of criticisms that are being directed at the Prime Minister in respect of essential maintenance on official establishments.


-The current spate of takeover offers for Australian coal interests threatens to undermine the essential element of Australia’s foreign investment. That is- and I quote from the speech of the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) of April 1976:

To provide the maximum opportunity for Australians to participate as fully and effectively as practicable in the ownership and control of this country’s industries and natural resources.

The clarity of this principle is being muddied by the proposition that a foreign owned company, prepared to increase its Australian equity to over 50 per cent of its shareholding, should be permitted to bid in a prospective takeover of another company on the basis of equality with an Australian owned company- thus letting the market determine the value and acceptability of each respective offer. Such a proposition is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the foreign investment policy- a policy which enjoys the bipartisan support of the Government and Opposition parties.

Proposals to ‘Australianise’ foreign companies, with the consent of the overseas principals, are attractive in terms of the Australian national interest- but only on certain terms and conditions. The issuing of new shares by a foreign company in exchange for the shares of another company held by Australians, which has the effect of diminishing the magnitude of the holding by foreign principals in a company, is an acceptable, indeed desirable policy, but only in the circumstances where the takeover of a minority interest is contemplated where it is not a controlling interest, or in the situation where no other Australian company is bidding.

A small, though progressive reduction in the foreign equity of a foreign company, particularly a large foreign company, should not permit such a company to mount a bid for the takeover of another company in Australia on an equal footing with an Australian company. If an Australian company is in the field with a takeover bid, with share bid price within acceptable commercial limits, the Government and the Foreign Investment Review Board should not block such a takeover offer on the basis that a large foreigner is prepared to reduce its foreign equity, or that the offer of the foreigner is more generous to the shareholders of the company to be taken over. Generally, the foreigners can always outbid the natives. Price should not be the determinant in government approval of takeover offers or takeovers.

A growing level of Australian corporate ownership is the objective of the policy. This cannot be subjugated by the desire to make foreign companies more Australian. On the other hand if Australian companies want the protection of the foreign investment policy and legislation, they should not cast low bids for the shares of other companies. Australian companies that play on the sentiments of economic nationalism with the expectation that takeover proposals will be approved with unrealistic and unacceptably low bids, should not be rewarded with a clear field to their prize. Shareholders of course can reject any offer. But if an offer is likely to be the only offer it could be that shareholders have no option but to accept it. The foreign investment policy must not be debased or destroyed, unwittingly or otherwise by the injudicious behaviour of Australian companies. The policy was developed for the protection of Australian interests and should not be abused.

Much of what I have said is relevant to the present takeover proposals of Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd and the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd, both of which are bidding for Australian coal resources.

In particular CSR and CRA are bidding to takeover Australian Associated Resources Ltd, a company which holds S3 per cent of the Hail Creek coking coal project m Queensland. With 53 per cent of the project clearly the owner of AAR would control the project.

The low growth expectation in the world economy and in Japan indicates that Australia will experience a lower rate of mineral export growth over the next decade. In coking coal this means that, after the development of Utah’s Norwich Park mine, the next major coking coal development will probably be the last in the next five to ten years. Hence the corporate jockeying by two large companies that want to diversify into ‘big’ coal.

Hail Creek will be the next generation major coking coal mine. Its development costs will be near one billion dollars. Neither CSR nor CRA are in ‘big’ coal; that is involvement in a mine with an annual export capacity of between four and five million tons. Hail Creek is their last chance for a long time. CSR has put in a bid of $ 1 .75 for each AAR share- a bid which the AAR board says is too low. CSR acceptance rate on the offer is abysmally low. On the other hand CRA has applied to the Foreign Investment Review Board for permission to make an offer on AAR shares at $2.50.

At this point what needs to be made clear is this: If CSR can get sufficient acceptances to control AAR and thus the Hail Creek project, then it should be given approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Government without any obstruction from CRA. This is the clear course the Government must follow if it is properly to interpret its own policy. AAR shareholders, of course, do not have to sell. If perchance CSR increases its bid price, it is likely that it will be successful. The Government should consider advice to CSR on this aspect. The Government is under no compulsion to accommodate CRA. The only basis for permitting CRA to take up some of the equity of AAR would be if CSR admitted that the project was too big for it to manage and finance or that it could not afford a higher bid. But, even given this circumstance, the Government should still be looking for another Australian company to join forces with CSR before it relents and admits CRA.

The only possible scenario which would be in any way acceptable in terms of clear Australian control of the project and which involves CRA would be a joint venture company along the lines of the BHP and Shell North West Shelf Development Ltd, which will operate the North West Shelf gas project; that is, a joint company that controls what would be the former AAR 53 per cent of the project and CRA’s present 15 per cent direct interest in the project. With the proviso that decisions of the Board would have to be unanimous, it would be clear then that the Australian interest would be protected in that CSR could exercise a veto and thus exercise control over the project. However, this should be viewed as a measure of last resort.

The Opposition expects the Government to stand behind its policy to endeavour to see that the Hail Creek project has over 50 per cent Australian equity and control. Any premature compromises will be viewed with great disdain from this side of the House. When in government the Opposition would not enjoy being compelled to rearrange the equity situation of any project; but it would not shirk the responsibility. It is far better for the Government to do its job properly now than to have the whole matter opened up later and thrashed out again. No ‘Australianisation’ plan by CRA, no matter how genuinely contemplated, will allow it to be at present over 50 per cent Australian owned. Therefore CRA is still at this point in time a foreign company and must be dealt with accordingly. This issue presents the first real test of the strength of the Government’s commitment to Australian corporate ownership and control. Indeed, the future of the foreign investment policy is at stake. The Opposition will follow developments with great attention and will expect to see the national interest protected.

Earlier today I advised the Treasurer of my intention to raise this matter in the House and asked him to follow me in the debate to explain the Government’s attitude. He has not even had the courtesy to sit in the House during the course of my remarks and he is not prepared to elucidate or explain the Government’s attitude to these takeovers. This is indicative of the procedures of the Fraser Government in recent times, in fielding back benchers to explain its policies in the House, so that Ministers are not accountable for the policies. So the Treasurer and the Foreign Investment Review Board should read my speech carefully. Before too much more time elapses- perhaps in only a few weeks- there will be another Australian Labor Party government in Canberra and my party is determined that the national interest will be protected.


– I wish to bring to the attention of the House a matter of social responsibility which I hope transcends all political boundaries. I refer to the responsibility which government has towards the homeless men and women of our community. Following actions by the Commonwealth and State police in Brisbane on Tuesday, 20 September, in raiding what has been described as a slave camp for some of the underprivileged, the media of this country have carried many stories covering aspects of the vulnerability and the plight of those people in our society who frankly cannot help themselves.

The raid in Brisbane has pointed up one single glaring fact which should be of concern to us all. There are some very serious deficiencies and grey areas in the Social Services Act. If the Act is interpreted in strict legal terms, the Department of Social Security is absolved from taking certain actions or making certain investigations in some cases. However, the very nature of the Act implies a moral commitment by the Government to do all it can to help those people in our community who, because of their unfortunate circumstances, cannot help themselves. We have a very real obligation to investigate the provisions of the Social Services Act to make sure that these desperate homeless people can be helped, that they cannot be exploited and that they have the protection which, as human beings, they deserve.

On 25 May 1977 I placed on notice a series of questions to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security (Senator Guilfoyle) relating to the guidelines set down to enable persons to be warrantors for persons receiving pensions from the Department of Social Security. I asked whether the credentials of these warrantors are checked prior to that right being given and whether a regular review is carried out by the Department in these situations. The Minister answered that the Department had no discretion in the matter of the appointment of warrantors as it was a private arrangement between the pensioner and the warrantor and, therefore, no guidelines were required. Credentials of proposed warrantors are not examined by the Department if the appointment is made by a pensioner, and there are no regular reviews of warrantors or their activities. I also asked in that question to the Minister for details of the number of persons under the warrantee of two individuals in Queensland. The answer to that question was:

The information required is not readily available.

Yet after the raid in Brisbane I understand that investigations were made relating to those parts of the question and that the results were obtained within 48 hours. I understand that when these investigations were carried out the Department’s records showed that they were few in number.

I point out to the House that, despite the legal preciseness of the Department’s investigations, I believe that the results give us a clouded and not too accurate picture. It seems that there is a legal difference between warrantors and trustees, but from the number of calls which I have had to my office it is obvious that the net results of the potential abuses of these two systems of payment vary very little indeed. I would not like it to be thought that I believe that those persons who become warrantors or trustees will necessarily abuse the system. I believe that there are specific cases, and the Department is aware of them, of people who have abused the system or certainly of people whose manipulation of the system leaves a lot to be desired. Whilst it may be all very well to say that the question of warrantors and indeed trustees is a private arrangement between persons, it is my belief that there is very little privacy for those who are in unfortunate circumstances, who are homeless, who usually spend most of their lives sleeping in parks and gardens, who are alcoholics, who subsequently may have brain damage and who are easily exploited. All governments have a moral responsibility to ensure that the pensions paid to those people get to those people and are not siphoned off by others in the community who are out to make a fast buck.

I know that this is a very sensitive area and I know that it is in an area in respect of which the Department of Social Security has received a lot of bad publicity lately. There are many people within the Department of Social Security who do an excellent and very fine job, but I believe that there are times when officers of the Department need to cast their thoughts a little further than the strict reading of the law. One of the most unfortunate things about a bureaucracy is that whenever someone makes any criticism or shows concern about the department the officers of that department huddle together in protecting the great monolith. I believe that in many cases the Department of Social Security is far too protective for its own good. There needs to be a greater degree of consultation and a greater degree of flexibility in the way in which it administers its social welfare responsibilities.

One of the things that have concerned me for a long time about homeless people is the way in which it is possible for the bureaucracy, in some cases, to become bogged down in its own paper work at the expense of the unfortunate people in our community. I would like to cite just one example that has been given to me by the manager of one of the most reputable hostels catering for homeless people in Brisbane. When the Homeless Persons Assistance Act was assented to in 1974 this organisation made an application to the Department of Social Security for the establishment of new premises in Brisbane. Petty quibbling by bureaucrats in Canberra over issues such as whether double decker beds were more desirable than single beds, whether the amenities were too far away from the dormitories and whether single room accommodation was better than dormitory style accommodation, caused delays in the approval of this project for 12 months. In such cases when there is already a chronic shortage of facilities for homeless men, such bureaucratic delays are unforgivable.

We in this House should not lose sight of the ultimate ends for which we pass legislation. If those ends are stifled or if they are delayed by red tape our efforts in this chamber certainly will not be as effective as they should be. I raise these matters merely because I believe that in the area of homeless people there is a great deal more that we can do for that unfortunate sector of the community about which nobody seems to care and nobody wants to know.

I would also like to raise one other matter about the Department of Social Security which I hope the Minister will note. As many honourable members are probably aware, in my electorate of Bowman I conduct a mobile office in a caravan which regularly tours all the shopping centres in the outlying areas of the electorate. I have found during my time in the House that the mobile office has drummed up more business than my office can handle. Whilst it might be a rod for my own back it certainly is one of the most effective means of communicating with people. I also believe it would be a very effective means for the Department of Social Security to employ in order to communicate with many of the outlying areas and the new suburban developments which so often are the source of so many of the social problems in our community today. I believe that Tasmania has a mobile office and that Western Australia has a caravan which is shared by the Department’s social workers and its community liaison officers. Yet Queensland, which is the most decentralised of the mainland States, cannot afford to implement such a scheme.

To my mind one of the most important roles of the Department of Social Security is to communicate with the general public the wide range of services and benefits which are available. It is amazing to hear cases of people who have endured so much hardship for so long simply because they did not know that some welfare assistance was available to them from the Government. Communications is one of the most important tasks of any government. It certainly is a vital aspect of the work of the Department of Social Security. I sincerely hope that the Minister will look at the proposition of providing those caravans to provide that service m those areas I mentioned, the new urban developments and the outlying areas, where the need is obviously so great.

Mr Les Johnson:

-In the light of the increasing crises the Fraser Government is facing, the increasingly dictatorial style of the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the worsening state of the economy, is there any wonder that disunity and confusion are becoming the order of the day in the ranks of the Government? The list of resignations from the Liberal Party is mounting. On 24 March the honourable member for Hotham (Mr Chipp) resigned; a former Minister for the Navy and

Customs and Excise, and shadow Minister for Social Security, Health, Repatriation and Compensation, and a former Leader of the House. He said:

I cannot agree with the Government’s economic policy- I am concerned with its failure to honour its promise to the private sector, to give it stable and definite guidelines . . . I believe the small private businessman is more confused, more in the dark about the future and less confident than IS months ago.

He went on:

I am very concerned with the intransigence of the Prime Minister about the Industrial Relations Bureau and about the lack of consultation between the Government and the trade union movement. It would be cruel and unfair to ask the workers to be the sole bearers of the cost of reducing inflation.

That is what the honourable member for Hotham said a little while ago. It certainly has application today. Following the resignation of the honourable member for Hotham from the Liberal Party the Prime Minister had to seek the assurance of several other Liberal Members of Parliament in case they might also resign from the Liberal Party.

Mr Baillieu:
Mr Les Johnson:

-Let me mention the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Ellicott), because of his disenchantment with the Prime Minister’s leadership. The honourable member for Tangney (Dr Richardson) has decided not to contest his seat at the next election because of the Government’s failure to honour its election promises. The honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), a former Minister for Social Security, also resigned because of his opposition to the Government’s economic policy. In addition, on 9 September last the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Sullivan) announced his plan to resign from six parliamentary committees because he said that the Liberal Party had no understanding of the needs of country people. I recall the somewhat prophetic words of a former Prime Minister, the highly regarded Sir John Gorton. He said back in 1973 that it would be a disaster if Mr Fraser ever led the Liberal Party; that it would mean breaking up the party. The present Prime Minister was so concerned about back bench disenchantment with his leadership that he felt he had to warn Government party members about leaking to the Press discussions which took place in the party room.

Rebellion is breeding on the back benches over the Fraser Government’s plan to close down the Rhodesian Information Centre. No less than 13 government supporters have expressed their concern and doubt about the closure of the office. Quite clearly the Prime Minister no longer has any control over Government supporters in the Senate. He can no longer count on his own party members in the Senate to support his Government. The callous and inhumane attempts of the Fraser Government to abolish the $40 pensioner funeral benefit resulted in Liberal Senators Rae, Jessop, Missen, Townley, Wood and Bonner crossing the Moor, thus rolling the Government’s plan. That is recorded history.

Earlier this year, when the Government’s May referendum proposals went to the Senate, 11 Government senators crossed the floor and voted against the proposals. Senator Martin resigned from her position as Deputy Government Whip in the Senate in protest. In November last a group of 15 Liberal and National Country Party senators planned to move an amendment to the Budget- a virtual vote of no confidence in their Government. On 29 March Senators Rae, Townley, Wood, Walters and Wright voted with the Opposition on the apple and pear subsidy scheme. In March this year the Prime Minister roundly abused Tasmanian Liberals during a blow-up over the level of stabilisation to be given to the apple and pear industry. So bitter was the clash over the apple and pear subsidy scheme that the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development (Mr Newman) threatened to resign and the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck) was told that he was behaving like a grub and should go back to Tasmania and bury himself in an apple- to use the precise words. That is incredible behaviour. The honourable members for Franklin, Wilmot (Mr Burr), and Lowe (Sir William McMahon) have expressed their opposition to an early election.

There has been a rapid desertion in the rank and file of the Liberal Party as well. In New South Wales membership of the Party fell by 17,000 this year and in Victoria the membership is down to the lowest level for ten years. In Queensland membership has fallen by 20 per cent. This is at a time when politics is volatile; when other parties, including the Labor Party, are greatly expanding their membership. We can see the disenchantment when the ship is sinking; we know who has the tendency to depart.

There has been continuing conflict and discussion within the Liberal-National Country Party coalition over changes to the broadcasting legislation and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. In the Government party room late last year when the Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Eric Robinson) asked who could not support the Government’s proposed changes to broadcasting one by one members stood up: The honourable members for Casey (Mr Falconer), Denison (Mr Hodgman), Diamond Valley (Mr Brown), Isaacs (Mr Hamer) and St George (Mr Neil); and Senators Missen, Martin, Baume, Young and Hall. Just this week reports have appeared in the newspapers saying that some government back benchers were resisting the Fraser Government’s latest changes to radio and television administration.

Yesterday, when the Fraser Government attempted to ram through the party room its original decision not to pay the unemployment benefit to innocent victims of industrial disputes the party room erupted. We are told it was a most ungainly and unseemly scene. Reports in today’s Press- undenied reports, I might saygave us the names. One of the reasons why there was confusion during Question Time today was that the Prime Minister and other leaders on the Government side knew that there would be interrogation about this matter and they were unprepared to be subjected to it.

Mr Bourchier:

– I raise a point of order. The honourable member who is speaking now is raising matters on which he has no facts and does not know the truth. He mentions our party room discussions. He was not there. He has no idea. I doubt that he even knows what goes on in his own Party room. Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask you to rule those comments out of order. Furthermore, the honourable member knows very well that it was disruption caused by the Australian Labor Party which spoiled Question Time today. It is quite obvious that Labor members did not want to have questions answered.


-Order! The honourable member has made his point. The Chair has to take the view that honourable members are entitled to their own opinions, erratic or otherwise.

Mr Les Johnson:

-I am informed from very reliable sources that the opponents of the scheme were the honourable members for Denison, Casey, La Trobe and Franklin. This is Grievance Day and those honourable members have the opportunity to make a speech in refutation. In any event, why should they not be concerned? Do they believe that the Prime Minister is right in denying unemployment relief to people who are stood down as a result of industrial disputes and that that will assist in the speedy resolution of industrial disputes? Does the Prime Minister believe that starving innocent people into submission is part of his Government’s long-term strategy to create a climate of industrial peace? That proposition is so dubious that it could not gain the support of honourable members on the Government side. I therefore predict that there will be many more desertions from the ranks of the Liberal Party and the National Country Party.

La Trobe

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


-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. The honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) said that I, as the honourable member for La Trobe, supported a move in the party room to deny unemployment benefit to people who had been stood down as a result of the strike in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria. I did not take such a stance. The Government did not take such a stance. Speakers in the party room did not take such a stance. As has been announced and confirmed and reaffirmed, this Government will be paying unemployment benefit to those innocent people who have been stood down in Victoria as a result of the power dispute.


– I do not intend to spend any time on the erratic, inaccurate and scurrilous speech made by the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson).

Mr Lloyd:

-It is not worth it.


-It is not worth it. The honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Baillieu) has made one point quite clear. The honourable member for Hughes raised so many inaccuracies and rumours that it is not worth talking about his speech. He did mention one matter, though, which I would like to follow up. He said that the Government was not doing anything to help small business. I shall talk briefly about small business in Australia.

Mr Les Johnson:

– I think you need an audience.


-I have a sufficient audience. Thriving successful small businesses are the real key to economic revival. There are 190,000 small businesses in Australia which is more than 90 per cent of all enterprises. Those enterprises with less than 100 employees employ 1,280,000 people or more than 40 per cent of all people employed. If every small business could employ just two more people we would solve our unemployment problem completely. In fact, we would have a considerable shortage of labour. Small business is big business. Our free enterprise society is made up of flourishing small businesses. It is very pleasing to see how much small business is doing to help itself. It is getting together and organising and expressing points of view very clearly. The Small Business and Self-employed Association of Australia is setting up branches in all States. I would like to see the Association extend to provincial cities and country towns where there are large numbers of small businesses and where practically everyone is employed by small business.

Small business organisations are proving to be a strong voice in support of small business. I think they should be given every encouragement. Both the Commonwealth Government and State governments need a strong small business organisation to which they can speak. On the Commonwealth scene in Canberra we have the National Small Business Bureau. Each State has set up organisations of various sorts. In Queensland there is a Division of Small Business within the Department of Industrial Development. I think it is worth while looking briefly at what is happening in one or two other countries. In the United Kingdom there has been an alarming tendency for a small number of large corporations to control a greater proportion of production because it is far easier for government and unions to influence a small number of large corporations than it is to influence a larger number of small businesses. I shall read the words of Mr Paul Johnson, the former editor of the British Labour Weekly The New Statesman who recently resigned his long-standing membership of the British Labour Party. I wish the honourable member for Hughes had remained in the House to hear these words. Mr Johnson stated: . . . it is the essence of corporation that the units must be large. And it is the essence of modern union bureaucracy that workers are easier to control in big factories, where the organised military clique rules all. So Labor ministers and union bosses are united in their upending of Labor’s old posture. Both loathe the small business and the little workshop and penalise them viciously; both exhibit a positive hatred for the self-employed, who cannot be unionised or corporated at all.

This is where the Labor Party is heading. It has already embraced corporatism, which ultimately must mean the end of parliamentary democracy.

I say again that I wish the honourable member for Hughes was here to listen to those words and apply them to his party in Australia. It is, of course, far easier for Government and unions to influence a small number of large corporations.

There is no doubt that small business is the best guarantee against an authoritarian corporate state.

This Government has taken many actions to help small business. The major thing we have done is reduce inflation from over 17 per cent during Labor’s regime to 10 per cent or less now. That is the best thing we nave done to help business in Australia. During the last election campaign the coalition parties published a fivepoint program which would help restore the small business sector to economic health. Those points were, firstly, to introduce a new 40 per cent investment allowance in order to encourage small business investment. That, of course, has been done. Secondly, we said we would implement the Mathews Committee recommendations on company taxation, beginning with a stock valuation adjustment and boosting cash flows and restoring confidence. That has been done. The third point was the introduction of new tax reforms designed to meet the problems of small business. I could spend 10 minutes speaking on that subject. A great deal has been done in this regard and the new tax scales to be introduced early next year will be a major concession to small business. Fourthly, we said we would undertake new policies to ensure the greater availability of finance for the expansion and development programs of small business. I shall deal with that matter in a few minutes. The final point was to initiate new programs in areas of education and counselling to assist in the management of small business. This is happening both in the Commonwealth and in the States. I think it is more properly a job for the States to do. They are on the spot. They know their local problems.

I shall deal with the fourth point- the greater availability of finance for the expansion and development of small business. There is no doubt that banks and finance organisations more readily lend to big business than to small business. I was once a moderately successful small businessman. I have had considerable experience in this field. Banks find it much easier and safer to lend to established big businesses. Small business needs the provision of long-term finance at reasonable rates of interest. In my electorate I was speaking a couple of days ago to a man running a general engineering firm which employs 100 people. He needs money for ca rry-on finance and for expansion. The best he can get from his bank and the longest term is five years at 1 1 per cent. That is not good enough for a business which is expanding. His weekly payroll is approximately $18,000 to $20,000 a week. His payroll tax and workers’ compensation amount to $2,000 a week. He needs to generate $20,000 business per week to pay for that. Fortunately the Queensland Government in its last Budget made a major reduction in payroll tax and in workers’ compensation.

Another major problem is sales tax in isolated areas. Sales tax is also paid on freight rates. I think this is quite wrong. I have written to the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) several times on this matter as have other honourable members. I hope that this inequity will be put right. The Government has formed a task force on small business financing to study the problems and make recommendations. I understand the task force has reported and the Government will announce it s decision very soon. There would seem to be a variety of ways in which small business can be helped and revitalised. We need to reduce interest rates to enable a business to get established and to expand. That is happening now; it started a month or so ago. We have to ease the burden of provisional tax during the time when a small business is becoming established. We should reconsider the provision of company tax to help small business. A further easing of the Division 7 tax provision would be a very helpful move.

It is suggested that a statutory small business authority, free of political and bureaucratic interference and control and capable of contributing to the arbitration processes on behalf of small business should be established. The need for such an authority has become increasingly clear in recent Conciliation and Arbitration Commission proceedings. There needs to be a partnership between government and finance institutions and any proposed small business authority to create, with an existing financial framework, a small business development finance service to ensure long term credit. Someone has suggested to me that a small business insurance corporation with government support to organise loans with insurance as a colateral should be established, to work through existing insurance companies, with loans for, say, 10 to 20 years. It has been suggested that repayments under this scheme would be made every five years on a quarterly basis.

One other small point which is bothering small business a great deal and about which many complaints are being received by all honourable members concerns the burden of government surveys on small business, particularly from the Bureau of Statistics and from other government departments. This is expensive, time wasting and of very little value to small business. I think this procedure should be reviewed. I believe that the Federal Government should concentrate on small business matters of a national nature. All other matters are best handled by the States. I hope that when the Government makes its announcement on small business financing shortly we will have some very happy news for small businesses in Australia.


– It is now quite apparent to anyone with any discernment at all about the Australian economy generally that the Government’s policies have failed miserably. It is also becoming more apparent every day that the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) is quite inadequate to his task and, of course, the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) is becoming more and more discredited every day. These are not my judgments or assertions; they are the statements of former Liberals- former Ministers and honourable members opposite- who do not intend to stand for election in the next general election.

It has been quite apparent from statements made by the honourable member for Lowe (Sir William McMahon), the honourable member for Hotham (Mr Chipp), the honourable member for Tangney (Dr Richardson) and, more recently, the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) that they have all come to the conclusion that the Government’s policies have failed and they have condemned those policies. Daily the list of disenchanted members on the Government back bench grows. The splits over new legislation or changes in policy are quite apparently growing daily also. Even in the past 24 hours the newspapers have reported strong opposition to the proposal of the Prime Minister to deny income support to the innocent victims of industrial disputes. Back benchers have yet again rejected the new broadcasting legislation proposed by the Government.

In November 1975 the Prime Minister promised that only under a Liberal-National Country Party government would there be jobs for all who wanted them, lower inflation and a return of business confidence. He has failed miserably. He cannot see that he has failed but many of his colleagues can. As early as September 1976 a joint parties meeting rang with criticism about the Government’s failure to deal with the problem of unemployment. The Tasmanian members led the attack. It continued on 8 November, and on that notable date the honourable member for Lowe, the honourable member for Mackellar and the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) attacked the Government’s economic policies. They argued about the Government’s obsession with the deficit and they argued for greater stimulus for the economy.

On 12 February at a party meeting the Government’s failure to lower interest rates and taxation levels was strongly attacked. The honourable member for Mackellar said that the Government can raise large amounts of money to finance the deficit without raising interest rates and it can do so in a way which could lead to their reduction. The honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck), from Tasmania, expressed concern about the economy. After spending the Christmas recess in his electorate, he was reported to have said:

We are all getting the same message- tax levels are too high and pensioners are finding it difficult to pay taxation because of inflation. Businessmen are complaining about the state of the economy.

Then, of course, the honourable member for Hotham felt that he could not continue on the Government benches while the Prime Minister prevailed. He resigned from the Liberal Parry and criticised the Government’s policies. He criticised the 25 per cent cut in overseas aid, the abolition of the Australian Assistance Plan, the proposed abolition of funeral benefits for pensioners, the original breach of the promise by the Prime Minister to index pensions and, finally, the Government’s decision to devalue the currency and, once that decision was taken, the refusal of the Government to lower tariffs to contain the inflationary effects of the devaluation. The honourable member for Hotham said:

I cannot agree with the Government’s current economic policy. Particularly, I am concerned with its failure to honour the promise to the private sector … I believe the private businessman, especially the small businessman who employs the bulk of the work force of this country, is more confused, more in the dark about the future, and less confident than he was IS months ago.

It is no wonder that small businesses have had to organise themselves into bureaus et cetera, about which the honourable member for Leichhardt (Mr Thomson) spoke, in order to protect themselves from the policies of this Government. The honourable member for Hotham continued:

I am very critical of the lack of consultation between the Government and the trade union movement. It would be cruel and unfair to ask the worker to be the sole bearer of the cost of reducing inflation; but wages are too high and taxes are too high to provide incentive for increased productivity by both workers and management. Interest rates are devastating, especially to the young . . .

Those were the words of the former Liberal member for Hotham. Finally, on Tuesday we had the retirement from the Liberal Party of the honourable member for Mackellar, who said:

But neither can I continue to support the economic doctrine of salvation through stagnation- the doctrine which the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) seems to have espoused. It is a doctrine which, so he tells us, he has learned overseas; but it is none the better for that. In fact none of its devotees has applied the doctrine as rigorously as has their Australian convert, and most of them are now quietly adjuring it

Certainly this was confirmed in a recent visit I made overseas. I had a look at the economic situation in most central European countries. The general consensus was that at best the European economy is stagnant and, at worst, it is declining in some areas, and there were very definite indications of this. The rate of unemployment is still high in West Germany- 4 per cent, excluding the guest workers who have to return to their countries. So, in fact, its rate of unemployment is much the same as it is in Australia. Other indications of failure of economic recovery in Europe, which Ministers of this Government fail to see but for which there is real background, are declining orders in West Germany; declining projections of steel production in many European countries; and growth targets which have been set by many governments in Europe to try to stimulate their economies have just not been met. There is growing concern at the trade deficit in America, which is quite serious by European standards.

The Government’s policies in Canberra have been quite disastrous. They are of great concern to the Government supporters in Canberra. In fact, the honourable member for Canberra (Mr Haslem) has virtually given up the ghost about his prospects of being re-elected. Even the Government senator, Senator Knight, who has to get only a third of the vote, is concerned now about his prospects of re-election; he is greatly concerned that he will not get a third of the vote. There is a real prospect that the Labor Party will win two Australian Capital Territory Senate seats in the next Senate election. Honourable members should just look at what Senator Knight has been saying in his concern to the Government. We have an unprecedented level of unemployment in Canberra- about 5,000 people. Young people who have trained themselves in particular skills for careers in the Public Service have been denied an opportunity to use those skills. Thousands of young people are out of work. Morale in the Public Service is at an all time low. That has had serious repercussions throughout the whole of the Public Service.

The building industry has been wrecked. Small businesses in Canberra are in a shambles. T was interested to hear the honourable member for Leichhardt talk about small business. He should talk to small business in Canberra. The big boys are doing nicely. The other day J. B. Young Ltd announced a tremendous increase in its profit- a 24 per cent increase in its profit. Businesses such as David Jones Ltd and Woolworths Ltd do nicely in Canberra, with thenmass buying capacity and their automated services which enable them to dispense with labour. The little people are suffering. I receive complaints daily from people who are in desperate straits because of the economic policies of the Government. All the new shops in the Civic area, including those in the Boulevarde, have their problems; that is a disaster area. People who have been in business in Canberra for 12, IS or 20 years have had to close their doors.

The whole Budget displayed a vindictive attitude towards Canberra. The Government intends to raise another $ 16m from the people of Canberra by way of increased charges. That $16m means that every person in Canberra will be paying $75, or every person in the Canberra work force will be paying $160, to meet the new charges imposed on Canberra by the Government. The Government has failed to come to any sort of arrangement with the Loan Council in regard to making grants to Canberra on the same per capita basis as they are made to the States. Instead of doing that the Government has decided to hit the local people. No formula is set down for making grants to Canberra on a per capita basis. The tab has to be picked up by the people of Canberra in the form of excessive rates and increased rent charges. Pensioners have been hit by changes in the rebated rent allowance.


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

Mr Donald Cameron:

– From listening to the remarks of the honourable member for Fraser (Mr Fry), who preceded me in the debate, one would think that Australia was destined for doom. Although things might still be tough, that tough situation is the direct result of the performance of the previous Labor Government. At least people in the community now have hope and justified faith that the government of Australia is in the hands of those who attack the job with a sense of responsibility and that when the hardship is over Australia will be well and truly back on the road to stability. Honourable members opposite forget about the degree to which the rate of inflation has fallen. They omit to tell the people of the way in which they unnecessarily increased beyond all reason the number of public servants. So much for the speech of the previous speaker.

I wish to write the concluding chapter in a saga which took almost eight months to complete during the course of this year. I do not wish to go into great detail because I have done that previously. I want to make a brief reference to the difficulties that I encountered earlier this year after Senator Colston reported me to the Commissioner for Community Relations, Mr Grassby, following a certain statement I made in Queensland on approximately 9 February this year. A number of speeches have been made in the Parliament on the issue and the matter now has been satisfactorily resolved by the Commissioner writing to me on 2 1 September informing me that I have been exonerated. With the permission of the relevant Opposition spokesman, I wish to have incorporated in Hansard the last three letters which passed between Mr Grassby and me. I seek leave to have those letters incorporated in Hansard.


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

The letters read as follows-

page 1972


Community Relations

The Office of the Commissioner, Box E280, Canberra, ACT 2600 18 August 1977

Dear Mr Cameron,

Your letter of IS August 1977 asks for urgent advice as to when I might expect to conclude the matters of complaints against you by Aboriginal organisations in Brisbane. I would expect to complete the matter as soon as I have clarified the matters put to me by complainants.

You will appreciate my concern to have all matters before me completed at the earliest opportunity and to this end your response to allegations of racial discrimination would assist. I am obliged to ensure that complainants have every opportunity of resolving the issue with me in the first instance and then with you should this be necessary. I can only say that I will do whatever is possible to finalise the matter without delay.

You will appreciate my position from the following extract of a letter forwarded to me by the Black Community Housing Service ( Queensland ) Limited:

It is not for me to determine if or if not Mr Cameron acted unlawfully. However I believe he should have used the correct channels to have the situation dealt with. What he did was an injustice to Aboriginal people because he mentioned ‘white counterparts ‘ but chose only to highlight what some Aborigine/s had done. Prior to this there was no public statement from him concerning the actions of these white counterparts which he obviously had knowledge of.

My complaint to Senator Colston concerned the irresponsible attitudes of certain politicians and that the manner in which they utilise the press etc and how it affects black people across the board.

It is hard enough as it is for this and other organisations to try and alleviate the problems of black people and when someone like Cameron makes statements as he did and uses words like a ‘group of Aborigines’ it makes the task all the more difficult because the white public then takes a dislike to all blacks because they do not know which blacks are involved. Don Cameron made it quite distinct with regards to which race of people he wanted to denounce.

Trusting you will take what steps you can to have this practise stopped.

I again invite your co-operation to respond to the alle- gations placed before you previously and in this letter so that can conciliate between you and my complainants.

Yours sincerely, (The Hon) A. J. GRASSBY Commissioner for Community Relations

Mr D. M. Cameron, MP, Member for Griffith Commonwealth Parliament Offices Australian Government Centre 295 Ann Street Brisbane, Qld. 4000

Parliament of Australia House of Representatives

Commonwealth Parliament Offices Australian Government Centre 295 Ann Street Brisbane, QLD 4000 TEL 225 0122 1 September 1977

The Hon. A. J. Grassby, Commissioner for Community Relations, P.0 Box E280 CANBERRA A.C.T. 2600

Dear Mr Grassby,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 18 August 1977, reference 77/5127. Though you have not advised me the date the letter forwarded to you by the Black Community Housing Service (Queensland ) Limited was written, I cannot help but wonder how many chances you are giving this group to rephrase their original complaint.

On 10 May you quoted from a letter received from the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders Legal Service (Qld.) Ltd. I formed the valid impression ages ago that the complaints were really made jointly. Indeed, you advised me on 10 May that you were treating both complaints in conjunction with each other.

In yours of 10 May you included an extract which read ‘This legal service considers such unsubstantiated allegations’ and they further went on to say ‘the failure of Mr Cameron to bring forward proof of his allegations’. Since that time several aborigines have been charged with the offences I alleged were occurring. Indeed four have been convicted, three committed for trial and the trials of two others are part heard.

I have no intention of deviating from my initial advice to you and definitely no intention of having anything whatsoever to do with those you describe as the complainants on this issue.

The time is long overdue for you to take a stand and inform the complainants that in view of the information you possess you have no alternative but to dose the case. You nave been involved in politics long enough to be able to recognise a face saving ‘out’ when it arrives. Further you should advise them that you will be apologizing to me for the distress that I have been subjected to as a result of the purely political thrust of the whole affair, and that you intend cautioning ALP’s Senator Colston against using racism for promotional purposes.

Yours sincerely,

page 1973


page 1973


Community Relations The Office of the Commissioner, Box E2 80, Canberra, ACT2600 .. September 21, 1977.

Dear Mr Cameron, r

After receiving your letter of September 1, 1977, I received correspondence which enables me to close the matter of complaints against you under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

Today I have written to the complainants informing them that further action by me within the scope of the Racial Discrimination Act is not possible and that I have terminated my enquiries into their complaints.

Yours sincerely, (The Hon.) A. J. GRASSBY Commissioner for ., Community Relations Mr D. M. Cameron, M.H.R., ‘

Member for Griffith,

Commonwealth Parliament Offices,

Australian Government Centre, 295 Ann Street, Brisbane 4000

Mr Donald Cameron:

-I appreciate the courtesy extended to me. As my final comment in this place on this matter I point out that I regard it as rather strange that what was really a simple open and shut case took as long as it did to conclude. I had done nothing wrong, yet it took the Commissioner from the end of March, which I think is when the first complaint was made, until the end of September to carry out a very easy exercise.

I wish now to deal with another matter which is concerned with the same topic and which occurred at about the same time. It will be recalled that I countered by reporting to the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr MacKellar), under whose control the Commissioner for Community Relations, Mr Grassby, comes, the way that a Queensland lady felt following the claim of the Commissioner that in Japan the Japanese are taught that all Australians are racist. That woman, being Japanese by birth, was most upset and aggrieved because she thought that Mr Grassby was making a reflection on her and her people. The Minister for Post and Telecommunications (Mr Eric Robinson), who is at the table, looks around. I think he knows that the woman concerned lives in his electorate. The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs has written to me, informing me- his letter is dated 22 September- that under the Racial Discrimination Act such inquiries are to be made only by the Commissioner himself. The letter goes on to state:

There is no provision for the Minister administering the Act to inquire into complaints against the Commissioner for Community Relations.

It would seem that the Commissioner for Community Relations is in the privileged position of being the only man in Australia who can go around making racist utterances.

Mr Innes:

– You make them every day of the week in here.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– That is one view. He is the only man who can go around the country in that privileged position of being beyond investigation. I hope that when the Office of the Commissioner for Community Relations is reorganised the Commissioner no longer will be in that privileged position. It is most necessary that that change be made because many people in this country hold the view that Mr Grassby is the most racist minded person in Australia and is most unsuitable to hold the position of Commissioner. In his letter to me the Minister said in relation to this case:

I regret that offence has been caused Mrs … by statements made by the Hon. A. J. Grassby. You might inform her that Mr Grassby was not speaking as a representative of the Commonwealth Government or on its behalf and that his statements were those of a statutory officer with functions set down in legislation.

So it would seem that the Minister has cleared up the situation once and for all: Any comments made by Mr Grassby do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of the day. I am quite sure that the vast majority of Australians will be very pleased with that assurance.

In the five minutes remaining to me I wish to raise another subject. In this country today we are experiencing a situation in which many Australians have been overtrained or, alternatively, trained in vocations which provide little opportunity for employment. I know that it can be properly said, when one looks at the depressed state of the building industry in Australia, that many people who were trained originally to be draftsmen, architects and even builders and who have acquired skills in certain areas are not having those skills utilised because of the lack of public demand for them. Either they have to seek another position in a totally different field or, alternatively, for the time being they have to remain unemployed and wrestle with the frustrations and disappointments which can be associated with being in that category.

I wish to pick out just one course amongst those offered at universities to highlight the fact that the universities have an obligation to monitor continually public demand or government demand for certain skills and certain professional qualifications. I do not choose this course as an example with any sense of vindictiveness. Recently I made a study of the situation in the field of social work courses throughout Australia. I established that some 12 or 13 educational institutions, located from the James Cook University in north Queensland right down the coast and across to Western Australia, are training people as professional social workers. Earlier I asked the relevant Opposition spokesman for permission to have a table incorporated in Hansard. I seek leave for the table to be incorporated.


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

The table read as follows-


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


-My grievance today concerns the shambles into which the management of the aviation industry in Australia has fallen under the superintendence of this Government. I particularly want to put a case on behalf of the rights of consumers of air services. After all, they are the people who make everything possible. If they are not there to travel in the aircraft and pay the fares, nothing hap- pens. I think the Parliament needs to recall that it year 1.032 million persons travelled out of

This is the kind of information which the Government to date has not been prepared to bring before the public for study. In this House on 24 August I asked the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) during the debate on the Air Navigation Amendment Bill to extend the inquiry into domestic civil aviation to include international civil aviation. Subsequently I again asked him that question in the House. He ignored my first request and on the second occasion refused. A few days ago the Minister announced the establishment of an inquiry into international civil aviation. At least by doing that he yielded to some extent to the demands by the Opposition for an overall inquiry. However, in both cases the inquiries are secret. The information received will be privy to the Department of Transport and its officers and consultants unless the people making the submissions are prepared to make them public. In each case the report of the inquiry will be privy to the Government and to the bureaucracy, not to the community whom it affects.

Since this Government came to office there has been a continuing theme of secrecy and behind

*Grievance Debate* 13 October 1977 REPRESENTATIVES 1975 closed doors consideration of vital matters affecting the provision of transport services, particularly air services. Let us quickly run back through them. The Aviation Industry Review Committee chaired by **Sir Lennox** Hewitt comprised three people from the aviation industry. It was a secret committee looking into the cost recovery programs of the Government and the cost structure of the aviation industry. The inquiry was secret and its report is secret. No information has been brought before the Parliament on the results of that inquiry despite the expense incurred in carrying out the inquiry and, more importantly, despite the importance of that inquiry to the whole aviation industry. If we are to consider what fares ought to be charged, the frequency of services, the kind of infrastructure which should be provided around airports in terms of public transport services to and from airports and all the other facilities that are involved in servicing an airport, we need to know what kind of costs are involved and projected. The Hewitt Committee report is vital to any proper public consideration of aviation services in Australia. I have made repeated requests in the Parliament and outside the Parliament for the Minister to table the report. The industry itself has called for the tabling of the report. It wants the information to be made available for public consideration but the Minister has consistently refused to table the report. Then we move to the McNeil Committee report which inquired into the four government transport undertakings, Trans-Australia Airlines, Qantas, the Australian National Line and Australian National Railways. Again it was a secret inquiry but the committee deliberations were scandalous to the extent that the inquiry was carried out by competitors and clients of those four transport undertakings. Its report was not tabled. No information is available on it. Then we have the current domestic aviation review inquiry which I have just mentioned and the international civil aviation inquiry mentioned the day before yesterday. These last two inquiries now are being carried out in tandem. This is a most ludicrous situation, a most extravagant and wasteful situation. What is more, it is a situation in which two complementary parts are being examined in isolation from each other. There are four inquiries now being carried out, all looking at aviation or parts of aviation and all privy to the Minister and the bureaucracy. The public is not considered responsible enough to be able to know what is happening within those inquiries. I wish to quote from the editorial in the September issue of the influential aviation magazine *Aircraft.* It states: >It seems as if the public and Parliament will never see or be able to properly consider important documents such as the several reports of the Aviation Industry Review Committee, probably the most important review of Australian civil aviation compiled in the past 20 years or reports like the McNeil Committee which made major recommendations to the Government on its four transport enterprises including Qantas and TAA. These are the documents being used as the basis for major government decisions which affect not only the aviation industry but the entire community and vet they are being denied even parliamentary scrutiny and debate. Let us contrast that comment with the statement of the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** in September last in which he said that if the Australian electorate was to be able to make valid judgments on Government policies it should have the greatest possible access to information. I wish the Minister for Transport would take up the suggestion of the Prime Minister that the greatest possible access be provided to the information essential to decisions on the very important transport industries. In addition to the four inquiries I have mentioned there is the interdepartmental committee inquiry into aviation services in the Northern Territory. That inquiry is crucial to the actual movement of people and to the provision of the basic necessities of life in the Northern Territory and Central Australia, yet it is a closed shop inquiry. We do not know what was in the report. Again the Government has made recommendations on the expenditure of public funds as a result of the recommendations of that report. The only question that can be asked is: Why all the secrecy? What is it that the Government is trying to hide in the transport industry? It is not good enough for the Minister to say that the public already has access. The Minister was asked on *AM* yesterday: 'But the public will not be in a position to evaluate the sort of evidence that is coming up? That is in relation to the international civil aviation inquiry. He replied: 'The public will be. Well, if the public like to publish their submissions of course they will'. What the public will be able to evaluate is what conclusions the Government reaches. That is the important thing in the eyes of the Government and the Minister. It leaves the Minister in a position of great dictatorial power. He has all the information about the operations of the industry, about what kind of services can be made available but that information will not be made available to the public. The whole problem of management of civil aviation services in this country will not be solved until the facts on the kinds of costs involved, the kind of service available, the quality of service available, the viability which is expected of civil aviation in and out of Australia in coming years are known and brought out in the public arena for proper responsible assessment. The Government and Minister are depriving the Parliament and the community of the essential information that they need to consider the kinds of services which we should have in this country. Let me move to my final item. In the midst of all the public concern about aviation fares and aviation services, internal and external, another element that has run right through has been the opposition of government parties to the services of Trans- Australia Airlines and Qantas Airways Ltd. At the moment the annual report of Qantas is held up in Treasury. As I understand the position, it should have been tabled in this Parliament. It is many weeks overdue. There is no doubt in my mind that the holding up of the Qantas report is in some way intended to prejudice the position of Qantas. Qantas and TAA are publicly owned enterprises, belonging to the consumers, belonging to the taxpayers of this country. They, like any other commercial enterprise, should be given the opportunity to function as efficiently and as effectively as they can within the broad laws of this country. I hope the Government will respond to my request to open up civil aviation in this country for proper examination and let the facts be known to the community. {: #subdebate-13-2-s4 .speaker-JRD} ##### Mr BOURCHIER:
Bendigo -There has been some comment and criticism recently by way of advertisement in some forms of the media of the Fraser Government and the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** for excessive travel. I think the situation is worth reviewing when we talk about excessive travel. I have some relative figures in regard to the Fraser, McMahon and Whitlam governments. In the first 530 days of the Whitlam Government, eight Labor Ministers were overseas for more than the 5 1 days that has been spent overseas during the equivalent period by the Prime Minister, **Mr Fraser.** {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- Tell us about the trip to the opera. {: .speaker-JRD} ##### Mr BOURCHIER: -I can talk louder than the honourable member for Melbourne. **Mr Whitlam** was away for 86 days in his first 530 days. At the end of the first 17 1/2 months of government, members of the Fraser Ministry have made 54 visits totalling 584 days. Ministers of the Whitlam Government had 71 trips totalling 1,053 days. *(Quorum formed).* If Labor members stay for the one and half minutes that I have left I will tell them more about the overseas trips of their Ministers, the way the Whitlams went overseas so many times in a very short period. As at 17 February 1975 Prime Minister Whitlam - {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- I take a point of order, **Mr Deputy Speaker.** {: .speaker-JRD} ##### Mr BOURCHIER: -Hello! Here comes the little man. {: .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: -- He might be little, but he is big enough for you. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I understand that the forms of the House require a member to refer to another member by a special title of address. The honourable member for Bendigo referred to the Whitlams. I ask that he use the proper form of address in a dignified way in describing the people to whom he is referring. {: .speaker-KJU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman: -I uphold the point of order. {: .speaker-JRD} ##### Mr BOURCHIER: -I said 'the Whitlam Government'. If that offends, I will say 'the previous Government'. Under the previous Government the former Prime Minister had completed his eleventh trip overseas in two years. This was at 17 February. He had spent 130 days out of Australia, with only 143 days of sitting. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! It being 12.45 p.m., in accordance with Standing Order 106, the debate is interrupted. I put the question: >That grievances be noted. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 1977 {:#debate-14} ### SERVICES TO MIGRANTS {:#subdebate-14-0} #### Discussion of Matter of Public Importance {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Mr Acting Speaker has received a letter from the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr lnnes)** proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely: >The Fraser Government's reduction and deferment of services to migrants. 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-* *Mi* **DEPUTY SPEAKER-** I call the honourable member for Melbourne. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I take a point of order. I draw your attention to Standing Order 107 which requires that eight members should rise in their places. A large number of members are not in their places, and eight members did not rise in their places. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I rule that at least eight members rose in their places. {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
Melbourne -Melbourne is the third largest Greek speaking city in the world. I mention that fact not to bore the House with one of the most quoted figures in Australia, but simply to bring it to the Government's attention. No matter how many times the figure has been quoted, it has not been quoted often enough to register with the Government. In the third largest Greek speaking city in the world there is a migrant service welfare section eroding away in the Department of Social Security. There are five workers in the head office at the Commonwealth Centre, and guess which major language none of them speaks? Greek. Correct the first time. I take back what I said earlier. I think the figures have registered with the Government, but I think the Government simply does not care about migrants. I raise today this matter of public importance to condemn the Government for its failure to provide migrant services and its cutbacks of the services already existing. The two specific matters to which I wish to refer are the migrant services welfare section and the migrant English classes conducted at the Church of All Nations in Carlton, in my electorate. The cases simply exemplify the Government's lack of concern. Migrants are aware that actions speak louder than words, and the only period of real action in migrant services was m the 1972-75 era of a compassionate government. The Australian Labor Party cares about migrants. The post-war immigration boom was begun under a Labor government but unfortunately for the thousands and thousands of migrants, services fell very quickly under a government that did nothing for them for 23 years. Now, as in so many areas, the massive leaps made in the three years of Labor Government are being slashed to ineffective tokens. Migrants are in an unfortunate position when it comes to dealing with this Government. In the main, they are working people brought here for just that purpose. The industrial cannon-fodder aspect of conservative governments over the years has used them to feed the assembly lines in the sweat shops of those big business friends whose lackeys members opposite are. If big business faced problems comparative to those faced by migrants this Government would pour millions of dollars into alleviating those problems. The migrants are workers and are Labor voters at that. Labor voters and workers are concentrated generally in safe Labor seats. The Government thinks that because they are in that situation they can be ignored. The day of reckoning is about to arrive. The migrant services section is a classic example. Migrant welfare courses were begun under the Labor Government and proved extremely successful. They provided officers who were able to handle migrant problems, and it gave those officers a feeling of job satisfaction. Now, not even two years later staff morale is at an all time low. In retrospect, the Labor Administration may have made one mistake. In 1974 we transferred the section from the Department of Labor and Immigration to the Department of Social Security. That was all right when there were two Ministers who were genuinely sympathetic to the problem. We felt that the transfer would eliminate several bureaucratic problems. In retrospect, because of the circumstances of the change of government, it has created several problems. Now the section is the victim of a tug of war between two Ministers, neither of whom cares one iota about the issues. They are involved in a power struggle within their party. We know who is winning. For some reason the Minister for Social Security **(Senator Guilfoyle)** carries far more weight in her party than does the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar),** whose performance is causing some concern even in his own ranks. To cause concern in his ranks takes massive degrees of incompetence. We know who else is losing in this tug of war- the working class migrants whose welfare has been long forgotten. The situation is frustrating staff to the point of desperation. The section has been divided into three sub-sections- intake, outreach and settlement. The intake sub-section operates with five workers at the Commonwealth Centre in Victoria. The outreach sub-section has 1 1 workers spread over offices in Coburg, Port Melbourne, Prahran, South Melbourne, Springvale and Oakleigh. The settlement sub-section has seven workers within migrant hostels, concentrating almost exclusively on Timorese and IndoChinese refugees. Despite what the Minister for Social Security says, staff numbers have not been maintained to meet needs under this Government. Whenever the Minister for Social Security and the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic affairs are challenged they quote figures for the whole branch rather than for the migrant welfare section. Staff are concerned that the sub-sections operate independently; that there is no overlay, interchange of skills or interchange of staff languages. There is also concern among trained migrant welfare staff about new staff replacements. Trained people are being transferred to noncasework jobs, while many staff members who are meeting migrants have no training. When vacancies exist the Department is using the section to place workers displaced through cutbacks in areas such as the Australian Assistance Plan. This is no reflection upon the new replacements who are doing the best they can in the circumstances. It is a reflection on the Government in reiterating its disregard for migrants by placing their welfare in the hands of unqualified staff. For instance, the migrant services outreach program has been taken from a competent migrant welfare officer and placed in the hands of a woman with no casework or community work experience with migrants. She has not even had an apprenticeship but she has been placed in a supervisory, co-ordinating role. This womanthe fault does not lie with her- has no linguistic skills, no experience of working directly or indirectly with migrants and no direct knowledge of the politics and problems associated with ethnic community work. Her supervisory experience is limited. This situation is unfair both to the woman herself and to the other staff. It can do nothing to convince the staff that the Government cares about the work they are doing. Some time ago the Department moved the section from the Commonwealth Centre to ISO Lonsdale Street, against strong staff opposition. Not only was it moved to 1 50 Lonsdale Street; it was moved to the eighteenth floor of 150 Lonsdale Street. As the staff predicted, clients dropped off. When the Department realised that the client decrease was drastic it transferred the section back to the Commonwealth Centre. What a waste of time, resources and efficiency! Unfortunately, the section now is housed in very poor conditions. The 'anything will do for the migrants' attitude of the Government again predominates. There are seven settlement officers working with the Timorese and Indo-Chinese in the hostels and only 16 intake and outreach workers for the whole of Melbourne- for the whole of the State, in fact. The position of the senior social worker has been made redundant. Will that position be replaced? Sub-section supervisors have no responsibility or authority. Staff decisions are made with little or no consultation with the sub-section supervisors. There are totally disproportionate numbers in supervising, co-ordinating and planning compared with those providing a direct service to migrants. The staff are concerned, and I am concerned, at the long list of problems. As there is a greater influx of clients to migrant welfare there is a decrease in welfare personnel and services are impaired. The departmental machinery gives migrants a feeling that there is a reduction in services. There is no consultation in the decisionmaking processes of planning and delivery of services. Migrants need an easily identifiable and accessible focal point. Providing the service in autonomous sub-sections or from different points of view creates confusion and difficulty. This is reflected in the ideological conflicts over the direction the branch ought to be taking. It has not been aided by the turnover of five assistant directors in 18 months. It is reflected in the section's channelisation into the benefits and pensions issue of welfare, rather than the integration and settlement areas which are the section's responsibility. Middle management has tended to disregard complaints, considering them as personality clashes rather than problems arising from genuine concern about the disintegration of the services themselves. This is apart from concern about the amounts of money which have been set aside for social welfare. I shall deal with that later, when speaking on the departmental estimates. I come to my second point. On Monday morning my office received a call from **Mrs Nina** Janich who lives within my electorate at Carlton. **Mrs Janich** was most disturbed. She had been to the Church of All Nations in Carlton for her regular English language lesson and had been told that all classes would cease in two weeks; that Government funding had been withdrawn. **Mrs Janich** speaks good English. She went to the classes to learn grammar and writing. She pointed out that the classes are invaluable to many migrants who cannot speak English at all. The classes were started in the late 1960s by the Church under funding from philanthropic sources such as the Myer Foundation and the Buckland Trust. However, these bodies concentrate on funding programs at the initial stages and the Church approached the Labor Federal Government for support in 1973. We provided funds for the program which now includes extensive teaching aids and equipment, a full time teacher seconded from the Victorian Department of Education and three part time teachers. In a concentrated migrant area, on the doorstep of a large Housing Commission high rise development, the service has been more than invaluable. Last Friday the Church was told by the Victorian Department that the funds would cease in two weeks. What a disaster it will be for migrants in inner Melbourne if this established service is allowed to die. This indicates the Government's attitude to migrants. Government finance reports in recent years have outlined time and again necessary government action in migrant services. Translation, interpreter and language training facilities have been seen as essentials. This year funds for all three have been dropped. Not only has the Government chosen to ignore the recommendations before it; it also has cold-bloodedly and calculatingly dismantled those services which exist. It cannot use the recently established Galbally inquiry as an excuse. That inquiry will discover nothing the Government does not already know or have before it. It is simply a front to dismantle the Good Neighbour Council. The Government should have the guts to come out and say so. I do not mind what the Government's policy is, provided it comes out and says what it is and lets the people judge it on its merits. The Galbally inquiry is a farce. One can reflect on the recent newspaper article by Isabel Lukas which outlined the deficiencies and the gimmickry of this inquiry. Professor Encel was to carry out a similar inquiry early in 1976 at a very low cost to the community, but the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs sacked him. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I raise a point of order. Is it parliamentary for the honourable member to stand with his foot on a chair, to point his finger at the Minister and to be listened to by hardly any Labor members because they are not interested? **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)There** is no substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -That was a frivolous point of order. It is about time you got out of your little box. You are not interested in migrants. I am referring to the honourable member for St George. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member for Melbourne will address his remarks to the Chair. He is only wasting his precious time. I suggest that he get on with his speech. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- I rise to take a point of order. I ask that that reflection be withdrawn. I am due to speak in this debate. I am showing interest in - {: #subdebate-14-0-s2 .speaker-KJU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman: -To which reflection - {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- I have a great degree of interest in migrants. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -You will get your turn after lunch; I can tell you that. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- I am most concerned about migrants in Australia. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! To which reflection is the honourable member referring? {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- He said I was not interested in migrant communities. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Did he name you? {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- He pointed to me and said 'the member'- and that was me. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -There is no substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -I return to the question of the Galbally inquiry and what a farcical exercise it is. The Minister sacked Professor Encel and the other members of the body of which he was a member. The Government set up a new inquiry some 18 months later. In effect the Government has delayed making a decision till after the federal election so that it can get itself off the hook. This is what the Galbally inquiry is all about. The Government, the Minister for Social Security and the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs stand condemned for their absolute disinterest in migrant welfare and services. They reflect the philosophy of their party. The disgraceful conditions in welfare matters and the inexcusable destruction of the migrant English classes are condemnatory evidence of their neglect. The reduction and deferment of services to migrants and the procrastination by the Government will be remembered by migrants who will help to get rid of this Government at the earliest possible time. Sitting suspended from 1.1 to 2.15 p.m. {: #subdebate-14-0-s3 .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR:
Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs · Warringah · LP -- Prior to the suspension of the sitting the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes)** raised the following as a matter of public importance: >The Fraser Government's reduction and deferment of services to migrants. I, and I am sure everybody else, expected a stinging attack on the Government's alleged misdemeanours in this field but I was rather surprised that the speech covered three main points. The majority of the speech was taken up with a discussion of the organisation within not my Department but the Department of my colleague the Minister for Social Security **(Senator Guilfoyle).** It really sounded to me as though the honourable member were regurgitating the results of information given to him by some disgruntled employee within the Department of Social Security and I fail to see how I can be held responsible for the information that that person or group of people gave him. The situation is brought into stark relief from the honourable member's own speech. He admitted that it was his own Government in 1974, when it split up the Department of Immigration and moved settlement services across to the Department of Social Security, that caused the problem. I have no argument with that. In fact I would agree. I have stated a number of times that it was the previous Australian Labor Party Administration which demonstrated its total contempt for the wishes and desires of migrants by splitting up the one department to which all migrants automatically looked for help and assistance, downgraded it and amalgamated most of it with the Department of Labour. This again says something for the honourable member's criticism that this Government looks at people as industrial cannon fodder. I think that that probably disposes of his criticism of the organisation within the Department of Social Security. I will draw the attention of the Minister for Social Security to the honourable member's statements and no doubt she will be contacting him. The honourable member made the point about what he called migrant welfare courses begun under Labor. I have written it down here and I hope I am quoting him correctly. I have been checking to find out about these migrant welfare courses and I find that the reference is probably to a course of training for bilingual welfare officers who were to be recruited to the Department of Immigration. The McMahon Government agreed to this in July 1972. I am further told that, because of recruitment delays, the training was not commenced until September 1973. Although it was a Liberal government initiative the actual training did not commence until September 1973 under the then Labor Government. The training was completed over a period of about nine months. I am told that no further training took place during the Labor Government's term of office or since December 1975 because no new group of bilingual welfare officers has been recruited. The other point that the honourable member mentioned in his speech concerned the Church of All Nations at Carlton. He alleged that the adult migrant education courses at the Church of All Nations have been suspended. Again my information is at variance with the honourable member's interpretation because I am informed that there has been no decision to reduce or cease the funding of migrant classes at the Church of All Nations in Melbourne. This was conveyed to **Dr Moonie** by officers of the Department of Education this week. At the same time I am informed that it is important that all courses and classes be looked at periodically- I am sure that the honourable member would agree with that- to assess their effectiveness in terms of attendance and cost. I further believe that the attendance at the classes at the Church of All Nations has been as low as nine in some cases. Reports from the Church of All Nations have indicated that the attendance at the classes has been dropping. I make the point once again and, I hope, very clearly that there has been no decision to reduce or cease the funding of migrant classes at the Church of All Nations, and this decision has been conveyed to **Dr Moonie.** That really disposes of the matter that has been raised by the honourable member for Melbourne but there are a couple of other things I would like to say. Once again the honourable member drew attention to what he calls industrial cannon fodder and he used terms such as 'sweat shops'. He accused former LiberalNational Country Party governments of recruiting migrants to work only in these situations. There are two things I would like to say about that. Firstly, I do not believe for a moment that the allegation is true, but if it were true it does not say very much for the union movement which is involved at all levels within the industrial and manufacturing sectors. If the conditions about which the honourable member complains were in evidence, this is a very damning indictment of those organisations, particularly of the unions which allege that they look after their members. As the honourable member would know, a great number of migrants are members of unions. He should look to those supporters of his own party before he makes these allegations. The other and perhaps more serious thing that I would like to say about this statement that migrants are being used as industrial cannon fodder is that I wonder whether people who use that term, and particularly the honourable member for Melbourne, have taken the time to think about what they are saying. I think that it is time to set this matter in perspective. I hope that when I say this I will not be misrepresented and that what I say will not be taken as demonstrating that I do not have any concern to ensure that migrants are treated fairly and equally with all other members of the Australian community or that I am not anxious to see everyone employed in as congenial a condition as possible. It is true that migrants are heavily represented in employment in secondary industries. Do the honourable members and others who criticise this condition suggest that Australia should have refused entry to prospective migrants likely to be employed in factories? Are they suggesting that all unskilled workers, including refugees and nominated immediate family members, should have been refused entry to Australia simply because they were likely to find employment in secondary industries? Are they saying that the conditions and opportunities of those migrants who have found work in factories in Australia are inferior to the conditions and opportunities left behind? The answer to all those questions must be no. I believe that in general it is a malicious gibe to describe Australia's migrant intake as factory fodder because it gives a false representation of the factors underlying Australia's admission of migrants who have taken up employment in secondary industries. More importantly, it is a slanderous attack on the migrants concerned, many of whom have made successful and fulfilling careers in Australian industry. It certainly does not help the migrant's perception of himself as being an important and valued part of the Australian community, nor does it assist the process of acceptance by the host community. For that reason I advise the honourable member for Melbourne to cease using this gibe, this slanderous attack on people who work in factories because he is not assisting integration. He is not assisting the people who work in factories. He is making it much harder for those people to feel that they are a wanted and valued part of the Australian community. I would like to use this opportunity to draw attention to some of the initiatives which have been undertaken in the migrant area since this Government came into power in 1975 because there have been others apart from the honourable member, including particularly the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam),** who have misrepresented the situation in relation to this Government's support for migrant services. For instance, the funds for the adult migrant education program in 1977-78 totalled $9,663,000. The expenditure in 1976-77 was $8,959,645. That is an increase of 7.8 per cent. It is not a diminution; it is an increase. The increased funds include the increase in the cost of living allowance. The funds appropriated for 1977-78 are at June 1977 cost levels. The final funds made available for these services for 1977-78 will have regard to national wage case variations and relevant award determinations during the course of the year. Therefore, I repeat, the same level of funds in real terms will be made available in 1977-78 as those made available in 1976-77. As from the first pay period in November living allowances will be increased. The new rates mean an increase of $9.15 a week for single students attending full time courses and $16.55 a week for a married student with a dependent spouse. This brings the allowance to $45.15 a week for a single student and $76.55 a week for a student with a dependent spouse. Once again I hope that those people who misrepresent the situation will cease to do it because, as I have just stated to the House, the same level of funds, in real terms, will be made available this year as were made available last year. In respect of child migrant education, in 1976 we provided $23,254,000 through the Schools Commission's general current grants program for child migrant education. So far this year $23,838,000 has been legislated for under this program and this amount will be further supplemented throughout the year. In addition, in 1976-77 some $534,870 was provided for other services for child migrant education. This amount has been increased to $560,000 in 1977-78. So again, funds have increased for child migrant education. The telephone interpreter service for which the Leader of the Opposition claimed credit, in fact was authorised in July 1972 by the then Commonwealth Minister for Immigration, **Dr Forbes,** who was a Liberal member of Parliament. This service has had its funds increased. The total allocation this year is $ 1.1m. That is about $150,000 above the expenditure for last year. Funds are included in this year's appropriation to extend the telephone interpreter service to Wollongong. So again in this area there has been an increase in the funds available for migrant services. This gives the he to those people who claim, on behalf of the Opposition, that somehow this Government has not lived up to its promises to assist migrants. In the time left to me I want to briefly list some of the main achievements of the Government in immigration and ethnic affairs since December 1975 because it is important that the record be set straight. First and foremost, I repeat that a separate Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs was established immediately we took office. This set aside the disastrous decision of the Labor Government which split up the previous Department of Immigration. The Government has reconstituted the Australian Population and Immigration Council- - APIC - on 31 March 1976. We published Australia's first Green Paper on immigration policies and Australia's population. For the first time in our history since Federation the Australian people have been given the opportunity to make their views known on matters relating to Australia's immigration and population policies We broadened the family reunion categories for immigration and allowed for the entry of entrepreneurs and proprietors of small personal businesses in addition to national need categories. We have announced a far reaching policy for the entry of refugees. The Labor Party's record in relation to refugees, particularly Indo-Chinese refugees, is something of which every member of the Opposition should be absolutely ashamed. We are very proud of what we did in relation to refugees. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- Tell us what you did about the Moslems in Lebanon. {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR: -We are very proud of what was done for people who were disadvantaged by the civil strife in Lebanon. Last year between 11,000 and 12,000 people came to Australia under special circumstances. That is something that the previous Government would not even have contemplated. We have provided an amnesty for illegal immigrants who overstayed as visitors as at 31 December 1975. We abolished the requirement for re-entry visas. We established the first Australian Ethnic Affairs Council. We decided that ethnic broadcasting should be established on a permanent basis and legislation for the special broadcasting service is to come before the Parliament in the current session. In this financial year $1,963,000 is being made available. We established the National Ethnic Broadcasting Advisory Council to advise the Government on ethnic broadcasting matters. We arranged to increase progressively the number of hours of ethnic broadcasting. We have moved to establish two experimental migrant resource centres, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney. We have established the national accreditation authority on translators and interpreters to set standards for interpreters and translators in Australia. These are just some of the initiatives that this Government has taken in the field of assistance to migrants in the community. It is untrue for the honourable member for Melbourne or any of his colleagues to state in this House or outside that this Government is some way has not provided assistance to migrant communities. In addition, the Galbally Committee is doing extremely good work in assessing the migrant settlement services and now has come up with a proposition - {: #subdebate-14-0-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The Minister's time has expired. {: #subdebate-14-0-s5 .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I am at a loss to know where to start. The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** began by telling us how he was delighted to see migrants become wanted and valued members of the Australian community. This Minister has taken every step he possibly can to obstruct migrants to this country becoming citizens. I will revert to that matter during the Estimates debate. I will start by referring to the achievements which the Minister listed. Firstly, the Government established a separate department. For the first 18 months, that remained nothing but a cosmetic device. No functions were changed. After that the Minister then established an ethnic affairs branch within his Department. He established the branch and advertised the positions but when applicants asked for duty statements none was available. It was a complete hoax. This was the very important point that the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr lnnes)** made at the outset of his contribution to this debate. This Minister, who regards himself as having some responsibility for ethnic affairs, has no influence on the provision of services to migrants in this country. He is a eunuch. He is a disaster. He ought to resign. The next achievement he listed was the establishment of an advisory council which simply substituted for another advisory council which existed already. There was merely a change in form. How typical it is for the Tories in this Parliament that they should seize at formalities like that as evidence of some real change in the provision of services to people in this country. I can assure the Minister that it is known amongst migrant communities as a complete farce. The third thing he talked about was the category of persons eligible to come to this country. He said that it had been expanded in some way. It has not been expanded. The Minister talked about entrepreneurs now being welcome in this country. They are not welcome. Anybody overseas who is mislead by that sort of rhetoric will be sadly disillusioned the first time he or any of his relatives in this country seeks to get him to come into this country. The Minister talked about the magnificent record of this Government in relation to refugees. There was a very serious situation in the Lebanon and the Government's response to it was marked at every turn by excessive formality, by bureaucratic delay and by the inability of the Minister to get on top of his Department and to direct it to give him the sort of policy advice to which any Minister in this Parliament is entitled. Having had refugees from the Lebanon come to this country, the provision of services to them is so deficient. That is the point I wanted to come to. Many honourable members here may not have had much contact with refugees from the Lebanon. I have had a very great deal of contact with them, as have the honourable member for Lang **(Mr Stewart)** and other people in that area of Sydney. So also has the honourable member for St George **(Mr Neil)** who is to follow me in this debate. I will be delighted if he can get up in this chamber and say that the provision of services, the provision of Arabic speakers, has been adequate within the welfare services of this country. They have not. The Minister also grandstanded in the best conservative traditions over the refugees from Vietnam. The situation in Vietnam was created by persons whom the Liberal and Country Party supported. They supported that sad and sorry situation. It was also people on the Government side of the chamber who quite irresponsibly urged persons to leave their native country, Vietnam, and come here and to other countries. If the Minister is sincere about doing anything about this he can because there are thousands of refugees in Thailand. Of course they cannot all be taken into the Australian community. We would do ourselves a great service if we stopped pretending the situation was otherwise and stopped this grandstanding. We will judge the Minister's performance by how he provides for the persons who have come to this country at the request of successive governments. The Minister talked about an amnesty. I would have thought that he would have hung his head about the selective and partisan fashion in which that amnesty was implemented. It brought upon him a rebuke from the Ombudsman, the first rebuke that the Ombudsman has had to deliver. Despite the very clear language which the Ombudsman adopted, the Minister said in this chamber only a matter of weeks ago that he was not prepared to canvass the statements of the Ombudsman before the Parliament. That is absolutely disgraceful. The Minister then talked about the establishment of ethnic broadcasting. I thought that he would hang his head in that respect. Ethnic broadcasting was an initiative of the Australian Labor Party Government. The attempts by the present Government to give ethnic broadcasting some kind of statutory basis have been weak. In the first instance, it was to be hived off to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The Australian Broadcasting Commission said that it did not want ethnic broadcasting; that it could not cope with it; and that it was not prepared to reduce its present services to encompass the new service. So, a special broadcasting authority was to be established. Because of backwoodsmen in the Government parties, that legislation has not yet been produced in the Parliament. In any event, I assure the House that the listeners to ethnic radio do not concern themselves one iota with its statutory format. They are simply concerned with its effectiveness and with the way in which the producers of the programs are able to go about their tasks and how happy they are about their security. At this level the Minister has failed. The Minister next instanced the establishment of experimental migrant resources centres. This is the greatest gimmick to come from the Prime Minister. After he was elected at the great con election of 1975, he discovered the migrant communities. Even in his electorate broadcasts he talks about the hopes of migrants. He has no idea of what the needs of migrants are. If he did, he certainly would not have established these two bodies which together will cost $ 100,000. What a great sum of money that is! The centre in Melbourne has been given to the Greek society and not one Turk has walked in the door since the Elace was established. The centre in Sydney is to e established at Parramatta. If it is established as ineptly as the one in Melbourne it will receive exactly the same kind of patronage. Migrants can perceive the situation for what it is. They are demanding welfare services, as the Minister knows. Daily he refuses to support their applications to his colleague, the Minister for Social Security **(Senator Guilfoyle).** The Minister next talked about the establishment of the National Accreditation Authority for Interpreters and Translators. When the Minister first claimed that as a great achievement of this Government he issued a Press statement two days before the issue of the Press statement which announced the establishment of the Authority and the appointment of personnel to it. The Minister anticipated himself. The Authority had not been established. But that is enough of these bogus, phoney achievements. What migrant people in this country want is the provision of services which they can use. Any of us who have had dealings with non-English speaking persons in our community have had to deal with the bureaucracy and know how difficult the migrants' problems are. We know that in no government department is the counter staff equipped to handle migrants' problems. We know that nothing is being done about the matter. The Government would do well to face up to this issue. The Minister would do well to use his influence with his colleagues- the Minister for Social Security, especially, and the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations **(Mr Street)-** to improve this situation. As the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr lnnes)** said, there are far too many bureaucrats here in Canberra and far too many people in supervisory roles in the State offices of the Department of Social Security who are responsible for the provision of migrant welfare services and who are not familiar with what is going on in the field. The Minister will be aware of the great dissatisfaction among ethnic organisations with the administration of the grant-in-aid welfare workers scheme. He will know that it is the traditional, establishment welfare organisations which have grabbed that money and which have not geared up in order to provide services to migrants. Persons who need them such as the Yugoslavs in Sydney and the Turks, are being denied these funds. The Minister does nothing about that. The honourable member for Melbourne instanced the absence of Arabic-speaking skills within the Department of Social Security in Sydney. This is at a time when huge numbers of very disadvantaged Lebanese are coming into the Australian work force and community. These persons do not have their needs met by the Department. If the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs were concerned about these matters he would be concerned about migrants- particularly women migrants- who go to hospitals, who speak no English and who find no translators to translate their requirements to the staff. If the Minister were concerned about this he would be concerned about the drop-off in language courses for migrants. He would not say: 'The numbers are dropping away'. He would wonder why the numbers are dropping away and why these courses are not being provided effectively. If the Minister were serious about child migrant education he would never be out of the office of the Minister for Education **(Senator Carrick),** because funds are being cut in that area. Persons who have come to this country to establish a new life and a new future for themselves and their children are having that vision shattered as a result of the partisan attitude of the Government and particularly of the Minister. The Minister has been an absolute disaster. He ought to resign. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-14-0-s6 .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL:
St George -- I congratulate the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** on the magnificent job he has done since assuming office. He and the Government have done four main things: Firstly, they have restored the immigration program which was cut off at the roots by the Australian Labor Party Government. I have had many cases in which people have come to me in circumstances where approval was given a few years ago and then it was arbitrarily cut out overnight because the former Government got into economic trouble and decided that the way to overcome that trouble was to cut out the previous immigration program. The second thing the Minister did was to institute a thorough and sensible population and immigration inquiry. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP **- Mr Acting Speaker,** I draw your attention to the state of the House. *The bells being rung-* {: .speaker-JRD} ##### Mr Bourchier: **- Mr Acting Speaker,** was your attention drawn to the fact that the discussion of this matter of public importance, which was brought forward by the Australian Labor Party, has been attended by only two of its members during most of the debate? Is that the total value the Australian Labor Party puts on such an important matter? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! There is no substance in the point of order. *(Quorum formed).* {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL: -- It is a disgrace that only four Australian Labor Party members are in the House to hear the debate on this important matter which they brought on. The inquiry, the second thing which the Minister has done, is vital to the future development of Australia. It will enable us to plan properly and sensibly. Thirdly, the Minister introduced a vast new range of practical services at the grass roots level which have been of very considerable benefit to migrants. Fourthly, and more importantly, the Minister has allowed migrants to see that this Government treats them with dignity, appeals to their intelligence and wants them to contribute to the future development of this country. For years the Labor Party has treated migrants as political footballs. It has politicised them. Members of the Labor Party went around to meetings telling migrants what they wanted to hear, talking down to them and treating them like fools. I have been to many meetings where Labor spokesmen have stood up and told the migrants insubstantial things just to gain popular acclaim. I have seen the Minister give speeches at meetings. He has given migrant communities something sound, solid and sensible and they have been able to see what the Government is doing. The Minister has appealed to them to contribute to the development of this country. He has appealed to their intelligence. Every country has people of differing combinations of logic, rational thought, individualism, moral precepts, intuition, feelings, group responsibility and aesthetics to shape their intellectual processes. All these different qualities are brought to this country by the migrants and will help us develop as a unique, democratic society based on the widest degree of understanding of our fellow man. We are enabling migrants to share in making the maximum contribution to the social, economic and political fabric of Australia and to help us solve the great challenges which face this country. It is only this approach- the development of a true multicultural society- which will enable us to develop. We are the first government that has adopted this broad approach with regard to migrants. We reject the spurious attitude of the Labor Partythe talking down to migrants. We welcome migrants in the new and proper development of this country. I point out, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that there are still only six Labor Party members in the House. Let me talk about the actual achievements of the Minister and contrast his achievements with what we heard today from the two speakers for the Opposition. I shall talk about the Lebanese situation, about which the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Antony Whitlam)** talked, and shall tell him what the Government has done in the St George electorate. When we had extra persons coming here- we have brought out over 1,000 refugees in the past 12 months- we had troubles with the teachers at the schools. The Minister for Immigration and the Federal Minister for Education **(Senator Carrick)** provided additional teachers. I have on file a letter from the State Labor member for Rockdale saying that he is pleased with the initiative and that the problem at one of the schools in St George was solved. Secondly, we have a Community Youth Support scheme for the unemployed youth in the Lebanese community, particularly to help them to learn English. They are doing a magnificent job under that course and are learning to become good future citizens. That initiative was specially instituted by this Government. Thirdly, we have special Arabic language classes set up throughout the electorate. One of them looked as though it might close down, but I am pleased to say that the State Government has learned the error of its propagandist ways and only today **Mr Bedford** said that all existing programs in adult migrant language services would be maintained. An attempt was made to play the three card trick in the same way as this Labor Opposition is trying to play it today. What the New South Wales Government sought to do was to claim that there had been some sort of cutback in funds for adult migrants. There simply had not been a cutback. The base rate allocated last year will be increased and there have been guarantees of additional funds to compensate for cost factors and demand. An additional $150,000 was granted last week and there will be guarantees of funds to ensure that the migrant education services are fully maintained. I point out also that the Galbally inquiry has been set up and will look into the situation from the grass roots level. The Commissioners on the inquiry are principally persons with migrant backgrounds; some were born in Australia of migrant parents. They are practical people and they are concerned with down to earth issues. They have already produced a program to ensure that the Government's policies are well set out in the ethnic Press. I deplore the scandalous attack made today on these people by the honourable member for Melbourne. These are worthy people who are attempting to do their job on the Galbally inquiry. They cannot defend themselves and are subjected to these outrageous attacks on their integrity. It is an absolute disgrace and another insult to the migrant communities as a whole. We come then to the special broadcasting service. Already there are people in the ethnic broadcasting service who were appointed by the former Labor Government and who are disgusted at the way in which the Laborites, when m office, tried to use them as political pawns. They refused to allow the ethnic radio to be used as a political pawn by the former Labor Government. The pressure has continued since. Laborites have been trying to urge their way into the ethnic system. To the credit of the ethnic broadcasters, they have done everything possible to avoid this politicisation by the Labor Party. We come now to the industrial situation. The most racist organisation in this country is the trade union movement. In the electorate of St George we have migrant workers who want to work. There is one factory where they are taken across the road to the park where they are addressed by one gentleman whom one can hardly understand, when he is supposed to be talking English, and by another gentleman who cannot be understood when he is supposed to be talking English. These migrant people are told: 'You nave to go on strike, otherwise you will lose your job'. It is as simple as that- straight out lies. So they go home. They are unable to work. They are misled completely. I pay great tribute to those employers who are introducing migrant education classes at their premises. There is an excellent one at W. C. Stevens at Arncliffe. It is giving the migrant worker a chance to see the oppression he is receiving from the shop floor, to understand what is happening, to do something about it and to exercise his vote. I totally reject the gibberish spoken by the honourable member for Melbourne. He read every single word of it. Somehow he managed to prepare it. His speech had the intelligence of Donald Duck, the eloquence of Gomer Pyle and the decorum of the Marx Brothers. It was the most outrageous speech that has ever been delivered in this House. It was a complete and utter insult to the migrant communities in this country. They are sick and tired of being a political football. They want rational and sensible treatment. They are going to be given it from this Government so that they will have the opportunity to help to build this country into the finest nation on this earth. We will not be able to do it while we have this sort of politicising coming from the other side of the House- this untold claptrap. {: #subdebate-14-0-s7 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. The discussion is concluded. {: .page-start } page 1987 {:#debate-15} ### JOINT COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS {: #debate-15-s0 .speaker-QF4} ##### Mr CONNOLLY:
Bradfield -I present the 165th report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. Ordered that the report be printed. {: .speaker-QF4} ##### Mr CONNOLLY: -I seek leave to make a short statement on the report. {: #debate-15-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### The DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. {: .speaker-QF4} ##### Mr CONNOLLY: -- The 165th report relates to the Committee's inquiry into matters raised by the Auditor-General in his report for the financial year 1974-75. The Committee regrets the delay in tabling this report but the Committee's normal time-table for conducting these inquiries was affected by the priority which the Committee considered should be given to the completion of its 162nd report arising from its inquiry into the financial administration of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. In this inquiry, the Committee took evidence from the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Department of Construction and the Department of Environment, Housing and Community Development, relating to four matters. Regarding the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Committee took evidence on a number of unsatisfactory features relating to the unauthorised production by the Australian Government Clothing Factory of a range of civilian clothing for sale to the public through commercial outlets and to departmental staff. The evidence showed that the production of the particular civilian clothing mentioned by the Auditor-General was improperly authorised by the manager as it was not covered by a specific order or authorised by the Minister in accordance with government policy. The decision of the manager was also contrary to policy directions issued in 1969 and 1971 to all factory managers on this particular subject. The Committee believes that the manager who took the decision on the production of civilian clothing should have made approaches to the Department's central office and had he not already resigned from his position as manager the Department should ave taken disciplinary action. In selling the manufactured garments to departmental staff the Committee found that proper procedures for banking Commonwealth moneys or for recording and maintaining adequate control over stock, sales and cash received were not followed. The Committee has expressed its concern that procedures laid down in legislation were also not followed and that experienced officers in the Department were apparently unaware of some extremely important principles incorporated in the Audit Act, finance regulations and finance directions for the control of public moneys and stores. Evidence was taken from the Department of Construction in relation to unproductive expenditure occasioned by delays in the completion of two major building projects, the City South Telephone Exchange in Sydney and the Wellington Telephone Exchange in Perth. The Committee has noted that the then Postmaster-General's Department made a decision to alter its requirements for the building of the City South Exchange after the documentation of the building had reached an advanced stage. The revised requirements caused a delay of approximately 10 months and resulted in the building being constructed in a period when the industrial and economic climate had altered dramatically. The Committee has expressed its concern that the alterations to the design of the building were made to accommodate equipment which had not been fully evaluated and which on evaluation proved to be unsatisfactory. We have reason to believe that these cases are not unique in the Commonwealth's construction activities and that all departments concerned should tighten their procedures to ensure that money is not wasted on unnecessary and expensive alterations. Your Committee will be watching this situation closely. The Committee has also expressed its concern at delays by the Department in taking action to terminate the contract in spite of an extremely poor performance by the original contractor involved with the project. Construction of the Wellington Telephone Exchange in Perth was delayed when serious doubts were raised as to the strength effectiveness of the building's foundations. The Department of Construction had, on the recommendations of a firm of foundation engineering consultants, adopted a type of foundation different from that previously used successfully in most major buildings in Perth. The Committee has expressed its concern that the adequacy of the method for the foundations had not been sufficiently verified during test piling. In relation to the Department of Environment, Housing and Community Development, the Auditor-General had reported that amounts totalling $6,048,024 were paid under the States Grants (Dwellings for Pensioners) Act 1974 although no warrant of the Governor-General had been obtained for the expenditure. The Committee found that the financial year 1974-75 was apparently the first year that the then Department of the Treasury had not automatically obtained Governor-General's warrant and issued warrant authorities for what appear to be schemes operating under similar legislation. The Committee expressed the view that the Treasury should have contacted the Department to inform it of the change in its requirements for 1974-75 and future years. The Committee therefore has attached no blame to the Department for its failure to obtain ministerial determination under the Act required by the Treasury as a prerequisite to obtaining Governor-General's warrant. The Committee has noted that the Department does not agree that such a determination is necessary under the Act before a warrant is issued and that the Department has sought a legal opinion on the matter. However, the Committee has expressed its concern that the Department failed to observe an important and fundamental principle in the control over the expenditure of public moneys by not ensuring that warrant authority had been issued by the Treasury before authorising the payment. I commend the report to honourable members. {: .page-start } page 1988 {:#debate-16} ### UNITED NATIONS SUGAR CONFERENCE 1977 {:#subdebate-16-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Minister for Overseas Trade and Minister for National Resources · Richmond · NCP/NP -- by leave- Honourable members will be aware that the prime purpose of my recent overseas visit was to lead the Australian delegation to the United Nations Sugar Conference in Geneva, the object of which was to conclude the negotiation, commenced earlier this year, of a new International Sugar Agreement. There has been no international regulation of the world sugar, market since 1973 when the last Agreement, negotiated in 1968, expired. Negotiations in that year to conclude a new International Sugar Agreement were unsuccessful. I am pleased to be able to inform the House that, although the negotiations were most difficult and complex, the Geneva Conference last week finalised a new International Sugar Agreement Without any doubt this new Agreement contains the most sophisticated market regulatory mechanisms yet written into an international commodity agreement. The Agreement will now be considered by governments of all sugar exporter and importer countries including the Australian Government. Provided a sufficient number of importers and exporters accede to it the Agreement will come into effect from 1 January 1 978 for five years. The Conference was conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and was the first negotiation under the UNCTAD Integrated Commodities Program. It was attended by representatives of more than 70 countries covering virtually all the world 's producers and consumers of sugar. Sugar was the first commodity to be negotiated under the Integrated Commodities Program and the negotiations therefore had an international importance much greater than previous negotiations. If an agreement could not be concluded on sugar- a commodity which had previously been managed under an agreementthen the chances of negotiating other commodity agreements would be very much reduced. It is becoming increasingly understood and accepted that the world has much to gain by co-operative production and market management of food and raw materials. The Australian Government has long accepted this principle and has worked strenuously to achieve this objective. With sugar we have been involved in international discussions, negotiations and agreements for nearly SO years and this, coupled with our long involvement and experience in international commodity negotiations, has given us an expertise that has been of immense value to the sugar world and to UNCTAD in the recent negotiations in formulating effective mechanisms to bring about greater market stability. The major exporters involved in the Conference included Australia, Brazil, Cuba, the Philippines and Thailand. The major importers included the United States, Japan, Canada and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The European Economic Community, although represented, did not play a prominent part in the negotiations because it did not receive a mandate to do so until the eleventh hour of the Conference. It has been left to the EEC to negotiate its terms of accession after the Agreement has entered into force. The negotiations were conducted against the background of a heavy world sugar surplus and falling world prices. From a peak of about 60 United States cents per pound or over $ A 1,000 per tonne in November 1974, the world price had fallen by September this year to 6.7c or $A132 per tonne and there was the almost certain prospect that, in the absence of an Agreement, the price would fall to 4c or Sc per pound or between $80 and $100 per tonne. The Agreement establishes a price range of 1 1 to 2 1 United States cents per pound- equivalent to $A217 to $A414 per tonne. Provision is made for review of the price range and upward adjustment when this is considered appropriate. This price range will be defended by a combination of global export quotas and stockholding provisions. Quotas and stockholding will operate when prices are low, and quotas will be suspended and stocks released as prices rise towards the maximum. When- with the operation of the mechanisms of the Agreement- the minimum price level of 1 lc is achieved, it will result in a lift in the returns to the world sugar industry of the order of $A2,000m. This is a benefit in which Australia, one of the major sugar producers, will share. The sugar industry is of vital importance to Australia, particularly to the people m the towns strung along 1,000 miles of the Queensland coastline and the north coast of New South Wales. The welfare of whole communities depends on the well-being of the world sugar industry. Cane sugar is Queensland 's most significant crop both in terms of large scale production and value. It also contributes substantially to Australia's earnings of foreign exchange. In the 10 years between 1966-67 and 1976-77 the value of exports of raw sugar rose from $A100m to $A630m. In 1976-77 this represented 12.4 per cent of the value of Australia's exports of rural origin and 5.5 per cent of total exports. Over the years our industry has developed to place Australia among the three largest exporters of sugar to the free market. Through research and the application of modern technology we have become one of the most- if not the mostefficient producers in the world. Our industry is based on individuality, with individual producers owning and operating their own farms and the mills operating as public companies or producer co-operatives. Under the new Agreement, Australia has been allotted a basic export tonnage of 2.35 million tonnes. All basic export tonnages will be reviewed after the first two years of the operation of the Agreement. To achieve the desired price effect, basic export tonnages of all exporters may be subject to an initial quota cut of 1 5 per cent as from 1 January 1978. Unless the International Sugar Council decides to the contrary, there could also be an additional cut of 2Vi per cent However, to ensure specifically that Australian mill peaks are in no way breached, a special provision was negotiated whereby Australia has the option of accepting the additional cut of 2V4 per cent or restricting its quota cut to 1 5 per cent and forgoing immediate shortfalls and quota increases until any benefits derived from the provision have been repaid. It was particularly important for Australia to ensure that mill peaks were protected. Each farmer and miller in Australia has a minimum production entitlement or peak. Mill peaks have never been breached in the 48 years this system has been in existence. They are a legal entitlement reinforced by precedent. Some mills in Australia accept production over and above their peaks. Such additional production is not covered by our entitlements under the Agreement, but producers can be assured that, as a result of these negotiations, their minimum production entitlement has been protected and can be maintained. Exporters will be required to hold reserve stocks totalling 2.5 million tonnes, their individual shares of which would represent about 15 per cent of their basic export tonnages. Such stocks are to be accumulated at the rate of 40 per cent, 40 per cent and 20 per cent in the first, second and third years respectively. Stocks are to be released at the upper end of the range in three equal tranches at the prices of 19, 20 and 2 1 cents respectively. The cost of storing reserve stocks will be very substantially assisted by a stock financing fund which is to be established under the control of the International Sugar Council. The income of this fund is to be derived by a levy on all sugar traded by members of the Agreement in the free market. This concept is a unique feature. It represents a breakthrough, not only for sugar, but also for many other commodities. It means that the cost of stockholding will be shared more equitably between exporters and importers. The fund will help the Australian industry with the cost of holding its share of the reserve stocks under the Agreement. Traditionally in international commodity agreements it has fallen to the exporters alone to finance the accumulation and holding of stocks. Australia has consistently held the view that as both exporters and importers derive benefits from the market and price stability which one can expect to flow from such agreements, both should be expected and prepared to contribute to the costs of stockholding. In the context of sugar, that principle now has been accepted. We will be looking to importing countries to apply the same principle in respect of other commodity agreements involving stockholding. These, then, are the direct benefits to Australia that will flow from the new Agreement. There will be a closely regulated and stabilised world sugar market with a price uplift to 1 lc to 21c which, at the minimum, will lift world sugar returns by the order of $A2,000m and a breakthrough in a new stocksfinance concept. But there are many other benefits. The new ISA will also place Australia's long term sugar contracts within the framework of internationally negotiated price objectives. The resultant price stability will reduce the pressures on contracts following the recent collapse in world sugar prices. The 11c to 21c price range objective, which has been accepted by a Conference involving all of the countries with which Australia has long term sugar contracts, is compatible with the price provisions written into those contracts. Furthermore, the United States, the world's largest free market importer of sugar, has indicated its intention of joining this Agreement. This has been our hope for decades. It will greatly strengthen the Agreement. It will also help enable the United States Administration to avoid the inevitable harsh alternative of tariff or quota action. Such action would not only be most detrimental to world trade in sugar; it would also give a greater competitive edge to the development of sugar substitutes and it would come at a time when the world is looking to major industralised countries, like the United States, to liberalise trade in the context of the multilateral trade negotiations under way in Geneva. Furthermore, the European Economic Community, the world's largest producer of sugar, is now seriously considering negotiating to join the new International Sugar Agreement. The effective participation of the EEC in the Agreement would be of immense value in further broadening the regulation of the world sugar market. To date the EEC has been unwilling to contemplate any meaningful disciplines at all on exports to help regulate the world sugar market. It is now willing to contemplate such disciplines. Again, this is not only of significance to sugar, but hopeful also in the context of discussions and negotiations going on in respect of other agricultural commodities. As one of the largest exporters of sugar in the world, Australia played a leading role in the Geneva Conference in enabling a successful International Sugar Agreement to be achieved in what was a most complex, protracted and difficult negotiation. A highly competent delegation, representing both the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments and the Australian sugar industry, worked tirelessly towards reaching a successful agreement. Australia has every reason to be proud of the key role it played in bringing together the interests of exporters, importers, developed and developing countries, both nonsocialist and socialist, and in helping to enable the negotiation of the most sophisticated market regulatory mechanisms yet written into an international commodity agreement. {: #subdebate-16-0-s1 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES:
Corio -by leave-The Opposition welcomes any international commodity agreement which offers effective long-term markets and prices for Australian primary products. I emphasise the word 'effective' because in the past international agreements have frequently been nothing but statements of good intentions. I concur with the Minister for Overseas Trade **(Mr Anthony)** that the negotiations leading to the conclusions of the members of the most recent International Sugar Agreement have been extraordinarily complex and difficult. Four years ago the last sugar agreement expired in an atmosphere of very high free market sugar prices. It has taken four years of hard labour to reach another agreement. The Minister has created a favourable impression about the new Agreement and unless one reads his statement carefully it is easy to reach the conclusion that the worst is over and sugar producers can look forward to a period of stability. The London *Financial Times* on 8 October accurately described the Agreement as one which offers in the main indeed the only hope at present of coping with the very serious situation for sugar producers created by prices falling well below production costs. The Minister clearly shares this view but fails to extend his analysis of some of the problems that could arise. The conclusion of the Agreement at a time of depression in the industry, the threat of substantial sugar surpluses and the growing competition from corn syrup and other substitutes could not disguise the fact that a number of matters have not been explained in adequate detail. At this stage it is not absolutely certain that the Agreement will be effective. The Deputy Prime Minister and his Government are reaping the whirlwind of assurances of a hopeful outlook to beef producers several years ago and appear to be going the same way with the sugar industry. It should be made absolutely clear that this Agreement at best gives a minimum hope only. As honourable members will be aware a copy of this Agreement is not available and it is therefore impossible for this Parliament to examine the fine print in detail. The details are still being sorted out in Geneva and it is likely that the final copy of this document will not be received in Australia for at least three weeks. In addition, as the Minister points out, the Agreement still has to be considered by governments of all sugar exporting and importing countries before it is finally ratified to come into operation on 1 January 1978. In view of the pressures which have been building up in the United States and the dissatisfaction in Brazil, in particular, about aspects of the Agreement, there is no certainty that the Agreement will be ratified by all members in its present form. It must be remembered also that this Agreement covers only a small proportion of the sugar that goes into world trade. The world trade sugar stands at about 85 million tonnes annually but this Agreement will cover 16 million tonnes which goes into the free market. The international market for sugar does not include agreements which exist between the European Economic Community, French Caribbean and Pacific countries under the Home Convention, Cuba and the Soviet Union. It does not include international trade between countries which are members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance or trade within the EEC. Thus the price of sugar in a country such as the United Kingdom is not affected by this Agreement. The United Kingdom price is fixed under the EEC common agricultural policy. In summary, it means that the world market consists of the residual supplies exported over and above the special trade and domestic arrangements. It also should be made clear that the EEC is not a signatory to the new International Sugar Agreement. The Minister said: >The EEC, until represented, did not play a prominent part in the negotiations because it did not receive a mandate to do so until the eleventh hour of the conference. It has been left to the EEC to negotiate its terms and accessions after the Agreement is entered into force. It ought to be pointed out that the reason for the EEC not being involved is that the French refused to allow the EEC to subscribe to the idea of export quotas. In addition, the EEC recently has authorised the export of raw sugar and has assisted that by granting increased subsidies. The French argument is that export, aided by subsidies where necessary, is an integral part of the common agricultural policy. Without this freedom to export, it is highly likely that a large mountain of sugar will build up in the EEC this year. This is because the expected sugar beet crop plus 1.3 million tonnes of cane sugar imports will produce nearly three million tonnes surplus to likely demands in the Community. Already the EEC has been exporting large quantities of sugar to world markets, with an export subsidy often higher than the price obtained for the sugar. On the basis of the precedent of the International Wheat Agreement it is quite likely that France will wait to see whether the minimum price of $217 a tonne is effective and then offer surplus sugar for sale just below that price. It then becomes a question of for how long the Agreement will hold up. On the basis of the precedent in the wheat industry, the Sugar Agreement has the possibility of being nothing more than a piece of paper. If it collapsed it would be a great shame because, as the Minister rightly pointed out, this is the first of a series of agreements which have been concluded under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development integrated commodities programs. The success of the Sugar Agreement will influence the operation of other agreements, and it is essential, especially for the developing countries, that the International Sugar Agreement should work both in the spirit and in the letter. The critical question is whether countries such as France and even to some extent the United States will allow it to work. Australian growers would be particularly disappointed if the Agreement did not work because they have made quite considerable sacrifices in terms of export quotas. While the reduction of approximately 15 per cent in the amount of sugar likely to be exported would not influence mill peaks in the short run, it would prejudice maintenance of these peaks and stability in the industry. Australia received a quota of approximately 2.3 million tonnes of raw sugar for export, whilst Cuba received the largest export quota- 2.5 million tonnes- closely followed by Brazil. Cuba traditionally has been, since Fidel Castro's accession to power, a supplier of sugar to the USSR. It now would appear that either Soviet consumption has declined or some of its previous requirements which were filled by imports are being satisfied by increased local production. Because of Cuba's proximity to the United States and the improved trade relations between those two countries, Cuba clearly will improve its access to the United States market. In the long term there is some possibility that Australia may suffer. In view of the efficiency of the Australian industry there is probably some feeling that countries such as Cuba have done extraordinarily well out of this new arrangement. I turn now to some specific matters which the Minister has raised. I realise that the question of stock holdings is an important matter in the integrated commodities program. The Minister indicated in his statement that the cost of storing reserve stocks would be shared between exporters and importers. It would be appreciated if at some stage he could explain why reports, particularly in the European Press, have been firm in indicating that it will be the exporters only who will bear the storage costs. I quote again from the London *Financial Times* of 8 October: >The reserve stocks will be financed by levy on exports, with financial assistance being provided to the poorer countries to help them with storage. I think it is important that we have the Agreement as soon as possible in order to establish the correct position. The Minister has not explained whether the Queensland cane grower, the Queensland Government or the Australian Government will bear the cost of storage in Australia. Australia has one of the most sophisticated storage systems in the world. There is little doubt that it would be capable of holding 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes of raw sugar in reserve. However, it is important from an industry point of view that at a very early stage it should be clearly stated who will bear the cost of holding the stocks. I am unsure about the Minister's statement on the formula for the accumulation of stocks. He talked about a rate of 40 per cent, 40 per cent and 20 per cent in the first, second and third years respectively; but the base figure on which those percentages were taken was not clear. I think this matter also should be clarified. The Minister talked in detail about quotas and stock holdings operating when prices are low, and the quota suspension and the release of stocks when prices rise towards the maximum. Are we to presume that this will be an administrative decision? If so, will it be made by the ISA or by a meeting of the signatories to the ISA from the exporting side? It would be helpful if the Minister would indicate whether there is some trigger point at which the stocks will commence to be released on a uniform basis from each of the major exporting countries. Like many of the sugar producers both within Australia and overseas, I am concerned about the impact of corn syrup substitutes. Whilst the Opposition has no quibble with producers getting the best price possible, there has been no assessment in the Minister's statement of whether the price levels set in the new International Sugar Agreement will preclude and discourage competition from sugar substitutes. Traditionally it has been a practice in some countries to ban the use of these artificial sweeteners, but consumer pressure has led to the lifting of these restrictions. In the realities of a market type economy, particularly in the United States of America, the threat of increased substitution at higher price levels is a reality. It would be helpful both to the industry and to the public generally in Australia if some assessment could be provided of the relationship between the price ranges set by the ISA and the projected prices of sugar substitutes. I now turn briefly to the question of Japan. I am well aware that negotiations with the Japanese are at a very delicate stage and that the solution to the long standing problem may well arise this week. I was pleased to hear on the *Country Hour* on Monday that the Deputy Prime Minister takes a slightly more rational and less emotional view towards negotiations with our major partners than does the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser).** It is a great shame that the Prime Minister, rather than the Deputy Prime Minister, chose to intervene. This could delay the resolution of the problems in respect of the Australia-Japan Sugar Agreement. There is no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons for the Japanese delaying a decision was the Prime Minister's procrastination about making a firm statement on the Australian dollar in the middle of September. Any country purchasing from Australia would be crazy to enter into a solution when devaluation was imminent. In addition, the Prime Minister's breach of protocol in releasing his discussions with the Japanese Ambassador would not have helped the situation and must have undermined with the Japanese the standing of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Overseas Trade. Whilst I believe that it would have been desirable for the Minister for Overseas Trade to have been in Japan at a much earlier stage, it appears that he at least has some better sense than the Liberals on how to continue international trade negotiations. Instead of the Prime Minister and his fledgling, the Minister for Special Trade Negotiations **(Mr Howard),** rushing into subjects they know little about they would be better off leaving them to **Mr Anthony** and his Department. It should have been obvious to this Government that with the drop in world prices since 1974 and the fragmentation of the structure of the Japanese sugar processing industry problems would arise. Most of these problems had to be dealt with at a government level and were outside the strict commercial nature of the negotiations between CSR Limited acting as agents and the Japanese importers. Hopefully, the problem with this contract will be solved and the signing of the International Sugar Agreement might at least make the Japanese realise that there is a floor in the market. However the strength of that floor would be considerably helped by the European Economic Community becoming a signatory to the International Sugar Agreement. Until the final document has been seen and the European Economic Community has become a signatory, the Opposition remains very cautious about the value of the new Agreement. However, it makes it clear to the Government and the industry that it would work extremely hard to ensure its effective operation over the five-year period. {: .page-start } page 1993 {:#debate-17} ### SMALL BUSINESS FINANCE {:#subdebate-17-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr LYNCH:
Treasurer · Flinders · LP -by leave- It gives me very considerable pleasure to be able to announce to the House today a number of decisions which the Government has taken to improve the finance facilities available to small businesses. A similar announcement is being made in the Senate by my colleague the Minister for Industry and Commerce **(Senator Cotton)** who, as honourable members will be aware, has overall responsibility for small business matters. Importance of small business Small business plays a fundamental role on our free enterprise economy. Recent statistics indicate that small businesses in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade encompass about 200,000 enterprises employing more than one million people. To bring these figures into perspective, only about 35,000 of these enterprises are within the manufacturing sector while the vast majority, that is about 165,000 firms, employing about 600,000 people, are engaged in the retail and wholesale trade. A further 150,000 enterprises in the building, transport, finance and other tertiary areas make up the balance. So overall, excluding primary production, some 350,000 enterprises are small businesses- over 90 per cent of the total of all business- and employ about 30 per cent of the labour force, about two million people. But small businesses also play a number of particular roles in the economy and in society generally which give them an importance beyond that indicated by statistics of that kind. For example, they provide an important means of entry into business of new entrepreneurial talent and new techniques and processes. They produce many specialised products of relatively small quantities and provide for local needs and services generally quickly and cheaply together with a high standard of personalised service. Small business also represents a challenge and a stimulation to large established enterprises. Beyond that, and to speak about less tangible but perhaps fundamentally more important aspects, small business fosters a spirit of independence and initiative, so important in our liberal, democratic society. This Government ranks small business very high indeed on its list of concerns. I think that the rest of the community too is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of a strong, dynamic small business sector. Its voice is being heard more and more as small business seeks to establish itself as a recognisable, distinct identity within the Australian community. The Government welcomes recent efforts made by representatives of small businesses in organising such a diverse and numerous sector into various groups and organisations that are more able to present the small business viewpoint in a clear and united manner. Over the last two years the Government Members Small Business Committee has been investigating the problems of small business and has made a major contribution to the Government's knowledge and understanding of the issues facing small business. The committee consists of the following members: **Mr Ken** Aldred the honourable member for Henty, Chairman-I recognise his presence in the House today and the work which he, in particular, has performed in this area; **Senator Tony** Messner from South Australia, Deputy Chairman; **Mr Peter** Johnson the honourable member for Brisbane, Secretary; **Mr Ray** Braithwaite the honourable member for Dawson; **Mr Colin** Carige the honourable member for Capricornia; and **Mr Geoff** Giles the honourable member for Angas. In addition the report of the task force on finance for small business has provided the Government with much useful information about the availability of finance for small business and the claims made by small business with respect to their financial requirements during stages of establishment and growth. The task force consisted of representatives from the Departments of Industry and Commerce (chairman), Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury, Finance, Business and Consumer Affairs, and Productivity, and the Reserve Bank of Australia. The Government moved quickly when elected to office to introduce a number of financial measures to relieve the plight of all businesses. In particular, small businesses were seen to be facing problems in meeting the challenges of survival and growth created by the very high inflation rates of the time. Difficulties lay in the area of retaining cash for development, and through a loss of incentive caused by certain taxation provisions. Consequently, the Government introduced a series of measures: The 40 per cent investment allowance; trading stock valuation adjustments; and changes in division 7 taxation permitting an increase from SO per cent to 60 per cent in the amount of profits which private companies can retain without incurring undistributed profits tax. Income tax changes through indexation in last year's Budget, and the restructuring of personal tax rates announced in this year's Budget, to take effect from 1 February 1978, will be of very considerable benefit to the vast majority of small business owners since small businesses are predominantly unincorporated. Seventy five per cent of all small businesses are sole proprietorships and partnerships and the proportion of unincorporated retailers is as high as 88 per cent of all retail businesses. In formulating its policy on small business the Government immediately recognised that both the Commonwealth and the State governments had basic responsibilities in this field. Soon after taking office the Minister for Industry and Commerce initiated discussions with State Ministers responsible for industrial development on a program aimed at assisting small firms through greater co-operation and rationalisation of services. The elements of the agreed program cover counselling, management training, information services, research and improved availability of finance. In line with this program most State governments have now taken initiatives and introduced specialised counselling agencies or staff to assist small enterprises in their States, to be carried on at the grass roots level, where close contact could be created and maintained. The Australia-wide need for a lift in the standard of education in the principles and practice of small business operators became an immediate objective for the Government. I will detail later in this statement the publications, the training and research programs which have already added considerably to the store of knowledge available to the small businessman, and which are being further developed and expanded at the present time. Earlier this year the Government detected a growing concern in the business community that funds flowing from the financing organisations appeared inadequate for the growth and development of small business. So in May, the Government appointed the task force to report on the availability of finance for small business and having studied that report the Government has determined to take immediately the following steps: We will introduce legislation to extend the charter of the Commonwealth Development Bank to enable it to lend to all kinds of businesses. This will remove the present restrictions which confine the Bank's lending to the rural, tourism and industrial sectors. We have also decided that the Commonwealth Development Bank will be enabled to provide equity finance to small businesses. In addition, the Government has decided that the activities of the Australian Industry Development Corporation , in respect of small business will be extended, possibly by way of forming joint ventures with State and private sector institutions for the provision of finance to the small business community. We shall be considering ways in which these objectives might most efficiently be met as quickly as practicable, recognising at all times the importance of the role played *by* the trading banks in the financing of small business enterprise and the need to develop our policies in consultation with the trading banks. The Reserve Bank has been advised that it is the Government's policy that adequate finance should be made available to small business and that no arbitrary limits should be placed on such finance. It has been asked to inform the major groups of financial institutions that lending criteria should be reviewed in the light of the Government's policy and to approach finance industry groups with a view to achieving better communications within their respective areas, aimed at improving the finance facilities available to small businesses. In this regard we are giving further consideration to such matters as the criteria for farm development loans and term loans, our general aim being to ensure that policies in the monetary and banking areas do not place unnecessary inhibitions on the advancement of small business. The Government will be implementing also a number of measures through the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Bureau of Industry Economics designed to improve the availability of information about small businesses, their problems and finances. In the longer view this is likely to make a substantial contribution in terms of improving the quality of information available to government- and others- in taking important decisions in this area. The Department of Industry and Commerce will continue to monitor closely and to report in consultation with other involved departments periodically to ministers on existing Commonwealth, State and joint programs designed to improve the management and financial skills of small businesses and to increase the information and advice to small business on raising finance. The Government also will be taking other initiatives within its own areas of responsibility to ensure that all elements in the Commonwealth Government machinery are fully aware of small business requirements and that the possible impact of various government measures upon the small business community is taken very much into account. In particular it will be monitoring proposals for Commonwealth or joint Commonwealth-State legislation with a view to avoiding any unintended and undesirable effects on small businesses. Small business had benefited from the Government's policy announced in October 1976 regarding the purchase of locally made goods. The Government has now decided to strengthen the mechanisms for implementing its p urchasing policy and will be consulting the S tates to ensure they and local governments are aware of the Government'spolicy. All government ministers have been asked to ensure that their departments take action to pay all accounts promptly; the Government is aware of difficulties which can be created for small business if delays occur in the payment of Commonwealth accounts. The Commonwealth already provides support facilities and co-ordination where a recognised need exists. For example a support program of short practical publications oriented specifically to the small business owner-manager has been initiated by the Department of Industry and Commerce and at this stage there are 12 such publications available with a further eight being planned for this financial year. These booklets have been very well received by the small business community so much so that some titles are having to be reprinted within months of being released. The publications are arranged in a series entitled 'Managing the Small Business'. The individual publications so far available are: Checklist for starting a business Sources of finance for small business {:#subdebate-17-1} #### Importing {:#subdebate-17-2} #### Retailing {:#subdebate-17-3} #### Marketing Control records- retailing Buying or selling a small business Avoiding management pitfalls Repair services Marketing a new product Planning for management succession Building trades This publications program is a significant example of Commonwealth-States co-operation. Priorities for publications are agreed upon between the Commonwealth and the States. They are written and edited in consultation with the States, and the States assist in their distribution and promotion. There is no doubt that the development of this joint Commonwealth-State program of assistance to small business will result in improved effectiveness and greater benefit to the small enterprises community. The Department of Industry and Commerce with the support of the national training council is commissioning experts in small business management to prepare training material to be used in training courses and seminars. With the establishment of the Bureau of Industry Economics, headed by Professor Brian Johns, an acknowledged authority on small business, research into longer run economic issues of relevance to the small business sector will be undertaken. In addition to the specific measures I have outlined, the Government firmly believes that the best overall way of further assisting small business, which is very diversified with different needs and problems is for the Government to continue with its policy of reducing inflation and restoring economic growth on a sustainable basis. The effects of inflation upon small business are disastrous; directly or indirectly its effects are experienced in a lack of orders and demand for goods and services, in high interest rates, in adding to the difficulty of planning and investing on a confident basis, in a worsening of cost structures and the financial position of firms and so on. Inflation shortens everyone's time-horizons and destroys confidence. The achievements of this Government in putting the economy on the road to economic recovery are thus highly relevant in this context. Small business is very much dependent on general economic growth and prosperity, and investment and consumption expenditure. As these continue to improve, the Government believes some of the problems of particular concern to small businesses at the moment will be overcome. I present the following paper: {:#subdebate-17-4} #### Small Business Finance- Ministerial Statement, 13 October 1977 Motion (by **Mr Macphee)** proposed: >That the House take note of the paper. {: #subdebate-17-4-s0 .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr HURFORD:
Adelaide -- I thank the Treasurer **(Mr Lynch)** for following the usual courtesies and making available to me a copy of this statement a couple of hours ago. This enabled me to study and to assess it. First, I shall summarise my assessment of the statement and then I shall go back over some of the points I make in the summary. My summary is: The Treasurer's statement is in my view a singular piece of not very clever window dressing. The Fraser Government in general, and some of its back bench supporters in particular, have made a lot of noise about a concern for small business. But action has not matched the words. The only particulars of any substance in the statement involved public enterprise aiding and stimulating the small business sector. I, of course, refer to public enterprise which is so often criticised by Government supporters. I refer particularly to the Commonwealth Development Bank lifting its restrictions on lending; I refer to the Australian Industry Development Corporation stimulating activity through joint ventures; I refer to the Australian Bureau of Statistics and to the Bureau of Industrial Economics providing more information for the small business sector; and I refer to the Department of Commerce and Industry upgrading its monitoring of trends. I say that this is excellent democratic socialist activity, and the Opposition welcomes the Government's conversion to this cause. We cannot leave the market-place to determine the fortunes of small business. We must have government intervention of this sort, government intervention which in so many other spheres is being mutilated at present with tremendous harm to our economy. But we are bound to highlight our cynicism further by asking some questions of the Government in this context. First, whence are the extra funds to be used by the Commonwealth Development Bank to come? We can all assume that, at present, the Commonwealth Development Bank is using all the funds available to it? I ask that question particularly in view of the tight- the overtight monetary policy being perpetrated on this nation by the Fraser Government. We have a growth target at the moment of 8 per cent to 10 per cent and that is being operated mainly through the banks of this nation keeping business short. There is no business area being hurt more by this than the small business of this nation. Yet, in this piece of window dressing that has been presented to us today, we find that the Government is relying on the Commonwealth Development Bank to provide more funds for small business. We welcome this step. We hope quick action will be taken in this area. My second question, highlighting the cynicism of this window dressing is: Why did the Liberal and National Country parties when in opposition oppose legislation which would have allowed the AIDC to take on new functions? Here we have the Government giving the AIDC new functions in order to help the small business sector when they are the very people who opposed the amendments which the Whitlam Government was putting through this Parliament in order to widen the capacity of the AIDC to do just this sort of thing. That must highlight our cynicism. My third question is: Why did one of the Government's back benchers- I refer to **Senator Messner-** mentioned by the Treasurer, only the other day oppose the collection of more information from small businessmen by the Australian Bureau of Statistics? I will tell honourable members why I think he did. He did it to obtain cheap publicity, and that is exactly what he received. Here we are now recognising that the Australian Bureau of Statistics must collect this information from small businessmen, at whatever inconvenience to them, so that we have the raw material on which to base proper decisions by government. We recognise that it creates difficulties for small businessmen to give this information but it must be done, and it is the job of Government senators, just as it *is* my job- I am prepared to do it- to go out and explain to small businessmen why they are put to this inconvenience; not to obtain cheap publicity by issuing a Press release, as **Senator Messner** did, relating to some survey that he had carried out of small businessmen, and how upset they were by having to give this information. My fourth question is: Why did the Treasurer not mention that the most significant action taken by Government to aid small business was the establishment by the Australian Labor Party Government of a national small business bureau. The Fraser Government has downgraded it by substituting a finance and small business branch of the Tertiary Industry Division of the Department of Industry and Commerce. Here we come to the crux of the matter. The Labor Government followed what had happened in the United States of America where for some years they have had a small business administration department, and it set up one here because it recognised the great value of small business to our community. But what this Government has done has been to downgrade that national bureau and it has then gone to the States and said: 'Will you fix up something?' It has not given any extra funds to the States to do so. This apparently is evidence of the cynical attitude of not wanting the national Government involved in these great national issues but throwing off responsibility to someone else, giving the functions to the States without any extra specific funds for the States to carry out those functions. No wonder we believe that the making of this statement this afternoon is a cynical exercise. I have another question: What extra funds is the Federal Government making available to the States to enable the States to carry out the extra functions relating to small businesses? The Fraser Government has been pleased to hand out these extra functions. Now I want to know from the Government what specific extra funds are being given for this purpose. The amount of money being given to the States at the present time is built on the existing functions which the States are given to do, not on any new functions. The amount of money being given is only an upgrading in monetary terms of what the States are bound to carry out. The answers to those questions which I have raised-I could have thought of a lot more- will point up our reasons for being cynical about this small business finance statement and our reasons for dubbing it a window dressing exercise. Small business has been shockingly hurt by the stagnation policies of the present Federal Government. If we want to learn about those stagnation policies all we need to do is to go back and read the speech of one of the Government's own former back benchers, the honourable member for Mackellar **(Mr Wentworth)-** people need not take it from members of the Opposition- and read the reasons he has given to throw off the yoke of the Liberal Party and to follow proper and adequate economic policies for this country. Bankruptcies are climbing at an alarming rate at the present time. Until we adopt Labor's expansionary economic policies there will be little joy for small business. I said that having made a summary I would return to some of the points that I made. We of the Opposition agree that small businesses have a very important role to play in our society. In this mixed economy of ours where it is important to have a private sector as well as a public sector, a very important part of the private sector is small business. It provides the innovations and the changes which are a very important part of our economic system. We believe such activity in the private sector, and particularly in the small business sector, is important to provide the necessary stimulus to our economy. Another point I want to make is to challenge the so-called claims by this Government that some of its policies have helped small business. Are there many really small businesses that believe that the 40 per cent investment allowance helps them and not big business? I am clearly on record as not supporting the investment allowance at all, but it is a sheer misleading of this Parliament to suggest that such a policy would help small business vis-a-vis big business. I do not believe in the investment-Ted recovery. I think that what big business and small business want more than anything else is customers, and that is what will lead to investment. That is why we on this side of the House support an expansionary economic policy, a policy of expansion with care to ensure that we do not ricochet back into inflation. We are supporting that expansionary policy. There is no policy which would help small business more than that. The 40 per cent investment allowances are not favouring small businesses. Does any objective person suggest that the stock valuation allowance helps small business vis-a-vis other business? Small business does not have the finance now to hold large stocks, and the stock valuation allowance helps mainly those who have stocks. Relatively few small businesses can take advantage of that. What small business does know is that the Fraser Government has put up company tax rates from 42.5 per cent to 46 per cent. That is what is hitting them. That is what is hitting their finances and that is what they will remember at the next election, and not window dressing statements such as this one. However, I support the raising of the division 7 allowance from 50 per cent to 60 per cent, which this Government has done. I believe that that has mainly helped small businesses and that it was necessary in a tight monetary time. Let me come back to the cheek, as I call it, in the statement where it is suggested that discussions with the States had led the State governments to set up small business administrations in order to help the small businessman. They have done nothing of the sort. The South Australian Labor Government started its schemes for small businessmen long before this Government decided that it would downgrade its own national small business bureau and once again throw responsibility on to the States for something that should have been a national responsibility. The South Australian Labor Government has taken up the cudgels and will do so but only because once again the Fraser Government has shirked its responsibility and is not doing in the national sphere what it ought to have been doing. The rest of the statement was pretty well padding. To provide the requisite number of words in the statement the Treasurer has published a well known list of the publications which the bureau had put out. I want to make the point that those publications are the result of the Labor Government's policies. Those publications are the result of the setting up of the national small business bureau, which got on with the job of providing information for small business. I agree with the thesis that what small business wants more than anything else is information and help with management. I point out that what Government can do more than anything else is to provide just that. That is what the Labor Government started to do. I speak with far more knowledge and experience of this subject than any honourable members on the Government benches who have been catcalling here. Through the Workers Education Association in South Australia I ran a small business training course for about 10 years before coming into this place. That course was in planning and running a small business. I was discussing the problems of small business, and doing something about them, for many years before some of the catcallers on the Government benches opposite climbed on the bandwagon for political reasons and sought to provide some help for small business. I return to the main point: What small business wants more than anything else is an expanding economy; but what it is getting, and what the rest of this nation is getting, at the moment is a contracting economy due to the false philosophies of the Fraser Government. It is getting a Budget which is doing nothing more than taking activity out of the community and creating more unemployment. The result of this in South Australia alone is a growing number of bankruptcies in small business. Whereas last year there were about 300 bankruptcies, this year, from what I can find out from the profession, there will be more than 500 bankruptcies in South Australia alone. That is an alarming increase, and it is due to the wrong economic policies of this Government. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-17-4-s1 .speaker-KD4} ##### Mr ALDRED:
Henty -- I wish to make it quite clear at the outset, on behalf of the Government Members Small Business Committee, and I think on behalf of nearly all members of the Government parties, that we welcome the statement made today because undoubtedly it is the most definitive statement made on small business in the history of this Federation. It very clearly illustrates the importance that this Liberal-National Country Party Government attaches to the small business sector. I might add that it is also a triumph for the Small Business Committee and all the others who have worked tirelessly for the cause of small business over the past few years. As the Treasurer **(Mr Lynch)** clearly indicated in his statement, this sector of our economy is a fundamental and very important one. It covers no fewer than about two million people, or approximately one-third of the work force of this nation. Quite apart from its economic importance- it is obviously important as far as employment is concerned- there is a very significant social importance attaching to the small business sector. It is that social importance which actually gives the he to the hypocritical nonsense we have heard from the Opposition in the last 15 minutes. If what has happened in the United Kingdom in recent years is any indication, it is quite clear that the Labor Party and socialist parties generally throughout the Western world- do not give a damn about small business. In fact, the long term intention of the socialist parties is eventually to drive it to the wall and put it out of action, for very good reasons related to their long term objective of the socialisation of society. What we have seen in the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War is an increasing concentration of power in the hands of larger economic enterprises, including nationalised enterprises. They have been nationalised through the back door as well as through the front door. Those larger economic enterprises have found themselves to be much more vulnerable to control both by the central government and by British trade unions. Paul Johnson, previously editor of the British Labour weekly, the *New Statesman,* laid out very clearly his own dissatisfaction with the British Labour Party for these reasons and also indicated quite clearly the ultimate intention of the British Labour Party in regard to small business. I want to quote from an article which he wrote recently and which appeared in the *New Statesman.* It was reprinted m the *Bulletin.* This article indicated very clearly why he left the Labour Party and what these ultimate intentions are. He wrote: . . . it is the essence of corporation that the units must be large. And it is of the essence of modern union bureaucracy that workers are easier to control in big factories, where the organised militant clique rules all. So Labour Ministers and union bosses are united in their up-ending of Labour's old posture. Both loathe the small business and the little workshop and penalise them viciously; both exhibit a positive hatred for the self-employed, who cannot be unionised or corporatised at all. This is where the Labour Party is heading. It has already embraced corporatism, which ultimately must mean the end of Parliamentary democracy . . . That is the attitude of the Labor Party to small business. That is the real attitude of the Labor Party, not the hypocritical attitude which the Opposition has been laying out for the last IS minutes. It shows quite clearly where the Opposition stands so far as small business is concerned. The main thrust of the statement put down today by the Treasurer in this House, and by the Minister for Industry and Commerce **(Senator Cotton)** in the other place, relates to the problem of small business finance. It has become quite clear to this Government, particularly through the work of the Small Business Committee, that this is one of the major problems that small business has been facing over the last few years- access to finance for both development capital purposes and working capital purposes. This was summed up very clearly in a paper that the Small Business Committee prepared earlier this year. I quote this extract from that paper It should be recognised that the basic difficulty with small business being able to find adequate finance stems from its inability to conserve capital from earnings. This is caused by the impact of increasing taxation, lower profits resulting from rapid cost escalation and the problems of financing stock levels and new equipment purchases from inflation retained earnings. Its problem is therefore chiefly in finding long term funds from either loans or equity capital for long term purposes. Because of its relative lack of access to money markets compared with larger businesses, small business is very largely restricted to overdraft or other high cost finance company money. That is the essence of the finance problem that small business has faced in recent years. It was for that very reason that the task force was set up by this Government, back in May, to look at this problem. The statement issued today by the Treasurer and by the Minister for Industry and Commerce is the result of the work of that task force. I commend the excellent work that it did in putting its report together and coming up with the conclusions which it reached and which have now, as we have seen today, been courageously adopted by the Government. The main thrust of the work of the task force, in terms of the things that have been adopted today, can be seen m a number of intitiative. Firstly, and most importantly, the charter of the Commonwealth Development Bank, is widened so that it is in a position to make credit available to all forms of business, not just to the rural sector or the industrial sector. The Commonwealth Development Bank will be able to provide equity finance to small business. The Small Business Committee regards this as a very valuable and imaginative reform because the Commonwealth Development Bank is in an excellent position to carry out this form of service. I say that for two reasons: Firstly, the Commonwealth Development Bank already has a network of branches and agencies by means of which this new service can be delivered to the small business sector. Secondly, and related to that, the Commonwealth Development Bank has an excellent record of experience in dealing with this sort of problem in the related areas of rural finance and, more latterly, industrial finance. There is no doubt that the excellent experience that the Commonwealth Development Bank has gained in those areas will now be used in a more general sense in the field of small business. Another major initiative that today's statement brings down is that there will be a facility, through the Australian Industry Development Corporation, for joint venture arrangements to be set up between the AIDC and other appropriate bodies. We have in mind bodies such as the various State small business agencies which have been set up in recent years, including the excellent one in Victoria that is run by **Mr Eugene** Falk - the Victorian Small Business Development Corporation. It has established for itself an excellent reputation in the very short time that it has been going. There are various private bodies with which this joint finance arrangement will be able to operate. The third initiative the statement indicates- it is just as important as the other two matters I have mentioned- is that advice is now been given to the Reserve Bank that adequate finance is to be made available to small business through the banking system and that no arbitrary limits are to be placed on that finance. I have no doubt that these three major initiativesthe widening of the charter of the Commonwealth Development Bank, the new joint venture arrangements and the advice now given to the Reserve Bank not to impose arbitrary limitswill be welcomed by small business and by small business associations throughout Australia. It is interesting to note that today's statement shows quite clearly that this Government has been consistent in the way it has abided by the promises it made during the federal election campaign of November and December 1975. During that campaign the coalition parties brought down a five-point program. I shall go through those points to refresh the memory of honourable members opposite who seem to have forgotten what was in the program and the extent to which we have abided by it. The first point was the bringing down of a 40 per cent investment allowance. That has been done. The second point in that program was the bringing in of trading stock valuation adjustment. As we know, that has been of tremendous benefit, particularly to those holding large stocks such as small retailers. That has been done. The third point related to a number of taxation reforms including the increase in the retention allowance under division 7. That has been carried out. It has been welcomed by small businessmen. I also bring to the attention of the House the fact that the personal tax indexation and also more recently the standard rate taxation which were brought down are aimed at the community at large but they also specifically benefit small business. They are of help to the small businessmen who are not incorporated as companies. That is something that always has to be remembered when we are talking about the vast majority of very small businessmen, particularly those in the retailing and wholesaling areas who are usually sole traders or partnerships. They are not companies. Our general taxation reforms flow through to small businessmen as much as they flow through to the community at large. That seems to have been conveniently forgotten by the honourable gentlemen sitting opposite. The fourth point of our five-point program related to the problem of access to finance for small business. That is what today's statement is all about. It provides for the carrying out of that fourth point of our program. The fifth and remaining point was to do what we could to improve the counselling and education services available to assist small businessmen by advising them of management techniques. That is well in hand through the publications which have been made available and through a number of other matters in that area which we are considering at the moment. On the basis of that five-point program honourable members can see that four points have already been carried out. The fourth point is being implemented today. Matters relating to the fifth point are still under consideration. That is not a bad record. In a matter of only two years we have virtually completed the entire program. That was the promise which we made to small business during the November-December campaign which led up to the last general election. The Opposition in commenting on this statement made a number of statements, some of which, to say the least, were quite extraordinary. One of those statements referred to my colleague **Senator Messner** and concerned the burden which government surveys and data collection placed on small business. What **Senator Messner** was saying is quite true. In fact, one of the major problems which small business faces today is the increasing administrative burden which government is imposing on it, often by default and often in an unthinking manner, because small business is increasingly being used as an unpaid agency to collect data. When the honourable gentlemen sitting opposite were in government they did more to increase the general administrative burden through various regulatory agencies on small business than did any other government in the history of federation. What this statement set out quite clearly is not what was suggested incorrectly by honourable members on the other side, an attempt to increase the administrative burden on small business, but an attempt to decrease it by rationalising and co-ordinating the way in which data is collected from business, including small business. At the moment there is a great amount of overlapping and duplication between government agencies which are responsible for collecting data from small business. The second, almost hilarious, point made by the Opposition in relation to today's statement was about the National Small Business Bureau. Of course, we know the Opposition has an attitude to these things. Its general attitude is: If it stands still tax it; if it moves, set up a department to run it. The reaction of the Opposition to any problem which it faced while in government was always to try to overcome that problem by setting up a network of administrative agencies. They thought that simply by providing more public servants, more structure, more paper and all the rest of it they would overcome the problems. That was true whether it was Aboriginal affairs, social security, small business or whatever. But that is not the way out of the situation. The way out, in fact, is to get the Government off the backs of small business, to take off the taxation burden and to take off the administrative burden. Certainly we need a minimum administrative component to run certain things, to do research, to put out publications and so on. But more public servants and more agencies is not the way to resolve the problem of small business. Small businessmen, in their dealing with this Government through the Small Business Committee, have made that abundantly clear over the last couple of years. They are not looking for handouts. They are not looking for feather bedding. They are not looking for more government departments. They are looking for relief from the various burdens which have been imposed on them through taxation and through government administration over recent years. In conclusion I say that I welcome this statement. I am sure it will be welcomed throughout the nation. This is one of the most valuable initiatives taken by any government in relation to small business. In fact, it is the only clear statement any government has ever made about small business in the history of this nation. {: #subdebate-17-4-s2 .speaker-NF4} ##### Mr COHEN:
Robertson -- It must be perfectly obvious to any businessman who has been listening to the previous speaker, the honourable member for Henty **(Mr Aldred),** that he has never had any experience in business at all. In fact, he is a defrocked public servant who has managed to find his way into this place. I suggest that after he loses his seat at the next election he might try his hand at business instead of getting onto the taxpayers' backs as he did for many years. Of the 350,000 businesses mentioned by the Treasurer **(Mr Lynch),** how many will be assisted by extending the charter of the Commonwealth Development Bank or by widening the activities of the Australian Industry Development Corporation? I venture to suggest very few. I venture to suggest further that those who will receive assistance are those businesses which are well established, soundly financed and which probably get adequate finance from existing sources. In other words, while I welcome any assistance of this nature, with the Government providing loans and equity to small business, as an excellent socialist measure, I suggest that the vast bulk of the 350,000 small businesses in Australia will miss out completely. The small businessmen of Australia are sick and tired of the performance of this Government. They are bitterly disappointed by the free enterprise slogans of the Liberal and Country parties which have provided them with nothing for the return they traditionally give at election time. {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr Haslem: -- Do they prefer yours? {: .speaker-NF4} ##### Mr COHEN: -- I mentioned a defrocked public servant. At least he is not a snooty-nosed exlawyer like the honourable member for Canberra. {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr Haslem: -- I am a defrocked public servant too. I have been on both sides and I know a lot more than you. {: .speaker-NF4} ##### Mr COHEN: -- The Government has provided small businessmen with nothing for the return which they gave at election time. The honourable member for Henty will be the second one out but the honourable member for Canberra is absolutely certain to lose his seat at the next election. I do not know why he bothers to try. There are very few who do not realise how dishonest were the vague promises made during the 1975 election campaign, that the return of a LiberalNational Country Party Government would ensure a return to the halcyon days of 1971 and 1973. The time has come for politicians to stop deliberately misleading the hundreds of thousands of people involved in small business by giving the impression that they intend to do something specific for them. At the moment they are perpetuating a cruel hoax by raising the hopes and then dashing those hopes when nothing eventuates. There are things that can be done and things that cannot and should not be done for small business. The Government should come clean and spell out its philosophy and then show, by action, its policy program so that small business will know what to expect from the Government. We do not want these pie in the sky promises which we received today and which we have been receiving from this Government for the last two years. There are many problems associated with providing assistance to small business. These need to be understood by everyone in Parliament and in the business community. The first problem is in defining exactly what we mean by 'small business'. Do we mean to assess the size of a business by the number of employees or the size of its turnover or profit? It can vary from a one man operation to a factory employing 100 or more people. Any definition of 'small' will be a subjective one. So definitions will and do vary enormously. Secondly, should a business be assisted simply because it is small? It might be small and highly profitable. Should we then assist only those businesses which are losing money? They might be losing money because they are grossly, or even marginally, inefficient or simply because the product they are producing is no longer in demand or because they cannot compete with overseas products for any one of a hundred reasons. The assumption that all businesses are well run is rubbish, although very few businessmen would know this or admit it to themselves, let alone to anybody else. We have to face the fact that there is as much variation in the quality of businessmen and their businesses as there is in the quality of people. Many people who go into business or take over the family business simply are not suited educationally, psychologically, intellectually or emotionally, to be in business. They should never have gone into business in the first place. In my 20 years in business I have struck many people who are excellent workers- good people- but they would have been far better off working for someone else. Are we to use taxpayers' money to prop up people who ought to get out of business? Are we to penalise the talented businessmen who is doing well by subsiding the inefficient businessman who cannot make a profit and who, if the free enterprise system is to work as its protagonists argue, ought to go under and make way for the more efficient? The whole essence of the market economy is that the strong will survive and the weak will go under so that what emerges are strong viable enterprises which provide the market with what it demands at the lowest possible price. If the Government believes in free enterprise as expounded by Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and John Singleton, why does it not say so and stop pulling the small businessman's leg? Is it because the Government's economic advisers know that in order for the free market economy to function efficiently a substantial number of small businesses must go under, but to say so would be political suicide? The Government knows that this is so and we know that it is so; why does the Government not admit that it is so? The statistics on small business are very vague, but I accept the figures that there are between 250,000 and 350,000 small businesses in Australia employing about two million people- 42 per cent of the work force. We can describe as small businesses 97 per cent of all manufacturers and 99 per cent of all retailers. It would be impossible to list in a speech the thousands of different types of businesses that are covered by these statistics. Some very positive contributions are made by small business, not the least of which is that almost 100 per cent of them are Australian owned. They also make an important contribution to innovations in products, techniques and services, and as such are a breeding ground for new industries. If there is competitiveness in business it is mainly in the small business sector where they serve as a check on monopoly profits and monopoly inefficiency. Small firms contribute to a variety of products and services offered because they are able to exist in a limited or specialised market which a large firm would not find worthwhile or economic. They are important also as specialist suppliers of parts, sub-assemblies and components for large companies as well as providing a productive outlet for enterprising people who prefer to be self employed. One can start to understand the problem of governments helping small business. The emphasis is on 'small' because that is what the debate is about, or at least that is what many small businessmen believe it to be about. It is certainly what Liberal and National Country Party members have encouraged them to believe. Of course, business- big, medium and small- must pick up if the economy begins to revive. That is primarily where the Government has failed. Governments can introduce and have introduced measures to help business, such as the 40 per cent investment allowance and the recommendations of the Mathews Committee of Inquiry into Inflation and Taxation regarding stock valuation adjustment. But these measures apply to all business and not just to small business. It is doubtful whether the investment allowance was of any value to anyone. In fact, it might well have harmed the employment opportunities for many people because under the scheme businesses purchased equipment that was labour saving. One can assist particular industries, the majority of which may be small. For example, one may decide that the nation is best served if a particular industry is protected by tariffs or subsidies or given export incentives simply because it is in the national interest to do so. Quite clearly this cannot be done for everyone because of the cost to the taxpayer and to the consumer, who will pay for it through higher taxes or higher prices. Besides, these forms of assistance would apply only to manufacturing and rural industries; they would have little relevance to the retailing or service sector. In fact, the previously mentioned measures which might help one small business might well hurt another small business. This is constantly forgotten by so called spokesmen for small business who are really arguing for a section of small business- for the industry in which they are personally involved. They equate their personal interest with the national interest. An increase in tariffs might delight a manufacturer, make life difficult for a retailer and send an importer to the wall, while sending up the costs of other manufacturers and of the rural sector. I will go along with some industries being given assistance if it can be proved that a particular industry is vital to Australia's future development, defence needs, large scale employment and a host of other factors, but already there is adequate machinery to argue their case to the Industries Assistance Commission. The Government can provide assistance, if it wishes, even if the IAC does not recommend aid. So the avenue for assistance is there for specific industries. I think the most important thing we must do in this Parliament is to understand why so many small businesses fail. Perhaps then we will be able to provide some sensible suggestions as to how they can be helped without raising their hopes with political rhetoric such as we have heard here today. Before we go into these failures, let me point out that even in very tough times many businesses do very well. In fact, the very good ones often do even better during a recession than they do during booms. Conscious that things are tough they become more efficient. They are more careful in watching their overheads, scrutinising every expenditure; they look for new markets; they introduce new technology; they take advantage of their opponents ' mistakes and troubles- cruel but in the best traditions of free enterprise. Finally, when the recession is over, they come back stronger than ever. Why do businesses fail? Sometimes it is for the very obvious reason that businessmen make bad decisions - they make mistakes. The vast majority of them start off in business without any training in running a business. They may have worked for someone else in that particular field, but few have had any formal training to enable them to cope with making the decisions which mark the difference between working in an industry and actually running a business in that industry. Most of them have no training in keeping a set of books. Few understand stock control, merchandising, store layout, advertising and promotion. The Minister at the table, the Minister for Post and Telecommunications **(Mr Eric Robinson),** is one of the few Liberals who is genuinely a businessman. I believe he is a very good businessman. Most people who go into business lack the funds to employ - {: .speaker-0J4} ##### Mr Ruddock: -- What about the strikes in Victoria - {: .speaker-NF4} ##### Mr COHEN: -- The honourable member who interjects has never been in business. If he would listen he might learn something. He knows nothing about business. Here is his chance to learn so that when we loses his seat he will have something to do. Most people who go into business lack the funds to employ someone who has the professional expertise to carry out feasibility studies or market research, and the decisions they make are often based upon gut feelings rather than upon any sound business judgment. Amongst the many hundreds of thousands of people who go into business on this basis there is a percentage who have what can be described as a 'feel' or an 'intuition'- they are naturals. They can see a business opportunity. They can assess the market, the likely demand, overheads, profits and return on their investment. They have sufficient skills, energy, finance and drive to succeed, and they do succeed. They will succeed irrespective of government assistance. How can we possibly legislate to assist people who make bad decisions? Businessmen and business women make incorrect judgments about location, about market demand or about the quantity of goods to manufacture or to purchase. There is no way in the world in which we can stop people from making these errors under a system which permits people to open up business whenever and wherever they like. In my view there are far too many small businesses in Australia competing for a very limited market. However, it is impossible in a democracy to restrict people who want to chance their hands in business and that is the way it should be. If we really want to assist small business the greatest room for improvement is in the area of training. That is the area in which Australia is grossly deficient. If a person wants to enter a trade or a profession a wide variety of courses is available to him through the universities, colleges of advanced education and colleges of technical and further education, but if someone wants to go into business the only way in which most people can gain experience is through trial and error. Small business courses do exist but they are minimal and are not given any status, nor is there widespread knowledge about their availability. How many hundreds of thousands of young people who leave school and who do not go into a trade or profession but who finish up in the retail trade receive any adequate training? Of course, you could not start training young people who are just out of school to run a business. It would probably be years before they had the practical experience and finance to be able to attempt a venture on their own. However, there is no reason a young person who is waiting to go into retailing could not go to college for a couple of years to learn the hundred and one skills required to fit him to be a businessman- salesmanship, marketing, merchandising, display, stock control and so on. As he gained experience, further management courses would be made available until he had the experience and knowledge to attempt to run his own business. In many of the countries where governments provide financial aid to small business, one of the requirements to qualify for assistance is that the businessman must show that he has had adequate training in his field of business. In other countries a person has to have qualifications just to be allowed to go into business. I do not believe that sort of measure would be acceptable to Australians. The principal way in which this Government can get small business moving is to get economy as a whole going- in other words, to do the opposite to what it has been doing. If the economy is reflated the good small businesses will survive, and that is what we hope will happen in the future. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 2004 {:#debate-18} ### OFFICE OF NATIONAL ASSESSMENTS BILL 1977 Bill returned from the Senate without amendment. {: .page-start } page 2004 {:#debate-19} ### BROADCASTING AND TELEVISION AMENDMENT BILL 1977 Bill presented by **Mr Eric** Robinson, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-19-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-19-0-s0 .speaker-KZL} ##### Mr Eric Robinson:
MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I move: This Bill, to amend the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942, is designed to complete the establishment of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and to transfer present Ministerial powers in the broadcasting and television licensing area to the Tribunal. It gives effect to the Government's decision to establish a special broadcasting service. The Bill also updates a number of other provisions to accord with government decisions and policies arising from the restructuring of the Australian broadcasting system. The restructuring of the broadcasting system has resulted from a desire to remedy a number of major deficiencies. The Government was concerned at the lack of clarity of the functions and responsibilities of government organisations with an involvement in broadcasting. We were also concerned about the lack of an overall strategic broadcasting policy. This resulted in ad hoc planning and sporadic development. There were obvious weaknesses in co-ordination and liaison between government and non-government broadcasting organisations. We wanted to correct this situation and to provide for industry and public involvement in broadcasting administration, particularly in the licensing area. It was considered desirable to provide appropriate machinery which would ensure adequate accountability by licencees for station performance. In addition, the Government was aware of the need to remedy the inefficient use of government engineering resources, and the general inability of the administrative structure to respond to technological developments. As a result of these substantial deficiencies the Government decided in April 1976 to hold an inquiry into the Australian broadcasting system. Such an inquiry was long overdue. The inquiry was conducted and its reportreferred to as the Green report- was tabled in both Houses of the Parliament on 9 November 1976. After studying the report, the Government decided upon a number of major changes to the administrative structure of the Australian broadcasting system. As a preliminary to complete implementation of the Government's decisions on the restructuring of the broadcasting system, the Broadcasting and Television Amendment Act (No. 2) 1976 was passed by the Parliament. This Act disbanded the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and established the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. It transferred to the Tribunal the licensing and regulatory powers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. It also provided for the planning and technical aspects of broadcasting to be a responsibility of the Postal and Telecommunications Department. In implementing these changes and in proposing the changes contained in this Bill, the Government has been motivated by a number of important principles which it believes should form the basis of the further development of the Australian broadcasting system. Firstly, we believe that the broadcasting frequency spectrum is a valuable public resource. It must be a responsibility of government to plan the allocation of broadcasting frequencies and, through the establishment of appropriate bodies, to provide an administrative structure for the licensing and overall operation of radio and television broadcasting stations. Still further, the Government believes it has a responsibility to determine the components of the system, that is, the types of services provided by the sectors which should constitute the system, and the role of those components. We have sought to come to grips with the role of the public broadcasting sector and its relationship with the national and commercial sectors. This contrasts with the casual, incompetent manner in which the previous Government responded to the demand for public broadcasting, particularly in its doubtful method of licensing such stations under the Wireless Telegraphy Act. At the same time as we see the need for government responsibility in these areas, it is our view that responsibility for the licensing and regulatory functions in the broadcasting area should rest with autonomous statutory authorities, rather than with the Government itself. The principle of a broadcasting system not subject to political interference is one of the basic aims of the changes proposed in this Bill. The major element of the changes aimed at depoliticising the broadcasting system is the transfer of the licensing power from the Minister to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. The broadcasting industry has sought this change for many years and it is considered to be an important factor in achieving more effective broadcasting administration. In addition, we believe it highly desirable that there should be a significant degree of public and industry involvement in the development of broadcasting. This medium plays a very important role in the life of most people. Accordingly, the planning and administration of broadcasting should be designed in a manner which will enable it to be responsive to the needs of the community. The Government has not been reluctant to institute procedures to enable the fullest public and industry involvement. The activities of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal will, as far as possible, be conducted in public and the public will have substantial access to the inquiry and deliberative activities of the Tribunal. The principle of accountability by broadcasters within the broadcasting system has also been considered as an important element. The Government has taken decisions to ensure that broadcasters, making use of a scarce national resource such as frequencies, are accountable for their activities. The Tribunal must be able to justify publicly its deliberative and decision-making activities and in a similar manner, broadcasters will be made to account, at renewal hearings, and in public, for their programming performances. The Broadcasting and Television Amendment Bill 1977 provides for The transfer of the present ministerial powers relating to the licensing of stations; The full establishment of the powers and functions of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal; The transfer of the broadcasting planning responsibility from the Secretary of the Postal and Telecommunications Department to the Minister; Introduction of public inquiries into licence renewals; Establishment and constitution of the special broadcasting service; and A number of minor and consequential amendments reflecting the above changes and updating or modifying the Act where necessary. The Bill empowers the Tribunal to: Grant, renew, suspend and revoke licences; Authorise transactions relating to the transfer of licences or the admission of other persons to participate in the benefits of a licence; Approve changes relating to the ownership and control of licences; Set and vary conditions of licences; and Collect information pursuant to its functions; and Set and administer broadcasting standards. The Tribunal will have quasi-judicial powers. In performing its functions, the Tribunal will be required to hold inquiries where it is desirable to do so. The Bill provides that the Tribunal hold such inquiries in public and that it consider all submissions made to it as part of the inquiry process. It is also required to publish reports on its inquiries, detailing its deliberations and the reasons for its decisions and recommendations. The Tribunal may take evidence in private where it considers it desirable to do so by reason of the confidential nature of the material. It may restrict the publication of such material from its reports. The members and staff of the Tribunal will be bound by the rules of secrecy as they apply, for example, to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and other Commonwealth bodies of similar status. The Bill provides detailed administrative procedures to be observed by the Tribunal in exercising its powers. In general, these procedures allow for a high degree of public and industry involvement in the Tribunal's decision-making processes. Regarding its responsibility for the setting and administration of standards, the Tribunal, at my direction, recently completed a report on broadcasting standards and the concept of self-regulation. The Government has not yet considered this report. Until we have decided on the final role of the Tribunal in this area, the Tribunal has been asked to maintain the standards administered by the former Control Board. The Government has decided, as part of the move to ensure adequate accountability in the administration of the broadcasting system, to extend the present appeals procedures. There must be redress for broadcasters who feel they have been unfairly treated by the Tribunal. The Bill accordingly provides for appeals by licensees to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal against many decisions of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. Under the revised administrative structure provided by this Bill, the Minister administering the Broadcasting and Television Act now will be responsible for planning the provision of broadcasting services. We believe that planning the physical development of the broadcasting system is properly a matter for government. It is closely related to its overall communications policy, and to its responsibility for the management of the frequency spectrum. The Minister will initiate the calling of licence applications as part of the planning process and then refer the applications received to the Tribunal for determination. In inviting applications, the Minister will provide specifications for the particular licence. These will indicate the nature of the service to be provided, the area to be served, the purpose of the licence, and other technical matters. These specifications will become, upon grant of the licence, conditions of the licence, in addition to the conditions set by the Tribunal pursuant to its powers. I turn now to those types of broadcasting services described as 'special purpose'. The Government has been conscious of a need for the Australian broadcasting system to provide basic broadcasting services to the whole community and not just to parts of the community. Over onequarter of the people in Australia did not have what must be considered a basic broadcasting service, that is, a service in their mother tongue. We inherited from the previous Administration a poorly organised, inadequate multilingual broadcasting service and have sought to respond to a need by Australia 's ethnic communities for a more comprehensive broadcasting service. The Government decided to establish a permanent framework, not only for ethnic broadcasting services, but also for other types of special broadcasting services which may be considered necessary or desirable in the future. This Bill provides for the establishment of the Special Broadcasting Service. It will be a statutory authority comprising a part time Chairman and not less than two, nor more than six, part time members. The SBS shall be empowered to provide multilingual broadcasting services and, if authorised by the regulations, to provide multilingual television services; and to provide broadcasting and television services for such special purposes as are prescribed. The SBS shall be administered by an Executive Director, appointed by the GovernorGeneral. Initially, it will be responsible for ethnic broadcasting and for the operation of radio stations 2EA Sydney and 3EA Melbourne. These are presently being operated by my Department. It is envisaged that the SBS may, at a later stage, assume responsibility for other special broadcasting and television services in Australia. New services by the SBS, however, may only be undertaken after parliamentary approval is given and the necessary regulations promulgated. The concept behind the SBS is that it will generally provide only those services which would not otherwise be available through the national, commercial or public broadcasting sectors. The SBS will be empowered to fund its operations by the broadcasting of sponsored programs, by charging for the provision of services and facilities and by the sale of programs and rights or interests in programs. These avenues of funding are in addition to moneys appropriated annually from the Parliament to the SBS. The SBS will not, however, derive revenue by means of normal commercial advertising. The Bill also contains a number of amendments to the principal Act. These are either consequential to the above changes, or minor amendments which update and standardise a number of provisions to accord with current legislative practice. There are some amendments which do not alter current policy but clarify responsibilities or procedures under the Act. In this category are amendments to those provisions relating to the provision of technical services to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. This Bill provides that these services, mainly relating to national transmitters, will be provided to the ABC by the Minister. They were previously provided by the Australian Telecommunications Commission. In practice, Telecom will largely continue to provide these services but on a contract basis. The Bill also amends the charter of the Australian Broadcasting Commission to require it, in the performance of its functions, to have regard to the services provided by the Special Broadcasting Service. This amendment is simply intended to avoid duplication of activities by the ABC and the ABS. Further to the belief that a basic broadcasting service should be available to all Australians, the Government has taken decisions to ensure that people in rural and isolated areas have access to as many services as possible. The provisions of the Broadcasting and Television Act covering television repeater stations are being amended to facilitate the development of television services in remote areas. The Bill also provides for the licensing of community television aerial systems. They were previously provided under a permit issued by the Minister. This Bill contains a number of transitional provisions which serve primarily to enable the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal to phase the introduction of the new system of public inquiries into the licensing process and into the general administration of broadcasting matters. In line with the Government's desire to establish an administrative structure for broadcasting which is responsive to industry and public needs and which efficiently and fairly operates for the benefit of the whole community, the Government has undertaken quite extensive consultation in the preparation of this legislation. This consultation has taken the form of representations and submissions from the public and the industry to the Green Inquiry and consultation in the recent past with representatives of the broadcasting industries. There has also been close consultation with those government departments and instrumentalities with an interest in, or with responsibilities in, the broadcasting area. The Bill proposes significant changes in the administration of the Australian broadcasting system. I recognise that there is keen interest by the broadcasting industries and the public in these proposals. I commend the Bill to the House. Debate (on motion by **Mr Lionel** Bowen) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 2007 {:#debate-20} ### REMUNERATION AND ALLOWANCES AMENDMENT BILL 1977 {:#subdebate-20-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 5 October, on motion by **Mr Macphee:** >That the Bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-20-0-s0 .speaker-6I4} ##### Mr MACPHEE:
Minister for Productivity · Balaclava · LP -- by leave- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I wish to make a short clarifying statement. The second reading speech delivered in relation to this Bill included the following sentence: >Firstly, the Chief Judges of the Supreme Courts of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory receive $2,500 by way of salary and $250 by way of annual allowance over and above their remuneration as members of the Federal Court of Australia. That statement was incorrect. The figure of $2,500 should read $1,000. 1 make that point by way of clarification. {: #subdebate-20-0-s1 .speaker-ZE4} ##### Mr LIONEL BOWEN:
Smith · Kingsford -- The Opposition is not opposing this Bill. We welcome the explanatory statement made just now by the Minister for Productivity **(Mr Macphee).** Let me make it clear that there is no error in the Bill. There was some mathematical error in the second reading speech. The Bill adopts the report of the Remuneration Tribunal. The House is aware that the Remuneration Tribunal Act created that Tribunal to inquire into and to report to the Parliament on the appropriate remuneration payable to justices and judges of federal courts and of the supreme courts of the territories and other office holders. The report was tabled in both Houses some weeks ago. The Tribunal reported in respect of judges, the Chairman of the Prices Justification Tribunal, the President and Deputy Presidents of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the President of the Trade Practices Tribunal, the President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Director-General of Security, the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission and the Chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, with effect from 1 June last. The report sets out the amounts that are to be paid by way of salary and allowances, together with travelling allowances. It is report No. 2 of 1977. The Bill has already been dealt with and passed by the Senate. The amounts set out in the Bill that are to be paid to the people whom I have enumerated are in exactly the same mathematical terms as the amounts in the report. One segment of the Bill may have caused the confusion in the second reading speech. The proposed new section 13, sub-section (4) refers to a judge of the Federal Court of Australia who also holds the office of Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory or of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. In those cases an additional salary of $2,500 per annum and an annual allowance at the rate of $250 per annum are paid. The explanation for this can be readily found in that part of the report of the Tribunal which deals with the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory or of a Supreme Court of the Northern Territory. The report stated that the rate of salary should be $42,500 but with a footnote that if the Chief Judge of those courts was a judge of the Federal Court an additional amount of money should be payable. The Tribunal calculated it at $1,000 above the amount payable to a Federal judge. I shall give the mathematical basis. A Federal Court judge is to receive $44,000. If he is given an additional $1,000, as recommended, his salary is $45,000. Having got that firmly fixed in our minds we go to sub-section (4) which states that a Federal Court judge is to get $2,500 over and above what a judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory or of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory would get. At present those judges get $42,500. If one adds $2,500 to $42,500 one gets $45,000, which is $1,000 above the salary of a Federal Court judge. It seems a very circuitous way of getting at it, but we are there. That is in accordance with the recommendation of the Remuneration Tribunal. The report further states that an additional allowance of $250 per annum shall be paid. That is spelt out in the new section 13 subsection (4). It is not in the actual Schedule to the Bill. Knowing that the Bill is in complete accord with the report of the Remuneration Tribunal-I refer particularly to the recommendations which apply to the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Teritory or of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory who are getting this additional salary and additional allowances because of their other obligations- the Opposition believes that the Bill is quite satisfactory. The Opposition commends it for approval. {: #subdebate-20-0-s2 .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- It was said to me recently that I should watch myself throughout my life to ensure that I never appear before a magistrate or a judge. That was said because of some of the things I have said in this place, particularly in a speech which I made in this House on 10 November 1976 when I listed the judiciary in this country and highlighted the fact that when people contemplated the salaries of politicians they often referred to the large number of politicians in the various State parliaments and in the Federal Parliament, but they forgot the large number in the judiciary. I presented to the Parliament a table which included the number of State judges, federal judges, commissioners and stipendiary magistrates. The total was 607. That compared with a national total of 756 parliamentarians. We know of the recent High Court ruling which determined the number of members of this chamber will be reduced after the next election. Unfortunately that is not the case with the nation's judiciary. The 607 have been added to at least by the appointment of another half a dozen Family Court judges. Legislation has already been passed to increase that number by another six. This year we have had the appointment of some 21 judges to the Federal Court of Australia. I see in the chamber the former AttorneyGeneral, the honourable member for Wentworth **(Mr Ellicott).** I state here and now that I am not denigrating the role that this new and most useful court must play in our community. I am highlighting the fact that when we look at the salary range of judges of the High Court, taking into account the salary of all the judiciary and that there are probably 640 or 650 of them these days compared with the 756 politicians throughout Australia, the criticism which is directed at politicians is a little unfair. It is a little unfair when we take into consideration the large salaries which are paid to the judiciary. For the life of me I cannot understand why the salary of the Chief Judge of the Family Court has been increased so dramatically according to the Schedule to the Bill. The salary is to rise to some $44,000, which is an increase of some $4,500. That Court is a very important social court, but in terms of importance it does not compare with the High Court, the Federal Court of Australia, the Industrial Court or the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Yet the Chief Judge of the Family Court has a salary which pushes her into a position in which she commands a much higher income than the first lawman in Australia, the nation 's Attorney-General. I recall that last year when I put forward this view a debate ensued. I recall the comments of the then Attorney-General in justification of the increases. He said that many of the people who were working in the field of law were at that stage commanding incomes in the six-figure bracket, and to entice those people to the Bench required more than just giving them the status of a judge. The former Attorney-General is starting to erupt a little as he did a year before. They need more than just status and security; they need a good salary. I do not argue about that. What I do argue about is, how can this Parliament expect to attract people of the calibre of the former Attorney-General to its ranks when salaries are set at less than half of those the judiciary receives? The salary of a judge of the Family Court- I think there are 30 of them as I said before- is way ahead of that of a federal parliamentarian. Probably it is almost the same as that of a Minister of the Crown. No wonder there is some justification for people pointing to the Parliament and saying that it has more than its fair share of mediocrity. {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr Lionel Brown: -- Which side are you looking at? {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I think both sides of the House suffer from that. A lot of capable people are turned off Parliament because they will not lower their income which, as the former Attorney-General said last year, was in six figures, well over $100,000. They are expected to come to this place for a much lower salary. I do not intend to pursue this aspect at any great length except to give a reference for further reading to people who may be interested in pursuing this matter. On pages 2542 to 2546 of *Hansard* of 10 November last year a table was incorporated which set out salary levels of commissioners, magistrates and various judges both State and Federal. It showed that these people are very well looked after. I turn to another aspect within the confines of this subject. On 1 August this year I wrote to the Minister for Administrative Services **(Senator Withers)** following my reading of the report of the Remuneration Tribunal entitled 'Determination of Remuneration Payable to Holders of Offices in the First Division of the Australian Public Service and Holders of Public Offices'. This is part of the Bill before us today. The determination I refer to was a direct result of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973. When I examined the determination I found that there were a number of officers whose salaries had been set on the basis of the salary payable from time to time to the holder of a level 5 office in the Second Division of the Australian Public Service or a level 1, a level 2, a level 3 or whatever- the numerous office bearers who serve this country. I shall quote an extract from the letter I wrote to **Senator Withers.** I said: >I would *further* appreciate your advice as to whether or not, where office holders are pegged to various levels of the Second and Third Divisions of the Australian Public Service, this means that in future their increases will be automatic. Regrettably, I did not receive a reply to that letter until 1 1 October although, on many occasions, I spoke to the Minister's staff asking when I would receive a reply to my letter of 1 August. Finally I received a reply. I believe my letter was referred to the Attorney-General's Department for an opinion and hence the delay. The reply simply said: >You also inquired regarding the remuneration of holders of public office which has been determined in terms of the salary payable to specific levels of the Second and Third Divisions of the Australian Public Service. The Tribunal determined the remuneration of such office-holders on this basis in its 1976 review and has done so again in its 1977 review. Unless, therefore, the Tribunal in a future determination otherwise determines, and this determination is not disapproved by either House of the Parliament, the salaries of these public office-holders will be equivalent to the salaries of the relevant levels of the Australian Public Service. I am sorry it took so long to get that reply. Reading into it one sees that the Minister has told me virtually nothing which I did not already recognise. A very fine point has been avoided. The fine point is that it is my view that the Remuneration Tribunal which was set up in 1973 was, in some instances, given the task of making determinations which had to be ratified by this Parliament by virtue of the Parliament exercising its right not to move for a disallowance. After the Parliament commences sitting we have 15 sitting days in which to move for disallowance of even our own salary increases. {: #subdebate-20-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! I remind the honourable member for Griffith that no matter how interested he is- probably most honourable members are- in salaries and emoluments payable to members of Parliament, this Bill does not concern that. This Bill concerns salaries and allowances of judges and persons of judicial status. I suggest that the honourable member comes back to the Bill and tries to line up the point he is trying to make with the Bill. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I shall do everything I possibly can to abide by your wishes. With a lot of genuine respect, I remind you that the Bill we are discussing is the result of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1 973. Section 6(2) of that Act states: >The Tribunal shall, from rime to time as provided by this Act, inquire into, and report to the Minister on, the question whether any alterations are desirable in the remuneration payable to Judges out of public moneys of Australia. Section 7 states in part: {: type="1" start="5"} 0. A determination of the Tribunal shall be in writing . . . 1. The Tribunal shall furnish to the Minister a copy of every determination made by the Tribunal. 2. The Minister shall cause a copy of a determination to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 1 S sitting days . . . 3. If either House of the Parliament, within IS sitting days . . . passes a resolution disapproving of the determination, then- **Mr Deputy Speaker,** if I continually refer to the Bill before the House I will not be crossing the lines of demarcation. I appreciate your acknowledgment. The point I was endeavouring to make is that this report is, in my view, outside the law in that in accordance with so many sections of the Act, the Tribunal has set the salary payable ' from time to time ' to the holder of a level 2, level 3, level 4, or level 5 office of the Second Division of the Australian Public Service or the Third Division in some cases. The Parliament is given the task of either accepting the determination or moving for a disallowance. It is my contention that if the Tribunal brings in a report such as this and the Parliament allows the 15 days to pass, the effect of that over the months ahead will be that people in these stipulated areas will receive increases which will accrue as a result of the method used for determining salary increases for the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions of the Public Service. The first method, which is the least common, involves salary determinations by the Public Service Board, which makes a decision in relation to what rates should be paid and in what way rates should be varied. It makes regulations which require Executive Council approval and which, of course, are also subject to disallowance. The most common method of setting rates of pay is through industrial awards determined by the Public Service Arbitrator. This means that the next time there is an increase in wages as a result of a national wage case decision, that increase will be automatically passed on to those office holders listed in the Act as being in a category in which their salaries can be increased only as a result of the Tribunal's findings. These findings in turn have to be accepted by this Parliament. I believe that the Tribunal headed by **Mr Justice** W. Campbell, a distinguished law practitioner from Queensland, has made an error. In effect what it has done ensures that the salaries of the office holders mentioned in the Bill will be increased without any reference to this Parliament whatsoever. The Remuneration Tribunal either should be bringing down a new determination after every increase in the national wage to accommodate these office holders or should be deleting the words 'from time to time' from this determination. Some statutory office holders will be receiving four salary increases a year whilst First Division public servants and others whose salaries have been determined at a set rate will receive only one increase. If, for instance, this Parliament decided to reject the determination of the Tribunal following agreement that nobody should get an increase in salary, these First Division public servants, would not receive an increase in salary. However, statutory office holders would continue to receive increases by virtue of a determination which had been accepted in a previous year. I believe that what is being done by the Tribunal is completely contrary to the spirit of the Act. I believe it is in fact an illegal determination. I have grave suspicions as to the reasons why the Attorney-General's Department took so long to advise the Minister for Administrative Services. Its advice did not come forward until such time as the 15 days in which notice of motion for disallowance can be lodged had well and truly passed. I give notice now that come next year, if the determination is the same as the determination before us in respect of these office holders, I will have no hesitation in moving for the disallowance of the determination. I believe that it is totally illegal. I also believe that this matter could be taken up in the High Court. As I said, I believe that the determination is illegal as it is presently worded and that it completely avoids what was meant by this Parliament when the legislation was introduced, debated and enacted in 1973. {: #subdebate-20-0-s4 .speaker-YF6} ##### Mr ELLICOTT:
Wentworth -One has to admire the deftness of the honourable member for Griffith **(Mr Donald Cameron)** who has spoken to us at great length- indeed for some 20 minutes-about something that has nothing to do with the measure before the House. He did it with the deftness of an equity lawyer and he ended up attacking the validity of something that is not before the House. I do not think he is challenging the particular determination the subject of the legislation before the House because under the Constitution that can be fixed only by the Parliament- that is, the salaries of judges. Insofar as the honourable member attempted to relate the argument to Public Service salaries, it is perhaps significant to point out that this is probably the first time that the salaries of Federal Court judges have been in a sense detached from Public Service salaries. In the past there was a tendency to fix the salaries of Federal Court judges at the same level as salaries for permanent heads in the Public Service. I think that was something that was quite unnecessary and quite unjustified. I can understand public servants wanting to retain that relativity but at the same time in order to do justice to the judges of this country it was necessary to break that nexus, and the nexus has been well and truly broken in the last 12 to 18 months and particularly in relation to the setting up of the Federal Court. Quite obviously in order to attract men of the calibre of **Sir Nigel** Bowen, and others who have joined the court, it was necessary to offer salaries at the level that is fixed in this Bill. For instance, at the time of his appointment he was a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales he was receiving a higher salary than in fact he received when he became a justice of the Federal Court. This also raises something else that I wanted quickly to raise. I think the honourable member for Griffith will agree with me on this point. It is time there was a rationalisation of judicial salaries at all levels around this country. I do not have the precise figures in front of me, but the fact is that the Chief Justice of Queensland still receives more than the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. I think he receives a salary in the $60,000 bracket. That is a very high salary having regard to the fact that the Chief Justice of the High Court is now receiving something in the $55,000 bracket. One has only to compare those two figures to realise that the whole thing has got out of kilter. May I say that this matter was raised at the meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General last year in the hope that they would see the sense of my argument. They were not willing to sit down and work out a system, but the judicial salaries in this country have become so out of kilter that I suggest to the present Attorney-General **(Senator Durack)** that the time has come to attempt again some form of rationalisation of judicial salaries. Let me give the House another example. A magistrate in New South Wales, from recollection, gets as much as a Family Court judge does under this Bill- something in the vicinity of $36,000 a year. The judges of the Family Court of Australia, whether they are judges or senior judges, work very hard. There is no doubt about that. I have little doubt that they apply themselves extremely conscientiously from the beginning of their day to well beyond the time when people ordinarily knock off. The fact is that the work load in the Family Court is being kept down to a reasonable level because the judges are working at a very fast pace. There is no doubt that they ought to be paid a salary, which, having regard to their training and background, is above the salary of a magistrate. I mention this only because I wish to make the point that I have made before, that it is time relativity was established between the salaries of the judges of the various courts- the supreme courts, the High Court and the Federal Court in this country. The honourable member for Griffith also mentioned the Chief Judge of the Family Court. I think there is a need to understand that the Chief Judge of the Family Court will soon be overseeing the largest court in this country. She has a tremendous burden of judicial responsibility. Under this measure she receives the equivalent of a judge of the Federal Court of Australia. I suggest to the honourable member that that is not an extravagant sum for her to be paid. The Family Court shortly, when those six judges are appointed, will be. the largest single court in Australia- not concentrated in one place but spread over five States; requiring appellate work as well as original jurisdiction work; but, more than that, requiring the administration not only of judges but also of counsellors, registrars and other people connected with the Family Court. I commend this measure to the House. {: #subdebate-20-0-s5 .speaker-6I4} ##### Mr MACPHEE:
Minister for Productivity · Balaclava · LP -- in reply- I thank the former Attorney-General, the honourable member for Wentworth **(Mr Ellicott)** who is the architect of this Bill, for having clarified for the benefit of the House some of the points raised by the honourable member for Griffith **(Mr Donald Cameron).** I congratulate the former Attorney-General on drawing together in this legislation some of the many loose ends which were associated with the payment of people of judicial office. At the same time I thank the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr Lionel Bowen)** for his willingness to grapple with the complexities of this legislation and for the constructive comments he made in the debate. I say that because the honourable member for Griffith made a number of comments arising out of his frustration in not getting his letters answered by the Minister for Administrative Services **(Senator Withers).** Although one may have sympathy for him in not getting his letters answered, the fact is that the answer he received was at least on the subject matter of the inquiry- and the subject matter of the inquiry was not the subject matter of this Bill. I make no comment on the nature of the answer he received. He will have to take that up with the Minister for Administrative Services. I should at least comment on some of the other points he made. Firstly, comment was made about the growth in the number of Federal judges. In respect of the judges of the Federal Court of Australia it should be said that all but two of those who are now judges of the Federal Court were already judges in Federal jurisdictions. The honourable member for Griffith also referred to the permanency of employment and contrasted it with the employment of certain other people. I do not believe that he could have been really serious in his comments, because he would know - {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I did not attack that. I just said that that was one of the benefits of being on the Bench. {: .speaker-6I4} ##### Mr MACPHEE: -- The honourable member says that he did not attack permanency of employment but said that it was a benefit. I reaffirm that not only is it a benefit to those on the Bench but also it is a great benefit to Australians in the administration of justice. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- I did not argue against that. {: .speaker-6I4} ##### Mr MACPHEE: -- If the honourable member does not argue, I will not press the point further. The honourable member referred to the number of judges of the Family Court of Australia and presumably he was referring to the cost of the administration of them. Again the remuneration of those judges has no bearing on the number of judges there may be. That rests with the work load and the work which they are asked to do by an Act of this Parliament. If there are inadequacies in that, they can be looked at; but they have no bearing on the remuneration which the judgesare receiving. The honourable member for Griffith has been a supporter in this Parliament of individual liberty. He was, and still is, an ardent supporter of the family law legislation and he has of course been an ardent supporter of Parliament. I am pleased that in his interjections he has clarified what appeared to me to be inconsistencies between support for those measures and the comments he made. I thought for one moment that he was trying to outdo his namesake the honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron)** in his attacks on the judiciary. I do not think that I need to pursue those remarks any further, except to remind the House and anyone who happened to be listening to the remarks of the honourable member for Griffith and who might have wondered whether there was some conspiracy to mislead- of the purpose of this Bill as stated in the second reading speech. It stated: >The primary purpose of this Bill is to implement the recommendations of the Remuneration Tribunal as to salaries and allowances of judges and persons of judicial status. It did not go beyond that. As the honourable member for Wentworth has said and as the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith has said, the second reading speech also states: >Opportunity has been taken to revise provisions in a number of Acts relating to the salaries and allowances payable to judges and persons of judicial status occupying offices created by those Acts. The second reading speech states: >The amendments will bring those provisions into a form which accords with the present policy of fixation by the Parliament of judicial salaries after recommendation by the Remuneration Tribunal. I believe that this Bill is important in the way in which it fulfils those objectives set out in the second reading speech. I certainly commend it to the House. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. {:#subdebate-20-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr Macphee)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2012 {:#debate-21} ### APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1977-78 In Committee Consideration resumed from 12 October. Second Schedule. Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Proposed expenditure, $30,565,000. {: #debate-21-s0 .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
Melbourne -- I rise to speak to the estimates for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. Due to the fact that time is limited, I should like to refer to three particular areas which come within the responsibility of the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** to illustrate the intolerable neglect, once again, of this Government which is endeavouring to dupe migrant communities in this country into believing that the Government is acting m their interests. Having failed, the Government is carrying out an outrageous campaign of deceit and deception to which I will refer a little later. Migrants are the most savagely affected group, apart from Aborigines, in Australia and are particularly affected by this unemployment crisis. It is a telling reflection of this Government's attitude to them that this Budget- in particular, the estimates for this Department- has done nothing about alleviating their plight. I make this point because it was not mentioned in the Estimates. It is exaggerated by the Government's dated policy of considering immigration in a compartmentalised capsule divorced from all those policy areas affecting it. I say this because this morning I raised a question directly relevant to this matter. When speaking in the debate on a matter of public importance I did not elect that the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs should answer the debate. I simply referred to migrant services. All the Minister could add was that it was not part of his portfolio so he could not be expected to answer questions and be questioned about an issue that is of vital concern to migrants in this country. In a tug-of-war with the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs the Department of Social Security won out. The Department has got itself into a situation in which the migrant welfare section of the Department is a rank failure. It ought to be investigated. I put it to the Minister that he ought to take responsibility of answering to this House about the intention of his Department. Why is the Department in that state of affairs? Why is the Department so disjointed in the areas of education, legal aid and so on? A disgraceful situation has arisen. If the ethnic affairs section of the Department means anything, it ought to be a watch dog. It ought to be adopting the recommendations contained in the Bailey report, the report of the health and welfare task force and other reports which talk about cohesive services that need to be coordinated in the interests of migrants in general. The third area to which I wish to refer relates to migrant services. I refer again to the 12 per cent cut, from $800,000 to $750,000, for migrant services. This matter is involved in the buckpassing which revolves around the two departments. When we start to question one department about a matter we are blithely told that it is the responsibility of the other department. The agencies which are taking the brunt of the problem are being told this every day of the week. I want to add to what the Minister said this morning. He referred to a migrant English teaching service at the Church of All Nations. He informed the House that the number in the classes at that school was nine. For the information of the Minister I point out that on an average there are 146 in the class, sometimes more and sometimes less. There is one full time teacher and three part time teachers. If the information which the Minister has been given is wrong then I think he ought to take to task the person who gave it to him. It is a crying shame that people who are struggling to do a job under these circumstances are placed in that situation. In relation to the specific item in the appropriation which relates to migrant publicity, where is the $lm, as I understand it, for the propaganda campaign? I know that an additional $39,178 has been provided. But where will the $lm come from? It certainly does not appear in the appropriation. We require some explanation of that matter. We have gone through the exercise about the provision for the Melbourne Migrant Resource Centre. We are making great play of the Sydney Migrant Resource Centre, for God 's sake, but it has never got off the ground. It is pie in the sky when you die. We have been given some limp, weak excuse about looking for a building during that period. This is leading migrants up the garden path once again. This centre has not been achieved at all. This is a suggestion which has never reached fruition. Once again I want to talk about the office of the Commissioner for Community Relations. The activities of the Government from the time it took office have been directed towards getting rid of Grassby or, alternatively, of getting the Office into an area where he would be suppressed so that he could not carry out his role of providing protection against racial discrimination. The Office has been relegated to the windy halls of the Attorney-General's Department. The Act should be administered in an Ombudsman-type way. It should have somebody at its head who will not be talked down by tin pot lawyers like we have on the Government backbench. One would not want them to defend one in the small debt's court. If the Office gets into that area there will be a bonanza for lawyers. Individuals will be discriminated against. They will be put on the merry-go-round and discriminated against until the case is resolved. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)-The** honourable member has been all over the countryside for the last seven minutes. I cannot establish how any remark he has made is applicable to the Estimates. I ask him to relate his remarks to the Estimates or I shall have to ask him to resume his seat. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -The last three matters I put to the Committee, with due respect, relate to division 342 which refers directly to the Office of the Commissioner for Community Relations. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- I see. I apologise. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -Yes. You should not be so anxious to be effective. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Will the honourable member get on with his speech. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES: -Yes. Translation services is another matter to which I refer. There is a need not just to maintain the status quo but to increase the translation services because they are required by the community. There is one official Spanish translator in the Department. When any technical interpretation or translation is needed the Department relies on individuals who are not competent. I refer to the area of health. I hope that the honourable member for Prospect **(Dr Klugman)** will take up this aspect. Let us look at the number of translators who are available in the medical and mental hygiene departments for the purposes of carrying out what is absolutely essential according to the best of medical knowledge and advice. The ladies who sweep the floor in some of the general hospitals are being asked to translate. It is an absolute disgrace. Representatives of CO.AS.IT. in Melbourne have put it to me that they are concerned about the situation where migrants are involved. For one moment I will refer to the ethnic affairs section of the Department. I am sure that is contained in the Estimates, **Mr Deputy Chairman.** That section was referred to by the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Antony Whitlam)** this morning. It is some sort of a joke. Up to 18 months ago it had a letterhead and three people. It then developed to dizzy heights with a number of people who did not have their task laid out until after they had applied for the jobs. Further to that, I refer to the waste of money that is being expended by the Government on the Galbally inquiry. No fewer than 30 references and reports on migrant needs are available to the Minister. People have been knocking on doors to carry out a further review. The Galbally inquiry is a farce. I would like the Minister to give some explanation as to how the expenditure is justified. The DEPUTY **CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s1 .speaker-0J4} ##### Mr RUDDOCK:
Parramatta -- It is a pleasure in this debate to be able to offer some informed views on the performance of the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** in relation to his Department. I would like to offer the Minister my congratulations for the many positive initiatives that he has undertaken on behalf of the migrant community in Australia. Numbers of positive initiativesI propose to go through them- have been undertaken by this Government since it came to office. This is quite different from the cynical use of our ethnic people in Australia by the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes).** That has been demonstrated not only in the speech that we have just heard but also in the speech that we heard on a similar matter which was raised as a matter of public importance this morning. I say that the speech that the honourable member for St George **(Mr Neil)** made in this House this morning in the debate ought to be prescribed reading for every member of the House and every person who can take the opportunity to glance through *Hansard.* He puts clearly and into perspective the way in which the Labor Party cynically uses every opportunity to pursue its political objectives. I recall to mind an event that the honourable member for Prospect **(Dr Klugman)** saw, as I did, on the occasion of the presentation of some awards to Greek children in my electorate only recently. It was at the time of the municipal council elections. After the members present had taken the opportunity to present trophies to young children whose ages ranged from five or six years through to 13 or 14 years, a Labor candidate, a young man who stood against me at the last election, was invited by the State Labor member to come forward. He took the opportunity to make a speech about local government issues and about what he proposed to do if he got into council. {: .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- And he got in, and we won the council. {: .speaker-0J4} ##### Mr RUDDOCK: -- Yes, because he headed the Labor Party ticket. What would one expect? But as the honourable member knows, his Party did not get the three out of five seats which it expected to get; the result went the other way. The fact of the matter is that, as the honourable member for St George illustrated this morning, this honourable member was prepared to go along and politically to abuse the invitation extended to him to come along and enjoy a little fellowship with them when they had the opportunity of making presentations to their children of awards for their sporting prowess. I think that honourable members who abuse such a privilege ought to be ashamed of themselves. Let us get these matters into perspective. What honourable members opposite want to do is to denigrate the outstanding work of the Minister and his Department in assisting our migrant people. If we look at the first and principal achievement of this Government we see the matter in perspective. When Labor was in office it linked up immigration and all the matters related to our ethnic people with matters concerning labour- we had a Department of Labor and Immigration. Immigration did not have a ministerial hand who was able to devote himself fully to attending to the needs of the migrant community. Immediately upon our coming to office a separate Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs was established. One of the first acts of the Minister- for this he deserves congratulation- was to reconstitute the Australian Population and Immigration Council. As a result he has been able to receive advice on a number of important matters. Honourable members opposite know, as I do, that that Council has been asked to consider the implications of population change, developments in research in Australia and overseas in the areas of population and immigration, the probable long term effects of changing patterns of immigration intakes and, additionally, the way in which immigration intakes can be planned to complement other national policies. As a result of that, Australia's first Green Paper on immigration policies and Australian population was produced and published. Later, on 17 March 1977, it was tabled in this Parliament. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- It is a political document. {: .speaker-0J4} ##### Mr RUDDOCK: -The honourable member says that it is a political document. I should like to refer in passing to that political document because it was about that document and during the debate of that document that we saw the honourable member for Melbourne coming out in his true light. He is opposed to migration programs involving Australia. During this debate on these important funds which are being allocated to bring immigrants to Australia, I ask the honourable member whether he is prepared to state clearly in what areas he would run down our immigration program. After reading through the speech he made in this House on 22 March 1977, I should like to know whether perhaps he wants to tail down the family reunion aspects of our immigration policy. Does he want to say to the Australian people who want to bring their relatives to Australia: 'No, we are not prepared to have your prospective spouse or children or parents join you in this country; we are against family reunions'? Or does he want to say that we should not have the skilled workers who are going to help to create jobs for other people? Or is he perhaps saying that if we tail down our active immigration policy, which is evidenced in the document we are debating, it is the refugees whom he does not want? He cannot have it each and every way. This is the gentleman who wants to tail down our immigration policy because he happens to believe m minimum population growth. There are other important initiatives which have been undertaken by this Government. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- I raise a point of order, **Mr Deputy Chairman.** The honourable member is directing questions to me and inviting interjections. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)-I** accept that. The honourable member for Melbourne will resume his seat and the honourable member for Parramatta will address his remarks through the Chair. {: .speaker-0J4} ##### Mr RUDDOCK: -Most certainly, **Mr Deputy Chairman.** I simply want to take this opportunity to give the honourable member opposite an op- portunity to elaborate upon these matters at a later time. I am not suggesting that he should do it by way of interjection. As the spokesman on these matters for Her Majesty's Opposition he might be prepared at some point of time to clarify which area of our immigration program he wants to see tailed down, because these estimates allocate the funds necessary to maintain an active immigration program. A very important part of the program is that part that will provide job opportunities and so on of the type that he has been talking about today. One of the factors limiting economic growth in this country is the inability of Australia to obtain skilled workers to help generate other activity from which people might be able generally to benefit. Recovery will be generated indirectly through an active immigration program bringing skilled workers to Australia. During his term of office the Minister has expanded the family reunion categories for immigration and allowed people who are bringing business skills, money and so on to Australia that will enable them to commence businesses in Australia, to be eligible under the criteria for entry to this country. The Minister has also announced a far-reaching policy in relation to entry of refugees. That was done on 27 May this year. The Minister was responsible for the amnesty that was so important in clarifying the position of some 8,000 people who are now permanent residents of Australia. He abolished the requirement for re-entry visas. He established the first Australian Ethnic Affairs Council. He established an ethnic affairs policy branch within his Department, which is so important. He decided on the questions for the establishment of the separate ethnic broadcasting organisation that we heard about earlier today. He has been very much involved in that matter and deserves congratulations and commendation. Finally, I refer to one other matter to which the honourable member for Melbourne adverted, that is, the establishment of the experimental migrant resource centres. They are important initiatives. One is to be operated by the Australian-Greek Welfare Society in Melbourne and the other is to operate in Sydney. I wish to clarify the position in that respect. The second one is in fact to be opened in Parramatta, the centre of the Western suburbs of Sydney. It will serve one million people, many of whom are of migrant origin. Parramatta is the centre of that region to which those people look for the provision of services and support. A little difficulty has been experienced in acquiring the building from Telecom Australia. However, the leasing arrangements have now been completed and the renovations will be finished on Monday. I understand that the furniture will be moved in on Tuesday. Following that, staff will be actively recruited for that office. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s2 .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is interesting in these debates to hear the Party that is opposed to big government welcoming the establishment of all this extra bureaucracy and the issue of paper after paper of information. No one is disputing that a number of bureaucrats have been appointed to new jobs and no one is disputing that there has been a whole lot of paper deluging members of this Parliament. What honourable members on this side of the chamber have constantly complained about is that there has been no effective improvement in the provision of services to migrants under this Government. We spoke about that earlier today. Since, as the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** conceded in that debate, very few of those services indeed are the responsibility of his Department, I propose to confine my remarks to a couple of matters that are within the province of his Department. Firstly, I wish to talk about the vexed issue of citizenship, which is so concerning the Minister that he has written to every member of parliament about it and has written articles for the popular Press about it. It seems to have agitated him a very great deal. He also appeared on the electronic media earlier in the week about it. The first thing I propose to say is that, like all other honourable members, I prefer to find out about the contents of letters written to me when I receive them rather than to read about them in the newspapers. In this case I was able to read in Saturday's newspapers what the Minister said he had written to me instead of having to wait until the letter arrived on Tuesday of this week. That struck me as being a little discourteous. I gather that the Minister is concerned mainly about the dignity of citizenship ceremonies. The Minister is a big man on dignity. He is concerned to impress upon candidates the honour and dignity of citizenship. If the Minister is so concerned about the standard of citizenship ceremonies I think he should be prepared to offer to provide some assistance towards meeting the cost of those ceremonies, which his Department has persistently refused to do. This may not be a matter of consequence to the municipalities in his own electorate, but it is of great consequence to the municipalities in my electorate. In the Municipality of Marrickville more than 3,000 people a year become citizens, which is the greatest number handled by any local government authority in Australia. These ceremonies take place throughout the year, and this cost represents a considerable burden on the limited resources of a local government authority in an area which does not have a very great rate base in any event. The Government, through the Minister, has consistently denied the provision of any assistance to local government to meet the cost of these ceremonies. Yet the Minister says that he is so concerned about the dignity of these ceremonies. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- You know who is going to them and making a speech. {: .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I am coming to that point because I think it goes to show what nincompoops you are. You object to politicians attending events at which they hope to gain some partisan advantage. I do not know about the persons on the other side of the chamber - The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)** - Order! I remind the honourable member that he should address his remarks to the Chair. If he does so, he should not use the word 'nincompoop'. {: .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It certainly would not be applicable to you, **Mr Deputy Chairman.** Let me fully concede that I do not go to any function from which I do not aim to gain some political advantage. I suggest that it is quite one thing to go to a citizenship ceremony and view it as a political occasion, which it plainly is, and it is another thing to inject party politics into it. It is the inability of honourable members opposite to perceive that distinction which so disqualifies them from taking part in any intelligent discussion on this subject. The honourable member for Parramatta **(Mr Ruddock)** made a rather Freudian slip. He talked about a Labor candidate in local government elections attending a children's event and injecting politics into it. That is precisely the kind of attitude which underlies the mentality of Liberal-Country Party members on these issues. They continue to regard migrants to this country as being children. They continue to regard the only fit topics for ethnic radio as being the soccer results from the countries of origin of our migrants or news of ethnic carnivals at which there may have been folk dancing or something like that. What is wrong with having intelligent newscasts and intelligent current affairs programs conducted in languages other than English for persons in Australia who cannot comprehend English? It is precisely because honourable members opposite regard migrants as children that they will be rejected by them at the next election. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr Corbett: -- We cannot be too sure. {: .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I do not know how many migrants the honourable member has in his electorate. He is probably pretty safe. The Minister got into hot water on this question of citizenship ceremonies. As I understand it, a member of bis staff was asked for elaboration on his news release and on his letter. By way of colour the remark was added that the Minister was also understood to be concerned about the handing out of application forms for citizenship in shopping centres and market places. I ask honourable members: What could be less offensive than that action? The Minister said that it amounted in fact to coercing people to become citizens. When the Minister appeared on television two nights later he was unable to detail a single incident of coercion. In fact, when he was faced by the spokesman for a group which has been active in assisting persons to take up citizenship if they so desired, he was unable to give one instance at all and he was at some pains to say at great length that he was not critical of that group at all. It may very well be that a great number of potential citizens live in areas that are presently represented by members of the Australian Labor Party. That may be the case, but it cannot be helped. I can tell honourable members that as far as I am aware groups conducting these drives to inform persons about citizenship would be very grateful for any assistance they received from members of any party whatsoever. This line which the Minister has been pushing is one which he has been pushing for some time behind closed doors at Liberal Party meetings and at meetings of so-called ethnic supporters of the Liberal Party. The first time it saw the light of day was last week when it appeared in the Press. That is why the Minister has been caught out. He has not been able to produce a single instance of coercion. In fact, I think that every honourable member ought to be grateful that groups are going out into the community and providing this service for people who wish to become citizens. There is no publicity available in a language other than English to inform migrants in this country about the conditions of eligibility for citizenship and about the way in which they can go about applying for citizenship. Applications for citizenship have meant a journey into town, into the central business district, during working hours. The Minister will say that interviewing officers have been made available at weekends on 22 occasions during the past year. I welcome that. That is a very good idea. But applications for citizenship will never be encouraged unless someone approaches people and makes it clear to them that the Government would welcome their becoming citizens if they so wished. I think the dignified words of a migrant to Australia, **Dr George** Paxinos, sum up a fair attitude on this. He says: >There is nothing undignified about voluntary workers distributing leaflets in ethnic languages on street corners, providing information about citizenship and encouraging those who wish to apply to do so. However I believe there is immense lack of dignity in the situation of half a million migrants who live in this country without the vote because nobody has bothered to go and talk to them, to explain what their rights are and to help them take out citizenship if they decide they want to. That is the situation. Why can we not have an advertising program on ethnic radio and in the ethnic Press to inform people of their rights and, indeed, in the electoral field, to inform people from Commonwealth countries of their obligations. In the couple of minutes remaining to me I want to talk about one other item in the appropriation for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. It concerns the matter on which the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes)** touched- the office of the Commissioner for Community Relations. The appropriation provides no money for this beyond 3 1 December this year, and the blithe statement is made that the appropriation for the second half of this financial year will be found in the estimates for the Attorney-General's Department. In fact, the estimates for the Attorney-General's Department and the proposed Human Fights Commission provide nothing like the same level of commitment in dollars. As I understand it, the Human Rights Commission is designed to have five commissioners; yet the annual amount involved is only about double the amount available already for the office of the Commissioner for Community Relations. That office has done a splendid job in encouraging a sense of dignity among people who have come to this country to make their lives, to even out discrimination against them and to alert the Australian community to shortcomings in the present set-up. If that kind of outlet is denied to migrants in this country it will be a very sorry day indeed and migrants will certainly know who to blame. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s3 .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL:
St George -- I approach the estimates again on a non-political basis. The honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Antony Whitlam)** finished his speech by talking about whom migrants would have to blame. It is quite regrettable that the Australian Labor Party still insists on using migrants as a political football for one side to blame the other for some matter or to seek to take some petty advantage. I really think the total approach of the Labor Party is beneath the dignity of the migrant community. I deal first with adult migrant education. In the last financial year the allocation for adult migrant education from the Commonwealth Government was $2.7m. During the year there was a supplement of $270,000, making a total of $2.97m. The extra was given for the cost supplementation to meet inflation and for the increased demand especially towards the end of the financial year. Honourable members will recall the influx, particularly of Lebanese people, at about that time. It is most important to note that the program is flexible; it is not rigid. It is subject to regular discussions and supplementation. The Budget figure in any year is only the base figure. Ministers responsible for immigration within the States are well aware of this. The New South Wales Minister of Education is well aware of the system. In this year's Budget the base figure is $3.09m, which is an increase of about 12 per cent. It is subject to supplementation for costs to meet inflation and for any increased demand. Recently the New South Wales Government instituted more services than were appropriate under the agreement to maintain the base level for at least the same level of services as last year. Perhaps it meant well and perhaps it did not; but it did so in order to embarrass the Federal Government when some of those services might have to be curtailed. It did so purely for political purposes, which is disgraceful. Since then some services, which were additional services outside the agreement, either had to close or were threatened with closure. I was informed that one project in the electorate of St George, at Arncliffe, had had its teacher withdrawn. The New South Wales Government should have kept to the appropriate arrangements. Had it done so, there would have been no difficulties. {: .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **- Mr Deputy Chairman,** I raise a point of order. I wonder to what item in the appropriations for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs the honourable member is speaking. It seems to me that he is not speaking to these estimates at all. {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKellar: -- You did not take the point of order when the honourable member for Melbourne was speaking. {: .speaker-KZY} ##### Mr Antony Whitlam:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The honourable member for St George could have said this this afternoon. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** There is no substance in the point of order. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL: -There was a supplementation of $150,000 only a few weeks ago to meet the demand. There has been a guarantee of further demand. All honourable members realise that refugees have come into this country. The Government has to find funds to assist those refugees. I acknowledge that the Federal Government has a very special role to play in this area. The Government acknowledges that there have been some unemployment difficulties and that the Government's funds must be directed towards assisting in that area. It is relevant but not necessary to these estimates. The Government realises that persons in this situation need to be assisted with funds. There is also a greater consciousness of migrant communities and it is quite plain that there is increased demand. The New South Wales Minister for Education has had clear assurances from the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** and also from the Minister for Education **(Senator Carrick)** that there will be a commitment to maintain levels at least sufficient for last year and to enable the courses to continue. There ought not to be any problem as long as governments keep out of the political arena. I notice today that the New South Wales Minister now has said that existing programs will be maintained. I welcome this. In the time remaining I would like to deal with one or two matters raised by other members. In particular, one claim was made regarding unemployment. I point out that this Government has brought into this country people who otherwise would not have been able to come here because they did not qualify under the occupational criteria. It has been done for humanitarian reasons and there has been some increase in unemployment because of that. Who can blame the Government for that? I point out also that the latest figures show that a small percentage of breadwinners in the Australian community are unemployed. It is the breadwinner who counts principally in the family, although I appreciate the hardship to other unemployed persons. Most migrants have a close family unit and, if the breadwinner is working, at least the family unit can be maintained. On the question of citizenship, of course the Government welcomes persons obtaining citizenship. We welcome them complying with their obligations to go on the electoral roll. I believe that this matter has to be dealt with with proper dignity and decorum. I am not particularly concerned about certain of these matters. I believe that these people should be assisted, provided it is done principally by government departments or by persons who are able to act broadly under the aegis of the Department in order to avoid any possible cases of coercion. I am concerned, however, about one problem raised by the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Antony Whitlam);** that is, the question of going on the electoral roll. I do not refer only to migrants. I am talking generally and I do not intend to single out any group. At present all a person has to do to get on the electoral roll, whether he has turned 18 years or whether he is naturalised, is to sign a form saying that he is entitled to vote and get somebody to witness the form. It is not necessary to produce a birth certificate or a naturalisation certificate. It is not like getting a passport, where one has to take along a birth certificate or naturalisation certificate. I should have thought that for a first enrolment on the electoral roll one should at least E produce one or other of these documents. I am a Little concerned that honourable members are writing to persons who appear on the electoral roll- not all of them are from ethnic backgrounds; it is only a proportion- and that an inordinate number of the letters are being returned to honourable members stamped 'Address unknown'. I do not quite know why this is occurring. I like to think that the responsible Minister will look into these matters. I commend the Government on its allocations for immigration and ethnic affairs in this Budget. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: #debate-21-s4 .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr KLUGMAN:
Prospect -There are a couple of issues to which I should Uke to refer in the few minutes we are given to debate the appropriations for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. The first is an issue which is really shared between that Department and the Department of Social Security. It relates to the question of migrants from West Germany who become naturalised in this country and then lose their entitlement under the German Government's superannuation scheme, which is a contributory scheme. I think it is a great pity that apparently no agreement has been reached between the Australian Government and the West German Government. Generally speaking, the West German Government has signed treaties with many of the countries where ex- West German citizens now reside but it has not taken the opportunity, for reasons not known to me, to do so with Australia. People in Germany contribute to a superannuation scheme. If such people come to Australia, provided that they remain West German citizens they can still receive that pension. But if they become naturalised Australian citizens they lose that entitlement, and I think that is a great pity. As I understand it, we do not have any great bargaining power with the West German Government because of our decision back in 1973, when the Whitlam Government was in power, to grant pensions to all those eligible for Australian pensions, wherever they live. We cannot say to the West Germans that we will exchange that right for their granting pensions to former citizens of their country who are now naturalised Australians. However, it ought to be possible to come to some sort of agreement with what appears to me to be a very sensible West German Government. I ask the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)-** I am sure he agrees with me that such a disincentive should not exist for former citizens of Germany to become Australian citizens- to initiate discussions again with the Minister for Social Security **(Senator Guilfoyle).** The next point with which I wish to deal is one which has worried me considerably. It was again drawn to my attention tonight by one of the poorest newspapers in Australia, the Sydney *Sun,* and I would not be surprised if the Melbourne *Herald* had a similar story, although I have not looked at it today. For some weeks last month the Sydney *Sun* and the Melbourne *Herald* ran stories on the disappearance of Griffith businessman Donald Mackay, an antidrug campaigner who was killed allegedly by people of Italian origin called Mafiosi. The only evidence that I have seen for his disappearance being connected with his drug campaigning is the fact that he was an anti-drug campaigner, but I suppose that a significant number of people are killed without being involved in anti-drug campaigning. Obviously I do not know whether he was killed for that reason or not. Journalists from the Sydney *Sun* and the Melbourne *Herald,* and Sue Smith, that silly lady from *Current Affair,* went to Italy for some weeks and probed, as they called it, the connection between the socalled Mafia and Griffith. The newspaper carried big headlines proving that people connected with Plati, a town in Calabria, were the people who had killed Mackay. No evidence was ever presented. Yet the so-called link was presented as a fact. There were huge front page headlines claiming this each day. What does the *Sun* say today? After having run the campaign for the last month, it now decides that three men are sought for the Mackay killing. On a front page spread the *Sun* reports: >Homicide Squad detectives believe that three Indians, all illegal immigrants, may have murdered missing Griffith businessman Don Mackay three months ago. Now the *Sun* says that the suspects are Indians. Let me read the evidence on which all these stories have been based. Later in the article this reference appears: >Eye witnesses told police that three men were seen in the parking area in a 1 969 light green Holden sedan about 6. 1 5. That was the only evidence produced that has any potential relevance to what has been said. The *Sun* article continues: >At the time these men were described as 'dark, of Italian or Aboriginal extraction'. Now the *Sun* says: >Detectives later identified the three men more positively as Indians who were thought to be fruit pickers. I am not suggesting that they are Indians. They may have no connection with the disappearance. They may not be Indians. They may be people of Anglo-Saxon or Irish extraction or any sort of extraction who are dark. I think there are people on the Government front bench who would be described as having a darkish, Italian appearance. I certainly do not hold that against them. I object to this attempt by the media in Australia to sell newspapers, to sell time on television, by means of fictitious stories about alleged Mafia activities being involved in the killing of one man in Griffith. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: **- Sir Eric** Willis was not doing too bad with it either. {: .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr KLUGMAN: -- As the honourable member for Corio pointed out, the New South Wales Liberal Party went right into it, for political reasons. Obviously, I do not know what has happened to Donald Mackay. I do not suggest that anybody here knows. If they knew I assume they would have told the police. We have this demonology, the idea that foreigners are involved in organised crime. They must be foreigners; they could not be gentlemen from the same background as the honourable member for Phillip **(Mr Birney).** Yet I think he would agree with me. I am not suggesting that he is involved in organised crime, but having been a barrister in Sydney and having been a man of the world in Sydney, I think he would agree with me that the proportion of people involved in criminal activities probably does not vary much between people of different racial origins. I quote now from a book which has always impressed me. It was written by Norval Morris and Gordon Hawkins, both criminologists. It is called *The Honest Politician's Guide to Crime Control.* They make particular reference to the Mafia and therefore it is relevant to this discussion on the estimates for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. They attack the proposition that there is such a thing as organised crime in the sense that one group controls all crime in a country such as Australia. They say: ... we have spoken of myths which exercise a powerful influence on the ways in which we think and act in the criminological field. In this chapter we deal with one of the most seductive and persistent of those myths, the demonology of organised crime. This is the notion that behind the diverse phenomena of crime there exists a single, mysterious, omnipotent organisation which is responsible for much of it. It is an idea which has long exerted a powerful influence on the minds not only of journalists but also of law enforcement agents and serious students of crime. They continue commenting on it. They say: ... a large proportion of what has been written seems not to be dealing with an empirical matter at all. It is almost as though what is referred to as organised crime belonged to the realm of metaphysics or theology. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member should not be debating organised crime; he should be debating the estimates for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. {: .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr KLUGMAN: -- I think it is relevant in the sense that people have criticised a significant group of Australians of overseas origin. Such people should be criticised for doing that. I think I have made my point. I make this final point on the question of immigration: I am not one of those who believe immigration ought to be cut out. I am one who believes that an excellent argument can be made, for economic and other reasons, in favour of continuing immigration on a significant scale. I would draw the attention of the Minister to a publication called *Nil Net Migration News,* published in August 1976 by the New South Wales Environment Centre, which could just as easily have been published by Enoch Powell. I cannot remember who signed the particular articles; indeed I am not sure that they were signed at all, but they contain ridiculous propositions with which, deplorably, the Australian Conservation Foundation associates itself, to the effect that before the Government increases immigration it must consider the subject in the light of the Federal Environment Protection Act. Surely, if that is so, the same sort of thing should be done before it decreases immigration. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s5 .speaker-3G4} ##### Mr DOBIE:
Cook -- I thank my colleagues for their support of the estimates of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. I would like to say how much I agree with what the previous speaker said, in this respect: I, too, am sick and tired of the newspapers talking about a Yugoslav doing this or a Hungarian doing that or a Pommy so-and-so doing such and such. Let us grow up- and this applies to all sections of the media and of this Parliament- and begin speaking about Australians as Australians, abandoning the use of words such as 'ethnic', 'migrant' and the like. It is about time we started to become very serious about migration. Earlier today we saw the Parliament trying to politicise this whole subject. It is a sorry commentary that people on both sides have tried to make the tragedies that are associated with migration the subject of petty political manoeuvre. We must ensure that abuse across this Chamber on this subject, such as we witnessed earlier, ceases completely. I have an emphathy with the honourable members for St George and Grayndler, feeling deeply as they do about the personal problems they face among the large ethnic groups within their electorates, but I hope we will soon see the whole subject of immigration lifted to its former position of warranting bipartisanship on the part of all members of this House, rather than slanging matches across the Chamber. It is futile to believe that only one side of this House has concern for the welfare and well-being of those Australian residents who have come to live here permanently from overseas. From Calwell to Holt to MacKellar there has been, this House must accept, a genuine concern by all who have administered our migration policies over the past 30 years to see that Australia is well served by those policies and that all Australians, whether born here or not, share in the bounties of our land. Our present Minister is a worthy successor of the successful Ministers who have gone before him, but let us stop saying who did what, and when. We should be concerned that all who live here live not only with equal opportunity but with equal dignity under equal laws. There is no room for paternalism in any of our migration policies and I hope that my colleagues, on both sides, will stop using the four letter word 'them' whenever migrants are discussed. For the new members of the House, I have what might be regarded by some as a confession: I am one of 'them'. I was born overseas. I am the son of Scottish migrants and, like the millions of other Australians who share my personal heritage of having been born overseas, would say: Let all members be aware that migrants see themselves as Australians who happen to have been born overseas. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- What about the shop stewards? {: .speaker-3G4} ##### Mr DOBIE: -- As individuals they do not necessarily regard themselves as ethnics. I am also the son of a shop steward. Overwhelmingly, migrants to Australia quickly see themselves as Australians, and this is how we, as members of this Parliament, should always regard migrants, no more and certainly no less than all Australianborn Australian citizens. This is no easy subject to discuss and I believe it a great shame that the immigration debate has become so very political in the last two or three years. It has to stop. If it does not we will find ourselves dividing into camps which will have no solution. The problems of migration face us all. No matter whether a person is a constituent of Cook, Grayndler, St George or Adelaide, the problems are common. The problems of family reunion and of getting people here who have friends are not peculiar to the Labor Party, the Liberal Party or the National Country Party. The problems of mi- ! ;ration are truly national and will have to be looked at in this light from now on. It is not good enough for honourable members to stand up in this chamber and hurl abuse at each other on such a sensitive subject. The people listening who are the subject of this debate are not amused by that. This is a short debate. At this stage I should like to pay a tribute to the professionalism that exists in the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. I was most saddened when the Department was disbanded some years ago. It was a source of personal pleasure when this Government decided to make the Immigration Department a separate department again. It raised the Department to its position of importance. It raised it to a position where people coming to Australia felt important once more. I congratulate the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar),** who has sat through the whole of this debate, for his personal concern and involvement in the problems of migrants in Australia. As he well knows he and I have not agreed on many of the cases I have put to him. I have no doubt that as time goes on we will continue so to differ. However, I have a couple of cases before him in respect of which I hope he changes his mind. I see him nodding so perhaps he will be helpful. I pay tribute in this debate to people in the Sydney office of the Immigration Department, people such as George Austin, Brian O'Neill, Bruce Donald and John Vanderness, among others. These guys work their hearts out for the welfare of migrants. I know that the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** who is trying to interject has a concern for migrants in Newcastle. If he can give some more names let him do so. The point is that we have within the Immigration Department some very dedicated professional people. I see that the honourable member for Port Adelaide, **Mr Young,** is agreeing with me by nodding. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- I want the Minister to let more of my people in. {: .speaker-3G4} ##### Mr DOBIE: -- That may be a very good suggestion. I share that concern with the honourable member for Port Adelaide. I hope, however, that in the administration of the migration policy in the coming 12 months, while we keep our regard for the employment aspects and restrictions which are vital, we will see a growing sophistication in the statistics held as to what positions are available and what positions are not available. Great progress has been made. From my own experience I believe that is a good relationship between the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. But I believe it is due for even further refinement. There are activities in Australia which are still not met by local availability of staff. I hope that in the coming weeks we will see a further sophistication of relationships between the two departments to work out more realistic tables as to where job vacancies exist in Australia. I congratulate the Minister on his approach to the refugee problem. In Australia we have no reason to hold our heads down. We can hold our heads high because of our migation policy in this regard. I hope that it continues to follow this pattern. As we all are very much aware the refugee problem will not lessen as the years go by. It is not my wish at this stage to talk about which country should supply refugees or from which country Australia should accept them. I hope that we maintain the truly international approach we have had to the acceptance of refugees into this country, irrespective of their political background. I wish that I could speak longer on this subject which is very dear to my heart. I hope that as a result of this debate we will see the subject of migration taken out of the field of petty political point making. {: #debate-21-s6 .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS:
Maribyrnong -There is no doubt that in times of economic recession such as the present time the migrant community is amongst the hardest hit section of the Australian community. It is true enough that other sections of the Australian community are affected- young school leavers, including migrant children; women, including migrant women. As a group, one could probably suggest that migrants taken together, are the hardest hit group. I have indicated that school children or women probably are the first to be retrenched. After all, they are only women. I ask honourable members to forgive my apparent sexist remark, but sadly this is the view taken. I am not necessarily subscribing to it. But they are not the main breadwinners, so the women can afford to lose their jobs first. That is one reason. But of the men, the major breadwinners in the family, the migrants are the least secure employees in the community. No doubt, this is based on an old accepted principle that the last to come into the job are the first to go if there is a need to retrench. Clearly in this situation, the migrants are in the least secure situation. Another reason for this occurring is because migrants tend to be in certain industries which, certainly at this time, have been hardest hit- the textile industry, the clothing trade, the motor vehicle industry and even parts of heavy industry. There is no point going into the matter. We must accept the fact that migrants probably are hardest hit in employment opportunities in a situation like the present situation. Of course, at the same time with this difficulty with employment there is an increased need throughout the whole community for community services of all sorts. Again, because the migrants constitute the largest group in the sense that, in relation to the proportion of migrants in the general community, the number of people needing these sorts of support services comprises a high proportion of migrants, so they are more dependent on services which ironically at this time are cut back and are least able to cater for the increasing demand. So for all sorts of reasons, migrants in a sense are victimised by the difficulties of our economic downturn or recession- call it what you will. In the discussion earlier today of a matter of public importance, the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** gave some figures in respect of the various facets of services relating to and for migrants. The figures seemed to indicate that things were looking up. I suggest that he was indulging in a slight sleight of hand, if I might put it that way. The figures he gave appeared to be numerically higher than the figures for last year. I do not argue with that. But that is a simplistic view. First of all, last year's figures represented a dramatic cutback in many cases on the amounts made available for these sorts of services for migrants when the Australian Labor Party was in government. But even if one accepts that the figures given for this year are a little higher than the figures for last year, if we look at the position carefully and make adjustments for inflation, we find that in most cases, the real value is equal to, if we are lucky, and in many cases less than the figures even for last year. But there is still a further trap. The comparison is between the money spent last year and the money allocated this year. If we bother to look back at what was allocated last year-not what was spent, but what was allocated- we find that because of the winding down of programs, because of the need to cut back on public expansion and so forth, significant proportions of the funds allocation last year were not spent. So the real comparison should be not between what was spent last year and what we are allocating this year. The comparison should be with what was allocated last year and what has been allocated this year. Then the discrepancy is even greater. For all these reasons, in my view, there has in fact been a real cutback in the allocation of funds for the sorts of services on which migrants depend. That sort of factor is independent of the effects of inflation. To make the point, $2 1.3m was spent on migrant education in 1974-75 and $2 1.4m in 1975-76; but in 1976-77 the allocation was $ 10.6m. Even that $ 10.6m was not spent; only $ 10.3m was spent. That represented a dramatic cutback and then another cutback because the money was not spent. This year we are to spend more. The allocation is $ 10.4m which is not even as much as the allocation made last year. I hope that makes the point that I want to make. I now want to discuss for a few moments the boasts that some Government supporters are making that the Liberal Government has restored the migration program which was savagely cut under the Labor Government. Before I argue the case, or appear to be knocking immigration, let me assert the areas in which I am in favour of accepting migrants. I do not think there is any argument that political refugees should be permitted to come here. It is sometimes awkward because they come in unexpected numbers and at unexpected times. But this is a rich, comfortable, free country and we can afford to take such people who choose to come here in times of difficulty. Another group is made up of those who have family members in this country. I do not mean the restricted way we are looking at it now. 1 mean the whole range of family members. We can afford the old, the halt, the lame relations, the dependants in the truest sense of the word of people who live here. We can afford as well - {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKellar: -- How far, how wide? {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS: -- We can afford as well - {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKellar: -Second and third cousins? {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS: -I will come to that in a minute. We can afford as well the young, the vigorous, the potential competitors for jobs who have relatives here. I speak of the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We tend to refuse admission to sons and daughters if they are over a certain age and are theoretically independent. I think that is wrong. Their parents here may be old and lonely or vice versa, their parents may be still able to look after themselves. But they can see the end of their working life coming up and they want to enjoy their families here, their sons and daughters. We are too restrictive. We were as guilty as the present Government is. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: -- Not quite. {: .speaker-JNG} ##### Dr CASS: -- I think we were not as liberal as we could have been. I think that this country is a rich, lush, free country which can afford those sorts of people. But now I come to my anxieties. Why should we allow the others to come in? Why should we allow skilled tradesmen to come in when so many people are out of work in Australia, people who could and should be trained for new occupations? What can we do with mainly unskilled people? Prospects are that it will be very difficult to increase the job demand in these sorts of unskilled areas. Why do we not offer them the opportunity to be trained in other occupations? The answer may be that we do not have the time to do it quickly and that we have to bring people from elsewhere. But shortages are not uniform throughout the country. Why can we not give more positive assistance to Australians already here before we bring in people from other countries? We should take that proposition more seriously. Why bring in skilled tradesmen from developing countries? Those countries can ill afford to lose these skilled people. I know it is a hard thing to say, because after all they want to come here and improve their lot, but it is a burden for the developing countries to lose these sorts of people. But we are happy to accept skilled tradesmen from practically anywhere. Even if we claim that we should not take people from developing countries, hard as that may seem, why do we take skilled people from the developed countries, the rich countries? I say that we should not take people from the developed countries because those countries are rich enough to look after them. If we look at this problem in a humanitarian way our priorities should be to give unskilled people from poor countries a chance to come here. But, of course, that would raise loud protests and objections because in real terms that is not what we are out to do either. We are not being humanitarian at all. The real point of it all is that we bring people to Australia to help to develop the country. It is a basic greed motive on our part. We want them with their skills to help us to develop more quickly. We do not really care about the countries from which they come. They come here, they need housing, education and other facilities that are in short supply and they do not improve those situations. What is the attraction? They are prepared to put up with the lack of these facilities because they feel insecure. They are prepared to work for lower wages because they feel insecure. They will put up with the sorts of conditions which old Australians would not put up with. So for these reasons we take them as, what has been called, cannon fodder. That is not a reflection on them; it is a reflection on our immorality in taking people like them from those countries instead of looking after our own. I think we very seriously need to consider what it is we are really doing when we encourage migration in those terms. {: #debate-21-s7 .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE:
Paterson -I rise to support the estimates for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and to congratulate the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs **(Mr MacKellar)** on the job he has done since taking over this portfolio since December 1975. It has not been easy because of the high level of unemployment and the refugees coming from Lebanon, Vietnam and other countries. Australia is a magnificent country of 3 million square miles and with a population of 14 million. Immigration must surely be one of the important facets of government in this country. It is doubtful whether most Australians realise what recent population trends have been and what they are likely to be unless various kinds of official action are taken. Firstly, the birth rate has already fallen to a level at which, in the long term, births will be offset by deaths which, of course, means zero population growth. Secondly, the estimated net migration rate in the current financial year is little more than 30,000 compared with only 21,000 last year. Thirdly, in the past 10 years Australia has lost more than one-third of a million people in international movements. Fourthly, the percentage of lost migrants returning home to their original homelands has risen to about 20 per cent of arrivals since 1925. These trends add up to the fact that we face the prospect of an Australia with little or no natural increase in population and only a very small net gain from immigration. Some of the results will be a smaller increase in the labour force, possibly labour shortages in the 1980s and 1990s, smaller numbers of school age children and a progressive aging of the population. Less will have to be spent on education and more on the social welfare system. The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs has in statements to this House made it clear that there is a numerical decline in what has historically been the mainstay of the labour force- the male worker- and the risk that we shall become increasingly inward looking and a stagnant society. All these possibilities may be accepted with equanimity by some people such as the zero population growth advocates, those who are sceptical of economic growth for its own sake, others who are concerned with conservation and environmental issues and those who feel quite simply that the country needs time to adjust to the post-war influx of immigrants. There is, however, a great danger in allowing long term considerations to be obscured by our all too real short term difficulties which include a large number of unemployed. The Green Paper which was produced earlier this year, looks at the matter in better perspective. It looks at three possible programs- small, medium and large. The first would involve a net loss of 1,000 to 2,000 workers a year- mostly workers in professional and skilled occupations -and would arouse little enthusiasm. The second, a medium sized program, with a gross intake of 9,000 to 120,000 a year and a net gain of 50,000, appears to be a good scheme. The third program, the large one, seems to present too many practical difficulties. The Green Paper is a good one. It balances long term considerations against short term considerations and draws attention to the difficulties which will arise very quickly when economic recovery occurs. It is non-committal on the admission of refugees. However, that is another matter and it must be considered in the context of our moral obligation to admit refugees. Australia's real population building took place in the post-war period when we embarked on a major program of population building. This program saw the arrival in Australia of more than 3.3 million new settlers who, together with their children born in Australia, have been responsible for approximately one-half of Australia's post-war population growth from 7.4 million to the present 14 million. With the passing of time, this policy has provided dividends for Australia. Various governments in the post-war period have done much to overcome the inevitable difficulties of adjustment to new environments. The appropriations for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs provide for a situation in which the intake of migrants will be rather static. We can see from the Budget Speech that the Government has decided not to set a specific immigration program for 1977-78 but to determine intake on the basis of numbers eligible through overseas selection processes. Provision is made for assisted passages for 16,000 people, which is approximately the same number as that provided for under the immigration policy last year. This means that eligibility will continue to be based on family reunion, refugee status and specific skills. The Green Paper presented earlier this year reported that Australia could take an increase of 100,000 migrants a year. However, with the high unemployment situation, that would be unwise at this stage. Nevertheless, migrants do contribute to the economy, increasing purchasing power and trade generally. On the present intake rates it is expected that about 70,000 migrants will arrive m Australia during 1977-78. This is similar to the number which arrived in Australia under our immigration policy last year. Expenditure on the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs will rise by $2.2m this year. It is interesting to note the employment figures in the various immigration offices that Australia has established throughout the world. The greatest number of employees is in the office in London, in Great Britain, where we have 36 people looking after the inquiries about migration to Australia. It is interesting to note, too, that Great Britain is still providing the greatest number of migrants to this country, followed this year by Lebanon, which country has had serious internal problems. I seek leave to have incorporated in *Hansard* a table setting out the numbers of migrants to this country in recent years and the countries from which they have come. The figures, which are the latest available, have been compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)-Is** leave granted? {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: -- We will not object, but the honourable member should have shown the table to the Opposition. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Do you agree? {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: -- I will agree, but the honourable member should have shown it to us in advance. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- There being no objection, leave is granted. {: .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE: -- Would the honourable member like to have a look at it? {: .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE: -- There are 150 officers throughout the world dealing with applications from people desiring to migrate to this country. Migrants come to Australia to settle permanently. Whilst some will send funds to their former countries to assist other family members or to repay expenses incurred prior to their departure, the majority bring substantial funds with them to Australia. Once here, most of them gear their savings to establishing homes and businesses in this country. On 6 August last the Minister stated that in 1975-76 migrants and former migrants sent a total of $3 13m to all other countries. More importantly, in the same year migrants transferred more than $3 50m into Australia. This represented a net gain for the year of $45m. Australia must keep up an active immigration policy immediately the economic {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: -- Leave has been granted. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The Committee has granted leave. *The table read as follows-* situation improves in this country because migrants have made a great contribution to our development. In the Paterson electorate, I have many migrants from all countries. They are making a great contribution and are well settled. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s8 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES:
Corio -In debating the estimates for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs I want to raise one or two specific matters. The first concerns the provisions of services for migrants. I think that the time has long passed when migrant services can be turned on and off at will. I think that it is important that where migrants themselves take initiatives in order to provide services which are required to the migrant communities on the basis of wishing to assist within their communities then the Government should be prepared to give serious consideration to their efforts. I raise one specific case- a migrant assistance office which was set up in Geelong West. It was opened by **Senator Lewis** almost immediately after his swearing in to this Parliament on behalf of the Minister for Social Security **(Senator Guilfoyle)** who, at that stage, had responsibility for the Australian Assistance Plan- the scheme under which this office was established. At the time of the official opening the office had six months to live because the Australian Assistance Plan was about to run out of time. As we have heard on a number of occasions from the honourable member for Hotham **(Mr Chipp)** the continuance of this plan was an undertaking given by the Government during the last election campaign but it was not honoured. This particular office was established by a committee of migrant groups in my electorate, including the Croatian and Yugoslav community, the Italian community and a number of other migrant communities in the area. It was providing a translator-interpreter service and also an advice service. Its original funding, as I indicated, was through the Australian Assistance Plan. It was obvious long before the funds for the Australian Assistance Plan cut out that a new source of funding would be required. Applications were made to the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs for a grant-in-aid but these were rejected. {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKellar: -- We do not administer grants- in-aid. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -- Applications were made to the Minister's Department but they were rejected on the grounds that the funds available were committed to metropolitan areas. I know that there are arguments about where the funds were committed in those areas. But my complaint is that no consideration was given to the allocation of funds to a project in a nonmetropolitan area and, I think I should point this out, an area in which more than 25 per cent of the total population is migrant. The migrants are primarily of European origin and a substantial proportion of them are of East European origin. They are people who are entitled to expect some assistance in their efforts to provide for their communities the sort of services which they are entitled to expect. Unfortunately, for too long migrants were brought to Australia purely on the basis that when they leave the boat they cease to be anyone's responsibility. They were fed into factories where Australians would not normally work. When they had been there long enough to learn that there were better jobs they left and another supply of migrants was brought on the scene to fill their places. Some of the plants have now learnt that migrants have had to stay in those jobs because there are no other jobs to go to; on the other hand, for the plants concerned there are no other suppliers of employees and they have had to raise the conditions of employment. However, that involves the estimates of another department. I raise this matter because there is concern that this office I mentioned, which is struggling along on what is substantially reduced funding- in fact, quite inadequate funding-will shortly have to close. This then will take away from the migrants in that area the only services which are really available to them. Some 12 months to two years ago a decision was made to relocate offices of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs to the Geelong area. That decision has not been carried through, I presume because of lack of funding. In Geelong an officer is working in the immigration area with the Department of Social Security. But with such a large migrant population there is a great demand for direct migrant services in that area and they are just not provided. They were provided up until the time immigration became part of the Department of Labor and Immigration. The services were then provided by an officer within that Department. Following the division of that Department the officer who had previously undertaken that work became part of the Commonwealth Employment Service and no replacement officer has been available since. The Commonwealth Employment Service is not able to carry the additional work load of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. The Commonwealth Employment Service is overworked already because of the high rate of unemployment in that area. Unemployment is also a greater problem for migrants than it is for the majority of the community. I put before the Minister the urgent need for the establishment of services for migrants in the Geelong area. I put it to him that these services were provided in the past and I think the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs has a responsibility to provide those services in the future. It is unsatisfactory that a person seeking attention has to travel to Melbourne and wait until such time as the service can be provided, or travel backwards and forwards. This is especially so in view of the very large migrant population in that area. I think that currently there are 36,000 migrants in the Geelong area and that ought to be enough to warrant the services of at least one officer of the Department. I am certain that if the Department's services were divided it would be very doubtful whether each officer serviced that number of people. I think that the cost of servicing from Melbourne as at present is most likely more than is required. I raise another matter in this area and that is citizenship. I think that the delays in gaining citizenship are too long. I think insufficient effort is being made to inform people of the need of citizenship. This is especially the case with nonEuropean migrants. By that I mean migrants from British Commonwealth countries who are entitled to place their names on the electoral rolls without the requirement of citizenship. In many cases people believe that that gives them citizenship. I know of cases where people have had to leave Australia in a hurry because of the sickness of a relation or someone else overseas. They have suddenly found out that they are not Australian citizens. They have had to go through all sorts of exercises at that stage to get a British passport or they have had to become an Australian citizen in very short order. When the matter is absolutely urgent usually some temporary arrangement can be made. But the situation is unsatisfactory. I think it would do no harm if some effort were made to inform these people that if they wish to become Australian citizens they have to take more steps than merely placing their names on the electoral roll. I think that citizenship for a person who qualifies by reason of residence and other considerations should be made as simple as possible. I find it extraordinarily hard to understandI am looking at an answer that the Minister gave yesterday- how a person who has lived in Australia for more than seven years and who is to be allowed to remain here can be deemed to be a person unfit to be a citizen. I know that citizenship places upon a person very few real privileges that permanent residence does not. Some of the things a person without citizenship is denied are the right to join some of the State superannuation schemes or State public services and the right to vote at elections. As I say, I find it hard to understand why people who are to be allowed to remain in Australia for the rest of their lives are denied-in small numbers I must saycitizenship. Let me make a point of what can and does occur where this type of restriction is placed upon people. A gentleman in Victoria named Johnny Sgro, an Italian, was denied citizenship under a former government but was granted citizenship during, I think, the ministry of **Mr** Grassby. He will in 1979 become a member of the Victorian Parliament. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s9 .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR:
Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs · Warringah · LP -- Firstly, I would like to thank all honourable members on both sides of the chamber who have taken part in the debate. I cannot deal with all the individual contributions that have been made. I would like to draw attention to some of the points that have been raised by different members. The honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Innes)** led for the Opposition in this debate. He made his usual contribution about unemployment. I point out in passing that unemployment amongst migrant communities in Australia rose by 90 per cent while the former Labor Government was in power. Some of the other aspects that the honourable gentdeman raised concerned translation services. I do not think he quite understands the organisation of the translation service. There are in fact 45 positions in the Department 16 in Canberra, 14 in Sydney and 15 in Melbourne. All but two of these positions are occupied at present. The cost of the services is covered by division 340.1.01. The $40,000 appropriated under division 340.2.06 is for the payment for outside translation services, that is for work which cannot be covered by the languages of the departmental translators. I point out to the honourable member that 45 positions for translators are available within the Department and 43 of these are presently filled. The other point the honourable member made this evening and earlier today related to the Galbally inquiry. He said it was a waste of money by this Department. In fact, as is unfortunately fairly frequently the case, the honourable member is astray in his facts. The money is not appropriated from my Department. It comes from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- You keep passing the buck. Tell me who is responsible. {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR: -- I am merely answering the honourable member. He said that the inquiry was a waste of money by my Department. It is certainly not a waste of money. I have nothing but admiration for the way in which the Galbally Committee is going about its work. The members of that Committee are working extremely hard. They have travelled widely and spoken to a great number of people in a short time. We are already beginning to see the fruits of the work. The honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Antony Whitlam)** is, I am glad to see, back in the chamber. Earlier today he made a categorical statement that what I had said in the House was wrong, and that was that we had not developed an entrepreneurial policy in relation to entry to Australia. He nods his head. Let me point out to him that in the period from November 1976 to September 1977- in November 1976 we introduced a policy concerning people with entrepreneurial skills who were intending to transfer funds of $200,000 or more- 36 applications have been approved. Funds stated to be available for transfer at the date of approval total $ 14.3m. Approximately $6.8m of this amount is associated with the purchase of rural holdings, $S.4m is destined for manufacturing and $2m for service industries, including importexport agencies. I think this demonstrates quite conclusively that yet another member of the Opposition is simply astray in his facts. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- Tell us about the Church of All Nations classes. {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR: -- I shall come to that. I wanted also to draw the attention of the honourable member for Grayndler to this matter of citizenship. I do not resile at all from my attitude towards citizenship. I believe that Australian citizenship is something to be prized very greatly. I again make the statement that I do not think it is something which people should feel forced to take. I believe that it is a very personal decision which anybody can make. I do not believe that it is in the best interests of people coming to Australia for them to feel somehow that they are expected to become Australian citizens. In saying that I make the point again that I am very very pleased when people do make the decision to become Australian citizens. When they do make that decision I shall assist them in every way possible. The honourable member for Corio **(Mr Scholes)** mentioned that we should make further information about the conditions of citizenship available to people. I am glad to be able to report to him that I checked the brief of a new document which will shortly be available and will do just what he is suggesting that we should do. The honourable member for Grayndler mentioned also that he did not mind politics being introduced at citizenship ceremonies. I do, however, believe it is not in the best interest of citizenship ceremonies if party political, sectarial or racial statements are made at those ceremonies. I have available to me a Press release issued by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr** {: type="A" start="E"} 0. G. Whitlam)- Press Statement No 113, Liverpool Citizenship Ceremony, Liverpool, 15 July 1977- which is sheer party politics. These are some of the things which caused me to write the letter I did write to aU members of Parliament. I make the statement quite categorically that if members on my side of POlitiCS indulged in that sort of behaviour I would be just as critical of it Honourable members have mentioned also that there has been undue delay in the interval between the application for citizenship and the actual granting of citizenship. In fact, in virtually all cases in practically all States the interval between the application and departmental approval has decreased since this Government came to power. People have said that somehow I am against people seeking to become Australian citizens. I point out that over 80,000 citizenship approvals were granted in 1976-77. I am very sorry to hear that people try to put around this mis-statement that the Government is in some way attempting to discourage people from becoming Australian citizens. We are not. What we do say, though, is that Australian citizenship is something to be prized and not something to be taken lightly. I was very glad that the honourable member for Grayndler mentioned that there was a need for an advertising campaign to inform people of their rights and the services available to them. I am very pleased that a member of the Opposition has supported the Government's initiative in making $100,000 available to advertise throughout the ethnic newspapers the services which are provided by the Federal Government. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- Can you provide us with - {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR: -However, I have one small criticism of the honourable member for Grayndler. If I may say so, as a person who has been here a little longer than he has, I believe that he has a future in this House but I believe that that future will be seriously - {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- Where can we find it? The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order!** I ask the Minister to stop for a minute. I have had a complete earful of the honourable member for Melbourne chatting away to himself, worrying about nobody but himself. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr INNES:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP -- I have had a complete earful of you - {: #debate-21-s10 .speaker-10000} ##### The DEPUTY SPEAKER: -Order! I ask the honourable member to keep bis quiet, as he has made his speech, and allow the Minister to answer the member for Grayndler on this matter. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- I have had an earful of you telling me - The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! I warn the honourable member for Melbourne. {: .speaker-JNO} ##### Mr Baillieu: -- Give him all you have got. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- I will, too. Now throttle back and be sensible, if you can. {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- I am just sure you would. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR: -- I was addressing my remarks to the honourable member for Grayndler. I really believe - {: .speaker-KJA} ##### Mr Innes: -- I will challenge you one day. The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The Minister will resume his seat again. The honourable member for Melbourne will not answer the Chair back. If he can behave with a certain amount of dignity I shall withdraw the warning, but I am not going to warn him again. {: .speaker-0I4} ##### Mr MacKELLAR: -- As I was saying in relation to the honourable member for Grayndler, I believe that his prospects in the House would be enhanced if he were to desist from the personal attacks that he has directed at various members of the Government during his contributions. That occurred again today. I say in a most friendly fashion that I do not think that the dignity of this chamber is in any way enhanced by personal attacks from either side of this chamber on members of this chamber. The honourable member for Corio mentioned the provision of services for migrants in Geelong. He also mentioned grants-in-aid. A number of honourable members have mentioned in the debate the need for services of this nature. I support the honourable member for Corio when he says that efforts by migrants to assist themselves should be recognised and supported by the Government. I certainly agree with that proposition. I think that the honourable members who have made similar points have pointed to the need for perhaps a reorganisation of the administrative arrangements. Of course, that is one of the reasons the Galbally inquiry was instituted. I am sorry that I do not have time to deal with the remarks of all honourable members, but again I thank them for their contributions. If I have overlooked any points I will certainly write to the honourable members concerned about those points. Proposed expenditure agreed to. Department of the Capital Territory Proposed expenditure, $72,616,000. Department of the Northern Territory Proposed expenditure, $63,075,000. {: #debate-21-s11 .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT:
Wills -We are about to discuss the most destructive period in Canberra's recent history. One of the first acts of this Government upon its return to office was to put up the price of land. The Minister for the Capital Territory at the time- fortunately he was there only temporarily-was asked why he did that. He said: 'We needed the money'. In Canberra, where the Government has absolute control over the land situation- the land is owned by the nation, developed by a government corporation and sold through government operations; the whole operation is government controlled- it is using the land as both a piece of government speculation and a piece of government exploitation of the citizen. Land is fundamental to housing and society generally, and for a government to behave in this way is irresponsible in the extreme and anti-social. But that is only just part of it. In the last 18 months there has been a collapse of the construction industry in Canberra and a collapse of the development of Canberra, with all the results that one could expect from that in a city such as Canberra. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr Sainsbury: -- Tell us about the brickworks. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- I will tell the House about the brickworks. When it has a spare brick we will give you a new head. When one destroys construction operations in Canberra, one destroys a great deal of the whole social progress of this city . We have embarked upon a program of stagnation in the national capital. It has meant the collapse of business confidence and has created unemployment. I want to deal expressly with two matters- the housing situation in Canberra and what it means as evidence of what can be done in housing, and the government of Canberra. Firstly, I shall deal with the housing situation. I was unable to speak on housing matters yesterday during consideration of the estimates for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. I want to raise the general question of where the Government fits into housing programs. I object to the term 'welfare housing'. Why do we include the word 'welfare'? Why do we not just talk about housing? We are not in the business of running corporations for the deserving poor. There is a lot to be said for governments conducting their housing operations on what might be called a commercial basis. I want to place before the House the idea that by examining the housing situation in Canberra we could see in what way we could improve the whole housing situation in Australia. First of all, I want to attack the philosophy of the market place in relation to rents on housing. We do not agree with attaching the market place philosophy to any other commodity. If Broken Hill Pry Co. Ltd manages to rig the market so that it is able to put up the price of its products when a scarcity occurs, we turn the Prices Justification Tribunal on it. If the petrol companies engage in that sort of activity, we turn on them also. If the breweries do it there is a howl of wrath and vengeance through the whole community. But in relation to a fundamental social requirement we let the market place rule. We would not allow that to occur in relation to any other commodity. Because rents were forced up in Canberra as a result of a scarcity of housing and rental housing, the philosophy is that we have to put up the rents on government housing to that same level. I regard that as immoral; it is against the general principles of commercial practice in any field that one might care to examine. Canberra has or had approximately 11,000 rental housing units, I think. Over the SO or 60 years that those units have been constructed an investment of perhaps $ 120m has been involved. The figure may be a bit larger, but it is a little hard to determine. Almost all of that money has come out of Consolidated Revenue. It represents a capital investment. It is an equity investment by the people of Australia in housing in Canberra. I suppose the capital value of those units would now be approximately $3 50m. So it represents an enormous capital asset; there is an enormous investment involved and there is an opportunity provided. What have we been doing over the last 18 months or so? We have been pursuing the market place philosophy. Rental receipts have increased from $11,088,000 in 1975-76 to $15,594,607 in 1976-77-that was last year. The estimated receipts this year are $21m. What does that mean? I am glad to see the honourable member for Canberra **(Mr Haslem)** in the chamber. In spite of his charm, the people of Canberra are paying a high price for his presence in the Parliament, because he is part of the voting system, as is the honourable member for Diamond Valley **(Mr Brown).** {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr Brown: -- What system? {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -The system of exploitation of the people of Canberra. That is apparent and implicit in everything that you can read in the estimates. This year the return on rental housing will be $21m. What does it actually cost to run the system? The figures are shown in terms of the actual cost of maintenance, but they seem to me to be very low. Some of the figures must be concealed somewhere in the system. The figure for last year was $l.lm, and the estimate for this year is $1.3m. But when administrative costs and so on are allowed for, the system, to my memory, costs somewhere between $3m and $4m. Perhaps we could get more accurate figures from somewhere; the cost may even be more than that. But a lot more painting than I think they are doing would have to be done before the cost could get around to being more than that. The actual profit then is upwards of between $15m and $ 1 7m on a capital investment of approximately $120m, let us say, and a total capital appreciated value of perhaps $300m. One might argue about what is a reasonable return. I believe that governments are not in the business of making extraordinary profits. They might make a value judgment at some stage and determine that the profit ought to be at a certain level and that it should be achieved in a certain way. But this situation is extraordinary. We would not tolerate anybody else in the community receiving that kind of return. Of course, the argument put forward will be that interest will be paid on the money at 9.25 per cent. One report states that the notional interest was raised to 9V4 per cent. Most of this investment over the 50 years or more since it began has come from Consolidated Revenue. It is equity investment by the people of Australia in the system. Apart from my criticism of this operation, what I am suggesting is that this demonstrates that housing ought to be a commercial operation conducted like any other business, levelling out at a very minimal profit. Instead we have inflicted upon housing all sorts of nonsense like economic rents. What on earth is an economic rent? It is said to be 20 per cent of a person's salary. What on earth has a person's salary got to do with the rent he should pay, unless he is on a low salary, in which case everyone would support the relationship between salary and rent. When buying anything else we do not pay according to our salary. What on earth has the market place got to do with the decision? We do not let it influence other charges. What I am arguing for is a more rational approach to housing. As far as I can determine, there is no housing policy or philosophy in this country in the sense that the Government has set out to say: 'We will supply this kind of housing on these kinds of terms for these sorts of reasons; this is what it costs and this is what you will pay'. It is all beset with some sort of mystical nonsense about other matters. Unfortunately I do not have time to place much else before the Committee. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr BRYANT: -- I admit that one thing at a time is about as much as the honourable member for Griffith can handle. I mention the government of Canberra. I am a fraid that the Legislative Assembly has not done as much legislating as it should have done. I do not think it has accepted its responsibility on the administrative side- on the Australian Capital Territory Schools Commission, the Capital Territory Health Commission and other authorities. I believe the opportunity exists for the unique development of a regional governmental system closely related to the national government. It is very reprehensible that the elections for the Legislative Assembly should have been deferred. There is no excuse whatever for it. Of course, the specious excuse advanced is that the role of the Assembly has not yet been determined, and that therefore the Government wants to keep in the Assembly experienced people to work out the situation- as if anybody will take any notice of them anyhow. One of the great features of this Government is that it does not take any notice of elected advisory bodies such as the Aboriginal Conference, as it is now called, and the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, both of which are basically ignored by Ministers. I think I ought to make almost a demand in the name of democracy and common decency that the elections for the Legislative Assembly should proceed. I ask members of this Parliament to apply themselves thoroughly to the question of housing finance and rental housing by examining the situation in Canberra. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)Order i** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s12 .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr HASLEM:
Canberra -Speaking tonight following the honourable member for Wills **(Mr Bryant)** is indeed a pleasure for me. The honourable member was the Minister for the Capital Territory at one time and he was much loved by many people because he brought to the Australian Capital Territory some of his own philosophies, which included a refusal to increase the rent on government houses, much against the wishes of the then Prime Minister, I understand, and fortunately with the approval of Caucus. The people of Canberra are now being asked to pay their way, and they have had to catch up a little lost time with government rents, thanks to the honourable member for Wills. It has appeared more recently that they have had increases at a quicker rate than they would have liked. The total appropriation for the Capital Territory is $72.6m, compared with $66.4m in the last financial year and a figure of $63.9m actually spent. At a time when the Government is screwing down government expenditure in quite a proper way the Capital Territory has done well. Investigation of the figures indicates that in almost every area we have done exceedingly well, but there are always problems. In the recreation, cultural and community services areas the funds are down marginally. That is very disappointing to me as a local member. In the area of social welfare there is an increase of $ 1.1m. I will return to that later. On the surface, at least, it looks like a good increase. Funds for the fire brigade, the city bus service, the police force and parks and gardens are all up. Funds for government dwellings, services and caretaking also have increased. But, at a time when government rents have increased dramatically, as the honourable member for Wills pointed out, I believe that this Government has a very strong responsibility to maintain those houses in a proper way. It is all very well when one is paying a rent which is much less than market value to put up with a lack of painting and some bad plumbing, but when the landlord says that one must pay the market rate it is a terrible double standard if the landlord does not look after the property properly. Over the next 12 months I certainly will be taking a great deal of interest in just how much money, time and attention is being put into making sure that the 10,000 government dwellings in Canberra in which people and families live are maintained properly. {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- Not another resignation, surely. {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr HASLEM: -- No. I am not up to resigning, because I think that as a young man I still have much energy and that I can do more by staying where I am. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- You will be the member for Canberra for ages. {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr HASLEM: -- I thank the honourable member very much. I refer now to the welfare budget. The welfare budget has increased predominantly because of the need for higher rental rebates. In spite of what the honourable member for Wills said, there is a government housing policy which the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development **(Mr Newman)** has announced and discussed recently with State Housing Ministers. The Government believes that all housing rentals should go up to pretty close to market value but that those people who cannot afford to pay that value should be subsidised on a welfare basis by a rental rebate system. A rental rebate system must be fair and uniform around Australia. At this time it is not. **Mr Deputy Chairman,** I seek leave to have incorporated in *Hansard* a comparison of rental rebates throughout Australia which shows quite clearly that the Australian Capital Territory is not doing too well. Many honourable members on both sides of this chamber are always saying that we the people of the Australian Capital Territory are the favoured people of Australia; that we are pampered and over-indulged. If honourable members look at the comparative table of rental rebates they will see that in most cases people in the States do better than we do. As a local member, that is not acceptable to me. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Giles)-Is** leave granted for the table to be incorporated in *Hansard!* There being no objection, leave is granted. *The table read as follows-* {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr HASLEM: -Further, the rental rebate system is not working well. If somebody wishes to apply for a rental rebate his application is considered on the basis of his average income over the previous six months. Honourable members would appreciate that the income earned in the previous six months by a recently deserted wife, someone who has had an accident or sickness or someone who suddenly has become unemployed bears little relationship to their current problem. It is quite important that the rental rebate system be examinee? closely by the Minister for the Capital Territory and his officers because it is patently unfair to deserted wives or husbands, people suffering from accident or sickness and the unemployed. Another group of people who find it very difficult to meet the rental payments are lone supporting parents. They have an added burden. They do not have a person who can stay at home and look after children; so they have to pay for child care facilities. If they have two or three children, often the rent burden becomes intolerable. I join with **Senator Ryan** in another place in calling upon the Minister for the Capital Territory to review the POliCY and take into account child care payments by lone parents and also family size. Dealing further with the welfare Budget, in the Territory at the moment the welfare branch is under extreme pressure. Unemployment has risen to a level less than that which is being ex- perienced around Australia but certainly much higher than we are used to. Famines in the Capital Territory are not close to relatives. Most people have come here from other places and when they have personal problems they have to fall back on the community and not on their famines. The welfare branch needs more assistance. The extra $ 1.1m it has received is probably not enough. Another area which I think needs assistance in a new city is that of community development officers. Most municipalities have community development officers financed through the municipal rate or State governments. The city of Queanbeyan, which is only a few kilometres from here, has community development officers. Tn Canberra there are some community development officers but not enough. For an expenditure of some $60,000 or $70,000 we could have four community development officers in Canberra, one for the south side, one for the north side, one for Belconnen and one for Woden and Tuggeranong. {: .speaker-KNA} ##### Mr Martyr: -- And one for Parliament House. {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr HASLEM: -I imagine that some members from Western Australia do get a little lonely here and perhaps they could get some succour from a community development officer, if that was necessary. Another area about which I wish to speak in closing is that of constitutional development for the Australian Capital Territory. The Territory is about to get a say in its own affairs. Its Legislative Assembly is about to be given powers. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly how much it costs to run the Territory, and I am pleased to say tonight that the Minister for the Capital Territory **(Mr Staley)** has agreed that the matter of finances and how they will be managed in Canberra should be referred to the Grants Commission for investigation and report. The Minister assured **Senator John** Knight and myself early this week that he would put a proposition to Cabinet suggesting that the whole financial structure of the Territory be examined. I think such an examination will indicate exactly whether we pay our own way or are being paid for by the taxpayers of Australia. If that can be found out, undoubtedly it would give a great deal of enlightenment to the people of Canberra. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s13 .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr FRY:
Fraser -Before I make a few uncomplimentary remarks about the Budget provisions for Canberra, I think the people of Canberra should know that the Minister for the Capital Territory **(Mr Staley)** is not interested enough to be in the House tonight to hear what a really hamfisted job he has made of the administration of Canberra. {: .speaker-9F4} ##### Mr Donald Cameron:
GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND · LP -- He is not here. He is on leave. That is a cheap political point you are trying to make. {: .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr FRY: -- He has not got any votes here but he affects the lives of a lot of people in Canberra and he should be here in the Committee to hear what people have to say about the mess he has made of the administration of Canberra. My colleagues have mentioned a lot of the details of what has happened to Canberra, but looking at the total figure it is quite apparent that the Government has set out to raise another $ 16m in revenue from the people of Canberra through the Budget. The figure of $ 16m might not sound a lot to people in the wealthy States, but there are only 200,000 people in Canberra and only about 100,000 in the workforce. A bit of simple arithmetic will show that that revenue increase will mean $160 a head for every person in the Canberra workforce to meet the extra charges in the Budget, apart from the normal increases in costs and indirect charges. These have taken the form of increases in a whole range of services, particularly in rentals on government houses, bus fares, liquor licences, parking fees and infringements, rates, adjustments in rental rebates- that will fall very heavily on people on low incomes- car registrations and licences. It is quite amazing that at a time when we are trying to conserve energy and encourage people to have small cars, the Government more than doubled the cost of registration of small cars and brought it up to the cost of registering big cars. The cost of registering a Honda Civic went from $21 to $57. I do not know how that squares with government policy on the provision of incentives to people to drive smaller cars. In Canberra the incentive is to drive bigger cars. There is no question of the people in Canberra expecting things for nothing. They want to pay their way, but they want to know where they stand. They do not know where they stand when the Government uses the Australian Capital Territory in the most cynical and blatant way to play politics in the Australian electorate. It is very good politics for the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** and his Ministers to go around Queensland and Western Australia and say: 'Look at what we have done to Canberra. We have cut these Canberra people back to size'. It is good politics, but it is a very blatant and cynical way to treat two electorates which are supposed to have the same rights and privileges as any other electorate in Australia. The Government has failed to come to some definite arrangement or some formula by which Canberra receives some sort of subsidy which is in some way comparable with the per capita grants received by the States. It has been pointed out on many occasions that if Canberra received a somewhat similar subsidy to that received by the less populous States such as Tasmania, Western Australia or even South Australia, and if due allowances were made for national capital elements of costs in Canberra, we in Canberra would pay our way. We would know where we stood. The local administrators, the members of the Legislative Assembly, would be in a better position to levy rates. They would know where they stood. They would know how much they had to make up. The people would be able to decide whether they could afford to pay for those extra services or not. Under the present system we never know. We are used as a political football. Savage cuts are made, not to save money but to get political mileage in the States. I think that is a most blatant and disgraceful thing to do. Morale in the Public Service has never been lower. Public Service ceilings have placed severe strains on members of the Service. Above all, the ceilings have destroyed the employment opportunities for thousands of young people in Canberra. Opportunities for people to train themselves to acquire certain skills for particular positions in the Public Service have been practically closed off. The building industry has been sacrificed and thousands of tradesmen have left Canberra. The unemployment rate here has not been heard of previously and is as high as anywhere in Australia. Traditionally there has not been much unemployment here. Now we have something like 5,000 people unemployed. These cuts in the Public Service and the building industry have had a devastating effect on small businesses in Canberra. Hardly a day goes by when I do not have a small businessman ring up and say: 'Can't you do something? We are ruined. We put all our savings in this little business. Our rents are extremely high. The Government has done nothing for us. It has destroyed our prospects of growth. It has destroyed the building industry. It has cut down overtime and has cut staff ceilings in the Public Service. We are going into liquidation'. It is not only small businesses; quite substantial businesses in Civic Centre, Canberra, which have been there for many years have been forced to close their doors or go into liquidation. The Government has been particularly remiss on the question of self-government. It is all right for my colleague **Mr Haslem** to say 'shortly' or 'soon'. The Government has been saying this from the day it was elected. Self-government is as far away as ever. It is always going to happen next year. The Liberal and National Country parties have been saying that since I was a member of the Advisory Council, before I was elected to this Parliament. There has been a series of broken promises, one after the other. I have no confidence at all that the Minister will be able to sell a substantial form of self-government to his colleagues in Cabinet. They are really not interested in giving to the people of Canberra the rights that other people enjoy. I recently did a trip through Europe where I looked at the economies and spoke to government people. The philosophy of this Government is out of step with that of every country in the world. Every country in Europe that I visited is attempting reflation. They are not deflating; they are reflating. Those governments are trying to stimulate investment. Some of them have left it for too long. That is what I am afraid will happen in this country. If you leave it too long, the people lose confidence and no matter what you do they will not invest- certainly not just because the Government wants them to, or offers them some minor concession by way of rebates or allowances for the purchase of new plant. Once people lose confidence it is very hard to re-instil confidence in them. That has been the problem in other countries: They have set targets to stimulate growth and expansion but the targets simply have not been met because, although the money is there the people will not invest. I am afraid that that is what is happening in this country also. It is time the Government began trying to reflate the economy. It is already too late to expect quick results. I am afraid, that much as in Europe we are in for a time before there will be any real recovery in this country. European economists say there will be no real recovery there until 1980 or even later, and I think Australia's recovery could come even later. The only thing on which I would like to congratulate the Government is the fact that it has ensured that the Labor Party will win back the seat of Canberra at the next election. I have a great deal of sympathy for my colleague, John Haslem, because he does not deserve to have that happen, but he must bear the odium that has resulted from the disgraceful way that the Government has treated the people of Canberra. I have no doubt at all that the people will express their opinion of the Government very strongly indeed through the ballot box at the very first opportunity, and the sooner the better as far as they are concerned. {: #debate-21-s14 .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY:
Monaro · Eden -- I listened with great interest to the remarks of the honourable member for Fraser **(Mr Fry)** and appreciate that he, as does the honourable member for Canberra **(Mr Haslem),** works very hard for his electorate in the Australian Capital Territory, but he misrepresents the Government when he says that it has mistreated the people of Canberra. If one looks around this place and sees the numbers of people at work in very good occupations with good salaries, one sees that they are very well off compared with the rest of Australia Perhaps it is due partly to his very good work on their behalf, but it is certainly also due partly to the very good work of the honourable member for Canberra. When the honourable member for Fraser talks about recovery in 1980 as distinct from recovery earner than that in some other countries of the Western world, it merely attests to the fact that the previous Government made it just that much harder for this country to recover at an early date. If honourable members spoke to people who know about economic equations, about Budget deficits and balance of payments problems, they would realise that some of the difficulties that we faced at the end of 1975, and that we have not been able to solve overnight, were caused by a complete ignorance of the economic process and a complete disregard for the people, for the little men of Australia, who want only to work and achieve. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Which particular policies showed that? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -I do not like to have interjections by people who prefer bricks on heads, but if the honourable member will look at the position of the people of Canberra, whose rates and transportation are subsidised - {: .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr Fry: -- How are they subsidised? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -In their facilities, and many of them are subsidised as to their rates of pay by the general taxpayer. {: .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr Fry: -- In what way? {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -I think we should sober up and say that the people of Canberra just had to settle down at some stage. {: .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr Fry: -- They pay their taxes. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -- Yes, they pay a lot in tax because they are all making a lot of money. But as a member of an electorate adjoining Canberra I suppose it is easy to be over-critical of the situation. It is easy for the have-nots to look inside the fence and say, 'There are the haves'. From what you see when you look around the place every Sunday morning you know that the haves do live in the Australian Capital Territory, but it is easy to be over-critical and I should not like to be so. We have had problems: We had the problems of the Whitlam era, when there was a takeover bid for some of the area in New South Wales; when there was a great degree of empire building, as there was in so many other Public Service areas, when the Australian Capital Territory wanted a bit more land, since it was talking about expanding very rapidly to accommodate a population of half a million. People who thought in that way did not think about the long term demography of Australia. They did not realise that partly because of the Labor Party's immigration policy and partly because of the downturn in the birth rate, Australia was growing at a rate of about 114 per cent compared with the 9 per cent at which the Labor Party wanted the Australian Capital Territory to grow. How could that sort of growth be sustained in the Australian Capital Territory when the rest of Australia was growing at only one-sixth of that rate? Where were the people to come from? Was there to be some sort of birth explosion campaign in the Australian Capital Territory? Certainly there was not going to be immigration; the Labor Party demonstrated that it was not in favour of immigration in this country. That was demonstrated clearly by the severe cutbacks that have only recently been reversed because of the change of government. I could be critical about a number of aspects of the Australian Capital Territory. A degree of priority is given to people in aged persons establishments in the Australian Capital Territory just because they happen to live here, even though the rest of Australia helps to pay for those facilities through taxpayers' funds. Some good things are happening in the Australian Capital Territory. The technical education authorities are showing a great deal of compassion. They reiterated to me recently that there would be plenty of opportunities open to people in Queanbeyan just across the border. Perhaps I am often far too critical about Canberra, when you belong to the have-nots and look across the fence at the haves. The Disneyland boom, as the honourable member for Canberra has often said, was most unfortunate. There cannot be rapid changes in any field of government activity without a lot of people suffering. This is what has happened in the Australian Capital Territory. {: .speaker-JXQ} ##### Mr Fry: -- That is what has happened since you blokes got into government. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -If the honourable member for Fraser wants to keep the Australian Capital Territory growing at 9 per cent he will do it to the detriment of a lot of people in this region in towns such as Goulburn and Cooma. The people have to come from somewhere. {: .speaker-KOB} ##### Mr Haslem: -Especially in his electorate. {: .speaker-L0J} ##### Mr SAINSBURY: -As the honourable member for Canberra has said, this applies especially in the electorate of Fraser. This rapid growth cannot be sustained in a country which has cut down on its immigration intake because of Labor's policies, and in a country which has a rapidly decreasing birthrate. To say that people can all be stuck in one place in the government sector- people who were not there before- to the detriment of the productive manufacturing and primary industry sectors does not work. There have been unfortunate effects on Queanbeyan which is right next door. Only this week there was a deputation to one of the Ministers about the strain on some of the services because of the rate of growth. Effluent from Queanbeyan 's sewerage system pollutes the precious water of the people of Canberra; and we know how precious those people are. Those strains are evident in my electorate. We cannot be expected to provide all the money just to keep Canberra pure. Under normal country area growth rate that would not have been necessary. We could have afforded and done all those things necessary to keep the people in Canberra pure. There is an over-supply of flats in Queanbeyan created in large measure by the fact that there was a tremendous increase in the number of public servants who needed accommodation; the public servants who, of course, were paid for by the taxpayer. At present there is an over-supply of labour in the building industry. Again, this was caused by people who were attracted into that industry here. As I have said, this could not have gone on forever. The people of Australia who were paying for the growth of Canberra, because they pay the salaries of public servants, could not have been expected to suffer a 9 per cent growth rate. This was one of the things that the previous Government did which appeared good in Canberra. Nevertheless, the people on the south side of Canberra gave their votes to the present honourable member for Canberra who I am sure will be here for a long time. But this was one of the things done in a hasty fashion in which the equations of economics were not looked at properly. At last we are settling down to a basic, steady growth rate of 1 W per cent in some areas, but in Canberra I understand the growth is still at boom rates. I would like to spend the last couple of minutes of my speech pointing out that I am often critical about things that go on in Canberra, and there are many times when I do not see eye to eye with John Haslem, the honourable member for Canberra. We had a recent case when the licensing of public houses was increased. I suppose, in some measure, I was to blame in that case because I could not see why there should be some discrimination against Queanbeyan public houses as distinct from Canberra public houses. There have been a number of instances like this one. But as a member of Parliament, whose electorate adjoins the electorate of the honourable member for Canberra, I can say only that his independence and his non-party politics in favour of those people whom he represents in this place have been, as was the case when the Territory was represented by the late Jim Fraser, of great benefit to the people of the Territory. I hope that the people of Canberra will see the staff ceilings as being imposed in a responsible fashion. I hope they see that they have an independent sort of candidate who is a Liberal, who sees Australia as a country which must be able to afford these public servants and as a person who is always determined, as I have read in so many media reports, to go out and fight for those whom he represents. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s15 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter -The Committee is debating the estimates for the Department of the Capital Territory and the Department of the Northern Territory. I want to direct my remarks mainly to the Estimates which concern the Northern Territory. I place emphasis on the fact that one of the greatest social problems ever to face the people of this country is the drinking problem in the Northern Territory and the lack of provision or positive action to overcome this grievous social evil. In my view, the estimates do not show any marked increase, except what is provided as increased expenditure to offset the effects of inflation in this country. The estimated expenditure in the Northern Territory for this financial year amounts to $63,075,000. {: .speaker-KNA} ##### Mr Martyr: -- Not enough. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I do not believe it is enough. I have some knowledge of the Northern Territory, having visited it on numerous occasions. During the period of the Whitlam Government I had the honour and pleasure of being chairman of the Joint Committee on the Northern Territory. We know that the Northern Territory suffered a great setback through Cyclone Tracy. I believe that the government of the day did all in its power to rebuild Darwin. This has been practically achieved at this time. The Darwin Reconstruction Commission is about to be wound up, if this is not the case already. I wish to deal with the drinking problems of Aborigines. I have expressed my feelings on these problems in this place before. Some years ago, I received the support of the former honourable member for Bradfield, **Mr Harry** Turner. On several occasions I have had the support of a former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Social Services, the honourable member for Mackellar **(Mr Wentworth).** Like other honourable members they are very conversant with the problems of Aboriginals drinking in the Northern Territory. Yesterday, I looked through the files in the Parliamentary Library relating to the problem of Aboriginal drinking. I regret that some positive steps have not been taken already to create proper drinking facilities for the Aborigines in the Northern Territory, particularly on a non-profit basis. **Mr Deputy Chairman,** you would be well aware from your worldly experiences both before and after coming to this place, that if the profit motive can be negated - {: .speaker-KNA} ##### Mr Martyr: -How about- {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- It does the honourable member for Swan **(Mr Martyr)** no credit to try to make a joke out of a very serious problem that affects Aborigines. {: .speaker-KNA} ##### Mr Martyr: -I am as serious about it as you are. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- He is not concerned at all, judging by his frivolous interjections. I do not think the problem of Aboriginal drinking can be negated unless some control is placed on the profit motive in the retail sale of liquor. It is obvious to anyone with any knowledge that many advantages resulted from the licensing of clubs in New South Wales, despite the evils of poker machines. Clubs created an atmosphere of civilised drinking. Many white people misbehave and over indulge in hotels. The whole purpose of the sale of liquor in hotels is to swell the profits of the publican who wishes to enhance himself in the eyes of the breweries as being a person who can increase sales. That is how the breweries in New South Wales in the main assess a publican's value. A publican who replaces another publican and can increase his beer sales by another three or four 18-gallon kegs a week gets a higher rating in the eyes of the breweries. The same thing prevails to a substantial degree in the Northern Territory. A person who goes into the hotel game in the Northern Territory does so with the sole purpose of recouping his investment in his hotel or licence. Human nature being what it is, this situation will continue to prevail. I hope that the Minister for the Northern Territory **(Mr Adermann)** will do something in a positive manner about this grievous social problem in the Northern Territory. I will continue to harp on this matter as long as I am in this Parliament until something is done. At least I had some experience of dealing with society before coming to this place. As long as the profit motive is allowed to continue in the liquor industry in the Northern Territory the liquor interests in the main will pour their grog into white, black or brindle as long as they have two bob in their pockets and pour them out on to the streets for the police to pick up. The job of the police in the Northern Territory is made more difficult because the offence of drunkenness has been abolished in the Northern Territory. I personally was not in agreement with that abolition. {: .speaker-JTW} ##### Mr Calder: -- Your Government did it. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I will not go into who did it. I am trying to make a sincere contribution but if the honourable member wants to switch me around to attack his Government on the subject I will do so. Now that the honourable member has prompted me, let me say that private enterprise, which the Liberal and National Country Parties so fervently pursue, should be prepared to abandon the profit principle in the sale of liquor in the Northern Territory to help to overcome the tragic problem of Aboriginal drinking. {: .speaker-EG4} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Tell us what should be done, Bert. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- We should nationalise the retail sale of liquor and kill the profit motive of the publican. I have never been more positive. If I had my say the first thing I would like to see nationalised in this country is the liquor industry in the Northern Territory. I believe the honourable member would see my point if he came around the Northern Territory with me. I wish to refer to an article which appeared in the Brisbane *Courier-Mail* of 4 January 1974. The article which was headed 'Aborigines die in parks 'states: >The Federal Health Minister **(Dr Everingham)** said from Rockhampton yesterday he would not allow nursing staff to return to the Hooker Creek or Yuendumu missions until they had police protection. The article goes on to talk about the reckless drinking by Aborigines. Grog is poured into them as long as they have two bob in their pocket. Another article appeared in the Adelaide *Advertiser* of 18 September under the heading 'Aboriginal "Massacre " '. It reads: >An Aboriginal tribe on a NT mission station was being slowly 'massacred' by liquor, a professor of anthropology claimed yesterday. But the Labor Government did do something positive. I expect the honourable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr Calder),** who is to be the next speaker in this debate, to inform the chamber and me in particular- he would know more about this than I would- about what a great success the purchase of the hotel at Finke outside Alice Springs to cater for civilised drinking by the Aborigines has been. So, whatever errors **Senator Cavanagh** made when he was the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, I believe that that was a progressive step that he took. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s16 .speaker-JTW} ##### Mr CALDER:
Northern Territory -- Unfortunately I will have to spend some of my 10 minutes replying to the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James),** with his expertise in relation to the Northern Territory. He has brought up the problem of drinking by Aborigines. Let me say here and now that some of the worst offenders in supplying alcohol to Aborigines are the Aborigines themselves. They do it on the Arnhem Land coast; they do it on the South Australian border; and they do it everywhere in between. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- You do not have a personal interest, do you? {: .speaker-JTW} ##### Mr CALDER: -- I am not saying that I am in favour of it. I am saying that it happens. In these estimates an amount of $9.9m is allocated for the Northern Territory Police Force. If honourable members look through the documents they will see that at least six or seven items are to do with police stations on Aboriginal missions and settlements and in towns. These services have been requested by the Aboriginal people themselves to try to overcome the alcohol problem amongst Aborigines. The honourable member for Hunter is quite right in what he says about the Finke hotel. It was bought and it has been operating successfully. I might say that two of the directors are Country-Liberal Party members. One is the former member for MacDonnell, David Pollock, for whom the people in the area did not vote but whom the people have now requested to come back and assist them. They say: 'He is a proper good fellow, that one. We want him. We did not know we were getting this other fellow'. The other director, of course, is **Senator Bernie** Kilgariff. This Government also is supporting the purchase of the Daly River licence to assist in overcoming the alcohol problem amongst Aborigines in the Daly River, Pepimanarti and Port Keats area. So, something positive is being done by this Government. The honourable member for Hunter would be aware that the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs has as one of its references the problem of Aboriginal alcoholism in the Northern Territory. Some 21 reports have been written on alcoholism in and around the Northern Territory. So, not only this Government but also the Labor Government have had a chance to act on those reports. This Government at this time is bringing to fruition the recommendations contained in a report on Aboriginal alcoholism in the Northern Territory. So I think the remarks of the honourable member for Hunter, in attacking the Government and saying that it has done nothing, were somewhat premature. These estimates for the Department of the Northern Territory total $63m. An amount of $25.4m is allocated under division 457 for expenditure by the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in respect of matters under section 4ZE of the Northern Territory (Administration) Act. This is a direct result of the Government's interest in the Northern Territory and of the implementation of the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Northern Territory, of which the honourable member for Hunter was Chairman and I his Deputy Chairman. So we were associated not only with the grog problem of Aborigines but also with the implementation of further constitutional development for the Northern Territory. We find that the appropriation for the Department of the Chief Secretary, which includes an allocation for the police force, is $10,971,600. The appropriation for the police unit is up by $ 1.1m this year to, I think that the amount is - {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- Have you lost your page? {: .speaker-JTW} ##### Mr CALDER: -No. Actually I have it in front of me. I am just trying to find the exact figure for the honourable member so that he will not be worried. The amount allocated for the police force is most important. It is good to see that the force will be getting its directions from the Northern Territory. When the Australian Labor Party was in government it tried to take the control and administration of the Northern Territory Police Force away from the Northern Territory. It also abolished the Special Branch which was providing a lot of evidence which is very necessary on our life today, especially in the north. Former **Senator Murphy** abolished that Branch but he had no idea of what was going on in the Northern Territory. Perhaps he did know. Perhaps he wanted to have an influx of drug takers and undesirable people into the north. He certainly did away with the Special Branch which was countering that sort of offensive against Australia. We see from the figures that the vote for the Northern Territory Police Force is $9,924,200. We hope that the force will continue and that its morale will build up from the low level reached when Labor was in government because of the hostile acts directed against it by the people I have mentioned. Another department that comes under the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, the vote for which we are debating under division 457 of Appropriation Bill (No. 1 ), is the Department of Community and Social Development. The local members of the Assembly know where money should be spent and so we see that the expenditure on consumer protection is up by approximately $12,000, on social welfare by $150,000, on the Arts Council by $45,000, on recreation reserves by $140,000 and on Alice Springs mosquito protection by $5,000. That is really something. It shows the interest that local members have. Three other departments come under the administration of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. We have the Department of Transport and Industry with a budget of $3.5m. Bush fire control comes under that department. I am sure that honourable members, and the honourable member for Hawker **(Mr Jacobi)** in particular, know only too well that this may be a bad season for bush fires. I am glad to see that that vote is up by $20,000 this year. The Department of Finance and Planning has been allocated $759,000. The Department of Resources and Health has an appropriation of approximately $3m. In this item there is an increase of $220,000 for wildlife and national parks. There is a rise from $500,000 to $713,000 for the Northern Territory Tourist Board. I hope that the tourist facilities m the Territory will be allowed to reach the standards which are expected of them by the people who promote this area. It is no use promoting the area when the facilities are unable to cope with tourists. I also note that the Northern Territory Reserves Board has been granted Sl.lm. This Board has done a tremendous job throughout the Northern Territory. There seems to be some differences of opinion between the organisation set up by the Labor Government which is now running the national parks and wildlife services and the Northern Territory Reserves Board. I am certain that they will sort out their differences of opinion and will turn Ayers Rock and other places in the Northern Territory into superb tourist attractions. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-21-s17 .speaker-EE6} ##### Mr VINER:
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs · Stirling · LP -- I wish to make a few short remarks in reply to some of the comments made about the estimates for the Department of the Capital Territory and the Department of the Northern Territory. I wish to refer particularly to the most unfair comments of the honourable member for Fraser **(Mr Fry)** concerning the absence of the Minister for the Capital Territory **(Mr Staley)** from the House tonight. Had the honourable member for Fraser been more concerned about what is going on in the Department of the Capital Territory and the Minister's office, he would know that the Minister is in Melbourne representing the Australian Capital Territory at a Federal and State Ministers conference, a meeting of the Australian Transport Advisory Council. For the information of the honourable member for Fraser, I point out that the Minister for the Capital Territory attends almost all conferences of Federal and State Ministers because, not unnaturally, he represents the Territory in almost all portfolios, whether it be transport, social welfare or other areas. The Minister is assiduous in attending these meetings of Federal and State Ministers. It is for that reason that he is not here tonight. I am sure that the people of Canberra appreciate the reason for his absence. Likewise, I mention also that the Minister for the Northern Territory **(Mr Adermann)** is present at the same national conference. The honourable member for Wills **(Mr Bryant)** referred to housing in the Capital Territory. He particularly raised the question of welfare housing. I should point out to the House that the system operated in the Australian Capital Territory is based upon the system operated in the States and also is based upon a means test. In the Australian Capital Territory, it is based upon 90 per cent of average weekly earnings, plus an allowance for dependent children. The overall housing account for the last year within the Australian Capital Territory showed a loss. In other words, for the information of the honourable member for Wills, the Government made a grant of about $100,000. So the Government is not recovering the cost of providing housing in the Australian Capital Territory. In the current Budget the Government is providing $3m in the form of rental rebate to assist pensioners and other low income earners who are tenants of Government dwellings. I think the remarks of the honourable member for Canberra **(Mr Haslem)** ought to be particularly noted because he clearly said to the people of Canberra that he intends to be assiduous in their interests to see that the quid pro quo for any increase in rentals will be greater care and maintenance of housing by the landlord. In relation to the remarks of the honourable member for Fraser I was intrigued to hear what he said about small businesses in Canberra in complete disregard of the statement put down by the Treasurer **(Mr Lynch)** in the House only today which dealt with the Government's additional policy towards small business; that is additional to what has already been introduced by way of taxation reform in particular and the recovery of the economic health of the nation. As the Treasurer pointed out, recovery in the economy across the board will assist small businesses even more than large businesses. A further decline in the rate of inflation will assist small businesses to cope with the demands for expansion which one generally finds with small businesses through the entrepreneurial spirit which the proprietor brings to it. So as the economy recovers we will find the signs directly flowing to small businesses. I feel quite sure that when small businessmen read the statement of the Treasurer and understand the commitment of the Government in pursuit of its policy of supporting free enterprise they will see what we have already done. Through the 40 per cent investment allowance, the trading stock valuation adjustments and the change in Division 7 taxation permitting an increase from 50 per cent to 60 per cent in the amount of profits which private companies can retain without incurring undistributed profits tax, plus the proposals to expand the charter of the Commonwealth Development Bank to enable it to lend to all kinds of businesses and also to extend the activities of the Australian Industry Development Corporation, as well as the other initiatives which the Government has taken in providing counselling and information services to small business, businesses in Canberra will appreciate the activities of the Government. As Minister for Aboriginal Affairs I take up very quickly what the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** said about the drinking problems of Aboriginals. The problems are there, but when we speak about the drinking problems of Aboriginals, let us recognise that . drinking is a problem for all Australians. If we look at the statistics we will see that drinking is the first or second major health problem for the Australian community. So we ought not to isolate the problem among Aboriginals in order to make it appear as though they are the only people who have this problem. I conclude by advising the honourable member for Hunter that one of the most satisfying signs in Aboriginal affairs today in this field, as among others, is the way in which the Aboriginals are committing themselves to do something to overcome these problems. They are not looking exclusively to the Government to protect them. They are seeking ways in which they can support themselves. The honourable member for Northern Territory **(Mr Calder)** and his colleague **Senator Kilgariff** are very active in making representations to me to assist Aboriginals wherever they wish to assist themselves to overcome this and other problems. Through the combined efforts- not the solitary effort of government- of government and Aboriginal people I am quite sure there Will be a marked improvement in this area in the years ahead. Proposed expenditures agreed to. Department of National Resources Proposed expenditure, $52,0 1 1,000. Department of Overseas Trade Proposed expenditure, $65,60 1 ,000. Department of the Special Trade Negotiator Proposed expenditure, $ 100,000. {: #debate-21-s18 .speaker-CV4} ##### Mr JACOBI:
Hawker -- I address my remarks to the estimates for the Department of National Resources. Last September the Minister for National Resources **(Mr Anthony)** tabled the report of the National Energy Advisory Committee on proposals for an Australian energy conservation program. In my view it was a waste of both print and utterance. There is little or nothing in the report that has not already been more lucidly and cogently stated. Most of the recommendations of the Committee concerning conservation, which is by far the most important aspect of energy conservation, were covered in far greater detail by the Royal Commission on Petroleum particularly in its fourth report which was handed to the Government last year. In fact the key recommendation of the report only recently rejected by this Government was the establishment of an industry agency to reform the current shambles which purports to be a petroleum marketing system and to prepare an energy conservation program. The first recommendation of NEAC, if I can refer to it as such, is that the Government in collaboration with the States, institute a conservation program and that a special group within the Department of National Resources be established to oversee its implementation. That recommendation is made 18 months after the recommendations of the Royal Commission. We are back to square one. NEAC lists as one of its topics for investigation the review of the motor vehicle exhaust emission standards. Marvellous! The 900-page fifth report of the Royal Commission on Petroleum in October last year devoted a large section to this question. The partial replacement of motor spirit by liquefied petroleum gas gets a one paragraph notation in the report. It was the subject of 250 pages in the sixth report presented last year. Now a number of State governments have prepared reports on energy needs. The report of the South Australian Committee on Energy was presented last year. The Victorian Green Paper was presented in March this year. Both are much more comprehensive in the surveys on energy and conservation than the NEAC report. It is the Government which is responsible for the lack of action on energy conservation. It has ample information from local and overseas sources to inform it on what is required on any energy conservation program, but it has used NEAC as an instrument to delay any forms of effective action. The reasons are obvious. An energy policy will be expensive; it will mean an increase in staff; it will mean that some measures taken within Federal Government departments will be unpopular. The Government is not willing to take effective action for those three basic reasons. Let me expose some of the glaring anomalies. One has only to turn to the thorny question of allocation. The system of allocation of Australian crude was devised when there was no energy crisis. Indeed there was a penalty associated with its use. The original price was a bit over $2 a barrel above world parity. The system was devoted so as not to penalise any one company heavily for its absorption of indigenous crude oil. Nowadays the price is only one-third of world parity price so a huge advantage falls to each company to which crude is allocated. The allocation to any oil company is determined by the levels of sales of certain petroleum products, called Category A products, during a stipulated period. Whilst there appears to be substantial benefit to Australia through lower than world average prices, there are anomalies which are not, I declare, in the national interest. Let us look at some. Firstly, Category A products- which are almost exclusively produced from imported crude- include at least one anomaly. Secondly, there are not specific incentives for an oil company to produce the nationally much needed transport fuels rather than the substitutable fuel oil. Thirdly, products imported in their finished state may qualify for an allocation of Australian crude oil. Fourthly, some fuels, for example inland sales, may in metropolitan areas qualify for an allocation whilst other fuel oils, that is OF sales usually made in remote mining areas, do not. The advantage to companies of about $40 per tonne from making inland sales rather than CIF sales means that they are reluctant to move fuel out of metropolitan sales where strong competition exists, especially for natural gas, into CIF sales where the demand is met entirely by imported products. This has led to a situation in which, in order to retain a strong hold in metropolitan markets, companies have reduced fuel oil prices to as low as $35 per tonne compared with the maximum Prices Justification Tribunal approved price of $74 per tonne. We ought to look at that. As a consequence of the failure of companies to balance national supply and demand by shipping fuel oil which is surplus in metropolitan areas to remote areas where it is in short supply, the Australian coastal fleet is under-utilised while ships used for imports fly flags of convenience. It is a disgrace. The sixth anomaly is that companies attempt to base their pricing decisions on faulty economics. Prices for instrumental parcels of allocation products are often determined as though incremental indigenous crude oil was available as a result of their sales. With indigenous crude oil production finite and supplying less than 70 per cent of Australian needs, this clearly is not correct. The National Country Party ought to make some observations and listen to this: Repeatedly representations have been made to the Department of National Resources to have the allocation formula changed. The split nature of fuel oil, where some fuel oil qualifies for an allocaton and some does not as mentioned before, is not in the national interest for the following reasons: Consumers in remote areas of Australia are paying $70 to $80 per tonne for fuel oil whilst their counterparts in the city are paying less than half this figure due to the allocation formula. In Sydney alone there is developed a surplus of some 500,000 to 1,000,000 tonnes per annum of fuel oil which the oil companies claim cannot be processed into transportation fuel because of the limitation of refinery capacity. The lead time for a correction of the situation would be some three to four year and, to my knowledge, no oil company has yet committed itself to this further expenditure. This surplus, which is causing a price depression, could be eliminated completely by a program of trans-shipping fuel oil from metropolitan to remote areas. This could be encouraged immediately by a change to the allocation formula. As a consequence of what I have mentioned, Australia is paying out perhaps $100m per annum unnecessarily in foreign exchange and consumers of fuel oil in the country's remote areas are paying about $20m more than they ought to pay. It ought to be noted that in 1976, if my recollection is correct, about 2 million tonnes of fuel oil were imported into Australia as a finished product. The allocation formula was struck in the energy-wise days of 2968 to solve the national problem of spreading more equitably over all oil companies a small penalty involved in the above world average price of Aus.tralian crude oil. I submit that the scene in 1977 is vastly different from that in 1968. There is an energy crisis. Energy prices have risen dramatically. Australian energy resources are being misallocated and manipulated. I strongly recommend to the House that it closely examine the serious anomalies of national resource usage which has been generated in a way intended by the architects of the allocation system and more rapidly than intended to achieve the elimination of these obvious and glaring anomalies I have not time to deal with the Industries Assistance Commission report on diesel fuel except to say that it states, in part, that the situation results in a serious misallocation of resources but that changes in the allocation formula have not been made by the Government because they 'would introduce anomalies and distortions which would upset the established market patterns of the industry'. Who fixes, who manipulates, who distorts the established market patterns? The answer to that is not hard to find. It is the comanies that dominate and control them. I suggest to the Minister for National Resources that it is about time he required his Department to look at what is in fact causing the distortion, which is the marketing pattern of the allocation in this country. {: #debate-21-s19 .speaker-XD4} ##### Mr GOODLUCK:
Franklin -I direct my remarks to oil conservation. Oil plays a key role in the transport on which the modern world depends. It is also the energy source for which we face the most critical shortages. If the present situation is permitted to continue the market price for oil could increase considerably. Governments the world over must make every attempt to forestall such a demand-supply squeeze. They must take active steps to mitigate the effects of having dear oil, which is a certainty irrespective of whether the world demand outpaces the availability. Oil supplies 45 per cent of the world's energy needs and 47 per cent of Australia's energy needs. It will remain for decades the most important source of energy. The Minister for National Resources **(Mr Anthony)** is now preparing a statement that will deal comprehensively with all forms of energy. He has already indicated that a central energy policy must be one of three objectives. Firstly, we must encourage oil exploration and development. Secondly, we must encourage greater economies of energy usage and encourage people to use other fuels in preference to oil. Thirdly, we must foster a more intensive search for alternatives to oil. Each of those objectives requires the price to be increased. That is why the Minister has constantly argued that we should move gradually and predictably towards higher oil prices. The motor vehicle manufacturers have a part to play in this regard. The 4-cyUnder motor vehicle is extremely popular in the Aus.tralian market today, but I am sure that it will increase in popularity and ways of minimising and reducing the petrol consumption will be prime in the minds of the manufacturers if they are to appeal to the consumers in the long term. There are two alternatives to petrol. One of them has already been mentioned tonight. Liquefied petroleum gas is an accepted fuel. Australia has vast quantities of it. Cars and other vehicles have, can and do run successfully on LPG. There are many claims that those vehicles are easier to start, require fewer oil changes, have longer engine life, require less mechanical attention to the engines and emit greatly lowered pollutants in the air, and it is one grade of fuel. Admittedly there are disabilities. There are hmited filling stations, conversions are always needed, the public dislikes to change and, of course, there are the fuel tax problems. But at the moment there is no inducement to convert to LP gas. If we can get options on engines, brakes, unholstery and gear boxes at time of purchase, it only seems reasonable and sensible that we should have an alternative, and that alternative could be a conversion to LP gas. Some incentive must be offered to car builders and the buying public to make the change. As, for example, the Commonwealth Government buys its cars from the major distributors, perhaps it could request them to set a base of, say, approximately 25 per cent of each year's purchases as cars equipped for the use of LP gas. That would cause LPG to become available in the open market in due course. Every mile done on LP gas in Australia represents that saving in energy purchases in petrol from overseas, savings in currency, the employment of Australians and less dependence upon foreign prices. It is interesting to note that the conversion from petrol driven motors to LPG costs approximately $400 to $600. Much of the equipment is transferable to subsequent cars and can therefore be amortised over the life of several cars. I have looked into this matter very carefully. Many taxis in Melbourne are using LPG. As a matter of fact their drivers swear by it. I believe that governments, manufacturers and distributors have a part to play in the conservation of the precious commodity of oil. On current retail costs most taxi operators would expect a fuel saving of about 6c per litre with an average consumption of over 18,000 litres per annum. That gives an annual cost saving of the order of $1,080, coupled with the additional savings which I mentioned previously, such as extended oil changes, cleaner engine running and hence longer engine life and longer spark plug life, added to the benefits of conversion to LP gas would make it desirable and also economical, particularly in lieu of the impending price increases of petrol. To summarise, the advantages of LP gas again are: Firstly, a reduction of exhaust pollution to about 60 per cent less than that of pre-controlled petrol driven engines; secondly, increased life of oil, oil filters, carburettors, batteries and spark plugs, which represents a saving of at least 25c a gallon. Again, the cost of conversion, as I mentioned previously, would be about $600 at the maximum. But the cost occurs only once. At a cost of about $65 the conversion kit can be switched to a new vehicle. Conversion is remarkably simple. All that is needed is a gas tank, usually of about 15 gallons capacity, a converter which is used to reduce the gas from high pressure to atmospheric pressure, and a mixer on top of the carburettor. A converted vehicle usually could be run on petrol or gas, which is a very important point, the selection switch being located on the dashboard. Australia is one of the world's largest producers of LP gas but it exports most of its production. A royal commission into the use of LPG recently was critical of the huge amounts exported to Japan. Esso-BHP's production in Bass Strait during 1976 was a staggering 1.9 million tonnes, of which 1.3 million tonnes was exported to Japan at about $70 per tonne. Domestic consumption was a mere 433,285 tonnes. It is well known in industry circles that Australia's biggest reserves of LPG were yet to be tapped on the North- West Shelf of Western Australia. {: .speaker-NH4} ##### Mr Keating: -- It is all going to Japan at the moment. {: .speaker-XD4} ##### Mr GOODLUCK: -I mentioned that; the honourable member is too late. Most petroleum sources do not see LPG as being a viable alternative to petrol for the average motorist because the cost of conversion would take about four years to recoup. I have mentioned the factor of being able to transfer the kit, and that is the important issue. The cost of installing privately a high pressure tank above ground would be prohibitive, and regulations forbid highly explosive gas to be stored close to a dwelling or footpath. It has been argued - I agree with this-that in a gas powered car about 10 per cent of power is lost in top gear but the car runs and idles more smoothly. In the United Kingdom and in Europe LPG has been used increasingly for many years. It was used extensively as an alternative fuel in oil starved Britain during World War II. For some years the big petrol companies saw it as a threat to their petrol sales, but today it is a most important alternative fuel in the United Kingdom and in such countries as Belgium, Holland, Italy, West Germany and Spain where it is marketed alongside petrol from its own pump and where it is advertised almost extensively as petrol. I am sure that with education, correct promotion and initiatives on the part of the Government, partial conversion to LP gas would greatly reduce the amount of petrol used in Australia each year. I realise that many oil companies have looked at the possibility of recycling waste oil. At the moment waste oil is a pollutant in many areas of Australia. It is tipped on the ground; it is tipped into the rivers; it pollutes playground areas; and it has been an immense problem to local government authorities. I believe that initiatives should be taken by industry and by government to recycle oil, and so once again prove that recycled oil can be used in the modern motor car. I realise that the Opposition has condemned the Government's new policy. It has talked about the orientation to public transport, but I point out that it toiled for the Royal Commission into petroleum but it has been extremely quiet about it. Could it be that the Opposition, as a party, is benefiting from the sale of petroleum by ACTU-Solo Enterprises Pty Ltd. That fact has already been reported frequently. I would hate to call **Mr Hawke** a fibber, but it has been said that a promise of one cent a gallon payable by ACTU-Solo to the Labor Council of New South Wales was made and that in fact the Transport Workers Union threatened to go on strike if that one cent was not paid. So I ask honourable members opposite not to talk about the Royal Commission. {: .speaker-KSF} ##### Mr Les McMahon:
SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -You are overdoing it; it is a bad speech. {: .speaker-XD4} ##### Mr GOODLUCK: -That is all right; I love doing it. I believe that the actions of ACTU-Solo, more than any other of the price-cutting jobbers, in a roundabout way is a prime reason why oil companies are in such an unenviable position regarding profitability brought on by the discounting practised in Melbourne and other capital cities. I say quite firmly that I am not against price cutting; only where discrimination - The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)Order!** It being 10.30 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House of 10 March 1977 I shall report progress. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 2045 {:#debate-22} ### ADJOURNMENT Official Establishments Committee- Prime Minister's Lodge-Australian Labor Party Newspaper Advertisement-NSW Building Society-Election in South Australia- The Government {: #debate-22-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! In accordance with the order of the House of 10 March 1977, 1 propose the question: >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-22-s1 .speaker-NH4} ##### Mr KEATING:
Blaxland -In an overt political move, the Chairman of the Official Establishments Committee, **Mr Andrew** Grimwade, has intervened in the most partisan way in a matter of political controversy. **Mr Grimwade** released a statement attacking an Australian Labor Party advertisement which highlighted the extravagances of the Government in an area which directly affected the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser).** The incursion by **Mr Grimwade** into active political debate is without precedent and can be viewed only as an attempt by him to use his official position to get the Prime Minister off the hook. Clearly, the action of **Mr Grimwade** as a public servant is indefensible. Extravagant spending by the Government on official establishments and on furnishings for the Lodge is a matter for the Government, not for **Mr Grimwade** 's Committee. The Committee may make recommendations, but it is a matter for the Government to decide whether recommendations should be acted upon. Therefore, **Mr Grimwade** 's remarks are a trite apologia for the extravagances of the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister's friends from the Melbourne establishment want to come to his political defence, let them do so without the prestige and cover of an official government committee. Jobs for the boys are one thing, but keeping the boys in their place is another. When the rest of the nation is denied adequate Federal funding for essential services the Prime Minister lavishes on the Lodge funds for his comfort, on the dubious basis of a recommendation by this now discredited Committee. Given **Mr Grimwade** 's personal association with the Prime Minister, one has to ponder whether the statement was issued at the Prime Minister's behest. It is now the duty of the Government to remove **Mr Grimwade** from all statutory and official positions. {: #debate-22-s2 .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr NEIL:
St George -The number of attacks that Labor members make on their own leader is quite incredible. We have just heard one now. The honourable member for Blaxland **(Mr Keating)** well knows that the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam)** gave evidence before the Official Establishments Committee and is in favour of certain renovations to the Lodge. The honourable member- a senior member of the Opposition- now stabs bis own leader in the back over the issue. I am reminded that a few months ago there was raised in this House the question of the extravagance of the former Prime Minister. When the Lodge was opened for the new occupants a huge amount of champagne and other wines was found there. When I raised the matter in the House, the Leader of the Opposition came into the chamber all upset and flushed. His complexion was even redder than that of some of his cohorts. He complained bitterly that it was not really cham- pagne; it was other sorts of wine. As I understood im, his major complaint was that in fact the champagne was at Admiralty House. They were swimming in the stuff. I refer to the matter that seems to worry the honourable member for Blaxland. It is the advertisement that was placed in many of the newspapers this week by the National Secretary of the National Executive of the Australian Labor Party, **Mr Combe.** The members of the National Executive must be past masters at distortion, deceit and deception. Firstly, they rely on the newspapers which they usually condemn. They did not advertise in one set of newspapers, but they spent a fortune in using the capitalist Press to get their message across. They say: >The headlines tell the story. In fact they decide to rely on the most sensational gutter Press, as befits many of their own policies, in a national advertisement. They have it printed in such a way that if they went before a jury they would have massive damages awarded against them. One cannot possibly read any of the words in the newspaper front pages set out in the advertisement. All one can see is the headlines, many of which are totally misleading. The advertisement kicks off with a headline about a Minister who resigned but who is once again on the front bench and doing a wonderful job. The advertisement distorts the whole situation. There are three front pages about Medibank. They are dotted all over the page on which the advertisement appears to make it look like two years of work. The advertisement displays only 24 out of approximately 18,000 front pages of newspapers throughout Australia in the last two years. It prints three about Medibank as if there were three different Medibank attacks. They all report the one incident on a particular day. One of the headlines reads: >War on Medibank. In fact, the reports concerned the re-negotiation of the Medibank agreements by the Commonwealth and the States because there were illegalities in them. What an incredible way to portray this situation. Next, the Opposition printed two headlines on the consumer price index. They are headlines number 6 and number IS in numerical order. Anybody looking at them would think that about two months into the term of office of this Government there had been a massive rise in the CPI and then, about eight or nine months later, a massive rise that had stunned the Government. It is the same CPI. It turned out that the Opposition's predictions were a lot of rot anyway. Subsequently, we have seen what has happened to the CPI. It has been considerably moderated. Then, the Opposition dealt with a headline about Abigail being back in *Number 96.* I am sure that even the Labor Party could do a little better than that. There is another headline dealing with Victorian land deals. What does that possibly have to do with the Federal Government? Then, the Opposition talks about the devaluation, which turned out to be a great success. Under it was a stupid headline about a credit squeeze. There was never any credit squeeze. Then, the Opposition talks about Budget cuts. It lends itself to the disgusting rumours that took place earlier this year when people in this community, for political purposes, put fear and dread into people in nursing homes and other disadvantaged people in the community by peddling lies about proposed cuts. There were never any cuts. We all know what was in the Budget. Medibank was retained. The pensioner benefit scheme was retained. These perverters of the truth, these polluters of the public record, put in the newspapers secondhand and thirdhand rumours which were proved to be untrue. At the end of the article the Opposition states that inflation is worse this year than last year. Members of the Opposition are straight out masters of the big lie. The Opposition talks about unemployment but does not put it in proper perspective. It talks about balance. What an hysterical advertisement. Then, it says that the Australian Labor Party needs financial help. When people ask me why they should ever help the Labor Party I tell them to come here, sit in the House for five minutes and look at this lot and listen to their talk and their raving and then go back once again to this disgraceful advertisement by the National Executive of the Australian Labor Party, no doubt financed by the $500,000 that transpired at the breakfast - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-22-s3 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter -A week or so ago I tried to relate to the House a shocking scandal that existed in New South Wales at the top level of the Liberal Party. I refer to a former director of the New South Wales Permanent Building Society, one of the largest building societies in Australia with assets of over $600m. The person who was on the directorship was a senior member of the Liberal Party of New South Wales and was due to retire as a director in 1977 and therefore had to stand for re-election. During his period as a director of the New South Wales Permanent Building Society he obtained personal loans of $ 100,000 contrary to the rules of that Society at a time when many small investors could not obtain personal or housing loans due to a government initiated squeeze. Because of these loans he sought most vigorously to retain his position on the Board, for any failure to do so would be likely to reveal the malpractices in which he was engaged. At the annual general meeting of the New South Wales Permanent Building Society on 12 August last the person- the head of the Liberal Party in New South Wales, as he had been for many years- and four candidates stood for two vacant positions on the Board. At that meeting only one candidate, **Mr N.** D. Thomas, received more than half the votes and he was declared elected under the Society's rules. Under the Society's rules the meeting was adjourned until 9 September to elect the other director. **Dr Fitzpatrick,** the wife of the mayor of North Sydney, and **Mr Love,** together with the senior member of the Liberal Party were aspirants. In order to ensure his re-election and, therefore, to suppress information about his indiscretions the former senior member of the Liberal Party - {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- I rise to a point of order. This matter is subjudice. It was dealt with in the House a few days ago and you gave a ruling at the time. At that time the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** said that he would proceed but not name the particular person. However, he has now identified that person and referred to him by his former office. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -- In regard to the point of order raised by the honourable member for St George, at the moment everything that has been said by the honourable member for Hunter has been published in the newspaper and has been read. I cannot therefore uphold the point of order as the comments being made by the honourable member for Hunter are a matter of public information. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- In order to ensure his re-election and therefore to suppress information about his indiscretion, the leading member of the Liberal Party enlisted the support of many right wing members of the New South Wales Liberal Party. On 8 September 40 new accounts to the value of $250 were opened at branches of the New South Wales Permanent Building Society in Five Dock. Similar excellent business was reported at the Bondi branch and 500 new application forms at the Wynyard branch were also reported earlier last week. This showed clearly the effort being made by this person's supporters in the Liberal Party to ensure their eligibility to vote at the election for the final vacant directorship on 9 September. On that date over 1,000 members of the Society attended the meeting which was notable for the attendance of many senior politicians and businessmen. They included senior members of the Liberal Party, who formed a solid contingent in the centre of the hall. **Sir Paul** Strasser, the former chairman of the Parkes Property Group, was also seen to be in attendance, as well as **Mr Tom** Lewis, the former Premier, the general secretary of the New South Wales Liberal Party, **Mr Jim** Carlton, and the past president of the New South Wales Young Liberals, Michael Darby. **Mr Puplick,** who was seated with the senior member of the Liberal Party whose name I have withheld, spoke with him several times during the meeting. At the outset of the meeting **Mr Puplick** rose to his feet and moved that the meeting be terminated. Had that move been successful, no one would have been elected under by-law 1 16 of the Society, and it would appear that the senior member of the Liberal Party, as the incumbent director, would subsequently have been declared elected to the vacant position and his indiscretion - {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-22-s4 .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN:
Denison -Any person hearing the speeches just made by the honourable member for Blaxland **(Mr Keating)** and the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James)** would not contribute one million cents in total to the funds of the Australian Labor Party. The honourable member for Blaxland made an incredible back-stabbing speech. The movement of fortunes in the Australian Labor Party over the last three weeks has been very interesting. We saw the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr E. G. Whitlam)** under attack in his own party because of ill-considered and, quite frankly, irresponsible statements about East Timor and uranium. Last week we saw the potential leader, the pretender to the throne, the honourable member for Oxley **(Mr Hayden),** censured by this House for unpatriotic, seditious and economically traitorous statements about the Australian dollar. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Denison withdraw the phrase containing the word 'traitor'. That is the word the withdrawal of which was requested by another occupant of this chair and, irrespective of the context in which the honourable member used it, he would be unwise to use it again. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -Yes, in deference to you, **Mr Acting Speaker.** I did not use the phrase 'economic traitor' before; I used the word 'traitor'. The point is that we are now seeing the run of the honourable member for Blaxland. {: .speaker-NH4} ##### Mr Keating: -- I rise on a point of order, **Mr Acting Speaker.** The honourable member for Denison is not here to make a mockery of your ruling. You have given a ruling and he should make an unqualified withdrawal of the statement. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -- I pointed out to the honourable member for Denison that the remark he made, irrespective of any context in which he previously used it in this chamber, should be withdrawn and that it would be unwise for him to use the phrase again. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -- I did, **Mr Acting Speaker.** I said that in deference to you I would withdraw. It is interesting to see that this week we have the run of the honourable member for Blaxland. In view of the battering taken by the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Oxley, the honourable member for Blaxland thinks he can make a midnight run - {: .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr Young: -- Why do your colleagues call you Julius Marlowe? {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -The honourable member for Port Adelaide **(Mr Young)** wants to be Deputy Leader to the honourable member for Blaxland. We have not previously seen them scrambling over bodies that are still warm, not even dead. The honourable member for Werriwa still lives and breathes. The honourable member for Oxley still lives and breathes. The honourable member for Blaxland wants to become leader, and the honourable member for Port Adelaide wants to become deputy leader. When the honourable member for Blaxland has made a contribution to this country anywhere near half as substantial as that of **Mr Andrew** Grimwade, let him stand in this place and condemn that person. I have never heard a more scurrilous attack. {: .speaker-JVS} ##### Mr Neil: -- In fact he was attacking the Leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-BV4} ##### Mr HODGMAN: -- As my colleague the honourable member for St George points out, tonight the honourable member for Blaxland was not really attacking **Mr Andrew** Grimwade; he was sticking the knife fair into the middle of the back of the honourable member for Werriwa, Edward Gough Whitlam, because it was the honourable member for Werriwa who gave evidence before the Committee on Official Establishments. In fact, it was largely as a result of his evidence that the Committee brought down the recommendation that it did. Now we see blatant backstabbing, not behind closed doors in that funny room across the corridor. Honourable members opposite are coming into the chamber now one by one. Which one is Casca, which one is Cassius? The honourable member for Blaxland wielded a knife tonight hoping to get in on the grouter with the honourable member for Werriwa and the honourable member for Oxley. The honourable member for Blaxland and the honourable member for Port Adelaide fight over the body before it is even cold. I do not need to refer to the advertisement because, quite frankly, it is one of the greatest jokes we have seen. It is an absolutely incredible production. I guess the advertisement cost the Labor Party about $lm. I predict that it will come up with a deficit, which was par for the course for the years 1972-75 when the Labor Party was in office. Each year there was a deficit. Each year it was twice as large as the year before. One thing I believe- I believe it more than anything else that has been said tonight- is that we are seeing now the internal dissensions of the Australian Labor Party as it splits asunder under the pressure of trying to keep up a permanent charade of false and deceitful opposition to a government which is getting this country back onto the road to recovery. The strain is telling on honourable members opposite as they try each day to tell lies to the Australian public about the inflation rate, about the strength of the dollar and about the unemployment situation. They cannot take it when they are challenged. They stand condemned. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-22-s5 .speaker-KWZ} ##### Mr WALLIS:
Grey -As we all know, quite recently there was a State election in South Australia in which the Labor Government was returned with a vastly increased majority. I am afraid that if this Government decides to hold an election the two honourable members from the Government side who spoke tonight will get the same treatment as quite a lot of Liberal candidates got in South Australia. One thing which was noticeable in the State election was the extremely high vote for the Labor Party in the City of Whyalla. One can look for the reasons for this extremely high vote. Perhaps we could look at the poor performance of Liberal politicians in South Australia who represent that area. I think we are all aware of the fact that for some time now the closure of the shipyard at Whyalla has caused a great deal of concern. Perhaps I could quote an example of Liberal Party politicians' contributions to these problems that occurred recently. Many approaches were made by local government, by various union organisations, by me and by others about these problems. Of course the approaches have all been to no avail. People were of the opinion that the shipyard was finished. Then a few months ago a sub-committee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence presented to this House a report which recommended the continuation of the Newcastle and Whyalla shipyards. This created a bit of interest in Whyalla and raised the hopes of the Whyalla people that the Government would accept the recommendation of that sub-committee. The Whyalla Town Council decided that as senators are supposed to represent the State, not a political party, it would invite the senators to Whyalla to discuss the matter with the Town Council. The Council also invited the local State member, **Mr Max** Brown, and me. Six senators turned up, three from the Liberal Party and three from the Labor Party. They sat down and discussed the recommendation of the subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence regarding the retention of the shipyard. The recommendations were, of course, a bit of a package deal. They dealt with the matter of the injection of capital into the industry, industrial relations, the rationalisation of the industry and the establishment of a committee of all the interested bodies- the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the State Government, the Commonwealth Government and shipyard management- to work out feasibility plans on the retention of the yards. Hopes in Whyalla were, of course, raised by the recommendations of this sub-committee. As I say, three Liberal and three Labor senators turned up at the discussion, plus myself and the State member. It was agreed unanimously that the senators would sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging support for the implementation of the sub-committee's recommendations. I also sent a letter along the same lines to the Prime Minister. In the course of comments made by me to the local media after the meeting I noted how pleasing it was to see the senators taking the same line unanimously on what was in the interests of their own State. On 7 September **Senator Bishop** moved an urgency motion in the Senate to discuss this matter. One would expect that all senators would adopt the same line as they adopted at Whyalla but this was of course not the case. Two of the Liberal senators who attended that meeting, the other being overseas at the time, took a completely different stance in the Senate- to such an extent that they indulged in the usual rubbish of blaming the Labor Government. They even used incorrect information, and I am sorry that time will not permit me to discuss that aspect further. What happened? At the conclusion of the debate it was one of those Liberal senators that had signed the letter in Whyalla who moved the gag, and when the vote was taken all the Liberal senators opposed **Senator Bishop's** motion, even though it was along the lines they had agreed to in Whyalla, and concerning which they had put their names to a letter agreeing to approach the Government to seek implementation of the report. So, when we look at Whyalla we can see why the Liberal Party obtained such a poor vote in the recent State election. We can look at the track record of Liberal politicians in that area. We have shown that they go to Whyalla, tell the people there something, come back here and take a completely different stance. I am sure that that is why they polled so badly in the State election, and why they will again poll badly in future Federal elections. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-22-s6 .speaker-QF4} ##### Mr CONNOLLY:
Bradfield -After listening to the Opposition tonight one could only assume from the hysteria engendered that perhaps the nation is supposed to be gearing up for an election. I would like to draw attention to some of the learned remarks of my excellent colleague the honourable member for St George **(Mr Neil)** who drew to our attention this most extraordinary page that appeared in the *Sydney Morning Herald* and other newspapers on Tuesday, 1 1 October. The most extraordinary thing about these advertisements is that we have heard for so long, indeed ever since the demise of the Labor Government in November 1975, about the pernicious Press, about the lies of the Press and about how it sold the Australian people down the drain. Of course, the actions of the Labor Party, then in government, were said to have been totally misconceived and misunderstood by the people; that, after all, it really was a government of compassion and concern. The trouble was that nobody could find the compassion and certainly we could not see the concern. Of course, we did hear the news about Khemlani; we heard things about Iraqi breakfasts and such things, but when newspapers carry such stories one can only assume that they are a figment of the imagination of the journalist of the day, who happens to be simply spending his time looking for a good story. The amusing thing about this series of some 24 articles, or pages chosen for this collage, the basis of the Opposition's waste of some $80,000, is that it demonstrates certain most interesting things. For example, we see that Abigail is back on Number 96; we see that Beetson is going to New Zealand; that Vivien's last years were hell; and we read of the agony of sex madness. All of this would suggest that the Opposition has given a remarkable demonstration of interest in the more subliminal matters of life in its choice of pages from these journals. It is also worth mentioning that the gentleman, **Mr Rupert** Murdoch, who is the owner of some 13 of the 24 newspapers quoted from was, as I recall- my memory might be faulty on this matter but I doubt it- the gentleman whom the Opposition literally pilloried across the length and breadth of this land because he had the courage, in the last months of the previous Government, to let the people of this nation know precisely what was going on and what the Government of the day was doing to bring this country to the lowest ebb of psychological and national fervour I have had the misfortune to see. Nevertheless bedfellows can indeed be strange. When it suits the Opposition it is quite happy to use journalists, newspapers, their publishers and, of course, the pages of the day. The selection it has chosen is almost exclusively from afternoon newspapers. I suggest that with the most liberal interpretation of afternoon newspapers one could not say they demonstrate necessarily a particularly high degree of intellectual integrity in all matters. If the Labor Party had chosen morning newspapers it would have been closer to the point. Nevertheless it has chosen the evening newspapers in the belief that if they can read the writing-believe me, it is small enough- sufficient people will be stupid enough to fund the next election campaign of the Labor Party. The fact of the matter is that there are not enough people in Australia to fill this building in terms of the amount of money with which they are prepared to fund the Labor Party. The three years from which we are still suffering are still memories far too strong in the minds of the vast majority of the Australian people. When the simple question is put to them: 'Do you want to risk this nation m the hands of another Whitlam?' the answer inevitably is: 'My God, no.' There is a good article in the *Australian* today on a reference across America of what big businessmen thought of the previous Labor Government. On that particular subject they are absolutely united in the fact that there is no future for foreign investment in this country if ever- I am sure that the Australian people will take the 'ever' very seriously- there is another Labor government. I am sure they will not return the administration of this country to the people who now succumb on the Opposition benches and who will be there for many years to come. This advertisement was also authorised by David Combe, the General Secretary of the Labor Party as I understand it, who on 23 April last year declared that the Australian newspapers had committed a fraud on the Australian people during the 1975 election campaign. Surely even he has to admit that at times like this one has to go to bed even with one's greatest enemy. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-22-s7 .speaker-EV4} ##### Mr YOUNG:
Port Adelaide -In the couple of minutes that remain I shall sum up another parliamentary week. One can only say from this side of the House that it has again been a tragic week. The people who were unemployed are still unemployed. Nothing has been done in this Parliament by this Government to solve the massive problems being shouldered by the people throughout the cities and rural areas of this country. We have seen the bluster of this Government and the Victorian Government in trying to inflame the industrial dispute in the Latrobe Valley, and we have witnessed its settlement by the common sense of the trade union leadership nationally. All the abuse that has been hurled at Bob Hawke in the last few months has proved futile. He has still proved to be the most skilful industrial negotiator in Australia. He was able to bring about a settlement in an arena in which he had to put up with all the incompetence, infantile politics and industrial observations of this Government. Towards the end of 1977 the young people in the electorates of St George, Denison and Bradfield still do not have jobs. The people who has been stood down as a result of the dispute in Victoria do not know whether they will be paid unemployment benefit. This Government is falling to pieces. More and more supporters of the Government are resigning to sit on the cross benches. Rumours are flying around. There is speculation about an election, with all the damage that that is doing. What do we have in this chamber? We have the juvenile presentation of what they consider to be comic politics by the people who are serving their first term in the Parliament. They are not concerned at all with the massive problems confronting the Australian community. That is the reason there will be a very rapid change of government in this country. The Government parties in Australia at the moment are not concerned with the major economic problems with which this country is confronted. In spite of the National Country Party deciding to send its leader to the Prime Minister **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** to tell him to announce that there will be no early election, the Prime Minister continues to act like some sort of puppeteer in that he considers it a good thing for Australia to continue in this area of speculation about a future national election. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr ACTING SPEAKER: -Order! It being 11 p.m., the debate is interrupted. The House stands adjourned until 2. 1 5 p.m. on Tuesday next. House adjourned at 11 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2051 {:#debate-23} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated: {:#subdebate-23-0} #### Aged and Disabled Persons Homes (Question No. 1159) {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP am asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 16 August 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) What were the number and value of projects for which grants were made under the Aged or Disabled Persons Homes Act in each State in 1976-77. 1. ) How many aged or disabled persons will these projects accommodate in each State upon completion. 2. For how many persons were personal care subsidies being provided in each State as at 30 June 1977. 3. What were the number and value of applications awaiting approval under the Act in each State as at 30 June 1977. 4. What are the total number and value of projects for which grants will be made under the Act in each State in 1977-7& {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
Minister for Health · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following table in answer to the honourable member's question: Notes: Answer (4) The number of applications awaiting approval includes those projects for which formal applications and notices of intention have been received. Further details of the total number of applications awaiting approval are as follows: Answers (4) and (5) These values are estimates at 1.7.77 and may alter due to: {: type="i" start="i"} 0. public tendering factors 1. escalation effects 2. projects which may not proceed (this will affect the number also). {:#subdebate-23-1} #### Aged Persons Hostels (Question No. 1160) {: #subdebate-23-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP am asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 16 August 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) What were the number and value of projects for which grants were made under the Aged Persons Hostels Act in each State in 1976-77. 1. How many aged persons will these projects accommodate in each State upon completion. 2. What were the number and value of applications awaiting approval under the Act in each State as at 30 June 1977. 3. What are the total number and value of projects for which grants will be made under the Act in each State in 1977-78. {: #subdebate-23-1-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following table in answer to the honourable member's question: {:#subdebate-23-2} #### Department of Aboriginal Affairs: Libraries (Question No. 1363) {: #subdebate-23-2-s0 .speaker-JT9} ##### Mr Bungey:
CANNING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 6 September 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) How many libraries are in his Department, where is each located and what is the main purpose of each. 1. How many (a) books, (b) publications and (c) periodicals (i) have been acquired in (A) 1974-75, (B) 1975-76 and (C) 1976-77, (ii) are currently in the library and (iii) will be acquired under budget provisions for 1977-78. 2. 3 ) What is the annual cost of running each library. 3. What staff are employed in each library and what major staffing changes have occurred in the past 3 years, or are contemplated. 4. When were the provision, number and purpose of libraries in the Department last reviewed by the Department and/or the Public Service Board, and what recommendations were made at that time. 5. Which libraries are open to the public, and what is the extent of public usage. {: #subdebate-23-2-s1 .speaker-EE6} ##### Mr Viner:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There are two libraries in the Department, one is in Central Office, Canberra, and the other is in the Northern Territory, Darwin. Minor collections are held in offices at the following centres: Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Thursday Island, Mount Isa, Sydney, Inverell, Bourke, Dubbo, Griffith, Lismore, Box Hill, Hobart, Adelaide, Port Augusta and Perth. The main purpose of the libraries and minor collections is to provide a source of information for Departmental officers undertaking the wide range of functions affecting Aboriginal Australians. (2) Publications are generally received on an ad hoc basis and are usually free and as a result, they are not acquisitioned although they are catalogued. It would be impossible to provide detailed information on publications in this regard as no records were maintained. (3) {: type="1" start="4"} 0. StanCentral Office, Canberra- 1 x Librarian Class 2; 1 x Library Officer Grade 2; 1 x Clerical Assistant Grade 4; 1 x Clerical Assistant Grade 2. Northern Territory, Darwin- 1 x Librarian Class 1; 1 x Clerical Assistant Grade 1. No major staffing changes are being contemplated. The most significant staffing change over the last three years was the filling of the Librarian Class 2 at Central Office. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 5 ) Library services in Central Office were last reviewed in July 1975 and the significant recommendation was the creation of a position of Librarian Class 2. This position occupant, apart from running the Library at Central Office, Canberra, is required to review and recommend library services throughout the Department. 1. Neither of the libraries are open to the public. However, every assistance is given to anybody who requests information which is available in the libraries. The Department also provides a service through the inter-library loan scheme. {:#subdebate-23-3} #### Department of Construction: Libraries (Question No. 1366) {: #subdebate-23-3-s0 .speaker-JT9} ##### Mr Bungey: asked the Minister for Construction, upon notice, on 6 September 1 977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) How many libraries are in his Department, where is each located and what is the main purpose of each. 1. How many (a) books, (b) publications and (c) periodicals (i) have been acquired in (A) 1974-75, (B) 1975-76 and (C) 1976-77, (ii) are currently in the library and (iii) will be acquired under budget provisions for 1977-78. 2. 3 ) What is the annual cost of running each library. 3. What staff are employed in each library and what major staffing changes have occurred in the past 3 years, or are contemplated. 4. When were the provision, number and purpose of libraries in the Department last reviewed by the Department and/or the Public Service Board, and what recommendations were made at that time. 5. Which libraries are open to the public, and what is the extent of public usage. {: #subdebate-23-3-s1 .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay:
Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence · BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There are nine departmental libraries and are located at the Central Office at Hawthorn, Victoria, Experimental Building Station at North Ryde, New South Wales, and in each Regional Office in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Darwin. The main purpose of each library is to serve the needs of the Department s operations in the planning, execution and maintenance of Commonwealth Government Works. The libraries are essentially technical, and are a continuous reference centre for the normal day to day activities of the Department. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The information sought in this pan of the honourable member's question is not readily available. Procedures for recording acquisitions in the various libraries are not conducive to the ready collection and assembly of the information requested. I consider that the considerable administrative effort, time and cost involved in extracting the information would not be justified. However, a total of $13 1,000 has been allocated for all Departmental libraries for the financial year 1977-78 covering (a) $75,000 for purchases of books and Standards Association of Australia documents and (b) $56,000 for periodicals, magazines, subscriptions, etc. 1. The approximate annual salary costs for each library is Hawthorn $84,000, North Ryde $22,000, Sydney $20,000, Melbourne $19,000, Brisbane $17,000, Adelaide $9,000, Penh $ 1 6,000, Canberra $ 1 6,000 and Darwin $ 1 6,000. 2. Current staffing is as follows: Over the last three years the libraries at Hawthorn, North Ryde, Sydney and Melbourne have each gained the services of a librarian and minor adjustments to organisation and staff have been made in response to changes in needs from time to time. The organisation and staffing of Departmental information services (including libraries) are planned for major review this current year. {: type="1" start="5"} 0. The provision, number and purpose of libraries have not been reviewed for some years. A major and fundamental review in conjunction with information services generally is planned this current year. 1. All Departmental libraries are accessible to the public to meet specific and reasonable requests and to allow them to peruse library material. Loans however are only available on the recommendation of other recognised libraries. Public usage is occasional only. {:#subdebate-23-4} #### Aboriginals: Statistical Information (Question No. 1379) {: #subdebate-23-4-s0 .speaker-KRR} ##### Mr McLean:
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 7 September 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a generally accepted fact that Aboriginals in Australia have poorer health, education, employment and other welfare prospects than non-Aboriginal Australians. 1. Is it also a fact that official demographic, health, and social statistics collected by the Government do not in any way distinguish between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. 2. If so, is he able to say whether this method of collecting and collating vital statistical information is justified on the basis that the use of separate official statistics for Aboriginals is regarded as discriminatory. 3. Did the First Report of the National Population Inquiry report that, without separate statistics, problem areas of the Aboriginal population are difficult to identify and for this reason it could be argued that lack of separate statistics is discriminatory. 4. 5 ) Did the Interim Report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs concerning the Alcohol Problems of Aboriginals in the Northern Territory indicate that in some areas there is a lack of accurate information about Aboriginals regarding matters such as health, employment, education, sources of income and patterns of expenditure. 5. Did the Interim Report contain a recommendation suggesting that detailed and accurate statistics be maintained on a regular and continuing basis on Aboriginal settlements. 6. If so, does a similar need exist for all Aboriginals, whether they live in settlements, or in, or on, the fringes of larger centres of population. 7. Did the Hospitals and Health Services Commission in its report 'Rural Health in Australia' also stress the importance of establishing adequate statistics for Aboriginals on a national collection system. 8. Has he made, or does he intend to make, any recommendation to the Government regarding the separate collection of vital statistics, on a national basis, for Aboriginals. 9. 10) If he has taken action in this matter, what decisions have been taken to date. {: #subdebate-23-4-s1 .speaker-EE6} ##### Mr Viner:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Collections by an increasing number of Government agencies do separately identify Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders from non-Aboriginals. The following official collections all do so: quinquennial censuses of population and housing; records of persons registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Service; hospital morbidity collections in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory; imprisonment censuses in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia; court statistics in Western Australia; child adoption statistics in New South Wales; vital statistics in the Northern Territory. 2. Most Aboriginal Australians claim distinctive racial identities and it is certainly not an act of discrimation to record who they are in relevant administrative records. The absence of separate identification of Aboriginals in many statistical collections cause a lack of basic statistics, and this in turn hinders the task of assessing the extent of needs and therefore of the scale and department of programs required to meet perceived needs. 3. The First Report of the National Population Inquiry said that'. . . discrimination or unequal status based on race cannot be eliminated, and may not even be affected, by preventing the collecting of data which will reveal its extent, in all probability this will merely allow inequalities to continue unchecked, especially since those responsible can then deny the inequalities exist. It is the lack of separate statistics which is discriminatory and it is imperative that this deficiency be remedied as a matter of urgency. 4. Yes. 5. Yes. 6. Yes. 7. Yes. 8. and (10) The Government is pursuing an active policy of separate identification of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in the births and deaths notification forms used by the various State Governments. Discussions have been held with authorities in all States on this matter. Several State authorities are willing to introduce changes. {:#subdebate-23-5} #### Australian Wool Corporation: Wool Stocks (Question No. 1456) {: #subdebate-23-5-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the current level of wool stocks held by the Australian Wool Corporation giving the quantities of each type of classification. 1. What changes have occurred in stocks held during the last 12 months. {: #subdebate-23-5-s1 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair:
NCP/NP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) As at 9 September, stocks of wool held by the Australian Wool Corporation totalled 1 , 1 53,746 bales. The composition of these holdings by broad categories is set out in the table which follows. 1. Changes in holdings during the twelve month period to 9 September 1 977 are identified in the table. {:#subdebate-23-6} #### Social Service Quarterly: Issue to Trade Unions (Question No. 1468) {: #subdebate-23-6-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: asked the Minister, representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 14 September 1977: >Did the Minister approve of the decision to remove trade .unions from the list of organisations and persons who receive gratis copies of the quarterly magazine of the Department of Social Security. {: #subdebate-23-6-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >The decision to remove trade unions from the list of recipients of free copies of the *Social Security Quarterly* was made by the Australian Government Publishing Service. {:#subdebate-23-7} #### Offshore Animal Quarantine Station, Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Question No. 1470) {: #subdebate-23-7-s0 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr Scholes: asked the Minister for Construction, upon notice, on 1 4 September 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What is the anticipated date of (a) commencement and (b) completion of the Offshore Animal Quarantine Station at Cocos (Keeling) Islands. 1. Is the site available free of encumbrance. 2. What percentage of the sum provided in the 1977-78 Budget for this project is expected to be actually expended during 1977-78. {: #subdebate-23-7-s1 .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Commencement of the Animal Quarantine Station is scheduled for March 1978, subject to agreement having been reached regarding the site. It is estimated that the Quarantine Station will take approximately 2V4 years to complete from the date of commencement. 1. No. Negotiations to acquire the site have commenced. 2. $120,000 has been provided in the 1977-78 Works Program and it is expected that this amount will be spent subject to site availability. {:#subdebate-23-8} #### Offshore Animal Quarantine Station, Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Question No. 1518) {: #subdebate-23-8-s0 .speaker-K9J} ##### Mr Keith Johnson:
BURKE, VICTORIA · ALP asked the Minister for Construction, upon notice, on 20 September 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will Australian workmen be engaged to construct the high security offshore animal quarantine station on Cocos (Keeling) Islands. 1. If not, where will labour be recruited and at what rate of pay. {: #subdebate-23-8-s1 .speaker-KSB} ##### Mr McLeay:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Australian workmen will be engaged in the construction of the offshore animal quarantine station to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with utilisation of local Cocos (Keeling) Islands labour. 1. Not applicable, see ( 1 ) above. {:#subdebate-23-9} #### Department of Primary Industry: Travel and Subsistence Expenditure (Question No. 1638) {: #subdebate-23-9-s0 .speaker-HI4} ##### Mr Morris: asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 4 October 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What amounts of his Department's travel and subsistence expenditure were spent on (a) overseas and (b) domestic travel during 1976-77. 1. What percentage of total expenditure on travel and subsistence did each of these amounts represent. {: #subdebate-23-9-s1 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair:
NCP/NP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. (a) Overseas Travel $118,965; (b) Domestic Travel $2,913,171. 1. 3.92 per cent and 96.08 per cent respectively. {:#subdebate-23-10} #### National Superannuation (Question No. 1665) {: #subdebate-23-10-s0 .speaker-00ATA} ##### Mr Hodges:
PETRIE, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 5 October 1977: >Has the Department of Social Security undertaken any studies of the New Zealand system of national superannuation; if so, is the investigation complete and will details be released. {: #subdebate-23-10-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: >Developments in the system of national superannuation in New Zealand have been studied with interest within the Department of Social Security. > >Articles on the subject, prepared by officers of the Department, appeared in the Autumn 1975 and Autumn 1977 editions of the Departmental publication Socio/ *Security Quarterly.* {:#subdebate-23-11} #### National Superannuation (Question No. 1666) {: #subdebate-23-11-s0 .speaker-00ATA} ##### Mr Hodges: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 5 October 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that when the Hancock Committee was investigating a proposed national superannuation scheme for Australia the Attorney-General's Department was unable to tender any legal advice concerning the constitutional validity of such a scheme. 1. Has any legal opinion been sought of the AttorneyGeneral since the Hancock Committee published its report; if so, what is the nature of the advice received. {: #subdebate-23-11-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) The National Superannuation Committee of Inquiry was established by the Government in 1973 as an independent body. It is understood that in the course of the preparation of the Committee's Interim Report, informal discussions were held with officers of the Attorney-General's Department. The services of an independent authority, Professor Geoffrey Sawer, were subsequently obtained when it became apparent that other work pressures would result in a serious delay in the provision of detailed advice from the Attorney-General's Department. Professor Sawer's opinions are referred to in the Committee's Final Report (Part One, Pages 38-40; Pan Two, pages 5 1 and 52). 1. No. International Year of the Child (Question No. 1673) {: #subdebate-23-11-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP am asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 5 October 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Government decided to make a contribution or pledge for the 1979 International Year of the Child through the United Nations Children's Fund in accordance with the General Assembly resolution of 2 1 December 1 976. 1. What steps have been taken to involve in preparation for the Year the large number of non-governmental organisations within Australia which have a particular interest in this subject. {: #subdebate-23-11-s3 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) and (2) While the exact nature of the Commonwealth Government's involvement in Australia's observance of the International Year of the Child in 1979 has yet to be finalised, an Inter-departmental Committee has met a number of times to discuss and co-ordinate the efforts of a number of Commonwealth Departments. The Government has made a decision to work with both State governments and voluntary organisations in the celebrations of this Year of the Child. An announcement will be made on the co-operative arrangements with the States following negotiations between the Prime Minister and the Premiers. I have also announced that I will make funds available for a secretariat to assist and co-ordinate the effort of voluntary organisations throughout Australia. {:#subdebate-23-12} #### Third Party and Employers' Liability Insurance (Question No. 1713) {: #subdebate-23-12-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr E G Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP am asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 6 October 1977: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) Since the Insurance Commissioner's Second and Third Annual Reports presented on 7 October 1976 and 4 October 1977 show that premiums collected for compulsory third arty and employers' liability insurance in 1975-76 were 123,188,000 and $275,964,000 greater than in 1974-75, while benefits, including legal, hospital and medical costs, paid were only $49,495,000 and $59,472,000 greater, how soon does the Minister expect to announce proposals for a national compensation scheme *(Hansard,* 9 December 1976, page 3738 and 24 February 1977, page 509; Senate *Hansard, 23 August 1 977, page 406):* 1. If the ratios implicit in the estimates of the working party presented on 26 September 1975 had applied for 1975-76 what (a) legal and (b) hospital and medical costs would have arisen *(Hansard,* 24 February 1977, page 509). {: #subdebate-23-12-s1 .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr Hunt:
NCP/NP -- The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1 ) While some work remains to be completed, I expect to be able to discuss the Government's proposals with State governments at an early date. (2) **Mr H.** W. Fancher: Telephone Account {: #subdebate-23-12-s2 .speaker-KZL} ##### Mr ERIC ROBINSON:
MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The Honourable the Leader of the Opposition, **Mr E.** G. Whitlam, asked me without notice on 15 September 1977 whether I would table applications and accounts of **Mr Wiley** Fancher relating to certain telephones installed in Atherton, Queensland. I would like to draw the attention of the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition to the Senate *Hansard* of 24 May 1977 (page 1296 et seq.) where his colleague **Senator James** Keeffe read into the record all the information about **Mr Fancher** 's telephone accounts that his staff could obtain at the bankruptcy hearings in Townsville. I have followed the practice of each PostmasterGeneral, including those of the Whitlam Government, that matters of commercial confidence concerning telephone accounts will not be disclosed except as necessary for legal proceedings. I suggest that the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition should consult the transcript of the bankruptcy case or the notes taken by **Senator Keeffe** 's staff if he wishes further information.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 October 1977, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.