House of Representatives
6 March 1979

31st Parliament · 1st Session

Mr SPEAKER (Rt Hon. Sir Billy Snedden) took the chair at 2. 1 5 p.m., and read prayers.

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The Clerk:

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


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

That restoration of provisions of the Social Security Act that applied prior to the 1 978-79 Budget is of vital concern to offset the rising cost of goods and services.

The reason advanced by the Government for yearly payments ‘that the lower level of inflation made twice-yearly payments inappropriate ‘ is not valid.

Great injury will be caused to 920,000 aged, invalid, widows and supporting parents, who rely solely on the pension or whose income, other than the pension, is $6 or less per week. Once-a-year payments strike a cruel blow to their expectation and make a mockery of a solemn election pledge.

Accordingly, your petitioners call upon their legislators to:-

  1. . Restore twice-yearly pension payments in the Autumn session.
  2. Raise pensions and unemployed benefits above the poverty level to 30 per cent of AWE.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr N. A. Brown, Mr Bryant, Mr Howe, Mr Lies Johnson, Dr Klugman, Mr Morris, Mr Nixon, Mr O’Keefe, Mr Ian Robinson, Mr Scholes and Mr Willis.

Petitions received.

Medical Benefits: Abortions

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

That the provision of payments for abortion through items of the Medical Benefits schedule is an unacceptable endorsement of abortion which has now reached the levels of a national tragedy, with at least 60,000 unborn babies being killed in 1977.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Honourable Members should:

Amend the Medical Benefits Schedule so as to preclude the payment of any benefit for abortion.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. by Mr John Brown, Mr Cadman, Mr Connolly, Mr Dobie, Mr MacKellar, Mr Martin, Mr Neil, Mr Ruddock and Mr Stewart.

Petitions received.

Pornographic Publications

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 we the undersigned, having great concern at the way in which children are now being used in the production of pornography, call upon the Government to introduce immediate legislation:

  1. To prevent the sexual exploitation of children by way of photography for commercial purposes;
  2. To penalise parents/guardians who knowingly allow their children to be used in the production of such pornographic or obscene material depicting children;
  3. To make specifically illegal the importation, publication, distribution and sale of such pornographic child-abuse material in any form whatsoever such as magazines, novels, papers or films;
  4. To take immediate police action to confiscate and destroy all child pornography in Australia and urgent appropriate legal action against all those involved or profiting from this sordid exploitation of children.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable House will protect all children and immediately prohibit pornographic child-abuse materials, publications or films.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Dobie, Mr Hodges and Mr Martyr. Petitions received.


To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled.

The humble petition of Abbott Cheeseman & Co. respectfully showeth: That current requirements of the Commissioner of Taxation for the lodgement of Income Tax Returns by Registered Tax Agents restricts the trading of such agents to a period of 8 months in any fiscal year. The demands by the Commissioner for lodgement of Income Tax Returns before the 28 February following the tax year is an imposition and a restriction, limiting the trading from twelve to eight months.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the law should be amended to permit any registered tax agent to trade for a full year and lodge Income Tax returns to the close of the respective tax year. by Mr Aldred.

Petition received.

The Budget

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

That because this budget will further increase the number of persons unemployed, because it reduces the average worker’s spending power by $ 10 per week, because it will reduce the income of pensioners, because it is unfair in placing a greater burden on the poor rather than the rich, and because it is driving this country into a depression.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that.

The Federal Government withdraws this budget and provides Australia, within this session of Parliament, with a revised budget that increases the level of economic activity in Australia, lowers unemployment, removes the burdens placed on the disadvantaged, and revives business and consumer confidence in the future of this potentially great country.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr John Brown. Petiuon received.

Royal Commission on Human Relationships

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

That because the Report of the Royal Commission on Human Relationships and its Recommendations-

  1. contain matters of substance which ought to be pursued.
  2. result from a wide range of submissions made by Australians from all walks of life.
  3. identify many problem areas requiring attention.
  4. have been given media coverage which grossly distorts the contents.
  5. have thus far been ignored in Parliament. Your petitioners therefore humbly pray: That the Australian Parliament will:
  6. debate the Report and its Recommendations.
  7. make provision for rational public debate on the Report and its Recommendations.
  8. encourage its members to support such public debate in their electorates.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable House will implement such measures to maintain the Commissioners’ ‘belief in the right and integrity of the individual to make free choices in the context of human relationships, and to have access to the knowledge and skills which give such a free choice meaning’.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Dr Cass. Petition received.

Australian Broadcasting Commission

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 say we are concerned about the deteriorating standards of ABC radio and television programmes.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that Parliament take immediate steps to appoint an independent inquiry into the ABC which:

  1. Investigates the practical experience and qualification of the commissioners to perform their duties.
  2. Determines the effects of staff ceilings and reduction of funds, in real terms, on standards.
  3. Thoroughly reviews the organisation to determine its present effectiveness.
  4. Ascertains if any external or internal censorship exists.
  5. Makes recommendation to reduce censorship and improve the efficiency and standards.

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

Petition received.

Medical Benefits: Abortions

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

That the present provision of payments for abortion through items of the Medical Benefits Schedule is an unacceptable endorsement of abortion which has now reached the levels of a national tragedy, with at least 60,000 unborn babies being killed each year.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members should:

Request that legislation be introduced in order to prevent payments for the unnecessary destruction of unborn children.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Haslem. Petition received.

Medical Benefits: Abortions

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

That item 6469 of the standard Medical Benefits Table is the means by which payment is made for the slaughter of thousands of unborn babies every year.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Government should ensure that Item 6469 is removed from the standard Medical Benefits Table.

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

Petition received.


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

The proposed introduction of a Retail Turnover Tax will:

  1. Impose an intolerable burden on retailers- seriously inconvenience shoppers and prove difficult and expensive to administer.
  2. Increase the cost to consumers of clothing, food and other goods essential to maintenance of an adequate standard of living.
  3. Place a disproportionate tax burden on Australians least able to pay.

Your petitioners humbly pray that the members in the House assembled will not introduce indirect tax measures such as a retail turnover tax or the administratively more difficult value added tax as to do so would exacerbate the inequalities in our taxing system.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Les Johnson. Petition received.

National Natural Disaster Scheme

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

That the Government’s decision not to proceed with a national disaster insurance scheme will cause financial and personal hardship to people living in the country and city who are victims of natural hazards such as floods, land slip and tropical cyclones. That it is impossible to obtain adequate insurance cover for natural disasters from existing private insurance companies.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that

The Federal Government reconsider its decision and honour its promise made in March 1976 to establish a National Natural Disaster Insurance Scheme.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Les Johnson. Petition received.

Aurukun and Mornington Island Communities

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

That the Federal Government assume responsibility for Aboriginal Affairs at Aurukun and Mornington Island under the powers given them by the Referendum of 1 967. by Mr Lucock.

Petition received.

Airline Services to Yugoslavia

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

That the JAT- Yugoslav Airlines service between Australia and Belgrade is a disservice to most airline travellers because:

  1. 1 ) Persons seeking a visa to Yugoslavia are subjected to stand-over tactics by the staff of the Yugoslav consulates in order to induce them to fly by JAT.
  2. JAT travel agencies are understood to function as an extension of the Yugoslav Secret Service UDBA
  3. On arrival in Yugoslavia tourists are questioned by authorities as to whether they flew by JAT, and if not they are met with disapproval and severe criticism.
  4. The quality of service as offered by JAT is below international standards in all respects, and particularly as regards to health standards.

Your petitioners call on the Australian Government to immediately and permanently discontinue all further Yugoslav Airlines services between Australia and Yugoslavia.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Neil. Petition received.

South Australian Country Rail Services

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:

  1. That any downgrading or closures of country rail services in South Australia would have grave consequences for the railway industry, primary industry, individual country communities and the State as a whole and calls on the Parliament to ensure that the Federal Minister for Transport takes the necessary action to maintain all existing services.
  2. That continued and increased public subsidy is fully justified in the long term national interest. by Mr Porter.

Petition received.


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:

  1. That in his 1977 election speech the Prime Minister supported by a majority of Members of the House of Representatives gave an undertaking that in exchange for electoral support he would guarantee the retention of twiceyearly adjustments of social security pensions in accordance with movements in the Consumer Price Index.
  2. That this undertaking of the Prime Minister and a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives has been repudiated causing severe hardship to pensioners.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives will take action to require those Members who have not honoured their undertaking to resign from the Parliament in order that the people of Australia can choose Members who will represent the wishes of the electors and who will honour any undertakings they gave.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Scholes. Petition received.

South Africa

To the Honourable the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Parliament assembled.

The humble petition of certain citizens of Australia respectfully showeth the arrest and detention of Phelelo Magane Marcus Rodgers and sixteen other members of the South African Young Christian Workers Movement without reason or trial.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that you condemn this unjust act and you call on the South African Government to release the Young Christian Workers or bring them to trial.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr Shipton. Petition received.

Medical Benefits: Abortions

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

That access to medical abortion services needs to be available to all women regardless of the economic means, as despite contraceptive services, unwanted pregnancies still occur and socio-economic problems are grounds for legal abortions in New South Wales. To ensure that access to legal medical abortion is not denied to poor and underprivileged women:

Your petitioners most humbly pray that parliament should:

Maintain item 6469 unchanged on the medical benefits schedule.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr Uren. Petition received.

Aurukun and Mornington Island Communities

To the Honourable, the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled:

  1. Whereas the administration by the Uniting Church at Aurukun and Mornington Island was removed against the expressed wishes of the Aboriginal people in those communities;
  2. and whereas the Aurukun and Mornington Island Aboringinals Reserves were degazetted by the Queensland Government on 6 April 1 978;
  3. and whereas the Local Government (Aboriginal Lands) Act, 1978 (Queensland) was imposed on the people of the said communities;
  4. and whereas the Shire Councils established under that Act in those communities were dismissed on 1 5 August 1 978;
  5. and whereas threats, such as disenfranchisement and removal of Aboriginal people of the communities have been made by the Queensland Government, and in particular the Queensland Premier (Mr Bjelke-Petersen), the Minister for Aboriginal and Islander Advancement (Dr Porter) and the Minister for Local Government (Mr Hinze);
  6. and whereas the Federal Government promised selfmanagement to the people of Aurukun and Mornington Island;
  7. and whereas the Federal Government has abrogated its responsibilities towards the Aboriginal people of Aurukun and Mornington Island,

Now, we the undersigned, protest against the complete disregard by the Federal and Queensland Governments for the welfare and demands of the people of Aurukun and Mornington Island; and we join with the people of Aurkun and Mornington Island in their demands that the Commonwealth Government should intervene now on behalf of Aurukun and Mornington Island to provide guaranteed tenure of land and self management.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray,

Petition received. by Mr Uren. Petition received.

Medical Benefits: Abortions

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The undersigned citizens of Australia humbly pray that you reject the motion to be moved by Stephen Lusher MHR which proposes: ‘to remove items from the standard medical benefits table which currently permit medical benefits for abortion ‘ and ‘to cease the funding of medical benefits schemes through which claims for termination of pregnancies can be made’.

Your petitioners humbly pray that you support: a woman ‘s right to choose aborton as a claimable item under all health benefit schemes.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray, by Mr Uren. Petition received.

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Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

– I inform the House that the Treasurer (Mr Howard) left Australia on 2 March to attend meetings of the International Monetary Fund Interim Committee in the United States. He is expected to return on 18 March. During his absence the Minister for Finance (Mr Eric Robinson) is acting as Treasurer. The Minister for Special Trade Representations (Mr Garland) also left Australia yesterday for further trade discussions with the European Economic Community. He is expected to return on 20 March. During his absence the Minister for Trade and Resources (Mr Anthony) is acting as Minister for Special Trade Representations. The Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Groom) is leading the Australian delegation to the Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific. He is expected to return on 13 March. During his absence the Minister for Administrative Services (Mr McLeay) is acting as Minister for Housing and Construction and the Minister for National Development (Mr Newman) will represent the Minister for Science and the Environment (Senator Webster) in this chamber.

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Notice of Motion . Dr EVERINGHAM (Capricornia)-I give notice that on General Business Thursday No. 8 1 shall move:

That in the opinion of the House the Government has repudiated its policy and legislation on Aboriginal affairs when these clash with powerful pastoral, mining or State government interests.

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Mr Keith Johnson:

-I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Is it a fact that taxpayers’ money disbursed to the States by the Commonwealth finances the Victorian Rural Finance and Settlement Commission? Does the Commonwealth have any agreement with the Victorian Government on the ceilings and means tests for loans made by the Commission? If so, what are the details?

Minister for Primary Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP

-Throughout Australia property sizes and the funds necessary for their viable operation contrast dramatically. I believe that at this stage the properties in respect of which the largest amounts have been advanced are, not unnaturally, in northern Australia. There the extent of properties and the amount of money needed to fund even ordinary operations are such that very extensive funds have been advanced with the approval of the Commonwealth through the rural reconstruction authorities which, of course, exist separately and operate separately from any overall Commonwealth control or direction.

The overall operation of the rural reconstruction authorities is specifically within the ambit of the State governments but those State governments in turn have appointed an admirable coalition of parties, predominantly those representing the government and the principal consumers of funds, to wit, the primary producers themselves. In each State there is a blend of people who have that expertise. Rural reconstruction funds have been advanced over a tremendous diversity of circumstances and at no stage has the Commonwealth found it necessary to criticise either the size of the loans or the manner in which they have been advanced.

There is, of course, proper auditing of the accounts. The auditing ensures that the loans are made in accordance with the legislative provision which the honourable gentleman or his colleagues from his party would have supported when the appropriate legislation passed through the House. The legislation has in fact helped both large and small family farmers to maintain the viability of their operations. No comment or criticism about any individual borrowers that has emerged in this House has, to my mind, given cause in any way for concern either on behalf of the taxpayers or anybody who in this chamber was responsible for the initial passage of that legislation.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Post and Telecommunications. It refers to the satellite task force report. Does the Minister appreciate the contribution made by regional television stations to the quality of life in country Australia and to the economy of provincial centres? Is he aware of the concern expressed by regional television stations for their livelihood should certain options suggested in the report be adopted by the Government? Can he assure this Parliament that no single broadcasting interest or network will be allowed to control and dominate commercial television throughout Australia?

Minister for Post and Telecommunications · CHISHOLM, VICTORIA · LP

– I have made it plain enough on a number of occasions that no decisions have been made by the Government on the recommendations of the task force. The report of the task force is at the moment the subject of public consideration and debate, quite properly. It is a matter for deliberate decision by this Government. Six months is being allowed for that debate. I want to make it absoultely clear in the context of that debate that this Government believes in the value of regional television. Indeed, Liberal and National Country Party governments developed the system of regional television in this country. We will, as a Government, not be making any decisions which fail to recognise the importance of providing regional television services with strong local identity. We will certainly not be a party to developments which would allow any one broadcasting interest to control commercial television in this country.

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Mr Barry Jones:

-Is the Minister for Primary Industry satisfied that all loans made by State authorities pursuant to the States Grants (Rural Adjustment) Act 1976 comply with the conditions laid down in the Schedule to the Act? Specifically, is he satisfied that all such loans comply with restrictions on company access to loans, required repayment of a loan when the borrower is no longer dependent on concessional interest finance, and the lender of last resort provision of the Act?


– If the honourable gentleman has cause to question advances made I expect him to direct such queries properly to officers responsible for the administration of the funds and, if necessary, to report any discrepancy to the State Auditor-General or to the Commonwealth Auditor-General. The reports from the auditors have given to date no cause for questioning any loans that have been made to any person so far as I am aware. If there is any such report I will certainly report back to the honourable gentleman. I believe the loans have been made entirely in accordance with legislation which honourable members on the opposite side of the House agreed to pass when it came before the House. Of course, the schedule to the legislation was similarly supported by the honourable gentleman’s colleagues.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to reports today that China has announced officially that as from 5 March all Chinese frontier troops are withdrawing from Vietnamese territory. Can the Minister confirm these reports?

Minister for Foreign Affairs · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

-Honourable members will be aware of and will have noted reports that the

Chinese Government announced that from 5 March all Chinese forces are withdrawing from Vietnamese territory. Chinese forces penetrated 30 to 40 kilometres into Vietnam, capturing a number of provincial centres of which Lang Son was the most important. It is too early at this stage to ascertain whether the Chinese have actually begun their withdrawal and what has been the Vietnamese military reaction. Nonetheless, substantial forces from both China and Vietnam are in close proximity to each other and further fighting obviously could break out again. It is to be hoped that neither side will take any precipitate action which would hamper the withdrawal of Chinese forces. Chinese public statements that their actions were confined to the border area and were limited in time to date have been adhered to. It is to be hoped that the proposed Chinese withdrawal will result in talks being held, leading to a lessening of tension in Indo-China.

I should add, however, a cautionary note: The issue between China and Vietnam is not likely to be resolved permanently if the situation in Kampuchea remains unchanged. In the United Nations Security Council we have called for immediate ceasefires in the conflicts in Indo-China. We have also called on Vietnam and China to withdraw their forces from Kampuchea and Vietnam respectively. As recently as 2 March I wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr Waldheim, offering him the full support of the Australian Government in the use of his good offices with the parties involved. The Government will continue to search for and consider all possible means that may assist in restoring peace and stability to the South East Asian region. I might add that I expect to discuss the situation this afternoon with the visiting Chinese Vice-Premier during our consideration of both bilateral and international issues.

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– I ask the Acting Treasurer: Is it a fact that a limit of $20,000 was set by the Commonwealth for disaster relief funds for each farmer affected by the Gippsland floods in 1978? Did any means test apply to those loans?

Mr Eric Robinson:

-I will make inquiries as to the matter raised in the honourable member’s question and advise him.

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– The Minister for National Development no doubt is aware that motor vehicles will run efficiently and economically on liquefied petroleum gas. The Minister will recall that two years ago I, along with many others, suggested that as a fuel saving measure and also in order to set an example a percentage of all Commonwealth cars should be converted to LPG. In view of anticipated oil shortages, which are being further aggravated by world events, will the Minister give urgent consideration to initiating discussions with car manufacturers with the definite aim of having those manufacturers offer in the national interest as an option a dual system motor vehicle power-driven by LPG and power-driven by petrol?

Minister for National Development · BASS, TASMANIA · LP

– I acknowledge the honourable member’s interest and the work he has done in this field. It is transcended only by the work he has done in the past on apples. I am glad to tell the honourable member and the House that I have had discussions with major Australian manufacturers of motor vehicles about producing a custom-made vehicle that would run on LPG, and perhaps on a dual system as well. The problem first of all is to get enough orders to make a worthwhile run for the manufacturers, and that is where the problem lies.

Mr Scholes:

– If taxis were converted that would solve the problem.


– Obviously some honourable members opposite are not aware of measures the Government has taken, and I think it is worth while recounting them to the House. We have done a lot to try to introduce incentives for people to use LPG vehicles, to use conversions -


– I suggest that the Minister answer the question and not make a statement.


-Mr Speaker, I think it is necessary to go through some of these incentives again. To encourage the use of LPG the Government has put in train a number of measures. The most important one- and this is acknowledged by the industry involved in the LPG business- is that we have guaranteed that the differential between motor spirit tax and LPG tax will remain as it is, and that five years notice will be given before it is disturbed. I think that is a very important incentive to people to convert. As well, we are investigating ways and means of improving transport and storage along the eastern seaboard between Sydney and Brisbane. We have set up a task force to help monitor the conversion process, to offer advice to people who want to convert and to authorities involved in the conversion. In other words, we have done a number of things to increase the use of LPG.

I am pleased to say that I think that is starting to have some penetration. Honourable members will have noted that some petrol companies are now improving the distribution points for LPG- in Melbourne, along the Hume Highway and even in the national capital. So we are proceeding. We are completely in agreement with what the honourable member proposed in his question. I hope that the measures we are now taking will move to the point where manufacturers take decisions to produce such a vehicle.

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Mr Holding proceeding to address a question to the Prime MinisterMr SPEAKER-Order! The Prime Minister is not responsible to this Parliament for the issue of loans through the Victorian Rural Finance Corporation. The question is out of order.


-Order! The honourable gentleman is not entitled to make allegations of that kind in taking a point of order. Has he completed his point of order?

Mr Hayden:

– I have finished my point of order, Mr Speaker, and I ask you to rule on it.


– I have ruled. If the honourable member refers to the actual terms of the question I think he will agree that it is out of order.

Mr Holding:

- Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I do not agree with the ruling that you have made or with the implication that I asked a question which I knew was out of order. I put to you, Sir, that the question is in order. I also put to you that the normal courtesies applying within this House should have enabled me to reframe the question if, in fact, you felt it was out of order.


-The honourable member will have the opportunity to reword and to ask the question if he chooses to do so.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Defence. The Minister will be aware of the resolution passed last Saturday by the Victorian State Council of the Liberal Party recommending an increased level of spending on defence so that Australia may be adequately defended. What action is the Government taking on this critical matter, particularly in view of the concern expressed during the debate on the resolution that any increased funding be directed to improving the effectiveness of the actual Defence Force?

Mr Young:

- Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The Minister for Defence surely cannot take responsibility for the Victorian Liberal Party.


-The honourable gentleman in his question is asking whether the Minister proposes to do something following on an event.

Mr Young:

– He is asking about a debate in the Victorian Liberal Party. I know you are all very impressed with that but we are not.


-The question is in order.

Mr Young:

– You cannot do much about it.

Minister for Defence · MORETON, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I would like to do a lot about a lot of things. Can I express my appreciation of the sustained interest the honourable member for Henty shows in defence matters? I have not had the advantage of reading the terms of the resolution considered by the Victorian division of the Liberal Party of Australia. I will certainly do so at the earliest opportunity. I can add nothing to what was said by my right honourable friend, the Prime Minister, on 22 February when he indicated that the Government had under consideration the whole gamut of strategic defence matters. I have foreshadowed to the House that I will be making a statement. With regard to that I hope the honourable gentleman will understand that his question points directly to policy. That policy will be revealed at the appropriate time.

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– My question is addressed to the Acting Treasurer. In view of the statements of the Prime Minister over the last few days concerning his personal financial affairs, will the Treasurer introduce legislation to prevent tax avoidance by the artifice of income splitting through the use of family trusts and other forms of trusts

Mr Eric Robinson:

– First of all I wish to say that I have nothing but disgust as, I am certain, has the Australian community, for those who make any comments with regard to the Prime Minister and his personal affairs, so I do not respond to those comments in any way. With regard to the whole question of tax avoidance, that matter is continuously under review and remains so as the Treasurer has indicated on a number of occasions.

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-The Minister for Primary Industry will recall that exports of Australian oysters were banned last year following an outbreak of food poisoning. I am sure that he also is aware of the fact that no oysters in the area covered by my electorate were ever contaminated. Can the Minister advise me when exports will be resumed?


– Far be it from anybody to suggest that oysters or anything else to do with the honourable gentleman’s electorate are other than pure. It is true that, as far as oysters are concerned, the honourable member’s electorate was one of those areas which were not disadvantaged as a result of actions taken following some virological problems that flowed from people consuming oysters. My Department has been most concerned with the effect on oyster growers of the ban on the export of oysters, but at the same time, having a responsibility to ensure that the health standards that are so rightly maintained on all Australian exports are preserved with respect to oysters, it was felt necessary that the ban be imposed. Unfortunately there were some difficulties in ensuring that oysters were as pure as they should be, and purification plants have now been installed fairly extensively in oyster leases to facilitate the processing of oysters.

As the honourable gentleman knows, once more Georges River and other oysters are being consumed throughout Australia with obvious relish and without injury to the consumers. Obviously it is necessary that we make the same advantages available to people outside Australia. My Department is anxiously pursuing discussions with the Federal Department of Health and with the New South Wales departments of Health and Fisheries to develop a common code of practice covering the processing and handling of oysters. To date there has not been complete unanimity on the attitude that should be adopted to ensure the reissuing of oyster export licences. However I believe that we are close to resolving this problem. The Commonwealth believes that while it might be true that purification plants cannot necessarily remove the risk of some virus diseases appearing in oystersthese risks have always existed- it is hoped that out of the common health practice about which I have been talking it might be possible to devise a way to minimise that risk. Certainly the standard of Australian oysters is very high. I would like to see us establish that health code as soon as possible and to renew the issue of export licences. Departmental officers, on my behalf, are proceeding with discussions with the New South Wales departments to try to facilitate that objective.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Leader of the Government in the Senate said in answer to a question last Thursday:

Over the course of the Fraser Government, where there has been any query of the quality of action taken by a Minister or where a question of high principle has been involved, the Minister concerned has stood down voluntarily or has been asked to stand down; a public inquiry and a debate have occurred and, as a result, the matter has been resolved.

Will the Prime Minister inform the Parliament on what dates public inquiries were held into the matters surrounding the resignations of Messrs Lynch, Ellicott and Robinson and the dismissal of Senator Sheil?


– The honourable gentleman seeks to reopen matters that have been debated in this Parliament time and time again. He knows perfectly well that in these matters my colleagues have behaved in the highest traditions of this Parliament. That is a great deal more than can be said of the members of the Australian Labor Party over the last few days and weeks. They are bereft of policies; they have no policies of any kind. Because they have no policies of any kind they always sink back to that natural habitat where they are most at home. There was a time, as the honourable member for Hindmarsh would well understand, when he and the former member for East Sydney were regarded as some of the roughest and toughest debaters in this Parliament, and maybe the most effective members of the Opposition. But they make this present bunch of Opposition members appear like patron saints. As the former honourable member for East Sydney -

Opposition members interjecting-


-The Leader of the Opposition is feeling uncomfortable. I put it the other way around: Members of the present Labor Party make the honourable member for Hindmarsh and his former colleague appear like patron saints. I am very glad to remove the Leader of the Opposition from discomfort because being in that position he certainly would be away from his natural habitat.

A few days ago my wife indicated that people who would attack from the privilege of this Parliament a retired person whose only fault was being burnt out in a bushfire were lower than a snake’s duodenum. Let me only state that my wife was far too generous to the honourable gentlemen opposite.

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-The Minister for Post and Telecommunications is aware of the number of times I have contacted him in regard to the extension of the Sydney metropolitan telephone zone to include the electorate of Macquarie. I ask: Why is it that Telecom Australia has not yet supplied him with the report on this matter that had been promised to be in his hands by 30 June 1978? As other dates have since been mentioned- September 1978; by the end of 1978; early 1979; the latest being 30 March 1979- will the Minister advise the House what action he will take if the report is not in his hands by 30 March 1979?


-At the very least, as to the last part, I will have another talk to the honourable member. All members of this House know how tremendously persistent the honourable member for Macquarie has been. He has constantly pressed for the inclusion of his electorate in the Sydney local call zone. As a result of representations by the honourable member and a number of other members of this House, the Government decided just over a year ago to ask-

Mr Dobie:

– Who are they?


– There are too many for me to name them individually. The Government decided just over a year ago to ask Telecom to review and report on possible changes to the telephone call charge zoning system. This review has regrettably taken longer than originally expected because of the complexity of the matter and because of the need to consider the issues on a national basis. Telecom officials hope to complete the review by the end of this month, after which the Australian Telecommunications Commission will receive a report from the officials. The Government will receive its report when the Commission has completed its consideration of the matter.

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-I direct my question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. In view of the extraordinary nature of the proceedings in the social security conspiracy trial involving Greeks, will the Minister seek from the Attorney-General a firm undertaking that the Australian Legal Aid Office will not interfere with the conduct of individual cases by private practitioners to the detriment of the defendants? Is the Minister aware of the need for justice to be manifestly seen to be done when the Government is both the prosecution and the funder of the defence? In particular, will the Minister ensure that all the accused who wish to appeal against the decision of Stipendiary Magistrate Brown to hear the cases in batches and the refusal of the Crown to give particulars of the charges are given aid to become party to the appeal proceedings?

Mr VINER As the honourable member has really asked me a number of detailed questions, I think it would be better if I were to take the question on notice, refer it to the Attorney-General and give a detailed reply to the honourable member.

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-I address my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. The Minister will be aware of the widespread bushfires in my electorate of Eden-Monaro and in the adjoining electorate of Hume in the past few weeks.

Mr Baume:

– And in Macarthur.


– And in the electorate of Macarthur. Will government compensation, when available, be offered regardless of party political considerations to the landowners whose properties have been devastated by the fires?


– We were all very saddened by the size of the devastation that was depicted in the newspapers and that those of us who have driven along the Federal Highway and other roads in the vicinity of Canberra saw as a result of the fires in the honourable member’s electorate and other electorates in southern New South Wales. People suffering from bushfires- indeed, any natural disaster- are eligible to receive assistance subject to the State government concerned declaring the area to have been so affected and the arrangements provided being within the general embrace of the facilities offered by the Commonwealth. I can assure the honourable gentleman that, just as in the instance of the fires in Victoria and other States, help is provided by joint State-Commonwealth assistance irrespective of political considerations and in order to meet the objective of helping those people whose properties have been devastated by fire to carry on their normal farming operations. I hope that the people in New South Wales take heart from the fact that that sort of help is available to them in the same way as it is available in other States where the State government and the Federal Government co-operate in the manner that they have in Victoria in the past.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Is it not a fact that the basis of the agreement between the Commonwealth and the States by which the Commonwealth grants funds to the States for the purpose of rural adjustment is contained in the States Grants (Rural Adjustment) Act of 1976? Do not these provisions require grants to assist farmers to be specifically limited to those who have used all their cash and credit resources and who cannot meet their financial commitments? Does the Prime Minister believe that these terms would specifically make ineligible for a concessional loan from the Victorian Rural Finance and Settlement Commission the Nareeb Nareeb Pastoral Co.? If not, can he inform the House under what provisions were two loans totalling $ 100,000 made to the company?


-Order! The honourable gentleman’s question is still out of order. He is asking for an opinion. He is not entitled to ask for an opinion.

Mr Holding:

– On a point of order, sir, if one looks at the question- it is carefully worded- one sees that if refers quite specifically to the terms of a Commonwealth Act and to the provisions of an agreement between the Commonwealth and the State. I included in the question a specific reference to the provisions of that agreement and I have directed the Prime Minister’s attention to a particular loan, the terms of which are known to him and about which he has already expressed himself in the House. That being so, I submit that the question is perfectly in order.


-The honourable member is asking for a statement of belief of the right honourable gentleman which I interpret as asking for an opinion.

Mr Holding:

– I am asking for a statement of fact.


– You asked for a statement of belief. You asked: ‘Does the Prime Minister believe’ and then went on to add some facts. If the honourable gentleman likes to rephrase his question he may yet get it into order.

Mr Holding:

- Sir, I will be very happy to do so.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

- Mr Speaker, even though this question is out of order it is again a typical example of members of the Australian Labor Party making allegations within a question which, because the question is out of order, hang in the air unanswered. Against that background I ask that you allow the imputations inherent in the question to be answered.


– I will permit the right honourable gentleman to do so. I call the Minister for Primary Industry.


– As the Minister responsible for the operation of this legislation I think it is important that I say two things: Firstly, the imputations in the honourable gentleman’s question- if it can still be given the status that that term implies- are to be totally deplored.


-Order! The right honourable gentleman will not impute motives to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports in that fashion. I ask him to answer the question.


-I think that those motives are obvious, Mr Speaker. I refer the honourable gentleman first to the statement by the Chairman of the Rural Finance and Settlement Commission of Victoria against whom he has also made a very grave accusation. That gentleman and his colleagues who are members of the Commission are charged with the responsibility of administering this legislation. The honourable gentleman’s question- he shakes his headimpugns the motives of the Rural Finance Commission in Victoria, the officers and all the employees of the Commission and those responsible for every loan that this body makes. On 1 March 1979, as is recorded at page 518 of Hansard, Mr Morton’s statement was read by my colleague the Prime Minister. It reads:

The Rural Finance Commission makes loans solely in accordance with its own judgments and in accordance with guidelines determined by the Commission itself and in the case of natural disasters on guidelines determined by public agreement between governments.

The Commission has not done anything for the Beggs family that it would not do for others similarly placed.

I have received no representations from anybody in relation to these loans, and the Beggs family’s presentation of its affairs has been exemplary.

The question itself implies in some way that there has been something improper either on the part of the recipients of the loan or of the Rural Finance Commission. If the honourable gentleman, or indeed if any member of the Labor Party, whether he be in the Federal Parliament or the Victorian Parliament, knows of facts which he believes to be reprehensible he has a duty to report those circumstances to the Rural Finance Commission, to the State AuditorGeneral or to the Commonwealth AuditorGeneral. There are proper ways by which a complaint can be lodged, and the airing of grievances of this sort, which impugn the motives of responsible people, is to be totally deplored.

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– I ask the Minister for Trade and Resources whether he can say what action the Australian Government is taking to clarify the current uncertainty with regard to meat exports to Iran.

Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP

-On 1 March the Ayatollah Khomeini declared that frozen meat was religiously unclean. He gave an instruction to the Prime Minister of Iran that all frozen sheep meat in the country should be destroyed and that a ban should be placed on such imports. On 3 March, two days later, the Iranian Minister for Agriculture, in a national broadcast, made the statement that Iran had no choice but to continue to import frozen meat until such time as the country was self-sufficient. So whether or not the ban has been imposed is a little unclear at this stage. The Australian industry has been carefully following the halal religious form of slaughter, according to Islamic rites. Before the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation will give a certificate for export this procedure has to be complied with. The Meat Corporation has been very strict in ensuring that meat going to Islamic countries has the prescribed certification. The Australian Trade Commissioner in Iran has been talking with officials of that Government to try to clarify the situation. I have explained that if they were in any way doubtful as to whether we were carrying out the correct procedures, the Australian Government would invite officials from Iran to come to Australia to see what takes place in our meatworks. We believe that the livestock is being killed strictly in accordance with Islamic law. The meat trade to Iran is very important to the Australian meat industry, be it the meatworks or the producers of sheep meat. Iran took about $70m worth of frozen sheep meat last financial year, and we believe that Iran is one of the greatest potential markets for that trade. With Iran’s large population and its need to import meat, we would naturally like to keep this trade open and continuous. I hope that any doubts that might be in the minds of the Iranian officials will be cleared up as soon as possible because I really do not think that there is any justification for the allegations that have been made.

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-I ask the Minister for Defence whether it is a fact that the major proportion of Australia’s defence liaison officers is posted in the United States of America. I understand that the number of such officers is a matter of dispute with the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I ask whether the Minister considers that this is a reasonable allocation of these personnel? How many defence liaison officers are posted in Middle East countries to observe developments, the use of weapons and military undertakings? Does the preponderance of personnel in the United States of America and the almost total, if not total, lack of personnel in the Middle East, indicate a preference for location rather than a rational allocation of personnel on the basis of military requirements and military information requirements?


– I would excuse myself from reaching the conclusions that the honourable gentleman has reached. This country’s military attaches abroad serve wherever this country’s interest may be furthered in the clearest sense. I am sure that my honourable friend will understand that Australia has very significant defence arrangements with the United States of America. One only has to mention equipment for a start. Again, we have very significant equipment arrangements with the United Kingdom. I will prepare for the honourable gentleman a list setting out where Australian servicemen are serving abroad. I shall then present it to the honourable gentleman. But it would be open to him, as it would be open to any other honourable member of this House, to argue where the country is best served. The judgment of the Government is along the lines that I have suggested and, at the risk of disturbing my honourable friend, that was precisely the judgment of the last Labor Government.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs. On Tuesday of last week the National Training Council met the Minister in Canberra and recommended to him the introduction of a scheme designed to provide accelerated training programs to boost the number of tradesmen. The Minister will be aware of continuing community concern about the shortage in the work force of skilled tradesmen and I now ask him whether he will be supporting the National Training Council proposalMr VINER- I am glad to inform the honourable gentleman immediately that I will be supporting the National Training Council proposal. This particular proposal is one that the Council and my Department have had under consideration for some time. It derives from a concern expressed by both the Council and my Department at the lack of tradesmen for the future needs of Australian industry. That lack is becoming more apparent daily. Of course, when we see the encouraging signs in the economy that are now emerging, it is a matter of concern that in the years ahead we will not have the number of tradesmen that industry requires in order to take advantage of that recovery.

I might also inform my colleague and the House that involved in this proposal for a complementary trade training scheme is a particular scheme put forward by the Western Australian Government. It envisages eight pilot courses to provide training for about 100 people at a cost of $ 1.6 m. I also inform my colleague that I will be looking favourably at this Western Australian proposal as one of the pilot projects under the National Training Council scheme along with possible pilot projects in Victoria and New South Wales. There will have to be some further discussions with the Western Australian Government to tailor its proposal to fit into the national training scheme.

Might I for a moment just outline to the House the substance of this scheme because I am sure that it will be of interest to all honourable members.

Mr Young:

- Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. This has been a very long answer. The Minister should make a statement to the House on this matter. It is an extremely important matter and one on which we have some very strong views as well.


– I ask the Minister to draw his answer to a conclusion.

Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs · STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

-Yes, I will, Mr Speaker. But I think it would be of interest to the honourable member for Port Adelaide to point out the substance of this proposal recommended by the National Training Council, which comprises unions, employers and Government members. The scheme will be directed mainly at people in the 1 8 to 22 years age group who want to become tradesmen but who missed out on apprenticeships. They would undertake a training program which will incorporate an initial full time training period, including technical education comparable to that required for apprenticeship -


– I ask the Minister to bring his answer to a conclusion.


-And off-the-job training which is heavily practical in content. If I might make this short final point, Mr Speaker -


-Order! I ask the Minister to resume his seat.

page 610




– I ask the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs: Is it a fact that over the last eight weeks only one white person, and about 100 non-white persons, have been detained at the Villawood Detention Centre? Was the one white person released after about one week in order to marry? Why has a Fijian woman, Miss Rokocko, been detained for about two months when she has indicated that she wishes to many in Australia? Is there some other explanation for this apparent discrimination against a coloured person compared to a white one? Why have outward telephone facilities been denied over the last week to Villawood detainees wishing to contact their legal representatives and church officials? Is this limitation in contravention of section 41 of the Migration Act and, if so, will the Minister take action to ensure that the law is observed?

Mr Sinclair:

– I rise to a point of order. Mr Speaker, on earlier occasions you have drawn the attention of the House to the fact that during Question Time it is inappropriate to refer to a specific individual by name and to the imputations that might How from such an allegation. You have required that such questions be placed on notice. I would suggest that that part of the honourable gentleman’s question which does that in this instance would be out of order.


– I have required a question in which there is an imputation against the person mentioned to be placed on notice, but I have not detected an imputation against a named person in this question. Has the honourable gentleman completed his question?

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

– Firstly, I would most emphatically reject any allegation that the treatment accorded to people by the officers of the Department of Immigration is based in any way on race. There is simply no truth in any such allegation. As to the numbers and proportions of people of different races who come within the prohibited migration statistics, I cannot provide them off the top of my head. I will check them out.

The case mentioned by the honourable member concerned a person who arrived in Australia some years ago, was given a temporary entry permit, was given an extension to that permit and overstayed it by a considerable period. While that person’s location was unknown to the Department a deportation order against her was signed. As a result of anonymous information, she was apprehended some time ago and her case was brought to my attention. She was taken to the Villawood Detention Centre. In fact, as a result of representations telephoned to me on Saturday evening- she was to have been deported on the Sunday- that further representations were being made on her behalf, as this was the first time that I had been aware of such representations, I ordered on Saturday evening that her deportation not proceed while those further representations were considered. I again make the categorical statement that any allegations concerning differing treatment based on differing race by officers of my Department have no foundation in fact.

page 611



-Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented.


– If the honourable member wishes to make a personal explanation he may proceed.


-Thank you. My attention has been drawn to the fact that last Thursday the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Holding) claimed that I had misrepresented him during the adjournment debate on the previous evening. In his personal explanation last Thursday the honourable gentleman misrepresented me three times. Firstly, he claimed that the substance of my allegation was that he had used the privileges of this Parliament to attack hardworking public servants, and particularly officers of the Commonwealth Employment Service. This was only the final part of my allegation. A check of my statement- I refer honourable members to Hansard of 28 February at page 491- will show clearly that what I said on this point was correct. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports did say in his statement, to which I was referring during the adjournment debate, that a spokesman for the Commonwealth Employment Service had told ‘a direct and deliberate lie’. It was this that I took exception to, as a cowardly use of parliamentary privilege and as an insult to the officers of the CES.

Secondly, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports claimed that I had not checked my facts before making my statement. I did check my facts and I have since rechecked them. As a result, I stand by every word that I said during the particular adjournment debate. The third point on which the honourable member misrepresented me is a corollary of the first two misrepresentations. The main point of my remarks during the adjournment debate related to the false allegations which had been made by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports to the effect that the notification procedures used by the CES have discriminated against certain job seekers in recent months. My statement pointed out- on this the honourable gentleman by implication and, I believe, more, misrepresented methat the procedures have been streamlined to the advantage of job seekers and not to their disadvantage.

page 611


Report and Ministerial Statement

Prime Minister · Wannon · LP

– For the information of honourable members, I present Volume 1 of the report of the Study Group on Structural Adjustment. I seek leave to make a statement on the future handling of the report.

Leave granted.


-The Study Group, chaired by Sir John Crawford, was set up to examine and advise the Government on the adjustment problems of Australian manufacturing industries. Other members of the Study Group were Sir Brian Inglis, Chairman of the Government’s Australian Manufacturing Council and Managing Director of Ford Australia; Mr R. J. L. Hawke, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions; and Mr N. S. Currie, Secretary of the Department of Industry and Commerce. I would like to place on record the Government’s thanks to the members of the Study Group and particularly to the Chairman. The Study Group’s report represents a further contribution made by Sir John in the course of a long and most distinguished public career.

Mr Speaker, in its preface, the Study Group expresses its concern that expectations about its report have been raised too high in many quarters. As the report makes clear, the challenges facing Australian manufacturing industry are great and there are no easy solutions. The answers are necessarily to be found in a wide complex of policy measures. The report, as requested in the terms of reference, has addressed itself to these measures. In the view of the report, lower population growth rates, technological change, import competition, changing patterns of consumer demand, and wage cost pressures are all part of the challenge requiring these measures. The report notes that:

In the early 1970s wages, especially those for women, increased sharply, partly as the result of the introduction of equal pay. In 1973-74 alone, minimum award wages increased 37 per cent for females, and 27 per cent for males.

Government action has at times contributed to the adjustment pressures on industry. The 25 per cent across-the-board tariff cut in 1973, appreciations of the exchange rate in 1972 and 1973, and a scaling down of the Export Incentive Scheme in 1974 are important examples of such actions. However, more recent Government actions have been directed towards reducing inflation and reducing external pressures on the hardest-pressed import-competing industries through limiting imports by quotas and temporary increases in tariffs. Devaluations of the Australian dollar since 1974 have also assisted the import-competing industries as well as the export sector.

The report proposes a series of positive measures to respond to the challenges and opportunities faced by Australian manufacturing industries. The Government believes that the analysis and recommendations contained in the report will be an important contribution to its consideration of long term policies to assist industry to adjust to a changing environment and to promote sound industrial growth in the future. The report also provides a focus for all interested parties in their evaluation of future prospects for Australian industry. The report endorses and considerably elaborates the need identified in the White Paper on Manufacturing Industry for Australian industry to become more competitive, better able both to compete with imports and to enter export markets. The manufacturing sector must be export oriented if it is to use fully our resources and skills. The Australian market is seen by the report as being too limited for any other policy.

The Study Group is in favour of the Government following policies that set the right climate for investment and growth and it has proposed an extended range of incentives as the principal means of encouraging industry to become more competitive and export oriented. In this way, the report believes growth rates in the sector can be raised and employment better sustained and expanded. Many of the areas covered by the report are matters to which the Government is giving continued attention: Export development, industrial research and development, investment incentives, productivity improvement and industrial financing. The Government has already introduced taxation concessions to encourage investment; made significant improvements to export incentives; substantially increased funding for industrial research and development, and instituted other programs designed to improve productivity in industry. In addition, particular emphasis has been given to increasing our efforts to secure better access to overseas markets for Australian goods, a matter heavily emphasised in the report.

The Crawford Study Group believes that further improvements could be made in the range of programs and has put forward a large body of recommendations. It sees the need for a ‘positive’ strategy to deal with adjustment problems, what it terms an ‘industrial adaptation policy’. Other elements in the strategy outlined and developed in the report include the gradual adjustment downwards in the higher reaches of Australian protection levels; an overseas trade policy designed to secure markets for Australian manufacturing exports; manpower policies to help the workforce to adjust to new employment opportunities; and special policies for the most highly protected industries, aimed at easing the process of adjustment for them. Each of the Study Group’s recommendations will be given very careful consideration. Many of them have far-reaching implications. In a number of cases, the Study Group’s analysis of particular issues will, as it recognises, be complemented by related studies commissioned by the Government such as the Committee of Inquiry into Education and Training, the Inquiry into the Process of Technological Change in Australian Industry and the Inquiry into the Australian Financial System.

Mr Speaker, the report will be a valuable input to the Government’s decision-making process. It is much concerned with what the authors believe to be necessary and practical programs. It will assist the Government to ensure that future policy decisions will contribute to the maximum possible extent to achieving the Government’s overall economic and industry policy objectives, to improving the competitive position of Australian industry and to assisting the transfer of resources to those competitive, export-oriented industries which in the years ahead must provide the basis for a successful industry policy and enable manufacturing to play a much stronger role in the economy as a whole. I note that a number of Government policies are already directed towards these ends. I note in particular the policy recently announced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr Lynch) in relation to the motor car industry.

Significant progress has been made in bringing down inflation and improving the competitive position of Australian local industries, and the report recognises that ‘manufacturing is in a better position to export than it has been for some time’. There is now evidence that Australian industries are increasingly being able to exploit market opportunities overseas and that our improved competitive position has generated significant interest in new investment in local industry. It is essential that these gains be sustained and new opportunities actively sought if the economic growth which would facilitate structural adjustment is to be realised. In view of the importance and breadth of the matters raised in the study group’s report, it is being tabled now so that it can be widely and intensively discussed and the community’s response registered by the Government. A special committee of Ministers has been established to co-ordinate the Government’s assessment of the recommendations. This committee will be chaired by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Other members will be the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), the Minister for Education (Senator Carrick), the Minister for Industrial Relations (Mr Street), the Treasurer (Mr Howard), the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner), the Minister for Productivity (Mr Macphee), the Minister for Business and Community Affairs (Mr Fife) and the Minister for Special Trade Representations (Mr Garland) as assistant to the Minister for Trade and Resources (Mr Anthony). In addition, of course, when other matters affecting other portfolios are involved, the Minister concerned will be involved. For example, if matters affecting foreign affairs were raised, the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) clearly would be involved in the deliberations of the committee.

Again, I would like to thank Sir John Crawford and his colleagues for a very useful contribution and input into government policies. I believe that much of the report emphasised the thrust of what is already in train in export incentives, in industrial research and development and in some sectoral policies such as in the motor industry. We welcome the new ideas and the thoughts in the report. The report certainly will be put to earnest study by the Government forthwith. We are also looking for a constructive community reaction to Sir John’s report. I present the following paper:

Report of the Study Group on Structural AdjustmentMinisterial Statement, 6 March 1979.

Motion (by Mr Sinclair) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

Leader of the Opposition · Oxley

– This report of the Study Group on Structural Adjustment proposes all of the things that the Government does not believe in and does not want to do. It is a general blueprint for action to prepare the nation for the future. It explicitly requires a much greater level of government activity within the economy than this Government has ever been prepared to concede. It clearly pans the Government. For instance, it proposes that there should be government initiatives on job creation- the very thing the

Government does not want to undertake. It points out that a precondition for any action following this report designed to strengthen the performance of the Australian economy is economic recovery. Yet the Government prefers to delay economic recovery because of its blind, illinformed and terribly damaging preoccupation with fighting inflation alone. It ignores the enormous social and economic consequences of massive unemployment and reductions in the level of activity in the economy.

We have a dual priority. It is to reduce unemployment as well as to reduce inflation and to sustain economic recovery. The report criticises protection policies. It recommends, impliedly at east economic planning to facilitate change and to ensure public confidence in what is happening. But most of all it is a document that points out that simplistic notions about leaving it all to the market forces are inappropriate today. It is a document that strongly urges a greater level of government intervention than this Government has ever been prepared to recommend. The Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) delicately skirts around all of these and other implied criticisms. They are in their own way, as I said, a severe condemnation of the Government.

But let us move on to some of the more pointed aspects of the report. I think it is fair to say that it is a sobering, if not chilling, document. It strips bare much of the Government’s dishonest rhetoric about the state of the economy and what we can expect for the future. What is clear is that the Australian economy has suffered significant deterioration in its strength and performance in recent years, and that Government policies very largely are responsible for this. What is equally clear is that the performance of the economy in the future will be much weaker than we have been used to; more than that, the economy will be too weak to be able to provide the strength and growth necessary to allow the forms of structural change to take place which Sir John Crawford and his colleagues believe are absolutely necessary if we are going to get back to a situation of full employment, according to our historical concepts of full employment.

Let me make this clear: The Labor Party is firmly committed to a program of full employment. We believe it is totally unacceptable that the Government should seek to manage the economic problems at the moment by resorting to mounting unemployment. It is possible to conquer the problems of inflation and bring about a strengthening of the economy at the same time as reducing unemployment. Let me refer to some of the dishonest rhetoric that has been stripped bare by this report. The report states: … the effects of technological change are potentially serious, particularly if high overall growth rates are not achieved.

They are not being achieved, and unless there is a fundamental change in government thinking about its role in relation to stimulating and guiding the economy there will not be the sort of economic growth that we will need now and in the future to sustain the sort of change that is already upon us and to guarantee security of employment for people already in the work force. They are the people I am talking about; not the people currently unemployed but those who will be added to their ranks unless the Government intervenes with the appropriate policies. Elsewhere, the report states:

The recession has reduced firms’ and individuals’ capacity to adapt to changed circumstances as both find it harder to find new opportunities.

This is another way of pointing out that the economy that is consciously subjected to contracting levels of economic activity as a direct consequence of government policy cannot offer the opportunity for individuals and for businesses to change, to restructure themselves and to prepare themselves for the problems that already are moving through the economy. The report states further

The Study Group believes that Australian industry faces serious adjustment problems. The pressures on manufacturing industry are particularly severe, and will continue to be so. Yet the economy’s capacity to cope with the pressures is not as great as it has been in the past.

That underscores the seriousness, if not the chilling nature, of many of the findings of this report. According to the report, we are in no condition at all to take on board the task of changing, not just preparing for the 1980s but establishing the firm foundations upon which we can erect a structure for economic development that will take us confidently into the year 2000. We cannot get ourselves into that condition until there is a substantial change in the fundamental economic thinking of the Government in relation to matters immediately affecting the economy. Those extracts from the report indicate quite clearly that if we are going to attend to the problem of medium to long-term adjustment then there has to be induced economic recovery now. In the absence of recovery there cannot be the sort of change necessary to prepare us for the future. Worse, and the Department of Employment and Youth Affairs was quoted in this respect last night on the national news, the evidence is that we are going to see marked deterioration in the level of activity in the economy, measured by things such as worsening unemployment.

I come to the next point to which the report refers. It states that there is little prospect of a return to full employment at historical levels, that that would require substantial economic growth. We know that already. The present Minister for Industrial Relations (Mr Street) said last September:

There are no signs of any immediate . . . improvement in the employment situation … if new jobs were created at an average of 1 30,000 a year for each of the next five years, we could expect to reduce unemployment to about 4.S per cent

The struggle had been lost before it even started. The Government prediction is for at best an addition of 30,000 jobs within the labour force. The private sector has already fallen by some 48,000 in 12 months. Let me quote what the former Department of Employment and Industrial Relations submitted last year to Sir John Crawford’s inquiry. It is a lengthy quote, but it is necessary to have it on record. It stated:

It is noticeable that the sectors which seem likely to be the main providers of additional jobs in the future are those which, to some extent, depend on direct public expenditure. Therefore, it seems likely that one of the main challenges in managing the economy to produce reasonably full employment in future years will involve some redistribution of income from the sectors strongly contributing to the nation’s wealth to those which more readily employ people. With major service areas like retail trade likely to contribute less to employment growth, the public sector may increasingly be required to generate jobs, either in the public sector or through the private sector via public expenditure.

The submission goes on to point out that even then we will require far higher rates of economic growth than we experienced in the 1950s and 1960s. This amounts to a daunting challenge ahead of us. I am confident that this country can handle the challenge and handle it magnificently, but it will require a change of policy. In one of the reports to which I referred earlier it was pointed out by the inquiry that the effects of technological change are potentially serious. The report merely underscores findings from other countries. In France an official report has pointed out that by the early 1990s, 30 per cent of all the staff in banks and insurance companies will become redundant. The Siemens company has pointed out that 40 per cent of all office jobs will become redundant because of technology. We are seeing a rapid acceleration of the redundancy trend, moving out from the blue collar sector into the white collar sector, challenging the security of employment of the middle class now as much as in the past it has challenged the security of the blue collar class, especially the unskilled and semi-skilled.

If we look at what has happened in the work force in Australia we find that manufacturing, for instance, provided 26.5 per cent of employment in 1970 but in 1977- a matter of only seven years- it was providing only 21.6 per cent. The service sector provided 63.9 per cent of employment in 1970 and is now providing 70.7 per cent. The area of most significant growth in the service sector is the so-called information industry, but with computer circuitry and many other innovations in the area of computer services and technology generally the rate of growth in that section, that is the information section of the tertiary sector, is now starting to slow down. There is a limit to the number of jobs that can be provided in motels, restaurants and so on in the tertiary sector. Certainly, mining is an impressive performer in terms of what it earns for us in export income. It earns about 30 per cent of our export income but it contributes about 4 per cent of our gross domestic product and only 1.3 per cent of our employment. I come back to that substantial observation of the former Department of Employment and Industrial Relations in its submission to the Crawford inquiry. It boils down to this: If we are going to have a full employment philosophy and if we are going to work to achieve it, as I believe we should and as the Labor Party has committed itself to do, there must be Government policies of intervention. By that I mean programs that are designed by Government policies to generate more jobs, either in the public sector, and a lot more will have to be generated there, or in the private sector through support from the public sector.

It is nonsense to rely on that quaint but totally unjustifiable faith that market forces will right it all. Those who put forward that proposition- the Australian Treasury, and I presume that through its influence it has managed to dominate at least the majority of people in the Cabinet- forget the lessons of history. They forget the enormous social suffering, apart from the economic dislocation, of the enclosure movement and of the industrial revolution. Of course, it is incontestable that with the chain of events over a lengthy period we are all better off as a result of that painful process, but no one wants to be a sacrifice to prop the painful process so that others can be better off. There is no need for that sort of process to be painful. It is for that reason that we have argued so persistently that there should be a program of economic recovery involving job creation and associated with medium to longer term perspectives of economic planning.

The Government has to act on this report. We do not want to see the sort of result that we saw in the past with the Vernon Committee report, for instance. If that report had been followed we would be in far better shape today to face the problems confronting us, but it was not followed. It was rammed amidships and sunk by the attacks of the Treasury, and the Treasury is about to do the same thing again. In fact, it has already initiated that sort of attack. Treasury Economic Paper Number 3 entitled ‘Flexibility, economic change and growth’ is nothing more than a paeon of praise for the market forces of the economy: Keep government out of it and ignore the sorts of structural engineering that the Crawford Committee is recommending to the Australian people. The Treasury got away with that with the Vernon report. It should not be allowed to get away with it again. The people in Treasury never bother to calculate the social costs because they are insulated from the sorts of disadvantages that the rest of the community has to suffer. The Jackson Committee report on manufacturing industry is also sinking, going down through the attrition of neglect. I state again that I sincerely trust that the Crawford Committee report and its fellow, the Williams Committee report when it comes forward, do not go the same way.

The Opposition, the Labor Party, has outlined before its program in these areas, a program of economic recovery including policy initiatives such as early retirement, voluntary retirement, job subsidy, economic planning, strengthening of the Prices Justification Tribunal, and cuts in direct and indirect taxes which could lead not only to reductions in the cost of living and increased spending power for people but also to effective and acceptable wages policy guidelines. Unless we have a government that is prepared to lay down blueprints such as those to involve itself actively and directly in support of economic recovery and in building the strength of this economy to face the future, I am afraid that all the hard work of the people on the Crawford Committee will go for naught, as was the case with the Vernon Committee. (Extension of time granted). Let me take up a point which I would have liked to have made much earlier. One of the important principles that has to be recognised is that there is a fundamental conflict in the policies of the Government which are being promulgated at the present time. As recently as the last couple of weeks the Government has been proposing an export promotions program. The sum effect on that in simplified terms is that it is proposing export incentives in various ways which are subsidies. At the same time it is following a program of import protection for certain domestic industries. The two things cut the feet out from underneath each other.

If there is going to be high, and presumably, growing levels of protection for domestic industry as against import competition, then that means there will be a distortion of economic resources. Costs go up and it becomes increasingly difficult for the export sector of the economy to first of all obtain, resources. Those resources should be obtained at costs which allow that sector of the economy to compete effectively. So the Government has a fundamental dilemma here which it has not confronted, namely, that it is running in tandem two policies which tend to neutralise one another. There needs to be a more in cycle understanding of those shortcomings.

Let me refer to the 1977-78 annual report of the Industries Assistance Commission to show how a sort of snapping- much as one may snap at irritating flies on a summer day- at policies is not the way to handle sustained economic development or to strengthen in the medium to long term the performance of the national economy. At page 72 of that report there is a table which shows the performance of Australian manufacturing industries by level of assistance. The important thing about that table is that it shows, on aggregate measures of employment, that industries with the most significant increases in assistance since July 1973 have the greatest levels of increase in unemployment. There has been a 20.8 per cent reduction in employment in such industries since July 1973. In other industries the reduction was only 5.6 per cent.

So while it is clear that the downturn in the economy explains a not unimportant part of the reduction in the work force in Australian industry, it can also be seen that increasing levels of protection in fact, have been associated with a much more rapid downturn in numbers in the work force in Australian industry. What needs to be done here is for the Government to give a full exposition of how it proposes to respond to the Crawford report recommendations and recognise that merely resorting to more and more protection will not be the solution to these particular problems. Indeed, in spite of the ad hoc way in which the Government has been confronting the problems of manufacturing industry, manufacturing industry in Australia today is worse off than it was several years ago. More importantly, it is comparatively worse off than the performance of manufacturing industries in the other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. I read again from page 5 of the annual report of the IAC. In relation to manufacturing industry in Australia it states:

In contrast to the OECD experience this ratio - this is the ratio of performance of manufacturing industry in Australia - appears to have continued to fall in Australia.

Clearly the policies which have been developed just have not worked. We are getting into more and more trouble. Of course, we all recognise that what we have to do to have success in manufacturing industry, is to orientate policy much more towards export industries. It is an argument which the Opposition has been promoting for many years. But we will not make much progress unless we recognise a few fundamental facts. If we are going to export we have to import. Furthermore, if we are going to export we should not aggravate and alienate prospective good markets like the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations by sending someone with a rather abrasive ocker image to try to negotiate something as sensitive as airline cut-rate fares which have profound foreign policy and trade implications. The Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) has done untold damage to this country’s foreign relations in its own region but even greater damage to our trading prospects within that region. The perplexing part about this situation is that the section of our traditional exports which could be most disadvantaged are, in fact, in the farm industry sector such as sugar and wheat. This is an area for which he, as a National Country Party Minister, is supposed to be responsible. It is a shame that clumsy people should be allowed to stumble through delicate fields.

I have indicated some of the things I believe ought to be done. Let me outline in a little more detail the general nature of the strategy which we believe is required to achieve the aims, implicit and explicit, in the Crawford document. We have committed ourselves to these aims and we believe that they are consistent with the aims of the community generally. We cannot depend entirely upon traditional macroeconomic policy measures but we require new industry and manpower policies. These need to be aimed at improving the international competitiveness of Australian industries since change, if managed properly and in the interests of all, offers the surest path to the achievement of full employment and rising standards of living at lower rates of inflation. The aims must be radically different from either the Industries Assistance Commission’s strategy which relies solely upon the dictates of market forces and the brutality of negative punitive tariff pressures, or the Fraser Government’s White Paper strategy since its ambivalence between pro-change and anti-change, together with its faith in the market, will result only in the worst of all worlds. We believe instead of emphasis upon the revitalisation of existing industries and the restructuring upwards into new industries in which Australia has an as yet unutilised advantage that there needs to be government planning designed to complement market forces in fostering that revitalisation; anticipative schemes to smooth the path for change; and positive incentives to encourage the movement of resources. These are some of the things which must be faced. In short, we are unapologetically interventionist in the sense that we want to support the private sector to help strengthen this economy and to increase our prospects to handle the challenges not only ahead of us but already upon us. The philosophy of the Government is quite inadequate to respond to those challenges and it has been completely condemned by the recommendations and general findings of the Crawford inquiry.


Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bourchier) adjourned.

page 617


Ministerial Statement

Minister for Transport · Gippsland · LP

– by leave- Some five months have passed since I announced the Government’s international civil aviation policy and I think it is now timely to point out to the House the achievements that have been reached to this point. I do not intend to go over in detail the aims of the ICAP. These should now be well known to all honourable members. It should be sufficient to say, in a nutshell, that the policy sets out to combine the best features of charter and scheduled operations in the one air service. That policy is succeeding. In fact its success in the five short months of its operation has been outstanding. It is specifically this success that I want to bring to the attention of honourable members today.

Implementation of the Policy

Like all other countries Australia’s ability to operate international scheduled air services depends on formal agreements reached on a bilateral basis with other countries. Australia has 27 such arrangements. To make the changes required to implement our new policy we therefore have to negotiate with our bilateral partners. On the Kangaroo route alone this involves negotiations with 13 other governments. Negotiations began in October 1978 to implement the ICAP. On the Australia/Europe routes, which in terms of ethnic ties are by far our most important, we have been able to reach agreement on our policy with the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I am confident that we will shortly be able to conclude a similar agreement with the Greek Government. Each of these agreements has meant significant fare reductions. We have reached an interim agreement with the United States which has resulted in quite dramatic reductions in fares between Sydney and Melbourne and the American west coast.

Negotiations began last week on the important Australia-New Zealand route and it was agreed that Air New Zealand Ltd and Qantas Airways Ltd will meet shortly to formulate low fares proposals for consideration by our two governments. Exchanges have also taken place between Australia and Canada on new low fares, and I am hopeful that in the near future we might reach an agreement which will allow early introduction of lower fares to Canada. Arrangements are currently under way to organise a new round of negotiations with the Dutch Government, and I hope that here too we will shortly reach formal agreement. I have also today been informed that Alitalia Airlines and Qantas had very useful discussions in Hong Kong where they reached very near accord on lower fares between Australia and Italy. The matter has yet to be referred to both governments by the airlines.

Much publicity has been given to the position of negotiations with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations. I am the first to admit that discussions in this area have not, up to now, progressed quite as well as I had hoped. But I am still confident that agreement can be reached between Australia and the ASEAN countries, and I hope in the very near future. Before I go into detail as to the approaches that we have made to the ASEAN countries, let me put to rest- I hope once and for all- what seems to have become a popular misconception about our dealings with South East Asia, that is, that the Department of Foreign Affairs has not been involved in the negotiations. That is simply not true. I say, most emphatically, that in all negotiations with all of our bilateral partners, including negotiations with the ASEAN countries, Foreign Affairs officials have been fully involved. There has been no time when Foreign Affairs has not been involved. Furthermore, officials of my Department consult with Foreign Affairs officials on a daily basis.

Negotiations began with the ASEAN countries, at the same time as they did in Europe. It was the Government’s aim that all countries with which we have bilateral arrangements would have been able to participate in low fare arrangements from 1 February 1979. In our discussions with the ASEAN countries we have offered to negotiate fares including stopovers at a reasonable cost for those who wish to spend time in South East Asia. We have proposed low fares and tour basing fares to South East Asia and have offered to negotiate the levels of those fares. We are prepared to work out with the ASEAN countries the extent of capacity required to cope with the expected traffic demands and to provide some additional landing rights to ASEAN airlines. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) and I have been collaborating closely in this matter and I am pleased that we appear to be getting close to arranging a significant round of discussions with the ASEAN countries later this month. I sincerely hope, and will be using my best endeavours to ensure, that that meeting clears away the difficulties which have so far prevented the reaching of agreement with our ASEAN neighbours and enabling them to participate in the benefits already flowing from ICAP.

The ASEAN problem centres in the main on concern that their tourism from Australia will decline as a result of our new policy, and that their carriers will lose access to Australia-Europe traffic. On the first point, we confidently consider that stopover traffic in South East Asia will not diminish, providing the correct fare levels are struck. And, obviously, setting the correct fare levels is something that must be sorted out at the negotiating table. But let me point out that whilst there have been expressions of concern on the part of some ASEAN countries that stopover traffic will decline, it is a fact that 47 per cent of Australian stopover traffic is destined for Asian regions, not for Europe. On the second point, as I have already mentioned, we have proposed new fares that will allow stopovers in the ASEAN region at levels whch are lower than those currently applying. By this means, we believe, the access previously enjoyed will be retained.

The new fares

Let me point out some specifics, in terms of figures, to demonstrate just how successful and how significant the new lower air fares have been. The APEX- Advanced Purchase

Excursion- fares to the UK, previously the lowest on a cents per kilometre basis, have been reduced by 12 per cent in the mid or shoulder season and 32 per cent in the off peak. This now makes them comparable with the lowest cents per kilometre costs in the world. APEX fares to Germany, the first of their type to Continental Europe, produced reductions of 16 per cent, 21 per cent and 49 per cent for the three seasons. Similar reductions have been achieved in Australia- Yugoslavia fares, which have been reduced by 14 per cent, 20 per cent and 48 per cent for the three seasons, and similar levels of reduction are evisaged for the Australia-Greece fares. On the Australia-USA route APEX fares to San Francisco have been reduced by 6 per cent at the peak, 27 per cent at the shoulder and 53 per cent off peak.

The implementation of the new fares has caused a massive increase in bookings. Indeed the public response to advance purchase conditions has been overwhelming. As an example, on the Continental Europe route where there had been no advance purchase fares, Qantas alone has estimated that total forward bookings- that is to say bookings for all fare types- in the period March to December 1979 are up by 62 per cent out of Australia and 98 per cent into Australia, compared to the same period last year. On the trans-Pacific route, comparable figures show that Qantas forward bookings are up by 125 per cent out of Australia, and 132 per cent into Australia. Obviously these figures reflect pent up demand, but the indications are that the underlying generation rate is very close to that forecast by the committee which undertook the review of policy for the Government.

The introductory period has, of course, been a particularly trying period for the airlines in terms of making sufficient seats available to meet the pent up demand. The airlines have coped with this problem by adding additional flights as demand warranted and are now at the stage where not all seats are being taken up on the additional services. Looking specifically at the new APEX fares, Qantas and British Airways together on the Kangaroo route have booked a total of more than 213,000 seats between Australia and United Kingdom. Breaking that figure down, over 100,000 seats have been booked into Australia and almost 113,000 seats into the UK. On the trans-Pacific route, Qantas has so far booked 53,700 APEX and Budget fare seats out of Australia and nearly 51,000 into this country for the period February to December 1979. With total low fare seat bookings now approaching the half million mark, I believe that even our most ardent critics must now concede that our policy is an outstanding success.

Let me also give the House an indication of the actual fare reductions. In 1971, the lowest available return fare to London was $730.70. Expressed in 1979 dollar terms, the 1971 fare would be $1,644. 1 ask honourable members to compare that with the $568 now achieved. Similarly, the lowest return fare Sydney to San Francisco in 1971 was $580.40, which in 1979 dollar terms would be $1,306. The actual lowest fare now is $430. Put in the simplest terms, the lowest available return air fare from Sydney to London in 1971 was equal to about 8 1/2 weeks of average weekly earnings, whereas today’s comparable fare is equal to only about 2Vi weeks of average weekly earnings.

There have been claims that our tourist industry will be disadvantaged by the new lower fares. Yet the Australian Tourist Commission predicts a growth of 10 per cent in overseas travellers visiting Australia in 1979 alone as a direct result of the lower air fares policy. Foreign exchange earnings are expected to total some $400m in the current calendar year as a result. And the Tourist Commission is forecasting annual growth rates as high as 15 per cent for the period between 1979 and 1982, with over one million tourists coming to Australia annually by 1983. Taking another estimation, Qantas says that it is absolutely certain that in the first year of the lower fares being generally applied it will have a growth, conservatively, of 20 per cent in the incoming non-business travel market. That would be the greatest annual growth rate in the last 10 years in tourism to this country, and the greatest absolute growth ever. So clearly there is enormous potential for the tourist industry in Australia, and clearly it is all being brought about because of this Government’s policies.

There has also been much said about the socalled open skies policy. The proponents of such a policy fail to recognise that the pre-ICAP situation, in which 17 carriers on the AustraliaUnited Kingdom route had access to all fare types resulted in over capacity on the route and airlines having to keep fares up to remain viable. It must be remembered that the aviation industry is one which is heavily controlled by governments- all governments. So to speak of open competition in such an enviroment pays no regard to the international situation. Other governments will not embrace open skies policies, and, given that, for Australia to declare such a policy would simply be to hand over aviation policy to other governments, allowing them to make decisions for us on such areas as scheduling and pricing.

This brings me more specifically to the question of charters. As I said at the outset, our policy combines the best of both worlds. It seeks to preserve the best features of scheduled air services, yet allows them to meet the needs of passengers who want fares comparable to those offered by charters. Let me again say that there is no veto on the possibility of charters operating to and from Australia on a regular basis. Once the new fares policy has been fully implemented, and once demand has been fully assessed, then we can again look at the charter prospects. I personally believe that late 1980 will be the absolute earliest that this can again be considered- and if we are to consider any charter operations, then I would expect an Australian charterer also to participate.

Also let me inform the House of moves towards lower add-on fares within Australia. The Government realises the urgent need to reach agreement with the airlines for equitable add-on air fares for international passengers wishing to travel to, say, the United States, from cities in Australia not presently served by direct connecting international flights. As a result, discussions are underway as a matter of priority between my Department and Qantas and the domestic airlines. I hope that in the near future agreement will be reached that will prove to be of significant benefit to Australians wishing to travel overseas, and to overseas visitors coming to Australia and wanting to see more than just the city in which they land. I am not in a position to say more than that at this stage, but let me again assure the House that the Government is mindful of the need for add-on fares, and is pursuing all possibilities vigorously.

Achievements of the policy

In conclusion, I would summarise the very great benefits which flow from the Government’s international civil aviation policy as follows:

The introduction of the fares is satisfying a long awaited consumer demand.

The low fares are providing the tourist industry with the opportunity to market Australia overseas as never before.

The aspirations of our ethnic communities to visit their homelands and to have their friends and relatives visit them in Australia are being met.

The policy has enabled the greatest spread of benefits to the community in a nondiscriminatory manner. This will become more evident with the advent of new low add-on fares in Australia which are currently being negotiated.

The arrangements already negotiated will permit far greater flexibility than in the past in being able to vary fare types, schedules, service arrangements and capacity to meet demand.

The pricing of fares over the seasons will enable airlines to smooth peaks and troughs in demand resulting in more economic operation and providing scope for maintenance of fares at lowest possible levels.

The fares included in the total fare package provide for economically efficient market segregation through pricing which caters for passengers wishing to travel on demand, the provision of stopovers, the establishment of fare levels to cater for those who wish to travel point to point and also provide for the tourist market and for those wishing to visit friends and relations.

The policy allows for the continued viability of Qantas, an essential element of Australia’s ability to negotiate successfully in international civil aviation fields and to control our international civil aviation destiny.

Discriminatory benefits which resulted from illegal discounting will give way to the broadest spread of benefits.

The policy respects the rights of each of our bilateral partners to an equal share of the traffic between our two countries.

The retention of Qantas as a viable and efficient operator provides essential defence capacity for times of peace and of national emergency.

In conclusion, our policy is working. It is being advanced as rapidly as possible. It is bringing tourists into Australia. It is satisfying consumer demand. It is meeting the promise made to the people of Australia to give them the best possible access to the cheapest possible air travel, and at the same time is boosting our tourist industry by also offering lower air fares to the residents of countries with which we have reached agreement. I present the following paper:

International Air Fare Situation- Ministerial statement, 6 March 1979.


-by leave-The Opposition welcomes the statement by the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) on developments in the lowering of international air fares. It is evident to all with the large increase in bookings for air travel to Europe and to the United States that tens of thousands of Australians are taking advantage of the cheaper fares. The new fare schedules appear to have led to some regularisation of the fare schedules within Australia. I think that is a point to be welcomed by both sides of the House also because there is no doubt that in the illegalities and the irregularities that were occurring in the marketing of air travel some people were able to take advantage of substantial discounts to the disadvantage of others.

It also appears that the increase in travel by Australians out of Australia is greater than the increased numbers that are booked to travel into Australia. I put it to the Parliament that this is a matter of serious concern. It is too early yet because of the accumulated demand to get a proper understanding of what the regular trade will settle down to but on the figures the Minister has brought forward and those that have been published more recently it is clear that more Australians are going out of Australia for holidays, for recreation or whatever than there are newcomers coming into Australia.

I just want to emphasise the point that this also is a matter of concern to the Australian tourist industry. But the industry itself has to make up its mind what it wants because as loudly as one segment of it clamours for cheaper air fares out of Australia another segment is clamouring for assistance to the depressed industry within Australia. Unless there is a clear and single voice coming forward from the tourist industry on what exactly it does want neither opposition nor government is promptly able to take into account the industry’s needs and wishes.

The statement has provided the Parliament with some information of the actual sales of airline travel but inadequate information is provided on the proposals being put to the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations. There is no doubt, I think, in anybody’s mind that the real purpose of the Minister’s statement today is to try to prepare the ground for next week’s ministerial conference in Jakarta. The interesting thing about that is that the conference has been called not by this Government but in effect this Government is being seen in the position of being summonded to Jakarta to be executed or else. It is a rather pitiful way in which to see this great nation of ours being dragged around the Asian scene as some sort of a villain when in fact our proper role in the Asian region should be that of leader, that of giving assistance and direction to and recognition of the needs of ASEAN nations.

I turn to a quick recapitulation of some of the points raised by the Minister in his statement. He mentioned a new round of negotiations with the Dutch Government. We have seen the public dispute between the Netherlands Government and we have heard even on our radio stations the Netherlands Minister for Transport putting a case to the Australian community because obviously he was not able to put the case to the Australian Government. In itself that is a further chapter in this continuing saga of incompetence and bungling that has distinguished the handling of this whole issue of the lowering of international air fares and epitomises this Government’s approach to foreign policy. In some ways I think that the Australian Minister for Transport has been caught up in the inadequacies of the foreign policy procedures of this Government and that in some ways maybe he is a victim rather than the creator of the friction.

Let me just for a moment emphasise the friction with the Netherlands, a major nation in the European Economic Community. This is the community which the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has been traipsing around the world jawboning to about the need for Australia to be selling more primary products to the EEC. How do we go about trying to encourage the EEC to have better trading relationships with Australia other than quite unconsciously and without reason creating friction with a major nation such as the Netherlands in trying to negotiate new airline agreements? In the statement the Minister said:

I am the first to admit that discussions in this area -

That is, with the ASEAN countrieshave not, up to now, progressed quite as well as I had hoped.

I think that is probably the most amazing understatement of the year and certainly it took a good deal of courage to make an understatement such as that. But really it is an admission of failureafter some eight to nine months of discussion around the nation and with those countries. The Government has not been able to reach the agreement that should have been reached before this. Emphasis is made of the involvement of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Minister said: … let me put to rest- I hope once and for all- what appears to have been a popular misconception.

It is no misconception; it is fact, proved, and proved over and over again, that there has not been the high level involvement and participation of the Department of Foreign Affairs in negotiations with ASEAN nations that there should have been from the beginning. It was in October last year, when the Minister for Transport made a similar statement on this subject that the Opposition warned of the sensitivity and the delicacy of our trading relations with the ASEAN nations. Within those circumstances it was imperative that there be senior Foreign Affairs participation with the Department of Transport. Clearly that did not happen.

Mr Nixon:

– It did happen.


-If it did happen it was quite ineffective and it again serves to indicate that this Government does not have foreign affairs expertise; it does not have a proper concept of what is involved in developing a proper set of relationships with the ASEAN nations. I recall that the Minister for Special Trade Negotiations (Mr Garland), that inveterate world traveller, on 4 October last year went to Singapore and told the Singaporeans that the airlines agreement negotiations had not been before Cabinet. Only a matter of days later the Minister for Transport rebutted that and said that it had been before Cabinet. So here is the first instance of the dispute within Cabinet over what was going on and what ought to have been going on. After almost nine months of discussions the Minister for Transport has told us today, at the top of page 4 of his statement:

Mr Peacock and I have been collaborating closely in this matter and I am pleased that we appear -

I emphasise the words ‘that we appear’; he did not say ‘ we are ‘. The Minister continued: to be getting close to arranging a significant round of discussions with the ASEAN countries later this month.

What a condemnation of the Government’s performance in its negotiations. What an admission of failure. The Minister responsible is not saying that we have achieved anything; he is saying that we appear to be getting close. There has been no arrangement. We might be getting close to a significant round of discussions. Further, at the bottom of the same page, he states:

And, obviously, setting the correct fare levels is something that must be sorted out at the negotiating table.

Have not the discussions been about establishing an acceptable set of fare schedules? Is that not what the nine months of talking was all about? Here again is a total admission of failure by the Minister and the Government. They have got nowhere. If one can accept the information that has been provided to the media by the Singaporean Government, the figure put forward to the Singaporean Government for off-peak cost of travel from Sydney to Singapore return is $464. As has been asked publicly by the Singaporeans, why would one buy a ticket for $464 for a trip Sydney-Singapore-Sydney off-peak when for $568- $104 more-one can travel to London and back? Those are public figures. There has been no statement by the Minister or by the Government to refute those figures. I have looked for such a statement, expecting that those figures could not be true. They just could not be; but apparently they are true. The Government has had an opportunity to refute that claim. If that is the case it is no wonder that the ASEAN nations are deeply concerned about the loss of tourism to their region. It seems that they have real fears that there will be a drop-off in traffic to the ASEAN countries. I refer now to the top of page 5 of the Minister’s statement. I hope that at some later stage the Minister will clarify this. He states: . . . there have been expressions of concern on the part of some ASEAN countries that stop-over traffic will decline, it is a fact that 47 per cent of Australian stop-over traffic is destined for Asian regions, not for Europe.

As I have worked it out that statement seems to exclude only Hong Kong, India and Pakistan. What the Minister is saying is that 47 per cent of all traffic going through Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Manila remains in that area.

Mr Nixon:

– Quite right.


-The Minister says that that is right. If it is right I would like to see it spelt out in more detail. Let us see some passenger traffic figures to substantiate that claim. If that figure is correct that it is important. As I said earlier, we warned the Government last October of the delivery of and dangers involved in the ASEAN negotiations.

The real reason for the ASEAN fare fiasco, as I prefer to call it, is the breakdown in the Cabinet consultative process. To this extent the Minister for Transport may be innocent; it may be that, to an extent, he has been a victim of this breakdown within Cabinet. Let us dwell for a moment on the statement I made earlier- that the Minister for Special Trade Negotiations said on 4 October 1978, when he was in Singapore, that there had not been any Cabinet consultations on this matter. We must remember that only days ago the Minister for Finance (Mr Eric Robinson) resigned from Cabinet and within the space of 72 hours re-entered Cabinet. The Minister for Finance said in his statement in this Parliament that this occurred because of his terse relationship with the Prime Minister. They are his own words, not the Opposition’s words. In the same unrefuted statement made in this Parliament the Minister for Finance said that the Prime Minister had not spoken to him for four months. These are two senior Ministers. Let us look at the consultation that has occurred between the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Peacock) and the Prime Minister. Only a few weeks ago we saw the very cursory consideration given by the Prime Minister- the Prime Minister means also the Cabinet because he speaks for the Cabinet- to the views of the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the withdrawal of aid to Vietnam. The Prime Minister gave the views of the Foreign Affairs Minister a cursory consideration and then overrode them.

Mr Bourchier:

– What are you speaking about? Can you tell us?


-It would be hard for the honourable member for Bendigo to understand anything. I turn now to the views of the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr Lynch). As I mentioned in an earlier debate, the Government had over a year to consider the implications of the international civil aviation policy review. After that policy was announced and implemented the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who with the Minister for Transport ought most to be concerned as to the operation of the policy, complained about the ramifications for domestic air fares and what development might not take place. Again here is clear evidence that there is not the kind of Cabinet consultation between senior Ministers that should have occurred on a very important subject. In addition, the Victorian Minister for State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism joined in the fray in attacking the policy. I will deal with that a little later. Our colleague sitting opposite, the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Ml), as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Tourism, also lambasted the Government’s policy on international civil aviation.

If there had been any level of proper and responsible consultation between Cabinet members, State governments and foreign governments, as well as within Government ranks, there would have been unanimity and concord. The Government would have spoken with one voice instead of many voices. Frankly, the members of ASEAN and the Australian people do not know which voice to believe. There has not been the kind of consultation that there should have been. One of the Government members has labelled this Government as the ‘In again, out again, gone again, Harrigan ministry How can one have any kind of confidence in what this Government has to say.

Mr Shipton:

– Tell us about transport.


– The matter we are discussing is related to the foreign policy implications of a very important transport matter. Obviously, it has eluded the honourable member for Higgins and the rest of his colleagues. The problem in these negotiations for the new airlines arrangements with ASEAN goes to the Foreign Affairs Minister in exile who was overridden on the Vietnam issue. If, initially, he had been involved with the Minister for Transport at a ministerial level this breakdown, friction and rupture in relations with ASEAN nations would not have occurred. The Minister said that he is closely collaborating with the Foreign Minister. This does not take account of the vigorous and grandstanding entry into the issue a month ago by the Foreign Minister. That is all it has been.

We cannot see how the policy has been changed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It appears that it has not been changed. It appears to be the same policy that the Minister for Transport has been plugging away with on his Pat Malone for some months. The involvement of the Minister for Foreign Affairs does not diminish the damage that was done by the Minister for Transport prior to his entering into the debate on this subject. I put it to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that really it was the eagerness of the Minister for Transport to play Santa Claus last December and to have something to present that brought about the urgency in announcing before last Christmas something in the way of reduced air fares. That was the reason for the haste which resulted in the exclusion of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and which caused the great difficulty and friction that has occurred.

The information concerning increases in airline and travel bookings on page 6 of the statement is only in percentage terms. The way the statement reads the increase in respect of the continental Europe route appears to be good from Australia’s point of view but Qantas has estimated that total forward bookings- that is, bookings for all fare types- for March to December will increase by 62 per cent on flights out of Australia and by 98 per cent into Australia. In order to give those figures some meaning I again suggest to the Minister for Transport that he should provide us with the actual figures, because without the figures and without the knowledge of the numerical base -

Mr Nixon:

– Page 7.


– I am looking at page 6. 1 have looked at page 7 but there is no breakdown for that period. The period dealt with there is

February-December and here we are looking at M arch-December.

Mr Shipton:

– I rise on a point of order. I hope that it is noted by the Chair that the honourable member for Shortland is seeking guidance from the Minister for Transport.


-I call the honourable member for Shortland.

Mr Young:

– He must have gone to a private school. He would have to be silly enough.


-I think he has been to two other schools, by the sound of him. On the transPacific route the figures show that bookings are up by 125 per cent on nights out of Australia and 132 per cent into Australia. This brings me back to the point I made earlier about the concern of the Australian tourist industry about what is happening. Following the introduction of the lower fares, the number of people coming to Australia so far has not been sufficient. Another matter that needs to be drawn to attention in this context is Australia’s heavy travel deficit. I would have thought that some mention would have been made of that matter. My recollection is that in 1977-78 the net deficit on travel in and out of Australia and associated expenditure was some $2 30m. The possibility of introducing limits on travel funds taken abroad by Australians has already been canvassed fairly widely in the media.

The Minister mentioned the negotiations in relation to the remaining European nations. I suggest to the Government that some special attention be given to the needs of the ethnic groups in Australia because of very close family links and emotional ties they have with those countries. I do not believe that this is a political point. I believe it is a view which is subscribed to by all Australians. One example that has been drawn to my attention recently is concerned with the needs of the Greek community in Darwin. Provision needs to be made in the outward bound schedules for those people to join flights being negotiated with Greece, for instance. On the other hand, whilst there has been an arrangement concerning add-on fares for international travellers into and out of Australia, I think that consideration ought to be given to those people who do not have ready access to the availability of those fares.

I stress just one point, namely, the steadfast adherence of this Government to its policy of high domestic air fares. We are all happy to see the introduction of cheaper air fares for Australians travelling abroad, for Australian people visiting their relatives abroad- hopefully they will bring more people into Australia to stimulate our economy-but what about the people living in Australia who want to travel within Australia? What is the Government doing for those people, other than boosting domestic air fares by 27 per cent since 1 976? I make a plea for people living in Australia and travelling in Australia. Let us now see some concerted action in providing for those people. The situation is a ludicrous one.

A few days ago Qantas put a proposition in relation to air fares to New Zealand. If these fares are put into operation it will mean that it will be cheaper to travel from Sydney to Auckland off-peak than it will be to fly from Sydney to Melbourne. I am sure that Melbourne businessmen and the families from Melbourne who want to visit Sydney will be very happy about that! There is something dramatically wrong with what is happening in this country. The Sydney Morning Herald put the situation very well in an editorial on 10 January 1979, when it stated:

The main one is that a glaring disproportion is opening up between the new international-air fares and their domestic couterparts. It simply does not make sense that, after this month, the cost of a return air ticket from Perth to Sydney will be more than a return ticket from Sydney to San Francisco at certain times of the year.

Having made that point, I bring to the Minister’s attention some of the anomalies that have cropped up in respect of the new air fares. Firstly, there is the rigidity of the conditions upon pre-payment. Whilst it has been said in response that these are the conditions that apply to Atlantic travel- that is pre-payment of air travel- I think that there needs to be a second look at the rigidity of that system and that some provision needs to be made in relation to cases of illness or something untoward happening. If that is not done, when we talk about the air fare we should also be talking about the inclusion of the insurance premium. When a family is involved the total insurance premium, worked out at the rate of $25 per ticket on a round trip to the United Kingdom, can add up to a substantial amount. An example that has been given to me is that of a family- a husband, wife and two children- travelling to England in the shoulder or high peak season. By the time one makes the payment many months in advance, loses income on that money and the flexibility of having control of the cash, and pays the insurance, there is very little difference between the fare under the existing fare arrangements and the new pre-paid fare.

I also stress the problems that have occurred in the last few weeks in regard to the unavailability of seat space for on-demand travel from the

United States to Australia. A great deal of prominence has been given- rightly so- to the lower rate air fares, that is, off peak and shoulder air fares. At the same time, proper consideration should be given to the private sector of the Australian community who have to travel on short notice for business reasons. I mention one case which was brought to the notice of the Opposition earlier this month. Business travellers, who normally travel at the economy rate, have had to buy first class tickets in order to obtain a seat. They have then had to wait seven to 14 days to get a seat on a flight across the Pacific back to Australia. The Government has followed an extremely hard and risky line in its handling of the ASEAN dealings. It appears that in its negotiations with the United States on the entry of Continental Airlines this Government collapsed, because the negotiators came out of the conference with that which they took in, namely, the right of Qantas to fly into San Francisco. They obtained some new fare schedules. I do not argue with the new fare schedules; I will speak about the ports. We still have the one gateway port. We have no gateway port other than San Francisco. There is no doubt that the United States was prepared to negotiate in regard to additional ports within the United States for Australia’s own airline. We should be doing everything possible to maximise the travel of people from the United States to Australia, in order to develop our tourist industry. We came out of those negotiations with exactly that with which we went in. The Government collapsed. There is little doubt that what happened was a repetition of what happened in earlier years when the American airlines were given access to Australia in return for an increased beef quota. Likewise, on this occasion it seems that the increased beef and cheese orders were negotiated to give Continental Airlines access to the Australian market.

The Opposition welcomes the Minister’s statement on cheaper air fares. It provides information additional to that given previously. We think that following responsible public discussion more information ought to be made available along the lines I have mentioned. We hope that the Australian economy will benefit as a result of the increased number of people coming to Australia. It is our sincere desire that at the conference to be held next week the Australian Government repairs to the benefit of our nation the damage done to our ASEAN neighbours.

Mr Cohen:

- Mr Deputy Speaker, as this matter is of great interest to members of the Opposition, I want to clarify something with the Minister. I seek an assurance that this matter will be brought on for debate later this week.

Mr Fife:

– We did not move that the House take note of the paper.

page 625


Ministerial Statement

Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs · Stirling · LP

– by leave- There is, I believe, genuine concern within the community to see that all those persons who cannot obtain employment through no fault of their own should receive unemployment benefit. This is strongly supported by the Government. There is also some feeling within the community that any people who are not making reasonable attempts to obtain work or who might be refusing work that is available and still receiving unemployment benefit should not be assisted at the expense of the general taxpayer. Against this background, the Government has decided that the certain administrative arrangements associated with the provision of unemployment benefit should be reviewed.

Part VII of the Social Services Act sets out the legislative provisions relating to unemployment benefit. In particular, section 107 (c) of the Social Services Act specifies among the qualifications for benefit that a person is unemployed and that his unemployment is not due to his being a direct participant in a strike, is capable of undertaking, and is willing to undertake, work which in the opinion of the Director-General of Social Services is suitable to be undertaken by that person, and has taken reasonable steps to obtain such work.

The Commonwealth Employment Service acts as an agent for the Department of Social Security in reporting on whether suitable employment for a given individual is available. The procedures and guidelines which the Commonwealth Employment Service adopts as an agent of the Director-General is commonly referred to as the work test. Under the Act the determination of what is suitable work in terms of section 107 (c) (ii) is properly a matter for him to determine.

Clearly, however, they involve matters of administrative judgment. For instance, in administering these arrangements the present practice is to seek to make an offer of employment to a person in his usual occupation or of an equivalent kind. Work of an equivalent kind is work of a type or nature in which the person usually engages or in which the person’s experience, qualifications and training could be used. Where, after a reasonable period, it has not been possible for a person to obtain employment in his usual occupation or work of an equivalent kind, the range of suitable jobs to which he may be referred is extended to all which are within the person’s capacity and which are open to him even though they may involve a change in his status or wages. A period of six weeks after registration for employment has been regarded as a reasonable period. However, this period may be extended up to three months where it is considered that to do otherwise would be detrimental to the person finding employment in his usual occupation.

The CES’s present instructions provide that in extending the range of suitable jobs it is not envisaged that, as a general rule, registrants would move after a period of 6 to 12 weeks immediately from one end of the occupational scale to the other. Rather, there is a counselling process, over the full 12 weeks in some cases, in which the applicant is encouraged to consider and accept employment in selected occupations which are within his capacity and available to him, even though a change in status may be involved.

It might be considered that such a provision for counselling over a period of up to three months- whilst still receiving unemployment benefit- with the object of advising an individual to seek employment which may involve a lower status than he has been trained for, or is accustomed to, is somewhat generous. It might be considered that a more appropriate and objective criterion would be to have regard only to his or her mental and physical health in applying the work test.

From time to time Ministers for Social Security and Ministers responsible for the Commonwealth Employment Service have established working parties of officials from both departments to examine the administrative arrangements appropriate to these provisions of the Act. The Government has decided, having regard to current practice, that it would now be appropriate to establish such a group to review urgently these administrative provisions and to report urgently to my colleague, the Minister for Social Security (Senator Guilfoyle), and myself.

Furthermore, in reviewing the current arrangements, officers have been asked to include in their examinations the question of applying the work test to casual vacancies and arrangements in respect of referring people to jobs out of their district. We have also specifically requested that our attention be drawn to any persons or classes of persons who might be adversely affected by any variations in administrative arrangements. We have also asked them to advise on whether the current allocation of responsibilities between the respective departments with regard to the application and administration of the work test is the most appropriate arrangement. We have asked that this report be available in two weeks. When this report has been received it will be considered by the Government. At the same time as establishing this working party I have asked my officers to reaffirm current instructions relating to the application of the work test and ensure that it is strictly applied.

I have said on other occasions that there are some hopeful signs showing up amongst the economic indicators being released. I say ‘hopeful signs’ because I do not wish to be accused of overstating the emerging signs of recovery, real as they are. In these circumstances, I think the community would wish to be satisfied that all those who are unemployed and genuinely seeking work should be properly protected by receiving unemployment benefit but that the administration of the application of the work test would be such that it would protect the taxpayer from abuses of the system. I present the following paper:

Review of Administrative Arrangements for Application of the Work Test-Ministerial Statement, 6 March 1 979.

Motion (by Mr Fife) proposed: That the House take note of the paper.

Port Adelaide

-Again the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs (Mr Viner) and the Government have demonstrated their complete lack of humanity in dealing with this monumental problem of unemployment in Australia. For every job that is now available in Australia there are at least 22 people out of work. In the unskilled arena, for every job that is available there are 100 people out of work. There are 493,000 people in Australia registered as unemployed. Two inquiries have already been conducted- the Norgard inquiry and the Myers inquiry- into the allocation of resources within the Commonwealth Employment Service and the payment of unemployment benefit. But the only thing that this Government can do is play on the fears of taxpayers, of those who are in work, that perhaps some of their taxes are being paid to people who are not legitimately entitled to unemployment benefit. The only solution that the Government can put forward to the national Parliament in order to get the unemployment figures down is to increase the policing of or to extend the means testing of people receiving the miserly amount that is paid out as unemployment benefit The Government is playing on fears and is dividing this country because of the manner in which it is approaching the problem.

Last night in Chicago the Treasurer (Mr Howard) made a statement on this subject. In normal circumstances I would not comment on what a senior Minister was saying outside this country, but in a speech that the Treasurer made last night- a speech which is now available to every member of this Parliament because it has come through on the telex- he told a group of American businessmen that the economic policy of the Government of Australia was to continue to fight inflation, even at the cost of high unemployment. They are the words used by the Treasurer when speaking outside the country. That is something that he is not prepared to admit inside the country.

Now that it is out in the open, everybody ought to realise that those who find themselves unfortunate enough to be unemployed are unemployed as a direct result of policies being adopted by this Government. Every policy adopted by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) since coming to power at the end of 1 975 has been designed to put on the shoulders of all the working people of this country the complete burden of the economic policies of this Government We have seen the rate of unemployment grow to last month’s figure of 493,000. The Minister does not refer to the work done by Norgard or Myers; nor should he because if Government members read the recommendations of those two inquiries they will find that the recommendations of the Minister today fly in the face of quite comprehensive inquiries carried out by professional people.

I have a word of warning for those people who may be falling for the theory being put forward by this Government. Of course taxpayers are concerned. Not only are they carrying their normal burden of income tax, but also in this financial year as a result of the economic bungling by this Government they are paying a lib per cent surcharge. They do not want to be caught, it would seem, in view of the Government’s charges, by the need to pay more taxes that will in turn have to be paid out in unemployment benefits. This Government that will not spend a cent to create a job now admits to have paid out in this financial year in the vicinity of $900m in unemployment and sickness benefits. This Government, on its performance on this issue, should resign and allow someone to attempt to overcome this massive problem. On work tests the Minister says that everybody is to be forced to do the job. The inquiry that has been announced by the Minister today is a sham. I do not for one instant believe that there will be any further, thorough inquiry by the departments concerned. I believe that the Prime Minister has made up his mind and wants an interdepartmental committee to justify his decision to tell us why there ought to be a tougher work test on the people that he deliberately has put out of work. His attitude is: Make them travel from their homes; make them do jobs they are not trained to do; make them do anything at all but get the unemployment figures down.

Already the Government has succeeded in this. The latest figures show that 46,000 school leavers have disappeared. They are not registered for employment and they are not in the work force. A young chap, a report of an interview with whom appeared in the National Times on Sunday, said that people on the north shore of Sydney do not want their children to register for employment. They do not want them to put their names down at the CES office. They do not want their children to receive unemployment benefits- not because of a rationale that the young people are not entitled to them but because they live in fear of the stigma that would be associated with the family if a young person was out of work and receiving unemployment benefits. This is what is occurring. Thousands of young people are not registering because of the fear of the stigma that would be associated with it.

Why does not the Minister or the Government tell us why the recommendations of the Myers and Norgard committees cannot be adopted? What are the inadequacies of the two reports that require another interdepartmental committee to be set up? What is the Government trying to hide? People are entitled to some answers on this question. Talk about taxpayers being concerned. In this country at the moment the people who have a job and who are paying taxes are the lucky ones. They should consider themselves very fortunate that they can go to work while this Government is in office because as the opportunities in industry dwindle the axe hangs over the head of a lot more people there. I refer honourable members to some of the remarks that have been reported in today’s Press. The Prime Minister is reported, in referring to the administration of unemployment benefits, as saying:

I’ve no reason not to be satisfied- it’s a highly complex area and improvements have been made.

No notice was given that later in the day there would be a statement that things were not as the Government would like them to be: ‘We are going to tighten them up even further’. Instead, on the same day we have a review announced by the new Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, Mr Viner, on the administration of a work test, a subject that had been covered comprehensively by two previous reviews that were in general agreement. The Norgard Committee, which was set up on 17 October 1976, reported in June 1977. That committee was to look at the objectives and functions of the CES, including its role vis-a-vis unemployment benefits. At the beginning of 1977 an early draft indicated to the Government that the committee was not going to come up with any tough recommendations about the unemployed. .

So the Government set up another review body, the Myers Committee. That committee was set up in March 1977, and reported in July 1977. It was to look at unemployment benefits with a view to ascertaining, among other things, what limits if any should be set to levels and duration of unemployment, and the effect of income support measures on the incentive of unemployed persons actively to seek employment. The Government has implemented neither of these reports. The Norgard Committee made, and the Myers Committee supported, certain major recommendations. First, the creation of job opportunities was to have the highest priority. Let me reiterate that when the Government set up outside committees to look at this question they did not come down with recommendations to reduce unemployment by imposing a tougher work test, by breaking up families or pushing people all over the country. They said that the No. 1 priority had to be that of creating jobs.

The committees further recommended the removal of responsibility for continual work testing and income support procedures from the CES; that income support should be assumed by the Department of Social Security; that the CES should concentrate on the placement of job seekers; and that the Department of Social Security needed more decentralised offices and outposted staff to carry out face to face interviews and counselling. In the experience of some honourable members on this side of the chamber, because of the instructions that are being channelled through CES offices, employers are receiving people who are just not accustomed to the sort of work that is available in their work places. Employers are being annoyed by the fact that all of these people are being channelled through to them, even though they are totally unsatisfactory for the sort of jobs that may be available. In both cases these major reports have been pigeonholed. .

The Myers Committee reported that- . . . the provision of unemployment benefit is a poor substitute for full or nearly- full employment.

People have to keep in mind what the Government has been saying about this issue during the Vh years that it has been in office. Do not forget that it was this Government which, at the end of 1975, said that the Labor Government had bungled things but that under the Liberals there would be jobs for everyone. This is the Government that followed up that promise in 1977, when Malcolm Fraser, the architect of high unemployment, told the people of Australia during an election campaign- a period during which he will say anything- that unemployment would drop as from February 1978 and would continue to drop. A total lie about this question has been told in Australia by this Government. People are expected now to believe that it will overcome the problem by imposing a harsher work test. The Myers Committee said also:

Registration with the CES should be regarded as prima facie evidence of the willingness to work.

Prima facie evidence of the willingness to work, according to the Myers Committee, is registering with the CES. I say to the taxpayers, to whom the Minister directed most of his suggestions and innuendo about why the Government was doing these things: Why is it that the Government believes that this generation of Australians will not go to work, when other generations would? I remind them, as I did at the outset, that for every vacancy throughout Australia 22 people are out of work. If every vacancy were taken up tomorrow we would still have 470,000 people out of work, and in the unskilled areas the proportion of applicants to vacancies would be perhaps 100 to one. The Myers Committee said further:

The Inquiry has doubts also about the desirability of the work test. If it succeeds in its objective of encouraging the reluctant worker into the workforce, unless an additional job is created, the consequence is that another worker is displaced from the workforce and becomes eligible for benefit . . . unless the community is willing to allow one of its members to receive no income whatever, the value of a general application of the work test must be in doubt.

Why has the Minister decided to ignore all of the advice of the committees? It was this Government, not a Labor government which created the Norgard and Myers committees and sought their advice. Now the Government has ignored it. No explanation has been given to this Parliamentjust the big hammer for the unemployed. Put the blame on the people that this Government has put out of work! The Myers Committee said also:

Further tightening - of the work testis not really practicable in the absence of vacancies against which to test people.

The Myers Committee also recommended a more lenient approach than that of the Government on voluntary unemployment should be taken. It held that a six weeks penalty should not be imposed unless circumstances had been carefully investigated. This Government is not very keen on carefully investigating the enormous problems that are being faced by unemployed people in this country. Recommendation No. 16 of the Myers Committee states:

That where an adverse work test report is received the Department of Social Security immediately interview the claimant or beneficiary with a view to obtaining a written acknowledgement of the facts in the CES report and any further statement he may wish to make, and that these matters be taken into account by the Department of Social Security in deciding the issue.

But there is none of the sophistication to which Myers and Norgard applied themselves, about the operation of the payment and the operation of finding people jobs through the CES, in the bludgeoning that is characteristic of the Minister’s statement of today. What a sham it is to say: ‘We are going to have a fortnight’s inquiry to see the way it is going to apply’. This Government is trying to build fear amongst those who are at work, that perhaps some of their money is being wasted. Perhaps the people who are concerned about that ought to look at other ways in which this Government is spending money. Malcolm Fraser is the greatest lurk man that this Parliament has ever seen. He spends money on VIP jets, additions to the Lodge and hotel bills of $600 a night in New York. Malcolm Fraser can have all those things but the benefit to the unemployed has to be cut from $53 a week.


-I ask the honourable member for Port Adelaide to refer to the Prime Minister by his correct title.


– I thought my remarks were parliamentary. What I said is certainly what most people outside Parliament say. The unemployment benefit has been harder to obtain under the following harsh guidelines: It is not given to claimants failing the work test on appearance or demeanour grounds; single persons over 18 years of age are obliged to move from home if work is available elsewhere; the benefit is not available for school leavers for six weeks after completion of studies; skilled persons are forced to accept unskilled work; income statements are to be delivered personally; persons voluntarily leaving a job must wait six weeks for the benefit; identification can no longer be established by a bank book or a driving licence; the claimant must have a birth certificate, insurance policy, rates notice, et cetera. These are all rules with which’ an unemployed person has to comply in order to get the measly amount of money that this Government intends to pay out. The Treasurer told people in Chicago- he will not say it in Australia- that the Government’s policies are working even at the cost of high unemployment. That proposition ought to be rejected by everbody


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

Debate (on motion by Mr Bourchier) adjourned.

page 629


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


-Mr Speaker has received letters from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lionel Bowen), the honourable member for Indi (Mr Ewen Cameron) and the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Dean) proposing that definite matters of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion today. As required by Standing Order 107, Mr Speaker has selected one matter, that is that proposed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, namely:

The failure of the Government to introduce national companies and securities legislation causing financial loss to many people, as evidenced by Associated Securities Limited failure.

I therefore call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in thenplaces.

More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places-

Smith · Kingsford

– In today’s Australian Financial Review there is a letter by Mr Richard Burrell of Avalon, New South Wales. He said that he has lost his socks and everything else in the Associated Securities Limited disaster. He asked how it happened. Mr Burrell is symptomatic of the many thousands of people who have lost their all over a period of years because this Government has failed to introduce national legislation to control securities and exchange and companies. It would be very simple to do so. It could easily have been done. When we consider Mr Burrell’s loss of clothing we realise that we could well have equipped most of the stores in Australia with what people have lost over a period of ten years. How does it happen? Why is this Government so afraid to legislate in an area in which it has the constitutional power and national responsibility? I have referred to the crash of Associated Securities Limited. What a crash it was. As honourable members would know, 43,000 shareholders were affected by this one collapse. I shall refer later to other collapses.

In its dying days, Associated Securities Ltd was running around Australia asking people to pick up its responsibilities. For example, Australian Guarantee Corporation Ltd looked at the company’s position and said: ‘Good God, if you want to deal with us you will need to write down your assets by about $40m to $50m Similarly, an examination of Associated Securities Ltd by the Hooker company suggested that it write down its assets by $30m plus. Why was it that when other trading corporations in the community could readily identify the problem, Associated Securities Limited in recent days was urging the public to invest more money? As recently as the end of the last year Sir Reginald Ansett said that ASL was a magnificent company with a magnificent future. He invited people to subscribe to it. Poor, unfortunate people who saw this sort of advertising on television were conned into giving their all because the worthy Sir Reginald Ansett, Sir Henry Bolte and Sir Cecil Looker- all these knights of the realmwere saying that ASL was a valuable company to which to subscribe.

Those people are the backbone of the Liberal Party and of the establishment in Victoria. That certainly raises questions as to why this Government has never bothered to introduce legislation. Would not these people have put pressure on the Government by saying: ‘Do not interfere with our way of doing business. Let us regulate our own affairs. Why should we not be trusted*? Mr Deputy Speaker, if you and I urged people to invest in what we said on television was a sound venture with a magnificent future we certainly would not be re-elected next time we stood if the venture did not succeed. We would be removed from office. We would be blackballed. The people I have mentioned are allowed to continue. Apparently they have done nothing wrong. They say that the unfortunate subscribers made an error of judgment.

At the time of the wind-up of ASL the chairman was travelling abroad. He declined to return. Two other directors were also out of the country. The final coup de grace was delivered by the three knights whom I have mentioned. The market capitalisation of ASL in September 1978 was $130m. Today it is $84m. Had there been effective federal laws which enforced the disclosure of any conflict of interest in other companies, this crash would not have occurred. What right had those people who are directors of companies such as Ansett Airlines of Australia to urge people to put money into a company which they well knew could crash? If they did not know that it could well crash they should have done. Ignorance is no defence under the law. A person cannot plead ignorance if he has been negligent. If he has allowed people to lose their money he is personally responsible. He is a trustee. These worthy gentlemen have not offered their assets to the unfortunate people who have lost theirs.

There is a weakness in existing company legislation. At present all an office holder has to do is’ disclose a conflict of interest at any board meeting. He is not prohibited from acting on behalf of the organisation. We should have effective federal legislation stipulating that a person cannot have a conflict of interest of this type. Such a federal law would have meant that the likes of Ansett, Bolte and Looker would have had to stop making such decisions or they would now be facing criminal charges. That illustrates the seriousness of the situation.

The collapse of Associated Securities Ltd is evidence of the failure of the Government to introduce national companies and security legislation. I refer to another failure, that of Computicket Australia Pty Ltd, one of Harry M. Miller’s enterprises. He has many. None of them seem to have been very successful. This one deserves a mention. Again, Mr Miller is one of the favourite sons of the Government. He has been appointed to a number of statutory bodies. He is a former organiser of the National Country Party. I suppose that guarantees that he will get some support at that level. I understand that he sold the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) two stud bulls. I suppose that shows his initiative. What happened to Computicket? It has been suggested that some of the money which it collected was invested with Associated Securities on debenture. If that is the case, no wonder Computicket is facing a few problems.

The Myer Emporium Ltd, David Jones Ltd and David Syme and Co. Ltd bought shares in Computicket Australia Pty Ltd. I think that they were conned into thinking that they were subscribing capital to that company. They were not. The money derived from the sale of shares in Computicket went to one or more of the following companies: Computicket Holdings Pty Ltd, Computicket (Proprietary) Ltd of South Africa and Harry M. Miller and Co. Pty Ltd. While the investors thought that they would be issued with shares allotted by Computicket- the money invested in the company would then have stayed with it- they purchased shares from shareholders, one of which was Computicket Holdings. The investors also bought debentures equal in value to the shares they purchased but these debentures were issued by Computicket That is the position. These people virtually subscribed the lot. The money they paid went to the people who sold them the shares- a very smart manoeuvre.

Let us look at how it happened. An asset account for Computicket Australia was opened showing the licence rights of the system as having a book value of $1. That is about their value. All of a sudden they were revalued to $lm. There was a revaluation of the licence rights. There was a capital appreciation of $999,999. That is the position. The directors of Computicket then declared a bonus share issue of 900,000 fully paid shares to the existing shareholders, including Computicket Holdings. Where did this leave Computicket Australia? On paper, it was left with capital fully paid up of about $lm. But this was not in the form of cash. It was in the form of licence rights and computer software. Three shareholders held nearly 1 million fully paid up shares in Computicket Australia. They were Computicket Holdings, Computicket Pty Ltd of Johannesburg and Harry M. Miller and Co. Pty Ltd. These shares were sold for cash to the current shareholders in Computicket Australia, namely, Myer Emporium Ltd, David Syme & Co Ltd and David Jones Ltd. The working capital for Computicket was little more than debenture subscriptions of about $800,000. So it had a cash shortage. This is an example of the sort of nonsense that has gone on in recent weeks. The people are wondering how something like this could happen. The Government says: ‘We will be able to legislate in this field when we reach agreement with the States’.

Dr Klugman:

– They are all part of the Government.


-They are part of the Government. They subscribe to the Government, they support the Government and they get handouts from the Government. We understand that. But that is no excuse under the laws of democracy for failing to protect people. The point here is that the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange- the Rae Committeewas set up as far back as 1970 to make recommendations as to what should be done. I will deal with that issue later.

The Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Fife) might well get up and say: ‘You have misjudged the situation. We have been dealing with the Attorneys-General in the States and we are coming to the issue of the introduction of complementary legislation’. This has always been the issue. Perhaps the Government feels that it should not introduce legislation or should do it only after consultation with the States. While the States- that includes the Labor States- are prepared to go along with the idea of the States introducing complementary legislation, they really favour national legislation. That applies particularly to the AttorneysGeneral of New South Wales and South Australia. As a last resort they are going along with the suggestions which have been made virtually by Hamer, Sir Charles Court and BjelkePetersen. They will agree to the suggestions in order to get something done. They think it is better than doing nothing.

The real issue is that the likes of Hamer and company have been lobbying against there being national legislation. The tin-pot stock exchange czars who run the arrangements in the various capital cities also have been lobbying on that basis. This is contrary to the recommendations of the Rae Committee. Company law is very much like taxation law. One has to be able. to learn to live with new circumstances very quickly, to be able to move expeditiously and to be able to catch the spivs as soon as they break the law. A matter like this just cannot be left for four years without action being taken on the basis that the Government has been talking to the States during those four years.

Mr Shipton:

– What are you actually proposing ought to be done?


-I will indicate again what I think should be done. I do not have much time to do so, but it is a worthwhile interjection and the honourable member for Higgins (Mr Shipton) is sincere. We introduced national legislation, as was recommended by the Rae Committee, both when in opposition and in government. It was not accepted by the Government of which the honourable member for Higgins is a member. That is one of the things we have done. If the Government adopts the practice of approaching the six States to find out what they will do from time to time- that is the proposal in respect of this matter- it will have no hope of introducing effective national legislation.

Does the Government seriously suggest that every proposal which it introduces by way of complementary or supplementary national legislation will be effective if it is subject to the arrangements of the States? Does the Government think it will get all the States to agree? As honourable members are aware, that will not happen. The States will not always introduce complementary legislation when this Government wants them to do so. The Government will always experience difficulty in that field. By way of interjection, the honourable member for Higgins sought to ascertain what the Opposition was proposing. Let me make myself clear. I refer to chapter 16.14 of the report of the Rae Committee. It was suggested that the States should set up commissions. In fact, three States set up a joint commission. When referring to that, the Rae Committee’s report stated:

We wish to make it clear that in advocating the establishment of a national regulatory body we are not in favour of such a joint commission, particularly not one which involves the concept of continuing responsibility to all governments concerned. Such an arrangement would seriously endanger the ability of the system of regulation to adapt speedily to ever-changing circumstances and standards. The experience referred to earlier has shown how difficult it is to secure the agreement of all seven governments.

That is the position. The United States of America had no trouble in introducing legislation as far back as the 1930s. We first discussed this matter in the Senate in 1970. The then Senator Murphy proposed that a Senate committee should be established. It proved to be a worthwhile committee. The words he used then are appropriate today. He said: ‘Many small people are getting into unknown waters and in those waters there are some sharks’. In fact, he said: ‘There are schools of sharks and they will devour them’. How many people have been eaten since those days? One can look at the long list of casualties and see how the conservative governments- not only at a national level but also when a conservative government was in power in New South Wales- were anxious to hide the facts from the people. They had the legal power to do that. In regard to this point, the report of the Rae Committee stated:

We found in the securities market a high level of abuse and much behaviour falling short of minimal acceptable standards.

That is one comment. The Rae Committee also referred to a comment by Mr Justice Street, the present Chief Justice of New South Wales, when dealing with a firm known as John T. Martin and Co. Talking about its deficiencies, he said:

Its deficiencies in observance of proper and honourable dealings as a broker might well have passed unnoticed had it not committed the cardinal sin of running out of money.

These points indicate that we cannot have selfregulation. There are many other firms in which such problems have occurred. I could name a lot of them. They include Patrick Partners, Cambridge Credit and Minsec. A stack of people have lost millions and millions of dollars. We make a plea to the Government to bring in that legislation now. It should not be concerned about Hamer or Sir Charles Court. They have enough to worry them. We have only one securities market in Australia, not seven or eight. We only need one law. It will help the investors. It will give prestige to what we are about in this nation. People who cheat and are corrupt ought to be in gaol and not allowed to continue on the boards of management of companies.

Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Farrer · LP

– The honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) raised this matter today. It is a matter that is, I think, of great concern to every member of this House. It is certainly a matter of great concern to every honourable member on this side of the House. It is a matter that is of great concern to the community. The Government has been active during the past few years in bringing to fruition discussions with the States that will lead to the introduction of uniform legislation throughout Australia to deal with the whole of the companies and securities industry. The honourable member for Kingsford-Smith made reference in his opening remarks to the unfortunate collapse of Associated Securities Ltd and Computicket Australia Pty Ltd. This is of great concern nationally. Both companies are registered in New South Wales. I have no doubt that the corporate affairs administration within that State is presently investigating all aspects of the matter.

However, the main thrust of the address given by the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith centred upon the need for national companies and securities legislation. As I have just indicated, the Commonwealth Government is actively pursuing a course which will lead to this happening in Australia in, I believe, the not too distant future. The Commonwealth’s approach to the regulation of the companies and securities industry should be viewed in the light of recent developments. In 1974, as mentioned by the honourable member, the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange, which has become known as the Rae Committee, reported that the regulation of these markets, and of some of the activities of public companies and investment funds, is in need of fundamental reform. The Rae Committee found that the securities market in Australia is a complex national market in which prices are set by national forces of supply and demand and that the present regulatory system in Australia is fragmented and uncoordinated. The Committee accordingly proposed a national system of regulation and recommended establishment by the Commonwealth Government of a new national regulatory authority. Subsequently, the then Labor Government prepared a National Companies Bill, which was not introduced into the Parliament, and a Corporations and Securities Industry Bill, which amongst other things would have established a corporations and exchange commission. The Corporations and Securities Industry BUI was with the Senate Select Committee for report when the Parliament was dissolved in November 1975. In August 1976 the Labor Opposition introduced a National Companies Bill and a Corporations and Securities BUI.

The present Government’s policy and approach has been essentially different from that of the Labor Government. Rather than legislative confrontation whereby the Commonwealth, without seeking the approval and co-operation of the States, legislates and awaits the outcome of inevitable High Court challenges to settle the full extent of the Commonwealth^ constitutional power, this Government has followed a policy of co-operative federalism. In March 1977 Commonwealth and State Ministers responsible for the regulation of companies and the securities industry agreed to a general framework for a cooperative Commonwealth-State scheme for national regulation of the entire area of company law and regulation of the securities industry. The basic elements of the proposed co-operative scheme were announced in this House on 17 March 1977 by my predecessor and have altered very little in substance since then. Those elements are:

  1. The establishment of a Ministerial Council comprising Ministers of the Commonwealth and each of the six States.
  2. The establishment of a National Companies and Securities Commission to have responsibility in the entire area subject to directions from the Ministerial Council.
  3. The continuation of existing State administrations.
  4. The adoption of a proposal for legislative uniformity which recognises that the States are not required to surrender or refer any constitutional power. This proposal includes the following:

    1. The Commonwealth will enact comprehensive corporation and securities legislation, in relation to the Australian Capital Territory, substantially in accordance with the uniform laws presently in force in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.
    2. Each of the States will enact legislation ensuring that the Commonwealth legislation has full force and effect in that State.
    3. The States will repeal or otherwise render inoperative existing companies and securities legislation from the commencement date of the Commonwealth legislation.

This is the point that concerned the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith:

  1. Any future amendments to the legislation will be decided by the Ministerial Council, and then placed before the Commonwealth Parliament for approval. Once enacted those amendments will operate in each State without the need for further legislation. In the event of the Commonwealth Parliament not enacting, within 6 months, an amendment decided upon by the Ministerial Council, each State would have the right to separately take action to implement the decision of the Ministerial Council.

After the March 1977 statement, further meetings of Ministers were held during 1978 to consider details of the scheme. The negotiations culminated in agreement being reached by Ministers on 1 December 1978 that a formal agreement between the Commonwealth and each State government to establish a national companies and securities scheme should be executed. The formal agreement was signed by the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and all State Premiers and formally executed on 22 December 1978. The formal agreement essentially covers the following matters in relation to the scheme: The objectives and the operation of the scheme; the establishment of a Ministerial Council which will have complete control over the legislation and its administration; the operation of the National Companies and Securities Commission, which will be established by Commonwealth Act; the National Commission’s relationship with existing State and Territory administrations; the legislative device which will ensure that the companies and securities industry legislation in force in the Australian Capital Territory at any time will also be the law in force in the six States; and a number of important issues which will be reflected in the substantive companies and securities industry legislation.

While negotiations were proceeding to reach agreement at the political level, Ministers and officers have also been working on the legislative aspects of the scheme. As I have indicated, the initial legislation is to be substantially in accordance with the uniform laws presently in force in the four member States of the Interstate Corporate Affairs Commission- New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. The general approach of Ministers has been that only urgent amendments should be included in the initial legislation and that other amendments of a law reform nature should wait until after the initial legislation has been enacted. Notwithstanding this, the proposed legislation in fact does incorporate a number of significant amendments. Many of the amendments reflect one of the basic concepts of the scheme- that a company should be able to carry on business anywhere in Australia as if it were subject to only one system of company law and administration.

A great deal of progress has been made with the legislative package. In relation to the Company Take-overs (Australian Capital Territory) Bill, Ministers decided early in 1978 that urgent action needed to be taken to amend the existing laws relating to company takeovers. They agreed that these changes should be made as soon as possible, in advance of the implementation of the full scheme. Ministers accordingly released a draft of the above Bill for public comment on 12 December 1978. They emphasised that neither they nor their respective governments were to be regarded as endorsing all the details of the Bill. The final form of the Bill will be determined following a careful assessment of all comments made on it. Comments were requested to be submitted no later than 28 February 1979 and officers are now busy collating the comments received. When the proposed Companies Bill is enacted the Company Takeovers (Australian Capital Territory) Act will be repealed and its provisions will be contained in the former Bill.

The National Companies and Securities Commission Bill when enacted will establish the National Companies and Securities Commission. On 23 February 1979 the Ministerial Council cleared the way for the final draft of the Bill to be prepared. I expect that the Bill will be introduced during the current autumn session of Parliament. Officers’ consideration of the draft Securities Industry Bill is at an advanced stage and the Bill will shortly be presented to Ministers for consideration. It is expected that the Bill will be exposed to public comment prior to its introduction into the Commonwealth Parliament. It is possible that the Bill will be introduced in the 1979 Budget session but the timing is dependent upon a final decision by Ministers. The first drafts of the Companies Bill and the Companies (Fees) Bill were circulated to the States and Commonwealth departments last week. I expect that these Bills will be ready for exposure to the public later this year and I hope that they will be introduced into the Parliament during the autumn session of 1980. Another Bill yet to be drafted will be necessary to enable the scheme to be administered in the Australian Capital Territory. It will deal with the Australian Capital Territory Corporate Affairs Office and other transitional provisions that it would not be appropriate to include in the substantive companies and securities legislation.

I have indicated by the information I have made available this afternoon to the House that a great deal of progress has been made. Some legislation is close to presentation to the Parliament and other legislation is in an advanced stage of drafting. There has been close cooperation between the Attorneys-General of the States and me and between the governments of the Commonwealth and the States. Tremendous co-operation has been given by members of the Government parties both in the House of Representives and in the Senate. I now seek an undertaking from the Opposition that it will cooperate with the Government in the national interest to ensure that this proposed legislation is properly considered and expeditiously dealt with in this Parliament. In this regard I offer to the Opposition the facilities of my Department to ensure that proper briefings are made. I believe that it is in the national interest that there be full co-operation between all the parties and all the interested bodies in order to ensure that this cooperative scheme which will operate throughout Australia will be brought into operation as quickly as possible.


-The matter of public importance raised by the Opposition today reads:

The failure of the Government to introduce national companies and securities legislation causing financial loss to many people, as evidenced by Associated Securities Limited failure.

We have heard an expose of the Government’s belated thinking on this question of securities and exchange legislation but it needs to be pointed out, as it was so ably by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lionel Bowen), that the corporation power of the Constitution permits the Commonwealth to legislate for the establishment of a national securities and companies commission. Legislation along those lines was introduced by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith, in August 1976 and it was defeated by the Government. So let us not have any of this humbug about how the Government is waiting to bring in legislation. It will introduce legislation on terms and conditions which suit State Liberal Party premiers. That is all the Government is interested in. Senator Rae was Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Securities and Exchange and he introduced a report recommending a securities institute. He has never made the Fraser Ministry purely and simply because he stood on the corns of the financial interests which run the stock exchanges and the major companies. I see the honourable member for Higgins (Mr Shipton) is in the House and he is to follow me in this debate. He will be putting the exclusive views of the Melbourne financial establishment and in particular defending Sir Reginald Ansett. That will be his job in the Parliament and in this debate.

Mr Shipton:

– Wait and see.


– Well, if the honourable member does not do that it will be because I have blown the whistle on him. Nothing has been written in the Victorian Press about Associated Securities Limited. This has been the biggest crash in Australia’s history but hardly a line has been written about it in the Melbourne Press. Until last Sunday we saw hardly a line anywhere. The losses could be as high as $60m. The company could have debts of $ 1 70m and investors funds to the amount of $244m are frozen which makes the Computicket issue pale into insignificance when compared with the magnitude of this matter. But of course, the principles are the same. People, through incompetence, negligence and conflict of interests, can take the public to the cleaners and carry on.

We talked about Sir Reginald Ansett, Sir Henry Bolte and Sir Cecil Looker who are directors of Associated Securities Limited and who are also directors of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. They were the people who took the decision to buy half of Associated Securities Limited. They were the people who breathed life back into ASL. Sir Reginald Ansett also wrote to his shareholders and debenture holders urging them to invest in ASL. Of course the result was that those people placed their faith in that company because of the names associated with it. What have we seen? We have seen the thing go to the wall. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, the Statex Service of the Sydney Stock Exchange had underwritten the profitability of this company as late as last year. It wrote down the capital value of the lands and real estates which were acquired by this company in the 1970s. Yet Touche Ross and Co. the accountants for this company left them at their current values. Of course, the famous Touche Ross and Co. is the auditor and accountant for Gollin and Co. Ltd so I need not say any more about that.

Dr Klugman:

– That is the chap who paid for Fraser when he was in opposition, is it?


– That is right. He was Fraser ‘s research officer. That company alone has incorrectly valued this company’s assets. The result is that every other company, every bank and every financial institution which was asked to look at ASL said that one could not touch it without writing off at least $30m or $40m worth of assets. Yet, what do we find? We find the Ansett group going in, the prospectuses being issued and then this disgraceful editorial in the Australian Financial Review written, I believe, from Melbourne, excusing Sir Reginald Ansett and Looker and Bolte because they were nonexecutive directors. They signed the prospectus. I have a copy of the thing here. Their names are on it. Sir Reginald Ansett ‘s photograph is on the front page. The result is, of course, that now people’s savings are locked up. I have letters from people here. I have one from a 78 year old couple saying that their life savings are gone. People trusted those directors. But do honourable members think that Sir Reginald Ansett or Bolte or Looker will not be at the next Melbourne Cup with the top hats and white carnations, in the pin striped suits- the great money managers of Australia in their Liberal Party uniform? Of course they will be there.

Honourable members do not think the public will do anything about the situation or that the Government will do anything about it because the law is not there, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition pointed out. There has never been a law. We are always protecting these kinds of shonky practices. When ASL could not be managed Ansett Transport Industries, at a meeting in its board room, pulled the plug on ASL when its chairman was out of the country. Everyone was away when the company went under. Ansett Transport Industries made a decision to bail out of the situation and what happened? Where is all the money? The loss will be suffered by the small investors- not the promoters who are involved in Computicket- who will lose in unsecured notes and second ranking debentures and the like.

We go back to the responsibility. It comes back to competence, honesty and the question of negligence. If the Ansett Transport group bought into this company to manage it and to bring investments back into it to try to save it, then the Ansett group has a moral and legal obligation to do that. Instead of that, with the conflict of interest, that group went in to protect Ansett Transport Industries as against ASL because it thought that ultimately the viability of Ansett Transport Industries would be threatened. Therefore Ansett has just bailed out of the situation and let ASL fall apart. The result is that the public lose. One of the inexplicable things about this matter was that a prospectus for ASL was underwritten by the Commonwealth Bank of

Australia among others. What is the Commonwealth Bank, which is a Commonwealth instrumentality, doing underwriting a prospectus for a company such as ASL. That bank has massive real estate experience. It has the largest home saving loans division of any bank in the Commonwealth. Why would this banking institution not be able to decipher the accounts of ASL and say: ‘We will not be associated with such a prospectus’?

Dr Klugman:

– The bank was told by the Treasurer not to.


– Exactly. What happened was that a message went through from the Government because the untouchables were involved, that is Bolte, Ansett and Looker, the great men. They cannot be touched. The Commonwealth Bank goes into the ring and does what it has to do. It underwrites a prospectus knowing the situation full well. I get around the merchant banking community, the banking community and the financial community just like other members of Parliament. Those communities have been talking about this matter for a long time. They have been saying that this company was basically unsound. Yet a prospectus went out as late as last September. Why did the directors not withdraw the prospectus in December 1978 instead of a month later when the company revised its losses upwards from $1.5m to $3.5m for the half year? This happened in December. The company itself had to revise the losses. Yet the prospectus was still out. It was out until the end of January. Even then, when it was withdrawn, the Melbourne Stock Exchange was not told why the prospectus was withdrawn. The Melbourne Stock Exchange found out about the difficulties of ASL on 8 February.

These are the kinds of high jinks which have been going on. Companies are duty bound to notify the stock exchange of any information which will have a material effect upon the price of a company’s shares. Why did Ansett Transport Industries not notify the stock exchange of its decision, taken on 24 January, not to bail out ASL and, in fact, to dump ASL? Yet, now that the Ansett share price has fallen it means that every person who subscribed to or bought shares in Ansett Transport Industries after 24 January was penalised between then and 8 February when it was finally known that Ansett had bailed out of ASL taking, of course, massive losses unto itself as a result. Wherever we look these people are protected. There is nothing in the newspapers. Nobody says anything about the matter. If the newspapers get too rough, Ansett Transport Industries threatens them with their advertising. The whole old boy network operates. The establishment moves straight in to protect these people. It does not matter when somebody produces a substantive and substantial report on what to do, as the Rae Committee did. Senator Rae himself was penalised in the Liberal Party for so doing. He now knows he will never make ministerial rank. He paid the ultimate price for his service to the public. But service to the public is not to figure with these people. They will never learn their lesson. The mining booms of the Sydney and Melbourne stock exchanges of 1970 and 1971 are now eight years behind us. Eight years have passed and the Rae Committee -

Dr Klugman:

– They had an expert on their side, the honourable member for Macarthur.


– That is right. The honourable member for Macarthur was a stockbroking adviser during that boom. Eight years have passed and yet no securities and exchange commission has been established. When we try to introduce such legislation it is said that it is confrontation and that we have to work it out with the States as was done with other matters such as off-shore legislation. Although we have power over off-shore matters we are told that we have to work them out with the States. The truth is that any alibi is put forward to stop legislation being introduced to hold these people in check and make them legally responsible and accountable for their actions. That is the issue at hand. John Darling and Shanahan, the people in ASL who moved the company into real estate, are the people behind this crash, but the people smothering it are the Victorian establishment and this Government which protects these three knight directors from Victoria.

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


-The Government and members on this side of the House are concerned about the individuals, the creditors, the debenture holders, the note holders and the shareholders who lost money as a result of the crash of Associated Securities Ltd. Of course we are concerned about these people. I have been consulted by a constituent of mine who has lost his savings to buy a business as a result of the crash. Of course we are sympathetic to people in that position. Let us look at the matter of public importance which the Opposition has raised. The Opposition has attempted to blame the Government for the crash because of its failure to introduce national companies and securities legislation. That is absolute balderdash.

We did not hear members of the Opposition quote one section of any proposed Act or one section of any proposed scheme that would have stopped the crash. Nothing in the proposed scheme that the Labor Premiers have agreed to and which was signed by responsible Ministers of State on 1 December 1978 would have stopped the crash. All the States have signed an agreement with the Commonwealth to set up a corporate affairs commission. I want honourable members opposite to take note of that fact. I think that they have forgotten it. Nothing in that scheme or in the proposed legislation that honourable members opposite said they would have introduced would have changed the ASL situation at all.

Let us look at the scheme that the Government proposes to introduce. The initial legislation will be substantially in accordance with the existing uniform laws presently in force in the four member States of the Interstate Corporate Affairs Commission which includes the Labor State of New South Wales, the State in which ASL was incorporated. Honourable members opposite today did not tell us about that. So, a law exists in New South Wales to cover the situation. They did not mention it today because they are arguing amongst themselves and with New South Wales. In fact the New South Wales Corporate Affairs Commission on 9 February commenced investigations into activities of ASL and the reasons for a large turnover of ASL and Ansett Transport Industries shares on the Sydney Stock Exchange prior to ASL’s reported loss. The results of the inquiry will no doubt be to hand. I have confidence, as I would hope members of the Opposition would have confidence, that the inquiry would be a proper investigation. Members of the Opposition forgot to tell us that it was a New South Wales matter and that the New South Wales Corporate Affairs Commission had in fact commenced an investigation.

Let us look at the situation in the market place. Nothing contained in legislation could really change the existing situation. ASL obviously had a heavy investment in a particular area. It seemed heavily over-committed in the property market. It invested in the property market and obviously, because of the collapse, the company made mistakes and losses and innocent people with small and large investments have suffered. Property investments are risky at times. The property market collapsed when a downturn occurred as a result of difficulties in the market place. Companies in ASL’s position need a high cash flow to ride out the difficulties. A multimillion dollar operation is needed to save companies in that situation.

Industrial Acceptance Corporation Ltd got into difficulties some years ago and Citibank, a shareholder and supporter, mounted a massive operation to save the company and to ride out the rough times in order to get to the clear water. That company is now trading profitably and playing a proper part in the investment process. Citibank is to be congratulated for its rescue operation. In this situation companies need to find a big brother in the way in which IAC found Citibank to take the long term view that the property investment in Australia will come right in future and to mount an operation to save the investors and their money.

I am disappointed that we did not hear anything positive from the other side of the House. I was disappointed in the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lionel Bowen). I have respect for him. We did not hear any positive suggestions on what might be done. Should the Opposition not be positive and say that we ought to develop some mechanism to solve this situation? Members of the Opposition did not refer to one single section of any Act. They made no actual suggestion of what should be contained in any legislation. They did not do so because they do not know how and they have no ideas. We need to develop some mechanism whereby a receiver or liquidator can trade out of a situation. We need to look at a situation whereby the methods of valuation of a liquidator’s or receiver’s assets relate to the value before the crash rather than after. Immediately after a crash losses to the creditors and note holders are taken out and liquidators and receivers work on a lower capital base. Some thought needs to be given to this aspect. The Opposition was bereft of that idea. It could not think of it.

Another aspect worth investigation is the nation’s finding some sort of scheme that can mount rescue operations to save assets. Citibank, in its operation with IAC, has given an example. If a rescue operation can be mounted, at the end of the day everybody gets out- the shareholders, the debenture holders, the creditors- and all is well and the investment process can continue. In the case of ASL some scheme was needed whereby Ansett could get help and assistance. Do not let us forget that Ansett lost money in the transaction. It looked for assistance but obviously there was no backup and no last resort rescue operation.

Perhaps, rather than criticising people, the Opposition ought to be thinking about ways and methods so that situations such as those that have been mentioned do not happen and people are not hurt and do not lose money. Let us look at the insurance concept, at the basic nature of the investment and savings process, at the role that accumulators of funds such as banks and life companies might play; ask stock exchanges what they think; and see whether some sort of guarantee fund in conjunction with the listing requirements and listed companies could not be developed. Let us see whether some sort of emergency investment lender of last resort role could be developed in the community. Let us be positive.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition raises a matter of public importance dealing with Associated Securities Ltd but all he seemed to do was tell us about Computicket Australia Pty Ltd which had nothing to do with the matter of public importance. He made allegations about Mr Miller and his investment in the company. I think the allegation was that Mr Miller had revalued some $1 shares by increasing the value of good will for licences et cetera and the other parties had put in cash by way of shares and debentures and had been caught. I make no comment on that; that may or may not be true. If it is true the parties concerned will have available to them a course of action against Mr Miller, if that is the thing to be done. Similarly, one would hope that the New South Wales Corporate Affairs Commission would investigate it and if it felt that it was the proper thing to do it would take action.

Let us leave this matter to be dealt with according to the law and the rights of the people rather than point to some nebulous scheme to solve a problem about which Opposition members have no knowledge. Labor supporters have been completely neglectful today in putting forward anything positive to this House. The House has not heard one decent idea this afternoon from any member of the Opposition. An investigation is being conducted in New South Wales into ASL by a Labor Government, yet today the members of the Labor Opposition in this place failed to mention that fact. They forgot to tell the people of Australia what was going on. Proper steps are being taken. There is nothing that the Commonwealth could have done that would have altered the situation. Members of the Opposition realise that yet they have tried to hoodwink the people into believing that they are concerned. They are not concerned and they do not even understand.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Dr Jenkins)Order! The discussion is concluded.

page 638


Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs · Stirling · LP

– I move:

This Bill makes a number of miscellaneous amendments to the Family Law Act 1975. Nearly half the Bill consists of amendments to the provisions of the Act relating to the Institute of Family Studies. Most of the other amendments in the Bill are based on recommendations of the Family Law Council.

The Act established the Institute of Family Studies as a national research and educational body, the object of which is to try to identify, and disseminate information on, the factors- both negative and positive- affecting marital and family stability in Australia. The Government attaches great importance to the establishment of the Institute, and is aware of concerned and continuing interest in the Institute both within this Parliament and throughout the community.

Under the Act, the Institute consists of a Director and four or more other members, and also support staff and consultants to be engaged by the Director with the approval of the AttorneyGeneral. Since the first step in setting up the Institute is clearly the appointment of a Director, the Government arranged for the position to be advertised within Australia and overseas early last year. A large number of applications from within Australia and overseas were received, and the Attorney-General approved the constitution of an expert panel headed by the Chief Judge of the Family Court of Australia to interview applicants. Unfortunately, although the leading applicants were distinguished in their own fields of professional interests, with one exception the panel felt unable to recommend any for the position. The one applicant whom the panel did recommend as a suitable person subsequently decided, on further consideration, to withdraw his application for the position.

At about the time the interviewing panel submitted its report the Attorney-General’s Department discovered that the provisions of the Act concerning the Institute were defective in that they did not make adequate provision for terms and conditions of appointment of the Director. Subsequently, after further examination, it was found that the provisions, which were inserted by way of an amendment when the original Family Law Bill was before the Senate, were defective in several other respects.

I should, perhaps, make it clear that the defects in the provisions of the Act were not the cause of the decision of the applicant for the position of Director recommended by the panel to withdraw his application. However, because of the importance that the Government places on the establishment of the Institute, it approved the preparation of the amendments in the Bill with a view to re-advertising the position and inviting further applications. In fact, as honourable members may be aware, the position was readvertised on 30 September last. Since then interviews of applicants have been conducted and have just been completed by the expert interviewing panel.

The amendments contained in the Bill regarding the Institute are quite detailed. However, I can assure honourable members that the functions of the Institute as presently provided for in the Act have been preserved without change. What the amendments do is to fill in the blanks, as it were, regarding the terms and conditions of appointment of not only the Director but also the members of the Institute. The terms and conditions provided for in the Bill are those usually found in legislation establishing similar statutory bodies, such as, for example, the Australian Institute of Criminology.

There are a couple of other provisions in the Bill regarding the Institute which I should mention briefly. Under the Act in its present form, both the Director and the members are appointed by the Attorney-General. Under the amendments they would be appointed by the Governor-General, which is more usual for offices of this nature. The Bill includes a provision for a Board of Management of the Institute, since the Act as it stands does not distinguish between the Institute meaning the governing body and the Institute meaning the Director, members and staff as a whole. The respective roles of the Board of Management of the Institute and of the Director are defined by the amendments. Finally, the amendments provide for the terms and conditions of employment of staff and consultants by the Institute to be determined by the Director with the approval of the Public Service Board, instead of the AttorneyGeneral as is provided by the Act now.

As I mentioned earlier, most of the other amendments in the Bill are based on recommendations made by the Family Law Council. Honourable members will be aware that the Council, which was also established by the Act, has the function of advising the AttorneyGeneral on the working of the Act and other family law legislation, as well as legal aid in family law and other matters relevant to this area of law.

I acknowledge the interest taken by honourable members and senators in the recommendations published in the first annual report of the Council, and the questions they have raised regarding implementation of the recommendations. Since the Council’s recommendations included several which it was felt should be implemented at the first opportunity, when the need to amend the provisions of the Act regarding the Institute of Family Studies arose, the approval of the Government was also obtained to the inclusion of several of those recommendations in the amending Bill.

As honourable members are aware, pursuant to a resolution of the Parliament a joint select committee is currently undertaking a general review of the Family Law Act. Accordingly, when consideration was given to the question of which recommendations of the Family Law Council should be implemented without delay, regard was also had to the question whether implementation of any of the recommendations might preempt the findings of a parliamentary committee. As a result, the amendments in the Bill are of a technical and non-controversial nature, which do not make substantial changes in any areas of the Act that are singled out by the terms of reference for the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the Family Law Act, or which are likely to become the subject of submissions to the Committee. The amendments make no changes of principle to the Act; on the contrary, they generally correct defects or otherwise contribute to the smoother administration of the Act according to its existing principles.

Perhaps the most substantial of these amendments concern the welfare and custody of children. The Bill will extend the range of circumstances in which a court can order the parties to confer with a counsellor, or can order a counsellor to report to it, on the welfare of children of the marriage. These powers will become available to the court in any proceedings in which the welfare of children of a marriage is affected. The Bill also will enable a person other than a parent to make an application for custody of a child who is the subject of a custody order where the parent awarded custody has died. The courts already have the power to award custody to a non-parent in these circumstances- but only if the surviving parent makes a custody application. This amendment is prompted by several cases in the courts the most recent of which was a decision of the High Court.

In the important area of enforcement of orders the Bill makes 3 minor or clarifying amendments, one of which implements a recommendation of the Family Law Council. On the recommendation of the Council, the Bill clarifies the authority of a person under a warrant directing him to take possession of a child who has been the subject of a custody order. Another amendment removes doubts about the validity of regulations permitting the salaries of members of the Australian Public Service and the public services of the States to be attached for the enforcement of maintenance orders under the Act. The Bill also enables the Family Court of Western Australia and magistrates courts to punish breaches of undertakings given to courts, as well as orders, as contempts of court.

The authority of courts to set aside or discharge property settlement orders, maintenance orders and maintenance agreements under the Act is extended slightly by the Bill. The discretion of a court to set aside a property settlement order will be exerciseable where there has been a miscarriage of justice arising from circumstances other than those now specified by the Act, such as fraud or false evidence. The recommendation of the Family Law Council on which this is based was prompted by specific cases in which the existing provision of the Act was found to be too narrow. The power of a court to reduce or discharge a maintenance order as from a date in the past has been changed to the extent that the date can be earlier than in the preceding 12 months, which is the limit now prescribed by the Act. In future, the approval of a maintenance agreement will be revocable by courts other than the court that granted the approval.

A change recommended by the Council to the appeal provisions of the Act has been included in the Bill. Under the Bill, appeals from magistrates courts to the Family Court will be by way of a complete rehearing. The recommendation follows experience in cases under the existing provisions of the Act, which restrict the extent to which the appeal court can hear evidence and which have proved less than satisfactory.

In 1976, the Family Law Amendment Act extended the opportunity in the original Act for parties to divorce proceedings pending at the commencement of the Family Law Act to have the court decide their case on the ground of divorce under the Family Law Act. On the recommendation of the Council, this Bill further extends the opportunity in those remaining cases begun under the Matrimonial Causes Act that have still not been resolved. What the Bill does is to enable parties in such cases who were not separated for 12 months at the commencement of the Family Law Act but who have since been separated for 12 months to have their cases decided on the ground of divorce under the Family Law Act.

In the area of jurisdiction of courts, the Bill includes provision to enable the termination of jurisdiction of magistrates courts under the Act to be reversed. It also extends the power of a court of first instance to state a case to the Full Court of the Family Court to the Family Court of Western Australia and the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, which still exercises jurisdiction under the Act in the Territory.

Apart from amendments implementing the recommendations of the Family Law Council, the Bill also includes a small number of amendments of a largely formal or minor nature to facilitate the operation of the Act. These concern the powers of courts to transfer, stay or dismiss proceedings, the appointment of members of the Commonwealth Police as marshal and deputy marshals of the Family Court of Australia and appeals from approvals of maintenance agreements.

As honourable members will perceive, none of the amendments contained in this Bill affects the main principles of the Act. The feature that is common to all the amendments, including those recommended by the Family Law Council and those concerning the Institute of Family Studies, is that they are intended to facilitate the operation of the Act in the manner originally conceived by the Act. The amendments concerning the Institute have to be enacted before the formal appointment of a director can be made, and the Government, not to mention interested honourable members, honourable senators and the community at large, would like to see this achieved as soon as possible. The other amendments, in so far as they are needed to overcome inconveniences or shortcomings in the Act, are also needed as soon as possible. I therefore ask honourable members to give this Bill their early consideration. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Innes) adjourned.

page 640


Assent to the following Bills reported:

States Grants (Urban Public Transport) Amendment Bill 1979.

COCOS (Keeling) Islands Amendment Bill 1979. Postal Services Amendment Bill 1979.

page 640


Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs · Farrer · LP

– I move:

Customs Tariff Proposals No. 13 ( 1979)

The Customs Tariff Proposals I have just tabled relate to proposed alterations to the Customs Tariff Act 1966. The Proposals implement the Government’s decision on recommendations made by the Industries Assistance Commission in its report on work trucks, certain mobile machines, et cetera. The major effect of the decision is that certain internal combustion powered fork lift trucks will be dutiable at the following rates: 30 per cent and $1,500 each to and including 6 March 1980; 30 per cent and $750 each from 7 March 1980 to and including 31 December 1980; and 30 per cent from 1 January 1981. Straddle carriers and parts therefor will be dutiable at 20 per cent whilst other goods under reference will be dutiable at their current general ad valorem rate of duty. The new duties operate from tomorrow. A comprehensive summary of the changes contained in the Proposals has been prepared and is being circulated to honourable members. I commend the Proposals to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Innes) adjourned.

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Second Reading

Debate resumed from 2 1 February, on motion by Mr Fife:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


-Due to the temporary absence of the Opposition’s spokesman on business and consumer affairs, it is my pleasure to stand here as an almost life-size replica of the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford) and to respond to the Excise Amendment Bill 1979 on behalf of the Opposition. In what must be one of the shortest second reading speeches in history the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Fife) indicated that the main purpose of this Bill is to simplify and to streamline procedures relating to the export of excisable goods. Instead of the exporters of these goods having to furnish returns on a shipment by shipment basis, the amendment will require that exporters file returns only on a periodic basis. This will simplify the documentation associated with exports when excisable goods are involved and hopefully will lead to economies for both government and industry.

Needless to say, the Opposition does not oppose this Bill. Anything which reduces the torpor of needless bureaucratic process is welcomed by the Opposition. Whilst this measure is simple and its effects almost trivial in the context of overall trade policy, nevertheless it is indicative of the kind of reform which can yield great benefit, particularly to small exporters to whom extra administration and paper work represent a very substantial burden. We know that small business makes an important contribution to Australia’s export performance, at least in the field of manufactured exports and in the export of skills and ideas. Indeed, it has often been small firms which have made important breakthroughs into overseas markets. These are the firms on which Australia is going to rely for any horizontal expansion of its export activities. Yet these are the firms for which entry into export markets holds the greatest risks. Administrative complexities represent another disincentive to these small firms. Having to master the intricacies of foreign markets, languages and business practice is difficult enough, without having a minefield of rules and procedures to contend with at home. Therefore, the Government should accelerate its efforts to remove as many as possible of the administrative barriers which currently daunt prospective exporters.

Not only restrictive government practice but also the attitude of other domestic business houses, particularly financial institutions, can frustrate exporters. For so long have our banks been geared primarily to internal business transactions that they lack the kind of imagination which is necessary to support export activities, particularly those of new exporters. Indeed, we are told of an incident where a local manufacturer with a $15m order, which was irrevocable and guaranteed by a major American bank, had to abandon the deal simply because he could not find a banking institution which was ready to lend him the $3m necessary for the expansion. Of course, this would never have happened in countries such as France, Germany or Japan, where the economic activity is geared to promote exports. This incident happened only a few years ago. Much more has to be done to remove these sorts of impediments to trade.

Indeed, it is important to recognise these particular barriers at a time when the Government is embarking on an export consciousness extravaganza which, it has been said, is essentially a talking-up or jawboning exercise. It is important to direct the Government’s attention to the need for reforms in procedures and in other areas which bear on the ability of exporters to enter into overseas markets. These necessary reforms in government and business procedures are at least as important as high-powered government promotion campaigns.

One might mention, as another example, the need for a faculty for translation services for would-be Australian exporters. We have just witnessed the belated discovery by the Minister for Trade and Resources (Mr Anthony) of the great opportunities which exist for Australian exports in the Persian Gulf. Yet as recently as 1976 the only language translation facility in Western Australia at least was provided by the Department of Economics at the University of Western Australia. In 1976, during an eight month period, 1 13 firms approached the Department of Economics for the translation of 562 documents.

Clearly a basic requirement for entry to the Persian Gulf market is an ability to correspond with agents and generally to cope with language differences. There is little point in enthusing would-be exporters if there are other serious barriers to their entry to export markets.

Indeed, in this context it is intriguing to note that the Crawford report on structural adjustment, which was tabled in the Parliament only this afternoon, was critical of one of the Government’s major export promotion programs, that being the export expansion grants scheme. This scheme is a foundation stone to the Export Now campaign and yet it was severely criticised by the Crawford report. The report was in general agreement with the overall package of the government in relation to export development. At page 7. 1 6 the report states:

The Study Groups major reservation with the enlarged package is that the initial inducement -

That is the one provided by the export expansion grants scheme. it contains is not large enough.

It seems that the Government’s Export Now promotion campaign is indeed founded on a scheme which the Crawford report has found to be inadequate. The Opposition pointed to a number of shortcomings in the Government’s new export development package, and I make the prediction that a number of amendments will be necessary in the very near future to overcome some of the difficulties which exist in that legislation which was passed late last year.

The Opposition does not oppose this Bill. It welcomes the further attempt to free up the procedures which confront exporters. The Opposition urges the Government to pursue this line of activity with all vigour.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Mr Fife) read a third time. Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.

page 642


Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.

page 642


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 21 February, on motion by Mr Ellicott

That the Bill be now read a second time.


-The Australian Labor Party supports the amendments to the National Fitness Act 1941 proposed in this Bill. These amendments are simply to enable funds now being generated through the sale of ‘Life. Be in it’ products or through gifts to be paid into the National Fitness Trust Fund. They also provide for amendments to sections 4 and 5 of the principal Act to bring them into line with current drafting practice for trust accounts and to make some formal drafting amendments. The ‘Life. Be in it’ program that began in Victoria in 1975 and went nation-wide in September 1977 has the support and participation of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers responsible for recreation. It will attract a $600,000 Commonwealth contribution for each of the three years until 1980. The Government has our full support in this program. However, there are a few questions that I would like answered by the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott) who unfortunately is not in the chamber at the moment.

First of all, I would like to know what monitoring of the campaign has been done to ascertain the effect it is having in its objective of encouraging more Australians to undertake more physical activity to improve their health and their general physical wellbeing. I realise that it is early days yet, but I think it essential that the campaign be monitored carefully so that by 1980 we will be able to assess whether it is worth continuing, increasing or abandoning. Advertising programs such as these, that are aimed at changing people’s life styles and habits need to be assessed thoroughly. The fact that they are not expensive- in this case only $600,000 a year- is not an excuse for continuing them ad infinitum unless they are achieving their objective. I realise that it is not always easy to assess the effect of advertising of this nature, but I think we should try.

I ask the question because when I was Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Road Safety, I was constantly made aware of the utter uselessness of road safety advertising campaigns that governments had sponsored for years, urging people to drive slowly and carefully et cetera or warning them that speed kills. The results in terms of lives saved or injuries reduced was a big fat zero, as the road toll mounted annually in line with the increased number of cars and drivers and miles driven. The real breakthrough came when the ritualistic imploring of people to change their habits was abandoned and seat belts were made compulsory in cars and roads were re-designed.

My own gut feeling is that the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign has had an effect on people, making them change their sendentary life styles and encouraging them to become more physical. Certainly when I look at the Minister for Defence (Mr Killen), quite clearly I see that he is a much more physical man now than he was a few years ago.

Mr Killen:

– I will give you 20 yards start over a furlong.


– I would not make any wild challenges if I were you because you have come unstuck many times in recent years. There certainly appear to be more people jogging, swimming and playing squash, et cetera, but one cannot be sure. I would also like the Minister to inform the House of what sort of funds have been generated through the sale of a wide range of promotional material. I want to take the opportunity in this debate to raise the question of government involvement in sport and recreation. The debate in Australia has been raging at two levels since the 1976 Montreal Olympics when Australia failed, for the first time since the war, to win an Olympic gold medal. At one level there is the view that Australia’s decline as a sporting nation is due to the failure of the Federal Government to provide the funds for Australian sportsmen to be coached properly, to have adequate training facilities and to compete regularly with other top class athletes in international events. At the other level there is the oft expressed view of sports medical experts that

Australia lacks the widespread physical education and sports participation encouraged by other developed countries to produce a healthy, physically fit nation.

It is our view that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. They go hand in hand. Last year, Australia spent $9,000m on health. There are reasons for that massive expenditure that are unrelated to what we are talking about now. Some of them include the more sophisticated techniques to combat illnesses; increased wages; very much higher incomes for doctors, incomes which I notice are going to go a lot higher; and a wide range of drugs and numerous other costs. However, it is widely accepted in the medical field that a great deal of the sickness and death now occurring in our community is caused by the generally poor standard of physical fitness of the majority of Australians. The National Heart Foundation of Australia recently published a booklet entitled Fitness and Your Heart. In the first chapter entitled ‘The Sedentary Society’, the opening lines are:

The age of the push button and the accelerator pedal has all but eliminated physical effort from the working lives of most Australians. Along with rich, fatty diets, cigarette smoking and other attributes of the present-day Western society, this lack of physical activity forms a life pattern believed by most scientists to be the major cause behind the epidemic of heart disease now affecting Australia and similar developed nations.

Australian Productivity Action published an article summarising the research done in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom indicating the higher incidence of coronary heart disease amongst those following a comparatively inactive occupation as opposed to those engaged in active work. Executives, judges, lawyers and physicians had five times the incidence of heart disease as did farmers, miners, and labourers.

Mr Birney:

– What about politicians?


– I suppose that the honourable member would come into that category. In fact he would probably fit into more than one of the categories I have mentioned. The incidence of heart disease amongst professional men was three times that amongst unskilled workers, whilst amongst bus drivers it was nearly twice that of bus conductors, and so on. One could go on citing these sorts of research results ad nauseum. We all know that physical fitness and health are closely related. However, there are a great number of other benefits besides just not having a heart attack. A physically fit person feels better, works better and is able to accumulate greater knowledge. The Education Department of South Australia, in its discussion paper published in August 1978, had this to say- and I know that the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) will be very interested in this:

The results of experiments carried out in France, Belgium, Japan, Canada and the United States have established that raised levels of physical activity result in higher levels of health and fitness and improvements in social awareness and academic achievement.

The paper revealed that a similar experiment carried out with pupils at the Hindmarsh Primary School by the University of Adelaide Centre for Physical Health matched the findings with regard to the overseas students. It found that:

The Hindmarsh students covered their normal work in less time with better results. In so doing they became more selfconfident, fitter, more skilful physically, more sociable and in addition the obese became slimmer. -

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– The what?


– The obese became slimmer. As a matter of fact it is a perfect description of the honourable member who represents these people in this House and I am sure, Mr Deputy Speaker, that you would agree.

Mr Killen:

– A very distinguished member too.


– Yes, undoubtedly a very distinguished member. These various reports are hardly earth shattering revelations. We know the facts yet the Government prefers to continue to ignore the obvious. At the risk of sounding corny, I should like to repeat one of the oldest cliches in the book: ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure’. Preventive medicine is now accepted as the most effective way of improving a nation’s health and reducing the spiralling costs of health care. As in so many other areas, it takes vision and courage by the Government- qualities in which this Government has shown itself to be noticeably lacking- to spend money now to reduce health costs in the future. We must start now to provide this nation with the guidance and the facilities necessary to improve its general physical well-being. We have to produce a new generation of Australians who are brought up from childhood to value their health and to realise that in this day of sedentary living a considerable effort on their part is required. I feel that we shall have more success through the education system, with the present generation of young children just starting school, than we will in changing the life style of older generations who, for the most part, gave up regular physical exercise once they left school.

It would be interesting to survey members of Parliament, who would probably be representative of the community at large, to find out which of us regularly has hard physical exercise. I would suggest that we would provide a pretty horrible example to the rest of Australia. I will not embarrass honourable members by asking how many of them engage in hard physical exercise. By that I do not mean playing the odd game of golf or billiards. Perhaps there is more guilt on this side of the chamber. I think that some of the younger members on the Government side are probably more active. Of course, there are fewer of us on this side at the moment but we will change that after the next election. Certainly, not enough members of Parliament get out and engage in hard physical exercise.

Mr Burr:

– What do you do in your leisure hours?


– I play squash three times a week. I thought the honourable member for Wilmot would never ask. The sorts of things that Australia can do are not unique. Plenty of examples are given by countries that are not dissimilar to our own. Western Germany and Canada would be two from which we could take a lead. I suppose that if I mention East Germany there will be those who, for ideological reasons, will suck in their breath and tell us selfrighteously that we do not want to copy a communist country but, with respect, I would suggest that the program that the East Germans have adopted has little or nothing to do with their political philosophy. It could easily be adopted by Australia, as an article in the December 1978 issue of the Australian Journal for Health, Physical Education and Recreation points out.

The article, by Mr Brian Chapman, a South Australian graduate student from the University of Oregon, points out that good health through physical culture is enshrined in the German Democratic Republic’s Constitution and is backed up by legislation through the Youth Act 1974. That act makes mandatory: the setting up and equipping of new sports facilities as well as the modernisation and maintenance of existing ones the provision of sport equipment and sports wear for athletes the initial training and further training of sports teachers and doctors the guarantee of all-out medical care for children and youth engaging in activities by the sport-medical service of the GDR the gathering and application of scientific findings to the teaching programs, training programs and compilation of efficiency criteria and norms for children’s and youth sport.

The article states further:

Physical training of school students . . . forms an integral part of the educational process in the GDR. As a result, physical education enjoys equal status with the other school subjects. In fact, students can make up for academic grades by achieving excellent physical education grades.

The article states that there is, apart from basic exercises, a concentration on the Olympic sports, for the obvious reason that they ‘provide the best medium for teaching desirable physical skills and character attributes’. As Chapman comments sardonically: ‘Come to think of it, it does seem logical that a good way to develop speed in individuals is to teach them to sprint’. The young people of East Germany are therefore swimming, running, leaping, throwing and doing Olympic-style gymnastics from Form 1. Chapman adds:

Technical skills are taught at an early age while simultaneously a general physical fitness base is built up. So when you accuse them of systematically developing specialised skills in Olympic sports among youngsters, you are right. The only problem is that GDR physical educators don’t perceive this as a crime. In fact the evidence indicates that the youngsters don’t see it as a crime either.

He also points out that, contrary to popular belief, the facilities are not lavish but functional: 530 school gyms were built from 1971 to 1975 and 800 more are scheduled for construction by 1980, bringing the total to 4,000 gymnasiums for a total of 10,000 schools. The reason East Germany, with a population of 17 million, is now the top sporting nation in the world per capita is clearly understood from the Spartakiad program, which involves some four million young people between the ages of 6 and 18. This mass participation junior development program is aimed at involving everyone in sport- hardly an elitist concept with four million out of 17 million involved. It is a pyramid-type contest, with the finalists competing at Leipzig in 1977 before audiences of 105,000.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– Tell me, has it made for much happiness?


– I have spoken to a number of people who have been there. In fact, just today I have received an invitation to go to the Spartakiad finals in Moscow in August. There is every evidence that there is plenty of happiness there. It is an interesting comment, but I think we have to get rid of the ideological hang-ups that some of us have. If the honourable member for Lilley wishes, at another time I can give him the same sorts of details about programs being conducted in West Germany and in Canada. I am sorry that the honourable member came into the debate in that way. Although I have no brief at all for the East German system, not one bit, I happen to think that the type of thing that they are doing can be adapted to the Australian system. Let us not become hysterical about the fact that it is being done by the communist countries.

Mr Birney:

– Is it compulsory?


-Let me finish. I will deal with that later on.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Millar)Order! The honourable member will address the Chair.


– From what I understand, their people are no less happy than ours. Certainly, if physical fitness and well-being count for happiness, I am sure that they are a great deal happier. In his article, Chapman points out:

Ten thousand students had got through to these national finals, not only by winning their regional contest, but also by displaying satisfactory school results, (a pre-requisite for participation).

In other words, they have to get their school grades to be able to participate in these contests. He concedes that undoubtedly a great deal of what the East Germans do is politically motivated, but states that people would have to be blindly anti-communist to miss the good aspects that deserve imitation. He makes these final points:

In the GDR there is no shame in having a predominantly physical objective. Physical education starts on its own as a subject and is accepted as such.

Competition is not a dirty word.

There is no shame in encouraging pushing youngsters to maximise their physical potential.

Youngsters are entitled to the chance to find out if they ‘re good at sport just as they’re entitled to find out if they have talent at, say mathematics.

Sport is unhesitatingly accepted as the ideal medium for physical education.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– That is a fair enough proposition.


– Yes, I do not think we would disagree with that. He states further:

Co-operation between schools, community and government agencies is well established.

There is high quality professional preparation.

Funding by government is enviable. Australia by comparison is shamefully neglectful.

In his final comments he says:

Surely we can attempt to incorporate some of these aspects without necessarily changing Australia’s political or social system . . . GDR Olympic successes are not derived from steroids and assembly lines. They are too good at gymnastics, the marathon, diving, soccer, handball and other activities which have little place for steroids, to be so simplistically explained away. Their children are not ‘forced’. Encouraged certainly, but not forced.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– What are they like at hurling?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr MillarOrder! The honourable member for Lilley is not occupying his appointed seat.


– I am very disappointed in the honourable member. I happened to watch the hurling final on television. It is the most insane sport that I have ever seen in my life. It is like playing Australian Rules with an axe. What is happening in East Germany is happening to a lesser degree in many of the developed countries similar to ours. Australia is at the bottom level of encouragement of people to participate in sport. I think it may have a lot to do with Australia’s British ancestry. This was put succinctly by Andrew Dettre when he said that sport is something which no gentleman should take seriously. He said that Australian sports had: . . . developed closely along the English pattern which itself was founded on the jolly atmosphere of the village green with the accent of playfulness, camaraderie and afternoon tea; something quite desirable, among certain classes, provided the unpleasant, if not ugly, drive to win was not present.

Australia has been bemoaning the fact that over the last few years our place as the top sporting nation has declined. Australia once dominated tennis, squash, women’s athletics and swimming and produced world champion athletes in men’s athletics, cycling and rowing and creditable performances in other sports but we now cannot claim to be the top nation in any sport. There are one or two outstanding champions, such as Geoff Hunt, the squash champion, and Tracey Wickham, but it is a far cry from the halcyon days of the 1950s and 1960s.

There are those who would say: ‘So what?’ But I believe that the majority of people take a considerable interest in sport. I count myself amongst them. I am sure that the honourable member for Philip (Mr Burney) and the majority of the members of this House count themselves amongst that group. They are disappointed with our decline as a sporting nation. In most of the sports where one can measure the performance of athletes by time or distance it is clear that Australia’s athletes have not deteriorated in their performances. It is simply that the standards of all other countries have risen dramatically. They have risen because their governments have recognised the need to provide their youth with widespread participation programs coupled with the coaching and facilities to achieve a high standard of excellence. They have backed their athletes with adequate funding. Canada, for example, has spent $21m, $25m and $32m on sport in each of the last three financial years. This Government has spent just over $lm this year, which is a pitiful performance compared with that of the Canadian Government. Taking population into account, we should be spending at least $ 1 6m per annum to equal Canada ‘s effort.

When Frank Stewart became Minister for Tourism and Recreation in 1972, sport received the first serious recognition ever accorded to it by a federal government. Within a year funds were provided for every sport for a program of coaching, training and international competition. Through the States a start was made on upgrading sporting facilities. Within a couple of years the annual budget had risen from virtually nothing to $1 lm. On the advent of the Fraser Government no area suffered more than sport. The total amounts shown in the Budget Papers in 1976-77 for expenditure on sport and recreation were allocated to pay for commitments entered into by the previous Labor Government. The following year the Government, having received a blast from sports organisations for its pitiful contribution to sport, re-implemented the program of funding sporting organisations, at a cost of about $lm. With the exception of one-off contributions to Brisbane for the Commonwealth Games in 1982, the recently announced donations to the Olympic Games training fund and the provision of an international hockey field for Western Australia as a gift to celebrate its 150th anniversary, virtually nothing has been done. The whole impetus of Frank Stewart’s program has been lost.

Mr Martyr:

– He is not a very good tennis player, either.


– He is a very good tennis player. He was a very good rugby league player.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– That was a few years ago.


-We all have our best years behind us. I can think of a lot of things that the honourable member for Lilley cannot do now but could do a few years ago- not on the sporting field either. What I have said has been adequately documented in a White Paper released by the Confederation of Australian Sport in May 1977. I recommend it to everyone for reading. Time does not permit me to quote in detail from this excellent document but I pay tribute to that body and the work done by its president, Wayne Reid, its Secretary, Garry Daly and its committee, particularly Mr Les Martyn, the President of the Australian Amateur Weightlifting Federation. Australia is fortunate in having such men prepared to give up so much of their time and energy to fight for a healthy and physically fit Australia.

It is unfortunate that this speech probably will not be reported in the Press and that very little notice will be taken of it in the Parliament. This is a serious matter. It is a tragedy that the nation and the Parliament take physical fitness as such a joke. I repeat that our national health bill is about $9,000m. The Federal Government contributes $2,500m. If we really want to cut our health costs and make a better, healthier, happier, fitter nation we should spend on sport and recreation 2 per cent or 3 per cent of what we are spending on getting people better after they have had heart attacks. We would then go a long way towards making this a better country and a happier place in which to live.


-Many points have been made by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) with which I heartily agree. However, I think that honourable members on this side of the House must take issue with his comment that there is a lack of vision and courage, to use his words, in looking at sport, recreation, leisure activities and the health of the nation. There is a great deal of evidence to support me in this respect. I hope to cover some of it in the course of the debate tonight, notwithstanding the fact that we are debating the National Fitness Amendment Bill 1979, not a policy statement on sport, recreation, national health and preventive medicine. Those aspects, in particular, have been taken up by the honourable member for Robertson. I do not intend to add much more other than to say that parts of what he said are correct. There is a great need to be more aware of the role which recreation and leisure will play in the future of our country. There is a need to increase substantially the amount of one per cent of our national health bill currently spent on preventive medicine.

More importantly- I hope the honourable member for Robertson will listen before he leaves the chamber during such an important debate- there is a need not to politicise this issue. There ought to be concert on both sides of the House. All parties should be concerned about the future health and welfare of our people. I think that is what the honourable member for Robertson was talking about but he will gain nothing by trying to politicise the subject and by saying that people on this side of the House are not concerned with it. They. are. Many honourable members in this House tonight, such as the honourable member for Phillip (Mr Birney), the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Burr), the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman) and the honourable member for Lillee (Mr Kevin Cairns), attended a conference on this subject in Brisbane in 1976 and met with sporting administrators and recreation officers. To come into the House and try to gain some political advantage by saying that only the Opposition is concerned with the matter is wrong. It will not advance the cause of recreation, sport and leisure in Federal Parliament. I pay the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Stewart) a compliment. He certainly introduced some exciting programs during the previous Administration. One should be charitable and compliment the honourable member. When he was Minister for Tourism and Recreation he commenced a program which created an awareness in many people of the need for the Federal Government to be more concerned with sport and recreation and the preventive aspects of health.

Before I turn to the exciting ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign, which was started in Victoria in 1974 after a number of surveys, I shall make a number of points. The honourable member for Robertson mentioned the situation in Canada. After the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, a number of comments were made to the effect that Australia’s performance was very poor. It would be interesting for the honourable member for Robertson to read some of the comments made by the athletes who met on the day the Games ended to discuss the reasons for their poor performance and to put the blame on the shoulders of those who had to wear it. The reasons need to be examined in close detail. It is not simply a matter of saying that money will buy the sort of performance which many people would like to have seen in Edmonton or Montreal. We cannot buy gold medals at the elite level of the Olympic Games. But if we have a total approach throughout the community to fitness and health our elite athletes are likely to obtain a greater performance at the international level. I refer to a statement made in 1977 by the Minister for Fitness and Amateur Sport in Canada, the honourable Iona Campagnolo, in a speech in the House of Commons. She said:

The goal of this government is to ensure that the athlete, at whatever level of competition, is regarded as a fullfunctioning productive member of society . . . to see that sport, fitness and recreation is acknowledged by one and all as a full-functioning part of that culture which is Canada. No more the sweaty athlete syndrome. No more the denigration of the athletic scholarship. No more the culture which is divided between artists and athletes. Athletes are artists and some artists are athletes.

I think those words could be well echoed in Australia at this time. They are words which are recognised by this Government, words which are recognised by the incumbent responsible for sport, the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott). In 1971 in Canada the Fitness and Amateur Sport Directorate was established. It has two basic arms. One is called Sport Canada which I will deal with in some other debate. The other arm which was established and which is important to tonight’s debate is called Recreation Canada. Recreation Canada is concerned with encouraging Canadians to participate more fully in sport and various recreational activities. Some of the funds for those programs which have been so keenly put forward by the honourable member for Robertson in fact came from the Canadian lottery, Loto Canada. It will not go unnoticed by those who are following the progress of the Government’s development of policy in this area that the former Minister who was responsible for sport and recreation made it very clear that a great deal of discussion was going on with the State governments. Discussion had reached the stage- I ask honourable members opposite to look at the State governments which are particularly holding action in this matter- where agreement had been reached to introduce a lottery into Australia which could well help to fund sport and recreation here.

It also needs to be stated- I could not agree more with the statements which have been made in this debate- that Australia spends a relatively small amount on sport and recreation compared to other countries. We need to spend more. We recognise that we have to spend more money and I have no doubt that once we get the economy back on its feet, as we are trying to do and in fact are starting to achieve, we will be spending more money in this area. We will not spend it until the adoption of a policy in this area. For example, the Canadian Government gives $ 1.46 a head to sport and 92c a head to the arts. The British Government gives 47c a head to sport and 77c to the arts. In 1956 we won 36 Olympic medals at Melbourne and were the third nation in the world at that games. In 1976 we won five medals at Montreal and finished thirty-second with no gold medals. I repeat the point- I was referring to some figures which were given by the newfound friends of the honourable member for Robertson, the Confederation of Australian Sport, in a letter written to the Minister- that there is no relationship between the expenditure on sport and excellent attainment in the winning of gold medals.

Tonight we are discussing the National Fitness Amendment Bill which is about the very thing which will achieve more excellence in sport than merely spending money on elite sports. If honourable members opposite do not believe that, I invite them to study some statements which have been made by elite sportsmenstatements which indicate whether they think that only the spending of money will improve their circumstances. The athletes themselves will say- apparently there are some honourable members opposite who consider themselves experts on this subject- that they believe we will have much more chance of success in getting gold medals into this country by spending money at the grass roots levels, at the jogger level, at the community level than by spending money on the elite sportsmen. By spending money at the grass roots level excellence will bubble through the system and the elite sportsmen will reach the top. Ask Don Bradman or some Australian Rules footballer who is sitting on the front bench at the moment whether he had money spent on him and whether he achieved the peak of his sporting career without one cent being spent on him by any government. I put that point because the honourable member for Robertson mentioned Les Martyn Apart from being involved in the weight lifting sport in Australia he was also the general manager at Edmonton. He is also the Director of the Confederation of Australian Sport. On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation program, Four Corners, on 30 September 1978 he was asked what his views were with regard to amateurism and whether in fact Australia should be doing more in relation to the spending of money to in fact improve the number of elite sportsmen. He answered:

But I think underlying the whole factor, and the thing that worries me most, is the loss of national pride in this country. I think we’ve got a situation now where excellence is not important and it is this lowering of standard that I think is underlying the biggest factor.

That is a man with experience who the honourable member for Robertson put forward as a spokesman on the subject. It puts the lie to the statement that money will buy Olympic games medals for this country. I also refer to the remarks of another leading sportsman, Ron Clarke. In the Melbourne Age on Wednesday, 1 3 December 1978 he made a comparison between Australia’s expenditure on sport and that of France. When he visited that country in 1978 he said that the Budget was being discussed by the French Government in the lower House and that the House of Representatives had recommended that 8 billion francs- that is about $ A 1.61 billion- be spent on sport. This was rejected by the Senate as being insufficient funds. He said:

Imagine, $A 1,6 10,000,000 for sport was considered insufficient.

He went on to make the point that if Wayne Reid, the President of the Confederation of Australian Sport was offered an equivalent amount on a per capita basis it would amount to about $400m. The point that Mr Clarke was making in that article is that we cannot buy excellence in sport by pouring lots of money into the coffers of those who are concerned with elite sports in this country.

I turn now to the National Fitness Amendment Bill. This particular program, the ‘Life. Be in it’ program, was an exciting program introduced by the Victorian Government. I guess that we will get some grudging acknowledgement of this fact by honourable members opposite. It was introduced after a great deal of investigation by the then Minister- he is still a Minister- Mr Dixon. In 1974 in Victoria it was decided to take up this particular program with, I might add, funds from the Federal Government under the previous Administration. This program was encouraged by the Labor Minister, the honourable member for Grayndler, Mr Stewart. Victoria took up this program and was able to brief Monahan, Dayman Adams (Vic) Pty Ltd to introduce a campaign which is now running throughout the country at a national level. Let us look at what some of the experts have to say about this campaign. Dr Willee the head of the Department of Physical Education at the University of Melbourne in September 1977 stated:

I have recently returned from overseas where I spoke to, screened and led discussion on the film and program ‘Life. Be in it’ of our Victorian Government. The program was received with enthusiasm; its uniqueness, excellence and proven effectiveness were sources of wonder for physical educators, recreationists, physicians, sociologists, and psychologists alike.

It should not go unsaid that the West German Government has commended the study as meeting high program standards. It is a study which has been taken up by the West German Government in its methodology and has in fact been seen as a precise statement of the ideals which the West German Government was keen to introduce in a recreation program in that country. Of course, it has come into our country as a national program in September 1 977.

I would like to refer quickly to some of the statistics which will prove the success of the national program, ‘Life. Be in it’. A market survey was taken by Morgan Research Centre Pty Ltd. It was commissioned to conduct a survey on behalf of the national committee on the weekend dated 27, 28 and 29 January 1979. The results of that survey are quite startling. In deciding to limit its investigation to four areas- the recognition of television commercials, the recognition of the secondary promotional material, the underlying purpose of the ‘Life. Be in it’ program and who was responsible for conducting it- the committee was mindful of its plans to conduct a full-scale evaluation of its program later this year. The results of the survey can be taken only as indicators because there were only 1,122 respondents aged 14 years and over selected on an Australia-wide basis. It should be emphasised that it is only an indication. In relation to the impact of television commercials, it was stated that since the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign went national in November 1977 an amount of approximately $400,000 has been spent in television advertising. The market research survey provided the opportunity to test the effectiveness of this expenditure by gauging the community’s recognition of the commercials. Respondents were shown a series of stills from the television commercials and asked: ‘Have you yourself ever seen any of these TV advertisements?’ Care was taken to ensure that the words ‘Life. Be in it’ did not appear in the stills and that the respondents were not prompted. Respondents were also asked what they thought was being advertised.

The most significant results are tabulated and I will give those figures in a moment. In every case they are extraordinary. For example, in Victoria 94.6 per cent of people recognised a particular still. A reading of 45 per cent for a sustained television campaign is generally regarded as reasonable, with findings above 55 per cent being remarkable. If one went through every State one would see that the lowest figure was 82.6 per cent and that Victoria had the highest figure at 94.6 per cent. That is not surprising because the Victorian screenings have been going on for a longer period. The commercials achieved the highest recognition in Victorian country areas at 97.4 per cent, and the recognition figures decreased with the age of the respondents in the following manner: From 14 to 24 years of age, 98.4 per cent; 25 to 35 years of age, 92.4 percent; 50 years of age and over, 76.6 per cent.

If one looks at the promotional material one can see that since the national campaign was launched $41,000 has been spent from national campaign funds on the production of stickers, posters, badges, caps, leaflets, et cetera, again an overwhelming recognition by all the respondents to the questionnaire. An interesting finding in this section is that young married couples between 14 and 34 years of age without children- I will leave it to the honourable member for Robertson to interpret this; he is much more skilled than I am- had a higher reading at 80 per cent than similar age married people with children at 76 per cent. It would have been expected that children would have brought many of the badges, stickers, posters, balloons and so on into the home and that the figure for families with children would have been higher. As to responsibility for the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign, it was emphasised that anonymity was a very important part of the program. It is interesting to note that a paper will be published shortly by the Minister giving a great deal of information in relation to this survey.

I think that we need to look at the results in relation to the purpose of the campaign. Respondents were asked the following question: ‘To the best of your knowledge, what do you think is the main purpose of the “Life. Be in it” publicity campaign?’ The answers to this question are indefinite and the implications unclear. However, if we look at the national level and compare it with the Victorian level, where the campaign has been going for some time, 20.3 per cent of the respondents said that exercise was the purpose of” the program and in Victoria the figure was 20.2 per cent. At the national level, 18.1 per cent said that health was the purpose and in Victoria 18.2 per cent. As to outdoor activities, the national figure was 17.3 per cent and the Victorian figure 21.1. per cent. At the national level, 16.8 per cent said that fitness was the basic aim of the program and in Victoria the figure was 21.4 per cent. Again, 13.9 per cent at the national level said that to be active was the purpose compared with 17.7 per cent in Victoria. The important point there is that people do not believe that we are trying to advertise through the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign that Norm is a person who should be emulated. There is no doubt that Norm is a man who should get off his backside, as he has done in these television commercials to the sound of enormous refrains from a massive orchestra. There is no doubt that people think that that is what he should be doing. They are not reading into this that it is a campaign to encourage people to relax in front of the television. In fact they can see that there is a health and exercise aspect involved and that people should not sit at home but should get out and do something about active participation in their leisure time.

I have very little time left, but I will very briefly summarise a number of points that I should like to have made. There is a need to update the Australian Youth Fitness Survey of 1971. There is a need for it to be reprinted and a demand for it. I understand from Dr Willee that many researchers, students and recreationists are concerned to get copies of the report and that they are finding that difficult. I therefore implore the Minister to have the 1971 report reprinted. There is also a need to conduct a substantial survey in order to update the report to 1978 terms. As other honourable members have said, there is a need to look at the sports medicine aspect, and at the area of preventive medicine, particularly in relation to schools. There is a crying need for education to include in its curricula at both primary and secondary levels substantial programs of fitness and recreational activities, to have standards at which all members of the community can aim, particularly the young people, who are Australia’s future Olympic competitors.


-I agree with a great deal of what has been said by the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Simon), but I should like to put him straight about the attitude of the Australian Confederation of Sport. Sir Arthur George, in seconding a motion at the last annual meeting of the Confederation of Sport, said:

I differ a little in emphasis from the President. We were not slightly dampened, I think we were gravely disappointed and confused at what I regard as a breach of faith.

This organisation had its origin in two threats that were posed to sport. The first was an occasion where it was proposed that sponsorship by cigarette companies, a source from which sport gets $S.Sm a year at present, be prohibited and the second was the first Budget of the Fraser Government, which made no provision at all for sport. It was these two happenings that motivated two independent meetings, one held in Sydney, where I was honoured by being elected Chairman and one held in Melbourne where Wayne Reid was Chairman . . .

Sir Arthur George went on to criticise quite violently, for a man of his standing, the lack of funds that had been provided by the Australian Government- this present Australian Government- since its election at the end of 1975.

Mr Birney:

– What date was that? When did Arthur George say that?


-It was at the annual general meeting of the Confederation this year. I do not have the precise date. In his second reading speech the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott) said:

The ‘Life. Be in it’ philosophy is to encourage Australians to become more active. The campaign stresses the enjoyment and benefit to be gained from recreation. The long term objectives of the campaign are to change Australia’s attitudes and behaviour towards sport, fitness and recreation.

We are talking about three things- sport, fitness and recreation. Let us see what the present Government has done in regard to those three things since it was elected in 1975. Almost immediately after the election there was an an=nouncement by the Government that the Department of Tourism and Recreation was to be abolished and that most of the Department’s initiatives in that field that had been introduced by Labor were to be cancelled. What programs did Labor commence between 1972 and 1975?

Earlier in this debate someone commented that we were sending the country broke. These are some of the things that Labor initiated and for which we provided funds. The highest amount spent for the administration of the Department of Tourism and Recreation over that three years was somewhere in the vicinity of $ 18m. We were sending the country broke! This ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign is trying to impress on people that they should indulge in healthy outdoor and indoor recreation and physical fitness activities, but between 1972 and 1975 the Labor Government introduced the sports assistance program. It conducted a national coaches seminar and established an Australian Sports Council. It had a task force investigate the establishment of a national sports institute. It laid down policy on foreign affairs and sport and it encouraged sporting exchanges between various nations. It also encouraged the lifesaving organisations to become more active and gave them reasonable grants to enable their administration to become more efficient. It also introduced a physical recreation development program. All of that occurred under the heading of sport and physical recreation.

If we turn to community recreation we find that the Australian Labor Party Government introduced capital grants for leisure facilities. It encouraged the investigation of community centres. In South Australia it conducted an investigation to see how schools could fit into the community generally. It investigated whether the faculties provided at schools could be opened during and after school hours for general community faculties. The Labor Government also had two reports on education of recreational workers made and under youth affairs we investigated the recreational requirements of the youth of Australia. We were researching, we were introducing, we were innovative during those years. But as soon as this Government came in it decided that of that $18m, $1 1.1m in the 1975-76 Budget was too much for the general welfare of the community of Australia. The Labor Government was looking at prevention rather than cure. We were trying to encourage people from the young to the elderly to participate in active healthy outdoor and indoor recreational activities.

What were the aims of the Australian Labor Government in those years? The first aim was to create an awareness of the values associated with participation in sport and physical recreation. Our aim was to encourage greater participation and it was to raise the quality of this participation. The pursuit of excellence on one hand and mass participation on the other were the two main thrusts of the Labor Party’s plan. They are not opposites. Rather, they run parallel with and reinforce each other. A capital assistance program introduced by Labor was to help provide sporting facilities at local levels. The sports assistance program had been expanded to further assist national associations with their travel, coaching and administrative costs. This aspect of the program stressed that for some time the excellence in sport was a worthwhile objective and one worthy of government support just as are the objectives of art, drama, music and other areas of human endeavour. The Australian Government had taken the first step in a program aimed specifically at encouraging Australians to become involved in more active pursuits.

If we look at the Budget figures in the first Budget introduced by the Fraser-Anthony Liberal-National Country Party Government we see that an amount of $13.7m was allocated for youth, sport and recreation. Of this allocation, $ 11.1m was provided to honour commitments made to State and local governments and sporting organisations under the capital assistance grants scheme for the provision of leisure facilities. If we look at the amount of money spent in 1976-77 we find that only $9. 7m was spent and not $13.7m. In 1977-78 under the same heading in the Budget, $6.7m was allocated. Of that amount, $6.6m was spent. Of that amount of $6.7m originally allocated, $3.7m was provided to make grants to local and State governments and to sporting organisations for commitments made by the Labor Government between 1972 and 1975. In 1978-79-the present Budget$7.4m has been allocated for youth, sport and recreation. Of this amount $1.3m is allocated to finalise the commitments for grants made in 1974-75 by the Labor Government for the provision of leisure facilities. Bearing in mind that the Government, in the 1976-77 Budget, has been honouring Labor’s commitments on the capital assistance program under duress from State and local government and national sporting organisations, we find that the Government’s expenditure on youth, sport and recreation has been $13.7m. Of that amount, $1 1.1m was provided for commitments made by the Labor Government. So, in effect, $2.6m was allocated by this Government for youth, sport and recreation. In 1977-78 there was an allocation of $6.7m. Of that amount $3.7m was allocated to pay for Labor’s commitments. Overall $3m was allocated by this Government. Of the amount of $6.7m allocated, only $6.6m was spent. In 1978-79 $7.4m has been allocated and $1.3m has been allocated for the finalisation of the commitments for the provision of leisure facilities promised by Labor in 1974-75. Out of these present funds only $ 1.3m goes to national sporting organisations. An amount of $lm went to those organisations in 1977-78 after assistance to them was cancelled immediately this Government came into office. Not one new cent has been granted by this Government for the provision of levy facilities by State and local government organisations.

As I said earlier the Labor Government’s intention was to create an awareness in people of all ages to involve themselves in healthy outdoor recreation. Unless we have the proper facilities at ground level, and in the rural areas and unless we have championship facilities available in major cities, we will not get participation or improvement by the champions and by the young people of Australia. Some of the facilities on which our young people are expected to train and play are not fit to graze some of the cows on about which the Country Party is so often talking. In introducing that program for grants for the provision of leisure facilities we were aware of the need to promote the health of citizens of Australia. Of the amount allocated in the 1975-76 Budget only $1 1.1m was spent over the whole of that program by the Department of Tourism and Recreation.

Tonight we are talking about a miserly $600,000 a year over three years granted to the National Fitness Trust Fund to promote a campaign called ‘Life. Be in it’. This amounts to a total of $ 1.8m in all for the promotion of national fitness in Australia. Will this Government not recognise that the health and physical fitness of Australians generally is declining and that the prowess of our sporting champions is falling far below that of our traditional opponents? Nobody on this side suggests that it is only the elite that should be looked after. It is mass participation that we want. It is at the base of the pyramid where encouragement is needed and from that base will come the champion men and women whom we as rugged, outdoor Australians all. admire. The Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) almost came to recognise that our sporting prowess was falling below that of our traditional opponents when he went to the Olympic Games held at Montreal in 1976. In July of that year he had established the Task Force on Coordination in Welfare and Health. He had not asked it to have a look at youth, sport or recreational programs. He had not asked it in the strict sense to look at sport. But after he got the rounds of the kitchen by the coaches of and the participants in the Australian team in Montreal in 1976 he came back and specifically asked the Task Force, chaired by Mr Peter Bailey, to look at what Commonwealth assistance should be granted to sport in Australia. Paragraph 15, which appears on page 5 of the report of the Task Force, states:

Sport: In relation to the specific reference to the Task Force of the extent to which the Commonwealth should assist sporting activities, we propose that Commonwealth assistance be for international sport and the funding of national bodies through a restructured grant to be named Support for International Sport and National Sporting Bodies: in this program, the Commonwealth should fund directly the organisations involved, maintain close liaison with relevant State agencies, and develop machinery for consultation with sporting representatives and experts.

I interpolate and say that there was only one aspect of the program introduced by Labor that Bailey did not say should be continued. What do we find? In the present Budget $1.33m is allocated to sport. In the previous Budget $lm was allocated. Nothing at all is set aside for the provision of recreational facilities. The Bailey report also mentioned the provision of recreational facilities. Paragraph 14 (c) on page 5 of the report recommends the introduction of what is called the community assistance and recreation program- CARP. The task force wanted to draw together in one program various activities such as the area improvement program, capital assistance for leisure facilities, senior citizens centres, the national fitness program, the life saving assistance program and the assistance to youth activities program. The Bailey task force made that recommendation in 1976. 1 would say that the report was tabled in the House somewhere around February 1977. This Government has done nothing about it. We are talking about $1.8m being provided for the national fitness of Australians. I hate to say it as I do not think sport should be a political topic but my party was making money available; honourable members opposite cancelled it and accused us of extravagance in this field. Ever since, some of the younger members of the Liberal party have been chasing after national sporting organisations and making speeches in the House about what they will do for sport. But at Budget time they say nothing.

I commend this report to all members of parliament, in particular to those members of the Liberal Party and National Country Party who say that they want to assist sporting organisations and improve the health and attitudes of Australians generally. They should read this report and, in particular, paragraphs 12 1 to 172.

Mr Birney:

– What about life saving?


-Under the Labor Government life saving organisations were granted $280,000 for three years in order to give them an opportunity to plan on a national basis. There has been no mention, so far as I know, that that guarantee of a minimum $280,000 per annum for three years, which ran out, I think, in this Budget, will be continued.

Mr Birney:

– The amount of $350,000 has been guaranteed for three years.


-This time?

Mr Birney:

– Yes.


– We guaranteed the continuity of funds for three years so that the life saving organisations could plan ahead.

I would have liked to talk about the reintroduction into our school curriculum of physical education and sport. There has been a growing tendency over a number of years- this applies particularly in the later years; year 1 1 and year 12- for boys and girls who are almost 18-years old not to participate in any physical activity at all. There is a tendency in the primary schools not to encourage our young boys and girls to participate in physical recreation. The Confederation of Sport has mounted a campaign. I ask the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Ellicott), in association with the Minister for Education (Senator Carrick), to see whether we can start right at the base level and inculcate into our young people a desire to be healthy and fit.

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


-I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the speech of the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Stewart). All honourable members will acknowledge that the honourable member for Grayndler has a very genuine and deep seated interest in sport and recreation and that over the years that he has been in this place he has made a very valuable contribution to programs that were introduced by his own Government. Honourable members will also acknowledge the suggestions that he has made to the present Government in relation to sport and recreation. The disappointing aspect of his speech was that he tended to make it party political. Other speakers in the debate have tended to look on this subject on a bipartisan basis. We accept that it is a national program that cuts across all boundaries of party political debate.

I do not dispute the honourable member for Grayndler’s dedication to this topic, nor do I dispute the very good work that he did when he held the sport portfolio while his party was in Government. But we need to remember that while his party was in government it tended to overshadow the good points of what was introduced by the honourable member by its reckless spending. While the honourable member introduced some very commendable sporting and recreation programs, his party left this country in a state of bankruptcy. Any succeeding government had to adopt a belt tightening exercise in order to strengthen the economy. When the present government assumed office its first priority had to be to correct the economic imbalances that unfortunately had been left by the honourable member’s party when it lost office. This has been the priority of this Government; of necessity it had to be the priority of this Government. I do not dispute the honourable member for Grayndler’s dedication to the health of the nation, to the recreational facilities and the occupation of leisure hours by our youth and by every member of the Australian community. I know that he has made some very valuable contributions. I acknowledge that fact. I am very pleased at all times to talk to the honourable member and to cross ideas with him.

We are debating tonight the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign and amendments to the National Fitness Act. Firstly we should acknowledge the valuable contribution made by the Victorian Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation, Mr Brian Dixon, for his far-sightedness and initiative in putting forward this proposition in 1974. The Victorian Government, using its initative took the opportunity to put this program forward. In doing so it acted with considerable forsight. It recognised at that stage that something needed to be done to motivate people into more physical activities. I think that this is indicative of what we can expect from the Victorian Government. I think it is indicative of what we can expect from the future Victorian Liberal Government. I think honourable members on both sides of the House will acknowledge that the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign has been an enormous success. As the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Simon) pointed out earlier, the advertisements for the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign that are seen regularly on television are perhaps the most easily indentifiable and most commonly recognised advertisements seen on television. In fact 95 per cent of the Australian population is aware of the advertisements and recognises them when shown. That gives some indication of the extent of the success of the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign. I believe that that campaign has brought an awareness to most Australians that in fact they do not represent the image of the bronzed Australian he-man riding off on a horse into the sunset, although some of them, particularly some of the more egotisical members of the community, tend to believe they are. The ‘Norm’ cartoons have brought home to Australians that, rather than being the bronzed Australian he-men we tend to believe we are, we are in fact fast becoming a race of beer drinking, yarn telling people who have no interest in participating actively in any sort of sport or recreation. As the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign advertisements depict, the Australian community is a community of watchers of television rather than a community of participants. That is unfortunate but it is a fact. I think that this Government and the State governments need to recognise this fact in their future planning.

The present Federal Government, for its part, has made some very valuable contributions to sporting promotion in Australia. I think that that needs to be recognised and acknowledged. For instance, the Government recently announced that there would be an $800,000 contribution to help the next Australian team for the Olympic Games in its preparation and the trip to Moscow for the Games. That needs to be recognised. But that is not the only thing that needs to be recognised. I think that we need to recognise that when the Government came to office three years ago it had the unenviable task of sorting out an economy that had been made bankrupt by the previous Government. That of necessity had to be the major priority of the government of the day. The economic ills of the country had of necessity to be sorted out before any programs could be introduced on a public basis. But we need to recognise now that the Australian nation has social ills as well as economic ills. Commendably the Government has made great progress in sorting out the economic mess that was made of our economy by our predecessors. What we need to do now is to attack the social ills of Australia as purposefully and as vigorously as the economic ills have been attacked. If the Federal and State governments are prepared to cooperate in doing that, I believe that we can achieve the same measure of success on a social basis as has been achieved on an economic basis.

It was pointed out earlier in this debate by the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), the honourable member for McMillan and the honourable member for Grayndler that we are faced at the moment with a changing social situation in Australia. That fact needs to be recognised and I believe that the present Government is recognising it. Already the Government has commissioned the Sports Advisory Council to prepare base papers that can be used for formulating a national sporting and recreational policy. That is a commendable step. This work is being put in progress. I believe that shortly we will see coming from that work a recreational and sporting policy of which this nation can be proud. But in the preparation of such a policy document there are some facts to which the Government needs to give very serious consideration. Firstly, I think it needs to be recognised- I believe that the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign has brought this home to everyone in this countrythat we as a society are now faced with having an increased number of leisure hours. This has been brought about by a number of social and economic factors. Over the period since World War II there has been a movement of the people from the rural areas to the urban metropolitan areas, coupled with activity by the trade union movement and others to reduce the hours of work. The combination of these factors has meant that the people living in urban centres have more leisure time available. No longer are these people in the rural areas where they are engaged in physical activities in their normal work activities. So they do not have the physical fitness that our fathers and grandfathers had. They are now congregated in the metropolitan areas where they really do not have either the motivation or the facilities to occupy their leisure hours and to get their bodies fit.

We need to recognise that these social ills exist and, by joint effort through the State and Federal governments on a national sporting policy basis, to implement policies that will firstly encourage people to participate in sporting activity and in conjunction with that provide the necessary facilities to enable them actively to participate. But, as the honourable member for Grayndler pointed out, in the process of doing that we should not aim exclusively at creating just an elitist body of sporting participants who can compete successfully at peak level in international competition. What we should seek to do is to encourage mass participation by as many people in the community as are physically capable of participating. We should not restrict ourselves to those sports in which we win gold medals, such as swimming, running, and other popular sports. The program of encouraging people at the local level in the community should encompass a wide range of sporting activities, as long as it gets people physically active and occupying their leisure hours in a healthy atmosphere that will obviate some of the social ills that we have in Australia at the moment. It does not matter all that much whether a person who is healthy or fit decides to play tennis, squash or some other active form of sport or whether a person who is not as physically active or is getting on in years decides to participate in snooker, billiards or lawn bowls as long as he is prepared to participate in a sporting activity which occupies those leisure hours and he enjoys that sport.

The ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign has encouraged people. It has created an awareness that this problem exists. That is the first point that needs to be recognised. We now need a program that will encourage people to participate actively so as to occupy the increased number of leisure hours. We need to do this because what has happened in Australia is that people have increased leisure hours available to them but they do not have a sufficient number of active healthy interests to occupy those leisure hours. We have seen a dramatic increase in certain anti-social activities and, more particularly and probably more alarmingly, in the instance of drug taking and a general decline in the physical health of the nation.

In a letter I wrote on 16 November to the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the Minister responsible for sport and recreation I suggested that, in conjunction with the State governments, we should introduce a program that will assist in the provision of sporting facilities and also the encouragement of people at the local level to participate in active sport and to use those facilities. I suggested in that letter that what we need to do now is to extend the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign on the public media by using well-known sporting participants who have made a name for themselves, such as Dennis Lillee, Ian Chappell, Ron Barassi and John Newcombe. I could name a whole host of sportsmen who could be used in national television promotion campaigns to encourage people at the local community level to participate in sport. I believe that that is a logical extension of the very successful ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign.

Having encouraged people to participate in sport, we need also to make available the facilities for them to do so. One of the frustrations that exists in my own electorate- I am sure that this applies also to a number of other electorates throughout the country and probably more particularly to those in the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, which have large populations- is that the facilities are not all that good. In those areas, and in my electorate, are a number of dedicated local organisations working towards providing a facility of some sort for their local communities. The facilities may be swimming pools or basketball or squash courts. Whatever they may be, the people in those organisations are dedicated to that particular task, dedicated to helping the younger people in the community. They want to provide those facilities but the capital cost of providing them now is being found to be way beyond the reach of local organisations which raise funds locally on a volunteer basis.

In that context we should recognise that the cost of such facilities is climbing astronomically. In many cases what is being proposed now is a multi-purpose type of complex where facilities to cater for basketball, badminton, squash and a number of other sporting activities can be provided within the one complex. Such complexes are very expensive. We are looking at a figure of the order of $500,000. Such an amount is well beyond the efforts of local fund raising organisations to provide. I have suggested to the Prime Minister that the Government should look towards introducing a program whereby the Commonwealth Government contributes onethird of the cost of such capital complexes, onethird is contributed by the States and one-third is provided by local fund raising efforts. I believe that if local fund raising organisations were in a position in which they had to raise only one-third of the cost of such complexes rather than the total amount the projects would be brought within feasibility. I do not believe that governments should bail out of such an obligation. I strongly urge the Federal Government to give consideration to introducing such a program in the next Budget. If a program such as this could be introduced a wide variety of facilities could be provided in local communities and supplemented by local fund raising efforts. This would have a number of beneficial side effects, not the least of which would be the provision of jobs for people in the local communities to put bricks and mortar together. This would be one way of alleviating present unemployment.

I have also suggested to the Prime Minister that if we are to provide facilities in local communities we also need to encourage people to get out and to use those facilities. In this context, I have suggested an extension of the use of officers who are provided by the various State governments as national fitness officers or recreational officers. They are called by different terms in different States. Programs exist in each State in which the State government provides officers to encourage people in sporting activities and to help in the co-ordination of various sports. I am suggesting to the Prime Minister that that program be discussed with the States with a view to the Commonwealth making a contribution to the States to extend the program so that more officers can be provided at a State level and also so that more facilities can be provided for people to use. As a nation we need to recognise that the object of government, be it Federal or State, in providing money for sport and recreation should not be to win gold medals or to compete successfully at the international level. That is nothing more than an ego-boosting trip to people who want to do no more than sit in front of a television set and watch others do the work. As a nation we need to encourage everybody in the community actively to participate in sport.

We need to recognise that sport is a competition, the same as life is a competition. We should encourage people to participate, to compete actively and to seek excellence in sport rather than to sit in pubs or milk bars. I believe that search for excellence in the sporting field will flow over to all other activities in the community, both in the work place and at the community level. When we achieve that objective I believe that it will have a tremendous impact on this country.

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


-I was interested to listen to the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Burr) when he spoke about the prominent sportsmen he would recommend to the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in relation to an extension of the program. I was surprised that as a Tasmanian he did not refer to Darrell Baldock, John Devine or Peter Hudson. Perhaps his political bias was showing. I was also amazed that the honourable member from the Government side commented on the economic and social ills in relation to this subject. It rings a bit hollow when a record number of unemployed are saying: ‘Life, be in it? Yes, it would be easier to be in it if we had a job’. Honourable members opposite have invited us to congratulate the Victorian Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation, Brian Dixon, for his initiative in this matter, and I am prepared to do so. Brian Dixon is a fitness fanatic. I recall that on one State parliamentary trip to the Snowy Mountains scheme in the 1960s he used to get up at six o’clock and run for two or three miles before the day started. There is no doubt about his devotion to sport. However, I point out that while he showed the initiative it was the attraction of Federal funds from the then Labor Government that assisted him in taking this initiative. I only wish that in improving the sporting and recreational facilities at local government level he would show a little more kindness in the distribution of grants instead of placing such a heavy load on local government bodies.

The honourable member for Wilmot mentioned the problems that the urban environment poses in supplying facilities for sporting types of recreation. This is one problem that we have to face up to either at Federal or State level. Not so long ago in my old electorate the East Preston basketball stadium was opened. This provided facilities for hundreds of participants. I am pleased to say that the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Stewart) was helpful in attaining that building. Although we are in agreement on this program, honourable members on the Government side have tended to refer only to the mass participation aspect of the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign.

I thought that both the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) and the honourable member for Grayndler spelt out clearly that there is a two-phase effect of this campaign. There is the mass participation program which provided a basis for the pursuit of excellence, which, has its own particular requirements. This program is aimed at stimulating people in the Australian community to change from being onlookers to participants. A crowd of 120,000 at the Australian Rules football grand final in Melbourne shows that we certainly can claim to be great sport onlookers. I think it is important that we get more into participating in recreation.

I enjoy the media program that has been running for ‘Life. Be In It’. I even enjoy all the stickers, T-shirts and so on that are available. I think that this promotion has been well done. The honourable member for McMillan (Mr Simon) spoke of the perception rate of the viewers of much of this media program. He spoke about the perception of the propaganda for health, fitness and exercise purposes. What we do not know is how much of this perception was channelled into activity. That is the important thing. One can perceive what Norm is in the cartoon and stay as Norm, although realising the point that is being made. If that is the case we have achieved a lesson in perception but we have not achieved a translation of that lesson into action. So there is no doubt that there has to be a monitoring of the activity as well as of the perception.

From the mass participation and the monitoring, many other things flow. There is the medical aspect of convincing people of varying degrees of fitness that their introduction into the scheme should be gradual, that there are limits of exercise for each individual according to his initial physical state. Flowing from the mass participation, we must follow up a health program, for instance, with advice on diet. There has been a lot of talk about the fitness program and facilities in schools, and yet school tuck shops would be the awful example of diet participation in the ‘Life. Be In It’ program. I can see so many extensions in this sort of area that we should be carrying out. The matter of facility has already been mentioned.

I am horrified to see on any weekend that I drive through my electorate, and other electorates, school ovals, tennis courts, basketball courts and what have you completely unused when municipal facilities, local government facilities, for football, cricket, soccer and all the other sports are strained to the limit to meet the requirements. Many people are prevented from participating because the facilities are not available, and yet the school facilities lie there. We seem to have a move away not only from physical education in schools but also from having specialist physical education teachers. This is because the physical education teacher is not so useful in making up the margins in mathematics, science and so on when we are concerned with training children.

Mr Yates:

– It charges the body and the brain.


– Yes, of course it does. They are associated, but I am just saying that the physical education specialists are not getting the prominence that they did, say, in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Sports medicine has been mentioned. Despite the dedication of a number of people such as Forbes Carlile in swimming, Howard Toyne in athletics with the Olympic team and so on, I think that there is still a great deal that we could do at government level to encourage activity. Between the mass participation that we talked about and the pursuit of excellence that we hoped would flow from it there is a grey area. I think it concerns us but we are not quite certain what can be done about it at a governmental level. Perhaps we ought to air this grey area. It concerns the control of the sport. It is a bit alarming when one reads on page 4 of today’s Melbourne Herald these comments from Dawn Fraser:

There are still too many old people in the Swimming Association. They should get out and let younger people have a go-

The trouble is that those who make the rules don’t understand that swimmers are individuals and should be treated as such.

Anyone who takes up a sport seriously is a disciplined person to start with and certainly doesn’t need any more discipline.

No one could say I was ever unfit and I objected being told what to do by officials who wouldn’t know what fitness entails.

That is one matter with which I am not lumbering the Government, but the fact of the matter is that there are problems in this grey area of the control of sport. Dawn Fraser refers to swimming. In Victoria, the dead hand of the Victorian Football League, the Australian Rules league, applies not only to Victoria but also to the whole of Australia. In pursuit of higher and higher income and more prominence in the game for the 12 teams, it seems to be restricting other leagues and other associations in the other States. I do not think it is doing a satisfactory job in supporting the junior competitions in that very great football game, Australian Rules.

I have noted particularly the changing attitude to athletics that comes with the provision of facilities. In this regard I am talking about mass participation. I happened to compete in the late 1940s when the conditions were absolutely horrible. One then saw the stimulus that was given in Victoria by the facilities supplied because of the Olympic Games in 1956. The athletes had good facilities. They participated by the hundreds. There were a lot of characters around. I refer to such fellows as Percy Cerutty who answered the challenge that you do not need good facilities and good training to make champions. He clearly showed that there had to be motivation and good training to make champions, and that takes money. Those glorious facilities of 1956 have now faded. Whilst international athletic meets are held in Victoria they never attract the crowds that they drew in those days.

Having dealt with that grey area, I go on to the area about which we said that mass participation produces a desire for competition. It produces in some athletes this desire for the pursuit of excellence. It is shortsighted in the extreme to say that the facilities that are necessary for mass participation will allow the candidates proper training in pursuit of excellence. Dawn Fraser also had this to say in the article to which I referred earlier:

Swimming in Australia doesn’t offer kids anything. There should be university scholarships and other schemes available so they can study while training.

Many things have changed in 15 years, but the majority of swimmers then hoped for a scholarship in the United States. That shouldn’t be necessary.

I think we would agree with that statement because whilst my friend and colleague, the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), was criticised for mentioning the East German experience and what that country is prepared to do for its young people, at the same time Australia and many other countries who cannot use the Eastern bloc are relying on the United States for this training. Australia is not the only country doing that. An article headed ‘The Brawn Drain ‘ in Newsweek dated 5 March, refers to Britain in particular. It reads:

Thompson and fellow British athletes are following a wellworn track to America that scores of athletes from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and several African countries have trod in recent years.

I think it is regrettable that that occurs. In the past we have been able to attract great coaches. I spoke of Percy Cerutty. I could mention Franz Stampfl and quite a few other coaches of international stature.

Mr Cohen:

– Half of our swimming coaches are working in America. «


– That is right. We are losing coaches because we are not prepared to provide those facilities for the pursuit of excellence. I think it is about time we realised that if we agree with the mass participation program we also have to be prepared to give improved facilities to those athletes who wish to pursue excellence.

There is another group that we forget about completely when mentioning matters such as these. I refer to the disabled. If we are talking about a mass participation program in the recreational sense, then there is just as much reason to provide some facilities for the disabled. I happen to have a muscular disability which means that unlike my friend, the honourable member for Robertson, I cannot play golf and things like that.

Mr Cohen:

– Squash.


– I am sorry, I mean squash; but it was golf in the past. There are a number of disabled people who need facilities so that they too can be in the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign. For goodness sake, this Government does not take the steps necessary to allow them facilities even for their ordinary, everyday life. There are design standards for access to public buildings by the disabled but in all too many cases these have not been implemented. There is complete lack of understanding by Ministers in this regard. I quote from a newsletter of the Northern Region Committee on the Disabled whose secretary is in the suburb of West Heidelberg in Victoria. The newsletter, in commenting on State elections, had this to say:

Most candidates need educating to our needs as was highlighted recently by the comment of Mr Rafferty (then State Minister for Transport) who wrote in reference to the new trams -

The disabled have been complaining about the steps on trams being too high- ‘As the wheels of the trams gradually wear down, the first step height is gradually reduced. I am pleased that the floor height is as low as any in the world and will be slightly lower’.

For goodness sake, if there is that attitude to the disabled in normal life situations, what hope have they got to be included in the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign in the recreational sense! According to this newsletter, our Federal Minister for Health (Mr Hunt), when asked about the erection of ramps at the surgeries of doctors involved in pension medical examinations, had this to say in a letter: . . . further it is considered that the doctors generally would regard the proposition (of ramps) as aesthetically unacceptable and for this reason I doubt that many would be prepared to adopt it, even if the current economic situation enabled the Commonwealth to offer to meet the cost of the work involved.

What a complete lack of understanding of a group in our community! Is the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign just for the normal individual or is it supposed to apply to all citzens? What hope have we got of adapting a program to suit all when socalled responsible Ministers at State and Federal level adopt this attitude to normal day-to-day faculties. It is a ridiculous attitude. I am grateful that this debate has been brought forward, even though there has been some disagreement amongst speakers from both sides of the House. It has given an opportunity to raise a number of matters in the field of sport and recreation and we look forward to the developments of the next few years.


-I call the honourable member for the Northern Territory.

Mr Cohen:

– My opening bat. He used to be terrific.

Northern Territory

-I thank the honourable member for Robertson for that remark. I might tell him that I am still amongst the runners. The purpose of this National Fitness Amendment Bill- no one seems to have spent much time on the Bill; indeed, if they had, they would not have been able to have the wide ranging debate they did have, interesting though it has been- is to enable the proceeds from the commercialisation of activities conducted under the National Fitness Act to be paid into the National Fitness Trust Fund. I think I did hear one other honourable member, or perhaps it was two honourable members, mention the purpose of this Bill. But since other speakers have not followed straight down the line, I feel that I am at liberty to range a little way myself.


-Are you referring to the grey area?


– Yes, possibly. The objective of this Bill and of the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign is to try to turn Australians back into a nation of participants, whether they be young, fit and able, whether they be paraplegic or whether they be 40 or 50 years of age. It is an attempt to turn a nation of people into people interested in participating in sport and recreation rather than just watching, as appears to be the tendency today. People tend to watch a game on the box and to become an instant expert on whether the halfback should have kicked the ball or punched it, or whether the umpire should have given someout out, as was obvious when checked on the playback. As I say, Australia is heading towards this situation.

I shall just deal with some of the remarks by previous speakers, and not altogether critically. The honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins) took just that point about Australia tending to be a nation of on-lookers. I am disappointed when I look at people watching a football match or a cricket match and see young men- from my point of view ‘young’ meaning under 30 years of age- with their tummies hanging over their belts. They still imagine that they are as good as the player out on the field. I do not think that these young men have ever joined in the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign, a campaign which, I gather from a well known and well publicised calendar, induces Australians to hop, run, throw, hit, swing, roll, jump, skip and do various other things. I think the others are wheel, bowl and splash.

This campaign has been supported by the Government. It has also been supported by the public. To a great extent it has been supported by both sides of Parliament. I do not stand here to try to make political points in this debate. As I say, looking at the number of young Australians who are in the class that I have mentioned, I am very distressed. However, I must also say that as I was going to the Melbourne Cricket Ground during the weekend to watch Victoria defeat Queensland, I saw young people playing cricket in the parks and I hope that they will continue to do so. I hope that the Government- this has been one of my criticisms of all governments- will continue to try to upgrade the facilities for recreation and sport at schools. On many occasions I have gone to the Government on behalf of a school in my part of the country and said: ‘Yes, you are spending $xm on a school, but what about an oval? What about one oval where, on certain occasions, people can play their organised sport, whether it be cricket or football?’

Mr Cohen:

– Or a gymnasium.


– As the honourable member says, or a gymnasium. This seems to have been considered a luxury at schools down through the years. I think that we have been remiss in that we should have been getting our young people out onto the field or into the gymnasiums. For that reason, the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign is to be commended. The Bill represents an endeavour to have the funds from the campaign paid into the correct account so that we can continue to support the organisation of sport throughout the community, whether it be at school or among those who fall into this ‘splash-bowl-wheel’ category. That this campaign has been sponsored and is proceeding well is a great thing. I am sure that if we get the dads out it will be of assistance. I am reminded of an earlier interjection by an honourable member who sought to have the honourable member speaking refer to the little athletics movement. If the children become interested in running and their parents come along to watch them and become interested, the activity spreads throughout the community. I believe that this campaign will snowball and will work to benefit the health and sporting ability of the nation.

I heard the honourable member for Scullin talking about physical education teachers. Not having been to school for a year or two, I do not know about the prominence today of physical education teachers. I do not remember having them in my day. I recall that the mathematics and chemistry teacher coached two Head of the River crews as well as slapping us through mathematics and chemistry. He was not a physical education teacher. He was just an ordinary teacher. The football coach was a ‘gun’ at teaching intermediate Latin, for Heavens sake, yet year after year he fielded at that school a championship football team. There seems to have been a change of attitude. The trouble probably began in the education system itself. Sport tended to be looked down on as something that one did not participate in. Only the keen and able took an interest in it and, of course, were prominent. I think that that was behind the deterioration in Australia’s world sporting image.

Let us face it: These days, one can say that it is a matter of sport versus recreation or sport and recreation, but to say that the winning of gold medals, of cricket test matches, of rugby league test matches, of swimming events, of paraplegic events overseas or whatever, is not of consequence and should not be considered is wrong. Some of us may remember when Sedgman and McGregor won the Davis Cup for Australia. It was the first time for many, many years. Tennis is one sport of many but their victory carried thousands and thousands of young Australians out on to tennis courts and got them, whether they were good or bad, actually playing. It was an inspiration to them. That is what the winning of gold medals does for the nation. I do not think that the fact that we have not done terribly well in the recent test series will stop people from being interested in playing cricket. I find them playing everywhere. Children are bowling balls in parks and so on, but it serves as a tremendous example if there are throughout the nation players and athletes of high class. They drag the rest of the mob along, I am sure. But there is in sport a matter of spirit involved. It is not all a matter of money. We hear it said that the Commonwealth Government has not provided enough money; that Packer is giving money for the playing of cricket and so on. As recently as Sunday I was speaking to a former Australian fast bowler, Ernie McCormack, who was a very good bowler indeed.

Dr Cass:

– Was he a bowler?


– If the honourable member had faced him, as I did, he would know. He said: ‘These days it is not the money at all’. We were discussing World Series Cricket, as honourable members can imagine. We were talking about the spirit of contenders or competitors. So I would hope that this campaign of ‘Life. Be in it’ and of introducing an interest in sport and recreation throughout the whole community, whether on the part of children, mothers and fathers -

Mr Cohen:

– You are still a player, are you not, Sam?


– Yes. I got 40 or 50 runs the other day, and a few wickets thrown in. The point that I am trying to make is that the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign and the finance resulting therefrom and associated therewith will tend to make Australia a fitter nation. In that regard, it is a tremendous thing for the country.

Earlier we heard the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Burr) describing what Australians apparently used to be. I have to look quite a long way before I see any of the bronzed, lean, lantern-jawed young men which he was describing. I believe he said that they were riding into the sunset. When I was lean and lantern-jawed, I must admit that we always used to ride into the sunrise. By the same token, when we see certain advertisements for cigarettes the fellows shown are looking bronzed and fit. Incidentally, usually they are holding the reins in the wrong hand. People know so little about it and about what Australians used to be. Let me assure honourable members that Australians were indeed suntanned, lean and fit and were participants.

Dr Cass:

– The honourable member for Maribyrnong no doubt was a participant too. Whether he rode into the sunrise or the sunset I would not know. I would commend the Government upon its effort and also the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Stewart) who, as Minister for Tourism and Recreation, played such a part in the establishment of this campaign. I would also commend the honourable members from both sides who have spoken in this debate. They have refrained from trying to make cheap political points. That Australians seem to be turning into a pot-gutted race of watchers is a national problem. I would only hope that the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign will play no uncertain part in bringing the nation back to fitness and to participation.


-The purpose of the National Fitness Amendment Bill is to circumvent a particular bureaucratic problem which has its roots in our complicated federal structure. As previous speakers have explained, the only moneys for the national fitness trust funds are those appropriated by this Parliament and gifts. Currently, only the Victorian Government which holds the ‘Life. Be In It’ copyright receives royalties for the commercialisation of the ‘Life. Be In It’ logos. These are channelled through the trust funds as gifts on condition that the amounts are used for the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign. The extent of the Victorian Government’s involvement in the program has changed since November 1977 when the program was launched nationally, although Victoria still holds the relevant copyright. Procedures are currently being followed to have the copyright assigned to the Commonwealth for the duration of the program. This may be done in the near future.

Since the national launching, the majority of significant decisions affecting the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign have been made by the committee comprising representatives of all States and Territories as well as the Commonwealth. This debate provides the opportunity for this House to draw its bow a little wider and include a general reference to the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign and the relation that that campaign bears to the state of sport and fitness in this country. I suggest that this is a critical issue as Australia fast approaches the time when it will host the 1982 Commonwealth Games. I have no doubt that the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) will be omnipresent at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. Doubtless he will be making lofty speeches and adopting the Games as his own. He will take every opportunity to exploit the occasion for its public relations value. The Prime Minister surely needs public relations now more than ever. He and the Premier of Queensland, if they are both still around then, will share the platforms and the glory of the Games. The credit they will steal belongs rightfully to a Labor city council and a Labor lord mayor whose vision and foresight have made the Brisbane Games a reality.

The Brisbane Council has had to bear all the loud haranguing and constant criticism about the cost of the Games but the Prime Minister will waste no time in stealing the limelight and the credit. That might turn sour for the Prime Minister simply because it is the collective opinion of sporting organisations around Australia that the condition of sport in this country has reached crisis proportions. It is worth noting that that view is held particularly by the Confederation of Australian Sport whose patron-in-chief, incidentally, is his Excellency the Governor-General and whose patron is none other than the Prime Minister himself. The Prime Minister may end up with egg on his face if he refuses to confront reality.

Canada hosted the last Commonwealth Games and carried them away for the first time. How sure can we be of emulating that achievement? Compared with other countries Australia’s record for assistance to sport is frankly miserable. If we spend half as much on sport and related areas as we do on what is collectively called ‘the arts’ on which we spend about $40m, we would be a lot healthier, literally, as a nation and as individuals. Of the $35m a year which the Government receives from sales tax on sporting goods alone only $ 1.33m was allocated in 1978-79 for sport. Whilst Canada spends $1.46 a head on sport and Britain spends 47 cents a head, the Australian Commonwealth

Government spends only 9 cents a head of population. Like Canada, our size and the cost of travel both within our borders and to other countries, which is essential if we are to improve our international standing, make the financial support of the Federal Government vital. But unlike Canada which spent $32m on assistance for athletes in the Commonwealth Games year of 1978, the Australian commitment to our team was $250,000.

There is a crying need to review our current expenditure and assess our future needs. I hope that at the next meeting of the Commonwealth and State Recreation Ministers Council in Hobart on 23 March the Council will look at the more effective use of school sporting facilities in off-school hours; the concept of funding facilities on the basis that they be self-supporting; and that it will iron out its differences over a national sports lottery which the predecessor of the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott) acknowledged in November last year would be worth over $10m per annum to sport in this country. Goodness knows, we need something.

None of us in this Parliament or outside it has to be reminded of Australia’s former glories. The list of our sports heroes includes men and women who have reached a pinnacle of accomplishments in international class in their field of sport. Without their great achievements, the annals of sporting history would be greatly diminished. But it seems lately that the only Australian sporting successes that one reads of are in the history books. They are rarely in the newspapers. Are we history as a leading sporting nation? Frankly, I and a good many others feel that we are. Where I differ with others on this matter is over what should be done as a consequence of that sad fact. Many organisations want what I call gravitational aid. By that I mean that Commonwealth money would go to athletic elites with benefits filtering through to the ranks of sporting Australians below; that is, from the top to the bottom. On the other hand, my contention is that that approach is not only undemocratic and discriminatory, but it also defeats the real long term goals of our assistance. The Government’s attention and its money ought to be directed on the broad based sporting organisations- programs for the masses- with the expectation that our stars will rise from within those ranks. They would then be assisted in their pursuit of excellence.

Our basic goal must be to increase awareness of physical culture and fitness among the mainstream of Australians. We can no longer rely, nor should we even want to rely, on the cream of our sporting talent as our standard bearers while, at the same time, we delude ourselves that our heroes are representative of all Australians. That self-delusion fosters only apathy, obesity and ultimately fatality. We ought to realise that general health and sensible recreation are a precondition to sporting excellence and achievement. How can it profit us to have a handful of ‘Newks’ and yet a nation of ‘Norms’? This principle must lay the basis for a new approach, a fundamental rethinking on assistance to sport. I am fortified in this view by the support of a number of sports people to whom I have spoken. In this respect I thank the former Olympic swimmer Mike VVenden for his suggestion that our sports stars are not only a boost to the nation’s flagging morale but they also offer encouragement to our young aspiring athletes. Stars such as Tracey Wickham, from my own city, are a beacon to the young generation. I reaffirm my point that no matter how much we encourage our children to participate in sport while at school, especially team sport, if they do not maintain a level of participation the physical value of their early involvement counts for nothing.

We rarely maintain interest in team sport after school so we ought to look at the encouragement of individual sports. We rarely emphasise the less exerting sports such as walking and jogging. They are the sorts of activities which are more likely to remain with us throughout our lives. If this Government’s commitment to the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign is any measure of its support for the notion of broad based assistance for recreation and fitness programs, I am afraid that we have a long way to go. The miserly $600,000 per annum is even less than the $800,000 plus that the Government spends on cap ribbons for the Navy. Of the $600,000 only $34,000 filters through to the National Fitness Council in my State of Queensland. That figure would adequately support one field officer with the usual entitlements and expenditure.

The priority at Federal and State levels remains the general promotion of the ‘Life. Be In It’ campaign through the media, particularly television. Public relations constitutes the lion’s share of the allocation. I shall devote myself to the effectiveness of this aspect of the program shortly. In Queensland the National Fitness Council redistributes its paltry funds amongst its local branches. Reports I have received from the local National Fitness councils indicate that for some of them their total income from the Queensland National Fitness Council is diminished in real terms, partly because the funding mechanism is dependent on local government support, and local government support in some cases rises and falls from one year to the next. Local National Fitness councils should not be left to the vagaries of local government budgets, nor to the whim of State governments.

If anything is clear from a reading of the Commonwealth’s allocations to national sporting bodies from 1973 to last year it is that we should do two things. Firstly, we should regulate the flow of funds in an orderly fashion with a fixed formula, as the Confederation of Australian Sport has suggested over periods longer than one year; and, secondly, we should assume greater responsibility for sport assistance in place of the lower levels of government. By following the first approach, longer term planning could be achieved and sporting organisations would experience less violent fluctuations in government grants year in and year out. With the second approach, we might eliminate some of the unnecessary bureaucratic wastage and delays which often occur when State governments act as the conduit for Federal funds. By that approach, sporting organisations would be spared dependence on State and local government budgets.

I commend to honourable members for their consideration a table of the Government’s grants to Commonwealth sporting bodies over the fiveyear period 1973 to 1978. 1 hope that the Minister for Home Affairs might be able to give some explanation of the incredible inconsistencies contained in this table. By way of an example of incongruity, I might mention a few grants which have been made. In 1975-76, the Australian Little Athletics Union received $31,546 but only $20,000 in 1977-78. In 1975-76 the Australian Women’s Amateur Athletic Union received $12,899 but in 1977-78 it received only $2,000. In 1974-75 the Australian Badminton Association received $1 1,000 while in 1978 it received only $3,500. In 1975-76 the Amateur Basketball Union of Australia received $62,000 and in 1977-78 it received $39,000. One could go on and on with these figures. Whilst the figures that I have mentioned are disappointing generally- I hope the Minister will take the opportunity to expand them- we should be more concerned about what we are doing for the general health and fitness of the nation. I should Uke to refer to the planning document of the ‘Life. Be in it’ program published by the Victorian Government. It stated:

We are setting out to broaden the community’s concept of activity, to get the majority to be a little more active rather than to get a few more active. We are placing initial emphasis on family involvement, fun, enjoyment and the many and varied ways in which unstructured activity can take place.

This certainly is inspiring stuff. The evaluation of the campaign prepared by the Victorian Department for Youth, Sport and Recreation provides a valuable insight into the effectiveness of the campaign among the public. It is fair to say that the surveys indicate that the campaign has a remarkable recall factor. Almost eight out of 10 people were able to recall the campaign and 53 persons did so unaided. To my mind, it seems ironic that the medium assessed as clearly the most effective in the campaign- that is, television- is precisely the thing the campaign hopes to attract people away from.

An interesting detail of the survey shows that none of those who recalled the campaign was made to feel guilty about watching television. It is mildly encouraging to read that in response to the question: ‘Has the message caused you to think more about how you could be more active?’, just under one-third responded positively. Females and respondents with young families gave a proportionately higher positive response. The response of older male respondents was more likely to be ‘lack of time’. I suppose that a few parliamentarians were included in the survey sample. There also seems to be a fairly accurate appreciation of the campaign’s theme. As one respondent said: ‘You can get fit without extremely difficult or vigorous exerciseand everyone can participate in some way’. The rest of the responses are quite edifying and optimistic. I want to emphasise that it is not my intention to detract in the slightest from the credit owing to this campaign. If anything needs emphasising it is that we must get behind the campaign with far greater financial support.

Mr Yates:

– Cheer up.


-You had better go back to your bees. I will conclude by relating the experience of the West German Government. Again, I am indebted to Mike Wenden for this insight. In 1973 former Chancellor Willy Brandt said that West Germany’s health costs had been steadily and dramatically escalating over recent years. The West German Government’s response was to inject massive amounts into programs promoting not just super athletes but general fitness and well being. The rewards were soon realised and the health costs spiral stabilised. Instead of paying more to relieve sickness the Government was redirecting those funds to prevent sickness. That is what ‘Life. Be in it’ is all about- preventive medicine and progressive health.

Minister for Home Affairs · Wentworth · LP

– in reply- This is a significant occasion for me because it is the first time I have spoken in this House since I assumed responsibility for sport. May I say with some trepidation that I follow such redoubtable sportsmen as the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Stewart) and the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder). However, some day we may be able to take them on. This debate actually relates to the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign. Most of what honourable members have said about the general field of sport has been very helpful. I would like to thank honourable members for the very creative contributions they have made. One of the successes of recreation policy in Australia has been the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign. There is no question about that.

Unfortunately some honourable members think that more money should have been poured into this campaign. According to the latest survey, it is one of the most penetrating programs that has ever been put on television. For instance, in Victoria 94.6 per cent of people recognised it; in Western Australia 92.8 per cent of people recognised it, and so on. The national recognition rate was 87.8 per cent. That, of course, would gladden the heart of any advertiser. Other honourable members raised the question of whether the theme of the campaign was getting through to the public. I think one honourable member opposite raised that point. One of the questions asked in the survey was: ‘To the best of your knowledge, what do you think is the main purpose of “Life. Be in it”?’. The answers nationally were: Exercise, 20 per cent; health, 18 per cent; outdoor activities, 17.3 per cent; fitness, 1 6.8 per cent; to be active, 1 3.9 per cent; not to sit at home, 12.8 per cent. When we take into account that only 12.8 per cent said ‘Not to sit at home’ and the other answers related to leisure, recreation and activity, it is pretty clear that the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign has become very successful.

Dr Jenkins:

– That is perception. What about activation?


– That is perception. The honourable member for Scullin does not know whether there has been activation. We cannot activate someone through a television screen. All we can do is put the program on television and hope that the perception will hit home and will have an effect- activity. Let us not exaggerate in this field. Many of us who are sporting enthusiasts are very ready- I might be one of them; honourable members do not know- to be judgmental about people. I am not sure that people are any less active in sport than they were 20 years ago. In fact many families- let us not be judgmental- are active, go out together and engage in recreational activities. Our community generally is a recreational community, particularly our young families. Let us not be judgmental about the sporting activity of our community. Much of what was said related to what government did what. I do not want to get into a debate on it but I am prepared to take on honourable members outside this House in a verbal joust about that aspect. Recently the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) said that this Government had done nothing for sport. To put it all together, this Government has put more money into sport than any previous government, and I am prepared to quote the figures and provide them to honourable members.

Mr Cohen:

– Nonsense! You were only honouring commitments that we made earlier.


– It is not nonsense at all. One only has to take into account the $10m that is going into the Commonwealth Games, the $750,000 that is going into an international hockey stadium in Western Australia, and the $800,000 that is going into the Olympic Games. That is more money than any government has ever put into the Olympic Games, so let us not get into that area. What we are concerned about, and I think the honourable member for Grayndler attempted to strike this note towards the end of his speech, is what we do in the future.

One thing that has struck me since I became the Minister responsible for this area is the need to develop what one might call a national sports policy. That policy should cover two areas. The first, as with the arts, is the pursuit of excellence. That is not necessarily the most important segment but it is one. The other area relates to the realisation that people at the grass roots ought to be encouraged to engage in recreational and sporting activity. Those ought to be the two arms of a sporting policy. Let us not think that the men and women who sit on the Hill are not engaged in recreation. One might look from the centre of the pitch and say: ‘Why don’t they get out here and have a game?’ For all we know, those people may be engaged in heavy physical activity in their work. In other words, the spectator too may be engaged in recreation. So far as a national sports policy is concerned, it has two arms- the pursuit of excellence and the need to engage the mass of the community in sport. Funding was mentioned, and in that respect I ask the honourable member for Grayndler to have a yarn with some of his colleagues in New South Wales. If he can get the New South Wales Government to agree, we will be able to have a national sports lottery. The Victorian Government seems to be in favour of it, and if the two most populous States are in favour of such a lottery then the indications are that we should be able to raise between $20m and $30m a year for sporting activities. If the honourable member will do that, he may be doing us a service, because New South Wales is the State which may in the end hold it up.

A national sports policy needs to be developed so that each level of government understands what its role is. I do not think that it is the role of national government to provide tennis courts in a local municipality. It may be that it is the role of the national government to assist in providing places of international standard for recreation and sporting activity. However, there needs to be some idea of the role of each level of government. In relation to funding, let me give the House an example. In 1975-76 the Ku-ring-gai municipality received a grant of $50,000 from the Federal Government. In this current year it has received a grant of $454,000 from Federal funds. This is the result of the change in the Government’s policy on funding local government. Funds ought to be provided at a local government level which could be spent on sporting facilities if the local council wished to do that. When looking at the question of funding, let us understand that this Government through its federalism policy has put more funds than ever before into the hands of State and local governments, which if they wish to can use those funds for the purpose of sporting facilities. Honourable members opposite know that that is the truth, although they keep on denying it. They want the Federal Government to be involved in every little area of life. There are levels of government and levels of activity where specific local and State governments ought to be involved, and those areas of policy ought to be determined. I have already suggested that one area of a national sports policy relates to the provision of international facilities, and I have instanced the hockey stadium in Western Australia. We need a policy which will develop coaching programs. We need to see whether some programs can be developed through colleges of advanced education. For instance, it would be a good thing if a program related to tennis could be attached to a college somewhere in the country which would enable our best young players to come and do a course under a leading tennis coach.

Mr Innes:

– What about the State school kids? Why don’t you give them a go, not just the kids from Wesley College?


-I am not talking about Wesley College, and the honourable member knows that. If he will just listen and keep his mind open for a while he will understand what I am talking about. I have made a suggestion that the honourable member for Grayndler thinks is very good. If programs dealing with the various sports could be attached to colleges of advanced education, I think it would be a very good idea. Another thing that we need in Australia at a national level is a program for national games. We do not have national games here, and I believe that it is time we did. Some consideration ought to be given to that. Another area that one of the speakers said ought to be brought into a national sports policy relates to the question of an inventory and some form of rationalisation of facilities. There are facilities available in the community that are not used and those facilities could be made available to the sorts of people the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Innes) talked about, that is, the general community. Those facilities ought to be made available so that sport can be encouraged at that level.

I have instanced in what I have said those areas where, through a national sports policy, one can promote sport throughout the country. I believe that unless we are prepared to sit down and work that out at a government level we are not really going to get anywhere. As I said a moment ago, one thing that has struck me since I became the Minister responsible for sport is the need to do just that. We ought not to be backbiting about who has done what in the past and who is doing what at present. We ought to be moving into the future with a policy of foresight, one that will lead to increasing the health of the young people of this nation. May I say that the areas of education and sport are ones of equal importance. At a State level we need to introduce through the education system the idea that sport is not just something that one does on a wet afternoon in the school hall. Sport is something that ought to be encouraged. It ought to be well nigh compulsory in every school in this country. I hope that the State governments, through a national sports policy, will regard that as being of great significance.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Motion (by Mr Ellicott) proposed:

That the Bill be now read a third time.


-The Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Ellicott) mentioned guidelines in his second reading speech. Will he make available the guidelines for the sponsorship of the various items? Secondly, will he indicate to the Parliament how much is going into the National Fitness Trust Fund from the commercialisation of ‘Life. Be in it*?

Minister for Home Affairs · Wentworth · LP

– in reply- I will endeavour to answer those questions in writing.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

page 665


Newspaper Articles- Youth EmploymentMisleading Advertising- Television ProgramThe Fraser Government


-Order! It being 10.30 p.m., I propose the question:

That the House do now adjourn.


Unfortunately once again I have to raise the matter of a section of the Fairfax Press which is rubbishing the western suburbs of Sydney. This has happened once before. The Sydney Morning Herald did this once before. In that case I must say that since I raised the matter in Parliament that newspaper has been far more reticent in its attitude to the western suburbs of Sydney. Now it is the Sun Herald. Strangely enough, as was the case last time, it is the Sydney Sun which has put the correct story. After all we expect this sort of activity from some sections of the yellow Press but I do not expect it from the Fairfax Press which has always prided itself on its respectability. We find this sort of headline: ‘How the West was Blundered’ and we have some of the worst statements we could possibly find. There are statements in this article by an Alderman Peter Quirk, Chairman of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils. Alderman Peter Quirk is Chairman of that organisation but I think the first thing he has to learn to do is to stay in one job for a while. He is having difficulty in doing that. He is quoted time and time again throughout this article. The classic quotation for him is: ‘We need a wonder boy- a hustler- to promote the area’. Of course, the inference right through the article is that this wonder boy is Alderman Peter Quirk.

Mr Stewart:

– Is he running against you?


– No, he would not dare do that. The fact is that this article, while it tries to give the western suburbs a pat on the shoulder every now and again, the next thing it does is bring out a sledgehammer for the head. This happens throughout the article. I will give the House an example. Under a photograph the following appears:

A western suburbs fibro: hot in summer and cold in winter. Will it stand up to a second generation of use?

On the other hand we have the Sydney Sun today stating: ‘Four bedrooms and a pool for $46,000’. I ask honourable members to have a look at the house. It is a very fine home and that is the case with the majority of homes throughout the area. What I think has to be realised is that the facilities in the western suburbs are as good as they are in the Illawarra area. There are sporting facilities, club facilities and homes. This area has more children in it than any other area throughout the length and breadth of Australia. I suggest to the reporter named Harry Robinson who wrote the article rubbishing the western area that he have a heart for the children there because he does not realise the damage he is doing with this sort of rubbishing article to all those kids who are being brought up in the area. They are the future generations of Australia. Blacktown is the biggest municipality in Australia and it is shortly to be declared a city.

Mr John Brown:

– When?


– I would say within the next week or so. The facts are that the municipality of Blacktown has more young children than any other area in Australia. It is time some newspapers did the right thing for these areas. A newspaper may have a new editor who has been told to take a hard line to increase sales, but it is time he took a moral attitude and realised the damage he is doing not only to this generation but also to the young kids who are growing up. It is not only to the older people but also to the younger people. They are to be the future generations of this country. For that reason I think these newspaper people should be ashamed of themselves.


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


– I am thankful that in the area of Dandenong from which I come, the editors of all our newspapers take an impartial view of developments in the area. During the parliamentary recess like other honourable members I enjoyed visiting the industries, schools, hospitals and homes of many people in my electorate. Naturally, like anybody else, I discovered certain matters that could be dealt with by ordinary administration. But there are now two matters that I want to bring to the attention of the House and of the Government. The first is youth employment and the second is the indexation of age pensions.

With regard to employment I congratulate the Dandenong Commonwealth Employment Service, which, in the last quarter of 1978, placed a record number of people in jobs; the highest number in Victoria. I also congratulate the Government on the recent figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which show that in Australia we have a record number of people in civilian employment, namely, 6,097,500. That is a record for civilian employment in this country. Nevertheless, due to technical change and a large number of people entering the work force, the situation for the inexperienced school leaver is becoming even more serious and endorses the paper which I wrote for the Government concerning a national youth community service scheme. I called the paper ‘Serve Australia’. However I must say that four Community Youth Support schemes in my electorate are making good progress thanks to their project officers and to the community support which, they receive. We were sorry to hear of the retirement of Councillor Mrs Jan Wilson, who has done excellent work in helping young girls in typing and office procedure. I am glad to see that she is now going to a paid appointment as the Australian Labor Party organiser for the area of Holt.

Government members- Oh!


-Well, why not? She is a distinguished councillor who is allowed to take any employment she wants. I am very concerned about a report that I have received from the Principal of Marralinga Primary School, Mr MacKenzie and the Vice-Principal, Mr Riorden On 27 September last year the school decided to take on a young person under the National Employment and Training scheme, 16 year old Ken Sutton of 3 Delos Court, Endeavour Hills. The Federal Government contributed $47 and the school paid $33 making a total of $80. He was under the instruction of another Vice-Principal, Mr Garthside who holds a diploma in agriculture. On 23 January 1979 this young man received notice from the CES to terminate his work. He is now back on the unemployment benefit of $5 1 a week. Today I called on the Ministers’ staff to ask whether such a scheme makes economic sense for the country. Here was a young person under 16 years of age who was receiving proper supervision. What could have been better? It occurs to me that in building up the national youth community service scheme much more attention should be paid to the part the schools can play in it. I therefore ask the Minister whether he will kindly look into this problem. How many other Ken Suttons are there throughout Australia wasting their time on our money who were formerly employed under the NEAT scheme but have now been withdrawn. This situation is quite ridiculous.

Finally, I am deeply distressed at the problem facing the age pensioners. I expect and trust that the Government will take careful consideration of the situation that has arisen and make sure that in the coming Budget these people are removed once again from the political forum, that their pensions are indexed every six months and that an adjustment will be made to take into account the four per cent rise in the cost of living index in December 1978. As far as I am concerned, thanks to the policy of the Government and thanks to the new motor policy announced for General Motors-Holden’s Ltd, anybody who seriously wants a job and is prepared to take it and make a start can do well. Unfortunately a number of people are not prepared to take that chance. On the other hand there are some people who are finding great difficulty in getting a start. I am thankful to say that of the major companies that I have visited Email Ltd has taken on people.

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


-( 10.40)-This evening I bring to the attention of the House, and in particular to some of my friends on the other side of the chamber, a recent case of misleading and exploitative advertising. I appeal to the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Fife), who has advised me that he could not be here this evening, to have some regard to what I am putting and to carry out some investigation into it. Page 12 of last Saturday’s Canberra Times carried an advertisement for a local motor dealer- Lennock Motors Pty Ltd. This company is in the business of flogging Datsun vehicles to an unsuspecting public. Unfortunately for this company, some members of the public did suspect what was up and contacted me during the course of the week.

Mr Haslem:

– They did not contact me.


– They would not get any response from the honourable member for Canberra. I ask honourable members to take the time to peruse this advertisement at their leisure. Even some of the more myopic honourable members on the benches opposite me should have no trouble in finding it. At only 29 centimetres by 38 centimetres in size it is no mere squib, but its being printed in red would be enough to deter some of our erstwhile friends opposite who shudder at the very thought of that colour unless they are wanting trade with Red China or the like.

The advertisement purports to offer the ‘best value family sedan you can buy’ at a mere $5,399. In fact the most prominent feature of the whole advertisement is the price, which is in red figures 7 centimetres high- nearly three inches. Nowhere does the advertisement mention that $5,399 is what a person would actually pay for a car that he could drive away. The only reference to what might be an addition to the price is a caption about one-sixteenth of an inch which would be difficult for anybody with probably the best sight in the business to read.

In fact, if the model mentioned were available today, which it is not, a person could not drive it away without paying $5,740, which is $341 more than the advertised price. Interestingly enough, the model offered is the ‘deluxe ‘ model. Honourable members with knowledge of the English language may be forgiven for thinking that the ‘deluxe’ is the top of the range. In fact in this age of ‘Newspeak’ the deluxe is at the bottom of the range. This is another false and misleading description, this time by the manufacturer, no doubt. But I have digressed. I return to the extra costs demanded by Lennock Motors. The amount of $341 is, of course, considerably more than just the registration costs. Lennock Motors would like people to spend an extra $ 1 50 to have the car delivered from Sydney. If one speaks to a different salesman one will be told that an extra $180 is the figure for delivery costs. This company demands that a person who wants to buy a car as a result of seeing the advertised price of $5,399 has to fork out an extra $150 to $180 for the delivery. That ought to cover not only its cost of delivery from Sydney but the advertising costs as well.

But do not let me lead honourable members astray. Lennock ‘s advertisements are not entirely misleading. The company is honest enough to point out that this is a ‘special limited offer’. It even admits that only a limited selection of the entire range is available. That is the truth. The range is so limited that since Saturday the stock of this specially offered model is no longer available. No delivery date is available; only a delivery price of $150 or $180. That is the picture. Lennock Motors advertises cars that it does not have and at a price less than it will sell the car. As I have said, Lennock Motors has a selective sense of honesty. It surfaced again today when one of my compatriots inquired about buying one of these bargain cars. The salesman gave the game away. He said, in reference to the advertising of the cheapest model at the cheapest price, that it is ‘an attraction to bring people into the yard’, meaning the sale yard.

I wonder how many people have been attracted into that spider’s web since Saturday only to find themselves being offered cars up to $2,700 dearer. I wonder how many people went home with less money in their pockets, with a car they did not really want and reflecting on the shark-like grins of the salesmen who fleeced them. I wonder how many of these parasites waxed fat on their commission cheques on Saturday night thanks to this misleading and exploiting advertising. I call on the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs to do something about this.


Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– I draw the attention of the House to a television program last Saturday week in which the Australian Broadcasting Commission examined what it chose to call ‘the Prime Minister’s image’. In it a journalist, whose greatest claim to fame I understand is that he is the nephew of the former honourable member for Mackellar, said on that program, referring to the Federal Government:

It has a whole series now of publicity machines of one kind and another which are being paid for by the taxpayer and which have really no purpose except to try and sell the Government’s program to the public.

He said also:

In fact, the Fraser Government has outdone the Whitlam Government

I never have had respect for that gentleman’s ability to report facts, but now I have even less respect for his ability to promote and generate them. The facts are these: The Whitlam Government and in fact the State governments, particularly the Labor State governments in this country, far outspend the present Federal Government in publicity costs. In fact, not only is the sort of assertion that Mr Mungo MacCallum made ludicrous but also for him to present himself as an expert in his field and for him to talk such nonsense on a television program really denigrates his profession.

I present to the House the realities of this matter. For example, the New South Wales Government- a Labor government- in Press secretary salaries alone spends $326,800 a year. The South Australian Labor Government spends $289,000 a year on Press secretary salaries. The Queensland non-Labor Government spends $332,300 a year on Press secretary salaries. Western Australia spends $270,000 a year on Press secretary salaries alone. The facts are that the present Federal Government spends $154,000 on Press secretary salaries. The Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has three Press secretaries and the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Anthony), the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr Lynch) and the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) have Press secretaries. Honourable members should compare this with the 26 Press secretaries -

Mr Yates:

– Twenty-six?


-Yes, the 26 Press secretaries that the previous Government- the Whitlam Government- had during its curious period in government. As much as $650,000-odd a year went solely in Press secretary salaries. That was four times the amount of money that this Government is spending on Press secretary salaries. Yet someone like Mr MacCallum maintains the nonsense that this Government has outdone the Labor Government. There are other services to consider, such as the Federal Government’s liaison service. The expenditure on that under the Labor Government was enormous compared with the very modest cost that the present Government’s information unit is now imposing on the taxpayer. The cost that the present Government is imposing on the taxpayer is a very reasonable one. The job of the information unit is to convey to the people of Australia the facts of what this Government is doing and what the changes in the law mean. This is a vital job.

Unfortunately, the previous Government used the public relations network it had mainly as a method of promoting the individual fortunes of individual Ministers. The time of the 26 Press secretaries was spent in promoting their Ministers and not their Government. As a result, the public got a fair view of the divided nature of that Government. The facts are that every State government that reports its figures far outspends this Federal Government in terms of public relations and in terms of paying Press secretaries. It is a disgrace for a member of the journalists profession to speak such nonsense as was spoken by Mr MacCallum


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

Mr FitzPATRICK (Riverina) (10.50)- I rise tonight to repeat the claim that the Robinson affair is not the only crack in the facade of credibility of the Australian Government. It is only the latest, and if the events of last week told us anything about the Australian Government it must surely have been that its claim to be able to govern better than Labor is just that- a claim. People voted for the Fraser Government on promises of a better future, but what they are getting is coming to the surface by a sort of flotation process- grievances, questionable personal dealings, internal turmoil, resignations, patchups and cover-ups- with a total disregard for the rights of this Parliament to know why a Minister of the Cabinet resigned.

Even putting aside the troublesome clash of personalities in the Cabinet this Government is still very much in disarray and shows a general lack of understanding of how to tackle the task at hand. The promise of sound economic management has just not materialised. In the 1975 election campaign Mr Fraser promised that ‘only under Liberals will there be jobs for everyone who wants to work’. The Liberals won. In the 1977 election campaign Mr Fraser said: ‘Our consistent economic strategy is getting Australia back to work’. He said that from February 1978 there would be a sustained and long-term reduction in unemployment. What a difference between the promise and the reality. Kenneth Davidson writing in the Melbourne Age newspaper tells us that in the three years to January- the approximate life of the Fraser Government- unemployment has increased by 150,000. Another promise in the 1977 election campaign was that the Australian people will not accept a return to high taxes and a Fraser Government will bring them down further, not increase them. What is the reality? Last year’s Budget expected to bring in an extra $ 1,520m even after lowering taxes on motor vehicles and the abolition of the Medibank levy.

Labor would have kept the promises to keep the economy moving. In government Labor would have careful expansion designed to generate new jobs so that the tragic escalation of unemployment would be halted. The building and construction industries are crying out for government stimulation. The gap between revenue and expenditure can be bridged by a capital gains tax and a resources tax. Regardless of the startling increase in the number of unemployed, regardless of where this Government’s policies are taking us, the Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) will not allow any review of this Government’s policies. No wonder we have internal turmoil and resignations from the Cabinet. Labor is constantly reviewing its policies, looking at new ones, speaking with people in industry- I emphasise the words ‘speaking with’- speaking with people in commerce, in primary industry and not forgetting the trade unions. The Fraser Government cannot hide behind a world of silence any longer. No matter how much it tries, the facade is cracking and people can now see what this Government is- incompetent and callous. The end is in sight and the sooner it arrives the better for this nation and the large number of unemployed. I want to say that no one will mourn this Government’s passing.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 10.55 p.m.

page 670


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

National Energy Advisory Committee (Question No. 1537)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice, on 8 June 1978:

On what matters has the National Energy Advisory Committee reported to him or his predecessor other than on those matters contained within the four reports published by the Committee.

Mr Newman:

-The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The National Energy Advisory Committee has provided me and my predecessor with advice on a wide variety of matters, ranging from basic energy issues to arrangements for the operations of NEAC. It is not practicable to provide a list of all those matters. However, the principal energy issues on which advice has been provided are: energy conservation coal liquefaction study with the Federal Republic of Germany development of the North West Shelf gas resources energy research and development use of methanol as a fuel extender electric vehicles in Australia possible patterns of oil supply to the year 2000 assessing Australia’s energy resources Australian membership of the International Energy Agency fuel economy goals for passenger cars some aspects of energy modelling in Australia exploration for oil and gas in Australia.

Defence Purchase: Offset Arrangements (Question No. 1773)

Mr Holding:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 22 August 1978:

  1. 1 ) With respect to Government policy that 30 per cent of all defence purchases should be offered for Australian industrial participation, how many contracts entered into by his Department for the purchase of defence or other equipment, contained clauses specifying an offset arrangement with the vendor for the purchase of Australian manufactured goods, components and/or technology during the last 10 years.
  2. 2 ) What were those contracts.
  3. What was the sum involved in each offset clause and what were the terms of discharge.
  4. What is the extent to which the terms of these clauses have been implemented, specifying in each case the monetary value of the implementation.
  5. What sum is currently available under these clauses for the purchase of relevant Australian manufactured goods, components and/or technology.
Mr Killen:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The honourable gentleman will appreciate that an answer to his question would involve very considerable research.

The Government endeavours to ensure that there is an appropriate level of Australian industry participation in all defence purchases. This level is usually much higher than 30 per cent for the many purchases made in Australia. Where major purchases are not made in Australia, local participation is sought through offset orders for which a target of 30 per cent of the overseas content is commonly set.

An explanation of the policy has been given by my colleague, the Minister for Productivity in his answer to Question No. 1774-1799.

No contracts signed before March 1970 contained clauses concerning offset arrangements. Current Departmental Instructions require that each proposed major Defence purchase from overseas sources be examined to ensure that opportunities for Australian industry participation are fully explored.

  1. The more significant contracts entered into since March 1970 incorporating provisions for offset work include the following items:

Chinook Helicopters Sea King Helicopters Submarine Fire Control Equipment Naval Combat Data Systems Replacement ESM Equipment Computers for Defence (several) Destroyers FFG-01 and 02 Destroyer FFG-03

Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft Leopard Tanks C130H Aircraft

Rapier Surface-to- Air Guided Weapon Systems Air Surveillance Radars Patrol Craft Oberon Submarines.

A more detailed listing is not readily available and would require considerable research to prepare.

  1. As explained by my colleague, the Minister for Productivity, details of the individual Arrangements between overseas and local firms are treated as company confidential.
  2. The total value of offset work placed in Australian industry since March 1970 is more than $220m, which includes a significant element resulting from Defence contracts.

It is not feasible to attribute this figure to particular purchases or even to Civil and Defence categories. Suppliers are permitted to aggregate offset obligations against all purchases including civil and Defence contracts and they continue to place work in Australia against a combined total. Further, some firms have built up offset credits in advance of the receipt of Government equipment orders, against which they can draw to meet the attendant offset requirements.

  1. My colleague, the Minister for Productivity, who is responsible for the administration of the Offset Program has provided a full answer on this point.

Public Service: Computers (Question No. 2209)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 27 September 1978:

  1. How many computers are (a) owned, (b) operated, (c) in the process of being purchased or (d) rented by his Department, and statutory authorities and business undertakings under his control.
  2. What is the cost of purchase or rental of each computer.
  3. 3 ) For what purpose is each computer used.
  4. What is the nature of the data stored by each computer.
  5. What interconnections exist or will exist between any of these computers.
  6. Who has access to each computer.
  7. What savings in staff numbers have been achieved or are anticipated as a result of the installation or operation of each computer.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The Department of Employment and Youth Affairs has now taken over the two mini-computers previously operated by the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations:

    1. a Digital Equipment PDP1 1 /04, which is owned by the Department, and
    2. a Data 100, which is rented.
  2. (a) The PDP11 was purchased in 1977-78 for $46,500.

    1. The Data 100 is rented at a current annual rental cost of$20,000.
  3. (a) The PDP1 1 is used mainly for manpower forecasting and survey processing.

    1. The Data 100 is used mainly for processing manpower programme information, job vacancy circulation in Victoria, survey processing, library cataloguing and occupational information processing.
  4. (a) The PDP11 stores data on manpower and the labour market.

    1. The Data 100 processes data on job vacancies, manpower programme utilisation, occupations and library publications
  5. (a) The PDP 1 1 is linked via a Telecom Australia communications line to the CSIRO computer network.

    1. The Data. 100 is linked via a Telecom Australia communications line to service bureau equipment operated by ADAPS Ltd
  6. (a) and (b) Authorised personnel within the Department for official purposes.
  7. The computer systems which have been introduced by the Department to date have been designed primarily to enable the Department to deliver a better and more efficient manpower service to the public and to have access to more comprehensive, accurate and timely manpower and labour market information. Use of computers has allowed provision of a service and information which, in the main, could not have been contemplated manually.

Public Service: Computers (Question No. 2238)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 27 September 1978:

  1. 1 ) In respect of each computer owned or operated by his Department and statutory authorities and business undertakings under his control, what information stored therein can be sold, hired, lent or given to any person or organisation other than properly authorised employees of his Department, authority or business.
  2. Under what circumstances can this information be (a) sold, (b) hired, (c) lent or (d) given.
  3. On what occasions, and to whom, has any information been sold, hired, lent or given in the past.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) The Department of Employment and Youth Affairs has now taken over the computer systems previously in operation in the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. The systems are designed to assist the Department to improve its day to day operations and management and thereby provide a better service to the public. The systems basically process information rather than store such information. As a by-product the following information listed is available to the public in aggregated form:

    1. Manpower and labour market statistics;
    2. Job vacancies in Victoria;
    3. Information on careers in Victoria.

No information on individual employers, job-seekers or persons making use of manpower programmes (eg, NEAT, CRAFT) is made publicly available.

  1. The information listed in (a), (b) and (c) above is made available to job-seekers, schools, tertiary institutions and other organisations and individuals with interest in the subject matter.
  2. (a) Aggregated statistics on manpower and the labour market are published regularly.

    1. Information on individual job vacancies in Victoria (excluding identification of the employer) is available to the public through the Victorian offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service. This information is also made available to Victorian secondary and tertiary educational institutions for educational purposes.
    2. Information on careers available in Victoria is produced each school term. It is made available to secondary schools, tertiary educational institutions and public libraries throughout Victoria. In addition, this career information is available to the public through the Victorian offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service-

Government Income from Sport

Government Income from Sport (Question No. 2456)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 1 1 October 1978:

  1. 1 ) What income does the Government derive from sport, including sales tax and proceeds of totalisator administrations.
  2. What contribution does the Government make to sport from its revenues.
  3. What were the:

    1. a ) costs to the Government; and
    2. returns to revenue from the holding of international sporting competitions in Australia during the last 2 years.
  4. What are the estimated costs and returns for the next two years.
Mr Ellicott:

-On 22 February 1979 1 provided an answer to the above Question on Notice (Hansard 22 February page 335). I am now informed that an error occurred in the preparation of the reply and the following wording should be substituted for the existing foot note (b) to paragraph 2.

  1. first of four annual payments to the Queensland Government of a Slum interest free non-repayable grant for the purpose of assisting with the provision of sporting facilities and athletes/officials accommodation in connection with the 1 982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

Employment: Woolworths Pty Ltd (Question No. 2497)

Mr Hodges:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 12 October 1978:

  1. 1 ) Which CES offices in the Brisbane Statistical Division has Woolworths Pty Ltd approached in order to obtain staff for its supermarkets.
  2. Have any of the staff supplied by the CES to Woolworths supermarkets been eligible for subsidy under the Special Youth Employment Training Program; if so, (a) how many and (b) what has been the cost of the subsidy in each month during 1977-78.
  3. Has his attention ever been drawn to allegations or complaints that Woolworths dismisses staff obtained from the CES offices once they become ineligible for the Special Youth Employment Training Program.
  4. If so, will he take steps to investigate this aspect of the program.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The Commonwealth Employment Service offices in the Brisbane Statistical Division which have been approached by Woolworths Pty Ltd in order to obtain staff for its supermarkets are Alderley, Annerley, Brisbane, Chermside, Fortitude Valley, Inala, Indooroopilly, Ipswich, Mount Gravatt, Nundah, Redcliffe, Woolongabba and Wynnum.
  2. (a) In the period July 1977-June 1978 a total of 290 persons placed in 12 Woolworth Supermarkets in the Brisbane Statistical Division were eligible to receive a subsidy under the Special Youth Employment Training Program (SYETP).

    1. Payment records are not maintained on a basis which would allow a precise figure to be given for the Brisbane Statistical Division. However it is estimated that total payments to Woolworths in respect of the above trainees would be approximately $300,000.
  3. and (4) All allegations of abuses under SYETP are fully investigated by my Department. No complaints have been received against Woolworth supermarkets operating in the Brisbane statistical district. Other complaints against Woolworths Pty Ltd concerning use of SYETP subsidies have been investigated by my Department and only in one instance could the complaint be regarded as being justified. This involved the retrenchment of junior females and their subsequent replacement by SYETP trainees. That particular issue has now been satisfactorily resolved following discussions between my Department and Woolworths Pty Ltd.

Australian Films (Question No. 2618)

Mr Barry Jones:

asked the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice, on 25 October 1978:

  1. Have many Australian feature films, of historical and artistic significance, been lost or destroyed.
  2. If so, are the films Those Who Love (1926) and Two Minutes Silence (1933) produced by the McDonagh sisters among the lost feature films.
  3. Will he take action to draw attention to the importance of finding lost films and to strengthen the Australian Film Archive.
  4. Will he circulate libraries, museums, teaching institutions and other public bodies with lists of missing films in an attempt to fill in the gaps in our national film heritage.
Mr Ellicott:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

I have sought advice from the National Library of Australia and the Film Australia Branch of the Australian Film Commission on these matters and they have provided the following information:

During the silent era-that is, prior to 1930-about 300 feature films were produced in Australia. Fifty-three of these survive today, in whole or in part, in the National Film Archive of the National Library of Australia. In most cases, the preservation of the film is a result of searches or ‘detective work’ carried out by Library staff. The 2 SO lost films include many of undoubted historical or artistic significance but it would be misleading to quantify them as a group. Even poorly made silent films can today have historical significance and may merit preservation.

Of approximately 250 Australian features made since 1930, only 10, mostly minor productions, are now considered lost. Those films that are not yet preserved in the National Film Archive are being systematically sought for acquisition; these are mostly recent films.

The Film Australia Branch, Australian Film Commission, does not have a film archive in the true sense of the word. Like other production houses Film Australia holds the original negative and master materials of its own productions. The only exception to this concerns productions shot in 35mm black and white nitrate based negative prior to 1956-57. Nitrate based negative is highly inflammable and can be dangerous. In the mid 1960s Film Australia carried out an exercise of transferring master 35mm nitrate negative productions onto duplicate safety based negatives. This was a safety exercise. The nitrate based original negatives of productions so treated were handed over to the National Library for storage. In general, the preservation of Australian feature films remains the responsibility of the National Library of Australia.

Those Who Love and Two Minutes Silence are presently considered to be lost feature films.

The National Library has sought to increase general awareness of film preservation matters within the film industry and the community generally and has successfully earned the co-operation of private individuals and film and television organisations in locating and acquiring films for preservation. The approach has been a productive one, almost tripling the size of the National Film Archive over the last 5 years, and will continue to be developed.

In recent years some previously ‘lost’ films, restored by the National Film Archive, have won new attention at Australia’s major film festivals. A working parry has been examining the future development needs of the National

Film Archive. A special vault, designed to international standards, for the storage of early nitrate film is under construction.

Previous efforts by the National Library to circulate likely sources of lost films have not proved profitable. Many ‘lost’ films have, however, been recovered as a result of personal approaches and reassurances by the Library’s film staff that the ‘lost’ film could be properly transferred to the National Film Archive. A publication is also being prepared which will list lost Australian feature films and which it is hoped will increase public consciousness of the value of our film heritage.

Unemployment (Question No. 2774)

Mr Humphreys:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 14 November 1978:

  1. What grounds are used to exclude a registered unemployed person from receipt of unemployment benefits.
  2. What areas in Australia are designated areas of (i) high unemployment and (ii) low unemployment.
  3. Does his Department encourage unemployed persons registered at a CES office in an area of so-called low employment potential, that is high unemployment, to move to an area of so-called high employment potential where job opportunities might be greater.
  4. On what basis is employment potential assessed.
  5. As the number of persons registered for and receiving unemployment benefits at the Gold Coast has fallen, is that said to be an area of high employment potential.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) The Social Services Act provides that to qualify for unemployment benefit a person must: not be in receipt of an age, invalid or widow ‘s pension, a tuberculosis allowance, or a service pension (as distinct from a war pension); be at least 16 years of age and if a male, under 65 years, or if a female, under 60 years; be residing in Australia and have been continuously so resident for not less than one year immediately prior to the date of the claim or if not so resident for that period, intend to reside permanently in Australia; be unemployed; be capable of undertaking and willing to undertake suitable work; and not be unemployed due to being a direct participant in a strike.

The Act also imposes a means test on income. In addition the Director-General of the Department of Social Security requires that the person be registered for employment with the CES.

  1. My Department does not designate areas in Australia as such.
  2. No. However, under the terms and conditions of the ‘work test’ which is applied to recipients of unemployment benefit, single beneficiaries over the age of 18 years are expected to be prepared to accept suitable employment which involves them living away from home. One of the aspects of the work test is that the CES offer the person a specific vacant position in a new area and, where appropriate, advise the person of the assistance available under the Fares Assistance Scheme and the Relocation Assistance Scheme. Where the person declines an offer of employment in these circumstances, the Commonwealth Employment

Service is required to report the facts to the Department of Social Security which is obliged to reject a claim, or terminate benefit, and to advise the person of the right of appeal.

  1. In administering the provision of the work test I have outlined in (3) above, the CES is guided by the suitability of the individual beneficiary concerned for the specific vacant position in the new area.
  2. No, see my answer to (2) above.

Unemployment (Question No. 2776)

Mr Humphreys:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 14 November 1978:

  1. Has his attention been drawn to the practice of some CES officials who suggest to unemployed persons registered at CES offices whose employment prospects are said to be poor, that those unemployed persons move to an area which they are led to believe by the same CES officials has more promising employment prospects.
  2. Has his attention also be drawn to the fact that in most instances where this re-direction has occurred, the unemployed persons are required to register again for unemployment benefits which they may or may not receive after a period of no less than 3 weeks beginning from the date of their re-registration; if so, will he (a) inform the House whether it is a matter of departmental policy and ( b) provide details of which areas in Australia are designated areas of high or low employment prospects, and the statistical or other criteria by which those areas are so designated.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I ) and (2) See my answer to question No. 2774.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Question No. 2844)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 16 November 1978:

  1. 1 ) Why have contributory funds to each of the following CSIRO research programs declined from 1977-78 to 1978-79:

    1. all agricultural research programs,
    2. b) land resource studies,
    3. manufacturing industry-chemical support and
    4. astronomy.
  2. Which specific research studies will be cut as a result of these declines.
  3. By whom will decisions to cut these specific research studies be made.
Mr Groom:
Minister for Housing and Construction · BRADDON, TASMANIA · LP

– The Minister for Science and the Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. (a) and (b) The decline in contributory funds to CSIRO in 1977-78 and 1978-79 for programs related to agricultural research and land resources studies is due to previously announced Government decisions relating to the management of the Wool Research Trust Fund. From I January 1978, 60 per cent of CSIRO ‘s sheep and wool program funded from this source has been transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The remaining decrease is a result of minor changes in the funds and programs approved by the bodies responsible for the administration of Rural Industry Funds.

  1. In the manufacturing industry /chemical support areas the decrease in contributory funds is a result of the completion of phase 3 of a collaborative project between CSIRO and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Funds for this project were provided by the Bank. However, following a review of the project at the completion of phase 3, agreement has now been reached for it to continue to a further phase, and an amount of $93,000 will be provided by the Bank. As this agreement was not finalised at the time of the presentation of CSIRO ‘s Explanatory Notes to Parliament, this amount was not reflected in that document.
  2. Support from outside contributors for Astronomy Research in CSIRO will continue at about the same level as in 1977-78. Since the preparation of CSIRO ‘s Estimate of Expenditure for 1978-79, which contained all details of contributory funds known at that time, advice has been received that a further $150,000 will be provided by the Department of Transport for the further development of the InterScan System.

    1. and (3) It is envisaged that the level of funds for the nominated research program areas will approximate that of the previous year, and it is not envisaged that any cuts to programs will be necessary. However, some new programs will be commenced and others terminated during the course of the year, as the term of agreements relating to some programs expire and new agreements relating to other programs are entered into.

Mining: Yeelirrie (Question No. 2894)

Mr Uren:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Science and the Environment, upon notice, on 2 1 November 1978:

  1. 1 ) When and in which newspapers were advertisements placed seeking public comment on the Western Mining Corporation ‘s Yeelirrie environmental impact statement
  2. Where, at what cost and on which date were copies of the statement available to members of the public.
  3. 3 ) What was the closing date for submissions.
  4. How many submissions were received (a) by the closing date and (b) after the closing date.
Mr Groom:

– The Minister for Science and the Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. On 11 July 1978 in the West Australian, tint Advertiser (Adelaide), the Mercury (Hobart), the Courier-Mail (Brisbane), the Canberra Times and the Northern Territory News.

On 8 July 1978 in the above newspapers and the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Sydney Telegraph, the Age (Melbourne) and the Sun-News Pictorial (Melbourne).

  1. Copies were available from 11 July 1978 at Western Mining Corporations office in Western Australia at a cost of $20. In addition the document was available for examination at four locations in Penh, at Kalgoorlie and Wiluna, and at two locations in each capital city.
  2. 1 1 September 1978.
  3. A total of 28 submissions were received before and after the closing date of 11 September 1978. All were forwarded to the proponent to be taken into account in the final environmental impact statement.

Employment Statistics (Question No. 2983)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 23 November 1978:

  1. Is it a fact that the number of civilian employees in Australia was (a) 4,535,800 in December 1972, (b) 4,738,100 in November 1975 and (c) 4,707,900 in August 1978.
  2. If so, is he able to say why there was an increase of 202,300 jobs from 1972 to 1975, but a decrease of 30,200 jobs from November 1975 to August 1978.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. Due to a combination of factors, including the weakening demand for Australia’s exports, reduced private fixed capital expenditure and sharply rising labour costs and prices, employment fell from a cyclical peak of 4,806,500 in June 1974 to 4,738,100 in November 1975 (a decline of 68,400 jobs). Employment continued to fall in the subsequent period, albeit at a slower rate of decline, largely because of the continuing influence of the factors already mentioned.

Community Health Centres (Question No. 2995)

Mr Kerin:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 23 November 1978:

  1. How many Community Health Centres have been built or established in New South Wales and in what years were they built or established.
  2. What was the total staffing of Community Health Centres in New South Wales during each of the last 5 years.
  3. Is it a fact that of 2,200 positions once created in New South Wales, 320 positions now remain vacant and will not be filled.
  4. What have been the (a) occupational/professional titles and (b) numbers of persons employed in Community Health Centres in New South Wales during each of the last 5 years.
  5. What funds have been (a) allocated and (b) spent by the Commonwealth on the Community Health Centre program in New South Wales in each of the last 5 years.
  6. What levels of salary are paid to occupational/professional categories of persons employed in Community Health Centres in New South Wales compared with (a) similar and (b) identical positions in other areas of the Commonwealth and State Public Services.
  7. Is he able to say what has been the financial contribution of the New South Wales Government to the Community Health Centre program during each of the last S years.
  8. Is he able to say whether the services being provided by the Community Health Centres in New South Wales are being cut back; if so, what effect is this having on those persons using the services.
Mr Hunt:
Minister for Health · GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES · NCP/NP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

For the purposes of answering the question, I have regarded as relevant only those projects funded under the Community Health Program.

In answering ( 1 ) ‘community health centre’ has been construed as meaning a community-based facility that has the characteristics of a general community health service, as distinct from a specialised service (e.g. a mental health or alcoholism service) that provides two or more categories of service (e.g. medical, nursing, therapy, counselling), and that may or may not provide general practitioner services.

1 ) The following information is provided following consultations with the Health Commission of New South Wales, which has immediate responsibility for the administration or supervision of community health projects in that State.

  1. The answers to (2)-(8) (inclusive) relate to the total program of projects funded under the Community Health Program in New South Wales, not only to community health centres.

The total staffing establishments of projects funded under the Community Health Program in New South Wales during each of the last five years were:

  1. As at 31 December 1978, of the then approved establishment of 2,297 positions, 1,896 positions were occupied, and 40 1 positions were vacant (See also (8)).
  2. (a) and (b) The information sought by the honourable member is not available in the form sought because operational requirements lead to regular interchangeability of staff categories. However, the following table shows the staffing establishments by main categories as at 1 July for each year since 1975, and the total numbers of staff employed as at 1 July for each of those years.

As at 3 1 December 1978, 1,896 staff were employed under the Community Health Program in New South Wales.


  1. I am advised by the Health Commission of New South Wales that all staff employed by the Commission under the Community Health Program are paid under State awards and therefore receive the same salaries as other equivalent staff in the New South Wales Public Service.
  2. The financial contributions by the New South Wales Government to the Community Health Program for each of the last five years were as follows:
  1. The administrative arrangements for the Community Health Program are such that the State authorities are regarded as having immediate responsibility for the provision or supervision of projects funded under the Program, including the levels of services provided. For that reason, I do not have detailed information concerning the points raised by the honourable member.

However, the honourable member may be aware that I recently announced a special additional Commonwealth grant of $230,000 for community health projects in New South Wales. It is intended that this special grant be matched by a similar additional allocation by the State. This further $300,000 will assist in maintaining staffing of community health services in New South Wales at a viable level during the remainder of this financial year. In particular, it is intended to assist in providing services in high need areas such as under-serviced urban areas and isolated rural areas, as well as services to disadvantaged groups such as the intellectually handicapped.

Indexing of ‘Hansard’ (Question No. 3087)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 24 November 1978:

  1. Does his Department or any agency under his control prepare an index of Hansard.
  2. What is the form of each index.
  3. 3 ) How recent is each index.
  4. To what persons, departments or agencies are the indexes made available.
Mr Street:
Minister for Industrial Relations · CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA · LP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) to (4) I refer the honourable member to the Answers by the Prime Minister to Question No. 2638 (Hansard, 21 November 1978, page 3156) and Question No. 3065 (Hansard, 20 February 1979 page 130).

Indexing of ‘Hansard’ (Question No. 3088)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 24 November 1978:

  1. 1 ) Does his Department or any agency under his control prepare an index of Hansard.
  2. What is the form of each index.
  3. 3 ) How recent is each index.
  4. To what person, departments or agencies are indexes made available.
Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No. (2 to 4) Not applicable.

Unemployment (Question No. 3111)

Mr Humphreys:

asked the Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 24 November 1978:

  1. 1 ) Has his attention been drawn to the annual report of the Australian Industries Development Association for 1977-78 which estimates an average increase in the labour force of just over 100,000 persons per annum between 1976 and 1981 and an increase between 1981 and 1986 of just below 100,000 persons per annum taking the present national workforce from a figure of 6.5 million to 7.2 million by 1985, which is an average annual increase of 1.5 per cent; if so, are the projections of his Department substantially the same as those contained in the report.
  2. Has his attention also been drawn to projections contained in the same report which indicate an increase in the percentage of unemployment from 6 per cent in 1977-78 to about 10 per cent in 1984-85; if so, will he have the projections, and the assumptions upon which they are based, examined and advise whether they are in accordance with the projections of his Department.
Mr Viner:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes, my attention has been drawn to the Annual Report of the Australian Industries Development Association (AIDA) for 1977-78 and the projections of labour supply through to 1986 contained in it are not substantially different from those my Department made in its submission to the Study Group on Structural Adjustment, chaired by Sir John Crawford.
  2. My Department has made no projections of unemployment to 1984-85 and does not believe such projections would be useful because of the considerable scope for variation in the many assumptions which would have to be made.

Myopia (Question No. 3129)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 20 February 1979:

  1. Has he had a submission from Mr M. Brumer B.App.Sc. L.O.Sc, an optometrist, regarding his claim that myopia is being treated incorrectly and dangerously.
  2. If so, will he appoint a small committee of unbiased experts to look at Mr Brumer ‘s claims and report whether there should be further examination of the claims.
Mr Hunt:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) Yes, I have received representations from Mr Brume, and have advised him that he will need to convince the various State authorities responsible for the legislative control of the profession of optometry and his own professional colleagues of the benefits of these new treatment concepts before they will be accepted for general practice.
  2. I do not consider this to be a matter in which the Federal Government should become involved. It would seem more appropriate for a peer review committee with membership drawn from the academic members of the optometry profession to examine the claims made by Mr Brumer

Social Welfare Payments (Question No. 3137)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice:

  1. 1 ) Does it take several weeks to restore benefit payments suspended during investigation of administrative, technical or occupational details.
  2. Will the Minister ensure prompt action is taken to (a) provide quicker decision-making or (b) maintain pan payments during investigations to avoid the humiliation, fear and hardship which often results.
Mr Hunt:

– The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

Payments of pensions and benefits are generally suspended only where there is information suggesting that entitlement no longer exists or where the recipient has failed to supply information necessary for the determination of continuing entitlement. Payments are not suspended for administrative reasons.

The period of suspension may vary depending on the circumstances of the particular case but where payment is suspended, every effort is made to quickly resolve the question of continuing entitlement and to advise the beneficiary of the outcome. In some cases, however, where the beneficiary has failed to provide information despite at least two requests, the Department of Social Security will continue the suspension until the beneficiary supplies the necessary information.

In either of these situations it would not be proper administration for the Department of Social Security to continue payments in full or in part where there is doubt as to eligibility.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3156)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that his Department (a) investigate and report to him on possible ways of reporting suspect shipping and (b) compile an official register of ships failing to meet adequate equipment and safety standards for use by harbour authorities in routine inspections.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The recommendations made by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills are at present being closely studied by all those affected.

Initial reaction is that the report is a good report and the majority of recommendations appear to be acceptable.

I intend to make a full statement to the House in the near future as is the customary practice of this Government in relation to reports by Parliamentary Committees.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3157)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 21 February 1979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil should be equipped to respond to an estimated pollution threat calculated on the basis of the size and volume of shipping using Australian waters.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3158)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1 979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that the Commonwealth Government, at an international as well as national level, encourage the acceptance of compulsory pilotage for all oil tankers and other types of vessels over 10,000 tons in areas where detailed local knowledge is required for safe navigation.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3 156.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3159)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that he review, as a matter of urgency, the provision of navigation aids in hazardous areas, with particular reference to the addition of 2 telemetric tide gauges in the Torres Strait.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3160)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that the Commonwealth Government take immediate steps to enable Australian notification of the International Convention on Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3161)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that the Commonwealth Government increase the funds available for hydrography work in Australian coastal waters to hasten the upgrading of navigation charts.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3162)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that his Department in conjunction with State Governments and the oil industry establish a register containing information on oil cargoes and frequency and location of spillage.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Oil Spills (Question No. 3163)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1 979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that the Commonwealth Government encourage State Governments to amend their legislation to increase penalties for oil pollution of the sea.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Pollution of the Sea (Question No. 3164)

Mr Morris:

asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1 979:

What action has he taken to implement the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Conservation in its report on Oil Spills that his Department and the Department of Science and the Environment (identified in the Report as the Department of Environment, Housing and Community Development) hold discussions to consider the possibility of extending the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil to include pollution by other hazardous substances.

Mr Nixon:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Please see reply to question 3156.

Sugar (Question No. 3219)

Mr Chapman:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 2 1 February 1979:

  1. 1 ) Is it a fact that a substantial difference exists between the price of liquid sugar offered by the Queensland Government through CSR Limited for sale to brewers and that offered to soft drink manufacturers.
  2. Is a difference permitted under the Sugar Agreement.
  3. Is it his intention to seek any changes to these marketing arrangements.
Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) and (2) Australian sugar refineries, under contract to the Queensland Government, produce a wide range of sugar products, including a range of liquid sugars. Maximum prices for all such products are determined under the provisions of the Sugar Agreement 1975 between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments.

The product brewers liquid sugar, which is the product mostly used by brewers, is an intermediate syrup with a purity similar to raw sugar.

I understand that soft drink bottlers have never expressed serious interest in such liquid sugar, because it is technically unsuitable for soft drink products. Instead they use refined sugar.

Sale of sugar and sugar products at less than the maximum prices specified under the Sugar Agreement 1975 is permissible. The Queensland Sugar Board has sold brewers liquid sugar in the ‘fermentables’ market at prices less than those charged for amber liquid sugar in the ‘sweetener’ market and below the maximum determined under the provisions of the Agreement. Such pricing is a matter for the commercial judgement of the Board.

  1. The matter will be examined when the report of the Sugar Inquiry Committee is received.

Forestry (Question No. 3227)

Mr Jacobi:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 21 February 1979:

  1. 1 ) Can he say what area of forest in Australia is controlled or owned by oil companies.
  2. Is he also able to say which oil companies are involved in forestry and what is the size and location of each of their holdings.
Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. 1 ) No. My Department does not possess authoritative information on individual ownership or control of forest areas, land titles and land use being within the jurisdiction of State Governments or, in the case of the Commonwealth Territories, the relevant authorities of those Territories.
  2. See answer to ( 1 ).

Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (Question No. 3238)

Mr Burr:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 22 February 1979:

  1. 1 ) Does the Government propose to introduce a national dairy herd improvement scheme.
  2. If so, (a) will such a scheme involve only commercial bulls, (b) will the scheme be based on a central national computer and (c) what will be the cost per cow to the farmer.
Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) The current initiative to introduce a National Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (NDHIS) flows from the IAC 1975 Enquiry into the Dairy Industry. In its Report, 23 October 1975, the Commission commended the concept of an NDHIS and recommended, subject to the favourable outcome of a detailed benefit-cost study, that Commonwealth financial assistance be provided to facilitate the operation of such a scheme. Subsequently, 25 June 1976, a study by the Commission indicated favourable benefit-cost ratios, varying according to the level of farmer participation in the Scheme.

Following consideration of recommendations in the IAC Reports on the Dairy Industry and on Dairy Industry Marketing Arrangements, the then Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs, Mr Howard and myself jointly announced:

That the Commonwealth Government would be prepared to participate with State Governments in instituting a National Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme.

Broad proposals have since been put to the Australian Agricultural Council for a Scheme comprising: genetic improvement, through cow indexing, bull breeding and progeny testing, herd production and herd health management services, with, common to and linking these two major aspects: more economical herd recording through farmer collection of samples, the use of centralised milk testing stations, computer facilities to handle resulting data flows.

It is the view of the Standing Committee on Agriculture that herd health/management and production services should preferably be developed through States’ herd health programs. At their recent Meetings, January 1979, Standing Committee on Agriculture recommended and Council approved the formation of a Working Party to further develop the genetic improvement aspects of the proposed Australiawide Scheme. As a first step, the Working Party will be examining the staffing and funding arrangements necessary to complete the operational planning of the Scheme.

Broadcasting Licences

Dr Jenkins:

asked the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, without notice, on 9 November 1978:

Because of representations I have received, I refer the Minister for Post and Telecommunications to recent decisions of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal regarding three public broadcasting licences for Melbourne. I ask: Will the Tribunal publish reasons for giving licences? Are transcripts of the Tribunal’s hearings copyright to the Tribunal or are they available for public scrutiny? When will the next applications for public broadcasting licences be called?

Mr Staley:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The Tribunal is at present preparing a consolidated report on all its recent inquiries into applications for public broadcasting station licences.

Copies of this report, which will contain the Tribunal’s reasons for its decisions, will be available, when published, to members of the public.

Transcripts of the Tribunal’s hearings are protected by copyright. However, copies of transcripts are available for public examination at the Tribunal’s offices in all State capital cities. They may also be purchased from the Commonwealth Reporting Service.

No further applications for medium coverage public broadcasting licences will be invited in Melbourne until known demand for Category C, low coverage public licences in the capital cities, and for public broadcasting licences generally in provincial and country areas, has been met. Soon after the Government makes its decision on the development of commercial FM broadcasting, I expect to announce a timetable for the further invitation of applications for these types of licences.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 March 1979, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.