21st Parliament · 1st Session
The Deputy President (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that merchants in Tasmania have urgent orders from Sydney and Brisbane for 40,000 sacks of Tasmanian potatoes and cannot secure shipping to lift that quantity? What .steps are being taken to provide ships to lift that consignment 1 Is the Minister .aware .that up to 400,000 sacks of potatoes are still in Tasmania awaiting shipment? Can he indicate what steps the department is taking to deal with this accumulation during the next few weeks?
– The matter “was brought to my ‘notice yesterday, and I am informed that the ship Kamona will lift 12,000 sacks of Tasmanian potatoes for Newcastle and 7;000 sacks for Sydney. The traffic committee of the ^Shipping Control Board is -meeting to-day, and will -examine -the matter further to determine whether other ships can :be diverted to Tasmania to load potatoes.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Repatriation by stating that newspaper reports have stated that army nurses who served in World War I. are in dire need. The plight of many of them is a matter of grave concern. Will the Minister for Repatriation give the problem ‘ his personal attention and ascertain whether any help can ‘be given to nurses ‘who are urgently in need of hospital treatment?
– Various representations have if ii made to me on behalf of -nurses who .served in World War J. and they have received my earnest and sympathetic consideration. Difficulties arise, however, in dealing with only one section of persons who are designated in the Repatriation Act as members of the forces. A war nurse is a member of the farces under the act, and in that respect has equal status with male members of the forcer
– There are not many of them.
– No, but there is difficulty in dealing with one particular section. All members of the forces gave line service, and if one class is selected for special treatment, other sections are placed at a grave disadvantage. I assure the honorable senator that I have given the matter considerable thought and I am Still devoting much attention to it. I shall consider further whether anything can be done along the lines of the representations that have been made to me ;by Senator Hendrickson and others.
– I know that the Minister for Repatriation is aware that there is a grave shortage of accommodation at the Royal Repatriation Hospital in Hobart and that difficulty is being experienced in finding accommodation for patients entitled to admittance to it. Will the Minister say when it is proposed to construct .additional accommodation .for patients at this hospital ? What additional accommodation and extra facilities will be provided?
– The Repatriation Commission has been aware during the past few years that additional hospital bed accommodation is needed Et the Royal
Hobart Repatriation Hospital. This matter has been kept under constant review in the works programmes that nave been submitted each year, hut it .has not yet been possible for us to commence the work, owing to the unavailability *f a full work force. The works programmes of the Commonwealth and States have been .carefully considered each year, .but we have been unable to carry out all of the work that we should like to do. The
Hepatization Commission has been asked to submit definite proposals in relation to the extra bed accommodation that is required at the hospital in question, with a view to plans being prepared this year. It is hoped that a start will be made on the work in the next financial year. I point out that consideration is given each year to the general works programme, in order to decide what work can be gone on with in the current financial year.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Repatriation by pointing out that, during the campaign which preceded the recent election for the House of Representatives, Labour promised the people that, if elected, it would grant to all ex-servicemen the right to receive medical attention at a repatriation hospital without having first to prove that their disability was attributable to war service. Labour also promised that if accommodation was not available in repatriation hospitals, other suitable hospital treatment would be arranged for ex-servicemen. As the provisions of the various hospital insurance funds exclude many ex-servicemen and burntout diggers from benefits, will the Ministry Say whether the Government intends; to amend suitably the repatriation legislation?
– It is very difficult for me, in answering a question, to inform the honorable senator of the Government’s views on this matter. However, I assure him that this Government has granted to returned exservicemen and women the fullest possible benefits, not only by way of increased pensions and allowances, but also in relation to hospital treatment. The degree to which benefits may be liberalized further depends on Government policy. The matter will be gone into at a future date.
– As the Minister for Repatriation is no doubt aware, national service trainees who are seriously injured in the course of their duty arp admitted to repatriation general hospitals for treatment. Although they are entitled to compensation for loss due to such injuries, they are denied the benefit of recognized repatriation procedure and access to tribunals, which are. available to other military personnel who suffer injury. Will tha Minister consider making available to injured, national service trainees the well-tried repatriation method of assessment, instead of forcing these young men and their parents to institute proceedings before civil courts if satisfactory arrangements for compensation cannot be made with Treasury officials?
– I think that the question asked by the honorable senator should have been addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. I remind him that the Repatriation Department provides medical treatment for such trainees at the request of the Army. I shall discuss with the Minister for the Army the institution of an appeal system similar to that which exists for the benefit of other servicemen.
– I preface a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation by pointing out that the Kingsford-Smith aerodrome at Mascot, Sydney, is the twelfth largest international air terminal in the world, and handles more passengers and freight than any airport outside the United States of America. Last year, 892,790 passengers used Mascot. That number is about 3,000 more than the yearly average of London’s main airport. The overseas terminal building is a weatherboard structure with a fibro roof. It is painted a dirty battleship grey, and is surrounded by a number of poor quality corrugated iron shacks, which give it the appearance of a deserted military camp. The road approach to the airport is tortuous, and lies partly through a factory area which frequently smells to high heaven. Can the Minister inform me whether any proposals or plans exist for making the Mascot air terminal and its approach worthy of the importance of the City of Sydney and the Mother State of the Commonwealth ? If such proposals do exist, when can we expect some action on them? If. no proposals exist will the Minister examine the position with a. view to having some action taken urgently?
– I shall bring this matter to the notice of my colleague, the Minister, for Civil Aviation and obtain a reply for the honorable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health whether it is a fact that when the Lady Gowrie Child Centres were established in 1940, the Commonwealth grant for them was £20,000, and that to-day, despite the great increase of prices, the grant is only £30,000? Has the Minister’s attention been directed to the fact, that, in addition to exploring and demonstrating the best methods of child care and the education of children of preschool age, the Lady Gowrie centres are used for study and observation by students from university faculties of education, psychology, medicine, physical education and social studies, by teachers in training at teaching colleges and kindergarten training colleges, by nurses from nursing colleges, by committees associated with various types of child welfare work, and by individual parents seeking advice? In view of the difficulties in financing those centres, will the Minister consider increasing the Commonwealth grant to £50,000 to enable them to carry out thu programme originally planned?
– I shall be pleased to direct the attention of the Minister for Health to the honorable senator’s question, and I am sure that he will give it sympathetic consideration.
– On the 5th August. Senator Sandford asked a question without notice regarding the use of the guided weapons testing range at Woomera by the American Government. The Minister for Supply has furnished the following answer : -
The Australian Government welcomes close co-operation with the United States Government in matters relating to guided missiles, and there ha s al ready been an exchange of visits in this connexion, but any use of the Woomera Kang0 by the United States Government would require the consent of the Australian Government.
No such consent has been asked for and, so far as I am aware, no arrangements have been made between the British and American governments involving f’>” «< of Woomera by the United States authorities.
– Will the Minister for National Development say whether it is true that the Western Australian Government has claimed that it is entitled to use Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement moneys for the Subiaco flats project and that the Commonwealth has opposed its claim? Has the State government taken legal proceedings in- respect of the claim? Will the Minister say what is the present position?
–The answer to the first two questions is that such a claim was made by the State, the Commonwealth refused to agree to it, and litigation was commenced. I ask the honorable senator to put the third question on the notice-paper. Although I am sure a settlement has been reached, I should like to inform myself of the details of it before T make a definite statement on the ma ( tei1.
– Will the Minister for Shipping and Transport say whether an extra endeavour will be made during ti lis year to put the permanent way on the north-south railway line in reasonable running order? Is the Commonwealth Railways Department encountering any difficulty in obtaining enough men to maintain in decent running order the long sections of line between sidings on that railway? The service provided on the train commonly known as the Ghan is, in my opinion, equal to that provided on any other train in Australia, but the road is a disgrace.
– I am sure tho Senate was pleased to hear Senator Critchley’s comment on the Ghan. The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner and his men are doing a first-class job. The real obstacle in the way of maintaining the track of the north-south railway and parts of the east-west railway in good order is a lack of labour. There is a great shortage of labour in South Australia. I have been told that the Commonwealth Railways Department and other departments could employ another 3,000 men in that State. In the desert, work is harder than in settled areas, and there are fewer amenities. Men prefer to take jobs in the towns, where conditions are better and a certain amount of overtime is available because of the shortage of labour. The Commonwealth Railways Commissioner is doing his best. He is keeping in touch with the Department of Immigration with a view to obtaining men to do work that Senator Critchley has said is urgently needed.
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General aware that the wooden rails placed outside the General Post Office in Perth for the convenience of women with prams are very steep and difficult to use? Will he request the Postmaster-General to consider either the erection of a less steeply graded ramp or the provision of strong handrails to facilitate the use of the ramp by women with prams?
– I shall be pleased to bring the question to the notice of the Postmaster-General and ask him to give a considered reply as soon as possible.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the Senate whether any recent survey has been made of world rice production, with particular regard to the fact that the rich rice-producing lands of the Red River Delta in Indo-China have now passed into Communist control, thus enabling the Communists to exercise a tremendous economic influence over Japan and other countries which formerly obtained their supplies of rice from that area? Can the Minister say whether this new economic and diplomatic situation is likely to create new markets for Australian rice, and if so can he report on the ability of the industry to supply increasing quantities of rice to these new markets? Have the successful ricegrowing experiments that were conducted at. the Ord River research station in the Kimberleys District of Western Australia established the fact that that area could make a substantial conribution to the meeting of any new demand? Has it been established that parts of the Northern Territory could produce rice for export? Could production in the Murray River irrigation area be rapidly increased by lifting the acreage limit that is now imposed on each producer?
– The points raised by the honorable senator are of very great importance. I know that the Department of Commerce and Agriculture has taken a special interest in this problem. I suggest that the honorable senator put his question on the notice-paper, and I shall obtain a considered reply for him.
– I wish to preface a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister by stating that the Commonwealth Government, during 1952, 1953 and 1954 granted £5,000 per annum to the Australian Federal Council of the Boy Scouts Association. These grants have now expired. Tasmania has been greatly helped by the sum of £1,425 which, it received as its share of the grants. Will the Prime Minister consider renewing the grant for a further three years and, in the light of changing circumstances and added responsibilities, will he consider increasing it to £10,000 per annum? Australia, being the principal scout country in this part of the world, is expected by the International Scout Bureau to play a more important and active part in the development and extension of the movement within it, sphere of influence.
– As a former boy scout myself I am fully conscious of the splendid work that this organization does for the youth of Australia. I shall be happy to place the honorable senator’s proposition before the Prime Minister. I suggest that he place the question on the notice-paper, and I shall have an answer supplied to him in duo course.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs take steps to ensure that equipment such as machinery and tractors that are sent overseas as contributions tinder the Colombo plan have affixed to them in the language of ‘the country in which they are to be used, and in a prominent place, an inscription -to the effect that the article is a gift from the Australian people to their friends in the country in question?
– In the a’bsence of the Attorney-General, I will ask the honorable senator to place his question on the notice-paper, but I believe that his proposal is already being put into effect.
– Has the attention of the Minister for National .Development been drawn to the fact that a factory area at St. Marys, 30 miles from Sydney, on the great western highway, which was to be a pattern for Australia’s decentralized industries, is rapidly becoming an industrial white elephant? Is it a fact that governmental authorities, which have procrastinated and broken their promises, and which have withdrawn or failed to provide essential services, are preventing its development? Is it a fact that what was intended as a modern town is still a collection of huts which have been made into makeshift factories, and which are decaying for want of maintenance? Will the Government refer these serious allegations to the Public Accounts Committee for investigation and report?
– I have read the newspaper article to which the honorable senator referred. It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have been out to the St. Mary’s industrial establishment from time to time. We are keeping the establishment in reasonable repair and are carrying out painting as and when required. However, we have a big problem on our hands. The area was appropriated as an industrial area prior to the outbreak of the cold war, .our defence advisers holding the view that, because of the industrial capacity of the establishment, it was necessary to retain it. A very substantial capital investment is involved, and it would be uneconomic to discontinue its use as a defence establishment and build another msc Many considerations, other than that of pure finance, are involved. T shall not attempt to foretell the actual decision which the Government will make.
– Is there :any possibility of the Government closing it .down, as it did with Glen Davis?
– The St. Mary’s establishment is not a white ‘elephant, as was the Glen Davis refinery. I hope to have a decision in .the ‘matter as soon as possible, although it “will be by no means an easy decision to make.
– Will the Minister for National Development inform the Senate “whether it is a fact that before the recent general election -for the House of Representatives, he met a deputation at St. Marys and that the members of the deputation referred to him information about deterioration that was taking place in that centre ? Is it a fact that the Minister informed the deputation that any such complaints at ;that time would embarrass the Government, and that if the residents remained silent about them, something would be done to assist them after the election ? If that is correct, does the Minister intend to honour his promise ?
– Strange ‘things happen at election times and strange statements are made. Senator Ashley should be quite an authority on that matter. I should say that the strangest statements that ever emanated from an election campaign came from the honorable senator and the Labour party during the last general election. As to the questions he has asked, which are based upon a newspaper report, I did go to St. Marys sometime before the election campaign and had been there previously. Discussions took place about repairs and the policy that was to be adopted with regard to St. Marys. I have some recollection that those who met me said that the -time was opportune to get something done as an election campaign was approaching. They suggested that that was -the time when they might get .some promises. .[ have no recollection, however, of the statement that has been attributed to ran by the newspaper concerned.
– I preface a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture by stating that a -paragraph appeared in -the newspaper West Australian on the 3rd August purporting to have been sent from Sydney to the effect that a firm was seeking 50,000 Australian pigs for despatch to Britain in the form of pig meat to fill a £5,000,000 contract. The firm concerned was reported to be Westgoods Proprietary Limited and the meat was to sell at 3s. per lb. sterling undercutting Eire, Denmark and Holland. I have made inquiries from wool and meat producing firms in Sydney and Western Australia and none of them can give me any information about Westgoods Proprietary Limited. Has the Minister any information about its identity and if sowill he supply it to me so that I can inform pig raisers in Western Australia?
– I shall obtain any information that is available from the Department of Commerce and Agriculture and furnish it to the honorable senator.
-I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture regarding deputations that he received with regard to assistance to the berry fruits industry. When can an announcement on that matter be expected ?
– The matter has been under active consideration, with numerous other similar requests, and I hope to be able to make an announcement shortly.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– I have the following information in reply to the honorable senator : -
The functions of the two temporary special committees is self-evident from their titles. The three permanent committees are complementary and deal with different phases of the common objective of obtaining a higher degree of road safety by:
The following are indicative of these achievements: -
Road Safety. - Since the inception of the Australian Road Safety Council, the ratio of fatalities to registered vehicles has been progressively lowered, dropping from12.75 per10,000 registered vehicles in 1947-48 to 10.00 in1953-54. In human terms this favorable trend means that over 2,000 Australian men, women and children are alive to-day who might otherwise have fallen victim to road accidents and 40,000 have been spared from personal injury. Moreover, for the three years ended 31March,1954 the aggregate fatality figure has dropped from 2,000 in 1952 to1,877 in 1954 notwithstanding an increase of 384,000 in Australia’s vehicle fleet. Based on estimated distance travelled or number of vehicles opera ting, our roads are safer to-day than ever before.
Australian Motor Vehicle Standards Committee. - Of approximately 200 items of standards finalized to date in respect of
Much matters as vehicle dimensions, weights, lighting and braking performance and other mechanical efficiencies, agreement has been reached, almost in entirety, by all States and Territories. These standards in the form of draft regulations are at present in in process of being printed for distribution to local and overseas administration authorities, vehicle manufacturers and operating organizations. Many of the standards have already been put into effect, whilst others are awaiting incorporation in State and Territorial legislation as the opportunity presents.
Australian Road Traffic Code Committee. - Substantial progress has been made towards the drafting of a national code and a progress report is about to be printed. Major items dealt with, which have been approved by the Australian Transport Advisory Coun cil for adoption throughout the Commonwealth, include penalties for major traffic offences, speed limits, right-hand turns, rules governing approaches to intersections, qualificatons of drivers, pedestrians’ behaviour, &c.
The committee has drawn up a plan which has been adopted by all States for the introduction of uniform conditions throughout the Commonwealth for overseas motorists visiting Australia. The plan covers such matters as recognition of overseas driving licences, period of free registration for the motor vehicle, third party insurance, thus dispensing with the need (as at present applies) for compliance with the varying requirements of each individual State entered.
The Committee has also examined the U.N. Convention on road traffic, designed to improve road safety, to provide for world standardization of rules of the road and driving requirements, and to facilitate the movement of international motor traffic. Following upon the adoption of the Committee’s recommendations by all States and Territories, steps are now being taken for Australia to sign the convention.
Australian Road Safety Council. - The Council will continue its nation-wide programmes embracing all sections of road users. Its activities will be directed towards the fundamental weaknesses in road behaviour revealed by statistical and other evidence. Special emphasis will be given to the education of children in sound roadaccidentprevention principles and also to achieving still closer collaboration with traffic police, educationists and commercial interests willing to assist the life-saving campaign.
Australian Road Traffic Code Committee. - The Committee is continuing with its review of existing legislation and has still a number of important matters to consider, including uniformity and procedure in regard to motor vehicle registration and visiting vehicles (interstate and overseas), certain aspects of insurance and anti-theft measures, fitness of vehicles, &c.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply -
– The following information has been supplied in reply to the honorable senator : -
Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) agreed to -
That Standing Order68 be suspended up to and including Friday, the 13th August next, to enable new business to be commenced after 10.30 p.m.
Debate resumed from the 11th August (vide page 167), on motion by Senator O’Sullivan -
That the following paper be printed: -
.- I thank the Senate for the courtesy that has been extended to me to allow me to continue my speech upon the important matter of foreign affairs. In my opinion, no discussion upon the position in South-East Asia as it affects Australia could be conclusive unless we include Japan. In World WarI., the Japanese were our Allies. History shows that, after that war, the financial interests behind the cotton and textile industries of Great Britain invested capital in Japan to build up Japanese industries. The Japanese textile industry was built up, as we found to our cost, when Japanese textiles began to flood Australia in the early 1920’s, to the detriment of our own slowly-growing textile industry. In World War II., Japan was not on our side, and of course British investment in Japanese industries ceased. That investment was not resumed at the end of World War II., because Britain was left without funds. One of the most tragic features of World War II. apart, of course, from the tragic loss of human life, was the loss of Britain’s external investments in the days when Britain required all its resources to stand alone in the fight. Britain’s balance of payments position has never recovered.
In the early post-war years America went into Japan not only to “ democratize “ it - I think that is the word they used - but also to resuscitate Japanese industries. And what is the position to-day? Japan is buying approximately £80j000,000 worth of Australian goods a year, but we in return are buying only about £5,000,000 worth of Japanese goods. No one will suggest that the balance of payments between any two trading countries must be maintained exactly, but the fact remains that Japan to-day is finding it impossible to sell all the goods that it is producing. No government of this country, in spite of the clamour in some sections of the press, will tear down the trade barriers that have been erected to protect our industries, and allow our markets to be flooded by Japanese goods. Our imports from Japan consist mainly of textiles, china and glassware, all of which are also manufactured in this country or are imported from Great Britain. This matter surely is above party politics involving as it does, not only the preservation of our economy, but also our national safety. Each of us, of course, is entitled to his own views, and no doubt some people will not agree with the views that I am expressing, but I am sure no one will deny my right to state honestly what I believe. I believe that Japan must go with Asia. We cannot allow Japanese goods to flood our markets because if we do our textile industry will fold up as it did in the cotton-spining towns of Great Britain after World War I. But if we do not allow Japanese goods to come into this country, what will happen in Japan? Unemployment, misery, and poverty must result, and those conditions are, of course, the breeding ground of communism the world over.
Australians, generally, find it difficult to be lenient towards Japan. Many of us have not forgotten what happened in World War II. Indeed, probably more than a generation will pass before the memories of the brutalities perpetrated by Japanese nationals are erased from the minds of the Australian people. I can see very little hope of the Western Powers keeping Japan unless we are prepared - and I mean not only Australia but also Great Britain and particularly the United States of America from which country came the money to rebuild Japanese industries - are prepared to buy Japanese goods. Unless those goods ar, bought the consequent misery and suffering must give rise to communism. Japan must trade with Communist China, a nation of 600,000,000 people and friendship will grow with trade. That may take a long time in view of what Japan did in Manchuria prior to World War II., hut trade has a happy knack of overcoming personal and national differences. I am very apprehensive. I totally disagreed with the treaty with the Japanese that was forced upon this country and signed by the Prime Minister in the name of Australia. It has been termed a “ soft “ treaty, and that is true. I recall reading in an American newspaper - I think it was the Christian Science Monitor - that our Prime Minister, who was at that time attending a conference in New York, had said he was very much afraid of the Japanese Peace Treaty, particularly in regard to long-range naval vessels. But it is not much use any one saying he is afraid of a treaty after he has signed it. Nothing is more conducive to the growth of communism than a. lack of the ordinary things that make life worth while. In support of that contention I recall to the minds of honorable senators happenings in this country in the years between 1930 and 3935. In those days, in Melbourne and in other cities, men marched under the banner of communism, foolishly believing that communism could cure unemployment and its attendant evils.
A classical example of such thinking is to be found in Italy to-day. Surely there is no country in the world where there should be fewer Communist votes than in Italy with its deep religious traditions, but at the last elections in that country, nearly 9,000,000 Communist votes were cast. We cannot expect the people of South-East Asia, or anywhere else to support a system, call it democracy or anything else, unless that system can provide them with at least the necessaries of life. I am extremely apprehensive about what will happen in Japan during the next few years. I cannot believe the Japanese will be allowed to trade with this country to such a degree as to balance the £S0,000,000 they spend with us each year, mostly in wool. If they cannot sell their goods to iia, they will not continue to buy from us to the same extent as now. Those are the views I hold on Japan.
I turn to another part of Asia. We have read that aircraft from Formosa are bombing the mainland of China. Do honorable senators believe that the women of this country will allow their menfolk to fight for the retention of Formosa by Chiang Kai-shek? I do not believe they will. I do not believe the people of this country will want to fight to bolster something that is rotten. I am afraid that our friends, the Americans - I allude to them as our friends because I think they are - would be in a very awkward predicament if Chinese forces from the Chinese mainland invaded Formosa. I cannot believe the people on the mainland of China who are being bombed do not want to retaliate.
In that respect, I suppose human nature is more or less the same in every country. Will the South-East Asia Treaty Organization oblige us to go to the assistance of Chiang Kai-shek if Chinese from the mainland attack Formosa? I should be very unhappy if we were required to do so, because I do not believe that Formosa, as it is to-day, is worth one Australian life. I say that with a. certain amount of feeling.
– I do not think that i.< contemplated.
– I was delighted with the speech that was made last night by Senator Gorton. I think I have said that until just after World War I., hardly anybody in this country took an interest in international affairs. We were “ down under “. If there was fighting in Europe, we did our share of it as a part of the British Empire, but the conflict was remote from us. Now it is right on our front doorstep. I am delighted that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has said now that any arrangements made under the South-East Asia Treaty Organization will be discussed, by this Parliament. That does not mean that any arrangements made will be altered by the Parliament. We have sufficient experience to know that they would be altered only if the Government so desired. But we shall have the privilege of being informed of any arrangements that’ are made. I say with great respect to Senator Gorton that the statement made by the Prime Minister does not. support his interjection. To me, the right honorable gentleman’s statement sounded like rattling the sabre. It is true he said that we should never attack any country unless we were attacked first. I liked the statement of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) better than that of the Prime Minister, because he tried to get down to the roots of the problem. To u;y mind, the trouble in South-East Asia is due fo the fact that conditions exist there which are a breeding ground for communism.. Speaking generally, communism thrives only in places where men and women are deprived of the things that make life worth while.
Recently, I read an. article on Malaya in the New Statesman and Nation. I do not ask any one to believe everything, he reads. One of the difficulties’ that faces any one who takes more than an ordinary interest in world events to-day is to find a publication that presents factual reports and does not favour one side or the other unduly. I believe the New Statesman and Nation gets its information about Asia from a man named Russell, who has written a book on the situation there, and from the South-East Asia correspondent of the Manchester Guardian. Whatever we may say about the New Statesman and Nation, I think all of us have some respect for the Manchester Guardian, which is one of the most responsible newspapers in the world. Some honorable senators have suggested that the reason for a lot of the trouble in South-East Asia is the activities of Communist China. According to what I have read,, the Chinese, to a degree, are taking an active interest in the terrorist movement in Malaya. Of course, in that country most of the Chinese live ofl’ the work of others. As storekeepers and merchants, they exercise a large control over the business affairs of Singapore, the main city of Malaya. Indeed, it has been stated that about four-fifths of the population of Singapore to-day are of Chinese origin. According to articles that have been written about conditions on the rubber plantations in Malaya, the workers are now receiving in real wages about 21 per cent, less than they received in 1939. However lowly those people may be considered to be here, or even by other people in their own land, I believe that they constitute the greater portion of the guerilla force, because they consider that they have something to warrant their taking a risk and fighting for. As long as that state of affairs continues, we shall be up against it.
The last thing that I want to see is the sending of our troops into Malaya. If they were sent there, I should ask myself “ “What does that mean? Are they going in there only to continue the role of the troops already there?” Senator Wedgwood will be interested to hear that, according to the information I have read on the subject, there are three divisions of British troops in Malaya. Another honorable senator stated last night that so far we have not even one division. There are also 20,000 regular police and 60,000 emergency police in Malaya. Let us consider the position in our own country. I read a report in one of our leading newspapers last week that the membership of the Australian Communist party had fallen very greatly in recent years. Obviously, the workers of Australia reject communism when they are provided with good living conditions. I was delighted to read this paragraph in the statement by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey) -
The most serious error we could commit would be to believe that the vital problem of Asia can be solved by military means alone, and (o neglect the psychological and economic aspects of the problem. If we look to the psychological and economic aspects we see that most, of the peoples of Asia are extremely sensitive about their colonial past and suspicious of anything suggesting Western, interference in their affairs.
Therefore, the problem is not an easy one for the present Government to solve; neither would it be easy for any other government, irrespective of political colour. In 1949, a hint was given to the then Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, that Australian troops should, garrison Malaya. Such help was refused. I firmly believe that the moment, we start to send any body of troops into that country Australia may as well get ready to go on to a full war footing. I shall continue to oppose, both in the Senate and in outside organizations, the sending of Australian troops into Malaya. We must consider whether we would win if our troops went there. We have not done too well up to date. E do not say that with any pleasure, because I am as keen as any young man who is here now, or has ever been here, to save this country. Of course, I agree that wc should discuss such matters at all times with the United States of America because, as I have said before, we are under a great debt of gratitude to the Americans for what they did for us. Should war come in the future, I believe that there would be no hope of our salvation without their aid. I am not decrying Great Britain in any way, but we are the ones liable to suffer.
Some people think that we are a long way from the trouble centres, and that Japan is a long way off. Of course, it is true that the Japanese would have to get here, and they could not walk on the water. But I do not want even to think of their coming here. After all, we have our own troubles in Australia. Unfortunately, some people view our White Australia policy only from a racial aspect. The Australian Labour party approaches the subject from an economic point of view. We do not want to see them come to Australia and smash down conditions that have been fought for and won over the years. We have only to remember what has happened in Fiji. When I was in that country a few years ago, I was told by a representative of the Fijian workers at a sugar mill that their conditions had deteriorated after an influx of Indians into the industry. I believe that a similar situation would develop in Australia if Japanese were permitted to come here. We should be above determining such matters on colour. When all is said and done, if we really believe in Christianity we should not think that because a man is black or brown he should be debarred from enjoying good living conditions. The Australian Labour party does not believe that he should, and I suppose I can claim to have done some work over the years to help to put some of our beliefs into the party’s platform. The reason why we oppose any breaking down of the White Australia policy is that we believe that that would result in a worsening of the economic conditions of our people. I shall conclude by saying, that never before have 1 been privileged to take part in a debate of such importance to this country. It is very vital. I sincerely believe that every honorable senator who has participated in the debate has stated his honest opinion on the best method by which we can save this country. I urge the Government to give this matter very careful consideration before deciding to send our troops to Malaya; to do all that is humanly possible within our own financial ambit; and to strengthen, our own defences. As much as I should love to have the day arrive when honest talks could take place around a table in order to stop the waste of millions of pounds in armaments, I do not believe that that time has arrived. It would be foolish of us not to take whatever defence measures we can within our capacity, but I trust that the first thought of the Government will be to keep our own men away from the battlefields of Asia.
. - in reply - The statement now being debated is probably the most important statement that has been made by the leader of a government in peace-time. Honorable senators were quite within their rights in debating at large Australia’s position in the world. But although most honorable senators opposite made interesting contributions to the debate, for th, most part their remarks would have been more appropriate to the debate on the paper presented by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Casey).
– When will the Senate debate that?
– It will be placed on the notice-paper and will not be taken off until every honorable senator, within reason, has been satisfied.
In order to bring the debate back into perspective, I should like to quote the following section, of the Prime Minister’s (Mr. Menzies) statement : -
In the. past it has been one of the traditions of Australian government that commitments are not accepted in advance; that such matters are for determination of the Government and Parliament if and when the event of war occurs.
The final proposition of the seven that were submitted by the Prime Minister in his statement is very important, and I was rather disappointed that honorable senators opposite did not make clear their position in relation to it. The Prime Minister’s seventh proposition reads as follows : -
W>! cannot properly put forward these principles of foreign policy and enter into mutual arrangements with other nations unless we arc prepared to support them with arms, with men, with ships and instruments of war. with supplies, as we, in our turu, would wish them to support us.
The Senate, the people of Australia and, I have no doubt, the people of the whole world, are anxious to know the attitude of the Austraiian Labour party to the seventh proposition of the Prime Minister. Excellent sentiments have been expressed by Opposition senators but there could be ambiguity in their statements. When the motion before the Senate is finally put, honorable senators on both sides of the chamber will be able to declare themselves, and indicate without equivocation whether they endorse the propositions of the Prime Minister or reject them. I believe that the propositions will be endorsed in their entirety and with unanimity because they express the sentiments of the Australian people. I agree with Senator Gorton that it is most desirable in matters of defence and foreign affairs that we should narrow the points of difference between the Government and the Opposition as much as we can. There is no reason why that should not be done because it is our people, our children, and our homes that are the concern of honorable senators on both sides of the chamber. It would be absurd for any intelligent man to allege that the members of one political party love their children more than do the members of another. We are faced with what is essentially a common problem and, just as we stood as one people when the country was scourged in two world wars, so, if the world is scourged again in a third world war, we shall be a shining example of unity, standing as one people in defence of a common interest.
Senator McKenna and Senator Kennelly mentioned Japan. Without wishing to be invidious, I emphasize that honorable senators on this side of the chamber have no more reason to like the Japanese than have Opposition senators. On our side of the chamber, as on the other side, many honorable senators havebeen in personal conflict with the Japanese. Quite a few have been victims of the barbarity of the Japanese, including one Cabinet Minister. But we cannot solve the problems which face the world at present by living in the past. The Government is not, and never will be, unmindful of the possible aggressive resurgence of Japan. At the same time we appreciate the importance of denying the tremendous potential of Japanese population and industry to the Communists. The difficulties that confront the free world in devising for Japan a viable scheme within the Western economy are terrific. There is no simple answer to the problem. Whatever the solution, it will be fraught with danger. But we must bear in mind that America suffered more in the loss of man-power and infinitely more in the loss of material wealth in the fight against the Japanese than did Australia. It would be idle and irrational to assume that America is unmindful of the sacrifices that were made to effect the subjugation and defeat of Japan, or that the Americans are less mindful than we are of the possibility of Japanese resurgence. On the other side of the picture, is the danger to the free world if Japan were encouraged to turn its back on the free world and join the camp of the Communists. But that is rather a matter for debate on the statement presented by the Minister for External Affairs. I should like to confine my remarks to the preface and the conclusion of the statement made by the Prime Minister. The Leader of the Opposition contended that we should not take unilateral action, but that we should aim at universal disarmament. That matter was dealt with very clearly in the statement of the Prime Minister (Mt. Menzies). We have no ideas of territorial aggression, nor are we jealous or envious of any other people. Never has this country been guilty of aggression, and never may it be. This is what the Prime Minister said with regard to our desire for universal peace -
Australia will co-operate to the full with the other nations of the Commonwealth and with the United Nations, so that war may be abandoned as an instrument of policy.
The Leader of the Opposition also mentioned, and very properly, that we must have friends. That point, too, was dealt with in the Prime Minister’s statement, when he said -
Honorable members will not need to be persuaded by mc that for us, as a democratic nation vitally at risk in these seas, to expect our great friends to accept commitments while our own attitude remained tentative and conditional, would be utterly inconsistent with the intelligence, character and record of our country.
In other words, we must be prepared to return, perhaps even in more generous measure, the loyalty, strength and support, which we expect from our friends in the event of adversity overtaking us. As the Prime Minister has said, it would be quite contrary to our background, history and tradition if we were to say, “If anything happens to us, we expect you to come to our aid, but if anything happens to you, skip it. We are not mates. You cannot depend on us “. To the extent that we expect loyalty, we should be prepared to give it. If one thing has characterized Australians more than another and made us envied by other people it is, perhaps, our capacity for mateship “. Such mateship we can, and I am sure will, extend to our friends in their difficulties.
Another matter referred to by the Leader of the Opposition, and also mentioned by Senator Kennelly, was that the Parliament and the people should be informed of the nature of the commitments to be undertaken. In the scheme of things, it is obviously impossible for the Government to say categorically what those commitments are or are likely to be. Any suggestion that it should do so is fantastic. Matters of that kind have to be worked out at one or more conferences. In that regard, the Prime Minister stated -
The nature of those commitments must be worked out in consultation with the other parties to the treaty. What they will involve in terms of military preparation nobody can as yet say, though as soon as negotiations have proceeded far enough we shall take the House and the country fully into our confidence.
Nothing could be more explicit than that.
The Prime Minister would have to be soothsayer or a prophet to be able to say in advance what our commitments will be.
The Leader of the Opposition also stated that we should not be “triggerhappy “. Nothing could be further from the truth than the suggestion that we are “ trigger-happy “. He contended, too, that there should be a conference to ascertain whether, in fact, aggression had taken place, and, if so, who the aggressor was. I remind the honorable senator that we are now living in a different kind of -world from that which existed even before World War II. broke out. After the outbreak of World War I., and to a lesser degree after the outbreak of World War II., a long period of time elapsed before our men were actually in combat. In the case of World War I., that period extended from August, 1’J14, to April, 1915. We thus had a reasonable time in which to mobilize, train and equip our troops. But if and when a third world war scourges the world, and there is brought into play all the frightful ingenuity with which man has devised atom and hydrogen bombs and other diabolical instruments of destruction, the result of the war could be determined in a matter of weeks, if not days. What then would be the good of holding a conference? A post-mortem might be held, perhaps, if any corpses could be found, but a conference to determine where the aggression lay would be completely unreal.
The President of the United States of America, Mr. Eisenhower, stated recently that America would never engage in a preventive war. Neither will Australia. It is not in our character to do .so, but if we are to survive, we must have the wherewithal to protect ourselves.
– Would it not be wise for us to prepare our airfields now?
– Of course. I am not a strategist, but it .seems to me that airfields, in the scheme of things, are most important. However, I prefer to be guided by defence experts, who have made a long study of the subject, on the form that our defence preparations should take.
We must appreciate that the conflict which is dividing the world to-day is not between two economic systems, capitalism and communism or socialism. It is not a conflict for territory, nor is it one for the riches of the world. As the Prime Minister pointed out, it is a conflict for the spirit and the soul of man. In this fight it is imperative that we of the Christian tradition should draw upon the rich spiritual background and resources which 2,000 years of Christian tradition have given us. It is a fight between those who wish to destroy Christianity and those who wish to preserve it. ‘The conflict will never be decided by arms alone. With the resources at our disposal, we must enter into the contest for the souls and minds of men. As I have said, we have a rich heritage on which to draw. The process may, and probably will, be a long one. In the meantime, not only by words, but also by deeds, we must let the underprivileged peoples of the world see that we are not unmindful of our obligations to them and are prepared to contribute in a practical way towards their uplift and the betterment of their way of life. It would be the height of folly for us to rely entirely on the soft words of the Communists. We remember to our sorrow the promise of Hitler after Munich, when he said, “ I have no further territorial ambitious in Europe “. Yet, within a matter of weeks, Czechoslovakia was enslaved by Hitlerism. We have had many assurances from the Communists that they want peace, and yet there is no peace. Who are the disturbers of the world to-day? Are they Great Britain or the United States of America or our own people? The disturbance of peace comes only from the Kremlin and those who are directed from it. In the meantime, although we must accept out responsibility to work and strive for peace, we must bo sufficiently strong to ensure that atheistic communism is not forced upon us by military aggression. At the same time, we have no desire to force our faiths and ideologies upon other people at the point of the sword. We must be strong and have powerful friends to ensure thatwe do not fall victim to Communist aggression. Our chance of survival lies in strength and co-operation, in the preservation of decency, justice and charity.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from the 11th August (vide page 144), on motion by Senator Annabelle Rankin -
That the following Address- in-Reply , to the
Speech of His Excellency the GovernorGeneralhe agreed to: -
May it please Your Excellency:
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia., in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
, - When the debate on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply was adjourned, Senator Hannaford had made an interesting contribution in which he referred to what is known as the Pollard wheat plan. He described it as an irresponsible and reckless proposal. The plan, which was mentioned frequently during the recent genera] election campaign, provides for a stabilization scheme.
– Was any sold toNew Zealand?
SenatorO’BYRNE.- As to that, the only successful wheat plan that was adopted in Australia was introduced by aLabour government. It put the wheatgrowers on their feet. Farmers have never been less free of theburden of mortgages. Their homesteads are more comfortable than they have ever been before. The equipment they use is of the highest standard and their farms show the benefit. Because of the stabilization plan that was introduced by a Labour government, they were able to look to the futurewith confidence. They could improve their properties and raise their families in security.No matter what was the world price they had stability in the industry despite the problems that constantly confront the men on the land. Primary producers have everything against them. The Collins-street farmers are constantly trying to wring every possible penny from them. They have to face droughts, fires and floods and wage a continual war against pests. It is to the credit of the Australian farmer* that they are able to hold their own in that battle. If the farmers had to mortgage their properties in the past, the Collins-street farmers took a share. Before the war, many farms were mortgaged, and prices bore no proper relation to the cost of production. Country residents were isolated, yet they continued to stay on the landbecause the soil was in their blood.
The wheat-farmers are the first to feel the impact of the instability that emerges from this Government’s economic policy. TheLabour Government improved the lot of the farmersbecause without the primary producers Australia has no substantial background. It is all very well for speculators to manipulate oil and uranium shares on the stock exchange. That is all froth and bubble. The men who bring substance to our economy are the farmers. It is the responsibility of every government to ensure security for our staple commodities and for those who produce them. At present, Australia is in a phase of temporary prosperity because one section of our primary industries is prosperous. If it were not for wool, there would be more panic than there is at present, and I know that panic does exist among dairy farmers, wheatgrowers, sugar-growers and most other branches of primary industry in Australia. The outlook for future sales of those products is uncertain. The good old merino sheep is carrying the burden for Australia, yet selfish interests approach honorable senators and others in an endeavour to have the ban on the export of Merino rams lifted. They claim that South Africa could not grow sheep like ours even witu the use of our rams, because the soil is different, Nevertheless, those who have opposed the export of merino rams have stood against the selfishness, mostly of wealthy men, who want to add to their estates. They have plenty of assets for their immediate needs let they want to expand their wealth at the expense of Australia. I am glad that wisdom has prevailed during the term of office of governments of every political colour, and that they have maintained the ban on the export of merino rams.
– How would we have managed if we had not been able to import stud stock from Great Britain?
– We are not so interested in stud cattle that are brought from Great Britain. Cattle-raising is a side line. The great asset of this country is its ability to produce merino wool of the highest quality. It was obtained only by a fluke of nature. By breeding from the Spanish merino and Silesian breeds, combined with the Rambouillet and Vermont breeds, we have obtained the Australian Wanganella Peppin breed which gives the Australian merino its great characteristics. Because we have that breed, we should be able to meet any competition. I mention the wool-growers to show how lucky we have been that the price of wool has been maintained. It has allowed Australia to continue to live on a high level of prosperity. That may be lost. I would like to see the wool-growers continue to get good prices. Recently I visited Western Queensland after an absence of ten years and I was delighted to note the great work that had been done towards the improvement of sheep stations in that area. The improvements include supplies of water, protection from fire and the planting of trees. Those improvements have been made during a period of prosperity and security in the wool industry.
– There has been no stabilization plan for wool but it is a prosperous industry.
– Wool has had an advantage over wheat. Any country can produce wheat. I read recently a report that the Russians are inviting their people to go on the land and grow wheat. Sir
John Teasdale is asking Australian wheat-growers to restrict wheat acreages because they are faced with a crisis. Wheat lands are more plentiful throughout the world than wool-growing areas, and the quality of wheat is more even than the quality of wool. The shortage of wool during the war years, its extensive use in uniforms and the great demand that has arisen in countries that have obtained self-government and have discarded loin cloths for clothes, have ensured a good market for Australian wool. The same advantages do not apply to wheat. The Pollard plan is designed to cover ten years and to ensure that the wheat-farmers shall have an immediate and certain market for their product.
Sitting suspended from 12.J/J5 to 2. IB p.m.
– During the luncheon adjournment I heard in a broadcast over the national stations that Australia might have an adverse trade balance this year. That gives emphasis to my argument about primary industries. I am a strong supporter of the wheat plan propounded by the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) and adopted by the Labour party as its official policy at the last election. I shall conclude my remarks on this subject by mentioning a few of the main points of Labour’s plan. Then, at some future date, when honorable senators opposite find themselves on this side of the chamber as a result of their misdeeds, they will realize that they can attribute their fate in some measure at least to their failure to implement a plan such as this. Unless the Government agrees to implement Labour’s plan in principle, it will be betraying the wheat-growers and reducing our ability to maintain a balance of payments in our trade with other countries. Labour’s plan is for a stabilization scheme for a period of ten years from the 1953-54 season up to the 1962-63 season. For the present season the home-consumption price would remain 14s. a bushel hulk, f.o.r. ports. For the remaining years of the plan the growers would be paid the found cost of production plus a premium of ls. 6d. a bushel to be paid by the Commonwealth. Last year, while I was travelling through the United States of America, I found that many primary producers were seeking price subsidies from the Government of that country. American primary industries were finding it increasingly imperative to have some such cushion so that steady production could be maintained and so that farmers could be given confidence in their jobs. One of the main aims of the Pollard plan is to give to the wheat-growers of Australia confidence in the future of wheat-growing, their chosen agricultural pursuit, and the purpose for which their land is most suitable. For the first five years of the plan, that is, from 1953-54 to 1957-58, the wheatgrowers would be guaranteed a minimum of 14s. a bushel for all wheat for Australian consumption. For the second five years of the plan, 1958-59 to 1962-63, the return to wheat-farmers for homeconsumption wheat would be the price per bushel, f.o.r. ports, determined annually in accordance with the found cost of production, plus the premium of ls. 5d. a bushel to which I have referred. During the nine years from 1954-55 to 1962-0’3 inclusive, consumer purchases of wheat in Australia for flour, bread, breakfast food, stock feed, &c, would be at the found cost of production as fixed annually, and for the full ten years of the plan, the growers would receive a guaranteed export price per bushel, bulk f.o.r. ports, equal to the found cost of production. This guarantee would cover all export wheat without quantitative limit. A new stabilization fund would be established, and growers would contribute to it whenever the export price exceeded the cost of production, but the maximum contribution would not exceed ls. Cd. a bushel.
I put these details on record because I believe the plan to be necessary to the future stability of the wheat industry. Another very important part of the plan was that Western Australian growers would receive approximately 3d. a bushel extra from pool realizations in respect of all wheat exported from Western Australia to overseas destinations. That would give Western Australia some assistance because of its distance from markets and other disabilities that it suffers. The plan provides also that, freight on wheat shipped to Tasmania would be paid by the Commonwealth.
This, of course, is a hardy annual. Tasmanian flour-millers and consumers have been at the mercy of a succession of governments and ministers who may or may not have been sympathetic towards Tasmania’s special needs. Labour’s plan would determine once and for all who was to pay the freight on wheat shipped to Tasmania. At present, all Australian consumers of wheat are charged 1 1/2 d. a bushel to enable Tasmanian consumers to obtain wheat at the same price as do mainland consumers. It is regrettable indeed that the Government has not seen fit to adopt Labour’s plan because the future of this great industry depends upon the implementation of some such scheme. Without it, the wheat-farmers will lack encouragement to continue their important work and their valuable contribution to our economy will be lost.
The Governor-General’s Speech followed the general lines of government policy as propounded in the past. The Government has always had too little definite policy and too many words. We all naturally appreciate the visit to Australia of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and in this connexion I can do no better than quote from the GovernorGeneral’s Speech the words of Her Majesty upon bor return to Great Britain. She said -
We return with our faith in the high destiny of our Commonwealth and Empire even stronger than when we set out. Vor in this and in every one of its countries men and women are looking, not to the past, but to the future, and as they go forward together the ((rorts of each nation give added strength to the whole.
That is a very important statement with a wealth of meaning. It underlines the policy announcement made in the next paragraph of the Governor-General’s Speech : -
My advisers regard their responsibilities during the life of this Parliament to be the strengthening of Australia’s security, thu maintenance of a healthy economy, the development of our national resources, and the social welfare of the Australian people.
Apart from that, one of our great responsibilities is to preserve the very important structure of the British Commonwealth of Nations to which Her Majesty referred. It is alarming to find that some countries including our near neighbours, India and Pakistan, are drifting away from the rest of the British Commonwealth., and that our foreign policy has been expressed in terms which seem to disregard the importance of those countries, not only in the Asian sphere but also as units of the British Commonwealth. The fact that the present negotiations for a South-East Asia treaty do not include India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma is a reflection on this Government, on our Minister for External Affairs-, and on our foreign, policy. It is regrettable indeed that those important parts of the British Commonwealth are not closely and sincerely united on the vital matter of British Commonwealth defence in South-East Asia.
Our main problem, and the one which overshadows all other issues, is the spread of communism. Ways and means of corn.batting this menace are exercising the minds of people throughout the world. Unfortunately, efforts to secure settlements in areas to which the influence of communism are extending are clouded with mistrust and” misunderstanding. This fundamental problem cannot in my opinion be solved by military action. I firmly believe that we not only have to face up to the immediate expediency of trying to form a line of defence, but also we have to be mindful, of the fact that we are the custodians of this country for future generations. If we believe that war is the only solution to this problem, and if we believe that military pacts can contribute to its solution, we are merely deluding ourselves. The cost of establishing and maintaining armies throughout Asia or wherever the problem of Communist advancement arises, would be such a burden that it could easily destroy our economy. Other means must be found to deal with the problem. Let us picture lbc scene that would confront us should those who believe that the hydrogen bomb and the atom bomb can solve our basic problems be allowed to have their fling. Amid the rubble of a ruined civilization the people of Asia and the people of the Western world would eventually have to get together around a conference table. Various authorities in the Western world have told us that this is a battle for the mind of man. That is a very im porta::!; statement. Therefore, we must try to understand what is going on in the minds of the men whom we wish to influence by our policies, whether they be policies of military pacts and preparations for war or of compromise and agreement through the United Nations. The Asian peoples have a traditional distrust of colonialism. Before we can win the battle for their minds, we must be able to prove to them that we have abandoned all ideas of colonialism, exploitation and racial superiority. But we are not attempting to do that, as the history of the last few years shows.
One of the problems occupying our attention now is the problem of IndoChina. During World War II. France was overrun completely, but after the war the French established themselves again, with the moral and physical support of their allies, not only in their own country, but also in Morocco, Tunisia and Indo-China. Immediately they reinstituted the old system of colonialism in Indo-China and other countries under their control. As a result, a revolution of the minds of the peoples of those countries is in full flame. Those peoples believe that the days of colonialism and exploitation have passed. While France is still weak, they are attempting to regain their independence When they cannot get it by negotiation, they are taking it by force. I believe the only hope that France has to maintain itself as a nation worthy of the people who fought the French revolution is to grant independence to the peoples of its possessions. Frenchmen once overthrew their government by force, as did Americans. The same thing would have occurred in Great Britain if similar conditions had existed there. Revolutions are in progress now. They are in different parts of the world, but the revolutionaries have the same ideas in their minds as the Frenchmen and Americans had in theirs. The tag of communism is attached to those who are responsible for the difficulties of France in Morocco, Tunisia and Indo-China, but if we want to win the battle for the minds of those people we must adopt to them an attitude different from that, which we have adopted since the end of the last war.
Unfortunately, either by design 01 through lack of judgment, we have backed some duds in various countries.
We have supported men who were unacceptable to the peoples of the countries concerned. I cannot see how we can sell our ideas to the people of Indo-China when we support administrations such as that led byBao Dai, who lived in a villa in the south of Trance while his country was bleeding internally through war. If we support administrations of that kind, how can we hope to impress on the minds of the people of Indo-China that the way of life we have in mind for them is one that will give them hope for the future? The battle for the minds of the peoples of Asia will be very hard while we have such a poor case to present to them. Let me refer to the situation in West Germany. Without a shadow of doubt, West Germany is, and will continue to be, one of the most strategic areas in Europe, but the people who are gaining control there are the old militant, arrogant Nazis. Some of theirnames are very familiar to me. They are names I learned to hate during a hot war. It is nauseating to me that the old mob in Germany, the clique I dislike so much, is regaining control there. We can never convince the peoples of Asia that these people represent a good way of life. That is one of the difficulties with which we are faced.
Senator O’Sullivan has said that the influence of communism is destructive and negative. I agree with him. He has said also that we must try to show the Asian peoples that Christianity is the way of life they should follow, but it will be rather difficult to convince them of that. For centuries, since even before the birth of Christ, they have held their own views on religion, and they are entitled to continue to hold them if they so wish. We cannot be sure that they are prepared to accept Christianity, notwithstanding its great virtues. As an alternative to rattling the sabre, devising policies of containment and arranging military pacts that could be provocative, we should seek the friendship of the peoples of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and other Asian countries. It is not too late to do so. We “should speak to them in a language they understand, and tell them we are prepared to live and let live. Australia is more developed as a food-producing country than are those countries. We should offer to provide thorn with food. That is a language they understand very well. It is important to realize that high-falutin ideas, ideologies and phrases do not mean a thing to people who have a pain in the pit of the stomachs through hunger. Hungry people throughout the world speak the same language.
If we want to speak to them in that language, we cannot afford to have this country under-developed. We cannot afford to spend £200,000,000 a year on defence projects that are not related to national development. I believe firmly that the expense of training our troops should be defrayed from loans or other assistance obtained from outside sources, and that money collectedby taxation - I think the Australian people would be prepared to pay even higher taxes - should be devoted to increasing our population and developing our north by building strategic roads, railways and aerodromes, duplicating communications and undertaking irrigation and water conservation schemes. All those things have a. dual purpose. They would enable us to take immigrants again at the rate of 150,000 or more a year, and to refute the charge that we are acting like dogs in a manger by keeping this country underdeveloped and under-populated. If a war were to occur, our front door or first line of defence would be the coast of north Australia, but we proclaimed to the world recently that the roads there are so primitive that ordinary motor cars cannot travel over them without suffering damage. How can we hope to have mobile defence forces if our communications system is as had as that? We must put our house in order in that respect. We should concentrate our defence effort on the north of Australia.
The idea of training troops for jungle fighting is a primitive one. It takes us back to the jungle. It means that Australian youths, instead of being trained as civilized people, will learn the tricks of the monkeys and other jungle animals. Let me illustrate what I have in mindby a humorous jingle. It is -
Three monkeys sat on a coconut tree, Discussing things as they are said to be. Said one to the other, “Now listen you two; There’s a certain rumour that cannot be true, That man descended from our proud race.
The very idea is just a disgrace!
You have never heard of a monk leave his wife.
Starve her babies and ruin her life.
You have never heard of a mother monk
Leave her family with others to bunk.
Another thing you will never see ls a monk build a fence round a coconut tree,
Leave the coconuts to go to waste
And not allow other monks to taste.
Another thing a monkey will never do
Ik to go out in the night and get in a stow,
And use a gun or :> club or a knife
To take another monkey’s life.
Yes, man descended, confounded cuss!
Hut, brother, he didn’t descend from us”.
That we have to train our troops to ito into the jungle and fight on the level of the monkeys illustrates the position that has developed, lt also illustrates that Australia’s defences should he strengthened by the expenditure of the maximum amount of money possible on strategic roads, railways, aerodromes, communications and development of the north of Australia. Only by that means can we obtain a bargaining medium with which to influence the minds of the Asian people. Unless we do so. after the hydrogen and atomic war is over - assuming that it occurs - the position will be much worse than it is to-day. Each of the last four wars seemed at the time to be the worst of all.
– Was it not?
– Those wars were as chickenfeed compared to what might happen in any future war. Even if there should be another war - afterwards we shall have to compromise - we must live and let live. Unfortunately, the world is very short of outstanding statesmen who have n case to sell. The history of the present trouble shows that some of the pressure groups which are trying to maintain the si aius quo in the world have lost the confidence of the common man. They cannot sell their ideas and influence the minds of the people whom, we wish to win. To advocate peace is now looked on as a sin, because peace gives communism an opportunity to extend its influence and grow stronger. The only alternative, however, is to resort to force and the use of the modern weapons now available - a very grim outlook, indeed. I firmly believe that future generations, when looking back, will say, “ What fools those people were. They were short sighted and could not see the way through “. The present impasse is a grave reflection on the leading statesmen of the world. We seem to be lining up for Armageddon, entailing a clash of atomic power, jungle and open warfare, and chemical warfare. Various ideologies have cropped up at the one time, and no clear lead has been forthcoming from any country in the western world. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator O’sullivan) stated that we could impress the minds of the Asian people by practising Christianity.
– Does not the honorable senator believe that to be so?
– I certainly do. The point, that J. am endeavouring to make is that, unfortunately, throughout the world to-day too many people believe that Christianity, practised on Sunday, can be forgotten on Monday. They think that it is smart to be able to live just within the. Jaw. Although many of our accepted customs and usages are neither Christian nor moral, those who practice them are safe provided they have a good lawyer to defend them in the courts. The same applies to the conscience of man. For the sake of expediency, some of the great Christian principles are treated as though they were very elastic. While it is useful to know all of the little tricks of the trade associated with our way of life, there is a real difficulty in being able to impress and win over the minds of the Asian people. Wo must seek constantly, by sincerity of purpose, to persuade the Asian people that we are prepared to do what we are asking them to do. We have a difficult job ahead of us. The Australian Labour party, and the supporters of Labour in other countries of the world, believe that, many of the legacies of the economic and capitalist systems of the past are acting as barriers against a widening of outlook and an uplift of the standard of welfare for the common men of the world. Unless we apply ourselves constantly to alleviating the needs, and raising the hopes of the ordinary people, rather than the pursuit of profit, there will continue to be wars, talk of wars, and clouds of insecurity overhanging the -heads of the people. A revival, or a renewal of our ideas and objectives is needed, without which we have no chance to win the minds of the Asian people, or to assemble strength in the Western world. In the absence of those things, there is little chance of man reaching the estate that he hopes to reach. The natural resources of the earth should be utilized for the elevation of the standard of living of all peoples. The objective of all human activity should be to make the best use of, and gain the most benefit from, those resources.
– 1 congratulate the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) on his reelection to that position. Great responsibilities devolve on the person who occupies the post of Leader of .the Opposition in a democratic Parliament. It is an important position in our constitutional establishment, and we all like to see elevated to it a person whose merit, industry, and ability dignifies that high office. If press reports were correct, the honorable senator had a very close shave. From a political point of view, his defeat would have been very valuable to the Government, because honorable senators on this side of the chamber have an appreciation of his strength and ability.
– That has not always been evident.
– In my opinion, a political party which is prepared to overthrow and make scapegoats of its intellectual leaders has lost its way. The financial year 1953-54, which has just closed, will perhaps go down in history as the most notable year to date in Australia. The ancient Romans would have said of a similar year, annus mirabilis - a wonderful year. It has been an exciting, and stimulating year, highlighted by the discovery of oil at Exmouth Gulf, and the discovery of rich deposits of uranium in the Northern Territory, the north-west of Queensland, and South Australia. During the year the people of this country recaptured something of the romantic spirit of the early days of gold, the days when the world wa3 wide. One of the most important happenings in the history of the British Commonwealth of Nations was the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. Subsequently the
Queen, accompanied by her husband, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, gave great joy to us all by visiting Australia. Every member of the Parliament was proud beyond expression to have the tremendous privilege of sitting in this chamber when the Parliament was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen last February. We owe much to Her Majesty’s representative in this country, His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, Field Marshal Sir William Slim, who officially opened the Twentyfirst Parliament last week. His Excellency displayed a very keen and lively interest in all problems and matters pertaining to the progress and welfare of this country. It is especially fortunate that, at this time of high world tension, we have in the person of His Excellency, one of the most eminent field commanders of the British Commonwealth. This is a source of great comfort to all good Australians. We rejoice to have as our GovernorGeneral a great military commander, because we have so much to defend in this country. Australia is a bountiful land which, under the wise direction of the present Australian Government, is progressing by leaps and bounds. That fact cannot be laughed off. In the financial year ju3t closed, all previous records were shattered. Never previously had there been such a year of prosperity. Our national income has never been higher; employment has never been more buoyant; and wages have never been higher in the whole of our experience. Rural production, stabilized prices, vast industrial development, and substantial tax remissions all contributed to this splendid period of our history. So I say it was annus mirabilis indeed.
In a very interesting review of manufacturers’ problems, Senator Armstrong urged higher protective duties in order to benefit manufacturing industries. To what extent is our tariff policy contributing to the ever-increasing cost structure? An investigating body in the United States of America in 1936 discovered that for every dollar raised by tariff duties, the consumer had to pay an increase of 7 dollars in the price of the goods concerned. It was discovered that the higher the duties imposed, the higher the cost of living went. It is understandable that our local manufacturers tend to follow the line of least resistance when they are confronted with the problem of rising costs. The Tariff Board provides an easy means of protection against overseas- competition. In many Australian States, pressure is being applied for greater tariff protection for a large number of industries. If these applications for additional protection are granted somebody must pay the piper. Costs will increase. Who will pay? The general consumer will pay, particularly the man at the end of the line, the primary producer who has no means of getting a higher price for his product. Many sections of primary industry which rely on export markets are feeling the pinch. The buyer is now holding the trump card instead of the seller dominating the market. The value of many of our exports has declined progressively, and a policy of increasing tariffs and raising costs at such a time does not appeal to me. I disagree completely with Senator Armstrong in that respect.
In pastoral circles it is believed that a move is afoot to secure increased protection against imported wool textiles. That would be the last straw. Wool is the mainstay of the whole Australian economy. If wool started to lose its value, as some other exports have lost their value, we would wonder what hit us. The effect of a China Sea typhoon on a dinghy would be small compared with the effect on Australia of a downward slide in the price of wool. It would be foolish to aim a blow against overseas customers who pay us the rich prices that we have been enjoying for wool, prices which, in turn, have supported our high standard of living. I hope that the Government will examine applications for tariff increases on wool textiles very closely. The- point has been reached at which moves for increased tariff protection should be strongly resisted. It is impossible to develop Australian secondary industry under hothouse conditions: If the Government continues to give tariff protection to secondary industries, sooner1 or later those industries will have no chance whatsoever of standing’ up. to the blizzard of overseas competition. Additional tariff protection would impose a burden on the rest of the community which would have to maintain the high cost structure, and this could bring about a big collapse in values.
I agree that local manufacturing industries are entitled to receive a reasonable measure of protection. However, we must not overlook the fact that Australian manufacturing industries are already receiving the benefit of what might be called a super tariff in the form of the exchange rate- of 25 per cent. That exchange rate serves as a. high protective duty. Every Australian firm that sends money to buy goods on a sterling basis in London has to find £125 Australian for every £100 sterling of the purchase price of the goods. I do not object to the existing rates of duty. Our manufacturing industries are responsible for widespread employment. But I fear that if further tariff increases are granted we shall be in bother with our internal economy, first because of rising costs and secondly because of the retaliation that we shall invite from some of our best customers overseas. If we further increase tariff duties we shall receive protests from countries which already find it difficult to sell their goods on the- Australian market. Honorable senators of long standing will recall the trade diversion policy of 1936 which caused France to embark upon a retaliatory policy against Australian butter and wheat. Australia was very bacl friends with France for a long time following the decision to implement the policy of trade diversion. At that time also, the Japanese heavily curtailed their purchases of Australian wool. If tariff duties continue to rise, overseas markets could be lost as they have been lost in the past. High tariffs mean high costs. There is. abundant evidence to show that costs are gradually working their way upwards once again. The courts are giving wage increases to various kinds of skilled men and to those who claim to be skilled, although they are not skilled. If, to these rising internal costs, we add the cost of further tariff increases we shall push the Australian economy to the verge of. collapse. On the 11th August, the Canberra Times published an item under the heading of “ Rising Costs Seen as Threat to Economy “, a part of which reads as follows: -
The new financial year has opened in a spirit of optimism based on last year’s high level of business activity and stability, but a warning note is sounded, against blind optimism, by the Bank of New South Wales in its latest QuarterlyReview. Against this achievement which the bank refers to as a “ creditable record “, difficulties are pointed out whichcould cloud prospects for 1954-55. In the industrial field certain shortages are beginning to re-appear which point to a limited renewal of inflationary pressure. To a. smaller extent a labour shortage is fairly general, ami payment of over-award wages marks a return to competitive bidding. Several basic materials, ton, are in short supply in Australia, and are again being imported at higher cost to provide continuity of operation. Costs are still clearly the “Achilles’” heel of the Australian economy,” and their present stability could easily be disturbed. They are particularly important both in meeting the challenge from growing imports, and from selling Australian products abroard.
Breakers lie ahead and we have to he careful how we navigate the difficult seas in the next few months of the current financial year. If we add to our high cost structure by granting additional protection in the form of tariff duties to our manufacturing industries we may meet absolute disaster. Australian manufacturing concerns, and the trade unionists employed by them, will be well repaid if they study closely the implications of further tariff increases. We cannot afford to give offence to good customers such as Great Britain and France. In past years Great Britain has helped us to maintain the price of our primary products at a profitable level. Therefore, we should think twice before raising tariff barriers against our best overseas customers. I should much prefer a temporary embargo against non-essential imports to the very much more dangerous course of raising tariffs.
I now wish to discuss our trade with two very good customer countries, France and Japan. I am rather concerned at the lack of reasonable balance in our trading operations with both those countries. In 1952-53, the value of exports from Australia to France amounted to £74,700,000, whilst the value of our imports from France amounted to only £10,800,000.
– The French have not the goods that we need.
– But how can we continue to trade with any country unless such trade is on a two-way basis? How are the French to pay us for the goods which we sell to them if we do not buy at least a reasonable proportion of the goods which they produce? They must build up credits here and can only do so if we purchase goods from them. In the year 1952-53, to which I have just referred, there was a difference of £63,900,000, in our favour, in our trading relations with France. I remind honorable senators that France is one of our best wool customers, and always has been. Japan, too, is a good customer for our wool. Indeed, in 1952-53, it was our third best customer. I suggest that Japan would buy even more wool from us if we increased our purchases of certain kinds of Japanese manufactures without, of course, cutting too deeply into our own industrial production. Unless we have two-way trade, ships will not ply between Japan and Australia and France and Australia. The difference between the value of our exports to, and imports from, those countries is so great that the position merits close and sympathetic examination by the Government and the Department of Trade and Customs, with a view to seeing whether there are not certain manufactures which we could take from those countries.
– I wonder whether either of those countries has ever approached us on the matter.
– If the honorable senator refers to the records of the Department of Trade and Customs, I am sure he will find that the strongest protests have been made by both Japan and France on this subject. How can we continue to trade with those countries unless we buy more goods from them? I am not competent to say what we should buy from either country, but officers of the Department of Trade and Customs, in conjunction with Japanese and French officials, could go into the question. If France and Japan withdrew their custom, a great deal of the competition on our wool market, which has accounted for the present high values, would disappear. Japan is definitely short of sterling at the present time. Sterling is rationed by the Japanese Government, so that an importer who wishes to import Australian wool has to do so under a licence from the Japanese Government. Because Japanese traders have insufficient sterling, they have been obliged progressively to reduce their purchases of wool from Australia and to transfer their custom to non-sterling markets, such as those of South America. We are driving good customers away from our wool market because we are not willing to purchase more goods from them.
I know that it is not easy to solve problems of this kind, and am merely pointing out that the countries to which I have referred are dissatisfied with the balance of trade. As one who knows the value of the wool industry to this country, I am eager to see that all possible competition is engendered, thus ensuring that prices will be maintained.
France and Japan do not buy only our wool; they also take much of our wheat and other products. They are valued customers. A man who runs a commercial undertaking does not give his best cash customers the impression that he is not very much concerned whether they continue to be customers or not. On the contrary, he is on the doorstep ready to ingratiate himself and do all he can to please them. His principle is, “ The customer is always right “, but I am afraid that that principle does not apply in our international trading. I sound this warning note because of all the talk of tariff increases which we have heard recently. Such increases would add to the heavy load already being carried by Australian consumers, and would increase costs. If tariff increases are superimposed on increased wages, it would not be long before we again had to face the tremendous problem of inflationary pressures.
I turn now to a policy enunciated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), concerning the appointment of a national development commission. I know that that policy was approved at the annual conference of the Australian
Country party, which was held recently in Queensland. However, as I said when debating the matter at that conference, I approach, rather cautiously, this attempt to solve our developmental problems. I should like to know from the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) whether such a commission is to be appointed as a permanent body, or whether it is to have only a limited life.
– It will be just another department.
– I should be sorry to think that that would bc the case, and I hope it will not be so. However, I do not know, and that is why I have asked the Minister that question. I feel that I have an obligation to the State which I represent. In my opinion, one of the functions of a senator is to accord with the letter and the spirit of the Australian Constitution and stand up for the rights of the States against threatened invasion, whether from the Commonwealth or any other source, of those powers and responsibilities which belong primarily to the States. Although this is a policy which has been enunciated in the highest quarter and supported by the political party to which I belong, I am bound to say that I cannot see that such a commission could furnish the Australian Government with information regarding developmental schemes of which this Government or the governments of the States are not already aware. In my view, the various States are in the best position of all to furnish the Commonwealth authorities with information concerning the kind of developmental schemes which should have urgent priority. If we accept that contention as correct, it seems that such a commission, particularly if it were to be a permanent body, would be completely redundant.
It may be argued that some of the States have not played the game with th funds allocated to them from Commonwealth revenues and by the Australian Loan Council. I agree that some of the States have used such funds to commence twenty or thirty different projects instead of pushing ahead speedily with one or two projects of singular importance to the State concerned. It is rather sad that that should have been done for purposes of political gain. However, I am unable to sec now a national development commission could alter the attitude of a State government, possessed of sovereign powers, in that respect. If a State government wishes to play ducks and. drakes with the funds allocated to it, the Australian Government cannot intervene, and neither could a national development, commission. We could condemn and criticize such action, and I have exercised my full rights in that connexion from time to time. But when it comes to saying, “ Thou shall not “, whence does the Commonwealth acquire, its power? ] thoroughly dislike the idea of any authority dictating to or directing any of the Australian States, because I fear that such a practice would have too many dangerous implications. To my way of thinking, it would come uncomfortably close to unified authority or central government, to which I am opposed withal] my might and main. I stand for the States. They make mistakes - and sometimes egregious mistakes - but which of us does not ? We have our right of public criticism, but if a. State government misuses its funds, either through an error of judgment or in trying to make political capital, we cannot interfere.
It would be all very well for a national development commission to travel about, conduct inquiries and compile a list of works which should have urgent priority in the States, but from what source would the commission derive the power to enforce its recommendations? I am 100 per cent, behind the objective of the Government to push ahead with urgent public works and schemes that will help Australia forward, but I can see no way to do that other than by working through the established procedures, according to constitutional requirements. In my opinion the States should be left alone to make their own decisions. They can be subjected to much criticism, but their sovereign powers remain and should not be disregarded. It might be urged that a commission could advise the Australian Government on matters that relate to the development of the Northern Territory independent of the States altogether. However, there is a Legislative Council functioning in the Northern Territory. It is an elective body and should be competent to make recommendations for developmental works and transport facilities in the Northern Territory. It should make those recommendations to the Administrator at Darwin. He is an active young man, who travels widely in the territory, and we must assume that he has a wide knowledge of what would be best for the area that he administers. Therefore, if the commission is only to inquire into the transport facilities that should be provided in the Northern Territory and the form that they should take, I believe that the work could be done just as well by utilizing existing facilities. What is wrong with requesting the Public Works Committee to determine questions relating to transport and general development of the Northern Territory?
There are three schools of thought upon the subject of transport facilities for that, area. Honorable senators have heard of the benefits of a railway from Dajarra or Mount Isa to a point on the Northern Territory border, and across the Barkly Tableland to Newcastle Waters. There has been much talk on that subject, nol; only in the Senate but in the party rooms and also in Queensland. Some pin their faith to rail transport. Others believe that in this modern age stock can be carried by air from some point in the Northern Territory by means of freighter planes. Another group, which is substantial and growing and includes men who have a lively understanding of the transportproblems of the Northern Territory and north-west Queensland, believes that the best plan would be to extend the bitumen roads along the same lines as the great military defence road that links Alice Springs and Darwin and runs from Mount Isa to Tennant Creek. They believe that bitumen roads and big road trains would be best.
I do not profess to weigh one proposal against another, but if a body is required to make a decision based upon the weight of evidence, the Public Works Committee appointed by this Government could do the work. It includes competent, experienced men who could weigh these matters as well as any expensive and redundant national development commission. I hope that these points will be well considered when the appointment of such a commission is under consideration. I have pleasure in supporting the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply which was so ably moved by .Senator Annabelle Rankin and seconded by Senator Paltridge.
– In supporting the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply, I congratulate Senator Annabelle Rankin, who moved it, and Senator Paltridge, who seconded it. All honorable senators appreciate that those two honorable senators worthily represent thenStates. They have a proper and real appreciation of problems of the nation and its people. I do not propose to speak at length, but I shall deal with several points, some of which have been dealt with in another debate. The Speech of the Governor-General sets the pattern for the future legislative programme of the Twenty-first Parliament. Indeed, it sets the pattern for the future well-being of Australia. We recently had a democratic election from which the Twentyfirst Parliament has emerged, and in my opinion it is fortunate to have as its leader and Prime Minister a statesman of the quality and stature of the Right Honorable R. G. Menzies. He is a man who will have his place in history. Ho is a man of high principles and has done great work for this Commonwealth and for the free nations of the world.
I think it can be said with truth that the recent general election in which this Government had a victory was fought on issues of high principle. Issues of that kind are the proper concern of the great Liberal party of Australia and the other wing of the Government coalition, because they affect the development of human dignity and personality. The Government parties support the freedom of the individual to -choose his own way of life with the maximum of opportunity. The principles they enunciate have as their basis self-reliance, responsible citizenship, the preservation of family groups and the retention of human values. Those principles are founded upon free enterprise and private ownership. The Government believes in a nation of self-reliant citizens, able to make their own deci sions. It believes in the development of a nation in which opportunity, initiative and enterprise will always flourish.
The Governor-General’s Speech dealt with many matters covering the whole scope of government, but the substance of it is found in one brief paragraph to which reference has already been made in this debate. The Governor-General used these words -
My advisers regard their responsibilities during the life of this Parliament to be the strengthening of Australia’s security, the maintenance of a healthy economy, tile development of our national resources, and the social welfare of the Australian people.
To use a slang phrase, we have there the whole works. I wish to draw attention to the order in which the four national responsibilities are listed. Often we tend to imagine that we can have social welfare before a healthy economy. That is understandable and human, and probably stems from our Christian training and background. We wish to help the less fortunate, irrespective of economic considerations, but. it cannot be done, and anybody who makes the most elementary study of economics knows that that is so. , Sometimes we are carried away and think that we can have vast national development before ensuring first a healthy economy. Again I suggest that it cannot be. ‘Sometimes, because of loose thinking, we imagine that we can have a sound economy or national development or social welfare without regard to national security. It is dangerous thinking and, in fact, it is the Communist line. The Communists would like us to think that we could have social welfare, national development and a sound economy -without regard to national security. It is heartening to realize that we have a government that understands fully that the foremost and proper need, if we are to survive, is national security. Thank God we have a government that realizes the importance of security, without which the whole national edifice would crumble.
This great continent faces a new situation. The point has already been developed and expressed very well by Senator Gorton and other speakers on the Government side and in some considerable measure also by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and his deputy, Senator Armstrong. Because of that new situation, we in this Senate and other public men have a solemn obligation to educate the Australian public. We have a responsibility to remind the people of our deadly peril. It is proper that we should repeat what has already been said in the foreign affairs debate about Australia’s position to-day. We in Australia are in an Asian world. We have to the north of us about 1,000,000,000 Asian people. The barriers of 1945 are down. No longer have we a British Army in India, and India is no longer, in the full sense, a part of the British Empire as some of us still like to call it. Before World War II. China balanced itself out for thousands of years because of fighting among the various war lords. To-day China is a great Asiatic force completely dominated by communism. It is dominated by Soviet Russia. North Korea, too, is Communist dominated. We are aware of the difficulties in Malaya. We know that, in Indonesia the steadying influence - if it is to be put at no other level - of Dutch colonialism to which reference has been made in this chamber in the last two days is no longer present. There is a weakness in Indonesia, a weakness which leaves that country wide open to Communist infiltration. We have seen what has happened to British control of the Suez Canal region. The United Kingdom is to withdraw its military forces from that area, and that sea lane between the new and old world may no longer be open to us, although in certain circumstances it may have to be opened by force of arms. We are all too familiar with events in Indo-China where the Viet Minh is under the control of the Communist educated Ho-Chi-Min. To the south of those countries lies Australia, a nation of 9,000,000 people; a vast country and one of the richest in the world. This land is hardly populated at all in the sense that Asia is populated. We are the “ haves “ and they are the “ havenots “ They are hungry for land, and we are holding it thinly and sparsely. We have virtually a world domination of primary production in certain fields. We have a highly developed industrial output for our population. We have always been rich in coal and in gold, and now we have oil and uranium. We must realize that in the eyes of the Communists we could indeed, as Senator Armstrong said, be a rich prize. It is well for us to remember, as Senator Wordsworth said, that Russian communism is going to make its bid for world domination. That bid is following a definite pattern. The concentration of forces has been shifted from Europe to the Asian theatre. It has been shifted from Europe possibly because of the show of strength made there by the democracies in the form of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Defence Community.
There is increasing Communist infiltration into the Asian world amongst people who are easy prey unless we do some of the things that have been envisaged by the Government and referred to in this chamber in the course of this debate. Those things must be done if we are to draw the Asian people away from the Communist doctrine. Who among us can have any doubt about the importance of national security in the light of the present world situation ? Soon we shall have the budget before us, and we must realize that many of the things that we may in our hearts want to do because of our humane and Christian background, may have to be delayed. First things come first. Because of our national pride, and because we want to make Australia a great nation and keep it for ourselves and our children, we must continue to emphasize national security in this very difficult and threatening situation. So I say let us pray for South-East Asia Treaty Organization. Let us pray that it will function. Let us give it everything we have in an endeavour to make it work. Let us make sacrifices in our own country to make it work because in it lies the hope of our preservation. It knows no party, and I believe that if we all support it in the spirit in which it is put before us, we may yet escape the dreadful calamity of another war. We must be strong among people who only understand strength. There must be a national awareness of the great crime of com.placency.
The Governor-General referred to constitutional reform and to the need for coinciding elections for the Senate and for the House of Representatives. I am in complete agreement with that proposal. Frequent elections are not good for government and not good for our democratic processes. We are reminded of the situation in France where, because of a vulnerable spot in its constitution, too many elections have been held. That has a weakening effect. It does not permit long-range planning. It is the desire of most of us, therefore, that the elections of the two Houses of the Australian Parliament should coincide. I agree completely with the simple solution that the half of the Senate which is next due to face the electors should do so at the time of the next House of Representatives election, and that the remaining half of the Senate should remain in office until the following elections for the lower house. However, whilst agreeing with that proposal I am rather intrigued by the attitude of some people to this question of constitutional reform. It is an extraordinary quirk of human nature that everybody want; to reform the other fellow. I have noted with interest certain speeches that have been made in the House of Representatives on this subject. Some members of that chamber have spoken with great eloquence about how they would reform the Senate. 1 am inclined to suggest to them that they should look a little nearer home. I am reminded of an experience that I had recently in the garden of my home. A gentleman who had come to see me told me that while everything was quite nice, I had my sweet peas in the wrong place because they did not catch the sun properly. He said also that I had perhaps pruned by roses a little bit too soon, and that I had my myrtle where it was doomed to failure. He told me that a daphne that I had put in would not last any length of time because the cat might interfere with it. After a while I began to feel that perhaps I was not a very good gardener and that this fellow really knew his stuff. A week later, however, I had occasion to call at his place and I had difficulty in fighting my way through his yard. There was a moral in that story. The great would-be reformers of the House of Representatives who wish to reform the Senate should perhaps look a little closer to home.
There has been talk of the Senate being a States house and a house of review, divorced from party affiliation. We have been told that the Senate has failed because it is none of those things. That is all nonsense. Such criticism is completely unreal. If that is to be the measuring stick of the quality and value of the Senate, this chamber was doomed to failure before it was born. The party system is probably one of the greatest contributions to our democratic way of life. Without it stable government is not possible, and the Parliament would be a rabble. There is nothing wrong with the party system. When the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia was being considered, only one man foresaw with any degree of accuracy what was going to happen in the Senate. That was Sir Alfred Deakin, who was to become Attorney-General in the first Commonwealth Government, and subsequently Prime Minister of Australia. Of all the statesmen who participated in the conventions of 1891 and 1897 Deakin alone foresaw with a clear mind the pattern that was to be followed. I have taken the trouble to obtain from the National Library a record of the federal convention debates held in Sydney in 1897 and I shall quote from page 335 some of the remarks that Deakin made. He said -
There exists in each colony a party that can be considered liberal, and also a party that can be considered conservative. It is not, then, inevitable that so soon as the Federation is formed, the liberal parties in the different colonics will coalesce and throw in their lot with each other, and that the conservative parties in the different colonies will do the same, irrespective of State boundaries altogether. There is the progressive party, which is aiming at extending the liberties and rights of the masses of the electors, which will range itself on one side, and the party who think that we have progressed, or are progressing too fast or far, will range themselves on the other side. There will not be any question of large or small States, but a question of liberal or conservative.
I think a character in one of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas said,
Every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive,
Is either a little Liberal,
Or else a little Conservative.
I suggest that the party system is not something to be despised. It has done a magnificent job for democratic government throughout the free world. I believe that, within the framework of the system, there is room for a house of review and a house to protect the interests of the States. I remind honorable senators that a section of the Constitution provides for equal representation of the States in the Senate. If a senator found that the interests of his party and the interests of his State conflicted, I believe the conflict would be resolved by the impact of public opinion in his State. He would know that he had to face the people again, and that when he did so they would show by their votes how well they thought he had served the interests of his State.
I am frankly suspicious of these outside reformers of the Senate. I do not view with any great enthusiasm the proposition that we should have a convention at which people other than those associated with politics could re-write sections of our Constitution. If there is something wrong with our car, we go to a motor mechanic, not to some fellow who writes articles about selling motor cars. If we have a pain, we go to a doctor, not to some long-haired professor who writes articles on dead languages. “Who are better qualified to form an opinion about the problems of the Senate than people who have sat here and worked here and who know its problems from experience? They are the people who should decide what, if any, reform is necessary. I am not certain that reform is necessary. I believe our party system works well. It has given the democratic nations stable government. “We have a government and an opposition, and it is well to remember that the Opposition is Her Majesty’s Opposition. Bertram Russell, I think it was, once gave a lecture to students at the University of Sydney, in the course of which he told them about the wonderful achievements of Russia. When he had finished, one of the students inquired whether he would answer a question, and he said he would. The student asked, “ What is the name of the Leader of the Opposition in Russia?”. That finished the meeting. Over the years, the party system has given us stable government. It has functioned well in a bicameral system, and I do not see any thing wrong with it. We are competent to make it work well. Therefore, we should be cautious in considering the arguments of these outside people who are suddenly so anxious to reform this great House.
Let me sum up. There is a pathological urge in the human being to reform the other fellow. It must be treated with considerable caution. We can do the job required of us if we stick to our high principles, which are, I am proud to say, liberal principles. If we depart from those high principles, all the reforms and all the reformers in the world will not save our parliamentary institutions. If we depart from high principles, our parliamentary institutions, and ultimately our democratic way of life, will fall.
– I associate myself with the expressions of loyalty in the Address-in-Reply and I congratulate the mover and seconder of the motion on what I consider to be two excellent speeches. I say in passing that we all regret the reasons for Mr. Edward’s absence on this occasion. 1 want to bring something to the notice of the Senate that is of interest to honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, and indeed to the whole of the Parliament. It was not mentioned in His Excellency’s address, although I feel sure - the Senate will see my reasons for that feeling later - that if His Excellency had known of it, he would have asked for a reference to it to be included in hia address or for some inquiry to be made. It concerns the lighthouse and navigation service and appointments to it. In order (o make the matter clearer to members of the Senate who are not conversant with it. it will be necessary for me to give a brief history and a couple of thumb-nail biographies of some of the senior officers concerned. When the Constitution came into force in 1901, the Commonwealth took over from the States certain powers. They included a number of powers that were placed under the control of the Navigation Branch. The powers related to such things as lighthouses, light-ships, buoys, beacons and various other marine matters. They did not relate specifically to dealings with ships and things like that because, until the Australian Navigation Act was passed in 1912, the Australian merchant fleet operated under the British Merchant Shipping Act, which was applied in Australia in the same way as in Great Britain. In 1912, when the Australian Navigation Act came into force, a number of functions for which formerly we had used the British Merchant Shipping Act were performed under the authority of the Australian act. Many of the duties to which reference was made in the British legislation were incorporated in our legislation.
Shortly afterwards, in the latter part of 1914, Captain Probert Davies was appointed as Director of Navigation, and lie took office on the 1st January, 1915. Then deputy directors of navigation were appointed. They were technical officers, men holding extra-masters’ or masters’ certificates in the marine service. Deputy directors were appointed in the principal port of each State and in Newcastle. They were given the necessary staff to enable them to carry out their duties, which included surveys of ships, assessments of damage, acting as chairmen or assessors in marine courts of inquiry, examination of masters and mates, and various other things connected with merchant shipping. The first Director of Navigation carried on until 1920, when Captain John King-Davis, who is well known in the historical records of Australia, was appointed. In 1907, he was the chief officer of Nimrod in Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition. In 1911 and 1914, he went south with Captain Mawson, in command of his ship. In 192S, while Director of Navigation, he went south again with the second Mawson expedition. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and won the Murchison award. He continued as Director of Navigation for 29 years, and retired in 1949. He was relieved by Captain Roskruge, who holds the office at present. Captain Roskruge had a distinguished record in World War I. in the Royal Australian Navy. After the war ended, he was in charge of reconditioning troopships before they were handed back to their rightful owners. T have mentioned those matters to show the calibre of the men who have held the position of Director of Navigation in this country. What I am leading up to may be a little obscure at the moment, but my reasons for giving this historical background will become clear later.
Among the ancient guilds and companies of England is the Honorable Company of Master Mariners, the head of which for the time being, at present Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, is Master of the mercantile marine and the fishing fleets of Great Britain. The Honorable Company of Master Mariners has a small executive, known as its court, which looks after the interests and policies of the mercantile marine of Great Britain as a whole. In addition, there are various mercantile marine service associations which look after more personal matters, such as working conditions, pay, leave and superannuation. In Australia, we have counterparts of those organizations. We have the Company of Master Mariners of Australia, the parent body of which is located in Brisbane. It has branches in all our major ports. I am speaking to-day on behalf of the Company of Master Mariners and the Merchant Services Guild. The present functions of the Lighthouse and Navigation Services of the Department of Shipping and Transport are set out in the Federal Guide. They include -
Control and maintenance of coastal lights and other aids to navigation on the sea routes around the Australian coast. Control of marine services, such as surveys of ships, inspection of ships’ gear, safe loading of ships, accommodation for ships’ crews, engagement and discharge of seamen, examination of masters, mates and engineers, licensing of ships to engage in coastal trade, wrecks and salvage, protection of sea routes and fishing grounds, Courts of Marine Inquiry, seamen’s compensation.
I have mentioned those functions because they have a bearing on what I am talking about. About twelve months ago, the Company of Master Mariners was concerned about moves being made by the Public Service Board. I was deputed by the company to make inquiries about the reclassification of the deputy directors of navigation in the various .States. I wrote to the Minister three times and I saw him three times. On each occasion, I was informed that there was nothing to worry about and that the reclassifications meant nothing. Indeed, the argument was advanced that, had the Public Service Board wished to replace with nontechnical men the technical officers - that is, master mariners - who held the position of deputy director of navigation in each State, it could have done so at any time during the last 40 years. It could have replaced them with clerks who had worked their way up through a department, but had never been to sea. The argument advanced by the Minister was that as that had not been done during the last 40 years it was quite obvious the department had no intention of doing it. I accepted his explanation in good faith. Subsequently, I addressed the various bodies in the States on this matter. I told them that they had nothing to worry about, because I had been assured by the Minister, who had received an assurance from the head of the department, that nothing of this sort was intended. Unknown to the Minister, the departmental head - whether with or without the knowledge of the Public Service Board is not yet clear - went ahead. Finally took the form of a notice which was published on pages 1718 and 1719 of Commonwealth Gazette, No. 36, of the 10th June,1951. It set out the following information in relation to transfers in the Marine Branch of the Department of Shipping -
From Assistant. Secretary, 2nd Division, unattached.
To Assistant Secretary (Marine), 2nd Division, Melbourne. New office. Certificate 54/480.
Duties: Responsible for the administration and proper functioning of the Marine Branch, Co-ordination of Lighthouses and Navigational activities, and formulation of Marine Branch policy. Direct and control regional offices, exercise ministerial and other delegations.
That was all the work which the present Director of Navigation had been doing for the last 40 years.
Boulton, A. E.
Regional Director, Fremantle, to Regional Director, Melbourne.
Duties: Responsible to the Assistant Secretary (Marine)- whose duties I have just read out - for administration of Marine Branch activities in Victorian region.
Nicholson. W. B.
Similar duties. Hobart to Fremantle.
These officers have now been placed under the direction of the assistant secretary. For the past 40 years they had taken their orders from the Director of Navigation. Deputy directors are now known as regional directors. That may not sound much of a change, but it means quite a lot. It means that Captain Roskruge, of Melbourne, the Director of Navigation, now has no deputies. His duties are being performed by a clerk from the office, who was promoted to the position of assistant secretary. After the notice appeared in the Gazette I received many telegrams asking me to look into the matter. I took it up with the Minister, who referred the inquiry to the head of the department. I make it quite clear that I am not, in any way, speaking against Mr. Michael Bourke, the officer who was promoted to assistant secretary, and for whom. I have the greatest respect. I am speaking against the principle involved, and I intend, if necessary, to go beyond raising the matter in this chamber. Mr. McFadyen’s reply contained the following statements : -
The Public Service Board considered that it was necessary to give the Assistant Secretary the higher status which normally goes with higher responsibility, hence the reclassification. On 26th March last, I advised the Board that I concurred in their view.
In my opinion, Mr. McFadyen tried to throw the responsibility on to the Public Service Board. I think that the matter was dealt with by Mr. McFadyen, and I doubt whether the Public Service Board knew anything about it. I should like the Government to take up this matter with the Public Service Board, in order to find out all about it. The reply went on -
A relatively minor change has been made, in that all submissions to Central Office are now to be addressed to the Assistant Secretary instead of some being addressed to one or other of the Directors for his submission to the Assistant Secretary.
In other words, all submissions must now go to the assistant secretary instead of, as formerly, to the technical officers who have worked their way through the department. Their authority has been taken away from them. Mr. McFadyen made it clear that this alteration was effected at the board’s request. He continued -
The change in the title of the State Administrators was also suggested by the Board . . I accepted this recommendation also, and the Board then changed the titles.
That is another matter that I intend to ask the Government to find out about -
I confirm that I assured the Minister that the change in designation from Deputy Director to Regional Director would not prejudice the position of nautical officers.
I emphasize the importance of the following paragraph: -
However, the Public Service Board policy as accepted by me-
I stress “ by me “ - does not confer an exclusive right on nautical officers for promotion to the positions of Regional Directors.
In other words, it is at the back of this man’s mind that in a few years’ time technical men of 40 years’ experience, who have spent time at sea, are to be replaced by office trained staff who have served their time in the Public Service and do not know the difference between being at sea and crossing a street. These are the things to which I object. The final paragraph of Mr. McFadyen’s reply was as follows: -
Appointments to the positions are determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 50 of the Public Service Act and Regulation 116 under the Act.
Section 50 (4.) of the Public Service Act 1922-1951 reads as follows:-
In this section “ efficiency “ means special qualifications and aptitude for the discharge of the duties of the office to be filled . . .
How can a man who has never been to sea or passed a maritime examination be qualified to perform duties that have been carried out for many years by a distinguished nautical officer? I maintain that both bad faith and deceit have been evinced by the head of the department, working through the Minister, whom I do not accuse of bad faith. If the Minister cannot believe the head of his. department, he has a pretty rotten departmental head. Where is this going to end? What are the shipping companies going to say about it? Will they be agreeable to their ships being surveyed by people who have served their time sitting behind an office desk? Certainly not! Are they going to accept a situa tion in which men who have not passed marine examinations will examine others on nautical matters? Will the masters of British ships accept certificates signed by men who come aboard with a stack of books, so that they can turn up the relevant sections, and who do not know whether the scantlings are correct? Certainly not! That will be the position if we replace the technical officers by people who have no knowledge of the practical side of the work.
– Did not the Minister know anything about the matter?
– Having had a long discussion with the Minister, I believe that he had the wool pulled over his eyes, as, indeed, I did. In good faith, I reported to the Merchant Service Guild of Australasia and the Company of Master Mariners of Australia that there was nothing to worry about. Now members of those organizations say to me, “You are a bright one”.
– The honorable senator is being very kind to the Minister.
– It is not over yet. I come now to the procedure after marine accidents. A judge or a magistrate acts as chairman of the Marine Court of Inquiry. It has been the practice for the Director of Navigation, or the Deputy Director of Navigation for the State - a technical officer - to act as an assessor, and advise the chairman in relation to the evidence, on which, of course, the judgment is given. That was a correct procedure. But a position in which regional directors, who have probably spent many years in an office, will advise the chairman in relation to his judgment on men who have served 30 years or 40 years at sea and have been called before a court of inquiry as the result of fire or collision, or perhaps running ashore, would be untenable. I maintain that it is almost impossible to carry onunder these conditions. Yet the head of the department stated -
However, the Public Service Board policy as accepted by me does not confer an exclusive right on nautical officers for promotion to the positions of Regional Directors.
– Are similar positions in other countries filled by marine officers ?
– Of course they are! And we shall be the laughing stock of the world if we depart from that practice.
– Does that apply in longland?
– Yes. All of such officers at Trinity House are masters or mates who hold marine certificates, They all hold masters’ certificates or better.
– And the deputy directors?
– The administration is somewhat different in England, which is a much smaller country than Australia.
– But they are technical men ?
– Yes. In conclusion, I should like the Minister to inform me whether he is aware of the encroachment that has taken place. If so, did he concur in the proposed alteration? “Who proposed these changes, and. who authorized them? If the Government does not agree witu the changes that have been made, will it take up the matter with the Public Service Board? Pending a reply from the Government, I do not propose to take any further action. However, if the reply is not satisfactory, on behalf of the Company of Master Mariners of Australia, and the Merchant Service Guild of Australasia, I reserve the right to take whatever action we choose in order to rectify the matter.
.- I. have much pleasure in associating myself with the motion that was so ably moved by Senator Annabelle Rankin, and seconded by Senator Paltridge. I endorse their sentiments in connexion with the recent visit to Australia of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. I believe that that visit bound the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations closer together. It was a most comprehensive visit to all parts of this country. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on his success at the recent election for the House of Representatives, as a result of which the Government was returned to office for a further three years. The policy that had been applied by this Government was generally approved and accepted by the people of Australia. In 1951, when steps were taken to put this country on a firmer economic basis, the Government’s stocks slumped considerably. But within two years public opinion was transformed to such an extent that, contrary to the expectations of some judges of the situation, the Government was returned to office. The country owes its thanks to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) for what they did to stabilize economic conditions.
I come from the State of Queensland, which has shown remarkable confidence in this Government for the past several general elections. Despite the fact that the Opposition put forward very enticing baits in the way of proposals for development in Queensland, the Government achieved a record majority of over 80,000 votes in that State at the general elections. Another remarkable feature of the confidence of the people of Queensland in the Government is that, of eighteen Queensland seats in another place, the Government holds thirteen. That is a higher percentage of seats than it holds in any other State. That fact seems to indicate that the people of Queensland, who are far removed from this place of debate, may see political affairs more clearly than the people of other States.
The Governor-General covered many subjects which were included in the platform and programme that was put before the people by the Prime Minister and accepted by them. I am pleased that specific mention was made by the Governor-General of the increased amount of money to be made available to the States for the purpose of road building. Under the legislation of 1950, which initiated the federal aid roads grant, this Government took a very progressive step. At that time the amount of money allocated on the basis of 6d. a gallon of petrol used in Australia represented an extra £4,200,000 to the States. The amount received by the State governments and local authorities under this grant will increase from approximately £17,000,000 to £25,000,000 this year, an increase of £8,000,000. As one who has served in local government for many years, I say that that increase must transform the roads of the Commonwealth. Queensland, which is a large State, can use considerable assistance of this kind. The big increase in the amount of money that the Government will make available to the States and the local authorities will help to build, not only main roads, but also rural roads.
I am very pleased that the Government, in allocating this money, has specified that 40 per cent, instead of 30 per cent, of it must be used on building rural roads. In many country areas great difficulty is experienced in adequately maintaining the roads. As one Opposition senator said, rural people really are the backbone of the country as far as production is concerned. To those people, the Government’s decision will be a great boon. Any benefit that we can give to them will encourage them to stay in country areas. I have always said that the best way to populate the smaller towns in country areas is to give the people amenities and make their areas attractive. Nobody wants to live in an unattractive place, hut people will always live in an attractive place with amenities. Because of the methods of transporting goods and people that are in operation now, good roads are essential. As one who has been trying to persuade the Government to see this. I am pleased that the Government is going to take the biggest step in the allocation of funds for road-making purposes that has been taken since the federal aid roads grant was first instituted. I compliment the Government on its fine gesture.
In a speech such as the GovernorGeneral’s, one could not expect to find an indication of what taxation concessions the Government proposed to make. I am aware that the changing conditions in South-East Asia might change the prospects of obtaining taxation reductions. Every government, regardless of its politics, desires to give the utmost in the way of taxation reductions. But the security of this country is the first responsibility of the Parliament of Australia. Whatever taxation concessions arc to be given to the people, I hope that the Government will not be carried away by the clamour for reductions in personal taxation. The first consideration in connexion with the reduction of taxation should be the costs of industry. The abolition or reduction of one or two taxes in particular could give an impetus to industry. Pay-roll tax is a direct charge upon industry. Last year the Government reduced the incidence of this tax by freeing small businesses from its payment. But I consider that the best reduction in pay-roll tax would be an overall reduction, applicable to all businesses. The tax could well be eliminated altogether eventually. A reduction of pay-roll tax could start a downward spiral in the cost structure. I hope that the Government has considered this matter. If it has not considered it on this occasion, I hope that it will consider it next year.
The sales tax on commercial motor vehicles n another tax that I do not like. The abolition of that tax would reduce the cost of carrying the requirements of industry. The motoring industry is heavily taxe1 and that taxation has a direct effect c:i industrial costs.
I was sorry to hear Senator Byrne speak in the wr>y that he did on immigration. This is a subject which all parties have kept free of political bias. I acknowledge that immigration commenced whilst a Labour government was in office. The then Minister for Immigration, Mr. Calwell, was a real driving force in connexion with that activity. But upon this Government’s assuming office the present Minister for Immigration (Mr. Holt) became imbued with the same spirit and it is a happy circumstance that both Ministers should have been so enthusiastic about their duties. But Senator Byrne insinuated that this Government had tapered down immigration. As a member of the Immigration Advisory Council I want to tell the Senate that immediately this Government took office, despite the very high tempo of immigration, it increased the target to 200,000 immigrants for the year 1950. In that year a total of 175,000 immigrants came to this country. The target of 200,000 would have been reached but for the situation in Korea which demanded that shipping be diverted to carrying troops to that area. Although the Government did not achieve its target of 200,000 immigrants, it seemed that when conditions became normal again, immigrants would flow into the country at that rate. Unfortunately, in 1951, the restriction of economic activity in this country took place. Therefore the Government had to reduce the rate of immigration for that year. It could not bring large numbers of immigrants to this country when people were out of work.
On the Immigration Advisory Council, Mr. Monk representing the Australian Council of Trades Unions and Mr. Broadby representing the Australian Workers Union, discussed the matter and, from the trade unions’ point of view, they were not keen on a high rate of immigration at that time. As a result, the rate of immigration was cut to 80,000 persons, but when conditions improved, the rate was increased. For instance, last year 91,000 immigrants were selected for this country. It is true that all of those immigrants may not reach here during the year, but that was the total agreed upon. Reference has been made in this chamber to the fact that many immigrants leave Australia and return to their former countries. I understand that approximately 20,000 people who are not immigrants leave this country each year in the normal course. They may be people who come here from the United Kingdom to have a look round, stay for a year or so, and then go back. Yet they are regarded as departures for the purposes of the Department of Immigration. There are also people who go overseas for the pleasure of travelling, or to study, and who stay in other countries for a year or more. They also are regarded as departures.
A total of 107,500 immigrants is to come to Australia during the current year. Until recently, approximately 50 per cent, of our immigrants were British, the total number being greater than that taken by all the other countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations combined. Without disparaging British immigrants in any way, because I appreciate that the people of the United Kingdom are the backbone of this country, it must be admitted that we have had some trouble with British immigrants. Other British Commonwealth countries have had similar trouble. It must be remembered that the United Kingdom Government, and also the Opposition in the House of Commons, is opposed to sending us the best British tradesmen. Naturally, they wish to keep such people at home. It is a mistake to think that immigrants are waiting to rush to this country. That is not the case to-day. It is necessary for our Department of Immigration and its officers overseas to work hard to secure sufficient immigrants of the right type. There is strong competition from Canada and other countries. We must appreciate that Australia is far removed from the European scene and that we have to fight for the immigrants we need. It should not be forgotten, either, that we set a high health standard for prospective immigrants. In my opinion, the officers of the Department of Immigration have done a remarkably good job. If all departmental officers were as efficient, we should be most fortunate.
Tt is pleasing r,o note that there has been an excellent response to the immigration drive. That response has been particularly good in Germany. The distribution of moving pictures of the visit of Her Majesty the Queen to Australia has apparently stirred the German people, who, of course, are staunch monarchists at. heart, so that inquiries by prospective immigrants have increased considerably. No doubt all honorable senators will agree that the Germans and the Dutch are excellent immigrants. In many parts of the Commonwealth, German immigrants, particularly, have helped to improve our rural industries.
Because of the difficulty of securing a sufficient number of suitable immigrants, the department has been obliged to explore new avenues. For instance, efforts have been made to interest the Danish people in emigrating to Australia. From the tenor of the recent debate on international affairs in the Senate, it is apparent that all honorable senators agree that the sooner the population, of Australia is increased, the better it, will be for all of us.
Since the Senate election of 1953, a great deal has been spoken and written about the abolition or reform of the Senate. It seems to me that the talk of abolition comes mainly from the more populous States, and savours of a desire to control the affairs of the country more effectively than they can at present. The function of the Senate is to safeguard the interests of the States, which it does, despite what many people think. We know that senators are always ready to come to the defence of the rights of the States they represent, should those rights be attacked. For instance, how often have we seen in this chamber the Tasmanian senators on both sides of the Senate banding together in the interests of the State they represent? I suggest that that demonstrates that the Senate still functions in the true spirit. I recollect that Senator Wright, who is perhaps one of the most ardent advocates of Tasmanian interests, once took action in the Senate with a view to diverting to the berry fruit-growers of Tasmania some of the profits from the sugar industry of Queensland. I did not blame the honorable senator for doing that, because he is always fighting for his State.
– He is always fighting, anyway.
– That may be so. Nevertheless, the Queensland senators on both sides of the chamber opposed the move. I do not think that any honorable senator would stand by while the interests of his State were being prejudiced.
In my opinion, the Australian people would regret the abolition of the Senate. There is no doubt in my mind about which States would run the country in such an event. Resentment is often expressed concerning the centralization of power in the Commonwealth Parliament. I suggest that if there were only one House in the Commonwealth Parliament the more populous States would dominate political affairs even more than they do now. Of course, I am not blind to the fact that there is room for improvement concerning some of the functions of the Senate. Yet, it seems to mo that the Senate has been deprived of some of the work it could do by a feeling, on the part of the House of Representatives, that that chamber should be responsible for certain matters. Many members of the House of Representatives represent only small portions of cities, so that, generally speaking, their activities are concerned only with relatively small electorates. Senators, on the other hand, must take a wider view, since they repre sent States. I believe that there are several functions which the Senate could perform with benefit to the country. For instance, we could adopt the American system and have a Senate foreign affairs committee. The Public Works Committee could also be a .Senate body. I suggest that most members of the House of Representatives are not really interested in public works which are being carried out in electorates other than their own. The proposed national development committee could also be a Senate body and function in a manner similar to that of the Public Works Committee. Those are functions upon which the Senate might well concentrate apart from being a States rights house and safeguarding and checking legislation. T know that many persons believe that we do not review legislation. Of course we do. Since I was first elected to the Senate in December, 1949, it has altered legislation on .several occasions. Once we threw out some legislation. We voted against the Government. Unfortunately such an event i? hailed bv the press as a. government defeat. Yet the same press criticizes the Senate for allegedly failing to be a house of review. Instead, it .should inform the. public that the Senate is functioning properly. Generally speaking the legislation that comes into this chamber does not require alteration, but if the Senate were not here, we might well wish that it were so that it could safeguard national legislation. Because the Senate exists, those who sit in another place are more careful of the legislation that they present.
The attitude of the press to the Senate is one of almost complete ignorance. The press only refers to the Senate when it wants to make some scathing remark. The Leader of the Opposition (“Senator McKenna) and other honorable senators opposite will agree with honorable senators on the Government side that the debate on the budget last year was one of the best reviews of a budget that has ever taken place in this chamber. T discussed the matter with an honorable senator who is prominent on the Opposition side, and he said that in that debate, the Senate was functioning as it should do. Honorable senators will recall the spirited debate that we had on the report of the Public Accounts Committee upon the activities of the Department of National Development. Honorable senators on the Government side alined themselves with honorable senators opposite against the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner). Eventually the sitting lasted for 38 hours. We sat all night. What did we read in the press the following day? It announced that the honorable senators were asleep.
– Was the honorable senator asleep himself?
– As a temporary Chairman of Committees I was frequently in the Chair. One does not sec honorable senators bringing pillows and rugs into the chamber as some honorable members do in another place. We do see many honorable senators asleep on the couches in other parts of this building. They are occupied by other people who are said to be more youthful. Four honorable senators are ladies and they, as well as other honorable senators, are here most of the time. Looking around the chamber one very seldom sees more than two or three senators asleep.
– I rise to a point of order. Does the Deputy President consider that remark is a reflection on the Senate ?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! Senator Wood will proceed with his speech.
– Honorable senators sat through a debate that lasted 38 hours but although we are supposed to be a lot of old men, we are more alert to our duties than are honorable members in another place. In defence of the Senate, I state without hesitation that the standard of debates in this chamber is as good as any that will be found anywhere. I like to see quality in debating and I believe that little fault can be found with the standard of debating in the Senate. Honorable senators should stand by their rights at all times because we have a function to perform. The fact that there is a Senate is a safeguard of parliamentary and State rights. During that long sitting which lasted 38 hours, I noticed that all the journalists in the Senate press gallery were asleep, but all except a few of the honorable senators were wide awake.
I do not believe that honorable senators are sufficiently active in the defence of this chamber. In another place recently the silly suggestion was made that, if an honorable senator died, the next one on the election list should replace him. I believe that a person of the same political faith should fill the place of a senator who has died. Silly suggestions such as the one I have mentioned come from honorable members in another place who are supposed to have extraordinary intelligence. I do not wish to make a joke of this debate. I am serious. We should be jealous about the rights of this chamber. We are elected on a basis of which we should be proud. We represent a wider sphere than do honorable members in another place and, as senators, we should be prepared to ensure at all times that the Senate carries out its true functions.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Presentation of Address-in-Reply.
Motion (by Senator O’Sullivan) agreed to -
That the Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General by the President and such senators as may desire to accompany him.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D.Reid). - I shall ascertain when His Excellency will be pleased to receive the Address-in-Reply, and when a time is fixed, I shall notify the Senate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Spicer) read a first time.
Senator SPICER (Victoria - Attorney-
General) [5.10]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators will recall that, on the last sitting day of the Twentieth Parliament, we passed a short bill which authorized the establishment of a royal commission to inquire into matters that had been made available to the Australian Government by Vladimir Petrov. That act took a form that has been common in this Parliament for many years. It authorized the setting up of a commission to investigate a particular matter, and gave to that commission the powers that are to be found in the Royal Commissions Act 1902-1933. That is the course that has been followed on numerous occasions in this Parliament because, for many years, some doubts have existed about the validity of at least some parts of the Royal Commissions Act. On each occasion the Parliament has passed a special act setting up a particular commission, and then has conferred on it the general powers that are to be found in the Royal Commissions Act.
That course was followed earlier this year and the commission was duly set up. Not long after the commission was established and had proceeded to conduct its inquiries, two writs were issued in which some legal problems in relation to the commission were raised. One was a writ for defamation against the Commonwealth and against Mr. Windeyer, leading counsel assisting the commission. As it does not appear from the writ, I can only assume that the claim for defamation, which related to remarks made at a sitting of the commission, was based on the view either that the royal commission had been invalidly appointed, or that, under the Royal Commissions Act, the chief counsel for the Commonwealth, when he made those statements before the commission, did not have the protection that a barrister normally has in making statements to a court. The second writ was one which questioned the validity of the appointment of the commission and sought an injunction to restrain the commission from carrying on its activities. The second writ was the foundation upon which the plaintiff in the case made an application to Mr. Justice Fullagar, of the High Court of Australia, for an interim injunction to restrain the commission from proceeding with the inquiry. An application for an interim injunction is normally heard without notice to the other party. The application goes to the judge, and if the applicant is able to establish a sufficiently strong case, the judge makes an order for an injunction
Senator Spicer. restraining the commission from proceeding, for a short time at any rate, until the matter can be considered further upon an application for an interlocutory injunction at the hearing of which both parties are heard. But proceedings in relation to this second writ did not get that far. The plaintiff, as I have said, made an application to Mr. Justice Fullagar for an interim injunction and it was refused by the learned judge. The result was that the proceedings of the commissioners were in no way impeded by the action that was taken. Several arguments were put to Mr. Justice Fullagar in support of the application for an interim injunction, but His Honour considered that only one of them had any substance. That was that, in the act which we passed in the dying days of the last Parliament, we did not authorize the appointment of a commission of three persons, but only a commission of one person. Although His Honour did not hear any argument on that matter from the Commonwealth - I do not say that by way of criticism at all because the proceedings before him were not such as to permit argument on behalf of the Commonwealth - he expressed the view that the act that we had passed did not authorize the appointment of more than one person to the commission. But he went on to say that the commission was not invalid because, in his view, the appointment of a commission of more than one person was authorized under the Royal Commissions Act of 1902-1933. So,’ as far as the Commonwealth is concerned, there has been no interruption of the commission’s work. Mr. Justice Fullagar’s decision was to the effect that the commission had been validly appointed.
One other matter to which the learned judge referred in his judgment is relevant to some of the proposals that we have to discuss. It was argued that because the writ for libel had been instituted in the High Court, the commission should not proceed with its inquiry while the writ remained undetermined by the High Court. His Honour was told that a Victorian royal commission had faced a somewhat similar situation two or three years ago and it had been held that it could not proceed with its inquiry while a writ for libel in relation to the subject-matter of its inquiry was pending in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Mr. Justice Fullagar indicated that although the matter did not call for a final decision, so far as he had been able to examine the matter, he did not altogether agree with the views that the Victorian judges had taken.
Although the litigation has in no way interfered with the working of the Royal Commission on Espionage it has indicated that there are some legal problems which, perhaps, in the course of those proceedings, may go to a higher court, tn those circumstances, it seems desirable that we should put the legal position of the commission beyond all doubt so far as this Parliament is able to do that. The Government has reviewed the act passed at the end of the last Parliament, and has come to the conclusion that the most convenient course is to pass a single measure which contains all the relevant legislative provisions we desire to apply to this particular commission. The old Royal Commissions Act is not satisfactory. The more one looks at it, the more difficulties and inconsistencies one finds in it. However, we have not attempted at this stage to review the Royal Commissions Act for the purpose of putting a new permanent royal commissions act on the statute-book. “We have taken provisions out of that old act and altered them to make them applicable to this commission, and it may well be that the bill now before the Senate will be the foundation of or a model for a more workable royal commissions act in the future.
Perhaps it would be useful if I were to indicate how far the provisions of this bill will meet the problems that have been raised by the litigation. The first matter to which I direct attention is the fact that, in clause 5, we expressly declare that the letters patent which were issued after the parsing of the earlier legislation establishing the present royal commission, are authorized and should be deemed to have been at all time authorized by the Royal Commissions Act 1954. That places beyond all doubt the question whether we had power to appoint three commissioners instead of only one. We say quite plainly that the act of 1954 is to be read as if it always authorized the appointment of three commissioners. The second thing we do in clause 5 is not without importance in relation to the litigation to which I have referred. The clause expressly declares that the commission is authorized and required, and “ is hereby declared to have been at all times authorized and required, to proceed with the inquiry directed by these letters patent “. In other words there is an express statutory direction to the commission to proceed with the inquiry. Whatever argument may have been used in the absence of such a provision, in relation to the question whether the commission should proceed with its inquiry while there was a pending writ for libel in relation to the same subject-matter, will have no validity in the face of this express parliamentary direction.
I come now to the matter of defamation. As the Royal Commissions Act 1902-1933 did not expressly provide privilege for counsel appearing before a royal commission we have, in clause 25 of this bill, given to counsel appearing before the present commission the same protection as is given to counsel appearing in the High Court. In fact, counsel will have exactly the same privilege that is extended to royal commissioners themselves under the earlier act. In the following clause protection against proceedings for defamation is given to the Commonwealth in relation to the publication of transcripts and reports of the proceedings of the commission. Similar protection is also provided for fair and accurate newspaper reports and broadcasts of the proceedings of the commission. All those provisions will operate as from the time of the appointment of the present commission, and one. can see instantly that this new authority may affect some of the provisions relating to offences. Therefore we find in clause 3 express provision that anything which was not an offence at, the time it was committed before the passing of this bill, is not made an offence by reason of the passing of this bill. In other words, there is no retrospective operation of the bill which would make persons subject to criminal proceedings in respect of acts committed before this legislation comes into operation. For example, some witnesses have refused to answer questions.
– They may have committed offences at that time, and their defence may have been that this royal commission was not valid because the Commonwealth had the right to appoint only one commissioner. Now, under this bill, we are to be deemed to have the light to appoint the three judges as from the time we did so. The fact that some witnesses have already refused to answer questions does not create any great difficulty. After this measure has been passed, they may be recalled and asked similar questions. If they fail to answer, the new provisions will apply and they will be prosecuted for the offences they have committed after this legislation has come into operation.
The rest of the provisions of the bill are substantially the same as the provisions of the Royal Commissions Act 1902-1933 which were made applicable to the present commission by the act which we passed at the end of the last Parliament. There are, however, one or two not unimportant alterations to which I direct attention, although they are not alterations which raise any great problem of principle. Perhaps the most important one is that we are expressly providing in this measure that a witness before the tribunal should not be entitled to refuse to answer a question on the ground that his answer might incriminate himself or his wife. However, while that burden is imposed on the witness, he is also given a protection because any answer that he may give to the royal commission cannot be used against him in any civil
Or criminal proceedings except proceedings for perjury or refusing to answer questions under the terms of this bill. In other words, the incriminating nature of the answer is destroyed by providing that such an answer is necessarily one that will not incriminate the witness because it cannot be used against him in proceedings other than the ones to which I have referred. That process I submit in relation to proceedings of this kind is by no means novel. That very question was the subject of an investigation, I think in 1944, by a committee established by my predecessor, the present Leader of the Opposition (Dr. Evatt). The committee was presided over by Mr. Allan Fraser, M.P. The other members were distinguished lawyers. They were Mr. David Maughan, as he then was; Mr. John V. Barry, who is now a justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and Dr. Frank Louat. The committee was asked to consider this matter in relation to certain national security regulations. The conclusion it reached and upon which it based its recommendation was -
The committee recommends that either by addition to the regulations containing these powers, ov by a regulation of general application, provision should be made to protect in the manner indicated persons compelled under penalty to answer. As the position of the person so interrogated would then be adequately protected, it would be proper to provide that he shall not be excused from answering on the ground that his answer might tend to criminate him.
The bill provides for some alterations of, and additions to, the penalties for which provision is made in the Royal Commissions Act 1902-1933. Let me draw attention to what I believe to be the most important of those provisions. Under the old act, if a person failed to answer a question, for example, he could be only fined in respect of the first occasion he refused to do so. Under this bill, the penalty will be a fine or imprisonment for three months for the first offence.
Doubtless it may seem strange to laymen not familiar with these matters that, in. proceedings before this commission, we could see the spectacle of a witness refusing to answer a question and the commission itself being unable to do anything about it. We, as a Parliament, cannot do anything to alter that situation. The reason is that the punishment of a person for an offence of that kind is an exercise of the judicial power of the Commonwealth. Under the Constitution, the judicial power of the Commonwealth is vested exclusively in courts. This commission, although it consists of three judges, is not a court. It is conducting an inquiry, not performing a judicial function in the exercise of the judicial power of the Commonwealth. So any proceedings for failure to appear in response to a subpoena or failure to answer a question must be taken in a court. In other words, we must prosecute offenders before a judge or a magistrate. The commission could not punish offenders itself, because the imposition of a punishment would be an exercise of the judicial power of the Commonwealth. The position is different in the States. There is nothing to prevent a State Parliament from giving direct power to a royal commission to punish offenders promptly, but the Constitution prevents this Parliament from doing so. That is the reason why the commission must always remain impotent to deal with these offences itself.
The bill provides that a person who fails to answer questions or obey a subpoena may be prosecuted in the ordinary way before a police magistrate, but we have provided for an alternative procedure. It is not altogether new, because a similar procedure was envisaged in section 10 of the Royal Commission Act 1902-1933, which states -
Proceedings in respect of any offence against this Act (other than an indictable offence) may be instituted by action, information, or other appropriate proceedings, in the High Court by the Attorney-General in the name of the King, or by information or other appropriate proceeding by any person in any court of summary jurisdiction.
That act provided that the AttorneyGeneral could proceed in the High Court, if he saw fit to do so, but, if he liked, he could proceed, in the ordinary way by issuing a summons and having the matter brought before a police magistrate. When we came to look closely at the provisions of section 10 in relation to High Court procedure, we found they were somewhat defective. They do not prescribe clearly the procedure that should be followed, and there are no High Court rules that govern the matter satisfactorily. The procedure of going to the High Court has great advantages. If we were restricted to proceedings before a police magistrate, we might be faced with long and protracted appeals by some of the people with whom we may have to deal. But if we can go straight to the High Court, a case can be dealt with there once and for all by a justice of the Court. If new legal or constitutional points are raised, they will be raised before a tribunal that can make a final decision on them. That will avoid a series of appeals from petty sessions to quarter sessions to the Supreme Court of Victoria or New South Wales. The punishment that a High Court justice will be able to impose will be exactly the same as that which a police magistrate will be empowered to impose, but the advantage of proceeding in the High Court is that if any legal points are raised, the High Court is the place in which to decide them.
Some slight alterations - I submit they are not fundamental alterations - are proposed in clause 24, which states more particularly than does the old act what will constitute contempts of the commission. I gather there has been some controversy about this clause in certain quarters. In my view, the clause will make no alteration of the law as it stood when the Parliament passed the Royal Commission Act 1954, but it will indicate a little more clearly, and with greater particularity, the kind of things that will constitute offences. Let me refer to section 6o of the act of 1902-1933. All of us agreed with that provision when we made it applicable to this commission at the end of the la3t Parliament. It reads -
Any person who w ilfully insults or disturb* a Royal Commission, or interrupts the proceedings of a Royal Commission, or uses any insulting language towards a .Royal Commission, or by writing or speech uses words false and defamatory of a Royal Commission, or is in any manner guilty of any wilful contempt of a Royal Commission, chilli be guilty of an offence.
I gather the controversy has arisen because we have inserted in the clause the words - . . by writing or speech use words calculated … to bring the Commission or a member of the Commission into disrepute.
I have not the slightest doubt that, if those words were not there and we left the position as it was under the 1902-1933 act, if some one wrote or spoke words calculated to bring the commission into disrepute, that would constitute a wilful contempt within the meaning of the words “ or is in any manner guilty of any wilful contempt of a royal commission”. But there is some value in directing attention to this matter, because certain pamphlets are being published and I am not certain that all of the people who have published them fully realize what they are rendering themselves liable to. Therefore, we Iia ve drawn express attention to this offence. We have done so in terms to which no member of the Opposition can have the slightest objection, because they are terms that were made applicable to conciliation commissioners under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1947, which was sponsored by a Labour government. I find it difficult to believe that the kind of protection that is given properly to conciliation commissioners should not be extended also to a royal commission that is performing the extremely important function that this commission is performing.
Clause 27 is designed to facilitate proof of proceedings before the commission. A transcript signed by the chairman of the commission and setting out questions asked of witnesses and answers given will be, at any rate prima facie evidence that those questions were asked and those answers were given. That is a useful way to prove that a person has refused to answer a question put to him. I think I have dealt with the main provisions of the bill. Honorable senators have been given two documents which elucidate the alterations that have been made to the act passed earlier this year and, in that form, made applicable to this commission. In substance this bill is really an enactment of the measure to which we agreed unanimously at the close of the last Parliament. There is no fundamental difference of principle between the two measures. In the main, the bill is designed to clarify some provisions that were a little obscure and to increase penalties that can be imposed. 1 suggest that the bill is necessary to help this commission to perform effectively the important task it has undertaken. We have endeavoured to ensure that no legal obstacle shall prevent, the commission from carrying out its functions. I assure the Senate that the measure has received the most careful consideration.
Sitting suspended from 5J/6 to 8 p.m.
.- The bill now under consideration relates to the Royal Commission on Espionage. I take this first opportunity of congratu lating the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) upon the clarity with which, in an extempore speech, he outlined the provisions of the measure. I also thank the Government for the explanatory notes relating to the bill that have been circulated, which have been very helpful in considering the matter. The AttorneyGeneral covered the purposes of the bill so well that I do not propose to traverse them at length. I merely wish to say, at this stage, that they include as their main themes, first the validation, ob initio, of the appointment of the royal commission, and of its proceedings in the interim; secondly, the increasing of penalties for offences, and, in one or two cases, the creation of new offences; and thirdly - a most important thing - the bill very properly gives protection to counsel and other persons whom the commission authorizes to appear before it. The Opposition approves and supports the purposes of the bill. In the light of that support, I do not propose to speak at length, but there are some observations that I consider I should make. My first observation is, that when Petrov and his disclosures became available to the Government early in April of this year, there were two courses open to the Government. One was to have a commission of the nature of the one that was set up in April last, and which is still functioning. The other was to keep from the public the fact that Petrov and his disclosures were available, and to use the opportunity to follow up the leads that he supplied, to keep suspects under surveillance, and perhaps, at the opportune time, to swoop and capture much incriminating evidence.
– And let Mrs. Petrov go home?
– That was not the issue, and it is not the issue at this stage. Mrs. Petrov did not come on the scene until long after that decision was made and the first bill was passed in April. Therefore, that was not an issue at the time. We will never know, of course, just how much has gone through the net that might otherwise have been retained had the second approach been made. I believe that it might have been the better approach. The Government might have been helped in its efforts to track down traitors in Australia and to check attempts at espionage had that second course been pursued. Those courses were not available to the Opposition. The first that we heard about the matter was on the last day of the sittings of the last Parliament, when the measure came before us. When publicity was given to it, persons who had anything to conceal would no doubt at that moment have been very busy concealing things and covering their tracks. They may even have been leaving the country. That is something that has happened. But the point I wish to emphasize is, that at that stage two courses were open to the Government, which chose the appointment of a royal commission.
The Australian Labour party supported the appointment of the commission, because lt yields nothing to any political party in this country in its solicitude to track down traitors and to assure the security and safety of Australia. We were as eager as anybody else in Australia to ensure that espionage - more particularly by our own nationals, when we regard it as one of the worse offences - should be investigated and countered, no matter where the trail might lead. I should like the Senate to understand that that is the unequivocal attitude of the Australian Labour party in relation io anything that threatens the safety of this country. I think it is proper for me to say, at this stage, that when the Opposition was consulted about the terms of reference we, in fact, sought wider terms than were eventually announced by the Government. Of course, the Government may have had very good reasons for confining the commission to narrower ground than was suggested by the Opposition. I merely record the fact that we did ask for wider, not narrower terms of reference.
Tn appointing a royal commission, I think the Opposition and the Government, combining in that action, took a well calculi’. tod risk. We knew perfectly well that espionage was a crime - the worst kind of crime. We knew that, under the operation of a royal commission, some of the great and traditional safeguards of the criminal law had to be discarded. Wc joined in that. We realized that the rule that enables a person to refuse to answer a question that might incriminate, or tend to incriminate bini had to go into the discard, and that the urgent and important thing was to get at the truth. The discarding of that rule was offset, to a considerable degree, by the provision referred to by the AttorneyGeneral, that no answer that a person gives to a royal commission can be used as evidence against him in any civil or criminal proceedings, other than in connexion with some offences committed against the particular act. Perjury is an instance. I say again, without the slightest reservation, that in the light of the purpose of the royal commission, we support the new provisions in this bill which strengthen the power to require people to answer all questions, and generally strengthen the powers of the commission in that regard. We have no contest with that.
Inherent in the proceedings of a royal commission, also, are the dangers - again not present in ordinary criminal law - that a person called to the witness box may be faced with facts or allegations that amount to a charge. In other words, there is no prior notice of it. There is no opportunity to prepare an adequate defence. These things are a negation of the principles that normally apply in relation to crime, and I do not think anybody will contravert the proposition that espionage is a crime. We recognize and concede that those principles have to be set. aside for a very good reason. Where the safety and security of this nation is at stake, those principles have to be suspended to a degree, in the interests of the country. We support that proposition. But one reason for the selection of judges to act as royal commissioners - and that is a common procedure - is that there is likely, under their presidency, to be a minimum of danger to innocent persons because they understand perfectly the rules of law and their application. We acknowledge that it was finite right, and we are comforted by the thought that judges were appointed as the presiding officers in this commission. What is generally not understood is, that the findings or conclusions of this commission have no effect in law in relation to any person or any organization. The royal commission is in the nature of an executive body, acting under the Government, as do both the security service and the police force. They inquire, and reach certain conclusions, and thereafter proceedings, if called for, take place. Mr. Justice Fullagar, in the case referred to by the Attorney-General, put that position so very clearly that L ask the Senate to bear with me while I read a brief passage to them. The argument had been addressed to His Honour that the functioning of the commission amounted to the exercise of judicial power, and that, therefore, the body, not being constituted as a court, was invalidly established.
– Is that a part of Mr. Justice Fullagher’s judgment?
– The following is an extract from the judgment: -
It was said in the first plane that the legislation under which the Commission was appointed conferred judicial power otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of Chapter ITI. of the Constitution. T consider this argument untenable. The duties of the Commission are to inquire and report. It has, in order that it may effectively perform the duty of inquiry, certain powers which normal I)’ bidong to judicial tribunals. But the function which is distinctive of judicial power - the power to decide or determine - is absent. The Commission can neither decide nor determine anything and nothing that it does can in any way affect the legal position of any person. Its powers and functions are not judicial.
The matter could not be better expressed. The point is that judges are appointed to perform a non-judicial function, because it is expected, with confidence, that they will retain, as far as possible, and as far as the inquiry permits, the judicial principles of British law and justice. But I make this comment: Even though their findings may have no effect in law, it is completely true that a finding adverse to a person or an organization, establishing against him, or it, some act of espionage, would, before the public, and before the world, amount to a conviction in fact, and that person or organization against whom such a finding was made would, in effect, be damned - probably properly damned - before his fellows. He would have no reputation left. Accordingly, although it is a cold fact that the findings of this commission will have no effect in law, they must in truth have a vast effect in fact. Therefore, there is a great duty on the commission to have full regard to that fact, despite the legal and technical position upon which they function.
I wish to make a comment on the action of the Government in setting up this commission, and I shall refer first to the bill that was passed by the Parliament, with the unanimous support of all parties, in April, 1954. When that bill was drawn, it authorized the appointment of a person as commissioner. The Leader of the Opposition in another place (Dr. Evatt) drew attention to the fact that that meant one person, and that the appointment of more than one person was in contemplation by the Government. He was told that the Acts Interpretation Act covered that matter, and that the word “ person “ included “ persons “.
– He did not disagree with that.
– He was not able to at the time. He interjected. He had no right to pursue the matter in argument then.
– He made it very clear.
– He raised it. That is all. It is clear, in the light of Mr. Justice Fullagar’s judgment, that the Government showed signs of haste in the preparation of that measure. There may have been some reason for that - possibly a very good reason.
– There was.
– However, the Government showed signs of haste and, quite frankly, it fumbled the bill. On that point, Mr. Justice Fullagar passed the following remarks : -
The next point is the point which has given me a little difficulty. It seems to me a remarkable thing that the special legislation providing for the appointment of this particular Royal Commission should have been prepared in such a way as to permit the point to arise. It is the more remarkable when one compares with the special Act the terms of Section ]a of the sr-nora] Act - the Royal Commissions Aft 1002-1033. It is proper, however, to add that I have not had the assistance on this application of any argument on behalf of the Crown. The question certainly does arise and, indeed, so far as that special legislation is concerned, 1 think that Mr. Laurie’s argument is well founded. It has seemed to mc, however, that there is a clear enough answer to it.
His Honour supplies the answer to that question arid also discusses the Acts Interpretation Act concerning which he said -
If the Crown had been represented before mc, reliance might perhaps have been placed on Section 23 of the Acts Interpretation Act ll)01-li)5l), which provides that, unless a contrary indication appears, words in the singular shall include the plural and words in the plural shall include the singular. But il seems to me that to use this provision to make Section 3 of the Act of 1954 authorize the appointment of several Commissioners would he not to interpret Section 3 but to distort its plain meaning. J can understand that, if an Act says that a man who owns a dog must register it, the Acts Interpretation Act requires this to bc read as meaning that, if a man keeps tcn dogs, he must register his ten dogs. But if an Act says that the GovernorGeneral may appoint a Commissioner of Taxation. I cannot think that the Acts Interpretation Act requires this to be read as meaning that ten Commissioners of Taxation may bc appointed. Section 3 of the Royal Commission Act 1954 means to my mind that one person to he designated may bo appointed to fill a specified office, and 1 do not think that the section can be made to mean anything else.
The drafting of that bill was fumbled, and for that the Government must take full responsibility. It is now clear that the Government itself decided that it wanted three particular judges, and that it made application for those judges. I suggest to the Senate that that was quite a wrong procedure. It was a procedure which, unfortunately, damaged the prestige of this commission from the beginning. We of the Opposition think that that is a pity. If I am told that that is the usual and normal procedure I shall at once reject the suggestion. When I was Acting Attorney-General of the Commonwealth, in the absence of the Attorney-General of the time, the need for the appointment of a royal commission arose from the Suzuki incident, Suzuki being a ship that was leaving Australia. On that occasion an approach was made to the Premiers of the various States for permission to approach the Chief Justices of the States in order to ask them to make a judge available. No name was mentioned. The Solicitor-General of the Commonwealth then approached the Chief Justice in each State. That is the impeccable way to handle a matter of this nature, lt is a pity that this royal commission got off to a bad start. Who will deny the unfortunate nature of a newspaper account of the appointment of this commission under the large headings which appeared in the Daily Mirror of the 30th April, published after the names of the judges had been announced but before they had been formally appointed.
– What is the date-line? Is it Brisbane?
– No. It is Canberra. The heading reads -
ROYAL COMMISSION JUDGES.
Menzies Wanted Some But Not Others.
Then there are pictures of four judges. The heading over three of them is “ Wanted “. Underneath them is the photograph of a judge marked “Not Wanted “. That is a disgrace. It was v blow at the prestige of this commission from the beginning. It is one of the most unfortunate things that has hap.pened in connexion with the commission, and it is the clearest evidence of haste, bungling and mishandling by the Government.
– Has the honorable senator any evidence of the truth of those statements ?
Seantor McKENNA. - Yes. I have the evidence contained in a statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself and other headings in newspapers including the Brisbane Courier-Mail.
– Perhaps the honorable senator might say who first made it public.
– I do not know. I notice that the news item came from Canberra. The real trouble has been the procedure adopted by the Government. What reasons actuated the Government in saying that it wanted three particular judges? Some reasons must have actuated the Government in making its selection from the judiciary of Australia. What were those reasons? The Daily Mirror, of the 30th April, stated -
Observers are speculating how, in view of his insistence upon selecting his own Royal Commissioners from the State judiciaries, Mr. Menzios will he able to sustain his claim that he is approaching the Petrov inquiry in a non-political manner.
It is unfortunate that that comment was made possible by the actions of the Government. I should like the AttorneyGeneral (Senator Spicer) to tell the story to the people of Australia. “Why were those three judges picked out? That is a plain question to which the AttorneyGeneral may have a very good answer. The Attorney-General might well say that the Government realized that a strenuous time lay ahead of the judges appointed to the Commission and that it wanted young and vigorous men. Was that the reason? If it was, I should like the Attorney-General to tell the Senate that that was so.
– He would not tell the truth.
– to order, Mr. Deputy President. That statement is grossly offensive. It is not accepted by one honorable senator in this chamber and I ask that Senator Sandford be made to apologize and withdraw his statement.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.Senator Sandford’s remark is offensive and I ask him to withdraw it.
– What was the remark ?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- That the Attorney-General could not tell the truth.
– I did not say that. 1 said that he would not tell the truth.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I am asking the honorable senator to apologize.
– Very well, in deference to your ruling, Mr. Deputy President, I withdraw the remark.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The honorable senator will also apologize.
– What about?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I ask the honorable senator to withdraw and apologize for the remark that he has made. I will not ask him again.
– Very well. I withdraw the remark and apologize with pleasure.
– I hope that in his reply to this debate the AttorneyGeneral will answer my question and tell the Senate what actuated the Government in selecting three particular judges.
As this measure will validate retrospectively, not only the appointment of the royal commission, but all the proceedings of the commission that have taken place in the interim, I propose to make some comments on the proceedings of the commission. Whilst this commission is given power to sit in secret and take evidence in camera, and whilst it is given power to suppress documents and portions of documents, any extensive use of either of those powers should be avoided at all costs.
– Does not the honorable senator trust the commissioners ?
– I merely make that observation.
– The honorable senator is smearing the members of the commission.
– I am not. I merely proffer certain comment in the light of what has transpired. It is difficult for the people of Australia, seeing particular names selected from a large number of names, to know why all names are not mentioned. It is difficult for the people to understand why some evidence must be taken in camera. I trust that in the future activities of this commission that kind of procedure will be reduced to the irreducible minimum. There is nothing like the fresh, fierce light of publicity to kill speculation and enable the truth to be disclosed. If a document is defamatory of various people why should only one, or two, or three names be selected for publication ?
– I rise to order. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) appears to me to be commenting directly on the procedure of the royal commission. I think that, in accordance with the ruling that you gave on a previous occasion, Mr. Deputy President, that kind of comment should not be permitted.
– There is a very real distinction between the situation that existed when you gave your previous ruling, Mr. Deputy President, and the present situation. I invite your attention to clause 5 of the bill, which reads as follows : -
The Letters Patent of which a copy is set forth in the Schedule to this Act are hereby declared to bc, and to have been at all times, authorized by the Royal Commission Act 1904-
That part of the clause will validate retrospectively the appointment of the commission. The clause continues - and the Commission is hereby authorized and required, and is hereby declared to have been at all times authorized and required, to proceed with the inquiry directed by those Letters Patent.
In short, that clause validates the appointment of the commission and it validates, retrospectively, all the proceedings of tho commission. If you rule, sir, that we may not discuss any of the proceedings which this clause seeks to validate, then we shall not be allowed to discuss the very essence and subject-matter of the clause. It may well be, to state a supposititious case, that some of the proceedings of that commission may be invalid. If there is no discussion, it will mean that that clause, when passed, will validate proceedings as to which no comment can be made.
I am perfectly well aware of the practice that matters which are sub judice should not be discussed in this Parliament, but I do not think that that practice applies in this case. First, this commission is not a court, and secondly, if it is quasi-judicial, the rule which normally applies is thrown aside by the very nature of the clause that we are considering. We are asked, in short, to validate all the proceedings from the day on which the commission was appointed and sat, until the present time, ff your ruling has the effect of doing that, those proceedings will be validated blindly without an opportunity to consider or discuss them, and you will be striking a blow at the highest privilege in this Parliament - the right of free speech where it is completely relevant. I submit that you should not lightly so rule. I acknowledge that the practice of the Parliament in relation to matters that are sub judice is a. perfectly good one. The privilege that we enjoy of complete free speech on any matter that is relevant to a clause or bill under discus sion is a very important one. More than that, it is a very sacred one. I concede, also, that it carries with it a vast responsibility not to digress into provinces into which normal, proper practice should nol lead us. I submit that in law and in accordance with our Standing Orders, we should be at liberty to discuss any of the proceedings of the commission from its appointment until now.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order ! I have listened carefully to the point raised by the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer), and I have also listened carefully to what the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has had to say in his endeavour to prove that the the point of order taken by the AttorneyGeneral should not be upheld. To a point, I can see the force of the reasoning of the Leader of the Opposition, but after very careful thought, and in spite of his submissions concerning clause 5 of the bill, I am of the opinion that it would be unfair and improper at this stage to permit honorable senators to traverse the proceedings of the royal commission. As I have already said, that commission was set up under an act of this Parliament, and until such time at it completes the task that it has been given, I feel that this chamber has no right to debate its activities.
Espionage Activities in Australia.
– With great respect, and with much regret, but having regard to the principle involved, I move -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The ruling of the Deputy President to which I have moved dissent is to the effect that the Senate may not discuss, during consideration of the Royal Commision on Espionage Bill, matters connected with the proceedings of the royal commission.
Senator McKenna having submitted, in writing, his objection to the ruling.
That the question of dissent requires im mediate determination.
– I do not wish to take up the time of the Senate by repeating the argument which I addressed to you, Mr. Deputy President, some little time ago. I have adopted this course with regret because of the important principle involved, namely, the immediate relevancy of these proceedings to the clause of the bill to which I have referred.
– I wish to make one or two comments in relation to the submission of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). It seems to me that the honorable senator overlooked the point that this Parliament delegated to the commission the task of inquiring into these matters. Under the terms of tho act which was passed by this Parliament, letters patent were directed to the three commissioners who hive been conducting the inquiry in accordance with those letters patent, and who have been called upon to report the result of their inquiries.
– .1. rise to order. The motion before the Senate, Mr. Deputy President, is that your ruling be dissented from, and I think that a. vote should be taken. The AttorneyGeneral is entering into a discussion of the merits of the ruling.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The Attorney-General is in order, and may proceed.
– I think that I am entitled to express my views on the motion on which the Leader of the Opposition has invited us to vote. As I said before, these matters have been delegated by the Parliament, to this commission, which is required to inquire and report. In those circumstances, I suggest that it would go against the traditions of parliamentary procedure if this Parliament were now to proceed to some inquisition into the proceedings of the royal commission which it authorized. The sole purpose of the clause, upon which the Leader of the Opposition apparently places some weight, is to remove doubts. The intention of this Parliament was always clear. It was that this matter should be delegated to a royal commission for inquiry.
Had not doubts arisen as the result of Mr. Justice Fullagar’s judgment, we would not be debating this matter at all. I suggest that the clause to which the Leader of the Opposition has referred provides no foundation for the Senate to depart from the rule that a matter which has been delegated for inquiry by a royal commission, as this has been, should not be the subject-matter of criticism and investigation by us while the inquiry is still pending. For those reasons, I submit that the Senate should not disagree with the ruling.
– With great respect, Mr. Deputy President, I feel that it is proper that the Senate should disagree with the ruling that you have just given. We are in an. extraordinary position in that avo have been asked, in accordance with clause 5 of this new bill, to set out-
– I rise to order. I submit that the question before the Senate at the moment is not that the Deputy President’s ruling be dissented from, but that the motion before the Senate requires immediate determination.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.Order! Senator Arnold is in order.
– The Senate has before it a bill which seeks power to issue certain letters patent to a royal commission, to enable it to carry out its inquiries. That royal commission has already conducted certain proceedings pursuant to an act passed by this Parliament. The Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) has said that the bill now before the Senate is designed to validate certain matters not covered by the previous legislation. As we are being asked, apparently, to validate certain things which that commission has done without proper authority, I suggest that it is right that the Senate should be permitted to discuss the actions of the commission and to determine, in our wisdom, whether we should now give these additional powers. Certain events which have occurred could well affect the judgment of honorable senators. Unless we are allowed to discuss previous proceedings, I submit that we cannot acquire a clear conception of the purposes of this bill and cannot make a proper judgment as to whether the legislation should be passed by the Senate. I therefore submit, Mr. Deputy President, that your ruling is harsh and that the Senate should disagree with it.
– I suggest that the attitude adopted by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), and also by Senator Arnold, has been instrumental in deterring judges from acceptance of royal commissions. In the course of his speech previously, the Leader of the Opposition professed to agree with the view that some royal commissions are ofsuch importance that it becomes the office of the judiciary to inquire and report. It is in the capacity of judges that the three appointees, in this instance, are discharging those functions. It is as judges, in reality, that they are sitting to inquire. We know that their technical function is not judicial, in the sense in which that term is used for the purpose of separating the judicial, legislative and executive functions in the Constitution. They have been empowered as judges. If this Parliament has a proper sense of the fitness of things in relation to premature discussion in this Parliament on a matter on which judges are expected to come independently to a conclusion when they have finished the process of taking and examining evidence, then I submit it would be unworthy for the Senate to enter into a discussion of the proceedings of the three judges so far as they have gone. The proceedings are incomplete. I hope that those honorable senators who have a proper respect for the difficulties and the position of the judiciary who undertake a commission of this sort, will accord to them the freedom from discussion that would be observed were they acting under the jurisdiction of a court of law. In respect of law court proceedings, nobody in this chamber would think of disagreeing with the ruling of the presiding judge and the proceedings would be immune from discussion. I hope that the substance of the matter will be given due regard and that technical considerations will not be seized upon to make an opportunity for irresponsible debate and the aping of the inept procedures that have occurred in another place.
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The Senate divided. (The Deputy President - Senator A. D.Reid.)
Majority . . 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed (vide page 213).
– In view of the decision of the Senate to which I am obliged to bow, I have very little to add. Before the interruption, I had made general observations and had proposed to conclude with the particular phase from which I am now debarred. I should like the Senate to realize that in according its support to this measure, which strengthens the powers and functions of the royal commission, arms it perhaps with more teeth and gives its officers and those who function under its jurisdiction proper immunity, the Opposition is acting wholeheartedly in a desire that the commission may function efficiently and effectively and uncover whatever espionage is going on in Australia. We give to the bill and its various provisions our full and most cordial support.
– I rise also to support the bill. £ was interested to hear the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). In the first part of his speech, he enlightened the Senate considerably on the main provisions of the bill, but when he proceeded to refer to newspaper reports, about the accuracy of which he was unable to speak convincingly, the standard of his contribution to the debate was considerably lowered. I invite the attention of the Senate to some fairly important aspects of the bill and in doing so, I propose to state why it became necessary to depart from rules of common law that have come down through the ages with regard to the compellability of witnesses and other matters.
Honorable senators should remember that this bill has been presented to us as a proposed law concerning the power of the Parliament in relation to external affairs. It has been the aim of the Government, as I see it, that the work of the Royal Commission on Espionage in Australia should not be thwarted by avoidable legal difficulties. This bill is one of the greatest importance to Australian national safety. Consequently, the bill confers more authority upon and greater protection for the commissioners, barristers and others who appear before the commissioners than would be afforded to an ordinary royal commission. Clause 3 of the bill clearly shows the bona fides of the Government and its advisers. It states -
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act. a person is not, in respect of an Act or omission occurring before the commencement of this Act, guilty of an offence of which he would not have been guilty, or liable to a penalty to which he Would not have been liable, if this Act had not been enacted.
That shows that there is to be no retrospective action with regard to any of the witnesses who so far have failed to answer questions. There is retrospectivity, however, with regard to the validation of the proceedings that have already been taken. The Leader of the Opposition was quite right in referring to the fact that this is not the exercise of a judicial power of the Commonwealth. As may be well known, the judicial power of the Commonwealth can be exercised only by constituted courts, where the judges are appointed for life and not simply appointed for a term to perform a specific task as in the case of this commission. The judgment of Mr. Justice Fullager, which has been quoted by the Leader of the Opposition, was given by the learned and distinguished judge without any argument being addressed to him by the counsel for the Commonwealth. It is an ex parte judgment given after hearing certain limited arguments that were addressed by counsel for Mr. Lockwood. The judgment that was given by the learned judge has not convinced me that the law officers of the Commonwealth were wrong.
– I rise to order. 1 n view of the ruling that you have given, Mr. Deputy President, is the honorable senator to be permitted to mention names that have been divulged in the proceedings before the royal commission, and to refer in detail to what is transpiring before the commission?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- My ruling did not relate to the application to the High Court. The Leader of the Opposition referred to a judgment as did the Attorney-General. So far, Senator Laught is in order.
– Thank you, Mr. Deputy President. All I wish to say on this point is that, so far as I can see, the advice, given by the Commonwealth’s legal officers in relation to the Acts Interpretation Act was good. However, the Government is acting wisely in introducing this bill.
I shall refer now to one or two matters mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. He spoke, for instance, of the power of the royal commission to take evidence in camera. I agree that that is a very wide power, but so far as I can see, it was quite unnecessary for the Leader of the Opposition to be apprehensive about the possible use of that power by the commission. The work of the commission to date has not given the honorable senator cause to make the remarks that he did. An interesting part of the bill is clause 24 to which reference was made by the Attorney-General. Interestingly enough, the provision was taken almost word for word from legislation placed on the statute-book when Labour was in office. I refer to section 111 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act which was inserted by section 19 of the 1947 amending legislation. Honorable senators will recall that, in 1947, the Chifley Government decided to appoint conciliation commissioners. The provisions of section 19 of the amending legislation were required to enable the conciliation commissioners to ‘exercise their jurisdiction effectively. As I have said clause 24 of this bill is, almost word for word, a complete copy of that section which is now section 111 of the consolidated act. 1 consider the inclusion of this power to be wise.
In conclusion, I commend the Government for its action in introducing this bill. It has adopted the wise course in drafting a composite measure instead of following the form of the previous legislation. I trust that the royal commission will be able to proceed now without let or hindrance, and that the rights and obligations of witnesses who are called before the commission will be made clear so that there will be no doubt about the legality of the commission’s proceedings.
– I appreciate that the Government is eager to have this bill passed as quickly as possible and with as little comment as possible. In that respect, we are being asked to debate this measure in almost the same atmosphere that surrounded the passage through the Parliament a few months ago of the Royal Commission Act 1954. I do not propose to allow that to happen. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has made it perfectly clear that the Labour party supports the bill, and hopes that any espionage that may be revealed in the course of the inquiry will be made the subject of immediate action and the guilty persons adequately punished for their offences.
Honorable senators will recall the sensational circumstances in which the Parliament was made aware, shortly before it went into recess in April of this year, that the Government had extraordinary news to disclose. The Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (Dr. Evatt) was acquainted with the nature of that news only about half an hour before it was announced to the Parliament. It may have been news that, could not have been disclosed to th, rank and file of the Parliament at an earlier date, but certainly it should not have been withheld from the Leader of the Opposition. But a general election for the House of Representatives was pending and the sensational disclosures were most opportune. There had been a standing instruction that the security service should inform both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition of any important events that occurred in relation to the security of Australia. The Prime M’inister knew of the Petrov incident ten days before the Leader of the Opposition was informed of what had happened. The result of all this secrecy was that we did not have an opportunity to acquaint ourselves fully of what was in the Royal Commission Bill that we were asked to pass in April of this year, and therefore we were unable to give proper consideration to it. However, although the Opposition was not adequately informed of the reasons for the presentation of the measure, it was passed through the Parliament with the co-operation of the Opposition in both chambers. The Labour party accepted the Government’s statement that there had been a serious espionage venture in this country which should be investigated immediately and revealed to the people of Australia. However, as the inquiry has proceeded, there have been some disquieting events which have raised in the minds of many fairminded people the question whether the inquiry is being conducted solely for the purpose of revealing espionage or for some other purpose.
– I rise to order. I submit, Mr. Deputy President, that Senator Arnold is transgressing your ruling by criticizing the conduct of the royal commission.
– 1 am not criticizing the commission. I am criticizing the trend of events that led up to the inquiry.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator may continue, but I warn him that I shall not let him evade my ruling.
– I shall bow to your ruling, Mr. Deputy President. I shall tread as warily as possible in my endeavour to express some of the doubts that are agitating the minds of a considerable proportion of the Australian public. When the. measure to constitute the royal commission was before us we were told that the commission would be a judicial body and that its investigations would be undertaken quietly and calmly. But what happened ? In Canberra, whore the commission was to open its proceedings, £5,000 was spent on the Albert Hall, and the preparations for the hearing were publicized by the press throughout Australia. However, after that huge build-up, the commission met for only about a day and a half in Canberra and adjourned to some other place. The royal commission was not responsible for the creation of the atmosphere in which its proceedings opened, and I should like to make it perfectly clear that I am nos criticizing the commission on that score. 1 am criticizing those who were responsible for the legislation which appointed the commission and for guiding events up to the time the commission me:.
The Leader of the Opposition has referred to the selection of judges for the commission. That too is a political matter which is outside the scope of the commission itself. It is now clear that the Premier of Queensland was asked to supply a judge and that he selected a judge who was rejected by the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer).
– That statement is entirely wrong.
– Then this is the first time it has been refuted although it has been freely made in the press throughout the Commonwealth. We have been led to believe that the first judge selected by the Chief Justice of Queensland was not acceptable to this
Government. I should like to know why it was necessary to make a special selection of judges for this inquiry. Why could the Government not have accepted whatever judges were offered by the chief justices of the States? The refusal to do this indicated, in my opinion, that judges might be selected because of their political leanings. I ask the Attorney-General to tell me in his reply to this debate why it was necessary to discard a judge who had been selected by the Chief Justice of Queensland, and to obtain the services of another judge from the same State. As the inquiry has proceeded, the Leader of the Opposition has been the only individual to be made a target because of the revelations.
– I rise to order. Surely, sir, this is a comment on the proceedings of the royal commission. You have ruled that such comments are out of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The honorable senator must not proceed on those lines.
– I defer to your ruling, sir. Clause 16 makes provision for parts of the inquiry to be held in private. If some of the evidence were taken in private and some in public, that could work unfairly.
– The honorable senator did not object to that last time.
– I am objecting to it now.
– It was in the other bill, to which the honorable senator agreed.
– Probably it is because of what has happened at the inquiry that I am objecting to this provision now. In an inquiry of this nature, documents may be produced. Under the provisions of clause 16, some of the names mentioned in a document could be made public and others could be concealed. I submit that if some of the names mentioned in a document of that kind were suppressed, it would be only fair to suppress the others. If a document presented to the commission contained 70 names, only three of them might be made public.
– I rise to order. T submit it is obvious that the honorable senator is resorting to the subterfuge of the hypothetical in order to make comments that the Chair has already ruled to be out of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The point of order is well founded. The honorable senator, in effect, is endeavouring to criticize something that has actually occurred in the proceedings of the commission. I shall not permit him to proceed on those lines.
– I have tried to put a hypothetical case, but the AttorneyGeneral sees a close relationship between that case and the present inquiry. As you have accepted his interpretation of my remarks, sir, I have no option but to discontinue that line of argument. But I point out that in those circumstances it is difficult for me to show the evil effects that could flow from clause 16. If I were to state another hypothetical case that was thought to have a bearing on the proceedings of the royal commission, you might think I was defying your ruling. I do not want to do that
– All names are fictitious. There i3 no resemblance to any living person.
– That is right. It must be clear to the Senate that a clause that would permit the commissioners to select portions of the evidence for publication and other portions for concealment, that would empower them to permit some names to be mentioned and others to be suppressed, could lead to a slant being given to the proceedings of the commission that was unfair to some people. If we give the commissioners this power, there is a danger that they will exercise it in that way.
I turn to clause 24, which seeks to extend to this commission a protection that an act passed in 1947 gave to conciliation commissioners. The AttorneyGeneral has said in his second-reading speech that there is no need for this provision. He has explained that the position is already covered adequately. He has not suggested that the clause will give the commission any additional powers. Yet I have no doubt he will insist tl, at the clause be retained. It provides that a person shall be guilty of an offence if he uses words calculated to bring the commission into disrepute. The danger that I see is that if somebody makes a fair criticism of the commission in the press or over the air, he will be punished for that criticism.
– That is nonsense.
– The AttorneyGeneral says it is nonsense. If that is so, why is not he prepared to delete from the bill the words of which I am complaining? They give no additional power to the commission as the AttorneyGeneral has admitted, but they will cause disquiet among a number of people. If a certain slant were given to the proceedings of the commission and anybody criticized it fairly, he could be punished for doing so. If it is clear that judges have been selected in a manner that is open to fair criticism, why should not they be criticized? If it is true that the names of certain individuals mentioned have been made public and the names of others concealed, why should not there be fair criticism of that? If, as the Attorney-General has said, this provision will not give any additional power to the commission, he should agree to delete these words. A refusal to do so will lend colour to the idea that the words have been inserted in the bill deliberately in order to make it more difficult for people to indulge in fair criticism of the commission.
– in reply - Let me deal first with the. remarks just made by Senator Arnold. I want to make it quite clear that a clause that protects the commission against words or writings calculated to bring the commission, or a member of the commission, into disrepute will not prevent fair criticism of the judges or the proceedings of the commission. This matter has been dealt with in the courts on a number of occasions. Perhaps I can put Senator Arnold’s mind at rest on the matter by reading a short extract from a judgment of the Privy Council that was delivered some years ago. It is as follows: -
Judges and courts are alike open to criticism, and if reasonable argument or expostulation is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no court could, or would, treat that as contempt of court.
That is a decision of the highest judicial tribunal in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Let me refer also to a judgment delivered by Mr. Justice Dean in the case of the Queen versus Arrowsmith , reported in 1950 Victorian Law Reports. In that case, Mr. Justice Dean had to consider the subject-matter of contempt in relation to a royal commission. In the course of his judgment, he directed his mind to two points that might arise in relation to a royal commission of this kind. The commission with which he was concerned related to communism and investigated matters that were naturally the subject of public discussion. Mr. Justice Dean said -
The inquiry itself is i [1 tu a matter of great public interest and controversy. In political circles, religious circles, in industrial circles, and generally throughout the community, the matters referred to the commission are under discussion. Public debate ranges repeatedly over the whole of these matters. Some o[ those who are prominent in such debates have appeared or will appear as witnesses before the royal commission. This court should not seek at all costs to protect the royal commissioner or the proceedings before it by its arbitrary jurisdiction. It would be a grave interference with our tradition of freedom of discussion upon matters i>f public interest if such matters had to be withdrawn from the area of public comment during the pendency of the commission. The public interest involved in maintaining such freedom must far outweigh the public interest involved in preserving our judicial system from all possible interference. It can hardly ho supposed that the learned commissioner will be influenced in the slightest degree by what is published outside.
In another part of the judgment, he said -
On the other hand, besides the fact that contempt has been established, and, in some cases serious contempt, there are two important matters. The first is that Parliament has set up this commission upon issues which it regards as of the highest public importance, ft has taken the unusual course of passing special legislation governing the commission and has expressly conferred on the commission nil the rights, powers and privileges vested in the Supreme Court, including the power of punishing persons guilty of contempt. It ha* provided that the inquiry shall be deemed to be a proceeding in the Supreme Court and that the commissioner shall be deemed to be acting as a judge of this court. All this manifests the desire that the report of the commission shall command all the respect of the community and all the authority commonly attributed to decisions of this court.
The result of these considerations is that there is a special reason for regarding seriously any contempt committed in respect of the commission. It is weakening,, or calculated co weaken, the authority of a tribunal whose authority Parliament has, in the public interest and for the public good, endeavoured to establish and maintain. It has been made manifest through the legislation that any lowering of the authority of the commission before it reports is to be prevented in order that the report, when made, shall have high authority and command general acceptance.
– What commission was that?
– It was the royal commission on communism, appointed by the Victorian Government as a result of the Sharpley revelations.
– What was done in that case?
– The judge found that the persons concerned had committed contempt. My recollection is that he gave them an opportunity to file an affidavit apologizing for what they had done. As a result, they escaped a fine.
There is only one other matter with respect to which I want to make some comment. I was disappointed to hear the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) give publicity to some rather scurrilous and irresponsible statements published by a section of the Sydney press with relation to the selection of the judges who constitute this royal commission. I am amazed that an honorable senator, who has had ministerial experience, has been prepared to suggest that, when a commission of this kind has to be appointed by the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth should throw the whole of its responsibility over to some State government that is not concerned with the commission at all. It seems to me to be an impossible proposition. I should be amazed to discover that on every occasion on which the Chifley Government sought the services of a State judge, it always left the choice to the Premier or the Chief Justice of the State concerned. I should be amazed to discover that that was the process that it followed, and I do not believe it was. I could well understand a case in which the Government, not being very concerned about the personnel, or the experience of a judge, made representations to a Chief Justice, through the State Premier, saying “ Can you let us have a judge to conduct an inquiry ? “, but I should have thought that that was the exception rather than the rule. This inquiry, I remind the Leader of tie Opposition, has its international implications. The report of this royal commission is a matter that will interest, not merely people in Australia, but also people throughout the world. When a commission had to be appointed to conduct this inquiry, the standing of the commission was a matter of some importance. It is no reflection on any judge of any supreme court in the whole of Australia to say, that on every bench there would be found one judge rather than another judge, who, by reason of his particular experience was more suited to conduct an inquiry of this kind. When all is said and done, the Leader of the Opposition knows very well that some judges might confine their activities, perhaps for the greater part of their lives, to divorce jurisdiction; other judges may be merely concerned with the equity jurisdiction.
– And some with political affiliations !
– Very few. This Government had to accept the responsibility of choosing judges whom it regarded as most suitable to perform the task.
– Suitable politically ?
– One of the judges was nominated by the Victorian Government.
– It has been said that one judge in Queensland, having been selected by either the Premier or the Chief Justice of that State, was turned down by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). That statement was completely false. The truth of the matter is that the Prime Minister, in seeking to make these appointments, followed the proper course. He first consulted the Premier of a State, and, through him, sought leave to approach the Chief Justice to inquire whether the judge desired could be released for the purpose of undertaking the duties of this commission. I suggest that that was a very proper course to take, and, as I have said, I should be amazed to discover that that course was never followed by the previous Labour Government. Whether or not that be so, there is nothing improper in it. That is the course that was followed in relation to Queensland. It is a little unfortunate - and I will, perhaps, be over-charitable about this - that the Premier of Queensland apparently misunderstood the Prime Minister’s request, and proceeded to approach the Chief Justice, and through the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Townley. The fact is that the Prime Minister informed the Premier of Queensland that he wished to have the opportunity of seeking the services of the judge from Queensland, who was selected. No embarrassment need have occurred with regard to the incident, had it not been for the fact that the Premier of Queensland, after it happened, and knowing all the circumstances thoroughly, wanted to make political capital out of it, without any regard to the possible embarrassment he might cause to the people concerned. That was as low as anything could be.
– I rise to order. The remark that the Premier of Queensland acted in a low manner is objectionable to me, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! As the remark of the AttorneyGeneral was offensive to Senator Cooke, I ask the Minister to withdraw it.
– I withdraw the remark. I have endeavoured to state the facts, and I wish to add one further comment, lest any reflection should be made upon a very worthy judge in Queensland by reason of the fact that he did not happen to be the judge whose services the Prime Minister sought. There was no question in this matter of the preferment of one judge to another. If it had not been for the fact that, as I have said, apparently the Premier of Queensland misunderstood, in the first instance, whose services were sought, Mr. Justice Townley would never have been approached. Again, if it had not been for the fact that the Premier of Queensland sought to give publicity to this matter, it need not have been known by anybody other than the persons concerned.
– Why was he approached ?
– I have explained that it was the responsibility of the Australian Government to choose the judges who should undertake this task. I make no apology for that. I suggest that a government which was not prepared to take the responsibility of choosing the personnel of the commission would not be fit to carry on the government of the country.
– Why did not the Government approach the Queensland Government and request, in the first place, that the services of the judge that it wanted be made available?
– I have explained that that is exactly what the Prime Minister did.
– What was the reason for asking for a certain judge?
– I have already said that the Premier of Queensland may have misunderstood the Prime Minister. The approach to Queensland was similar to the approach that was made to New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
– That is not quite right. The Prime Minister himself said that he did not name any judge when he spoke to Mr. Gair in the first place.
– That is quite true. I do not not wish to be misunderstood.
– We do not want any more misunderstanding.
– As I understood the matter, the Prime Minister sought leave from Mr. Gair to approach the Chief Justice of Queensland in order to seek the release of a judge. I do not want to be misunderstood.
– There has been nothing but misrepresentation.
– I object to the statement that I have done nothing but misrepresent the position. I ask that that remark be withdrawn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order ! Senator Critchley will withdraw the remark of which the AttorneyGeneral has complained.
– I withdraw the remark unreservedly.
– As I have stressed, I do not want to be misunderstood in this matter. The Prime Minister, in approaching the Premier of Queensland, understood that he was conveying to Mr. Gair a request for a judge - to be nominated by the Prime Minister - to be released from the Bench of Queensland. The Premier may have misunderstood the position. However, it need never have been known to any one other than the participants. I trust that the Senate will pass the bill in its present form.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Clause 5 reads -
The Letters Patent of which a copy is set. forth in the Schedule to this Act are hereby declared to be, and to have been at all times, authorized by the Royal Commission Act 1954 …
The Parliament usually adopts the procedure of declaring a law, when the law is accepted by the Parliament, to have been in that sense expressed at all times. In this case Mr. Justice Fullagar has delivered a judgment to the effect that these letters patent were not authorized at all times by that act. I am amazed to find that there are honorable senators who claim to agree with the view of the Crown Law officers in Opposition to the decision of a High Court judge. I hope that the declaration of this clause that the letters patent have at all times been authorized by the act is sufficiently respecful to the decision referred to. Is there any objection to stating in the bill that it was the intention of Parliament that the letters patent should be authorized by that act, and that the Parliament declares that those letters patent shall at all times be deemed to have had application to the Royal Commission on Espionage Act 1954? It is a small point, but a point that has arisen before in relation to High Court judgments. I recall, in the early days of federation, the excitement that the case of Delohery versus the Permanent
Trustee Company Limited caused in the legal profession because State legislators presumed, in the face of that judgment, to pass a law, which, in a sense was, contrary to the judgment. I think it would be unfortunate if any expression that Parliament used could be referred to as evidence of a contention between the Crown Law officers and the judgment of a High Court judge.
Senator VINCENT (Western Australia) 1 9.47]. - I shall refer to section 22 of the bill which relates to injury to witnesses. It reads as follows : -
A person shall nut use, cause, inflict or procure any violence, punishment, damage, loss or disadvantage to a person for or on account of that person having appeared as a witness before the Commission or for or on account of any evidence given by that person before the Commission.
Within my limited experience, most offences relating to witnesses are concerned with such matters as threats and similar action, not with overt acts of violence or injury. I suggest that the words “ or threaten to use “ be inserted in that clause after the word “ use “. The section would then read -
A person shall not use or threaten to use
Another aspect of this section is that none of the offences referred to may take place until after the witness has given evidence. It will be noticed that the clause is worded -
So if a person who was summoned to appear was assaulted or sustained other damage before his appearance there would be no offence under this clause. I should like the Attorney-General (Senator Spicer) to consider altering that clause in order to make it an offence to threaten or assault a witness who has been summoned to appear as a witness.
Clause 8 of the bill reads as follows : -
The Chairman of the Commission may, by writing under his hand, summon a person to attend the Commission . . .
May I suggest that the bill be amended to give power, not only to the Chairman, but to any member of the commission, to summon persons to attend the commission? This commission may go on for months. The chairman may become ill or otherwise become unable to attend to his duties. Under those circumstances no person could be summoned to appear as a witness. Clause 9 of the bill provides that any member of the commission may administer the oath. Surely it would be proper for any member of the commission to have the power to summon a person to attend. The powers set out in clause 12 are also limited to the chairman in relation to the arrest of a witness failing to appear. Here again, if the chairman should die, no other member of the commission could cause the arrest or issue a summons.
– Referring, first to tho last matter to which Senator Vincent referred, the whole of this act has been drawn on the basis that all the members are necessary to constitute the commission. If a member of the commission were to die before the proceedings were completed, it would be necessary for Parliament to grant additional authority. Therefore, the honorable senator’s comment in regard to this clause is not as forceful as it might have been had we contemplated that the commission should go on indefinitely, notwithstanding that death could occur. I do not think that any undue burden will be thrown on the chairman by giving him the responsibility set out in clauses 8 and 12.
I think that the criticism in relation to section 22 may be met by pointing out that there are sections in the Crimes Act which operate for the protection of witnesses. Section 40 of the Crimes Act reads as follows: -
Penalty: Imprisonment for one year.
That applies to the commission directly. Clause 28 of the bill provides that the proceedings of the commission shall be judicial proceedings for the purposes of Part III. of the Crimes Act. All of the provisions of the Crimes Act, which have been proved to be quite sufficient to deal with these matters in relation to judicial proceedings, apply to the proceedings of this commission.
. -I desire to make three other references to the several provisions of this bill.I think it is unfortunate that the committee is dealing with this bill as a whole. Section 14 of the bill obliges a person to produce any document or book or writing in his custody or control and to answer any question, even though the document, book or writing or the answer to the question may incriminate him. That provision invades one of our traditional British liberties. At the same time it gives the witness immunity in respect to his answers. Sub-clause 2 of clause 14 reads as follows : -
Except in proceedings for an offence against this Act or against Part III. of the Crimes Act 1914-1950, or in proceedings under section eighteen of this Act, evidence given by a person before the Commission is not admissible against that person or that person’s wifeor husband, in any civil or criminal proceedings against that person or that person’s wife or husband, in any Federal or State Court or Court of a Territory of the Commonwealth.
In the expression “evidence given by a person “ lurks an ambiguity. It raises a doubt as to whether that person’s evidence in the form of the book or document or an oral answer may be used in subsequent proceedings. In Tasmania, we are familiar with this difficulty because much more unfortunate and awkward language than this had to be interpreted by the courts in Tasmania after two very important royal commissions during the last six or seven years. It is because of that insular experiment that I draw the attention of those who are responsible for this bill to the desirability of clarifying the expression “ evidence given by a person “.
I believe that clause 23 of the bill has been copied literally from the Royal Commissions Act, but it represents a needless grinding towards the edge of the precipice so far as legal expression is concerned. It reads as follows: -
Penalty: Five hundred pounds or imprisonment for one year.
If an employer dismisses an employee contrary to that clause, he will be liable to imprisonment or a fine. In the proceedings so taken, the onus will be placed on the employee to prove that the reason for his dismissal was one of the reasons prohibited by the clause. If I have an employee whom the commission summons to give evidence and, to my surprise, that evidence discloses that the employee has retailed subversive information to a Communist embassy, I should be indeed most resentful if I were prohibited from exercising my power of dismissal. I anticipate that those who say that the clause does not prohibit that right will contend that, whilst you cannot dismiss him for giving evidence, you can dismiss him for the evidence that he gave. If there are those who prefer to use the singular where the plural would be more explicit, such as the framers of clause 23, I express my regret. If this matter should come to us a third time, I do not wish it to be said to me : “ You accepted it last time as clear and unambiguous “.
The next matter to which I wish to refer is clause 26, and in this connexion I am merely seeking enlightenment. That clause provides - (1.) No action or proceeding, civilor criminal, lies -
against the Commonwealth, against a Minister, or against a servantor agent of the Commonwealth, in respect of the printing or publishing of -
a fair and accurate report of proceedings of the Commission ; or
I should like the Attorney-General to explain how the Commonwealth derives the powerso to legislate, and I should also like him to explain whether consideration has been given to the provision in that clause that good faith is not required as a constituent element of the privilege that is accorded to the newspaper or broadcasting medium.
– With regard to the last matter raised by the honorable senator, I should have thought that the power of the Parliament to pass this law, would lie in the defence power or the external affairs power, and that the provisions of clause 26 relating to the prevention of action or proceedings would be incidental to the exercise of that power.
– Is there any decision on the subject?
– I do not know of any off-hand, but that is my view of it. As far as the newspapers are concerned, I think the form which has been used is the usual form in matters of this kind. I point out to the honorable senator that the language which has been used in clause 23, namely, that a person cannot be dismissed from his employment on account of having given evidence, is markedly in contrast with that of clause 22, which provides that -
A person shall not use, cause, inflict or pro cure any violence, punishment, damage, loss or disadvantage to a person for or on account of that person having appeared as a witness before the Commission or for or on account of any evidence given by that person before the Commission.
In other words, when it is a matter of preventing injury to a witness, one ensures that he shall not be injured because of the evidence he gave, as well as because of the fact that he gave it. The ground upon which an employee must not be. dismissed is not because of the evidence he gave but because he has given evidence. I suggest that the contrast between the two clauses is most marked, and that there can be no doubt as to the meaning of clause 23.
I also think that the position with regard to clause 14 is clear. The protection referred to relates to the evidence given by a person before the commission.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I lay on the table the following papers in connexion with the Indo-China settlement: -
Indo-China settlement -
Agreementson the cessation of hostilities in Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam.
Texts of the Final Declarations of the Geneva Conference, and of the parties thereto.
Declaration by the Colombo Conference Powers.
Statements by the Australian and New Zealand Governments.
Statement by the Minister for External Affairs (dated 10th August, 1954) of the Australian policy towards South-East Asian Treaty Organization.
Copies will be available for honorable senators shortly.
– On the 10th August, Senator Paltridge asked the following question : -
Will the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture inform the Senate of the amount of (a) approvals, and (6) drawings from the Commonwealth Extension Grant Fund that were made to eachof the States for the financial year 1053-54?
The following information has been supplied by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture: -
The following are the respective State figures for approvals and drawings from the Commonwealth Extension Services Grant for the financial year 1953-54: -
– On the 5th August, Senator Scott asked the following question: -
The Minister for Commerce and Agriculture has supplied the following information : -
The honorable senator can be assured that it is the Government’s wish to distribute the moneys in question as soon as it is possible to do so.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the termination of the sitting this day to the day on which the Senate next meets.
Motion (by Senator McLeay) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to a day and hour to be fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each senator by telegram or letter.
The following papers were presented : -
Lands Acquisition Act - Land disposed of under section 03. - Return showing manner of disposal.
Public Service Act - Appointments - Department -
Attorney-General’s - W. S. Palmer.
Commerce and Agriculture - D. D. Charles.
Postmaster-General’s -E. A. Cohen, P. R. Gill, G. W. Hofsteede, K. Latham, W. H. A. Levey, J. D. Mather, R. W. Naughton, B. J. F. Patten, G. H.Pell, D. M. Prichard, D. J. C. Smith, J. H. Smith,W.R. Turnbull.
Senate adjourned at 10.10 p.m. toa date and hour to be fixed by the President.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 August 1954, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1954/19540812_senate_21_s4/>.