23rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIIin) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I have received a communication in the following terms from the Clerk: -
The Honorable the President of the Senate -
I refer to the motion which was passed by the Senate during the debate on the Urgency Motion yesterday, viz.: That the document quoted from by Senator Dittmer be laid upon the Table of the Senate.
After the question for the tabling of the document had been put and passed, Senator Dittmer laid certain documents on the Table of the Senate.
I have perused those documents and can see no reference to Senator Dittmer’s statement which formed the basis of the Motion moved by the Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Paltridge.
H. C. LOOF
Clerk of the Senate.
– by leave - Mr. President, I am not using my memory on this occasion. I take the opportunity to make a statement to the Senate. I did quote from a document yesterday in the course of my speech on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. At the time the Senate ordered that I table the document it was neither in my possession nor under my control. I laid on the table of the Senate the papers relating to my speech then in my possession. I now lay on the table of the Senate the document from which I quoted yesterday, and which f repeat, was not in my possession at the time the Senate ordered it to be tabled. I regret the incident.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. Last week, when replying to a question, the Minister stated that he would make the whole of the report of Mr. Warren McDonald, the former chairman of the Australian National Airlines Commission, available to me within six weeks. I now ask: As the Senate will adjourn to-day, I understand, for the Easter recess, till 27th April, will the Minister have the report tabled immediately the Senate resumes?
– No, Mr. President, I do not undertake to do that.
– I address a question to you, Mr. President. Because of the confusion arising, will you ultimately define in terms of Parliamentary language what is a document?
The PRESIDENT__ Senator Dittmer, it is not usual to ask questions of Presiding Officers. This is well established in Standing Orders and the other references to matters of that nature.
– 1 ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a series of questions without notice. Does the Minister agree that the Government’s policy regarding the operation of two major airlines - one a Government airline and the other a private airline - should be clearly stated? Does the Government believe in full and free competition amongst airlines and consequent encouragement of smaller airlines, or does it stand for the elimination of airlines such as the Butler organization? Is the Government’s policy aimed at finally liquidating all airline operations except Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A.? If the Government’s policy is to have only those two major airlines in the field, will that mean the establishment of an airline monopoly because of inevitable agreements and understandings between the two big organizations?
– I regret that after the great length of time this chamber has devoted to the subject of airlines some doubt remains in the mind of Senator Brown as to the Government’s policy. The Government’s policy has been made known on many occasions. As long ago as September, 1957, a long policy statement was made in this chamber and in another place. That policy has been re-stated on a number of appropriate occasions. At each election in the last ten years it has been referred to. Senator Brown may refer to the policy statements to which I have alluded and to the various public statements of policy if he wishes, but there is one other source of information which is more readily available to him as a senator than to any other member of the public. If he were to refer to certain legislation passed by this chamber and of which I always imagined he had some understanding he would see set out the Government’s policy. In fact, Senator Brown took a close interest in that legislation and contributed to the debate when the <bills were before the Parliament. Indeed, the Government’s policy is in fact stated in the preamble of the 1958 act.
– I ask a question of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Will the Minister advise me whether he has noticed a newspaper article stating that the committee of inquiry in America into quotas of lead and zinc has recommended that the quotas remain as at present? Will the Minister state whether Australian companies producing lead and zinc are still voluntarily restricting their production? Is the Minister aware of recent increases in the price of lead and zinc on the London Metal Exchange, lead having risen from about £70 stg. to £78 stg. a ton and zinc from £70 stg. to more than £80 stg. a ton? Will the Minister say what future the lead and zinc industries in Australia have?
– Senator Scott’s question covers a wide field, and I hesitate to answer off-hand all the aspects of it. I have noticed the newspaper report to which he has referred, and I believe it to be true that there has been no alteration or variation of United States import quotas for lead and zinc. My recollection is that the voluntary arrangements that exist have meant a continuance of the lower level of production of lead, but there has been, as a result of increased demand, greater production of zinc. I am not familiar with the extent to which prices have increased. My recollection is that the price of zinc has increased while that of lead has remained constant.
The honorable senator has asked for an opinion regarding the future of lead and zinc. Australia is a large contributor to the world supplies of lead and zinc. I think, from memory, that we are producing about one-third of the world supplies of lead and that we are making a correspondingly large contribution to the world requirements of zinc. I have profound confidence that the great lead and zinc mining industries will continue, as they have for so long past, to make a very big contribution to the world demand for both minerals, because we are in the fortunate position that our mines, due to the high quality of the deposits, can produce at low cost.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. Has he seen a copy of a recently-published book entitled “ Fear Drive My Feet “, by former Army officer Peter Ryan, in which allegations are made that certain foreign missionaries in New Guinea assisted the Japanese during the war? Is it true that a number of those missionaries were interned for security reasons during the war? Is it also true that considerable documentary and other evidence was obtained showing that certain mission personnel were active promoters of Nazi Party interests in the years before World War II.? Can the Minister say whether any of these previously interned persons have been allowed to return to the Territory of New Guinea since the war, and if so, how many? Are the activities of such missionaries subject to proper surveillance? Can the Minister assure the Senate that there is no danger of a repetition of subversive activities such as those that preceded the outbreak of World War II.? For the Minister’s information, I would like to say that the following-
– Order! The honorable senator may not give information when asking a question.
– I was going to help him. That was all.
– The honorable senator will not be permitted to do that.
– I have not seen the book to which the honorable senator has referred. In regard to the remainder of his question, I think it would be more appropriate if it were placed on the notice-paper. If that is done. I shall obtain a full reply for him.
– Can the Minister representing the Prime Minister say whether it is a fact that the majority of holders of Victorian Education Department studentships for the years 1958 and 1959 relinquished Commonwealth scholarships to accept such studentships? Are there substantial differences in the allowances paid to students by the State of Victoria and by the Commonwealth? Will the Minister obtain for the Senate comparative figures of such allowances?
– I am sorry to say that I do not carry in my head the information that would enable me to reply straight away to Senator Wedgwood’s question. I therefore ask her to place it on the noticepaper, and I shall obtain the information she needs. Recently, I gave Senator McManus details of the number of Commonwealth scholarships that had been awarded, by contrast with the number of applications for such scholarships; but that information did not go into the question whether some students had relinquished scholarships in order to accept studentships. However, I shall be glad to obtain the information and let the honorable senator have it.
– I preface a question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, by stating that on Tuesday last, in answer to a question upon notice, the Minister stated that no good purpose would be served in tabling the findings of the departmental inquiry into the alleged non-delivery of mail for the Melbourne “ Herald “ Wealth Words competition. The Minister said further that the inquiry did not reveal any evidence that mail for the competition was delayed in the Post Office. The Minister went on to state that, after personal inspection and inquiry, the Postmaster-General was “ satisfied with the soundness of the special measures taken by the Post Office to ensure the prompt delivery of all mail for competitions “. I now ask whether the Minister has seen a report that was published on page 5 of the Melbourne “ Herald “ last night in which the “ Herald “ commented -
The Postmaster-General, in saying that there was no evidence that Wealth Words mail was delayed in the Post Office leaves the inference that it was delayed somewhere, else. . . . This is not so. . . .
As the large number of people who subscribe to this competition should be satisfied that any entries that they may submit will be delivered safely and in time to be considered, I again suggest that the only way in which this matter can be cleaned up is by tabling the whole of the departmental report. Therefore, I again ask that this be done.
– This is entirely in the hands of the PostmasterGeneral, who, I believe, has studied the matter carefully and exhaustively. Whether he will table the report, I cannot say. That is for him to decide.
– Subject to your permission, Mr. President, I direct a question to you relating to the microphones in this chamber. You will recall that in November last I asked you whether some action could be taken to replace the present unsightly forest of microphones with some efficient but less obtrusive instruments. Are you yet in a position to inform the Senate whether any success has been achieved in that direction?
– Consequent upon questions being asked in the previous session of the Parliament regarding the unsightliness of the broadcasting microphones in the Senate chamber, the Postmaster-General’s Department was asked to investigate the possibility of replacing the existing microphones with microphones of smaller dimensions, and to conduct tests to ascertain the most appropriate height for the microphones. I am pleased to inform the Senate that a series of tests using a number of types of microphones have now been carried out. The tests so far indicate that the clarity and naturalness obtained with the existing microphones are appreciably superior to the effect obtained with other microphones. This was quite obvious from the tape recordings of the tests which, in company with other honorable senators, I heard last night. However, further test’s are to be conducted and I shall inform the Senate when these have been completed.
Some time ago I asked a question relating to the installation of a coaxial cable between Sydney and Melbourne which would allow Melbourne people to view Sydney television programmes and vice versa. I am pleased to know that this installation has been commenced. However, the cable provides only two television channels and I understand that no provision is being made for the transmission of additional programmes. I ask the Minister: Will the Government have additional channels included, as could be done at low cost during the installation of this cable, so that viewers not only in the capital cities, but also at intermediate centres which will later be served by television may have an opportunity to see what is going on elsewhere in Australia? This would appear to be particularly desirable in view of the probable extension of the cable ultimately to Brisbane.
The Postmaster-General has now furnished me with the following information in reply to the honorable senator: -
The Postmaster-General’s Department, in its planning of additional facilities on main trunk routes, is mindful of the possible requirements for i.he relaying of television programmes to rural and provincial centres, including the need for channels *.ot television transmission to be available between Sydney or Melbourne and television stations at intermediate centres as well as between the two capital cities. The question of equipping the third pair of tubes in the Sydney-Melbourne cable for this purpose is currently being studied.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the rather widespread doubts in the minds of some wool-growers as to the need for an increase in the levy for wool promotion, will the Minister for Primary Industry cause a full statement to be made showing the reasons for the increase and the way in which the increased proceeds from the levy will be spent? Will the Minister arrange for the statement to be given the widest circulation through the press and through growers’ organizations?
– I am not sure whether there are widespread doubts in the minds of wool-growers as to whether there is any necessity for an increased levy, but I have no doubt that, as in all organizations of this kind, there are large numbers of people who have doubts about it. There have been statements made from time to time as to the reasons for a levy, and as to the way in which it is spent. It has been pointed out quite clearly to wool-growers that this money is put to good use both in connexion with research into presenting wool in a better way to the public in the form of drip dry shirts, or something which the public requires, and into research of other kinds and, more importantly, in connexion with promotion of, or to use a better word, advertising wool. I should think that anybody who is processing a commodity which is in competition with other commodities used for similar purposes to-day must realize the value of advertising and of doing what other businesses do - putting aside some of the money received for the products in order to advertise or promote them.
These things have been stated quite clearly, but I agree with the honorable senator that no harm at all could be served by stating them again. Whether the press generally would give full publicity to such statements, I do not know, but I shall ask the Minister to state again the purposes and indeed the results flowing from such a levy and circulate them at least to the growers’ own publications.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether any fare concessions are given on the Commonwealth-owned railways, the East-West railway in particular, to age, invalid, widow and war pensioners. If not, will the Minister give some consideration to this matter because I believe that fare concessions are given to such persons who travel on many State-owned railway systems?
– I ask that the question be put on the notice-paper. I may be able to help the honorable senator by stating that T recall that this matter has been before the department, and before the former Minister for Shipping and Transport. When the matter was examined it was found that ali State systems, as I recollect the position, did not extend concessions to their own pensioners. The only concessions, I think, that are extended by the Commonwealth Railways at the moment are those granted to their own employees and to people who enjoy the benefits of their own superannuation scheme.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. I preface the question by directing attention to a statement issued by the Minister for Health, Dr. Donald Cameron, on 18th March last in which he said -
The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories at Melbourne were carrying stocks of influenza vaccine ample to meet any demand that might reasonably be expected this winter.
He also said that should the demand require it, the supply could be increased. In view of the enormous loss to the national economy caused by influenza, apart from the discomfiture that the poor victim endures, I ask the Minister whether consideration could be given to embarking upon a nation-wide influenza immunization campaign, particularly in industry and commerce where persons are working in close proximity to each other for long hours during the working week and therefore are more prone not only to contract influenza but also to spread it.
– The honorable senator makes a most interesting suggestion, which is in line with some measures that have been undertaken previously in relation not to influenza but to other similar ailments that affect industry. I shall submit the question to the Minister for Health and ask him to give consideration to it. Personally, I think the suggestion has a great deal of merit.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether his attention has been directed to the following report in the Adelaide “ Sunday Mail “ of 2nd April, I960, under the heading “ Murray is Mere Trickle “: -
South Australia is now relying entirely on her own water storages for irrigation and domestic supplies from the River Murray. . . . Water is being released from the Hume Weir at the rate of 2,000 million gallons a day. The Hume Weir is 737 river miles from Mildura.
All of the water released from Hume is being used for irrigation by both Victoria and New South Wales or is being lost in seepage and evaporation. . . .
Under the original plans of the River Murray Commission, a further three weirs were to have been built between Mildura and Euston. But they have never been built.
Is the Minister able to contradict the statement that all of the 2,000,000,000 gallons of water released each day from the Hume Weir is being used for irrigation by Victoria or New South Wales, or is lost in seepage or evaporation before reaching South Australia? Also, is it a fact that the original plans of the River Murray Commission provided for three more weirs to be built between Mildura and Euston?
– I can give Senator Ridley an answer only in general terms. The distribution of the waters of the river Murray is controlled by the River Murray Waters Act, which provides that of the flow of the river Murray at Albury, South Australia is entitled to 1,254,000 acre feet in a normal year, and that the remainder is to be divided equally between New South Wales and Victoria. What each of the three States does with its entitlement of river Murray waters is its own concern. I think I am correct in saying that at present not one of the three States is using its full entitlement of water, but not one of them is free of anxieties as to its future supply of water. Water is our most precious asset and using the available water to the best advantage is the great enigma of Australian development.
The second part of the question relates to the works that were contemplated. My recollection accords with Senator Ridley’s suggestion as to the original plans, but it is not good enough to cover all the negotiations that have occurred since 1912. I think an examination of the history of the matter will show that other works were substituted for the weirs to which Senator Ridley referred, for instance, the increase in the size of the Hume Weir, and the storage at Yarrawonga. All that has been done up to this stage has been by mutual agreement amongst the three governments.
– I ask a question which is related to that which has just been answered. 1 have been informed that experiments indicate that a very large additional precipitation of rain can be effected by artificial methods in the Snowy Mountains. Could the Minister inform me whether that is so, and whether, in view of his answer to the previous question, experiments are still being conducted in the area?
– We live in hopes that that is true, although I do not think the experiments that have been carried out up to this stage justify a statement that those hopes have been realized. It is very difficult to prove that the rain precipitation processes have actually caused falls of rain that would not have occurred otherwise. Claims have been made that the experiments are proceeding successfully, and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority has been quite content to provide the comparatively large sums of money that are required for them. My recollection is that at present an assessment is being made of the evidence that is available and of the claims that are being made, to see whether it is possible to say in definite terms that a gain of a definite amount of rainfall has been made as a result of the experiments that have been carried out. That is, of course, a matter of vital importance to the Snowy Mountains scheme. If the rainfall could be increased, the value of the additional water that would be obtained would be so great as to be difficult to calculate.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade. Does the Australian Government subscribe to Lord Balfour’s view that to-day we face the danger of a trade war in Europe which could damage the whole of the economy of the free world? Does that view accord with the predictions I have made in the numerous questions that I have asked in this chamber on the subject, in which I said, amongst other things, that Australian trade with Europe in food would suffer and that Australian wheat, butter, cheese and fruit might be excluded from entry to the countries comprising the European economic community? Is not the statement attributed to the Prime Minister, that the countries of Europe should build up their strength through common markets, a most astounding and astonishing statement in the light Of the fears expressed by the Minister for Trade, who said in a written reply to one of my questions that “certain features give rise to considerable concern. including features along the lines mentioned by Senator Hendrickson “?
– I should have liked to have a look at the question to which the honorable senator referred in his concluding words, and I confess that it is my own fault that I did not do so. I think the most interesting and important statement that Lord Balfour has made since he has been out here is his statement that the trend of events on the Continent had made people in England think more in terms of the importance of the existing Commonwealth preferences. The danger of the European trade bloc arrangements is that they may encourage, by artificial means, the production of primary products in countries which are present or potential markets for Australian primary products. That is the nub of the problem that confronts us, and that is why I say that the statement about Commonwealth preferences was the most interesting thing that Lord Balfour said.
As to general principles, there can, I think, be little doubt that provided Australian trading interests are safeguarded, there is a world-wide advantage to be gained from strengthening the economies of the European nations through such trading arrangements, because of the increase in standards of living that will occur. I am sorry to say that I have lost the thread of Senator Hendrickson’s question. I forget to whom he attributed the statement that grave dangers may arise from a trade war between what we might call the sixes and the sevens, or the two blocs. It is obvious that there should be co-operation between the two blocs, so that they can work together for their mutual advantage, rather than that they should develop into two antagonistic and unco-operative groups.
– I desire to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he will give consideration to the establishment of a committee of privileges of the Senate.
– Mr. President, the Senate has been in operation for a great number of years and it has not had a committee of privileges. If there were a proposal for the establishment of such a committee for a specific purpose, it would receive the consideration of the Senate. Apart from that, I can only say that I will give some thought to the proposal.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer: -
Apart from the revenue aspects, however, one of the difficulties is to devise a suitable definition which would permit such an amendment to operate equitably but without creating a loophole in the law for exploitation.
Inquiries are being made to see whether a workable definition can be obtained.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
In view of the concern being expressed in Western Australia over the Minister’s reversal of his decision on the matter of the east-west highway construction, will the Minister give further consideration to the bitumenizing of this road which so urgently affects the tourist traffic and trade potential of Western Australia and plays an important part in linking the east and the west of the continent?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has furnished the following reply: -
The Eyre Highway is a State Government responsibility and the question of the bitumenizing of this road is therefore a matter for the South Australian and Western Australian Governments themselves to decide whether, in relation to their overall road programmes, additional expenditure on the road in question would be justified. In this connexion, it has been reported that a survey is to be undertaken by both the governments concerned into the possibility of making the highway a first-class all-weather road, and that the survey is expected to be completed during this year.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Wednesday, 27th April, at 3 p.m., unless sooner called together by the President by telegram or letter.
Debate resumed from 6th April (vide page 515), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– Mr. President, in resuming the debate, I commence my observations this morning by recalling that the Murray committee, in the first few pages of its report, expressed in what seems to me to be well-chosen langauge the purposes of a university. That committee did not show any disdain for the teaching side of a university’s functions; in fact, it emphasized that the two great aims of a university are to impart education and to engage in research. And then - this is especially apposite to certain doctrines that have been disseminated in academic circles in Australia, particularly during the last few years - the committee went on to say that there is also a third function. Despite the fact that I think I have previously .quoted thi? passage, it bears repetition. Referring to universities, the committee stated -
They are, or they should be, the guardians of intellectual standards, and intellectual integrity in the community.
And then, after a break -
The preservation of human integrity in facing truth and the demands of justice is the most exacting task which a nation can impose upon itself. It can hardly be achieved with completeness by the individual man or woman. Even the scholar or the scientist, as history continually shows, has his personal limits and shortcomings in this regard; but at least in his own field he should be able to go as far as it is given to human nature to go in facing truth and the proper use of evidence without fear, favour or self-delusion.
I love to linger over such a sentence that emphasizes the privilege and responsibility that applies to the scholar in his own field of scholarship and which is to be applied by him without fear, favour or selfdelusion.
– That is a very chronic complaint.
– It may be a chronic complaint but nevertheless, it is so wellstated there that an interruption of that kind does it grave disservice. I mentioned Sir Keith Murray’s assessment of the purposes of a university. Almost invariably when a bill dealing with universities is before the Parliament the practice has been to refer only to the purposes of a university in terms of abstract scholarship. A university bill is not the occasion for smooth eulogies. When a university bill comes into this chamber we, as the representatives of those whose earnings help to finance the universities, should deal with the subject of universities - their performances and functions - with complete independence, impartiality and appreciation.
Let us consider the amounts of money that have been granted from revenue to the two institutions dealt with in this bill. In 1957- 58 the Canberra University College, received £176,840. The following year it received £313,075, and in the current year an amount of £320,000 has been voted to it. The Australian National University received £877,000 from Consolidated Revenue in 1955-56; £965,000 in 1956-57; £1,196,400 in 1957-58; £1,404,000 in 1958- 59; and the estimate for the current year is £1,663,000. It is a grand thing that the Parliament has been able to pro vide sums of money of that order for those two institutions, but their needs should be met with a perfect understanding of the relative claims of outlying universities for the wherewithal for the advancement of learning in the communities which they serve. There is always a great advantage in living next to the Treasury. If you want good bread, get close to the bake-house. We look to the Australian Universities Commission, now that these two universities are within the scope of its authority, to ensure that there shall be no undue preferment as between the Australian National University and the State and provincial universities. One of the things upon which the Murray commission was insistent was that the Australian Universities Commission should assess the amounts of money that should be provided by this Parliament not only to each of the State universities but also to the Australian National University and the Canberra University College. It cannot be denied that special financial advantage is enjoyed by the universities in the National Capital I insist that it is our duty to bring to the attention of the responsible people the great claims that can be advanced for the provision of a more ample proportion of federal moneys for the outlying universities, some of which serve great centres of population and some of which enjoy the advantage of serving a sparse population. Some of those universities also enjoy the unique advantage of small classes, ideal surroundings and highly educated staffs - a combination of rare advantage to those students who seek to learn in an atmosphere less crowded than is to be found in the big cities.
That thought prompts me to refer with proper respect and due temerity to this unintelligible document - the report of the Australian National University. I use the term “ unintelligible “ in no sense of disparagement but as an admission of my own incapacity to understand it. I utter a prayer that those who prepare such documents will consider the addressee and the standard of his understanding. I do not want all these things reduced to the standard of my understanding but I do seek enlightenment on some of the hieroglyphs and combinations of phrase - English, Oriental, Latin and otherwise - that are employed in the document. Passing those by I come to a reference to the Department of Law. I have had a rudimentary brush against the great body of knowledge involved in the Department of Law and I think it is appropriate here to remind the Senate of the words o: Sir Keith Murray, who said -
The preservation of human integrity in facing truth and the demands of justice is the most exacting task which a nation can impose upon itself.
One thing that is an indictment of the present age is the tendency to disregard a proper jurisprudential system, which is the safeguard within the rule of law and justice. I look at page 30 of the annual report, where reference is made to the Department of Law. Misunderstand me not, I pray, when 1 say that, under the heading “ Students and teaching activities “, the report states -
Mr. R. J. L. Hawke (supervised by Professor Sawer) completed his work on the assessment of the basic wage in Australia. He was appointed to the position of Research Officer and Advocate with the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
Let me hasten to add my appreciation of Mr. Hawke’s capacity, so far as it is known to me, as an advocate in that jurisdiction, but also let me simper an expression of disappointment that that should be the first thought to be expressed by the Department of Law of the Australian National University in its report to the Parliament.
I continue my reference to the report, omitting some things, although there is always the risk of imbalance in extracting excerpts from a document. 1 ask honorable senators to read the whole of the report, and I point out that that part of it which concerns the Department of Law occupies only one page. Under the heading “ Research Programme “, Dr. Stoljar’s work is referred to. I am glad to see that he is continuing his research into the laws of contract and personal property, as well as work on his book on the law of agency, all of which, I should think, would command warm approval. The report states -
Professor Sawer continued his work on Australian public law. In his federal political and constitutional history, he dealt particularly with the later Lyons and the first Menzies governments.
I take it that most of us are familiar with the first part of that work which extends, I think up to the late 1930’s, in the form of a digest of political reference. It is not in any degree an exposition of constitutional development. The following statement then appears, under the heading, “ Other Activities “ -
Professor Sawer sat on six occasions as Magistrate in the Canberra Court of Petty Sessions, and determined a case as Arbitrator under the Workers’ Compensation Ordinance.
I leave that as a mere quotation, only adding that it does not stimulate me to think that the work of the law school in the Australian National University is of a proper standard of legal education.
– Is that too trivial?
– That question can well remain unanswered, because the answer to it is so obvious. The report continues -
Doctor Stoljar and Professor Sawer attended the annual conference of the Australian Universities Law Schools Association in Melbourne in September, where Dr. Stoljar presented a paper on a general theory of representation. Later in September Professor Sawer attended a conference on problems of rabbit control organized by the C.S.I.R.O. in Melbourne; he delivered a paper on problems of constitutional and administrative law which arises in connexion with technical methods of rabbit control now being proposed.
Then, there is reference to a series of joint seminars on sociological theories. 1 bring these matters to the notice of the Senate in the hope that they will excite some interest in the minds of people who are faint but pursuing in the maintenance of ideals of jurisprudence.
Although this Parliament is called upon to pass ordinary statutes concerned with the maintenance of these universities that we are discussing, I am one of those who accord proper independence to every university, as an essential feature of its existence. If we refer to section 27 of the original statute, which deals with the scope and the authority of the council, the governing body of the Australian National University, it will be seen that all matters concerned with the internal government of the institution are confided to the discretion and judgment of that body. That is as it should be, but as Senator McCallum said so well last night, that fact emphasizes that each scholar in <he institution must have a sense of responsibility as a matter of his or her self-discipline. Nobody, least of all a member of Parliament, can accord to scholars in these institutions what is sometimes called academic freedom but which can, unless close attention is given to it, degenerate into irresponsibility. None of us can accord such freedom to the constitutional members of the academic community and continue to support the institutions without the exercise of proper judgment in the expenditure of the people’s money. If honorable senators peruse the section to which I have referred they will see how striking is the amplitude Of the authority of the governing council of the university.
We may ask: What is the organization of government within this institution? The bill that is before us proposes to increase the membership of the council from 30 to 38. I offer no criticism of that increase, lt suggests to my mind the creation, of a body, unwieldy in concept, which can become manageable for the purposes of university government only if there is a large degree of absenteeism. I doubt whether that is a good concept in relation to university government. It will be noted that the council is to consist of two senators and two members of the House of Representatives, together with twelve members appointed by the Executive Government of the Commonwealth from persons whose knowledge and experience could, in the opinion of the Governor-General, advance the full development of the university. Therefore, of a total membership of 38, sixteen members will owe their appointment to Parliament and the Government. I mention that because the universities are forever alert to the possibility of political pressure being exerted on the course that they think that scholarship should follow. There is an increasing dependence of universities on public moneys, as distinct from endowments, to which the older English universities, in days now long past, owed their support. There is a growing acceptance of the idea - and I find an acknowledgment of it in the Murray report - that it is inevitable that if finance to support a university institution is to come from the public purse, politicians, despite all their faults and shortcomings in appreciating the course that scholarship should pursue, must enter to some degree upon the guidance of university government, as the representatives of the people whose money is voted for the purpose.
In this instance, there will be four members of the Parliament on the Council, and also twelve persons appointed by the Government. Those twelve will be chosen by the political government of the day, not because of their acquaintance with politics, but because they are men whose knowledge and experience fits them for the advancement and development of the university institution. Sixteen members will emanate from the Parliament and 22 from various sections within the university, including scholars, by whom I mean professors, graduates and under-graduates. Not more than two other persons are to be appointed by the council. That will be a large body, but one well fitted, I should think, to guide the destinies of this National University.
What particular problems does this bill confront the council with? We find in Sir Keith Murray’s report, at page 88, a very delicate reference to this matter, calculated not to excite any degree of acrimony between the two institutions, but giving an appraisal of the individual aspects of the two institutions. I hope that the impression will not grow that the Canberra University College is something like a secondary school, and I hope that the use of the word “ school “ in its denomination as a section of the National University does not indicate condescension towards it. The Murray report, at pages 88 and 89, provides an assessment which should dissipate any such idea. Sir Keith Murray referred to the origin of the University College and to how it had been guided by the University of Melbourne. He stated -
The College is housed in temporary buildings but it has a highly qualified and enthusiastic staff who could well teach more students, both at the undergraduate and the graduate stages. Both the Council and the academic staff wish that the College should be permitted to take without dea what seems to them to be the next logical step: namely, to find a permanent site, to begin teaching in science (in addition to the present Arts and Social Sciences), and to become an independent university.
After making that reference to the college, the report makes the statement that was quoted in the Minister’s speech and by Senator Laught. It makes the impressive suggestion that these two bodies should rationalize that which separates them and become associated in one institution as a single community of scholars. It excites the most warm approval to see that that suggestion was followed by personal conversations^ between Sir Keith Murray and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), in which Sir Keith Murray, as the dominating figure of the Murray committee, individually expressed his view that the two institutions should become one. Sir Leslie Martin’s commission also expressed unanimously a view of the same kind. I, for one, warmly applaud a decision which is very practical, and, in the long view, very purposeful, having regard to the aims of the university as outlined in the Murray report.
The decision was taken to bring the two bodies together in one institution. If I may be so presumptuous, I want to say that the manner in which this was done was masterly. The procedure was to enter into consultations with authorities of the highest standing and then to discuss the matter with both of the institutions concerned. The objectives of the Commonwealth Government were stated and it was then left to the instinct and judgment of the individual governments of the two institutions to evolve the broad constitution under which they would become associated. This gave them an opportunity to decide the sort of institution through which they thought that their purposes would be achieved. To my way of thinking, that is expressive of an ideal relationship between public government and university government.
What was the product of these processes? We have a single council, which is the final government within the university. We have the Institute of Advanced Studies as the chief guardian of the interests of the research university. We have the School of General Studies as the guardian of the cherished purposes of the college. They will work as institutions separately, but we hope that the spirit of co-operation that has produced this constitution for our consideration will continue and that the line of demarcation between the Institute Of Advanced Studies and the School of General Studies will become so thin that, in practice, it will disappear. I am encouraged to think that that will be so. Not Only is there to be one council for the external government of the university, but also, if I am not mistaken, there is to be One professional board within the university to govern matters that are purely academic.
It is true that the Institute of Advanced Studies is given the function of advising the council on any matter relating to education, learning, research, or the academic work of the university, but it is not given that function exclusively. The board of the school also may advise the council on any matter relating to education, learning, research or the academic work of the university itself. The advice is not confined to those matters within the particular field of the institute on the one hand or the board of the school on the other. The whole field of education, learning, research and academic work within the university is covered’, and the object is to develop a fused school of thought for both the institute and the school.
There is to be the one professorial board. On that professorial board are to be all the professors within the university, irrespective of whether they owe their appointments to the Australian National University as we have hitherto known it, or whether they owe their appointments to the Canberra University College as it existed previously. All the professors are taken into this National University, as the fused institution now becomes. It is not a separate or new institution, but an institution which occurs by the accretion to it of the college with all its staff and all its scholars. We are to have one professorial board on which all the professors sit, I hope, without either distinction or difference according to whether they are from the university or the college.
All those considerations enable us to feel that this bill expresses most appropriately the constitution of a body designed to fulfil the purposes that we all entertain and cherish as the purposes of a national university of Australia so that it may take its place on a comparable basis with such other cherished institutions of scholarship and learning as British traditions have evolved elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
– It is my pleasant task briefly to wind up the second reading debate. It is pleasant because we have before us one of those measures on which there is unanimity as to principle and general agreement as to objects on both sides of the Senate. It is pleasant, too, because we are discussing a bill which does bring to conclusion a project which, at the outset, might well have been regarded as one of the most difficult problems to overcome.
When one considers that throughout the ages internal politics in universities among academics - I do not refer to politics in our sense, but internal politics in universities - have been most ardently fought and that in many cases most vicious political contests have taken place; when one sees here the overcoming of all things of that kind not only within faculties but within universities; and when one sees a document agreed to by the universities and meeting the requirements of the Parliament, serving as 1 believe it will, the interests of the people of Australia, I think one must admit that the result does merit general congratulations from both sides of the Senate.
There is little 1 can add to the general remarks made by Senator Laught, Senator Tangney, and those others interested in the educational advance of this country. I think Senator Wright did make some remarks which call for comment in turn from me. He drew our attention - and I think we are indebted to him for it - to the fact that there is published a report by the Australian National University. I say we are indebted to him for that because I feel that very few members of the Senate customarily read that report and I also feel that, with the responsibility we have, those of us who take an interest in this particular matter should be careful to read the document. When we do come across matters such as those raised by Senator Wright with relation to particular questions on the Law School, this is the place in which they should be raised because, after all, this Parliament is the guardian of the public money which goes into these educational institutions.
I must say that it appeared to me from Senator Wright’s remarks that those who represent this chamber on the council might well take an interest in this particular faculty. 1 have no knowledge of Professor Sawer’s general work. I have understood that it was to do mostly with international law and that is a problem which is quite beyond my scope because, as far as I have been able to ascertain, it is a body of law which is to a great extent uncodified, which is to a great extent unjusticiable, and which is to a great extent not enforceable; nevertheless it is a body of law which may grow and may become of some effect in relations between nations.
There is one point in relation to, I think, Professor Stoljar, who, we were told, attended a conference on the eradication of rabbits. I think that might not have been as much out of order as it appears to be at first glance, athough I merely offer these remarks as suggestions. It could well be that there was some requirement of legal advice as to the rights which a private individual had against the officers of a public authority going on to his land to eradicate rabbits and as to the rights which a public authority had to go on to land.
– It is specifically referred to on page 50 of the report of the Australian National University.
– I have not seen the report; I have reached the same conclusion by different means, but I am glad to have my suggestion borne out by the official report. I was going on to say that it might well be that such authorities would want to have some explanation of the laws which are in operation in different countries. For instance, in New Zealand there are specific laws directed to this particular problem. 1 repeat that I am glad that Senator Tangney supports me. I do think that, although at first sight this does appear to be rather outside the scope of consideration, it is not so in fact, and it may well be, that the other instances raised fall under the same category. But that is not to detract in any way from the indebtedness we should feel to any member of the Senate who brings before us matters which worry him with relation to this university.
I am sure that in time we shall get from this faculty the sort of authoritative study of a particular phase of law which we might expect from a Vinerian professor of law such as Dr. Holdsworth. I do not think we have got it yet, but, without the faculty is there any chance of getting it? With the faculty overseen by our representatives and the scholars of the university, we can hope to get it in time. If we do this, then this school, in common with others, may make a great contribution to Australia as a whole. I can only express once more the feeling, which all in the Senate share, that we are now taking the first step in producing in Australia a great national university with a body of undergraduates and a body of scholars working together for research and education, for the good of Australia as a whole.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I have no objection to any clause, but I do not think that the bill should be rushed through as though honorable senators were not interested in it. Personally,I should have preferred that we take it in clauses rather than as a whole.
– The committee has just agreed to take the bill as a whole. You may speak to any clause of it.
– As I support the whole bill, I have no objection. I am quite prepared to help honorable senators if they want information on any aspect of the bill.
.- I rise merely because I should like to link the figures that I referred to in my speech in the second-reading debate as appropriations from revenue, with the fact that the Government has made available £1,000,000 for the Canberra University College building project in the last two years, and for the Australian National University, £536,000 in 1956-57, £449,000 in 1957-58, £613,000 in 1958-59, and £745,000 in 1959-60. I remind the Minister that in the civil works programme of last year, a copy of which I regret I returned prematurely to the Library, there were, speaking from memory, three votes for the Canberra University College, one for the hall of residence, and two for independent buildings. Each of the three votes was for about £250,000. I should like some information from the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton), as to whether or not those building projects are continuing uninterrupted, and whether they are so designed as to be useful for this university on the sites projected.
Lest you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, should be uneasy about whether this matter be not connected with some particular part of the bill, I relate it to that which constitutes the council. Having regard to the council’s responsibilities for finance, I do not question in any way its capacity to administer the money, but 1 think that it is most pertinent, as this bill passes, for us to know what is being done as to the capital expenditure of past years on the college, and what is being done in particular with the three votes, aggregating about £750,000, to which we agreed last November. Is construction of buildings of the same design in the same position as we approved last November, before the Government, in December, made the announcement of this union, to continue?
– As far as I can understand, no building that has been started will be stopped and the buildings that have been started will go on. Future buildings will depend on the council’s overall estimates of the requirements of the new amalgamated university. I am unable to obtain information as to whether the buildings that have been started will adhere to the same design.
.- The next matter to which I refer is the convocation. Its constituent elements are prescribed in section 16 of the original act. In order to satisfy any exigencies of law as well as of order, I say that this is related to proposed new section 11 (1.) (m), which reads -
I rejoice to see that the prescribed method of election is the most advanced democratic system known, proportional representation, despite the fact that under the original act the council generally has the right to prescribe the method of other elections. This statute insists upon the system of proportional representation for election to convocation.
That carries us to section 16 of the original act, which reads - (1.) Convocation shall consist of -
That brings me to the purpose of my rising, which is an effective purpose and not merely for discussion. A somewhat arresting fact in relation to the Australian National University is recorded at page 47 of Sir Keith Murray’s report. It reads - 162. The establishment of the Australian National University has made a notable addition to the facilities for post-graduate training and research in physical, medical and social sciences and in Pacific studies. Nowhere else in Australia are there any facilities for post-graduate training in such fields, to take a few examples, as astronomy, geophysics and demography. 163. During its formative years, the University has been reluctant to accept any diversion from what it conceives to be its prime responsibility of developing strong research schools in which long-term uninterrupted research may be conducted into questions of fundamental importance, both from a theoretical and from a national viewpoint. The emphasis has been placed, therefore, on research rather than on post-graduate training and, for the most part, students have been accepted only as candidates for the Ph.D. degree and certain of its schools prefer that these should already have had research experience at least to the M.Sc. level. In part, no doubt, because of these stringent requirements, and in part because of the small number of candidates for studentships from State universities, and the number who go overseas . . .
This is the point I want to emphasise - of the 74 students enrolled in 1956, only 34 were graduates of other Australian universities, the remainder coming from overseas.
It was appropriate for the committee to emphasise that matter. I am taking the trouble, I hope not too tediously, of reading the passage in its entirety, so that I shall give no wrong impression. It continues -
It was noted that a considerably greater number of students are enrolled in the schools of social sciences and Pacific studies than in the schools of medical and physical sciences. 164.It is to be hoped that in the future greater use will be made by post-graduate students from Australia itself of the unrivalled conditions for research which the National University has to offer, and that State universities will encourage students to take advantage of those facilities for training which are not available elsewhere. On the other hand it would appear reasonable that the University, in the national interest, should look forward to considerable enlargement of the present body of graduate students.
It is depressing to think that in one year only 74 students should be attracted despite all the facilities of this university. Realizing that convocation is composed of such graduates of other universities and such other persons as are, in accordance with the statute, admitted as members of convocation, I urge the Australian National University to take to heart the passages from the report of the Murray committee which I have just read, and to see to it that, in accordance with the statute describing eligibility, it encourages graduates to come here in far greater numbers than 74 in a year. To justify its existence it will need to educate a greater number of the graduates of Australia.
– I refer to clause 6, sub-clause (9), which reads -
The Faculties in the School shall be such as are determined by the Council.
Is it possible that in the near future the university will have a medical faculty and an agricultural science faculty? I agree with Senator Wright - and I have said it before in this chamber - that in this university the emphasis has been placed on research. I think we all agree that the university was designed for research, but I think that the establishment of extra faculties for under-graduates will bring about one of the greatest forward moves that we have ever seen in this city, and will do much to fulfil the need that Senator Wright so forcibly pointed out does exist.
I think that the establishment of extra faculties - particularly a medical faculty - will encourage students to come here from all over Australia. That is probably a strong statement to come from a poor, unfortunate person engaged upon agricultural pursuits, but I have had something to do with universities and something to do with post-graduate scholars, professors and such like.
To my way of thinking, this sub-clause presents the university with a golden opportunity to establish additional faculties. I have advocated such a thing for many years. I cannot conceive of anything more fruitful than the establishment of additional faculties. I think they will attract undergraduates from all over Australia. The fact that a research school is attached to the university will give the students after graduation an incentive to go on into the higher realms of research, which are so admirably catered for now by the Australian National University.
I realize that I am getting out of the furrow in which 1 started. Perhaps 1 am presumptuous, but I ask the Minister whether he can give the committee an idea of some of the faculties that will be established at some time in the future. I am particularly interested in the establishment of faculties in agricultural science and medicine.
– I think that both Senator Wright and Senator Mattner have a misapprehension of the real work that has been done by the Australian National University over the past years. Senator Wright’s complaint, if I understood him correctly, was that there was too small a proportion of Australian graduates enrolled in the research school. Had he brought his information up to date, he would have found that to-day there is a greater proportion of Australian graduates enrolled at the university than there was in the year which he quoted.
– What are the figures?
– In 1958 there were 48 new students enrolled. That may not seem to be many, but research students cannot be judged on the same basis as ordinary students at a university. They are students who are there for a very special purpose, each one doing individual work, in contrast to the classwork in an undergraduate university.
Of the 48 new students enrolled for research in the various faculties, 22 were from Australian universities, eleven from the United Kingdom, nine from New Zealand, two from the United States, one from Eire, one from Japan, one from Taiwan, and I am not certain from where the other one came. It is all to the good to have students coming from different places. One of the aims of the founders of this university was to bring together students from different countries in the common name of research. The work that has emanated from this research school so far has been very important, and will help considerably, particularly in the medical field. I cannot even .pronounce the names of some of the research work that has been carried out. However, I know that the work that has been done in the research school of medical science will be of inestimable value, not only to the faculties of this university, but also to those of universities elsewhere in Australia.
I should like to emphasize that we cannot judge the value of the university merely upon the number of students who are enrolled, nor upon their places of origin. We must judge the value by the actual work that has emanated from the scholars.
– I want to answer one or two of the points that have been raised. In reply to Senator Wright, let me say that the number of graduates attracted to research studies in this university depends upon the opinion of other universities, and of graduates themselves, of the value to be obtained from working under a particular master in a particular school. The number of graduates has gone up. At present 124 are enrolled. After all, there is no way of attracting graduates other than by the high repute of the teachers in the faculties. They will only be held in high repute if they deserve to be so held.
– What about publicity?
– In this field, perhaps uniquely, publicity, unless it is backed by performance, is of no great assistance. If there is the necessary performance, there is no need for publicity. There is a sort of academic grape-vine.
Senator Mattner referred to subclause (9.) of clause 6, which provides that faculties in the School of General Studies can be established. It is for the council of the university to decide whether they will or will not be established. We cannot anticipate what the council will decide. It will decide on the basis of its financial ability and on whether it thinks the work could better be done elsewhere, having regard to such an institution as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, which, in this vicinity, provides research facilities in various fields.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 5th April (vide page 464), on motion by Senator Spooner -
That the following paper -
Defence Review - Ministerial Statement, 29th March, 1960- be printed.
– Mr. Deputy President, on the last occasion when this debate was interrupted 1 had made the point that criticism levelled against us, whether true or not, was at least criticism from a party which, on this matter of defence, had clearly indicated it would not do what we have done. I had also made the point that such things as were stated from the Opposition side of the chamber were not concerned, or were concerned in a very small way only, with the paper presented by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley). I had said that Opposition speakers were more concerned with seeking to show that because the Government had over the last decade changed its plans to meet a changed situation it was in some way guilty of an indecisive approach.
Two things which appear in this paper are the matters which should be criticized if there is a basis for criticism by the Opposition. The first point is that we are designing our defence effort to enable us to make a contribution to an allied defence effort and not to fight a war with Australia’s efforts alone. There was some indication on the part of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) that that might be a wrong policy and that we should be trying so to design our defences that we alone would be able to fight a war either inside Australia or outside Australia. Is there anybody who would not say that preferably war should be kept from Australia’s shores if we ever have the misfortune again to be engaged in it?
But if this proposition of seeking to make a contribution is the one that is attacked, then all that is left is the suggestion that we should be able to do these things by ourselves. Quite clearly, Mr. Deputy President, the raising and the equipping of sufficient Australian forces of the sea, of the land and of the air to enable this country of itself to engage in hostilities are beyond the capacity of a country of our size and beyond the capacity of a country faced with the problems of development with which this country is faced, and which this Government is doing so much to overcome. Already, £200,000,000 a year is being expended in this project. If we were to have fleets which could hold the seas by themselves, and which could convoy troops away from this country with perfect safety; if we were to have aerial flotillas which could’ attack concentrations of troops in this country and defend centres in this country itself; if we were to have troops in the numbers required for any significant ground defence of this country against the numbers against whom we are likely to be opposed, then the amount set aside by this country for defence would have to be at least four or five times as great as it in fact is. That is completely out of the question when one considers the population we have, the economic income that we have, and the necessity for development, which is itself in one way a facet of defence.
So I think that the Opposition is wise, in fact, not to direct its main attack against the proposition that what we have to do is to make a significant contribution to allied defence, a contribution sufficient so that the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other countries with whom we may be allied or with whom we may be involved will not say, “ Australia is leaving us to take all the burden, to make all the sacrifices “, but will say, having regard to our proportionate contribution in relation to our population, “ The Australians are contributing to a common effort in a common cause “.
If that is admitted - and I believe it is the only reasonable proposition which could be advanced - the next point that has to be considered is what sort of contribution has to be made. If we are not to have fleets to control the seas, what are we to contribute to the allied fleets that do? If we are not to have aerial defence, what are we to contribute to an allied air fleet or a ground effort to take up these tasks? Here let me say that, in contradistinction to the period of ten years ago about which the Leader of the Opposition spoke, it is generally agreed to-day that a world conflagration, a war in which nuclear weapons are used, a war on a global scale is, because of the very ability to counter-attack with nuclear weapons, most unlikely to take place. It is a war which on military, and indeed, on general political assessment, is the least likely we would have to face. What we are likely to have to face is a sort of brushfire war, as it has been described - an incursion of Communist forces :such as we have seen in Korea, such as we could see in Viet Nam or in the countries which are our neighbours to the north; a sudden and quick attack by an enemy seeking to make a fait accompli, and having occupied land, seeking then to talk in the United Nations while the occupation is made permanent. That is the sort of attack which, I think, we in this part of the world in any case, have most to fear. If that is so, it is necessary - it must be necessary - to be able to react immediately to an attack of that kind.
We must put out of our minds the idea which has persisted from the 1914-1918 war, indeed from the last war, that there will be time to build up the military cadres - the skeleton military cadres - which are scattered throughout this country in time of peace. To attract to them citizens, to turn those citizens into soldiers, and to group them into military formations which can be transported and put into action, might take anything up to a year after the original incursion takes place. Therefore, we must have in being forces that are able to react immediately to the sort of crisis to which I have referred. This statement indicates that that is precisely what is going on at present with regard to the defence forces of this country. The system under the old concept of global warfare on a large scale was to have regular forces scattered amongst militia forces throughout Australia which could be built up over a period of time. The new idea is to have a regular army with all its soldiers and formations ready to go into action without being withdrawn from other formations. The idea is to have a militia enlisted for overseas service, ready and able to go into action in its existing formations on any notice given to it. Such a force would, of course, be smaller than one that could be built up if we were given time, but it would be a force that would not be disrupted-
– When is the Army to be equipped with the new rifles?
– Above all it is a force which, because it is small and because it calls for less administrative effort, will be able to go into action with proper modern equipment. That is something that we have never known in this country before. With regard to the Regular Army component of this force, that objective has been 90 per cent, achieved already. We already have the artillery, the modern rifles, the logistic support, the ammunition and the transport to the areas where that army may be called upon to take a part. As to the militia component of these two divisions, the rifles, machine-guns and other equipment required are coming off the assembly line now. I was asked by way of interjection by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Kennelly) when these forces would be equipped with the new rifles. It will be some time before that happens, but all the basic planning has been done. The factories have been set up and the production lines are moving. Rifles are now coming off the production lines for these new battalions. Is it right to decide to have two divisions in being equipped, ready and able to move, rather than cadres which will, over a period of time, be able to be built up but be too late to be of use after they have been built up? I believe that it is right so to concentrate on forces in being and that it is right to cut administrative and overhead costs in order to provide equipment for forces which may be required at a moment’s notice. So far in this debate we have not heard that belief attacked.
The Navy, which has been my responsibility for the last year or so, is ready to move at a moment’s notice to any spot in the worl’d where its services may be required. The ships that would go there would be ships that are provided with the best anti-submarine equipment and fire control yet devised. They would be elements acceptable to any navy and elements which from the time of Nelson have been in short supply in navies. Honorable senators may remember Nelson saying that when he died, lack of frigates - lack of small ships - would be engraved on his heart. There has never been a navy that has had sufficient small ships for screening, convoy work and general fleet work. Although the United States has 300 such ships and the United Kingdom considerably less, the ten or twelve ships of this class that Australia, with a population about the same as that of the City of London or the City of New York, can contribute will be just that added assistance to a common effort.
If it is not wrong to assume, as we do in this defence statement, that any future war will break out quickly and will need quick reaction from forces in being, and that the emphasis in respect of those forces should be on modern equipment, this defence statement is in fact accepted by both sides of the Senate, whatever may be said as to particular details, such as whether we should have submarines, fighter planes or something else. The general approaches to the subject of defence are accepted by both sides until such time as they are attacked, and so far they have not been attacked by the Opposition. If those general approaches are not to be attacked, let me make this added point. Our achievements towards these objectives are by no means insignificant. The new equipment that hasbeen obtained for the three services is not to be lightly disregarded. The Leader of the Opposition mentioned the re-equipping of the Air Force with Hercules aircraft. He spoke in glowing terms of these aircraft, which can carry large bodies of troops quickly at any given time, although later such troops would have to rely largely on sea transport for stores and supplies. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out how the reconnaissance and anti-submarine land based squadrons had been strengthened by the addition of Neptune aircraft from the United States. We have placed orders for missiles to take the place of interceptor fighters. Those missiles are not here yet, but the decision has been made. I say that because it has been alleged that this Government has not made decisions. Over the last three or four years, as I have already said, three most modern new vessels have been added to the Navy and a further four will be added in the next eighteen months. Those four vessels are not ready yet - the Deputy Leader of the Opposition made that point. But 90 per cent, of the effort towards getting them here has been made and they will be afloat and with the fleet by the end of next year at the latest. These things have been done. These decisions have been made.
It is true that we can be taken to task because no new bomber has been ordered to replace the Canberra. We have been taken to task for that. But as the statement points out, the Canberra bomber is the best of its kind that exists in the world to-day and we want a bomber of this kind. We want a new one of this kind, but there is none available in the world to-day. The suggestion has been made that we should build one. It has been suggested that we start from scratch and get together the designing staff and the aeronautical engineers and design from the ground up a modern light bomber to replace the Canberra. I wonder whether anybody here has any idea of the effort that is involved in the design of a modern aircraft. I wonder, too, whether anybody here knows what is involved in the building of a modern aircraft after it has been designed, when there are no jigs, no tools and no patterns - in fact, when there is nothing to be obtained from a country with a greater capacity to make an effort of this kind. I wonder whether the Leader of the Opposition has ever thought of the millions of pounds and the millions of man-hours that would be required to try to build a modern aircraft from the very beginning - to draw, design, test and lay out a factory.
– Senator Cameron might know something about it.
– I doubt that very much. I remember very well that Senator Cameron had something to do with the design of an aircraft in Australia during the last war. That aircraft was known as the Boomerang, and I had the misfortune to have to fly it on various occasions. I may say that the things that an aircraft requires, particularly an aircraft of the fighter type of which we are speaking, are exclusive things. It requires to have height, in order to fight enemy aircraft; it requires to have manoeuvrability, protection against enemy fire power, range and good armament. It cannot have all those things because if it has armament and range - which means petrol capacity - it is too heavy to be manoeuvrable and to get height. Those things are mutually exclusive. I flew the Boomerang, and if I may say so, it was the only aircraft in the whole history of the aircraft industry which did not have one of the requisites that a decent fighter aircraft ought to have. Indeed, it never went into operation.
– There was not a fighter aircraft in the country then. The Wirraway was converted into the Boomerang.
– I am not making these comments as an attack on Senator Cameron, because he was not responsible for the Boomerang. If there was not in this country a fighter aircraft before the Boomerang was designed, I can only say that there was not a fighter aircraft here after it was designed, either. It was a kind of cut-in-half Wirraway which was of no use whatever. What I have said indicates the impossibility of a country of this kind, beginning from scratch and designing an aircraft, even in those horse and buggy days; and when we are talking in terms of aircraft and defence during the last war we are, in effect, talking of horse and buggy days.
The effort required for that kind of project can much better be put into the economic life of this country. The manhours and the money that are required in evolving something that may or may not turn out - and many aircraft designed in countries much greater than ours do not turn out to be successful - could much better be put into the general life of the country. I think it was Senator Wright who pointed out, when the Leader of the Opposition was complaining that people had gone from the aircraft factory, that those people were now aiding the economic strength of Australia in other directions and doing a better job for the country than they would be in trying to design and build an entire aircraft here. I do not speak of spare parts for proved and known aircraft. Spare parts can be and should be made here; I speak of new designs which have never been constructed in Australia.
– The technicians of this country are just as capable as those of any other country.
– I think that what the honorable senator has just said has not been in any way contradicted by anything I have said.
I have pointed to the smallness of this country in terms of population. If we think of a population such as that of a large city in America or in England being expected to provide a couple of divisions of troops, a fleet and an air force, and having to design and manufacture all the equipment which those forces would use, it will be quite clear that however good the technicians are - and I do not question that ours are good - much of the effort involved would be spent in a way which was not for the greatest benefit of the defence of the country.
– That is what happened before the last war.
– In the last war we in fact relied for our fighters on Spitfires, and more importantly, on Kittyhawks when the pinch came, and for our bombers, on Hudsons, Beauforts and other aircraft which were not designed here and which could not, in the nature of things, be designed here.
I am being led away from the three main points that I want to make. They are: First, is it right that we should assume, since we are not a nuclear power, that we will be involved in a conventional war, if we are involved at all, with allies? Secondly, if that is right, should we plan to have forces in being, and ready to go? Thirdly, if that also is right, should we put our effort, as we are now doing, more into equipment, into cutting overhead, into cutting the tail as much as we can, and putting more than has been put before into modern equipment that is ready to move?
If those three things are accepted, then those are the three things to which the statement before us refers. If they are different, as in some respects they are, from previous plans that we have had before us, is that not likely to be so because the problem that is facing us now is assessed to be different from the problem that was facing us a decade ago? I believe that the defence plans of the Government indicate a proper approach to the defence of this country. Although all the steps which it is necessary to take in order to put the plans into force have not yet been taken, at least a very large number of them have been taken. I believe that we are well on the way to fulfilling what we have laid down as being requisite for this country in time of war.
.- I suppose that no question could be more important than the defence of our homes and our country. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) commenced his speech by saying, after a few short introductory remarks -
However, at the beginning I want to make the point that whatever might be said in criticism of the Government, it is making a definite contribution to collective defence. Obviously, if there were a change of government, such an effort would not be made.
The Minister used those words, but he did not advance any arguments to support them. He should be fair and admit that when the Australian Labour Party had responsibility for the safety of the people it was not found lacking.
– Not much!
– 1 do not want to go back too far into history, but I remind the honorable senator that the present Government parties had the necessary numbers to remain in office in 1941, but they walked out. The pressure was too great. Every one knows the state of the defences of this nation prior to the commencement of the last war. Our defences were a shambles. Was there any fault to be found with the job that the Labour Party did when the pressure was on?
– No. You just carried on from where the previous Government had left off.
– How can you carry on from nothing? The Minister knows that no defence preparations had been made. I remind him that two of the supporters of the Government of the day walked away from it, with the result that certain legislation was tossed out. To say that the Labour Party would do nothing to defend Australia if it were in office is so much idle chatter.
– lt is true.
– The honorable senator says, “ It is true “. We do not depend upon words; we put up performances. Performance is better than words in spheres much less important than defence.
We attach great importance to performance: when it comes to the defence of this nation-
– I have heard you say that the first thing you would cut would; be defence.
– That is true.. Since the Government has been in office, it has spent £1,844,000,000 on defence, but what have we got for it? That is what 1 want to know. Has Australia got value for the expenditure of that amount of money on defence? Look at the armed services.. The Minister for the Navy must admit that: they are not what they should be. I want, to be honest about this. I know that what would be good for the defence of thenation in one period may become obsolete later, but all that this Government has doneis to issue statements, and every one of themcontradicts the one that went before. What amazes me is that we never see the Government do what it says in its statements thats it will do. It is a fantastic position. I ask the Minister for the Navy a direct question: Is he satisfied with the results of the expenditure on the Navy? In nine years, the Government has spent £394,000,000 on the Navy. Is the Minister satisfied with what he has got for that £394,000,000?’
This is not a matter of whether one party or another would do more to defend the nation. Every one of us loves Australia. It is our country. No one political party has a monopoly of the desire to see that Australia remains ours, and that our people are happy and contented. Every one knowsthat it is simply political clap-trap to say that if the Labour Party were in office, itwould open the gates to China, Russia or Indonesia. That sort of talk gets us nowhere. The Australian Labour Party isanxious to ensure that we shall have the best defence we can provide within our means, and we know that they are limited. What has the Government got for theamount of money it has expended? I canonly say to my friend, the Minister for the Navy, that if our defences could be judged by the number of statements on defence that have been submitted by the Government, Australia would rank as a world power in defence. As a rule, we have had four or five statements on defence policy every two years or so, although some of the policy changes might be justified in view of scientific progress. Charges by the Government that a Labour government would leave the country defenceless are not borne out by past performances.
In his concluding remarks, the Minister for the Navy said that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) had not referred to the latest statement on defence at all. I remind the Minister that the Leader of the Opposition, in his opening remarks, coupled the statement on defence that was submitted last November with that which was issued a few days ago. If the Minister reads the “ Hansard “ report, he will see that the speech of the Leader of the Opposition was studded with quotations from the statements. No doubt the Minister has a lot of work to do, but I suggest in the most friendly fashion that if he has not time to read a speech that he proposes to criticize, he must have somebody in his office who could read it and tell him that Senator McKenna referred to the latest report.
– I heard the Leader of the Opposition speak.
– On 9th April, 1958, the “ Sydney Morning Herald “, which supports the Government at election time, stated -
If words were battalions and promises were war planes, Australia would have a formidable defence force instead of virtually no defence at all.
That was not so long ago. Whenever this Government - which has spent £1,844,000,000 on defence - is asked to produce something tangible to show what it has done with the money, it merely brings out. a fresh statement. This is not a matter for words. The nation asks for performance. Like many other people in Australia, I am sick of having words instead of defence. We want to see this country adequately defended, according to the amount of money we can spend and the size of our population. We want to know whether the nation is in danger, what it needs for defence, and what we have got.
I do not think any supporter of the Government can be proud of the Government’s defence record. If we study the statements that have been made year after year, by individual Ministers from the Prime Minister down, the reference is always to to-morrow. Well, preparing for to-morrow will not defend the nation. The emphasis should be on the present. If there is trouble - and let us hope we will not be faced with an emergency - we should be ready. We hope that with the help of our allies we shall be able to ensure that no aggressor will ever land here. Let us go back to the famous statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). How well I remember this statement -
We stand for adequate national preparedness for defence. What have we got for the £1,844,000,000 that has been spent in the last ten years?
Have we ever had anything for our defence expenditure during this Government’s term? I ask honorable senators on the Government side to tell me what we have ever got for it. They know that we have nothing to show for that expenditure. The Prime Minister also said -
If there is to be a third World War, it is most unlikely that we shall have time to prepare for it. We must either stand promptly beside our great allies and friends in the real places of contest or let them and ourselves down to disaster. Hence the Citizen Military Forces must be enlisted and trained as a force which, with the regular units fed into it, is itself an expeditionary force. This is a major and crucial change in Australia’s defence preparation.
Was that ever done? Of course it was never done! No doubt that statement tickled the ears of the people who were listening to the eloquent tongue of the Prime Minister, and no doubt his backers, the press in every State, headlined it. But what were the facts? Was it ever done? Every honorable senator, indeed every person who has ever taken an interest in these matters knows that it was never done. If preparedness depended on the words uttered by the Prime Minister in the last ten years, we should certainly be able to face any danger, but, unfortunately, words are not what counts. I do not want to go on repeating what the Prime Minister said in 1951, but he did give us all a tremendous shock when he said -
We have got three years to prepare for war.
Anyone can make mistakes. Some of us make prophesies in other spheres without always being right, but I do emphasise that when the Prime Minister said in August, 1954, that we were prepared, or nearprepared, for war, he was not speaking the truth. Again, in 1956, when it was inferred that we would be able to take our part, the nation was shocked by the statement made by Sir Frederick Shedden, the Secretary of the Department of Defence, to the Public Accounts Committee. Giving evidence on 8th August of that year, he said that Australia was not ready for mobilization and never had been. I should say that Sir Frederick had some knowledge of the subject. He was in a position to know what the situation was, and no doubt he was the person who was advising the Service Ministers of the day. It is clear that no honorable senator on either side of the chamber has cause to clap or congratulate the Government for having done a good job during all the years for which it has been responsible for safeguarding the destinies of this nation-.
I come now to the next famous statement by the Prime Minister. On- 4th April, 1957, he said -
Australia should have a regular army brigade group trained to the highest pitch - equipped with the most modern weapons available. We have an Air Force armed with up to the minute American war planes and a guided weapons unit.
Was that true? I shall deal with the brigade group later. Every one knows it was not true. Every one knows that again it was merely a matter of words without anything to back them up. Year after year in every Budget session £200,000,000 has been placed on the Defence estimates. That sounds a lot of money, but because the Government has taken no action, we have nothing to show for it, and I emphasize that although the amount might sound great, it does not buy very much to-day. But that is the Government’s responsibility.
As I said earlier, the Government has given us four statements on defence and I am shocked that to date we have had only talk and no action from the Government. It still spends a great deal of money, but it does not give us any action. Again, the Government does not explain to us what we have to show for that expenditure. In a moment, I shall deal with the Senior Service and what it has. Senator McKenna was accused of being incorrect when stating the number of ships we have. The Minister for the Navy said that we had eight ships plus “ Melbourne “, which is going out of commission in three years” time. Senator McKenna quoted exactly the same figures.
I can only repeat that ever since this Government has been in office we have had not performances but words.
– As in “ My Fair Lady “ - words, words, words!
– The honorable senator does not like it, but I shall sit down immediately if he can tell me what we have got for the £1,844,000,000 that has been spent so far. That is all the people and I are concerned about. Do not ever attempt to say that the Australian Labour Party will not do its share when it is called upon. It has a record1 of performances behind it, and performances are what count.
– You would have let the volunteers swim home.
– If it had been left to this Government, they would never have got to the places from which they had to swim home. I understand that Senator Mattner gave valiant service in the 1914-18 war, but I point out that even in that crisis the people would not trust an anti-Labour Government. It will be remembered that the anti-Labour Government went out of office in 1914. History shows that the people will not trust such governments in any crisis confronting the nation.
– That is wrong.
– It is true. I advise the honorable senator to read political history. If I remember correctly, war was declared on 4th August, 1914, and, at the election held a fortnight later, the people of Australia turned to the Australian Labour Party to carry out the war effort.
– What did your party say in 1917?
– Ah! Back to 1917 now!
– What did you say in
– We make no bones about having said that we would not conscript the youth of this nation.
– You said,. “ Let them swim home.”
– If this Government had been in. office during either world war, the forces would never have got overseas, apart altogether from swimming home. Tracing the history of non-performance by this Government we find that in 1956 an amount of £200,000,000 was voted for defence. Within a week or so after that amount had been voted, the Prime Minister announced that there would be a thorough, drastic revision of the defence policy. Although the Budget was approved without amendment, the Government’s conscience began to prick and within a few weeks it was decided to have a drastic overhaul. Everyone knows the outcome. In view of what happened I can only hope - no doubt like honorable senators opposite - that we remain free from war. Considering what this Government has done over the past ten years, I should be very concerned for those who are dear to me if this Government conducted the nation’s affairs in a major conflict. Senator Mattner, as a result of his war service, knows much better than I do that enemies are not dispersed by words alone.
Let us consider the individual services. So I shall not get into trouble, I had better take first the senior service. I regret that my friend the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) is not present. The Prime Minister said in 1957 -
The naval programme is going very well. There has been no occasion to alter it for some time.
But on 26th November last year the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) said that the Fleet Air Arm would not be reequipped when the present aircraft equipment reached the end of its life in 1963. We have been told, both by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and the Minister for the Navy about our eight ships. The Minister tried to get the number up to twelve, by including those which might come into commission at the end of next year or at some future date. To-day we have eight. Nothing was said of the £1,500,000 spent on refitting “Hobart”, which was put into moth balls immediately afterwards. Honorable senators opposite who support private enterprise would not act in that way in their own firms. If they were directors or shareholders of a company, the manager of which spent a proportionately large amount on an article, only to discard it immediately after, they would call him to account. But there was no word from them about this expenditure.
I well remember that when the late John Curtin contested the Balaclava seat in 1914 he said that a large proportion of Australia’s defence expenditure should be devoted to the development of the Air Force. So even then at least some members of this party were thinking of the future. Can we be proud of the Navy? Although in nine years we have expended £394,000,000 on the Navy we have only eight ships. Soon the aircraft carriers will be out of commission. I do not want to hurt my friend the Minister when, in lighter vein for a moment, I say that I could put all of our naval craft on Albert Park lake and still have plenty of room left. Our Navy is so small, so insignificant-
– So ill-equipped.
– And so illequipped. Members of this Government seem to think that they are the only ones who can govern this nation. I should be ashamed to belong to a government with such a record of performance. Let us now consider the Army. I remember listening in this chamber to a speech by former Senator Wordsworth, a man who had had a great deal of army experience and for whom, political beliefs apart, we had a great deal of time. How did he refer to the Army in the last speech he made before his retirement? He said that our Army was like the Portuguese Army, having more officers than it had men. In October, 1959, the Australian Regular Army consisted of 11,911 officers, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers, and 9,997 privates. Was it any wonder that a man who had no doubt spent the best years of his life in army service likened our Army to the Portuguese Army. At least the proportion in the Citizen Military Forces is a little better, because there are 17,748 officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers to 32,395 privates. All I can say is that in the Regular Army it should not be hard to become an officer!
Let us consider our armoured equipment. In the last defence debate we were told about our Centurion tanks, which are now located in Victoria. The remarkable thing is that if a prospective enemy wanted opposition in the northern part of Australia, he could not get it from these tanks for up to about 21 days. All I hope is that if an enemy attacks Australia, he will not attack in the north. Our minds normally turn that way when we think of an attack. We wish to live in friendship with the peoples to the north of us, but we have certain ideas and certain standards that we must uphold. We want to be at peace at all times, but we must be practical and keep at the back of our minds the fact that there are great numbers of people living on our northern boundaries. If an enemy landed near Darwin, we would have to ask him to camp outside the town for three weeks until our Centurion tanks arrived. They could not be got there in less time than that. Depending on the availability of ships, it would take from fourteen to twenty-one days for the tanks to arrive in the northern part of this country.
– I suppose the honorable senator is an authority on these things.
– If you think that what I am saying is wrong, you can get up and have a go afterwards.
– The argument is infantile.
– The honorable senator can say that if he likes. Although we have spent £600,000,000 on the Army since 1952, the position is as I have stated.
– That is all clap-trap.
– It is easy to say that, but I have stated what I believe are the facts. If the honorable senator can show that they are not the facts, I will admit that I am wrong. It is useless for him to interject just because he does not like what I am saying and cannot take it. Let us have a look at how the Army is dispersed throughout the country. In Western Australia - the State from which my friend, Senator Vincent, comes - there are 1,156 members of the Regular Army and 4,418 members of the Citizen Military Forces. As I said previously, our eyes are often turned to the north of this country. In the Northern Territory we have 159 Regular Army personnel and 63 C.M.F. personnel. In Tasmania we have more Regular Army and C.M.F. personnel than we have in the Northern Territory. That amazes me after all I have heard over the years about the Chinese menace. I do not know how the Chinese would be expected to come here, but we have heard a lot about them. I have given the Senate the official figures, and I would be prepared to lay this document on the table of the Senate at any moment if it were asked for.
I suppose it would be unkind to talk to my friends opposite about what happened in connexion with the FN rifle. We first heard about this rifle in 1951, but what is the position now?
– The honorable senator did not know of it before that time?
– I am referring to the official pronouncement by the Government. We were told that both the Regular Army and the C.M.F. were to be equipped with this rifle, and we were told about its advantages. What has been the performance of the Government?
– Exactly as we said.
– We first heard about the rifle in the year I have mentioned.
– If the Labour Party had been in office we would not have had even a pop gun.
– If honorable senators opposite will listen for a moment, 1 shall tell them what the Government’s performance has been. If the Government had acted, instead of contenting itself with statements by Ministers on this important question, I believe that we would all be much happier. What was said about the FN rifle is the statement that was made on 29th March? Even the Regular Army will not be completely equipped with this rifle until 1960, and no date is given in respect of the C.M.F. When the next report comes out, we will doubtless be told of further delays. How placid are the people of this nation! It is interesting to learn that the Government is considering placing orders for a new recoilless rifle in the United States. It will have taken eight or nine years to issue the FN rifle to the Regular Army, and in the case of the C.M.F. much longer, but it looks as if that rifle will be scrapped.
In the last statement a great deal was said about the brigade group. We were going to train a brigade group and equip it with all the equipment that a modern force should have. It was said that it would be able to move at a moment’s notice.
– Where did it move to?
– It must have moved into space, because nothing that was said about it was ever done. How can anyone place any faith, therefore, in the statement that has just been read? We hear these statements often, but when it comes to performance, nothing is done. Honorable senators opposite know what the Government did about national service training. The Labour Party said that that was of no use as far as defence was concerned.
– You said that, but you voted for it.
– We did not wait for nine or ten years before saying that the Government should get rid of it. It is true that in 1949 we did support it. But in 1950 or 1951, I think it was, we found out that national service training was not serving the purpose that it was set up to serve. We did not run away and say that it ought to be continued. We said, “ Experience has shown that it is not serving the purpose for which it was set up “.
– I thought that your executive instructed you-
– Oh, you do not like it. You cannot say that, because in those years I was a member of the body that you speak about; in fact, I was the secretary of that body. If I had a moment, I could recollect what they did. I say that it took the Government six years to find out that the national service training scheme was no good for the Army or the Navy, and so it scrapped the scheme altogether in respect of those two services.
– I think the honorable senator means the Air Force and the Navy.
– Thank you, senator. I meant the Air Force and the Navy. The Government then introduced the famous birthday ballot. Now I understand that the scheme will be out altogether from June of this year.
– The situation has changed.
– Oh, my word. I am amazed to hear the supporters of the Government profess such valiant thoughts concerning the defence of this country while I know that when the real trouble comes they get into such a mess by fighting among themselves that even their own party has to put them out.
– To what is the honorable senator referring?
– I am talking about the Army, and what I have said is fact. Let us have a look at the latest episode concerning the Minister for the Army. Oh, what a sorry record he has over the years! He stated - to put it in a nice way - that eight or nine officers were surplus to requirements. Of course, that may come to all of us in political life at times, but at least the people are not so brutal in the way they say things. Has not the Minister any thought for other people’s feelings?
– Have you?
– I am only stating hard, cold facts. Of course I have a lot of thought for people’s feelings, and honorable senators opposite are at liberty to give back twice as hard anything I say in this chamber or outside it politically. As you know, those of us who give a little are prepared to take a little. I say that the whole picture of the Army is one of muddle, of lack of administration and lack of drive at the top. How fortunate is this nation that it is down under, as the Americans say, and that we have been at least free from trouble.
Now let us have a look at the Air Force. I remind the Senate that since 1952 an amount of £497,000,000 has been expended on the Air Force. That is a large amount of money, even in terms of the reduced value of money to-day. On 4th April, 1957, Mr. Menzies said -
The Air Force should include fighter aircraft of the most modern kind to ensure local air superiority and to deal with any raiding bomber. We are planning to re-arm with fighter aircraft of a performance equivalent to the Lockheed F104 Starfighter.
What is the history of this matter? In 1957, the Prime Minister, who is a good talker - I admit that-
– You are not bad yourself.
– I try, but I would like to be as good with the tongue as he is. He is a good talker, but there has been no action and the people of this nation want to know where the money spent on defence has gone. Mr. Menzies said, on 19th September, 1957 -
The Starfighter is in no sense an all-purpose fighter. It would involve us in a literally tremendous refinement and expansion of electronic ground controls far beyond our capacity.
The Prime Minister of this country said in the Parliament that we should have this type of aircraft because they would give us local air superiority. I do not know why he emphasized local air superiority. Perhaps he thought that we would be invaded from one of the islands off Tasmania. However, that is what he said. After another five months had passed, he blew it all out. Does not this indicate that the Government is making fun of defence? Is it not only fooling the people of this country? If that is the case, let us be honest and tell the people of the position. Over long years, we have got nothing of any value for an expenditure of £1,844,000,000 on defence.
– We have got peace.
– My friend knows a lot about pearl fishing, but after this Government’s performance he says that what we have got for the expenditure is peace.
– That is right.
– Is not that most amusing? I suppose the Prime Minister then thought that he had better hand over the making of statements on defence to somebody else because he had not made too good a job of it; no performance had been forthcoming. So the next statement was made by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) on 26th November, 1959, when he said -
Re-equipment with a suitable replacement for the Sabre remains an important objective. The position is not yet reached when we can make a final selection with confidence.
I ask the supporters of the Government: When are you ever going to make a decision?
– When the war comes!
– That has been proved on the last two occasions. Neither I nor any one else would want to see a third war, even to show up this Government. We are now debating a motion to print the statement that was made by the Minister for Defence on 29th March, 1960, in which he said -
The Air Force programme is proceeding smoothly and according to plan.
I ask honorable senators to listen to this. If the position were not so tragic, it would be laughable. As I have said, since 1952, an amount of £497,000,000 has been spent on the Air Force. And this is all we have got. The Minister went on to say -
A choice of a fighter will be made as soon as the Government is in a position to do so.
You have known since September, 1957, that you did not want the Starfighter. On 29th March of this year we were told that the choice of a fighter would soon be made. Let us see what aircraft the Air Force has. It has three squadrons of Sabres. Those aircraft are ten years old. It has three squadrons of Canberras, which are even older. It has Lincoln and Neptune reconnaissance squadrons. The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) mentioned the Hercules C.130 aircraft, but how many of those have we got? We have twelve.
– How many do you want?
– I am not the
Minister in charge of the Air Force or the Navy. If I were I would know how many we needed. It is ridiculous to think that twelve such aircraft are sufficient tor a country of 3,000,000 square miles and with a coastline as long as ours.
– Do you know the purpose of those aircraft?
– I am merely pointing out how many we have. I am pleased that the Minister for Civil Aviation has a smile on his face. I was very worried this morning because when I asked him a question he looked very severe. I am delighted that he has returned to his normal good countenance, if nothing else. What else has this country got? We have three helicopters. In 1957 the Government decided that the Starfighter was no good, but by November, 1959, the final selection of a fighter had not been made. In March, 1960, the Government told us that the Air Force programme was proceeding smoothly according to plan. The Government should be honest and admit that it has no plan at all.
– What is your plan?
– When we were in the position of having to make plans we did so without equivocation. We did hard things because we believed the nation demanded us to do hard things. But we did the job the nation wanted us to do.
Let us look at the strength of the Air Force. Warrant officers and N.C.O.’s total 7,873, and there are 7,599 L.A.C.’s, A.C.’s and A.C.W.’s. We are entitled to feel more satisfied that what we are spending on defence is being spent wisely. 1 could say a lot about the aircraft industry, roads, railways and aerodromes. All those things could have been attended to if this money had ben spent wisely. If I had wanted to take up the time of the Senate I could have dealt with the famous St. Mary’s filling factory, but I think I have said enough. I do not want to remind the Government that it has about six Ministers dealing with various aspects of defence.
I look to the time when this nation, with other nations, will not need to spend large sums of money on defence. I think the big problem facing the world to-day is disarmament. We should do all in our power to encourage world disarmament. That would help the world greatly. I would not be satisfied to leave this country undefended if I thought that other countries were defended, but we should use all the power in our possession, even with our friends - and we always need friends in defence - to bring about disarmament. However little we were able to do to bring about disarmament, it would be a very great contribution towards the peace of the world.
I come back to what I said at the beginning of my remarks. If the strength of our defences is to be judged by the number of words we have read about them, Australia must certainly be a world power.
– It is becoming increasingly boring and almost nauseating to listen to Senator Kennelly when he is opposing some Government measure or some Government policy, because he maintains the same theme throughout his remarks. If honorable senators and people outside believed what he has said over the years, the present Ministry could not possibly be in power. According to Senator Kennelly the present Ministry is made up of bad men who are doing nothing and spending too much money. If that were so the Australian people would not put up with. them. So I feel that we can dispose of the criticisms levelled at the Government by Senator Kennelly because despite the expenditure of money about which Senator Kennelly complains, this Government has gone from strength to strength at each election since 1949.
The basic theme of the Labour Party in defence matters appears to be that the Liberal and Australian Country Party Government has done nothing. The Labour Party seems to contend that Australia needs more of everything that is required for defence, that we should change our aircraft every two or three years and that instead of following the example of other nations of the West and keeping our ships in mothballs, we should have them fully commissioned and operating, despite the cost. The Labour Party’s final onslaught in respect of defence is that this Government spends too much money. The Labour Party’s attitude does not make sense to the average unbiased person who tries to analyse it. The Labour Party seems to have one particular defence principle, and that is that no Australian shall fight outside Australia. In other words, according to the Labour Party, we are an island continent and those who want to attack us have to get to our shores before we shall lift a finger to stop them. The Opposition will not help the Government in the formulation of foreign policy, although foreign policy, in these days of nuclear war or the threat of it, is an important aspect of defence. Perhaps in three years’ time, in a debate similar to this, the Labour Party will be able to say, “ Your defence policy is wrong. This is what we say is right for Australia.” According to Jack Lang’s “ Century “ newspaper, Mr. Haylen has been given the task of forming a committee to consider defence matters. Apparently, caucus is worried about defence. It has said, in effect, “ We do not know where we are going, so how can we advise the people of Australia? Let us get busy and have the experienced and trained brains in the party see whether they can find out where we are going.”
It is well to remember that we are debating a defence statement made by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) in another place. It is a fair summing up of the Government’s current defence policy and planning to say that the forces are being modernized. I think it will be admitted by the layman that the Government has had the benefit of advice from professional defence experts not only in Australia and New Zealand but also in the United Kingdom, America and Canada. To my mind, there is not in the Senate a man or a woman who is sufficiently qualified factually to criticize any of the main principles of the policy that has been expounded. I emphasize that I refer only to principles.
Defence policy, particularly as it relates to the money spent on defence measures and the forces employed, must take heed of all the other commitments of the nation. We cannot look at defence as a matter that is separate from our financial and manpower problems. Having studied our defence policy, I give my approval of it and congratulate the Government for having evolved it. I believe that its main concepts are good and that the forward planning that it represents gives us some hope for the future. The policy of naval development is fully in keeping with our economic ability and our pacts, treaties, and understandings with our allies. This nation of 10,000,000 people could never have a defence force, consisting of a navy, an army and an air force, sufficient to defend Australia, without the help of allies and friends, against any one aggressor. I believe that our defence policy fits in with the policies of our friends and neighbours with whom we have pacts and treaties.
The main alteration in naval policy is the proposed scrapping, in 1963, of the Fleet Air Arm. This alteration has become necessary because, by that time, our aircraft carrier and the aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm will be obsolete. The great expenditure that would be involved in constructing another ship, which would be suitable for our needs at that time, and in purchasing aircraft, obviously would be beyond the means of the Australian Commonwealth. There are many people who believe that if there were another war very little use would be made of aircraft carriers because of their vulnerability to enemy attack. We in Australia will depend on shore-based aircraft, which is made possible by the advances that have been made in fighter and bomber aircraft. I congratulate the Navy on having seen the writing on the wall so far as the Fleet Air Arm is concerned, and on having announced the change of programme so far ahead. The Air Force has come in for some criticism from the Opposition on the ground that there are not in Australia at the moment any of the latest aircraft. I think that the year 1957 has been referred to during the debate.
Let us assume that the Government had arranged to buy from England or America in 1957 the most modern fighters at that time. Those aircraft probably would have been obsolete by 1958 or 1959, and the Labour Party criticism would then have been, “ Why did you not wait to see what was coming up? “
The Minister for Defence has put in a nutshell the Government’s policy in regard to the purchase of new aircraft. He said in his statement on 29th March last -
The Air Board has kept in closest touch through our overseas staffs with the companies concerned, and are completely abreast of all technical data available at this stage on characteristics and performance. As I have said on previous occasions, we are not prepared to gamble on such a costly project, which will affect the relative effectiveness of the R.A.A.F. for many years to come.
I believe that that is sound common sense, in view of our economic situation.
I turn to the Army, which I believe will be a very important service, should we have to defend ourselves again. Here, I am not so happy with the policy of the Government in some respects. I do not criticize the overall planning which has resulted in the adoption of the pentropic divisional organization, and in making the forces more mobile, but I am somewhat puzzled about certain aspects of the Army re-organization. I regretted the cutting down of national service training when that first took place. I abominated the ballot system. I thought that that was most unfair. National service training was very good for Australian youth and could continue to be so, but I am one who believes that in such a case it is all in or all out. I am not critical of the Government for disposing of the last vestiges of national service training, since the Government and its advisers have found that it is not possible to maintain such training on a full scale.
On studying the Government’s policy concerning the Army, it appears to me that the aim is to build up the field force of the Australian Regular Army, yet there are to be retrenchments in the Regular Army, as it exists now, of some 1,600 or 1,700 men. They are professional soldiers. They adopted the Army as a career - or as part of a career, if they are other ranks. If the Government is going to enlarge the field force, it seems strange that, in the comparatively small Australian Regular Army, there are 1,600 or 1,700 soldiers who cannot be used in the new force. I realize that, when a system is changed, some people must become redundant, but 1,600 or 1,700 appears to be a large number when almost daily we see advertisements in the press calling for recruits for the Australian Regular Army.
I believe that the recruiting branch of the defence forces is running out on a limb on its own. It is not keeping in line with the thinking of the Ministers or the departments in its advertising to attract recruits. I think that the ministerial and departmental heads, and those in charge of that advertising, should get together and decide who is going to rule the roost.
This is not an appropriate place to use as a forum for the discussion of individual persons, but I have no qualms of conscience in dealing with a group of people - not discussing them as individuals - to show what might happen in the future. We have been told that some senior officers - colonels and brigadiers - of the Regular Army are redundant, yet in almost the same breath we are told that Tasmania Command is to become a regiment, is to be commanded by a colonel, and that a lieutenant-colonel is to be promoted to colonel to take over the command in Tasmania while colonels are being declared redundant.
The Government is paying great attention to the Citizen Military Forces, which consist of volunteers - men who train to serve their country while working at other careers. They are of great value to the defence of Australia. The strength of the C.M.F. is to be lifted from 21,000 to 30,000. However, the core of the Army in times of peace or war is the Australian Regular Army, but it is to provide only eight of the 28 senior officers in the new field force. The other officers will be volunteers, who devote only a part of their time to Army service. If I were an ambitious young man thinking of a career in the Regular Army and hoping to reach high rank, I would no longer be interested if I were told that only eight of the 28 senior officers of the field force were to come from the Regular Army. That is not an incentive to men to join the Regular Army.
I saw in the press to-day a statement that the age of entrance to the Army school at Portsea in Victoria has been raised to 25 years to entice university graduates into the Australian Regular Army. However, I cannot see that there is any encouragement to young men to join the Army. In his statement in the House of Representatives on 31st March, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) stated, as reported at page 829 of “ Hansard “, referring to the officer structure of the C.M.F. -
No existing C.M.F. officer or other rank will be retired because of the re-organization.
So if you join the Army as a volunteer, you can stay in for as long as you like, but if you join it as a career man and give your whole life to it, you can lose your position overnight because of a change of policy, although you are a trained professional soldier. No C.M.F. officer will be retired, yet thirteen senior officers of the Regular Army are to be retired. Some of them will go out five years before their normal time of retirement. Speaking of retrenchments, the Minister for the Army said, as reported at page 830 of “ Hansard “ -
Retrenchment presents a very real problem in personal relations . . .
That is almost the understatement of the week. I say to the Government that if retrenchments are badly handled, future recruiting campaigns for the Australian Regular Army will receive a severe check. When I say badly handled, I mean if there is interference with the rights of individuals because they may be in the way of somebody or have different views, or if retrenchments are made without proper compensation. If a man wants to be a lighthouse keeper and does not know much about the job, he will ask a lighthouse keeper what the job is like, what sort of treatment you get and what security the job offers. If a young man wants to join the Regular Army, he will go for information to those who have served in the Army.
We have been told in the defence statement that the new organization will allow the Government to reduce the number of civilians employed in the Army. That is understandable, but every civilian who is now employed by the Army and for whom there will be no future employment in the forces, will be transferred to some section of the Commonwealth Public Service, without loss of status or pay. That is a principle that I fully endorse. But what will happen to the regular soldier? If you join the Army as a career soldier, you get six months’ notice and out you go. I do not want to be cynical, but if there is to be truth in advertising, we should say, “ If you want security and a career in the Army, join it as a civilian, because if policies make your job redundant, you will be transferred to the Commonwealth Public Service “. Those soldiers who are being put out of the Army before their proper time will go out, not on their anticipated rate of superannuation, but on a reduced rate, because they are going out before their time. If these people are to maintain their current standard of living, they must seek other employment and, at fifty years of age, after having followed a carrier in the Army, they are not equipped for many types of jobs in civil life. What is more, in this young and rapidly developing country, the employer of to-day is looking for young men who are expected to become top executives by the time they are fifty years of age. In those circumstances, I warn the Government that unless some action is taken to ensure that those ranks in the Regular Army who have become redundant are given a fair deal, it will be a bad advertisement for the new-look Army. As I have said before, if recruits are to be encouraged to the Army it is essential that we be able to say to them, “ You have a chance for the future; you have security, but, if you become redundant, we shall look after you as we very rightly look after Commonwealth public servants “.
I have read the “ Hansard “ report of the debate on defence in another place, and I have read editorials and newspaper comments on this subject. They imply the existence of a belief that there have been too many top brass officers in any case, that it would be a jolly good thing to get ri 1 of them. One can almost hear a clapping of hands at the thought. I can truthfully say that as yet I have not heard any honorable senator express those sentiments. I do not deny that they have been expressed, but I have not heard them. But I venture the opinion that if the Senate were abolished on 1st August next there would be at least 60 honorable senators who, if they were fit and well enough to attend the Senate, would vote that every honorable senator be fully compensated for the period he would have served had the Senate not been abolished. I submit that is only fair and right, and it is the policy this Government should adopt. After all, this Government sets the pattern; it frames the policy and sets the example. If it sets an example along the lines I have suggested, then, should a government of a different political colour be elected at some time in the future, and should that new government decide to effect a change of defence policy under which certain ranks become redundant, those members of the defence forces who were likely to be affected would be able to say, “The Australian Commonwealth set a good example in 1960. We shall be fairly treated.” If we can give that assurance to those whom we seek to recruit, we shall be doing something worthwhile for the recruiting campaign.
I understand that after the Second World War and the granting of independence to India, there was naturally a good deal of retrenchment from the British Army after it moved out of India. Officers did become redundant, but the British Army bought - I use that word advisedly - them out and gave them reasonable superannuation. In other words, I believe these officers were given a severance allowance or a lump sum payment to compensate them for loss of the service they would normally have had if this great change of national policy had not come about. I believe that should be done here, and, although we have heard no announcement, I believe the Government will do something about it.
We senators represent States and I should like to deal for a moment with the Government’s policy with respect to the Army in Tasmania. One encouraging thought at the moment is that the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) is reported on page 829 of “ Hansard “ of another place as having said -
The broad structure is firm, but many of the minor details upon which the successful implementation of the project rests can only be settled after further full discussion.
To Tasmania, they are major details, although, on the overall concept of the Australian military forces, they may be minor details. They are details which the Minister says can be settled. At the present time, Tasmania Command is commanded by a brigadier and is autonomous just as is Southern Command and Eastern Command. It is comprised of something like 40 or 45 Citizen Military Forces and
Australian Regular Army units in all, but, under the policy announced by the Minister for Defence on 19th March, Tasmania Command is to come under the command of a colonel and is under the Administrative Command and Training Command of Southern Command in Melbourne.
On page 828 of Hansard of another place, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer), when dealing with changes of command in New South Wales involving the transfer of units from one part to another, is reported as having said -
Before deciding upon this, consultations were held with local authorities and with the honorable member for Richmond.
The honorable member for Richmond is Mr. Anthony. Vast changes have been threatened and announced with relation to Tasmania, and I should like to know what organizations were consulted and what Mr. Anthony has got that we in Tasmania have not got. As yet, we have had no consultation with the Minister on matters of principle affecting our own State, and Tasmania is only four hours’ flying time from Canberra!
There is little factual detailed information available as to what will be the setup but there are - I think rightly so - feelings of dissent and dismay at what has occurred so far. Tasmania is a sovereign State, and I point out that once before we suffered from being under the command of Southern Command in Victoria. We suffered such disabilities as delays in obtaining decisions, lack of decision and interference, and we dread suffering them again.
Tasmania’s military traditions are steeped in the history of the State. I believe that we have the oldest artillery regiment, but, at any rate, it proposes to celebrate its centenary this year. It has seen service in the South African War and two world wars. But if this minor detail of which I have spoken is not corrected, there will be no artillery in Tasmania to celebrate the centenary. The C.M.F. and Regular Army personnel who make up the artillery regiment in Tasmania will become redundant under the Government’s new proposal and it is not likely that many of the C.M.F. soldiers will transfer to another unit. Although it may seem laughable at the moment, I point out that if the proposed policy is put into full effect Hobart will be the only capital city in
Australia which will be unable to carry out the customary firing salutes on Royal Birthdays and days of great national rejoicing because we will have no artillery. One C.M.F. officer and eight or ten men could provide that service whenever necessary. The men are there, the equipment is there, and the right to be able to join in national occasions in the same way as every other capital city does is manifestly there. The Government, when considering the advice of its advisers, must take account of the effect that the proposed changes will have on the States concerned. If, as 1 believe, the total strength of the Army in Tasmania is to be cut by more than half, a significant part of our economy will be lost. We have a camp at Brighton that has been greatly improved, modernized, and kept in wonderful condition by Tasmania Command. According to the new policy, it will become redundant. A military establishment, unlike personnel, cannot be sacked. It will have to be retained and maintained in case it is wanted for defence in years to come. Most of us know that Commonwealth or State government properties that are left empty, unguarded and without maintenance soon fall into disrepair and great damage is done. Money has been well expended by the Government in recent years in modernizing and developing facilities for the armed services in Tasmania, but unless these minor details referred to by the Minister for the Army are not altered, as I hope they will be, a lot of the taxpayers’ property will go to waste and many men who are willing to train and serve their country will be unable to do so because of this harsh change in Government policy. Apart from that aspect, I congratulate the Government first on developing this new approach to defence, and secondly on enabling this Parliament to debate it thoroughly.
– I shall try to speak in a low voice because I do not want to disturb the Senate at this late hour on a Thursday afternoon. I do not know whether this is the best time to have a debate on defence. My approach to the subject is to look quickly back over the years to try to produce some sort of balance-sheet showing on one side the amount of money that has been expended on defence since the Gc*vernment came into office, and on the other side what has been achieved. This should give a fairly good appreciation of whether the Government has done the job the people wanted it to do in preparing our defences. I object particularly to Ministers and Government supporters continually saying, “ Admittedly, we are not doing very well, but if there was a change of government and Labour took office, the position would be dreadful. Labour would not spend anything.”
Every one knows that our complaint is not that the Government is not expending money on defence but that it is wasting money so that nothing is shown for the expenditure of nearly £2,000,000,000 during the ten years that the Government has been in office. Looking at what we have, we ask ourselves, “ Has the Labour Party’s criticism over the years been justified? “ We say that the money has been wasted. Planning has not been carried through. During three years of the ten years there was, according to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), intense preparation for war. In 1950 he said that we could expect war in 1953. In view of threats to peace, including the Suez crisis which could have developed into something more serious, Australia’s defences should be in good condition. There are many reasons for expecting to see signs of effective spending of the defence vote over many years. Unfortunately, we do not see them. We have soldiers and Air Force personnel in Malaya. They were sent there because of a threat of communism which no longer exists in that country. I do not know whether it is the Government’s intention to withdraw those forces from that part of the world because the reason for their being there no longer exists. We regret the unfortunate death of the ruler of Malaya. I had the pleasure of meeting him not very long ago. He admitted what I think everybody knows, namely, that the Communists in Malaya are more than contained and that the few remaining terrorists in the jungles are no longer a threat to the safety of that nation. Therefore, there is no justification for keeping that force there any longer, unless the Government has other and newer reasons for doing so.
Let us see what we have for an expenditure of £2,000,000,000, which I hope to show was wasteful. I suppose the Air
Force would be the most impressive arm of the services. We have three squadrons of Canberra bombers, which we know are obsolete. We have three fighter squadrons of Avon Sabre aircraft, which the Government was anxious to replace many years ago. They are now being equipped with Sidewinder missiles, which are effective, but only so long as the enemy has not similar armaments. The Sidewinder did extraordinary damage over the Formosa straits only twelve months ago in the battle for Quemoy and1 Matsu islands. If the published figures are accepted, the destruction of Communist aircraft by Sidewinder missiles on Formosan machines was quite substantial, but that was only because the enemy did not have similar equipment. Likewise, they will be effective for the Royal Australian Air Force only so long as the enemy against whom we fly does not have them. The Sidewinder is not an involved piece of mechanism in these days of modern machines and mechanics, and I am sure we should) not be allowed to continue very long without being matched in this respect. I suppose at this stage a modern Air Force of a front-rank nation would regard Canberra and Sabre aircraft only as good training machines, on the way towards obsolescence. We have a maritime reconnaissance squadron equipped with Neptunes and Lincolns. The Neptune is a good aircraft. The Lincoln, of course, was manufactured in the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation’s factory in Victoria when Labour was in office. It flew in the last war, so now it is just battling on in the last stages of obsolescence. I hope that it will be able to keep on flying without endangering those who fly in it. I do not know when the last Lincoln aircraft was manufactured in Australia, but it must have been a long time ago. Then we have transport squadrons equipped with the Hercules, and a couple of radar units. Although we have a number of squadrons, apart from the Neptunes and the Hercules there is not a front-line aircraft in the Air Force.
It would be only in a very small war that we could defend ourselves. It all comes back to the proposition that we must ensure that the arrangements we make with other countries are such that if war develops in this area our friends will be ready to assist us, because if we were faced with any substantial enemy force we could not do very much on our own. Our objective in defence should be to have a small but efficient basic force that could be integrated with the forces of one of our great allies. That is perhaps a sad position, but it is no good pretending that under present conditions, even after so much money has been spent on defence in this country, we are in any way able to meet a formidable enemy. That is the position with the Air Force. Considering the money that has been spent, it is a very sad picture.
Now let us have a look at the Navy. I think Senator McKenna’s choice of words, when discussing the Navy, was very good. He summed up the position when he said that the Government had made another decision, but that the decision was not to decide. The situation is very serious. Senator McKenna gave us the figures showing what has happened since 1955. In 1955, five vessels went out of commission and one came into commission; in 1956, one vessel went out of commission and one came in; in 1957, five vessels went out and two came in; in 1958, five vessels went out and one came in. During that period, seventeen vessels were de-commissioned and six were commissioned. The Minister has told us that the present strength of the Navy is eight war vessels. The story of the Navy is a story of continual depreciation in numbers, efficiency and effectiveness.
The Fleet Air Arm is to be abolished in 1963, but in the meantime Australian airmen are flying Venom and Gannet aircraft. I am sorry the Minister is not present in the chamber, because I wanted particularly to bring this matter under his notice. I think he should consider very carefully the safety of those who have to fly these aircraft. They are obsolescent, but they are very fast machines.
– Is it the Gannet to which you are referring?
– No, the
Venom. A number of tragedies have occurred in training at Nowra during the last six months. What we have to worry about is whether we will run out of pilots before we run out of aircraft. It is quite possible that before the Fleet Air Arm is abolished in 1963 we will have run short of pilots. That is a serious matter and I should like the Minister to have a very close look at it. On this matter, the Minister has written a long letter to Mr. Bate. The point made by Senator McKenna about lack of decision is epitomized in that letter. Following questions by me in the Senate and local inquiries, the Minister wrote a very long letter in which all he could do was to tell our constituents that they would be told what the position was as soon as possible. He admitted in the letter that he had no knowledge of what would happen to the Nowra base after three and half years. Having decided that the Fleet Air Arm should no longer exist, one would have thought that other plans for Nowra would be in the making or that forward thinking would be taking place. The Government should know what it is going to do. Writing about Nowra, the Minister said -
In fact, I would hope, without being able to be certain, we would have use for it.
That was very nebulous, coming from a Government that is trying to establish that it is far-sighted, energetic and forthright. Then the Minister proceeded to say -
But precisely what that use would be it is too early to say.
He then went on -
While a change of government, should it occur during that period, could well lead, judging by the statements of the alternative government, to an attitude towards defence spending that might force the Navy to forgo bases it would otherwise need. In short, as I said before, I cannot be definite as to what will happen three and a half years in the future.
Meanwhile, there will, no doubt, be all sorts of wild rumours, but I should advise your constituents to treat them with the greatest of caution.
When any definite plans can be announced, without their being so premature as to mislead people, they will be announced.
There is, after all, no reason for keeping them secret.
There is no reason for secrecy, because there are no plans. The Minister suggested that if Labour won the next election, it would proceed to close these bases. The Minister should know that there would have been no Fleet Air Arm base at Nowra but for the Labour Party. It was Mr. Riordan, the Minister for the Navy in the Labour government at that time, who bought the aircraft carriers and established the Fleet Air Arm. He established the Nowra naval station. Do honorable senators opposite think there has been any change in Labour’s approach to defence?
Labour believes in providing adequate defence for the country. It maintains there should be an elimination of waste, but it shoulders the responsibility for maintaining a level of defence that it is within the capacity of the country to provide. In connexion with the Fleet Air Arm base which the Government is closing down, the Minister has the hide to suggest that if Labour came into office it would close down this base and undo everything that the Government has done. Let me repeat my point so that it can sink in. lt was Labour that introduced the Fleet Air Arm, and it was Labour that established the Nowra air station and made it what it is. It is this Government that is closing the base down. That is the story of this Government’s attitude to defence. When I was a young boy, Labour established the Royal Australian Navy. History shows that the people have never had anything to fear when it was the responsibility of Labour to provide for the defence of this land.
Consider the situation of the Nowra Naval Air Base and the position of the men who are working there and who have committed themselves to expenditure in various ways. Many of them are purchasing homes and have paid off half the indebtedness. The reaction to the Minister’s statement has been that the value of homes has fallen by half. Some of the fliers in the defence forces are fairly highly paid people. When they are transferred out of that area they will stand to lose a substantial amount of their equity in the homes. I do not know whether the Government is willing to give sympathetic consideration to the matter of the very serious loss that will be sustained by officers and men who are not in a position to bear it.
I should say that now is the time when the Government should be giving deep thought to the use to which the Nowra Naval Air Station can be put in future. Because of the nature of the terrain behind Nowra - it is mountainous, jungle country - and the facilities that exist not only at the Naval Air Station but also at the Naval Station at Jervis Bay, the base might be considered an ideal place for a junglefighting training centre. It has facilities similar to those that are provided at Canungra and, in addition, established ancillary services. This is the sort of thing that the Government should be thinking about now instead of waiting for years for something to turn up. 1 resent very much the forecast that has been made of what will happen if the alternative government - the present Opposition - gains office at the next election, and the reference that was made to the good work that the present Government has done. When we sum the performances up, this Government has not done good work at all. It has a record of complete failure in the sphere of defence. I think that the Labour Party is entitled to resent very much the remarks that have been made, particularly as I have pin-pointed the fact that the Nowra Naval Air Station was established by a Labour government. Over the years, this Government has closed down establishments that were approved by the Labour government, and now honorable senators opposite have the hide to suggest that if we again became the government we would close down this Naval Air Station which might be needed.
Let us have a quick look at the Army. The Army admits that, after six years of national service training, it has not one proper brigade. The national service training scheme on which I suppose about £150,000,000 has been expended over the last few years is about to be terminated. It took the Government six years to discover that the scheme was not a good proposition for the Air Force and the Navy, and over the last three years everybody has known that the scheme was moving slowly but surely to its demise. But the Government had to pluck up courage to make the final decision, and in the meantime more millions of money was spent. The decision has now been taken to abolish national service training for the Army. The Minister said that the scheme was a great military and social success. If a tombstone could be placed on the grave of the national service training scheme that cost the country £150,000,000, the epitaph should read, “ It was a great military and social success “. This Government’s whole plan in relation to defence has not been a great success in a military sense, but at least we know that over the last ten years the defence forces themselves have been a great social success.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I intend to try to assess the value of this new defence scheme, as far as I can do so- I did not intend to refer to the criticisms from the Opposition, but the last remarks 1 heard from Senator Armstrong compel me to do so. He said, for instance, that there would be no Nowra Naval Air Base if it were not for Labour. I simply put this to him: It is impossible for any human being to know that. The fact that a Labour Minister established that base is certainly not proof that any other Minister would not have done the same thing in similar circumstances.
– But this Government is closing the base.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, if Senator Armstrong has not finished his speech, I shall be quite willing to sit down in order that he may do so. If he has concluded his remarks, I prefer to proceed in my own way. I will not join in any discussion concerning who was responsible for our winning the last war.
– Why not?
– I know that I could talk till doomsday without altering the unalterable opinions that are firmly fixed in Senator Cant’s head. However, that has nothing to do with the matter. With regard to the war of 1914-1918 and the defence policy which enabled Australia to be ready to face it, it is an established historical fact that both political parties had a sound policy, and that the naval and the air defences of Australia owe a great deal to men of both parties, particularly to three men, Alfred Deakin, William Morris Hughes and Sir George Pearce. When any one asserts that Labour is always right and that Labour made us ready for the First World War. he should not forget that in the middle of that war the people who got control of the Labour Party threw out of that party almost all the men who were responsible for that policy, particularly William Morris Hughes and Sir George Pearce. I might say that on one occasion when I was speaking in praise of Sir George Pearce, Senator Armstrong, who has just sat down, attacked him violently by interjection.
I say deliberately that if there was one man who was responsible for Australia’s successful participation in the First World War, it was William Morris Hughes who, in 1902, had moved for the introduction of compulsory military training.
Having said that, I shall get on to the subject that I intend to speak about. I say to our very new senator, Senator Cant on the other side, that I hope in time he will learn that this chamber is not one in which we should imitate the dog fight tactics that are so common in other places. 1 think it is the duty of this chamber to discuss calmly and considerately the papers that come before it and to criticize, even if it is necessary for us to criticize the Government we support. 1 admit that at times 1 could be more critical of my own government but I know that anything I say may be seized upon by people like Senator Cant who has no object other than to make party capital out of everything.
Now, Sir, I regret quite a number of things in this paper and I look back, perhaps with a little nostalgia to past times. However, I realize that we are living in a world that is very different from the one in which I grew up. T have, ever since I came here, looked for some indication that not only the Government or the Cabinet, but the technical advisers, would be shaping a defence policy suited to the needs of this age. Although I regret the passing of compulsory training, which has had a disciplinary value, and although I regret the disappearance of old units rich in historic tradition, I cannot fail to acknowledge that these things are necessary in the light of present-day conditions. It has been one ot the crowning achievements of Australia and Great Britain that in the main they have prepared for defence without building up a large regular army. A large regular army is at all times a potential danger. Another great country that has grown up without a large regular army is the United States of America. Every war in which the United States has participated, except the Korean war, had to be prepared for after the war broke out. I think our freedom in the past has been more secure because we have not had a military tradition of the kind that you find on the Continent. We have not had a tradition of highly placed military officers who, as Senator Armstrong said in one of his few illuminating remarks, were quite often a social success. But our future is not so secure because any threat that could come from an authoritative caste in this country is nothing compared with the threat that we must prepare for from abroad. As far as I can understand this paper and the changes that it will bring about, 1 support it.
I intend to speak mainly about the Army. I have read of the changes taking place in the Air Force and the Navy, which in the main are dictated, I think, by circumstances. We must agree with those changes. As far as the Army is concerned, I think I can offer a few opinions that may be of value. The Government’s policy stems from a clearly denned objective. That is necessary. As Senator Gorton so ably demonstrated, it is impossible for us to prepare for every eventuality. 1 sometimes feel, as doubtless most of us feel at times, that getting ready for the total war that people fear is like getting ready for a collision between the earth and a star or some other body in the solar system. We cannot possibly prepare in all ways for such an eventuality as total war. We hope that it will not occur and I think that it now appears far less likely to occur than for a long time past. I do not think any power will deliberately plunge us into what is called a global war.
– You are an optimist.
– I hope that I am an optimist. It is better to be an optimist than a pessimist. After all, one’s attitude towards life is the fundamental thing and I would rather live on hopefully than worry about things that may never happen.
– The honorable senator should face reality.
– I am facing reality. If there is any honorable senator who should not give that advice it is the honorable senator who interjected because he never faces the reality of life. The honorable senator generally treats us to dissertations on proposals that we accepted many years ago but which reality have proved to be quite wrong.
It is certainly not facing reality to sit paralysed in the fear of something that may never happen. To face reality one must prepare for the things most likely to happen, and if you prepare for them you may indeed be prepared for other eventualities. The most likely war is a limited local war - a war in which we will have allies. It is a war in which we will have to make a contribution but in which we will not shoulder the full burden. We are preparing in that way. Furthermore, behind our defence programme our economy is building up. There was a time back in the seventeenth century when war did not bear a very great relation to the economic development of a country. Of King Frederick II. - Frederick the Great as he was called - it used to be said that he founded an army which owned a nation. Most nations owned an army but the Prussian army owned a nation. It was quite possible in those days for a nation to build up an enormous defence force out of all proportion to its economy. That is not possible to-day. I think the first war to prove that was the war of 1914-18 when all the ammunition and equipment held at the beginning of the war was expended and useless within a few weeks, and all the energies of the nations concerned had to be geared to producing more war material. Of course, our experience of the last war should show us that that is what we need to do.
The important thing so far as the Army is concerned is to have a mobile force capable of acting with our allies. Our organization should be on lines as similar as possible to those of our allies. Re-organization to achieve that end has been going on for some time. For instance, we have discarded the old service rifle and have adopted a rifle that is used by the Americans. 1 believe that it is a very- efficient weapon, but the most important thing about it, and about other arms that we are adopting, is that the Americans have these weapons. They have the ammunition for the new rifle, and parts will be interchangeable. Thus we will be able to co-ordinate our activities with those of our allies.
The organization as outlined in the paper is somewhat different from what we have been accustomed to in the past. First I find that the core of the fighting force - the striking force - is a body called a battle group. I would like to be informed - I presume the information is available somewhere; I have not been able to find it in the statement - as to whether the battle group will become a permanent group replacing either the battalion or the brigade. Reading the statement I was not clear whether battalions and brigades as we know them will still exist and whether this battle group is a kind of extemporized force or whether it is to become the real unit of the new infantry. If it is to become the real unit of the new infantry, I suggest that we get rid of this clumsy double-barrel name “ battle group “, even if we go back in history for a name or even if we give it a new name. We could call it a cohort or something like that.
The field force is to consist of two divisions, and they have been given a new name. They are called pentropic divisions - “ pen “, I think, because they are divided into five instead of four as with the old Army, and “ tropic “, I think, has some association with the tropics. There again I would suggest that either this is a division or it is not. If the term “ division “, as used in the old sense, is to become obsolete, why not apply it to this new arrangement of forces or else find a new name?
As far as one can judge from experience and from reaction outside the Parliament, the new organization is very good. In the first pentropic division there will be five battle groups, two of which will be made up of Regular Army personnel and three of Citizen Military Forces personnel. That is a very interesting experiment. In the past our military tradition has been based on the citizen forces, first voluntary, then compulsory and later a mixture of volunteer and compulsory forces. The regulars or volunteers have always been quite distinct from the militia. Before federation and in the early days of federation the only regular troops we had were the artillery men manning the batteries and a very small force of regular troops who were intended mainly to protect the forts and guard us against raids. The rest of our defence forces were volunteers, or, in later days, compulsory militiamen. Now we are to have in the one pentropic division two battle groups of regulars and three of Citizen Military Forces. I think that that will be of enormous value to the citizen forces. I believe that it will be possible to bring them up to a condition of far greater efficiency than they had in the past, because if they have to co-operate in manoeuvres with the regulars, the professional soldier will be able to infuse something of his own professional skill into the people whom we regard as amateur soldiers.
I presume, of course, that there will be some regular officers in the citizen forces, as there always have been in the past. I imagine that some of the staff officers of the division, such as adjutant, and certainly the sergeant-majors and staff-sergeants, will be regulars and trained men. I regard this re-organization as a very notable experiment, and I presume that it is in line with something that is being tried either in the United Kingdom or in the United States of America. The second pentropic division is to consist of five citizen force units. Whether that means that it will be a little inferior in training and in general quality to the other division, I do not know. It may be rather dangerous if that is the position, but possibly it is a risk that we have to take. At any rate, the whole organization seems to me to be very satisfactory and very sensible.
The thing that pleases me most about the statement we are discussing is the affirmation that the Citizen Military Forces, far from being reduced, as we feared they would be when the Army changes began, will be increased by, I think, 20,000 men. We will still have, as the main force on which to rely, volunteer citizen forces. I imagine that it will be possible to bring them to a far greater level of achievement than has been possible in the last few years. While, as I have said, I have always supported compulsory military training, I believe there is a great virtue and value in having volunteer forces.
– But would you have a voluntary system and a compulsory system side by side, or a compulsory system for a while, and when that period expires, the volunteer system?
– I think that the compulsory system is ceasing almost immediately and that we shall depend on volunteers, allied, as I have said, with the regular forces.
The Australian tradition of voluntary soldiers is a magnificent one. I do not say that some of our great soldiers have not been regulars and that some of the regulars have not acquitted themselves very well. Perhaps I had better not mention too many names, because the difficulty would be to mention all that should be mentioned, and I might leave out some of the best; but I have only to mention the name of
Monash to indicate that in him we had a great citizen soldier. Of course, I could go back to the Boer War and refer to men who had been brought up in the old civil tradition and who served their country well. It is a great tradition and I regret that the circumstances of to-day compel us to try other means that are more efficient. I feel that we are saving ourselves from what is commonly called militarism, from the sort of thing that has grown up in most of the great countries of the Continent, even in a democratic country like France, where the great soldiers, the army corps, the staff officers and so on, have an influence that is out of all proportion to their value to the community. In countries that have virtually no democratic tradition, such as Russia and Germany, at any rate until the end of the Second World War, we find that the power and influence of the staff officers is infinitely greater. I want to dwell a little on the value of our civil or anti-militaristic tradition.
I remember, some years ago, talking with a gentleman who had been in Lenin’s first cabinet. He was not a Bolshevik but a member of one of the smaller groups that joined in the revolution at first, but later left when they found that the Bolsheviks were proceeding on a different line from that which they wanted to follow. That man said to me, “You know, you British people are wonderful. You do not understand how good it is never to have a great military commander lauded as the one important person in the country.” He went on, “ We have had that all our lives, and so have most of the countries on the Continent. Of course, you think that your Kitcheners and your French’s are terrible fellows, but I want to tell you that, compared with the Russian officers, they are as kittens to tigers.” So far as any bad effect that our staff officers might have on the civil tradition of this country is concerned, I think that that metaphor is a very good one. I have said that I accept the military changes. I think that they will give us a striking force which can be rapidly mobilized and which will be effective from the beginning and able to cooperate with our allies.
I shall refer, very briefly, to the other arms. I have never been anything but a passenger with either the Navy or the Air
Force, and while I try to understand them from outside, I will not make myself ridiculous by pretending to understand the technicalities of those services. The one thing I will say about the Navy is that I read with great interest the announcement, at which I rejoice, that the submarine possibilities have been explored, and that it is the intention to build an antisubmarine force of frigates which will be able to sink naval forces coming from overseas, and submarines of quality. So far as the layman can judge, I think that the threat from submarines is probably the greatest threat that confronts Australia.
There are two or three matters on which I should like more information, and I should be glad if the Minister could supply it. I feel that the co-operation of the three services is the essential thing in defence. I know that it is very difficult to achieve such co-operation, because if a man is trained in one tradition and understands one thing, he always tends to emphasize the importance of that thing and possibly fails to see the importance of the services represented by other people with whom he must co-operate. Therefore, one must have an open mind, an inquiring mind and, I think, a humble mind, when he approaches these questions.
It is essential that we should have officers, and men too, who understand something of the workings of the other two services. I quoted, in a question that 1 asked some time ago, Mr. President, the statement of an American general that the defence forces of the future would not consist of an army, a navy and an air force, but be a fusion of all three. I wonder how many officers have the capacity, or the willingness, to work for the fusion of all three services.
We train, at our colleges, very capable men. I think that the record of Duntroon is a good one, but in the past the men who have been produced there have been soldiers. In the beginning, some of them were cavalrymen. The cavalry has gone, and now there are armoured weapons which, I suppose, have been mastered. But how much is there in the training of military officers which enables them to understand the Air Force or the Navy, or the way in which to co-operate with those services? I think that joint training could be arranged. Here, again, I offer the suggestion very humbly and leave the details to be worked out by the officers concerned.
One of the difficulties, of course, is that the Army and the Navy select their officers at differing ages. I do not know the respective ages now, but I know that when I was teaching in a secondary school I was responsible for recommending boys for the Navy at the end of their first year, and boys for the Army at the end of their fifth year. There is a terrific gap between the age of a boy in first year and that of a boy in fifth year. To us here, a difference of four years is not very great. I do not feel so much older than people who are four years younger than I am. But when you are in your teens, that is a colossal difference. To a boy in first year, the fellow in fifth year is a man. Naval officers begin their training when they are still boys, or hardly adolescents, while military officers begin training when they are young men. How co-operation in the training can be achieved, I do not quite know, but I think that something must be done and ought to be done.
In addition, I think that, ultimately, there should be a staff training college in Australia, and this is something that our defence forces must face. There we would have Navy, Army and Air Force officers training together. There are such places in the world. One is at Chesham, in Buckinghamshire, in England. I presume that our officers can - and perhaps some of them do - go there. But that is only a part of the problem.
Another matter which hardly comes within the scope of the paper on defence that was read, but is relevant, is civil defence. If you look at the record of the United Kingdom, you will find that they have done infinitely more there for civil defence than we have done. That is quite natural, because our experience with enemy raids is very slight. We had them, of course, in northern Australia in the Second World War, and I was one of those who counted every shot that a Japanese submarine fired over South Head. I knew at once that we were being bombarded. I do not know why, but I said, “That is no practice, but the real thing “.
That very slight experience has not awakened us. I believe that we should have a proper civil defence policy, and that civil defence preparations should be made in co-operation with the States and with local government and local bodies. 1 think they should be allied with measures for protection against other dangers, such as bushfires and floods. Possibly this is a sphere where we could apply some of the organization that went into the now-abandoned compulsory military training. I am noi too sure that compulsion would answer very well in this case. Possibly it might be introduced later, but in the main we must rely on patriotic people, or - if we do noi like that term - on philanthropic people who are prepared to do something for their fellows. Perhaps we could enlist the aid of the St. John Ambulance Association and of other organisations like that which do a great deal without hope of pay or reward.
I close, Mr. President, on a note or optimism. We shall do no good to ourselves or our country by entering into a mood of despair and saying that everything is going to end in complete confusion and destruction. To that attitude one can oppose faith - a belief that it is sound and wise to accept that there is purpose behind the universe and that it is not just chaos. We must place our faith in the belief that if we prepare for defence, we may never be called upon to carry out even the very limited plan that we contemplate, but if we are called upon to carry it out, we Will be able to do so, and possibly be ready for even greater eventualities.
– I do not intend to speak at length, as I had arranged to do, but I want to say that my experience in two world wars is that this country is never prepared. I endorse what has been said by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), the Deputy Leader (Senator Kennelly) and Senator Armstrong as to the actual defence position to-day. I am not a neophyte, a man without experience. I interjected during the speech of the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) when he spoke of the Boomerangs. He said the Boomerang was not really a fighter aircraft. We were told that everything was prepared to convert the Wirraways into Boomerangs, and that was the only thing we could do. The Australian technicians were able to do the most remarkable things in a very short space of time. Similar remarks apply to the Beaufort bomber. That was an English machine, designed to operate with English engines. After the fall of Dunkirk, we received a devastating cablegram telling us that from then on we must rely on our own resources. We had then to prepare and build our own engines for the Beaufort bomber. We had trouble with the English crews, who were opposed to American engines being used in a machine designed in England.
The position was that the Department of Aircraft Production was in a state of chaos, not because the men were inefficient, but because there was no organization and they were working at cross-purposes. Out of that chaos came the Committee for Aircraft Production, which introduced teamwork. The position to-day is similar, so far as I can understand it.
When the Second World War broke out, the position was so bad that the Menzies Government had to introduce the National Security Act, which enabled us to do a lot of things we were not able to do in times of peace. I interjected during Senator McCallum’s speech, and he said I accused him of being an optimist. There was never a time in the history of the world previously when mankind was organized and trained so efficiently as it is now to destroy in millions. Senator McCallum referred to the United States of America. I quote the words of Senator Wayne Morse, of Oregon, United States of America, who stated in “The Dispatcher” on 26th February -
With 41 billion dollars a year being poured into the economy for military expenditures, does anyone suggest this is a free economy? It is not. Our economy is basically a military economy, with businessmen subsidized with defence expenditures.
Senator McCallum said that was practically the position to-day in France. The danger to-day is greater than it was before the two world wars. What has been the position in Australia? Each time there has been a war, neither the people nor the Parliament have been consulted. We have been involved in a war whether we liked it or not, and we have accepted it as being the lesser of two evils.
Senator Kennelly referred to disarmament. The dominant thought exercising the minds of governments to-day all over the world is this: If we have disarmament, what are we going to do with our demobilized troops? If you read history, you find that from the beginning of time preparations for war have been a challenge to war. It is only a question of when and where the war will begin. The danger today, in my opinion, is greater than it has been in the past, but if we accept what is said about disarmament and about peace ex cathedra, without examining the situation as it should be examined, we will pay the penalty. Many thousands of Australians have been killed in war. On the occasion of the Suez Canal crisis in 1956 the Government was prepared to go into action and involve us in a world war. And we were not consulted! I sound those notes because I do not want it to be thought that I accept what has been said by the Minister. I agree with what has been said by Senators McKenna, Armstrong and Kennelly. In my opinion, the position which needs to be understood is not understood. Too much has been taken for granted. If the Government continues in this way and if the damage is done, it will have only itself to blame. If we had been attacked in 1941 in the way in which Pearl Harbour was attacked, the result for this country would have been disastrous. And the danger is with us now! If the Government adopts the attitude that everything is all right, and if damage is done, this Government will be just as responsible as the aggressor for that damage. It will have that responsibility because it lacks understanding and knowledge of how best to prepare for defence.
– Our Army, Navy and Air Force must be mobile and able to co-operate quickly with our allies if this country is to be defended effectively. Our defence forces must be able to move quickly, in cooperation with our allies in putting a fence around Australia, as it were. Mr. President I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I present the seventh report of the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings. The report is as follows: -
Seventh Report of the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings.
The Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings submits the Seventh Report for presentation to each House of the Parliament and recommends its adoption.
At the request of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Joint Committee has further considered the general principles upon which there should be determined the days upon which and the periods during which the proceedings of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be broadcast, which were specified in previous reports by the Joint Committee and were adopted by both Houses. In accordance with section 12 (1.) of the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act 1946, the Joint Committee has now resolved that the general principles should be further amended as follows: -
That paragraph 3a, viz.: - “ (3a) Re-broadcast of Governor-General’s Speech. - On the first sitting day of each session of the Parliament the Australian Broadcasting Commission shall re-broadcast at 7.20 p.m. the speech of the GovernorGeneral.”, be amended as follows: -
Omit “7.20 p.m.”, insert “7.15 p.m.”.
That sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (4), viz.: - “ (4) Re-broadcast of questions and answers -
Within the limits of time available, the following Parliamentary Proceedings shall be re-broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission between 7.20 p.m. and 7.55 p.m. on each sitting day after the first sitting day of each session -
Senate proceedings - Questions without notice and on notice and answers thereto;
House of Representatives proceedings - Questions without notice and answers thereto.”, be amended as follows: -
Omit “ between 7.20 p.m. and 7.55 p.m.”, insert “ between 7.15 p.m. and 8 p.m.”.
It is proposed that these amendments shall come into operation on 26th April, 1960.
McLEAY, Chairman. 6th April, 1960.
The general principles adopted by both Houses concerning the parliamentary broadcast stipulate that on the first sitting day of each session the Australian Broadcasting Commission shall re-broadcast at 7.20 p.m. the Governor-General’s Speech and on subsequent sitting days shall re-broadcast questions and answers between 7.20 p.m. and 7.55 p.m.
The commission has now requested that the Governor-General’s Speech be rebroadcast at 7.15 p.m. and that the specified period for the re-broadcast of questions and answers be changed to 7.15 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Joint Committee has agreed to the proposals and the adoption of the report is accordingly recommended.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Senate adjourned at 5.19 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 7 April 1960, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1960/19600407_senate_23_s17/>.