23rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I desire to inform the Senate that I have received word of the passing of the Honorable P. J. Clarey, and that, on behalf of the Senate, I have already despatched a message of sympathy to his son, Dr. B. L. Clarey.
– by leave - Mr. Deputy President, this is a sad occasion for us all. Mr. Clarey was a member of the Australian Labour Party, and therefore his ties of friendship were undoubtedly much closer with members of the Opposition than with Government senators. 1 should like to pay a tribute to him as Leader of the Senate, representing both sides of the Senate, as well as on behalf of Government senators.
I think it is true to say that Mr. Clarey was- not only a good Australian; he was, indeed, a great Australian. Very few people at the end of their days have had such a long record of public service in so many fields of activity as had Percy James Clarey. I should like the indulgence of the Senate to quote the record, in order to show the stature of the man whose passing we are mourning.
Mr. Clarey was a member for Bendigo in the House of Representatives from 1949 to the date of his death, that is, a period of about eleven years. Prior to that, he was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 1937 for a period of twelve years. So that for a period of 23 years he was a member either of the Victorian Parliament or this Commonwealth Parliament.
In 1943, he was Minister for Labour and Minister of Public Health. From 1945 to 1949, he was Minister of Labour and Employment, both portfolios being, of course, in the Victorian Cabinet. Mr. Clarey represented Australia overseas with distinction on several occasions. He was a member of the Australian delegation to the
International Labour Organization conference in the United States of America in 1944, and he was a member of the Australian delegation to the ninth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in 1954.
He had a long record of great service in the trade union movement. Looking back over the history of the trade union movement, I wonder whether in truth there have been many who have been held in greater respect, both inside and outside the movement. His record included service as federal president of the Food Preservers Union and federal president of the Storemen and Packers Union and culminated in his appointment as president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, an office which he held from 1943 to 1949. I think it is right to say that during the years he was president of the A.C.T.U. he was respected by people throughout Australia.
To me his great characteristic was his high personal integrity. He was president of the A.C.T.U. in years of great industrial difficulties and activities. Undoubtedly, his personal characteristics enabled him to serve well, not only the trade union movement, but also Australia as a whole in those difficult years.
Mr.- Clarey ultimately came to Canberra, but here he did not play the prominent part that he had played in the Victorian Parliament. However, my recollection of him is that he was always present and active when things had to be done. He was a member of the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council during the twelve years that he spent in this Parliament, and undoubtedly he played a leading role in shaping our immigration policy.
I speak with some feeling because, from the contacts that I had with him, I knew him to be a kindly, friendly and courteous person. In the hurly-burly of politics it is always so much easier to be curt than to be courteous; I well remember the consideration and courtesy extended to me by Mr. Clarey when, as a newcomer and a much younger man, I first came to this place.
Mr. Deputy President, the Senate would like to convey to Mr. Clarey’s two sons and his brother its deep sympathy in the great burden of sorrow they are called upon to bear. We all knew that Mr. Clarey had not been well for some time past. but that knowledge did not lessen the shock of his parsing. As 1 remember his many attributes and his long record of service, I pause to wonder whether all of us would not be a little better off, and get a little more satisfaction out of life, if we were to emulate his example and endeavour to acquire some of the attributes that were so characteristically a part of his make-up. I formally move -
That ihe Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honorable Percy James Clarey, Member of the House of Representatives for the Division of Bendigo, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its profound sympathy to the members of his family in their bereavement.
– Mr. Deputy President, 1 second the motion which the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Spooner) has proposed. I do so on behalf of every member of the Opposition. Senator Kennelly, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who is unable to be present, has particularly asked that I associate his name with the motion. Although we knew that Mr. Clarey had been quite ill for some months, we had every expectation that he would be back with us once more. Accordingly, the news of his passing this morning shocked us as well as grieved us. The Leader of the Government in the Senate has given details of Mr. Clarey’s outstanding record of public service. Acccordingly, there is no need for me to repeat them. It just remains for me to pay the most generous tribute to our deceased colleague.
Internal quality was really the secret and the strength of Mr. Percy Clarey. He had that quality in abundance. He always reminded me of another leader in a wider sphere, President Roosevelt of the United States of America. Both men had the same physical disability and the same serenity, and exhibited the same quality of benevolent leadership. Mr. Clarey was an outstanding example of the belief that I entertain - that man lives far more in his mind than in his body. He triumphed over his physical disabilities, great as they were. He not only ignored them; he also had the very easy and happy knack of persuading all those with whom he associated to forget them. As president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for many years - and, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate has said, there were difficult years during World War II. and in the immediate post-war period - he was the chief man in the trade union movement because, with few exceptions, the Australian Council of Trade Unions consisted of all trade unions, the one really notable exception being the powerful Australian Workers Union. So he occupied a pre-eminent place in the control of trade unionism in Australia.
I agree with the Leader of the Government that Mr. Clarey will be remembered down through many decades in trade union circles as perhaps the ablest leader that the movement has produced. He fought successfully for improved conditions for workers in industry. His wise counsel was sought not only in industrial matters but in many other matters also by leaders, particularly of the Labour Party, in both the Federal and State spheres. Percy Clarey was the born conciliator. He was always seeking to mediate between conflicting viewpoints. He was always well-balanced, and always courteous. He had extraordinary clarity of mind and his thoughts were expressed with the utmost fluency. Senator Spooner has referred to Mr. Clarey’s unfailing courtesy. That, and his very pleasant address and the aura that emanated from him because of the internal quality of which I spoke, did nothing but embellish the force with which he was always able to present his viewpoint or an argument.
Mr. Clarey was indefatigable in attending to the needs of his electorate. I had a very long association with him, particularly during the period when I was a member of the Chifley Labour Government and had many responsibilities in relation to industrial matters. I sat with him on the Labour Advisory Council and also, for many years, on the executive of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party. I served with him on committees and councils of the Labour movement generally. I knew him intimately. He will be sadly missed, not only by me, but by many others. His passing will mean a great loss to the Labour movement in this country.
His complete integrity and his unimpeachable character - the qualities of which Senator Spooner spoke - won for him the respect of everybody. His friends, of course, were legion. He was a great trade unionist, a great Labourite, a great parliamentarian and, as Senator Spooner said, truly a great Australian. We deplore his passing. 1 extend to his sorrowing relatives the deepest sympathy of all the members of the Opposition. I believe that the Honorable P. J. Clarey, after a life well lived, in which he hurt no one and helped countless thousands in the Australian community, has now found the peace that he tried so hard to establish on earth.
– The members of the Australian Parliamentary Country Party wish to associate themselves with this motion of condolence, moved in such sympathetic terms by Senator Spooner, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and supported in the same strain by Senator McKenna, the Leader of the Opposition.
The late Honorable Percy James Clarey was the member for Bendigo in this Parliament since 1949. He entered federal politics in that year, following a distinguished career in the Victorian State Parliament, during which time he occupied three different ministerial offices- Minister for Labour, Minister for Public Health and Minister for Labour and Employment. As Senator Spooner said, he was a member of the Australian delegation to the International Labour Organization conference held in the United States of America in 1944, and in 1954 he was a member of the Australian delegation to the ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly. He had been a member of the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council since 1947.
I listened on many occasions to the late Mr. Clarey speaking in another place, and I have no hesitation in stating that he was a forthright speaker, an honest exponent of his cause and a very sound debater. He was an outstanding member of the Australian Labour Party, a wise and experienced leader of the Australian trade union movement and a mart of very high principles, as has been emphasized here. He overcome a serious disability to become an outstanding figure in the Australian political field. He was highly respected by all political groups of this Parliament. I understand that he was, unfortunately, twice widowed and that at the time of his death he resided with his eldest son, Dr. B. Clarey, of Oakleigh, Victoria. All my colleagues in the Australian Parliamentary Country Party join with me in expressing very sincere sympathy with the sons of the late Mr. Clarey and with his other relatives in their grievous bereavement.
– It is with regret that I rise to speak to this motion. The late Mr. Clarey and I were long associated in both the industrial life and the political life of Victoria. It was my great pleasure to know him in his early years in the industrial and political movements. We were associated for several years on the executive of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labour Party, of which he was a president, and later, during my term of office, he was a member of the executive for many years. We were also associated on the Trades Hall Council of Victoria.
Mr. Clarey was a remarkable man. Reference has been made to the physical disability that he suffered, virtually from birth. He overcame that disability by forgetting all about it. He had a great mission in life, which was not to do something for himself but to forget his own disability and try to do something to help others who might also have a disability or whose lot in life was not what he thought it should be. To that end he worked most arduously in the political movement. He was for very many years a member of the federal conference and the federal executive of the Australian Labour Party, in which great policy questions were decided, and he played a remarkable part in the deliberations of those bodies and in the formation of the policy that was ultimately decided.
Possibly his work in the industrial field is better known than his work in the political field because, after all, the inside work and decisions of a political party are not so widely reported as is industrial work. In the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and even before that body was formed, Mr. Clarey was right in the forefront in expressing the desires and ambitions of the Labour movement. He was President of the A.C.T.U. in what Senator Spooner rightly described as difficult years, when negotiations needed a man of great courage. There was much conflict between employer and employee and while Percy Clarey, in that capacity, put forward the desires of the men and women whom he represented, he gained the courtesy and respect of those who were negotiating from the other side. They knew that he was a man of his word and that he could be entrusted with their confidences. It is a great help to people engaged in conciliation to know and trust one another. Such was the character of Percy Clarey. Despite all the conflict with which he was involved, Percy Clarey leaves this world without an enemy on either side. Both sides looked on him as a trusted friend.
In the State sphere, while a member of the Victorian Upper House, he held the very important position of Minister of Labour. Largely through his efforts, legislation was introduced in the Victorian Parliament which is a monument to him and which others could well follow in improving conditions for the working class. Although he was disabled his aim was to help others. The fact that we in this Parliament saw very little of his administrative ability was due to lack of opportunity. The industrial Labour movement and the political Labour movement, not only in Victoria but throughout Australia, and public life generally have lost a great man, a man who had a fine vision of the betterment of this country. He was outspoken about what he had seen in other parts of the world. He said what he considered to be the truth, and he wanted every one to know what he thought was the truth. There is no doubt that Australia will be the poorer for the passing of this great man. I support the motion.
– I should like to add a personal tribute, Mr. Deputy President. Percy Clarey was my friend for 26 years. I can believe that he was a great industrial advocate because I have heard him, in private conversation, put a case so factually and so convincingly that I could not understand any tribunal failing to agree to it. I happen to know that he had the personal respect of some of those who appeared for the employers.
I can add a chapter to what has been said about his life, because I know that in the political troubles of the Labour Party in New South Wales, in the ‘thirties, it was largely he who brought about the final union of the party. It has been said that he was a conciliator. He was. He was a peacemaker, but not a man for peace at any price, or peace at the sacrifice of principles. Certainly, the trade union movement and the Australian Labour Party are poorer by his passing, and so too are this Parliament and the country. He was always courageous. At times, some of us are willing to plead physical disability as an excuse for not doing all we could; I feel very humble when I remember that he overcame his physical disability. He was impelled by a sense of duty which never failed him to the end. He was moderate, just and resolute.
When a man dies we like to say and think what was good about him, but with Percy James Clarey it is impossible to think anything else but good. Shirley’s words, that often come to my mind, come back to me now -
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– I suggest, Mr. Deputy President, that as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Honorable P. J. Clarey, the sitting of the Senate be suspended until 8 p.m.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The sitting will be suspended accordingly.
Sitting suspended from 3.30 to 8 p.m.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
Whaling Bill 1960.
Pollution of the Sea by Oil Bill 1960.
Colonial Light Dues Legislation Repeal Bill 1960.
Public Works Committee Bill 1960.
International Monetary Agreements Bill 1960.
Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1960.
– Has the Minister for National Development seen a report in the Melbourne “ Herald “ which states that Victoria will urge all other States to seek Commonwealth finance to house elderly people and clear slum areas for redevelopment? The report states that the Victorian Minister for Housing, Mr. Petty, will make this suggestion at the all-States housing conference in Adelaide this week. Can the Minister tell the Senate what the Commonwealth’s reactions are to such a suggestion?
– I hope to attend the housing conference in Adelaide. If I can attend, 1 shall go to it with a great deal of interest. The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement will expire in some eighteen months, and I shall be interested to hear the views of the State Ministers upon the form of any further agreement I noticed the newspaper report referred to and I noticed Mr. Petty’s proposals. They are very commendable proposals. However, I think it is necessary to remind the Senate that the conference will be a conference of State housing Ministers. As I understand it, the responsibility of the State housing Ministers is a responsibility to their respective governments for the spending of moneys allocated for housing. If any State Minister has proposals which would involve the provision of additional Commonwealth funds, the proper procedure, as I see it, is for the Minister concerned to advance those proposals to his Premier or Treasurer, who will then seek the approval of the Australian Loan Council for them.
The States are allocated various amounts of money under the loan programme, and each State decides what proportion of the total funds made available in this way will be allocated to housing. Then each State decides how best that money can be spent upon housing. I shall be interested indeed to hear what the State housing Ministers say, but their proposals should concern only the spending of funds made available through the Loan Council. Proposals involving the spending of additional amounts do not seem to me to come within the scope of this conference.
– My questions are directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. First, will he inform the Senate whether the Postmaster-General’s Department intends to issue a postage stamp to commemorate the centenary of John McDouall Stuart’s epic crossing of Australia from south to north? If it is not yet the intention, will the PostmasterGeneral give consideration to honouring him in this way? Secondly, will the department give consideration to the issue of a series of Australiana postage stamps, at regular intervals, with a view to increasing: postal revenue by the sale of these stampsto philatelists at home, and more particularly overseas? I point out that this is a lucrative source of revenue that is exploited to some degree by overseas nations.
– I think the only answer I can give to the honorable senator is that I will bring his interesting suggestions before the Postmaster-General for his consideration.
– Will the Minister for National Development inform me whether he has seen an announcement in the press about arrangements entered into by two American companies with three Australian companies to cover oil search activities in Queensland? If he has seen the announcement, is he in a position to make a statement on this new development in the search for oil?
– I do not know that I am in a position to make a statement upon the matter raised by the honorable senator. I have had some discussions with ihe companies concerned, but they have been only in the nature of what you might call friendly or informative discussions, because the matter is very much the concern of the Queensland Government and the Queensland Minister for Mines.
This is, however, a very interesting development. Two large American companies which have had a great deal of experience in the search for oil and which have appreciable capital resources, have made an arrangement with three Australian companies whereunder the American combination of companies will make a survey of a very large area. I think, speaking from memory, the area is of the order of 40,000 square miles. The incoming partners will make the survey of the area and if that survey yields results of sufficient interest the overseas people will provide the finance and do the actual drilling as suggested by the survey. The Australian companies will retain a 50 per cent, interest in the profitearning capacity of the drilling venture - assuming it is successful - thus getting the benefit of the overseas capital and knowhow, and at the same time retaining a halfinterest in any successful result.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Has he been informed by the Repatriation Department that repatriation benefits include the issue, free of charge, of radio and television licences to ex-servicemen in receipt of a special rate pension - the total and permanent incapacity pension - and that an ex-serviceman in receipt of a service pension can obtain a radio licence at a concessional rate of 10s. per year - the usual rate being £2 15s. - and a television licence for 25s. - the usual rate being £5. Have the responsible officers of the Post Office been notified accordingly?
– My recollection is that there are special rates for disabled ex-servicemen; I am sorry to say that I dc not carry in my mind the actual rates. 1 do not doubt that the rates as quoted by Senator Cameron are correct. 1 am quite sure that the facts and information
Tire circulated and made available to the officers handling the matter for the PostmasterGeneral, but to avoid any possibility of my being wrong on that point, 1 shall bring Senator Cameron’s question before the Postmaster-General to ensure that what should be done is done.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry whether his attention has been directed to a report that Holland will probably dump butter on the United Kingdom market and that she has already effected a reduction in price of 57s. 6d. a cwt., bringing the price back to 302s. a cwt. Will the Minister indicate whether Australia’s sales will be adversely affected as a result of this action?
– I have noticed that Holland has indicated that she has a surplus of butter and is likely to sell it on the United Kingdom market at approximately 302s. sterling a cwt. As Australian butter sells at 287s. stg. a cwt. and New Zealand butter at 290s. stg. a cwt., it will be seen that the Dutch butter is considerably more expensive than Australian or New Zealand butter. Unless the quality of the Dutch butter is sufficiently high to induce buyers to pay the extra money, the sale of Australian butter should not be affected.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. Does the Minister recall a question that I asked him on Tuesday, 15th March, relative to the proposed new set-up of the Army in Tasmania? Has he any information from the Minister for the Army about the units that are to be maintained and the number of officers at present in the Tasmania Command who will be transferred to other areas? Can the Minister say whether the command of the military forces in Tasmania will rest in that State or be transferred to Melbourne and Southern Command?
– I well recall the question which the honorable senator asked me. 1 think in the answer I said that the Minister for Defence proposed shortly to make a statement on the matter. A statement was made by the Minister but it did not contain the details sought by the honorable senator. I do not yet know those details, as they have not been announced. I know the great concern that is felt in Tasmania over this matter because of the long tradition of separate command that has existed in that State and the fact that this year the 12th Battalion and the 6th Field Regiment are celebrating their centenary. A great deal of concern is felt in Tasmania that the re-organization of the Army may lead to a severance of a separate command in Tasmania. The matter was further considered this week-end by the Minister for the Army in conference with top level officers of his department. 1 understand that the Minister for the Army will make a statement within the next day or two, particularly with regard to the Tasmania Command, and will outline the position of the infantry and the artillery in Tasmania. When that statement is made perhaps the position will be cleared. I do not now feel as pessimistic about the position as I did a fortnight ago.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry say whether the Government’s proposal to support an increase of 10 per cent, in the retail price of sugar in capital cities will involve the approval of Parliament by the passing of legislation? If so, when is it proposed to introduce such legislation? If the increase in price can be effected without legislation, does not the Minister think that such a momentous and far-reaching decision, affecting, as it does, the C series index and the canning industry, should be the subject of a prior debate and mature consideration of all the facts by the Senate?
– I do not know the strict answer to the honorable senator’s question, but I shall refer it to the Minister for Primary Industry for a reply. I should have thought that, if a matter of this kind required debate, it should be debated in the Parliament as a whole rather than in only one House.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. It has been announced that an agreement has been signed in Canberra to provide relief from double taxation on income flowing between Australia and New Zealand. Will a copy of the agreement be made available to honorable senators and, if so, will it be possible for me to obtain a copy before the Senate rises at the end of the week?
– As is usual, an arrangement of this sort is the subject of legislation. In due course the agreement will come before the Parliament for debate.
– My question without notice is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the fact that it is almost certain that the two new passenger ships being built for the England-Australia service - that is, the P. & O. liner “ Canberra “ and the Orient liner “ Oriana “ - will be definitely unable to use Port Adelaide and will very probably not be able to use Port Melbourne, will the Minister suggest to the companies concerned that they make Hobart their Australian port for revictualling the ships, as ample and efficient facilities are available there? That is proved by the fact that “ Oriana “ will visit Hobart on her maiden voyage next January.
– Why not use Fremantle, the front door into Australia?
– At this stage of the session I do not want to be the victim of an interstate debate, and although 1 am prompted to make some comment on the question 1 think I should be better advised to refer it to my colleague in another place.
– I wish to direct a question without notice to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Will the Minister tell me the number and types of aircraft operated by the Department of Civil Aviation?
– 1 do not think I can state the number offhand. I do not know how many DC3 aircraft are still used in the department. Some of them have been displaced in recent times. I think two Fokker Friendships and two Aero Commanders - a smaller type of plane - are at present commissioned. I shall have a look at the question and give the honorable senator accurate details as soon as I can.
– My question, is directed to the Minister representing the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. On 6th April last I asked him a question relating to the possibility of the discovery of a large fishing area off the north coast of Western Australia. As a question about catching fish is not a difficult one to answer, particularly to fishermen, will the Minister use his best endeavours to get me a reply before the Parliament rises?
– I assure the honorable senator that it is easier to catch fish than to catch answers. I shall do the best I can for him.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has replied as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister in charge of the Common wealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice -
Where are the 23 cool rooms located, which were studied by Mr. Rostos in connexion with his report in Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Bulletin No. 282?
– My colleague, Dr. Donald Cameron, the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, has furnished the following reply: -
The cool rooms referred to in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Bulletin No. 282 are located in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. The names and addresses of the cool stores were not given in the report because the firms concerned freely provided information and willingly co-operated in its preparation on the understanding that such information given was confidential. Any identification of individual cool stores would therefore be regarded as a breach of confidence.
– I withdraw my offensive remarks about fishing and ask the Minister representing the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization the following question standing in my name on the notice-paper: -
– Having used the right bait, I find that the answer to the question is before me. My colleague, the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, has furnished the following reply: - 1 and 2. No. The news item broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission arose from a statement given to the Australian Broadcasting Commission by Dr. G. F. Humphrey, Chief of the Division of Fisheries and Oceanography of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, that an area of the Indian Ocean near the north-west coast of Australia seemed very productive of marine life. This opinion was based on knowledge of the occurrence and type of the fish present. As Australia’s population expands in that area, and as the needs of neighbouring countries grow, the area may well support a large fishing industry. Preliminary oceanographic investigations are at present being carried out so that the appropriate information can be accumulated over the next few years.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Territories has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice - !. What is the estimated saving to subscribers resulting from the introduction of Elsa on 1st May?
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following replies: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
How many tons of steel and milled steel products were exported from Australia in 1956-57, 1957-58 and 1958-59, and what is the estimated export tonnage for 1959-60?
– The Minister for Trade has informed me as follows: -
The tonnages of steel and milled steel products exported from Australia during the years in question were as follows: -
It is estimated that 323,000 tons will be exported during the year 1959-60. Some 228,000 tons of this amount was exported in the first half of the year.
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– 1 now furnish the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
What will be the effect upon the Australian wheat industry of the recently announced Food for Peace agreement negotiated between India and the United States of America and said to be one of the biggest of its kind in history, involving some 17,000,000 tons of grain?
– 1 have received the following reply from the Minister: -
The agreement between the United States of America and India provides that over the next four years 16,000,000 tons of United States wheat and 1,000,000 tons of United States rice will be made available to India. In each of the four years 3.000.000 tons of wheat are to be shipped to meet a large part of India’s estimated import requirements. The remaining 4,000,000 tons of wheat and the 1,000,000 tons of rice will be used to establish an emergency food reserve in India. It is also provided in the agreement that these imports from the United States shall be over and above usual commercial imports of wheat each year of not less than 400,000 tons. There is provision in the agreement for annual review and adjustment, if necessary, of this figure of commercial imports according to changes in India’s grain supply situation, her financial position and other relevant factors. India recognizes Australia as the natura] and traditional supplier of her soft wheat imports, and it is expected that, as a result of this agreement, India will purchase from Australia a substantial share of the total of her commercial wheat imports - stated in the agreement as not less than 400,000 tons per annum, subject to annual review. The agreement therefore should be of major benefit to the Australian wheat industry in that it ensures a sizable commercial market in India for which Australia can compete.
– On 11th May, Senator Armstrong asked the following question: -
I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Some months ago he introduced a new system of supervising petrol stations in order thai the revenue might be collected more cheaply. At the time the Minister had a schedule printed in the Commonwealth Government “ Gazette “ showing the number of employees necessary for the new organization. Can he say whether the number set out in that schedule has proved sufficient to do the work, or whether he has found it necessary to increase it?
I now furnish the following answer: -
The number of permanent positions in the new organization has not been increased. The staffing position is being watched closely and will be reviewed after the changeover has been completed. At this stage it is expected that the position? already provided will prove sufficient except where there is some appreciable expansion of oil industry activities.
– by leave - The Federal Government has decided to continue the taxation concession granted to the mining industry under section 23a of the Income Tax Act. The concession exempts from taxation 20 per cent, of profits earned by companies from certain prescribed minerals. The concession also applies to dividends paid out of those profits. The concession was originally introduced in 1942 and has been extended periodically with a time limitation. The concession was last given seven years ago and is due to terminate on 30th June this year.
The Government has also decided to abolish the time limit which has been operating on the concession in the past. The minerals to which section 23a apply are contained in a prescribed list. The list includes all the important minerals which are mined or are likely to be mined in Australia, except lead, zinc, silver, cadmium, uranium, gold, coal and iron ore. Uranium and gold are completely exempt from income tax under separate concessions.
The Government decision is in furtherance of its policy of encouraging the development of Australia’s mineral resources. The concession granted under section 23a has stimulated the expansion of the mining industry. Past limitations upon the period for which the concession operated caused some uncertainty as to whether or not the benefits obtained would be available when mining properties were developed. It has therefore been decided to make section 23a operative without time limitation. T expect the concession to be even more effective in the future in encouraging mineral exploration and subsequent mining development because of the removal of uncertainty.
An amending bill to continue the concession without time limitation will be introduced during the Budget session. The Government is announcing this decision at this stage so that mining companies can plan their future activities with the knowledge that the concessions will still be available to them. Honorable senators will realize just to what extent the Australian mineral industry has grown when I cite the following figures. Although no detailed records are available for the years 1942 to 1946 the average annual value of mineral production for those years in Australia was about £39,000,000. The average value of mineral exports for the same period was about £16,000,000. The value of minerals produced in Australia last year is not yet available, but in 1958 it amounted to £222,246,000. Exports during 1958 totalled £51,914,000. Last year mineral exports were valued at £55,544,000.
These figures show that within the last sixteen or seventeen years the value of Australia’s mineral production has increased by almost £200,000,000 and the value of our mineral exports by about £40,000,000. The consensus of opinion is that the pro visions of Section 23a have substantially contributed to this rapid development of the industry. I hope that the Government’s policy in writing section 23a into the act without time limitation will act as a further stimulus to the industry.
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) - agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to make provision with respect to the control of surface traffic at airports.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Standing Orders suspended.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to make provision for the control of surface traffic within Commonwealth airports. For some years now, traffic within major Commonwealth aerodromes has become so dense, particularly at peak periods, that the regulation and control of the movement and parking of surface vehicles has had a direct and vital bearing on the proper functioning of the aerodrome. Somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 to 5,000 motor vehicles enter both Sydney and Melbourne airports daily. These statistics do not reflect the large volume of purely internal traffic, a great deal of which is generated by the aircraft maintenance industry conducted within the airport. While the need for proper regulation in the interests of safety is obvious, there are other extremely important considerations. Uncontrolled parking will seriously obstruct the free movement of traffic on aerodrome roads and the access of essential traffic to passenger terminals and other airport buildings. Uncontrolled parking in the vicinity of buildings will also seriously aggravate fire hazards. In short, parking needs to be planned and controlled so as to give proper weight to the interests of the various classes of persons using airports.
The movement and parking of vehicles on Commonwealth aerodromes is at present controlled by regulation 315c of the Air Navigation Regulations made under the Air Navigation Act 1920-1950. I indicated recently, when introducing the Air Navigation Bill 1960, that it was proposed to transfer this subject-matter from the Air Navigation Regulations to a separate bill. In the first place, this is practicable because the Commonwealth has power under section 52 of the Constitution to make laws with respect to places acquired by the Commonwealth for public purposes such as the establishment and operation of airports, and the question of adoption by the uniform State air navigation acts does not arise. In the second place, it appears more appropriate to deal with the subject of surface traffic in a separate bill because surface traffic within airports is only remotely connected with air navigation.
Regulation 315c, which was originally inserted in the regulations in 1954 and amended in 1957, contains detailed rules relating to the parking of vehicles, and provides for the imposition of parking fees not exceeding two shillings for each hour during which a vehicle is left standing, and for the removal of vehicles left standing in contravention of the regulations.
With the increasing volume of traffic using major aerodromes, the number of staff necessary to administer the regulation has steadily increased, with a corresponding increase in the financial cost. Even when sufficient staff can be provided, defects in the existing system have, in many cases, made it impracticable to enforce the provisions of regulation 315e. Quite frequently drivers of vehicles take advantage of the fact that by refusing to divulge their names and addresses, they make effective action in respect of an offence extremely difficult. Deliberate contravention of the regulations are becoming more frequent, especially by persons employed within the airport. To meet this situation the bill adopts the system based on the service of a parking infringement notice coupled with owner-onus. Although most State traffic acts, and in some cases local government acts, authorize the establishment of these systems by regulations or other forms of subordinate legislation, this bill covers almost the entire subject matter. While it will be noted that regulations are authorized’, in so far as parking offences are- concerned, it is anticipated that the necessity for regulations even on matters of detail arise rarely, if at all.
Owner-onus in connection with traffic offences is, of course, no novelty in Australia. I understand that a system of owneronus is in force in certain areas of all the mainland States. Under a typical State system of owner-onus, where there is a parking infringement, the owner of the vehicle is deemed to be guilty of the offence in all respects as if he were the actual offender, unless the court is satisfied that the vehicle was stolen or being illegally used. If the vehicle is a motor car, “ owner “ for these purposes includes the registered owner and a certificate given by the Motor Registration Branch stating that on the date of an alleged parking infringement the motor car concerned was registered in the name of any person is evidence of the matters so stated. This presumption does not affect the liability of the actual offender, but penalties may not be recovered from both the actual offender and the owner. Furthermore, the owner escapes liability if within a prescribed number of days - the bill proposes fourteen days - after service of the summons he furnishes a statutory declaration to the informant or complainant stating the name and address of the person who was in control of the vehicle at the relevant time; or he satisfies the court that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have ascertained the name and address of the person who was in control of the vehicle at that time. A sworn statement by the owner as to the name and address of the person in charge is evidence of those matters. This bill makes detailed provision for a similar system of owner-onus which, in conjunction with automatic parking control devices such as parking meters and automatic parking gates, will facilitate enforcement action and greatly simplify the collection of parking fees.
Parking infringement notices are already familiar in a majority of the States. This is not a method of arbitrarily imposing fines on alleged offenders, but gives the offender the choice between paying a relatively small prescribed fine - £2 is proposed in the case of Commonwealth-owned airports - and defending a prosecution in the normal way. The scheme provided for in the bill is briefly as follows: -
Where an authorized person has reason to believe that a parking infringement has occurred, he may serve on the driver or person who appears to be in charge of the vehicle, a parking infringement notice. An authorized person is defined as a person authorized by the Director-General, or a member of the Police Force of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.
The notice must contain certain particulars of the alleged offence, state the amount of the penalty (£2), and provide for a statement by the alleged offender to the effect that he does not wish the matter to be dealt with by a Court and that the amount of the penalty is tendered. If this statement is made and the penalty paid within fourteen days at the place specified in the notice, no further proceedings may be taken in respect of the infringement and no conviction for the infringement will be recorded.
The alternative to expiating the alleged offence by payment of a fairly nominal penalty is prosecution.
The merits of the parking infringement notice procedure are two-fold. An offender, by waiving his normal right to be dealt with in the courts and paying a small penalty, avoids the costs of a court action as well as the risk of a heavier penalty a court might impose if the offence is proved, and in addition no conviction is recorded against him. On the other hand, the cost to the community of enforcing the law will be greatly reduced wherever prosecutions are avoided by resort to this new procedure. Iris safe to say that the real costs involved in a prosecution are hardly ever equalled by the fine imposed. In the case of more serious offences or repeated offences by the same owner, the offender would not, of course, be given the opportunity to expiate the offence by payment of a penalty of £2. On this point, attention is invited to sub-clause 11 of clause 12 of the bill, which makes it clear that a person can be prosecuted without first having been served with a parking infringement notice. It is, of course, of far’ greater importance that an alleged offender is always free to defend the proceedings in the ordinary courts if he feels that his interests will be best served by doing so.
The bill also provides for a simple method of controlling traffic by the use of signs, notices, markings and automatic devices in ways which have long been familiar to all users of public highways throughout the Commonwealth.
While the bill makes special provision in relation to all parking matters which it is considered require special treatment to ensure the proper functioning of aerodromes, it is recognized that a significant part of applicable State and territorial traffic laws is quite adequate and that if would be both costly and administratively unwarranted for the Commonwealth to attempt to develop a self contained traffic code for Commonwealth airports. Clause 1 8 of the bill, therefore provides that except where otherwise provided, expressly or by necessary implication, in the act or regulations made thereunder, applicable provisions of State and territorial traffic codes will continue to apply and in particular any such law relating to the registration and equipment of vehicles, the licensing of drivers of motor vehicles and the rules to be observed by persons driving or in charge of vehicles on roads within airports.
There are also the normal type of provisions relating to delegation of powers and functions, the malting of regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of the act but necessary to supplement those provisions, and provisions dealing with evidentiary matters. The bill also authorizes arrangements to be made with the States for the co-operation and assistance of State police and payment by the Commonwealth for such services. The fact that the bill is closely related to the Air Navigation Bill that the Senate recently passed, and springs from the overhaul of the voluminous air navigation regulations is highlighted by the fact that clause 21 of the bill provides that the annual report’ to Parliament on the administration of the Air Navigation Act 1920-1960 and regulations must also include a statement setting out details of prosecutions and parking infringements under this bill.
Years of experience in the management of Commonwealth aerodromes have shown the need for control of vehicular traffic in the manner contemplated by this bill. Without such controls the proper functioning of aerodromes is jeopardized. The bill has the great merit that it quite clearly includes all the main requirements relating to parking infringements in the act. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Armstrong) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 927), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– Mr. Deputy President, the bill now before the Senate dealing with the establishment of the International Development Association does two main things: It approves acceptance by Australia of membership in the International Development Association, and it makes the necessary appropriations down the years from Consolidated Revenue of moneys that will be payable by Australia under the articles of association of the Development Association. Membership is open to the members of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and, as the Senate knows, membership of the bank ‘is dependent upon membership of the International Monetary Fund. So the three bodies - the fund, the bank and the new association - are linked in one way or another. The new body - the International Development Association - is, however, more intimately linked with the bank for the reason that it is declared to be an affiliate of the bank and its management will be entirely in the hands of the governors, the directors and even the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The association is not to have separate directors, governors or staff. Despite that, however, it is clear that the new body is to be an entity entirely separate and distinct from the bank.
The objects of the bank and those of the new association have an extraordinary -simi larity. I should like to refer briefly to those objects. Dealing first with the bank, it will be seen that under Article I. the first purpose of the bank is two-fold - to assist in the rehabilitation of countries devastated by war and to encourage the development of productive facilities and resources in lessdeveloped countries. That latter purpose is also a purpose of the new association. It is also provided that the bank shall make loans when private capital is not available. Such loans are to be at reasonable terms in order to supplement private borrowings. Another purpose of the bank is to assist in raising productivity and the standard of living. I emphasize those words particularly.
– Are you now referring to the bank?
– Yes. Another purpose of the bank was to assist in raising the conditions of labour in the territories of members. Those are but a few of the objectives of the bank. With the concurrence of honorable senators I incorporate in “ Hansard “ for comparative purposes the stated objectives of the bank. They are -
The purposes of the Bank are:
The Bank shall be guided in all its decisions by the purposes set forth above.
If we turn to ArticleI. of the articles of agreement of the new association we will see the similarity between the purposes of the bank and those of the proposed new body. ArticleI. of the articles of agreement of the association states -
The purposes of the association are to promote economic development, increase productivity and thus raise standards of living in the less developed areas of the world included within the Association’s membership, in particular by providing finance to meet their important developmental requirements on terms which are more flexible and bear less heavily on the balance of payments than those of conventional loans, thereby furthering the developmental objectives of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (herinafter called “ the Bank “) and supplementing its activities.
The Association shall be guided in all its decisions by the provision of this Article.
I should like to make two comments on the terms referred to. They are expressed to be more flexible than are those made available by the International Bank. Again, one sees a kind of link with the bank in that matter. I ask the Government to take particular notice of the statement that is made in the objective, accepted as a fact by the 68 nations of the world, that loans to be made under the auspices of this association will bear less heavily on the balance of payments than do conventional loans. There, very plainly, is an acknowledgement that conventional loans impose burdens down the years ahead for servicing, or in other words, for making repayments of principal over a relatively short period and for interest charges at a high rate. Conventional loans must include loans made by the International Bank, because they are for relatively short periods and at high rates of interest - the bank’s present rate is as high as 6 per cent. The Opposition has attacked the Government for the readiness with which it seeks overseas loans and it is interesting to find the Charter of the International Development Association adopting our argument. We have repeatedly advanced that view when we have opposed loans that the Government has sought from the International Bank. We did not think that it was right for Australia to seek loans from a body established for the purpose of helping devastated countries to reconstruct and, above all, with the merciful object of helping to develop underdeveloped countries. I remind the Senate that a Labour government had a good deal to do with Australia joining theorganization in the late 1940’s. We have constantly said that Australia should not be a borrower from the bank. We think that it is bad economics for Australia to borrow from the bank and that it will adversely affect the balance of payments position. It is rather interesting, then, for the Opposition to find its argument adopted and enshrined in the objectives set out for the new association.
The agreement is a fascinating one to study, as are all these international arrangements. It is complicated and it requires close study. The bank’s loans - up to date we have had a bank to deal with - have always been on a commercial basis. Again, we of the Opposition were disappointed in that because we felt that the International Bank was set up primarily to help underdeveloped nations - nations that had vast numbers of people whose standards of living were low; nations that lacked financial resources. In short, looking at this association, we think that the very creation of this new body is, in effect, an admission of failure on the part of the bank to carry out its second main objective - to help the under-developed countries.
– That is right, it has failed in its second main objective - to provide help for under-developed countries. If the honorable senator looks at the objectives of the bank he will see that that was its first objective. The first obligations of the bank were the restoration of devastated countries and the development of under-developed countries. The Opposition has always believed that Australia did not fit into either of those categories and we have repeatedly said in this place that we are horrified first that Australia has been a borrower at all from the bank and, secondly, that she has borrowed to the enormous extent of 317,000,000 dollars, involving us in difficult repayments - repayments that quite certainly impose a strain on our balance of payments position annually so long as we owe any money.
Looking at the capital of the new body we are struck by two things. First, this help has been too long deferred. Secondly, the resources of the new body are totally inadequate for the great tasks that lie ahead of it. Let us look at the capital of the new body. The International Bank has a total capital of 2.1 billion dollars. That is the result of the duplication of the bank’s capital about this time last year. The bank commenced operations with a capital of 10 billion dollars. That capital was doubled a year ago and an extra amount of a billion dollars was allowed for additional new members, making a total capital of 21 billion dollars. What is the capital of the new body that is to have the task of helping under-developed nations? Its capital is only one billion American dollars. In other words, its capital will be onetwentyfirst part of the capital of the International Bank, which has been functioning since the 1940’s. The association is not to come into being immediately. It is to come into being when the agreement for its establishment has been ratified by countries taking up 65 per cent, of the outside capital, and not before 15th September, 1960. Members of the bank may become original members as long as they join the organization, once its is afloat, before 31st December, 1960.
– What did you say the capital will be?
– One billion American dollars.
– That is the initial capital.
– Yes, in the agreement that we are now asked to approve. I certainly shall refer to the various provisions that are made for increasing the capital as time goes on; but having regard to the problem of helping these countries, it is altogether too timid and too modest an approach to the problem. As I shall point out before I conclude, not very much of the capital of one billion dollars will be immediately available to the countries that are under-developed. However, 1 shall reach that point in due course. For the first time the countries that are eligible to join one of these international financial bodies are divided into two classes. Seventeen countries, including Australia, are treated as the more industrialized countries. They appear in Part I. of the Schedule to the Articles of Agreement. Then there are listed in Part II. 51 of the less developed countries. It is notable that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the iron curtain countries are not members. No quota in the capital is allotted to them, for the very good reason that they have never taken up the quotas originally made to them in both the fund and the bank. They have stayed aloof from co-operation with the rest of the world in these great international financial organizations.
– They are not members of the bank, are they?
– No, they are not members of the fund or the bank and never have been, and no quota is allotted to them in relation to the agreement that we are considering. The seventeen rather more industrialized countries are to provide the great bulk of the one billion dollars that is to be provided as the capital of the bank. Of the total, they are to find 763,070,000 dollars. The greatest contributors are the United States of America, of course, with 320,290,000 dollars, and the United Kingdom with 131,140,000 dollars. Between them they will contribute 451,430,000 dollars - almost half of the total capital. Australia is given what seems to us to be the relatively modest quota of 20,180,000 dollars, which is a little under £9,000,000 Australian.
The idea of this association, the Senate will recall, stemmed from a directive by President Eisenhower to his representatives on the bank late in 1958. It was a directive in similar terms that led to the increase of the capital in the fund and the bank. Honorable senators dealt with that point fully when we discussed this subject about a year ago. and I do not propose to go into it again. The increase of capital was made in the first place as a recognition of the need for greater aid for the underdeveloped countries and a recognition that the bank was in fact not fulfilling the role of helping the nations that were not so easily able to help themselves. There was another real purpose behind the American initiation of this association. America, which had been selling its surplus foodstuffs and other agricultural products round the world, had been accumulating a vast amount of currency of the nations to which it sold. America wanted to make that currency available to help, and did not want to make complete gifts to the various nations. In other words, America was accumulating vast quantities of the currencies of the under-developed countries, and saw the opportunity to make them available to a body of the type that we are now discussing. This was one of the facts that influenced the United States of America in initiating the establishment of this body.
The agreement provides that any country with surplus currency of other countries may make it available to this new body for purposes that are limited by the wishes of the country to which the currency initially belongs. There is not complete freedom for the United States and any other countries to direct the purposes to which their surplus currencies belonging to other countries may be applied. When deposits are made like that - they are quite apart from the capital that I have just mentioned - they give the depositor no voting rights nor do they in fact carry any interest. They are there in the general bank; they are in almost every case in inconvertible currencies, which are currencies that no country readily wants, and the purposes for which they would be used would be either exceptional or domestic to the countries whose currency is held.
I have intimated what the capital contributions of the seventeen countries are. I now turn to capital contributions by the 51 countries. They contribute the balance of the one billion dollars - only 236,930,000 dollars. The highest subscriber is India with 40,350,000 dollars, and the lowest subscriber is Panama with 20,000 dollars, a very insignificant contribution.
How is the capital to be contributed by the various categories? All 68 countries are to contribute 10 per cent, of their total contributions in gold or readily convertible currencies, particularly United States dollars.
– Hard currency.
– Yes, 10 per cent, of the total amount is to be contributed in hard currency. That 10 per cent, is not even payable at once. All of the 68 countries must meet that commitment, but they pay half down, and the remaining half is spread over the succeeding four years. This involves Australia in an initial commitment in respect of the deposit of something like £450,000 Australian, the equivalent of which we have to find in hard currency. As to the remaining 90 per cent, of the capital contribution, here we get a division in the 68 countries. Seventeen countries, including Australia, are under an obligation to contribute in hard currency - gold or United States dollars or their equivalent in readily convertible form - but 51 countries find their course made easy. They have only to contribute their 90 per cent, in their own individual currencies, whether convertible or not. Honorable senators will agree that in the great majority of cases their currencies would be inconvertible. I should like the Senate to consider the extent of the capital contribution that Australia is making to this problem. What I have said indicates that we have to pay in the year after we join about £A.2.000,000 converted into a hard currency, and then, in each of the next four years, about £A. 1,750,000. As a nation, we are up for slightly under £A.9,000,000, or an average of less than £A.2,000,000 per annum.
At this stage I offer the comment that, in view of the size of our annual budget, which is of the order of £1,400,000.000, and in view of our expenditure on defence, which is about £200,000,000 a year, our contribution to a solution of the great world problem of promoting the living standards of the people of the undeveloped countries is relatively insignificant. In each of the next five years, we shall be involved in a contribution of about £2,000,000. That is not a burden that will inflict any hardship on this country. I suggest that it is not a contribution that will make a vast difference to the hundreds of millions of people whose living conditions are completely substandard and whose countries are completely undeveloped.
The view I put to the Senate is that the formation of this new organization is a recognition of the need to help the undeveloped countries, to lift the living standards of their peoples, to improve their economic conditions and to increase their productivity so that they can play a part, first of all, in helping themselves, and secondly, in promoting international trade. When 1 say that, I recognize that we help these countries in other ways. There are, for instance, the provisions of the Colombo Plan. There is the help we give to students from these countries. We help in various ways with technical assistance and the provision of capital goods. I am merely seeking to put this organization in perspective by showing what a country as strong financially as Australia will have to contribute from its resources.
As the Minister reminded us in an earlier part of my speech, the capital is not frozen. The agreement provides that the association may, whenever it deems appropriate, and at intervals of five years in any event, review the adequacy of its resources and authorize a general increase in subscriptions. The thought, of course, is that the association will lack funds in about five years. It will then have run out of convertible currency. I hope that by then the funds will have been lent out, pursuant to the purposes of this body, and that they will be working in the under-developed countries. The association then may call upon the members for further contributions. It is in contemplation that the modest initial contribution of one billion dollars will be increased, but apparently not for five years. It may be increased sooner if the association and its members so decree, but the present idea is that the association will start off with the capital contributions of the seventeen major nations, spread over five years. Those contributions will yield annually about 150,000.000 dollars in hard cash, the balance being represented by the unconvertible currencies of the under-devloped nations. I acknowledge that there is power to build up the capital down the years.
There is a very interesting escalator clause in this agreement - a clause of a type that T have not seen in other international financial agreements. The various contributors are required to keep the value of their currencies at the levels existing at the time of their initial subscriptions. If the value of a nation’s currency falls, it has to pay in enough to make up the deficiency. If, on the other hand, there is an appreciation of the value of a currency, the fund has to pay something back. I think I am right in saying that I have not seen a clause in those terms in any of the international financial arrangements made up to date. Those provisions are set out in Article IV.
It is obligatory upon this new body to make loans; it cannot make gifts. I thought I might spend a moment and select from Article V. a few of the provisions relating to the use of the resources and the conditions for providing finance. First of all, the association is not to provide finance if, in its view, such financing is available from private sources on terms which are reasonable for the recipient, or if the finance could be provided by a loan of the type made by the International Bank. So the loans are reserved for the impecunious countries of the world. If countries are capable of sustaining the burden of a loan from the bank, or if they can obtain money from private sources, they are not eligible to receive loans from this association.
– They must be within the association’s membership.
– The honorable senator has raised a very interesting point. In the objectives of the association which 1 read a while ago, it is stated that the purpose of the association is to raise the standards of living in the less developed areas of the world included within the association’s membership. That seems to tie the help that can be given to countries that are members of the association, but when I look at Article V., clause 2 (d), I find the following provision: -
In the case of a loan to an entity other than a member, the Association may, in its discretion, require a suitable governmental or other guarantee or guarantees.
That plainly cut across what is postulated in Article I., where it is obvious that loans are to be made available only to those countries within the membership of the association. I would be grateful if in due course the Minister would say something on this point. Article I. restricts help to those countries which are members of the association, but the clause of Article V. to which I have just adverted permits loans to countries outside the association. What are the circumstances in which the association could decide to help a non-member? 1 do not know the answer, and I should be grateful if the Minister would address himself to that point.
A very important provision is contained in Article V., clause 1 (g). It states that no regard is to be had to political or other non-economic influences or considerations in determining whether a loan is to be made. That is quite proper in a world where countries are under-developed and where their under-development brings about unnhappiness, low standards of living and bad conditions for their people, creating world tension and jealousy, and forming breeding grounds for communism. It is right that the new body should be directed that, in determining whether a country should be helped, it should forget all about that country’s political situation and should have regard to nothing but its economic welfare and physical development. A powerful provision is contained in section 2 of Article V., which prescribes that - the Association may provide financing in such forms and on such terms as it may deem appropriate, having regard to the economic position and prospects of the area or areas concerned and to the nature and requirements of the project.
That gives the association a completely free hand as to its terms. Some light is thrown on that when one refers to the following passage on page 6 of the excellent report of the executive directors on the articles of agreement -
The broad language of Article V. is designed to permit the Association to carry out the directive of Article I., in the case of loans made from its freely convertible resources, in any number of ways: for example, by providing for lenient terms of repayment (such as loans repayable in foreign exchange with long maturities or long periods of grace or both, or loans repayable wholly or partly in local currency), by lending free of interest or at a low rate of interest, or by some combination of the foregoing.
In other words, the association is given carte blanche to meet the situation in any country by letting it have loans for a very long term, even without interest. Each situation is considered on its merits, looking at the position of the underdeveloped countries, one can see their plight. They need schools, hospitals, and other things that are not immediately visibly reproductive.
– They may be temporarily inflationary in character.
– They may even, be temporarily inflationary, as the honorable senator has said. One cannot get immediate returns from them, yet a condition precedent to the real progress of a country is that the people must be made healthy and they must be educated in order to take up their own proper development. The things for which money is probably most urgently needed are schools, hospitals, and institutions of that sort, that would pay enormous long-term dividends but would have no commercial value instantly or in the immediate future. Loans for that purpose should, to my mind, be interest free. If repayment must be made, let it be made over an exceedingly long term and, if possible, in the country’s own currency, no matter how inconvertible it may be.
Another type of project is of a kind that the bank has been financing all along. I refer to capital projects, such as hydroelectric and other power installations, irrigation schemes, mining, oil prospecting, and major capital works. I should think that there should be long-term loans for those purposes, with some interest being payable if the projects are revenue-producing. In the third category, perhaps attracting loans for a shorter term of, say, fifteen years, as against 25 years for capital projects, are the supply of capital goods, railways, and plant and equipment of various kinds. So the new organization has to look at the needs and resources of each country, determine what is of the highest priority, and make available funds within the limits provided for those categories, of whatever order the association thinks fit. The agreement contains sections that are familiar to agreements of this type. I do not review those. It provides that the body may render a type of service that the bank already renders, by providing technical and advisory assistance at the request of a member. That may be free or upon payment, as the association determines. Section 6 of Article V. provides -
The Association and its officers shall not interfere in the political affairs of any member; nor shally they be influenced in their decisions by the political character of the member or members concerned. Only economic considerations shall be relevant to their decisions, and these considerations shall be weighed impartially in order to achieve the purposes stated in this Agreement
Each member in Part I. and Part II. gets 500 votes, plus one additional vote for each 5,000 dollars of its initial subscription. If there is to be any increase in voting powers, the matter will be determined at the time when the subscription is increased. There is to be an annual report. Any member may withdraw and in this case, unlike other cases, the withdrawal becomes effective at the moment that notice of withdrawal is received. It will happen very quickly. The usual sections relating to status, immunities and privileges, are inserted in favour of the body.
I think that probably constitutes a reasonably adequate description of the agreement. I should like to comment upon some passages in the speech made by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). He expressed regret that when this body was set up it did not recognize the position of “ intermediate “ countries. Apparently he regarded Australia as being in that category. He said -
We regret that the Ida charter fails to recognize the position of “ intermediate “ countries and that the scale of contributions of the countries who will be making the whole of their subscriptions in convertible currencies is simply based on the International Bank scale.
I do not know what is the cause of that regret. Does the Treasurer feel that we are contributing too little or that we are asked to contribute too much? This meaning is not clear from what he said. Is it in his mind that the creation of an “ intermediate “ type of country, which would include Australia, would enable Australia to borrow from this new association? I merely say that if that is in the Government’s mind, I am very unhappy about it. I say at once that we should go warm-heartedly into this venture as a country whose people enjoy a very high standard of living. Whatever it costs, we ought to be prepared to say goodbye to our money in favour of the people of less-developed countries, whose standards of living are so much lower than our own. I should like the Minister when replying, in due course, to the debate, to indicate what the Government had in mind when it expressed regret about the failure to provide for “ intermediate “ countries.
– If you kissed your money goodbye, would it not break the whole association finally?
– Perhaps my term was not the most felicitous one that I could have used. I meant that we put the money in to help other people and should not seek to get any advantage from it ourselves. I did not mean that it would be lost. We should not look for advantages from funds the prime purpose of which is to help the under-developed countries listed in Part II- of the Schedule. The Treasurer rejoiced in the fact that the articles were so moulded as to enable Australia to benefit from the fund for the purpose of developing its own territories. That might be important to another country, such as the United King? dom, which has far more dependent territories than we have, and has far more calls upon it. I repeat that I hope that Australia will stand up to the obligations it has already accepted in respect of its own territories, and that it will look to its own resources to improve the lot of the dependent people in those areas and will not be drawing on this fund, inadequate as it is in the matter of capital for the great purpose of which it is being set up.
The Treasurer has expressed to us doubt about the wisdom of allowing to happen the kind of thing to which I referred in relation to America, namely, the accumulation of vast quantities of inconvertible currency and then passing them over to the association. He saw some lack of wisdom in that. But of course, one of the purposes of that process is to drain money off - Senator Vincent rather had the key in this respect - with a view to preserving the equilibrium of the economy of those countries and then, through a body such as the International Development Association, to feed the money back for either of two purposes, neither ot which would be inflationary. One purpose would be to enable the money to be used in capital projects in countries whose currency was held, so long as the capital projects could be developed from their own resources. That would be an obvious use for the inconvertible currencies. The other purpose would, be to enable the association to cancel internal debt at a proper economic time. Those are real purposes for which inconvertible currencies could be used.
I wish to make a suggestion to the Minister. I do not know whether he was as impressed as I was with the excellence of the report of the executive directors that he has been good enough to circulate to us. I thought that for anyone who had not time to study the agreement in detail the report contained an admirable summary and expressed the objectives very clearly. I had thought of asking that it be incorporated in “ Hansard “, because that has not been done in the Parliament so far, but I prefer to leave that matter to the judgment of the Minister. I invite him to consider the suggestion that he, if he agrees with my view of this report, might see fit to have it incorporated in “ Hansard “ as a permanent record in the Parliament for those who read “ Hansard “.
I take it that I have already, without saying so in express terms, conveyed to the Senate that the Opposition supports the bill. It has not been a case of my desiring to keep anybody in suspense, because I thought that everybody could see the trend of my remarks.
– We did not know which way the honorable senator intended to go.
– You did not?
– I could not guess.
– We cannot always forecast the honorable senator’s conclusions from his arguments.
– That may be so, but this is one occasion on which my conclusions could be predicted with assuredness. We welcome the bill, although we think that it is inadequate. We should like to see the capital of the association increased. We trust that Australia will support the establishment of the association, and we trust, too, that this country will address itself to the task of helping the people of the world whose standard of living is so much below ours.
– I rise to support the measure. We have listened to a very interesting speech from the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) in which he said that he was opposed to overseas borrowing by the Australian Government and that such opposition had been the policy of the Australian Labour Party ever since the war. He went on to say that the fund that it was proposed to establish for the relief of underdeveloped countries was not sufficient. I cannot understand the honorable senator’s argument, because if all countries, including the under-developed countries of SouthEast Asia, adopted the policy of the Aus tralian Labour Party and refrained from borrowing money, how could they reconstruct and develop their countries? Many of the under-developed countries are short of both money and goods, and there is an obligation on us, as the honorable senator said, to help them. If we adopted the policy of the Australian Labour Party, or if the countries of South-East Asia supported such a policy, we and they would go backwards instead of forward. It is the policy of under-developed countries to borrow money for their development, and it is the policy of the Australian Government to borrow money overseas to assist Australia’s development.
The measure before the Senate provides for the establishment of an International Development Asssociation - to be known as Ida - the purpose of which will be to help under-developed countries to secure finance in cases in which finance is not available from other sources. It will be seen that the proposed association is to be quite a different body from the other international finance organizations that have been established by the free nations of the world, such as the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation. The International Monetary Fund lends money for short terms up to a maximum of five years. Such loans would not help a country that wanted money for a long period at a low rate of interest. The International Bank provides long-term finance, provided that the borrowing country is able to guarantee, to the satisfaction of the bank, that it will be able to repay the loan. The interest rate for such loans has risen in the last year or two. and the current rate is 6 per cent.
There are in the world to-day many under-developed countries which, having taken advantage of the availability of finance from the International Bank, are not sufficiently developed to be able to borrow additional sums and pay interest and sinking fund charges thereon. The proposed International Development Association will be able to provide finance for such countries, for long periods, either free of interest or at very low rates of interest. It must be appreciated, of course, that since the war large sums of money have been made available to assist in the development of under-developed countries. For instance, the International Bank has lent four and a half billion dollars for that purpose. Australia itself has donated to South-East Asian countries some £30,000,000 under the Colombo Plan. In addition, it has spent £80,000,000 in New Guinea and has contributed to the funds of the International Bank. Now, we propose to contribute to the capital of the International Development Association. So we find that this amount of money, some 650,000,000 dollars or more if all countries make their full subscriptions, will be available as extra money - something completely new - for the development of under-developed regions.
The establishment of this association does not mean that the International Bank will cease to function. It is lending money at the rate of about 700,000,000 dollars a year, and the proposal embodied in this bill will result in a further 70,000,000 dollars a year being made available to help these poorer countries develop their resources. If we look at figures showing population movements in South-East Asia, we find that there are about 300,000,000 more people in that area to-day than there were at the end of the war. I think there were then about 1.200,000,000, and now there are 1,500,000,000. Despite the amounts of money that have been made available for the development of the countries in that area, the people there have now not a much 1-igher standard of living, particularly in terms of food, than they had at the conclusion of the war. It is surely our responsibility, and the responsibility of the free world, to do as much as is possible to help the people of South-East Asia to obtain the goods and the equipment necessary to increase their food production so that they may enjoy a higher standard of living.
Although Labour senators are not opposing this measure, we know that they do not believe in borrowing overseas, as a matter of policy. I presume they would also oppose the proposition that the people of SouthEast Asia should borrow overseas, despite the fact that they must do so if they wish to develop their countries. If those people adopted the policy that is followed at this very moment by the Australian Labour Party, they would say, “ No, we will starve rather than borrow your dough “. I do not know whether the members of the Labour Party really believe in this philosophy.
– No one on this side ever suggested that. It is simply your imagination.
– No, it is not. What I have said is completely true, and it demonstrates the backward thinking of honorable senators opposite. If that policy were adopted by the people of South-East Asia, and they could not develop their countries, the Communists would step in and take over. That is what we are fighting against. If the Labour Party’s policy requires that we should not borrow money overseas, then the Labour Party would not agree that any other country should borrow money from outside. Surely honorable senators opposite do not want those countries to be overrun by Communists or to turn communist themselves. That would be the result, however, of the adoption of the policy of the Australian Labour Party, and I am very disappointed that honorable senators opposite persist in this line of thinking.
Let me read a few remarks appearing in a document issued by the Committee on Banking and Currency of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, dated 15th, 16th and 17th March, I960. The document contains a statement made by the Hon. Robert B. Anderson, Secretary of the Treasury. He said that President Eisenhower recently stated, in his “ State of the Union “ message, referring to the less developed countries: -
These people, desperately hoping to lift themselves to decent levels of living, must not, by our neglect, be forced to seek help from, and finally become virtual satellites of, those who proclaim their hostility to freedom.
I believe that is a very worthy statement by the President. I conclude by saying that I am very pleased that Australia is doing her share in providing a contribution to this, important association, so that it can assist, in the further development of the underdeveloped countries of South-East Asia.
– I wish to make a brief contribution to this debate because of my association last year with an economic committee of” the United Nations. The International’ Development Association was initiated by- the General Assembly, and in particular by the economic committee which was functioning in association with that body. Having been a member of the economic committee, or the second committee as it was called, I can say that the proposal for this association was debated at length and was adopted unanimously by the committee, because 1 think it was generally felt that some such body was vitally necessary for the economic development of the underdeveloped countries. Numerous resolutions were discussed under the broad heading of the economic development of underdeveloped countries. This subject covered many aspects of the economies of the less fortunate countries of the world. It was generally believed that several measures had to be adopted if the under-developed countries were to make progress.
Among the numerous resolutions submitted to the second committee was one relating to industrialization. The International Development Association will have power to make available financial resources for the purpose of helping to industrialize some of the less fortunate countries. It seemed to be the general opinion of the committee that industrialization was one of the most important methods of lifting the under-developed countries to a higher standard of living. There were other resolutions, including one concerned with the development of oil resources. We know that in certain countries which are really under-developed there exist vast oil resources. That was another question that came before the committee. In connexion with South America, a resolution was forthcoming concerning the development there of a latin American common market, and so on. There were quite a number of other resolutions relating to the economic development of under-developed countries. But I really feel. Sir, that the resolution that carried the most weight and was accepted by those present as being the most important was the initiation of this International Development Association. I am very glad that Australia has taken the step that she has in becoming a. member nation of the International Development Association because it is a recognition on our part that there is much greater need for financial assistance on easier terms than can be obtained under the International Bank; the terms that will be made available to these countries will be much easier and over a longer period.
– What is wrong with giving it to them?
– I say that our acceptance of this measure indicates our recognition of the fact that Australia has its part to play in assisting various countries to lift their standard of living and to develop their resources. In some cases, they have great untapped resources which they cannot develop without capital.
As we know, the sum of one billion dollars is a very small amount for this purpose. I acknowledge what Senator McKenna said regarding that amount - but it is the initial capital; it can be stepped up. I think it is wise for any organization to walk warily at the beginning. If success attends this organization’s efforts in that direction, there is every possibility that there will be a substantial increase in due course of the funds that will be made available under this heading.
So 1 say, Sir, that it is to the great credit of Australia that, in addition to the substantial amount that we are making available to certain of our neighbours, we are by this measure, supporting the efforts of the more fortunate countries to assist those who need our help by giving them an opportunity to obtain finance to develop their resources.
– in reply - Mr. Deputy President, it is not my purpose to destroy or even to disrupt the perfect peace and amity that pervade -this place consequent upon the Opposition’s indication that it will not oppose this measure. But may I say ever so softly and without developing this thought, that the obvious inconsistencies of the stand taken by the Opposition on this measure compared with other financial measures have not escaped the notice of those who sit on this side of the chamber.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) said that the approach to this problem made through this new medium, the International Development Association, was far too modest. I think that that particular criticism has been met - and very adequately met - by my colleague, Senator Hannaford from South Australia. There is obvious merit and obvious prudence, when embarking upon a scheme of this nature. in proceeding with caution and with great care initially, because should there be some hitch, or some break-down, in a scheme which is designed to do great things, then those great things will not be achieved.
– Would you also agree that capital is not the only factor in the matter of development’/
– Indeed, capital is not the only factor in development, but it may well be that the provision of capital enables the production of things which, with capital, combine to make development in its truest sense possible.
As I followed the argument advanced by the Leader of the Opposition, his criticism that the scheme was too modest applied in toto to the scheme seemed to be directed particularly at Australia as a member. He said, “ We should do more; we should be prepared to do more “. That sort of thing raises the question as to how the quotas were fixed. They were, of course, fixed in relation to and in proportion to the quotas held by Australia in the International Bank and in the International Monetary Fund. I think it has been adequately established over the years that the quota arrived at for Australia in those two institutions has been, taking all the factors into consideration, a satisfactory and an equitable quota for this country to have. That basis - the basis which has proved satisfactory in respect of the bank and the fund - has been adopted for this particular programme.
I notice that the Leader of the Opposition has returned to the chamber. In view of his comments on the desirability of Australia increasing its quota to this fund and having in mind the interjection by my friend, Senator ©’Flaherty, when Senator Hannaford was speaking - “ What is wrong with giving it to them?” - I know that neither of those gentlemen will mind if I remind them during the Budget session later in the year of what they said.
The Leader of the Opposition also had something to say about the remarks by the Australian representative, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), at the meeting of the governors in respect of the in-between countries - those countries that lay between the industrialized, developed countries and the non-developed or little-developed countries. The implication of his remark was that as Australia had advanced to a certain point, without limitation or inhibition we should take it upon ourselves, on our own responsibility, to share fully with the more developed countries this obligation towards the backward countries. Of course, what Mr. Harold Holt was trying to establish with the governors was that there were countries that were placed, economically and in respect of development, in a special position; just as we vis-a-vis the backward countries of the African continent, for example, stand in an immeasurably superior situation, so do the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France stand in an immeasurably superior position, economically and in a developmental sense, to us. The Treasurer - a very realistic Treasurer, if I may say so; one who in this case should be applauded for his action in bringing the special situation countries to the notice of the governors - merely had in mind that, in view of that special situation and special circumstances, there may be justification for Ida assistance to flow to one of these in-between countries.
Recently, I heard the Leader of the Opposition speak with obvious feeling about the development that was required in some parts of Australia. As he spoke to-night it occurred to me that the undeveloped areas of Australia to which he referred might well, in some circumstances, be regarded as desirable geographical areas to receive aid from Ida. I do not suggest that the in-between countries should receive Ida assistance as of right, but where ari industry is developed for the communal good not only of the country in which it is built but also of the whole geographical area, consideration should be given to providing Ida assistance. That was the only purpose for which Mr. Holt brought this matter to the notice of the governors of the bank. Nobody could seriously say that Australia has been tardy in recognizing its obi rations to backward countries, nor has it failed, under this Government, to give a positive lead to some of the older coun-tries in this regard.
Senator McKenna directed attention te the apparent conflict between section 1 (a) and section 2 (d) of Article V. of the articles of agreement. Section 1 (a) reads -
The Association shall provide financing to further development in the less-developed areas of the world included within the Association’s membership.
Section 2 (d) reads -
In the case of a loan to an entity other than a member, the Association may, in its discretion, require a suitable governmental or other guarantee or guarantees.
Section 2 (d) refers to the case where the borrower within the Ida area is a borrower other than a government. Senator McKenna will remember that in my secondreading speech I explained that borrowers could be governments, private entities or combinations of both. The section in the agreement that has bothered him provides for the particular case where the borrower is not a member government but a legal entity of a member government.
I was interested in the comments of the Leader of the Opposition in respect of the report of the executive directors of the association. I agree with him that it is a splendid statement and, at his suggestion, and with the concurrence of honorable senators, I incorporate it in “ Hansard “. It reads -
The establishment of this association is a venture into a field which, although it is unknown, offers us great opportunities to do well by those countries that are less fortunate than Australia. 1 express a personal view when 1 say that I gained immense pleasure from being the Minister who had the opportunity to introduce this measure into this chamber. My pleasure is increased by the fact that it is accepted by all sections of the chamber.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 930), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– There are four customs tariff measures and one excise tariff measure before the Senate. They have been brought before the Senate following on the report of the Tariff Board. As they are cognate bills I suggest that they be dealt with together.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– The Customs Tariff Bill deals with, among other things, woollen goods. The Customs Tariff (Canadian Preference) Bill, the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill and the Customs Ta. *ff (Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasalano. Preference) Bill all provide for changes in the preferential duties applying to goods, the produce or manufacture of those countries. The latter two bills provide for certain goods imported from New Zealand and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland to be accorded British preferential tariff treatment. Formerly those goods were subject to mostfavourednation treatment. I think that those countries, being members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, should be accorded that benefit!
These bills stem from investigations made by the Tariff Board. Honorable senators have had an opportunity to peruse the board’s report, and although the evidence given before the board is not outlined in its report, there is sufficient in the report to show that the various interested parties have substantiated their claims that duties should be increased or lowered or that they should remain unaltered. Especially as three of these tariff and excise measures affect long-established industries in this country, and my colleagues and I belong to a party which agrees that our secondary industries must receive every encouragement and support, we do not wish to oppose the bills.
However, I wish to mention one matter that has special application to the present conditions in our secondary industries. In earlier years they all looked for protection, and protection was granted to them. The Tariff Board was established to help them. Looking through the history of these various industries I find that at times the Tariff Board has not seen matters in the light in which Australian manufacturers have presented them and has not given them all the protection that they wanted. Of recent years another form of protection quite apart from that granted by the Tariff Board has been in operation. The trades engaged in the manufacture of woollen goods coped with wartime conditions and played a magnificent part by expanding production. Later import restrictions were imposed, and in addition to some raw materials being unavailable the importation of manufactured goods was restricted. That period has now passed; the Government has decided to lift import restrictions, and that form of protection no longer exists for the industry.
I agree to some extent with the criticism that has been levelled at the length of time that elapses between the request by an industry for an investigation by the Tariff Board of the need for tariff protection and the presentation of the board’s report. Going through its reports, particularly those affecting the woollen manufactured goods industry, I find that long periods have elapsed between the application, the board’s investigation and the presentation of its report. Also, long periods elapse before the recommendations of the board come before Parliament for implementation.
I have here the report of the Tariff Board on woollen goods delivered on 5th January, 1959. We are now well into May, 1960, and the matter is only to-night being dealt with by the Senate. It appears from the report that on 6th August, 1957, the Minister for Trade Mr. McEwen) referred a list of questions to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report in accordance with section 15 of the Tariff Board Act 1921-1953. The inquiry began in Melbourne, where evidence was heard on 11th and 13th March, 1958. The inquiry continued in Sydney on 24th and 26th March, 1958, and in Brisbane on 1st and 2nd April, 1958. From August, 1957 to March, 1958, no action was taken. The board’s report was completed sixteen months ago, on 5th January, 1959, and it is only now before the Parliament. It has been suggested that the reasons for the delay are that the Tariff Board has had quite a number of items submitted to it and has been fully employed, and that the investigations take time. I agree with that, Mr. Deputy President, because a perusal of these reports discloses that the Tariff Board goes into these questions very methodically. The board gives all the interested parties an opportunity to present their cases. After the evidence is given the board must peruse it to arrive at conclusions. Its recommendations are made to the Government, but I consider that the Government then procrastinates before implementing the recommendations.
I wish to emphasize the most precarious position in which a number of our secondary industries find themselves to-day. They are in virtually a transition period following the lifting of import restrictions. The Government must use every means at its disposal to ensure that the textile industry receives the protection that it needs. It is a very valuable secondary industry in this country. It did great work during the war but, unfortunately, because of its inability to obtain machinery a number of plants have run down. The Tariff Board has made a reference to this fact. I know from my personal experience, having made representations after the cessation of hostilities and also in recent years on behalf of the mill that is situated in my town and gives employment to a considerable number of its people and is essential for the maintenance of the economy of the town, that it had considerable trouble getting a licence to import up-to-date machinery. The textile industry has to compete not only with countries such as Japan, which have cheap labour, but also with those countries that have been able to get modern machinery. Though the Tariff Board passed some strictures on the industry by suggesting that it was not rehabilitating itself as fast as it might, the fact remains that it has had extreme difficulty, under import restrictions, in bringing into this country the machinery so necessary for its proper maintenance. Not only the companies concerned but also the employees’ organizations in the textile industry are vitally concerned with this problem.
The mill in my town and mills in other centres employ a considerable number of males as well as many females. The employment of female labour in country towns is important in promoting decentralization. If there is no work in a town for the young women of a family they drift to the metropolitan area. This provides the incentive for their parents to follow them. Any industry that will create employment in our country districts should be given every encouragement.
The Australian Textile Workers Union is fearful of what will happen now that import licensing has been lifted. No doubt every honorable senator received a communication from that organization in March last, in which it drew attention to that fear and asked - that in the forthcoming discussions with representatives of the Japanese Government when the Japanese Trade Agreement is being reviewed, the Australian Government insist, in order to prevent widespread unemployment in the Australian Textile Industry, that exports of textiles from Japan to Australia be confined to:
I feel that that was a very fair request by this organization, which is representative of the employees engaged in the industry.
I do not know whether the Tariff Board will investigate this industry again. Judging by the length of time that elapsed between the reference to the board and the presentation of the board’s report, I think honorable senators will agree that, should the fears of the industry be realized, there is a possibility of it being destroyed or seriously injured before the Tariff Board could deal with the matter. Those who follow the stock exchange reports will have noticed that the textile industry is not one of those industries in which company shares are at a premium. It is not regarded as a field for gilt-edged investment. Investors evidently feel that it is not an industry in which they should risk their cash. It would be deplorable if an industry such as this were to receive a further set-back as the result of the importation of cheap goods. I hope that the Government will give very careful consideration to this industry.
I could deal with quite a number of items. The Excise Tariff Bill has to do with the establishment of a new industry - an industry for the manufacture of sodium cyclamate, which is a sugar substitute. The bill will permit its entry free from excise duty when it is to be used for medicinal purposes only. I think we all agree that, as long as that safeguard is provided, there is no reason for objecting to the proposal. The bill dealing with Rhodesia relates to a number of condiments or essences used in the manufacture of soft drinks. I notice also that copper is mentioned. Those goods, which are at present subject to most-favoured-nation treatment, are to be subject in future to the British preferential treatment.
The Opposition does not intend to oppose these measures, but it appeals to the Government to see to it that if secondary industries are likely to be threatened as a result of imports from overseas, steps will be taken as rapidly as possible to protect those industries.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
Senator HENTY (Tasmania - Minister for Customs and Excise [10.30]. - in reply - The point raised by Senator Sheehan with reference to the report of the Tariff Board on woollen textiles is not without interest. I think we all agree that there have been some delays in the presentation by the Tariff Board of reports to the Parliament, but that charge is not valid in regard to the report of the board on woollen textiles. The duties on woollen textiles specified in this bill have not altered the level of protection to any extent. In my second-reading speech 1 pointed out that the alterations proposed related merely to administrative matters. The report of the Tariff Board was tabled in May, 1959, and the duties were made applicable from 13th May, 1959. However, the administrative changes could not be effected until we had undertaken international negotiations. Those international negotiations have been undertaken, and we are now giving effect to the only part of the report to which effect has not been given since May, 1959. I should like to make it clear that we are only making a small administrative alteration. I repeat that it is not valid to say that there has been a delay by the board in this matter. There have been delays in the presentation of Tariff Board reports, but that charge cannot be made justly in this instance.
I was glad that an undertaking was given by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) in another place that from now on the reports of the Tariff Board on most items will be available within six to eight months. I am sure the Parliament will appreciate the speeding-up in that respect, particularly in view of the fact, as Senator Sheehan wisely said, that the lifting of import restrictions has made it imperative that the work of the Tariff Board be speeded up.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 12th May (vide page 930), on motion by Senator Henty-
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 12th May (vide page 930) on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 12th May (vide page 930) on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 12th May (vide page 931) on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Senate adjourned at 10.39 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 May 1960, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1960/19600517_senate_23_s17/>.