23rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Trade inform the Senate when the Government will be in a position to announce its decision on the Sulphuric Acid Bounty Act, which has been the subject of a Tariff Board inquiry and report? I point out that the South Australian superphosphate industry claims that it is seriously handicapped as a result of the importation of brimstone from the United States of America at rates that the local industry, using indigenous material, finds it increasingly difficult to compete with.
– The Tariff Board inquiry into this matter was very complicated. I know that my colleague, Mr. McEwen, receivedthe board’s report a little while ago and that he is giving a good deal of attention to it. He hopes to bring the matter to finality within the next few weeks, when the report will be tabled in the Senate in the usual way, together with the Government’s decision on the board’s recommendations.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service whether information available to his colleague confirms a statement made by Mr. J. J. Maloney in his book on Russia. Mr. Maloney was appointed Australian Ambassador to Russia by the Chifley Government and is now a Minister in the New South Wales Heffron Labour Government. The statement is as follows: -
Soviet trade unions are instruments of the State, designed to maintainindustrial discipline. They act as buffers for the State against needs of their own members, and carry Soviet foreign policy into the trade union movements of outside countries.
Mr. Maloney quoted this passage from the official Russian union newspaper -
It is the duty of trade unions to ensure the carrying out of the decisions of the Communist Party.
If the Minister’s information confirms Mr. Maloney’s view, are Australians justified in claiming that red Chinese and red Russian envoys, whose visits to Australia are to be paid for by compulsory levies on unionists, are not in fact legitimate trade union representatives but actually are officials of their Communist governments, and that their duties are merely the speeding up of production and the administering of social services?
– As I said in reply to a previous question along similar lines, it is a fact that in all totalitarian countries, particularly Communist countries, the trade unions are not trade unions as we know them in this country.
– That is generally accepted.
– The Opposition agrees that that is generally accepted. Such trade unions are, in fact, instruments of the government. The government uses them to ensure that its policy will be put into operation and that there will be no labour troubles. Consequently, I believe that Australians are entirely justified in claiming that representatives of trade unions in red China or Russia are not representatives of trade unions as we know them - not even representatives of what Mr. Chifley called tame cat unions - but are representatives of a totalitarian government.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Is it a fact that canned hams are being imported into this country in large quantities? If this is so, what are the exporting countries? In view of the prevalence of foot and mouth disease in countries overseas, will the Minister take steps to ensure that the importation of these hams will not endanger the livestock of Australia?
– As I told the Senate last week, the Department of Customs and
Excise received information that large quantities of canned hams were on the way to Australia from a number of countries. A few consignments have arrived already. Hams are subject to very stringent quarantine regulations in order to prevent the introduction of foot and mouth disease into Australia. One small parcel got through without undergoing a proper quarantine examination, but the officers of the department have traced the parcel and have seized the hams. I can assure the honorable senator that every effort is being made to ensure that no other consignments of hams will be released before the quarantine regulations have been complied with.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has he read the report published by an Orange newspaper of the opening of the campaign for the Liberal Party candidate in the Calare by-election, in which report he was described as “ the honoured leader of the Country Party “? Will the Minister explain how, as the new leader of the Country Party, he became authorized to state at that meeting what he considered was the Labour Party’s programme?
– The press report which announced my appointment as the leader of the Country Party was, like the report of Mark Twain’s death, grossly exaggerated. I spoke at Forbes as a Liberal Party Minister, supporting the Liberal Party candidate, Wallace Meares, in the by-election.
– What name did you say?
– Wallace Meares, the Liberal Party candidate.
– I thought you wanted to say that.
– Thank you very much for the opportunity to repeat it. Wallace Meares is the Liberal Party candidate. I was interested to see that even the “ Daily Telegraph “ can make mistakes. The “ Daily Telegraph “ misreported my remarks, but I am confident that it will do the right thing and correct the mistake in its own way at some time.
– Can the Minister for Repatriation state whether he has approved any plans to improve the accommodation for the treatment of psychiatric cases at the Repatriation General Hospital in Daws Road, Springbank, South Australia? If he has, what plans has he approved? Is there anything that he can do to implement such plans? Does the fact that legislation widening the scope of repatriation treatment which has been passed recently makes the need for increased hospital accomodation more urgent than ever before?
– For some years many representations have been made by South Australian parliamentary representatives that the psychiatric wards at the Springbank hospital should be demolished and up-to-date wards should be built. The wards mentioned by the honorable senator were built during war-time. We do not say that they are up to the standard at which we aim at the present time. Over the last three or four years plans have been made for demolishing those buildings and erecting new wards. It was hoped that we would be able to start on the new buildings this year. Plans were prepared and passed, and we were ready to go ahead; but unfortunately the money was not available for the work this year. We had a big contract for the re-building of wards at the Hobart hospital. Those wards were erected as temporary wards during the 1914-18 war. The provision for that work at the Hobart hospital in this year’s estimates for the Repatriation Department is about £260,000 of the total estimate of £427,000 for the department. In order to go ahead with the plans for Sprinkbank we would have to drop the Hobart project. Personally, I think the Hobart wards were in a much worse condition than the Springbank wards. So we have gone ahead with the work in Hobart. That does not mean that the Springbank project will be dropped. We will go ahead with that job as early as we possibly can. I am looking forward to the Springbank hospital having up-to-date psychiatric wards and I have no doubt that it will have such wards.
The legislation that has recently been passed - giving service pensioners full rights under regulation 66 of the regulations under the Repatriation Act to treatment for non-war-caused disabilities, including hospital accommodation and medicines - will make no difference to the accommodation provided in the psychiatric wards at the Springbank hospital. There is accommodation for those service pensioners in the general wards at Springbank. The South Australian service pensioners will have that accommodation available to them. There will be no difficulty in providing for their requirements at the Springbank hospital.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Assuming that it is correct that the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics can compel business centres to furnish it with four returns a year, can the Minister say whether the additional expense incurred in three extra stock-takings, apart from the usual yearly stock-taking, which business centres are thus obliged to make, is deductible for taxation purposes?
– I suggest, Mr. Deputy President, that the question is entirely out of order. It is based on hypothetic circumstances and assumes a certain fact. I think that the best course that the honorable senator can take is to wait until I obtain for him an answer to the earlier question he asked on this subject which I have already told him I shall get for him as early as possible, and then, if he wishes, submit the question he has just asked.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Is he aware that teenage girls are receiving through the post from Zurich, in Switzerland, literature on birth control? As the recipients of the literature have never had any dealings with the firm which is sending the literature and are unaware of the circumstances in which their names have become known to a Swiss firm, does the Minister consider that this is a correct use of Her Majesty’s mail services? I may say that the firm concerned has an agency in Sydney. Will the Postmaster-General investigate the matter and take steps to see that this practice is stopped because it is causing quite a lot of concern to the mothers of the girls receiving the literature?
– The question concerns censorship of mails, and perhaps my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, has more knowledge of the subject than I have. I am not equipped to give an answer concerning the powers of the Postmaster-General to open and attempt to censor mail of the kind referred to. I can only ask the honorable senator to place the question on the notice-paper.
– On 1st September last, I placed the following question on the notice-paper, and after 49 days I ask the Acting Minister for External Affairs whether he has an answer to it: -
Is it necessary for members of a foreign embassy to ask for and receive permission before they can visit the various Stales of Australia and Territories under the administration of Australia?
– After 49 days, I am delighted to say that the answer to the honorable senator’s question is ‘ as follows: -
Members of foreign diplomatic missions in Australia other than the Soviet Embassy do not have to obtain permission to visit the various States of Australia. If a head of a mission pays an official visit to a State, the visit is arranged in conjunction with theState concerned.
In the case of the Territories, the Minister for Territories and the Administrator of the Territory concerned stand ina similar position to a State government and accordingly official visits ot the Territories are arranged in conjunction with them.
Travel by members of the Soviet Embassy is subject to arrangements already announced by the Acting Minister for External Affairs on 23rd September, 1959 (“ Hansard “, page 1277) viz.:-
The Australian Embassy in Russia and the Russian Embassy in Canberra have been reestablished on a basis of reciprocity so far as restrictions on travel are concerned. It is true that restrictions are imposed by the authorities in Moscow. It is true also that restrictions have been imposed in Australia. While these restrictions may differ in point of detail, in substance and in practice they do not diverge from any notion of reciprocity.
asked the Acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
Does Australia recognize a government of the Congo State and if so, what government?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows: -
Australia recognized the Republic of the Congo as a sovereign State when it achieved independence on 30th June, 1960, and an official Australian representative attended the independence celebrations held in Leopoldville at that time.
The Government of the Republic of the Congo was then headed by M. Kasavubu as President and M. Patrice Lumumba as Prime Minister. Subsequently, however, as the honorable senator will be aware, the constitutional position in the Congo has become extremely obscure. The United Nations General Assembly, for example, has at its present session admitted the Congo to membership of the United Nations but it has not taken any decision as to which delegation may represent the country in the Assembly. It is understood that various efforts directed towards resolving the situation are now in progress, and it is hoped that the position may become clearer when the outcome of these is known.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– My colleague, the Minister for Shipping and Transport, has furnished the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice -
– The Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has furnished the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing ‘ the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has now furnished the following reply: - 1 and 2. I am unaware of the rates of pension payable to ex-mine workers or their widows under the relevant act or of the conditions applicable thereto.
Persons receiving an age, invalid or widow’s pension under the Social Services Act or a service pension under the Repatriation Act, and who, in the case of pensions commencing after 31st October, 1955, satisfy the Pensioner Medical Service income means test;
Persons receiving a tuberculosis allowance under the Tuberculosis Act; and
Dependants of such persons.
It is not proposed to extend eligibility for pen sioner health benefits to other groups at the present time.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
Is it a fact that repeats of a prescription for a medicine on the free list, prescribed by a doctor under the Commonwealth Government’s health scheme, carry a charge of 5s. per repeat, when authorized by the doctor on the original prescription?
– The Minister for Health has now furnished the following reply: -
No charge is made for the supply of pharmaceutical benefits to pensioners and their dependants who are in possession of a Pensioner Medical Service entitlement card. A charge of 5s. is payable for the supply of a pharmaceutical benefit to other persons and this charge is also payable for each repeat.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has now furnished the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
As pharmaceutical benefits absorb 50 per cent, of the national health scheme expenditure and approximately 58 per cent, of this is spent on “ broad spectrums “, will the Minister investigate the possibility of more broad spectrum antibiotics being manufactured by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, thus avoiding the expense of importing them and so effecting a saving in the cost of the national health scheme?
– The Minister for Health has now furnished the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answers: -
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I lay on the table the following paper: -
Audit Act - Finance - Supplementary Report of the Auditor-General upon other accounts, for year 1959-60.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives without amendment.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The provision in the 1960-61 Estimates of Expenditure for Capital Works and Services is £139,921,000. This bill, which should be read in conjunction with the Supply (Works and Services) Act No. 38 of 1960, will provide the parliamentary appropriation for expenditure on -
Details of the proposed expenditure are given on pages 236 to 254 of the printed Estimates, in the schedule to the present bill, and in the document “ Civil Works Programme 1960-61 “, which was made available to honorable senators with the Budget on 16th August, 1960. Further details and explanations which may be sought by honorable senators will be given in the committee stage.
Debate (on motion by Senator OFlaherty) adjourned.
– Mr. Deputy President, 1 wish to make a personal explanation. When the sale of the Bell Bay aluminium works was being debated, I discussed the discovery of bauxite in northern Queensland. As you will realize, the greatest of men and women, the grandest of saints and the most miserable of sinners have lapses of memory. 1 am merely a man; but neither a grand saint, a’ miserable sinner, a genius nor a fool could be pardoned for an error of the kind I made.
Never at any time did I seek to take away any credit from Mr. Evans, who was mapping out the area for the Frome-Broken Hill company, which had an oil search permit. I mentioned that Mr. Shepheard had discovered, or reported the discovery of, bauxite in the area. Actually it was Di. Whitehouse of the Geology Department of the University of Queensland. It was first described :in 1902 by Mr. Jackson, the then Assistant Government Geologist in Queensland, who classed it as pisolitic iron ore -and noted a resemblance to bauxite. Subsequently an analysis revealed an alumina content of more than 30 per cent. In 1947 - I may be pardoned, because it goes back for thirteen years, and I had no records readily available - Dr. Whitehouse described the occurrence of bauxite. Subsequently Mr. Morton, the Chief Government Geologist asked the secretary of the Presbyterian Mission to take samples from Weipa, Mapoon and other areas. It was in 1 955 that Mr. Evans of the Frome-Broken Hill company which, as I said, had an oil search permit, described the possibility of bauxite being found. So if any honorable senator has been embarrassed by the fact that I ascribed the discovery of bauxite to Mr. Shepheard instead of to Dr. Whitehouse, I apologize.
In committee: Consideration resumed from 18th October (vide page 1132).
Proposed Vote, £1,312,000.
– When the debate was interrupted last night, I was dealing with the proposed appropriation for Division No. 105 - Joint House Department. The Auditor-General, at page 19 of his report for the year ended 30th June last, when dealing with the refreshment rooms, bars and other amenities that are under the control of this department, said -
The overall loss for the year was £40,440 . . The initial profit and loss account disclosed a net profit of £1,113 (£503 loss in 1958-59), but expenditure totalling £41,553 on salaries and wages for provision of meals was excluded, with Treasury approval, from the operating expenses.
The Auditor-General having directed attention to that matter, our friends of the newspaper fraternity - the news hounds - picked up the statement and claimed that the whole of that sum of £40,440 was a subsidy to provide privileges for members of the Parliament.
– And the press.
– This question has been raised before. I was leading up to the point that although, to a degree, such facilities are available here for members of the Parliament, they are also available for members of the press and others who are associated with the Parliament. So the whole of that loss was not incurred solely in providing amenities for members of the Parliament.
The facilities of the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms are made available for the bed and breakfast parliamentarian. I am referring particularly to the provision of meals and not to the bar, which is open at all times. I have never been able to understand why the bar, which supplies alcoholic liquors, is open to members during recesses and almost at all times and the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms are closed for portion of the time. The pressmen are kept out of the members’ bar. I suppose that is because some members go in there and partake of some of the truth drug and are afraid of giving the truth to the press. At any rate, members of the press are excluded from that bar. But they are certainly not excluded from other parts of the building outside the members* dining room and lounge.
That brings me to the point where I wish to say that the members’ lounge is supposed to be for use of members of the Parliament. It costs £204,700 a year to run this show. I have before me a brochure which sets out the services and amenities that are available to senators and members of the House of Representatives. It deals with the lounges and other amenities that are available to members of the Parliament and to other people who are associated with it. Of course, I am concerned only about the amenities that are used by members of the Parliament. Members of the Parliament may go to the members’ lounge and get a cup of tea during the morning, the afternoon or the evening when the Parliament is in session. If members do not want to go into the dining room to partake of a full meal, they can go to the lounge and have a snack. Probably that is to cater for people who are on diets or something of the kind. The brochure points out that the members’ lounge is available to senators and members on non-sitting days from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is no doubt about the fact that it is available. A member of the Parliament may go into that lounge and sit down, but there are no services there for him when the Parliament is not sitting. Members have to go to the lounge at the other end of the building to get whatever is available there, but I would not allow any of the stuff that is served there to be served in my own home. It is awful stuff that is served. You can get tea. coffee and such things.
– That is not fair.
– What I am saying is quite correct. During short recesses of the Parliament the staff is still engaged, but its services are not available to members although they are available at the other end of the building to people associated with the Parliament. The point I am making is that gradually the Government is taking away from us what are described by the press hounds as our rights and privileges and gradually is transferring those rights and privileges to other people associated with the Parliament.
I wish also to criticize the system for the distribution of newspapers from the various States. I am not referring to the distribution of mail. Newspapers are delivered to Parliament House by carriers and others, but it seems to be nobody’s duty to find out where they are or to notify anybody that they have arrived. At one time the newspapers were delivered to the Senate side of the building and placed on a table that was put there for that purpose. However, the House of Representatives people objected because nobody notified the House of Representatives messengers when the newspapers were available. Now, those of us on the Senate side are in the position that those on the House of Representatives side were in previously. It does not seem to be the duty of anybody to take charge of the newspapers or to notify people on the Senate side that they have arrived and are ready for distribution by an attendant. This is an oversight on the part of somebody, but it is useless to complain because nobody will accept the responsibility for notifying the delivery of the newspapers or for distributing them to members on the Senate side of the building. The result is that the newspapers, although some of them come by air, are sometimes a day, two days and even four days old before they are delivered to us. On one occasion I found a bundle of newspapers in a lift. They had been put into the lift and were awaiting delivery. I am not the only one who has been inconvenienced by this lack of organization. Others have complained of exactly the same thing.
I do not know who is responsible for the lifts in Parliament House, but I know that they are in a dangerous condition at times. They never seem to be in alinement. You either stub your toe when you are getting in, or you tread on air because the floor of the lift is lower than the floor of the building. The position occurs in reverse when you want to get out of a lift. Another difficulty frequently arises, and for this I blame again the press hounds. You will frequently find that a lift is at the top floor of the building, with the door left open. I understand that that floor is used mostly by the press. In cases like that, the lift is not available at all. I direct the Minister’s attention to these things.
In Division No. 105 the proposed vote for temporary and casual employees of the Joint House Department is £82,600. A loss of £40,000 was mentioned by the Auditor-General as having occurred in the refreshment department. I should like to know whether the Joint House Department makes any payments to the Treasury to meet the expenditure on temporary and casual staff. On page 147 details are given of the expenditure of the proposed vote of £35,500 for the salaries and allowances of the permanent staff of the Joint House Department, but no mention is made of waitresses or other temporary staff. In this case, provision is made for an amount to be recovered from the refreshment rooms account, reducing the total salaries bill. I should like to know whether any provision is made for a part of the receipts from sales of food or drink to be used to help to meet the expenditure on the wages of temporary and casual employees.
– I direct the Minister’s attention to Division No. 101 - which refers to the Senate. Under “ Other Services “ there is item 01, “Standing and Select Committees -Expenses, £9,000”. I direct attention also to Division No. 102, in which there is an item, relating to the House of Representatives, “ Standing and Select Committees - Expenses, £300 “. The proposed vote for the expenses of the standing committees of the House of Representatives is £300, as again £9,000 in the case of the Senate select committees. I ask the Minister whether the items cover the expenses of the members of the Public Works Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. There are twice as many members on those committees from the House of Representatives as from the Senate, and I should like to know the reason for the proposed allocations of £9,000 and £300, respectively.
.- I should like some information about casual and temporary employees. I notice that the proposed vote in this connexion for the Senate is £5,950, as against an expenditure of £6,516 last year, and that the proposed vote for this purpose for the House of Representatives is £12,000, as against an expenditure last year of £13,513. For the Joint House Department the proposed vote is £82,000, as against an expenditure of £85,000 last year. I should like to know where these temporary employees are located and what are their duties. On looking through the list, I can find no reference to the refreshment rooms staff other than the secretary, the accountant, the manager of the bar and, I think, the chef. I can see no reference to the other employees that we know are employed.
I have been wondering what provision is made for the payment of staff in the refreshment rooms and what are the conditions of employment. I think honorable senators will agree that the refreshment rooms are not overstaffed with waitresses. Those of us who have been here for some little while will agree that the staff seems to be continually more than fully occupied. Their conditions of employment are most onerous. Like myself, other honorable senators would know that a considerable amount of dissatisfaction exists among the staff - although I do not suppose they complain officially - in regard to the alterations that are made, sometimes very rapidly. Consequently, they are called upon to do quite a lot of work. I am concerned about this particular phase of the administration of Parliament in regard to these three very important committees and departments. The Public Works Committee handles a considerable amount of work and is of great value to the Department of Works and the Parliament if its services are fully utilized. The Public Accounts Committee is in the same position. Both those committees cost very little money in comparison with the work with which they perform.
However, the Joint House Department seems to be developing to quite an extent. I wonder where it is going and what all its functions are, in view of its cost, which is increasing each year, and this army of temporary and casual employees. There is no indication of the number of them. I think information should be supplied similar to that supplied in regard to other departments, so that one can assess the number of casual employees. I always oppose the continued employment over long periods of people who are termed casual or temporary employees. I think it is time something was done about this matter. On previous occasions reference has been made to people being employed in the Public Service for long periods as temporary or casual employees and consequently being denied an opportunity to enjoy the conditions enjoyed by permanent employees. They are unable to participate in the superannuation scheme and other advantages. I believe the Government should look into this matter because I totally disagree with the present practice.
Because of my occupation before I entered this Parliament, I notice the conditions which exist. I was an organizer of a union which had quite a number of female employees engaged in refreshment services and a number of casual and temporary employees. As a result of the work that was performed by our union, the period for which such people serve in casual or temporary capacities has been considerably reduced. They now become eligible to become members of the permanent staff within a very much shorter period than formerly. I believe it is time something was done here about that matter. I should like to know where all these temporary employees are employed in connexion with these three activities of Parliament - the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Joint House Department.
.- 1 wish to bring Division No. 115 to the notice of the chamber. Honorable senators will notice that it relates to “Other Services “ and the appropriation this year is no less than £590,000. Can the Minister give me details of that amount of £590,000? I say deliberately that that sum is far too great to be passed over without a full discussion, and it is quite impossible for honorable senators to discuss that division intelligently unless we get the break-up of it. Perhaps the Minister will be kind enough to give us particulars of that division.
– I support the request of Senator Benn, but I rise to refer to quite a different matter. On previous occasions I have referred to what in my opinion is a long-standing need of this Parliament; that is a satisfactory law denning and providing for the adjudication of parliamentary privilege. Within the last fortnight a circular called “The Libertarian “ has come into my possession. The circular contains information with regard to the subject of parliamentary privilege in relation to this National Parliament, which is completely arresting to me and such that I think the Parliament should not allow to go unnoticed. I believe the Parliament would be detracting from the status that it should enjoy if it did not take notice of the contents of this circular.
The circular contains an article written by no less an experienced dignitary of the
Parliament than Mr. Frank Green, M.C., who was the Clerk of the House of Representatives for many years. He refers to the incident of privilege that occupied a very dramatic position in this Parliament in 1955. He also mentioned the fact that at that time a certain newspaper published an article under the caption “ M.H.R. and Immigration Racket “, which Mr. Green says referred to a member’s professional legal practice before he became a member of the Parliament. Mr. Green is on record here as having advised the Parliamentary Privileges Committee of another place that if the member had been defamed because of anything alleged to have been done by him in his professional capacity outside the actual chamber of the House, a matter of privilege did not arise, and the civil courts were open to him. The author goes on to say that following the appearance of the people concerned before the committee, it was suggested that they be charged and that the actual infringement of privilege was in the matter of intimidation. Mr. Green makes this statement -
However, this fact remains - that never in the history of the House of Commons has a newspaper article been held to be a breach of privilege by reason of its attempt to intimidate a Member of his Parliamentary duties.
Later he says -
My view, based on all previous precedents of Westminster, is that intimidation as a breach would have to be physical intimidation and would have to be in relation to a vote or some definite matter actually before the House.
Mr. Temporary Chairman, we recall that that matter went to a vote and one House of this Parliament decided that the two persons should be imprisoned for three months. That decision was then tested in the courts and both the High Court of Australia and the Privy Council held that the Speaker’s certificate was a sufficient answer to the warrant. The courts would not inquire into the procedures or the charges upon which either House had adjudicated in the expression of its authority on privilege.
I have mentioned this matter before, Mr. Temporary Chairman. On a previous occasion the head of the Government said that it was a startling thing that since federation, until that incident the privileges of this Parliament had never been declared. An indication was given that the matter would be considered and that the Parliament would be given an opportunity to make its decision on it. I fed that this is a matter of great importance, because the procedures by which privilege is established and guarded in this day and generation are outmoded and inappropriate. I think that the Parliament itself is conscious of that fact and that it therefore hesitates very noticeably before entering on an assertion of the proper rights and duties that should safeguard not merely the existence of the Parliament but also its integrity.
It is one of the fundamental essentials in a democracy to retain a parliament the integrity of which is established and accepted in the community. The constant vituperation and smearing of Parliament that goes on continues only because the means of repudiating it are in the hands of the Houses themselves and they are reluctant to enter upon the exercise of this obsolete and out-dated procedure. For that reason, the integrity of the Parliament is never asserted. As usual, when I speak on matters such as this, I am not expressing an unfortified opinion. I speak to remind the Senate that when the Constitution was drawn up it was stated that the privileges of the Houses of the Parliament should be, until they were declared by the Parliament itself, those that belonged to the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. But as long ago as 1908, a joint select committee considered this matter. Under the presidency of Sir John Quick, and with the advice of no less a personage than Sir Robert Garran, who was then Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department and Parliamentary Draftsman., it was recommended that the matter should be placed on a statutory basis and that persons who were to be prosecuted for contempt of Parliament should be proceeded against upon a complaint instituted by the Commonwealth Attorney-General before a justice of the High Court pursuant to a resolution authorizing such prosecution to be passed in the House affected.
That recommendation has lain dormant all this time, even though it proceeded from the authority of Sir John Quick and Sir Robert Garran. In. the light of the 1955 incident and the disturbing comments of an experienced Clerk of the House of
Representatives which are contrary to the decision of the House itself, I believe that the National Parliament is drifting into a state of dither and weakness for want of attention to matters such as this. We pride ourselves, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that the Parliament is the focal point of our democracy. We pride ourselves that our system of justice is one which determines for individual people the security of their individual rights. In those two things we claim to distinguish ourselves in a fundamental way from the totalitarian countries. The people’s courts that were used during the French Revolution, and those that have been used in Communist revolutions, have been described as the very agencies of the devil. Parliamentary assemblages are a cross-section of the people and are not appropriate tribunals to adjudicate on the rights of individuals in any circumstances. They are disqualified from adjudicating on those matters in which they have an interest. Let me quote to honorable senators an opinion that was expressed by Professor Pitt Cobett, of the University of Sydney, in a statement submitted to the 1908 Committee of Privileges. Amongst other things, he said -
So I put forward the plea, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that this matter be considered at an early date and that legislation be introduced to formulate in an appropriate way those matters which really undermine the authority and integrity of the Parliament, at the same time to provide for the courts of justice, to adjudicate on infringements of the provisions of the legislation.
I submit, in conclusion, that the days which evolved the idea that Parliament should retain to itself the right to decide its own privilege have long since passed. We are not now experiencing the changes which the parliaments of the seventeenth century experienced. We have moved into a situation in which there is no challenge from the Sovereign or the central authority in that respect. We have reached a stage in the development of the security of the courts at which the Parliament can quite safely leave to the established judiciary the adjudication of matters that are alleged to constitute breach of privilege.
I speak briefly, Sir. I trust that the strength of what I have to say will be enhanced, not weakened, because of that fact. I believe that the Parliament is sadly in need of fortification, if the respect of those outside, to which it is entitled, is to be enhanced. I venture to say that if the Parliament established a system whereby the privileges of Parliament were to be adjudicated on by “an independent court, according to stated, known law expressed in a statute, the Parliament would derive increased respect.
– There would not be a pressman in the place if that were to happen.
– 1 am not going to be led into continuing my remarks by that interjection, the significance of which entirely escapes me. It seems to be completely irrelevant to what I have been saying. It is on a level which is in no sense relevant to my remarks. 1 have spoken on this subject on more than one occasion from my place in the Parliament. For some two or three years I have sought to have committees of the Parliament direct their attention to the matter. That, Mr. Temporary Chairman, is another instance of my patience. It seems to me that unless the Government will consider the matter and, preferably, constitute a select committee to evolve a measure suitable to the whole Parliament, on a non-party basis, it should be brought before the chamber on the motion for the introduction of a bill.
.- I cannot see, in the proposed votes for the Parliament, any direct reference to the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act. I understand that this is administered under this heading. I should like to make reference to the Auditor-General’s Report for the year ended 30th June, 1960. At page 19 it is shown that, from the inception of the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Fund to 30th June, 1960, contributions by members have aggregated £397,323, and the contributions to the fund from the Consolidated Revenue fund were £155,168 in relation to pension payments, and £44,426 for lump-sum payments - a total amount of £199,594. Last night, Senator Wright referred to a 72-28 ratio, that is, that 72 per cent, of the contributions to the fund would be paid out of the public purse and 28 per cent, of the contributions would be paid by members. The amounts of receipts by the fund that I have quoted from the AuditorGeneral’s Report are certainly not in the ratio of 28 to 72.
– Certainly not, because that ratio has prevailed only for the last eighteen months.
– I do not want to interrupt you unduly, Senator O’Byrne, but the items of the Second Schedule to the bill that are now before us have nothing to do with the salaries of parliamentarians. The items relate only to the salaries of the parliamentary staffs. Equally, the question of retiring allowances for parliamentarians is dealt with in a specific act - not in the Estimates before us.
– With respect, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I point out that in the Auditor-General’s Report to which I have referred, under the heading, “ The Parliament “ there are shown particulars of receipts by, and payments from the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Fund, and also particulars of the cost of administering the parliamentary departments. These are the only two subjects on which the AuditorGeneral reported, under the heading, “ The Parliament “. The Auditor-General’s Report then deals with the cost of administering the Prime Minister’s Department and gives particulars of expenditure on the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme and of the Australian National University. If I may not discuss the subject of parliamentary retiring allowances under the divisions now before us, Mr. Temporary Chairman, will you please inform me when I may do so?
– I think that the honorable senator may not do so at the committee stage of this appropriation bill, because clearly we are dealing with specific items enumerated in various divisions. As I have already said, parliamentary salaries and allowances are dealt with in specific acts. When bills concerning those subjects are before this chamber, those subjects may be discussed. On the broad issue, 1 suggest that it would be permissible for the honorable senator to speak on the subject of parliamentary retiring allowances on the motion for the first reading of this bill, or during the general debate on the Estimates and Budget Papers.
– 1 wish to make a submission, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I express my regret that last night, when referring to the subject-matter that Senator O’Byrne has mentioned, I made a statement in relation to the salaries and allowances of the parliamentary staffs as though the amounts referred to members. Instead of saying that the amount was £74,000, I should have said that it is £690,000-odd for the salaries and allowances of members. That error I regret.
Having said that, Sir, I submit that a discussion of parliamentary retiring allowances should be permitted in the consideration of the divisions that are now before us. We are considering proposed votes to pay the salaries of parliamentary officers and those who serve on the committees of the Parliament. The people whose salaries and allowances we are considering are the very constituents of Parliament. I submit that it would be a most unfortunate ruling that excluded from a discussion of the estimates for the Parliament a matter that is so germane to the members of the Parliament as their retiring allowances.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I should like to express an opinion contrary to that which has been voiced by Senator Wright, We are dealing with a specific set of items which together constitute the estimates before us; they do not constitute the whole of the governmental expenditure. Parliamentary retiring allowances, being the subject of separate legislation, are in no different position from, say, war service homes, the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, or a dozen or a hundred other things which are covered by specific legislation. The importance of this factor to the Minister concerned is that he may not have information on the whole range of governmental activities before him. If the committee departs from the matters that are covered in the Second Schedule to the bill now before us, the Minister is handicapped out of the race; he just does not have the information to enable him to reply to matters raised. I admit the force of the argument that the subject of parliamentary allowances is very close to that of members’ salaries, but if I were sufficiently inventive or quick off the mark I could perhaps think of twenty other subjects in that category. The available information is restricted to the items that are dealt with specifically in the Estimates. If honorable senators get away from the Estimates, all that the Minister concerned can do is to draw on his imagination or get something in a whispered conversation from an officer which might not be completely accurate and which might not be a proper matter to place before honorable senators. So I submit, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that you should rule that we must stick closely to the book if we are to do justice to a topic in the way we should.
– I wish to say a few words.
– On this issue?
– Yes, Mr. Temporary Chairman, on this very issue. I am quite willing to confine my remarks to the divisions on page 6 of the bill. On that page are set out proposed votes under the heading “ Parliament “. I should like to ask you, Mr. Temporary Chairman: How in the name of goodness can we discuss Division No. 115- “Other Services”-
– I will reply to that.
– I know that the Minister is anxious to give us the information.
– 1 will do that.
– I should like to say a few words, Mr. Temporary Chairman, before you give your ruling. I remind you that, by certain arrangements, first-reading speeches on this bill were dispensed with. This occasion is the one provided to us to review the governmental programme of expenditure. 1 submit that questions of policy relating to Parliament and the various allowances that would be payable to members are open for debate under the divisions now before us. It would be calamitous if the Chair restricted honorable senators, on a financial measure of this kind, simply to a discussion of the amounts of pounds, shillings and pence shown under the headings that are printed on page 6 of the bill. It is most important that the scope of the debate should be such as to enable every honorable senator to express his opinion whether the present allowances are just or unjust or are in need of reform.
– This- is a subject that has puzzled me for some years. Would it not be better, when dealing with the document that is now before us, to refer to it as the Appropriation Bill, which in fact it is? It is not the Estimates. The Estimates show everything. The document now before us contains only portion of what is contained in the Estimates and in my opinion it should be described as the Appropriation Bill.
Order! Leaving aside for the moment arrangements that may have been made with regard to the first and second reading stages, I rule that, at the committee stage, if an honorable senator is dealing with an item he must relate it in some way to the division under discussion. Otherwise, as Senator Spooner very properly pointed out, an honorable senator, by exercising a little ingenuity, could range far and wide from the proposed vote or votes before the Chair. If an honorable senator is speaking to the proposed appropriation for the Parliament he should relate his remarks to one of the divisions under the Parliament, the total appropriation for which is £1,312,000.
.- Previous speakers in this debate on the proposed appropriation for the Parliament have referred to the amenities and facilities that are available in this building to members of the press. I have before me a copy of the Auditor-General’s report, which gives details of the trading results in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms for the last financial year. Sales of liquor amounted to £23,233. The gross profit from those sales was £8,058 and gross profit on sales amounted to 34.68 per cent. Sales of tobacco and cigarettes amounted to £7,109. Gross profit was £1,169, and the percentage of gross profit on sales was 16.44. A net loss of £96 was sustained on the sale of tobacco and cigarettes. Sales of meals amounted to £30,189. Gross profit on meals of £5,113, and the percentage of gross profit on sales was 16.93. The net profit on the sale of meals was £1,209, net profit on sales being 4 per cent.
In directing the attention of honorable senators to those figures I remind them that the people who report the activities of the Parliament have sought to discredit the Parliament and its members in the eyes of the general public. I have been told in a jocular fashion by acquaintances that if I have a cup of tea in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms it is paid for by the taxpayers because the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms are run at a loss. I do not think that the prices we pay for meals in this building are very much different from the prices of similar meals elsewhere.
– Of course they are.
– They are not. I seldom pay more than 7s. or 8s. for a steak in a cafe or restaurant. Possibly charges are higher at elaborate hotels but not at the ordinary cafe, and, after all, the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms do not differ greatly from an ordinary cafe Grilled chops have recently made their appearance on the menu in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms, but their cost could not be considered as low. 1 believe that the press is doing a grave injustice to the Parliament and to members of Parliament by endeavouring to create the impression that we in this place get our food cheaply. I would like to see the Joint House Department thoroughly investigate this matter in order to ascertain the cost of keeping the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms open during the parliamentary recess so that members of the press may have access to the dining room. I wonder what it costs to provide members of the press who live in Canberra with some of the so-called advantages enjoyed by members of Parliament!
I do not know whether the attacks on members of Parliament are made by individual representatives of the press on their own volition or whether they are made at the direction of the newspaper proprietors. I suggest that the press has a more important function in a democracy than to feature only the negative side of Parliament - the sensational items and the human errors that creep into all activities when men are gathered together. After all, the general public must be aware that its representatives in the Parliament are ordinary citizens of the community who have been greatly honoured and privileged to be sent here. But the moment an ordinary honorable and sincere citizen enters Parliament he is represented by the press as being something different, something of an ogre and a fit object of scorn rather than a person of dignity. I should like the assistance of honorable senators to come to grips with this problem. Perhaps we could form a committee to meet the newspaper proprietors and ask them why they continually endeavour to discredit this Parliament and its members. We should ask them why they do not adopt a positive approach to the parliamentary institution in these days of world tension. We should ask them why they are not more sympathetic to and more tolerant of members of Parliament. We should ask them why they do not endeavour to hide some of our faults and to feature such good qualities as we may possess. It is not right that members of Parliament alone should be criticized for losses sustained in the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms when pressmen share the same amenities and privileges as are accorded to members of Parliament. I add my protest to those of other honorable senators who have condemned the attitude of the press in this regard - an attitude which has been apparent for a long time and is, in my opinion, becoming more pronounced. Attacks on members of Parliament are becoming more subtle and more damaging than they were in the past.
Although at times the atmosphere of another place is more exciting and the debates more sensational, I do not think that the press pays due regard to the importance of the Senate. The press should use its experienced reporters in the Senate to report its proceedings. I will be satisfied if my remarks result in the press facing up to its responsibilities and doing all that it can to preserve our democratic system at a time when so many threats are being made to its continuance.
Previous speakers have referred to sitting hours. I commend the plan that was put before members and senators in their party rooms and which showed the economies that could be brought about by having more concentrated sittings for, say, three weeks at a time, followed by a recess, rather than having members and senators travelling backwards and forwards every week-end. I do not think that many people realize that travelling 1,000 miles or more every week-end takes its toll of people. After a lengthy period in an aircraft, although pres.surization. has ameliorated the position, the body does suffer a subtle fatigue.
– -Pressurization does not put oxygen into the air at 25,000 feet.
– No, that is the point. At high altitudes the body does not absorb the same amount of oxygen as at lower altitudes. Members and senators do not realize that they are submitting themselves to extra fatigue by continual travelling. There may be some who are under the impression that their electorates would not continue to exist if they were not home on Saturdays and Sundays. They could make some contribution to national thinking by remaining here and absorbing the atmosphere of the National Capital outside the walls of Parliament House. I feel quite certain that there are many developments in the Capital that too few of us know anything about. An altered arrangement of sittings which would induce members and senators to remain here at week-ends would give them a greater opportunity to see what is going on. It would give some of them an opportunity to develop an Australiawide outlook instead of considering only their own electorates or their own fields of interest in the States from which they come. I support the proposal that was put forward and I hope that it will come up again, when more thought will be given to it. By adopting it, we could get through the work of the Parliament while effecting savings in transport costs and travelling time. Between sitting periods, members could be in their electorates to receive deputations and make contacts.
The standard of work of the members of the Public Service who have been the secretaries of the parliamentary committees on which I have worked over the years is highly commendable. Just recently the report of the Senate Select Committee on Road Safety, which worked under the chairmanship of our distinguished Temporary Chairman of Committees, Senator Anderson, was presented to the Senate. The work of Mr. Cumming Thom as the secretary of that committee was of the very highest order and I compliment him upon his devotion to duty, the high level of intelligence that he applied and the assistance that he gave to the committee in the preparation of that report.
I should also like to present a bouquet to those public servants who look after the records of the Parliament. It is a matter of wonder to me that they can handle all the problems that they face and meet the requests that are made by members and senators over the whole field of parliamentary records. On every occasion that I have gone to the officers administering those records, they have been able to produce very quickly the bill or report that I required. I do not think that enough recognition is given to the work that they do behind the scenes and I take this opportunity of paying a personal tribute to them.
– I shall restrict my role in the debate, so far as I possibly can, to answering inquiries for information, without embarking upon expressions of opinion on the matters that are being debated. Senator O’Flaherty asked for information about the parliamentary bar and dining rooms. The information that he requests is not readily available because of the method of keeping accounts. The Estimates before us contain particulars of salaries and such items. There is, in addition, a Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms Trust Account, in which are recorded all the transactions relating to the purchase and sale of goods. I am informed that the Auditor-General, in preparing his report, has to go to the trust account and to the Estimates for information, and to amalgamate the information from the two sources for tabulation in his report.
asked why the charge against the Senate for committees was £9,000 while the charge against the House of Representatives was only £300. The answer is that the Senate controls the payments for a greater number of committees than does the House of Representatives. The payments for the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Constitutional Review Committee and the Road Safety Committee were all charged against the Senate, while only the payments for the Australian Capital Territory Committee were charged against the House of Representatives.
asked for particulars of temporary employees of the Joint House Department. These include cleaners, gardeners, technical staff and the sessional employees of the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms. There are 64 full-time employees and 46 part-time sessional employees. The Senate’s temporary employees consist of three typists, two attendants and a private secretary to the President.
asked for details of the amount of £590,000 applied to “Other Services “. I gave some of the information last night, but I shall give it more accurately this afternoon. The amount is made up of two sums, one of £310,000 and the other of £280,000. The first consists substantially of two items which together make up the cost of transport of members of Parliament. The estimated cost of using official cars from the transport pool, using hire-cars and hiring private cars is £120,000. All car hire, whether in respect of vehicles from the Commonwealth pool or private vehicles, is included in that figure. The estimated cost of air, sea and rail journeys is £181,850. Senator Tangney asked whether that” figure could be broken up. In reply, I inform her that the cost of air travel will be £162,000, sea travel £2,000, and rail travel £17,850. Included in the figure of £280,000 is a series of miscellaneous items. Provision is made for £38,600 for rent; £64,900 for telephones; £159,800 for salaries of attendants and typists; £6,300 for cleaning; £4,050 for stationary, equipment and newspapers; £3,050 for electric light and water supply; and £3,000 miscellaneous expenditure.
.- I wish to ask the Leader of the Government two specific questions. The first relates to Division No. 105, Sub-division No. 2, item 07 The provision is made for an expenditure of £1,900 on the publication “ Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia”. In respect of Division No. 114, item 02, we are asked to appropriate the sum of £45,000 for parliamentary papers. That represents an increase of nearly £14,000 on the expenditure for last year. I should like to know why provision has been made for that increase.
.. - The publication “ Parliament of. the Commonwealth of Australia “ is the booklet that is available at the entrance to Parliament House. The sum of £1,900 that we are asked to appropriate has to do with the cost of a reprint of that booklet. That money will be paid to the Government Printer.
The proposed appropriation of £45,000 for parliamentary papers will cover the cost of printing, binding and distributing parliamentary papers, reports, bills, noticepapers, Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Journals, and also explanatory notes relating to acts or’ bills and items printed under direct instruction from the Parliament. The parliamentary departments anticipate that the volume of new work to be handled by the Government Printer in 1960-61 will be approximately the same as that handled in 1959-60. A certain volume of work that was forwarded to the Government Printer towards the close of the last financial period was dealt with in this year. The proposed appropriation is, in effect, an estimate of the Parliament’s accounts with the Government Printer for the current year.
I have not directly answered the honorable senator’s query about the increase; but I believe it is best answered by the statement that a certain volume of work was carried forward at the close of the last period. From my experience of these things, I should say that that may well bc the answer to the question. The rapidity with which the Government Printer can do the work forwarded to him in a certain period determines whether the payment will fall due in the subsequent year.
.- I should like to obtain further information from the Minister with regard to temporary and casual employees. I ask the Minister why, although expenditure on salaries and allowances included in the schedule on page 147 of the bill will rise from £32,247 last year to £35,500 this year, the salaries and allowances payable to temporary and casual employees will fall from £85,219 to £82,600. Formerly, the activities that are administered by the Joint House Department were administered by half a dozen members of the Parliament with the assistance of the Clerk Assistant of the Senate. It will be noted that the cost of the salaries and allowances of officers of the Joint House Department is creeping up but that the cost of salaries payable to temporary and casual employees is falling. Earlier, the Minister failed to inform me under what award or conditions the staff of the Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms is paid.
– I refer to the proposed appropriation for the publication of the booklet “ Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia “. I note that no appropriation was made last year. Does that mean that the booklet was not reprinted during that period? We are asked to appropriate the sum of £1,900 for this year. I should like to know how many copies of the booklet are to be printed and whether an improvement of the booklet is envisaged.
Some time ago in this chamber I raised the matter of our getting away from the pamphlet style of publication and of producing something which would serve as a lasting reminder to people who had visited Parliament House. The booklet that is now available at a cost of ls. is typical of the literature that can be obtained at most tourist bureaux. As one walks along the corridors of this building, one sees a wealth of material which ought to be incorporated in such a publication. But to do that, of course, we would need to publish a book of the size of some of our text-books on history. If we intend to spend money on producing a booklet for visitors to Parlament House, we should produce one that is really worthwhile.
I should like the Minister to consider the proposal I advanced some time ago for the printing of a booklet for the use of children who visit Parliament House. Thousands of children have visited this place, and they are interested not only in the actual sitting of the Parliament but also in the historical matter that is to be seen about the building. An interesting work dealing with those matters could be compiled by either the Library staff or others who are interested, and could be made available readily. It would be of much more value than is the present booklet. I do not wish in any way to decry the efforts of those who have produced the booklet that is now on sale, because it has fulfilled a need; but I believe that something a little better could be provided, even if it costs a little more.
If a special booklet were made available for children, the workings of the Parliament would become better known, and it would be for the betterment of Canberra itself. If we want to advance the concept of Canberra as the National Capital we should begin with the children. I believe that a little more imagination should be shown and that, if the cost of such a proposal were not prohibitive, we should produce one booklet for adults and another for children. We are spending many thousands of pounds. Surely a few extra thousands of pounds spent in this way would return good dividends.
As I have gone through the details of the proposed vote for the Parliament I have realized how poorly parliamentarians are awarded for their labours. I am certain that the Australian public does not realize how many people in Parliament House are very much better paid for their services than are the members of the Parliament. Whenever an increase in parliamentary salaries occurs there is a terrific outcry from the public, as though members were getting something to which they were not entitled, yet the schedules relating to the salaries of the public servants disclose that members of Parliament rank as very small fry. I should like to see more publicity given to that fact than is the case at the present time.
– The booklet to which Senator Tangney has referred is printed in batches of 50,000, each of which lasts for approximately eighteen months. There is a big demand for these booklets by schools. The honorable senator has asked whether the booklet could be produced in two editions, with one edition on better paper. I shall bring that matter to the notice of the President.
In reply to Senator Sheehan, I say, first, that the employees to whom he referred have their own industrial award, the explanation of the variation in expenses has been given to me in some detail, but I would despair of being able to read it out in such a manner that honorable senators could follow it. Senator Sheehan might like to read the departmental note on the matter. The story is traced through in this document but it would be too complicated to follow if I were to read it to the Senate.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Prime Minister’s Department
Proposed Vote, £3,681,000.
Miscellaneous Services - Prime Minister’s Department
Proposed Vote, £5,696,000.
War and Repatriation Services - Reconstruction and Rehabilitation - University Training.
Proposed Vote, £20,000.
Ordered to be considered together.
– Yesterday the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge), who is in charge of the bill, said that the proposed votes for the Prime Minister’s Department and for the miscellaneous services connected with the Prime Minister’s Department could be discussed together. I want to make sure that we can refer to items of miscellaneous services while the proposed vote for the Prime Minister’s Department is under consideration.
– The arrangement, as I understand it, is that we are taking three proposed votes together. They are the Prime Minister’s Department, £3,681,000; Miscellaneous Services - Prime Minister’s Department, £5,696,000; and War and Repatriation Services - Reconstruction and Rehabilitation - University Training, £20,000. Honorable senators can discuss any items listed under those estimates.
.- I should like some information on two items included in the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department. I refer to Division No. 122 - Audit Office, and to Division No. 124 - Governor-General’s Office. Taking the Governor-General’s Office first, I find that the proposed vote for this year is about £14,500 less than the expenditure in the last financial year. Generally we find that departmental expenditure increases, but on this occasion it is expected that there will be a decrease. I notice that a retiring allowance of £5,000 was paid to the previous Governor-General, and that the expenses incurred in the appointment of the new Governor-General were £1,500. That accounts for £6,500, but there is still a considerable difference between the expenditure last year and the proposed vote for this year. I should like to know the reason for this decrease. In other departments expenditure on wages and salaries has increased. I do not doubt that the Minister in charge of this department can give the Senate this information. It is much easier to get information in cases where there has been a decrease than it is to get information in cases where there has been an increase in expenditure.
I refer now to the Audit Office. The estimated expenditure for this year is considerably greater than the expenditure during the last financial year. The difference between the expenditure on salaries and allowances last year and the proposed vote this year is about £40,000.
– Which item is that?
– I am referring to Division No. 122. I go backwards when it suits my purpose to do so. An amount of £7,375 was paid in lieu of furlough to the previous Auditor-General on retirement, and that has to be taken into account, but the increase in salaries and allowances is in the vicinity of £40,000. It could be that many members of the staff of the AuditorGeneral are also to retire and will have to be paid retiring allowances also, but that does not seem very likely. I have checked the items on page 148, but I cannot account for the difference of £40,000. I hope that the Minister will be able to give us some information on this matter. There has been no increase in the basic wage or in salaries which would account for this additional expenditure. This increase is much greater than any other increase of expenditure in the department. When an item such as this stands out glaringly, I think it calls for some explanation, and I do not doubt that the Minister will be able to give us the information. I will not labour the point any further. There are other matters relating to other departments to which I wish to refer.
– I refer to Division No. 625, which deals with the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. I notice that the estimated expenditure for this year is £100,000 greater than the expenditure last year. I take it that this is the intelligence service - the Minister will correct me if I am wrong - that is presided over by Brigadier Spry. I understand that there is another intelligence service connected with the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, another with the Department of Trade and yet another with the Department of the Army. Actually four or five intelligence services are provided for in the Estimates. I ask the Minister whether there is any co-ordination of the intelligence service referred to in Division No. 625 and the intelligence services attached to other departments.
My second question is whether any members of the intelligence service mentioned in Division No. 625 attended the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on his recent visit to the United Nations. If they did, has provision been made for the cost of their attendance in this division, or can we find it in some other division? When this service was inaugurated, it inquired into the background of people who were applying for jobs in the Commonwealth Public Service. In later years it has been used for that purpose. My mind goes back a few years when this service investigated the background of a girl who was transferred from Queensland to a higher and better job in the Weapons Research Establishment in South Australia. Brigadier Spry was then in charge of the service. This girl was extraordinarily competent. It does not matter what she was doing. She was in the armed services in Queensland during the war. When she came to South Australia the intelligence service made inquiries, with the result that this girl’s job was taken away from her. She kicked up a bit of a shindy about it and eventually she received an apology from Brigadier Spry himself. She was reinstated in her job, and everything was all right. She was told that a mistake had been made.
Some years later she left the Commonwealth Public Service and started in business on her own. She opened a coffee lounge. Quite a number of members of the armed forces used to go along to the coffee lounge. I want honorable senators to understand that prior to the argument with one of the intelligence services she had been doing a lot of work for the armed forces. I do not think her argument was with the intelligence service to which I have referred. That is why I want to know whether there is any co-operation between the respective services. I am giving this illustration to show that there should be co-operation between them. Members of this other intelligence service went into her coffee lounge and whispered that this girl’s background had been inquired into earlier and she was not to be trusted, or something of that kind. Eventually, all those Army personnel stayed away from her coffee lounge and she had to sell out.
Those events actually happened. If the Minister wants any greater detail I can give him the name of the girl - I do not want to mention it now - and the names of the officers who took part in the investigation. At very short notice I can get all the information, including the names of the people who took part in the whispering campaign in her coffee lounge and chased all her customers away. Her misfortune was traceable to an investigation that took place some time before and for which she had received an apology from the chief of the intelligence service. That is why I want the Minister to tell me whether there is any co-operation between this intelligence service and the intelligence services of the other departments in order to prevent that sort of thing occurring in the future.
.- I wish to refer to Division No. 626 item 01 - Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme. I notice that last year the appropriation was £2,170,000, most of which was spent, and that this year the proposed vote is £2,487,000 - a heartening increase, I hope. Many young people will be leaving our secondary schools shortly and will be hoping to have an opportunity to undertake university or higher technical education. They and their parents will be tremendously interested in whether the Government intends to increase the number of Commonwealth scholarships available.
Last year quite a number of honorable senators expressed serious concern at the fact that the number of scholarships made available in the last ten years had not kept pace with the large increase in the school population.. Many sad cases were described. Young boys and girls had attained the standard which was certified as justifying a scholarship, but because the number of scholarships had not been increased in accordance with the increase in school population, many of those young people were not granted Commonwealth scholarships. Strong representations were made to the Government for an increase in the number of scholarships. I ask the Minister whether this appropriation represents compliance by the Government with the request that was made to it at the time by so many honorable senators.
Another matter to which I wish to refer is Division No. 622 item 08 - the Commonwealth Literary Fund. I understand that this fund provides some assistance for writers and authors who desire to undertake certain work. Last year the appropriation was £12,000, and this year it is £20,000. I support anything that will be of cultural value. I have received representations from people who are not happy about the allocations made from the fund. I appreciate that it is a difficult matter. It involves the members of the Commonwealth Literary Fund Committee weighing the claims of some people against those of other people. There is a lot of dissatisfaction among people who have applied for assistance and have not received allocation. They have made suggestions about other people. Because I have not full evidence, I will not proceed with that aspect of the matter, except to say that I hope that the Government will do everything it can to ensure, first, that competent persons are assessing the claims made upon the fund and, secondly, that every opportunity is being given to interested authors to apply for assistance.
Sometimes I feel that some of the dissatisfaction is due to the fact that some authors know better than others how to present a claim. Some writers know more than others about the way to get to the Commonwealth Literary Fund. I suggest that perhaps more publicity could be given to the proper method of making an approach, with a view to allaying some of the dissatisfaction that undoubtedly exists.
– I should like to ask the Minister a question on Division No. 127 - Commonwealth Grants Commission. The amount appropriated this year is £27,900 compared with the appropriation last year of £24,703, Division No. 127, subdivision No. 1, item 01, reads -
Salaries and allowances as per Schedule, page ISO.
On page 150 I find that the number of positions under the heading, “Assistant Secretary, Senior Finance Officers, Research Officers and Clerk “, has increased from seven to nine, and the appropriation has increased from £10.200 last year to an estimate of £16,299 this year, a difference of £6,099. We know that last year a new tax reimbursement arrangement was agreed to by the Commonwealth and the States. Under the new formula, South Australia ceased to be a mendicant State. In future, the only States that will receive grants, other than in exceptional circumstances, are Tasmania and Western Australia.
Prior to the new agreement, the Commonwealth Grants Commission was recommending grants amounting to more than £25,000,000 a year, but that amount has now been reduced to £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 a year. Notwithstanding the fact that one State is not now a recipient of grants on the recommendation of the commission, the staff of the commission has increased by two officers. Surely, it is easier to look after the requirements of two States, as at present, than those of three and sometimes four States, as in previous years. I cannot understand why the staff should be increased in the circumstances, and I should like the Minister to be good enough to explain the position.
– Perhaps I may be permitted to deal with a few of the matters that have been raised so far, restricting myself merely to answering questions. The variation in the cost of the Governor-General’s Office is due to the fact that the costs of the departure of the previous Governor-General and of the arrival of the present GovernorGeneral were non-recurring. They occurred last year and will not occur this year. Therefore, the total estimated expenditure is lower this year. Senator Aylett asked for the reason for the increase of about £40,000 in the proposed vote for the Audit Office. I have detailed figures which show that the amount is made up as follows: Margins,. £34,500; additional salary pay ments, £11,000; new positions, £7,100; increase in overseas allowances, £2,400; replacement of temporary staff by permanent officers, £5,000; increments of salary, £4,000; minus non-recurring pay-day, £23,801 - in other words, there was one more pay-day last year than there will be this year.
In reply to Senator O’Flaherty, I point out there is only one Australian Security Intelligence Organization, and that is the body under the control of Brigadier Spry. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) did not take a security officer overseas with him. In reference to the question asked by Senator McManus, 1 give the following information in regard to the budget for education, after paying due regard to representations made concerning the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. Up to 3,000 scholarships may be awarded each year. In addition, 100 Commonwealth post-graduate awards are available. It is estimated that there will be an increase in the number of Commonwealth scholarship holders in training from 11,630 last year to 12,250 this year.
In regard to the Commonwealth Literary Fund, I have quite a long note and I do not propose to read all of it. Instead, I shall make a few brief but important points. The fund is administered by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, with an advisory board. It is maintained for the purpose of providing pensions for persons who have contributed substantially to Australian literature and who are aged or infirm, and perhaps also for the families of such persons who have died in necessitous circumstances. The fund affords a limited number of writers sufficient leisure to enable them to devote their whole time and talents to a work approved by the fund committee. It also provides assistance towards the cost of publishing manuscripts, and to universities for lectures in Australian literature. There has been quite a substantial increase in the appropriation - from £12,000 to £20,000. I think it is necessary to know that the Commonwealth Literary Fund, as well as encouraging literature, also has about it a provident fund atmosphere.
In reply to Senator Scott’s question, I point out that the Commonwealth Grants
Commission will continue to investigate the situation in all States to obtain a picture of the relative position overall. The Public Service Board has agreed to the creation of two positions of investigating officer because of the widening scope of the commission’s investigations.
, - I refer to Division No. 622 - Prime Minister’s Department - Miscellaneous Services - where there are some items which give one cause for thought. I refer to the votes for visits overseas by various Ministers. I am not quibbling because Ministers make visits overseas; I appreciate that in any government some such visits are necessary, but I am rather amazed by the accuracy of the budgeting. For most of the twelve or thirteen overseas visits, the budgeting is accurate to within £1. I do not know whether the Ministers concerned were asked to leave behind them a deposit of £1 as a guarantee that they would not abscond, or whether it is just a case of excellent budgeting. First, we have the visit abroad of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for which the estimated expenditure was £7,067. The expenditure was £7,066. The trip of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) was budgeted to cost £5,113 and the amount spent was £5,112. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Sir Walter Cooper) was even more accurate. Apparently, he did not leave a deposit behind him, but took the lot. The trip was budgeted to cost £4,933, and £4,933 it was.
The expenses of the visit to the Argentine of the President of the Senate (Senator Sir Alister McMullin) and personal staff was estimated to cost £3,357, and expenditure was £3,356. Apparently, he kept £1 in his pocket. I do not say that in any bad sense. I merely mean that he was on the right side of the ledger by £1. The visit abroad of the Minister for External Affairs in 1959 was budgeted for at £8,316, and that exact amount was spent. When the Prime Minister visited Indonesia and Malaya, a special aircraft was chartered at a cost of £8,558. The amount budgeted for was £8,560. The mathematician was astray to the extent of £2. I do not know whether we are expected to swallow this budgeting almost to the exact £1. I notice that in connexion with some of the visits further expenditure is to be incurred in 1960-61. I take it that the amounts budgeted for are really debits on the exes that were expended on last year’s visits, and were not as nicely balanced out as these figures would lead us to believe. I should like to know whether any amounts are set aside each year for visits overseas. There does not seem to be much available for overseas visits that may be necessary in the course of this year. However, I should like the Government to let us in on the secret of this very remarkably accurate budgeting. I am sure that many people in the community would like to have the secret, too.
– Such as the housewives?
– The housewives usually manage to stay on the right side of the budget but their husbands cannot do so. They may be interested in this aspect of national housekeeping.
I wish to refer to item 14, Division No. 622 - “ Surf Life Saving Association - Grant - £8,000 “ - under Miscellaneous Services. The proposed grant this year is the same amount as that for last year. I refer also to item 15 - “ Royal Life Saving Society - Grant - £8,000 “. being a similar amount to that provided last year. If there are bodies in this community which deserve very great assistance from the Government and from private organizations and private individuals, they are the life-saving associations, which do such magnificent work in saving life at our beaches during the swimming season and at other times of the year. It must be very disheartening to lifesavers who, at the risk of their lives, rescue swimmers in distress and receive in return not even a word of thanks.
Most of the life-saving clubs throughout Australia are very hard put to it to get equipment and so on to carry out this noble work. The clubs comprise young men and women who give up their time voluntarily. They do not just become members of a life-saving club; they must do a certain amount of work. While they enjoy it, they are subject to strict routine and a strict regiment of training, which is all done in the public interest. They give up their time to this vitally important work. When we read in the newspapers day after day of the appalling loss of life at nonpatrolled beaches and at other places where there are no life-savers, we should realize they are entitled to a higher grant than £8,000. The Government gets the greatest possible return for its expenditure in this regard. A grant of £8,000 to the two lifesaving bodies to which I have referred is very small recognition of the wonderful work that they do. I should like to see a campaign undertaken by the Commonwealth - similar to the road safety campaign - in order to stop the toll of life in our waterways - particularly the lives of young children - where these life-saving associations do not operate. I ask the Minister to inform me whether there is any likelihood of the Government reconsidering this matter with a. view to increasing the grants to life-saving clubs and societies.
I refer now to item 07 - “ Oriental languages - Courses at universities, £8,000” under Division No. 626 - Office of Education. Of last year’s vote of £57,700, I find £57,052 was expended. Apparently the estimating was not quite as good as that concerning the cost of ministerial trips, but it was pretty accurate. I should like to know why the proposed vote for this year has dropped to £8,000, because if ever a country was in need of the development of oriental languages amongst its scholars it is Australia. We are so situated in relation to commerce and defence and so on within the Asiatic orbit that I feel certain that the expenditure on the teaching of oriental languages results in great benefit to Australia. In our schools, we teach French, German and Latin, which are not of very great commercial use to us in later years, whereas we neglect this important factor in relation to our potential customers in the realm of trade. These are the people with whom we as a nation in the Pacific have to live and with whom, we hope to have a peaceful existence. Therefore, I should like to know why, at this stage particularly, the grant is to be cut from £57,700 to £8,000.
– I wish to refer to item 11 of Division No. 622 - Prime Minister’s Department - “ Art Advisory Board - Expenses, £1,150”, and also item 34 - “ Historical and other works of art including commission for portraits, £2,750’”. These two items are interrelated. I understand that one relates to the expenses of the Art Advisory Board, and the other to the capital cost of the acquisition by the Government of certain works of art.
I shall first deal with the latter item, Sir. It appears that we propose to spend this year up to £2,750 on the acquisition of artistic works, compared with expenditure last year for this purpose of £2,337. As I understand the position, the Art Advisory Board advises the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) on appropriate works of art to be acquired. It would appear that the board incurred expenditure last year of £1,536 in relation to historical and other works of art that were acquired for £2,337. The first point I would like to make is this: It is a deplorable circumstance that, for the acquisition of works of art for the National Capital of a nation the size of Australia, only £2,000 odd is set aside. In this city of Canberra, if we look about us we can see the result of such meagre votes. There is hardly one decent work of art in this city. There is not a decent piece of sculpture here, and there are not half a dozen decent paintings. There are many more works of art in the provincial cities of this country such as Ballarat and Mildura and my home city, Kalgoorlie, than in this National Capital. The situation will not get any better if we as a Parliament are prepared to condone the expenditure of only £2,000 on the acquisition of works of art.
– None of them was purchased out of the Treasury?
– I do not know. I have quoted the total commitment of the Government for this year.
– We do not know where to put the works of art.
– I appreciate that aspect of the matter. I am aware that a well-known Australian artist - I shall not mention his name - offered to give to the nation some very fine works of art, but his offer was not accepted because there was nowhere to put them. That is a most deplorable circumstance. It would not take very long to run up another temporary building for this purpose. I would be prepared to acknowledge the argument in favour of temporary buildings in this instance for the time being to enable the Government to acquire works of art.
Let me emphasize that there is not one national memorial in Canberra to any of our Service leaders. Australia has been a nation for many years and she has had many famous Service leaders, but we do not have one national memorial to any of them. We do not have a memorial to any of our great religious leaders. With the exception of a few pieces in King’s Hall we have no memorial to our political leaders. We have no memorial to our great pioneers and explorers. Canberra is a national capital devoid of national culture. It is terrible to think that the Government is to spend only about £2,000 on the acquisition of works of art. I know that certain members of the Art Advisory Board have been critical of the Government’s attitude in this regard, but the board is not responsible for advising the Government on matters of policy. I suspect that decisions on matters of this kind are almost entirely in the hands of Treasury officials. They are the people who decide policy. I do not imagine that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has any time to devote to it. I implore the Government to reconsider its attitude. I do not accept the proposition that we have no room for more works of art. We can find room for them. There is room in this building for more pictures and more statuary to be housed for the time being. Some items could even be placed in the hotel at which I reside in Canberra. While the Commonwealth is hesitating the State governments are buying up all the works of art that are available in Australia. Those works are being lost to the Commonwealth. It is time that the Commonwealth became aware of the importance of acquiring a proper collection of works of art. Valuable works are lost every week and every month to the States and to overseas collectors while the Commonwealth calmly watches and provides a meagre £2,000 odd for the acquisition of works of art. It is high time that we did something about this matter. I urge the Government to reconsider its attitude. This is an important subject and posterity will condemn us for our lack of interest in it.
– I want to refer to Division No. 622 - Prime Minister’s Department - Miscellaneous Services - and specifically to items shown at page 97 of the bill, dealing with visits overseas of Ministers. Recently, in answer to a question that I asked about this matter, the Leader of the Government (Senator Spooner) informed me that all the relevant information was contained in the Appropriation Bill under Miscellaneous Services. I defy any one, even a lawyer, to work out from the information given in the bill the cost of ministerial visits overseas. I do not think that the Government has been frank with the Parliament and the people of Australia about the cost of those visits. I propose to go through the details of these items under Miscellaneous Services and I am sure that I c’an convince anybody listening to me that what I say is correct, lt appears that £7,067 was appropriated for the Prime Minister’s first visit abroad in 1960. As Senator Tangney has pointed out, the Prime Minister spent within £1 of that amount. His trip cost £7,066. But this year a further sum of £600 is sought to be appropriated for the visit abroad of the Prime Minister. I doubt whether his most recent trip to the United Nations has cost no more than £600, to say nothing of future .trips that he may undertake this financial year. Nothing is sought to be appropriated for further trips overseas this year by the Prime Minister, but it is very likely that he will make more trips overseas before the end of the financial year. In his reply to me the Leader of the Government said that I would find under Miscellaneous Services details of the staff that accompanied Ministers on visits overseas, but I cannot find those details anywhere in the bill. The bill does not indicate whether the Prime Minister took one secretary or 27 secretaries with him when he went overseas.
The next appropriation on page 97 deals with the visit abroad in 1960 of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). His trip cost £5,112, but he must intend to make another trip this year because £1,600 is sought to be appropriated for that purpose in this financial year. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Sir Walter Cooper) spent £4,933 on his trip. The Government does not intend to be as generous as that this year because it is seeking to appropriate only £1,850 for the Minister for Repatriation this year.
– Do you not understand that that money is not sought for another trip? That is tha overflow of expenses that has to be met in this financial year in respect of the trip that was undertaken during last financial year.
– Senator Wright may bc able to pull the wool over the eyes of some people but he will nol pull the wool over my eyes. He may be correct in some things, but I will show him where he is wrong in regard to this matter. Last year, no appropriation was made for the Olympic Games, but this year the sum of £20,000 is sought to be appropriated for that purpose. The Olympic Games were held this year; no games were held last year. No mention is made in the bill of how many staff members accompany Ministers on their trips or of the cost of sending those people overseas. The bill shows that the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) went overseas in 1960. His trip cost £5,119 and this year a further amount of £1,580 is sought to be appropriated in respect of an overseas trip by the Minister. If Senator Wright is correct and that amount of £1,580 represents an overflow of the cost of the Minister’s trip in the financial year 1959-60 it means that his trip cost, not £5,119, but £5,119 plus £1,580.
– I would think that undoubtedly is the correct assessment of the position.
– Does the honorable senator think that I will be making another trip this year?
– If Senator Wright’s interpretation is correct, why is it that on the following page of the bill no additional amounts are sought to be appropriated this year in respect of visits abroad made by other Ministers?
– Are you referring to page 98 of the bill?
– Please let me make my own speech. Senator Spooner did not answer my question fully and it is evident from the interjections that have been made by honorable senators opposite that they do not want my question to be answered.
– If you will resume your seat I will answer the question now.
– Let me continue. I am still trying to discover what it costs to send staff overseas with Ministers. If we turn to page 98 of the bill we find that the
Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) made a trip abroad in 1959, and that although the amount appropriated for that trip was £1,000, the Minister spent only £659. His trip was not as expensive as those of some other Ministers. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) also made a trip abroad in 1959. The sum of £2,200 was appropriated for that trip, but the Minister spent only £1,626.
– He went tourist class!
– That may be so. We fmd that the Prime Minister visited Indonesia and Malaya in 1959. That trip cost £930, but the appropriation was £1,100. But in respect of that trip no additional sum is sought to be appropriated this year.
– You are doing your case a bad service.
– Senator Wright says that the sum sought to be. appropriated this year represents an overflow of the cost of trips in the previous year. The Prime Minister is overseas at present, but no amount has been sought for this year in respect of that trip. Nothing is provided here in respect of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who is overseas at the present time.
– What are you trying to prove?
– What I am saying is that the Leader of the Government in the Senate was asked a question with reference to these trips, but he evaded the question by saying that I could get the information in the “ Miscellaneous Services “ section of the Estimates. The information is not in that section. There is nothing to show how many persons went on the trips or the total cost of each trip. At the conclusion of his answer, the Minister said -
In most cases, Ministers proceeding overseas on Government business are accompanied by their wives and private secretaries.
I did not ask about Ministers being accompanied by their wives. I am not interested in that. If a Minister wants to take his wife overseas with him, he is perfectly entitled to do so; that is his right. However, I do not think that the taxpayers should bear the expense.
– They did not
– Well, that is all right. Why should the Minister, when answering a question, introduce an irrelevancy? That information was not sought in the question. I asked what staffs went with the Ministers, whom they comprised, and what their trips cost, but we still do not know. We are not likely to find out from these particulars under “ Miscellaneous Services “, where the Minister said we would find the information. The Minister should give an answer to the question.
The total expenditure for the year under Division No. 622 is estimated to be £2,149,424. If Senator Wrights’ statement were correct, the overflow that he claimed I was talking about would be greater than the total expenditure.
Sitting suspended from 5.49 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was speaking about the cost of ministerial visits overseas. I find it very difficult indeed to find, in the proposed appropriation for Miscellaneous Services, the information that I want. In the proposed appropriation for Division No. 622 - Prime Minister’s Department, provision has been made for thirteen or fourteen trips overseas by Ministers. Separate provision is not made for the total cost of each trip overseas. It is impossible for any layman to dissect the cost of particular ministerial trips. The total cost of trips shown under Division No. 622 for 1959-60 was £52,515. The reason why 1 said that the Government did not appear to be fair in the way it submitted the Estimates to us was that, although that sum was expended last year, only £6,730 has been allocated for this financial year. No one can tell me that the cost of the recent visits overseas by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has not been greater than £6,730. When the Estimates are placed before us next year, it would not surprise me to find that the cost of the Treasurer’s overseas visit alone was greater than that. Where is provision made for the various other trips overseas that are to take place during this financial year? Are we to assume that the Government intends to economize and that there will be no more globe-trotting by the various Ministers? That may be the position, but
I very much doubt it. Surely the Minister for National Development will not tell us that before the Estimates were prepared it was not known that the Treasurer would make a trip overseas. Surely that would have been known, and surely it would be known that the Prime Minister would make another visit overseas.
The Minister should be honest with us and should give us an estimate of how much will be spent on overseas visits during this financial year. The only reference 1 can find to expenses incurred by personal staff during the last financial year is an item of £930 in relation to the visit of the Prime Minister to Indonesia and Malaya. So we are completely at sea in our efforts to ascertain the cost of these overseas trips. I realize that it is necessary for Ministers of the Crown to make trips overseas in the national interest, but I do not see why there should be any secrecy about the expenditure or why the general public should not know how much those trips cost. I note that a visit abroad by the Treasurer last financial year cost £5,460. When the Treasurer goes overseas to raise a loan of £5,000,000, £10,000,000 or £15,000,000, those expenses must be tacked on to show the public what is the overall cost of raising such loans. It cannot be said that these loans would be raised just as easily without the Treasurer being there.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– Perhaps at this stage I should reply to the inquiries that have been made about the cost of ministerial trips. Senator Aylett seemed to be trying to create the impression that there was some secrecy about the matter, or a lack of disclosure of the facts. But that is not the position. The situation is stated quite clearly in the Estimates. Provision for all ministerial trips is included in the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department.
– What about the Minister for Trade?
– I suggest that the honorable senator should listen and try to understand. I do not think for one minute that he really could understand the position.
– But I can believe my own eyes.
– Just keep quiet and let some one else understand. I do not think for a moment that if you did understand you would be fair enough to put the position honestly.
– - Well, you be fair now.
– You are quite deliberate in your attempt to misrepresent the situation.
– I am not.
– Let me state the position correctly. In the Estimates that come before us each year no attempt is made to forecast what Ministers will be going overseas during the year. That is a sensible approach, because it is not known at the commencement of the year what eventualities will necessitate visits overseas by Ministers. Two figures are shown in the Estimates. One represents the actual expenditure in respect of each trip up to 30th June, and the other figure is an estimate of the expenditure that remains to be incurred.
There has been some comment about the fact that the actual estimate is very close to the sum expended. That arises from this situation: Ministerial expenses are paid from the Treasurer’s Advance during the course of the year. Before the end of the year the Treasurer’s Advance is replenished to the extent of the expenditure that has been incurred. So the figure shown is not an estimate but is an appropriation of the amount spent up to 30th June plus what it is expected will be expended after 30th June. It is a wrong approach to suggest that it is a matter of accurate estimating.
– You should tell us under what item expenditure on a visit overseas by the Minister for Trade comes. I cannot find it.
– If there is no reference to the Minister for Trade, that Minister did not go overseas during the year.
– He visits us only occasionally.
– That remark gives force to what I said earlier - that Senator
Aylett is quite determined to misrepresent the position.
– I am not. I am dead honest.
– Senator Aylett has no intention of examining the Estimates honestly and fairly. He is just trying to falsify the position against the Government.
– Tell us what the expenses were.
– I will not answer Senator Aylett any further, because he has no sincerity of purpose in this matter.
Senator Vincent mentioned the Art Advisory Board. I point out to him that that is an honorary body which advises the Government on particular purchases. The purchases made by the Government may not all be covered by the item of £2,750 which appears in the estimates for miscellaneous services. There could be expenditure under other headings as a result of the work of the board. I am not referring to purchases by the Government for its own collection, but to transactions in which the Government advises other people, and transactions in which the Government gave tokens to other nations on the opening of parliaments and occasions such as that.
Senator Tangney mentioned the expenditure in connexion with the teaching of oriental languages. I find that the reduction in expenditure is due principally to a redistribution of work following the new arrangements for the Canberra University College. Although previously some of the expense was borne by the vote for the Canberra University College, the work was done by the Sydney University and the Melbourne University. That expenditure is now charged to the vote of the Australian Universities Commission. In other words, the commission has been established and has taken over work that previously was done through the Canberra University College.
– I think the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Spooner) will agree that I never attempt to misrepresent the position. I think we can start with that premise. I agree with Senator Vincent that as Canberra is the national capital, an attempt should be made to establish an art gallery here. Specimens of Australiana, china - I refer to an art, not to the country - and paintings characteristic of Australia could be collected and placed in an art gallery here. Considering that the Government has had plenty of money, relatively speaking, it has been neglectful in not attempting to establish such a gallery. I know that certain paintings and etchings have been collected and are to be found on the walls of this House, but the Government should think of this capital city in terms of the capital cities of other countries of the world. I hope that in the coming year our Prime Minister, who is a cultured man, will pay due regard to what Senator Vincent has said and will make a real endeavour at least to make a start on the establishment of an art gallery in this city.
In view of the estimates the committee is considering at present - those of the Prime Minister’s Department - it is a wonder that the debate has not been more contentious than it has been. The Prime Minister controls the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. In view of the irresponsibility that has been associated with that organization in the compilation of dossiers on certain people and in view of the tapping of telephones - which, of course, has been denied - I feel that some one should seek to deal with all the activities of the Prime Minister’s Department. They are activities which have far-reaching effects. 1 must express a measure of gratitude at the lack of results of the Prime Minister’s trips overseas because I think that now, with his extraordinary ability and mental agility, he will concentrate on the things that matter.
I have paid tribute to the Prime Minister previously for the extraordinarily good job he has done on university education. I think that that will be the only permanent mark he will leave on the history of Australia. He did recognize the needs of the universities of this country, and for that we are all grateful. If the Commonwealth had not entered that field of education, I think - and most people of intelligence will agree with me - that the universities to-day would not be able to cater for the number of students needing a university education. They could not have provided the necessary accommodation. Their buildings would have been totally inadequate and their equipment obsolete.
I propose to refer particularly to the Government’s responsibility in education. Honorable senators from both sides of the chamber agree that education is a basic right of our children. Children have a right to be allowed to develop in accordance with the talents they possess. That is an accepted principle all over the world. Not once, but repeatedly, the Prime Minister has said in another place that primary and secondary education is not the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. I remind him that neither was tertiary education, but the Federal Government entered the field of university education in a very effective manner. What is the use of thinking in terms of university education if we are not prepared to think also in terms of primary and secondary education?
I pay due regard to the provision of £8,000,000 in the coming year for capital construction in the field of university education. However, the Leader of the Government said - if I am wrong he will correct me and I will apologize - that the number of Commonwealth scholarships is to be increased from 10,000 to 11,000 this year. That is the extent of the increase notwithstanding that about 30,000 children will be sitting this year for the leaving certificate or matriculation examinations. The Government is providing only this miserable increase in scholarships. It is denying children with ability the right to a university education. Just as the Government has changed its approach to the basic wage, so it must change its approach to the provision of university scholarships. Australia has the smallest number of graduates in proportion to population of any Englishspeaking nation in the world, particularly in the fields of science and engineering. We are below the United States of America, England, Canada, New Zealand and even below a pauper state like Italy.
We hear repeatedly in another place and in the press an urgent cry for science and engineering graduates to help to improve the standard of living, not only of the wealthy countries of the world, but also of the poorer countries that are seeking a place in the sun. These countries are attempting to provide a reasonable standard of living for their under-privileged peoples. What is the Government doing to help in this field. Some will say, of course, that this sort of thing costs money. The Opposition recognizes that fact. Members on this side of the Senate are not irresponsible. How are we to provide the money? We must either make greater sacrifices by taking more money from those who can best afford to pay it or we must make a better distribution of the money that we are already collecting from the people. This year a revenue of £1,800,000,000 is budgeted for by this Government. What has been the benefit to the people of the £1,700,000,000 that the Government has allegedly spent on defence during the past eleven years? If we had been producing scientists, engineers and other trained personnel, we would have something that we could mobilize. In the Services to-day there is very little that we could mobilize. We have no real assets to show for the money that has been spent. So, why do not the supporters of the Government re-orientate themselves and realize their responsibility not only to the country of which they have the honour to be citizens but also to its young people? The young are entitled to education and the Government supporters are not accepting their responsibility.
What has happened in the field of secondary education? In 1957 the Wyndham report was completed in New South Wales. Only recently a report on secondary education in Victoria was completed. Submissions have also been made to a committee which has now been established by the Queensland Government. On behalf of the Australian Labour Party, its education committee, of which I happen to be the chairman, has made submissions. The cry is for more equipment, more buildings, greater facilities and an extension of the period of secondary education. Yet the Prime Minister, with all his academic brilliance, repeatedly says that it is not the responsibility of the national government to accept a national responsibility. He has admitted that under section 96 of the Constitution the Commonwealth Government is entitled to move into the field of tertiary education. What precludes it from moving into the fields of primary, secondary and technical education? Nothing, other than the fact that the Government does not want to go into those fields! Some people say that the States have not asked the Commonwealth Government to do so. The
States did not ask the Government to go into the field of university education.
– Yes, they did.
– Yet the Government entered that field. Give me a break. On this occasion I am making my own speech without any help from any one because this is such a serious matter. I am very sincerely interested in it and I do not need any help from any one. I would be grateful-
Order! I ask the honorable senator to proceed with his speech.
- Mr. Temporary Chairman, I would be grateful if you would ask honorable senators opposite-
Order! It is my duty to keep order.
– Do not Government supporters realize that with increasing numbers of children to be educated there are changing circumstances associated with education? Parents desire the opportunities of education in a greater measure for their children to-day. The percentage of young people to the whole population is increasing. Yet the Government has not seen fit to increase the number of Commonwealth scholarships for a number of years. 1 admit that about two years ago the Government increased the allowances and eased the means test. The parents of those students who receive allowances are grateful for that assistance. But the fact that thousands of children are being denied a university education shows that the Government is recreant to its trust.
I do not think the Government can answer that case. Some people may say that next year the Government intends to increase the number of scholarships, but what advantage is that to the 30,000 children who will sit for leaving or matriculation examinations in the various States this year? Is there any reason why the Government should not move into the fields of secondary and primary education? Is there any reason why the Government should not set up a committee of inquiry, followed by the appointment of a permanent commission, as it has done in the field of university education? A permanent universities commission has been appointed following the presentation of the report of the Murray committee. How can we have satisfactory university education if we are dissatisfied with our primary and secondary education facilities? Honorable senators opposite know as well as I do - probably better than I do - that an end result cannot be achieved unless the preliminaries are effective and right. Frankly, I believe that the Government should face up to that responsibility.
I hope that the Prime Minister, realizing that he is ineffective outside the shores of Australia, will devote his time to something he really knows something about - that is education. He is entitled to take pride in the contribution he has made to the development of university facilities throughout Australia, but if he takes a substantial interest in the education of our children he will make a real and enduring name for himself.
When we think of the number of university students and the wastage through failures, we all realize that we must have more and more students going through universities to make up for the number of failures which is going to continue in Australia. I will not enter into a discussion of the cause of failures. I believe that some students are not mentally equipped, and some are not academically qualified, to attend the universities. But the students are not entirely to blame. Admittedly, some waste their time. In some cases the lecturing is not satisfactory and sometimes there is a competitive spirit between professors for the minds of the students. The students are terrified as each professor in his turn seeks to acquire too great a part of the minds of the students. Those are some of the reasons for failures. Nevertheless, students will fail and the only thing to do is to feed more material into the machine in order to produce a greater number of graduates.
– Or better material.
– I mentioned that earlier. I said earlier that students should be better qualified mentally and academically. I usually try to cover all the ground, as you will realize, Senator Spooner.
– You would not be conceited, would you?
– Not I. I am being factual. I am not conceited at all. I am trying to deal with this matter in a realistic way in the interests of the youth of Australia. That is all I am concerned with on this question.
I believe that it was a tragedy last year when the Government decided to establish in Canberra a university which would absorb the university as we knew it, which was a unique institution in Australia. I am not denying the justification for establishing a university in the ordinary sense in Canberra. That matter had to be considered, as did the matter of the faculties to be established. However, I do believe that in Canberra we had something unique-
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I wish to make a few remarks of my own, but first I shall reply to Senator Dittmer. ‘ There is a very good reason why the responsibility for education should remain in the hands of the States, and that is that the constitution has placed it there. I object to our eroding the constitution by taking measures beyond the intention contained in the constitution. There is a second good reason, and that is that a centralized system controlling education over the whole continent would tend to become more stereotyped and less free and spontaneous than would smaller units. The New South Wales Department of Education is far too big. There have been attempts at decentralization, and I hope that ultimately, as our local governments become more efficient, education will be localized.
It is quite true that the Commonwealth Government is the main collector of revenue. I have always advocated that more money should be made available to the States for education, if the State governments so desire. But the State governments must accept the responsibility for allocating the funds and if a State government thinks that some other expenditure is more justifiable than expenditure on education, it should accept the responsibility for that and the electors should attack that government. I know perfectly well that a great deal of the agitation for federal control of education comes from people who want to obtain support for education. They want more money. But such people, particularly in New South Wales, will not criticise their own State government. The New South Wales Government is responsible for any backwardness in education that exists in that State.
The universities are on quite a different level. Each university is a corporate body managing its own affairs. Whether the money comes from a State government or the Federal Government, the Senate or council of the university is responsible for spending the money. Therefore, the matter of the Commonwealth Government entering the field of university education has nothing whatever to do with the field of general education. The Commonwealth Government’s participation in education began largely as a measure to help returned sailors, soldiers and airmen who had been in the war and wanted to continue their education. That participation continued because it was absolutely necessary, the universities needing the money. That is all I have to say on that matter.
I rose primarily, Sir, to direct attention to expenditure on the Office of Education, Division No. 128, particularly to items 01, 03 and 05 of the third sub-division. Item 01 refers to “ External relations in education, including United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”. I should like the Minister to say how that money is expended - whether so much goes in organizing visits, either of other people to this country or of our people to other countries, and whether part of it is spent on printed matter. Item 03 relates to publications, the proposed vote for which is f 13,700. I should like to know the nature of the publications, the readers for whom they are intended and, in particular, whether the expenditure duplicates other expenditure on education.
Item 05 refers to “ Teaching material for broadcast lessons in English (short wave) “. I assume that “ short wave “ means that the lessons are in English for people outside Australia, but I am not sure. I should like to know, Sir, whether the lessons in English which are being given for newcomers by the Australian Broadcasting Commission are organized and financed by the Commonwealth Office of Education. At first, I thought that item 05 included the cost of such broadcasts, but the words “ short wave “ have made me think that perhaps that is not the case. I shall say a word in praise of those lessons, particularly because they have been criticized outside the Parliament. I especially remember criticism by a former member of another place which I think was very ill-informed criticism. I have listened to a great many of those lessons. In fact, if I happen to be at home when the lessons are broadcast I listen to them right through because I find them very interesting and very good. Any one who knows anything about the teaching of languages will agree that they use the correct methods for teaching languages.
The criticism that I heard of them was to the effect that nobody talks like that; they are too slow and too deliberate. Any one who has ever tried to learn a foreign language knows that the one phrase that is constantly being used in speaking to the inhabitants of the country concerned is, “ Please speak slowly “ I have had similar experience with newcomers to this country. I happen to have had more than my share of spells in hospital within the last year, and on one occasion the lady who came to clean the ward was an Austrian. I saw that she did not understand the first remark I made to her, so I spoke very slowly. She said, “ Oh, if everybody would speak like that I could always understand “. Then I said to her: “ Well, you have to learn, you know. Do you know what a boy means when he says ‘ Goan ‘ome? “ She shook her head. I said, “ Goan 6– “ means Are you going home? ‘ “. The great value of the lessons that are given by the A.B.C. is that in deliberate, quiet and, I think, quite natural speech the newcomers are taught how the English language can be spoken and understood.
I should like the information that I have requested, Sir because the Office of Education is a co-ordinating body. When it first came into existence I was in the Education Department of New South Wales, and I know that, with the ambition that all new departments have, it was reaching out to find fresh fields to conquer. It was duplicating work that was being done quite satisfactorily by the department in New South Wales. I think we must make quite sure that the Office of Education is a coordinating body, that it performs functions which cannot be performed by any of the education departments in the States, and that it does so as cheaply as possible. Therefore, I should like as specific an answer as possible to the three questions I have asked.
– I too wish to speak to the proposed vote for the Office of Education. I think that Senator McCallum misstated the position of those on this side of the chamber when he spoke of our wanting federal control of education. I do not think that anything could be further from our thoughts. It is not federal control of education that is wanted, but financial assistance to the States to enable them to undertake better educational programmes. I think that the Commonwealth should be grateful to the States because of their efforts in the field of education. Some of the difficulties at present confronting the States, which wish to implement full education programmes, are due to the increased numbers of children in the schools because of the success of our migration scheme. That has led to other difficulties within the education field, such as the language difficulty, which have to be overcome before adequate education can be given.
We cannot simply avoid responsibility by saying that education is a matter for the States. We agree that that is so and subscribe to that view most heartily, but the Commonwealth has already shown its interest in education. It has interested itself in two aspects, namely, pre-school education, by means of grants which it makes for the erection of experimental centres in all States, a scheme that was begun during the war and has been continued ever since, and, at the other end of the scale, the universities. Those two facets of education account for only about 3 per cent, of the total school population. We are lagging behind other nations, particularly in the field of scientific achievements. If we look at the Estimates, we shall see that one of the reasons for that is the paucity of assistance given to the various scientific bodies.
At the outset, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I wish to say how deeply appreciative we are of the magnificent grant that is given each year to the Australian National University. “That university was the concept of a previous government and has been given full effect by this Government. It represents, I think, on the highest level, what the Parliament of Australia can do in the realm of university education, irrespective of party politics. Of course, when we view what is being done with regard to the National University, we cannot help but think that the position of the universities in the States is much more hazardous. Many jealous and envious eyes are cast upon our university here, with all its facilities and with the benefit of the grants that it receives to enable it to carry on its work.
I do not want honorable senators to think that I am trying to decry the work that is being done for the universities, including the National University, of which I have the honour to be a member of the council, as a representative of the Senate. We are deeply appreciative of the continuing policy of the Government in regard to the financial provision for the National University. But when we come to consider other bodies which are undertaking scientific research throughout Australia we do not find a very great measure of generosity expressed in these Estimates. Of course, we cannot concentrate the whole of our scientific endeavour in our National University.
In Division No. 622 - Prime Minister’s Department - Miscellaneous Services - we see that the Social Science Research Council of Australia receives annual grants of only £5,000. Surely to goodness the social problems which affect this community are sufficiently important to warrant a bigger grant than that. It is not a question of giving a sop to one section of the community, such as a few more pounds by way of pensions here and an improved pension there; surely research of this kind aims to get at the basis of our social problems and to find out why such problems exist. Once you get to the basis of the problems, Sir, you may be able to arrive at a genuine solution of them.
Then, when we come to the grant for the Australian Academy of Science, we see that the provision this year is £22,500, or a reduction of £2,500 on last year’s grant. The proposed grant for the Australian Humanities Research Council is only £4,000. Surely there is imbalance in our concepts of life and education. It seems that we do not give very much consideration to the humanities. Perhaps we are becoming too scientifically minded, although not sufficiently so to be able to compete with some of the other countries of the world. Because of the attention that is being given to science in al! countries to-day there is a tendency, which is world-wide, to neglect the humanities. That is evidenced by the grant that is made to the Australian Humanities Research Council, a grant that is only about 16 per cent, of that made to the Australian Academy of Science. Lower down on page 97, there is provision under Division No. 622 for grants to various historical societies throughout Australia. I contend that all these grants to educational bodies and research institutes should be grouped together when the Estimates are being compiled. We should not have to turn each year from provisions for teacher bodies to the Boy Scouts Association and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to find out what amounts are going to the units of one group, and often one loses something in one’s search. I hope that next year when the Estimates are compiled related subjects will be grouped so that we will be able to deal with them more satisfactorily.
I turn now to item 30 under Division No. 622 - “ National Radiation Advisory Committee - Expenses, £2,500 “. Has this body something to do with nuclear research, atomic research or civil defence? What is it supposed to do? We do not know. Why is an amount of only £2,500 being provided for the committee? Is it worth while? We do not know. We do not know what is being done by this committee at all. Going further down the page, I notice item 32 - “State funerals, £1,000”, and find that the vote of £1,250 for last year was not used. I hope that the proposed vote of £1,000 for this year will not be expended, either. That is one item in the whole of the Miscellaneous Services with which we do not quarrel. We hope that this amount will not have to be spent in this financial year.
Turning over the page, I notice under Division No. 622 the item - “ Australian Academy of Science - Contribution to Central Committee International Geophysical Year”, in respect of which £452 was voted last year but only £446 of which was expended. I direct attention to this particularly, because it is important. Only a fortnight ago, both this chamber and the other place discussed the Antarctic Treaty.
No provision is being made for this year. I take it that the amount of £452 was outstanding from the previous year’s contribution, or something of that kind, because I feel certain that we would have made a bigger contribution than that amount ‘a the International Geophysical Year.
I notice that last year there was a vote of £10,000 to the National Heart Foundation of Australia, and I am disappointed that similar provision is not being made this year. I thought last year that the amount voted would be the fore-runner of a larger grant to this very worth-while foundation, which applies scientific research to a very big scourge in Australia each year. I hoped that the Government’s contribution of £10,000 to this foundation last year was a token payment and that this year it would make a larger grant and so give a lead to the people of Australia who are being asked to subscribe to this worth-while effort. I feel that the people who are in charge of this foundation - Professor Ennor and Mr. Warren McDonald - will themselves become victims and need attention if they continue so vigorously to awaken the public conscience to the necessity to subscribe money to the foundation to enable research into heart troubles to be continued.
As I have said, as we go through the Estimates our remarks have to be sketchy because there are amounts tucked away that should be spoken about but which have no bearing on the previous or the following groups of items. I would like to see all these items classified into groups which may be more readily understood and debated.
Finally, Sir, I refer to item 03 under Division No. 626 - Office of Education - “ Australian Council for Educational Research, £7,500 “. Over the last few years, we have voted exactly the same amount for this item each year. I think that this is a very miserly provision because so many of our problems in the community to-day might be solved if we could get to the root of the matter through education. To conduct a real inquiry into the educational needs of Australia, instead of paying only lip service to this matter, would require the expenditure of a lot more than £7,500. As we know, a great deal of voluntary research is done in this field. I would like to know what other problems are being studied by the Office of Education with this munificent grant of £7,500, which has not been altered for some years.
I should like to refer also to item 06 under this Division - “ Adult Education Publications - University of Sydney - Contribution towards cost, £4,750 “. I do not know whether such contributions are customary, or whether they are made to the universities of the States upon the application of the States. I should like to know what procedure should be followed by the universities in the States in order to get’ a grant such as this, because in Western Australia our university has a very excellent adult education section and I feel quite sure that if the university had known that it could get financial assistance from the Commonwealth Government it would have applied for assistance to produce quite a number of pamphlets that would have been a very valuable asset to the community, but it has been hampered by lack of funds. I am quite certain that those administering the section did not know that there was this nest egg over here or they would have applied for some of this money to be used in Western Australia for the publication of some of the work that is being done for the assistance of adult education. 1 do not intend to comment on the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme which has already been dealt with. Earlier, there was a debate in this chamber about the Australian National University, for which provision of £1,801,000 is made in Miscellaneous Services, out of a total of £5,696,000 for the Prime Minister’s Department. I feel that such a large item as that should not just occur in the middle of the list of miscellaneous services. I think this is a very important facet of the work done by the Prime Minister’s Department. An item representing such a big proportion of that department’s expenditure ought to be placed somewhere else in the Estimates where it could be more thoroughly discussed. It should not be placed in the middle of 102 items under Miscellaneous Services controlled by the Prime Minister’s Department.
– I was rather interested to hear Senator McCallum refer to Division No. 128, particularly items 03, 04 and 05 under “ Other Services “.
I thought the amount proposed to be voted for migrant education was £13,100, but on turning to item 02 under Division No. 642 - Department of Immigration - Section 6 - “ Education of non-British migrants in the English language “, I find that £395,000 is to be spent on the education of non-British migrants in the English language alone. I notice, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that you appear to be wondering whether my remarks are relevant to the proposed vote under consideration. I think you must rule, Sir, that my reference to this item is in order. I agree with what Senator Tangney has said that one has to conduct quite a search to locate these things, and he may often get a wrong impression. I refer to Division No. 121 - Administrative - under the Prime Minister’s Department, where an appropriation of £186,400 is sought in respect of salaries and allowances as per the schedule appearing on page 148 of the bill. If we turn to page 148 we find that under this division provision is made for one secretary at a salary of £6,900, nine first assistant secretaries and assistant secretaries at a total salary of £31,795 and one chief economist at a salary of £4,777. In all, there are 109 positions provided for under this division. I should like to know why there are more first assistant secretaries and assistant secretaries in this department than in any other department. There must be an excellent reason for this, and I would be grateful if it could be stated.
– When I was speaking earlier in the debate and my time expired I was dealing with what I considered to be the tragedy of merging the Canberra University College with the Australian National University. Formerly we were in the unique position of having a university that was devoted purely to research and post-graduate teaching. Senator Spooner may say that I did not speak when this matter of the merging of the two institutions was before the Senate, but I remind the honorable senator that I had spoken on five successive sitting days and I did not wish to try the patience of honorable senators. I realized, too, that mine would have been a lone voice in the wilderness. Somebody has suggested that it was better for professors and lecturers to be placed in contact with undergraduates. I point out that the professors and lecturers concerned would not have applied for their positions if they had held that opinion.
Senator McCallum said that Commonwealth interference in education would lead to stereotyped education. I do not know on what basis he makes that claim. Surely the mere provision of financial assistance for education does not necessarily lead to stereotyped education. I think that a measure of standardization, as distinct from stereotyping, is desirable in Australia. After all, this is one country and we are one people with one destiny. I can see no point in the States having differing matriculation requirements. I can see no justification for the fact that children who move from the preliminary field of education in one State cannot fit into the education field in another State. That is equally true of secondary education. Successive Menzies governments have so increased the strength of the Public Service that it is obvious that many public servants will be forced to travel from State to State with their families. Their children have certain basic rights, particularly with regard to education, and it is unfair if they cannot fit into the pattern of education when they move from one State to another. There may be some justification for some measure of standardization of requirements.
– That may be done by agreement between the States.
– I have not noticed such agreement.
– I have.
– Well, I have not. I was a member of the Senate of the University of Queensland for a number of years and I was not particularly successful in getting students from that university enrolled in the universities of other States.
Senator McCallum has said that the State governments must accept responsibility for education. They have not accepted responsibility in the field of tertiary education. Although the State universities may be corporate bodies governed by acts of parliament, they have not hesitated to accept financial assistance from the Commonwealth. Senator Tangney referred to the £10,000 that had been granted by the
Commonwealth for the establishment of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, which would carry out cardiovascular research. She said that she hoped that that grant was the forerunner of many other grants ‘in the future. Actually, the Commonwealth’s donation was an attempt to buy research on the cheap. The Minister said that the Commonwealth’s donation was made in order to launch a campaign of begging to obtain £1,500,000 from the people of Australia to establish the foundation, the chairman of which is Mr. Warren McDonald. This is merely financing research on the cheap! The Government provided the initial sum of £10,000 so that it will not be asked to provide additional sums.
Do not let us be deluded into thinking that the people of Australia do not want improved education facilities for their children. As recently as May last 3,200 people gathered in the Leichhardt Stadium in Sydney. Those people did not represent teachers seeking higher salaries and better conditions, as has been alleged by some persons in the community. They included representatives of a multiplicity of organizations including organizations of graziers and primary producers. The Society for the Advancement of Science and trade unions were also represented.
– Who had the greatest representation?
– The Australian public had the greatest representation - people interested in the welfare of their children. The teachers were there as well as the wool-growers, the primary producers and representatives of the Society for the Advancement of Science and of trade unions. In all, more than 100 organizations were represented. What is the honorable senator driving at by his interjection? Of course there was a large number of teachers present. Would you not expect that? They are interested in the welfare of the children. Of course teachers are concerned about their pay and conditions, but they are also interested in the welfare of the children of Australia. Would the honorable senator go to South Australia and say that teachers are not interested in the welfare of children?
– I would not.
– That is what you implied by your interjection. The meeting in the Leichhardt Stadium unanimously decided to urge the Commonwealth to move into the field of primary and secondary education because the States had failed to meet their commitments. I do not deny that the States have made sincere efforts, but over the years some States have be~n prone to treat education in a cavalier fashion. In recent times because of new developments we have come to regard education not only as a basic right but as a necessity for the preservation of our country and for its continued development. This country cannot grow without a steady flow of scientists, engineers and other professional men. The view of the 3,200 people at the meeting in Sydney in May last was that Australia was failing in the field of education. I admit that the teachers are seeking better conditions. I think they have justification for their claims for better conditions and higher remuneration. I do not deny that our teachers should be more highly qualified. We have been told that Australia has a lower percentage of graduates teaching science than any other worth-while country. We employ teachers who are not qualified to teach. All I am asking is that the Commonwealth take a real interest in education. Our classes are over-crowded. An honorable senator has said that when he attended school SO years ago his class contained more than 50 pupils, but it is now recognized that primary school classes should not exceed 30 to 35 pupils. In the field of secondary education there should not be more than from 20 to 25 pupils in a class, but we still have in Australia very many classes with 60 pupils, and classes of 40 seem to be the rule rather than the exception. The Government says that it is doing a great job and that it should not come into the fields of primary and secondary education, yet it has accepted responsibility in the field of university or tertiary education. It seems to be illogical and ridiculous that the Government should come in at the end but not at the beginning. Unless more teachers are provided, the number of pupils in classes cannot be reduced. Unless more capital is provided for buildings, the number of classrooms cannot be increased. In some States, buildings are being hired for use as schools.
Schools that are established have not the necessary accommodation.
– Is this an argument in favour of increasing expenditure under the head of the Commonwealth Office of Education?
– Yes. That is the point I have been trying to make. I am trying to convince the honorable senator, along with others, that there is justification for increased expenditure in the field of education.
– We are dealing with the Commonwealth Office of Education.
– We are dealing with the field of education, and with the Prime Minister’s responsibility. If I am out of order, the Temporary Chairman will call me to order.
– What approach has been made to the Commonwealth for this money?
– The Commonwealth has ducked responsibility for years. The Prime Minister has said for years that education is not the Commonwealth’s responsibility. Organizations of teachers, parents and others throughout Australia have sought Commonwealth assistance. A couple of years ago the Prime Minister would not even meet a deputation from the teachers.
– What States have approached the Commonwealth?
– The honorable senator has asked what is the Commonwealth’s approach. I say that it has no approach at all. This Government is completely callous in its approach to its legitimate responsibility to provide the education that is desirable in the interests of the children, the community and the development of this country. If the honorable senator is prepared to listen, I shall tell him the story in full. The Service Ministers have, by and large, very little to do. The time has come when the Government might entrust responsibility for education to one of them and make him Minister for Education so that he can co-ordinate all the various activities associated with education.
– And gradually usurp the responsibility of the States. Of course, that is your idea.
– You want centralized control.
Order! The honorable senator should bc allowed to make his speech.
– I am not concerned with usurpation of the power of the States or centralization of control. I am interested in the welfare of the children, the development of the nation, and the preservation of its rights. If usurpation, or the handing over of State powers as regards education, is desirable in order to achieve that end, 1 am all for it, but that is a separate argument. All I am pleading for now is that the Commonwealth should provide more finance for education. Even if the Commonwealth leaves the administration of education to the States, that will suit me. If honorable senators would like to have a separate argument as to the rights of the Commonwealth and the centralization of power over education, I would be quite happy to argue about it, but the provision of more finance is a prime responsibility at present. It must be recognized that the States and the Commonwealth are escaping a lot of financial responsibility. The number of children in primary and secondary schools is over 1 ,900,000, of whom nearly 500,000 are no responsibility of either the States or the Commonwealth because they are in nongovernmental schools. If they happened to leave those schools and go to governmental schools, I do not know how the Commonwealth or the States would face the responsibility.
I ask honorable senators to treat this matter on a non-party basis. I believe that Government supporters are sincere in some measure. We have sympathy for the young and we recognize our responsibility to them. We recognize that they have a fundamental right to education, and that each child should be allowed to develop according to his talents. If the Government accepts that proposition, it is inevitable that in the noi: far distant future it will move into the field of primary and secondary education. It has accepted responsibility in regard to tertiary education. On many occasions I have paid tribute to the Prime Minister for that one good job that he has done in his thirteen years of office, eleven of which have been in succession, unfortunately for Australia. He did move into the tertiary education field. If he had not done that, university buildings would have been totally inadequate and equipment would have been obsolete. But the Government has not moved commensurately to meet the demand of the increasing numbers of children who are seeking matriculation. The Government still provides only 3,000 Commonwealth scholarships. The number has remained at this level for many years. Incidentally, the Commonwealth scholarship scheme, for which the Government claims so much credit, was inaugurated by the Chifley Government. How often does this Government follow the pattern established by a previous Labour government!
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- I do not propose to follow Senator Dittmer through the welter of cant and humbug with which he has just deluged the Senate. I want to refer to Division No. 130 - Australian Universities Commission, for which the proposed appropriation is £29,000. The Government should be commended for the work that it has done in stimulating university education. It is axiomatic at this time, in the middle of the 20th century, that the complex technical requirements of education have become more and more important. The Melbourne University has a proud record of achievement in most of its faculties. In engineering, science and medicine it has schools that measure up to world standards. However, at that university there is a department which is euphemistically referred to as the Political Science Department. According to reports reaching me, this department is strongly biassed politically in its instructional staff and instead of examining political matters in an objective fashion it takes them, extraordinarily enough, from a strong Australian Labour Party viewpoint.
– What is wrong with that?
– I do not subscribe to the point of view that we should have a one-party political set-up in this nation. I know that even mild criticism of a university is unpopular. Universities are, in a sense, sacred cows, in respect of which no one dare say anything. If he does, he becomes a McCarthy or a Torquemada, or any one of a host of other unpleasant people. I am compelled to refer this matter to the committee because of a recent experience I had in Melbourne. Science means the investigation or analysis of observed facts, and political science means such inquiries as applied to the political scene. If we are to be pedantic, let me inform the committee that the “ Oxford Dictionary “ defines science as -
A branch of study which is concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths . . .
I direct attention particularly to the word “ truths “-
Recently 1 had a visit from a young man who was studying political science at Melbourne University. He said to me, “ Look at the essay that I have to write. I know what my lecturer wants me to say but 1 do not agree with him. If I say what 1 want to, it may affect my chances in the exam.” He handed me the schedule and 1 looked at it. He was asked to write 2,000 words on a topic which simply reeked with political and sectarian bias. The title of the essay was “ The D.L.P. is the Catholic Wing of the Liberal Party. Discuss.”
– Of course, it is. There is nothing wrong with that.
– Go ahead. 1 object very strongly to the making available of Commonwealth money to insult both my church and the political party to which I belong. That was the essay for the third term. I do not remember what were the subjects for the first and second terms, but that young man told me they were in a similar vein. In a department which uses the word “ science “ in its title, the bias and drivelling nonsense of Tom Truman, for example, is regarded as a sound work of reference, is treated as being an objective approach to a serious and important subject and is recommended reading for the purposes of study.
I know that it is not within our province, as those who provide money for the Australian Universities Commission, to interfere in any way with the actual curriculum of a university. That is outside our province, and I have no desire to intrude into it. But in a democratic community such as ours no political party should have its doc trine or, in the case of the Labour Party, its platitudes taught at universities to the exclusion of the views of other parties.
– Its platform, not its platitudes.
– “ Platitudes “ I said, and platitudes I mean. I say it again - platitudes, platitudes, platitudes, humbug, cant and hypocrisy.
– Are you getting ready for the next election now?
– In 1953, Mr. Calwell said -
I hope I live long enough to see one-party government in Australia.
I hope I am a democrat. We democrats on this side of the chamber do not subscribe to that amazing contention. I believe, oddly enough, that the Labour Party has some rights.
– But you would not recognize them.
– But I claim the same rights for the political party to which I belong. I do not want a political test to be introduced for teachers. I do not want a person to be vetted to see whether he belongs to the A.L.P., the Liberal Party, the D.L.P., or even the Country Party or the Communist Party. That is not part of my thesis at the moment.
– It sounds very much like it.
Order! I ask honorable senators to give Senator Hannan a hearing just as other honorable senators have been given a hearing.
– Thank you, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I think I can cope with their platitudinous advice.
– You are empty enough to do it.
– This is my cause for complaint: I believe that even the abstruse, obscure and wholly untenable socialist views of the A.L.P. have a right to be presented. The very study of them is a refutation of them, and I believe they ought to be presented at every university.
– What has this to do with the proposed vote?
– I ask Senator Dittmer not to/ interject. He has had a reasonable hearing this evening, and I ask that the same treatment be given to Senator Hannan.
– I believe that the A.L.P. has a right to have its views presented. I do not take umbrage at that; I take no exception to it. But my cause for complaint is that Commonwealth money is being made available to a section of a university and that some of it is being used for the propounding of solid A.L.P. views.
– Name the student.
– I have no intention of naming the student at this stage. The examinations will be held soon. I do not intend to delay the consideration of this section of the Estimates. The matter complained of has only to be stated for the injustice of it to be apparent even to my friends opposite. The fact that young men and women who are studying at this university and who are of a Liberal persuasion should have this socialist rubbish stuffed down their throats offends my sense of justice and fair play.
– - And politics.
– And my political philosophy, not my politics. But you would not understand that. As I have indicated, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I only intend to make a passing reference to this unpleasant subject on this occasion. I have no intention of attempting to delay the consideration of the Estimates. But I do hope that the Department of Political Science of the University of Melbourne will endeavour to acquire a nodding acquaintance with political truth and justice before next year’s Appropriation Bill reaches the Senate.
.- I never rise in this chamber to speak unless I am sincere. If I were not sincere, I would not rise. In adopting that attitude I am not like some people who, when they do not want to see the other person’s point of view, accuse him of being stupid, of not being able to understand and of not being sincere. That is not the attitude I adopt, but it does seem to have been the attitude of more than one person on the other side of the chamber to-night. I include Senator Hannan in that remark.
Let me tell the Minister for National Development that I understand perfectly what is written in the Estimates and what is written in English besides each figure that is printed. Everything I have said about the figures shown in the Estimates is quite correct. I am quite correct when I say that the Minister evaded answering my question. I shall read the question that I placed on the notice-paper and in relation to which a reply was furnished on 13th October. It reads -
In his reply, the Minister said -
This information is contained under Division 622 (Miscellaneous Services) of the Estimates of the Prime Minister’s Department.
asked a similar question and he received a similar reply.
I ask the Minister whether he will rise during this debate, be as sincere as I am, and tell us where we will find information showing the staffs that accompanied each Minister overseas. Will he also tell us where we will find in the Estimates information showing the expenses of those staffs? Moreover, will he tell us whether expenditure to be incurred by Ministers representing Australia at the United Nations is included in the proposed appropriation for Miscellaneous Services or in the proposed vote for the Department of External Affairs, or whether it is included twice? I should say, of course, that it has not been included twice. According to the Australian newspapers, Australia has been represented by responsible Ministers at the United Nations and at labour conferences overseas. Whether or not those newspapers were correct, of course, is another matter. It is up to the Minister to tell us whether or not they were correct.
Let the Minister digest those comments. I remind him that he is not the only person in this chamber who is sincere. Honorable senators on this side are just as sincere and just as intelligent in interpreting the information that is contained in the Estimates. I have been interpreting departmental estimates in this chamber probably for a longer time than has the Minister, who is so handy at throwing insults across the chamber.
I turn now to Division No. 25 - Australian Security Intelligence Organization, under Miscellaneous Services. In asking for the information which I have been seeking but which I have not obtained, I am not asking the Minister to divulge any secrets. The expenditure on this organization this year is to be increased by about £127,000 over the expenditure last year. I cannot find anywhere the reason for that increase in expenditure. All that the schedule refers to is, “Administrative Expenses, £669,000”. The vote for this organization is creeping up each year. At the rate at which the vote is increasing, the time is not far distant when we will be voting £1,000,000 and more for this organization.
I know that this is the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. I do not want the Minister to tell us in detail of the telephones the organization may be tapping or the names of suspected saboteurs it is trying to track down, but surely the Minister can give us some information as to how this extra £127,000 is to be spent. I am not asking him to divulge secrets, because I understand that there must be a certain amount of secrecy about this organization. We have heard it stated that the Government still pays Mr. Petrov out of some secret fund. Whether that is correct, it is impossible for me to say. The proposed vote is shown at £669,000, and no details as to how the money is to be spent are given in the schedule. It should be possible to give some information. We know that Mr. Petrov has to be looked after, and there may be others like him, but I do not know. I ask the Minister whether he can give us some information on these matters, and give honorable senators on this side of the chamber credit for having just as much intelligence as those on the other side.
– I have listened to the discussion on the proposed vote for the Office of Education, which is included in the estimates we are debating. I feel that Senator Dittmer did the cause of education a great disservice by introducing an element of bitterness and partisanship into the claim that he made. He was generous enough to say that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had shown a continuing and effective interest in education, and he attributed to the Prime Minister the responsibility for making available Commonwealth finance in the field of tertiary education, thus enabling the Australian .universities to expand and keep pace with the needs of a growing and developing nation.
I feel that the National Parliament should recognize that since the present Government has been in office it has not contented itself merely with carrying out its responsibilities under the loan agreement by giving to the States a proportion of the moneys raised on the loan market, but it has accepted the responsibility - and it proved a grave * responsibility to the Government - of underwriting the financial requirements, in a capital sense, of the States ever since 1952. The carrying out of that responsibility has imposed a heavy impost upon the annual budget of the Government, but I think that because of the hue and cry that is raised each year throughout Australia in regard to State finances, that fact is obscured. I disagree with the present development of CommonwealthState finances, but when people claim that this Government is not giving to the States the necessary finance for their essential services, of which they claim education is one, I feel that they do less than credit to the Government.
It should be recognized that the Commonwealth, only in the last year, has negotiated an agreement with the States for the reimbursement of uniform taxation revenue, which has guaranteed to the States a progressive total. The States were good enough to recognize, by a unanimous vote last July, that this agreement would provide moneys commensurate with their requirements. We must recognize that the States are very jealous of their peculiar interests in primary and secondary education, and deservedly so. My own State of Tasmania make a great plea for special recognition because of its development of this field of education.
Having said that, I go further and say that we in this Parliament would do the nation a great service if we recognized that the Commonwealth has arrogated to itself the predominant control of all finance in this country during the post-war era. That has transferred the centre of gravity of national responsibility with regard to essential State functions much closer to Canberra than was the case before the last war. If the Commonwealth is to undertake the overall collection of finance that inevitably will bring in its wake corresponding responsibility. During a partisan discussion in this chamber, do not let us do the Parliament the disservice of ruining the claims of the adult portion of our population to a proper education. Let us see to it that, irrespective of party, the finance that we collect is made available on proper terms so as to ensure that the teaching profession is not put on a subordinate basis in comparison with other professions. It must be recognized, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that that sadly is the fact. The teaching profession is not being remunerated to the extent that post-graduate study can be pursued toy purposeful teachers to the degree which is necessary if the profession is to give adequate consideration to the needs of modern day primary and secondary schools. Irrespective of whether primary and secondary education is mainly a State responsibility, and only secondarily a federal responsibility, our interest should not be destroyed by partisanship or by a somewhat limited view of constitutional, responsibility. r did not rise to speak on that subject primarily, Mr. Temporary Chairman. The vote we are considering comprehends not merely the Commonwealth Office of Education, but also the Public Service Board. I wish to bring before the committee a few matters which will show that if we as a Parliament are to serve such great and important national causes as health and education, we must do so in a spirit of reality. My friend Senator Vincent appealed this afternoon for assistance for the arts. He pointed out that the total Commonwealth vote for that cause is about £3,000. I think that the explanation for that must be sought in the roots of reality and then judgment applied to see whether or not there is a canker at the root of the cause of art that is. substracting from the earnings of the people of this country who work and creating an imbalance between those who are fostered by governments and. those who are taxed by governments,
I wish to bring a few figures before the committee. First of all, I ask honorable senators to note that this year the vote for the administration of the Public Service Board has grown to the gigantic total, in relative terms, of £829,000. That is the vote for the administration of the office of the Public Service Board; that is, for the management of public servants. I believe that the total is excessive and that its growth should be arrested. In 1950 the number of public servants was 156,843, and ten years later it is 162,903. It is claimed that that is evidence that restraint and responsibility have kept the number of public servants in 1960 down to only about 5,000 to 6,000 greater than the number in 1950. Approximately half of the present number is engaged in the expanding activities of the Post Office. I ask the Minister to tell us during this debate whether that figure of only 5,000 to 6,000 in excess of the 1950 figure has been achieved by passing public service personnel over to public authorities such as the National Capital Development Commission, the Australian Universities Commission, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission and other corporate authorities whose employees do not come within the classification of public servants, but nevertheless are performing services which are indistinguishable from those under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board.
That is the first matter that causes me some anxiety. I intend to probe it hereafter. As well as noting, that the number of public servants in 1960 is only 5,000 to 6,000 in excess of the 1950 figure, let us note that the cost of the Public Service for the year ended 30th June, 1950, was £74,784,256. Last year the figure was £163,842,000. This year, a decade later than 1950, with the addition of last year’s increments the cost will be £180,000,000, compared with £74,000,000 in. the year ended 30th June, 1950.
Now let me get to the realities of the situation. Where is the money earned to meet that cost? If one looks at the figures for farm incomes one will see that in the year ended 30th June, 1950; farm incomes totalled £485,000,000 and in the. year 1959-60 the total was £466,000,000. Actually there was a decrease in incomes although the farmers, whose numbers are decreasing, have achieved an increase in productivity of about 15 to 20 per cent, and are still earning 80 per cent, of Australia’s export income, upon which we in this isolated economic unit depend. I do not mention these facts in disparagement of public servants, among whom are the most skilful, purposeful and laudable people that the country can recruit, and among whom are others of different qualities. lt should be recognized that in 1950 the farmers earned £485,000,000 and despite increased production they are at present earning £466,000,000; but although the number of public servants has been almost static over that period, £73,000,000 was provided for the Public Service in 1950 and £180,000,000 is being appropriated for that purpose this year. It is sheer madness, and this Parliament should co-operate with the Government in arresting the irresponsibility; otherwise there will be a dislocation of the economy which will bring sadness and depression for many sections of the community. In a dependent economy such as ours, the Public Service cannot be sustained on the fodder of paper money. People have to earn the money by selling the products of our primary industries in overseas markets. The farmers will not tolerate such an extravagant increase for the benefit of one section of the community when they are suffering a reduction in their returns. ft
I do not mention these facts for the purpose of asking for a decision on the problem during the consideration of these Estimates. I am maintaining a continuing interest in the Public Service and its management, the Public Service Board. I have complained that last year the Public Service Board, by a regulation, increased Public Service salaries by £15,000,000. I am complaining that the remuneration of public servants is being lifted to a level which Is altogether disproportionate to the incomes of the earning section of the community whom I typify by referring to the farmers.
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- As one who has had some teaching experience, 1 wish to sound a warning to anybody who may be under the impression that the improvement of our educational facilities at the university level and the secondary and primary level is largely a matter of money. A large extension of university training could not be undertaken in Australia to-day because our universities have not the trained staff to do it. I could not agree more with the words of Senator Wright when he said that the status of our lecturers and teachers has to be advanced and more scholarships have to be provided in order to train our young people. We must have a reservoir from which our future professors, lecturers and teachers will come, before we can talk about any great educational advance.
If you look at the professional columns in the classified advertisements in any great Australian newspaper to-day, months after the university year has begun you will see many advertisements for professors, lecturers and other trained staff. If you go to the Melbourne Technical College - the principal technical college in Melbourne to-day - you will find that that college is faced with great difficulty in obtaining lecturers. There is difficulty in retaining them because of the higher salaries that are offered to them by industry. To those people who glibly talk about spending hundreds of millions of pounds on education, I say that they should wake up to the fact that we have to provide the trained staff before we shall have anything on which to expend the money profitably.
I know that there is to be a big campaign next year for federal aid for education. I should be sympathetic towards that campaign if it were a common-sense campaign. I have noticed that £100,000,000 is being spoken of as a first instalment and I have also noticed that the people running the campaign say that that first instalment is to go to government schools only. They are very definite on the point that not a penny is to be spent in non-government schools.
– Where did that recommendation come from?
– It is a recommendation of a committee that is planning a campaign to try to get the Government to give greater federal aid next year. Approximately 25 per cent, or 26 per cent, of the children of this country go to nongovernment schools, and if £100,000,000 were to be provided, their fathers and mothers would be finding £25,000,000 or £26,000,000 of the money. Is it common sense to suggest that they should support such astronomical grants and not get a penny themselves? Let me take the matter further. The only condition on which the non-government schools are permitted to exist is that they keep their standards to the same levels as those of the government schools. If the government schools are to have hundreds of millions of pounds spent on them, the non-government schools will have to spend more money and the pupils will have to pay higher fees to keep those schools in existence.
I say to the people who are urging this campaign that if they want to get anywhere they must have a united public opinion behind them. They will not get that unity of opinion while they are saying to one-quarter of the parents of Australia, “ We want a lot of money for our children and nothing for yours. We expect that you you will pay a quarter of what is to be given and get nothing for your children. In addition, you will have to pay higher fees to keep your schools going.” That is not common sense. The supporters of the campaign will never get anywhere with it if they continue on those lines. I believe in federal aid for education. I think that the Government should give an educational endowment for each child, to be paid to the school that the parents nominate. That would be fair play, and I hope that that is the only system that this Government will ever consider.
There have been some attacks on the security service. It seems to be an unpopular body, but let us look at the facts. It appears to be an essential body because it was established by a Labour government and it has been maintained by a Liberal government. I believe there have been comparatively few complaints about the security service, considering the very peculiar nature of the work that it has to do and also the very difficult work that it has to do at times. I think it is a good thing that there should be criticism of it if people think it deserves to be criticized, but let the criticism be based on common sense. I hope that it will not be motivated by the kind of thinking that we sometimes hear, to the effect that Australia is rapidly becoming a police state. How could it be a police state when anybody < may go out on to the lawn in front of this place to-morrow and advocate the overthrow of the Government?
I think there have not been a great number of complaints about the security service, but there has been a lot of silly criticism. Let me give a personal example. Five or six years ago, in every newspaper in the Australian Commonwealth, the then leader of the Australian Labour Party said that I had been associated with Colonel Spry and other people in a plot to bring about the Petrov inquiry. He named me in every newspaper in Australia as an associate of Colonel Spry and the security service in bringing about the Petrov inquiry.
– Who did that?
– Dr. Evatt. I had never met Colonel Spry. I knew nothing about the security service. I would not have known Petrov if I had fallen over him. But that did not prevent the statement being made in every Australian newspaper that I was mixed up in a plot with the security service. I have heard just as silly and just as unfounded attacks on the security service during the three or four years that I have been in this Parliament. There must be strong criticism, if it can be shown that the organization concerned is doing the wrong thing, but let us not have stupid attacks which are, when it comes to the point, welcomed only by the Communist Party which has most to fear from the security service.
In regard to our universities, I want to say briefly that if any money is to be spent on universities I think it should be spent in establishing in Australia at least one truly collegiate university. I believe there is something very great to be gained from a collegiate university of the type that exists overseas, such as at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and other places. In our big cities, unfortunately, because of the lack of money and perhaps also because of a lack of as many staff members as we should like to have, there is the system under which the university student in most cases lives at home. He speaks of his university sometimes as a shop. He goes there every day, and he misses what can be one of the greatest things to be had from a university training - the life of a college, the play of mind on mind. It may not be possible to have true collegiate universities in every capital city, but surely we could have such a university in one big city.
– Do not let us have it in a city at all. Let us go to the country.
– I would go along with Senator Vincent in that respect. If necessary, let us have the university at Armidale, but wherever it is, let us have one truly collegiate university in this country. That is something we should aim at because I think it would make a great difference.
Like Senator Hannan, I also had a student to see me in regard to the title of an essay. I thought it was rather a foolish title, but my attitude was expressed to the student on these lines: If they have given other subjects that are equally provocative, and If you like to put it that way, or if you like to put it another way, equally insulting to other political parties, I do not mind; but if the political party with which I happen to be associated is singled out for this kind of thing, then I have an objection. But 1 do not worry over much about that, because far worse things have been said about the political party that I represent, and most of them, as time has gone on, have been disproved. Many of them were disproved by the evidence in a court case held in Melbourne in the last fortnight, during which a gentleman, Mr. J. V. Stout, who six years ago led the attack on what he described as an outside influence, entered the witness box and admitted that for ten years he had been closely associated with Mr. Santamaria, accepting his assistance.
Mr. Stout used to send to Mr. Santamaria the list of union members who, he thought, should be elected in the different unions. When, at the trade hall council, a big election was on, he would ring up Mr. Santamaria and arrange for him to provide the motor cars to bring the delegates in to the .Melbourne Trades Hall. When Mr. Stout was asked, “ When you appeared before the federal executive and gave evidence that all these other people had in your opinion been associated with Mr. Santamaria, why did you not say that for ten years you had been hand in glove with him? “ he said, “ Mine was a trade union matter and nothing to do with the Australian Labour Party “. I can only say that I do not worry about these things, but the chickens are now coming home to roost. I suggest that anybody who wants a prime example of the extent to which trade union and political hypocrisy can be taken should get hold of the transcript of the sworn evidence in that case. They will see that people who led the anti-Santamaria crusade got into the witness box and admitted that they had been hand in glove with him for the past ten years.
I do not know that I should be terribly worried about the title of the essay. But I should be worried if there were any truth in the statement that a student would be discriminated against if he did not write the things that the lecturer thought he ought to write. That is the thing that would worry me. There were complaints about that some years ago.
– The tenor of other essays was of a like nature.
– I agree. I think that Senator Hannan has done a service in raising the matter, because it is one that ought to be brought up and explained. But I do say this: I remember some years ago a meeting was held in Melbourne. The Communist Party at the university held an indignation meeting to protest against the scandalous suggestion that a lecturer or an examiner might be biased. That was all very good, but I noticed a few months later when someone writing in the university paper wanted to know who were the people in the university branch of the Communist Party the party said it could not reveal their names because there might be discrimination against them by the examiners when their papers were being considered at the end of the year. Generally, I would say that university lecturers are fair-minded, but if there is anybody who is not - if there is anybody who is using his position for political purposes - I see nothing wrong with the matter being -raised so that it can be investigated. But I think - and I believe that Senator Hannan will agree with me - that the great majority of our university lecturers know their responsibilities and carry out their duties well.
– It was the exception.
– I agree with Senator Hannan, that when the exception arises it should be dealt with. I close by saying that I have had far worse things said about me and the party I represent. I will never be worried while others are saying those things, particularly in the press. The only time I will be worried will be when they are saying nothing about me in the press.
.- 1 have risen only because of what Senator Wright said in his speech. I think he should share some of the responsibility for the state of affairs that he mentioned. He knows as well as I do that one of the reasons for the increased cost of the Public Service in the last ten years - an increase from £73,000,000 to £180,000,000- has been the fact that the basic wage has risen from £7 2s. a week in 1950 to £14 2s. a week to-day. In addition, on the honorable senator’s own figures, the number of public servants has risen by about 8,000. As Senator McManus has pointed out, there is a great demand for trained personnel outside the Public Service. This Government has let things run riot. It has not maintained control over anything at all. It would be rather foolish of a man who has only his labour to sell not to offer his services in the best market. If the Commonwealth wants to keep its officers, why does not it pay them at least as much as people outside are prepared to pay the best qualified persons? It is all very well for the honorable senator to refer to the fact that the farmers are receiving less income to-day than they received in 1950. Senator Wright, I do not mind a lot of members of this Parliament getting on the band wagon, but I do mind you getting on to it because I class your intellect as being above that of a lot of other people.
– It is a poor assessment of my intellect if you consider that I am getting on the band wagon.
– What worries me from the political point of view is that Senator Wright is playing the old party game. He gets up in this chamber and says that the cost of the Public Service has risen- from £73,000s000 to £180,000,000 in a decade. I do not know whether any public servants are being paid more than’ in accordance with the classification of their position by the Public Service Board. All I hope is that the Commonwealth, is keeping the men it wishes to keep and that those men are doing a good job for the nation.
The Commonwealth is big business. The financial position of every other industry in this country fades into insignificance compared with the budget of £1,700,000,000. I have great respect for Senator Wright, although at times we express contrary points of view. I have been astounded that, during the ten or twelve years that he has been a member of this chamber, he has not raised his voice or. voted when the opportunity arose against the matters of which he complains. It is the vote that counts..
– It is all very well for Senator Wright to say “ Oh “. I can put on as good an act as any other member of this chamber. However, 1 do not want to put on an act. I do not say that the figures that Senator Wright has quoted are not correct, but I suggest to him that, with his training, he should be able to look beyond the figures to determine the cause of the increase. He should ask himself, “ What have I done to arrest inflation in this country? “ The honorable senator has been in a stronger position than any one on this side - much stronger - but I remind him that one cannot win bv words alone. 1 wish now to say a few words about Senator Hannan. I agree with what he said. I would not agree with people in the university using their position to influence the minds of young university students by one political philosophy. It is nol their job to do so. Their job is to impart knowledge to the students to the best of their ability. 1 do. not believe that teachers should use their position incorrectly. The fact that the honorable senator has referred to one subject covered by a lecturer, or one essay, does not prove to me that lecturers at the university have used their positions for political purposes. It may have been stupid to ask lads to write a couple of dozen words on a I certain subject. I do not think that that would increase their knowledge of the political life of this country. I could think of many other better subjects on which the students could be asked to write an essay. The accusation that has been made by the honorable senator, based on an isolated instance, does not in my opinion carry much weight. 1 believe that the lecturers should do what they are paid to do. I regret that I did not have an opportunity to step into a university hall, but I know that each lecturer has a certain job to do, and those in charge should see that he does it. 1 am sorry, Mr. Temporary Chairman, that it has been necessary for me to speak in this manner.
– I should like to make a short reply to what Senator Kennelly has said on the subject that was introduced by Senator Hannan. I have very great respect for Senator Kennelly, who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, but I think he was off the beam a little when he joined issue with Senator Hannan. Senator Hannan did not complain because a student was asked to write an essay on a particular subject. The gravamen of Senator Hannan’s complaint was simply that the student was concerned that if he did not write what the lecturer wished him to write his interest in the university would be affected. That was Senator Hannan’s complaint and I think Senator McManus said that if that was the case, he, too, would be most concerned over what was happening at the School of Political Science at the Melbourne University. The subject of the essay was not in issue. The student was frightened lest he should say the wrong thing to his lecturer and be penalized for so doing. That was Senator Hannan’s complaint, and if there is any substance in the complaint I think Senator Kennelly will agree that this is a most serious matter and a very wrong attitude for any university lecturer- to adopt.
– I have been very interested in this debate, particularly the remarks about education. I am reminded of what John Stuart Mill said in 1871 when the subject of compulsory education was being discussed in England. He said in effect that the purpose of all education, whether state or denominational, was to establish a despotism of the mind which would inevitably lead to the establishment of a despotism of the body. That is exactly how our education system has developed. One has only to listen to the points of view expressed in this chamber to see the different schools of thought to which various honorable senators belong. I have often been asked where I was educated. I usually reply that I matriculated in the hard school of practical experience and I graduated in the university of adversity, where the fees are the highest and the lessons are never forgotten. In other words, I have never taken anything for granted. We have the positive approach, the negative approach and the the dialectical approach, the thesis, the antithesis and then, in the light of the clash of ideas, the synthesis. Contained in the synthesis are the elements of the thesis and the antithesis of future discussion. It goes on ad infinitum. That is why you have these discussions and why some persons are inclined to be so dogmatic.
– Like honorable senators opposite.
– I have always said that folly dogmatizes but wisdom doubts. I have always been a doubter.
– Order! The honorable senator must link his discussion to the estimates for the Office of Education.
– Education to-day is what I call class education. The people of Australia, as in practically all countries, are divided into classes. On the one hand we have the owners of land and capital who, in this highly mechanized and private monopoly control age, are becoming wealthier and fewer in number. On the other hand we have the non-owners who are becoming impoverished in ever increasing numbers. That state of affairs has its origin in our education system. I have always held that the purpose of life is living and that part of that purpose is to make life more livable for ourselves and our fellow men. That is not being done at present, otherwise we would not have in this enormous country with its small population so many hundreds of thousands of people exploited and impoverished down to the lowest level socially as destitute wards of the State. According to figures supplied by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) in September of last year those people numbered 650,000 and their number was increasing at the rate of 20,000 a year.
If any honorable senator is interested in education and what it has led to I advise him to read a book written last year by Professor C. Wright Mills of the Columbia University entitled “The Cause of the Third World War “.. Professor Mills points out in his book - (quite convincingly from my point of view - that education has led to the position with which the world is faced to-day. He tells us what should be done, particularly by those people who claim to be intellectuals. Professor Mills writes of the prejudices of the intellectuals and how different schools of thought behave, as we have seen them behave in this chamber tonight and on other occasions.
Senator Wright referred to the enormous cost of the Public Service. Costs in terms of labour time have never been lower than they are to-day, but costs in terms of inflated currency have never been higher. Why is that? No attempt has been made to establish the relationship between cause and effect and it will not be established until the powers that be are no longer able to explain away the process. Senator Kennelly said that the basic wage was now about £14. Actually in terms of gold that £14 has no greater purchasing power to-day than the wage of £2 2s. had in 1907. I have published in “ Hansard “ the comparative figures which were supplied by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. People like Senator Wright deliberately create false impressions. Senator Wright gets to his feet and demands justice. The lawyers say, “ Things shall be done in this way or that way “. That is the attitude of the legal mind. What the lawyers say is right and everything else is wrong. That is an attitude that is peculiar to men with legal training.
– Lawyers have a oneeyed view.
– They should have a two-eyed view.
Order! I direct the committee’s attention to the fact that we are dealing with the Estimates and that the debate must be con fined to the particular item that we are now considering. Senator Cameron must link his remarks with that item.
– Education amounts to the training of human beings, and these are trained in different schools. Teachers are inclined to be dogmatic, saying, “ This is right; that is wrong “. But all questions have to be faced in the light of circumstances, and the attitude of the educated mind is to make a dialectical approach in the light of all the contradictions. One cannot really say, “ This is right; that is wrong “, but that is the manner of teaching in most schools and universities. I have had a long and varied experience. It has been much more varied than that of either Senator Wright or Senator Hannan. A very famous American orator and writer said, in effect, “ Universities are institutions where they dim diamonds and polish pebbles “.
– That is not right.
– It is right, from my point of view.
– He meant American universities, not Australian universities.
– Take my own experience with university graduates in the 1930’s. Professor Giblin, Professor Copland, Professor Shann and Professor Melville were all dogmatically in favour of the Financial Emergency Act and the Premiers’ Plan. Subsequently, in the light of developments, they changed their minds. They were graduates of Australian universities. Then we had graduates who came from England to convince us that we should tighten our belts, produce more wealth, and live on less. Unsophisticated persons like myself refused to believe this and argued accordingly. I was engaged in a fight which ended in the High Court. I was then president of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Labour Party, which expelled the then Premier of Victoria, Mr. E. J. Holman. Arguments were taking place as to what should or should not be done. Men who played a most prominent part, trying to convince us that we should live on less and produce more, were graduates cf Australian universities. The late Maurice Blackburn and myself were indicted before the Supreme Court.
The TEMPORARY ‘CHAIRMAN. -
Order! The honorable senator’s time .has expired.
– I direct attention to Division No. 125’ - National Library, General Expenses, item 04, “ Purchase and copying of films £18,000”. Recently, I had occasion to approach the film division for films which could be classified as anti-Communist propaganda and I was appalled to find that I could not obtain anywhere in Australia films which would come under that heading. The only film that was sent to me was one called “ Menace “, which was many years years old and was not a true portrayal of the advance of communism and the terror and horror that it has left behind it in its march across the world. I was informed by the film division that five or six very good films were available in the American National Library.
I ask the Minister whether it will be possible, under this vote, to obtain copies of these films, or to have copies made of the originals because we should all try to do something about the apathy to communism that exists in this country to-day, and the attitude, which is quite prevalent, that it cannot happen here.
I could not .obtain anti-Communist film propaganda from any source in Australia that I approached. I even got in touch with my colleague, the Leader of the Democratic Labour Party (Senator Cole), but .he could not suggest where I could obtain such films. I ask the Minister whether it will be possible, under this vote, to obtain such films from America.
.- I wish to refer briefly to Division No. 123 - Public Service Board. The proposed appropriation is £829,800. Honorable senators can see that the annual appropriation is approaching £1,000,000. Many of us have settled ideas as to the functions of the Public Service Board, but as we gain greater experience about those functions our opinions are corrected. Rarely is the Public Service Board discussed at all in this chamber. About the only occasion when we have an opportunity to say anything at all about the board is when the Estimates are under consideration.
The Public Service Board being established ito deal with -the .Commonwealth Public Service, .one would believe that the board would have absolute control over public servants employed .in Commonwealth departments. It came as a shock to me quite recently to ; learn that such is .not the position and -that the functions of the board .are >very positively circumscribed. The board can recruit and make staff available to the secretaries of the various departments. If the secretaries .approve of -the recruits made available, they will accept them, but if these recruits are not accepted by the secretaries, they are .turned adrift. Public servants who are drafted into a department come under the control of the secretary of that department. He decides whether they will ever be transferred from his department to another department. May I say in passing that the standard of efficiency attained by the Commonwealth Public Service is quite high. Moveover, if one examines the latest report of the Chairman of the Public Service Board, one learns .of the honesty of public servants throughout the years.
I am dealing .particularly with the control of public .servants as individuals. What I am about to say is important from the financial aspect because, when all is said and -done, .the money that is needed to pay the public servants has to come .from the taxpayers. I am not forgetting, of .course, that every public servant has to pay his share of taxation. The .control of the public servants within a department is vested in -the secretary of .that department. At any time of the year .there ,can be a press of work in one department and .a certain amount of slackness in another .department. But it is not possible, under the existing legislation, for the Public Service Board to transfer employees from a department in which there is a shortage of work to a department where there is a press of work. My purpose in mentioning this matter is -to point out that sooner or later this situation will have to be corrected. To allow the secretaries of departments to be, as it were, th.e lord high executioners of the Public Service is wrong. I am saying, in effect, that if we are to have a Public Service Board we must give it absolute control over the Commonwealth Public Service; otherwise the Public Service cannot function as a -unit.
As 1 said a while ago, the people of the Commonwealth will not stand for very much longer what is going on in Public Service affairs. The time will come when, because of a shortage of finance, it will be necessary for the Commonwealth Government to enlarge the powers of the Public Service Board. We will have to grant to the board, as I have already indicated, absolute control of the Public Service.
– Absolute control? Where do we come in?
– Who is the Minister in control of the Public Service Board? The Prime Minister is in control of it. In the United Kingdom the Public Service Board is part and parcel of the Department of the Treasury. But here the Public Service Board is hamstrung, lt can recruit staff and make that staff available to the secretaries of the various departments; but if those officers do not elect to take the staff that is offered to them it is just too bad for the board. I repeat that the board should have greater authority and should be given the power to go into the various departments to ascertain the standard of efficiency that is required to perform the work of those departments, and exactly what staff is required, and to select that staff accordingly.
Earlier to-night my colleague, Senator Dittmer, dealt with the subject of education in a very enlightening manner. One of the issues raised in the debate was whether the Commonwealth should have greater control over education or whether the States should have the power that they have at the moment in respect of primary and secondary education. I have no quarrel with the State governments having the powers they enjoy at the present time in the field of education. I believe that, no matter how the Constitution may be changed in the future, one of the essential duties of the State governments will be the exercise of their powers to provide educational facilities for all the children in the Commonwealth. I can recall that some years ago a move was made to raise the school leaving age from fourteen years, the standard for that age being the equivalent of what is known as the scholarship examination in Queensland, to sixteen years. One of the difficulties with which the States were confronted was the amount of money that would be required for school premises. They were unable to pursue the idea because of their inability to find the necessary finance.
The States are scarcely able to meet the salary bill for the teaching staffs of the primary schools let alone being able to provide funds for more schools. Every year the States are called upon to provide greater educational facilities because of the increase in the intake of migrant children. Some of those children are coming to Australia at a very early age and the States are required to provide school premises and teaching staff for them. The States are not getting sufficient money for education purposes from the Commonwealth Government. The committee knows that I am not one to stand here and whinge about the States getting insufficient funds from the Commonwealth Government. When all is said and done, the Commonwealth Government is only the trustee for the moneys that are available in the Consolidated Revenue Fund; the taxpayers provide those moneys. Nevertheless, I claim that insufficient is being done for the States.
Senator McCallum said that the Constitution would be eroded somewhat if the Commonwealth were to assume greater responsibility for the education of children. Never mind about the Constitution. It is eroded now; it has decayed. If the Constitution were to be written now to meet modern requirements, it would be vastly different from what it is. I stress the fact that an increased burden is being placed upon the State governments in regard to education. I could deal with other aspects of this matter, but as Senator Tangney is eager to speak before 11 p.m. I shall defer to her.
.- I ask the Minister for National Development to refer to the proposed vote for Division No. 125 - National Library. I ask him why we are being asked to appropriate £164,000 for salaries and allowances when the expenditure last year was £97,665. I point out that the proposed expenditure in respect of temporary and casual employees is approximately £20,000 less than that of last year. That reduction may explain away part of the increase in respect of the salaries and allowances provided for in item 01, but that still leaves an unexplained increment of approximately ?40,000. I should like to know the reason for the difference.
– I should like to ask the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) whether the spending of ?10,600 on recruitment for the Public Service is really necessary. At present there is in the Public Service a vast army of temporary employees. These people have been temporary employees for so long that they have now acquired, as it were, a permanent status in that category. Some of them have been temporary employees for nearly twenty years. I feel that it is unfair that men and women who have given twenty years of service to the Commonwealth Public Service should not have that service recognized by being given permanent status within the departments. In many cases they have complied with the educational requirements necessary for permanent employment.
I think that one of the reasons why some people do not want to enter the Public Service is that they know that such conditions exist. They do not desire to remain on a temporary basis until they are too old to undertake any other type of work. The Public Service should be one of the most attractive avenues of employment for our young people, despite the disparaging remarks that are often passed about bureaucrats. I do not subscribe to those views at all. Senator Wright spoke this evening about the remuneration received by public servants and compared it with the income of primary producers. He divided the people of this country into two categories, namely, those who pay taxes and those who are supported by the Government. I think that is quite unfair. Primary producers rely a great deal on the home market and we must realize also that public servants are consumers of the goods produced by primary producers. All sections of the community are interdependent. The money that is paid out in salaries to public servants is paid out in accordance with decisions made by properly constituted wage tribunals. That applies particularly in the case of the rank and file who constitute the majority of public servants. The money they receive is expended on the purchase of goods and services that their families require. I do not join in this campaign of ridicule against the so-called bureaucrats. I am grateful to those members of the Public Service with whom my work brings me into contact. They are very helpful to me in the many inquiries which I make.
I do not consider that it is necessary for so much money to be spent on recruitment to the Public Service, and I should like to see justice done to the temporary employees, particularly those of them who are returned soldiers. I have made a plea on their behalf before, but the years pass by and they are still occupying temporary positions. Many of these men, now in their forties, have attained within the necessary time the academic standard required by the departments, but, despite that, they are still occupying temporary positions. In many cases they have taught other employees their job and have seen the employees whom they have taught become permanent officers and their superiors in the department. The conditions I have described should not be allowed to continue. It is now fifteen years since the end of the war, and surely to goodness ex-servicemen who entered the Public Service then under certain conditions have given enough service to enable them to be deemed worthy of permanent employment.
I think that the matter raised by Senator Hannan to-night was unworthy of him. Being an academic man, he should realize that quite often in the universities and elsewhere controversial subjects are chosen for essays and for disputation in order to obtain expressions of opinion from the students. I do not think for one moment that a great university like the University of Melbourne would tolerate the condition of affairs of which the student referred to by Senator Hannan is supposed to be afraid. I think that the University of Melbourne has sufficient standing in the academic world to attract men who are above using their positions in the way in which it is alleged this professor used his position. In any case, I can remember in my own student days taking part in debates that to-day would most likely cause Senator Hannan to raise his hands in holy horror. One subject of debate was “That the churches have killed their Christ “. That was a subject that was debated by the Oxford Union before the war. Another one in that series was, “ Under no circumstances will we fight for King or country “. That was the subject of the celebrated Oxford debate that caused quite a lot of controversy in the old country. Those who took part in those debates discussed the subjects seriously and in public. Those who had to speak against their consciences debated the questions sincerely, realizing that they were for the purposes of disputation only. It is rather interesting to trace the careers of those who took part in those debates. Two of the students concerned are now Supreme Court judges in two States of the Commonwealth, one is a high dignitary of the Anglican Church in Melbourne; another is the Attorney-General and Deputy Premier of one of the Australian States; another was the late Chester Wilmot, the great war historian; and I happen to be the other one. I think that it was most unfortunate to refer to one controversial subject, such as the one mentioned to-night.
– It was not merely controversial, it was downright untrue.
– My point is that as a university student you must become accustomed to writing about or. discussing a subject and, in doing so, to take a line with which you are: not in sympathy, but upon which you can put up some sort of a case. I do not think that any university professor worthy of the name would penalize a student for not writing in accordance with the professor’s own convictions. I do not think such a thing would be worthy of the University of Melbourne, and I do not think it is worthy of the honorable senator to quote an isolated case - if such a case did occur - in the National Parliament and use it as an argument against continued Commonwealth aid to universities.
– It reflects upon the administrators, lecturers and professors of the university.
– That is right. In every section of the community you get people with varying opinions. All people are not exactly the same. If there should be one university professor in Melbourne who thinks along those lines, I think he is in a minority of one. I very much regret that this matter was raised by Senator Hannan.
The departments which come under the administration of the Prime Minister are very important. A number of them, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, the Audit Office and other sections of the Public Service, cannot be discussed properly at this hour of the night. The real purpose of discussing the Estimates is to give members of Parliament a chance to take stock of the expenditure of the Government. It should be a kind of national stocktaking. I do not think it right that this debate should be hurried and that when a senator rises to speak he should be told to hurry because people want to go home to bed. If that is the position, these estimates will be passed because of the effluxion of time, not because of arguments in their favour.
– I will try to reply to the specific requests for information. Senator McCallum wanted details of the items in sub-division 3 of Division No. 128 - Office of Education. I preface my reply by reminding the honorable senator that the Office of Education is more or less a co-ordinating body; it is not really an executive branch. The appropriation of £11,450 for item 01 under the heading “ Other Services “ covers matters including the following: - An amount of £3,150 to enable Australia to carry out its obligations as a member-state of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, particularly to participate in the Unesco programme. Under the same item, £2,640 is provided for representation at conferences and seminars; £500 for membership of international non-governmental organizations associated with Unesco; £150 for overseas exhibitions; and £1,190 for projects arranged by Unesco committees. So, in many ways the amount provided for that item is one of the costs of being associated with Unesco.
Item 03 is £13,700 for publications. The major jortion of that appropriation is attributable ‘ to the publication of “ Hemisphere “, a magazine published monthly for Asian students who are in Australia or have returned to their homes. It is also distributed in limited numbers to educational institutions in Asian countries. In regard to item 05 - “ Teaching material for broadcast lessons in English (short wave), £12,500” - the Government’s decision was that Australia’s relations with Indonesia would he assisted if the broadcasts to Indonesia over Radio Australia were to include a course of lessons on the English language. These weekly lessons commenced in October, 1959; a re-broadcast commenced in April, 1960; and a further re-broadcast is proposed for October, 1960. During the broadcasts constant reference is made to material contained in printed booklets which are distributed to listeners prior to the broadcasts. The remaining four 64-page booklets will be produced this year, each covering one quarter’s lessons. Seventyfive thousand copies of each booklet will be printed. The £12,500 is to meet the cost of printing these ‘booklets and distributing them in Indonesia.
I cannot give Senator Wright any assistance on the growth of the number of employees of statutory authorities. I have only the Public Service figures - 156,843 in 1’950 and 162,898 in 1960. This is an item on which we cannot obtain information from the Public Service Board. I am obtaining it from the Bureau of Census and Statistics for my own information as well as that of Senator Wright, and I will let him have a look at the information when I receive it. Senator Mattner asked why there were so many assistant secretaries in the Prime Minister’s Department. My answer is that we must remember that the Prime Minister’s Department is a co-ordinating department as well as an executive department. Since it does Cabinet work and the Prime Minister’s work, it is necessary that the department have men with seniority and experience to co-ordinate the work of the various departments and to co-ordinate Cabinet decisions.
asked for information about the National Radiation Advisory Committee. I will not now give the names of the members of the committee; I have given them previously. The function of the committee is to advise on the problem qf ionizing radiation. The appropriation under this item is only £2,500, and it is to meet the expenses of the committee. The members of the committee serve in an honorary capacity. Perhaps I should amend that statement. They receive a sitting fee and travelling allowances, but there is no remuneration involved in this item. As Senator Tangney will remember, the committee recently presented its report on the results of its work over the last twelve months. I tabled that report in the Senate.
Senator Tangney also raised the matter of adult education publications. That appropriation relates to the “ Current Affairs Bulletin “. When the Sydney University took over the bulletin, the Commonwealth, through the Office of Education, agreed to subsidize the bulletin so that it could continue to be sold cheaply. It is available in all States.
– It is not a specific adult education pamphlet; it is the “ Current Affairs Bulletin “?
– It is the “ Current Affairs Bulletin “. In regard to the broadcasts to Indonesia, which were mentioned by Senator McCallum and which I have mentioned previously, I have a note to say that there is a constant flow of requests from Indonesia for the booklets that are distributed in association with the broadcasts. Again in reply to Senator Tangney, I point out that the Australian Council for Educational Research is entirely distinct from the Office of Education. The item that the honorable senator mentioned is the amount of the Commonwealth grant to the council and it does not cover the cost of research work done in the Office of Education. The cost of that research work is covered by the staff costs of the office.
In reply to Senator Branson I point out that the type of film he mentioned would not be available because the National Library aims at the collection of scientific, educational and cultural films, which do not include films of the type referred to by the honorable senator. However, we will get in touch with the National Library and ascertain whether the film library considers it advisable or desirable to add that type of film to its collection. Senator Wright asked about the salaries and allowances under Division No. 125 - National Library. A full review of the establishment, other than the archives division, based on present functions only and staff needs to the existing scale of operations, has recently been completed with the assistance of an officer of the Public Service Board. The review resulted in the creation of 61 new permanent positions and an increase in the number of positions in the permanent establishment from 106 to 167. An intensive recruiting drive is already in train to fill the newly created positions with permanent officers. So, the increase in the appropriation results from the establishment of a permanent cadre for the work of the National Library.
– 1 am sure that everybody appreciates the fact that the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) has gone to some length to answer the questions addressed to him on the proposed vote for the Commonwealth Office of Education, but I do not think that he should have ignored questions concerning a proposed expenditure of £669,000. The Minister has accused me of not being sincere. I assure him that I am sincere and that the information which I sought from him is still secret so far as I am concerned, because he has not answered my questions. I take it that he proposes to ignore the request for information concerning the increase of £120,000 in expenditure on security. It may be that another security organization has been established, and if that is so, I think that the Parliament should know about it.
– I do not say that we should have detailed information about it, but if another security department has been set up and £120,000 is needed for it, I claim that we should be enlightened on the matter. If Senator Kendall is not interested in expenditure amounting to nearly £700,000, that is a matter for him, but he must not deny honorable senators on this side of the chamber the right ito be interested.
Of course, if the Minister chooses to ignore the questions, he may do so. He may adopt the attitude adopted by Dr. Verwoerd, in South Africa, that such matters are secret and that the general public should be told only what he thinks might be good for them. This Parliament prides itself on its democratic methods and on the democratic way in which it is elected. To date, it has prided itself on the manner in which the proceedings are conducted. Ministers have taken pride from the fact that where it has been possible to supply information, that has been done in the interests of the public and of the Parliament I contend that it is not in the interests of the Parliament when questions asked by honorable senators about proposed expenditure amounting to £669,000 are ignored and no information whatever is given.
– No country gives information about what its security service is doing. We do more in that way in this country than is done in any other country that I know of.
– Earlier to-day, Senator O’Flaherty referred to secret services in this country, and if Senator Kendall was not here to listen to what Senator O’Flaherty had to say, that is most regrettable. If such secret services are operating, we should know how many there are and whether there is co-ordination of their activities. Senator O’Flaherty asked whether the secret services were co-ordinated or whether each department of the secret service went its own way and spied on other departments. We have not yet been told that there is co-ordination. If the £120,000 to which I have referred is to be expanded in bringing about a degree of co-ordination between the various secret services in Australia, would the Minister be giving away any secrets in saying so? Would it be detrimental to the security of the country if the Minister got up and said, “Another £120,000 is needed to bring about the co-ordination that will prevent over-lapping and the need for the various branches of security to spy on one another “?
The Minister may please himself whether or not he gives the information, but we know what to expect if Ministers continue to decline to give information in these circumstances. We shall be able to judge from their attitude whether democracy is being allowed to develop. We have seen what has happened in other parts of the world, such as in the sister dominion of South Africa. If secrecy of this kind continues and the questions of members of Parliament are ignored, how are we to know that the same developments that have occurred in South Africa will not also occur in Australia? If the Minister and the. Government continue to adopt the attitude that these matters are their business alone and have nothing to do with other members of the Parliament or with members of the public, the only conclusion to which we can come, in the light of the example given by Senator O’Flaherty earlier to-day, is that probably the same procedures are being adopted here as have been adopted in South Africa.
– Why not have a look at the practice of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom? You do not see any record of this kind of expenditure there.
– Earlier to-day I heard Senator Wright saying that a certain practice had been followed in the House of Commons since the year 1700 and that we should follow the same practice. I agree’ with the honorable senator that it is time a committee was appointed to define the privileges of this Parliament, but why should we say that because a certain thing is not done in the House of Commons it should not be done here?
The House of Commons has been following procedures that have existed for centuries, and when unusual circumstances arise in this Parliament some honorable senators say that we must not depart from the House of Commons procedure. Surely we advance as the centuries pass. Are we to live according to the standards of the sixteenth or the seventeenth century? If Senator Kendall wants to do so, let him, but I suggest that the rest of the world is becoming enlightened. I agree with Senator Wright that we have to advance with the times and that we should define the privileges of the Parliament. We should not remain stagnant. If Senator Kendall wants to live according to sixteenth century standards, that is all right with me, but for myself, I prefer to advance with the times. I should say that South Africa is being run on sixteenth century lines, to judge from the happenings in that country. Surely to goodness honorable senators opposite do not need to be reminded of the atrocious things that have happened in South Africa. I suppose that when questions were asked about them in that country the same reply was given: This is security.
No information has been given to the general public to show the purpose for which the additional £120,000 is to be used. As I have said, we have seen what has happened in South Africa. Is the same attitude to be adopted here, so that we shall not be informed of the purpose of the expenditure? If the expenditure on the Australian Security Intelligence Organization is to be increased to £669,000 this year, what is to stop it from being increased to £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 next year? Is there anything to stop it from increasing still further? Some information should be given to show how this huge sum is to be spent because, as I have said, in a few years’ time the amount could be three times or even ten times as great and the same excuse might be given for the withholding of information.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the negative.
– Let me put this to Senator Kendall: If the proposed vote for the Australian Security Intelligence Organization were £5,669,000, would he adopt the same attitude as he is now adopting? Would he say that because the House of Commons does not give the break-up of the vote for the British security service, that should not be done here? If that is his attitude, I say that it is not mine. I think that the Minister should give us some indication of the manner in which the money will be spent. I am not asking him to disclose details of what the security service is investigating. I am referring only to administrative expenses. Surely he can give us some idea of the sections that are controlled by the central administration, and whether, as Senator O’Flaherty asked, there is co-ordination of their activities.
.- Since this matter was raised, I have had a quick glance at the relevant part of the Estimates. I should like the Minister to inform me whether provision is made under Division No. 625 for the Commonwealth Police and related bodies. I have looked at the details of the proposed vote for the Department of the Interior and can see no provision for them there.
– Provision for the Commonwealth Police is made in the proposed vote for the Attorney-General’s Department.
– I hope that the Minister will satisfy a query that has been raised by honorable senators on both sides in relation to an important aspect of this matter, that is, whether it is proposed to expand the security service by employing more people. The Minister could do so without giving away any secrets that he may deem it inadvisable to make known to the public or even, to the Parliament, notwithstanding that we are the elected representatives of the people. A reply would allay a great deal of the suspicion that exists in the minds of people and would be of advantage to the security service itself. I point out that a security service is not peculiar to Australia; every country has its security service. By acceding to my request, the Minister would ease the mind of people who feel that the security service is being used for ulterior purposes. I am sure that every one will regret that the security officers so far forgot themselves as to go right outside the ambit of the work on which they are engaged and perform the act that was described by Senator O’Flaherty.
Some complaints have been made regarding the actions of certain members of State police forces. After convicted persons have paid the penalty for a crime by serving terms of imprisonment, they have been hounded in some instances by the police, who have told prospective employers their record. That sort of thing is frowned upon by the community, which believes that people should not be driven back into crime but should be given the opportunity to reform. We do not want to see established in the Commonwealth a system which goes beyond the ambit of ordinary security work. I think the Minister would do a service to all if he indicated the reasons for the proposed expansion of this service, without disclosing things that he believes should not be disclosed. After all, a considerable amount of money is involved.
Proposed votes agreed to.
Department of Trade.
Proposed Vote, £2,141,000.
Miscellaneous Services - Department of Trade.
Proposed Vote, £857,800.
Ordered to be taken together.
– 1 should like to pay a tribute to the work of the Department of Trade. I believe that the proposed votes are justified in the light of the great expansion of this department that has taken place, and its potential expansion. At this point, 1 should like to pay a tribute to the work of the former secretary of the department, Sir John Crawford, who has been translated from his position of chief of the Department of Trade to the Australian National University. His services will not be lost to the Commonwealth. It is refreshing to know that some former distinguished civil servants are continuing to serve the Commonwealth.
I believe, Sir, that the Department of Trade has adopted an imaginative policy in the last few years, particularly with respect to the expansion of its activities overseas. Speaking in this chamber two years ago when the Estimates for that year were under consideration, I directed attention to the fact that when I visited the Brussels Fair I saw no exhibit whatsover in relation to Australia, apart from a photograph of the Sydney Harbour Bridge amongst the United Kingdom exhibits. Australia’s potential as a place for investment, its potential for the intake of migrants, and the fact that it had risen to tenth position among the trading nations of the world were not portrayed at that fail. I am pleased to see that within a space of two years Australia has become conscious of the need to advertise itself. There was placed in my hand to-day a progress report concerning Australia’s participation in the Swiss National Trade Fair which was held last month at Lausanne. I am pleased that the department has wriggled out of the state of apathy that was evident two years ago. It has gone out to sell Australia, to show that Australia is a good place for investment.
I am very interested in the figures that are shown in Division No. 637. For instance, I cite the following items: - “ Trade Publicity - United Kingdom, £456,000”; “Trade Publicity- Other than United Kingdom, £301,800”; “Overseas Trade Missions - Contributions, £26,000 “; and “ Overseas investment in Australia - Publicity, £50,000”. Sir, I believe that this money will be wisely spent in the interest of Australia.
Honorable senators may be interested to hear about some of the salient features of the Swiss National Trade Fair, which concluded on 25th September. When these fairs are held in a European country they attract people other than those living in the country in which they are held. The fair held in Brussels was visited by Belgians in large numbers, many of whom probably paid more than one visit to the fair, but I was amazed to see large numbers of Russians, Italians, French and people from Scandinavian countries visiting the fair. These fairs, if held during the northern European summer and autumn, when the days are long, attract people in holiday mood. They attract the banking fraternity as well as tourists.
Australia was highly honoured at the fair recently held in Lausanne. I was interested to read that, simultaneously with that fair, our Department of Trade conducted a seminar, at which the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) delivered the opening address. Other speakers at the seminar included Sir John Crawford, Dr. Ronald Walker, Mr. J. H. D. Marks and Mr. W. Ian Potter. Those men are leaders in their particular fields in Australia and they spoke at the seminar, at which leading financial men of Europe were able to learn more about Australia. The only exhibit permitted at the fair, other than Swiss exhibits, was Australia’s exhibit. I congratulate the Department of Trade on its initiative. Nothing but good can flow from our participation in European trade fairs.
I wish to say a few words about the factfinding mission that has gone to South America. The mission comprises four men and its report is eagerly awaited. I was interested to read a preliminary report from the mission which showed that there were amazing opportunities for trade with South American countries. Trade between Australia and South America will develop if we can arrange a shipping service. Honor able senators are aware that at present there is no direct shipping service from Australia to either the west coast or the east coast of South America. There is a shipping service from the East Indies to South America and then on to Europe. That service is conducted by the Royal Interocean Lines - a Netherlands company. Another service operates across the Pacific ocean, which means that goods must be trans-shipped at Panama. I understand that trans-shipping at Panama is impractical. I hope that the Government will pay particular attention to the possibility of boosting trade with South America even to the extent of subsidizing a shipping service in its initial stages. I asked the former Minister for Shipping and Transport, who sat in this chamber, whether the Australian National Line could be used to get trade moving between Australia and South America.
– What was the Minister’s answer?
– The Minister said that the matter would be considered.
– When was that?
– From memory I would say that was about six months ago.
– A member of this chamber was not the Minister then.
– Perhaps it was a little longer ago. However, I do not want to be side-tracked. If the fact-finding mission to South America submits a favorable report I hope that the Government will pay particular attention to the shipping angle. When I was in South America about two and a half years ago I realized the great potential of the area for development. In Brazil alone there are two cities, each of which is far larger than Sydney. Those cities are increasing in size. One of them - Sao Paulo - is the fastest growing city in the world. Those cities are growing at such a rate that the internal industrial production of Brazil cannot keep pace with their development and the country is forced to import goods.
The last report of the Tariff Board tabled in the Senate about a year ago shows that steel can be produced in Australia and delivered to the west coast of America cheaper than it can be produced in America itself.
I believe that that factor alone should give a great stimulus to the development of trade with the Americas. 1 hope that when the Government is considering the development of our trade it will realize the possibility of exporting from Australia some of those things that we can make cheaper than any other country. An interesting schedule is appended to the current report of the Tariff -Board. It shows that we can produce various categories of steel and iron cheaper than any other country. That factor could be of great importance in the development of trade in those commodities.
I congratulate the Government on its imaginative forward policy with regard to the Department of Trade. I think that the estimates set out in the papers before us are fully justified.
– I wish to refer to the position of people in South Australia engaged in the production of dried figs. Yesterday in the Senate I asked a question about this matter. I do not think that the Leader of the Government (Senator Spooner) properly understood my question because in his answer he stated that he would bring the question to the attention of the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), who, he said, was best equipped to deal with the matter, but I had stated in my question that some approaches had been made to the Minister for Trade and that the desired result had not been achieved. I do not wish to do an injustice to Government supporters from South Australia in this chamber and in another place so I make it clear now, as I did yesterday, that I was fully aware that they had approached the Government on this matter. I accept without question that they have done everything possible from their point of view for the fruit-growers in the Berri and Barmera areas who are engaged in the production of dried figs. My aim in raising this matter is to induce the Minister for Trade to change his attitude with respect to this matter, because the position is much more difficult than he realizes. When Government supporters from South Australia brought the matter to the notice of the Minister for Trade, he said that he believed that it was not one of urgency, that dried figs were only a sideline, and that as a consequence people in the industry were not suffering any great or immediate stress. Yesterday, replying in another place to a question asked of another Minister by the honorable member for Bonython (Mr. Makin), the Minister for Trade said -
Perhaps -I should answer this question, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because about a month ago representations were made to me in my capacity as Minister for Trade to the effect that due to the importation of dried figs the locally produced crop could -not be sold. Officers of the Department of Trade were sent to the river Murray area to consult with producers and, in particular, with the packing houses interests. The investigations on the spot revealed that there was no cause for alarm at that time. Only a few tons of locally produced figs were unsold when the investigation was made about a month or six weeks ago. S think that the matter was referred to the Tariff Board. I undertook - and this undertaking is being observed - that my officers would keep themselves informed of the position so that if it was found that competition was affecting adversely the opportunities to sell the locally produced figs at a fair price, quick remedial action could be taken.
I am informed - and I think my information is correct - that the position is much more desperate than appears to have been conveyed to the Minister by officers of his department. My information is that, rather than only a few tons of figs being on hand, in the packing sheds of Berri and Barmera, about 9i tons of the 1959 crop and about 45 tons of the 1960 crop remain unsold. This is at a time when there is on the high seas en route to Australia a large shipment of figs from Turkey.
– Do you know what is the total crop?
– The total crop grown is about 300 tons per annum. About 60 or 70 growers are involved. If my information is correct, about 55 tons of figs are still unsold, while a large shipment of Turkish figs is on the way to Australia. Another shipment, I understand, reached the shores of this country in September. I submit that this is a very serious position. It is obvious, of course, that the merchants who handle overseas figs are more desirous - I say this advisedly - of handling them than of handling the Australia product.
– Because they get more profit.
– As Senator Pearson says, the margin of profit on imported figs is tremendous in comparison with the margin on the local article. I made inquiries in Canberra and found that one establishment which was interested in the distribution of dried figs had had no Australian figs for two years. In another shop, where I purchased a packet of Turkish figs, which were the only figs in stock, I was told that as Australia could grow such good figs, it was rather surprising that the shops did not have any Australian figs. Inquiries I have had made in South Australia reveal that sellers are prepared to push the Australian product only when imported figs are not available. It is perfectly obvious the interests connected with the production of figs in another country are pushing the local product out of existence.
This is a matter which requires the Government’s immediate attention. I hope that I will be joined in this plea by my fellow South Australians, because it appears that our State is mostly affected. I have with me samples of both the imported and the local product. This packet, which I show the Senate, is of Turkish figs. It is not very attractively packed and has a miscroscopic label which gives no information of any use whatever to the Australian consumer. In my other hand I hold Australian figs, attractively packaged, as sold by South Australian interests both in South Australia and other States.
– What are the respective retail prices?
– The retail prices are approximately the same. I understand that the Turkish figs are a little cheaper. When one considers the margin of profit that merchants can obtain as a consequence of cheap labour in Turkey, it is understandable that Turkish figs can be sold more cheaply than Australian figs, while providing a substantial profit which is not obtained from the local article. I suppose that that is good business and that we cannot complain about it.
– What more can the Minister do than he has already done? He referred the matter to the Tariff Board immediately he received the representations.
– If the Minister will permit me, I shall suggest what can be done. The Government will make the decision, in the final analysis, but I am prepared to make a suggestion that I think has some validity and that will receive the support of my
South Australian colleagues. I think that I have established that the department is not fully informed of the position, because the answer that I read indicated that there was no cause for alarm because only a few tons of Australian figs were on hand. That is not correct. The growers say that there is cause for alarm. They are fearful that they will not be able to dispose of 55 tons. I admit quite freely that there was a suggestion that the Government would agree to a Tariff Board inquiry, but the Minister knows, as we all know, that that would take some considerable time. We are asking for immediate action by way of an embargo on imported figs until such time as the 55 tons of Australian figs remaining unsold are disposed of. If this action is not taken, and nothing is done until the Tariff Board concludes a lengthy inquiry, the growers will be in a desperate position.
In many instances the production of dried figs is not a side-line. Dried figs comprise at least 25 per cent, of the total crop of many growers in the River Murray area, and this commodity is an essential element of their economy. I suggest that further consideration be given to the matter. There are certain avenues that are open to the department in an emergency. I suggest that those avenues be investigated and utilized with a view to protecting a valuable local industry.
In the processing of Australian dried figs, pure food acts have to be complied with and certain standards have to be maintained. We can only guess at the standards of purity of imported figs. Some effort should be made immediately to assist the people engaged in this valuable South Australian industry. We must give some protection to local products against invasion of the market by foreign goods produced with cheap labour, with which we have no hope of competing. The industry must be protected against the rapacity of merchants who are prepared to jettison local interests in order to make a large profit out of imported commodities.
– I should like to join with Senator Laught in congratulating the Department of Trade upon its activities. I regard it as being one of the important departments of the Commonwealth. It has been eminently successful in its activities overseas. The department has established many contacts overseas as a result of the appointment of some of the finest trade commissioners that it has been possible to select.
I am very glad 1:0 note that this year the department proposes to reduce the expenditure under Division No. 301 - Administrative, by approximately £104,000. I note, too, that the department is continuing its trade publicity efforts in the United Kingdom and that it proposes to spend this year an extra £60,000 for that purpose. In countries other than the United Kingdom it proposes to spend approximately an extra £100,000. Australian trade missions have achieved particular success in advancing our trade in countries in which we were not very well entrenched. The appointment of trade commissioners and assistant trade commissioners has resulted in a consolidation and expansion of our trade.
Senator Laught referred to the success of the Lausanne seminar, which was opened by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). That seminar gave us great publicity in the European markets. I believe it will prove to have been a great help to us in expanding our trade with the United Kingdom and Europe.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I should like honorable senators to know that the figs they are now sampling came from South Australia.
– I wish to address a question or two to the Minister for National Development, who represents the Minister for Trade in this chamber, not in a spirit of criticism but purely in a search for knowledge. I believe that the proposed relatively small expenditure on the Commercial Intelligence Service will be well worth while, even though the results in terms of trade may not be very great. I am a firm advocate of the extension of our trade services. I should like to know, in round figures, the value of the trade that Australia has with the British West Indies, Ghana, Kenya, Thailand and the United Arab Republic, and the value of the trade that those countries have with Australia.
Senator VINCENT (Western Australia) (11.35]. - I wish to refer briefly to a problem that has exercised my mind and the minds of many other honorable senators for a number of years. I refer to the packaging of our export goods. It has been the opinion of many people that in Britain Australian products - I refer particularly to food products - have suffered in comparison with the products of other nations because of inferior packaging.
– And labelling.
– And labelling, as the honorable senator suggests. I refer to such commodities as meat, processed meats, jams, pickles, sauces, butter and other dairy products. My experience in Britain revealed that by and large Australia’s products are not presented as attractively as are the products of many other nations. I found that as a result many of the great shops in British cities were not particularly eager to display our products.
I am aware that the problem is being tackled by the Department of Trade and that Australian exporters are conscious of this weakness. I should like the Minister for National Development to indicate what steps are being taken to rectify the situation. In twelve months’ time we may find that, because of competition overseas, we are experiencing greater trouble than we are now in exporting our food products. I do not know what steps the department is taking or what is being done by the industries concerned, but I should be glad to have the Minister’s comments, if not to-night, at some future date.
– I should like to endorse Senator Vincent’s remarks regarding the marketing of our meat products in the United Kingdom. I do so because on board ship when returning to Australia after my visit to England a young Queensland doctor who had been domiciled in that country put a question to me which I was unable to answer. He said that during his domicile in England - he had been doing a postgraduate course in medicine - he and his family were almost unable to obtain Australian beef. He told me that he had been able to obtain English or Scottish beef, the quality of which was very good, but that he liked the quality of Australian products. Referring to the beef with which we were served on the ship, he said, “That is a sample of good Australian beef. It ought to be available to- people in England.” He added, “ It is frozen beef, too “. That beef had been taken from- the freezer aboard, the vessel - the “ Iberia- “. It had been taken from- Australia to England, and was- being brought back again for use on the ship. Our frozen beef has been- condemned by importers in England, who perhaps have an ulterior motive for doing so. What I am saying relates not only to beef but also to Australian lamb. You can go to the shops that retail cutlets and they will offer you either English or New Zealand cutlets. They will tell you that they have Canterbury lamb. It is said that to be of good quality lamb has to be either New Zealand or English-grown. I was unable to buy the Downs quality lamb that comes from the agricultural areas in our southern States, and which we know is so good. These products should be available, if not to the English public, at least to Australians in England. They were not readily available, because I was unable to secure them.
The same applies to our wine products. We know that very fine wine is exported to England but that it loses its identity to a great extent when it reaches there. I was finally able to obtain the address of a London store that was retailing Australian wines under the labels with which I was familiar, but there is a tendency for importers to use Australian wine for the purpose of blending. Consequently it loses its identity.
– And also its quality.
– The quality is very often destroyed by blending it with other and inferior wines. It loses its identity. It is almost impossible to buy Australian wine in England. If you are able to secure it you can do so only at a prohibitive price. These matters are very important as far as our export trade is concerned.
.- I think it is regrettable that the estimates for the Department of Trade are being discussed to-night with an eye on the clock. After all, the Department of Trade plays an important part in the economy of Australia. During the course of a debate on the wool industry that took place a week or so ago attention was directed to the decline of our overseas trade and to the necessity to look for new markets so that the exports of our primary products and other commodities could be stepped up.
I am interested in the fact that at present an Australian trade delegation is in Japan, negotiating a new trade agreement between Australia and Japan. Japan is desirous of becoming a full member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and one of the bargaining points of our delegation in Japan is that, in return for supporting Japan’s membership, Japan should buy more of our wheat, flour and other primary products.
I wonder whether the extent of our efforts to popularize our goods in other countries is sufficient. I am amazed at the meagre salaries that are being paid to our trade representatives in some of the countries where we are noping to popularize Australian commodities. Some months ago this Parliament authorized substantial increases in the salaries of various public officers. On looking through the salaries paid to our trade commissioners overseas, I find that the trade commissioner in the new country of Ghana is to receive £2,655 this year, yet we pay the Secretary of the Joint House Department, who runs the refreshment rooms and one or two other things, over £4,000 a year. I wonder just what type of service we expect to get from our trade commissioners. I would say that the man occupying this position in Ghana is doing a very fine job, but he must be a very junior man to receive that salary. There are three trade commissioners in the Australian Commerical Intelligence Service in India, and between them they are paid £9,655. The trade commissioner in Indonesia receives £2,265. We give the trade commissioner in Italy £3,500 and the trade commissioner in Japan receives £3,962. Those two men are getting something more reasonable.
– There is great competition for the jobs, even at those salaries.
– If that is so, I wonder what there must be in it. The incidental expenses being paid to the trade commissioners in some of these countries are very poor. I notice that there is an item set down as “ Representation allowances”. I suppose that is to meet: the current expenses of the commissioners. If we want to expand our trade, we must have people in these countries who can sell our goods. A great deal has been made of symposiums - as they are called - seminars and displays that have been held in some of the well-established countries which have a connexion with countries older than ours, but in the new countries Australia has an opportunity to get in on the ground floor and dispose of its goods. I think a greater effort should be made in the new countries that have not yet linked up with the older trading countries. In those countries we should have staffs of experts, and they should be given the facilities to bring Australian goods to the notice of the people of those countries.
It is important that this department bs developed because of Australia’s exports and imports position. The Government has abolished import restrictions. Consequently, goods which previously were not imported because of that barrier are coming into Australia and are competing against our locally produced goods. I do not know by what scale, rule, or yardstick the salaries of the people who have been sent to other countries as trade commissioners are determined. The Minister may be able to obtain that information and tell us how the Government assesses their responsibilities and their qualifications.
– Two interesting points have been raised by Senator Vincent and Senator Hannaford about packaging and by Senator Sheehan about the trade promotion efforts that are being made. Of course, the latter point goes right to the heart of the problem of the Department of Trade. That is really the basic objective of the department and the trade commissioner service overseas. I believe it is of more than passing interest to point out that in the Estimates £396,250 is provided for trade publicity in the United Kingdom and £209,856 for trade publicity outside the United Kingdom. There may be criticism of the adequacy of those amounts, but at least they indicate that the department is showing an awareness of the need to capture additional markets. They are also an important contribution to what I believe are the better results that are being obtained overseas.
I have recently returned from a trip overseas. I had not been in England for seven years. Contrary to the views expressed by Senator Hannaford, one of my big impressions was the greater awareness of Australia and Australian products in Great Britain. Perhaps I was more alert or interested on this trip, but I felt that there was a far greater display of Australian goods in the stores and shops in Great Britain than formerly. I was particularly interested in the greater appreciation of Australian lamb in comparison with New Zealand lamb. I am not suggesting for a moment that New Zealand lamb has not still got the market in Great Britain.
– I often wondered whether Australian lamb was marketed as New Zealand lamb.
– I had my doubts about that too. I must say that packaging is the responsibility of the manufacturer and the man who sells the goods. No government department can do more than create an awareness of the virtues of better packaging, or establish an advisory service. A good deal of work is being done by the Department of Trade in the form of trade conferences, articles in trade publications and in the department’s own monthly journal, the arrangement of exhibitions, and the display of overseas packaging in contrast with Australian packaging at exhibitions, in order to create a greater awareness of the virtues of better packaging. I do not think I can say any more on that matter.
asked me to explain the standards by which the remuneration of trade commissioners is fixed. I repeat what Senator Wright said, by way of interjection, that there is a good deal of competition for these overseas posts. I point out to Senator Sheehan that when reading the salary lists one should not stop at the salaries item, but should also consider the representation allowance, family allowance, rent allowance, &c. There is a number of those allowances.
– But those allowances - a free car, a house and the like - are all required for the job.
– I suppose they are really no more than what is needed by an official to carry out his responsibilities, but they add up to an appreciable total. Perhaps they are expenses which if you were stationed in Australia you would have to meet, instead of having them met for you. In addition, there are temporary and casual employees at the various posts. They are shown in another part of the Estimates. They add to the amenities of the position.
I am sorry that I cannot give the imports and exports in respect of the countries mentioned by Senator Armstrong. I will ask the Department of Trade to obtain them for me and I will send them to the honorable senator within the next few days. That leaves only Senator Toohey’s reference to dried figs. I give the short answer that the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) did all that he could by referring the matter to the Tariff Board on 11th August last, immediately after the complaints were made. 1 do not think that one can expect much more than that. On the figures that Senator Toohey cited, 49 tons of the 1960 crop have not yet been sold. If the crop for the year were 300 tons, one would scarcely expect the whole crop to have been sold by this time in the year, five or six months after the crop was taken off. I am not attempting to contradict the view that the growers are in difficulty because I just do not know enough about the position to say “ Yea “ or “ Nay “ to that proposition. I suggest that the Minister could do no more than he has done. Immediately the circumstances were brought to his notice he sent officers into the district to make inquiries at first hand, and when those inquiries were made he agreed to a reference to the Tariff Board.
Another interesting statement, which has been passed to me as I have been speaking, relates to the comment about the availability of Australian wines in London. 1 am told that an Australian wine centre has been opened recently in Soho. It is a venture of the major Australian wine exporters. They have opened this centre in Soho, where they will stock and sell all the major brands of Australian wines that are now sold in Australia. So they will be available in London.
Thursday, 20th October 1960.
– I was interested to hear the Minister’s comments on the greater appreciation of Australian goods that he found in Great Britain. That just indicates to me the danger of making fleeting or casual observations. The cold hard fact of the matter is that we are selling fewer goods to the United Kingdom to-day than we have for very many years past. I think the British are buying less from us now than at any time since the end of the war and possibly any time during the last twenty years. That is a problem that the Government has to face, but of course there are additional problems. Even the preference that we give to the United Kingdom sometimes makes it difficult to trade with other countries with which trade might be developed.
Senator Laught has told us that he has seen a preliminary report of the trade delegation that is at present visiting South America, and that the report shows that there is amazing scope for the development of trade with the countries of that area. Of course, many people in Australia have been trying to tell that to the Government and to industry for many years. South America is a densely populated area and some of the countries are tremendously wealthy. Various problems in the way of trade have not yet been overcome. Senator Laught has dealt with some of them. One problem is that there is no shipping service between Australia and South America. One of the important matters that the Government should consider is the expansion of the Australian National Line. So far as I know, there is no country with an export and import potentiality similar to that of> this country that does not have its own shipping line. I suggest that a governmentowned overseas shipping line could make a considerable difference to our balance of payments position. The fact that we have to pay freight charges to overseas shipping lines means that the money so spent goes out of this country. We are not able to keep such expenditure within the country as are other exporting and importing countries. This is a matter for decision by the Government, but it is something that will have to be faced sooner or later because I think that the establishment of our own overseas shipping line is a fundamental part of our growing up as a nation.
Several things have been done to promote trade between Australia and South America, and it is true that a small amount of trade is being done. Ships are chartered, and every four, five or six months a ship moves fi om South America to Australia or vice versa. I am not a bit surprised that the present trade mission to South America is making such interesting discoveries. I do not intend to comment on the report of the mission at this stage; I think it is fair to wait until the mission has returned and presented a full report. I do not know the circumstances under which the mission is trying to do its work, but I know that other trade delegations that have been sent overseas in the past have been treated in such a miserly fashion that it has been almost impossible for the members of the delegations to meet the people of the countries that they should have met and to develop properly the bases of trade. I know of instances in which Australian representatives travelling in South America were obliged to live in second-class hotels because of the high cost of travel and of living there. The necessary finance had not been provided to allow them to move about as they should have moved. If you are selling trade, Mr. Temporary Chairman, you have to do it on a high level. You cannot go about as a beggar or a pleader. You have to do what is being done in Britain to-day. You need big money to spend, because export and import trade is the biggest business that Australia knows. In fact, it is more than a business. It is the very blood that flows in the nation’s veins. If the flow begins to coagulate, there is trouble. So, great efforts have to be devoted to the development and expansion of export and import trade. If we send representatives abroad, we should spare no expense. They should be given facilities to enable them to entertain people and help them to tell the story of Australia’s possibilities.
The countries of central and South America are moving in the same way as are the countries of Europe and are forming trade groups. They are doing all they can to help raise the low standards of living that exist in many of them. They are taking a leaf out of the European book, and as the Europeans have entered into common market arrangements, so the countries of central and South America are currently forming two regional trade groupings, one in central America and the other in South America. In the central American economic market there are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, while in the American Free Trade Association there are the Argentine, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Last February, in Montevideo, those countries agreed to free their trade with each other. They agreed that the text of the agreement should be presented to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade at Geneva in May. They are using the agreement as the framework for future development, in order to lift their standards of living.
It is with countries of that kind, which have rising standards, that Australia undoubtedly could promote trade. But there must be more drive and initiative. The fact that so many years have gone by and that we have fiddled with the South American market for so long is a great disappointment to me. If the mission that is at present in South America comes back and says, “ Yes, we can do this and we can do that “, that will be only the first part of the battle to trade with South America. At the risk of being boring and repetitive, I suppose I could say that the Government should do more to promote the sale of Australian manufactured products - not that I think that those should be the main exports. Far from it. All the indications are that the main source of export revenue will come from the base metal and chemical groups, which have been encouraged in the last few years because of intensive mineral development in Australia. However, I know of a number of products of secondary industry which could be placed on the South American market, although two very important problems are encountered in this respect. One is the problem of reducing our internal costs by a method of depreciation, by doing what other countries have shown can be done in this field.
Those countries have shown what an encouragement adequate depreciation rates can be. Take, for instance, the case of
America, where the question of depreciation is becoming almost a political one in the presidential election campaign. Senator Kennedy is complaining that the oil people are enjoying the benefit of depreciation allowances that are too great, while Mr. Nixon is saying that the more depreciation that is allowed the more oil wells will be sunk, the more activity there will be and the stronger the nation will be. I think that the rate of the depreciation allowance in America is about 27i per cent, on nonpaying oil wells until such time as they come into operation.
I congratulate the Government on its action to remove one of the factors that previously made international trade difficult. I refer to insurance. The Government has established an export insurance body to handle insurance on overseas transactions. The next thing to do is to set up an organization that can help to finance our exports, because particularly in the South American countries many problems arise out of the different currencies that exist. The problems in this respect are too big to be overcome by individuals. The insurance organization that has been set up has been a great help, but I point out that the trading banks have been under such pressure to reduce credit that they are moving away from the provision of large sums of money for exporters. They will provide money for exports of wool because wool is a commodity that is handled so quickly that it it only a matter of 90 days or so before the money is being repaid. The Australian banking system is not in a position - or feels that it is not - to give all the financial assistance that is necessary if the trade possibilities are to be properly developed. I reiterate that when I say these things I am referring particularly to Latin America and central America. 1 think that the Commonwealth Bank, through one of its agencies, could set up a banking organization that would help Australian exporters to carry the great burden involved and to assist them in their problems in other ways.
The other matter that the Government must look to was mentioned’ by Senator Kennelly, that is, the question of how long it will be politic and beneficial for Australia to allow overseas capital’ to come in without any restriction whatsoever; A number of the top business men in Australia have warned us that it is not too good for so much foreign capital to be invested in Australia. They have pointed out that the position could be reached in this country that was reached in Canada when foreign investment became too great. Foreign investment must be fed by dividends. Some of the profit has to be repatriated and some has to be ploughed back into our own country. When we have to find employment for labour here, the introduction of foreign capital is a risk we have to take. But in Australia we have a condition of nearly full employment, and there is every indication that it will stay that way. The automatic growth of this country is making great demands on our manpower. Therefore, it is not a matter of encouraging overseas investment in this country in order that Australian, manpower may be absorbed. Industries already in Australia are experiencing’ difficulty in getting all the types of manpower they want and, in some instances, labour is moving into a position of short supply. So we have to look at the situation in regard to this influx of money. It is invested in this country and needs labour to make it work. It is used to build factories. Even if this money is only used to build offices for the staffs of financial houses, manpower is still required to make it work. I am proud to quote an article by Senator Kennelly that was published in “The Australian Financial Review” of 22nd September last. The honorable senator has really risen to great heights in having his article published in this journal.
– The honorable senator is slipping in quoting the capitalist press.
– It is recognition. Some people are recognized by being awarded an O.B.E. or a K.B.E., but Senator Kennelly has been recognized in this fashion. His thoughts about the inflow of capital into Australia are expressed in an article that occupies almost a full page of the publication I have mentioned. The article states -
Another great cause for alarm is the growing amount of dividends that are paid overseas. For the eleven years from 1948-9 to 1958-9 the total value, of exports from Australia was- £8,707,000,000 and the total cost of servicing, foreign investment was £403,100,000 or 4.2 per cent, of our total export.
For the years 1954-55 to 1958-59 inclusive, the total value of our exports was £4,212,000,000 and the servicing cost was £242,400,000 or 5.75 per cent.
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I was interested in what Senator Armstrong was saying. I intervened, Mr. Temporary Chairman, merely to give him an opportunity to continue, as no other honorable senator has,, risen.
– I thought that the Minister would be pleased to comment on what I have placed before the committee.
– We read the article.
– Did you understand it?
– Yes, without your help.
– I am surprised to hear that you read it. The point I was making is that the amount of money that is sent away as dividends is only a fraction of the actual money earned. The figures I quoted did not take into account the profits retained. If this amount were included, the cost of servicing would come to about 10 per cent, of our total export income.
The hour is late, and as Senator Sheehan has said, we should, be afforded an opportunity to discuss fully without being subject to pressure of time the proposed vote for such an important department as the Department of Trade.. I hope that the Minister, even at this late hour, will make some comment about the matters I have raised, because there is no doubt that tremendous drive is needed in this field. There should be a little bit of resiliency in respect of proposed changes from past practices. I have before me a cutting from the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of recent date, headed “Australia and Foreign Trade - More Commercial Treaties Needed “. It is a letter to that newspaper, which applies in part to the question of trade with South
America. It was written by Mr. C. Sullivan, an agent in Sydney who has been engaged in the export trade throughout the world throughout the period of 30 years that I have known him. Dealing with trade with Britain, he stated -
For the twelve months ended June, 1960, our exports to Britain totalled £A244 million, averaging slightly less than £5 a head of the British population, while our purchases from Britain totalled £A330 million, an average of £33 a head of the Australian population.
This is not really a valid comparison; 1 am quoting it just as a matter of interest. The letter continued -
England paid Australia £11 a ton less for lead than America paid to Australian and South American producers. South American countries are as anxious to sell to Australia as we are to sell to them, but while our problem is high production costs, South America’s problem - so far as two-way trade with Australia is concerned - is our discriminatory British preferential tariff. For example, Peru is famous for its silverware, made from the local silver and widely exported, but not to Australia, where it is subject to a duty of 45 per cent., plus sales-tax, against 27i per cent, duty on silverware manufactured in Britain, possibly of Peruvian silver.
To develop our export trade we should make more commercial treaties (as Britain does) and while this would mean a reduction of the present British preferential tariff margins, it would, by reducing cost of our imports, reduce our cost of living and consequently cheapen our production costs and help us to develop more export markets.
Of course, this is going to be the problem in respect of trade with South America. If we do not trade with the countries in that part of the world, they will not trade with us. We must make every effort, by means of bilateral treaties, to obtain from those countries the things they produce that we can use.
I thank the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) for his courtesy in making it possible for me to conclude my remarks. As doubtless the Minister is weary and would like to go home, probably this will be the end of our discussions on trade for another twelve months.
Proposed votes agreed to.
Senate adjourned at 12.21 a.m. (Thursday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 October 1960, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1960/19601019_senate_23_s18/>.