23rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - Mr. Deputy President, I inform the Senate with deep regret of the death of Senator Rex Whiting Pearson, who died in Adelaide on Monday last, 11th September. His record is known to us all. He was elected a senator for South Australia in 1951, after having been a member of the South Australian House of Assembly for ten years. In the South Australian Parliament, he was Government Whip for the period of six years from 1945 to 1951. He resigned his seat of Flinders in the South Australian Parliament in order to contest the Senate election of 1951.
In this Senate, he was a Temporary Chairman of Committees from 16th September, 1953, until the date of his death. He was a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs from 29th February, 1956, to 27th August, 1959. He was Government Whip in the Senate from August to October, 1952.
Throughout his parliamentary career, he was interested in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and took part in its affairs. He was a member of the Australian delegation to the conference of the association which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in August, 1954.
That, Mr. Deputy President, is the record that stands to his credit, but I venture to suggest that we think to-day of the passing of a friend to all of us as well as one who was our parliamentary colleague. It was a very nice thing that that friendship was evidenced by so many senators from each side of the chamber paying their last tribute to him at his funeral in Adelaide yesterday.
When we turn to think of Rex Pearson as a man, I think we start on the basis of remembering always how quiet and unassuming he was in all his transactions. We remember also ! think, the great pride that he obviously felt in representing his State of South Australia in this Senate; he was quiet and unassuming, yet so proud of the dignity and responsibility of representing his State in the Senate. I venture to suggest that his outstanding trait was his conscientious approach to all his responsibilities. He never failed to give of his best, not only during the proceedings of the Senate, but also in dealing with all the many other parliamentary, public and social activities outside the Parliament in which he was so keenly interested. He had, too, a deep interest in his Church.
Mr. Deputy President, when one so close to us passes on, it is most difficult to find the appropriate words to express what one feels. With the passing of Rex Pearson, South Australia has lost a respected, experienced and most loyal representative of its interests in this Senate. He was an experienced parliamentarian. He was a great, loyal South Australian. He had the respect of all of us on both sides of the chamber. Our sympathy goes out to those who are bereaved by his loss - his wife, his mother and his son. Having said that, I move -
That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator Rex Whiting Pearson, Senator for the State of South Australia, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his widow and son in their bereavement.
– On behalf of all members of the Opposition, I second the motion. In doing that, I endorse all of the sentiments expressed so eloquently by the Leader of the Government in proposing the motion. Despite the fact that Senator Pearson’s health was adversely and permanently affected for a year or two past, he remained assiduous in attending to his political and parliamentary duties. When this session was resumed on 15th August, we learned with regret that he was critically ill, and reports in the ensuing period prepared us for the news of his death in the early hours of Monday morning last, at the age of 56 years. By all worldly standards, his death was premature and untimely. We, however, must see it and accept it as the decree of an all-wise and inscrutable Divine Providence. There is shock in the thought that a member of this Senate, who, until we went into recess in May last, moved amongst us and worked with us, has passed from time into eternity. But his memory and his influence will linger in the Senate and in the Parliament.
On the many occasions when Senator Pearson acted as Chairman of Committees in this chamber, he discharged his duties with the ease and efficiency that come only from experience and general competence. He particularly and meticulously observed all parliamentary rules and set an example that would be difficult to emulate. He was a very loyal supporter of the party to which he owed his allegiance. He was a gentleman and a really friendly and considerate companion. He had firm convictions which were based on thoughtfulness, but he was tolerant of other viewpoints.
I extend the sympathy of the Opposition to his colleagues of the Government parties and in particular to those from South Australia. We on this side of the chamber shall miss him. Senator Toohey and Senator Ridley, both of South Australia, represented those of us who were unable to attend at his funeral in Adelaide yesterday. I regret that the quick passage of events prevented more of us from paying our last respects on that occasion. Senator Pearson ended many years of devoted public service with the highest respect and regard of us all. I, together with Senator Spooner, extend to his mother, his wife and son in their sad bereavement the deep sympathy of the Opposition. We trust that their burden of sorrow will be eased.
– Mr. Deputy President, I should like to associate my colleagues of the Australian Country Party with the very sincere expressions of sympathy that have been voiced upon the passing of Senator Rex Pearson. The motion that has been proposed by the Leader of the Government (Senator Spooner) and supported so generously by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) is not merely a formal motion. Rather is it a declaration from the saddened heart of every member of the Senate, for Senator Pearson was gifted with rare virtues which prompted him to spend the greater part of his adult life in serving the public and at the same time retain the respect, affection and goodwill of all those with whom he came in contact. He was a fearless fighter for the rights of the people whom he represented, and he set a pattern of conduct inside and outside the Parliament which reflected great credit upon him and this institution. We sorely grieve at his passing.
May his sorrowing wife, mother and son draw comfort from the knowledge that we who have been privileged to serve with him will always cherish the memory of that association. I support the motion.
– May 1 say, on behalf of the Australian Democratic Labour Party, that this is a very sad occasion for the Senate. A very kindly gentleman has passed on. To his wife, mother and son we offer our condolences.
Senator MATTNER (South Australia).On behalf of the Liberal and Australian Country Party senators from South Australia I support the motion expressing sympathy to the wife, son and members of the family of Senator Rex Pearson. Senator Pearson’s father, Tom Pearson, who was a member of the famous 10th Infantry Battalion of the First Australian Imperial Force, was killed on the Somme in France in 1917. He left a widow, who is still alive, and four young sons, the eldest of whom was Rex. The others were Glen, who served overseas as a member of the Royal Australian Air Force and is a member of the Playford Government of South Australia; Howard, who lost his life when the Japanese invaded New Guinea; and Keith, who is engaged in business in South Australia.
The mother, who as I have said was a war widow with four young sons - Rex, the eldest, then being twelve years of age - faced the world with courage and a family tradition of grit and thrift. The family moved to a virgin block of land of 3,000 acres at Cockaleechie on Eyre Peninsula. The only improvement on that property was a tin shed with four galvanized iron tanks, one at each corner. A portion of the shed, with its earthen floor, was converted into living quarters. With hard work, selfsacrifice and self-denial this place has been transformed into a model farming property. The mother gave a secondary education at Prince Alfred College to each boy.
With this background, we know why Rex was held in esteem and respect by every person in the community. He was supported by a devoted wife. His life embodied the principle that faith gives hope, tribulation gives patience, patience gives experience, experience gives hope, and hope leads us by faith into grace which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. I support the motion moved by Senator Spooner.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– I suggest that, as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Senator Pearson, the sitting of the Senate be suspended until 8 p.m.
Sitting suspended from 3.17 to 8 p.m.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister been informed that more than 2,000 meat workers are unemployed in central and north Queensland at the present time, and that they have no prospect of regaining employment in their industry until February or March of next year? Has he been informed that the work of reconditioning the railway line between Collinsville and Mount Isa does not offer any employment opportunities to the unemployed workers concerned? Will the Minister for Labour and National Service authorize one of his senior officers to proceed to Queensland forthwith to see whether local authorities there have constructional works relating to sewerage, water reticulation, road and street channelling, and the like, to be performed between now and March, 1962? Will the Minister also discuss with the Treasurer the practicability of the classes of work I have mentioned being financed by the Commonwealth? Is the Minister aware that by the end of November approximately 7,000 workers, for whom there will be no other jobs, will be dismissed from the sugar industry in Queensland?
– I know that, owing to the drought in Queensland, the killing season this year is expected to be extremely short. I can neither confirm nor deny the figures relating to the number of unem ployed meat workers stated by the honorable senator. I know also that the Commonwealth Government has made available to local authorities a considerable amount of money this year to enable local government works to be undertaken. This should meet the requirements which the honorable senator mentions. As to the number of sugar workers who will be dismissed next November, I can neither confirm nor deny the figure given by the honorable senator.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health the following questions: - Has the attention of his colleague been directed to a meeting of the Canberra Community Hospital Board held on Monday, 11th September, and reported in the “ Canberra Times “ of 12th September, during which it was stated that steps were afoot to glass in the verandah space on the northern facade of the hospital, at an estimated cost of from £30,000 to £50,000, to provide additional bed accommodation? If the hospital verandahs are glassed in to provide additional bed facilities, will this not deny to convalescing patients the use of the verandahs for fresh air, sunshine and relaxation, as now obtains? Is it a fact that many people - aged, chonically ill and incurable - who should normally be treated in special institutions have occupied beds in this hospital for long periods of time, thus contributing to a shortage of beds for more urgent cases? If so, how many people in such categories now occupy beds at the Canberra Community Hospital?
Is the Minister for Health aware that in March, 1960, the president of the Queanbeyan Hospital Board, Mr. J. J. L. Collett, testified before the Public Works Committee that 61 beds at the Queanbeyan hospital were not fully utilized, and that, in fact, the average number of beds in use during the years 1958 and 1959 was 34? Is the Canberra Community Hospital Board justified in using the taxpayers’ money to erect this costly facade while there are numerous empty beds only a few miles away at the Queanbeyan hospital, particularly in view of the recommendation of the Public Works Committee in 1960 that a new main hospital block should be proceeded with, and completed to the first construction stage, at an estimated cost of £1,905,500?
– I read in the “Canberra Times “ a report of a discussion by the Canberra Community Hospital Board of a proposal to glass in this verandah space. As the honorable senator says, that would deny the use of the verandahs to convalescing patients. Therefore, the proposal should be looked at from that angle. T recall also reading a report of the Public Works Committee on the Canberra Community Hospital, and the evidence given before the committee about the use of beds at the Queanbeyan hospital. I ask that the question in its entirety be placed on the notice-paper so that I can get from the Minister for Health a full answer to the parts of the question which I cannot answer at this stage.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government. I refer to the practice developing in the Australian motor car industry of laying-off employees for varying periods. If, because of the now semi-casual nature of employment in this industry, the unions involved apply to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for a variation of their awards and an increase in the hourly rates of pay - which, on the last reported profits of the largest employer in the industry, could easily be paid - will the Government consider intervening in the proceedings before the commission in support of the unions?
– I do not think I can give an answer to Senator Cole’s question. Policy and legal issues are involved in it, and I would not be willing to make a statement that might commit the Government to a certain point of view. The reply that I have given, however, should not be taken as indicating any sympathy on my part with the policy adopted by General MotorsHolden’s Limited.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Has the Minister seen a press report referring to “ Idle Money for Mental Health “. wherein it was stated that
New South Wales had £1,925,000 standing, to its credit, which it had been unable to spend on mental health purposes? Has he also seen a statement that Victoria and Tasmania have spent their allocations for these purposes? Can he inform me what moneys, if any, are standing to the credit of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia?
– I have noticed that New South Wales has not, as yet, spent the entire amount of the Commonwealth grant for mental health. My understanding is that the grant was made for expenditure on the construction of buildings. As the honorablesenator has said, Victoria and Tasmania have spent their full allocations. I have no figures available showing the position in South Australia, Western Australia or Queensland. If the honorable senator will place that part of his question on the noticepaper, I shall obtain the facts for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Irrespective of the drought, which was mentioned by the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, in the near future thousands of men will be thrown out of their employment in the meat works at Townsville, Rockhampton, Cairns and Gladstone, and in December thousands of sugar workers will be out of work. Will the Government consider making a special grant to alleviate the consequent distress in Queensland? If so, how much will the Government contribute to schemes to absorb the unemployed people?
– My colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, watches this position very closely, indeed. As yet, we have no information that confirms the gloomy forecasts of the honorable senator. As he has often been wrong previously in similar gloomy predictions, we shall wait and see the results that actually follow.
– I address a question to the Minister for National Development. Is it a fact that the Dutch and Italian Governments are investing money in Australia for the benefit of Dutch and Italian nationals who come to live in this country, in order to help them build houses? Has the British Government been asked whether it will do something of the kind for British migrants in this country, since it would be in the interests of that government to keep Australia predominantly British? If the British Government has been approached and is not willing to assist in this way, will the Minister take up the matter with housing society authorities in England to see whether they would consider investing money in Australia to help British migrants obtain houses?
– Both the Dutch and Italian Governments have schemes operating in Australia. In my opinion, they have given extraordinarily good results. Under the schemes money is made available through building societies for home building by Dutch and Italian migrants. Some of the money has been made available directly by the governments concerned, and some of it has become available through funds in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international organizations. The availability of the finance has been of very valuable assistance to the migration programme, as well as being a most worthwhile contribution to housing generally in Australia. Since the money is made available through building societies, it is being provided in the most economical and efficient way.
There has been a good deal of discussion about the possibilities of the United Kingdom acting in a similar way. My recollection is that the Minister for Immigration has taken up the matter with the United Kingdom authorities. I know that the Australian building society movement has made representations to the British building society movement, and has asked whether the British movement would be prepared to make available some of its surplus funds for use in Australia. I am sorry to say that the representations which have been made to the United Kingdom authorities have not, to my knowledge, so far been successful.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a press report to the effect that the Prime Minister, in answering a question asked in the House of Representatives, stated that because the economy of the country was running so smoothly, he could, in addition to holding his present portfolios of Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs, adequately cope with the Treasury during the absence overseas of the Treasurer? Does, the Minister agree that the economy is running smoothly? If he does, how can he reconcile that opinion with a report, emanating from Sydney, which appeared in yesterday’s Melbourne “ Age “, to the effect that charity organizations in New South Wales were hard put to it to feed the jobless, and that welfare organization workers had described the unemployment position as the worst since the depression days? Has the Minister seen a further report published in yesterday’s Melbourne “ Herald “ which stated that Victorian welfare organizations had reported that they were working full time to cope with demands by destitute families hit by unemployment? In view of the fact that approximately 115,000 people are registered as unemployed, and that General Motors-Holden’s Proprietary Limited recently was reported to be laying off 8,400 employees for periods of up to three weeks, will the Minister say what the Government proposes to do to alleviate this very acute and dangerous situation?
– How can man die better than in facing fearful odds? I shall do my best to answer the honorable senator’s question. The answer to the first part of it is: Yes, I did see the newspaper report to which he has referred. I am in agreement with the Prime Minister’s statement that he is quite competent and able to administer three portfolios. The Treasury portfolio he will administer for only about a fortnight, during the absence of the Treasurer. I also am in agreement with the Prime Minister that, by and large, the economy is .proceeding smoothly and soundly, with a little more unemployment than all of us care to see. I have seen the reports about charity organizations having a good deal of work on their hands. I thank them, as everybody else does, for the job they are doing. The position is that 2.7 per cent, of the work force is registered for employment vacancies, that percentage being higher than it has been previously. Senator Sandford has asked me to say what the Government proposes to do. I resist the temptation to repeat the speech I made during the Budget debate, in which I referred to the Government’s programme and policy and the measures it had taken.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it a fact that the Labour Government of Tasmania insists that passengers travelling by air on vouchers issued by the Tasmanian Government shall travel by Trans-Australia Airlines? Is not this policy a negation of the professed claims of the Australian Labour Party to support freedom of the individual in a democracy? Does the Federal Government at present in office allow freedom of choice to its employees when travelling by air on government business?
– I understand that the position relating to persons travelling by air on behalf of the Government of Tasmania is as described by the honorable senator. I believe that all passenger traffic, and all freight consigned by that government, is directed to Trans-Australia Airlines. I also understand that when the Government of Tasmania was approached recently with a request that there should be a distribution of the business, the Premier said that be would prefer to maintain the monopoly enjoyed by T.A.A. I find it rather difficult to answer the second part of the honorable senator’s question. It is a fact of course, that this Government does not direct government air traffic, either passenger or freight, to any one airline, but permits a personal and individual choice. The honorable senator and I share the same political philosophy, and that being so, he will appreciate that it is not the policy of the parties which form the Commonwealth Government to dictate to any one in matters of this nature. On the other hand, it appears to be the policy of the Australian Labour Party, at least so far as Tasmania is concerned, to tell people with which airline they may fly and generally to push them around in that way.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In explanation of it, I state that in answer to a request from the West Kimberley Pastoralists Association for the establishment of a research station on the light land country of the Kimberley district, Dr. Dunne, the Director of Agriculture in Western Australia, said that it was impossible to establish such a research station because of lack of money and staff and added that if one could be set up it would be more useful in a more productive grazing area. My question is: Will the Government consider the establishment of a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization experimental station to test the growing capacity of this vast area of light land and so further and hasten closer settlement in the Kimberleys?
– In reply to Senator Robertson I can only say that this matter would require a good deal of thought. Already there is one research station on the Ord River, the cost of which is borne in equal shares by the Commonwealth Government and the Western Australian Government. That station has been operating now for some ten or twelve years and has carried out a very wide range of experiments. I know that it has been difficult to get professional staff to enable the station to continue permanently in such a far-flung spot. I can only say that we will give the proposal some thought and look into its possibilities.
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service agree that the action of General Motors-Holden’s Limited, in laying off 8,400 employees at a time when unemployment in Australia is serious, is one of the best ways to foster communism in this country? If he does agree, can he state whether the directors of that company are members of the Communist Party using a somewhat novel method of obtaining recruits?
– As one is told frequently by members of the Opposition, one should not impute communism to people without first making firm investigations to see whether there is any proper cause for one doing so. Therefore, in this case I do not propose to pass any opinion on the matter raised by Senator Kendall. All I do is direct the honorable senator’s attention to an answer given on this matter in another place by the Minister for Labour and
National Service. In that answer he indicated that in his belief the particular problems confronting General MotorsHolden’s Limited at present could have been attacked better by a reduction in the price of the cars that are available, as was done by another motor company. I think his statement, or certainly his implication, was that he would not like to see introduced into this country the sort of seasonal employment which is endemic in the motor industry in the United States of America, but would prefer to see the company arrange its business to enable it to keep a number of employees employed throughout the year rather than bring them on and then lay them off to suit its own convenience.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate say whether the Government, any government department, or any person on behalf of the Government has had any discussions with General Motors-Holden’s Limited on that company’s proposal to lay off about 8,000 persons for varying periods commencing on Friday next? If any representations have been made or any discussions have taken place, what was the result? If none has transpired, will the Government consider making representations to the company with the object of avoiding the projected lay-offs?
– T have no doubt at all that there have been discussions between representatives of the Government and General Motors-Holden’s Limited. I think that that is inherent in the statement made by the company itself which said that it did not expect that there would be a repetition of this procedure. I can give no more information than that in reply to Senator McKenna.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs received, or does he expect to receive, either from the Australian Communist Party or its subsidiary so-called peace councils and similar organizations, any protests or requests for deputations in order to protest against the action of Premier Khrushchev of the Soviet Union in once again plunging the world into the dangers of nuclear bomb explosions? Is it not a fact that if these explosions had been initiated by President Kennedy instead of Premier Khrushchev, not only the Minister for External Affairs but all other Australian parliamentarians would have been overwhelmed with protests, deputations and processions of protest? Can we regard the position as further proof that these alleged peace councils and similar organizations are not bona fide but are merely the instruments in this country of Soviet foreign policy?
– Neither I nor the Minister for External Affairs has received - nor would I expect that he would receive - from the peace councils in Australia, which we all know are closely associated with the Communist Party, or from the Communist Party, any protests against the Soviet Union’s action in unilaterally resuming nuclear tests by testing large and extremely dirty bombs in the atmosphere. I would not expect to receive any such protests from those organizations, and I suggest that-
– In England Bertrand Russell was jailed for protesting against Russia.
– Yes, but I was asked whether we in Australia had received any protests from the peace councils or the Communist Party. Sir, I can say in reply to the question and Senator O’Byrne’s interjection that there has been none; nor would I expect any to be made. I believe that the present situation provides a perfect touchstone by which the sincerity of those people who in the past have always raised their voices against such tests when they have been conducted by Western countries, can be judged, because so far they have not raised any objection to Russia resuming atomic tests or, indeed, to any other action that Russia has taken.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it a fact that, despite vigilance by customs officials at ports, increasing supplies of heroin and narcotic drugs are being smuggled into Australia? Can the Minister inform the Senate of the precautions that are being taken by the Government to prevent these drugs from being smuggled into Australia by passengers travelling by air?
– I do not think that increased quantities of narcotics are corning into Australia. Attempts may have been made to bring increased quantities into the country, but my department has been very alert and vigilant, particularly in the ports. A special section of the department deals with this traffic, and it has had great success in recent times in seizing quantities of narcotics. The department works very closely with the international police organization and with the United Nations Organization in this work. Whenever a seizure is made anywhere in the world and convictions are obtained against people, the details of the seizure and particulars of the persons concerned are sent to all other countries so that the authorities there may be kept fully informed of trends in the traffic, and particularly of new developments. A fairly extensive international force concerns itself with this rotten trade, which is what it is.
Another section of the department keeps a close watch on any attempts to smuggle narcotics into the country in aircraft. We have not found evidence of any increase in the quantity of narcotics brought into the country by air. However. I have not had any recent reports on the air drug traffic, and I should like to have a further look at that aspect of the question. At the moment I am conversant only with the situation as it exists in ports, where our special squad is particularly active.
– My question is directed to the Minister for National Development. For some years past, I have directed the Minister’s attention to the devastation that is being caused on the northern coalfields by open-cut mining, and he has assured me time after time that those fields will be restored to reasonable order after the open-cut mining is finished. At the week-end I had an opportunity to look around Swansea and Minmi, where there are areas that look as if an atom bomb has been exploded on them. Does the Minister still aver that the companies conducting open-cut mining operations will restore to something like their original state the areas that they have used, and will not leave them in a devastated condition, as they are at the moment?
– I understand that a condition of every lease for open-cut coal mining is that the areas will be restored after operations have been concluded. If Senator Arnold will place his question on the notice-paper I will ask the Joint Coal Board to give me some information about the particular areas that he mentioned.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Government in the Senate been directed to an article in this morning’s “ Sydney Morning Herald “, attributed to the part-owner of one of Sydney’s leading retail stores, in which he claims that it is just as hard to-day to find suitable persons for employment as it was during the boom?
– To Senator McKellar I give the answer that I have given to others: I find great difficulty in keeping track of all the reports in the newspapers about the improvement in economic conditions and the difficulty of obtaining staff for various activities. I have no doubt that the report to which Senator McKellar refers did in fact appear in the press, as have many other reports of a similar nature.
– Was any subsidy paid to Oil Search Limited for drilling at Iehu and Barekewa in Papua? What information, if any, concerning the cores of the holes drilled at Iehu and Barekewa has been made available to the Bureau of Mineral Resources? Is the Department of National Development satisfied that all available information about these drillings has been supplied to it, particularly details of drillings between the 5,700 feet level and the 8,700 feet level? Will the Minister investigate thoroughly a report that is gaining credence that oil is present in those Papuan wells, but has been sealed off for future reference?
– I am quite certain that the directors and shareholders of Oil Search Limited would be gratified if the report referred to in the last part of Senator O’Byrne’s question were correct. They would be very happy indeed if there were oil in these holes. Senator O’Byrne and everybody else may rest assured that there is not oil in those holes. The circumstances of the drilling operations are well known, not only to the company concerned, but also to the professional officers of the department. Operations in respect of some of the holes to which Senator O’Byrne referred were subsidized, but I cannot say offhand to which ones this applies and to which it does not. In view of the general interest in this subject I think it would be better if the honorable senator placed his question on the notice-paper. I will then obtain for him a considered reply, whereas if I attempt to deal with the question off the cuff I may not do it justice.
– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer advise me whether the Government operates a scheme under which ex-servicemen, including indigenes of Papua and New Guinea, may obtain long-term loans for agricultural development? If so, will the Minister state the maximum amount of loan available, the interest chargeable and the repayment conditions?
– The scheme that operates in Papua and New Guinea is, as I understand it, an extension of the exservicemen’s credit scheme that operates in Australia. I think the applicants for assistance under the scheme must comply with the usual standards. They must be, for example, people who are qualified to undertake the particular pursuits for which they seek financial assistance. One of the best features of the scheme, to my mind, is that it covers all ex-servicemen of the Second World War, including indigenes of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Europeans must serve a qualifying residential period of, I think, five years. The maximum loan is £25,000. I think that the term of the loan is 25 years, and the rate of interest 33/4 per cent., but I stand to be corrected in relation to those two details.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence: Is it true that since the Soviet exploded a series of nuclear bombs, those people who painted the words “Ban-the-bomb” on various sites now propose to paint in front of those words the word “ Don’t “?
– I find it difficult to understand the point of the question.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry inform me whether, in view of the problems confronting most of Australia’s primary industries because of the proposal of the United Kingdom to join the Common Market, he has fully considered the necessity for soundly establishing those primary industries whose production is insufficient to satisfy local demands by taking whatever action is necessary to ensure that an economic price, at least, is paid for their products? As the consumption of tobacco now exceeds the quantity of tobacco leaf produced annually, will he agree that the tobacco-growing industry is in such a category as to warrant special consideration? Is the Minister aware that of 137 tons of leaf offered for sale on Monday last in Queensland, only 71 tons were sold and that the price realized for the leaf sold was 11. 7d. per lb. less than the average price that was realized on Friday, 8th September? Is it possible for the Commonwealth Government to co-operate with the Queensland Government in a manner which will result in the growers receiving an economic price for their product?
– As I understand the situation confronting our primary industries, the tobacco industry is the only industry that does not seek export markets. The Government is aware of the very serious problems that are facing the industry and I would remind Senator Benn that the Government has taken positive action to try to meet those problems. Two committees have been set up. The first committee has been set up by the Government to inspect the unsold leaf for which no bid was obtained. The Government declared quite bluntly that it would not stand idly by and see usable leaf unsold. That committee has now, I understand, completed its investigations in Victoria and Western Australia and has placed its report in the hands of my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry. In passing, it is interesting to record that it is agreed that a significant percentage of the leaf that was unsold is unusable.
The second committee is a growers’ committee, which has been set up by the Australian Tobacco Growers Council. The Government has readily agreed to make available to that committee technical officers, some finance and an officer who has had banking experience. One of its major tasks is to determine what hardship exists in the industry to-day. The committee is already preparing to conduct hearings on that score of hardship and even to-day it is inserting advertisements in the daily newspapers inviting people to give evidence before the committee so that their cases can be investigated by both State and Federal governments.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it a fact that a large shipment of the book, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, has arrived at Perth and that other shipments might arrive in other States? If this is true, does the Minister intend to prohibit the sale of such books in Australia?
– I have heard that a large consignment of copies of this book has been landed in Perth. I understand that it is a paper-back edition, published by Ace Books Limited. I further understand that it is the expurgated edition which has been circulated in Australia for a number of years, but I have not been able to confirm that point. If it is the expurgated edition it will be released, but if it is not it will share the same fate as the Penguin edition which was recently prohibited in Australia.
– I would like to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question relating to the motor industry. Was not the purpose of the heavy increase in sales tax imposed by the Government some months ago on motor vehicles to divert labour and material from the motor industry to other industries? If it was not imposed for this purpose, why was it imposed?
– Yes, that was the purpose of the increase of the tax. The purpose having been achieved, the increase was taken off. Present developments are something beyond expectations at that time. As I said before, when answering a question addressed to me by, I think, Senator Cole, I have no sympathy with General Motors-Holden’s Limited in the policy that it is adopting.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Customs and Excise been directed to a letter that was published in the Melbourne “ Age “ of 1st September, in which a complaint was made about the. treatment that a person arrivin Australia had received from some customs officers who are employed to examine passengers’ baggage? Will the Minister inquire into the complaint and, if necessary, issue instructions requiring the maximum care of baggage under customs inspection?
– I did see the letter to which the honorable senator refers. I think it was written by a Mr. Aitken. As I was a bit perturbed about the allegations in the letter I contacted my department and requested to be supplied with the particulars. I was informed that steps had already been taken to contact Mr. Aitken and get the details. They are on the way to me but I have not as yet received any details of the matter. I would be surprised if the allegations contained in the letter were correct, but until I receive the full details I will be unable to advise the honorable senator of anything further in the matter, except to say that our officers understand fully the importance of giving to people landing in Australia for the first time such treatment as will give them a good impression of Australia, because their first impression is a lasting impression.
– The suave, smoothly spoken, silver-tongued Leader of the Government in the Senate should have no difficulty in answering the following question-
The DEPUTY PRESD3ENT. - Order!
– In a letter dated 26th October, 1959, the Prime Minister intimated to the Premier of Queensland that, in advancing £20,000,000 for the Mount Isa rail project, the Commonwealth Government would charge the same rate of interest as the International Bank would have charged if it had advanced the money. If this is still the attitude of the Commonwealth Government, will the Minister say why a discriminatory attitude in favour of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, in respect of railway construction work, has been adopted? Does the Prime Minister still persist in maintaining that it is a question of rail standardization in certain parts of Australia as against the interests of other parts of Australia?
– Senator Dittmer’s statement of the position as at 26th October is quite incorrect.
– The letter is there.
– It is quite incorrect and I suspect that Senator Dittmer knows that it is incorrect.
– That is not true. I find that statement intensely offensive and I ask that it be withdrawn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Order!
– The facts are that in the early stages it was contemplated that this railway would be financed by a loan from the International Bank. At that time negotiations for such a loan were proceeding. They fell through, but as further negotiations were still possible the arrangement made between the two governments was that the rate of interest on any money available would be similar to that which would be charged by the International Bank. When there was no likelihood of a loan from the International Bank, that arrangement was changed. The change was made many months ago. Senator Dittmer knows that the Prime Minister and the Premier of Queensland issued a joint statement to the effect that they were satisfied with all the arrangements that were made in relation to this railway line. He is endeavouring to stir up difficulties and, in the course of doing so, is misrepresenting the situation.
– I almost apologize for directing another question to the Minister for National Development. When the Commonwealth Government makes money available to the States for the purpose of home-building under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, has it any power to enforce the spending of at least a portion of such money as soon as it is available? Is it a fact that money made available to the Tasmanian Labour Government is not now being expended because that Government is desirous of creating a pool of unemployment in an election year? Is not such a policy harmful to both the timber industry and the building industry in Tasmania?
– I assure Senator Marriott that he has no need to apologize. If I take it, I can give it in reply. I do not think there is any legal power residing in the Commonwealth Government to specify the time at which money advanced for housing shall be spent. I do not think it would be desirable to give such a direction. The State governments have to plan and carry through their programmes in the way they think best. There was, of course, an arrangement - if not an arrangement, a clear understanding - at the recent Australian Loan Council meeting that the additional moneys that were made available by the Commonwealth for housing and other purposes would be spent as early as possible in the financial year, in order to take up the slack in employment. There was a clear understanding that all governments would put their works programmes into operation as quickly as possible in the new financial year. The Commonwealth Government indicated that it was prepared to advance money earlier than it would otherwise be called upon to do so, in order to enable those programmes to be carried out. I have no knowledge of the housing programme in Tasmania. I have no information as to whether that programme has been advanced or retarded.
– Has the Minister for National Development any information regarding the latest developments in America in the production of nuclear power? Is it a fact that a break-through has occurred, with the result that nuclear power can now be produced at approximately half the cost of that produced by reactors of the Calder Hall type? If so, could not nuclear power be used in Australia by the Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation Limited and the Queensland Government in developing the large bauxite deposits at Weipa?
– There have been developments leading to a reduction in the cost of producing atomic power earlier than was envisaged a year or so ago. I ask the honorable senator to put the question on the notice-paper so that I may obtain such information as is available. However, I sound a note, of warning. The developments that have occurred do not justify the view that atomic power could be used to develop the bauxite deposits in the north of Australia. Very careful inquiry made at the time when those developments were under consideration’ showed that the capital and running costs involved in producing nuclear power by the new process were not comparable with those involved in other sources of power in Australia.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. What rate of interest has been agreed upon in relation to the £20,000,000 loan to the Queensland Government for the Mount Isa railway project?
– The long-term bond rate.
– I have another question which is, fortunately, directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Is it true that since October, I960, following pilot surveys, work task surveys have been conducted by representatives of the Commonwealth Statistician in relation to employment, unemployment and other factors? Have these surveys shown that many people have been out of employment for well over six months? Does the Treasurer intend to make the information obtained available to members of Parliament and to the public in general? If so, how soon after each survey will it be made available? If it is not to be made .available, will the Minister state the reason?
– I trust that the question asked by the honorable senator carries no sinister implication in respect of either the compilation of the information or the use to which it will be put by the Treasurer, if in fact it is put to any use at all.
– You know that there is nothing sinister about me.
– I know. Sometimes the honorable senator asks questions for the purpose of seeking information, and I am prepared to treat this as one of those rather rare occasions. The Commonwealth Statistician has been exploring methods of making inter-censal estimates of the work force, including the unemployed, for some years past, and is currently and has been for some time testing various sampling methods. If the current methods are proved satisfactory and if they give reliable results, the information will be made available through the usual channels, through the publication of the Statistical Bulletin.
– On 15th August, Senator McKenna asked whether the Government could do anything to expedite the decision to be taken following the receipt of the report by a deputy chairman of the Tariff Board on his current inquiry into temporary protection against imports of fine papers. I undertook to discuss this matter with my colleague, the Minister for Trade.
The formal position is that the deputy chairman is required to report to the Minister for Trade within 30 days of receipt of the reference. The report is due to-day. The Government is fully aware of the need for early decisions on applications for temporary protection, and it will act quickly - within a matter of days - when the deputy chairman’s report is received. I understand that Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited is not proceeding with its plan for a complete close-down of the mill at Burnie, although it has had to shut down several of its paper-making machines.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
Serum Laboratories, is now on sale to registered rabbit farmers in New South Wales?
In view of the lack of scientific knowledge -about the effects of shope fibroma, will the Minister inform the Senate -
– The Minister for Health has now furnished the following replies: -
asked the Minister representing the Acting Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Acting Treasurer has provided the following answers: -
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– I have had the following information collated by my department: -
Australia the bureau’s policy has been to carry out surveys of a regional nature which it considers will provide basic information necessary for the investigation of sedimentary basins. All sedimentary basins are held under tenure by oil prospecting companies, so the bureau’s work is necessarily done on company areas. Representations are received continually for the bureau to operate in specific areas, and where these requests can be integrated with the bureau’s own programme the work is undertaken. The conditions are that the results will be available for publication and for the information of all interested parries. In addition, the companies on whose areas the work is done make all existing information available to the bureau and much ot this is incorporated in bureau reports. The bureau makes no direct charge for these services, but in appropriate circumstances the companies provide ancillary services such as explosive storage, topographic surveys and transport of bulk petrol. Where requested surveys appear to be within the domain of normal company exploration the companies are advised that they may make application for subsidized surveys to be carried out by private contract under the provisions of the Petroleum Search Subsidy Acts. If the applications are approved the company, of course, contributes to the cost. It is emphasized that the bureau seismic crews in no way operate in the role of a contracting organization for the purpose of carrying out surveys in response to specific requests.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Will the Minister investigate the reported successful development at Pittsburgh, United States of America, of a thermo-electric generator which uses the sun’s heat for the generation of power for purposes of irrigation?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows: -
I have noted with great interest the reported development by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation of a thermo-electric generator powered by the sun. As indicated in the press the development will be fully described at a United Nations Conference on New Sources of Energy (wind, solar, and geothermal) which commenced in Italy on 21st August. Australia has a number of technical representatives at this conference including a solar energy expert.
The possibilities for the use of these unconventional sources of energy in Australia are therefore not being overlooked. The subsequent applications of any new methods of providing irrigation water, or electricity, to Australian conditions will be matters for consideration after the return of the Australian participants.
asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– I now furnish the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
Four States, namely Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania have entered into agreements with the Commonwealth under which the Commonwealth Film Censorship Board is appointed the authority for the censoring of films in those States. Basically, the agreements provide for: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answers: -
SenatorO’FLAHERTY asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
When will copies be available of the five papers, one on oil-drilling operations and four on geophysical surveys, which the Minister stated, in a report to the Senate on the search for oil, had been sent to the Government Printer for publication?
Will the Minister arrange for the printed copies to be made available to members of Parliament?
– I now furnish the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following information: -
The conference resolved that, subject 10 the approval of the Commonwealth and State governments, an Australian Fisheries Council should be established on the lines of the Australian Agricultural Council. The functions of the proposed council would include-
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has provided the following answers: -
The rates now applying are, of course, those prescribed for the year commencing 1st July, 1961.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I have received from Senator Wright an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely -
The need for this Senate to express its steadfast support of the Free Nations’ defence of Treaty provisions affecting Berlin.
I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 11.30 a.m.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Is the motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -
– I have initiated this debate because I believe it is appropriate that the Senate should express its opinion upon an important national crisis in relation to Berlin. I think I may best contribute to a consideration of the matter by referring, first, to the the historical background of the Berlin situation. I begin by reminding the Senate that it was German militarism which, under the leadership of the Nazis, threatened the destruction of our way of life in 1939. That threat was unleashed with. the encouragement of a non-aggression pact which Hitler was able to make with the Communists. It was only two or three years later that some form of mania drove Hitler to attack the Communists, and the fortunes of war then brought the Communists into the Allied camp.
It will be remembered that it was only by a terrific effort that Russia repelled the Nazi invasion, that North Africa was released from German domination and that France was revived. Eventually, the Allies forced unconditional surrender on Germany. It is important to recall the terms of that surrender, because they left Germany without a recognized government. All institutions, because they were infected with Nazism, were simply effaced. In their place, an Allied Control Council was given authority over the German State. The council, which at first consisted of representatives of the United States of America, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and subsequently also of France, was given control of the entire country.
I like to think that one of the important provisions then expressed arose out of the Treaty of Potsdam. It stated that the purpose of the Allied occupation of Germany was not merely to deprive Germany of the arms necessary to revive war, but also the eventual reconstruction of German political life on a democratic basis, and peaceful co-operation by Germany in international life. The treaty specifically stipulated that throughout Germany there should be one unified economy.
At that time, Mr. Deputy President, the assumption upon which the Allied powers occupied Germany was that there would be agreement between the four of them on the future signing of a peace treaty and the terms upon which the German nation might return to the family of free nations. Germany consequently was placed under the control of the four Allied commanders; but they were not to act separately. It was a specific part of the protocol that they were together to constitute the Allied control. It is true that Germany was divided into four zones, simply for the purposes of detailed administration. But although, geographically, Berlin was situated in the zone allotted to the administration of the Soviet Union, it was specifically excepted and excluded from that zone.
Of course, we all regarded Berlin as the citadel of the Nazi government. It had a special significance. For that reason, in the London Agreement in September, 1944, the Allies provided that the area of Greater Berlin be occupied by forces of each of the four powers and they established an interallied governing authority consisting of four commandants appointed by the commandersinchief to direct jointly the administration of Berlin. So, for the administration of the city four sectors were set up and each of the powers was given the right to establish garrisons in the city and, of course, necessarily guaranteed uninterrupted access to Berlin for the purpose of maintaining those garrisons.
At the same time it was important to provide - and the treaty did so provide - that there should be unrestricted freedom of trade and intercourse between the sectors of Berlin. So, there was a unified control by the four powers of a single city divided into four sectors simply for the purposes of administration; but the commandants were required to act jointly in the governing of the city. Of course, those arrangements were regarded as temporary and as applying only until a peace treaty was determined by the allied powers with some provisional government which they would evolve to represent the German people.
It is interesting to speculate on what was the attitude of the Soviet power at that time. There are on record expressions from Stalin himself which seem to indicate that then no ultimate and permanent division of Germany was contemplated; but the first elections, which were held in Berlin in 1946, showed that it was going to be difficult ever to persuade the German people as a whole to accept communism. In fact, in that year only 20 per cent, of the populace voted for Communist candidates for the control of Berlin. It is a view which I think is worth consideration that that induced the Communist power to believe that out of the paralysis and impoverishment of the German nation - Berlin having been destroyed to the extent of about 70 per cent, of its buildings being reduced to rubble - it was going to be difficult to spread communism throughout the entire nation. From that time onward a division developed between the outlooks of the Soviet Government and the free Allies.
That period before a peace treaty could be concluded, which we thought would be temporary and indeed short, dragged on and on, until in 1946 Secretary of State Byrnes, representing the United States of America, complained that the occupational government of that time and the Allied Control Council were neither governing Germany nor allowing Germany to govern itself. Events drifted on for another twelve months until 1947 when the American Government, speaking through General Marshall, announced the epoch-making plan that gave to Germany new hope of regrowth. Then, after commenting on the fact that at that time the Communists were predicting that never again would a healthy society grow in Germany, the United States declared, “We, on the other hand, are confident of the rehabilitation of the western European civilization with its freedoms”.
It is interesting to remind ourselves that the reaction to that division of viewpoint was the blockade of Berlin. That occurred in June, 1948. That blockade, which took the form of an almost entire prohibition by the Soviet Government of traffic on the road and rail access routes to Berlin through the 110 miles which separated the city of Berlin from the western boundary of East Germany, was preceded by two significant actions by Soviet Russia. In March, 1948, three months before, she walked out of the Allied Control Council, and in June, 1948, she walked out of the Berlin governing authority. She then confronted the Allies with the alternatives of finding an air-lift that would succour Berlin and maintain its population or leaving the people of Berlin to starve and become victims of the surrounding Communists.
It is interesting to recall that at that time notable figures recommended the course of forcibly taking rail loads into Berlin contrary to the prohibitions; that is to say, using forcible means to meet the challenge of force by the Communists over the access routes. But more patient and steadfast counsels prevailed, which gathered to themselves a terrific enthusiasm and energy. As we know, in the course of about eleven or twelve months the air-lift carried into Berlin more than 2,250,000 tons of food and supplies, which is really a record of air power on that basis up to the present time. That was the first great challenge by the Soviet Union to the Allies maintaining their treaty rights in respect of Berlin and West Germany. It was met by an answer from the Allies which was effective. The Allies and the Soviet Union came to an agreement whereby the blockade was lifted and the access routes were guaranteed once more.
In the interval that followed there was great agitation by the Soviet Government. It was impossible to leave West Germany indefinitely to drift into a state of paralysis. Consequently, the Allies arranged for free elections in West Germany in August, 1949. That was followed, in October, 1949, by the Soviet Government establishing its puppet Communist government in East Germany. Then developed an attitude that seemed to indicate that the Soviet, so far from entertaining the ambition of making the whole of Germany Communist, was content to retain control of East Germany, intrude that control upon its sector of Berlin and maintain East Germany and the eastern sector of Berlin as a permanent Communist state. The Soviet Government exercised police control in that area and obstructed freedom of travel and trade. Subsequently, the Soviet Government purported to confer full sovereign rights on this East German state, and moved the capital of that state into the eastern sector of Berlin. It refused to recognize fourpower control over Berlin, which was the subject of the treaty to which I have referred. Those actions mark a definite stage in this second development whereby the Soviet seems to have adopted a policy of dividing Germany. In its second attack on the Berlin situation, which came to a crisis in 1958, the Soviet demanded that all of its agreements with the Western Allies in relation to Berlin should be treated as null and void. The Soviet demanded the withdrawal from Berlin of all Allied garrisons under the euphemism of requiring Berlin to be a free city. That was the Soviet language. Interpreted, that language meant that Berlin should cease to have the protection of Allied garrisons, and should be exposed to occupation by the Communists at their convenience. The Soviet also demanded that recognition be given to the fact that Germany was now constituted of two separate states. Recognition of that position would commit us to the indefinite continuance of East Germany as a Communist state separated from West Germany. At the same time, the Soviet demanded the withdrawal of all North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces from what it called foreign territory, with the idea that those forces should be sent back 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to America. Europe would then be free to be entered by Soviet forces. The Senate will see in those moves a development on the part of the Communists to turn their occupation of East Germany and East Berlin into an ^definitely continued control contrary to the original treaties - those areas to be maintained indefinitely as a Communist state.
The third phase in this development was reached in June of this year, when Khrushchev greeted Kennedy in Vienna with what Kennedy called the sombre news that Khrushchev planned to create a crisis over Berlin. That crisis took the form of restriction of travel from East Germany to West Berlin. On 13th August last, the Communists announced a complete prohibition on people from East Berlin entering West Berlin or Western Germany. The Communists thus stemmed the flow of emigrants who, to the tune of some 2,250,000 to 2,500,000 in the course of ten years, as the Americans would say, voted with their feet for the free institution of West Germany instead of living in Communist East Germany.
That brings us to the situation that has developed as recently as last month. There are people who are deterred by the growth of atomic strength under Communist control. The reason why I have asked the Senate to engage in a consideration of this subject is that I believe it is important for the democracies to realize the strength that has been gathered under their control - a strength that supports a determination on the part of their statesmen not to yield in West Berlin to the approaches by the Soviet Union. I believe we can look upon the forces at the command of the free nations as an encouragement that we have the strength to defend our rights. Of course, we must sombrely and patiently concentrate the use of those forces only for defence. However, we must recognize that
Khrushchev is determined to use every strategic and tactical move that his Communist cunning can devise to intimidate the democracies and weaken their resolve to defend the right of West Germany to be a member of the free nations. West Germany has been allowed to grow with careful safeguards against her re-militarization. There have been safeguards against the development of arms by West Germany. One rejoices in the fact that West Germany’s entire conventional forces are at the disposal of Nato. We must oppose the onrush of communism in Europe. We must stand fast to prevent the encroachment of communism into West Berlin and further into West Germany. That means that we must continue to recognize a divided Germany. With the Soviet Government obdurate against coming to any agreement that would enable a unified Germany to be revived under free democratic institutions, we have no practical alternative to maintaining West Germany as a free nation. I think that we want to be encouraged by the fact that the West German Government, freely elected, has consented to this de-militarized situation. By joining in the steel and coal community, by joining in the atomic energy institution for the control of atomic power by Central Europe and then by her participation in the European Economic Community, I think she has given a fair measure of guarantee that she is worthy of participation in the ideals of the free Western nations.
I am anxious to hear what the consideration of the Senate on this subject is. I have considered an alternative that has been announced to-day by Mr. Diefenbaker of Canada - the control of Germany by the United Nations. I hope that one day soon in the Senate we will discuss that in detail. It seems to me to have obvious weaknesses for the protection of the free nations. There are other alternatives, but for the moment I believe that we should resolve as the National Parliament in Australia, of which the Senate is a part, to maintain a patient, steadfast and unprovocative determination to prevent a further advance of the Communists into West Berlin or into Western Germany, and so maintain our opposition to the idea that the Communists can intimidate the democracies into surrendering the safeguards that we have placed there for the protection of free institutions.
– To enable a message to be received from another place, I ask for leave to defer my remarks.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The amendments in the bill before the Senate will give effect to the proposals announced in the Budget for increases in the rates of war and service pensions and allowances, and to other extensions of benefits. At the same time the opportunity has been taken to make some necessary amendments to the machinery provisions of the act.
The repatriation system began with the War Pensions Act 1914 and the Repatriation Act 1917. These acts were consolidated in 1920 and have been amended many times since to introduce new benefits and to make innumerable administrative changes. The system is inevitably a complex one, and not all of it is contained within the act, as many of the benefits are provided through regulations made under authority of the act, Where the rates of pension and allowances are contained in the act itself, this bill provides for the increases provided for in the Budget to take effect on the first pension pay day after the amending act has received the Royal assent. Where the benefits flow from regulations under the act, the regulations are being amended to make the increases effective from the same day.
The introduction of this bill gives an opportunity to make some genera] remarks about our repatriation system. Although it has grown up through two world wars a clear basic principle is discernible - that the main benefits of the act, namely, war pensions and medical treatment, arise only on death or disability due to war service. Only one exception has been made, and that was the decision in 1943 to accept for treatment and pension any ex-serviceman, suffering from tuberculosis, who had served in a theatre of war. It was not an exception to this principle to treat seriously disabled ex-servicemen, that is, those receiving the full 100 per cent, war pension, or the totally and permanently incapacitated, for all illnesses whether due to their war service or not, because such men are so seriously affected that it is not always practicable to treat their war-caused disabilities without having regard to all other disabilities responsible for their overall state of ill health. Similarly, the decision taken last year to treat the service pensioner for disabilities whether due to war service or not was taken on the same basis as that on which the service pension itself was established, namely, that there should be a measure of compensation for the intangible effects of service in a theatre of war for those who are in needy circumstances. As members of the Senate know, the service pension, unlike the war pension, is subject to a means test
These were sound principles on which to build. and nearly 45 years of endeavour, inside and outside this Parliament, have produced a system which experienced people agree is not surpassed by that of any other country and is very much better than most.
In his policy speech before the election of 1949, our Prime Minister undertook to ensure that there would be “ speed, financial and human justice and understanding in our administration of soldier problems “. We have kept that undertaking in the last eleven years, and this bill is evidence that we are continuing to do so. At its first Cabinet meeting in 1950 the Government appointed a committee of Ministers to examine all matters of war pensions and other benefits administered by the Repatriation Department, to confer with representatives of exservicemen’s organizations and to recommend the necessary changes. As a result, the Budget of 1950 provided substantial increases in war pensions and benefits and introduced some new benefits. They have been reviewed in every Budget since.
I do not intend to give a long list of figures comparing the repatriation benefits of to-day with those of 1949; however. I ask the Senate to notice the increases in the main pension rates which have occurred under this Goverment. The special rate pension paid to totally and permanently incapacitated ex-servicemen has risen from £5 6s. a week to £13 5s.; the full general rate pension from £2 15s. a week to £5 15s.; the combined war widow’s pension and domestic allowance from £3 7s. 6d. a week to £8 17s. 6d., and the service pension from £2 2s. 6d. a week to £5 5s.
Many new benefits have been introduced during these years. Some that come to mind are the war widow’s re-marriage gratuity introduced in 1950, gift cars for certain amputees and seriously paralyzed members, the establishment in 1952 of a scheme to provide rehabilitation training for ex-servicemen from World War II. who were substantially handicapped, and for war widows of that war, to enable them to follow a suitable occupation. The cost of air travel was allowed to the next-of-kin of an ex-serviceman on the dangerously ill list to enable them to visit him in hospital. There have been other innovations - the payment of a war widow’s travelling expenses to and from hospital, a clothing allowance to amputees and certain other pensioners. These are all examples.
Certainly the most notable achievement of recent years was the introduction in 1960 of free medical, dental and optical treatment for service pensioners, whether or not their disabilities are due to war service. This extension is of the greatest importance to service pensioners, particularly since it has given them the right to treatment in repatriation general hospitals. Since then, as the Senate knows, the introduction of the merged means test has considerably increased the numbers eligible for the service pension.
The increases in benefits provided by this year’s Budget cover a wide range. Additional payments will be made to all wardisabled ex-servicemen, to war widows and their dependent children, and to service pensioners. The special rate payable to those whose war-caused incapacities are so severe as to prevent them always from earning more than a negligible percentage of a living wage, and to tho war-blinded, is increased by an amendment to the second schedule of the act by 10s. a week and becomes £13 5s. a week. This rate will also be paid to ex-servicemen who are temporarily totally incapacitated and to certain sufferers from tuberculosis. There is an intermediate rate of pension which the Repatriation Commission may grant under the second schedule to those sufferers from tuuberculosis who are not totally incapacitated, but who, on the way to recovery, are only able to do relatively light work. This rate is known as the class “ B “ rate for tuberculosis. It will also be increased by 10s. a week and will become £9 7s. 6d. a week.
The general or 100 per cent, rate war pension for incapacitated ex-servicemen will rise by 5s. a week to £5 15s. a week with proportionate increases for those with a lesser degree of disablement. Altogether over 212,000 disabled ex-servicemen will benefit from these three increases to which I have referred.
A further 42.700 dependants of exservicemen whose deaths have been accepted as due to war service will benefit from the increases in war pensions payable to war widows and their children, and to the dependent children of a deceased war widow. The latter are generally referred to in the department as “ double orphans “. Over 35,000 war widows will receive an increase of 5s. a week in their war pension which now becomes £5 15s. a week. About ninety per cent, of war widows are also entitled to the domestic allowance which will be increased by 2s. 6d. a week to £3 2s. 6d. The domestic allowance is paid under the regulations to a war widow who has one or more children under the age of sixteen years or still being educated, or who is herself over the age of 50 years or permanently unemployable. Children under the age of sixteen years of ex-servicemen whose deaths were due to war service will receive the following considerable increases: to the first child 7s. 6d. a week making the new rate £1 19s. a week; to each other child an increase of 5s. a week to £1 7s. 6d. a week; to double orphans an increase of 8s. 6d. a week to £3. Ils. 6d. I remind honorable senators that these children, from the age of twelve years upwards, also receive an education allowance to assist them with their education, beginning at 16s. 6d. and rising to £1 5s. a week at fourteen years of age, and that there are considerably greater allowances to a child who continues his education or training after the age of sixteen years. In addition to pensions, war widows and the children of deceased exservicemen are also entitled to a full range of medical and dental treatment. These increases in the general rate and in dependant’s pensions are covered by the amendments to the first and third schedules of the act.
Certain double amputees, some of whom have also suffered a partial loss of sight, also receive an increase of 5s. a week in the special amount payable to them. They are the ones who suffer from the disabilities described in the first six items in the fifth schedule. They will receive £7 10s. a week in future which, together with the full general rate pension to which these disabilities also entitle them, will amount to a total pension payment of £13 5s. a week, the same amount as the special or T.P.I. rate. Some of these cases will also receive an additional £5 5s. or £3 5s. a week as an allowance for an attendant. Broadly stated, the cases entitled to an allowance for an attendant include some double amputees, the war blinded and those suffering severely from spinal injury All of them have special need for assistance. These allowances are paid at two rates according to the severity of the disablement. The present rates are to be increased by 15s. a week to £5 5s. and by 10s. a week to £3 5s. a week respectively by amendment of the second and fifth schedules of the act.
I will now mention briefly the increased benefits which do not appear in this bill because they are provided by regulations. The maximum rates of medical sustenance following the increases in the special or T.P.I. rate and general rate pensions will automatically be increased by 10s. to £13 5s. a week and by 5s. a week to £5 15s. respectively. These are paid at the higher rate during periods of treatment in hospital and at the lower rate where a short period of out-patient treatment prevents the ex-serviceman from working. The lower rate is also paid during periods of medical investigation in connexion with a war pension. If the ex-serviceman has a dependent wife or child, additional amounts are paid.
Perhaps the most important of these budget changes is that which is being made in the conditions for payment of medical sustenance during essential convalescence after discharge from hospital. Hitherto sustenance at the special rate, now to be £13 5s. per week, has been paid only while the ex-serviceman was an in-patient in hospital. Now it will be continued at the higher rate during a period of convalescence following immediately upon hospital treatment where a departmental medical officer certifies that the convalescence is necessary.
I turn now to service pensioners. As honorable senators know, the service pensioner is the ex-service man or woman who served in a theatre of war, who has reached the age of 60, or 55 in the case of women, or is unemployable, and who can meet the same means test as for the social services age pension. Ex-servicemen suffering from tuberculosis also receive a service pension. The increases in the maximum rate for a service pensioner will be 5s., making the new rate £5 5s. a week. No amendment to the act is needed to do this as section 85 automatically applies to service pensioners the social service increase. That section is, however, to be amended to increase by 12s. 6d. per week the service pension of a wife, and by 3s. 6d. a week the pension payable to the first child of a service pensioner whose pension is granted on medical grounds; that is, one who is permanently unemployable or who suffers from tuberculosis.
Under the existing law, an allowance has been paid to employees towards their loss of salary or wages when they are required to attend for examination or treatment. For some years ex-service organizations have asked that this allowance should be extended to self-employed people. The small businessman may have to close his business when he cannot personally attend to it, or the professional man may lose through absence from his work. To pay this allowance to self-employed people does present some administrative problems, but they can be overcome, and I am glad to announce that the Government has decided to pay this allowance by way of compensation to selfemployed people at the same rate as to salary and wage earners. This will be done by amendment of the regulations.
The other amendments which this bill proposes are concerned with the machinery provisions of the act and I will deal with them briefly to avoid taking up the time of the Senate. Any further information which honorable senators may need will be readily given during the debate in committee.
The provisions relating to leave of absence of members of the commission, the Entitlement and Assessment Appeal Tribunals, and the Repatriation Boards are being amended to save repeated reference of purely administrative matters to the Governor-General. At present it is necessary to obtain His Excellency’s approval for any of the holders of these statutory offices to be absent for more than fourteen days. The amendment will make special approval unnecessary unless the holder of the office is absent for more than 21 days consecutively in any year. This will cover the normal period of annual leave and short periods of sick leave. Except in the case of the three repatriation commissioners themselves, the amendment will provide for absence in future to be approved by the responsible Minister instead of being referred to the Governor-General as at present.
Under section 24a of the act when an applicant for a war pension dies before his claim has been determined by a board or before he has lodged an appeal to the commission against an unfavorable decision of a board, an appeal can be made to the Repatriation Commission for the benefit of his dependants or his estate. There is no provision, however, for any further appeal to an appeal tribunal in these cases, and I feel that this can deny to the dependants of a dead man a right of appeal which he could have exercised, perhaps for their benefit, if he had lived. As honorable senators know, the grant of a war pension automatically gives a right to the appropriate pensions to the wife and dependent children of the ex-serviceman, and they continue to receive these pensions after his death. The widow of a special or T.P.I, rate pensioner, regardless of the cause of his death, is entitled to the benefits of a war widow, and there are other similar cases. A decision on a posthumous claim can therefore affect not only the ex-serviceman’s estate, but more importantly the right of his dependants to repatriation benefits after his death. It is proper that they should be able to pursue their rights to the full extent of appeal to the tribunals. This bill there fore proposes an amendment which will allow an appeal in cases of this sort to an Entitlement or Assessment Appeal Tribunal against an adverse decision of the Commission.
As 1 have just pointed out, the dependants of an incapacitated ex-serviceman who dies from causes which were not due to his war service continue to receive the pensions to which they were entitled immediately prior to his death. This provision has been in the Repatriation Act from the beginning and it has always been thought that it entitled the dependants to an appropriate increase whenever the pension rates have been increased from time to time. Doubts about this assumption have arisen lately on legal grounds, and so to make it clear that the established practice will be continued, section 45 of the act is being amended.
The final amendment is also intended to resolve a legal doubt about an existing practice. The Government decided last year to provide medical treatment for Boer War veterans who are service pensioners. The validity of the new regulation to give effect to this decision has been questioned so section 124 of the act is being amended to put it beyond doubt.
This year brings the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme almost to its conclusion. This scheme was established towards the end of 1943 with the double purpose of re-establishing ex-servicemen in civil life and helping to overcome deficiencies in trained personnel which had developed during the war. It was originally administered by the Department of Postwar Reconstruction, but was passed to the Repatriation Department in 1950. How wisely it was conceived and how effective it became can be judged from its results. It helped about 88,000 ex-service men and women to re-establish themselves in civil life. Of these 15,000 received university training, 40,000 technical school training and a further 1,600 rural training. In addition, the skilled work force of the community was strengthened by 31,000 men trained in different trades, particularly in the building industry.
Much of what was accomplished was due to the help given by people representing organizations of employers and employees, and from the universities and technical schools, who worked untiringly and without payment. With representatives of different government departments from the Commonwealth and the States, they played their part on the Central, Regional and Industrial Committee to which the direction of the scheme was entrusted. It seems appropriate for the Senate to acknowledge their achievement with thanks as the scheme comes to its conclusion.
At this distance of time, 43 years from the end of World War I. and sixteen years from World War II., our repatriation system has inevitably become a complicated and established governmental mechanism. So much has been achieved in the past that the field for new extensions in the future has necessarily become restricted. In the period ahead the main efforts of the Repatriation Department will be directed to making full use of the remarkable advances in the medical sciences and to maintaining and increasing the high standards of treatment for those entitled to it. From the nature of our responsibilities and the passage of time, we have to deal mainly with an ageing group in the community. So special attention will be given to the care and treatment of elderly people. With this in mind, a new type of hospital is being developed within the department.
Another field of special effort will be the treatment of the mentally ill. It is necessary in their own interest and the nation’s interest to do everything possible to restore them to normal life in their homes and to their work in the community. High among the things that move us should be a determination to keep the system human, and I can assure the Senate that it will continue to be administered with sympathy, generosity and understanding.
This is the first Repatriation Bill that has been introduced into the Senate for the past eleven years which has not been under the guiding hand of Senator Sir Walter Cooper, and I am sure that this House appreciates the sentiments that have been expressed by the present Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Osborne) in another place. These follow so closely the sentiments expressed by Senator Sir Walter Cooper, who approached every problem with great human understanding and always fought for some additional benefits for his fellow diggers. This bill provides further benefits for them, and I commend it to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill proposes amendments to the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act, which has until now been amended eleven times since it first came into operation in 1940. The main purpose of the amending acts has been to authorize increases in pensions as approved by the Government and provided for in the respective Budgets.
Pensions payable under the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act have always been maintained at the same level as the corresponding class of pension payable under the Repatriation Act. The Repatriation Bill, which has just been before the Senate, was introduced to give effect to the Government’s decision further to increase pensions and benefits. The bill now before us has been introduced so that similar increases may be granted under the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act.
The bill provides for increases in pensions and other benefits, including -
The bill includes the usual provisions for the amending act to come into operation on the day on which it receives Royal assent and for the increased pensions to be payable on the first pension pay-day thereafter.
The Repatriation Bill provides for an amendment to the Repatriation Act to increase by 10s. per week the special totally and permanently incapacitated rate of pension payable under that act. Since, by virtue of section 22a of the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act, the increase will be applied automatically to Australian mariners concerned, it is unnecessary to provide specifically for that increase in the bill now under consideration.
Another matter dealt with in the bill concerns power for the making of regulations. Section 59 of the act lists the subjects which may be dealt with by regulations made under the act. Clause 4 of the bill amends section 59, first, by inserting power to authorize by regulation the payment of a clothing allowance to persons suffering from certain disabilities, such as amputees; and secondly, by widening the scope of the regulation-making powers to allow payment of a sustenance allowance during convalescence, and of an allowance for loss of earnings to self-employed persons. Payment of allowances in line with those referred to have recently been or are now to be authorized under the Repatriation Act and regulations.
Finally, this bill provides for the validation of certain allowances and other benefits which were paid during a period before the new Seamen’s war pensions and allowances regulations were promulgated. These payments, which were made in parallel with those made under the Repatriation Act over that period, are now authorized under the regulations recently brought into force.
The bill is designed to assist further our mariners who were injured while manning ships during the last war, and their dependants. Therefore, I commend it for the favorable consideration of all honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 500).
.- I thought it strange that the notice which initiated this debate should have been given on the very day on which it was announced that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was to make a statement on the same subject. I expected the Government to provide the Senate with an adequate opportunity to debate this allimportant issue, which really goes right to the point of the peace of the world. What is the Government’s intention? I assume that the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) will participate in this debate. I invite him to say at the earliest possible moment what proper opportunity for debate will be given.
I understand that Senator Wright’s motion was proposed with the concurrence of the Government. I have been so informed by the Leader of the Government in this place (Senator Spooner). If that is so, we in this place will be speaking on this important subject without having before us officially the very important statement that was made by the Prime Minister of Australia. The procedure that has been adopted is quite inadequate for the purpose of ascertaining the views of the Senate. The time allowed for this debate is limited to three hours, but there will be no opportunity for the debate to run for that period. In this limited time it will be impossible to deal with all the issues surrounding the situation in Berlin. The time available will be quite inadequate. To limit the debate in this way is quite unfair to the Opposition, because under the procedure that has been adopted the Government will be entitled to take one and three-quarter hours of the three hours available, and non-government members will have an hour and a quarter. I assume the official Opposition will have only one hour of that time.
In addition, a motion of this type does nothing. If this motion is carried and the Senate adjourns until 11.30 a.m. to-morrow instead of 1 1 a.m., if the motion is defeated or if it is withdrawn, where is the expression of opinion by the Senate? There will be only one or two speakers on each side. I say to the Government, through you, Mr. Deputy President, that it has abdicated its responsibility and its leadership of the Senate by not assuring an adequate and proper opportunity to debate one of the most critical subjects in the world to-day. It is not right to use for the discussion of this subject a vehicle that is normally used by the Opposition for an attack on the Government.
The Opposition has no quarrel with the terms of the statement of the matter of urgency, which refer to the need for the Senate to express its steadfast support of the free nations’ defence of treaty provisions affecting Berlin. We can rely upon the Opposition’s record there. Senator Wright referred to the original trouble over Berlin from June, 1948, to May, 1959. It is important to know what attitude the Labour Government of Australia adopted then. I should like to place on record the statement made by Mr. Chifley on 2nd December, 1948, reported at page 3896 of “ Hansard “. With the concurrence of the Senate, I shall incorporate the statement in “ Hansard “. It reads as follows: -
The Prime Ministers’ Conference and the United Nations General Assembly have been held in an atmosphere of international tension, heightened by the situation in Berlin.I wish to review some of the events that led up to the approach made by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dr. Evatt, and the Secretary-General, Mr. Trygve Lie, to the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, France and the Soviet Union.
Background to the end of June, 1948.
Following the failure of the Council of Foreign Ministers at the end of 1947 to reach agreement on the future of Germany, representatives of the three western powers, together with officials from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, began discussions on Western Germany in March of this year. From the first, the Soviet Union has maintained that the holding of these discussions meant that the Western Powers were breaking the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements for the four-power government of Germany during the occupation period. On the 20th March, the representative of the Soviet Union on the Allied Control Council for Germany used this argument, together with the fact that his Government was not being informed of the progress of the London discussions, as an excuse for withdrawing from a meeting of the Council. Since that time the Council, together with its subordinate bodies, has been in abeyance. Withdrawal from the Allied Control Council was followed by the intensification of restrictions on the communications between Berlin and the Western Occupation Zones. Previously, the restrictions were not severe and caused inconvenience rather than genuine difficulty to the Western Powers.
On the 6th June, the six-power discussions came to an end. Recommendations, including one for the establishment of a government for Western Germany, were submitted to participating governments and were accepted by all. The recommendations met with a strongly hostile reception from the Soviet radio and press which characterized them as an “ illegal departure “ from the principles of Yalta and Potsdam.
The next important issue was that of currency reform. All four powers have been agreed on the necessity for this. In the absence of agreement on a uniform method of introducing a new currency throughout Germany, the Western Powers introduced a separate currency in their zones of occupation on the 20th June. The Russian authorities, on the grounds of preventing currency smuggling into their zone and also of “technical difficulties” with the railway, immediately cut rail, road and canal communications between the Western Zones and Berlin. They followed this action with the issue of a new currency for their own zone and for Berlin. The Western Powers indicated they would have accepted the new Soviet currency for Berlin had the Russian authorities agreed to make its issue in Berlin subject to four-power control. This the Russians refused to do. The Western Powers then declared the new Soviet currency illegal in the Western sectors of Berlin and issued a new version of the western currency for their sectors.
I summarize that statement by pointing out that Mr Chifley indicated that there was two questions that led acutely to the Berlin crisis of that period. One was the fact that the three Western powers were conferring with the Benelux countries in London in March of 1948 regarding the future of West Germany. The Russians were not informed. The fourth party in the quadripartite arrangement was not informed of what the discussions were about, and it immediately withdrew from the Allied Control Council on that ground. But the thing that triggered off the Berlin crisis was the fact that when the four powers could not agree upon a currency for West Berlin, the three Western powers went ahead and introduced the West German currency. That was the great issue upon which the break came. Quite frankly it is still the issue. Willie Brandt, the Mayor of West Berlin, in a statement made only in August last, indicated that that was still a critical issue. He said that without the hard currency of West Germany, West Berlin would die. It would be a dead State that would not be worth defending. There is the critical position and the critical argument from the economic viewpoint.
Mr. Chifley was in Berlin on 11th July, 1948. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of 13th July of that year carried a very big headline, “Chifley Says Must Hold On.” In the matter that was printed under the headline the following appeared -
Mr. Chifley, after his tour of Berlin yesterday, told interviewers: “ We must hold on. The Australian Government fully approves the stand which the allies have taken. It is the only one which can be taken. That is what I shall tell Australia. “
Mr. Chifley added: “I told Berlin city leaders
I admired their courage in the stand they are making under Russian threats. “
He backed that up on his return by making an offer of ten Dakota aircraft to Great Britain to help in the air-lift of food. Great Britain thanked him but said it preferred to have air crews, as it had enough Dakotas. The Chifley Government made available immediately ten air-crews to fly Dakotas from Britain into Berlin. Many of the pilots were men who had dropped bombs on Germany and, maybe, even on Berlin. I was intrigued to note the comment of one of the pilots before he embarked to take part in the air-lift. He said, “This time we will be taking real eggs there “. They took, not bombs, but food to Berlin. That indicates the attitude of the Labour Parly at that time to the upholding of treaty obligations.
The second incident was also in 1948, when Dr. Evatt, as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, initiated a discussion in the Assembly on the Berlin question and obtained a unanimous resolution, directed to settling the matter. The matter was taken up with the contending powers. The United Nations was not successful on the first approach, but, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) acknowledged in the speech he made the other day, it did have an influence in affecting world opinion and bringing the parties to their senses. That was the second thing. Much time has gone by since then. Despite the interval of time and the failure to have things settled in Germany, the attitude of the Labour Party is still what it was then.
The Government has been very helpful in making available what I shall call the parliamentary papers on this subject, in giving the Senate a long chronology of events from 1944 to 1961, and in supplying copies of the relevant documents from May, 1959, to August, 1961. Unfortunately, the Government forgot to index the papers, thus making the task of reading them so much harder. I have taken the opportunity to read them all, and one cannot but be depressed by the thought that few of the people of the world have access to the full text of those documents. It makes one depressed to think how heavily the peoples of the world are dependent upon their political leaders for accurate judgment and wise action.
The first great need in this matter is to summarize the basic issues between the Western powers and the Union of Soviet and Socialist Republics in the matter of Berlin. The second great need is to determine the course of actions that are available to resolve these great issues. Unfortunately, with a quarter of an hour only in which to address myself to this matter, I cannot embark adequately upon either task. Perhaps the best way is to make reference to some of the recent documents. I should like to quote what President Kennedy of the United States of America said with the concurrence of the United Kingdom, France, Western Germany and the whole of the Nato powers. It appears, on what should be page 54 of the documents supplied by the Government, in a report of a press conference given by President Kennedy on 19th July of this year. He summarized the Western attitude to the aide-memoire delivered to him by Khrushchev in Vienna in June - referred to by Senator Wright. I have not time to read it, so, with the concurrence of honorable senators, I shall incorporate it in “ Hansard “. It reads as follows: -
In consultation and full agreement with its British and French Allies, and with the benefit of the views of the Federal Republic of Germany, and after consultation with the other member governments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the United States on Monday delivered through its Embassy in Moscow its reply to the aidememoire on Germany and Berlin received from the Soviet Government on June 4. Our reply speaks for itself and advances what I believe to an irrefutable legal, moral and political position. In this statement I should like to convey to the American people and the people of the world the basic issues which underlie the somewhat more formal language of diplomacy.
The Soviet aide-memoire is a document which speaks of peace but threatens to disturb it. It speaks of ending the abnormal situation in Germany but insists on making permanent its abnormal division. It refers to the four power alliance of World War II. but seeks the unilateral abrogation of the rights of the other three powers. It calls for new international agreements while preparing to violate existing ones. It offers certain assurances while making it plain that its previous assurances are not to be relied upon. It professes concern for the rights of the citizens of West Berlin while seeking to expose them to the immediate or eventual domination of a regime which permits no self-determination. Three simple facts are clear:
To-day there is peace in Berlin, in Germany and in Europe. If that peace is destroyed by the unilateral actions of the Soviet Union, its leaders will bear a heavy responsibility before world opinion and history.
To-day the people of West Berlin are free. In that sense it is already a “free city” - free to determine its own leaders and free to enjoy the fundamental human rights re-affirmed in the United Nations Charter.
To-day the continued presence in West Berlin of the United States, the United Kingdom and France is by clear legal right, arising from war, acknowledged in many agreements signed by the Soviet Union, and strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of the people of that city. Their freedom is dependent upon our exercise of these rights - an exercise which is thus a political and moral obligation as well as a legal right. Inasmuch as these rights, including the right of access to Berlin, are not held from the Soviet Government, they cannot be ended by any unilateral action of the Soviet Union. They cannot be affected by a so-called “ Peace Treaty “, covering only a part of Germany, with a regime of the Soviet Union’s own creation - a regime which is not freely representative of all or any part of Germany, and does not enjoy the confidence of the 17 million East Germans. The steady stream of German refugees from East to West is eloquent testimony to that fact.
The United States has been prepared since the close of the war, and is prepared to-day, to achieve, in agreement with its World War II. Allies, a freely negotiated peace treaty covering all of Germany and based on the freely expressed will of all of the German people. We have never suggested that, in violation of international law and earlier four power agreements, we might legally negotiate a settlement with only a part of
Germany, or without the participation of the other principal World War II. Allies. We know of no sound reason why the Soviet Government should now believe that the rights of the Western powers, derived from Nazi Germany’s surrender,, could be invalidated by such an action on the part of the Soviet Union.
The United States has consistently sought the goal of a just and comprehensive peace treaty for all of Germany since first suggesting in 1946 that a special commission be appointed for this purpose. The Western Peace Plan and the all-Berlin solution proposed by the Western Allies at Geneva in 1959 were constructive, practical offers to obtain this kind of fair settlement in Central Europe. Our objective is not to perpetuate our presence in either Germany or Berlin - our objective is the perpetuation of the peace and freedom of their citizens.
But the Soviet Union has blocked all progress towards the conclusion of a just treaty based on the self-determination of the German people, and has instead repeatedly heightened world tensions over this issue. The Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948, the Soviet Note of November 27th, 1958, and this most recent Soviet aide-memoire of June 4, 1961, have greatly disturbed the tranquility of this area.
The real intent of the June 4 aide-memoire is that East Berlin, a part of a city under four-power status, would be formally absorbed into the socalled German Democratic Republic while West Berlin, even though called a “ free city “ would lose the protection presently provided by the Western powers and become subject to the will of a totalitarian regime. Its leader, Herr Ulbricht, has made clear his intention; once this so-called “ Peace Treaty “ is signed, to curb West Berlin’s communications with the free world and to suffocate the freedom it now enjoys.
The area thus newly subjected to Soviet threats of heightened tension poses no danger whatsoever to the peace of the world or to the security of any nation. The world knows that there is no reason for a crisis over Berlin to-day - and that, if one develops, it will be caused by the Soviet Government’s attempt to invade the rights of others and manufacture tensions. It is, moreover, misusing the words “ freedom “ and “ peace “. For, as our reply states, “ freedom “ and “ peace “ are not merely words - nor can they be achieved by words or promises alone. They are representative of a state of affairs.
A city does not become free merely by calling it a “ free city “. For a city or a people to be free requires that they be given the opportunity, without economic, political or police pressure, to make their own choice and to live their own lives. The people of West Berlin to-day have that freedom. It is the objective of our policy that they shall continue to have it.
Peace does not come automatically from a “ peace treaty “. There is peace in Germany to-day even though the situation is “ abnormal “. A “ peace treaty “ that adversely affects the lives and rights of millions will not bring peace with it. A “ peace treaty “ that attempts to effect adversely the solemn commitments of three great powers will not bring peace with it. We again urge the Soviet Government to reconsider its course, to return to the path of constructive cooperation it so frequently states it desires, and to work with its World War II. Allies in concluding a just and enduring settlement of issues remaining from that conflict.
I say in relation to that that I should quote it with my own personal approval and my party’s approval. Next I refer to a verylengthy report to the nation made by the President of the United States on 19th July of this year. It is a most extensive report. He pointed out in it that Berlin is a show-case of liberty, a symbol, an island of freedom in a Communist scene. He developed that theme and went on to say that Berlin was more than that. He described it as - . . the great testing place of Western courage and will, a focal point where our solemn commitments stretching back over the years since 1945, and Soviet ambitions now meet in basic confrontation.
That is the fact. The Western powers and the Communist powers are in directly opposite camps. The seriousness of the position - I invite the Government to consider this - appears from the same report to the nation, in which the President said that the United States said that the next day he would ask Congress for an additional 3,247,000,000 dollars to make further provision for the Armed Forces of the United States. He treated the matter with great seriousness.
The position of the Soviet is different, of course. The Soviet claims that the negotiation of a peace treaty with Germany has been too long delayed. Everybody can agree with that. It claims that, in breach of agreements, the Western powers have put German militarists back into the saddle and have created the danger of war in Europe. It is quite true that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization powers have built up the German armed forces, so that Western Germany probably has the greatest standing army in Europe. It is true, too, that Nato is not an offensive but a defensive organization; but of course that is not the viewpoint that is taken by the Soviet Union.
Mr. Khrushchev has announced, as stated at page 73 of the papers to which I have referred, that he proposes to negotiate a separate peace treaty with East
Germany. That, of course, is a flat contradiction of the treaty obligation he undertook on 1st January, 1942, when the nations that were united in fighting the enemy at the time came together and affirmed their individual support of the Atlantic Charter. Clause 2 of their agreement provided -
Each Government pledges itself to co-operate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.
That was a very firm commitment, made away back in 1942 and never varied. So, the Russian proposal to make a separate peace treaty, together with such satellites as it may gather around it, is in flagrant conflict with the solemn undertaking that it gave then.
One would like to run through the whole of the Russian objections, but that is not possible in the time available. The Russians have accused the Western nations of conducting espionage and sabotage operations in East Germany from West Germany. They claim, and with proof, that the Western nations, instead of demilitarizing, disarming and dismembering - I emphasize the word “ dismembering “ - Germany, as was provided for in the Potsdam Treaty, have built up the economy of West Germany. That was done, of course, because they were faced with the reality that the whole of Europe depended on the German economy. But the Russians do not see the matter in that light. They see their old enemy growing in strength, supported by the Western powers, and they regard that development as a further threat to their security. Their viewpoint is not unreasonable. President Kennedy acknowledged the fact in one of his speeches, the reference to which is to be found at page 63 of the papers. He said -
We recognise the Soviet Union’s historical concerns about their security in Central and Eastern Europe, after a series of ravaging invasions - and we believe arrangements can be worked out which will help to meet those concerns, and make it possible for both security and freedom to exist in this troubled area.
The Prime Minister of Australia said something to the same effect, to which I have not sufficient time to refer, in his recent statement.
What can be done to improve the position? President Kennedy has indicated that he is prepared to have the matter go to the United Nations, to submit it to international jurisdiction. I take it that that means a reference to the International Court of Justice. That would require the acquiescence of the Soviet Union, which is not likely to be forthcoming. The other and most important thing, since the powers are in violent conflict, is to get them to talk. There is some hope while the Western powers recognize that Russia has a legitimate problem and a legitimate fear, as President Kennedy has indicated. The matter cannot be allowed to rest where it is. There was discussion on Berlin following the time of the air lift, at New York in May, 1949, and at Paris in June of that year. Important provisions emerged relating to the four-power control of trade, currency and the passage of citizens. But because of Russia’s refusal, the four powers have not co-operated.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– The Australian Democratic Labour Party supports the proposal inasmuch as it expresses the Senate’s steadfast support of the defence by the free nations of treaty provisions affecting Berlin. We agree with Senator McKenna that the motion might have gone further than it does. We also agree with ‘him on the desirability of a fullscale debate on this issue. However, we realize that it was necessary for something to be done in the matter at the earliest possible moment. We therefore congratulate Senator Wright for having brought the matter forward for discussion, and we thank the Government for allowing it to be discussed at a time when there is an extremely large listening audience of Australians.
To me, the most frightening feature of the events in Europe to-day is the way in which people are coming to accept attacks upon generally accepted human rights as a normal state of affairs, at least so far as certain countries are concerned. Just as, some three or four years ago, Hungarians who voted with their feet for freedom were shot down on the borders of Austria, Yugoslavia and Hungary, to-day we have Germans and others who have voted with their feet for freedom being shot down on the boundaries of East and West Berlin and of East and West Germany. There was a time when the conscience of the world would have been so revolted by this state of affairs that the outcry would have forced the offending country to cease these activities, but in these days we have an almost passive acceptance of the fact that where communism is concerned we may expect no regard for human rights. There is an almost general outlook that that kind of thing is inevitable where communism is strong, and that there is nothing we can do about it.
I believe that a valuable purpose is served by bringing forward for discussion matters such as this. By doing so, we bring to the minds and hearts of the peoples of the world an awareness of their responsibility towards other people who are to-day dying in defence of human rights, and of their responsibility not to accept passively what is happening, but to do something to assist in a tangible way those who are suffering. East Germany, of course, is not the only country that is suffering under communism. Other European countries and also countries throughout Asia have seen the same pattern, involving destruction of democratic governments, denial of the right of the people to select their own government, the establishment of a oneparty State, secret police, abrogation of the rule of law, the installation of former Nazi bosses as the Communist bosses of to-day, the abolition of a free press, the persecution of religion, and the elimination of trade unions as we know them. I am glad that steps were taken some time ago in this country - or so I am given to understand - to refuse entry to Australia of persons masquerading as trade union leaders from East Germany.
In East Germany to-day there is religious persecution. I regret that all over the world to-day religious persecution exists to a greater degree than at any other time in the history of the world. In East Berlin the leader of the Catholic Church and the leader of the Lutheran Church have been refused access. In East Germany the Communist Government has instituted a materialist form of ceremony which it has sought to put in the place of the sacrament of confirmation as those religions know it. It has been made clear to the young East
Germans that if they undergo that Communist ceremony and refuse to undergo the religious ceremony their educational and
Other prospects in life will be improved. It is understandable that people should desire to get away from such a regime. Therefore, the Communists have a system of armed guards, trained dogs, electrified fences and guns all trained on anybody who attempts to get away. That is all designed to retain people in subjection under the Communist system which some people attempt to tell us is an earthly paradise.
Of course, the real blame for what is happening in Berlin to-day lies with the leaders of the Allied countries who, years ago, felt that Berlin presented an opportunity to show that Communists could be trusted. How those leaders could possibly have imagined that a system, under which they did not retain land access to their sector of West Berlin, would not provoke trouble in the very near future is hard for us to understand. But in those days, as now, there were people who talked about co-existence with the Communists. Those people said that the way to get on with the Communists was to trust them. They spoke of the Communists in the way that a leading pressman, who has just come from the Far East, spoke in a television interview which I saw on Sunday last. He said, “ The way to get on with the Communists is to bring them into the club where you can control them “. I suggest that anybody who thinks that we can bring the Communists into a club and control them should examine the records of people who have tried to negotiate with Communists. The Communist attitude is one of making no concessions and exhausting the people negotiating with them to the point where those people are prepared to make some concession in order to terminate the negotiations. Some years ago the leaders of the democracies made the fatal error of believing that they could trust Communists, without realizing that Communists never, in any circumstances, believe that they can trust the leaders of the democracies. Therefore, the situation was bound to be provocative of trouble and to-day it has in it, perhaps, the seeds of war.
Some years ago there was one attempt to cause trouble in Berlin and to force the Western powers out of Berlin per medium of the blockade. That was defeated by air power, and at that time the Soviet leaders were not prepared to provoke the Western powers to the point of war. Our leaders expected that a similar practice would be adopted in the present case; but, as Mr. Walter Lippman has pointed out, the Russians did the exact opposite of what was expected. Instead of instituting a blockade of the previous type, they instituted a new form of blockade by which they deny to East Germans free movement to the West and even warn West Berliners that they should remain at least 100 metres from the border. They justify all that they are doing to destroy human rights by saying that they are reacting against the provocations of the people who are coming into West Berlin. They even denounce as a provocation a visit to West Berlin by the Chancellor of West Germany.
What is the reason for what is happening in Berlin to-day? Some people say that Khrushchev has been prodded along by the assertions of Mao Tse-tung that Khrushchev has been getting away from sound Leninist policy. Some people say that he has been prodded along because Mao Tse-tung has accused him of not adhering to the doctrine of inevitable war against capitalism, which is one of the fundamentals of Communist theory. Others say that the move in Berlin is to disguise a further advance in the East. Some people bring forward other reasons. It is interesting to note that in all the talk of provocation in Berlin for the renewal of nuclear explosions not one word of protest against the Communist action has been made by the leaders of the bodies known as peace councils, who are always so vociferous in pointing the finger at any alleged war-mongering move which may come from the United States of America.
What are we to do in Berlin? Obviously, we have no alternative but to stand firm. If we give way, the loss of prestige, apart from any other loss, will be such that we, as democracies, will have suffered a major defeat. I always think that in our discussions about what we should do against the Communist threat we are inclined to push to one side the greatest weapon in our armoury. We pay no regard to the Achilles heel of communism to-day. That Achilles heel is the determination of the oppressed peoples one day to regain their liberty. I 4o not think that we will defeat communism by searching for bigger and better Atom bombs. I believe that the way to defeat communism to-day is to get in touch with the subject peoples who do not live under communism because they like it. In this country to-day we have thousands of people who are like those people. They are people who have lived under communism, who hated and detested and will fight against it if they get the opportunity. They will tell you there are millions more in their home countries.
But what do we do? If anybody ever suggests that the great democratic governments should utter one public word of sympathy for the slave nations, he is told that that would be too dangerous and he must not do that because it might provoke war and do away with the possibility of coexistence. When we talk of co-existence we should remember that the Communist does not believe in co-existence. When he speaks of it, it is a tactic. He looks forward to the day when he will bury us and he regards co-existence as a tactic to weaken us for the day when he will achieve that result. Therefore, I say that I have no confidence in arms and all those other things in themselves. The Achilles heel of communism to-day is the slave peoples who are prepared to fight communism if we will show them sympathy and if we will promise them help. But, unfortunately, on the governmental level throughout the great democracies to-day the attitude is that we may be able to get on with Khrushchev and if we butter him up we might be all right. Anybody who knows Communists at the trade union level or any other level knows that you cannot trust them. Any concession made is merely a jumping-off place for fresh attempts. Therefore, I hope that the Western governments will recognize the inevitable; that if we continue trying to appease Khrushchev war will come. War will not be avoided by appeasing him or by co-existence. Let us make an appeal to the slave peoples of the world and be on their side. In doing that we will destroy the ability of communism to fight them effectively.
– First, I express my regret that Senator McKenna voiced objections to this motion being brought forward in the way that it was brought forward by a private member of this Senate. The motion was not brought forward on the same day on which the Prime Minister made a statement on this matter. It has been brought forward to discuss a matter on which the Prime Minister made a statement last week. The fact that a private member of this Senate desires to bring forward a subject of this kind is, I think, a matter for congratulation. The debate on this subject should not be blocked by the Government, and it will not prohibit a fullscale debate at a later stage on the entire field covered by this motion or on allied fields.
– Is that an assurance that such an opportunity will be given?
– It is an assurance that the bringing forward of a private motion does not inhibit debate at a later stage.
– The Minister has not answered my question.
– That is as far as I am prepared to go. Discussion of this matter at this time, particularly in the terms in which it has been discussed, does credit to the Senate.
Senator Wright put his motion before the Senate in a very concise way, and in a way which can well bring home to us here and to people listening the chronology of this matter, which is one of the two most important things to be considered in this discussion. That chronology was carried further by Senator McKenna in his contribution to the debate. Nobody, least of all those honorable senators who have listened to the debate, can be in any doubt that there has been in the past a series of violations and attempted violations of agreements over Berlin and Germany by the Soviet Union, and that the course which the Soviet Union is now saying it will adopt is a violation of solemn agreements extending back over the years.
Putting events in perspective, as Senator Wright did, is, to my mind, the first step to be taken in a rational consideration of this matter. I will, if I may, at the risk of wearying those who have heard it before, briefly recapitulate the violations that have so far taken place, but which have not so far led to the serious situation that faces us now. The Soviet Union has been guilty of a treaty violation in that it has perpetuated what was meant to be a temporary division of Germany for a short while for administrative purposes. By that violation the Soviet has retained in the centre of Europe a source of danger to the world. It has retained that source of danger, not only in spite of its treaty obligations, but also in spite of pleas from its allies during the war, and in spite of pleas from the United Nations, whose representatives it has in the past refused entry into the area under its control.
The Soviet Union has violated agreements in that it has sealed off the East Berlin prison. East Berlin is now sealed with a physical wall - with armed guards and with the murder of those who seek to use the rights previously granted to them by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has violated the agreement in that it has prevented free access from East Berlin to West Berlin, from West Berlin to East Berlin, from West Germany to East Germany and from East Germany to West Germany. All of those things have been done in the past in the area under Soviet Union control and administration.
Only one of those violations - the 1948 attempt to interrupt communications between West Berlin and West Germany - approached the seriousness of the situation we face to-day. The actions that the Soviet took in 1948 in the area under its control would have involved an attack by force from the West in order to rectify the position. If the positions had been reversed I have no doubt that the Russians would have attacked the West for attempting to do what Russia herself did. But now Russia seeks to go far beyond merely denying in the areas under her control the rights that she has granted to the West. Now she seeks to extend her rule into the area occupied under treaty right by the Allies. Now she seeks to have just one more territorial design in Europe. Now she threatens to cut off the Allied section of West Berlin from all contact with the Western Allies, and thereby ito starve and dragoon West Berlin into submission and to add 2,500,000 souls to her Communist empire. It is no longer a question of our trying to prevent her from taking actions in the areas under her control. It is now a question of stopping her from expanding into areas not under her -control and denying the rights that the West now possesses La those areas.
The situation is, I suggest, obscured by the Soviet Union talking of making arrangements with the East German Government. Let us not be in any way side-tracked by this talk of a so-called East German Government. The East German Government is the creation of and the puppet of the Soviet Union. What is in effect happening is that the Soviet Union is saying that it proposes to abrogate the rights and the laws of West Berlin, and proposes to say that no longer shall the Allies have the right to communicate with West Berlin. The Soviet proposes to cut off West Berlin from communication as of right with the Western Allies. If that is allowed to happen, 2,500,000 people will be handed over to slavery of the kind against which those same people have voted, as Senator Wright pointed out, with their feet; and nowhere any more in any part of the world, either in Europe or closer at hand to us, will people under threat of attack believe that they can be sure of support from those who have promised support to them in the past. The position of the Western world would be eroded. In the light of the history through which we have lived, who believes for one moment that a crumbling of Allied resistance in West Berlin would satisfy the Soviet, and would not lead to more and greater demands that would bring the threat of communism closer and ever closer to us?
I know that people ask why this great risk should hang over the world for the sake of Germans - people against whom we fought in two wars - people who are far away from us. I know that some people ask why we should take this risk for what was referred to in a previous decade as a far-off country of which we know little. Their attitude is understandable. But Berlin, as such, is not what is at stake here.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator the Honorable A. D. Reid). - Order! In conformity with sessional order relating .to the adjournment of , line Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the negative.
– Berlin, Sir, would not be the occasion for which a war would come, should a war come, any more than Danzig was the occasion for which a war broke out in 1939. There are great similarities indeed, Sir, between Danzig and Berlin because at that time we had seen a dictator make demand after demand and last demand after last demand and expand through the Sudetenland and Austria and Czechoslovakia, first partially and then entirely, with the West as always seeking first peace, provided it could be had with existence, then retreating and retreating and retreating, and hoping that the dictator could be trusted, until at last the City of Danzig and these communications through the Polish Corridor to the City of Danzig were cut off. And at that point it was borne in upon us that we could retreat still further but unless we completely surrendered we could not eventually avoid a show-down. It was not Danzig for which then we fought; it would not be Berlin, but it would be to assert the principle that at some stage the West would stop being driven back. I myself believe, Sir, and the Government believes, that Senator Wright who said to this Senate earlier that it was essential that the West should not retreat in this question was completely right and that that it is the only step which can continue the West’s position in Europe or in the world or in this country.
Having said that, it is necessary, calmly and sombrely, to consider what is involved in coming to that conclusion, because it is not merely a matter of not retreating. Quite clearly, should there be a development in this situation to the point of fighting, it will not come because the Soviets make some treaty with East Germany; it will come, if it comes, when the Soviets seek to prevent communications with West Berlin, and that will pose us the problem, which must be faced if we are to adhere to what I believe is the right view, that expressed by Senator Wright, that those communications must be maintained by whatever force is necessary to maintain them, because if that is not done we shall not be standing firm and we shall be driven out. And that could - I do not say it would, but it could - if the sabre rattling of the Russians is to be believed, lead us to a situation where a war, even an atomic war, could take place.
– It would be a bad show.
– It would be a bad show. It would be your responsibility and all the people’s responsibilities to weigh which would be the worst show - standing fast on the part of the Western powers even at the risk that such standing fast might lead to atomic war, or surrender after surrender which, while avoiding atomic war, would lead eventually to complete surrender to Communist dictatorship. It would not be an easy choice, of course, but if we adhere to the view, as I do, put forth by Senator Wright, then that risk must be taken at some time, and in my view this would be the place to take it.
– There are other alternatives.
– I am putting the thing in black and white. There are no alternatives to standing firm. There are obviously other alternatives to war. I led into my remarks by saying that if the sabrerattling statements by the Soviets are to be believed, it might lead to war. There are other courses which I would like to see discussed here and in the world generally. But before going into those discussions it is still necessary, I suggest, to make up one’s mind what in the ultimate one would be prepared to accept rather than retreat. I go no further than that.
A number of alternatives, to which Senator McKenna referred, have been already suggested in this Senate. Mr. Diefenbaker, I thought, suggested United Nations control of Berlin; I am told it was control of Germany.
– I thought Berlin.
– I thought Berlin myself. This obviously is not a matter, I think, to be discussed here and at this time; it is clearly one which bristles with great difficulty and I would suggest that before a Western section were handed over to the control of the United Nations, it is one that would require considerably more thought than has been given to it at the present moment. There can be, and I hope there would be, negotiations on this matter, negotiations one would hope leading eventually to a unified Germany, which was the objective of all States, or the expressed objective of all States when this situation first arose. But I would hope that if those negotiations do take place there will not be given away in those negotiations or by talk what could not be taken by force. I believe that those who tell us that we should talk and talk and that as long as talking is going on there can be no deterioration of the situation and that is good because there can be no fighting, have been shown to be wrong by recent history. One looks, for instance, to the country of Laos, where negotiations and talks went on and on, and at the same time armed aggression went on and on. So I would hope that both in negotiations and in seeking ways out of this impasse other than by force there would be as much steadfast refusal to give away the ultimate rights of the West and of the people of West Berlin as there would be should those rights actually be sought to be interfered with by force.
This discussion has been, I think, as I said before, a benefit. We are a small country on the periphery of these things, but our small voice, for what it is worth, should be raised to support those Western powers who are prepared, come what may, not to retreat and not to allow their communications to be cut - their communications with the Western sector of Berlin, which is, as Senator Kennedy was quoted as saying, the symbol of the resolution of the West and the symbol of the hope of the Eastern nations, to which Senator McManus referred. We face a grim and gloomy prospect. That prospect is not helped by pretending, should we be tempted to do so, that it is not grim or gloomy. It will be faced, I hope, calmly and temperately, but with a firmness which is as strong as it may need to be to meet any test.
– The assistant to the Minister for External Affairs, Senator Gorton, has just told us that Australia’s voice ought to be raised with the four great powers in relation to what is done in Germany. I should have thought that the Minister, acting in that capacity, ought to have been doing that through his Government. In dealing with a subject as important as that with which we are dealing now, the lead should have been given by the Government, which is responsible for this country’s external affairs. The matter should not have been left for a back-bencher to introduce in this house of the Parliament. I do not quite know what is behind it. In another place, back-benchers, with the connivance of the Government in postponing ordinary business, initiated the discussion of a similar question, worded in somewhat different language. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) took part in the debate merely to say that within a day or two or a matter of hours he would be making a statement on Berlin.
Now, instead of presenting that statement for debate in this place, for some reason or other the Government goes out of its way to facilitate the initiation by a back-bencher of a debate on a matter of policy, on which the assistant Minister for External Affairs has said our voice should be raised. Surely, the Minister should have acted in his official capacity on behalf of his Cabinet or his Government, if this was thought to be an appropriate time to introduce a debate on Germany. I point out that the forms of the Senate have been used to give the Liberal Party one hour of the time allowed for debate in this matter, the Democratic Labour Party a quarter of an hour, and the Labour Party half an hour, when in normal circumstances equal time is given to the Government and the Opposition.
Surely, the question we are discussing is primarily the responsibility of the four powers which have been engaged for sixteen years in discussion of the division of Germany and the eastern and western sectors of Berlin. It has taken sixteen years for a back-bencher in this Parliament to say that we should stand by the legal forms. I am wondering whether he is concerned lest this Government might not want to stand by the treaties and legal forms which lay down the arrangements by which the four powers have entry into Berlin and by which they live in close juxtaposition in Berlin and central Europe to-day.
There was a time when an Australian government was called upon to make a decision regarding the situation in Berlin.
That was; in 1948, when the Chifley Labour Government, without any hesitation, supported the. air-lift that kept the people of West Berlin alive.
– You speak as if you are. unaware of the Prime Minister.’ statement last Thursday.
– No. I am not unaware of it, but that still does not get over the way in which the forms of the Senate have been used to-night to discuss a question of external affairs. There can be no more important subject for a nation to-day than its- external affairs. Without any reflection on Senator Wright, I say that it should not have been his duty to initiate this discussion. It was the duty of the Cabinet to do so. However, because of the peculiar way in which the subject was introduced, my remarks must be confined to a quarter of an hour. I repeat that when a Labour government, was called on to take positive action in a situation which was probably the closest we have been to war in central Europe since 1945, it did so. It- seems strange to me that when the four powers are charged with responsibility in this matter, we in Australia should be talking about it in this way.. After all, there are pressing border problems in Viet Nam. There is an urgent border problem, in India. There, are divisions in Viet Nam and Korea. These are in the Pacific area where we have a very great responsibility, yet rather than discussing them we are discussing Europe. There is no debate on matters so close to home.
In any event, if we do have such debates,, surely it is the job of the Government to introduce them and to guide the. thoughts of the Australian public on these problems. It is ironical that Berlin, which is. the capital of the country that started the. war in. 1939- should now, 21 years later, be divided and suffering some of the miseries that the leaders of that nation initiated many years- ago*. After all, Berlin is only a symbol. It remains divided in a world that is divided. Berlin will continue to remain divided as long as the present divisions in the world remain. All of the four powers have stated that they want to see German re-unification. This is covered by the Potsdam and Yalta agreements. It seems farcical to discuss this- subject without reference to the mass of material upon it. Even if there were re-unification tomorrow, there would not be an end to the cold war. The situation would probably be not very much better than it is to-day, except that a local situation would have been dealt with.
I wonder whether,, in all the circumstances, the dogma that we should, adhere to legal forms is wise. The present situation arises because of treaties that have been signed. The four powers are in Berlin pursuant to legal forms. Somebody has said that it is unthinkable that there should be any retreat. Probably we have come to an end. We cannot retreat any further without serious difficulties. The Western powers are in Berlin in order to protect the people, of West Berlin. Surely it is the shame of the last quarter of a century that,, by the legal means of which, we have been talking, half of a nation’s people have been handed over to lose their human rights and dignities. The whole of the sorry story of Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries does not have to be retold to-night to illustrate my point. This generation has had the lesson that never again should treaties be signed without the people most concerned being represented at the round table. Failure to do this has led to loss of rights; first under nazism and. secondly under communism. Thesituation seems to me to be so unreal.. If we retreat from the position that exists to-day, we shall make a mockery of all! that we did in 1948 during the time of blockade. The Russians on the one hand and the Western Allies on the other hand” have said time and again that they want to sign a peace settlement for the reunification of Germany, with Berlin as its capital. If that can be brought about by a free and democratic vote, the peoples of the world’ will be jubilant and we shall have attained something.
The Western powers have said that they are- not wedded to any particular method of achieving the desired- results. So I am not wedded to the Berlin agreement. If the end which both sides have said they desired to achieve is to be achieved, it does not matter whether we stick to the old agreement, to a new agreement, or whether there is no agreement at all. If we could get the goodwill <that is necessary to take us one step nearer to the desired end, surely we would not need to pass a resolution, as we shall do to-night if this debate is taken to a proper conclusion. The Western powers have insisted for a long dme that any move at all which would achieve the desired result would be justified. Therefore, it seems unreal for me to be pressing the narrow legal aspect of the matter.
There is no argument at all about the desirability of re-unification and the various other related matters about which we have heard during the last sixteen years. Nevertheless, for a long time West Berlin and East Berlin have constituted a pressure point. It will be remembered that in about April, 1960, it was stated that the Russians were using the existence of a divided Berlin and a divided Germany as a pressure point to bring about a summit conference. I have not agreed with that statement at any time, but that was the kind of thing people were saying. Let us not forget that we have lived in these circumstances for sixteen years without there being another world war. We have continued to avoid a war in spite of all the pressures, the Berlin blockade, and so forth. In 1938 such an achievement would have been thought impossible. The fact is that we have steeled ourselves to the cold war and have become acclimatized to this war of nerves. We know that it is possible to live in such circumstances. Of course, that does not mean that such circumstances are desirable.
The Russians, in sealing the border between East Berlin and West Berlin, have put their thumbs on this pressure point. In addition, there is the overtone of the exploding of atomic bombs, which seems to indicate that we will again become engaged in the atomic armaments race. There is always the possibility of Berlin becoming a flash point, particularly in view of the Russian threats. The Russians have been making a lot of threats and have been doing a lot of things in this area; they have used it as a pressure point for a long time. What they are doing is an indication of the ideological war they are conducting. Even if we were to achieve to-morrow all that we desire to ‘achieve, this ideological war would still continue.
In Berlin there are two vastly different systems of government. A Western government is expected not to move outside its own borders but to look after its people and their standard of living. On the other hand, we have a body of people many of whom believe that in their lifetime they will see a world dominated by communism. Therefore, the struggle is of an international character. The Russians are not concerned about stopping at the Brandenburg Gate. The spread of communism throughout the world is part of their ideology. We do not want to spread throughout the world; we are content to live within our existing boundaries. On the other hand, as I have said, the Communists expect to see the world communized within their lifetime.
As a result of the building up of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in central Europe we have moved away from the imminence of war. The Russians are not fools. They know that they would suffer as much as would any other country in an atomic war. They will not go to war and thereby destroy all the work they have done. But it is possible to achieve a lot by threatening war. That is why we have this pressure in Berlin to-day. Whatever we do in central Europe, the ideological war will continue.
The Russians have made some rather severe charges in explaining why they have closed the border between East Berlin and West Berlin. A long history attaches to this border. In the early days, the movement of refugees across the street, as it really is - we can hardly call it a frontier or a border - created in West Berlin problems that are usually experienced by any country that receives large numbers of refugees. Any one who has seen something of the refugee problem realises the terrific strain that a large influx of refugees places on the civic structure of a city. The movement of large numbers of refugees into West Berlin was an embarrassment to the authorities in that sector of the city; but it provided a good propaganda point and was a condemnation of communism. Probably the Russians have closed the border for that reason.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Motion - toy leave - withdrawn.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Mr. Deputy President, we have just listened to a very interesting debate on a very serious matter which affects the whole world. But I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to direct the attention of the Senate to a serious state of affairs in Australia at the present time. I refer to the large-scale dismissal of workers from the motor industry in the eastern States. Honorable senators know that General Motors-Holden’s Limited have given notice of dismissal to 8,400 employees. That notice has been given in accordance with the terms of the relevant award, which requires that a week’s notice shall be given. These dismissals or suspensions, as one might call them, are for periods of from five to thirteen days. But receipt of a week’s notice in accordance with the award does not alter the fact that the workers have been caught up in the maximum profit policy of a foreign company.
The suspensions reveal a callous disregard by this company of the welfare of its employees. They show up the company as being one the only interest of which in Australia and Australians is what it can take from them. I venture to suggest that this event marks the commencement of a new industrial era in Australia. Except during the depth of the depression when Australia was operating under a system of unemployment relief work, and perhaps during a period of coal shortages in New South Wales when the court had to grant stand-downs, we in Australia have not seen this kind of industrial regulation before. I submit that it marks the importation of another Americanism into Australia. As I understand the industrial situation in Australia, the principle has always been followed that where there is work to be performed, it should be performed. Legislation of the various States and the Commonwealth provides that strikes and lockouts shall not take place. Even though the federal legislation was amended in 1930 to delete the definitions of strikes and lockouts, it is still inherent in our code of industrial relations that strikes and lock outs shall not take place. Most of the federal awards these days contain provisions for bans and limitations of strikes, but I do not know of any that contain a ban against lockouts. 1 think it is rather important that we should understand what a lockout is because, I submit to the Senate, what is going on in the motor industry to-day is, in fact, a lockout. A lockout is generally taken to mean the closing of places of employment and the total or partial refusal of employers, acting in combination, to give work, if the refusal is unreasonable; or the total or partial suspension of work by an employer with a view to compelling his employees, or to aiding another employer in compelling his employees, to accept any term or condition of employment. That, Sir, is the generally accepted meaning of a lockout, andI submit to the Senate that that is exactly what Genera] MotorsHolden’s Limited has done on this occasion, even though up to the present stage it would seem that the company has acted within the terms of the award that governs the industry. The workers have been given notice, but they have been told at the same time that if they present themselves for employment at a certain time and a certain place they will be re-engaged. They have been told, in effect, that their jobs are there for them. Obviously this means that there is work to be performed. It means, further, that the workers who are forced to take this period of time off are being locked out of the industry and prevented from performing that work.
I suspect that General Motors-Holden’s Limited is attempting to introduce into Australia the seasonal lay-off system that operates in the motor industry throughout America. We have all read about this on various occasions. We know that when stocks pile up, the workers are stood down, and that when the stocks are depleted the workers are re-engaged. I think, perhaps, that General-Motors Holden’s Limited has another reason for what it is doing at present. We are all aware that on accasions motor car manufacturers bring out new models of their cars. I suspect that the Holden organization has the idea of bringing out a new model Holden car in the near future and, so that it will not have large stocks of the old model on its hands, it has taken this opportunity to dis-continue their production.
The conditions of employment in the motor industry in America are somewhat different from the conditions that apply in Australia. In the motor industry in America, industrial agreements generally provide for yearly contracts of service, and these contracts of service tend to protect the workers during the stand-down periods. Workers in Australia have not that protection or security. In this instance, the workers and their families are dependent upon this colossus for their livelihood from week to week. If the workers do not receive pay for one week, that is a week that they have lost. Again, in America the rates of pay in the motor industry are somewhat higher than they are in the industry in Australia, even allowing for the difference between the cost of living in Australia and in America. The real wage in America is higher than that in Australia. Wages in America are fixed more in conformity with the profits made by the industry than is the case in Australia.
It will be remembered that some years ago the unions connected with the motor industry in Australia sought an industrial award covering that industry alone. They wanted to be independent of what I might call the “ hangers on “ in other industries, so that they could obtain an industry allowance and other benefits from organizations that were making large profits. However, the Arbitration Commission saw fit to include them in the general metal trades award. The result was that the motor industry could not be isolated from the metal trades group and thus obtain an industry allowance. The employers claimed that such a separation would upset the balance of payments within the industries covered by the award. The result was that no one section of industry was allowed to depart from the standard rates of pay. Further, the rates of pay in tha motor industry in America provide for periods when the workers will be out of employment as a result of the lay-off system. Then again - this is important to the Government - the unemployment relief payments that workers are entitled to in America during lay-off periods are very much higher than unemployment relief payments in Australia.
In the circumstances, it would perhaps be proper to see how well Australia has treated General Motors-Holden’s Limited. When Mr. Chifley sought to have a motor car manufacturing industry established in Australia he went so far as to say that if no manufacturing company was prepared to manufacture cars in Australia, the Government would do so. With that threat hanging over it, the motor industry, which was making a lot of money from importing cars into Australia, decided to set up a manufacturing concern in Australia. At the same time, the industry decided not to put any dollar capital into the enterprise. In order to get the industry functioning in Australia the Chifley Government had to arrange with the Commonwealth Bank to make funds available. So, the industry that to-day is so buoyant and so callous in its attitude to the employees for whom it is responsible, was commenced in Australia on Australian credit. In fact, at the time it was inaugurated there was no provision for an Australian shareholding in it, with the exception of a packet of preferential shares that was issued to the Australian people. Even those shares are not now held by the Australian people. General Motors-Holden’s Limited is a complete monopoly, outside the control of the Commonwealth Government.
Ever since the company has been operating in Australia it has had one tough policy: To make the maximum amount of profit. Under its charter it does not now have to disclose its profits. I give full credit to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) for saying recently, in answer to a question asked in the House of Representatives, that if he had the power he would force General Motors-Holden’s Limited to disclose its profits. I say quite frankly that the Prime Minister could obtain that power to-morrow by the enactment of a uniform companies act. I know that the Government is engaged in negotiations towards that end. Whether or not the negotiations have been concluded, I am not aware, but if they have not, they should be hurried along in order that companies of this kind might be forced to disclose their profits to the Australian people. I am not telling the Government anything that it does not know. I ask: What steps is the Government taking to rectify the position? What steps is it taking, to protect the jobs, of the 8,400 workers who are to be stood down and the interests of the 1,200 workers who were suspended previously? What steps is the Government taking to persuade GeneralMotorsHolden’s Limited to abandon this policy of standing down or suspending its employees, and to deter the introduction from America of this system, of industrial regulation?
The reason given by the industry for the suspension of employees is that there has been an over-production of motor vehicles. As I suggested earlier, perhaps the policy is related to the production of a new model or to a fall in sales due to the Government’s economic measures of November last. I suggest, however, that the accumulated stocks of vehicles could quite easily be disposed of by General Motors-Holden’s Limited if it were to reduce the prices of the vehicles. I notice that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) suggested last night in another place that it would have been better to reduce the prices of vehicles rather than to suspend employees in order to reduce the over-supply of vehicles.
It is of no use the Government saying that it is not in a position to force General Motors-Holden’s Limited to reduce the prices of its vehicles with a view to preventing the suspension of workers or the introduction of part-time employment within the industry.
– What would be the effect of a reduction of prices?
– More vehicles would be bought, of course.
– I suggest that more would be bought. I say to Senator Wright that that would depend on the availability of capital, no doubt at high rates of interest, from finance houses. The Government tells us that the credit squeeze has eased, that credit is now available, and that there are very few restrictions on the obtaining of capital at the present time. I assume; therefore, that money would be available for people to purchase the vehicles if the prices were reduced. I think that the reduction of prices would induce increased sales, and I say that the Government has it in its power to force General MotorsHolden’s Limited to reduce its prices.
– It could do so by means of the tariff.
– A price reduction could be brought about in three ways, two of them open to the Government and one to the industry. At the present time the Government exacts sales tax at the rate of 30 per cent, on motor vehicles. It could reduce the rate of tax, which would result in- a reduction of the prices of motor vehicles. I do not think that that would be a large price to pay to guarantee continued employment for the thousands of employees of General Motors-Holden’s Limited who are losing their jobs. It is well to remember that this industry operates behind a tariff wall. For that reason it has an advantage over organizations that import motor vehicles into this country. I suggest that the Government could remove the tariff wall, either partly or wholly. This is supposed to be a free enterprise government which believes in competition. By removing the tariff wall the Government could induce competition and thus force General MotorsHolden’s Limited to reduce the prices crf its vehicles.
– That is to say, by the reduction of the tariff?
– Yes, by easing the tariff or by taking it off altogether, thus making General Motors-Holden’s Limited compete with other manufacturers of motor cars.
– But is not that the kind of thing that is causing unemployment in the paper industry in Burnie?
– In some industries, yes.
– Would you like to see more Holdens sold at the expense of sales of other cars?
– My aim is to see that the workers are kept in full employment. I say that it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that that is so.
The Minister for Labour and National Service knows that there are measures which can be taken to meet the position. He has expressed the opinion that it would have been better for General Motors Holden’s Limited to reduce the prices of its motor vehicle than to suspend employees. Although he knows that measures, could be taken to bring about a reduction of prices, he says that the problem is one for the economy itself to determine. That is how far he is prepared to go. Yet, he is an active member of the Government. We may take it from his statement that the Government is not prepared to do anything in this matter.
The last disclosed profit of General Motors-Holden’s Limited was £15,274,000. I suggest to the Senate that the company could have provided for price reductions by reducing its profits. But of course, it wants to keep up the prices of its vehicles and at the same time keep up the rate of profit that it has been making over the years. I do not deny that the company has spent a lot of money in Australia and that it pays a great deal of taxes in this country, but it also takes a lot of money out of Australia. It is taking more money out of Australia than it ever put in, because in fact it did not put in any money. The colossus that we see to-day has been built up by the reinvestment of profits, or the re-investment of Australian money.
Another tragic feature of this matter is that many of the workers who are stood down will not qualify for unemployment benefit. Those who are stood down for five or six days will not qualify. Those who are stood down for up to nine days will not qualify for any unemployment benefit because when they are off work for more than seven days and then go back to work during the next week the means test prevents them from receiving any benefit for that first week. So, many of these 8,400 workers will not qualify for unemployment benefit. The Government has a duty to consider this problem and to go into consultation with General Motors-Holden’s Limited. If the company will not see reason, the Government should put pressure on it to ensure that it does the right thing by the Australian people.
I have spent considerable time dealing with General Motors-Holden’s Limited. I also want to direct attention to the effect of a close-down in that company’s plants upon the industries that are associated with the motor manufacturing industry. The industries that supply parts, accessories and services to that industry will have to lay off workers or stock-pile goods because if General Motors-Holden’s Limited is not manufacturing motor cars it will not want the goods that are supplied by those ancillary industries. This, of course, exemplifies that snowballing effect of unemployment about which we have warned the Government so often. This is revealed when we look at the latest employment figures issued by the Commonwealth Statistician. Despite the fact that the number of people registered for employment in July showed an increase of about 1,700 over the June figure, the Statistician has told us that during July employment in private industry decreased by 11,800. There is a big discrepancy there when the number of people registered for employment increased by only about 1,700 but employment decreased by 11,800. That latter figure does not include 1,300 people who went into government service. The actual decrease in private employment was 13,100, but 1,300 people found employment in government service. So, the actual decrease in private employment was 13,100. The evidence further shows that the big decrease in employment during July occurred in the manufacturing industries, in which the decrease was 7,300. All this has occurred in spite of the Government’s profession to the Australian people that things are improving and are on the upturn. For the sake of the unemployed people, I wish things would get on the upturn.
I wish to direct attention to a condition that is being created by Government policy in the building industry in Western Australia. Because Western Australia has no large manufacturing industries, the building industry is an economic barometer. Of course, it fluctuates all the time. It is suffering from the effects of the credit squeeze. Despite the fact that the Government has lifted credit restrictions and despite the advice of the Commonwealth Savings Bank to make money available for loans, the number of workers employed in the building industry is decreasing continually. The number of employees dropped from 9,663 in December last year to 8,442 in March this year. Building approvals declined from 810 in May, 1960, to 407 in March this year. The important point in this matter is that it is estimated that each worker employed in the building industry provides employment for at least two other workers.
So, when there is a fall in employment in the building industry, it is safe to say that the fall in other industries is double the fall in the building industry.
The worst feature of the slump in the building industry is the fall-off in the number of registered apprentices. We have to look not only to to-day but also to to-morrow. We have to think about where we will get our trained building workers in the future. In Western Australia in 1956 there were 1,678 registered apprentices, and in 1961 there are 954, a fall of 724. It is necessary to consider why this is happening. There is certainly a fall-off in the building industry. There is also a large movement from employment by large contractors to the system of sub-contracting. Of course, subcontractors have not the security of employment to enable them to employ apprentices for the period of five years which they require to learn the trade. The fluctuating economic policy of the Government does not enable large builders to be sure that they will have work on which to employ apprentices and journeymen for a period of five years. Consequently, there is a falling-off in the number of apprentices in the contracting and subcontracting fields.
In addition, the State Government has abandoned what is known as the day-labour system. Under that system government works were carried out by workers employed permanently by the Government. In that way the Government was able to ensure that it would have tradesmen to train the apprentices; it was able to take in apprentices and train them so they would be available to the industry in later years. I have stated what is happening in the industry to-day. I say to the Senate that the employment position, particularly in the motor industry, has become desperate, and the Government should take firm action to remedy the position.
– I propose to detain the Senate very briefly in order to refer to two matters. During the debate on Senator Wright’s motion in respect of Berlin earlier this evening, I stated that Senator Wright’s notice, which initiated the debate, was given last Thursday, the same day as the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) was scheduled to speak on the same subject matter. Those two propositions are accurate.
Senator Wright’s notice was dated 7th September and it reached me on that date, which was last Thursday; and the Prime Minister did speak on the subject that night. Senator Gorton controverted that proposition. I rise merely to indicate that quite obviously he misunderstood me because the facts are as I stated them originally and as I state them now.
This afternoon I asked the Leader of the Government whether the Government, any government instrumentality or anybody on behalf of the Government had approached General Motors-Holden’s Limited regarding the dismissals to which Senator Cant has referred. I also asked the Leader of the Government whether the Government would consider making an approach to General Motors, if one had not already been made, with a view to halting, if possible, the dismissals. The Minister was not sure of his answer to the first part of my question and he did not answer the second part. I hope that he will take notice of what I say. I express the view that the present situation is serious for a large number of our citizens. I do not think it would be beneath the dignity of the Government to approach this firm through its Department of Labour and National Service, if not at ministerial level, to see whether something could be done to prevent these dismissals. I think that an approach from the Government may have a potent effect. It may even lead to these men not being dismissed. Perhaps the Minister is not prepared to reply on this matter now, but I simply make a plea that the Government will take into consideration the suggestion that was implicit in my question earlier to-day. I hope that the Government will approach this firm, if not at the government level at least at the departmental level, to see whether it may be induced to change its mind.
– in reply - I would like to advert to the two points raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). His first point related to a denial by me of what I thought was a claim by him in his speech to the effect that Senator Wright had brought on his motion on the very day on which the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had made a statement in the House of Representatives. 1 pointed out that in fact Senator Wright was not bringing on his motion on the day on which the Prime Minister made his statement because the Prime Minister made his statement on this subject last week. Apparently I misunderstood the Leader of the Opposition. He was not referring to the bringing on of the motion but to the giving of notice last week of the motion. That is a clear misunderstanding on my part of what Senator McKenna said. However, I venture the opinion that the honorable senator’s remarks detract from any force that his statement may have contained.
As to the second point that he has raised I point out that Mr. McMahon, the Minister for Labour and National Service, has already stated in another place, in answer to questions, that he has been in touch with General Motors-Holden’s Limited.
– By telephone.
– The honorable senator may know more than I know. That is not what Mr. McMahon said. He said that he has been in touch with the company and that he has been assured that the company did not believe that these dismissals would be necessary again. I gather that is the point thai the Leader of the Opposition wished to raise.
– I am concerned that the dismissals should not take place on Friday.
– All I can say is that the Minister for Labour and National Service has been in touch with the organization, so I am informed, not just on one occasion hut on various occasions. He will keep in touch with the company to see what he can do to obviate what is happening.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.4 a.m. (Thursday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 September 1961, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1961/19610913_senate_23_s20/>.