24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, relates to comments reported to have been made by Mr. Fairhall, the Minister for Supply, when speaking at the Adelaide conference of the Australian Association of National Advertisers on 15th October. According to the Adelaide “ Advertiser “, Mr. Fairhall said -
There is not much point in aspiring to new markets in foreign countries if we are not prepared to do more than appoint a resident representative.
We must send in someone who knows the product, someone who is imbued with the national necessity of selling not only for his company but for his country in these areas to which we need growing commercial access.
To appoint an agent in a foreign country is not necessarily to be represented . . . If we sell effectively we must sell authoritatively.
Mr. Fairhall is reported also to have said that the copying or purchasing of manufacturing rights would not be good enough for the future. I ask the Minister whether the views expressed by Mr. Fairhall represent the adoption of a new emphasis or policy by the Government, so that trade representatives in foreign countries will more actively and authoritatively accept major responsibility for developing markets and not leave the primary activities to export agents or private interests. Can the Minister say whether the Government proposes to encourage industry to adapt and invent in order to offset the limitations mentioned by the Minister for Supply?
– I am sorry to say that I did not see my colleague’s statement, or the newspaper report to which the honorable senator has referred. Having listened to the summary of the statement, it seems to me that Mr. Fairhall was doing nothing other than elaborating existing Government policy, because our policy is directed along the lines referred to. We have trade commissioners and trade organizations overseas. In addition, we are offering very great encouragement in various directions to Australian manufacturers and people with goods to sell. We are trying to encourage them to go overseas and sell their goods. Senator Bishop will remember that the Government has given special taxation incentives. For instance, there is provision for the rebate of pay-roll tax in respect of exports, whilst the expenses of executives who go overseas in search of export trade are subject to very handsome taxation concessions. We are also pursuing a very active policy of sending trade missions overseas. Almost every month there is a trade mission going overseas to explore new possibilities. I think that what Mr. Fairhall was doing was to amplify, and direct attention to, the Government’s policy of searching for export markets - a policy which, I am very glad to say, is yielding us quite handsome results.
– I preface a question addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs by stating that yesterday Senator Hannaford raised the question of the properly accredited representatives of Hungary to the United Nations organization after the Hungarian revolt. Whilst the United Nations organization does not accept or reject the delegate from the Kadar Communist regime, that representative does sit upon committees of the United Nations organization. I should like to know from the Minister how the delegate representing the Australian Government voted on that question at the United Nations organization when the vote was taken. Is it not a fact that at the same period the Australian Government’s representative abstained from voting on the question of Hungary’s admission to membership of the International Labour Organization, despite the fact that the representative of the United Kingdom Government voted against such admission?
– I do not know how the Australian delegate voted on either of the two occasions referred to. I was asked by Senator Hannan what the position was regarding the seating of Hungary in the United Nations organization, and I pointed out that that body had refused either to accept or reject the credentials of the representative of the Kadar Hungarian Government. I shall endeavour to find out the answers to the honorable senator’s questions and let him have them.
– I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise whether his attention has been directed to a statement attributed to the president of the Australian Clothing Manufacturers Council that it is possible that shirts from Hong Kong and Japan are being landed in Australia for 2s. each. Has the Minister for Customs and Excise received any complaints against or, for that matter, any support for this practice of importing shirts at 2s. each which, to most of us, is obviously under fair cost of production and freight to Australia? Does the Minister believe that a prima facie case of dumping exists with regard to these shirts? If so, what procedures are available to his department under current antidumping laws? How long would it be before remedial action could be effective? If it is found that the fair value of such shirts is more than 2s., could customs revenue be calculated on a percentage of the fair value rather than the invoice price?
– Yes, I did read the statement by the president of the Australian Clothing Manufacturers Council to the effect that shirts may be coming into Australia at round about 2s. each. My department has received no complaint yet with relation to the matter, and therefore I cannot confirm or deny that these shirts are being imported.
The honorable senator asks whether a prima facie case of dumping exists. Before my department could move, details of the dumping would have to be established. It would appear, if they are being imported at 2s. each, that they are coming in at less than the domestic value in the country of manufacture; but these facts would have to be established.
There are two courses open to the manufacturers. If they find they are being seriously affected, they can seek the department’s assistance in preparing an application to the Tariff Board for the imposition of a dumping duty. If the department can establish reasonably quickly that dumping is taking place, it can levy what is called a cash security. To do this, the department writes up the value of the article to the established normal value and collects a security in cash, charging duty at the normal rate, and then refers the case to the Tariff
Board for confirmation or otherwise of its action. In the meantime, while the Tariff Board is examining the position, the cash securities are applied on the basis of the established normal value of the article in question.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware of the inadequacy of the Canberra air terminal to serve the requirements of this capital city? Is he aware that, when aircraft are off schedule, congestion and confusion reign at the terminal, causing much inconvenience to the travelling public and throwing a very heavy strain on the officers who are endeavouring to give the good service that should be obtainable here? Will the Minister state whether anything is likely to be done to improve the position, when it is likely to be done, and what improvement is contemplated?
– Like every other member of the Parliament, I am aware of the conditions that obtain at Canberra airport. I point out to the honorable senator that only two years ago the airport terminal was extended to cope with increasing traffic. A particular characteristic of the Canberra airport should be borne in mind. I think it is fair to say that we, as members of this Parliament, see it, almost invariably, at peak periods, when it is handling parliamentary traffic, either coming into Canberra or getting away. The airport terminal is adequate to cope with normal traffic. Having regard to this special characteristic, and also to the fact that there are demands, it seems almost Australia-wide, for expansion to cope with normal traffic, one has to take the view that in an order of priorities these abnormal peak periods do not put expansion of facilities at Canberra airport as near the top as Senator Cooke and other members of the Parliament might like.
– I preface a question, which I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, by saying that the latter Minister, in a recent press release, said that Australia was supplying to the North Borneo Government, under the Colombo Plan, road building equipment to cost about £240,000 for use, primarily, on the proposed JesseltonSandakan road. The Minister in his statement went on to say, inter alia -
The road joining Jesselton and Sandakan will cross the Crocker Range at 3,500 feet above sea level. It will closely follow the route of the death march from Sandakan on which some 1,800 Australians died during the war.
The Minister also said that this road would be, in a sense, a monument to those brave men. I ask the Minister whether the Government will consider building a physical monument, as distinct from the road itself, at some suitable point along that road, which would tell the story of the tragedy of that death march and pay respect and homage to those men, linking the monument, if this is the will of the Government, to the Australian contribution in this day and age?
– I will place the honorable senator’s suggestion before the Minister for External Affairs to see what steps he can take in this direction, in conjunction with the Government of North Borneo.
– My question is directed to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Is it a fact that the preservation of native fauna is one of the responsibilities of the wild life survey section of the organization? Has the wholesale slaughter of kangaroos for dogs’ meat come to the notice of the Minister? If it has, can he inform the Senate whether the C.S.I.R.O. has any plans for the preservation of this unique Australian animal, some species of which could become extinct if the present destruction continues?
– The preservation of native fauna is not one of the responsibilities of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization or of the Commonwealth Government. It is the responsibility of the State governments and their relevant ministers. The result is that the preservation of native fauna becomes extremely difficult because native fauna has not yet learnt where the State boundaries lie. Nevertheless, the C.S.I.R.O. does a great deal of work to ascertain the ways in which native fauna lives and what is happening to it. We have been in consultation with the various State instrumentalities about kangaroos. Although there has been a great slaughter of them - particularly of the big red kangaroos - I think it is premature to suggest that they will be killed out, because when the numbers become small the commercial shooters, who no doubt are carrying out this slaughter, will not make money from their shooting. Nevertheless, there is a problem that is under consideration. It is not the responsibility of the C.S.I.R.O. to ensure that fauna of any kind is preserved. This destruction constitutes a danger to Australia because many kinds of native fauna are in danger of extermination.
– Did the Minister for Civil Aviation receive or peruse a copy of the report of a committee over which the Lord Mayor of Melbourne presided, which strongly emphasized the urgent necessity for a jet airport in Melbourne? Has the Minister seen reports from various other people who have been visiting Melbourne from other countries, also stressing the urgent necessity for a jet airport in Melbourne? Can the Minister make a definite statement on when a start will be made on the construction of a jet airport at Tullamarine?
– I have seen the first report referred to by the honorable senator. A copy was sent to me as a matter of courtesy. The report was made to the Victorian Government by a committee appointed by that Government. In those circumstances I am sure the honorable senator will agree that it would be highly improper for me to comment on the report. As to when work on the Tullamarine airport might be commenced, 1 am not at this time able to say anything different from what I said a day or two ago.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, relates to international tourism. Is the Minister aware that last week in Adelaide the Australian National Travel Association held its annual conference? Six or seven foreign countries that have an interest in travel in the Pacific area were represented at that conference. Is the Minister aware that those representatives included several representatives from the United States of America, one of whom is a wholesaler who advises individual travel agents? That representative said that he would not be able to advocate a very great increase in tourism to Australia until there was a second gateway into this country on the eastern side. Is the Minister aware that that representative advocated that that second gateway into Australia should be at Brisbane rather than Melbourne? His reason was that most of the tourists coming from America - of whom incidentally there are now only 14,500, and we hope for many more - arrive at Sydney and then want to go up to Brisbane and the Great Barrier Reef. When they arrive in Sydney, go up to Brisbane and then come back to Melbourne they have to double back on their tracks. I should like the Minister to comment on the suggestion that the second international airport should be established at Brisbane rather than in Victoria.
– I was aware of the conference, but I have not seen the statement referred to by the honorable senator. I am aware also of the attractions of the Barrier Reef and of Queensland generally, and I know, too, that one airline, until a little while ago, did use Brisbane as an international airport. Aircraft of Air France called at Brisbane regularly on their way to and from the Pacific. What intrigued me most about the statement attributed to the American gentleman was his insistence on two gateways into eastern Australia. When I next have discussions with the Americans I must use the argument that Australian aircraft should have two gateways into America.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: -
– The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following replies: -
– I lay on the table the following papers: -
Broadcasting and Television Act - Thirtieth Annual Report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission together with financial statements for year 1961-62.
Fourteenth Annual Report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, for year 1961-62.
– I move -
That the papers be printed.
I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - Over recent years the Government has had requests from a number of organizations for public inquiries into various aspects of our economic affairs. Some of these requests have related principally, if not wholly, to the customs tariff. Others have sought a wider coverage and, at the extreme, have wanted an inquiry to comprehend all the main aspects of our economic affairs.
The Government has given much thought to these requests. It has found difficulty in seeing that an inquiry limited to the tariff, or any particular aspects of the tariff, would be a sufficient undertaking. Apart from anything else, there would be great difficulty in confining any inquiry to the tariff because that subject is connected with and dependent upon so many other issues. On the other hand, a general economic inquiry, as some have proposed, might have to become almost inimitably wide, take more time than is justified and, by its very breadth, lead to conclusions so broad and vague and qualified as to be of little practical use. We have decided, therefore, to institute an inquiry of a particular kind.
We feel that it should serve the requirements of the widest number of people and organizations, that it should be helpful not only to the Government and its various agencies but also to trade and industry, to all who play a constructive role in the growth of our economy. What we all need is light upon possibilities rather than guidance upon how to go about achieving this or that objective. We hope to have drawn up - as far as it is possible to do so with the information that can be had - a chart or prospectus of our economic potential - one that would show both the extent of our resources and their capabilities and also the limitations upon those resources.
It would also be valuable to have some competent and objective advice of an analytical kind upon certain great questions regarding the best use and disposition of our resources. For it is one of the fundamental facts about our economy that while many of our resources, so far as we know them, are good in point of quality, they are also limited in extent and subject to various handicaps upon their development. This makes it of the first importance that we should put them to the best and most productive use.
These are the main considerations which have guided the Government in drawing up terms of reference for an inquiry. These terms of reference are as follows: -
Having in mind that the objectives of the Government’s economic policy are a high rate of economic and population growth with full employment, rising standards of living external viability, and stability of costs and prices, to inquire into and report its findings on the following matters: -
The trends in population as a whole and in the work force component;
The availability of known basic physical resources;
The growth of domestic savings;
Overseas investment in Australia including likely sources and trends and assessment of its significance to the Australian economy;
The likely pattern of growth and geographical distribution of industry, primary, secondary and tertiary, including the governmental sector.
The consequences of this for the occupational pattern of the work force;
Questions involved in the production in Australia of goods that would otherwise be imported;
The development of production for export and the securing of adequate export outlets; and
The effect of customs tariffs and other forms, direct or indirect, of protection on the disposition of resources and on the broad economic objectives stated above.
As they stand, these terms of reference are largely self-explanatory and need no great elaboration. No doubt, when the members of the committee which is to conduct the inquiry have been assembled, we will have! some discussion with them so that they will be quite clear in their minds as to what it is the Government wants them to do on its behalf and for the community.
Appointments to the committee will be made as soon as possible. It is not intended to establish the body as a formal royal commission. Within its terms of reference we want the committee to have the greatest possible freedom in deciding how it goes about its work. The committee will obviously require considerable staff assistance and we shall certainly see to that. It also seems likely that the committee will wish to call on various people or instituions to undertake special inquiries. The facilities of relevant Commonwealth departments and authorities will be available to the committee, and we do not doubt that we will also have the co-operation of State governments and their associated authorities, so far as this is necessary.
Especially do we hope that industry, in its various branches, will co-operate in making information available and perhaps in undertaking investigations which only it is capable of carrying out. It should be emphasized again that, in the degree that they are successful in throwing light on our economic future, the results of the inquiry can be of great value to industry and trade as well as to governments. For its part, the Government hopes that the inquiry will be helpful to it in providing information which will help it in the determination of many fundamental issues of policy. Amongst these, obviously, will be the important issue of tariff policy in its broadest aspects. It should help particularly in setting the rolf of the tariff in its due context and perspective and integrating it with economic policy as a whole.
Naturally, the Government will wish the report of the inquiry to be available to it as early as possible. At the same time, it realizes how wide and complex and difficult are the subjects it is putting before the committee and it has not therefore laid down a fixed period within which the committee should make its final report. That is something on which it will talk to the committee when it has been brought together.
The Government wishes to make it clear that it has the firmest intention of preserving the full independence of the Tariff Board as an advisory body established by Parliament, its system of open and public inquiry and its high public standing and prestige. These things are of the very essence of the Tariff Board system which has, over many years, served Australia well and has won admiration and respect overseas. The Tariff Board is, to repeat, an advisory body. It is not a policy-making body - although its recommendations necessarily have a considerable influence on policy - and it is not an executive body. Its principal and bestknown function is to consider, on reference from the Government, applications for protection by way of tariffs or bounties or, alternatively, proposals for the reduction of such protection. It also has power on its own initiative to review existing duties, to conduct inquiries on certain matters and to report to Parliament. But tariff policy as such is the responsibility of the Government. Only Parliament can enact tariffs; only the Government proposes tariff legislation to Parliament.
The tariff and other forms of protection such as bounties and subsidies are means to provide a degree of shelter for local indutries against the competition of imports from other countries and so to sustain and promote the growth of these local industries. Protection has been the policy of all Australian Governments since federation. Our own policy is clear. We are for effective protection for efficient Australian industry.
Tariff policy involves broad issues of principle - how far one class of industry should be encouraged by protection, as compared with other classes of industry, whether diversity of industry should be sought or specialization, what relative weights should be given to the effect of tariffs on costs generally, on rural incomes and on consumers, how far international reactions to tariff increases should be taken into account and so on. But tariff-making is also a matter of decision in individual cases within a general framework of principles and under a changing context of circumstances. In that sense, tariff policy is built up and elaborated, precedent by precedent.
It is equally apparent that policy on tariffs and protection generally must form part of, and be consistent with, economic policy as a whole. It must serve the same broad objectives of policy, external as well as internal. It clearly must be related to overseas trade policy - our relations with other countries - ? as well as to internal policy on the industries which provide the exports for overseas trade. It must be related to population growth and full employment, but it must also be related to the problem of costs and prices.
More and more as our experience widens, it is borne in upon us that sound courses of action depend on our ability to see ahead and, having seen ahead, to prepare ahead. The need for more information and better information, more light on what is going on to-day, what may or may not be going on to-morrow or next year, or the next five or ten years, is common ground with everyone. Business demands, rightly enough, to know what the Government is trying to do, what its objectives are and what its lines of policy will be. The Government, for its part, feels the need to know more of what business hopes to do and plans to do. The work of the committee should help us all.
I lay on the table of the Senate the following paper: -
Economic Enquiry - Statement by the Prime
Minister dated 17th October, 1962.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [3.39]. - I move -
That the paper be printed.
I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Motions (by Senator McKenna) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Benn on account of absence overseas.
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Dittmer on account of absence overseas.
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator Poke on account of absence overseas.
Debate resumed from 11th October (vide page 770), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This bill purports to make an increase in air navigation charges in various categories throughout Australia. Because it is not proposed in this bill to impose a tax but to levy a charge for services, the measure may properly originate in the Senate rather than in another place.
The history of air navigation charges is that in 1947 they were introduced for the first time in Australia by a Labour government. There was argument about the validity of the charges that were imposed pursuant to regulations and, in 1952, after a change of government in 1949, an agreement was reached between the Government and the airline operators whereby some two-thirds of the amounts in dispute were forgiven. Australian National Airways Proprietary Limited was relieved of liability for some £600,000, and a refund of approximately half that amount was made to Trans-Australia Airlines.
– The Government has thereby earned the forgiveness of the Opposition.
– No, the Government has not earned the forgiveness of the Opposition in detail. We carry our attitude in relation to that matter further in saying that we strongly opposed the two matters that were associated with it, namely, the consummation of an agreement with the airline operators whereby the Government undertook not to increase air navigation charges in future at a rate greater than 10 per cent, per annum, and the Government’s action in 1952 in providing that as from 1st July of that year, the rates that would be operative would be only half of those imposed originally in 1947. At that time, the Opposition opposed the reduction, criticized the rebates that had been made and expressed its disapproval of the Government’s action in entering into an agreement with the airline operators - at that stage TransAustralia Airlines was a most unwilling partner to the agreement - binding future governments and future parliaments to a provision of that restrictive nature.
In due course - in 1957 - there was an increase of 10 per cent. We did not oppose that. There was a further increase for the domestic airline operators in 1960. Again, we voiced no opposition. So that in fact, at the moment, only some 70per cent, of the charges imposed originally by the Labour Government of 1947 have been reimposed by this Government, which still leaves some 30 per cent, to reach the level originally fixed in 1947. Now, so far as this bill is concerned, it is proposedto increase the air navigation charges for services of various kinds by 10 per cent, only - still not reaching the level which I think was properly imposed by the Labour Government in 1947.
The Minister has indicated - I donot controvert his figures - that the total cost of providing air navigation facilities in Australia was some £15,000,000 last year. Of that sum, the users of the facilities found only £1,380,000 by way of air navigation charges. Even allowing for the amount of £1,500,000 recovered by the Government by way of aviation fuel tax, the two figures together total only £2,280,000 which leaves a gap of more than £12,000,000 a year between expenditure by the Government and the amount recovered.
– How much of the £15,000,000 is capital?
– None of it is capital. The capital expenditure is not included in that figure. So that there is an enormous annual gap. We concede at once, that in the provision of the air facilities of various kinds that operate throughout Australia there is a very useful and important defence element. We realize, too, that the provision of these facilities makes for the development of the country in many ways, and part of that expenditure of £15,000,000 must be debited to those two heads. But even allowing for that, there is, and there always has been, a very vast gap between the cost of providing air navigation services and the receipts collected from the users of those services.
It is interesting to note the allocation of the amounts that are received from air navigation charges. Last year, of the £1,380,000 collected, the domestic airlines provided £758,000 and the international airlines £606,000, of which about half was provided by Qantas Empire Airways Limited; and all other airlines, which included those used for private purposes, for aerial work such as towing targets for military practice, crop dusting and so on, together with those engaged under charter, contributed only £17,000 in the full year. The small amount that they paid may be gauged from the fact that some 1,400 aircraft came into those three categories - private aircraft, those engaged in aerial work and those engaged in charter activities. The average amount paid by those three categories was only £12 per aircraft per annum.
I have indicated already that the bill provides merely for an increase of 10 per cent, in the charges to be paid by the various domestic and international airlines licensees engaged in public transport. Coming now to what I might term the private aircraft - those included in the three categories that I have already described - the Minister points out that during the last year the operators in those categories paid £17,000 in air navigation charges and the department paid out £60,000 in rescue and searching for them. So that the fees that were paid did not even cover the cost of the purely incidental matter of searching for private aircraft that were in distress, and which needed rescue operations. I should like to mention the charges paid by these three categories at present. For aircraft weighing 2,000 lb. and costing about £8,000, if the aircraft is used for purely private purposes, the charge is only £5 17s. a year. For those engaged in the aerial work which I have described, the charge is £11 14s. a year, and for those engaged in charter operations it is £17 lis. a year. Quite obviously, those charges are lower than the registration fees of quite minor capacity motor vehicles. The bill proposes to make an addition of about 300 per cent, to the present charges. In the case of private aircraft, the fee will be lifted from £5 17s. to £19 6s. Id.; in the case of machines engaged in aerial work, from £11 14s. to £38 12s. 2d.; and in the case of those engaged in charter operations, from £17 lis. to £57 18s. 3d. The last-mentioned increase, as the Minister indicated, amounts to approximately ls. a flying hour. Those rates are detailed in the Second Schedule of the bill. The Third Schedule repeats those charges in respect of foreign aircraft coming to Australia and engaging in those three types of activity.
One cannot cavil at the increase in the charges to the domestic airlines, and one must concede that the charges that have hitherto been imposed on those in the three private categories have been altogether too low, having regard to the type of services provided. The Minister has indicated correctly that in the vicinity of all major airports throughout Australia separate airports are usually available for private operators, which use them very freely. It is quite clear from the Opposition viewpoint that there ought to be some substantial increase in those exceedingly modest charges that have hitherto been borne in those three private fields.
I indicate that the Opposition, reviewing the whole situation, has decided to offer no protest or opposition to the passage of this measure.
.-I rise to mention only briefly two matters. We should remind ourselves of a matter which is of great interest to me. Paragraph 8 of the Civil Aviation Agreement, incorporated in the Airlines Agreement Act 1961, states -
In implementing its policy of full recovery of the cost of facilities properly attributable to civil air transport, the Commonwealth will take into account the level of air fares, the rate of growth of the industry and the requirement of the airlines to provide a reasonable return on capital, and will not -
increase the rate of air navigation charges payable by the Commission and the Company by more than 10 per centum in any period of twelve months . . .
I think that the period of the agreement is some ten years, broadly speaking. The first feature is, to my mind, a unique feature, whereby an agreement is entered into by a government, as to the extent and manner of the exercise of its taxing power. I pay due regard to the distinction that Senator McKenna drew for the purposes of our Constitution between an act to levy charges for services and a taxation act. Generally speaking, this power would be considered as analogous to a taxing power. To my way of thinking, that provision in an agreement is unique. I seek from my friends with more abundant knowledge any instance of a similar agreement.
Secondly, I seek information as to the extent to which the policy of full recovery of the cost of facilities properly attributable to civil air transport is being pursued in this and preceding increases in air charges. I listened with interest to the figures mentioned in the Minister’s speech. It would seem as though we are a long way from fully recovering the cost of facilities properly attributable to civil air transport, in the charges that we make. I should like to be informed of the assessment of the costs that has been made, the general components of cost included in the figure of £15,000,000, and also how we finance the gap that exists between the levies and the total cost incurred for the provision of civil aviation. I should like some information as to those matters that are mentioned in the agreement in relation to the level of air fares, the rate of growth of the industry, and the requirement of the airlines to provide a reasonable return on capital. To what extent have those factors been taken into account in the judgment that provides for these charges, leaving a gap between cost and recovery, at the figure stated?
– in reply - The Opposition does not oppose this bill. Naturally, I am gratified at that decision. Senator McKenna, in tracing the history of the development of these charges, stated that on three occasions previously the Government had increased these charges by 10 per cent. only. I think he overlooked the fact that in 1960 there was a net increase of 60 per cent., because although we increased the rate of charge on that occasion we increased the unit charge also, especially for heavy aircraft. In 1953, total collections amounted to £303,000. In 1962, total collections were £1,382,000, so the increase in total collections was some 400 per cent.
Senator Wright referred again, as he did on the introduction of the Airlines Agreements Bill, to what I think he called the unique feature of the agreement which restricts to 10 per cent, per annum the increased collections which the Government might make under this head in future years. I think that, in point of fact, he answered his own query when he acknowledged that it was in fact a charge rather than a tax. True it is that this is a quite strange or unusual procedure, but I am sure that the honorable senator will agree, having regard to the history of the use of air navigation charges, that in an agreement of this nature, designed to ensure the long-term existence of the two-airlines policy, a feature such as this is not out of place. We are, as he said, a long way from full recovery. The difference is financed by a charge against general revenue. This will be taken up as time goes by; the gap will be closed. We should not lose sight of the fact, referred to by Senator McKenna, that civil aviation in this country is still making an extremely significant contribution to development and is contributing in no small way to defence.
The Government has well in mind the need to keep fares at a realistic level. That is provided for in the clause of the agreement to which the honorable senator referred. In the year just passed, both in the international sphere and in the domestic sphere, there was certain difficulty in maintaining the rate of growth necessary to sustain the industry. In fact, at times during the year there was no growth; instead, there was a decrease in activity. Having regard to those factors, Mr. President, an increase in fares at that time would have had the opposite effect to that which was desired. It would have decreased frequencies, and as a result decreased the amount that became available to the Government from air navigation charges.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I wish to make one brief reference to the bill. I ask the Minister to explain this to me: In the 1957 bill the aircraft unit charge for domestic airlines was increased, and was expressed to be “ the amount originally fixed in 1952 plus an amount equal to one-tenth of the amount so calculated “. Then, in 1960, the actual rates per 1,000 lb. were increased by only about 10 per cent. The first charge at the lower rate was related to an aircraft of up to 25,000 lb. in weight. How does the Minister account for the great increase in receipts that he says then occurred. It would not be due to the increase in the rate or the alteration in the poundage. Under section 3 of the 1960 act, the rate was only 4½d. compared with 3¾d. plus one-tenth under the 1.957 act. So it is only another 10 per cent, on the rate. If I remember correctly the Minister’s second-reading speech in 1960, he described the increase as one of 10 per cent. How does he argue that in 1960 the increase was far more than 10 per cent.? Would he mind explaining that to me?
– I refer to my second-reading speech in 1960, which explains the situation. I said -
In 1957 air navigation charges were increased by 10 per cent, for the first time since the Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952 came into force. In introducing the 1957 legislation, it was indicated that “it was proposed to keep the scale of charges under periodical review with the object of progressively reducing the gap between the cost of providing facilities and the revenue obtained from the users”. The latest review indicates that the industry is now in a position to support an increase in charges of the order set out in the bill. The proposed increase will in a full year increase revenue by £450,000 and represents an average increase of more than 60 per cent.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported, without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
In committee: Consideration resumed from 16th October (vide page 877).
Proposed expenditures - Parliament, Capital Works and Services, £35,000; Prime Minister’s Department, £12,463,000; Prime Minister’s Department, Capital Works and Services, £2,229,000; Prime Minister’s Department, War and Repatriation Services - Reconstruction and Rehabilitation - University Training, £16,000; Department of External Affairs, £11,551,000; Department of External Affairs, Capital Works and Services, £357,000; Department of External Affairs, Economic assistance to support defence programme Seato member countries, £1,000,000- noted.
Department of the Treasury.
Proposed expenditure, £66,442,000.
.- I wish to bring to the attention of the Minister representing the Treasurer (Senator Paltridge) some provisions of the Estate Duty Assessment Act, the name given by the taxation authorities in the Commonwealth to the act under which death duties are levied upon deceased persons’ estates. It is a long time since the exemption figure of £5,000 was reviewed. Several years ago it was lifted from £2,000 to £5,000, and in my view is much overdue for revision and adjustment to the new levels that have been established in the intervening period.
Other features of this act also call for earnest consideration. At one time I was a firm believer that the two duties - the State probate duties and the federal estate duties - should find coincidence in administration, that is to say that there should be one collecting authority. I am still of that opinion, chiefly from the aspect of economy of collection but also to prevent the irritating inconvenience caused to people who have to prepare two schedules for assessment and submit to two valuations, one by federal valuers, and the other by State valuers. It is particularly irritating in relation to real estate where a Commonwealth valuer comes along after a State valuer has been over the ground six months before and chivvies the executors for another 10 per cent. It is a differentiation which does not make it worthwhile to appeal, but causes irritation and is, of course, in reality old in foundation.
I do not know whether the Government is aware of the degree to which State governments are encroaching into this field. As other fields of taxation are narrowed down the States are paying particular attention to this field. It seems to me that we are developing a situation of competition between State and Federal governments with regard to death duties which is just as undesirable as the complex situation into which income tax developed before the establishment of uniform taxation in 1942. At one time I was a firm believer that the Commonwealth should relinquish this field of taxation to the States, but the attitude that my own State of Tasmania has adopted since it has tried to exploit this field during the last ten years has disinclined me to that view. In the interests of economy we must have some uniformity in the legislation, and particularly should we have one collecting agency.
Having mentioned that, I ask the Minister to bear with me while I bring to his attention a few matters in respect of which this legislation could be improved. At the present time when assessing the property of widows and aged persons applying for a pension a homestead is not taken into account. I know that that applies in the case of aged pensioners but I am not quite sure whether it applies to widows. It is anomalous that we should take into account a homestead, in which a widow lives, for death duty purposes, even though it is the only asset that accrues to the widow on the death of her husband. Victoria has given a very good example in this respect. It has introduced legislation exempting the homestead of a deceased joint occupant up to the extent of, I think, £10,000.
– It is referred to as a conjugal home.
– That is so. I would prefer the legislation to go further than a home jointly owned by the two spouses. I would prefer it to take in a homestead which is owned by one spouse and to which the other derived the right of occupancy under a will or intestacy.
The other matter which I wish to bring to the notice of the Minister is a particular provision in the Estate Duty Assessment Act of the Commonwealth whereby a policy taken out - as it is under State legislation expressed - for the exclusive benefit of a spouse is taxed in full measure under the federal legislation if the deceased has paid the premiums on that policy. For example, if in 1950 a man took out a policy for £5,000, under the legislation which was passed almost 100 years ago his widow would have to pay duty on the amount of that policy. Provision should be made for the policy to be held exclusively in trust for women and children; and this is the case even in the State of Tasmania, a State that exploits probate duty - and I use the term “ exploit “ advisedly. In the case I cited, if the husband died in 1960 the £5,000 should have accrued not to his estate but for the benefit of his widow. I ask the Minister to take these matters into consideration, and we will be able to review the position on the next occasion when the estimates are before the chamber.
– I will be pleased to bring the comments of the honorable senator to the notice of the Treasurer.
Proposed expenditure noted.
Department of the Treasury - Capital Works and Services.
Proposed expenditure, £2,235,000.
– I refer to the item covering buildings, works, fittings and furniture. Can the Minister inform the committee of the position with regard to the Taxation Branch in Perth. Recently a large amount of money was spent in furnishing sections of the new T & G building for the Taxation Branch. I might say that it was not before time. I understand that the department has also paid a high price for a building site further down St. George’s-terrace, on which it is proposed to erect a building purely and simply for the taxation branch. 1 am wondering how long it will be before the new building will be erected, and whether, in view of the fact that this new building is to be erected, the costs at present involved in the change-over from the old Taxation Branch premises to the new T & G building are justified.
– I regret that I have not the infor/nation with me at the moment. I shall consult with the Treasury officers and let the honorable senator have the information.
Proposed expenditure noted.
Proposed expenditures - War and Repatriation Services, Miscellaneous, Department of the Treasury, £91,000; Other Administrations, Recoverable Expenditure, credit, £74,000- noted.
Proposed expenditure, £2,793,000.
– 1 rise to order, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I do not mind our going through the items quickly if no honorable senator is prepared to speak, but I feel that we are going too fast for honorable senators to collect their thoughts and to decide whether or not they want to speak on a particular item.
Order! There is no substance in the point of order. I have to call the divisions and the items under discussion, and there is an obligation on honorable senators to seek the call if they want it. We will proceed with consideration of the proposed expenditure for the Attorney-General’s Department.
– I wish to refer to the Privy Council under the heading of Administration. I recall that a debate took place on this matter in 1957- I remember that Senator Laught took part in the discussion, and I believe that other honorable senators who spoke were Senators Wright, Vincent, McCallum and Byrne. Senator Byrne at that time was a member of the Opposition. The feeling of some honorable senators who spoke was that certain features of the Privy Council needed re-examination. A doubt was expressed whether the Privy Council was properly fulfilling the functions of a judicial body.
– If Senator Toohey and his colleagues will withdraw their opposition to Great Britain’s entering the European Common Market, they would probably get changes in the Privy Council.
– I want to refer to the matter of the Common Market because I think it is germaine to this subject. I should like to refer to the debate that took place in this chamber in 1957, because I think it is important. Senator Laught suggested that the Privy Council might function something like a circuit court. It could travel from Great Britain to various countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, and in Australia could possibly include members of the Australian judiciary as well as the members of the Privy Council from Creat Britain. Senator Laught’s proposition met with tentative approval from Senator Wright anA Senator Byrne.
It was at that stage that I rushed in where angels might fear to tread.
– It would not have occurred to me to include you in the category of angels.
– Well, it was like my cheek to engage in debate with lawyers on their own ground, but I have the right to do so and I took the opportunity, wisely or not. I said quite unequivocably that I believed we should dissociate ourselves completely from the Privy Council, and I expressed the opinion that the ordinary person in Australia did not have access to the Privy Council as the final court of law in our judicial processes. I still believe that to be true. When I said that in 1957, Senator Wright interjected -
What about Hocking versus Bell? One of the poorest widows in Sydney went there twice.
Unfortunately, I did not understand the full implications of the interjection at the time, but when I read the report subsequently, I came to the conclusion that the widow whom Senator Wright had mentioned did not have access to the Privy Council because of any means of her own. I felt that obviously she had been able to appear with the help of public subscription, as other persons had done, or that a lawyer or lawyers, believing her case had substance, decided to carry the expense or to give her their legal aid without fee. I do not think Senator Wright would resist that conclusion, because I believe it to be correct.
I want to repeat now a challenge I made at the conclusion of my remarks in 1957, because I believe it is just as valid now as it was then. I said - 1 challenge honorable senators to prove to me that the Privy Council is accessible to the ordinary citizen of this country, and that the ordinary citizen can afford the processes and, what is more important still, that the ordinary citizen can afford the time to go before it.
Although the ordinary citizen of Australia has the right, in theory, to appear before the Privy Council as a final court of appeal, I do not think that he has that right in reality. I think it is time that Australia adopted an adult attitude to this matter, as has been done by Canada and other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. We should have confidence in our own nationhood and establish our own final court of law without having to go through the archaic processes of travelling 14,000 miles across the world to Great Britain for a final decision on a matter of law affecting Australia. We like to cling to tradition, and some of the things we have been doing for many years must go on or the structure of our nation will be undermined. However, I do not think the judicial aspects of the Privy Council measure up to reality when weighed against the difficulty of access by Australian citizens to this source of justice. Without delay, we should dissociate ourselves from this relic of the dark ages.
I pose the interesting question that was asked by Senator Cormack by way of interjection. If Britain joins the European Economic Community, will it not be even more difficult for people in this country who believe in continued recognition of the Privy Council as the final court of law for Australia, to justify that view? We should be conditioning our minds to the understanding that the time is not far distant - the quicker the better, so far as I am concerned - when we in Australia will say that we have grown up sufficiently and have acquired enough appreciation of the processes of justice to surround ourselves with our own institutions. We should be able to do so in such a way that the people of Australia would not be unduly burdened financially.
I appeal to the Senate to consider this matter seriously. I hope that in the not too distant future means will be found for the legal minds in the Senate and in another place to get together for the purpose of considering the steps to be taken if we should sever our connexion with the Privy Council, which I believe is inevitable. I think that every honorable senator, whatever his immediate thoughts may be on this matter, will concede that most people are thinking along the lines I have suggested. If the need is there, let us do the necessary thinking about the matter as quickly as time will permit. As I said in 1957, the Privy Council is something that Australia could well do without. If we departed from the tradition of appealing to the Privy Council, I do not think that it would offend against the friendship that exists between Great Britain and Australia. The British people, with their essential sanity, would recognize that it was a practical thing to do, and perhaps they would wonder why we in Australia had not done something about it before.
– - I should like the Minister to give me some information about the Legal Service Bureau. Is it in the nature of a legal aid department, as in New South Wales? For whom are the services provided? For example, is a citizen of Canberra entitled to go to the bureau and obtain free legal advice, or aid in a legal sense? I should also like information about the Commonwealth Police Force. I think that this force has existed almost from the day of the Warwick egg. I refer to the occasion when an egg was thrown at Mr. William Morris Hughes while he was addressing a political meeting at Warwick, in Queensland. The force has grown since then. Why should we make provision for the expenditure of huge sums of money on the police force in Canberra when we have a police force in New South Wales which does its job surely equally well?
The suggestion I am about to make might be regarded as revolutionary. I am not saying that we should have no police force in Canberra, but the mere fact that people live in Canberra is not sufficient reason for them to have a special form of protection that is not available to any one else. I put forward that suggestion, if the position is as I have stated it.
– Maybe it would be proper to suggest sending the Canberra police force to New South Wales.
– Yes . There seems to be unnecessary expenditure in this connexion. The Canberra people have not their own Postal Department and Education Department. I have been asked, around the electorate, why it is necessary to have a special police force here, and I should like the Minister to explain why the force exists.
Provision is made in the Estimates for the payment of salaries and payments in the nature of salary amounting to £22,700 for the Australian Police College. I cannot imagine that that sum could not be saved by the Commonwealth. In Sydney, there is a magnificent police college at Redfern which has proven capable of training the best police force in Australia. I cannot see why it is necessary to have a college in Canberra to train recruits specially, I take it, for the Canberra police force. I do not know how many men there are in the Canberra police force, but surely the number would not be sufficiently large to warrant the establishment of a college to train recruits. By means of a little cooperation between the Commonwealth and New South Wales it might be possible to arrange for the cadets or students to do their police studies in New South Wales, at a very small cost to the Commonwealth, instead of the £22,700 shown in the Estimates. The Commonwealth this year will pay £764,000 to the New South Wales Department of Education for the education of children and students in Canberra. I do not know whether that expenditure covers their education to university standard, but if it is possible for the Commonwealth to pay that sum for educational, services I think it could get a police service for much less than that, and it might be a much more efficient service.
I note that an amount of £8,000 is to be appropriated on account of legal expenses. Are those expenses concerned with court-controlled ballots? Was the money that was offered to Senator McClelland and the Democratic Labour Party in New South Wales, as a part settlement of the legal costs involved in the case in which Senator McClelland had to establish his right to take his seat as a senator, found from this source? We are very interested in these payments.
– I rejected the offer.
– 1 realize that. I am simply asking whether the £500 or £600 that was involved came out of this fund. I am interested in the matter because I have a feeling that the vote relates to the expenses of people who move under the court-controlled ballots legislation. I do not think it is a good idea that individuals in unions should be financed to overrule or overcome the rules of their unions. I do not think that makes for peace in industry. Under the legislation, there will always be some one who, very often for his own disruptive purposes, wishes to take control from the reigning union executive or to control a ballot. If the Government pays the expenses of people to do those things it is inviting interference with union procedures. That is not good for the trade union movement, for the country or for the government, whatever government may be in office.
– Senator Ormonde has referred to the provision of £8,000 for legal expenses. The explanation furnished by the department for the expenditure of this sum of money is that the item covers legal costs arising from interventions by the Attorney-General and from prosecutions under various acts administered by the department in pursuance of the requirements of the Administrative Arrangements Order. When dealing with the Commonwealth Police Force, I think the honorable senator raised a matter of opinion rather than one of fact in that he suggested that there should be no Commonwealth Police Force but that the State Police Force should be used instead. He appears to be under the impression that the Commonwealth Police Force operates in Canberra only. That is not so. The Commonwealth Police Force operates in all Territories administered by the Commonwealth. In any case, the question he raises is purely one of opinion. For the life of me, I cannot see that if there were a given number of policemen operating in a given area at a given salary there would be any saving to the community whether they were operating as a Commonwealth police force, a Victorian police force or a New South Wales police force. I am quite certain that none of the States would be prepared, at their own expense, to maintain a police force for use in Commonwealth Territories and under Commonwealth control. Consequently, I cannot see that there would be any saving. On the other hand, I can see that there would be a considerable disservice in having an enforcement force seeing to it that Commonwealth laws were kept if that enforcement force were not completely under the control of the Parliament that made the laws, and of the Government charged with the responsibility of putting them into effect.
My officers are preparing a note for me in answer to Senator Ormonde’s query on the Legal Service Bureau. While I am waiting for that I shall try to answer one or two matters raised by Senator Toohey. Here again I think the first point raised by him is really a matter of opinion. That is the question whether it would be a good idea for the Privy Council to draw its members from different points of the Commonwealth rather than from within Great Britain itself.
– I did not say I approved of the proposition; I said it was raised in 1957.
– You raised it, and you indicated that a number of people in the Senate did approve of it at the time. I can only say it is a matter of opinion and is really not one which comes under the complete control of the Australian Government. As to whether the Privy Council is accessible, the fact is that it is accessible. Clearly, as the honorable senator has pointed out, for people who can secure no help, or who cannot spare the time or who do not have the means with which to pay the cost, access is difficult, but the Privy Council is accessible. It is made use of by many people provided they can get the necessary assistance or somehow find the means with which to meet the cost. I suppose that applies to all our courts for they are all expensive places in which to pursue litigation. But they are there for those who can afford to make use of them. Just how difficult it is to approach them I do not know because I do not know how much the legal profession assists litigants.
The honorable senator mentioned the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council. He said that the matter was raised in 1957 also. This again is a matter of opinion. I do not believe - and this is only an opinion - that Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community would have any great bearing on the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council. If, without being pinned down too closely by the legal fraternity, I can state in fairly broad terms what I understand the position to be, I would say that the Privy Council administers Australian law when there is an Australian appeal to it, that it administers Indian (aw when there is an Indian appeal to it, and so on. I am told, for instance, that if there was before it an appeal on Indian law it would have regard to the statute law of India, in the same way as if the decisions of Indian judges and the Indian common law were the law in the United Kingdom. In other words, the Privy Council would not apply British law to the exclusion of Australian law if there were an appeal to it from Australia. Although that is a fairly broad statement, I think that it is the position generally.
I come now to the Legal Service Bureau. The activities of this bureau were reviewed by the then Attorney-General and announced in this chamber in 1951. The bureau has been authorized to provide exservicemen and their dependants with legal advice and with advice relating to rehabilitation matters. The bureau has a solicitor in each State. No means test is applied. The bureau does not give all the services that would be given by the public solicitor who will, for example, represent a poor person in court.
– I have several questions 1 should like to ask the Minister. First, I refer to Division No. 211, where I find reference to incidental and other expenditure. In fact, provision for this item is made in all subdivisions, and if we add up all the amounts relating to the Attorney-General’s Department we find the enormous sum of £70,300 provided for incidental expenditure. I should like to know what this incidental expenditure covers. For instance, in Division No. 212 relating to the Reporting Branch, we find that the provision here for incidental and other expenditure has increased from £2,493 last year to £8,900 this year. That is quite a large amount for incidental expenditure. Again, in Division No. 218 relating to Patents, Trade Marks and Designs, we find no less a sum than £14,000 earmarked for incidental expenditure. And so it goes on. Surely, after all these years, it should be possible to budget for each section of the department without the need for such large amounts as these for incidental expenditure.
In Division No. 211, £52,000 is provided for “ Matrimonial Causes Act - Grants to approved marriage guidance organizations “. The amount required this year is only £1,000 more than that appropriated last year. When the Matrimonial Causes Act was being put through this chamber. I forecast that there would be a big rise in the number of divorces that would come within its ambit. Unfortunately, that prediction has proved true. I also predicted that great difficulty would be experienced by women who were deserted by their husbands and who, although they could sue for divorce under certain sections of the act, could not pay for the requisite legal advice, especially in those cases where the husband had gone to another State. Over the past twelve months I have had many cases in which it has been impossible, because of inability to raise the money necessary to pay lawyers in two States, for a deserted wife to obtain justice. In cases where the deserting party moves to another State the cost runs into hundreds of pounds. I know of one case in which a home was mortgaged to meet these costs, and I can give the names of the parties concerned if necessary, but they must not be published.
I come now to the third matter upon which I would like some enlightenment It relates to the Legal Service Bureau. I know the bureau is not available to give advice in matrimonial causes. According to the Minister, its function is to give legal aid to ex-servicemen.
– But it may give advice to ex-servicemen with respect to matrimonial causes, may it not?
– I doubt it. I know that people who have been to the bureau have come back to me and told me that it could not help. In any case, I think this service is most inadequate.
– It does provide advice in matrimonial causes, too.
– Does it give advice to the ex-serviceman, or to his wife if she is not an ex-servicewoman?
– It gives advice to both.
– I am glad to hear that. Now I shall be able to get some work done. I note that there are, as shown on page 184, sixteen senior legal officers, officers-in-charge, and legal officers, and three clerks and typists. In a service that is Australia-wide, how can three clerks and typists be divided among six States? It seems that the department is under-staffed. These must be super-women to do a job like that. This service should be considerably extended. A certain amount of relief is given by the States to poor persons under legal aid legislation, but definitely not in relation to matrimonial causes. As the Commonwealth introduced the legislation under which divorces are now granted, some relief should be given by the Commonwealth to those who cannot afford the expenditure which is demanded of them before they can claim the benefits or otherwise of this legislation.
I was interested to hear the Minister’s statement that the Commonwealth Police Force included the police forces of both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. I ask the Minister whether he can tell us how many officers are stationed in the Australian Capital Territory and how many are stationed in the Northern Territory. The last time I was in the Northern Territory - I admit that it was a couple of years ago - I was appalled by the amount of work that had to be done by the police force and the terrific distances that had to be traversed. We owe those men a very big debt for maintaining such a high level of law and order. I was surprised to find that they came within the ambit of this vote.
.- As several honorable senators have referred to the Legal Service Bureau, I want to put forward yet again the claim that it should have been abolished years ago. It was established as a sequel to the war to provide a special legal advice service to ex-servicemen. There exists, I should think, in every State machinery and procedures whereby any person of reduced or insufficient means, after getting the approval of a committee of the legal profession, will be assigned a solicitor at no cost and will have his or her case presented to any tribunal to which the case merits presentation. That the Commonwealth should continue to operate a legal service bureau that was in existence when we came into office is a matter of discredit.
– That is a lawyer speaking.
– I have told the honorable senator that in the general course of community affairs each State provides a poor person with relief whereby on proper accreditation, after the case has been scrutinized by a committee that understands the case - very rarely is approval refused - his case may be presented with the assistance of a solicitor who charges the client no fees. Any fees payable are payable by subsidy from the State Government, and at a very reduced rate. There is no reason whatever for the continuance of this bureau, which was established as a sequel to the war to meet the special needs of ex-servicemen.
There is another matter to which I direct the Minister’s attention. I should think that we have in this department one in which an increase in expenditure should not be evident. What is the need for increasing year by year expenditure by the AttorneyGeneral’s Department? If we look at Division No. 211, we find that the proposed vote is nearly £100,000 more than the expenditure last year. By way of illustration, will the Minister give the committee information as to the cost of the Deputy Crown Solicitor’s office in Hobart, which was established, I should think, about six years ago? Till then, the work was done by an ordinary private firm of solicitors on an agency basis, costing the -Crown, I reckon, about £6,000 to £8,000 a year. 1 predict that the figure that the Minister will be required to disclose as the cost of that office to-day is £16,000 to £18,000 a year. We shall see how far I am wrong. The service that is given leads to superfluous interference, and the office shows need for more practical judgment. Probably the officers have spare time on their hands. I am speaking of a matter within my own experience. I suggest that if this matter is looked at it may be taken as an indication of needless expansion of expenditure on legal services.
– One would forget the points that had been raised if one waited too long before trying to answer them. Senator Tangney asked about incidental and other expenditure. I have gone through each division and I find that the heads of expenditure under this item are the same. In Division No. 212, the item includes advertising, £30; freight, £980; electricity, £18; maintenance of equipment, £700; minor works, £65. Other expenditure, which was very low in 1961-62 is put down at £7,100 for this year. There is no explanation of the rise, but I shall endeavour to obtain information on it and pass it on to the honorable senator. Expenditure on the item under Division No. 213, includes advertising, £235: removals, £1,850; freight, £365; electricity, £750; maintenance of equipment, £395; committees, £10; motor vehicles, £450. There is also expenditure on compensation and minor works, and £1,200 on other matters. This item under all the divisions includes headings of that sort.
I apologize to Senator Ormonde for giving him an answer which I now find was quite wrong. It related to the Commonwealth Police Force. As a matter of fact, I rather think he was under a wrong impression and that I answered the question he wanted to ask. I think both of us were wrong. The Commonwealth Police Force does not include the police forces of either the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory. I hope that when the appropriation for the Department of the Interior is under consideration some one will give the sort of answer that I gave the honorable senator. Apparently the Commonwealth Police Force is scattered throughout Australia, guarding Commonwealth property, serving Commonwealth summonses and’ enforcing Commonwealth laws. In the Northern Territory the police force, except for some Commonwealth police, comes under the control of the Department of Territories. I wanted to clear up that point.
– It is an Eliot Ness organization.
– Is it? I cannot answer the question asked by Senator Wright, and my officers cannot answer it for me. They would have to approach the sub-Treasury in Hobart to get a dissection of the expenditure by the Crown Solicitor’s office. I will ask them to do that, as the honorable senator is interested in the matter.
Senator Tangney referred to the grants to approved marriage guidance organizations under the Matrimonial Causes Act. From a factual point of view, and from an estimates point of view, that is a grant of money to marriage guidance counsels. The other matters to which she referred are matters of policy. The honorable senator asked about the staffing of the Legal Service Bureau. She was surprised that there are only three clerks and typists. If her suggestion is that there ought to be more, I say to her that the bureau appears to be running fairly satisfactorily.
– In which States are the three typists located?
– I cannot tell the honorable senator where the three permanent typists to whom she is referring are stationed; but they receive some assistance from temporary typists in various States. That would help to explain how they manage to do the work.
– For some years prior to my entering this chamber I was an officer of the Attorney-General’s Department. Therefore, I think it is pertinent for me to make one or two constructive remarks in connexion with these Estimates. First, I direct my remarks to Division No. 212, sub-division 1, item 01 - Salaries and Allowances as per Schedule, page 182. Under the control of the Chief Reporter in Melbourne, Mr. Gibson, and Mr. Heagney in Sydney and Mr. England in Adelaide, the officers of the Reporting Branch render yeoman service to the Commonwealth. They report judicial proceedings, quasijudicial proceedings and the proceedings of boards and commissions sitting throughout Australia. They are also ><»” ,Ir- ‘ the sittings of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory.
Under item 01, £69,600 is set aside for the payment of salaries to permanent officers; and under item 02, £87,500 is set aside for the payment of casual employees. I believe that the time is ripe for the department to consider increasing substantially the number of permanent officers of the Reporting Branch. If one went through the Estimates for the last decade, I believe one would find that ample work is available for the employment of additional permanent employees throughout the Commonwealth. Only recently this particular department advertised the position of officer-in-charge of a Canberra office of the Reporting Branch. I am pleased to see the department making such a progressive move. 1 should like it to give earnest and serious consideration to the establishment of a Reporting Branch Office in Brisbane. At the moment there is only one casual employee in the Brisbane office, to my knowledge. The Bankruptcy Registrar’s Court sits there almost permanently. From time to time the Commonwealth Taxation Board of Review sits in Brisbane. Commissioners of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission also proceed to Brisbane. Sittings of the High Court of Australia take place in Brisbane at least annually. So I believe that there is ample scope for the establishment of a permanent office of the Reporting Branch in Brisbane.
– Who does the work in Brisbane?
– There is one casual reporter there and when courts are sitting in Brisbane officers are sent sometimes from Sydney, sometimes from Melbourne and sometimes from Adelaide to report the proceedings. In my opinion, that is a waste of public money when officers could be made available permanently in Brisbane. I know of my own knowledge that because of the present arrangement the Deputy Industrial Registrar, Mr. Mansini, an officer of the Department of Labour and National Service, who is stationed in Brisbane, is left to carry out some of the organizational work involved in bringing employees from Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide to Brisbane. The result is that his valuable time is eaten into. I earnestly ask the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) to give consideration to that matter.
I refer now to travelling expenses under Division No. 212, sub-division 2, item 01 - Travelling and Subsistence. Perhaps this is a matter for the Commonwealth Public Service Board, but I believe that I should refer to it under this heading because officers of the Reporting Branch are affected considerably. If we discuss this matter with those officers, their union - the Australian Journalists Association - and with all ranks of the Public Service, we will find that there are many anomalies in this regard. In my experience the most glaring anomaly was the difference between the travelling allowance struck for Third Division officers - these officers are Third Division officers - when engaged on work in a capital city away from home and the allowance in a non-capital city.
In a capital city the Third Division travelling allowance is £3 18s. a day, whilst in a non-capital city an officer is entitled to only £3 3s. a day. I think it is common knowledge that the further one moves away from a capital city, because of freight charges and other levies, the cost of living increases. For instance, from my own knowledge the cost of living in places such as Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton is much greater than the cost of living in a large city such as Brisbane. The AttorneyGeneral’s Department should take up this matter with the Public Service Board and see whether arrangements can be made for an officer travelling on official duties north of the Tropic of Capricorn to be allowed at least the capital city rate.
Further, I understand that by Public Service regulation the travelling allowance is reduced - by how much I do not know off hand - when an officer is away for more than three weeks at a time. Some officers of the Reporting Branch are sent here, there and everywhere and are away for more than three weeks. I know that because of this outmoded and obsolete Public Service regulation some officers have to find inadequate, poor and unsuitable accommodation in order to maintain themselves on the travelling allowance that is given to them. I ask the department to take up this matter with the Public Service Board in an endeavour to obtain some amelioration of the conditions about which I now complain.
I also wish to mention that the Australian Journalists Association has referred from time to time to the dearth of high-speed shorthand writers throughout Australia at present for the reporting of judicial proceedings. As a representative of the association, I was a member of a deputation, which included the general secretary of the association, Mr. Crosland, that waited on the Attorney-General some time ago. Amongst other things this matter was under discussion. As a result of the representations the Attorney-General said that he would take the matter up with the Public Service Board to see what could be done to attract people to this profession. To date I do not know whether anything has been done, but I should like the Minister to inform me when he replies.
I wish also to refer to Division No. 211 - Administrative - and in doing so to raise the cost of transcripts of proceedings charged by the department to litigants. At the present time the charge is 7d. per folio, one folio consisting of 72 words. The sale of these transcripts brings in considerable revenue to the department, but, of course, the transcripts cost the parties to proceedings - not only in the High Court, but more particularly in the arbitration sphere - a considerable amount of money. I know that the cost to the Waterside Workers Federation of a copy of the transcript of evidence taken in an application for a new award ran into hundreds of pounds. Indeed, at the present time there is a matter proceeding before the assistant to the Public Service Arbitrator involving employees of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The hearing has been proceeding for some months and to date the purchase of transcripts has cost the organization some hundreds of pounds. 1 believe that transcripts of proceedings should be supplied free to parties engaged in arbitration matters. After all is said and lone the Government pays the salaries of the President, the Deputy President, the Commonwealth Conciliation Commissioners and Commonwealth conciliators. I believe that one free copy of the transcript of proceedings should be provided to all parties involved.
I wish to refer also to Division No. 214 which covers the High Court. From my experience the justices of the High Court work very hard and for long hours. They travel long distances in the performance of their work and, as I think Senator Cohen and Senator Wright would acknowledge, the amount of litigation they are handling is increasing. Consideration should be given by the Government to increasing the number of justices of the High Court. At the moment there are seven justices, five coming from the great State of New South Wales- that I have the honour to represent in this chamber, and two, including the Chief Justice, from the State of Victoria. I believe that there should be more decentralization and that future appointments could be made from some of the other States. I suggest also that consideration be given to requiring justices of the High Court to retire at the age of 70 years. This would enable other men to be appointed, and it would ensure some representation from other States. Because of the amount of work involved, the long distances these men have to travel, the onerous work - indeed it is onerous - and the fact that the work is increasing, some consideration should be given to requiring justices of the High Court to retire at 70 years of age, as is the case with justices of the Supreme Court in New South Wales.
These are all the remarks I wish to make at this stage. I ask the Minister to give urgent consideration to what I believe are constructive suggestions to improve the administration and efficiency of all sections of the department, particularly the Commonwealth Reporting Branch, the section to which I particularly have related my main remarks.
, - .1 desire to discuss bankruptcy administration. I should like to ask the Minister what stage the committee on bankruptcy has reached. This committee, which is inquiring into bankruptcy law, was appointed in the days of Senator Spicer. Since that time we have had two or three Attorneys-General. 1 asked a number of questions during the regime of Senator Spicer. Then I turned my attention to Sir Neil O’sullivan, when he was Attorney-General, and 1 have asked questions since that time. I have had no satisfaction as to the progress being made by this very important committee that was set up by the Government.
It should be remembered that the bankruptcy law of the Commonwealth was introduced in 1924 and there have been no material alterations to it since then. Over the last seven or eight years the Government has been making the excuse that the matter is being considered by a high-level committee. Many of us believe that great changes should be made in the bankruptcy law. For one thing the value of money has decreased to a great extent since the law was first introduced in 1924. Let me give one instance. A man can be made bankrupt for owing as little as £50. That provision might have been appropriate 40 years ago, but at the present time I do not think a man’s estate should be sequestrated if he has had a judgment given against him for only £50. The country is waiting for the Government to do something about amendments to the bankruptcy law. I could give a number of other illustrations, but I propose to withhold further remarks on this matter until the report is before the Parliament.
I believe that in the past the AttorneyGeneral has adopted the correct procedure by laying reports on the table of the two Houses so that they can be given mature consideration. The Attorney-General has adopted the same procedure in respect of second-reading speeches, with a view to allowing the Parliament, in some cases, four or five months to give consideration to an important matter. I recall that the secondreading speech introducing the Matrimonial Causes Bill was before another place for three or four months. I hope, first, that the report of the committee on bankruptcy will be brought forward quickly; secondly, that when it is brought forward it will be made available to the Senate for consideration and debate; and thirdly, that when the bill dealing with the report is brought before the other place for consideration - as indeed it will be - we will be allowed a few months to consider the important matters contained in it.
I believe that it is of great importance that our bankruptcy laws should be brought up to date in view of the uniform company legislation that is at present going through the various State Parliaments. An important section of that legislation relates to the liquidation of companies, which is equivalent to the bankruptcy of companies. Consequently, it is most important that legislation relating to the liquidation of individuals, such as is provided for in the bankruptcy legislation, should be brought right up to date. I hope that the provision will be substantially the same as the provisions for companies, because it should be remembered that many companies are performing the functions of only one or two individuals. I refer especially to small proprietary or private companies. Therefore, I think it is most important and fair that the same rules and regulations apply to both a company or an individual when they are in financial difficulties. From my experience in these matters, 1 would say that the present bankruptcy law is quits outmoded. It was drawn up 40 years ago when Australia was an entirely different country. There is great commercial impetus now, and I consider that a satisfactory and fair bankruptcy law goes hand in hand with a good standard of commercial morality.
– In reply to Senator Laught, 1 can inform the committee that the Bankruptcy Law Review Committee has now reached the stage where its chairman is going through the final report. This should be available to the Government in the very near future. I congratulate Senator Laught on having traversed so many years and on having reached this point where it appears that the report will be available. In the normal course of events, the Government will consider it and table it in the Senate for discussion. It may be that a draft will be incorporated in some document or in a bill; but it will be available for discussion by the Senate, and if the points raised by Senator Laught are not covered in the report, he should be able to discuss them again.
Senator McClelland referred to the Commonwealth Reporting Branch office in the Attorney-General’s Department in Brisbane. I am told that there is a great fluctuation in the amount of work done in the Brisbane office. Sometimes there is a great deal, and sometimes there is not enough to keep occupied a larger staff than is provided for. It is a matter of working out what would be the most economical way of running the office; whether other people should be brought in for a rush of work or whether more persons should be kept there part of the time when there would not be enough work for them. The department believes that at the moment it is following the most economical course.
– From my experience I think it is not.
– I have not had experience of it, but that is the view of the department. On the question of travelling expenses, I believe Senator McClelland said himself that be was aware that the rate of expenses payments is common to all departments. Control of those expenses is, in fact, under the Public Service Board, but there is provision for payments above the regulation amounts laid down in the schedule if an officer can show that his actual expenses were higher than those prescribed. In other words, an officer is not to be out of pocket, provided there is a common-sense approach to the expenses. It is true that when officers are away from home for more than three weeks the living expenses are put on a weekly rate instead of a daily rate, but the same provision applies. An officer is not to be out of pocket provided there is a common-sense view of expenses.
I think that Senator McClelland’s remarks on judges of the High Court of Australia were largely matters of opinion. My opinion would be that I would not like to see provision for the appointment of judges of the High Court on a geographical basis. I think it is essential that the best men available should be appointed, even if they all come from one State, and Australia would be better served by such appointments than by the appointment of one man from each of the six States. Men appointed under that system might not be the best available. This is a matter of opinion, but that is my1 opinion.
– I rise to support Senator Wright on the matter of the Legal Service Bureau. I have spoken on this matter several times previously, and personally I can see no justification for not retrenching this organization. Just as there was a very good reason for setting up the Legal Service Bureau immediately after the Second World War, so there is now a very good reason for its disbandment. Honorable senators will recall the reason for setting up the bureau. Briefly, the various branches of the bureau were associated directly with certain types of legal assistance to ex-servicemen and for their rehabilitation. It was never intended to establish a permanent set of bureaucrats to assist a section of the community for all time. The legal service was associated with the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen, but nobody will deny that ex-servicemen have been properly rehabilitated long since, and legal questions arising from their rehabilitation no longer arise.
My second reason for suggesting that there is no good reason for the continued existence of the Legal Service Bureau is connected with Senator Tangney’s remarks. She raised a question - I do not think it was answered by the Minister for the Navy - about the rights of women who require legal assistance under the matrimonial causes legislation. The reference was to wives of ex-servicemen. Senator Wright said quite correctly that any person in any State, including Western Australia, who was without means could get legal advice upon application through the proper channel - that is, the Law Society. In addition, solicitors or counsel could be assigned to those persons under the Poor People’s Legal Assistance Act.
So Senator Tangney should not worry about the situation created when a deserted wife of an ex-serviceman, or any one else, requires legal assistance on matrimonial problems. There is adequate machinery in the State for legal assistance for these wives, or for any other person for that matter. I suggest that Senator Tangney does not understand what is happening in her own State. All she has to do is to telephone the secretary of the Law Society and send her impecunious client to the secretary, who will arrange for all forms of legal assistance through the proper channels. It is unnecessary to add to the burden of the Commonwealth Government by requiring it to provide assistance, because the machinery already exists, through State instrumentalities, for the purposes referred to by Senator Tangney, and for other purposes.
.- I wish to refer to a matter that was mentioned by Senator Toohey. I understand that reference has been made to it in previous years by honorable senators on the Government side. It relates to the abolition of appeals from Australian courts to the Privy Council. In my view, the time clearly has arrived for the end of such appeals. Honorable senators will appreciate that we have gone a long way since the foundation of the Commonwealth. In those days the States, which we have the honour to represent in this chamber, were colonies. Since that time, which was 30 years before the Statute of Westminster, profound and fundamental changes have taken place in the relationship between the former colonies and the United Kingdom. Some of the colonies which emerged as dominions were first members of the British Commonwealth and are now members of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Australia has been through two World Wars and has played an active part in them. From being a mere colony of the British Crown, as we were at the turn of the century, we have had some of our representatives presiding over international bodies. In 1948, Dr. Evatt, the former Leader of the Australian Labour Party, and then Minister for External Affairs, was president of the United Nations General Assembly. In our turn, we have supplied rotating chairmen of the United Nations Security Council. It is obvious that, irrespective of the. governments that have been in office, over the last 30 years at any rate, and certainly during and since the war, Australia has reached a new level of maturity and standing in international affairs, so that we can properly be thought to be capable of standing on our own feet. This must apply very strongly, I suggest, throughout the judicial system as well as throughout the system of international relationships and relationships within the Commonwealth.
There is no reason whatever why the supremacy of the law as it applies in this country cannot be vindicated by the High Court of Australia as the final court of appeal both in matters arising under federal jurisdiction and in matters in which an appeal lies to the High Court from the
Supreme Courts of the States. Indeed, if one looks at the original Constitution it is plain that no appeal as of right was given from the High Court to the Privy Council. Limitations were placed upon matters in respect of which an appeal could lie from the High Court to Her Majesty in Council. Those matters involve the constitutional relationships inter se of Commonwealth and States. By section 74 of the Constitution, no appeal lies to the Privy Council in respect of those matters except on the certificate of the High Court. While it was expressly provided in the Constitution that nothing should interfere with the prerogative of Her Majesty in Council to grant special leave from the High Court, nevertheless it was to be a matter of special leave in both civil and criminal jurisdictions. Therefore, there was a very limited area in which appeals could lie.
I think it is time that we took a good look at this whole question and, instead of talking about it year after year, followed the example of Canada and abolished the system of appeals to the Privy Council. There is provision in section 74 of the Constitution to limit the matters in respect of which special leave may be granted by the Queen in Council in the exercise of the Royal prerogative. Those are matters upon which this Parliament is perfectly competent to move and on which it should move.
This problem may be approached from a number of aspects. First, there is the broad way in which I have so far been suggesting it should be considered. There is the fact that we have reached our present level of maturity and that our High Court enjoys a reputation which is such, I am led to believe by those who have had the privilege of appearing before the Privy Council, that it is very difficult for its decisions to be overruled. The tendency is that when one has got to the end of the long journey to London, one finds that the standing of the High Court is such that it is almost impossible to persuade the Privy Council that some result other than that given by the High Court should follow. After all, in a federal system the whole purpose of having a federal judicature, a final supreme court which we call our High Court, is that matters between the
States and the Commonwealth shall be adjudicated upon by an independent judiciary. That is plainly so in constitutional matters. What reason is there to suppose that 12,000 miles away we can have some finer distillation of judicial wisdom than we can get here in the High Court of Australia? It is very difficult to believe that there is some rare quality which English judges enjoy and which is not also enjoyed by some of the fine mind3 which make up the judiciary, State and Federal, in this country.
– There may be detachment.
– Yes, but I would not suggest that Australian judges are not capable of looking at these problems in a detached manner, and I do not think that the honorable senator would suggest that, either.
– Oh, no.
– So, what is the point of preserving some kind of detached consideration by gentlemen, learned as they are, some 12,000 miles away?
There is ano:her way in which, I suggest, English judges are less well-equipped to deal with Australian legal matters than are Australian judges. The interpretation of our Constitution has been the subject of a great deal of attention ever since the High Court was established. There is much learning and sophistication in the judgments over the years. A distinguished judge dealing with the same kind of common law system in England, and being a member of a court in which matters concerning the Australian Constitution were dealt with, might find them coming before him for the very first time, instead of for the thousand-and-first time, as they come before judges of our own High Court. That is one reason why I think that it is time we took the plunge.
There are nations which, at the time of the foundation of the Commonwealth, or at the time of the enactment of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, were not British dominions but which later became British dominions and have moved into the next phase of the Commonwealth of Nations. They have already abolished appeals to the Privy Council. India and Pakistan come to mind. We know that, with South Africa out of the Commonwealth, there are no appeals to the Privy Council from that country.
– Ceylon still retains them.
– Ceylon is not the only one. It is perfectly true, as Senator Gorton said earlier, that the Privy Council does not apply some British law that is not applicable to the particular protectorate or colony from which the appeal lies. It applies the proper law that should be applied. The notion, in this day and age, that there is something superior about this remoteness, is something with which I most emphatically disagree.
There is another aspect of the matter, and it is one that was present in the mind of Senator Toohey when he raised the question. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I refer to the question of expense. What grounds are there for thinking that the Privy Council is within the reach of the ordinary litigant? It is true that we can travel by air these days, but it is even more expensive to travel by air than to travel by sea. I suggest that it is to fool oneself to think that there is any real chance for the ordinary citizen to contemplate approaching Her Majesty in Council in London in order to get a result that is different from that of the Australian courts. Indeed, I think it is now very well established that the chances of getting special leave to appeal in a criminal matter are virtually nil. It is the cruellest form of deception to lead a condemned person - he may be condemned to death - to think that there is some ultimate tribunal in England to which he can appeal over the heads of the Australian courts. There is just no such tribunal. In reality except in most exceptional cases the Privy Council has turned its back very resolutely against entertaining appeals in criminal matters from the High Court of Australia, lt certainly has not granted special leave on any such matter in recent years. On the question of remoteness or lack of accessibility to the tribunal, even if there were an argument in favour of appeals to the Privy Council, such accessibility would be meaningless or worthless to the average person.
– We are speaking of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
– Of course. We are concerned only with judicial appeals. Lest there be any doubt about the matter, let me say that I am referring only to appeals from courts to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which, traditionally, sits in London. Whether it sits in London, or whether we adopt the suggestion that it be peripatetic, and move among the member nations of the Commonwealth, seems to me to have no bearing on the real problem of judicial appeals. If it sat in the capital cities of the various member nations of the Commonwealth, that might assist in developing a spirit of comity among the nations that belong to the Commonwealth, but it would not really solve the problem of judicial appeals. We should have confidence in the court that is established by the Constitution. I remind the Senate that the Constitution says that the judgment of the High Court in all the cases committed to its jurisdiction shall be final and conclusive. And that is what is intended. That was what was intended even in the days when there were six colonies banded together for certain common purposes. In my opinion, now that the full implications of nationhood have been developed, the case for abolition as soon as possible of appeal to the Privy Council - and that means the earliest moment at which legislation can be introduced for the purpose - is unanswerable.
.- I should like to comment on Division No. 211, and to make special reference to item 02 of subdivision 3, relating to grants to approved marriage guidance organizations under the Matrimonial Causes Act. It is a matter for great gratification that this provision is being made. For many years, marriage guidance organizations operated on a shoe-string budget, if I may use that term. It was to be expected that the number of divorces would increase as a result of the passing of the Matrimonial Causes Act, because that act did extend to some States new grounds for divorce. It is also gratifying to note from the report of the recent annual meeting of the National Marriage Guidance Council that the efforts of marriage guidance organizations to give guidance and effect conciliations have been most successful. Because of the work of these organizations, the number of divorces and separations has been prevented from becoming even higher. In Victoria, the marriage guidance councils are extremely grateful to the Crown Law Department for the free legal advice it makes available. In that State, also, a panel of members of the Law Institute is ever-willing to give help and advice to husbands and wives in connexion with the operations of the Matrimonial Causes Act, or any other act.
– I want to set the record straight in connexion with a reply by Senator Gorton to my reference to how Britain’s proposed entry into the European Economic Community might affect the Privy Council. I think the Minister misunderstood me. I understood from his reply that he was implying that I had suggested that some of the European judicial procedures might have some effect on Australia’s relationship with Great Britain in connexion with the Privy Council. I want to emphasize that that was not what I meant. What I was suggesting was that Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community made the case in favour of Australia’s severing herself from the Privy Council more compelling. I made that suggestion, not because I believed that European judicial procedures might intrude into the Australian field, but because it is my opinion that if Britain does join the European Economic Community it must have the effect of loosening to some extent the ties that exist between Great Britain and Australia. Because of this, the case for severance becomes stronger.
– I wish to refer to Division No. 219, which relates to the Legal Service Bureau, and to request the Government and the Minister not to be influenced by the suggestion of Senator Wright and Senator Vincent that this bureau should be abolished. The Legal Service Bureau has taken up cases for, and given very good advice to, exservicemen in the past, and there is still a great demand for its services. If we recognize that ex-servicemen are entitled to special benefits under our rehabilitation legislation and under our Repatriation Act, we must also recognize that they are entitled to legal aid. There are many committees doing great work in assisting to rehabilitate not only ex-servicemen from World War II., but also the participants in the various side issues in which Australia has been engaged. For instance, we are still rehabilitating boys who returned from the Korean War, and boys returning from Malaya. We also now have a force in Thailand. I suggest that all these lads are equally entitled to free legal advice when they come out of a service which is very demanding. Even service within Australia makes heavy demands on personnel. Life in the services is not comparable with ordinary community life, and there are many cases in which men and women require the advice which is now freely available to them, and which they seek with confidence. I suggest that they should not be required to have recourse to ordinary legal services, for which they would have to pay. I repeat that if we recognize that ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen have a special stake in the country, if we recognize that we owe them some debt of gratitude, we should continue making this service available to them. If the continuance of this service is to be reconsidered in the light of the effect it might have on the legal profession, then the first responsibility of the Minister or his department should be to obtain the views of the associations which represent the ex-servicemen in connexion with the proposal. I certainly hope that the Minister will not be influenced unnecessarily by the suggestion that the Legal Service Bureau should be abolished.
.- I refer to Division No. 222, which relates to the Commonwealth Police Force. I should like to ask some questions with relation to those people who were formerly described as peace officers. I should like to know whether those peace officers, who played an important part in protecting such organizations as the Weapons Research Establishment and other defence organizations, have been incorporated into the Commonwealth Police Force. I know that they served a very useful purpose during the war years and since, and I am curious to know whether many of them had the training necessary to fill the position of police officer. Have these former peace officers been incorporated into the police force, and do they enjoy the same rights and privileges as are accorded members of the Commonwealth Police Force? I notice that provision is being made for a contribution of £2,000 in relation to the International Police Commission, membership and representation. I take it that that is a subscription to Interpol. I know that it is essential for police organizations to have international contact and that Interpol has been very valuable in law enforcement throughout the world. Will the Minister confirm or otherwise whether I am correct in believing that this item relates to this subject7
.- The answer to Senator Hannaford’s final question is, “ Yes “. This item relates to a subvention to Interpol. This is the amount payable by the Commonwealth and State governments. We collect from the States the proportions that they should pay. The answer to the honorable senator’s first question also is, “ Yes “. Former Commonwealth peace officers were incorporated in the Commonwealth Police Force in 1957.
– Do they enjoy the full status of police officers?
– Yes. I believe that the Commonwealth Police Force was created from two organizations - the Commonwealth peace officer force and the investigation service.
The other matters raised are not germane to particular items of the estimates but are really matters of opinion - for instance, whether we should have a right of appeal to the Privy Council or whether it should be abolished. There is clearly room for wide divergence of opinion. I am sorry if I misinterpreted anything that Senator Toohey said. I thought that he was arguing that if the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community British law might in some way be affected and the position in relation to appeals from Australia to the Privy Council might be different. He did not mean that, and therefore I did not reply to what he said.
Proposed expenditure noted.
Proposed expenditure - AttorneyGeneral’s Department, Capital Works and Services, £175,000- noted.
Sitting suspended from 5.53 to 8 p.m.
Proposed expenditures - Department of the Interior, £6,742,000; Department of the Interior, Capital Works and Services, £2,289,000- noted.
Department of the Interior - Civil Defence.
Proposed expenditure, £330,000.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I wish to refer to Division No. 604, Civil Defence. The allocation of money for civil defence has been raised in this place from time to time. I am of the opinion that we are not yet taking the matter seriously enough. Over the last two or three years, when this question has been raised, honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have expressed considerable disquiet about the fact that although some efforts have been made in this field we have not yet a really coordinated civil defence programme. As many honorable senators have said from time to time, the amount of money that we are spending on civil defence is not what it should be. I hoped that the committee would not be prepared to depart hurriedly from this important matter and let this proposed expenditure be noted without any debate on it. I hoped to hear some words of warning to the effect that much more should be done than is being done.
Civil defence is just as essential a part of the defence of this country as are the armed services. I have the uneasy feeling that if, as a result of some world turbulence, this country suffered an invasion by air or in some other way, and that invasion resulted in our cities being bombed or bombarded, our present civil defence structure would not go anywhere near meeting the situation. I hope that the Minister for Health (Senator Wade), who represents the Minister for the Interior, will be able to tell the Senate that the Government recognizes that there is need for more thought to be given to this matter, and for a far greater expenditure than is provided for in the Estimates.
– For some time now Senator Toohey has displayed a commendable interest in civil defence. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have spent a good deal of time on, and given a good deal of thought to, this rather complex problem. The risk of attack has been assessed by the Department of Defence. In all fairness to the people whom we regard as being qualified to speak on this matter, 1 think 1 should say that their assessment indicates that what we are doing is adequate in the present circumstances.
It is true that for some years the Commonwealth and the States could not reach agreement on their respective fields of responsibility. I am glad to be able to say that a good deal of progress in that regard has been made in recent times. It is argued that the Commonwealth should accept full responsibility for civil defence. But when we look at the position without any Commonwealth or State bias we must concede that the States have a responsibility in this matter, and also have facilities for organizing a civil defence service that the Commonwealth does not possess.
For instance, each State has a very efficient police department. I should imagine that the police would be the nucleus of a directing force in the event of a catastrophe. The States also control the fire brigades, both rural and urban. What a magnificent contribution those brigades could make in the event of a catastrophe. The States also control the hospitals, transport and many other services that are vital to the organization of an effective civil defence system.
– Including communications.
– Communications are vital in a catastrophe. I know that the question of responsibility is arguable; it depends on one’s point of view and opinion. The Commonwealth Government argues that its role and responsibility is to provide co-ordination, guidance and some finance. For some years now the Commonwealth Government has conducted the Civil Defence School at Macedon.
– It is a very good school, too.
– It is an excellent school. That school is organized and conducted in a way that is of real value to Australia. From time to time people are taken out of industry all over the Commonwealth and put through a course. They include civil engineers, fire brigade people, ambulance people and other people who would be called upon to render services in the event of a catastrophe. In order to render those services they need preparation.
Whilst it may be argued that the appropriation of £330,000 is not adequate, the fact remains that on the advice of the Department of Defence that sum is being appropriated. In this year’s Estimates £190,000 is being provided for the purchase of equipment for the States. That is an indication that the Commonwealth is doing its utmost to co-operate with the States. The Government has a lively appreciation of the problem. By combining the State interests and the Commonwealth’s contribution, I believe that we are providing the nucleus of an organization that will render magnificent service to this country in the event of an attack.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, I was very interested to hear Senator Toohey’s contribution and the reply made by the Minister on the civil defence activities under the control of the Department of the Interior. It is important for us to direct our thoughts to this very important matter. The sum of £330,000 is the estimate for the coming year, after an expenditure last year of £221,663. The Minister has stated that £190,000 is being distributed amongst the States for the purchase of equipment.
First of all I wish to refer to my experience at the school at Mount Macedon. I pay a compliment to the people directing the activities of the school. They have great enthusiasm and an intimate understanding of the nature of the challenge that confronts them. But once we get past the school at Mount Macedon, the follow-up is, in my view, very disappointing. The people who attend the school realize the magnitude of the problem of civil defence. There are various phases of this problem. In the first place an understanding of the nature and extent of a possible nuclear bomb attack on this country is frightening. If a nuclear war were to commence we would not know where the bombs would be dropped. Perhaps we can plan to look after the fringe areas where bombs may be dropped, but the latest tests have shown that in the case of 50-megaton bombs we can expect total damage in an area of 30 miles’ radius from the point of impact. Then we can expect blast and fire damage and medium fallout in other areas, and residual fallout in areas further removed from the point of impact. There is nothing we can do to prevent the most frightful devastation if a nuclear war were to break out and thermo-nuclear bombs were to be dropped on our cities, or even in our country areas. To organize civil defence to cope with such a situation is beyond the resources of this country.
The co-ordination of State activities such as police forces and fire brigades is in itself a problem that £300,000 would be insufficient even to commence to solve. We would need to organize our activities so that equipment could be moved to any area in any part of the Commonwealth in the event of an emergency. That in itself would require an expenditure of large sums of money. In Tasmania a move has been made to co-ordinate and bring under one central authority the ambulance and fire brigade services. I believe that that is a forward step.
Then there is the matter of hospitals. Senator Wade knows better than most of us that the question of hospitals in Australia is a very important one. The continuing need to extend hospitals to deal with ordinary everyday needs is continually exercising the minds of those responsible for these things. In a city such as Canberra, with a rapidly growing population, and an expectation of 100,000 people by 1969, we are well behind in programming for hospital expansion. How we can expect to deal with the situation that most certainly will arise if a thermonuclear war were to break out and Australia were to be a target is beyond my apprehension. The normal hospitals would be quite useless if they happened to be within the area of fallout. To be able to tackl the problem of civil defence we would have to consider seriously going completely underground. This would necessitate excavations in mountain ranges to the extent that whole cities would need to be established to provide the services for the wounded, scarred and charred remnants of humanity that would survive a thermo-nuclear war. It is really a shattering exercise to try to anticipate the problems that would arise in the event of such a war, but our civil defence authorities have to plan to cope with that eventuality.
The training of people is, as I said before, being tackled very efficiently at Mount Macedon. After having been at the school, people go back to their homes filled with the thought that they would like to do something to educate the public and co-ordinate civil defence activities, but they do not know where to start on the main problem. I suppose the purpose of the whole civil defence organization is to prepare for the final and worst eventuality. More attention should be given to arranging for people to come together in civil emergencies such as bushfires, floods and other things that plague mankind from time to time. In doing that we would not only create understanding between people but also we would get to know one another and understand the disciplines that are necessary in an emergency.
As I have said the threat and its consequences are such as to make them something of a fantasy. If a bomb were to drop on one of our capital cities the present facilities in Australia would be infinitesimal to cope with the damage that would be done. Whether or not it is the intention of the Government to increase the amounts that are being made available in the hope that we will build up a service in the by-and-by has not been made known by the Government or by any one else associated with civil defence. I have read that in America the procedure has been to encourage people towards self-help. It seems almost like a comedy when huge business organizations manufacture fall-out shelters and sell them on time payment. They persuade the people to build them in certain positions and to stock them with food and other necessaries. They even supply the buyers with a rifle so that they can shoot a neighbour if he tries to enter their fall-out shelter. That is the sort of thing we must foresee when we think of the panic that is likely to spread among the people in the event of nuclear attack.
The proposed vote of £330,000 for civil defence could be multiplied by ten and it would still be only a flea-bite compared with the expenditure necessary to deal adequately with this problem. All we can do at the moment is to co-ordinate the various necessary services, but in the long run if mankind is stupid enough to plan for his own destruction, any provision he may make to go underground and to build special hospitals and aid posts to sustain life must fall short. Because eventually mankind will have to emerge from the underground shelters to get water and food. By that time, contamination is likely to be so widespread that men and women will starve.
This is a grim picture, but consideration of it might make us pause to consider how far we can go in expending money on adequate civil defence. In reality, we have hardly touched the fringe of the problem.
– We are indebted to Senator Toohey and Senator O’Byrne for their contributions to the debate on the proposed vote for civil defence. I attended the civil defence school at Mount Macedon in Victoria some years ago, and I must confess that after spending a week there and learning of the effects of fall-out from nuclear weapons, I had a feeling of hopelessness. I think many others have shared that feeling. As Senator O’Byrne has said, the proposed vote of £330,000 for civil defence is infinitesimal compared to what would be needed to meet the tragedy of nuclear war. The honorable senator said that ten times the proposed vote would be necessary for adequate civil defence. In fact, the appropriation could probably be enlarged considerably even on that estimate. Simply to provide for survival in the event of nuclear warfare would take all the money we could spend in a year. Such is the magnitude of the task and the enormity of the dangers. It beggars the imagination.
– It is time we banned the bomb.
– I do not disagree with Senator Cavanagh on that point. Let us ban the bomb by all means, but that does not imply that only the Western democracies should ban the bomb. We must ban nuclear weapons entirely. We have been chided by the communist countries with having done nothing towards disarmament and the banning of nuclear weapons, but that is not true. We of the Western countries have done as much as is humanly possible to achieve that objective and to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Unless the world is rid of this terrible threat, there is a possibility of total destruction for us all.
At Mount Macedon we were told of the effects on a city like Melbourne if it were the target for nuclear bombing. Total destruction would take place over a wide area, with partial destruction within a more extensive radius. We can hardly imagine the extent of the destruction and the effects of fall-out, and the threat can be finally removed only by the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, the need for civil defence is urgent. We are not optimistic enough to think that conventional weapons will disappear. In the First World War, gas was used with terrible effect and we were told in the civil defence school of the dangers of gas should it be used by the Communists in the future. We have some knowledge of the disruption that can be brought about by conventional bombing, and we must prepare for that with civil defence services. I have always advocated more concentration on civil defence because I believe it is vitally important, and the proposed vote cannot be considered adequate. I should very much like to see a larger amount specified for this particular purpose. We know that the expenditure of the money will have some value in coordinating the services that were outlined by the Minister. That value lies, in the first place, in the conduct of schools on the lines of the Mount Macedon school. Secondly, the money can be used to co-ordinate the civil defence services throughout Australia. I know that civil defence in some States is more advanced than it is in others. This is a matter in which there must be State and Commonwealth co-ordination and cooperation. While the amount of the vote is greater than that of the previous year, it falls far short of the amount that is actually needed if we are to have coordination of the services such as that required in the event of the kind of tragedy I have mentioned.
.- It seems to me that the whole problem of civil defence is dwarfed by the circumstances of the nuclear threat, and that all the expenditures, in small or large measure, which are designed to cope with the situation that will arise in the event of Australia being a target for nuclear attack, must bt considered as secondary to the overwhelming threat of nuclear warfare moving to our shores.I wish to deal with one aspect of the matter, and that is the problem of radiation from nuclear explosions. It is one thing to speak of the direct damage that is done over a given area by the physical detonation of a nuclear device; it is another thing to deal with the problem of damage by radiation, because there you are dealing with the problem of contamination of the atmosphere, not necessarily directly but perhaps in very remote areas.
One of the great problems which the nuclear threat poses is that many months - indeed, many years - after the explosion of a nuclear device, people in some entirely remote part of the globe may be the victims of the results of the nuclear explosion and of the radioactive fall-out. That is in fact what happened in the tragic case of the Japanese fishermen who suffered dreadful effects from contamination by radioactive material many years after the dropping of the original atomic bombs in Japan. That is something with which no civil defence system can really cope.
A particular aspect of this problem to which I wish to direct attention concerns the reports of the National Radiation Advisory Committee which have been presented to the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and to the Parliament over the last few years. The committee consists of a number of distinguished gentlemen from various branches of science, learning and public life in this country. It is the responsibility of the committee to report to the Prime Minister on the general dangers to Australia from radioactive fall-out. It did so in 1958, 1959 and 1960. It did not report in 1961, but in 1962 it came forward with a report which was substantially a repetition of the reports in earlier years. The report concluded with the comment that from all the nuclear weapons tests conducted prior to September, 1961, there would be a negligible addition to the natural background radiation to which man has always been exposed. Reporting in June, 1962, the committee stated that it was not yet possible to speak of the results of the Soviet tests conducted in September to November, 1961, or of the United States tests which commenced in April, 1962, and are still continuing in one form or another.
It seems to me that to report to the Prime Minister and, through the Government, to this Parliament, in those terms is to pay less serious attention to the problem than it really deserves. Anybody who reads the material which emanates not only from political opponents of this Government but also from distinguished scientists, medical men and men in a position to exercise independent judgment about these matters, must be impressed by the fact that there is virtual unanimity that any radiation in the smallest quantities can cause harm. It does not need a layman to stress those points. The New York “ Times “ of 17th April last contained a full front page advertisement signed by 500 physicians in the United States of America. In the advertisement, they expressed their fear of the consequences of the resumption of atmospheric nuclear testing by their own or any other country. They stated -
As physicians we know that:
All radiation of potential parents is genetically harmful.
Because of geographical, biological and individual factors, some individuals already have been injured and more will be injured by the present level of environmental radiation due to nuclear testing.
Although the average exposure of the population may still be below “ permissible “ limits-
To speak of “ permissible “ limits is the easy phrase to use when you are writing down the dangers of atomic radiation - this does NOT mean that ALL persons are safe from radiation injury. With continued testing, water, soil and foodstuffs will be contaminated by ever-increasing amounts of radioactive substances.
The biological effects of nuclear warfare might well be great enough to annihilate the human race and the living environment upon which we depend.
Therefore, as physicians, our responsibility to promote life and health COMPELS us to make this public appeal to our government and to all governments to cease nuclear weapons tests and to develop those international agreements which would eliminate the nuclear arms race.
Five hundred physicians signed the document.
– I think we ought to have the signatures reproduced in “ Hansard “.
– With the concurrence of honorable senators I shall do so. The list of signatures is as follows: -
Max Adelman, M.D.
Solomon Adelman, M.D.
Nathan II. Adler, M.D.
Sidney Alexander, M.D.
Donald B. Armstrong, M.D.
John H. Arnett, M.D.
Stanley M. Aronson, M.D.
Samuel Atkin, M.D.
Burton August, M.D.
Estelle Traurig Baer, M.D.
David B. Barron, M.D.
Stephen F. Bauer, M.D.
Abraham I. Beacher, M.D.
Erwin Beckhard, M.D.
Jerome S. Beigler, M.D.
Edgar D. Bell, M.D.
Vincent Bellafiore, M.D.
Harry E. Beller, M.D.
Vincent Beltrani, M.D.
James G. Bennett, M.D.
Cyrene G. Berger, M.D.
Lawrence Berger, M.D.
William H. Bergstrom, M.D.
Arthur J. Berman, M.D.
Viola W. Bernard, M.D.
Solomon A. Berson, M.D.
Harry Beskind, M.D.
William L. Bewley, M.D.
Flora H. Biele, M.D.
Bennett W. Billow, M.D.
David I. Biser, M.D.
Kurt Biss, M.D.
Herman Black, M.D.
Abe Blajwas, M.D.
Jacob Bleiberg, M.D.
Alan R. Bleich, M.D.
Joseph Blinder, M.D.
Mortimer J. Blumenthal, M.D.
Donnell W. Boardman, M.D.
Rudolf, H. Bock, M.D.
Inge Bogner, M.D.
Maria D. Bohm, M.D.
Melvin Boigon, M.D.
Walter Bonime, M.D.
Sydney M. Borowsky, M.D.
Edmund M. Braun, M.D.
Samuel J. Braun, M.D.
Henry Brean, M.D.
Nathaniel J. Breckir, M.D.
Jacob L. Brener, M.D.
Wagner H. Bridger, M.D.
Walter Briehl, M.D.
Matthew Brody, M.D.
David Brown, M.D.
Carl N. Brownsberger, M.D.
Erika Bruck, M.D.
Earl Budin, M.D.
Mortimer Burdman. M.D.
Marjorie Murray Burtt, M.D.
Bernard Busfield, Jr., M.D.
Willis Butler, M.D.
John Rankin Caldwell, M.D.
Victor Calef, M.D.
Mortimer R. Camiel, M.D.
Thomas W. Carr, M.D.
Peter J. Cerna, M.D.
Seymour Charles, M.D.
Irving E. Chase, M.D.
Richard Chasin, M.D.
Richard J. Chodoff, M.D.
June Jackson Christmas, M.D.
Gerald E. Church, M.D.
Emanuel Chusid, M.D.
Robert Cifu, M.D.
Florence Clothier, M.D.
Isabelle M. Cogan, M.D.
Arnold D. Cohen, M.D.
Bernard Cohen, M.D.
Harry Cohen, M.D.
Theodore N. Cohen, M.D.
Clarence Cohn, M.D.
Leslie Collins, M.D.
Henry R. Corwin, M.D.
Jerry S. Cowan, M.D.
James F. W. Cox, M.D.
Irving J. Crain, M.D.
Thomas J. Crowe, M.D.
Joel Curtis, M.D.
Klaus Dehlinger, M.D.
Barnet Delson, M.D.
Vernon R. DeYoung, M.D.
Steven Dobo, M.D.
Milton Dillon, M.D.
Norman Dinhofer, M.D.
Katharine Dodd, M.D.
Walter Dolgin, M.D.
Joseph Dorsey, M.D.
Robert H. Drachman, M.D.
Marvin G. Drellich, M.D.
Joan Easton, M.D.
Henry Edelheit, M.D.
Helen Edey, M.D.
Albert Ehrlich, M.D.
Fritz J. Einstein, M.D.
George Eisen, M.D.
Sheldon Eisenman, M.D.
Hannah Ekaireb, M.D.
Mary R. Eleston, M.D.
Lewis A. Eldridge, Jr., M.D.
Kurt Elias, M.D.
Johan W. Eliot, M.D.
Louis C. English, M.D.
Frederick M. Epstein, M.D.
Michael R. Ettenson, M.D.
Alice E. Fabian, M.D.
Leslie A. Falk, M.D.
Marynia F. Farnham, M.D.
Paul J. Feder, M.D.
Joel H. Feigon, M.D.
Bernard J. Feinberg, M.D.
Emanuel H. Feiring, M.D.
Harry A. Feldman, M.D.
John Ferger, M.D.
Benjamin Fink, M.D.
Louis Fishman, M.D.
Rosa Foscarinis, M.D.
Ruth Fox, M.D.
Lewis M. Fraad, M.D.
Norman Frankel, M.D.
Kate Frankenthal, M.D.
Grant L. Franklin, M.D.
Sanford A. Franzblau, M.D.
Joseph J. Fried, M.D.
Walter Friedman, M.D.
Joseph B. Furst, M.D.
Grace P. Gabe, M.D.
Stanford R. Gamm, M.D.
Morton M. Garfield, M.D.
Sterling D. Garrard, M.D.
Byron J. Garson, M.D.
Frederic M. Geier, M.D.
Edward Gendel, M.D.
Harris S. Gerber, M.D.
Elias H. Gerchick, M.D.
Elaine German, M.D.
Morris I. Gerner, M.D.
Sanford Gifford, M.D.
Paul Gilbert, M.D.
Harry Ginsberg, M.D.
Abraham Glenn, M.D.
Mary A.Glover, M.D.
Julius C. Gluck, M.D.
Alegro J. Godley, M.D.
Hyman M. Gold, M.D.
Warren M. Gold, M.D.
Leo G. Goldberg, M.D.
Franz Goldmann, M.D.
Robert Goldstein, M.D.
Maury Golob, M.D.
Leonard Gordon, M.D.
Milton Gordon, M.D.
Sidney B. Gordon. M.D.
Susan G. Gordon, M.D.
Samuel P. Gotoff, M.D.
Samuel I. Greenberg, M.D.
William B. Greenough. HI, M.D.
Lester Grinspoon, M.D.
Jack H. Grobstein, M.D.
Elmer R. Grossman, M.D.
Victor Gurewich, M.D.
Jack L. Haber, M.D.
Charles Haines, M.D.
Frank A. Hale, M.D.
Victor Halitsky, M.D.
Alice Hamilton, M.D.
Ernst Hammerschlag, M.D.
Charles E. Harman, M.D.
Edward E. Hart, M.D.
Rose Hartmann, M.D.
Allan Harris, M.D.
Henry S. Harvey, M.D.
David H. Hausman, M.D.
Scott H. Heath, M.D.
Philip E. Henig, M.D.
Ilse Hirschfeld, M.D.
Joseph Hoffman, M.D.
Irving N. Holtman, M.D.
Edward J. Hornick, M.D.
Mortimer Houseberg, M.D.
Murray B. Hunter, M.D.
Elliott Hurwitt, M.D.
Bernard Hyde, M.D.
Morris Isenberg, M.D.
Ewin M. Jacobs, M.D.
Sidney Jampel, M.D.
Frank Jarmus, M.D.
Use K. Jawetz, M.D.
Leo Jenkins, M.D.
Alexander Jody, M.D.
Cyril J. Jones, M.D.
Arthur E. Joslyn, M.D.
Milton E. Jucovy, M.D.
Ephraim Kahn, M.D.
Maurice L. Kamins, M.D.
HenryO. Kandler, M.D.
Bert A. Kanwit, M.D.
Seymour R. Kaplan, M.D.
Edwin Kasin, M.D.
Alexander A. Katz, M.D.
Hannah L. Katz, M.D.
Sidney Katz, M.D.
Luisa Kerschbaumer, M.D.
Althea Kessler, M.D.
David B. Kimmelman, M.D.
Harry Klein, M.D.
Alfred D. Klinger, M.D.
Joseph Kolker, M.D.
Maurice Romberg, M.D.
Jon Kosek, M.D.
Margaret Kosek, M.D.
William Kosiak, M.D.
Robert Krasnow, M.D.
George Kraus, M.D.
Werner Krebser, M.D.
Jay Kuten, M.D.
Joseph Lander, M.D.
Richard Langendorf, M.D.
Theodore R. Lanning, M.D.
Joyce C. Lashof, M.D.
Agnes D. Lattimer, M.D.
Paul Lavietes, M.D.
Harold Lear, M.D.
Walter J. Lear, M.D.
Philip M. LeCompte, M.D.
Cavin P. Leeman, M.D.
Nathaniel S. Lehrman, M.D.
George C. Leiner, M.D.
Martin Leiser, M.D.
Sidney D. Leo, M.D.
Thomas F. Leo, M.D.
Harold Leopold, M.D.
Mark H. Lepper, M.D.
Harold B. Leppink, M.D.
Mary Lerner, M.D.
Gerson T. Lesser, M.D.
Julius Walter Levi, M.D.
Myron J. Levin, M.D.
Charlotte C. Levine, M.D.
Harry H. Levine, M.D.
Milton D. Levine, M.D.
John M. Levitsky, M.D.
Norman J. Levy, M.D.
Anoch H. Lewert, M.D.
Michael L. Lewin, M.D.
Robert M. Lichtenstein, M.D.
Theodore Lidz, M.D.
Arnold Lieber. M.D.
Jerome Linder, M.D.
Louis Linn, M.D.
Harold E. Lippman. M.D.
Earle L. Lipton, M.D.
Julius Littinsky, M.D.
Sol Londe, M.D.
Rudolph M. Lowenstein, M.D.
Bernard Lown, M.D.
Helen Lubowski, M.D.
Dorothy Ludwig, M.D.
Daniel Luger, M.D.
William V. Lulow, M.D.
Leon R. McKinney, M.D.
Lee B. Macht, M.D.
Roland P. Mackay, M.D.
Charles E. Magraw, M.D.
Henry B. Makover, M.D.
Carl C. Mandelbaum, M.D.
Joseph Mandelbaum, M.D.
Harold Mankin, M.D.
Sheldon Margen, M.D.
Judd Marmor, M.D.
Edward A. Marshall, M.D.
Hurvitz Martin, M.D
Harry Mason, Jr., M.D.
Henry Mayer, M.D.
Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.
Eli Messinger, M.D.
Robert J. Michtom, M.D.
James C. Mickle, M.D.
Irving L. Milberg, M.D.
Allan H. Milofsky, M.D.
Halin Mitry, M.D.
Sandra L. Mogil, M.D.
Erika Mohr, M.D.
Alfred Moldovan, M.D.
Aaron Moldover, M.D.
Vera Morkovin, M.D.
Norman Morris, M.D.
Wilhelm J. A. Moser, M.D.
Ralph Moyer, M.D.
Stuart Mudd, M.D.
Ernst F. Muller, M.D.
Jonas N. Muller, M.D.
Theodore Nadelson, M.D.
Moses Naftalin, M.D.
Larry Nathanson, M.D.
Kenrad E. Nelson, M.D.
Sol Nichtern, M.D.
George Nicklin, M.D.
Herman Nussbaum, M.D.
Nelson K. Ordway, M.D.
Stanley J. Orloff, M.D.
Leo Orris, M.D.
Else Pappenheim, M.D.
Jack L. Paradise, M.D.
Milford Parker, M.D.
Harris B. Peck, M.D.
Ellis A. Perlswig, M.D.
Herbert M. Perr, M.D.
Isabelle H. Perry, M.D.
Emanuel Peterfreund, M.D.
Eugenia Petron, M.D.
Waller Pick, M.D.
Donald Pinkel, M.D.
William N. Pope, M.D.
Robert W. Popper. M.D.
Harvey J. Post, M.D.
Elizabeth Price, M.D.
Samuel J. Prigal, M.D.
John D. Pruitt, M.D.
William F. Putnam, M.D.
John D. Rainer, M.D.
Anna T. Rand, M.D.
Sidney L. Raymon, M.D.
Dwayne Reed, M.D.
Norman Reider, M.D.
George W. Reimer, M.D.
Charles R. Roberts, M.D.
Bernard Rogoff, M.D.
Joseph B. Rogoff, M.D.
Edward J. Rolde, M.D.
Eugene Rondeau, M.D.
Lawrence J. Roose, M.D.
Allan Roos, M.D.
Sidney Rosen, M.D.
Walter B. Rosen, M.D.
Irving J. Rosenbaum, M.D.
Mortimer A. Rosenfeld, M.D.
Else B. Ross, M.D.
Gilbert S. Ross, M.D.
Michael B. Rothenberg, M.D.
EdmundO. Rothschild, M.D.
Paul Rosseau, M.D.
Albert A. Rubell, M.D.
William Ruberman, M.D.
Theodore Rubin, M.D.
Benjamin B. Rubinstein, M.D.
Benjamin Rudner, M.D.
Herman D. Ruskin, M.D.
Jane A. Russell, M.D.
Mildred D. Rust, M.D.
Oscar Sachs, M.D.
Samuel L. Safirstein, M.D.
Leon Salzman, M.D.
Robert Sager, M.D.
George A. Saxton, Jr., M.D.
Sherman O. Schachter, M.D.
Ira Leo Schamberg, M.D.
Louis Scheinberg, M.D.
Herman Schildkrout, M.D.
Joseph Schildkrout, M.D.
Mollie S. Schildkrout, M.D.
Albert John Schneider, M.D.
Lawrence Schneider, M.D.
Monroe Schneider, M.D.
Leon Schultz, M.D.
Evelyn Schwab, M.D.
Alfred S. Schwartz, M.D.
Bernard M. Schwartz, M.D.
Herbert N. Schwartz, M.D.
Lester Schwartz, M.D.
Dorothea H. Scoville, M.D.
Benjamin Segal, M.D.
Edwin C. Severinghaus, M.D.
David Shainberg, M.D.
Phillip Shapiro, M.D.
Joseph T. Sheridan, M.D.
Stephen B. Sholert, M.D.
Frances Shostac, M.D.
Maarten S. Sibinga, M.D.
Elaine Silberstein, M.D.
Louis Silver, M.D.
Bennett Simon, M.D.
Daniel Simon, M.D.
Justin Simon, M.D.
Samuel Simon, M.D.
George Simpson, M.D.
John G. Smillie, M.D.
James Brainerd Smith, M.D.
Jeanne Smith, M.D.
Roy G. Smith, M.D.
Daniel Snydacker, M.D.
Albert J. Solnit, M.D.
Nathaniel H. Solomon, M.D.
Yale Solomon, M.D.
Eugene Somkin, M.D.
Margaret Sommers, M.D.
David M. Spain, M.D.
Stella Spitz, M.D.
Monte G. Steadman, M.D.
Alfred B. Stein, M.D.
Harold J. Stein, M.D.
Anna Sternbach, M.D.
Fanny Stoll, M.D.
Edgar A. Stone, M.D.
Margaret O. Strahl, M.D.
Bernard Straus, M.D.
Lotte Strauss, M.D.
Gertrude Sturges, M.D.
Carl Sugar, M.D.
Emmy Sylvester, M.D.
Alexandra Symonds, M.D.
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D.
Gerald Tannenbaum, M.D.
Sidney Tarachow, M.D.
Nathan Thaler, M.D.
Evan W. Thomas, M.D.
Christopher Tietze, M.D.
Jerome S. Tobis, M.D.
Paul Topkins, M.D.
Thomas T. Tourlentes, M.D.
Sidney Trubowitz, M.D.
Leonard Tushnett, M.D.
Montague Ullman, M.D.
Elsa H. Van Soest, M.D.
Frank Varmus, M.D.
Milton Viederman, M.D.
Bruno W. Volk, M.D.
Mary L. Voorhess, M.D.
Morton Wachspress, M.D.
Benjamin Wainfeld, M.D.
Eugenia Wainfeld, M.D.
Michael Wainston, M.D.
Herbert F. Waldhorn, M.D.
Helen D. Wallach, M.D.
Robert C. Wallach, M.D.
Stephen L. Wanger, M.D.
Hyman B. Warshall, M.D.
Harry Warwick, M.D.
Thomas G. Webster, M.D.
William F. Weber, M.D.
Joseph Weinrebe, M.D.
Nelson Weiser, M.D.
Raoul L. Weisman, M.D.
Phillip H. Wells, M.D.
Paul H. Wender, M.D.
Lothar Wertheimer, M.D.
Marianna Westman, M.D.
Huston J. Westover, M.D.
Allen Wheelis, M.D.
Park J. White, M.D.
Andrew T. Wiley, M.D.
Allan B. Wilkinson, M.D.
Wanda Willig, M.D.
Edward B. Winheld, M.D.
Alexander Wolf, M.D.
Joseph Wortis, M.D.
Eleanor Yachnes, M.D.
Irving Yachnes, M.D.
Edward L. Young, M.D.
David Zakin, M.D.
Robert B. Ziegler, M.D.
Arnold H. Zucker, M.D.
Israel Zwerling, M.D.
The stand that was taken by those doctors has been repeated in Australia. Within the last few months, some 100 distinguished physicians in Melbourne signed an open letter and sent it to the various newspapers, both daily and periodical, in which they sounded the same alarm as was sounded by the 500 physicians in the United States of America. Their plea fell on fertile soil. In its editorial of 9th July of this year, the Melbourne “ Age “ had this to say -
The publication of a plea from more than 100 Melbourne doctors to end nuclear tests emphasises the continuing and growing divergence of scientific opinion on the dangers of radio active contamination of the atmosphere. For the layman there is no consolation to be drawn from the debate, only bewilderment. As the Melbourne doctors point out in their statement, the layman “ must find it difficult to decide what are the real dangers of radiation fallout when experts, using the same data, appear to arrive at different conclusions “.
The Melbourne statement appears as America is preparing after two false starts and four postponements to explode a nuclear device, officially said to be of more than one megaton power, 200 miles above the Earth’s surface. It is a responsible statement-
That is, the statement by the 100 Melbourne doctors - soberly expressed by respected men, well qualified to discuss in the name of humanity the genetic and biological problems involved. Their concern over the cumulative contamination of water, soil and foodstuffs “ by ever-increasing amounts of radioactive substances,” and over the genetically harmful effects on potential parents of radiation by the radioactive products of nuclear weapons tests, cannot be shrugged aside.
Nobody knows how or when the nuclear race will end; even the scientists disagree on what is “ safe “ and what is not. The peoples of the non-nuclear nations, who are the majority of the world’s population, can scarcely be blamed for the alarm they feel. But it is in the hands of the scientists whether that alarm is translated into sufficiently authoritative opinion to force the political decision to end nuclear testing. Until scientific opinion throughout the world is agreed on the dangers of the nuclear race, the layman will remain confused, hesitant and unable to control events or policies which may decide the future health and fate of mankind.
I commend the sentiments of that strongly expressed editorial comment to honorable senators.
In the light of that kind of approach, I have found the report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee disappointing, for it fails to measure up to the high drama, if you like to call it that, of the dangers of the present situation. It may be that the committee has a mandate and does not feel that it is entitled to go beyond the mere reporting of quantitative assessment made by it as far back as the period ended September, 1961. If that is so then the committee takes a very limited view of the sort of responsibility we would expect to be entrusted to it under the high-sounding title of “ National Radiation Advisory Committee “.
The final comment I wish to make is that all this relates to the period prior to September, 1961. What kind of information has the Government from the National Radiation Advisory Committee since September, 1961, when we have had the Soviet tests from September to November and when we have also had the American tests, some of which are current? We ought to know that, because, unless we have full information on this important subject, how can we decide whether such-and-such a provision is the proper one for civil defence? In the shadow of the nuclear threat, the effectiveness of all kinds of civil defence measures is difficult to assess. In the event of direct attack by nuclear weapons, there would be no kind of defence that would really make the grade as an effective safeguard.
Danger from radiation need not be the result of direct attack on this country. It could come from contamination of the atmosphere as a result of nuclear explosions on the other side of the world. What kind of defence would be effective against that kind of contamination? There is none, and that is why the Australian Labour Party, in all seriousness, and with a full sense of responsibility, put forward its proposal for a nuclear-free southern hemisphere. The proposal is nothing new. The United Nations organization has considered proposals for a nuclear-free Africa. Incidentally, Australia either abstained from voting on that proposal, or voted against it when it came before the General Assembly of the United Nations organization. That was not an action of which we can feel proud. We need to take a determined stand on this issue, notwithstanding all the difficulties that honorable senators have mentioned about unilateralism and all the rest of it. These problems are real, and nobody speaks about them without a sense of responsibility. We have just got to break through, and this country has to make some kind of independent contribution to the solution of the problem. That is why we advocate a nuclear-free zone, and that is why we say that the problems of civil defence are dwarfed by the major problem of the nuclear threat.
– Order! Before the next honorable senator speaks, I direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that we are not now debating nuclear tests in the true sense. I ask honorable senators to link up their remarks at all times with the question of civil defence.
– Is it your ruling that I may not now reply to the statement just made by Senator Cohen?
– No. All I say is that if honorable senators speak about nuclear testing, they must link up their remarks with the question of civil defence.
– Having regard to the ruling you have just given, Mr. Chairman, my remarks on this very important subject will of necessity be short. At the outset, I intended further to amplify the remarks made by my colleague, Senator Cohen but for the purposes of this discussion till i need say is that I endorse and adopt the remarks which he has made.
When one looks at the appropriation for civil defence, and refers to the appropriation for the financial year 1961-62, one sees that an amount of £300,000 was appropriated by the Government for civil defence but only £221,600 was actually expended. I would have hoped that, because of the importance of this matter to Australia and the Australian people, the £79,000 which is outstanding, and which is available to the Government, would have been spent by the Government in protecting the people of this country in the event of a nuclear attack. I sincerely hope that the full amount of £330,000 being appropriated this year will be expended on civil defence for the protection of Australia and the Australian people.
Having regard to the smallness of the amount spent by the Government on civil defence in past years, I direct the attention of the Senate to a booklet issued by the civil defence offices of the American Department of Defence. That booklet was issued in December, 1961, and sets out in detail what should be known by the people, and what people should do in the event of a nuclear attack on America. I do hope that the Government will take cognizance of this booklet, and see to it that a similar document is put into the possession of every Australian family to give people some small measure of protection in the event of a nuclear attack. I should also like to point out to the Senate the effects, as set out by the. American Department of Defence, of a 5-megaton burst. After perusing this document, and bearing in mind that the scientists of to-day are experimenting with 50-megaton bombs, one can realize the gravity of the situation that faces mankind. On page 11 of the document, the long-term effects of radiation are dealt with. In short, it is stated that the long-term damaging effects of exposure to radiation in the event of nuclear attacks are not yet known in great detail. I hope that the Government is giving attention to this matter in order to ensure that the Australian people shall have adequate protection, or at least some small degree of protection, in the event of a nuclear attack on our shores.
I understand from the latest figures that have been made available to me that in the last decade, up to August of last year, there have been some 342 known atomic tests in atmosphere. All told, 355 megatons have the world, 282 of which have been in the been blasted into the atmosphere. A megaton being 1,000,000 tons, we can see that the atmosphere of the world has been polluted - on known figures - to the extent of some 355,000,000 tons.
What is the American Government doing in connexion with this matter compared with what the Australian Government is doing to protect the Australian people? The Office of Civil Defence of the United States Department of Defence states at page 45 of this document -
The Federal Government helps to provide warning against an attack. The National Warning System carries the warning signal from the Headquarters of the North American Air Defense Command to State warning points. From these points the States send the warning to local warning systems. The Office of Civil Defense is studying national installation of a new warning system, the NEAR System, which would bring the warning into every home with electric power. The NEAR System operates through signal generators placed in the electrical power grid. These generators would be actuated directly by the National Warning System, and in turn, actuate buzzers plugged or wired into home electrical circuits.
The Federal Government is providing equipment for 50,000 radiological monitoring stations and ls training operators for this equipment. The eventual plan calls for 150,000 of these monitoring points to be established in selected community centres and tied to a control point at the local emergency operating centre.
I ask this Government in all seriousness whether its record in civil defence can be compared in any way with the protection that the American Government is attempting to afford to its citizens against nuclear fall-out.
Like Senator Cohen, I hope that all governments will eventually adopt the policy of a nuclear-free zone, not only for the southern hemisphere but for the whole of the world. I hope that common sense will prevail among all men and that all governments will adopt a policy of peace on earth, prosperity, happiness and goodwill to all men. But until such time as that comes about the provision of £330,000 annually for civil defence is inadequate, having regard to present circumstances. I believe that the Government should take steps to see that the lives of people who live within the borders of this great country are protected against nuclear fall-out.
– I wish to reply briefly to a few of the points that I jotted down when Senator Cohen was speaking. He appears to be greatly exercised - I think unduly exercised and unduly worried - on this question of radiation and, in my view, is paying too much attention to the opinions of doctors who are not qualified to express opinions with the same degree of competence as is the National Radiation Advisory Committee. Senator Cohen disagreed with the findings of the committee; and that, of course, is his privilege. It seemed to me at one stage that he was almost indicating that this committee was not an independent and impartial one. That was the impression I got from his remarks.
– That was not suggested.
– I am glad to see the honorable senator is shaking his head, because I should like to be on common ground with him. This committee is quite impartial and independent. I am glad that that point has been made perfectly clear. It is also clear - I should like to hear from any Opposition senators who disagree with me - that this committee is composed of people with a very great knowledge of all things related to radiation, of physicists and geneticists, and not of people with a general knowledge of medicine as practising physicians. It is composed of men who are experienced in this field, and therefore we should pay attention to what they say. What they say is very different from what Senator Cohen believes, on the authority of practising physicians.
I want to refer to one or two points that Senator Cohen made. Whether he meant to make them, I do not know. He spoke of Japanese fishermen who, he said, had suffered great disabilities many years after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. I know of only one group of Japanese fishermen affected by radiation. The implication any one would draw from Senator Cohen’s remarks was that these Japanese fishermen were subjected to radiation as a result of the dropping of the original bombs on Japan and, many years later, suffered bad effects. The only Japanese fishermen I know of who suffered as a result of radiation were in the vicinity of an atomic test at Bikini Atoll, many years after the original bombs were dropped. As a result of that test they were literally covered with radio-active coral and remained in that condition, without washing off the radio-active coral, for days until they got back to port. Some of them suffered severely. One, or possibly two, of them died.
The point I want to make is that there is no truth in any implication that as a result of the dropping of a bomb some years before in Japan these fishermen suffered any ill effects. Indeed, I know of no instance - in view of the importance of this matter, I should like to know whether any Opposition senator knows of any instance - of genetic or other ill effects having been suffered by the inhabitants of the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, on which seventeen years ago atomic bombs were dropped. So far, I have not seen case histories in regard to any such ill effects upon people who were in those cities at the time. In view of the interest taken in this matter by the extreme left wing and by the Communists, I believe that if there were any known instances they would have been brought to the nation’s attention.
– I thought you would come to it.
– I do not say that all people who take notice of these matters are left-wing. I believe that if there were any such cases, they would have been brought to our attention.
– You always drag it in.
– I have a right to express my opinion in this place and I am expressing it. If you do not like it, you should get up later and say that you do not.
– I will.
– Fine. I can only say that in view of the great interest taken in this matter by the left wing and by the Communists - although not exclusively by them - had there been such instances I believe that they would have been brought to the attention of the nation. If there are such instances now, it would be a good thing if they were brought to the attention of the nation. 1 point out that the National Radiation Advisory Committee - this admittedly impartial and highly qualified committee - made the statement, which as far as I know has not been contradicted even by Senator Cohen, that the results of atomic radiation from all atomic tests so far conducted were far less than the results of other sources of man-made radiation, such as X-rays and things of that kind. If that statement is true - I do not believe it has been questioned - there is great exaggeration, and too much building up of danger, in the views that Senator Cohen has put before the committee to-night.
That is not to say that atomic tests should not be stopped, and it is not to say that there should not be a general agreement that atomic tests should be stopped. It is merely to say that if atomic tests are to be stopped they must be stopped in fact. The only way that they can be stopped in fact, and can be known to be stopped, is by inspection and control in all countries by other countries. That policy is supported by this Government. I go further and say that that is our goal, and I think it is the goal of the majority of the Australian people. I believe, in view of the impartial report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee, that the views expressed to-night by Senator Cohen” were exaggerated.
We also heard Senator Cohen speak briefly about the suggestion that has been put forward previously for a nuclear-free zone in parts of the southern hemisphere. All I say about that is this: How do you stop an intercontinental ballistic missile fired from the northern hemisphere from landing in the southern hemisphere? Do you put up a sign saying, “ This is a nuclear-free zone. No intercontinental missiles are permitted “, or a poster saying that people who drop atomic bombs will be prosecuted? Such an attitude is absolutely ridiculous in a world in which submarines armed with nuclear missiles can cruise underneath the sea’s surface and not be detected, and in which missiles from the north can be dropped on the south or any other point. It is absolutely ridiculous to talk of making a nuclear-free zone, because in my opinion the major result of making it clear that we will never, under any circumstances, permit the use of nuclear weapons is to invite an attack by missiles from the sea or from the north.
Those are the only points I wish to make in reply to Senator Cohen. The major one is that the most impartial and the most expert committee has pointed out that, whilst we are trying to stop atomic tests, the danger from radiation from that source so far is not as great as that from other man-made sources. I believe that we all should remember that.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, I wish to speak on civil defence. I do not know how far you will let me go; but knowing how far other speakers have gone, and knowing how fair you always are, I will claim more or less the same latitude. I listened to Senator Cohen with a great deal of interest. I thought he made an exemplary statement backed up by facts, and by statements by 100 Australian doctors and 500 doctors in the United States of America. The latter statement so impressed the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) that he suggested that the names of the signatories be incorporated in “ Hansard “. Then we heard the answer from the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton).
– The rabble-rouser.
– No, I am not saying that about him; but I regret that he brought politics into this very important subject. I regret that he started to talk about left-wingers. I do not know who is left-wing and who is right-wing. Senator Cohen spent some time discussing preparedness. He produced evidence. He read portion of a leading article in the “ New York Times “, and then read a large portion of a leading article in a very responsible newspaper in his city and mine. Having done that, during his discussion of an important question such as this, he should have been answered on a similar plane.
There is no one in this chamber who does not want the abolition of all atomic tests. I have made my position on this matter very clear in the past. I do not want to reiterate now what I said then. I am still 100 per cent, in favour of what I said then. If, by spending the money provided for in the Estimates, we can bring to the notice of the people the great danger of radiation, the money will be well spent. Whilst the mass of the people may be slow to move, finally they grapple with the question. Although every member of this chamber, and everybody outside of it, dreads the thought of our ever needing to take such measures as may be called for, what is wrong with telling the people what could happen? I am amazed to think that the Minister for the Navy would pit his knowledge on this question against that of the medical profession. I leave out the American doctors. The leading article in the “ Age “ referred to the opinion of 1 00 Australian doctors. Those of us who are laymen should give their opinion the respect it deserves.
I thank you for your indulgence, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I shall now refer to an item in the Estimates. We are spending £330,000 on civil defence. Quite candidly, I want to know what has been done in this field. It is true that I was invited to go to the civil defence school at Macedon, but I could not go. I do not know how much the average person knows about what has been done and how the money has been spent. 1 see no reason why any honorable senator could not support the suggestion of Senator McClelland that some pamphlets be printed in order to advise us, the common people, of the grave danger that may face us. In the end the common people will have a voice in this matter. It is true there are only 10,000,000 people in Australia, but they will have a voice in stopping, or attempting to stop, the testing of these bombs.
I thank you, Mr. Temporary Chairman, for allowing me to speak as I have. I hope that on an important question such as this we will not start to accuse people - even by implication, which is worse - of being left-wing or anything else. We are all here to do what is right and to attempt to do all we can for our own people. If we have anything over after that we can help others. I regret certain of the passages in the speech of the Minister for the Navy.
– I was most interested in the contribution made to this debate by Senator Cohen. I was interested also in the reply given to him by Senator Gorton, but I feel that Senator Gorton was not as objective in his reply as Senator Wade was in his original reply to me. 1 appreciated the manner in which Senator Wade replied. Whilst I think the Senate is richer for the debate that has taken place on the dangers of nuclear fall-out and nuclear weapons, in case the Senate should forget the essentials I want to bring the debate back to the point that in this country civil defence is not properly :o ordinated.
There is no need for any heat to be engendered between Government supporters and members on this side of the chamber, because this is something on which we all have sincere beliefs. I think we should be able to get together collectively for the general welfare of the people of Australia. After all they are the people whose interests are at stake in the field of civil defence. Senator Wade, in his comprehensive reply to the points I raised, which initiated this debate this evening, mentioned that there was certain co-ordination between the States and the Commonwealth in this matter. Ho said that the States had certain permanent services, and I agree with him. He mentioned the police force, hospitals and other activities that of necessity come into the field of civil defence. He mentioned too that the Commonwealth was supplying certain moneys and that there were two realms of responsibility, both attempting in their own way to bring about some degree of co-ordination in civil defence in Australia.
The thing that causes me the greatest uneasiness is that we have two groups of people, or two administrations, responsible for this very important matter. I should like to communicate that uneasiness to honorable senators on both sides of the chamber because ‘ to have two groups responsible for this matter is to have no responsibility at all. The States, because they have not the financial wherewithal to enter effectively into the field of civil defence, recognize that it is a Federal responsibility because the Federal Government holds the purse strings. Because the States think along these lines it follows logically that they will not put forward an effective and co-ordinated civil defence plan. We come back to the question: Who is responsible? I say that where the power lies, the responsibility lies, and the power of the purse rests with the Commonwealth Government.
An amount of only £330,000 is being allocated for civil defence in the next twelve months. That amount gives a fair indication that there is no properly co-ordinated civil defence programme. I think we all understand that. I do not think any man or woman in this chamber would be prepared to get up and say that he or she believes that there is a proper co-ordination and a clear understanding between the States and the Commonwealth. There is not. It is useless for us to kid ourselves in that respect.
Senator Drury has handed me a very interesting article on civil defence. It is in the “ Professional Engineer “ of September, 1962. It does nothing to alleviate my fears on this matter. It is written by Mr. Alan Brooksbank who, I understand, is recognized as an authority on civil defence in Australia. I think we should take heed of what he has to say. Dealing with the staff at Mount Macedon he said -
A few years later, the instructors at the excellent Civil Defence School at Macedon, Victoria (established by State Government pressure), were stopped from repeating Churchill’s famous recruiting speech outlining the Christian duty of honorable men and women in civil defence.
He went on to make the point -
No Northern Territory residents were included in the first 4000 trainees at Macedon. Then an independent civil defence expert visited Darwin and sowed propaganda seeds. Later, Darwin citizens attended the school, formed a local association and got to work.
The next point he made was -
The new Director of Civil Defence visited Darwin and the organization was disbanded.
He went on -
There was no Commonwealth Director for some months in 1961.
Finally, he said -
The Government allots Civil Defence less than a penny in the pound of the defence vote.
In contrast, the governments of Sweden, Egypt and some of the U.S.S.R., covering about 50 millions civilians, have decreed compulsory participation in civil defence by all civilians in the age group 16-60 or 65, and it is also compulsory in some other countries.
I would not be so bold as to say that all the remarks made by Mr. Brooksbank in this article are correct. At least he has made a study of the position and directed his mind to some of the matters associated with civil defence in Australia, and it is quite clear that he himself is gravely concerned. He opens up the question which I stated at the beginning of the debate, and which I repeat, is that it is idle for us to say that just because the Commonwealth is providing a certain amount of money, and the States are doing something else in another way, there is a properly co-ordinated civil defence plan in this country. There just is not, and it is useless for us to try to delude ourselves that there is. Let us forget about cut and thrust across the chamber on this subject, and scoring debating points off each other. Let us come to some conclusion, if we can, after this debate has been completed, as to what means can be adopted to bring about a clear understanding of who is responsible for bringing about in this country some degree of safety for the civilian population.
.- I have listened with a great deal of interest to the speeches that have emanated from both sides of the chamber. I cast no reflection on your chairmanship, Sir, when I say that I will confine myself to replying to those speeches which are relevant to the debate.
The thoughtful speeches that have been made during this debate have shown clearly that Australia with its population of only 10,000,000, could not be expected to make adequate preparations for a nuclear war. That is conceded by all thinking people, including our defence advisers, and the Government agrees. So the realistic approach is to do what we can within our resources. A good deal has been done recently. I understand that it was not until last year that the Commonwealth and the States reached agreement on their spheres of responsibility.
Senator Toohey suggested that if we have dual control, there might be inaction, but I suggest that in this matter both Commonwealth and State governments realize that they have a definite responsibility, and inaction would not be countenanced. While it might be argued that the appropriation of £330,000 for civil defence this year is insufficient, the fact is that it exceeds the provision made last year. It is the policy of the Government to make steady progress with civil defence in peace-time. If that policy is maintained, surely it can be said that we shall have an accumulation of equipment and knowledge that will stand us in good stead in an emergency.
The Commonwealth Government has undertaken to provide training manuals and publicity so that the States may educate the people in civil defence, and already the necessary information is percolating through the community. Last week, in Victoria, I received through the State Government from the Commonwealth a pamphlet on civil defence. The country newspapers in all corners of the State show that municipal councils are forming civil defence groups, not with the object of digging underground shelters or providing hideouts, but to interest the people in the things that could happen. We are not trying to cause alarm or excitement, but we want to inform the people. That is the policy that this Government, the State governments and local government authorities should pursue. These things could happen and they could happen here, but we can do a great deal to inform our minds and prepare for an eventuality. At the same time, we will strive always to maintain peace in the world.
I was interested to hear Senator Toohey’s reference to an engineer named Brooksbank. I am surprised that honorable senators do not check their authority before making such statements in this place. I make no reflection on the engineer concerned; I have never heard of him. Apparently he made some rather caustic statements about civil defence services in Darwin. If I heard the honorable senator correctly, he is of the opinion that there are no civil defence services in Darwin now. He said they had been disbanded.
– I quoted Mr. Brooksbank.
– I was in Darwin three months ago, and I had the pleasure of meeting an old friend who is Director of Civil Defence in Darwin, and who has held that position for some considerable time. He is building up a most efficient and effective force to protect Darwin in the event of an attack. With the greatest respect to Senator Toohey, who has shown a great sense of responsibility, I suggest to him that to quote statements that are not authoritative might alarm the people. Too often there is a tendency to quote opinions without checking the source. This is a classic example. Darwin might well have the best preparations for civil defence of any city in Australia.
– How long has the force been in operation in Darwin?
– I cannot state the exact time, but the director has been in that role for eighteen months or two years. I remind honorable senators that we have spent an hour and a half on one line of the Estimates, and I move -
That the question be put.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Proposed expenditure noted.
War and Repatriation ServicesMiscellaneous - Department of the Interior.
Proposed expenditure, £339,000.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [9.27]. - Under this heading, expenditure of £2,500 is proposed for the erection, restoration and maintenance of Australian war memorials. I should like to ask the Minister for Health whether this includes work that is being done at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. I understand that the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the Second World War, as well as the names of those who died in World War I, are to be placed within the walls of the war memorial in Canberra. Some time ago, I was informed that the names of all those who fell in World War II. had not yet been placed in position. Has this work been completed? If it has not been finished, when will it be done?
– As I understand Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin’s question, the answer is, “ No “. The proposed expenditure of £2,500 includes the following items: Maintenance of memorials overseas, £1,500; administrative expenses and travelling allowances, £750; contingencies, £250. There has been an increase on the appropriation last year because of an increase in the caretakers’ wages. The names of those who fell in World War II have not yet been placed in the Australian War Memorial at Canberra, but the work is proceeding.
– I wish to pay a tribute to the department in connexion with the manner in which war graves are being maintained. It was my privilege to go to Papua and New Guinea for the Anzac Day celebrations this year. A delegation consisting of three members from the Government side and three members of the Opposition went there from this Parliament. I was particularly impressed by the work that had been done in the war cemetery at Lae, in New Guinea. I believe that a very small staff, consisting of one European and seven native people, is responsible. It was a truly remarkable sight to see the perfect manner in which the graves were tended.
I wish this evening to refer to the responsibilities of the department for war graves overseas. I have in my hand the annual report of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which was formerly the Empire War Graves Commission. The responsibility of the commission is worldwide and covers cemeteries wherever Empire soldiers who served in the First World War and Commonwealth soldiers who served in the Second World War are buried. I refer particularly to page 80 of the report, where reference is made to the graves in the United Arab Republic. It should be remembered that those who fell at El Alamein are buried in that area, about 60 or 70 miles from Cairo. I was struck by the fact that no mention is made in the report of the Australian Government having played a part in the annual service of remembrance at the El Alamein war cemetery. The service was held in 1960 on 23rd October. On 30th October, Italian diplomatic and service representatives in Egypt laid wreaths at the El Alamein war cemetery, and even a member of the German community laid a wreath on 8th November.
I am pleased to learn from the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) that this year, the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein, Mr. Stuart, the Australian Ambassador to the United Arab Republic, will be at the commemoration ceremony and will lay a wreath on behalf of the Australian Government. He will be accompanied by officers of the Embassy. I direct attention to this matter because I think that our Department of External Affairs should see to it that these war graves all over the world, where Australian dead are buried, should not be accounted for merely by a budget entry showing that we are providing £301,300 for the maintenance of the graves. We have Australian representatives throughout the world and they should be encouraged, and directed, if necessary, to attend ceremonies which are held on the focal day of the year associated with the cemeteries in their areas. 1 commend the Government for complying with the wish of some of us that His Excellency the Ambassador, the most senior representative of Australia in the area, will be present at the ceremony to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein.
I also wish to commend the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the magnificent work it is doing throughout the world - in England, in France, in Egypt, in the United Arab Republic, in the Eastern areas and also in the Pacific areas. The commission is doing work of an abiding nature. I ask that in future personnel from Australian legations, trade missions and trade posts should, whenever possible, show the interest of the Australian people by being present at ceremonies at war cemeteries.
– Can the Minister inform me when the Anzac Memorial at Port Said, which is being reconstructed and re-erected in Western Australia, will be completed? Will notice be given to the Senate of the official unveiling ceremony at Albany? I also wish to refer to the subject of war graves. I was privileged to see some of the war cemeteries in Europe, but at the moment I propose to refer to the war cemeteries in Australia, particularly those in which soldiers who died since the war have been buried. I commend the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for the care which it takes over those graves. Unfortunately, I have relatives who are buried in such cemeteries, including two brothers-in-law.
I ask the Minister to consider the case of ex-servicemen of World War I. who suffered war injuries and were in receipt of a pension for those injuries at the time of their death but whose death was not directly attributable, according to the department, to their war injuries. Therefore, their relatives are not permitted to have the insignia of the rising sun, and so on, placed
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 October 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1962/19621017_senate_24_s22/>.