24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr. President, it is with regret that 1 advise the Senate of the death at Canberra on 10th May of Mr. Sydney Cuthbert Johnston, the New Zealand High Commissioner in Australia. Mr. Johnston was appointed on 28th April, 1961, and had thus completed only two years as his country’s principal representative in our country, a post which, I am sure every one agrees, he filled with exceptional distinction. Honorable senators will have learned with sorrow and shock that Mr. Johnston collapsed suddenly with a heart attack and died at his office desk. Undoubtedly, he himself would have chosen to die in harness, as he did.
Before his appointment as High Commissioner in Australia, Mr. Johnston was vicepresident of the New Zealand National Party and the chairman of its Auckland division. He was in law for a number of years and practised as a public accountant in Auckland. Among many other activities, he was a company director and a former president of the Auckland Savings Bank. We pay a tribute to a man of the type that we Australians, no less than his own countrymen, can ill afford to lose. The tragedy is deepened when such a man dies at the untimely age of 62 with every prospect of years of useful life in front of him. With these thoughts in mind, Mr. President, I move the formal resolution that we place on the record of the Senate on an occasion of this kind. I move -
That the Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr. Sydney Cuthbert Johnston, who was at the time of his death, New Zealand High Commissioner in Australia, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his widow and family in their bereavement.
.- Mr. President, on behalf of the Opposition,I second the motion. The Opposition learnt with shock and deep regret of the untimely death of Mr. Johnston at Canberra on Friday last. One of the high privileges of membership of the Federal Parliament is the opportunity it gives to meet and benefit from association with the diplomatic representatives of other countries, particularly those from our sister dominions of the Commonwealth. Mr. Johnston was notable among these. He had wide experience of men and affairs, having been lawyer, accountant and businessman as well as diplomat. All those who knew him in Australia are sad that he will no longer be among us.
I express the regret of the Opposition to the Government of New Zealand at the loss of an able and distinguished ambassador who acquitted himself not only with credit to himself but with honour and advantage also to his country - New Zealand. I extend the sympathy of all members of the Opposition to Mr. Johnston’s widow and to his sons and daughters in their grievous and tragic loss. Our hearts go out to them in the shock and grief they have sustained, so far from their homeland, and in the consequent disruption of their life and plans. I trust that they will be given the strength to bear their burden of sorrow.
– May I, on behalf of the Australian Country Party, join in the expressions of sympathy on the passing of the High Commissioner for New Zealand, Mr. Johnston. There is a strong natural bond of friendship between Australia and New Zealand and between Australians and New Zealanders. Mr. Johnston’s work and associations in this country, in whatever sphere he moved, heightened this friendship very materially. It is a matter of deep regret that his work among us and his valuable association with us should have been so tragically interrupted. To his sorrowing widow and family we extend our sincere sympathy.
– The Australian Democratic Labour Party associates itself with the expressions of regret at the untimely death of Mr. Johnston. We extend our deepest sympathy to his sorrowing family.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation by reminding him that on 9th May, in reply to a question by Senator Buttfield, he stated that weather conditions in South Australia were not sufficiently adverse to warrant the installation of finger parking at the Adelaide airport. Is the Minister’s decision to construct finger parking facilities at airports governed entirely by weather conditions prevalent at particular airports? If so, will the Minister favorably consider the construction of covered walks at the Hobart and Launceston airports to protect air passengers from the elements?
– The decision to construct finger entrances and exits at air terminals is not entirely governed by weather conditions. Obviously, such factors as frequency of aircraft and traffic density have a bearing on this matter. In considering the type of structure to be provided, however, the weather is among the other factors taken into consideration as well as the cost relative to traffic density. As the honorable senator knows, the Hobart air terminal has been constructed for some time and it is a very fine building. I have not had any representations made to me that it is deficient in any way or that it does not afford sufficient protection to air travellers. In any case, the extension of the building would probably not receive the priority that would be given to a new or proposed building. The terminal building at Launceston is shortly to be remodelled, and I have no doubt that when the design of this building is considered the weather factor will be taken into account by the designers in the Department of Civil Aviation.
– Greatly increased numbers of tourists visit Canberra each year. Although the exact figures are available, I regret that I am not in a position at the moment to give them to the honorable senator. If he requires them, I shall get them for him. It is not possible to calculate with precision the revenue value of tourists to Canberra, but they do make a contribution to the city’s economy. May I add that the Government welcomes visitors to Canberra and is pleased that they come here to see what is being done with their money in an effort to make a national capital of which ultimately they will be very proud.
– I desire to address to the Minister representing the Treasurer a question which relates to the impost of sales tax on motor car safety belts. I preface it by saying that recently the Minister for Supply, acting upon recommendations which were made to him by a committee set up for the purpose, decided that safety belts which conform to the current specification of the Standards Association of Australia shall be fitted progressively to all vehicles operated by the Department of Supply. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority compels the use of safety belts on all its vehicles and the Department of Works has installed belts on more than 300 of its vehicles. The Department of Civil Aviation, too, is using safety belts. This is my question: Having regard to the use by all those government departments of safety belts and the increasing use of them in the private sector of industry, when the Budget is being prepared will the Government with the object of giving an added incentive for the universal use of this important road safety appliance consider the abolition or reduction of sales tax on belts, which tax currently is at the rate of 16$ per cent.?
– As the honorable senator has indicated in his question, the subject of sales tax remissions or variations is generally considered at budget time. As much as I can do is to direct the attention of the Treasurer to the matter that has been raised by the honorable senator.
– Did the Minister for Civil Aviation make his projected visit to Norfolk Island at the week-end? What decisions, if any, in relation to the airport at, or the air services operated to and from, Norfolk Island were reached as a result of his visit? If no decisions have yet been reached, will he announce them to the Senate when they have been made? Has he any knowledge of a desire on [he part of any other airline to replace Qantas Empire Airways Limited on the Sydney to Norfolk Island route or the charter flight by Qantas on the Norfolk Island to Auckland route?
– Yes, I made the trip to Norfolk Island which I indicated to the Senate last week I proposed to make. I took with me certain of my top executives to examine the airport. Quite a thorough examination of the airport was made to see whether anything would have to be done in order to assure the Administrator of the island that sufficient services would be available to meet any growth in traffic demands that may become evident.
The decision as to the types of aircraft that can or could use the airport in certain circumstances is a technical one, and the data is now being studied by the technical officers concerned within my department. The honorable senator, I am sure, will appreciate that this is a matter for technical decision, not for policy decision. 1 am very happy to be able to tell the Senate that, as the result of my inspection, I was able to inform the Administrator of the island that the Department of Civil Aviation could assure him that sufficient services would be made available to meet a growing traffic demand, if it occurred. The honorable senator, and the Senate generally, will know that our former colleague, Major-General Wordsworth, is now Administrator. He is very active in attempting to promote tourist traffic to the island. Obviously, the promotion of tourism depends in part upon an assurance that air services will be available, and I was happy to be able to give him that assurance. No application is before me to indicate, nor have I any knowledge at all, that any other operator is interested at present in undertaking flights to Norfolk Island. I was overjoyed to hear that representatives of Qantas Empire Airways Limited had been to the island a week before I was there and had discussed with the Administrator and his officers this very problem of air services and the need to provide better services should the traffic increase. I have no knowledge that any other airline wants, at present, to fly to the island, although the honorable senator may be interested, and slightly intrigued, to know that the assistant manager for New South Wales of TransAustralia Airlines was on the island while I was there and that, in a discussion, he indicated to me that that airline was making some survey of the tourist potential in order that it might be tied in with the airline’s flyaway holiday programme, which is so well known to the Senate and to the Australian public.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories a question which arises from a perusal that I have recently made of the text of a lecture given by Sir John Crawford, being one of four lectures provided by the Research School of Pacific Studies in the Australian National University, on the subject of economic and political developments in New Guinea. In that lecture, in June, 1962, Sir John said that the services of the Research School of Pacific Studies would be readily available to the Minister for an assessment of the economic potentialities of New Guinea. I ask the Minister whether or not that offer was accepted, and I should be obliged if the Minister would tell me under whose authority the present assessment of the economic potentialities of New Guinea is going on, in some association with the International Monetary Fund.
– Answering the last part of the question first, the survey being conducted by the International Bank is being made as the result of a decision by the Government. I am unable to answer the first part of the question, regarding the activities of the Research School of Pacific Studies. 1 shall take up the matter with my colleague and let the honorable senator have a reply.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether Electra aircraft engines are started by the use of bottled gas. If bottled gas is necessary for this purpose, will the Minister consider having supplies of the gas placed at either Forrest or Meekatharra, so that the airports at those places may be used as alternatives to the Perth airport? Is it a fact that at one stage on Thursday last, 9th May, the alternative airport for Kalgoorlie in Western Australia was Mangalore in Victoria and’ that Meekatharra could not be used by Electras because there were no bottled gas starting facilities there?
– The part of the question which relates to bottled gas and its use in starting Electra aircraft is far too technical for me to answer at the moment. I shall have to ask that it be placed on the notice-paper. I am a little intrigued by the implication that the Meekatharra airport could not be used because of the absence of bottled gas. I do not think that would have been the case, but I shall make inquiries on all the points raised by the honorable senator and let him know the result.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation knowledge of a proposal by French airlines to institute a service between Sydney and Auckland? If there is such a proposal, can he state the compensatory benefit which France proposes to make to Australia?
– As the honorable senator is aware, the use of international air routes is governed’ by a series of treaties between the participating countries. All I can say at the moment about the French hopes for a Sydney-Auckland service is that this particular route involves consideration by the governments of three countries - France, New Zealand and Australia. We have had discussions with the French authorities and those discussions are continuing. I expect to hear again from the French people at the beginning of next month. I am not in a position to say any more at this moment.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Is he aware of the keen desire of country people in Western Australia to have good television services? Will he ask the PostmasterGeneral to urge his departmental officers, who are responsible for investigating the potential coverage of the proposed country television stations in Western Australia, to finalize their investigations as soon as possible? Furthermore, will the PostmasterGeneral urge his officers to expedite their investigations into the need for additional country television stations in areas which are not included in the present proposals, with a view to eliminating the anxiety of the people living in those areas?
– I can understand the honorable senator’s lively interest in the extension of television to the rural areas of Western Australia, but I am bound to remind him that those sparsely populated areas - as well as some other areas in Australia - present a very real problem to the Postmaster-General. I remind the honorable senator, too, that when the present phase of extension has been completed 92 per cent, of the Australian population will be receiving a television service, but it is appropriate to say that it may require what to us may seem novel methods to extend the service to the remaining 8 per cent. I can assure the honorable senator that the Postmaster-General is pushing ahead vigorously with plans to give as complete a coverage as practicable to the people of Australia. I shall bring the honorable senator’s representations to the notice of the Postmaster-General and ask him to add to my reply anything that I may not have been in a position to tell him.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service seen a report which appeared in to-day’s Melbourne press that Mr. Long, secretary of the Geelong division of the Textile Workers’ Union, said that woollen mills are in a very bad state and that in the Geelong area two woollen mills had already dismissed 17 per cent, and 20 per cent, respectively of their labour forces in the past few weeks? Does the Minister know that unemployment is rising in the textile industry in other areas of Victoria and in other States? Does he know also that generally the number of those registered for employment has increased in Victoria and Tasmania during the last month? What does the Government intend to do to stem this persistent and tragic state of affairs, or why does not the Government be honest and tell the people that it does not believe in full employment? Does the Minister subscribe to the belief that a certain percentage of unemployment is necessary in order to discipline the workers?
– I doubt whether anybody subscribes to the last suggestion which the honorable senator made. Such a statement is generally reserved by people like him for use at election time in order to gain some temporary political advantage. As to the main part of the question, the textile industry generally has always been a difficult and fluctuating one. 1 think that is well known to the Government, the people and the industry generally. The Minister for Labour and National Service and the department which he controls have done what they can for this industry and other industries and, in view of the climate which has been created by the Government, have been able to do. a good deal to reduce the number of those registered for employment in Australia. The Minister and the department will continue their efforts in connexion with this industry, particularly if at this stage it is facing a problem.
– My question is directed to the Minister in charge of the War Service Homes Division. Has he seen a statement by Mr. D. D. Thompson, secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association of the Commonwealth Public Service, asking the Minister either to name the public servant who, the Minister alleges, was giving information to a senator - presumably myself - or to withdraw his statement, which casts a reflection on all War Service Homes Division officers? Will the Minister please note that my questions were inspired by information from the Central Police Court, Sydney, where officers and news roundsmen have become greatly alarmed about the growing number of war service homes eviction cases listed daily for hearing? Is the Minister aware that the records show that, in the last week of April, 80 such cases were listed and that for this month so far 119 cases have been listed, including 22 set down for to-day? Will the Minister note that this knowledge, gathered over months, prompted me to place on the notice-paper my question which elicited the startling fact that in February last 1,568 notices threatening eviction had been issued and that in March 717 notices were issued? The Minister will note that in addition to the statistics available from the court my information has come from the Minister himself. With this knowledge, would the Minister care now to remove the slur and stigma which he cast upon all officers in the War Service Homes Division?
– I might fairly reply to Senator Fitzgerald by saying that I made this allegation on two occasions in the Senate and on neither occasion did he refute it. Prior to to-day Senator Fitzgerald has not stood up in his place and said that he was not getting information from an officer.
– Mr. Minister, that is not right.
– I think it is quite right. I made the allegation twice and Senator Fitzgerald did not deny it. I would like to look at this question in detail because the senator implied that the information was given to him by a newspaper reporter.
– He did not. Keep to the facts. You have a bad habit of wandering away from the facts.
– I said I would like to look at Senator Fitzgerald’s question in detail because I gathered the impression that what he said was that he had gained the information from some newspaper reporter. I direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that the figures upon which Senator Fitgerald’s earlier question was based were not available to anyone outside the offices of the War Service Homes Division.
– Mr. President, I have a keen desire to ask my good friend, the Minister for Health, a few questions. Has the Minister received a booklet written by Alexander Horn, M.B., C.H.B., entitled “ Cancer, its Cause and Eradication “? If so, did he note that the booklet stated that “ much help and co-operation has been given to me by Dr. J. J. Ryan of Brisbane, who supplied material to fill some gaps in my conclusions regarding concer”? If Dr. Horn’s booklet has not been received, will the Minister call the attention of his officers to this important publication, a copy of which I hold in my hand, and which was kindly sent to me by John Elliott of Brisbane “Truth”? The next two questions are directed to the Minister because of his somewhat unsatisfactory answer last Wednesday to questions that 1 asked in October last. Will the Minister procure for the information of the Senate the results of the inquiries into Richard John Wilson’s experiments on cancerous cattle? Does the Minister not think it more fitting that he should give the Senate the information asked for by me last October, rather than that the public should wait for some statement of a cancer council that may never be forthcoming?
– I suggest to the honorable senator that he does not quite do me justice when he refers to a question that he asked last October and that I answered in the Senate last week. I remind him that I replied to him by letter, I think on 12th December last, setting out answers to his questions. The honorable senator quite properly, and within his province, sought further information by way of question last week and I endeavoured to make additional information available to him. I have not seen the booklet he refers to and I shall be quite happy to ask my officers to examine it and proffer me their opinions on it. I am not in a position to answer the honorable senator’s last two questions. If he will put them on the notice-paper, I shall obtain the information he seeks.
– I ask the
Minister for Civil Aviation a question relating to mighty air combines being organized in Europe and the United States of America and their impact on civil aviation in Australia. I have previously directed questions on this subject to the Minister, in reply to which he has said that such organizations would not seriously affect Qantas Empire Airways Limited. Does the Minister still adhere to this view? Is it true that the United Kingdom authorities have told Pan-American Airways and Trans-World Airways that they must increase certain trans-Atlantic and transPacific air fares or certain restrictions may be imposed on them in respect of landing rights in the United Kingdom? If this is so, have the United Kingdom authorities issued, at any time, an ultimatum to the Australian company, Qantas Empire Airways Limited? What would be the attitude of the Australian Government if such a fiat were issued to Qantas?
– I do not propose fully to answer the question until I have examined it, so I shall ask the honorable senator to put it on the notice-paper. It is quite true that, at the moment, there is something of a difference of view between American airlines and European airlines as to rates which should be charged on trans-Atlantic air services for certain types of traffic. The only other point I want to make at the moment is this: The honorable senator has attributed to me a statement that the creation of European blocs of airways, particularly Air Union, would not affect Qantas. I say at once that I have never said that. If the honorable senator looks at his questions he will find that they were directed to the possibility of the British airlines, in extension of the European Economic Community, becoming part of European Air Union. If he looks at the answers which I have given him I am sure he will find they differ very greatly from the statements that he attributed to me to-day that such a tie-up would not affect Qantas. What I have said, and I now repeat, is that we are keeping in the closest touch with the United Kingdom Ministry of Civil Aviation in respect of the possibility of this sort of union between the British airlines and the continental airlines.
– My question to the Leader of the Government is consequent upon my question and his answer to it of 9th May concerning wage injustice to Commonwealth public servants. Is the Minister aware that largely attended protest meetings of Commonwealth public servants have been held in the last few weeks in Perth and Brisbane and that further mass meetings will be held within the next week in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne? Is the Minister further aware that at the Perth and Brisbane meetings strongly worded resolutions were carried condemning this Government for its opposition to wage justice for Commonwealth public servants? Is the Minister also aware that Commonwealth Public Service organizations have now resolved to enter the sphere of direct political action and have decided to take such direct action against government members in the federal electorates of Lowe, Parramatta, Bennelong, Robertson, Moreton, Ryan, Swan, Perth, Maribyrnong and Deakin? Finally, is the Minister aware that these Commonwealth public servants are seeking the support of some 1,250,000 non-public service white collar workers to further their campaign of direct political action?
– The honorable senator is obviously more knowledgable upon this matter than I am. If his report is correct that the Public Service, to the extent he has mentioned, is going to make party political representations, I think that that is a great pity. I think the Public Service itself will think it a great pity when it looks back upon the event. As I understand it, Mr. President-
– The banks did it in 1947.
Senators have the privilege of asking Ministers questions and Ministers have the privilege of replying to such questions. Senator Hendrickson, over and over again, attempts to deny senators that privilege by interjections intended to drown the Minister’s reply. He is never game to hear the truth. To continue my reply, the situation is that this matter, I understand, is being debated in another place this afternoon. I am pretty certain that when the members of the Public Service as a whole hear the Prime Minister’s views they will change their views.
– Is the Minister for Civil Aviation aware that there are two defects in the otherwise excellent airport terminal at Perth, Western Australia? The first is that the name “ Perth “ does not appear on the exterior of the buildings, although the name of the airport does so appear at Adelaide and other air terminals in eastern cities. Instead, at Perth there is an illuminated sign, “ The Orbit Inne”.
As Perth is the point of entry to Australia of several overseas flights, does not the Minister agree t. t there should be a sign to indicate to travellers that they have reached the fair city of Perth and not some outer space refreshment bar? In the absence of adequate rest room facilities for women - there are the usual toilets and a small room for mothers to attend to their babies - and in view of the early morning arrival of overseas aircraft, will the Minister consider the re-allocation of one room as a women’s lounge?
– I am well aware that the name “ Perth “ does not appear on the exterior of the Perth air terminal - at least, not in big letters. I am aware that the name of the airport appears on the Adelaide terminal. I frequently have wondered why, because I do not think that any air traveller is in any doubt at all as to his whereabouts when he is in the vicinity of Adelaide. Similarly, I do not think that any air traveller would have any doubt at all as to his whereabouts when approaching Perth either from the east, over the ocean from the west, or from the north. It would serve no utilitarian function at all, I submit, to display the name of the airport on the exterior of the terminal in the way suggested by Senator Tangney. However, the name “ Perth “ might be (“-splayed in that way in order to adorn further a very remarkable building and one which has evoked favorable comment from worldwide travellers. But I reject emphatically the utilitarian value of the proposal which the honorable senator makes. I was under the impression that the provision of facilities for women at the airport was adequate. Necessarily, in such a matter I have had to rely for information on some members of my staff. If the honorable senator tells me that the facilities are not adequate I shall have inquiries made.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Is Australia experiencing the highest rate of applications for emigration to Australia that we have had for many years? If so, is this attributable to the fact that the fame of the good administration of the Liberal-Country
Party Government in Australia and knowledge of the generally stable economic conditions in Australia have spread far beyond our shores, and also to the fact that people are anxious to live under this type of leadership?
– The statement of the honorable senator is quite correct. We are experiencing at this time the greatest number of applications from Great Britain for emigration to Australia. This is a welcome sign for all of us. There is particular interest in emigration to Australia of skilled tradesmen and other skilled persons. We welcome those people because at this stage of our prosperity we are running a little short in some places of skilled labour.
– We are short of skilled labour in Victoria, for example. One other factor is contributing to this interest on the part of potential immigrants. I think the sunshine in Australia has something to do with these applications from Great Britain which, along with Europe generally, has experienced one of the worst winters in history.
– I preface a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister with a reference to the June, 1962, report of the National Radiation Advisory Committee on a detailed assessment of fall-out in Australia from the testing of nuclear weapons. In its report the committee stated that it had not up to that time been able to make a detailed assessment of fall-out from the weapons tests conducted by the Soviet Union in the Arctic in September-November, 1961, and by the United States of America over the Pacific Ocean in April, 1962. I ask the Minister: Has the Prime Minister yet received a further report from the National Radiation Advisory Committee on the results of those tests? If he has, will the Prime Minister make the report or the detailed information available to the Senate?
I am sorry to say that Senator Cohen’s question has caught me off guard. I do not know whether there has been a further report, but if the honorable senator will put his question on the notice-paper I shall obtain the information for him. I thought that the National Radiation Advisory Committee was a continuing organization and that it made reports at yearly or, at least, regular intervals. I read the original report with a great deal of interest so far as a layman can follow the ramifications of such a report. The assuring point was that, for all practical purposes, there were no ill effects as a result of the tests.
– That was before the latest tests.
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER.Then we will have the information brought up to date.
– My question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs refers to the negotiations with the United States of America for the establishment of a communications base at Learmonth in Western Australia. Will the Minister inform the Senate whether the agreement contains a clause that when suitable materials required for the base are available in Australia, they will be used? Is the Minister aware of the disquiet in the Western Australian timber industry which has arisen, whether rightly or wrongly, as a result of reports that timber is being exported from the United States for the construction of the base? As the experience of the timber industry leads it to believe that Australian timber is more suitable and readily available for this work will the Minister state just where persons concerned in this matter may make representations to ensure that Australian industries and materials are adequately protected under the agreement?
– The agreement for the construction of a communication base at North West Cape was presented to the House of Representatives last week, and the contents of it are public knowledge. I cannot pretend to give a precise rendition of the exact wording of the clause relevant to the honorable senator’s question, but there is no doubt that the tenor of the clause is that suitable material available in Australia will be used to the maximum practical extent in the construction of the base. If some section of the timber industry feels that suitable timber which is available in Australia is not being used, I would make two points: The first is that I doubt whether the timber industry has any basis for that feeling of concern.
– I am not saying that it is so.
– I know. In the second place, if any section of the industry feels there is ground for its concern, I suggest that it put its case to the Department of Supply.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate read reports that a group of approximately 36 top business executives has been appointed to exert heavy pressure on Cabinet Ministers to force the abandonment of the Government’s anti-monopoly legislation? Will the Minister inform the Senate what plans the Government has to resist the pressure from outside organizations?
– I certainly did not read any newspaper report in the same way as Senator Ormonde has done. I read a newspaper report to the effect that a group of business people wanted to see a section of the Government to make representations about some of the proposals that are contained in the proposed legislation. That is a very different thing from exerting pressure on the Government, and I think the business community, with its experience of the Government would know that there is no point in putting pressure on it. We are not responsive to pressure.
The position regarding this legislation has been explained at length by the Attorney-General. In many ways it is pioneering legislation so far as Australia is concerned, and breaks new ground in many directions. The Attorney-General has announced the legislation and the terms of the proposals he has in mind in order to invite criticism and comment upon them so that he can take all the divergent views into account before making his final recommendations to the Government. That seems to be a very sensible way indeed to go about preparing legislation of such importance.
– I preface ray question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs by stating that on 2nd May, in answer to a question requesting that the Minister for Extenal Affairs supply a list of nations which are classed as belonging to the free world, the Minister staled that it would be perfectly possible for him to supply a list of nations which he regarded as belonging to the free world. I now ask the Minister: Would South Africa be included in his list? Will he supply me with his complete list at his earliest convenience?
– I am under no obligation whatsoever to supply to Senator Hendrickson or anybody else a list of the nations which I personally believe belong to the free world, do not belong to it, or belong to any other organization. Not being under that obligation, I have no intention of supplying such a list.
– Is it possible, Mr. President, for you to procure a list of the amenities within Parliament House that are available for the use of members of ministerial staffs?
– I shall look into the matter and see whether I can give you an answer.
– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, by stating that a few weeks ago an honorable senator raised the matter of an Australian Broadcasting Commission programme in which remarks allegedly in bad taste were made about Her Majesty the Queen. He suggested that broadcasts of this type should be prevented. I now ask the Minister whether he has read in to-day’s Melbourne “ Sun “ a report that the League Against Cruel Sports has criticized His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, and has used such terms as “ trigger happy “, “ humbug “ and “ barbarity “. If so, has the Minister received any representations from Senator Hannan expressing distaste for such remarks about His Royal Highness, or any submission from the honorable senator that the Melbourne “ Sun “ should be prevented from publishing such material? If no such representations have yet been received, does the Minister expect to receive them?
– I have not seen the report. I have the greatest confidence in the good sense of my colleague, Senator Hannan.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER.The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will the Postmaster-General provide details of all applications made in writing to him under section 88 (1.) of the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942-1960, and of all transfers to which he has consented under this section?
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following information: - (a)-
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied these answers -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answers: -
– On 9th April, Senator Cavanagh asked the Minister representing the Treasurer whether the Taxation Branch compels a taxpayer to pay again amounts already deducted from wages, in the event of an employer failing to remit such sums to the Taxation Branch.
The Commissioner of Taxation advises that, where an employer deducts tax from an employee’s salary or wages, credit is allowed to the employee even though the employer fails to pay the amount concerned to the Taxation Branch. The allowance of credit in these circumstances is authorized by the income tax law. Action to recover the deduction not paid to the Taxation Branch is taken against the employer and not against the employee.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
Loan (Housing) Bill 1963.
Stales Grants (Universities) Bill 1963.
[4.1]. - I move -
That the following Order of the Day, Govern- ment Business, be discharged: -
No. 9 - Cuban Crisis Documents - Paper - Motion for Printing Paper - Resumption of debate upon the motion, That the paper be printed.
I have proposed this motion so that the printing of this paper, which is one of a set of documents that relate to the Cuban situation, may be the subject of consideration by the Joint Printing Committee, at whose request this procedure is being followed. The order has been on the noticepaper since November last year, and in the circumstances it is not considered necessary to debate the subject-matter at this time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
In 1932 the Commonwealth Insurance Act came into force and provided a measure of control over all insurers in Australia. In 1945, the Commonwealth legislated separately in regard to life insurance and the Insurance Act now relates only to general insurance business, i.e., fire, marine, accident, &c.
The essential feature of the Insurance Act is the requirement that insurers operating in the general insurance field must lodge deposits with the Commonwealth Treasurer. Those deposits are wholly charged in favour of policy owners and may be used by the Treasurer to settle claims under policies, provided that the policy owners concerned first obtain final judgments against the insurer in respect to such claims. In the event of the winding up of an insurance company, the Treasurer must apply the deposit to meet the company’s liabilities under the policies that it issued and only after all such liabilities have been’ settled in full is he authorized to pay any remaining balance to the liquidator.
Most insurance policies contain a clause to the effect that if the policy is cancelled by the insurer before its normal term expires, that proportion of the premium appropriate to the unexpired period of cover will be refunded to the policy owner. The Crown Solicitor advised recently that, in the winding up of an insurance company, claims for such refunds of premiums qualify for payment out of the deposits held by the Treasurer since they represent “ liabilities under policies “ within the meaning of the act. In practice, this means that, in a liquidation, almost every policy owner is entitled to some payment out of the deposit held by the Treasurer. Such claims for refunds of premiums range from a few pence to a few pounds, but in the aggregate they consume a large proportion of the deposit and therefore considerably reduce the amount available to those policy owners who have suffered substantial losses due to the occurrence of the risks insured under their policies. The Government believes that the deposits held should be available primarily for the benefit of those policy owners who face substantial losses because of the non-payment of their claims when an insurance company becomes insolvent. This bill, therefore, provides that claimants for these small refunds of premiums will not share in the distribution of the deposit. It removes a preference which was not intended to be given. Claims for these small refunds will, of course, still rank with the claims of ordinary unsecured creditors.
Since this act was last amended some three years ago, several insurance companies in Australia have become insolvent. As a result of those unfortunate happenings, the Government is carrying out a full review of the provisions of the Insurance Act, but it will be some time before that is completed. However, it believes that this particular weakness in the existing act should be removed at this stage so that the deposits lodged by those companies that are now in liquidation can be applied by the Treasurer solely for the benefit of those policy owners who have lodged claims in respect of the risks insured and who in many cases badly need the consequential financial relief.
This amendment will not apply to those companies that have entered into, or are in the process of entering into, schemes of arrangement with their creditors. As the creditors concerned, including the claimants under policies, have given their formal consent to them - indeed, in one case the New South Wales Supreme Court has approved the scheme - it is not considered that they should be disturbed at this stage.
I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) ead a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to obtain the approval of Parliament to certain amendments of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911-1946, in order to extend or improve the facilities available to subscribers to Commonwealth securities who wish to hold their investments in the form of inscribed stock. The Treasurer has received a number of representations from people who have suffered inconvenience under the existing arrangements, and it is hoped that the proposed new procedures will provide a solution to most of the problems which have been raised1 with the Treasurer.
Two main objectives will be achieved by the amendments proposed. First, it will become possible for subscribers to special bonds and treasury-notes to take advantage of the facilities for inscription of securities which are provided by the Inscribed Stock Act for investors in Commonwealth loans. Second, it will be possible for larger amounts of inscribed stock to be transmitted following the death of a stockholder, without the need to produce probate or letters of administration.
Hitherto, it has not been possible for investors to avail themselves of the inscription facilities provided by the Inscribed Stock Act for special bonds and treasurynotes because of technical provisions in the act. In the case of special bonds, the main reason is that the act provides that stock must be redeemed at par. One of the features of special bonds which has proved particularly attractive to the small investor is that not only can holders redeem their special bonds at short notice at par, immediately after their first interest date, but they may be redeemed at prices appreciably above par after being held for specified periods. Because of the present provisions of the act, large numbers of people with small amounts to invest have had to apply for their securities in the form of bearer bonds. There have been over 300,000 individual subscriptions to special bonds since they were introduced in 1958 and it seems desirable to give these people, and future investors, an opportunity to make use of the established procedures laid down in the Inscribed Stock Act and associated legislation for the safeguarding of stockholders. The Inscribed Stock Registries are conducted by the Reserve Bank on behalf of the Commonwealth and, as they are substantially mechanized, there will be very little additional cost involved for the Commonwealth in making this change.
The main reason why it has not been possible to extend the inscription facilities provided by the Inscribed Stock Act to treasury-notes has been that the act requires that inscribed stock must be issued bearing interest at half-yearly intervals. Treasurynotes are issued at a discount and bear no “ interest “ in the sense required by section 5 of the Inscribed Stock Act. Furthermore, treasury-notes are redeemed at par on maturity only three months after issue, and their life is consequently less than the minimum of six months envisaged by the act. Regulations approved when treasurynotes were first issued in July, 1962, have filled in the gap at this point by permitting registration of treasury-notes at the Inscribed Stock Registries, but it is unsatisfactory to allow this position to continue indefinitely. From a legal and practical point of view, it is preferable that the act be amended to enable treasury-notes to be inscribed in the same way as other Commonwealth securities.
Ever since 1927, the Inscribed Stock Act has contained a provision to the effect that the Treasurer may dispense with production of probate or letters of administration when a person dies leaving stock of an amount not exceeding £100. This amount is now unduly small in relation to the current costs of obtaining probate for small estates, and it is proposed to amend the act to permit transmissions without production of probate to a value prescribed by regulation. For the time being, it is proposed that the maximum amount which will be transmittable in this way will be £600, which is the same as the amount of bonds that the Commonwealth Banking Corporation may transmit, without production of probate, under the Commonwealth Banks Regulations.
Although the purposes of the bill are relatively simple, the involved nature of the Inscribed Stock Act has required a fair number of amendments to be made to the act to achieve the purposes I have outlined, and to ensure that investors in any of the securities in question are not inconvenienced by the new arrangements. However, each of the amendments proposed is related specifically to the achievement of these purposes, and has been designed to permit these added facilities to be offered to holders of Commonwealth inscribed stock, as soon as the new regulations which will have to be associated with the bill have been drafted and promulgated.
I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Suspension of Standing Orders.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the questions with regard to the stages for the passage through the Senate of all the following bills, namely -
Acts Interpretation Bill 1963,
Australian Antarctic Territory Bill 1963,
Christmas Island Bill 1963,
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Bill 1963,
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Bill 1963,
Seat of Government (Administration) Bill 1963, being put in one motion, at each stage, of the consideration of all such bills together in committee of the whole, and as would prevent the reading of the short titles only on every order for the reading of the bills.
Bills received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bills (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bills be now read a second time.
The first bill amends the Acts Interpretation Act. It deals with the tabling of documents in Parliament, citation of Imperial Acts in Commonwealth legislation, and the procedure for the disallowance of regulations. The complementary bills deal with the procedure for the disallowance of ordinances and regulations made under ordinances.
Recently the House of Representatives made changes in the Standing Orders of that House which would enable delivery of papers to the Clerk of the House and the recording of them in the “ Votes and Proceedings “ to be treated as presentation of the papers in the House on the day on which they are recorded in the “ Votes and Proceedings “. However, this method of presentation would not satisfy the existing Commonwealth legislation providing for presentation of papers, as the expressions used in such legislation are “ lay before “, “ present to “, “ table “ or “ lay on the table of” the Parliament or each House, and strict compliance with the legislation is necessary. The Acts Interpretation Bill therefore provides in effect that, notwithstanding the expressions denoting presenta- tion used in any legislation, the requirements of the legislation are nevertheless satisfied, if the documents are dealt with in the manner prescribed by the revised Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, or under any similar provisions the Senate may insert in its Standing Orders, for presenting documents to or otherwise bringing them to the notice of the House.
The Acts Interpretation Act provides at present that, in any act, instrument or document, any imperial act may be cited by its short title or by reference to the regnal year in which it was passed and its chapter number. The object of this provision is, of course, to eliminate the need to recite in full the long titles of such acts. The short methods of citing imperial acts were, until last year, the same under the United Kingdom law. However, from the beginning of this year, chapter number will be assigned to new United Kingdom acts by reference to the calendar year and such acts may, under the United Kingdom law, be cited by reference to the calendar year and chapter number. It is obviously desirable that such acts should be cited in the Commonwealth legislation in the same way as they are cited in the United Kingdom, and the Acts Interpretation Bill permits this to be done.
The last matter dealt with by the Acts Interpretation Bill relates to section 48 of the Acts Interpretation Act. That section requires regulations to be laid before each House of Parliament within fifteen sitting days of their making. The regulations are disallowed if, within fifteen sitting days from being laid before the House, either House passes a resolution to that effect, or if notice of motion of such resolution is given within that period and at the expiration of fifteen sitting days from the giving of notice the resolution has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of. In the view of the Government’s legal advisers, an expiry of the House of Representatives, or a dissolution or prorogation of Parliament, would have the effect of otherwise disposing of a notice of motion for disallowance and saving the validity of the regulation. Thus the Government in either House could avoid a vote on a motion for disallowance given near the end of session, by keeping it at the bottom of the noticepaper until prorogation, and although there would be no disposal of the notice of motion in any active or positive sense, the validity of the regulation would be saved.
To ensure that the Senate or the House of Representatives is not deprived of the opportunity to consider a resolution for the disallowance of regulations of which notice is given a short time before prorogation, dissolution or expiry, this bill provides that if a prorogation, dissolution or expiry occurs within fifteen sitting days of the giving of a notice of motion for disallowance and the notice has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of, the regulation shall be deemed to have been laid before the House concerned on the first sitting day of the House subsequent to prorogation, dissolution or expiry. This will enable a fresh notice of motion for disallowance to be given when the Parliament meets again after prorogation, dissolution or expiry. The bill makes also some clarifying amendments to the wording of sections 48 and 49 of the principal act.
There are five bills complementary to the Acts Interpretation Bill. The first of these, the Australian Antarctic Territory Bill, amends section 12 of the principal act. That section makes similar provision in relation to the ordinances of the Australian Antarctic Territory as is made by the present provisions of section 48 of the Acts Interpretation Act in relation to regulations made under Commonwealth acts, and it suffers from the same shortcomings as the latter section. This bill therefore clears up ambiguities in the language of section 12 of the principal act and ensures that, where notice of motion to disallow an ordinance of the Australian Antarctic Territory is given in either House of Parliament in accordance with the provisions of section 12 of the Australian Antarctic Territory Act, the Government cannot avoid a vote on a motion of disallowance of which notice is given near ‘the end of a session, by keeping it at the bottom of the notice-paper until expiry of the House of Representatives, prorogation of Parliament or a dissolution.
The second in the series of bills, complementary to the Acts Interpretation Bill, amends section 10 of the Christmas Island Act. The third in the series of bills amends section 13 of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act. The fourth of the five bills complementary to the Acts Interpretation Bill makes a similar amendment to section II of the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Act.
The Seat of Government (Administration) Bill is the last of the bills amending acts containing provisions with regard to disallowance of legislation made for Commonwealth Territories which are similar to the present provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act in relation to disallowance to regulations and have the same faults as the latter. That bill accordingly amends section 12 of the Seat of Government (Administration) Act, relating to disallowance of Australian Capital Territory ordinances and regulations made under them in the same manner in which the corresponding provision of the Acts Interpretation Act is being amended.
I commend all of these bills to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives, without amendment.
Debate resumed from 8th May (vide page 304), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a first time.
– As was stated during the rather hectic debate on the motion that the debate on the first reading be adjourned, this bill is one which gives all honorable senators an opportunity to discuss matters relevant or irrelevant to the bill. I should like to take the opportunity to say something about the attitude of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir William Spooner) and his tactics during the debate on the motion that the bill be adjourned to a later hour of the day instead of following the usual procedure of adjourning the debate to the next day of sitting.
The Leader of the Government seemed to get rather upset over the statement by Senator McKenna that the Senate had sat, on the average, about five hours a month over the last five or six months. I think the exact time is 29 hours 39 minutes for the entire period. The honorable senator unleashed a tirade of abuse on members on this side, taking the old line that we were incompetent, that the Opposition was suffering from ineptitude, that we could not provide speakers and all that sort of stuff. He was, of course, then on the air. It has been a fault of his in recent times not to be careful in keeping to the facts. I would not accuse any man of wilfully coming into this chamber and telling untruths unless I could nail him, but to my mind a half truth is worse than a lie.
Both Senator McKenna and I took part in the discussion last Wednesday on whether the debate should be adjourned to a later hour that day or whether it should be adjourned to the next day of sitting. Senator McKenna said that he wanted the debate to be adjourned until the next day of sitting. I, too, pointed out that that was the usual procedure, so that honorable senators on this side could have a look at the bill. It is true that on a bill such as this, and on a bill dealing with supply, an honorable senator can talk on anything under the sun; but nevertheless, it is usual to allow honorable senators time to consider the matter. I hate the thought of divulging confidences, but when a person gets up and tells only half of what was said one is apt to get a little bit hot under the collar. It is true that the Leader of the Government did say that he wanted the debate adjourned until a later hour that day. I said to him, “ Break it down, what is the reason? “ He stated the reason, but it was not the reason that he had implied in his speech. He told only half the story. When I challenged him by way of interjection at least to tell the whole story he said, “ I have said it all “, or words to that effect. Any one can have a look at the report of his speech in “ Hansard “.
The flimsy reason he gave was that the Senate had not sat very much and, as Leader of the Government he did not want to adjourn the Senate while the proceedings were being broadcast. A vital principle was not involved. I do not think there was any reason for him to get so heated during the course of the debate on a question whether the debate on a bill be adjourned to a later hour of the day or until the next day of sitting - the latter being the usual procedure.
In future, if there are any agreements between the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Government - and 1 admit there must be some discussions-
– There was no agreement.
– There was no agreement, but there was a discussion. I am delighted that the Leader of the Government has entered the chamber. I knew he would be hearing what I was saying on his loudspeaker. I was not taking an unfair advantage of him. I hope that in future he will state the facts. He has not been altogether prone to state the facts of late. Let us be quite candid about this. The Minister stated that he had never refused any one the right to interview any of his officers. I remember, for instance, an occasion when I rang his office - or rather 1 got my secretary to ring. I was in my office when she made the call. I cannot pinpoint the actual date or the bill that was under discussion at the time, but I think it was something to do with oil. The Minister can say there was no such occasion. I admit it is pretty hard to nail a person when you cannot pinpoint the exact occasion, as I cannot in this instance, but I have also a recollection of a report that I read on an inquiry into the coal industry. This matter bears out my contention that the Minister does not keep to facts as much as I should like him to, particularly when he gets hot under the collar and commences to call the Opposition names when the proceedings of the Senate are being broadcast. As soon as he had made his remarks, I might mention, he moved that the question be put, with the result that no one could rise and answer him. I suppose it is his right to move that the question be put and also, being a Minister, he has the opportunity to get the call.
Let me refer to the matter I have in mind. A federal parliamentary Labour Party mining committee investigated coal production. The report of that committee says that Senator Spooner who, of course, is the federal Minister in charge of the Joint Coal Board, was approached by the chairman of the committee. So that the Minister can call this to mind, I remind him that the chairman of the committee was Mr. Luchetti, an honorable member in another place. Senator Spooner was asked whether he would allow Mr.
Cochran, the chairman of the Joint Coal Board, to give evidence. The report says -
Verbal assurances were given that this permission would be forthcoming. It was with regret therefore that your Committee learned that Mr. Cochran would be unable to appear. This refusal of the responsible Minister of the Federal Government to allow the person most experienced! in the problems of the industry to appear before your Committee not only seriously retarded your Committee’s investigation, but raised much graver and wider issues of the extent to which a Government is entitled to monopolize the wisdom and experience of professional public servants.
I have no doubt about the incident I mentioned with regard to myself, when I was refused access to one of the Minister’s departmental officers, and there is also this matter which I have just mentioned. I did not make a note of the matter that concerned myself, so I cannot pinpoint the date or the question involved, but I have been able to pinpoint this other occasion where an assurance was given and then withdrawn.
I think that the statement about the ineptitude of the Opposition and that honorable senators on this side are not capable of making speeches and will not do their homework is a little bit airy fairy, but it is also a bit nauseating. When all is said and done the Opposition in a parliament h..s much more work to do - as far as parliamentary affairs :.re concerned - than Ministers have. When a Minister introduces a bill his second-reading speech is given to him. I am not saying that he cannot make a speech, but the speech is given to him and all he has to do is to read it. Admittedly he reads it quite well. I am not saying either that a Minister has not to go through the bill and know what it is all about, the position of members of the Opposition is entirely different. If they are fortunate enough to have some one to help them, as I have, that makes a difference, but if they are in the position of the average backbencher, whether on this side or on the Government side, they have a fair amount of work to do. I hope that in the future when things get a bit heated and the sins of the Government are factually stated - as they were when it was pointed out that the Senate sat for only 29 hours and 39 minutes in five months - the Minister will not become abusive. I do not know whether it is right or wrong as I have only heard it on the grapevine, but
I believe that the Minister may be going to Washington within a few months. If he s, I wish him well.
– You can deny that on my behalf.
– The Minister says that I can deny that. It is remarkable what one hears on the grapevine, but know- i ng that Sir Howard Beale is due to return soon from Washington, I thought it advisable that the Minister should be told a Jew truths now in case he does go. I hope that in future, while our proceedings are being broadcast the Minister will play the game and give us an even chance.
The debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. I) has given me the opportunity to get that off my chest. 1 am not so heated as 1 would have been had I followed the Minister in the debate last Wednesday. I would have been in, boots and all, but there is nothing like time to quieten a man down. Time is the great healer. I cannot see why the Government wanted to make the Appropriation Bill (No. 2), which was introduced only on Wednesday, an order of the day for a later hour that day, when we were to sit again on Thursday. It was not debated then and did not arise until now.
Having said that, with less heat than I f elt last Wednesday, I propose now to say something about overseas trade. This is a s ubject of great concern to me and, no doubt, to everybody else in this chamber. I t is also of concern to every one who has the welfare of Australia at heart. There are many such people and I have no doubt hat there would be many more if such large lumbers were not compelled to devote their whole lives to the job of trying to make ends meet.
One must be worried about the position of overseas trade to-day. Two or three ears ago I made a speech about overseas investments in Australia, believing that s ooner or later the day would come when they would cause us very grave concern. Only last week we received from the Bureau of Census and Statistics the trade figures or the first nine months of this year. This material is very useful, if one has the time t o read and absorb it. In recent months we h ave seen the balance of trade going up and d own, but overall, our exports and imports h ave been more or less on par. That may give the impression that everything is all right, but when we take into account the invisibles we find that this is not so. Indeed, we find that we aregetting into a pretty bad plight.
Honorable senators on this side of the chamber have always been concerned about Australia sending her exports abroad on ships other than our own because we have no overseas shipping line. It is true, as I think the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) said recently, that there are two sides to the economics of this question. I agree with him, but it is a fact that every country that has a decent mercantile fleet subsidizes its shipping. Admittedly, although a nationally-owned shipping line would be able to take our exports abroad, a difficulty might arise with imports.
– I thought you were going to say “ when it came to loading them “.
– I have some knowledge of the waterside industry and know that there are faults on both sides. The honorable senator should not think that the faults are all on one side. The sooner that belief is dispelled the sooner will we be rid of these unfortunate happenings on the waterfront. I have said before in this chamber that these fellows cannot be kicked around. If honorable senators opposite and the ship-owners continue to believe that they can do as they like with the waterside workers, the country will continue to be worried by happenings such as we have had in recent weeks. I do not think any sane person wants that.
– I did not say-
– Do not run away from it. You want to buy in and crack the waterside worker at every opportunity. When you talk about loading ships, do not run away with the idea that the faults are all on one side. However, I do not want to be diverted from the subject that I am discussing. The so-called “ invisibles “ cause a great drain on our export income. I invite honorable senators to look at the figures since 1956. In that year, freight and insurance costs amounted to £112,000,000; in 1957, to £227,000,000; in 1958, £126,000,000; in 1959, £122,000,000; in1960, £137,000,000; in 1961, £167,000,000; and in 1962.. £142,000,000. Added to those amounts are the dividends paid overseas on investments in Australia. We find that dividends payable overseas on investments in Australia have been as follows: -
These amounts are taken from the balanceofpayments figures provided by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, Canberra, for the first half of the year 1962- 63. We make good the deficit in our balance of payments by encouraging indiscriminate private investment in Australia. It is interesting to look at the details of such investment from 1956 to 1962. They are as follows: -
– What would you describe as the discriminate part of this investment?
– I do not want to answer that question now. I want to deal with the picture which I am presenting. I think this is a very vital matter for this country. I do not say that the influx of capital into this country has not helped. lt has. It has given employment. But I do not want to see this country get like Canada is to-day. That is what worries me.
– I do not think any one docs.
– Unless we take appropriate action at some stage it will. Unless you commence to put the stopper on, whether in 1963 or later, we shall have to take the consequences. Every Premier, irrespective of party political colour, is going overseas, and he thinks it is a tremendous gain if he gets some foreign investor. I do not use the term “ foreign “ in a nasty way. If a Premier can attract from abroad £50,000,000 for investment in industry, to take over existing industry, or even establish a competitor in an existing industry, he thinks he has done a great job. But sooner or later we shall have to pay. It would be foolish to say that there is not some immediate gain. But I do not think we should run away with the immediate gain. Whilst, in the past, foreign investment has brought substantial benefits, changing the character and direction of investment causes grave misgivings, not to say alarm.
To-day, we are increasing our dependence on overseas capital for manufacturing industries. Brian Fitzpatrick, who is an economist of some note, has stated that about one-third of total manufacturing investment is coming from overseas. Then there is the growing cost of dividends paid overseas. That is rather interesting also. For the ten years from 1952-53 to 1961-62 the value of our exports was £8,708,000,000 at d the servicing cost or dividends paid overseas was £836,000,000, the equivalent of 9.6 per cent. For the five years from 1957-58 to 1961-62, when the total value of our exports was £4,539,000,000, dividends paid overseas amounted to £498,000,000, representing more than 10 per cent. The figures that I have quoted do not take into account profits retained in Australia or undistributed profits which the parent company overseas can take at any time.
Recently, I read in a newspaper that the Ford Motor Company of Australia Proprietary Limited is going to re-invest so many million pounds in its plant, mainly at Broadmeadows and Geelong. The time must come when General Motors-Holden’s Proprietary Limited and the Ford company cannot keep on re-investing in their own industries. Of course, there is nothing to stop them from investing their profits in some other industry. But if the parent company overseas wants the money we could find that l-> per cent, of our export earnings, instead of 10 per cent., would have to be paid in dividends overseas. I do not think that those figures can be disputed; and they L.USt cause some concern. Where do we finish? At what stage can we say to overseas investors: “ Now listen! We want you here. We are friends of yours. But you cannot have it all for yourself. You cani -t invest millions of pounds in this country and keep every one else out.” I think that General Motors-Holden’s Pro- prietary Limited did this; it built its empire jnd got every one else out. One cannot deny that that company provided a needed industry for this country. It is entitled to a fair amount of profit; but it is bad from the nation’s point of view if all such profit is continually paid overseas. If the famous legislation concerning restrictive trade practices ever sees the light of day I do not enow how it will affect some of the foreign companies. A number of these companies permit their Australian subsidiaries only a restricted franchise on export sales. I have stated this before, but it is worth stating again.
Professor Arndt, in a paper on export franchises in the “ Economic Record “, some years back, claimed that of the 659 Australian firms associated with United States firms, 275 were interested in export trade. He said -
Of this 275, 101, or 40 per cent., were restrained from export to certain areas.
I hope that if the projected bill to deal with restrictive trade practices is introduced, it will cover these firms. When all :s said and done, no one would say that they cannot come here, but sooner or later, we must face the position that a certain proportion of the money invested in Australia ought to be our own. I do not think ve should say to any interests, “ You have a monopoly and so you can do what you like “.
I do not believe even this Government, which believes in the glorious principles of free enterprise, would be very happy with ;he way things are going in this connexion when we have before us the example of Canada. It is fantastic that a country should be so deeply in pawn to another country as Canada is to the United States of America. Canada’s trade deficit is astronomical and only because nearly :-H rs industries are controlled from the United States. The Attorney-General has been toying for quite a long while with legislation .for the control of restrictive trade practices. Answering a question in the Senate to-day the Leader of the Government (Senator Sir William Spooner) -.aid in his nice way, “Do not dream that any group could bring pressure on this ministry, either collectively or individually “. That statement is very nice. It went over the radio network and many listeners would believe it; but many would not. They know the facts prove that such a statement is good politics when directed to those without a knowledge of the facts. It is not acceptable to those who know the facts.
Professor Arndt has said that there are 101 companies in Australia which are American subsidiaries and are restrained in their export trade. But the fact is also that, of 560 British subsidiaries in Australia, 71 are restrained in their trade. So it is not a matter of whether one country or another controls these companies, lt is a remarkable fact that the leaders of industry in both countries, irrespective of their nationality, always have the same methods for making more money. I hope that the legislation that is being prepared will apply to restrictive trade practices by all industries, whether they are subsidiaries of American or British companies. Once an industry is started in Australia it should be governed so that if we can sell ils products to advantage anywhere in the world, that will be done.
We are longing to see the bill. We have been told about it for a number of years but very little progress has been made in framing it. Some sketchy plan has seen the light of day, and whether we see it in its present form or abbreviated in word and power depends on how influential its opponents are. If the Government were so keen to bring down a bill to stop these practices one would have expected that the bill would have been brought down a long while ago.
Another matter for concern in relation to the investment in Australia of outside money is that there is no guarantee that the flow will continue when economic conditions fluctuate. When things are good there is likely to be capital available for investment; but we are not likely to get it in a depression, when we want investments. In 1951-52, when there was a boom and wool was selling at very high prices, £69,000,000 of capital from overseas was invested in Australia in ons year. But the position altered in 1952-53 following the horror budget. I remember saying this once before. In that year, the inflow of capital fell to £7,600,000. In 1960-61 capital investment from overseas totalled £232,000,000, but when the full effects of the credit squeeze became evident investment fell to £132,000,000.
So you cannot gamble on an even flow of overseas capital investment in Australia. One cannot blame investors if they calculate that they are likely to get a better return when things are good than they will when times are bad. In bad times they shy away from such investments. The lesson seems to be that money from overseas is available when we need it least and not when we need it most.
One must also look at the profit returns. In 1955, a total of 494,000,000 dollars was invested in Australia and earned 64,000,000 dollars profit, which in round figures is equivalent to 13 per cent. That figure is taken from the publication “ Growth of Foreign Investments in the United States of America “ produced by the United States Chamber of Commerce.
I have referred to Canada and have said that we do not want to follow blindly in its footsteps and get ourselves into a similar financial morass with our balance of payments. Statistics show that the percentage of Canadian industries controlled by United States companies in 1926 was 35 per cent. By 1953 the figure had grown to 47 per cent, and in 1957 it was more than 50 per cent. That means that more than half the manufacturing industries of Canada are owned across the border. Some might ask, “ What harm is there in that? “ I hope to prove later that there is great harm in it for Canada’s balance of payments.
In the mining industry, Canadian enterprises controlled by United States companies totalled 38 per cent, in 1921. The proportion had risen to 57 per cent, in 1953. I have not the figures for 1957. Fifty per cent, of the petroleum industry in Canada is owned in the United States of America and this has created a tremendous problem for Canada. In 1959, Canada had a record deficit in its balance of payments of 1,460,000,000 dollars. Of this amount 1,074,000,000 dollars resulted from invisible transactions and 600,000,000 dollars at least was related to the service of foreign capital.
I know it is not easy to control these practices, and I do not propose to say how it could be done, but I think that the best brains in Australia should be asked to look at this problem and judge what is best for Australia. Should we continue to invite people to come here and invest their dollars or their pounds, or should we find another means by which to finance the growing needs of our developing country? I believe that the desirability of attracting overseas investment varies according to the circumstances of the time. Continuing foreign investment, with a consequent increase of our overseas debt, is not desirable. If foreign capital is to be sought, I very much prefer to have it raised by way of public loans which are repayable over a long term.
If private investment is essential, regard must be had to certain factors. Australia must share the profits equitably, and the investment must provide for the construction of new assets rather than purchase control over existing assets. Between 1957 and 1962 company investment rose from £103,000,000 to £132,000,000 a rise of 25 per cent. Portfolio invesment rose from £9,000,000 to £36,000,000, an increase of 400 per cent.
– Would that be because of the oil boom?
– That may be so. I do not think there is any great divergence of opinion. We must find a solution to this problem. To do so is vital to Australia’s welfare. It is far better to nip this thing in the bud than to let it continue and engulf us in the way in which Canada appears to have been engulfed.
– Do you suggest that Labour’s policy is the solution?
– I seem to recall that the General Motors Corporation was enticed by a Labour Prime Minister to undertake motor car manufacture here. I believe we even lent it some money, which I suppose has been paid back. But the problem we are considering is above such considerations. Fortunately the Government now does not propose to let the personnel of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority be dispersed when their service with that organization is no longer required. It took the Government a long time to adopt that policy, but I am glad that it has done so. But I believe that just as we have capable engineers in this country, so we have able financial brains.
I do not know whether the Government will restrict the rate of profit of investing companies. I hope it will do so, but I doubt very much whether it will. No one is so foolish as to think that a person who invests money does not expect to get some return; but I believe the time should come when we should say that companies which have been financed with overseas capital should partly, if not wholly, be owned by Australians. Let me quote a report which appeared last Thursday in the “Daily Telegraph”, the Government’s most servile and fawning supporter-
Mr. C. G. Crane, A.M.P. chairman, is worried about the number of overseas companies operating here, which exclude Australian investment.
His concern at the “increasing degree” of overseas ownership which gives little chance for local capital to find long-term investments will be felt by many other Australians.
This country welcomes the stimulus and increased employment given by overseas firms which establish themselves here. But it hopes that they will offer more opportunities for local investors to share in their enterprise.
There are many cases of overseas firms which have taken Australian shareholders into partnership. That is what everybody wants and the way it should be done.
I do not want to say that I am right because I happen to agree with the “ Daily Telegraph “, but even in that newspaper one finds, on this occasion, a worth-while comment.
It is wrong for us to act like the ostrich and to put our heads in the sand. We do not want to awake in years to come to find that this country is in pawn to another even though, in at least one particular aspect, that country is a friend of ours. We must remember that we are charged with the responsibility of governing this country. In a period of ten months in 1961-62 the value of our exports exceeded that oi our imports by £169,900,000. In the corresponding period in this financial year, the value of our imports exceed that of our exports by £13,600,000. No one can gloat over that fact. One regrets that that is the position. When one takes into account invisibles such as insurance and the cost of transporting our exports, as well as the dividends that are remitted to overseas companies, one sees just how impossible is the situation into which we are getting.
We have gained some respite because Britain has not joined the European Common Market. But I do not think any one will be game enough to say that she will not join the Common Market sooner or later. From Australia’s point of view, I did not want Britain to join the Common Market; but if I had lived in Brtain I would have disagreed with a lot of people and would have fought for Britain to join, because I believe that Britain’s salvation lies in her joining up with Europe. How can the United Kingdom knock back a market of about 145,000,000 people right on her back doorstep for the sake of a market of 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 people in this part of world. We would all want her to do it, but we must put ourselves in the position of Englishmen. Sooner or later the United Kingdom will have to make advances in some direction. Each succeeding year we are buying less from her. We have made trade treaties with Japan, which is buying more of our coal and sugar. To-day we do not find the same hostility as used to be found towards Japanese goods. World War II. is receding further and further. Whilst it is true that one cannot expect every nation to balance its account with every other nation, in the overall picture a nation gets into a very bad position if it does not achieve a balance. At one stage, Japan was buying £74,000,000 worth of Australian goods, while Australia was buying only £8,000,000 worth of Japanese goods. One can understand how the Japanese felt about that.
I raise this question because I am interested in it and I sincerely hope that I have not bored the Senate. We have a duty to do the best we can for this nation according to our lights. We have, to my mind, a greater duty to protect its future, because in that way we shall be protecting the future of our own children. I shall therefore be delighted if the Government will give some thought to the question. This is not a matter of politics, with one side or the other gaining. If the Government went out of office to-morrow, I should still like to see an inquiry to determine where we were going. We cannot allow the position to continue as at present. We have the facts in relation to Canada. The matter is important enought to justify taking up the time of the Senate. We shall have to tell our friends that this activity cannot go on as it has gone on in the past.
– 1 have very much pleasure in supporting the motion for the first reading of the bill, and I shall take the opportunity to discuss quite a few diversified subjects. This is the first opportunity that 1 have had to s.<y “ Thank you “ to the Senate for being given the privilege of representing the Australian Parliament at the last session of the United Nations Organization. This was a very great privilege indeed and I was very fortunate to have it. 1 express my appreciation for the co-operation and friendliness of my co-delegate, Senator Dittmer, lt was quite a treat to have him with me. I am very sorry that he is not in the chamber to hear me say so.
We know that supply is needed to carry on services of the country until the Budget is passed later in the year. An amount of more than £140,000 is to be provided for the United Nations, to be used in providing food for hungry people. A nationwide appeal is to be conducted, I understand, for this purpose very shortly. I know that such an appeal is to be conducted in New South Wales and 1 think that it will extend to other States. This is a very worthy object indeed. Those of us who have any aspirations towards Christianity must feel sympathetic to those people - and there are so many of them - who are denied even sufficient food to exist from day to day.
I am glad to see that an additional £1,500,000 is being sought for the completion of the standard-gauge railway between Albury and Melbourne. This will bring almost to a close a project that has occupied the minds of quite a number of people in this Parliament for years. We are already reaping the fruits of the labours of those persons who first suggested this work, in the large increase in the number of passengers and the volume of freight carried, particularly between Sydney and Melbourne but also between Brisbane and Melbourne. We shall receive additional benefits from the standardization of the rail link between Broken Hill and Port Pirie.
Another matter that fills me with a great deal of satisfaction is the proposed provision of about £178,000 for work in the Northern Territory. This is not enough, but it represents a step in the right direction. Those of us who have seen conditions of life in the Northern Territory, the possibilities for development and expansion, and the urgent need for these, are very pleased to see that the Government proposes that this sum be made available. We must pay tribute to the Federal Inland Development Organization and its work over the past three or four years. We are not all in accord with the association’s aims but we are all behind it in its main objective, which is the development of the Northern Territory. Whether the development is achieved by this means or that means does not matter very much, so long as we get that part of the continent developed as quickly as possible. The provision of roads in the Northern Territory is a very pressing problem. One of the factors militating against a rapid road development programme is the lack of adequate roadmaking equipment. I hope that this lack will be overcome very shortly.
As a Country Party senator, I want to say something about our primary industries. We are all aware that wool is bringing quite decent prices and that, so far as one can judge, there is every prospect of these prices being stabilized for six, nine or twelve months. The lack of stabilization of prices has been one of the bugbears of the industry for the past four or five years. We get good prices, perhaps, in the first few months of the season, or midway through a season, or at the tail end of the season, but for the balance of the season we do not get good prices. These continual fluctuations make conditions hard for the buyer and the manufacturer, but even harder for the producer. Therefore, it is to be devoutly hoped that prices will remain at somewhere near the present level. I know that I shall be told that wool prices are not high enough. That is probably true in some instances.
The growers who have been growing wool for some time and who did not have to pay exorbitant prices for the land on which they are growing the wool, in the main receive a reasonable, return for their outlay and the work they do, having regard to present-day prices. Of course, suggestions have been made by various organizations that we must have a wool stabilization scheme. We must remember, however, that the new body which has been set up only in the last few months has undertaken to have a look at this matter at the earliest opportunity. I, for one, think it is rather foolish and, indeed, futile, for pressure to be applied by the organizations which want to see that objective given first priority. The matter will be looked at, and regardless of the decision which is reached, at this stage at any rate we must leave it there.
We have just had a record wheat crop in Australia. In growing wheat, the farmer never knows until the crop is actually harvested how much it will be worth. Nothing gets under the skin of the wheat-grower more than to read in the press, perhaps in July, and even in May or June, depending on the district concerned, that conditions favour a record wheat crop. Fortunately, such statements are becoming much rarer, but a few years ago it was quite common to read comments of that nature in the press. They annoyed the unfortunate wheat-grower who had yet to sow his crop. Perhaps he was not ready to sow it, but if he had sown it he would not know whether it would come up or, having come up, whether frosts, rust and the other things which militate against a reasonable harvest, would eventuate.
Wheat prices at the moment are reasonable. Recently in this chamber questions were asked about the Wheat Stabilization Fund. This is a matter on which I have spoken on nearly every occasion that wheat has been mentioned here. I feel that the position of the fund must be emphasized, because people’s memories are so short. One of the factors which I thought would be brought up against the wheat industry was that the grower was no longer obliged to make financial contributions to the fund. As a result, it may eventually become necessary for the government of the day to contribute to the fund in accordance with the wheat agreements. Senator Wade, who represents the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) in this chamber, agreed, in reply to a question only last week or the week before, that the wheat-growers had contributed about £200,000,000 to the fund. This sum was in effect a contribution by the wheatgrowers towards the provision of cheaper bread for the consumers. Now that the Government has been called upon to make contributions to the fund we hear the cry, “The wheat-grower is being subsidized; this is not a fair crack of the whip “. The people who make statements such as that overlook the fact that for years the wheatgrower accepted a lower price for his wheat than he would have received had it not been for the provision that wheat for home consumption should be made available at a price lower than that of wheat for export.
I come to the dairying industry. At this moment in my own State of New South Wales the farmers in a very large dairying area are suffering untold privation. Some dairy-farmers have experienced their third or fourth flood in as many months. Indeed, in certain areas the floods are the worst which the residents have experienced. Last week I was told by two dairy-farmers that in one small area 1,200 dairy cows had been lost. In addition to the loss of dairy herds there is also the loss of production because the fields are flooded and covered with silt. They cannot be used again for a matter of months. With winter coming on, the task of the dairy-farmers in those areas will be so much harder. A friend of mine who occupies a prominent place in the dairying industry told me that only a few weeks ago the great problem in the area was how to dispose of the surplus milk. To-day, the problem that his organization has to examine is where Sydney is to obtain its milk supply in the coming months. The most recent floods, on top of the other vicissitudes of the dairying industry in that part of New South Wales, are almost the last straw.
Dairy-farmers in New South Wales today, apart from those whose farms are in the milk zone - that is, those who are able to sell their milk, at remunerative prices, to the big cities - have been having a very hard time indeed. The dairying industry can really be regarded as the Cinderella of the primary industries to-day. We hear complaints about dairy-farmers not receiving sufficient finance, but when we examine the propositions that are put up we realize that, in many instances, through no fault of the dairy-farmers concerned, the equity which they can present to the bank or other financial institution is of such a nature that, in fairness, it cannot be accepted. That is true of people who work seven days a week for 365 days a year. They work long hours, and in most cases every member of the family living on a dairy farm is engaged in work on the farm.
People say, “ Well, if it is not remunerative why do they not get out? “ In many cases, all that the farmer has in the world is represented by the cattle, the machinery and the farm itself, and it is not so easy for him to get out. In most instances the farms are too small to be used for cattle raising, and they are certainly too small for sheep breeding. Therefore, to use a colloquialism, they seem to be stuck with their farms. If the farmers sell out and look for jobs, inevitably there will be a drift towards the cities and a blow will be struck at decentralization.
We know that this Government, since it has been in office, has been contributing large sums annually for the purpose of providing assistance to the dairying industry and, at the same time, permitting the consumers to buy cheaper butter. I hope that a way will be found to assist further the people in the plight I have mentioned. The dairy farmers in Victoria are ever so much better off than are the farmers in New South Wales to whom I have referred. One of the difficulties, of course, is that in many instances there has been insufficient capital to start with, and the owners of farms have never had the opportunity to get ahead. The reason may be lack of sufficient mechanization, but it is certainly not lack of hard work and enterprise. It is very galling to see people who are working as hard as are the dairy farmers, and putting up with all kinds of privations, receiving so little for the work they do.
Let me return to the position of the meat industry. There is no question that during the last couple of years the value of the meats that we have been able to sell to the United States of America has been a great boon to Australia. The type of meat required has allowed many meat producers to get rid of their cull cattle, because cattle of that kind are required for the markets in America. The producers were also given an opportunity to get rid of inferior bulls, including scrub bulls. While I was in England I had an opportunity to visit the great meat market at Smithfield. The people of London are very fortunate in that they have very good meat available to them.
– Did you have a look at Billingsgate?
– I did not have a look at the Billingsgate fish market because I was interested not so much in fish as in meat. The criticism I heard about our Australian meat, particularly lamb, was that although we seemed to have sufficient grades of lamb we did not have the same uniformity within the grades as New Zealand, for instance, has. Of course, we are not so favorably situated as New Zealand in that we draw our fat lambs at various seasons of the year from widely dispersed districts of Australia. Also, we have not been able to settle on a particular breed of fat lambs; we are producing many different breeds. Some are a bit long in the leg, and that is the sort of thing the London market does not want. New Zealand, on the other hand, mainly raises its lambs on improved pasture and consequently its lambs can be marketed with more uniformity in any particular batch and New Zealand also achieves a greater continuity of supply than we have in Australia. Those are some of the things we have to fight against in maintaining our market for lamb overseas. Frequently a housewife in England will go to her butcher and ask for Canterbury Iamb, which is the name for New Zealand lamb. The butcher may not have sufficient New Zealand lamb and will put in a bit of Australian lamb at the same price, although Canterbury lamb is 2d. per lb. higher than Australian lamb. The buyer will go away quite satisfied that she is going to eat New Zealandlamb, and in all probability will never know the difference.
I now turn to fruit. We have our ups and downs with fruit. Here again I had the opportunity of looking at the position in London. Our canned fruit industry has a very good reputation there. Our Trade Commissioner told me that a number of large British firms were insisting that the canned fruit they buy for sale be of Australian origin. A few months ago I had the opportunity, along with others, to look at some of our irrigation areas in New South Wales and see fruit and rice growing at Leeton and Griffith. The fruit was being harvested when we were there. The growers were faced with what looked to be a large surplus of peaches but unfortunately, in one sense, the large surplus did not eventuate because, just after we were there, rain destroyed the expected surplus. I understand that the Division of Agricultural Economics forecast that the yield for that area this year would reach the number of tons that would have been actually harvested had the rain not spoilt the surplus. Extra provision had not been made to cope with the surplus that was forecast. I am not going into the reasons why the extra provision was not made, but the fact is that it was not, and it looked as though a large surplus of fruit would have to be dumped. Had notice been taken of the forecast that was made and provision made for canning this fruit, the surplus crop could have been handled.
We have made great strides in rice production. On behalf of the rice-growers of that area I extend a cordial invitation to all members of the Senate to look for themselves at Australia’s rice-growing industry. The growers want us to see for ourselves just what is being done and to get an appreciation of the problems involved. One cannot leave the area without being proud of the work being done, of the efficiency of the rice-growers organization and its cooperative marketing ideas, and the whole set-up generally.
One of the difficulties confronting the industry is that growers are allowed only a certain amount of water over a six years’ period. With that water they may grow whatever they like. Rice, of course, requires more water than do orchards or pastures. The amount allowed for a sixyear period is sufficient for a man to grow 50 or 60 acres of rice, but after the sixth year the amount of water allowed is decreased. This means that in most cases by that time the farmer puts his land under pasture or fruit and goes out of rice growing. Probably that is unfortunate. It means that our rice production is suffering. It would not be necessary to decrease the amount of water allowed to a farmer were the Blowering dam in existence to-day. Honorable senators have heard me asking questions about the Blowering dam - why it has not been commenced, and all the rest of it. If the Blowering dam were in existence these people in the Coleanbally area would be able to get all the water they needed and would be able to keep in rice production.
– There are a lot of other dams.
– This is one that the New South Wales Government undertook to have built when it was needed, but that government has fallen down on its job. The honorable senator knows that as well as I do. Another thing is that it costs £7 lis. lOd. a ton for farmers in this area to transport their produce to Sydney. That again is something that the honorable senator should take up with the New South Wales Government.
The question of rural finance has come up from time to time in this chamber. Mention has been made of the setting up of the Commonwealth Development Bank by this Government. The bank has been very helpful indeed and, on the whole, is doing a very good job. Members of the staff whom I have come in contact with are very knowledgeable, down-to-earth men. It is inevitable that until the money that has been lent begins to be repaid the bank will be short of funds. What the position is at present I do not know, but I should be surprised if the bank will not need more funds shortly. I have no doubt that the Government has this in mind and will make provision for it.
One criticism about the Development Bank which I have voiced from time to time is that it has got away from the idea envisaged by the then Treasurer, Sir Arthur Fadden. He envisaged that the bank would make provision for people who had all the qualifications of successful applicants but did not have the necessary finance. Since the act was passed emphasis has been placed on development. It is of no use any young man trying to obtain finance to purchase a property. The bank does not make a habit of advancing funds for the purchase of a property. When a man has purchased a property, unless it is capable of being further developed he cannot get assistance from the Development Bank. That is not right. That want needs filling. How we should go about it I do not know, but it needs to be looked at. Many young chaps have had experience on the land. They have the knowledge and the will and are prepared to work. If they do not remain on the land they will drift to the city and join those looking for jobs - r something which will not help with our decentralization policy.
The next branch of primary industry on which I want to touch is merino sheep breeding. There is no question that merino sheep have made Australia what it is today. We would rue the day very much if Australia’s prestige in the merino sheep industry were to drop as a consequence of something that could be avoided. 1 know that many people think that everything in the garden is lovely and that breeders are continuing to breed large flocks of merino sheep - and making a lot of money out of it.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– A lot of thinking about merino sheep breeding in Australia is not founded on fact. It is a common fallacy that our large studs to-day are very prosperous, that the owners are making a lot of money and that everything in the garden is rosy. That is not so. I have been given an opportunity to see the figures for some of our large studs, and these figures show very conclusively that the studs have not been making very great profits at all. Indeed, in many cases the profits made have been from wool rather than from ram and ewe breeding. It may well be said that we have dozens and dozens of merino flocks and that new ones are coming in all the time. That is very true, but also many flocks are going out of existence for various reasons. We must have merino studs if we are to have the supply of rams that is necessary to continue merino sheep breeding at the level that is so necessary to our economy. If the quality of our merino wool declines this will react very unfavourably and very quickly on Australia. That is something of which we must take notice.
I regret that so far we have not given this matter the attention it really deserves. If the owner of a large stud dies and the family he leaves behind does not take an interest in it, that stud may go out of existence. If that happened to two or three of our major studs it would become a very serious matter for the wool industry of Australia. Therefore, I think it is of the utmost importance that a lot of attention be given to this matter.
It may well be asked why 1 am singling out the merino sheep breeders. Other sheep breeders are doing a very good job with various breeds of sheep - with fat lambs, British breeds and so on - and that is all very valuable, but these activities do not have the same importance to the Australian economy as the merino sheep has. That is the point that I want to emphasize. One of the very minor concessions for which the sheep breeders have been working is that the buyer of a stud ram should be allowed to write off in one year, for taxation purposes, the purchase price of that ram. That could be quite a help. We must realize, too, that access to certain markets, such as South Africa, has been denied to the sheep breeders - not by the Government, but by others in the industry. Many of our wool-growers feel that if permission were granted to the merino sheep breeders, for instance, to sell their rams in South Africa, it would mean that the Australian purchaser would have to pay a higher price for rams. Opinions are divided on this subject, which is another problem that has been handed over to our newly constituted Australian Wool Board. I think it is of the utmost importance that attention be given to this matter. We could assist the merino sheep breeders further by granting some relaxation in probate duties because, as I have mentioned, it is essential that properties be large if they are to be used for this purpose. Otherwise, insufficient rams will be bred to meet the demand for them.
I turn from that to the proposed economic inquiry. It is a matter of very considerable satisfaction to a very large body of primary producers in Australia that this inquiry is to be held. But concern has been expressed at the possibility that evidence will be taken only in the form of written submissions. I know that such a course would reduce the time that would otherwise be taken by an open inquiry, but I feel that perhaps a better solution would be to invite written submissions and then to ask the organizations concerned to attend to be examined on their submissions. If the economic inquiry were to rely only on written submissions, I am very much afraid that it would not fulfil the function that it could otherwise perform.
I notice that the appropriation includes an amount for Qantas Empire Airways
Limited. I should like to take this opportunity to say that whenever possible on the seventeen or eighteen flights that my wife and I had while overseas, we flew with Qantas, and we found the service outstanding. No matter where we went throughout the world we found Qantas personnel - mostly young people - very courteous and with a lot of ability. They could not do enough to see that the passengers booked with them, or with another line, received the utmost courtesy and consideration.
Not least, although practically last in my speech to-day, is the subject of defence, which is, 1 feel, paramount in the minds of Australians to-day. I do not suppose that we in Australia have been so concerned about this- matter since the end of World War II., and I feel, unfortunately, that we have every right to be concerned. For the first time a territory adjoining one under our control is occupied by people who, although friendly to us at the moment, may not remain so friendly. In spite of their protestations of friendship, we hear one suggestion from them that the Indian Ocean be re-named. That conjures up unhappy memories of a sea that was called “ Mare nostrum “, during World War II. We hear protestations that there are no further territorial ambitions. That, too, strikes a chord in our memories. Some years ago we had a certain little gentleman with a moustache - was he a gentleman? - stating that he had no further territorial ambitions, and we well know what happened very shortly after that. In the light of this, is it any wonder that we are concerned about the present and future defence of Australia?
I do not wish to embarrass our Cabinet -I have some good friends and colleagues on it - but more important than my duty to Cabinet is my duty to the Australian people. I feel that we are not doing enough in the defence of Australia. If we are, I feel that we should be told about it. I am only hoping that we can be told something of what is being done. I know that we cannot be let into defence secrets, but I hope that some statement can be made to the Australian people at a very near date to give them some idea of what we propose to do to combat a ‘threat which, even if it is not poised against us ait the moment, may very well come in the next five, ten or fifteen years. We shall be hiding our heads in the sand if that is not done.
I pose this question: What would have happened in the Cuban situation if President Kennedy had not spoken from strength? I do not think there is any need to ponder on that. He had the strength, he spoke with strength, and he achieved a result that I am sure was a great relief to everybody concerned. I was in New York at the time of that incident and it was amazing - I think that is the only word to use - to see the lack of panic among the people of New York. I think, for this reason, that President Kennedy said and did the things that the American people wanted him to say and do.
In common with some other members of the Federal Parliament, yesterday I had the privilege of going on a cruise of training exercises on the U.S.S. “ Coral Sea “. It was an experience that those of us who were present will not forget in a hurry. She is a marvellous ship. Apart from that, the feeling of the personnel aboard the carrier gave us a lot of comfort. They were very good chaps. Their officer material was excellent. They were young and obviously capable, and they seemed to be very keen in their jobs, as the ratings were, too. Talking to them, I found that there was no sulkiness about them. They were enthusiastic. I am convinced that the cruise of the U.S.S. “Coral Sea” has been very worth while. These people are taking back with them very happy memories of their stay in Sydney. As one who lives in a suburb of that city I was concerned about what their treatment might be. When I queried the officers and ratings on the subject their replies were eulogistic about the hospitality which had been extended to them. They all expressed the wish that they might be able to return one day. During the conversations that I had with some of the officers it was comforting to hear the feelings that they expressed towards Australia.
Finally, I wish to say something about immigration. Our long-term defence is based principally on getting a sufficient number of people into this country. I think it is very pleasing to most of us that during the last two or three months we have received an increasing number of applications from persons who wish to come to this country from Great Britain. While in London I called on the Immigration Department at Australia House. First, without making myself known, I followed the procedure which an intending applicant is required to follow. I left feeling that our people there are doing a good job. The information that they give is factual. They have papers showing cbe number and types of jobs that are available and the housing position in this country. They endeavour to give the prospective migrants all the information to which they are entitled. I was told at that time, in December last, that even at that stage the rate at which applications were coming in was increasing and they were hoping for the increased quota which they eventually got. On top of that, there was the dreadfully cold winter in the United Kingdom. As an honorable senator said this afternoon, that would have had a bearing on the large increase in the number of British people seeking to come here. Upon making enquiries about immigration wherever I went - in Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Switzerland and other places - I had the feeling that the immigration people were doing a very good job for Australia. As I said at the beginning of my speech, I intended to speak on a lot of subjects. The debate on the first reading of bills such as these gives honorable senators an opportunity to touch on many subjects. I have pleasure in supporting the motion for the first reading of these measures.
– During my 31 years in this august chamber I have noticed that many senators and members have had pet subjects on which they invariably spoke. I recall that dear old Rowley James used to speak on oil from coal. I recall also that one night he loaned his notes on the subject to Darby Riordan. While the latter was speaking, Mr. G. A. Maxwell, the blind member for Fawkner, interjected, “ Is the honorable member speaking of coal or gold? “ And Darby replied, “ Coal - c-o-l-e.” I remember old Dr. Maloney. He used to speak very rarely. His great subject was the initiative referendum and recall, with an occasional break to discuss the question of milk for school children. Many years ago we had
Senator Payne from Tasmania. Some people said that he was agony to listen to. Perhaps that was why we on the Labour side referred to him as “ Agony “ Payne. His pet subject was the decrease in the natural increase.
Then we had from Tasmania another gentleman who was dedicated to Douglas Credit. I remember saying to him once: “ Dick, change the record. The senators are getting rather tired of your social credit “. When I first came into this honorable chamber I used to speak about finance although I did not know too much about it. I was told to change the subject. I told him to do the same, and he replied, “ You are just an ordinary senator but I am a world figure “. I do not know whether he was a world figure or not, but he thought he was.
– What is your pet subject?
– Wait a minute, I shall come to it in due course. Senator Cameron, one of our older senators who lately passed away, was a strong character. He often spoke on the gold standard. I used to walk with him from the Hotel Kurrajong to Parliament House, and, invariably, he got on to that subject.
When I first came into this chamber, in the chair where you now sit Madam Acting Deputy President, was a gentleman named Senator Lynch. I do not know that he had a pet subject, but Senator Lynch had a great desire to express himself somewhat differently from ordinary senators. He was very fond of using unusual phrases. I remember his getting heated one day and he said of senators of a certain political persuasion that they had the tongues of bullocks and the brains of mosquitoes. It was all very interesting, but on one occasion Paddy Lynch fell down on the job. We were saying farewell to a prominent gentleman who had occupied one of the highest positions in this land and who had risen from a very lowly position. We were all gathered in the tea room and Paddy got up to speak. During the course of his address he said that the gentleman to whom we were saying farewell had been dragged from the very depths of the gutter. It was not a very nice phrase to use. But Paddy always stood up for the Senate. He was dedicated to the Senate. He likened it once to the British
Navy - the watchdog of the Empire. That was rather an exaggeration, I thought. When a money bill was before the Senate Paddy would tell honorable senators that they could speak on any subject nearest to their own heart. Because of my frequent references in this chamber previously to lovely ladies’ ladderless nylon stockings honorable senators may think I am developing a phobia. I am not, but I am out to do a job to-night, and I want to do it well if I can.
First, I will speak of a man named Henry Dohan, an Australian citizen on the right side of 40, who is the inventor of the ladderless nylon stocking. The story I tell to-night is one of eager hopes and bitter frustrations. It is a story of possible fortune and of fears of financial ruin. It is a story of a young man, an inventive genius, with remarkable powers of concentration and unusual tenacity who finally triumphed over colossal difficulties. He is a man who, for many years, worked at nights like Thomas Edison, who on many occasions worked for more than 30 hours at a stretch without sleep or meals.
When I speak of Mr. Dohan’s powers of concentration I am reminded of some of our best sportsmen, such as Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest cricketer the world has ever known. I remember reading that Bradman would throw a cricket ball at a corrugated tank and he would try hour after hour to hit the ball as it rebounded. It helped him to become the great cricketer he was. I am reminded of Dally Messenger, the Rugby footballer. People thought that he was mad. He would throw a Rugby football into the air hour after hour and watch it bounce. He could tell where the ball was going to bounce when others could not do so. We think of Lindrum, who was here on several occasions. I remember him playing billiards with Tom Collins, who has passed away. Tom had one stroke and then Lindrum made 200 and Tom said to me, “ What have we been playing all these years on the billiard table? “ Lindrum practised hour after hour. Ordinary men like you and me would have gone mad, but he made himself a great player.
I think of Stanley Matthews, recognized as the world’s greatest soccer player. He spent days and weeks kicking a rag ball about. When he left Blackpool to go back to his old team of Stoke the attendance at the matches increased by 10,000. The team was at the bottom of the league, but now it is at the top, and will go next year into the first division. It is now able to pay £76,000 for new players.
But one of the greatest men I can speak about for concentration was Cinquevalli. I saw him as a boy. He was a great juggler who spent five years practising a difficult feat. When he first displayed this feat it was a cold audience and he did not raise any enthusiasm. Cinquevalli went into his room and cried like a child. When Henry Dohan invented his process, he thought the world would be at his feet; but somehow or other the world did not rise to his cause. It reminds me of W. C. Fields, who was playing in Berlin once and could not get the phlegmatic Germans to appreciate him. He was juggling with tall hats and throwing them up in the air. The lights on the stage were overhead and dazzled him, and the hats fell on to the stage. He kicked them into the audience and the people clapped and cheered. Every night afterwards he had to kick the hats into the audience. That is something like our labours in this Senate. A man can study for days and make a splendid speech and nobody takes any notice; but if one man calls the President a liar, it is in all the newspapers of Australia.
Henry Dohan had characteristics similar to those of the men I have mentioned who have been able to concentrate in a certain way and achieve success. For fourteen years Mr. Dohan worked night and day to invent and make a success of his ladderless stockings. Be made a bet fourteen years or more ago that he would produce a ladderless nylon stocking. The bet was for £5, and only a few weeks ago the man paid him when he recognized that the invention was a success.
My own wife has had a pair of these ladderless stockings for twelve months. Mr. Dohan does not say that his stockings will last for twelve months, but, treated properly, they may be worn for three or four months. One would have thought that when he produced a stocking of that sort everybody would have rallied to him and that he would have had a huge demand from the women of the civilized world for nylons that did not ladder. I have no financial interest in this business. I am interested because I know this man and believe I should do everything to help him. Honorable senators will remember how I came to take an interest in ladderless stockings. One day the Senate was discussing the Si-ro-set process. I thought that if they could put a crease in men’s trousers why not take the ladders out of ladies’ stockings. My statement was publicized throughout Australia. I got a letter from a firm of stocking manufacturers and, as some honorable senators may remember, the firm sent me two stockings. They were odd ones. I held them up in this Senate and said, “ These people do not understand publicity. If they had sent me two pairs of stockings - one for my wife and one for my secretary - they would have been doing well.” I suggested that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization should enter into the business and try to do something about a ladderless stocking. However, nothing was done.
Quite a number of stocking manufacturers saw the published reports and not only did I get two pairs of stockings from one firm, but several days later I got two more pairs. I was also told that if I wanted to buy stockings wholesale I could buy at wholesale prices. The manufacturers wrote me a nice letter and sent their stockings along. They laddered rather readily. One manufacturer wrote and said -
No truly non-laddering stocking has been manufactured and this is because of the various shapes of women’s legs. One foot size in a stocking has to be made in a way that will fit at least 20 different leg shapes. To get it over the instep and fit the ankle and at the same time make it ladderproof, would necessitate some kind of zipper up the back which would make it very unattractive and therefore unsaleable.
The letter went on to say that stockings were like cars or fine china - the length of wear and satisfaction could be improved by care. Women, he said, are vain and insist on wearing 12 or 15 denier. He added -
If they would only buy 60 denier, which is quite attractive on the leg, they would get longer wear out of their stockings.
He went on to say -
Madam prefers the finer type of stocking which thread is not half the thickness of a strand of your hair.
He concluded the letter in this way -
The higher the denier of the stocking Madam chooses, generally speaking, the longer the wear she will obtain. So you will see, Sir, the problem rests entirely in Madam’s hands.
It does not, because Henry Dohan has produced a stocking that has stood up to examination and analysis. I will not say by whom it has been examined; it was done for a certain firm. I got hold of a copy of the report, which was quite independent. It stated that the Dohan ladderless stocking was sixteen times stronger than the ordinary nylon stocking and was less likely to ladder. Henry Dohan wrote to me after what appeared in the press. I looked at the letter. There was no heading or business address on it. At first I really thought that, as it came fast behind what had appeared in the “Sydney Morning Herald “ and other newspapers throughout Australia, some one was playing a joke on me. Naturally, I thought of Eddie Ward and Freddie Daly, because politicians do play jokes on one another, as I have stated in my latest book.
Later I received another letter which had an address on it, and then I saw Henry Dohan. I was quite struck by his personality. He is a very serious-minded man and an idealist in many ways. After a year or so had passed he was ready to tell the world about his invention. He asked me to open a conference of businessmen, television and radio men, journalists and others. Quite a group came along. The function was photographed and advertised and pictures were published in the world’s press. Henry Dohan thought he was sitting on top of the world; he thought his fortune was made. Being an old battler in the Labour movement and knowing what it meant to be up against the vested interests and powerful monopolies, I tried to tell him that the way would be very hard indeed. Let me say just here that we received great help from the Australian trade commissioners throughout the world. I pay them credit for what they have done.
A company, which I think was called The Dohanized International Company, was formed to sell the stockings overseas. Patents were taken out at a cost of thousands of pounds. Honorable senators know the difficulties and the costs that attend the taking out of patents in nearly every part of the world. A number of manufacturers professed to have a deep interest in the venture, but we discovered later that it was only to sabotage Dohan’s efforts. He was up against it. I believe he and some relatives sold their businesses to get money for the venture but soon he was boycotted completely. He did not make the stockings himself but had to buy them so he could Dohanize them. When he went to certain wholesale houses for stockings they closed down on him, and on his wife too. One particular firm - I shall not mention any names, even though I could do so here - threatened to prosecute him if its stockings were used. Some retail houses sold the treated stockings for a time, but soon all kinds of false stories started to circulate. We had an idea where those stories emanated. They were told purposely to try to destroy Henry Dohan.
The way of the inventor is very hard indeed. I recall that when I was a young man a certain inventor in Paris produced a real diamond by the use of heat and pressure. Three weeks after the invention was made known to the world his body was taken from the Seine. History is replete with instances of clever men who have devoted a lifetime to inventing only to find a pauper’s grave. In some countries, when a young man with inventive genuis comes to the top, provision is made for him to use it on behalf of his country. He is fed, clothed and housed, and his talent is used to advance his country’s interests. But, unfortunately, under the present economic system of the free world, such a struggle is going on that, when an invention invades the rights or threatens to reduce the profits of certain manufacturers, every effort is made to destroy the work of the inventor, or the patent is purchased and pigeon-holed. I recall seeing an article some years ago in the American “ Saturday Evening Post “, which gave chapter and verse for many inventions that had been proved but which had vanished from the market. They had been pigeonholed because it did not pay vested interests or monopolies to allow them to be used.
Henry Dohan has been able not only to produce a ladderless stocking - that has been proved up to the hill - but also to improve the wearing quality of wool. I took it upon myself to see Sir William Gunn and tell him of the work that Henry Dohan was doing. He seemed to be very interested, but I do not know of anything having been done about it. Henry Dohan was somewhat depressed at that time and he said, “ Possibly the wool people are like the nylon manufacturers; they do not want woollen goods that wear for any length of time “. Dohan is capable of producing many forms of improved rubber goods, too. He has ideas about many matters of which I shall not tell the Senate to-night. They include even cancer. He is a man of great ability, and it is a pity that he is having to struggle in the way he is. But now he can see the light in the distance. All kinds of people from every part of the world have been eager to meet him. A little while ago he received a cable inviting him to go to France and offering to pay his expenses. He did not have the time to go. Manufacturers in one country - I shall not mention the name, because negotiations are at a delicate stage - want world rights for the invention with a view to putting every one else out of business.
Henry Dohan, although born in Vienna, is an Australian citizen to-day. He is very anxious that his invention be controlled by the Australian people. He says that if we had the sense to take it over we could build up an export trade which would soon rival our trade in wool. I do not say that, but that is what he thinks. In Australia there are between 10,000,000 and 11,000,000 people. About 1,000,000 dozen pairs of stockings are sold each year. Some women wear out three or four pairs a week. Other women may make a pair last a month. Sometimes, my wife’s nylon stockings ladder the first time they are worn. The production of nylon stockings is colossal. If this invention were owned and controlled by ari Australian company, exporting to America, the United Kingdom, Japan and Europe, a tremendous market could be developed, because these stockings would put others out of business. This would be a great power in the hands of exporters to build up our funds overseas. Let me mention what was said to me by one store manager whom I have known for many years. When I was a union organizer, I had to meet him and his staff. He said, “ Gordon, I am nol interested. We sell thousands of stockings a year. We might be reduced to selling only hundreds of Dohanized stockings.” Henry Dohan points out that the reduction in sales would not be so great, because a woman who buys a pair of nylon stockings to-day is very careful with them; she looks after them. If she had stockings that would not ladder, they would be worn continuously, and the diminution in the number used would not be great.
This man has opened a shop near Wynyard station between George-street and York-street. Unfortunately, he cannot supply all the goods that his customers want. I was informed a few days ago that he had been in negotiation with Canada, from where he hoped to gain regular supplies. When these supplies eventuate, he will be able to satisfy the requirements of those who need his stockings. I mention this because many people have asked me, “ Why are not the goods of your friend, Henry Dohan, on the market? “ He has been boycotted. One businessman stated that he was prepared to go into the witness box and say that the representatives of certain manufacturers had to’.d all manner of lies about the quality of the Dohanized stocking. One manufacturer was asked five months before Christmas to supply Dohan with stockings, but said that it was too close to Christmas. I have got friends of mine to buy stockings surreptitiously and hand them to Henry Dohan so that he may carry on his business. He hopes soon to have a supply from overseas, as Australian manufacturers will not supply him. He is not in any way bitter against Australian manufacturers, because he still hopes that they will have some common sense and realize that if they use this invention they will be able to win markets overseas and thus do a great work for Australia. 1 want to deal with another matter that has arisen in the past few days. I have been interested in articles in the press concerning cures for cancer. I know that there arc all kinds of charlatans. A few years ago a man in Sydney made certain claims. Radio people and others - I do not think wc had television then - took photographs of a man on a slab in this charlatan’s house and, apparently, of a cancer being lifted from his back. The pictures were shown privately in Brisbane at the Tivoli theatre to members of Parliament, businessmen and others. In the picture I saw the operation of this charlatan, and shortly afterwards the patient, dressed, came out of the house and walked blithely and in a sprightly fashion down the street, with a seraphic smile on his face, lt appeared that he was cured of this dread disease. I asked the manager of the Tivoli theatre whether this film was to be shown all over Australia. He said that it would be, in due course, when it was known that the cure was complete. Six weeks afterwards, the patient died. He had been fooled by a cruel charlatan.
There have been charlatans throughout the history of medicine, but the history of medicine is also the history of men who have sacrificed themselves for their fellows. Some of the greatest men in history have been doctors of medicine, but engaged in medicine have also been some of the greatest rogues. Last October, following the appearance of an article in Brisbane “ Truth “, 1 asked a question concerning John Richardson Wilson, who had bought cancerous cattle, made a potion out of certain leaves, and fed the potion to the cattle, which began to improve. The light of hope came into his heart and he thought that he would be able to use the treatment on human beings. I do not blame the Minister, who said that he had placed the article and the information I had given him - 1 did not give much information - before the New South Wales Cancer Council. The point I wish to make is that when a senator asks a question on a matter of moment to thousands of people throughout Australia, it is the duty of the Minister not to pass it on to any council but to try to get an answer for the senator. I say this because, per medium of “ Hansard “ and broadcasting - if we are on the air - greater publicity is obtained than if a question is sent to a council and is pigeonholed. Goodness knows how long it will be before we get a reply regarding the efficacy or otherwise of Wilson’s treatment. I do not know the man; 1 have only read the article, but we should not lightly throw aside any suggestion of a cure for cancer. It should be investigated and analysed and the truth about it told. If a man is a charlatan, he should be exposed, but if there is an element of hope of help for suffering humanity, we in this Senate should do our best to see that the medical fraternity of this country has the benefit of any discovery that is made. Has this man, or has he not, been successful in treating these cattle? 1 told Senator Wade privately that he should find the answer from his officers and give it to the Senate and to me. There are all kinds of theories on this question of cancer. I wish to read from the book, “ A Cancer Therapy - Results of Fifty Cases “, by Max Gerson, M.D., which is in the Library. He deals with fifty cases of advanced cancer, and his book contains photographs. I read only part of the book because 1 was not mentally strong enough, shall I say, to understand all of it. However, we have several medical doctors in the Senate. I. was struck particularly with the preface to the book. It stated -
The history of medicine reveals that reformers who bring new ideas into the general thinking and practice of physicians have a difficult time. Very few physicians like to change their medical approaches. The majority practice what they have learned and apply the terms of the textbooks more or less automatically. Right from the beginning the physician wants most of all to help the patient. He hates to take risks for his patients by applying a non-recognised treatment. The history of science, of art and technique shows that each new idea has been fought bitterly. . . .
All honorable senators who have read fairly widely will know the story of Simmiliveis Hundreds of others have been badly dealt with by the medical fraternity because they proposed new ideas.
– And how readily have medical ideas been accepted, too?
– Yes. At the beginning of my remarks I paid a tribute to the splendid work done by many men in the medical fraternity who gave their lives to humanity. Do not get me wrong; but every one who has read the history of medicine knows of its utter stupidities and futilities, and of what charlatans have done to humanity. Not so long ago T told the story of King Charles TI., who died in his chair. Before he died, fourteen physicians came and cupped, blistered and bled him. They gave him all kinds of medicines and finally wrapped his feet in hen’s dung. But he died.
– For every alleged cure they come forward with it will be found that many more have died.
– I say the medical men are doing wonderful work.
– A measure of conservatism is not out of place.
– Because a man quotes the peculiarities of medical practice-
– Not the peculiarities at ali.
– Well, the stupidities.
– Not the stupidities, either, but an intelligent appreciation of realities.
– Well, you have only to read books within your library to learn what humans have taken into their bodies from the hands of charlatans of every description. 1 have told the Senate of Cato, who had a great belief in cabbage water. When his children and his wife became sick he gave them cabbage water for months. They died, too. Surely I am not going to be stopped from quoting from the works of different people. I am now quoting a book on cancer by Max Gerson. Have I not the right to do that?
– No one denies you that right.
– Surely I can make my own speech. If you can show me where I am wrong I shall be pleased to listen to you, but there is one thing I hate. It is people who would stop others from speaking. We have had them throughout history. Men have been bound to the stake and men have been destroyed because there were others in the community who did not want them to speak. I am speaking up and telling the truth. I am fighting on behalf of those men and women who to-day, as I speak, are suffering from deadly cancer.
If I can say anything that will help to improve their lot or be the means whereby they can be cured, then I am doing good work. There is very little I. can do, but I resent those people who would try to stop me from speaking. I do not care whether they are members of my own party, or who they are. I have fought all my life for free speech and have been gaoled for doing so. Possibly I will be gaoled again. It is time people spoke up. In every walk of life there is a conservative section. If the people in that section had their way there would be no liberal-minded men in the community at all. They would be burnt at the stake, if there were a burning to be done. Do not try to put it over me or try to stop me from speaking.
I ask the pardon of the Senate. I do not think I have read out all of the passage from the book that I intended to read. It continues -
The history of science shows . . . that each new idea has been fought bitterly-
Every man in this Senate who has read the history of humanity knows that that is so -
Most of the reformers did not Jive to see the realization of their ideas. This is one of the reasons why developments in culture made very slow progress all through the centuries, they were restrained by force. I was in a more favourable position. Ninety to ninety-five per cent. of my patients were far advanced (terminal) cases without any risk to take, either all recognized treatments had failed or they were inoperable from the beginning. It takes some time to acquire enough experience to see progress, results or failures.
That is a fair statement by Max Gerson.
– Provided it is true.
– His view is different from that of the ordinary medical man. He may be wrong. He goes on to say -
Cancer is a degenerative disease, not an acute one, and the treatment can be effective only if carried out strictly in accordance with the rules for one and a halfto two years. We repeat that it is not a symptom that is treated, nor a specific disease, but the reactions and functions of the entire body which have to be transformed and restored.
I wish to read the following passage on page 140, where Dr. Gerson states -
It is well known that my approach of studying the whole metabolism in its reaction is contrary to the prevailing viewpoint of the medical profession, which adheres generally to the thought that something specific, such as one medication, or a specific scrum, or a combination of different sera, will have to solve the cancer problem. Ft has become evident of late that the application of surgery and X-rays is encountering more scepticism by some surgeons and the public.
I do not know whether he is right or wrong.
– From which mental hospital was he writing?
– I object to such a stupid interjection. I am not suggesting that the honorable senator should accept Dr. Gerson’s views. I am only staling what 1 have read.
– You cannot contradict it, anyway.
– I am not contradicting it,I am saying, that we should not miss any opportunity, when it is offered, to advance the cure for cancer. If we are liberal-minded, if we are open and believe in freedom of utterance and freedom in writing, we should read these books and decide for ourselves whether the ideas they present are right or wrong. We should not suppress them. There are a few people in the community who would suppress them because they do not believe in such things.
Dr. Gerson has taken a stand on another subject, and there are people who are beginning to believe he is right. He states -
The amount of damage done by chemical fertilizers, spraying, and insecticides which lead to a chronic poisoning of the soil can be estimated when we realize how many poisons go into the fruit and vegetables we eat, into the cattle, the eggs and butter we consume and the milk we and our children drink.
People say that that is all bunkum, but only a few days ago I read an article in one of the American newspapers on the same thing. It stated that doctors were proving that spraying, by farmers, of crops with certain insecticides had resulted in the cattle that ate the crops being deleteriously affected and the people that ate the cattle being in turn affected. As a layman, it sounds rather feasible to me that there is some truth in these statements. Gerson says -
I am more than ever convinced that biochemistry and metabolic science will be victorious in healing degenerative diseases, including cancer, if the whole body or the whole metabolism will be attacked and not the symptoms.
That seems to be rational. I asked a question concerning a pamphlet published by Dr. J. J. Ryan. An article appeared in the Brisbane “ Truth “ dealing with Dr. Ryan and 1 asked the Minister a question about it. The officers of the Department of Health dealt with the question, but they did not have any knowledge whatsoever that cadmium was of any value in the treatment of cancer. This is what the Minister said -
They have informed me-
These learned officers of the Department of Health- that they have noknowledge that cadmium is of value in the treatment of cancer.
That was in relation to Dr. Ryan’s pamphlet. I have received from John Elliott of “ Truth “ a pamphlet written by Alexander
Horn of Aberdeen in which Horn mentions Dr. Ryan and comments on his treatment. 1 will read out what he said
– Is he a doctor?
– Yes. He has “ M.B., Ch.B.,” after his name. 1 intend to send a copy of this pamphlet to the Department of Health. Do not run away with the idea that I know anything about this. I do not. I am saying that if doctors of intelligence put forth ideas then the Department of Health should analyse those ideas and say whether there is any truth in them. Speaking about the form of treatment advocated by Dr. Ryan, Dr. Horn says -
This form of treatment has been carried out wilh significant sucess by Dr. J. J. Ryan of Brisbane, who has attained success in curing brain tumors, lung cancer, breast cancer, intestinal cancer, uterine cancer and skin cancer, and ] have interested myself in the same type of treatment with success. At present cadmium has been more generally used - for as in nuclear reactions - so in cancer - cadmium robs the blood of neutrons with resulting improvement and in several cases, cure of the patient.
He is supporting Dr. Ryan. This pamphlet was sent to me, and I am sending it on to the Department of Health for investigation.
In another chapter Dr. Horn writes -
Man cooks, preserves, and impregnates animal flesh with chemicals. Me docs the same thing wilh the vast majority of articles which, lie ingests to provide his blood soil with the chemistry upon which the tissues of the body arc dependent for their normal function.
Evidently this doctor believes that food is being treated in such a way that it is becoming impregnated with all kinds of chemicals that are deleterious to the human body. That to me seems very sensible indeed.
– They certainly remove the vitamins.
– Yes. I have been advocating that we should understand more of the human body and of the food that we ingest instead of depending on pills and potions. A statement was made in the press not long ago that Australia was the second country in the world as a swallower of pills. I think Yankeeland came first. Here is another interesting passage in this book -
There is much evidence in these figures-
Some figures he was quoting - to call for a serious consideration of reducing the sodium in the diet
From this book I learned that an excess of sodium in the body has a deleterious effect. I learned that - . . figures for all countries suggest that without high dietary sodium there is no cancer.
Then there is a significant statement. I do not know whether it is true or not. It says here -
Thus in the villages in New Guinea, cancer is unknown - but the same natives given a high sodium diet have more cancer than the white man.
If these things are true - possibly they are not right - instead of having to use surgery which, of course, we are compelled to do to-day in all kinds of predicaments, we might eventually get on to the right track by putting our food into such a condition that it will be possible to take certain foods into the body in such a way that they will destroy cancer cells. 1 do not know. 1 could quote a lot more, but I repeat that where any newspaper publishes an article about success being achieved by doctors or laymen in the fight against the foul disease of cancer then the Department of Health and the Minister for Health should make grave, significant investigations with a view to finding out whether the claims made in the article are right or wrong. Surely that is fair! 1 do not stand in this Senate advocating any particular method of treatment, because I do not know. I do know my own body. I know that when I abuse my body it is sick. If I go on to a certain diet I know that my body will get well. I know that my own grandchildren and my daughter have improved when they have been treated in this specialized way through diet. I got Mr. Thompson to treat one little grandson. The boy was only about five years old when he started suffering from asthma. He was put on to a diet and was cured of that complaint. If at school they give him certain foods - sweets and so on - he comes home and suffers. My daughter says that her boy is well as long as he keeps to the diet.
I have another daughter living in a town in New South Wales, who is married with three children. She suffered intensely and undertook this treatment - and was cured.
I am not saying that that could be done for everybody, but 1 am more and more convinced to-day that by a proper knowledge and fuller understanding of human body, and a thorough investigation into foods we eat, and by using commonsense in our diet, much of the illness we suffer from to-day could be dissipated.
– Is this treatment just as efficacious in relation to the mind as to the body?
– I believe in the unity of the universe, if you like to put it that way. I am a man who makes a duaL approach to these problems. The mind and the body are a unity. The whole universe is a unity. If you let your mind rest on these things you will realize that that is true. But human beings are dualists. They separate completely and absolutely this from that, mind from body, spiritual from material. They speak of the material state as being entirely different from the spiritual. That should not be done. Spiritually and materially we are one.
– But you can bc sick in mind without being sick in body.
– But your body will be sick, too. The mind and body is a unity. I read to-day that many medical men are realizing more and more the need to understand the body as a unity. Dr. Carrel, in his wonderful book, “ Man, the Unknown ‘’, which I read many years ago, says that to understand the human body you would have to spend 30 years in study. You would have to be like a priest and give up everything in life; you would have to study many sciences - I think he said six - thoroughly encompass them and understand them. Then, at the end of 30 years, you would be in a position to deal with the human body. But to-day we separate things. We know that this is the result of our environment, our understanding and education. We separate this part of the body from that; but more and more it is becoming understood that if you can get the organs of the body working in harmony many troubles will be overcome. I have told the story of Dr. McGregor in New Guinea, and I shall noi repeat it. His idea was that plain, simple, nutritious food could make a body healthy and strong. We all know that if we eat and drink all kinds of food and alcoholic liquors, and make damn fools of ourselves, as I have done on occasions, we will suffer. However, I am not a doctor so I will leave that to Dr. Turnbull and others.
– And Dr. Brown?
– No, I am not a doctor, but I have thought a lot about it. I have thought for myself. I am not dominated or governed by any politician or anybody else. From my reading, philosophical and economic, sociological and religious, I have formed certain ideas and conceptions which I have found have worked out in reality. Things of which I am convinced are the unity of nature throughout the universe, the unity of the human body, and the stupidity of being dualistic. You cannot put one subject into this compartment, and another subject into that compartment. There are no absolute distinctions. Undoubtedly there are distinctions, but they are not absolute. One subject runs into the other. I invite honorable senators to think about that, philosophically - it will keep them busy.
I come now to more mundane things. This may seem to be an anti-climax, but I want now to deal with the economic disease, the disease of bureaucracy and the disease of politics, for God knows it is a disease. I have learned from my work in the Senate that bureaucracy can often override parliament; that bureaucracy can even sentence men to death. Perhaps I should not mention this, but I knew one member of this chamber who committed suicide. 1 do not think his crime against the Taxation Branch justified death. I do not want to tell a sorrowful story, but I know of another man who the Taxation Department says has not played the game. That man now finds himself in bankruptcy. Only a few days ago I asked, in this chamber, whether a man’s tools of trade could be sequestrated. The answer supplied by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) was that they could not be taken. The man to whom I refer is a hawker. He is illiterate. He can neither read nor write, but he makes his living by hawking. He was involved with his relations in a certain business. Although he cannot read or write they employed him as a labourer and put his name down on the list of those who had shares in the business. That business went broke and, of course, although only a labourer, this man has to meet the demands of the Taxation Branch. I do not offer any argument about the rights or wrongs of the case, but I do suggest that if a man is using a truck in order to earn a living it is grossly unfair that the department should be able to confiscate that truck and so condemn the man to the dole or the unemployment benefit. That is happening to-day. I have asked questions about this and have suggested that the truck be either given back to him or sold back to him. He bought this truck originally for £250 and the department will sell it back for £150, but he has not the £150. He is pr pared to start hawking again and to pay £5 a week. I have put that suggestion to the department, ls it fair that a man who is earning a living from an old truck should have that truck taken from him, no matter what he has done about his income t..x? 1 suggest that such an action is completely wrong. I hope that before this week is out something will have been done to restore to this man his means of livelihood. He will pay for it in due course. If it is returned he will be able to maintain his wife and children by continuing with his work as a hawker.
Senator Dame ANNABELLE RANKIN (Queensland) [9.18]. - 1 rise to support the first reading of the Appropriation Bill (No. 2). As we well know in this chamber, this is a bill on which there can be a very wide discussion on a variety of subjects. Since the debate began we have heard just that. 1, too, should now like to place before the Senate for its attention a variety of subjects. 1 draw the attention of honorable senators to an amount of money which is paid annually by the Government for what is known as the Emergency Housekeeper Service. This grant has been in existence for a number of years, but it has, I regret to say, not been increased with the passing of the years. My own State of Queensland still receives only the small amount of £2,200 annually. Because I believe very sincerely in the importance of this service to women and to families in the community, I feel that I should like to speak for a moment or two about how I believe this grant should be increased so that it will be able to bring an extended service into the areas where it is most urgently needed. Before doing that I should like to remind honorable senators that since this Government has been in office it has brought into being a very important subsidy for the home nursing service. This grant, which has been made available by a LiberalCountry Party Government, has made possible a commendable extension of the services of home nurses. This has been of tremendous benefit to the community. We all know very well the importance of the work of nursing services which bring into the homes of our citizens a trained nurse for the particular service when required. I believe we want another service alongside this particular important nursing service.
I should like to suggest to the Government that the emergency housekeeper service grant be increased so that we may have in the community a home aid service as well. I think this would overcome very many problems which families face to-day. I know that in some States there is already quite a good service being provided. But I am quite certain that all representatives from these States would say that they, too, needed added assistance in this particular way. We have in these emergency housekeeper services, already, work being clone by women’s organizations in this field. But I want to tell the Senate, to-night, that each of these organizations would very readily assure us that the calls made on them are far more numerous than they can possibly meet. To-day, we see, over and over again, the problem of a family from which the mother is taken to hospital for treatment; it is a great problem. What do they do with regard to the children? Are they to be put somewhere to be cared for, perhaps in a government home, until the mother is fit and well and able to return home? Who will run the house while she is away and continue to care for the family if it is going to live on in the home? I think I would be quite right in reading to the Senate an extract from a report by one of our most excellent services in Queensland which has already endeavoured to do something in this field. It reads as follows: -
From our long experience in conducting a home assistant’s bureau, we find that there is increasing difficulty in supplying emergency help to those families who need it most owing to the inability to pay the appropriate wage to any housekeeper whatever - trained or untrained.
A further housekeepers’ service is definitely needed here. We could cite many families with young children where there is sickness in the home, requiring help, and although there are Government homes where children can be sent, it is recognized that this breaking up of the family, although necessary in some cases, is not by any means in the best interest of the children. In many cases parents do not wish their children to leave their homes. Moreover, there are many more children needing temporary emergency or partial care than can be accommodated in the Government homes.
The housekeepers’ service could meet the unusual demands of the home - the confinement, the unexpected crisis, accident or illness. 1 suggest the emergency housekeeper service itself be extended and that there be a further service of home aides who could work either for a full day or part of the day, going in for a few hours perhaps, to carry on the everyday household help which is needed in conjunction with the services given by the home nursing service. Over and over again, home nursing services report the problems that these families have. One nurse said to me, “ Sometimes, if only there could be a break away for a day or only a few hours a week for the person who is caring for the patient this would greatly ease the burden on the mother or the wife or whoever it may be who is carrying this particular responsibility with a sick person in the home “. I believe, also, that we would find that people could be returned home from hospital much more rapidly if they knew that they could obtain a home aid service for a time when they came back for their convalescent period. The home nursing service has enabled people to return home from hospital and receive nursing at home. But we want more than that. We want this added home aid service.
I ask that special consideration be given to extending the grant for the emergency housekeeper service in this way. In Queensland, the Minister for Education has already been asked to consider a special home-maker education extension service in the schools. If this particular course in home-making is brought in by the Education Department, as we hope, it will be of tremendous benefit if, through special added grants, young women could be then trained for special work in connexion with a home aid service. It is felt that these young people who will have care of children should have special knowledge of nutrition and of the care of babies and children. They should have special training so that they would be able to care for any person who has been ill, or is convalescent, or has had an illness which confines them to bed although they are not necessarily ill enough for hospital or nursing care. I ask that the Government consider this very special need which I believe is of very real importance to many families throughout the length and breadth of Australia. Where people can pay for the service, of course, they will. But the wellknown and well-recognized voluntary women’s organizations which are most anxious to carry out this work will, I know, be extremely grateful for an enlargement of this grant to make it possible for them to bring into operation a splendid home aid service to give special care to our aged and sick and to families who need this service in their homes.
– We have one in Victoria but we need more money for it, too.
– I am glad that Senator Wedgwood has mentioned that, because my own organizaton holds up Victoria as a golden example; but it says that the need is great and that it needs more money to employ more helpers. I was one of the first people on the deputation when this emergency housekeeper grant was first made and I now express my strong desire that a large increase in this advance be made to the States.
– How much has been distributed throughout Australia?
– I cannot give the figures for all the States individually, but in 1960-61 the grant was £13,760 and in 1961-62 it was £13,860. I do not know how the increase of £100 came about. One State must have got a little bit more. Queensland has received only £2,200; but we need further assistance.
Like Senator Wedgwood, I have frequently made a plea in this chamber for further consideration to be given to assistance for civilian widows. I believe that here is a very real need. Wc know the problem that these people arc faced with when there is the tragedy of death in their family. A mother then has to become both mother and father to her children. She finds that it is a great problem to care for them and, after all, that is her greatest responsibility as a good mother. But as we know, there is a restriction on the amount that she can earn. Year after year, she faces very great hardship and very great problems. I should like the Government to give further consideration to this problem. I suggest that, if it be possible, the civilian widow be assisted by a domestic allowance which could be varied according to the number of children. ] believe that this would nol in any way affect the structure of the general pension rr.les. This domestic allowance for each child could be of tremendous value to the widow. It would remove a great deal of the mental worry and concern which is one more problem that she faces with the problem of her widowhood. She also has a very great problem in educating her young family. To-day, education is of tremendous import” nee. In the last 50 years we have seen the greatest changes in science, medicine and in education and al! the necessary equipment that must be given to young persons to enable them to meet the problems that may lie ahead of them, and the training they must have to face whatever the future may bring. So the education of a youn? person to-day is tremendously important. Here again the widow faces real problems, and I ask that some special consideration be given along the lines of an education allowance. The children and the young people are surely the most important members of the community when we think of Australia’s future. The last 50 years have been the most spectacular in history for achievements in the field of education, and the sense of responsibility we instil into the children, and the training they receive now, will ensure that in the future, in this country and, indeed, in the world, these great achievements will be used for the benefit of mankind and the welfare of the human race instead of to produce disaster and the destruction of the race. So 1 believe most sincerely in the importance of education and training in good citizenship for our children. I hope further consideration will bc given to assisting the civilian widows to ensure that the children who are their great and beloved responsibility will have the very best opportunities.
I want to touch for a moment on another subject which is very dear to my heart, as it has been for many years. I almost mention the word with bated breath, because I think honorable senators know what it will be.
– Correct. For many years 1 have worked for the setting up of geriatric wings and units in our hospitals, and it is with the greatest pleasure that 1 am able to pay tribute and offer sincere congratulations to the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz), who has opened at the Rosemount Hospital in Brisbane a geriatrics service for aged exservicemen. When I first started on this crusade Senator Sir Walter Cooper, who was then Minister for Repatriation, saw my endeavours and said he hoped that in his lifetime he would see the Repatriation Department inaugurate a geriatrics unit. I think Sir Walter Cooper has had something to do with this recent progress. One of the sentences spoken by the Minister on this matter impressed me deeply. He said -
This new geriatrics centre will place Queensland among the leaders of geriatric treatment in Australia.
That, to me. is worth while. We all have our particular babies, if I may put it that way, and to me the treatment of geriatrics has been of the utmost importance. If we can give these people added years of lire, as the medical world has clone, it is important that we ensure that those added years are not just years of existence, spent bedfast in hospital, but are lived in the fullest, happiest way. That is what the geriatric unit is pledged to do. We sec a new future opening up for our aged senior citizens - dignity in age and a care which is new and splendid and must mean that these added years are not just years of existence but are years of richness and fulfilment. I hope that this service now commencing at the Rosemount Hospital will mean just that for these aged ex-servicemen in Queensland. I also hope that in the States which do not have such wings they will be brought into operation before too long.
I should like to speak on another matter of tremendous importance. I have always been impressed by the work in our rehabilitation centres in various parts of Australia where young men and women who are disa” led because of accidents or other reasons are able to receive certain training. Much more than that, they are given confidence and strength to face the world and take up an occupation. This could never have been possible without these centres. 1 feel that we still have a great deal to do in this field. Having seen a good deal of the work of sheltered workshops and organizations which arc pledged to care for disabled people 1 feel more and more that we should try to plan something more for those who have disabilities.
One of the great problems that faces people suffering from some form of disability is that if they are able to take part in work in a sheltered workshop, or have some training, they need a place to live while they are training or doing their work. If they are at rehabilitation centres they are able to live there, but there are others who do not come into that category. There are people working through organizations and training for some occupation who cannot continue their training or work because they have no adequate or suitable accommodation. I should like to see consideration given to some assistance, in the form of a subsidy, so that this specialized hostel accommodation can be made available.
We have already seen the achievements of governments working with organizations for the care of aged and sick in all kinds of ways. Here is one more way in which governments and philanthropic organizations pledged to serve a particular need can work together. If the people concerned had some kind of hostel accommodation close to where they could be trained for their rehabilitation work, and had a place to live where they could go easily to and from their work, they would be greatly assisted. They do not want to travel long distances. If within a hostel there were suitable accommodation and also rooms where they could further their training, it would mean that from one kind of occupation they could step to another perhaps a little more advanced. It would be of great help. These things are of tremendous importance. According to organizations for the disabled, sheltered workshops are getting increased numbers to do full-time and halftime employment. Twenty per cent, are able to do normal work and 50 per cent, are working half time. These are wonderful figures. If we can give people confidence in themselves, hope for the future and happiness in their work, and if we can make it a little more easy for the disabled by assisting them with hostel accommodation, we will be doing something worth while for them.
As 1 speak of the work of rehabilitation my mind turns to Townsville in north Queensland where splendid work is being done by homes for crippled children. Unfortunately, a great problem is caused by the fact that in Townsville there is no rehabilitation centre like those in the capital cities to which these young people may go when they grow out of childhood, lt therefore becomes necessary for these young people to be brought right down to Brisbane to undergo training for an occupation. In some States, if one were to travel the tremendous mileage which separates Brisbane from Townsville, he would be taken into another State. When these crippled young people are brought to Brisbane, they have to be taken away from their homes, their parents or their families. That in itself poses a very great problem. An additional problem is created when they have to seek an occupation in the capital city near to where they have been trained. I know there arc public-minded and kind people in north Queensland who would be only too happy to employ such young people if it were possible to train them in the north.
I ask the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) to consider this matter closely and carefully. You simply cannot compare a State which is as small as Victoria or Tasmania to a large State like Queensland, with its great distances. A young child who goes to a centre in Townsville may have come from one of the islands, from the tip of Cape York or from somewhere in the Gulf country and in doing so have had to travel a very great distance. Then, if we want him to go to the Commonwealth rehabilitation centre, he must travel hundreds of miles further to Brisbane. I urge the Minister to consider the establishment of a rehabilitation centre in north Queensland so that this problem of distance and of young people being taken from their families and homes to train for an occupation may be overcome, and their lot made so much easier. It is a rather sobering thought that the disabilities from which many young people suffer have not been present from birth or early childhood. A young man or a young woman may go out gaily and happily, perhaps in a new car, and in a moment be involved in an accident, be crippled and rendered helpless for life and placed in need of rehabilitation. I know of a young woman aged nineteen years who set off gaily for a holiday, who was involved in a terrible accident and who to-day is bedridden. If only we could provide her with some form of rehabilitation, it would make her future so much brighter. Any of us could be disabled within a very short space of time. If anything can be done to make life better for such people, to make the years ahead happier, it should receive the greatest consideration.
There is so much one could talk about during this debate. One could speak of the Government’s record, of the great housing schemes, of the provision of war service homes and homes for aged persons, and a variety of other subjects. But at this point of time I wanted to bring to the notice of the Senate matters which I believed to be of great human importance. I remind honorable senators that there is need for further assistance for civilian widows, for hostel accommodation, and for the rehabilitation of disabled persons. Further assistance could oe given to existing voluntary organizations to provide a home-help service for young mothers with babies and young children, for the aged and the sick and those who after a period in hospital must come home alone and need a little care in their own surroundings and amidst their own treasures. These arc all matters of very great personal need. I have taken advantage of the opportunity to bring them before the Senate during the debate on this bill, which I support with the greatest pleasure.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, I take advantage of this opportunity to deal with two matters that are of national importance. First I wish to deal with a matter that affects immediately and particularly 23 young
Australian children. I refer to those infants whose bodies have been distorted and malformed because for some reason their mothers, between the 35th day and the 52nd day of their pregnancy, took a drug which appeared on the chemists’ shelves and is known to the Australian people as Distaval. I am not blaming any one in particular in this country for the fact that that drug has been on sale in Australia. Indeed, it has been manufactured and sold to the public throughout the world. Shocking reports have come to hand of the results of the use of thalidomide in Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Japan and the United States of America. I understand that in Germany 2,500 of the 5,000 infants who suffered from horrible malformations caused by this drug are still alive. 1 am led to believe that in Britain between 500 and 800 young children have been affected. Cases have been reported in Portugal, Italy, Switzerland and South Amenca.
Although remedial measures are being taken in other countries, very little, if anything, is being done in Australia to assist these young children and their parents, who are suffering as a result of the malformation of the children. It is very unfortunate and sad that 23 Australian mothers should have seen their children enter the world as seriously malformed babies. Information which has been supplied to me indicates that some infants have been born merely - I use the word “ merely “ loosely - with twisted and useless ears. Others have been born with malformed bone structure, and unfortunately others have been born without limbs. They have come into this world deprived of what I might call their natural birthright of equality of opportunity. These children have been born into every section of the community. Some are in the wealthy section. Some have been born into the middle-class section. Others, of course, are in humble homes. These 23 Australian children - I do not know the number that are still alive to-day, although I understand that in New South Wales nine have passed away - have been so born because of a drug manufactured by a German company, the name of which, I understand, is Chemie Grunenthal. These children - and, indeed, their parents, I suggest - have very little, if anything at all, to look forward to in life.
Might I say at this stage that Australia should be for ever grateful for the work put in on this subject in the early stages by Dr. McBride, then of the Crown-street Women’s Hospital in Sydney. 1 understand from articles I have read on the subject that Dr. McBride was one of the first doctors in the world to run up the flag on this horrible drug, thalidomide. Thanks to Dr. McBride’s suspicions, the drug was on the Australian market only for a period of some fifteen months, namely, from about June, I960, to November, 1961. Having regard to the research conducted by Dr. McBride and his findings, as a result of which the Australian authorities eventually withdrew the drug from sale in Australia, 1 believe that if ever a man should be recommended by a government to Her Majesty the Queen for some sort of commendation, it is Dr. McBride.
The fact is, as 1 have said, that very little, if anything at all, is being done to assist these 23 malformed Australians. Perhaps it is that society, consciously or unconsciously, wants to forget about them. Perhaps it is that a collective family group of 23 cannot be regarded as a pressure group. In any event, very little, if anything at all, is being done in Australia to alleviate the problems of the parents of these children or to assist the afflicted children themselves.
Having seen one of these children, I suggest that the subject is so heart-rending that Australian authorities - I refer not only to this Government but also to all other governments - must be called into action immediately to do something to assist. In this Parliament, 1 have tried for some six months to see that something is done, but so far, I must admit, 1 have had very little success. 1 think it was on Wednesday, 10th April, in this chamber, that the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) told me that as a result of representations I had made to him, which he in turn had conveyed to the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz), the Repatriation Department was able and willing to assist these children by providing artificial limbs for them, whether or not the children were sons or daughters of exservice personnel. Indeed, in New South Wales, the Minister for Social Welfare, the Honorable Harold Hawkins, whom I commend for the excellent work he is doing in social welfare, has said that if the parents of any of the children living in New South Wales are not able to provide the finance to obtain artificial limbs for the children, the New South Wales Government will assist the parents to provide those limbs.
I do not wish particularly to criticize the Minister for Health, because I genuinely believe that he is a man of humanity, but the fact remains that, whatever be the reason, little has been done in Australia in comparison with what has been done in other countries. On 4th December last, in reply to a question that I placed on the notice-paper on 27th November, the Minister told me that if the result of consideration suggested that there was any possibility of supplying and fitting these children with suitable types of limbs, he would be happy to take the matter up with his colleague, the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton). But I regret to inform the Senate, and indeed the Minister for Health, that unfortunately that line of approach is no longer likely to succeed, because on 9th January last the Minister for Social Services wrote to me in the following terms: -
Perhaps you will be good enough to appreciate that I have no authority to exceed the provisions of the Social Services Act which confines assistance to children within certain prescribed limits. There is no provision in the Act which would enable me to assist handicapped children until, when they reach the age of sixteen years, they may qualify for an invalid pension.
The Minister for Social Services was not able to say - at least, he did not say - that he would consider seeking an amendment of the Social Services Act. All he said was that so far as he was concerned nothing could be done for these children until they reached the age of sixteen years.
Earlier this year I made a suggestion that perhaps the Repatriation Department could adopt these children for the purpose of supplying them, free of charge, with artificial limbs, so as to give them a chance in future life. Indeed, the week after the Parliament adjourned in December, I sent to the Minister for Health the following telegram: -
Your urgent and humane consideration is requested to obtain and supply free of charge artificial limbs for fitting and use by the 23 unfortunate Australian Distaval children you mentioned in the Senate last week. I suggest this can best be done by the Repatriation Department and I ask you to immediately examine the position so that welcome relief can be given to the parents and the children who obviously deserve and need much help. I am sure you will agree this should be regarded as a national problem and one transcending party politics.
Then correspondence passed between myself and the Minister. Finally, on 10th April, whilst sitting in this chamber, I received from Senator Wade a letter, of which I shall quote the last paragraph -
In this respect, by colleaque . . .
He was referring to the Minister for Repatriation -
After a campaign that I waged with the assistance of others, it took me some five months to find out, by way of interrogatories in this chamber, letters passing between the Minister and myself, and a telegram, that the Repatriation Department is equipped to make, and has made, artificial limbs for thalidomide children. I suggest that a delay of some five months in an important matter such as this, affecting 23 Australian children whose lives have been distorted for ever because of this drug, is indicative of bureaucracy at its worst. Indeed, with respect to the Minister involved, T believe it is a shocking indictment of the administration of this Government.
In comparison with what is being done in other nations, little, if anything at all, is being done in Australia in this respect. Orthopaedic specialists throughout the world all maintain - indeed, I have not been able to find one who does not so maintain - that it is important to ensure that these children are provided for at a very early age. In this regard, Mr. Deputy President, 1 mention that in a letter that I wrote to the Minister on 3rd January last, I pointed out that Dr. Charles Frantz, a co-director of Michigan’s Child Amputee Clinic, chairman of an American sub-committee on children’s prosthetic problems and a recognized expert on these matters, had stated that he was of the opinion that special tailor-made prostheses should be constructed for these children as early in life as possible. He suggested some kind of support for those with leg problems at the age when normal children begin to stand and walk, and artificial arms of a simple type at about the age of five months. Every Australian orthopaedic specialist and pediatrician to whom I have spoken has said exactly the same thing. Indeed, it has been suggested that this should be done at an age not earlier than six months and not later than twelve months.
The Government should treat this matter on a national basis. The Minister for Health cannot claim that his department is not empowered to provide assistance of this kind because, according to the interim report of the Director-General of Health, at page JO, for the last financial year, the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories continued, as necessary, to equip deaf children with Calaid hearing aids. We find that a total of 8,278 new patients attended the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories throughout the last financial year. I understand that not only are these hearing aids provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health, but also that they are serviced by the department, the only stipulation being that the equipment supplied remains in the possession of the department. The Commonwealth Department of Health therefore is doing something to assist children who are afflicted with deafness. The irony of the situation is that one of these children, born with twisted and distorted ears - and from what I have read, I understand that that is a significant feature of many such children throughout the world - could receive assistance from the Commonwealth Department of Health, but another child, born with a malformed body and without any limbs at all, would be able to receive assistance from the Repatriation Department only when other avenues of assistance had been explored without success and after the financial situation had been considered.
I do not know what it would cost to fit each child with limbs, but I understand that Sir Kenneth Coles, who is chairman of directors of the Sydney Hospital and connected with an invalid children’s society,has estimated the cost to be £10,000 in the lifetime of each child. Having regard to the large amount of government expenditure overall, I suggest that the provision of £230,000 throughout the lifetime of these children would be a mere drop in the bucket. That sum is infinitesimal compared with the general overall cost of administering the nation’s affairs. In this regard, I have been supported by an editorial published in the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “ of Tuesday, 11th December last. It stated -
In terms of Government expenditure it would involve a relatively trifling cost to take over the care of these victims and give them every assistance that modern medical science can devise.
So the Federal Government should not hesitate to act on the suggestion of Senator D. McClelland, who urges that the children be given all the facilities of the Repatriation Department, irrespective of their technical disability.
This would enable them, for example, to be filled with free artificial limbs of the latest designs at all stages of their lives.
Australia has already been criticized overseas for being slow in helping thalidomide victims.
To be fair, both Federal and State Governments have indicated their willingness to help. But we should give nothing less than the fullest possible assistance - not just in answer to criticism but in the name of common humanity.
For once, Mr. Deputy President, I find myself in complete agreement with an editorial of the Sydney “ Daily Telegraph “.
On10th January last, in a letter to the Minister, I asked him to consider for this purpose sending an Australian orthopaedic specialist and/or pediatrician overseas, particularly to Germany, where, as I have said, there are some 2,500 children so afflicted, and also to Great Britain, where there are between 500 and 800 of the children, and the United States of America. I suggested that such an orthopaedic specialist and/or pediatrician could ascertain and report upon the latest developments in rendering assistance to the victims of this terrible drug, thalidomide. That was in January. How far the suggestion I made then has been taken, I am at a loss to know, but I do know that medical scientists throughout the world are unanimously of the opinion that assistance must be given to these children at a very early age. I now suggest to the Minister that, instead of sending an Australian orthopaedic specialist and/or pediatrician overseas, a person at present overseas who has been engaged for some time in work of this kind should be invited to come to Australia to advise the Australian authorities on the treatment and types of prosthesis best suited to these children.
This is a very important matter which is not taken lightly by any section of the community. It is a matter that should touch the heart of every man and woman in the community and one which deserves the closest scrutiny by all members of the Cabinet. I suggest also that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) might consider amending the Social Services Act so that these children will not have to wait until they are sixteen years of age before they are entitled to an invalid pension. I ask all members of the Government concerned with this problem - the Minister for Health, the Minister for Social Services and also the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz) - to do whatever they can, and do it immediately, so that these children and their parents will be assisted.
We have heard reports that young Australian parents are thinking of disposing of their assets in Australia and going overseas with their children to see if assistance can be obtained. One parent has written to me that he is fearful of the consequences that his malformed child will have, psychologically, on his other children. These are all mattersthat have to be taken into consideration and that must be given attention. In Germany special clinics are being set up, and some have been in existence for some time, where mothers of these children are able to stay with their kiddies for four, five or six weeks, teaching them to operate the artificial limbs that are supplied. That sort of thing must be investigated immediately by the Government. Whilst it might be too late for an Australian orthopaedic specialist and/ or pediatrician to go overseas to learn the methods of treatment,I suggest that in the immediate future an invitation should be extended to an eminent overseas authority on this matter to visit Australia.
I have referred to what I consider to be a matter involving humanity and a matter of national importance. I wish now to refer to another matter - the financial remuneration of members of the Commonwealth Public Service. Before dealing with members of the Commonwealth Public Service I wish to touch upon the remuneration received by certain highly skilled officers of this Parliament, men who are members of the same industrial association as myself and my colleague in this chamber, Senator Ormonde. I refer, of course, to members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Reporting Staff. I have ascertained that in this Parliament, where there is a total of some 184 members, the officers of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Reporting Staff are in receipt of an annual salary of £2,751, but in the State of Victoria, where there are some 100 members - taking into account the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council - the officers of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff of the Victorian Parliament are in receipt of a salary of £2,998.
– What does that prove?
– I am suggesting that, having regard to the importance of their duties, these men - I will come to the task involved - are underpaid in comparison with people doing similar work in other parliaments.
– Is not their remuneration subject to determination by an industrial tribunal?
– I will come to that, too.
– Do you dispute the principle of arbitration?
– I will deal with that matter shortly. Just let me quote these figures. Parliamentary reporters in New South Wales receive some £2,600 whereas the Commonwealth men receive £2,751. Reporters in the Queensland Parliament receive some £200 to £250 above the salaries awarded to members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Reporting Staff. The hours of sitting of this Parliament - the figures can be perused - are longer than those of any other parliament in the Commonwealth. I believe that it would be fair to say also, although I have not actually perused figures on this aspect, that the amount of work connected with committees is greater in this Parliament than in any other parliament in the Commonwealth.
asked me whether I disputed the principle of conciliation and arbitration. I certainly, along with my party, support the principle of conciliation and arbitration. I am given to understand that in matters concerning officers of this Parliament under the control of the President and the Speaker, if agreement on the fixation of salaries cannot be reached between the parties a certificate must be obtained from an authority for an approach ;,to be made to the Commonwealth Public Service Arbitrator. I believe that officers of this Parliament should not come under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Public Service Arbitrator. It might be fair to suggest that they should come under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, but I believe that officers of the Parliament should be completely outside the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board and should not be linked with Public Service awards.
In reply to a question placed on notice about other Commonwealth public servants, I was informed that 4,000-odd members of the Commonwealth Public Service resigned last year and a similar number resigned the previous year. A fortnight ago I asked the Leader of the Government in this chamber (Senator Sir William Spooner) whether he had seen reports that officers of the Commonwealth Public Service were leaving high positions in the service because they were able to secure positions outside at salaries as much as £1,500 above their Public Service rewards. I suggest that the Government take cognizance of this matter. It is in the interests of Australia that high public servants enjoy emoluments as high as those of men performing similar duties in nonPublic Service organizations. The principle should be adopted that rather than have highly skilled Commonwealth public servants recruited by outside commercial organizations the conditions and the salaries enjoyed by public servants throughout the Commonwealth Service should be such that the Public Service will attract men from commercial organizations.
.- I rise to support the first reading of this Appropriation Bill. To my mind it is incontrovertible that the wise measures of this Government have brought Australia through difficult days of world change and tension to its present state of prosperity and stability, lt is apparent that Australians are a very fortunate people, and it behoves us to devote our whole energy to developing our country to its utmost capacity. That is the task that has been entrusted to us. I maintain that the whole of the Government’s programme is designed to use all practical and possible means to achieve this end. Our country is in many respects a developing one, and our sympathies must go out to the peoples of other developing countries. The attitude of the Government has been shown to be sympathetic by the practical, humanitarian and economic aid that has been given to these countries through various channels, such as the Colombo Plan.
Again, I should like to touch on the world food programme. The appropriation listed for that programme is £223,220. This world food programme arose from discussions which took place in the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, as the result of a report of the Director-General entitled, “ Development through Food, a Strategy for Surplus Utilization “. lt was decided to embark upon a three-year programme to relieve the needs of starving people in under-developed countries, and also to render economic aid to them. Consequently, Australia, as a member nation, agreed to make a total contribution of £670,000 over a period of three years, a third of the contribution each year to be in cash and two-thirds in commodities appropriate to the needs of the country concerned. We agreed also to give general emergency relief and, on the practical side, to render such aid as would enable countries to bring more land into cultivation so that their own production of foodstuffs would be increased.
In addition, the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) has announced from time to time that Australia had made an emergency relief contribution. For instance, in November of last year maize, vitamin tablets and machinery were given, as the result of a special request, to aid refugees from the border of Viet Nam and Laos. Also, in November of last year, £18,000 was granted to the people of South Thailand where, owing to storms, 700 people were killed, many towns were damaged and people were rendered homeless. Honorable senators will recall that, in March of this year, the Australian Ambassador in Djakarta was authorized to offer a contribution of £25,000 to those people who had been rendered homeless, and who were in dire need of relief, owing to the eruption of the Bali volcano.
We are told, Mr. President, that by the end of the century the world’s population will have doubled. We are told also that only one-third of the world’s population is properly fed. In November, 1959, these facts were forcibly presented to the tenth Food and Agricultural Organization conference when the member nations approved the holding of a world-wide campaign to last from 1960 to 1965. Australia became a member of the advisory committee to set up this campaign, and in June, 1960, the Australian Government decided to encourage the establishment of a committee of private citizens to supervise the organization of the campaign in Australia, again not only to give food to those in need but also to assist in the economic programme. The national committee has set as a target for Australia the sum of £1,000,000, and each State committee has been allocated a proportion of this sum. The £1,000,000 will be spent on fifteen projects, such as the milk scheme for India, poultry production in India, a milk scheme for Pakistan, an agricultural expansion scheme in Burma, crop and soil research in Burma, rice improvement in East Pakistan, and, in Australia, a pest control course.
The Australian Government has given practical support to this campaign by amending the income tax laws to enable donations of £1 or over to be deductible for income tax purposes. If the target of £1,000,000 is reached, as I sincerely hope it will be, this concession will mean that the Commonwealth will forgo revenue to the extent of £350,000, which would be, in effect, an indirect contribution by the Commonwealth.
I turn now to another group of people who need aid, the elderly citizens of our community. I think there can be no question that the record of this Government in the field of public service is outstanding, and I commend the provision of £300,000 for grants to eligible organizations under the Aged Persons Homes Act. That act has assisted the humanitarian work of the churches and charitable and other organizations and enabled them to provide homes for about 15,000 persons.
I was glad, indeed, that Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin spoke of the emergency home help scheme. I am particularly interested in that because, when it was first introduced in Victoria, I, together with the late Dr. Vera Scantlebury Brown, who I think was known throughout the Commonwealth as Director of the Maternal, Infant and Pre-school Welfare Division of the Victorian Health Department, Dr. Doris Officer, honorary secretary of the Victorian Baby Health Centres Association, and the executive members of that association worked very hard indeed to enable the Local Government Act to be amended so that municipal councils could employ emergency housekeepers. Since then’ the scheme has expanded in Victoria, and now much valuable assistance is given by voluntary organizations and by the Red Cross. So I add my plea to that of Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin that more money should be forthcoming to people who are in need - young mothers with sick children, mothers returning home with new-born infants, and elderly people who must be cared for in their own homes.
I also support the plea for aid at the other end of the life span - for the young children. Especially am I interested in the children of civilian class A widows, who were mentioned by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin. For a considerable number of years I have had discussions with women’s organizations in Victoria and on a Commonwealth level, with civilian widows themselves, with the National Council of Women on the State and Commonwealth levels, with women of churches, with women of our own Liberal Party and many others. All have expressed real concern for the hardship being experienced by many of these civilian class A widows.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, 1 formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I want briefly to put a case to the representative in this chamber of the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn) relating to a subject on which I have made representations several times but on which nothing appears to have been done. I refer to the airport at Newcastle which is controlled by the Royal Australian Air Force. Frequently the use of the aerodrome by R.A.A.F. planes delays the commercial services. There is only one service in and one out in a day, and if the Royal Australian Air Force would cooperate in the arrangement of its training those services would not be interrupted.
Last week, the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) brought the case to the attention of the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn) and pointed out that whilst the civil aircraft was ready to leave at 8.25 a.m., it was delayed for about 25 minutes because all the jet aircraft were on the strip. This morning, the same sort of aircraft was ready to leave at 8.25 o’clock. After it had waited for nearly 20 minutes, one of the Royal Australian Air Force planes came out and eventually took off, and then the civil aircraft was allowed to depart. I think that this shows complete arrogance on the part of the Royal Australian Air Force. Attention has been directed to this practice time after time. After all, only one civil plane is allowed out in the morning and only one is allowed in at night. Surely the R.A.A.F. could arrange its training so as not to inconvenience the requirements of the civil traffic. I again protest strongly about this because I feel that no effort is being made by the R.A.A.F. In fact, I think the R.A.A.F. is provocative in compelling the civil airline to be held up constantly in order that the R.A.A.F. may pursue its training requirements. I think that if the commander of an air station is competent at all he should be able to arrange the training of his air crews in such a way that it would not inconvenience a civil airline. This is happening week after week. I put it to the Minister for Civil Aviation that it is time that some consideration was given to the civilian flying people and that the commander of the
R.A.A.F. station at Williamtown should be advised to show some consideration for civil flights.
– I am not aware of the explanation which the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn) gave in respect of this matter when it was brought to his attention last week. As Senator Arnold has said, the aerodrome at Williamtown is under the operational control of the Royal Australian Air Force and civil airlines use it on a permissive basis. It has been the endeavour of both departments so to employ the airport as to meet the greatest convenience of the travelling public. It is a matter of some surprise and regret to me to learn of these two occurrences on successive Tuesday mornings. The honorable senator can be assured that I will have inquiries made as soon as possible and that I will certainly endeavour to avoid a repetition of that sort of thing. Indeed, the very purpose of our collaboration with the R.A.A.F. in this respect is to ensure that timetables are worked out in advance and are adhered to. I am not aware of the circumstances. I will have them looked at.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.34 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1963/19630514_senate_24_s23/>.