24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a report in to-day’s Melbourne “ Sun News-Pictorial “ newspaper that the Liberal Government in Victoria will hold an inquiry into allegations made by Mr. Hunt, a Liberal member of the Victorian Parliament, that Mr. R. M. Ansett has received preferential treatment from a governmental authority? Since it is widely realized that Ansett has received far greater favours from this Government, will the Leader of the Government in the Senate ask for an independent inquiry to find out why he is treated here with such tender concern?
– I am sorry to say that 1 have not seen the report to which Senator Kennelly has referred. I find a great deal of difficulty in understanding it, because I know of no circumstances in which Mr. Ansett has received preference from this Government. The attitude of the Opposition to the airlines legislation always surpasses my comprehension. I never can understand it, because I should think that honorable senators opposite would agree that we derive great advantages from having two airlines in competition. The granting of the television licence recently was an open book. It was granted as the result of a recommendation which was made after an inquiry had been held. All the facts and circumstances in that respect have been set out, including the virtues and weaknesses of the various applications. A recommendation finally was made and was accepted by the Government. I find it very difficult to see any justification for an inquiry such as that suggested by Senator Kennelly. I do not know of circumstances which would cause a member of the Liberal Party, or a member of any other party, to seek such an inquiry.
– I address a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is it a fact that the recent agreement made between New Zealand and Australia provides for a period of 60 days to elapse before dumping duties will be imposed by either country? Does this mean that large quantities of goods may be imported during that time? Will the agreement alter in any way the protection of Australian industry against dumping of goods from New Zealand?
– It is a fact that the agreement which was made recently between the governments of New Zealand and Australia provides for a period of 60 days to elapse before action will be taken by either government, but that does not mean that in every case which arises under this Administration 60 days will have to elapse before it can be handled. The Australian Government has adopted the viewpoint that it will take all steps possible to ensure that no New Zealand industry is damaged by dumping of goods from Australia. I am certain in my own mind that Mr. Shelton, the Minister for Customs in New Zealand, approaches this in exactly the same way as we do. It is not the desire of either government that the industries of New Zealand or Australia should be damaged by dumping. Therefore what we have done is to put into effect administrative measures to carry out the agreement made by Mr. McEwen, the Australian Minister for Trade, and Mr. Marshall, the New Zealand Minister for Commerce. These administrative measures, we believe, will remove a great number of the pin-pricking factors that are relevant to the anti-dumping regulations of both countries, but under no circumstances will it take 60 days to do anything. I hope that most of these problems will be solved in a very few days and that consequently no large volume of goods coming within this category will enter the Commonwealth. In answer to the last question, the arrangements do not alter in any way the present position that exists in regard to Australian industries.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration considered the implications of the request made in October last year by Senator Cavanagh that the Government grant naturalization to Communists who have entered Australia by means of our immigration scheme? Commendably, the Minister said that he would never approve of granting naturalization to people who profess allegiance to a foreign power. Will the Minister indicate whether stricter procedures should be employed by selection officers to ensure that such undesirable aliens are denied entry permits to settle in Australia? Will he also take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that the integrity of all Commonwealth selection officers is above reproach?
– Answering the last part of the question, I can assure the honorable senator that the Administration takes every step possible to see that the officers concerned are beyond reproach. The rest of the honorable senator’s question deals with an important matter and I think it could- ‘be better answered directly by the Minister for Immigration himself. Since matters of policy are involved I should like to ask that Minister to provide the honorable senator with a reply. If Senator Cole would put his question on notice I will obtain an answer for him-.
– Is the
Minister for National Development aware that the Western Australian Government has appointed a sub-committee to prepare a submission to the Commonwealth Government for financial assistance for the proposed extension of the Western Australian comprehensive water scheme? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether or not such a submission has been received by the Commonwealth? If a submission has been received, can he say whether or not any order of priority has been placed on the submission from the Western Australian Government?
Senator Drake-Brockman was good enough to indicate that he proposed to ask this question. I have had an answer prepared which gives a reply in authoritative terms. A similar question was directed to the Prime Minister in another place on Tuesday. The Prime Minister stated that the submission had been received and was under consideration. The Western Australian Government did not place any order of priority in its submission. In this connexion I might mention that the Western Australian Govern ment has also applied for further assistance for the development of the north-west of that State. This assistance would involve an expenditure of £3,200,000 and is in addition to the £3,050,000 to which the Commonwealth is already committed in respect of assistance towards the construction of beef cattle roads in the north-west and the construction of the Derby jetty.
– I should like to ask a question of the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it the intention of the Department of Civil Aviation to construct a new aerodrome at Canberra? Have any inquiries or investigations been made with regard to suitable sites, etc.? Is the Minister in a position to say where the new aerodrome site will be situated, or can he report anything in respect of this matter?
– 1 am not in a position to give a definitive answer to this question. As 1 remarked in the Senate on a previous occasion, investigations, largely of a technical nature, have been going on to ascertain whether there is, within an acceptable distance of the city of Canberra, an alternative site for an aerodrome. I have indicated that the nature of the terrain imposes some difficulties. A further consideration is that the nature of the terrain sets up all kinds of undesirable air turbulence near the ground. This is a matter which, as I am sure the honorable senator will appreciate, requires close and lengthy investigation. The department has, if I may put it this way, in working out a long-term view, undertaken the investigation of one or two sites, but certainly nothing definite has yet been decided.
– My question is directed to the Minister for National Development. Can the Minister tell me the cost of producing power, per kilowatt hour, in the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme? Can he give me also the relative costs of hydro-electric power and thermal power? Is it a fact that British scientists now claim that they will be able to produce nuclear power at .35d’. per kilowatt hour by 1970? If this is so, and in view of the great difficulty experienced in South Australia in producing power on an economical basis, will the Minister take up with the Premier of South Australia the possibility of constructing a nuclear reactor in that State?
This question is a fairly comprehensive one. Electric power from the Snowy Mountains scheme is being produced at something under a Id. per kilowatt hour. However, it is wrong to contrast that with the cost of thermal power, because the Snowy Mountains scheme is designed to operate for, perhaps, 25 per cent., 26 per cent., 27 per cent, or 28 per cent, of its time, whereas a thermal power station is designed to operate for 80 per cent, or 90 per cent, of its time. The Snowy scheme is designed to supplement the supply of power at peak periods. So, the cost of power from each source cannot be contrasted, but the proof of the pudding is that the States have asked us - and we have agreed with respect to Murray No. 1 power station - to take the power from the Snowy stations at an even higher peak. They want a greater volume of power over shorter periods, which in my opinion, proves that the merits of the scheme have now been completely accepted by the technical people of the electricity commissions. I have seen a number of estimates of what the cost of nuclear power will be by 1970. I do not think I have seen one as low as .3Sd. I may add, as an aside, that opinion is now firming that in substantial areas of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, nuclear power will be competitive with thermal power before 1970. We are now talking in terms of 1967-68. In other words, there have been some quite good developments in nuclear power station construction with the result that there is a far more confident feeling than there was even twelve months ago about nuclear power coming into operation on a competitive basis with thermal power. There is no competition between nuclear power and Snowy power because nuclear power will be base load power as distinct from the peak load power of the Snowy Mountains scheme. I would not be prepared to answer the last question asked by the honorable senator because power generation is a matter for each State. It would be a very big question indeed for the Commonwealth to assume obligation for power generation which, I think, is the largest single item on the works programmes of the States viewed according to the amount that is invested each year.
– This week, I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation some questions relating to the amalgamation of powerful aviation companies in Europe and the United States of America. I reminded the Minister of his earlier attitude when he said that this new powerful group would not seriously affect Qantas Empire Airways Limited. The Minister hotly and emphatically denied this. I ask the Minister, now, whether he will be kind enough to refresh his recollection. In order to assist him, may I be pardoned for inviting his attention to page 1089 of “Hansard”, dated 29th April, 1959.
– I quote this only to refresh the Minister’s memory.
– Order! For how long can I allow you to go on refreshing his memory?
– I shall be brief, Mr. President. Reference to the page of “ Hansard “ which I have mentioned will show that I sounded a warning but the Minister did not heed me. He then said that the nationally designated operators of a number of European countries were contemplating amalgamation and said -
I do not think that it will have any effect on Australian aviation.
They are the Minister’s own words. There were other questions-
– Order! The honorable senator will ask his question.
– I ask the
Minister, again, whether he has changed his view. The real intention of my question was to ascertain the impact on Australia of these negotiations.
– I thank Senator Hendrickson for proffering assistance to me. I shall have a look at what I have said at page 1089 of “Hansard” on 29th April, 1959. I always treat the honorable senator with the greatest courtesy, and I shall do as he has asked. But I admit that I had some difficulty yesterday and that I have equal difficulty to-day in trying to fathom what he means. If he reads the answers to his questions in full again he will see that what his questions referred to and what my answers also referred to were the establishment of a continental air union and the possibility of the inclusion in that air union of the British airlines. That is the particular matter to which he addressed his questions some time ago and to which I referred yesterday. Nonetheless, I shall look at the questions and if I feel that any further explanation is required of what I said yesterday or previously I shall certainly make it.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade whether it is a fact that New Zealand and Australia have agreed to establish a joint standing committee to review and study the trade between the two countries with the aim of submitting proposals by both govern.ments 10i a free trade area in forest products and other items suitable for inclusion in such an arrangement either immediately or in the future. Can the Minister inform the Senate, in view of the use of the word “ immediately “, whether members of the committee have been appointed by the respective governments and when the committee will commence its operations?
– Yes. That was part of the agreement made between the two Ministers. It was agreed to set up this standing committee which would include officers of the Department of Commerce in New Zealand and officers of the Department of Trade in Australia to examine the problems with a view to advising both governments on the possibilities of extending trade between the two countries. I understand that the committee will meet very shortly, probably next week, so neither the Australian Government nor the New Zealand Government is wasting any time in having this carried out by the working parties, which are getting down to the facts to see what can be done to assist trade between the two countries.
– My question to the Minister for Customs and Excise was stimulated by a discussion recently on the cost of imported exotic cheeses. It also arises out of an inquiry by an elector who wished to import from Greece special bacterial organisms known as cheese starters. Evidently these organisms work on the curd of the milk to make cheese and they give the cheese its individual flavour. I was informed by the customs and health authorities that there is a ban on the importation of cheese starters. In view of our large bill for imports of cheese, will the Minister have an investigation made with a view to overcoming the hazards to health which have caused the health authorities to insist upon banning imports of cheese starters?
– It is correct, as the honorable senator has said, that there is a prohibition on the importation of these cheese starters from various countries. This is a matter of quarantine and it was examined very thoroughly by the health authorities before they enforced the prohibition. 1 have always bee.’i very loath to interfere in matters of quarantine. In Australia, we have been fortunate to be able to keep out many of the animal diseases which are prevalent in other countries. I do not know whether that is the reason why the health authorities have banned imports of cheese starters, but if it is I would be very louth to lake any steps which would lead to any risk of introducing diseases into Australia. However, I will have the matter examined and supply to the honorable senator any information that is available.
– Will the Minister for Health inform the Senate of the current position in relation to the provision of capital funds to the State governments for mental hospitals? Is it true that, as a result of the Stoller report, the States were offered money by the Commonwealth on the basis of £1 for £2? ls it true that although New South Wales’s share of this offer was £3,800,000 that State has not taken up all the offer? What is the amount still available to New South Wales? Is it in the vicinity of £400,000?
– It is true that the Stoller report prompted the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act 1955 under which £10,000,000 was provided for mental hospitals, the Commonwealth Government supplying £1 for £2 provider by the State governments. In 1955 the entitlements of the various States were, in round figures: New South Wales, £3,800,000; Victoria, £2,700,000; Queensland, £1,400,000; South Australia, £895,000; West Australia, £720,000; Tasmania, £355,000. At the end of the financial year ended 30th June, 1962, New South Wales had remaining in that fund at the Common*ealth Treasury £1,276,000. I believe a good deal of that has been committed for this current year and it is expected that at the end of this financial year New South Wales will have a surplus in the fund, for expenditure on mental institutions, of £626,000. Victoria has expended all its grant money; Queensland has £829,000 still available; South Australia has £314,000 remaining; Western Australia has £482,000; and Tasmania, like Victoria, has expended its proportion of the grant.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Air seen the leading article in the “ West Australian “ of 14th May which dealt with the urgent need for adequate defence aircraft to be based in Western Australia? Has any consideration been given to the return to Pearce of some of the Neptune maritime reconnaissance aircraft which are needed urgently for strategic patrols over the northern approaches to Australia? Would such aircraft, if supplemented by at least two helicopters, be valuable also for regular weather patrols and rescue work along lonely stretches of the coastline of Western Australia?
– I have not seen the article referred to by Senator Tangney. It is very easy for people who, quite properly, have an interest in the defence of this country, to claim that their particular part of this huge continent should be provided with a naval base, an air base, or an army establishment. The Government has, in its defence” personnel, the best possible persons to advise it whether a particular type of aircraft or certain equipment should be placed in certain areas and, if so, when. I think that Western Australia is making a very valuable contribution to the training of air personnel. The base at Pearce is a great acquisition to Perth and to the Royal Australian Air Force. If the air authorities, in their wisdom, think it is proper to base Neptune aircraft in a certain part of Australia, we as laymen must accept their judgment. For that reason, I do not think there is any possibility - certainly not at this point of time - of furthering the cause which the. honorable senator has mentioned.
I should like to make a comment about rescue work. I was asked a question about this subject yesterday. Certainly it cannot be argued logically that the Air Force has any obligation to station aircraft at any particular spot for,, search and rescue work. There are very many areas around the lengthy coastline of Australia which might well provide ‘a- ‘ base for search and rescue work. lt ,. would be just impossible to have aircraft:.. Standing by at all of them to provide immediate assistance when required.’- ,, ‘It must be taken for granted that’” all these matters have been taken into account and that aircraft have been well and wisely placed around Australia for strategic purposes.
– I address to the Minister for National Development a question which relates to the lifting of the embargo on the export of iron ore and the discovery of large deposits of ore in the north of Western Australia. Has the Minister any information about the establishment of a deep-water port to accommodate ore carriers for the export of icon ore from that area?
– No request for such a facility has been received by the Government. The development of iron ore deposits is one of the big problems that Australia has to face. So far no sales of ore have been made. The situation is that we have very large deposits and the companies concerned know that the ore can be extracted cheaply and economically. As there is not a market for it in Australia, these companies have to find markets elsewhere in the world. As with bauxite, we have much more iron ore than we can use in Australia. We have to sell it on the international market, which makes contracts for years ahead. Our entrepreneurs and our mining companies have to arrange their sales in that pattern. A good deal is going on. I hope to see something eventuate in relation to Western Australian iron ore deposits, but it is a matter for the companies concerned.
– Has the
Minister representing the Minister for Trade seen the April, 1963, “Treasury Information Bulletin “, which indicates that the value of wheat exports for the period luly to February dropped from £106,200,000 in 1961-62 to £68,800,000 this financial year? Does the Minister consider that this is quite a drastic drop? If so, what is the reason for this large decline in the export value of this primary product?
– The “ Treasury Information Bulletin “ arrived on my table only this morning and I have not yet read it. The figures that the honorable senator has mentioned relate to deliveries. He will see that all the wheat has been sold.
– The figures relate to the period July to February in each of the financial years.
– Yes. There has been no carry-over; all the wheat has been sold. That is the reason for the figure this year being slightly less than the figure last year. However, I shall get the exact information required. If the honorable senator will ask me the question again on Tuesday next, I shall then have the information for him.
– I ask a question which arises from the statement of the Minister for Health entitled “Valuable Results from Survey of Illness “. Can the Minister say what provision has been made for the Commonwealth Statistician to extract the information available from the medical record cards of children in various States? If provision has been made, when does the Minister propose that the findings of these analyses will be released?
– Senator Breen was good enough to indicate to me that she sought information on this matter. I am now in a position to tell her that the information on the medical record cards used in the National Morbidity Survey is at present being coded by the Bureau of Census and Statistics. When this work has been completed, tabulations will be prepared. The tabulations will include reference to age groups as follows: Under one year, one to four years, five to fourteen years, and thereafter in ten-year age groups. Subsequent analyses of the tabulations, which are expected by about the end of the year, could take several months. However, as soon as the results have been analysed, an announcement will be made.
– I direct to the Minister for National Development a question which arises from the answer he gave to my previous question concerning the construction of a nuclear reactor in South Australia. I apologize for my persistence. I realize the difficulty of answering a question of that type without notice. I ask the Minister whether he will now reconsider his answer, in which he said that it was the responsibility of the States to provide* power, bearing in mind that ‘there would be national advantage from the possession of a reactor in this country and that the cost of such a reactor would be an exorbitant sum for one State to provide? Finally, there is the fact that the Snowy Mountains scheme has been arranged with the States of New South Wales and Victoria. The cost of the scheme is being met initially by the Commonwealth and that expenditure is to be repaid over a long period from the proceeds of the sale of power to those States. Could an arrangement of a similar kind be made with the Premier of South Australia?
I think it is hardly fair to bring the Snowy Mountains scheme into the argument. Power is being provided under the scheme, but everybody agrees that its main virtue is the provision of water for irrigation. I do not think that South Australia has any cause for discontent on that score, in view of the fact that we have only recently made similar arrangements to provide South Australia with water from the Chowilla dam. I would not go back on my previously expressed view. This is a matter which would involve the expenditure of many millions of pounds, and it would not be proper for me to give decisions in answer to a question without notice. National benefits would be derived from a reactor in South Australia, but the primary purpose of such a reactor would be to provide power for that State. The capital cost of a nuclear reactor is greater than that of a thermal power station, but the pertinent figure relates to the running cost, the cost per kilowatt hour. If, in the final analysis, South Australia is able to obtain its power requirements in the years to come more cheaply from nuclear sources than from thermal sources, as I am sure it will, I think that is very much a matter for South Australia.
– I ask the Minister re presenting the Treasurer when I may receive an answer to question No. 6, standing in my name on the notice-paper, as I should like to have the information at the earliest possible date.
– I shall have a look at the question and take it up with the Treasurer to see whether an answer can be supplied.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. Is it a fact that three pilot farms are to be established on the Marrakai flat, adjacent to the Adelaide River, in the Northern Territory? Is it intended that these farms will provide evidence of successful farming methods which may be adopted in the high-rainfall areas of the Northern Territory? Since large quantities of phosphates are required for pasture improvement in such areas, can the Minister advise me whether it is the intention of the Government to subsidize the provision of superphosphates to farmers in the area?
– Answering the last part of the question first, I put it to the honorable senator that a decision to subsidize fertilizer in one part of the Commonwealth necessarily would be part of a broader decision to subsidize fertilizer throughout the Commonwealth. As I am sure the honorable senator well Knows, this proposal has been considered by the Government on a number of occasions and has not been accepted by it. The establishment of three pilot farms on the Adelaide River flat is, of course, the result of a decision recently taken and announced by the Minister for Territories. It is considered that this undertaking will be of great value in ascertaining the agricultural potential of the Territory. It follows the recommendation of a committee of inquiry which was appointed some time ago and in respect of which the honorable member for Wakefield played a very prominent andeffective part.
– Will the Minister for Health give to the Senate the latest information he has concerning the advantages and disadvantages of the fluoridation of water supplies?
– The National Health and Medical Research Council recently announced its findings on this matter. They are to the effect that the council believes that the addition of fluoride to water in the proper proportions is of real value to the teeth of children, I think under twelve years of age, who drink the water so treated. If the honorable senator wishes me to comment on behalf of the Government on that finding, I inform him that it is our considered opinion that the water supplies of the nation are the responsibility of the State governments. For my own part, I believe that local government authorities should be responsible to initiate moves in this regard. I think the people should decide whether they wish to have fluoride added to their drinking water.
– That is not what I asked.
– I think I have answered the honorable senator’s question.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has now supplied the following answer: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
Will the Commonwealth Government cease to conduct its railway business in Canberra at the end of this financial year; if so, will the Government take proper action to ensure that the employees now engaged will have their superannuation and leave entitlements fully preserved before the transfer of the business to the New South Wales Government is effected?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following answer: -
Negotiations regarding the transfer of the Canberra to Queanbeyan railway line to the New South Wales Railways Department have been in course for some time. It was hoped that the agreement for the transfer would be completed and signed before the end of the current financial year, but negotiation on matters of detail has caused delay, and it is net possible at this stage to say precisely when the agreement Will be completed. Among the matters of detail still under consideration is the question of the preservation of superannuation and leave entitlements. The Commonwealth Government is fully cognizant of the need to ensure that all the accrued, benefits of Commonwealth Railways employees are preserved if the transfer is effected.
– On 14th May, Senator Anderson requested that consideration be given by the Government, when it is framing the next Budget, to the abolition or reduction of the sales tax on car safety belts. In reply, I undertook to bring this request to the notice of the Treasurer. It has since been brought to my notice that car safety belts are already exempt from sales tax, under a ruling given by the Commissioner of Taxation in 1961.
– I have received a letter from Senator Ormonde tendering his resignation from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, Senator Dittmer be appointed to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works.
[11.45]. - I move -
That Standing Order No. 68 be suspended up till and including 24th May, to enable new business to be commenced after 10.30 p.m.
I do not think there is any need for me to speak to the motion. This is a procedure which is quite unavoidable in the last week of a sessional period. I direct attention to the fact that I have moved the motion to make it apply to 24th May, which is the day after the House of Representatives expects to rise. I have used that date only as a precaution. At this stage we are unable to forecast with any accuracy what might be the trend of sittings next week.
– The Opposition opposes the measure. It objects to it on this occasion with a little more concern than -usual. Looking down the events of the last few years it seems to me that some malign influence affects the Leader of the Government (Senator Sir William Spooner) in the middle of May each year. I do not know what it has to do with the month of May in particular, but about that time he seems to generate some belligerence and express it by obliging the Senate to continue working after midnight and to proceed with new business introduced after 10.30 p.m. without an opportunity for recess or consideration of the business in advance of the general debate.
I remind the Senate of the events of 17th and 18th May, 1961 - two years ago almost to the very day. The Leader of the Government is going ahead one day sooner on this occasion, and that alarms me. The regularity with which he brings in a motion such as this each year is becoming quite notable on the Opposition side. I advert for a moment to the events of 17th and 18th May in 1961 when the Senate was kept sitting from 3 o’clock on one afternoon until 12.30 at lunch-time on the next day, without any recess. We were obliged to consider a large number of bills without any kind of recess or any opportunity to examine them immediately after they were presented. The Opposition , will never concur in any motion that will make that pos.ible again. Whenever I refer to thai occasion the Leader of the Government always waxes indignant and accuses the Opposition of obstruction, filibustering and frustration on that particular occasion. In anticipation of his reply I take the opportunity on this occasion-
– Really, have we got to the stage where you are going to make my speech for me?
– 1 think 1 can forecast, from the honorable senator’s pr:o>. form, what he will say, just as he can forecast fairly accurately what 1 will say on t.iis occasion. In anticipation that he might run true to form and level that accusation against the Opposition in respect of the 17th and 18th May two years ago, I direct his attention to the fact that from about 4 o’clock on the afternoon of 17th May until 2 a.m. on the 18th May we were debating the Stevedoring Industry Bill - a bill upon which I was engaged in committee for many hours, moving many amendments. I direct the honorable senator’s attention to what is reported at page 1139 of “Hansard” of that day. In speaking to Senator Gorton, the Minister in charge of the bill, I said - i think the Minister will acknowledge that there has been no waste of time by the Opposition.
That was after many hours of debate. Senator Gorton replied -
Yes. There has been no wasted time by either side.
Tha! was said at 2 a.m. That debate concluded somewhere about 2 a.m. Certainly, up to that time even the Government concurred in the proposition that there had been no waste of time.
– You might spare one moment to say something about the effect of that measure.
– I resist the invitation to embark on that. I would be offending against the Standing Orders if I did. The honorable senator would know that. It would have been an Opposition without spirit of any kind that did not use every device available to it to express resentment at being forced to debate bills after 2 a.m. until lunch-time the same day. I admit that wc did use every possible device open to us to impede and frustrate the Government from that point. I want Senator Sir William Spooner to have regard for the justification of the Opposition’s actions and the unfairness of the Government. Accordingly, for that reason among others, I do not, and the Opposition does not, propose to support this motion or to let it go through without a division.
Then there is another consideration. This sessional period has been one of the worstmanaged I have ever encountered in the Parliament. The Senate was called together to two false starts. I think I am right in saying that the opening of the session was cancelled. We met for two days on 9th and 10th April. Then we adjourned for twenty days to 30th April and we have been sitting fairly consistently since then - quite continuously. Up until yesterday, since we adjourned on 7th December, this Senate has sat for ten days. When we rose at 1 1 o’clock last night we had sat exactly 50 hours 58 minutes, and we are faced now with a motion to speed up business and so curtail this already extremely short sessional period so that it may end in the course of next week.
I should have thought that, having regard to these events, the Government would bc ashamed to move a motion of this type and to rush the business of the chamber on any excuse, notwithstanding whether this is a usual motion or whether it is formal. Frankly, I expected the Government would not have the audacity to move such a motion in those circumstances. It is perfectly clear that we have been faced with the lightest legislative programme I have ever seen, after the longest recess. Now we have the spectacle of the Government resorting to a device that will close up the business of the Senate in a week, lt is a reflection on the Government that it has done so little work after a very long recess when there are vital matters to be debated. Those are the two elements in my opposition to the motion.
I conclude by saying that the Opposition does not mind working. In a situation where it is a matter of dealing with bills on special occasions we do not mind working until somewhere near midnight, but we resent, and will resist fiercely, any proposition that will keep us working after that time and be obliged to participate in legislation by exhaustion. We will continue to protest against that all the time. For the reasons I have given - and I think I can say that on this occasion I have generated some that are new to the Senate - we oppose the motion.
– I support Senator McKenna. If the Leader of the Government (Senator Sir William Spooner) intends to reply I wonder whether he could throw some light on how it happens that a motion similar to this is moved year after year.
– And under every government.
– I do not think that interjection is very pertinent. I do not know that it happened with such regularity under other governments. I do not think it did. This Government has been in power now for thirteen years, so surely it should be able to cope with the situation. The Government has a civil service which is permanently working and preparing bills for the legislative programme. Surely after this time Ministers should have a sufficient grip on the work of the departments they administer to know what kind of legislation is to be amended.
One bill now on our notice-paper relates to the privileges and immunities of certain international organizations. Surely that is not a matter that has arisen in the last couple of weeks. Surely, in the four months that we were in recess, the Minister in charge of that bill knew that he would be proposing amendments to the act that he has to administer. This afternoon or on Tuesday next a bill to amend the Papua and New Guinea Act will come before the Senate. Surely that is not a matter that has evolved over the last few days. It seems to me that when Ministers have a civil service at their beck and call for twelve months of the year, it should not bc necessary for bills to be brought in during the last week of a session. Ministers have long recesses in which to prepare bills, and I have never been able to fathom why legislation has to come in in the last week. In all logic, with the organization of the departments, surely bills should be out of the hands of the draftsmen, waiting to be presented to this Parlia- ment on the day it meets, not in the last week its members move away.
I have had the uncharitable thought at times, Mr. President, that there are certain bills which are deliberately brought into this Parliament in the dying days of a session so that it will be impossible to probe them and give them the committee work that they deserve. I hope I am wrong in thinking that, but it seems to me that if the pattern is traced back we will find that there is a certain type of bill which, time and time again, is brought into the Parliament in the dying days. Senator Wright seems to find this amusing. Perhaps it is amusing to him, with that peculiar kind of humour that he possesses, but it seems strange to me that when this pattern has been evident over such a long time Ministers should fall into this trap time and time again. If the tardy introduction of legislation is not deliberate, why is it that our so-called efficient Ministers, with a public service at their command, can have ‘bills ready only in the dying days of any session?
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER (New South Wales - Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for National Development) [11.57] - in reply - I suppose I had better reply to arguments that have been raised, but I frankly feel that this is a silly business that we indulge in each session when I move this resolution and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), and perhaps some of his supporters, work up their synthetic indignation. A fact of life is that you could not sensibly run the business of Parliament in the last week of a session without this abrogation of the Standing Orders of the Senate.
I have been in the Senate for thirteen years and, to my recollection, this motion has been moved at the end of every session in the whole of that time. I have always meant to take time off to go back through the records to see whether this motion was proposed in the last week of every session in the thirteen years before I came into the Senate. We have Standing Orders which, in practice, do not work in the last week, and, in truth, I sometimes think it would be a lot more sensible if, instead of going through this performance that we have twice a year, we amended Standing Orders and had done with it. When in the fullness of time the Government changes and perhaps Senator McKenna leadsthe Government in the Senate - though I doubt whether the change will be so soon that it will be Senator McKenna - he, or whoever takes his place, will move the same resolution.
Those remarks are directed to the general terms of the motion. Then, of course, Senator McKenna has made my speech for me already on the 1961 episode. Mr. President, I take exception to that. There should be rules of fair play between leaders of political parties. One leader should not make the speech of another leader. There should be a more friendly feeling than that. But the truth of that episode is, to put it in short terms, that the Opposition endeavoured to take the conduct and control of business out of the hands of the Government. That was the tussle. It was not a very seemly incident and 1 hope it will never be repeated, but it was a set of circumstances in which the Government just had to stand its ground and take its business through to show that the Government and not the Opposition runs the Senate.
There has been some comment, I think from Senator Willesee as well as from the Leader of the Opposition, about the paucity of business for the Senate this session. It is not to be overlooked that the responsibility for that lies very largely on the Opposition in another place, because day after day it has upset the programme that was arranged by proposing urgency discussions. Even to-day, I am told, although a bill of profound importance is before the other place, the Opposition is initiating an urgency debate instead of going on with the other measure.
– Trying to cover up their own internal dissension.
– I am talking of the relation of these tactics to the business of the Senate. Senator Willesee claims that important measures come forward late in the session. The big measure that we will have to deal with next week turns upon an international agreement. 1 think that bill was introduced into the other place within 24 hours of the signing of the agreement. The bill could not be introduced before the agreement itself was actually signed, andI can say from my own knowledge that, before the agreement was signed, there were weeks and months of negotiations on points that arose.
If there are complaints from the Opposition about the lack of business before the Senate in this session, then the Opposition has to take its fair measure of responsibility for that. If you look at the business paper before the Senate, Mr. President, you will see that the resumption of the debate in most of the items stands in the name of members of the Opposition. No request has been made to me to bring any of these matters forward on the notice-paper. Most of them are debates on statements made or reports tabled by the Government. By securing an adjournment of the debate, the Opposition has indicated its desire to discuss the matters. I think I have shown, and the Government parties have shown by their demeanor, that we are always willing to give the Opposition in the Senate an opportunity to discuss these matters.
So the Opposition has no right to complain. It must take some of the responsibility. It is not for the Government to seek debate upon statements it has made or reports it has tabled. If the Opposition wants to discuss these matters the forms of the Senate are available to it. If the Opposition has moved the adjournment of a debate and then has not proceeded further, it must take responsibility for that, and it must share the blame if, in those circumstances, the business paper of the Senate has been lighter than it has been in the past.
Question put -
That the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) agreed to -
That government business take precedence ot general business after 8 p.m. this sitting.
Debate resumed from 15th May (vide page 478), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill bc now read a first time.
.- Last night, when the Senate adjourned, I was speaking about the survey made by the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of New South Wales. I said that the survey had disclosed that 65 per cent, of Australian factories were suffering from lack of orders. I want to add, now, that 53 per cent, of factories do not intend to increase the number of their employees until after the end of July. Whilst I am on this subject, I want to mention a factory which, it has been indicated very recently, will be closed within the next eight or nine months. I refer to the Austral Bronze factory at Hobart where some 130 persons will lose their jobs. It is claimed, and I think rightly so, that the main reason why the factory will close is that it cannot get tariff protection from this Government. That means that the employment situation in Tasmania will deteriorate considerably over the next few months. There has been a rise of 160 in the number of unemployed persons in Tasmania during the past month. In case somebody interjects that there is a Labour government in Tasmania, I remind the Senate that the unemployment figures for Victoria also have risen under a Liberal government. So it appears that the unemployment position can be fairly laid at the feet of this Government.
I anticipate that the position will worsen gradually in Tasmania and in a number of other States. At least, I know the position in my own State and I shall confine my remarks to it. I have mentioned that 130 people will lose their jobs at the Austral Bronze factory within the next nine months. In addition, most of the seasonal workers in that area will lose their employment within the next week or two. That will make the position worse for those who seek employment. Also a number of works which were undertaken to relieve unemployment will shortly be completed. The position will worsen as we enter the winter months. It appears to me that something should be done with the money which is being appropriated at the present time to relieve the unemployment which exists and which will continue over the next few months.
One other matter on which I desire to touch concerns apprentices. My thoughts on this subject have been prompted by the statement by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) the other day that there was a shortage of skilled labour in certain areas. He instanced Victoria. I should like to say that in my opinion the shortage of skilled labour is due to the fact that apprentices are not receiving sufficient remuneration, particularly in their first and second years. In February of last year the Government announced a scheme whereby employers who accepted apprentices from country districts would be granted a living away from home allowance for such apprentices. I have endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to find out from the Government the number of apprentices and employers who have availed themselves of that scheme. So far as I can ascertain, not one apprentice has been engaged under that scheme in Tasmania. If that is so, it is an indication to me that the scheme that the Government announced has not been very successful.
I suggest that the Government, rather than endeavour to encourage employers to employ more apprentices under the scheme which was proposed, should try to help apprentices who are already apprenticed to a trade and are receiving a very small wage and finding it very difficult to make ends meet. I shall enumerate four particular cases which have come to my notice during the last few weeks in Hobart. I will not name the particular person concerned, but if Government supporters desire the names 1 can readily supply them. The first is a boy seventeen years of age who lives 30 to 40 miles from Hobart. From his weekly wage of £7 3s. he has to pay £4 10s. a week board, fares at the week-end and fares to and from the technical school two nights a week, and then he has the magnificent sum of 27s. a week left to him even without providing for income tax deductions.
The second boy is eighteen years of age and pays £4 10s. a week for board from Monday morning until Friday night. After paying fares home at the week-end and other expenses he has left £2 18s. a week, exclusive of income tax, out of his wage of £8 18s. The third boy earns £7 3s. a week and pays £4 for board. He is seventeen years old and has £1 7s. a week remaining after paying expenses. The fourth boy is in almost the same position as the second boy, but he has 6s. a week more left because his fares are lower. The Government would do well if it gave these boys of seventeen and eighteen years some living away from home allowance as it stated it would do in February.
T have referred to the plight of apprentices and civilian widows and the economic situation in Australia. I hope the Government will do something about these problems, if not now, then at Budget time.
– I was particularly interested in the remarks of Senator Kennelly and his reference to overseas capital invested in Australia. Overseas capital investments have been considerable since the Second World War and capital is still coming here. These investments have provided much employment for Australians. Towards the end of his speech Senator Kennelly said he believed that some steps should be taken to ensure that some or all of the companies established in Australia should be owned at least partly by Australian shareholders. I cannot say whether that is practicable or not. Maybe it would discourage the introduction of more overseas capital, and I have always believed that it is essential that we invest every £1 we can in the development of our latent potentialities whether the money comes from overseas or is our own. That is the only way we can find employment for the people wa hope to attract to our shores, and we must have an adequate population fully employed if we hope to make Australia safe in this modern world.
Senator Poke said that the debate on this bill provided a favorable opportunity for criticism of the Government, and that is true. Honorable senators on the Opposition side have implied that in this debate they can bring to light the Government’s sins of omission and commission. They hope to induce the electors to turn out of office the twenty or so men who comprise the present Government and put another twenty or so in their place. The Opposition implies that if that were done we would have the mi.lenium at once and everything would be beautiful.
Recently the Senate was in recess because no business was coming to us and the press was very critical of this. Cartoons were published and the Senate was criticized for not sitting frequently enough. It was not sitting because there was so much flapdoodle in the House of Representatives.
– That is not fair. That happened on only one occasion.
– There were several motions and matters of urgency. One was a censure motion and I wondered that people in such a weak position as is the Opposition - a position that is almost indefensible - could have the audacity to launch an attack at that time on the Government. However that may be, the matters raised by the Opposition prevented sufficient business coming to the Senate.
During one of those weeks I listened to the broadcast of the debates in the House of Representatives, and it is an exercise I would commend to honorable senators. My endurance in this connexion is not great, lt is not long before I have had enough. But I gained the impression that the Opposition harps on the theme that, by getting rid of this Government, the people can have the millenium at once and that all their troubles will be over. I wish it was as simple as thu. It would be wonderful if all we hid lo do was to overturn the government of the day, to elect another one, and then be on the high road to everything that is excellent. But I am one of those persons who are sold on the idea that, if you do that, in all probability you will make things very much worse.
– You are not biased at all?
– -No, I do not think I am biased. I was an Independent for seventeen years.
– And then you went over to the Liberals!
– I did so because I accepted the essential truth of the Liberal philosophy. It was for no other reason. I believe that the cause of our trouble lies in something which is very much deeper than the fact that merely 22 mcn happen to control the destiny of the Commonwealth Parliament. We must look very much further than that to ascertain the real cause. Not long ago I read a commentary by Emery Bares, a rather prominent wireless commentator, whom most of us have heard. He has always seemed to me to be objective in his comments. So far as I am able to discern, he does not show any political bias. Prior to the occasion in question he had been to Japan. Upon his return the press had published an article of his which carried a caption to the effect that whilst Japan had lost the war she was winning the peace. He pointed out that Japan had the highest standard of living and was the most prosperous-
– They have a 48-hour week there, too.
– I do not think that is correct. He said that Japan was the most prosperous country in Asia. Some of his statements about Japan seemed to me to be of the greatest significance. He said that gross national production had increased in 1959 by 80 per cent, and in 1960 by 1 3 per cent., and that to-day it was increasing at the vigorous rate of 8 per cent. He went on to detail the very great improvement that had occurred in the conditions of the workers. His assessment made one wonder whether in some respects the Japanese standard of living was very far behind that of Australia.
– They have a lot of fringe benefits.
– Emery Bares said that in some cases the fringe benefits were almost as great as the remuneration received by the Japanese worker.
– And some of them live in dormitories.
– That may or may not be so. What I am trying to do is to bring out the inescapable fact that whether you introduce communism - the Soviet Republics have discovered this - or some form of socialism, prosperity is bound up with production. A country cannot be prosperous, it cannot have a high standard of living and it cannot have a stable economy unless the people, by their concerted efforts, ensure that state of affairs. The fact that the Government, through its policies, has had an influence on these matters is not the whole story. Far from it! From time to time we read reports of the inducements that are offered and the terror which is imposed in red China and Russia to try to increase production. The people who guide the destiny of Russia are sufficiently awake to the fact that you cannot have a system under which everybody has plenty unless you have the maximum possible production. They try to achieve that objective in a way that is different from ours. Although we have evolved a system under which the individual may have a measure of freedom within the limits set by the law, we should have enough common sense to know that we cannot pole on the State without helping to pull it down. Under the Russian system, people are threatened with liquidation or banishment to slave labour camps in an effort to induce them to attain this desirable standard of production.
Let us consider what is happening in West Germany. In Tasmania we have a scribe who continually refers to that country. He has stated that West Germany has a small percentage of unemployment whereas we in this country of only 10,000,000 people have a considerably greater percentage.
– That is because of inefficiency in governmental administration.
– You are one of those persons who blame a little handful of men for all the ills of this country. I shall come to that matter in a moment. Not long ago I listened to a commentary on West Germany by a German whom I assumed held a fairly high position in that country. I particularly noted that he referred to the policies that had been adopted by the West German Government. They would have been anathema to the Australian Labour Party. I was impressed by his statement that Hamburg, the main port of West Germany, had the reputation of having, and had proved that it had, the fastest turn-round of ships in the world.
– It is no faster than in Sydney.
– He said that Hamburg was the fastest loading and unloading port in the world.
– Did you ask him about the facilities for handling cargo there compared with those in Australia?
– This Government, which the honorable senator criticizes, has done all that has been reasonably possible to increase Australia’s overseas trade. It has sent trade missions all over the world. It has doubled its representation in trading posts. Mr. McEwen is at present on the other side of the world, doing his utmost to foster Australian export trade in every direction. This Government has launched out in an attempt to increase our overseas trade. Without such an increase, we cannot maintain our standard of living and we cannot increase our population and provide employment opportunities for those people whom we expect to come here. But all of these efforts are being stabbed in the back as a result of the attitude of mind of those people who control our waterfront. There is no doubt whatever about that. In this morning’s press appeared a report of a statement by the chief of the Interstate and Overseas Shipowners’ General Committee, to the effect that wharf strikes were drastically damaging Australian trade and commerce.
– Why then do they help to create them?
– The honorable senator must surely know that these strikes and stoppages that have been going on for months past have long since passed what could be regarded as action on reasonable grievances about working conditions. He must know that as well as I do. They have reached the stage where pure frustration tactics are being adopted by men who are foolish enough to place themselves under the control of people - I refer to the Communists - who have a vested interest in breaking down the economy of this country and, in fact, the economy of the free world, if they can do it.
– Are you trying to make the point that the waterside workers are always in the wrong?
– I say that they are in the wrong when they do something like this.
– You say that they are in the wrong all the time.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar). - Order! The honorable senator has already spoken.
– I am trying to help.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order.’
– If the honorable senator will listen to me, he will hear what I say. Recently, watersiders went on strike because they wanted a certain kind of clothing. The shipowners provided the clothing. Within an hour or two, the watersiders had discarded the clothing and would not use it, although they still went on working. Any man with an eye in his head can see that the strikes and stoppages, and all the other things that are happening on the waterfronts of Melbourne and Sydney to-day are just part of an organized campaign to stagnate Australia’s overseas trade.
– Do you believe in the system of fines or penalties that is operating?
– Yes, I shall come to that in a moment. The shipowners’ representative to whom I have referred went on to say that export orders were being cancelled or not repeated because of unreasonable delays in shipping. One does not need to be a genius to know that this must have that effect. I have referred to Hamburg. West Germany sends to other parts of Europe a lot of exports which do not need to pass through a port. In this country, everything we export must go overseas. It must go through the waterfront into ships and, in most cases, it must bc taken to the far ends of the world. When it is plain to everybody except the completely biased that deliberate tactics, which pass beyond what could be deemed reasonable efforts to redress grievances in relation to working conditions, are being used to try to bring about a state of chaos in Australia’s overseas trade, surely the time has come when drastic action must be taken against this section, which is under the domination of an overseas power, eager to break down the economy of this country. There is no doubt that drastic action will have to be taken.
In this place on a previous occasion I have referred to New Zealand. 1 was in that country when conditions on the waterfront had reached such an intolerable state that the government of the time used every possible means that it could use within the law against the watersiders. The result was that it broke up the union completely. After years of wrangling tactics, during which the overseas trade and the New Zealand community were held to ransom, the government decided that it must do something about the position. It used every legal weapon available to it. The watersiders union was disbanded and a new one was formed. The Government said that it would work with this union, and do all it could to meet the union in every conceivable way, provided that the troublemakers were kept out. This was done. I believe that we are reaching a similar position in this country, when something along those lines will have to be done. We simply cannot afford to have this Government’s efforts to increase our overseas trade stabbed in the back. I concede that New Zealand has a unitary system of government, with all power vested in one parliament. Nevertheless, I believe, serious consideration should be given to the powers that are vested in this Parliament and everything possible should be done to end, once and for all. this awful position that pertains on the Australian waterfront. I am sure that if that were done the Government that took the action would receive the solid support of 80 per cent, of the people of this country.
Senator Breen referred to the world position in relation to food. It is a fact that more than half the world’s population is undernourished or actually starving. In addition, the population is increasing at the rate of about 50,000,000 persons a year. This means that a number equivalent to the population of Italy or Brazil is added to the world’s population every twelve months. Furthermore, only about oneeighth of the world’s surface is foodproducing. The figure seems to be small but I believe it to be correct. -In addition, it is expected that the world’s population will double by the end of the century.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
- Mr. President, I believe it is a tragedy, and certainly a bad portent, that there is in this country a major political party which, judging by the interjections made by some of its supporters before the suspension of the sitting for luncheon, seems to support the anarchy that prevails on the Australian waterfront.
– We think you provoke such interjections. You are always attacking the wharfies and the working men.
– That is not so. We have only to look at the record of these people to see that their actions are part of a concerted programme to stagnate Australia’s overseas trade. When I say that, I do not for one moment mean to bracket all the waterside workers in that category, but I do say that the waterside worker* are unfortunate enough to have placed themselves under the control of men who have a vested interest in the destruction of the economy of this country.
Surely anybody must realize that affairs on the Australian waterfront have reached a stage where they may be designated as a concerted attack, not so much on the shipowners as on the economy of the country. By that means an attack is being made on the Australian people, particularly the primary producers who have goods to export, lt is tragic to think that members of a political party will rush to the defence of those who are making this attack, when they must know, as we on this side of the chamber know, that it is simply a part of an organized programme
– Why does not the Government do something about it?
– That is what I am advocating. Only a few months ago, in a measure which the Government brought before this place, penalties were provided in an attempt to bring about a better state of affairs on the Australian waterfront. Recently, for some reason or other, there has been a fresh outburst, a fresh spate of strikes, hold-ups and frustrating tactics which can be due to no other reason than an intention to make a concerted attack on Australia’s export trade. Despite the criticism that has been levelled at the efforts which the Government is making to increase our export trade, those efforts have been considerable, and this attack is directed at undermining them.
Earlier, I referred to the fact that more than half the people of the world are either starving or undernourished. The world population is rapidly increasing and is expected to double itself before the end of the century. Unless the proportion of the world’s surface which is used for food production is increased, and unless food is distributed on a more equitable basis than it is at present, world civilization will reach a slate of chaos. I think that is a very real danger. In this continent the primary producing potential has scarcely been touched. There is no doubt that this country is capable of producing many times the quantity of foodstuffs it is producing at present. Yet, we have the state of affairs to which I have referred. Unless all sections of the community are prepared to pull their socks up and to do a reasonable amount of work for the remuneration they receive, our tenure of this country can be counted in years. lt is not common sense to think that the present position can continue, nor is it common sense to think that we can adopt the attitude that we have done all we can do and that we have reached such a full state of development that we can sit back and expect all the amenities imaginable to flow to us, with very little effort being exerted.
– What do you mean by pulling our socks up?
– Go down to the waterfront and tell the waterside workers to do that kind of thing, and tell other sections of the community to do so, too. I do not say that the attitude I have mentioned is peculiar to one section. It is to be found in many sections of the community. It will be found in all walks of life. Chiefly, through the agency of the Labour Party, the working man has been educated for years to believe that if he does too much, that is something in the pocket of the boss and is to be avoided at all costs.
No matter what “ ism “ we like to adopt, the whole crux of any economic advancement, even under the Communist system - in all probability, even more so under that system - lies in increased productivity. In this country, where 11,000,000 people are setting out to develop it, I believe that that comment applies with greater force than it does anywhere else in the world. Nevertheless, there is prevalent in so many sections of the community, the idea that the great thing in life is to do as little as possible, to get as much in return, and to expect the Government, through taxation, to provide all the amenities imaginable, when just to our north there are hundreds of millions of people. If the present trend continues, they will be awaiting the chance to come down here. I have a suspicion that these same Communists I have mentioned do not care whether the hordes come down from the North and take us over, always provided that they are Communist hordes.
– What do you suggest we should do to pull our socks up?
– If you cannot understand what I mean, you are much denser than I thought. If you can go about this country and maintain that all sections of the community are doing their very best to increase productivity you must be blind. The time is approaching, if it has not already arrived, when this Commonwealth Government, for the sake of the people of Australia, will have to use every power the law allows it.
– To see that the law is obeyed.
– Yes. That is all we want from the waterside workers.
– What about restrictive trade practices? Do you agree that action should be taken to prevent such practices?
– You know as well as I do that that matter is being investigated and considered. You know, too, that if you want to find the essence of restrictive trade practices you should go to the waterfront, or to any Communistdictated trade union. That is where you will find such practices at their worst. I repeat: What a tragic departure to see men like Senator O’Byrne in a responsible political party defending the state of affairs that exists in some sections of this country, which must eventually result in Australia being taken over by some one else!
– You are one-eyed.
– I am not one-eyed. One of the inexorable laws of nature is that you cannot expect to sit back, do only half your task, and still win the race. Do not forget that there is a race to be won. Let us consider the world population and all the rest of it. Australia is in a unique position with 11,000,000 people in a continent capable of terrific production, yet all people think about, and all the honorable senator’s party thinks about, is to sit back and take things as easy as possible. I think the time has come when the Government will be forced to seek a show-down with some of these Communist-conducted trade unions. When that show-down comes it should be complete and final.
– It worries me when I hear talk of an election because when a budget is to be brought in before an election we usually find that statesmanship goes out the door and save our skins-ship comes in the window. There is no reason why we cannot have statesmanship and help ourselves as a party by producing a budget that will benefit us. The Government can do something for Australia and at the same time not forget itself. However, if one matter is more urgent and important to us to-day than any other it is the defence of Australia. We should be spending more money than we are on defence. Admittedly, such expenditure is unproductive and therefore people do not like it. No immediate benefit is derived from it, so the public does not like it. Defence expenditure is difficult to justify when so many other things have to be done, but at least it will guarantee our future, and that is what we have to consider.
The ratio of the national income spent on defence in the United States of America is 1 1 per cent., in Great Britain 7 per cent, and in Australia 3 per cent. I can remember, either by way of interjec tion or during the debate on the defence estimates last year, asking whether the Government thought it should vote more money for defence. I was told that the Ministers knew their business. They knew what was best for the country as they had the benefit of advisers to keep them in touch with reality. They knew exactly what was enough for us to spend and they spurned the offer of any help. Yet, shortly after that Budget was passed we suddenly increased the amount we were spending on defence, again proving that Ministers are not always right. How long can we continue to live in this fool’s paradise in which we are living to-day?
– Until the Indonesians are ready to advance.
– I am glad I have the support of at least one honorable senator on this side because I was going to say something sarcastic about the help that honorable senators on this side are giving to the Government in regard to defence. Ostrich-like, with our heads hidden in the sand, out hands extended blindly, we are trying to catch the eye of somebody to assist us. On whom can we pick? Great Britain? Everybody knows that Great Britain cannot help us. If trouble came to us in this part of the world we could get no help from her. We have only one friend to help us, and that is the United States of America. I take it from my colleague’s interjection that he is going to support the Exmouth Gulf project because he realizes that we must not wait until the Indonesians come down.
We must -make up our minds what wc are going to do. We pride ourselves on our preparations, or at least we talk about them, but are we not a nation with feet of clay? We have not a hope of defending ourselves as a nation unless we are prepared to spend far more than we are doing on defence and to - look after our own interests. We talk about defence but leave it to somebody else. We do almost nothing about it ourselves. What have we to show for the money we have already spent? How do we go about defending ourselves? We have many Ministers. There is a Minister for the Army, a Minister for the Navy, a Minister for the Air Force, a Minister for Defence and a Minister for Supply. We have an army of them, but all we can produce here are a few little ships.
– And hardships.
– Hardships too. I will come to that later. We have 100 or 200 aeroplanes and one attenuated Army brigade for the defence of Australia. They are all expendable and in a major conflict could be wiped out in one blow.
The emergency is now upon us, not because we have not a defence programme but because modern history has proved time and time again that as soon as the leader of a nation utters the familiar words, “ We have no further territorial ambitions “ we know that a war is about to commence. It is only a matter of time. We have been told already that Indonesia has no territorial ambitions in New Guinea. We do not know how long it will take before trouble commences. It may be two years. The Indonesians have told the Papuans and New Guineans that it will be two years before they become part of Indonesia. I say, therefore, that the Government must make a statement. It is essential for it to do so for the sake of those people who live in Papua and New Guinea.
Here and in another chamber somebody should make a firm statement as to the future of these territories. Is the Territory of Papua and New Guinea vital to the defence of Australia? That is what I want to know. There are a lot of people wanting to know that. If it is, we should be doing something about it. If it has nothing to do with us, if we are not prepared to defend Papua and New Guinea, then let us tell the 20,000 white people who are trying to make a living up there, and trying to help the natives, that they are expendable. Then they will at least have time to get out. Let us tell the 2,000,000 natives who live there that we are not going to help them, that if the Indonesians want to take over that part of the island we are prepared to let them do so. The natives do not want the Indonesians; they want us. They want to be part of Australia. Why should we continue to spend £20,000,000 to £30,000,000 each year and then hand this territory over to somebody else? Let us stop now if we are not going to defend it. It is imperative that the Government make some statement.
As far as the United Nations is concerned the dreadful word “ colonization “ is used only when there is subjugation of native people by white people. But when there is subjugation of native people by coloured people then, of course, it is no longer subjugation - it is absorption. I like the Indonesians. From what I have seen of them they are a happy people. But I cannot support Sir Garfield “ Chamberlain “ or his compromise and Munich-like policy. That is the only way to describe the Government’s policy of appeasement towards the Indonesians. Where is it getting us, where is it leading us? Every one talks about diplomacy and says that we must not offend our neighbours. They are not worrying about us. We can appease them day after day, but they will still do what they want - and they want Papua and New Guinea. The Indonesians do not understand appeasement. Appeasement means weakness, and if you are prepared to appease them they are prepared to take over. The more we appease the sooner it will end for us, and no one can tell where it will end. The Indonesians themselves have said that East Irian will be next. In other words, Papua and New Guinea will be theirs. They have already referred to the continent of Australia as South Irian. We have to start somewhere to defend ourselves. Are we to start in Papua and New Guinea or wait until the Indonesians want to come over and take Australia? It is only a question of time.
– When did the Indonesians say that?
– If Senator Dittmer goes to New Guinea he will find that it has been said frequently. In the time that we have left we must do something for ourselves. We cannot continue to rely on the United States. We let down our own allies, the Dutch, because the Americans would not come in and help us, so what will be the position in Papua and New Guinea when Indonesia wants to take that over? I suggest that again we will just cry to the United States. Having been a Jeremiah about the strength of our armed forces - I do not think any Minister can tell us that he has provided all that his chief-of-staff wants - I say now that this Government must ensure that we have far more to spend on defence.
Associated with defence is another problem that .1 shall mention briefly. I refer to immigration. In Australia wc have a policy known as the white Australia policy. That policy was brought into being at a time when we could look at the map of the world and see large red blobs and little red blobs everywhere. Those were the parts of the British Empire. To-day there are very few red blobs; they have been taken over by black, brown, and a different shade of red. The. white Australia policy of 1900 was introduced against a background totally different from that of to-day. This policy must be altered or liberalized in some way or other.
– When was there a white Australia policy? Such a thing has never existed.
– Officially there is no white Australia policy, but every school child has heard of it. There is a policy which has been unofficially known as the white Australia policy.
– I think most people who read what I am saying or hear me will agree that there is a white Australia policy. If the Government wants to do some appeasing, here is a chance. A liberalization of this policy would react favorably to Australia and would enable us to increase our population.
– For all countries?
– No, not for all.
– For whom?
– The United States of America has an immigration policy which involves a permit system. When 1 suggest that our policy should be liberalized, I do not say that we should open the country to every one who wants to come in. Even Great Britain has had to impose a limitation.
– Neither you nor I could get into west African countries under their immigration policy.
– That is all right; they may have a “ black west Africa “ policy that you know nothing about, so you may be wrong in both respects.
– Do you say that I am wrong about that?
– I say that we cannot defend our policy on that score.
Perhaps Senator Mattner can say what he wants to about this when I have finished. One of the greatest barriers to immigration is housing.
– I would like to see you at the immigration recruitment office at 3 o’clock this afternoon, or to-morrow afternoon.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order!
– One of the biggest barriers to immigration is housing. Migrants coming to Australia do not want to live in barracks. They want houses, but we have not enough houses for them. It has been estimated that Victoria requires about 28,000 houses each year to fulfil its needs. This figure does not include replacement of the 170,000 substandard bouses which were found during a recent survey. It has been estimated, roughly, that for the whole of Australia we require at least 100,000 houses per annum. My particular interest in the Victorian figures, of course, is because 80 per cent, of Tasmanian timber is exported to Victoria. If there is a building slump in Victoria there are idle mills in Tasmania. I think it was Senator Scott who said yesterday that there have been all sorts of records in homebuilding. That is true. Homebuilding has reached a record. But it is still not sufficient. The building programme is not coping with the back lag.
Apart from the effect on Tasmania’s economy, and apart from down-to-earth humanitarianism, we must have houses if we are to attract migrants. It is no good us expecting them to come to Australia and live in camps, and then wondering why they are dissatisfied. Here, again, the Commonwealth can give a lead to the States. Admittedly, housing is a Stale problem, but the money comes from the Commonwealth. Surely members of the Government are quick enough to realize the advantage of having more houses because it has been stated by so many people that once you put people into homes of their own they become little capitalists. So it is to the Government’s own advantage to see that housing is provided for them.
I suggest that the Commonwealth should set up a housing corporation, or some such body, whether it be an independent statutory body or merely a branch of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. Its actual form would not matter very much, so long as it was a separate authority to deal with housing and to lend on very reasonable terms. The aim should be to enable homes to be obtained on a low deposit and at low interest charges. The Government should look at the position to see what can be done. 1 do not know whether it has ‘given any thought to the problem - if it has, I have not heard about it. If the Government does not want to set up a housing corporation 1 think it should force the banks to reduce the rate of interest on loans for homebuilding. Young people cannot be expected to buy a block of land and find £500 as a deposit for what would bc only an average house. They can borrow only about £3,000 from a bank, and the rest they have to obtain from money lenders or finance companies. Young people cannot afford to do that because they have so many other commitments. 1 urge the Government to consider establishing a housing corporation which will lend money for home-building.
– How much money would it want; do you know?
– No. I am not going into the details of that. I thought that I had only half an hour in which to speak and I was trying to get it through in that short time.
– You de not sound like a former treasurer.
– I do not know how much money would be needed, but once a fund had been established it would maintain itself. Loans could be repaid on a monthly basis, so that the fund would be able to keep going. 1 admit that such a corporation would need a large original ou.lay.
– How would you overcome the lack of constitutional power?
– We could get over that. Any one who has the purse wields the power. Let me say straight out that I am not in favour of State homes erected by housing commissions. I think there is nothing more likely to cause slum-like conditions. In saying that, J am speaking mainly of Tasmania where 1 have seen such conditions in housing commission areas. Individual people have a responsibily to build their homes and to look after them. 1 have spoken of defence, and of housing in relation to immigration. If the Government would do something more in these two matters it would help Australia. The Government could help also by producing a bountiful Budget this year, as every one tips it will bc sure to do. I suggest that two things should be done. The first is to reduce taxation, and the second is to lower interest rates. I cannot see how the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank could see fit to reduce interest rates by only 1 per cent. They should have been reduced by at least 1 per cent. Every one knows that the greatest single stumbling block to economic recovery is interest rates. The Government should give serious consideration to reducing interest rates when it brings in its next Budget.
I want now to talk about smoking. As honorable senators know, 1 am somewhat interested in the subject and, having asked questions, I finally obtained the report of the National Health and ,Medical Research Council’s advisory committee on advertising.
When I asked the Minister for Health how the Commonwealth specifically - “ specifically “ was the word he used - aimed to achieve complete prohibition of tobacco advertising, I got the usual political clap-trap. He completely side-stepped his responsibility; he said that it was a matter for the States. Everything is a matter for the States, according to Ministers, but I have never found that the Commonwealth, being the holder of the purse strings, could not take action in any matter if it wished to do so. Smoking is injurious to health. 1 am not worrying about people who are over 30 or 40 years of age and who have been smoking for a long time. We cannot alter their habits But this affects the young. What honorable senator would allow his child to have a pipe of opium, saying, “ lt will not hurt you “? Yet we are quite happy about young people smoking cigarettes. We will not accept the fact that cigarette smoking is the greatest single factor in causing lung cancer. We blandly sit here and listen to the Minister for Health, who should be a leader in this matter, saying. “ We cannot do anything; it is a State responsibility “.
I admit that this is a State responsibility to the degree that education is a State responsibility. Education of the young is essential if we are to cut out smoking. We should teach the young that it is not a brave thing to do, when they reach twelve or fourteen years of age to go behind a shed and smoke in order to make heroes of themselves with other boys and girls. When we persuade them that smoking is just as bad as taking narcotics we will get some sense into the young. Surely the Commonwealth should be doing something about this matter. If the Minister wished to take action he could implement all the proposals of the National Health and Medical Research Council and those of the council’s sub-committees on public health, preventive medicine, and general practice, all of which have stated that it is essential to stop this habit. The Minister could give a lead by implementing all the suggestions that they have put to him. From time to time, action has been taken by the Commonwealth in conjunction with the States, arising from meetings of Commonwealth and State Ministers. As a result of such meetings, model legislation has been drafted for the States to implement. The Minister should give a lead in taking action of that kind.
I am in some difficulty in dealing with this matter because the Minister is not a medical man. He said that there was a divergence of opinion on this subject. If he got that information from the Department of Health every medical officer in it should be ashamed. If he said it without such advice he should have said that it was his own opinion. There is no divergence of medical opinion in this matter. The only viewpoint of which I know which contradicts the one that I am putting was expressed by two doctors who were backed by a tobacco company to produce a report on this subject. In what other way could they report? We know that there are other factors in the causation of lung cancer. But the single outstanding factor is cigarette smoking. There is no divergence of medical opinion on this subject; there is a divergence of political opinion on it. It is a political matter. One course would be to prohibit public servants smoking in their offices. I cannot see the Minister doing anything about that. This illustrates the political implications of the matter. There may be a difference of opinion in regard to the methods of implementing my proposals, but surely we have people with enough brains to work out something. Surely we could get a team from the Commonwealth and the States to work out how we should attack this problem. We read so much hooey about this thing. We hear about smog, for instance. We know that the newspapers will not print anything derogatory of cigarette smoking because their biggest advertisers are the tobacco firms. They will not quote information from the booklet that I mentioned previously. The issues of “ Choice. “ for May and August in 1961 compared different brands of cigarettes and proved beyond doubt that one of the most popular and most widely advertised cigarettes, Rothman’s, is the worst of all from a health point of view. But the newspapers will not publish a statement such as that. This journal showed that the worst solids and the greatest number of them go through Rothman’s cigarettes. But we let them advertise, and do nothing about it.
Then we have the campaign to smoke filter-tipped cigarettes, as it is claimed that they are not injurious. No newspaper has published the information which appears in “ Choice “ that there is not a particle of difference in the amount of solids that go through cigarettes, whether they are filter tipped or not. As a result of tests reported by this journal, it was found that 48 milligrammes of solid matter came through a Rothman’s filter tipped cigarette and that exactly the same amount came through a Rothman’s plain tip cigarette. The trouble in connexion with this matter is that every one is worried about his pocket. Surely the Government is not worried about its pocket. Surely it should be doing something to protect the health of the young. It is the duty of the Minister for Health and of the Government to do something about smoking.
– What do you suggest?
– Whenever I speak Senator Vincent either does not listen or his mind is a complete blank and he does not know what I am saying. I have already suggested courses of action. If Senator Vincent had been listening he would have heard me suggest that a conference should be held. I also suggested the drafting of legislation. Yet he wakes up with a start and says that 1 should suggest something. Why does he not stay awake?
– There is another side to the question.
– There is not a thing in the world which cannot be justified by saying, “ There is another side to the question “. There may be another side. But my statements are based on the opinions of people who matter and who are concerned about this problem. You cannot get any body more qualified to speak on this problem than the National Health and Medical Research Council and its sub-committee on public health.
– Have you talked to the chairman of the Cancer Research
Council in New South Wales, Dr. Ken Starr, on this subject?
– No. Having aroused some interest in this subject I shall leave it because I want to touch on two other subjects. First, I want to speak about the aborigines. I asked a question of the Minister for Health on this subject without success. I have a secretary who is provided by the Government and I suppose that 1 shall have to get him to get the information that I want. From the Minister. I received the usual answer that the matter has nothing to do with the Commonwealth. The Minister is in charge of a department which, I suppose, has 400 or 500 clerks, one of whom could have written to Melbourne for the information that I sought. In reply to my question I received only a lot of redundant information on what the Commonwealth is doing in the Northern Territory in regard to aborigines. I want to know what the States are doing. I may bc wrong, but I thought that we could ask Federal Ministers to obtain information from the States. Perhaps I asked my question in the wrong way. However, T did not receive the information that I sought. I think it is time that we did something about the degrading attitude that we adopt towards the aborigines We bend over backwards for the United Nations in dealing with the natives of Papua and New Guinea but we do nothing whatever for our own aborigines. All I wanted to obtain from the
Minister was the comparative figures as to what we spend in the different States on aborigines.
– Could you not get that information for yourself?
– Yes. You missed what I said previously.
– Perhaps you should be in the chamber more.
– If, by being absent from the chamber, I missed speeches such as the honorable senator made yesterday, 1 would not be missing anything. I admit that perhaps I should not have written to the Minister for Health but I thought that, with the staff he has, the Minister could inform me. Perhaps I am wrong and one must not worry Commonwealth Ministers with State matters. Western Australia is doing quite a lot for the aborigines, but generally we have not done anything for them. We are trying, but we have not achieved anything. There is a big difference of opinion about what we are doing for the natives of Papua and New Guinea. No doubt Senator Prowse will be able to tell us what is being done for our own aborigines.
Yesterday Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin spoke about geriatrics and I did not interject, but I think we are very parochial in the Senate and should visit the States. Admittedly I am fortunate for, as a former State Minister, I could travel to any part of the Commonwealth free as honorable senators can do. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin spoke about what they are doing in Queensland for geriatrics, but the set-up in Western Australia and Tasmania is far belter than the old people’s homes anywhere else in Australia.
– What about Victoria?
– I am even including Victoria, and I suggest that Senator Wedgwood visit Tasmania to see the old people’s homes there. However, I shall get away from State matters because I dislike being parochial, and will speak of geriatrics generally. This is a growing problem and I take my hat off to the Commonwealth Government for what it has done to help. It gives assistance by way of a grant of £2 for £1 for the construction of old people’s homes, but the problem is so great that we have to do far more. The aged population is growing each year as people live longer and so we shall have to consider helping them more.
Some of the suggested ways for helping them are fantastic. The worst enemy of the old is loneliness. In Tasmania we have a bus which picks up elderly people and takes them to the Cosgrove Homes in Launceston where they are given occupational therapy and a meal, mix with different people, play bowls if they want to and then are taken home. They look forward to this outing very much. But all these things cost money. District nursing for elderly people is another way of keeping them out of hospitals and that saves the Commonwealth money.
We have not gone deeply enough into occupational therapy for the elderly. Loneliness and inactivity of the mind are the quickest ways to kill off old persons. We have to get these people interested and occupied and mixing with others. Even in the homes there is nothing more pathetic than an old man or an old woman left alone. Nobody takes any notice of them and they slowly decay. That is a problem we have to try to solve. Different ideas are held about the provision of a bus to collect old people and take them to a centre where they meet people.
We need for old people sheltered workshops such as we have for the physically and mentally handicapped. In London there is one particular sheltered workshop for the elderly. They spend three or four hours doing simple procedures and 1 have never seen a more happy group of old people. They go for as long as they like and they are paid, so that they have a sense of independence, which is essential. If we could get more money from the Commonwealth Government to do things like that we in Tasmania would like to provide a domestic service for the elderly. I do not know how far we would get, but it is possible, by keeping them in their own homes and giving them some domestic service to keep them active and interested in life.
The treatment of geriatrics is becoming a science and a discipline of its own. There is considerable opposition to it by the medical profession because doctors do not want their patients in public hospitals and lopped away from the general medical practitioners at the age of 60, thus going into the care of other doctors. But people who treat geriatrics have a vocation and they take more interest in the old people than do general practitioners or surgeons. Admittedly, there has to be some surgery.
But generally in this matter we are not going fast enough. In 1956 I went to several geriatric clinics. There are big blocks of them in hospitals. The old people need not be in hospital but some are placed there. They have complete geriatric units with a director of geriatrics. Every patient who has a stroke is up on the second or third day and made to work. In Australia we have a tendency to leave them to rot. Admittedly the attitude is changing, but we often see old people who have had a stroke lying in bed for four or five days or longer before they get up. All this treatment requires money because if old people are got out of bed after a stroke, they need to be dressed and more staff is required. It costs much more to look after a geriatric person than to look after a young adult who is sick.
So I ask the Commonwealth Government to turn a sympathetic ear to the problem of geriatrics. It is not sufficient to give money on the basis of £2 for £1 for the building of homes. At the moment the Commonwealth will give a grant of £2 for £1 for building old people’s homes, except if the basic money is provided by a State government. The Commonwealth Government will not match anything from a State government, and I cannot see why. It does not matter whether the money comes from the Slate or the Commonwealth Government. If you believe in the principle you must help build old people’s homes. I can see the Commonwealth’s point of view. If the State gave £100 the Commonwealth could be asked to give £200. Where a State government makes a big contribution its money should be matched by the Commonwealth Government.
In Tasmania we propose to build a block of flats to house 120 persons in an old people’s home. For the sake of security, the old people will pay a donation, and if the Commonwealth will match the cost with a grant of £2 for £1 we can go ahead. There will be no maintenance and the old people will be protected for the rest of their lives. But we cannot get enough money.
– That money is supposed to come from private people, so why should it come from the Commonwealth?
– All money comes from the Commonwealth. I do not say we want major sums of money, but I am trying to set out my problem. We have not enough money and we want another £50,000. If the State would give £50,000 and the Commonwealth £100,000_we would be in clover.
– That is quite natural.
– Yes, but we are not doing it for our own profit. We are not getting anything out of it. As 1 said earlier, J see the Commonwealth’s difficulty. If the State gives a large sum, the Commonwealth has to match it. There must be some means of getting around this difficulty. I put the suggestion forward, because 1 believe that geriatrics will become one- of the major sciences or disciplines in medicine and that much more help is needed to see that old people live a life of usefulness and do not stagnate and rot in their beds.
Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) [3.6J. - This debate gives honorable senators an opportunity, particularly in view of the forthcoming preparation of the next Budget, to discuss many subjects. 1 listened to Senator Turnbull advance a number of proposals to the Government for more money. But in each case he did not detail the manner in which the money should be spent. For example, at the commencement of his speech he advocated the expenditure of more money on defence, but he did not indicate on what aspect of defence that money should be spent. He simply advocated the straight-out expenditure of more money for that purpose.
– He said the money had been wasted.
– I did not say it had been wasted.
– You implied that it had been wasted.
– It is all very well for the honorable senator to say what he has said. He knows full well that he is so placed in the Senate that at no time in the future will he be called upon to substantiate anything he says to-day. If we advocate additional expenditure on defence, expenditure on some other activity must be reduced. But the honorable senator did not say what that other activity was. We all know that the Commonwealth Government gets its money either through raising loans or by way of taxation. I remind the Senate that Senator Turnbull said also that more money should be spent on housing. What he has done, in effect, has been to advocate an increase in taxation.
– He referred to a reduction of taxation, too.
– I was about to say that a little later in his speech the honorable senator advocated a reduction of taxation. So I am at a loss to understand where the additional money is to come from, and I feel quite sure that other honorable senators are in the same position.
I should now like to take advantage of this opportunity to mention certain other matters. I remind honorable senators of the debate on the Estimates in another place last year during which the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said that he would welcome ideas from honorable members about the lending policies the Government should adopt. He went on to say that he would particularly welcome ideas about helping the rural sector of the economy, and he added -
I do nol feel that the situation is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the man on the land. We still have work to do in this mailer.
That is quite true. A lot remains to be done in regard to rural lending. Earlier today Senator Lillico referred to the doubling of the population by the end of the century and to the fact that one-tenth of the population of the world was responsible for producing the world’s food.
Here in Australia big land development projects are being undertaken. The Government of Western Australia is throwing open 1,000,000 acres of land a year for development; but, having sunk their savings into projects, men find that at a certain stage of development they are short of finance. A report of the Division of Agricultural Economics indicates that farmers in the heavier rainfall areas are getting a return of 3 per cent, or 4 per cent, on their capital. Such a small return does not allow them to turn money back into their properties to bring them to the stage of being economic units. I was interested to see a recent press report of a statement by the general manager of the Commonwealth Development Bank in Sydney, Mr. B. B. Callaghan, that if one compared the period from 1952 to 1957 with that from 1958 to 1960 one would note a rapid deterioration in farm income and the return to farmers on capital investment.
We must devise some means of overcoming this problem. The Government has taken certain steps, one of which was the establishment of the Development Bank. That organization has done a very good job during the three years it has been in operation. One can see evidence of its efforts wherever one travels in the rural areas. Mr. Callaghan is also reported as having said that in the three years since it was established the Development Bank has made loans throughout Australia totalling £90,000,000. A sum of £50,000,000 has been made available to primary producers for farm plant and equipment on a hire-purchase basis and another £40,000,000 has been made available in the form of development loans, £30,000,000 of which has been allocated to primary producers. So it will be observed that the Development Bank has contributed greatly to the rural sector of the economy.
However, I believe that the bank is not doing sufficient. I refer again to these new areas in Western Australia where people have sunk their money into the land, have spent three or four years in developing it, and have reached the stage where the trading banks will not carry them any further. Most people have gone to the Development Bank and have been told: “ You are not ready for us to come in. The stock firms or the trading banks should be able to carry you on.” It would seem that nobody wants to help these people at that stage. I believe that the functions which have been prescribed for the Development Bank should enable it to help them. It is the function of the bank to make finance available to farmers whose developmental projects have a reasonable prospect of success and when the necessary finance is not otherwise available. Who can say that the people who are on these virgin or semi-developed blocks will not make a success of their projects in years to come? Those of us who have had experience in these matters will recall that we found it difficult to get over the hump but that we were able to get finance and to carry our project to a successful conclusion.
Also, last year the Government introduced term lending. The Senate will recall that on 12th April, 1962, the Minister representing the Treasurer made a statement regarding discussions with the Reserve Bank and representatives of the major trading banks. I was one of those who were very happy to see that move by the Government, because it allowed trading banks to carry out work similiar to the work of the Commonwealth Development Bank. However, in travelling throughout Western Australia recently, I was alarmed to learn from representatives of many trading banks that they had used nearly all the money available to them under the term-lending system and that they did not know whether or not the Government would let them have additional money. This position must be looked at. I hope that the Government will see its way clear to letting the banks have another £40,000,000 or £50,000,000 to carry on the good work. We can see the possibilities of term-lending, from the Minister’s speech, which stated -
The banks put to us at our first meeting their belief that they both could and should play a wider and more constructive part in the growth of our country and the expansion of its trade abroad. At the same time they said frankly that they felt they were being denied a chance to develop their facilities as they wished by certain features of the arrangements currently in force to control interest rates, the volume of credit and the investment of their funds. In saying this, they did not in any way dispute the need for an overall control of banking operations in pursuance of national monetary policy.
The Government welcomed the expressed desire of the trading banks to extend their activities and, in particular, to embark upon some new forms of lending to various branches of industry and trade. We have been aware for some time of a growing need for a new type of bank lending to meet developmental requirements, especially of rural industry. Such lending would have to be for moderately long terms and also for fixed terms, and neither of these requirements is adequately served by the overdraft system which has hitherto been the typical and predominant form of bank finance in Australia.
The Government has also recognized the need for some wider facilities in export finance. More and more, as our business people pursue their efforts to sell manufactured products in new markets overseas, they find themselves up against the competition of sellers from other countries who arc in a position to offer credit terms - in some cases quite long credit terms.
That brings me to my third point. The banks may lend funds for periods of from three to eight years. I do not believe that any man can develop his property and repay borrowed money with interest within a period of eight years. The period must be extended. I hope that if the Government is having discussions with the major trading banks, this point also will be considered.
This brings me to a point raised by Senator Wright yesterday, in directing to the Minister representing the Treasurer a question concerning insurance companies. He pointed out that about £153,800,000, which represents about 13.1 per cent, of the total value of assets of insurance companies, was on loan for housing but only £24,700,000 or 2.14 per cent, of their total assets, was on loan for rural development. Insurance companies can play a far greater part than they are playing in this direction. Let all honorable senators cast their minds back to conditions in their own home towns. I think they will recall that there are in the. towns one or more insurance agents and that at harvest time two, three or four representatives of each company try to get producers to take out insurance policies against fire, hail and other eventualities. These companies are making the greatest part of their livelihood from primary producers, who are our greatest export owners. Yet despite the huge profits made by these companies, they are turning only about £24,700,000 back into the industries from which they make their livelihood. This position must be looked at. I hope that the four points I have mentioned in relation to rural credit will bc considered by the Government and that perhaps we shall see provision for a little more rural finance when the next Budget comes down.
I now turn to the wheat industry. A few days ago, in the course of this debate, Senator McKellar mentioned that the present wheat stabilization plan was due to end later this year. In fact, we are now selling the last crop to be sold under the scheme. This will bring to an end fifteen years of selling under the stabilization scheme. I and most other wheat-farmers hope that a new scheme will be introduced for the next harvest. All of us will agree that since the introduction of the wheat stabilization scheme there has been stability in this industry, which has enabled farmers, and people who depend upon them for their living, to plan for future development, knowing full well that the guaranteed price, or approximately that price, will be received for the crop. In order to continue this stability, we must introduce a new scheme. I believe that the Government will be called upon to play a greater part than it has played in the past in regard to the guaranteed price. Because of this position, we have some self-appointed experts on the outside who are trying to throw cold water on any new scheme, or certain aspects of it. For instance, recently I saw an article in the “ West Australian “, which stated -
With £13,000,000 set aside in this year’s Budget, the present system of stabilization - which guarantees the cost of production for 100,000,000 bushels of export wheat - is becoming an increasing burden on taxpayers. . . . Since the first five-year stabilization scheme was launched the estimated cost of production of wheat has risen by 152 per cent. Yet in the same period farm efficiency and diversification have improved and, on three-year-average figures, the yield of wheat has increased by about three bushels an acre. Despite the vulnerability of primary producers to rising costs in other industries, the implications are that the wheat-cost formula is unrealistic or that stabilization has reduced the industry’s incentive to keep its costs in check.
I believe that that is a vicious attack on the wheat industry. The statements made in the newspaper report are very far from the truth.
I was even more alarmed to read in a Sydney newspaper a report to the effect that one of our leading scientists had said that the taxpayers had been forking out for years to support the wheat-growers. That is even worse than the attack in the Western Australian newspaper to which I have referred. Let us consider what the taxpayers have been doing for the wheatgrowers. The wheat-growers of Australia produce wheat more cheaply than those of any other country. Yet, every other wheat-growing nation subsidizes its wheat producers. The Australian wheat-growers have made every endeavour to reduce their costs. I know that, certain growers have not been as successful as the majority, but nevertheless, most of them have made every effort to reduce their costs as much as possible. I point out that about 50 per cent, of the costs in the wheat-growing industry are costs which have been passed on to the industry. Every manufacturer who produces goods for sale puts a price on his goods. If the wheat-grower wishes to purchase those goods he must pay the price fixed by the manufacturer, plus the cost of transport. The wheat-grower cannot pass on his costs. He must bear them himself.
The wheat stabilization scheme was introduced in 1947-48, but it was not until 1959-60 that the taxpayers of this country were called upon to contribute to the scheme. Until that time, the wheatgrowers had been receiving on overseas markets a price for their wheat which was greater than the cost of production. From the proceeds of the sale of their wheat they contributed a sum of money to the Wheat Stabilization Fund. The fund accumulated over the years. Eventually, the price of wheat sold overseas fell below the cost of production. In order to make up the difference, the growers were paid so much a bushel from the fund. It was not until 1959-60 that the Commonwealth Government, under the agreement covering the stabilization scheme, was called upon to contribute, and it then paid into the fund just over £3,000,000. In 1960-61 season, the Commonwealth contributed £8,884,000, and in 1961-62, £7,287,000. Therefore, in those three years the Commonwealth contributed slightly more than £19,000,000. It has been estimated by experts within the industry that when the growers were selling wheat for about 16s. a bushel overseas and the home consumption price was 10s. or 12s. a bushel, the wheat-growers subsidized the taxpayers of Australia to the tune of approximately £200,000,000. Self-appointed experts outside the industry are now trying to throw a spanner into the works of the stabilization scheme which has brought stability to the wheat industry. They are saying that the taxpayers are carrying the industry.
Those are the two points that I wanted to mention this afternoon. I hope that the Ministers concerned will keep my remarks in mind when the Budget is being considered, and also when the stabilization scheme is being discussed. I support the ^lotion for the first reading of the bill.
– This is my first experience of a Supply debate. I welcome the opportunity and the latitude that is afforded honorable senators to speak on a variety of subjects which may be exercising their minds. Having listened to the debate so far, I have been dismayed by the number of honorable senators who have risen to their feet and made wild accusations which are without foundation. They have not brought forward facts and figures to support their claims. It was my intention this afternoon to speak on the subject of housing and to try to relate my comments to the facts, but having listened to the attack which Senator Lillico made on the class that I am proud to represent, I think I am justified in departing from that intention. A reply must be made to the unwarranted attack he launched on the working class, without any basis of fact.
– Do you not mean the section, not the class?
– I am proud of the class I represent.
– We are all of the same class.
– I do not know about that. I do not think you admit it in your own State. I am proud of the class I represent, which is divided into sections only in the minds of members of the Liberal Party.
Senator Lillico brought forward some tale, or figment of his imagination, about a union in New Zealand which had almost crippled that country’s export trade. The honorable senator did not give the history of the grievances of the union, or anything of that kind. He simply said that the Government of New Zealand saw fit to annihilate the trade union and that, after a time, it had made an arrangement with a group to form another union. In effect, the Government of New Zealand said to those concerned, “ We will give you permission to set up an organization “. It wished to annihilate a trade union that was seeking to protect the interests of its members. That is the kind of thinking which permeated the hierarchy of Germany prior to the last war. It is typical of the attitude of the Government towards New Guinea, where it appoints union organizers. A former Prime Minister, Mr. Chifley, warned us that this Government desired to set up tame-cat unions. The alarming feature of Senator Lillico’s address was that a number of Government supporters said “ Hear, hear! “ to the suggestion that a trade union should be annihilated and a tame-cat union set up by the Government of the day.
Senator Lillico appealed for a reasonable amount of work for the remuneration received. The trade union movement in Australia has a record of production which will compare favorably with the record of any other section of workers in the world. If the trade union movement and the workingclass movement generally are not doing their utmost to increase productivity in Australia, who earns the £15,000,000 which General Motors-Holden’s Proprietary Limited exports to America each year? Who earns the rich dividends that are drawn by honorable senators opposite from their investments in companies? The wealth of the world is the result of the productivity of the working man. The complaint about the working man that we heard from Senator Lillico came from a man who follows an occupation in which the number of hours worked in the last six months amounted to only 50. Yet, he complained about the productivity of people who work hard for 40 hours a week in industry. I think that, having regard to the occupation he follows, his remarks were unfitting.
– Do you not do any work during the recess?
– My friend, I think my work in the recess would compare favorably with yours, but I do not think that my productivity - although it may exceed yours - would compare with that of men engaged in industry.
Senator Lillico dealt with another question. I think it was offensive and unjust for him to say that members of the Waterside Workers Federation, which he said was Communist-controlled, did not care whether the hordes from the north invaded Australia. That is a slur upon those who made sacrifices by enlistment from the waterfront during both world wars. I do not think that any one could justly cast a reflection upon this section of the working class in view of its past interest in the defence of Australia and its interest in the further promotion of the defence of Australia. The waterside workers defended Australia even to the extent of refusing to load iron ore for Japan, so that it could not be shot back at Australians. They were proved to be right.
I have had considerable experience in the trade union movement. While I know the power of persuasion on a group of men, and the desire of some people to get people to go out on strike for perhaps trivial reasons, I say that the most avowed Communist, the greatest orator in Australia, could not pull a group of men out on strike unless there was a reason for drastic industrial action to be taken. Rather than slander the waterside workers we should be looking to see whether their grievances can be rectified. I live among waterside workers in my humble abode. I know the conditions under which they live. I worked on the waterfront when groups of men were being hired and fired each hour of the day, and when it was necessary to buy the foreman a beer during the lunch hour in order to keep the job. Nobody has had worse conditions in industry than the people employed on the waterfront. As a result of the efforts of the men themselves, assisted possibly by the great industrial worker, Jim Healey, they improved their conditions considerably. Whilst there may have been a Communist leader of the federation at that time there were very few Communists in the federation itself. For the sake of those who complained about Communist leadership we have altered that, but there is less peace on the waterfront to-day than there was before.
Rather than talk abuse of Communistinspired strikes we should look at the reasons for strikes. I am not informed completely about all strikes, but if we had the machinery to deal with troubles on the waterfront and rectify causes of discontent we would do better than to abuse the workers who have the interests of Australia at heart. The ship “ Riederstein “ came into Sydney, a demarcation dispute occurred and some men were dismissed.
– Demarcation as to what?
– Demarcation as to who should do certain work. The unloading of 44 gallon drums of oil had previously been done by waterside workers, but a dispute arose as to who should do the work. The question was decided in favour of the waterside workers, which showed that the employer should not have endeavoured to place other labour on work formerly done by waterside workers. Then there was the notorious wool dispute which arose over a man being injured when two men were loading bales of wool. The waterside workers demanded that three members should perform the operation. The employers refused to provide three men, the employees took industrial action and refused to work. They were concerned about their safety in loading these bales of wool. It was not a case of just refusing to work but of fear for their safety. This is not like another industry where workers can pack up and go home if they do not want to work under the conditions prevailing. The men are in bondage in a sense. As a result of the dispute the men were suspended and lost certain payments.
– Did they take the dispute to a tribunal?
– I am coming to that. They did take the dispute to a tribunal.
– Before the strike?
– It is not a question of whether or not it was before the strike. The men complained about conditions which were not rectified. One man was injured and they decided they would not take the risk of working under those conditions. I ask Senator Wright who is trying to interject to listen to my utterances. I am perfectly prepared to sit and listen to him on a future occasion. The dispute was submitted to a board of reference which found against the men in favour of the shipowners. The federation was then advised to take the matter to arbitration. The arbitrator appointed was the chairman of the board of reference who had already decided the question in favour of the shipowners, so the position of the waterside workers was hopeless. The dispute originally involved six men, but the shipowners immediately asked other waterside workers to take the place of the men who had refused to carry out the work on the two-man basis. This resulted finally in 571 men being suspended on the waterfront in a dispute that arose over six men. The shipowners endeavoured to extend the dispute by asking other waterside workers to do the work, knowing that that would be a cardinal breach of trade union principles. If any one takes the place of a man who is out as a result of a stoppage, in the glossary of the trade union movement he is known as a “ scab “, and no more despicable term can be applied to a trade unionist.
– There is no other way to describe him.
– There is no other way to describe him, and the shipowners purposely sought to extend the dispute by asking men to do something that their loyalty to the trade union movement would not permit them to do.
A dispute had to be created before a judge could decide the matter. However, finally, after the extension of the dispute, the matter came before Mr. Justice Ashburner. He not only found in favour of the waterside workers but he granted conditions in excess of those demanded by them. He not only granted their request for three men to be employed on this work, but he insisted on four men being used when the wool was to be stacked more than four bales high. This showed that there was some justification for the action of the waterside workers. In order to get to arbitration there had to be a stoppage, but the men knew there was a risk to their safety, and they knew of all the difficulties of the occupation.
– How long had that handling condition applied?
– I could not tell you that. I believe there had been some alteration as the result of a different method of handling, but I could not tell you the actual time that the condition had applied. As I said earlier, I was compelled to enter into this discussion impromptu as a result of some remarks that were made by Senator Lillico. I apologize if I am not sufficiently acquainted with all of the facts and details of cases on the waterfront. The next dispute that I have listed concerned the “ Lake Eyre “. It arose over the loading of bags of clay. The men submitted a demand for industrial clothing, and because they would not work without it they were suspended. The nature of that work was particularly offensive and dirty. Before that suspension was lifted a dispute occurred over the “ Port
Aylmer “. The men who had refused to work on the “ Lake Eyre “ were further penalized by the loss of attendance money, because while the dispute on the “Port Aylmer “ continued, a non-working day was declared in the port. Although the men from the “ Lake Eyre “ were not concerned with the second dispute, they were penalized to the extent of losing their attendance money while the dispute continued on the “Port Aylmer”. This practice has been referred to as a system of hostages, because men are held as hostages to guarantee the good conduct of others working in the port.
When a dispute occurred in Sydney over the loading of meat, the meat was taken to another place in vans. This set off a demarcation dispute. The waterside workers claimed that the work of loading meat was theirs. However, the meat was unloaded from the vans by members of two other unions. Two lorries were used, at a cost of 32s. an hour, for the purpose of carting the meat to the other wharf. That, again, shows the extent to which the shipowners will go to beat the claims of the waterside workers; it demonstrates the provocation of this section of the waterfront industry by the shipowners.
Honorable senators have heard of the Anzac Day dispute. Men were deprived of payment for Anzac Day because the port had been under suspension on the previous day. Because the men had not worked on the day before Anzac Day they were not paid for the holiday. We have now the possibility of a dispute in the ports of Melbourne and Sydney because of a refusal by the wage-fixing tribunal to extend certain wages and conditions to the men in those ports.
– Is that the same Mr. Justice Ashburner? Has the commission gone against you this time?
– I believe it was Mr. Justice Ashburner.
– The commission has gone against you this time, but last time you liked it’s decision.
– No, I say that last time Mr. Justice Ashburner found in favour of the men on the evidence that had been submitted.
– This time he found against you and you will not take it.
– Just a moment. This time the judge considered the position and awarded what he considered to be a just wage for a particular occupation. After deciding what was a just wage for that occupation he then announced that certain men following that occupation would be deprived of that wage.
– It is not merely a question of whether the increase should be applied to Melbourne or Sydney; it is a matter of withholding the increase from men, some of whom do not even support stoppages. It is a penalty inflicted on the whole of the. industry in those two ports.
– One can see no other reason than the provocation-
– What was the judge’s reason, senator?
– The judge’s stated reason was the, stoppages which is the complete reversal of the usual practice of arbitration. The purpose of arbitration is to decide a just wage for a particular industry. When that has been decided, every man in the industry should receive that wage, if he works. Those who do not work should not get it. But the waterside workers in the ports of Melbourne and Sydney are to be paid less than the amount that the arbitration tribunal has found to be a just wage for that industry. To my knowledge this is the first time that here has been a differeniation in the wage paid throughout an industry simply because some workers in that industry considered a matter to be of sufficient importance as to warrant some action being taken. In this case the waterside, workers did not proceed with a 24-hour stoppage for the purpose of taking their dispute to the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
If the action of the arbitration tribunal in this case is not contrary to the wording of the Constitution, at least it is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution as decided in the boilermakers’ case wherein the Privy Council determined, on appeal, that the authority with the wage- fixing did not have the power to inflict penalties. Justice Ashburner’s recent action was contrary to the decision in the boilermakers’ case and should be looked into.
But the purpose of my utterances on these questions is to show that if there is any desire on the part of honorable senators opposite to have peace in industry they should get together with the responsible officials of the trade union movement and discuss the matter. It has been accepted that the trade union movement is part of our industrial life in Australia, so the Government should discuss these problems with the trade unions with a view to setting up some machinery that will enable the waterfront industry to operate peacefully and successfully. No waterside worker wants to be out of work and, despite what has been said, no waterside worker will be induced to stop work unless he feels that there has been some injustice against which he should revolt. If the Government does not want to talk to the waterside workers it can confer with the A.C.T.U., which is recognized as the responsible body in the trade union movement.
– Is this to by-pass the Arbitration Commission?
– The Arbitration Commission has been established to deal with these matters, but if there are weaknesses in that system we should correct them.
I do not doubt that there must be some tribunal or some arbitrator to decide questions in dispute, but every dispute should be isolated. On the waterfront there is a deliberate attempt to extend a dispute to the whole industry. I suggest that any dispute should be speedily arbitrated upon, if possible before a stoppage occurs. Some machinery should be set up in which the shipowners and the workers will have confidence. Perhaps there should be discussions between the shipowners and the waterside workers to decide who should be the arbitrator. This is not a new procedure. In South Australia, which has fewer industrial disputes than other States, we have a body set up to decide wages and conditions. That body is comprised of an equal number of employer and employee representatives, with a chairman, who finally becomes the arbitrator, elected by the members, not by the Government. There is no question that such a system should be considered. Inflicting penalties and criticizing waterside workers unjustifiably and illogically will never achieve peace on the waterfront or in any section of industry in Australia.
I think I can now leave that question and refer to the matter that I was endeavouring to deal with yesterday. I do not want to repeat what I said. I spoke on this question on 2nd May and tried to establish that the Government was not meeting its responsibilities on housing in Australia. I had a good argument based on facts and census figures.
The Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) replied, using figures from the census for the years 1954 and 1961, as I did, but he reached a different conclusion. This made me suggest, by way of interjection, that there had been a manipulation of figures, to which the Minister replied that he could be rude and say that it would be beyond my intelligence to understand his figures. I would have accepted his statement if the facts had been given, but his reply was beyond my understanding as it was beyond that of other honorable senators. Since then, I have studied the figures to see how the Minister made his calculations. The only difference between his calculations and mine was that he based his on a family unit whilst I based mine on population. I find that there was very little difference in our reckoning concerning the homes that had been completed, whether the reckoning was on a population basis or the basis of the family unit.
I made some surprising discoveries. The Minister stated that housing had increased 3i per cent, proportionately to family units between the two years. The figures, on a population basis, would give some indication that that statement was correct, although the figures that I had at the time did not produce exactly that result. My figures relate purely to South Australia. We have been led to believe that South Australia leads in the housing field. However, in proportion to its increase in population, it would appear to be greatly lagging behind the rest of Australia in supplying homes for its people. As 1 said previously, the number of dwellings in South Australia increased between 1954 and 1961 by 14.7 per cent, whilst the population of the State increased by 21.60 per cent. The population of Australia, during those years, increased by 16.93 per cent, whilst the number of dwellings increased by 20.8 per cent. That would represent an increase in dwellings at the rate of 3± per cent, per annum over those years. That is the figure 1 obtained from approaching this problem both on a population basis and a family unit basis.
It has been said that figures are like bikinis - what they show is interesting but what they conceal is vital. Apparently, while we are working on similar figures, we can come to different conclusions. The Minister stated that those who talk of inferior housing in South Australia must be talking with their tongues in their cheeks because one of the things of which South Australian’s can boast is the high standard of cottages. I referred to inferior houses, but I do not desire to disagree with the Minister because I acknowledge the standard of construction which is observed by the War Service Homes Division, the banks and private enterprise and the building societies. I was only touching on South Australia and my condemnation was of houses built for the South Australian Housing Trust under the contract system. I was not condemning the operations of the trust as a whole. However, as the contract system has greatly replaced the day labour system the trust possibly has a greater proportion of inferior houses to-day than it had previously. 1 have personal knowledge of this matter. It has been mentioned in the South Australian industrial court in connexion with a case heard at Whyalla where the judge found after hearing evidence that there was inferior construction in certain homes. I do not want to dwell on that subject. The South Australian Government started off on the pretence of building workers’ houses. Such a term as “ workers’ houses “ generally suggests something inferior. There is an over-riding belief that the workers should have something inferior.
– That sounds like an inferiority complex.
– No. I say that those who plan to build houses think of “ workers’ houses “ as being inferior. In my view the workers as a class are superior to other classes in our society. Perhaps, for that reason one in my position is associated with the workers. I feel no inferiority in claiming that I am associated with the particular class which is getting a raw deal in connexion with the provision of houses.
– But you have not a monopoly of association with them, hare you?
– No. But I do not share my representation of them with the honorable senator.
– I do not know.
– Well, I do. The figures for the electoral divisions of Port Adelaide and Hindmarsh prove what 1 say. I do not claim much support in Toorak or Burnside, in Adelaide. The Minister cited figures concerning the commencement of houses throughout Australia for the purpose of showing that after seeking approval for the construction of houses many people changed their minds. He interpreted that as meaning that they had solved their accommodation problem in some other way. If we look at the figures which have been published in “ Hansard “ we shall find that this conclusion cannot be readily drawn from them.
In 1948 approvals not commenced amounted to 12,004 dwellings, and in the year 1961 there were 11,861 approvals not recommenced. In 1958, the number of unemployed rose to 64,678. In 1961 there was a credit squeeze. In the previous November, which created a record, the number of unemployed was 116,000. Consequently, there were thousands of people who had received approval to build but who had declined to do so because of the economic position of the country at that time. So, when the Minister claims that the housing demand reflects what people are prepared to buy he must take into consideration what he terms the “ economic climate “. The number of people who applied for permission to commence houses is not necessarily an indication of the housing demand; we must take into account the ability of people to purchase houses in accordance with their economic position. It could well be that in another and more severe credit squeeze, the demand for houses in Australia would apparently be met because many more people than now would not have the ability to buy a home.
The housing problem will not be solved by impoverishing the hut and shed dwellers and making it impossible for them to get out of their environment. The need of these people is just as great whether or not they have the ability to buy. On the Minister’s own figures there are 42,012 shed or hut dwellers in Australia now. They are being eliminated from the housing lists at the rate of 1,000 a year, so it would take another six censal periods to remove from the records all the hut and shed dwellers if we proceeded at the same rate. In South Australia the number of hut and shed dwellers is increasing every seven years by 90 a year although in Australia generally the number is decreasing.
We must look for another avenue to meet the housing needs of the people. The Minister for National Development compared family units and said the proportion of family units who had improved their housing conditions over the censal period was 3i per cent, of the number occupying homes. His figures were based on a base year when there was an acute housing shortage in Australia. ‘We had six years of war, a retooling period and a period of training man-power following World War II. The demand for homes had accumulated. Nine years after the war in 1954 there was no improvement and the housing shortage was still acute. The Minister said that we must base our calculations on 50 per cent, of widows who remain in homes of their own. In the figures relating to housing we must increase the proportion of widows or widowers who own a home, when we have a growing population, just to remain proportionately as we are now. The Minister has said that 50 widows out of 100 own a home. Over the censal period the population increased by 17 per cent.; so if we apply that figure of 50 per cent, to 117, the answer is something in excess of 58 per cent, without a home. Again, if that improvement of 34 per cent, is applied to the increase in population it is not sufficient to enable us to say that there is actually any improvement. So the waiting list for housing is not reduced.
I appeal to the Minister to make a survey of housing needs in Australia. The Minister said that Dr. Hall had made a survey of the housing demand, but we have no one making an impartial survey of housing needs. The Department of National Development endeavours to do so under some peculiar arrangement that is not only difficult to follow but also fails to establish that needs are being met any better. In his statement the Minister said there were 71,000 people waiting for State Housing Commission homes, war service homes, and houses from building societies and banks. This shows that there is a need for some investigation and a plan. The various State Housing Commission reports do not state the number of applicants on the waiting list. In the report of the State Housing Commission of Victoria for last year there is this statement -
The demand for accommodation - there were 14,424 applicants at 30th June, 1961 - still greatly exceeds the number of dwelling units the Commission can build with its reduced finance. This year, 2,217 dwelling units were completed.
Elderly persons, accommodation - 2,326 applicants were awaiting accommodation including 2,054 from females seeking individual accommodation.
In New South Wales at 30th June, 1961, the State Housing Commission reported -
In fact, during the year under review the number of new applications received by the Commission was the highest since 1954-55 and the total number of outstanding applications was the highest since the inception of the Commission.
In that State, there were 15,482 new applicants in that year and the total was 36,397 applications. This shows conclusively that, despite the statements of the Minister, the Government has not met the housing requirements of the people.
Reference has been made to the fact that Dr. Hall had made three estimates of the housing demand in two years and that they varied by as much as 20 per cent, in that period. Dr. Hall’s recent assessment was a supplement to his earlier figures. All he did was to bring the figures up to date on the basis of new information he had received. I am speaking from memory when I say that he found in the census reports that there were 40,000 flats in Australia which were not in existence at the time, of the 1954 census. The question in his mind was how many houses had been converted to flats since the 1954 census. This number could very well account for the 27,669 fewer people in shared accommodation to whom the Minister referred. Somebody puts a stove in a back room and calls it a kitchen and then the unit is classified as a flat. That is not a proper indication of the position-.
Whilst I acknowledge that there is no basic figure on which we can make an accurate assessment, we cannot close our eyes to the figures produced in the housing trust reports. We should try to get an estimate. Earlier, I suggested planned building activities to avoid fluctuation in the. construction rate of homes. Dr. Hall assessed what the demand for housing would be according to the ability to purchase of people requiring houses. He showed that there would be an increased demand for houses in the mid-1 960’s which would mean an increase in prices and further inability to buy homes. To avoid this there should be planned development by the release of bank credit or cheaper interest rates. This would mean an increased demand as the purchase of a house, would come within the means of more of the people requiring homes. A higher proportion of our population would be housed. Perhaps by restricting the advances we could reduce the. demand and provide for those years when the natural increase in population will necessitate increased building activity.
I put this proposal to the Government to keep the record straight, and so that it cannot be said that some figures worked out by the Department of National Development prove that our housing needs in Australia have been satisfied. The reports of the housing commissions show that the position is quite the reverse. Whilst, there has been some- improvement, the number of people without adequate housing is as great, proportionally, as it was in 1945.
– I must say at the outset that I had intended to devote the whole of my remarks to some constructive suggestions about the development of Western Port as an alternative port for Melbourne and the surrounding area which the Department of National Development might discuss with the Victorian Government. Before I embark upon that exercise, I must express my amazement at Senator Cavanagh’s support of the industrial lawlessness and banditry which has prevailed on our waterfront in- recent times. I presume that the honorable senator describes- himself as a Labour militant.
T suppose he believes that no matter what industrial troubles arise, it is his bounden duty to rise in this place and justify them. I would not mind if he approached the subject from a straight-out industrial angle and if he were prepared to view it as a matter of rights and wrongs, real or imagined, on the part of the employer or the employee, tout he must accept some national responsibility for the fact that in this serious chamber in which we are assembled he has preached the filthy doctrine of class warfare. Here in this chamber he has stated that some Australians are the implacable enemies of other Australians. He has stated that onehalf of the Australian population - perhaps I am not stating the proportion accurately - enjoys the social misery and financial difficulties of the other half.
At the present time this nation faces an international crisis, and the intellectual garbage which the honorable senator has placed before us and the nation as a whole does us very little good. Envy and jealousy have been the tenor of all his remarks. A party which is prepared to adopt that philosophy is unfit to govern, and it will not be called upon to do so. Probably his remarks would not be supported by responsible honorable senators opposite. I sincerely hope that they are not and that in due course some Opposition senators will dissociate themselves from the evil views which he has been placing before the Senate.
Senator Cavanagh spoke of the Waterside Workers Federation as though it was a persecuted’ minority which had no industrial privileges and as though its members were not given security of employment. The federation has become - I say this advisedly, because I have had. something to say about capitalist monopolies in: this chamber - one of the worst and most tyrannical monopolies of labour which this: country has ever seen. The honorable senator took Senator Lillico to task for his very moderate remarks about the activities: of this union, and he said he was very proud to speak up in favour of the people whom he represented, no matter what the industrial position might be.
I was amazed that Senator Cavanagh had the effrontery to refer to Mr. Chifley when speaking of the activities of these people. He knows as well as I do that Mr. Chifley was a most bitter critic of Communistinspired industrial trouble. At the time of the great coal strike of 1949, which nearly put the industries of this nation out of action, Mr. Chifley found it necessary to take stringent action, and rightly so. But the honorable senator has criticized the action of Mr. Chifley in gaoling Healy and McPhilips. I did not think that he would look to Mr. Chifley as his authority in relation to industrial matters. It is absolute and arrant nonsense to talk about the annihilation of unions as being an aim of Government policy.
– It was Senator Lillico who said that.
– I do not think that is a fair rendition of what Senator Lillico said. If trade union members did not support this Government, it would never be elected to office. Most people in this country are workers. I am a financial member of an industrial union, and I have not missed a meeting of that union which has been held when I have been in Melbourne. I have expressed my point of view on industrial matters and members .of my union have listened to me. On one occasion they actually accepted the advice which I tendered at a union meeting. I am the honorary solicitor for my union’s benevolent fund. I do not want to hear such nonsense as the suggestion that honorable senators on this side of the chamber are not interested in the welfare of the workers of the Commonwealth.
Senator Lillico pointed out ; I thought very moderately ; that the campaign on the waterfront was deliberate and that it had little or no relation to genuine industrial disputes. It was perhaps not surprising that Senator Cavanagh should refer to that great industrialist - those are his words, not mine - Jim Healy in this connexion. The honorable senator knows as well as I do that Healy went to Tokyo in 1958 and attended the Communist-convened maritime unions’ conference, the whole plan of which was to wreck or disrupt the maritime industry of the free world. In this Parliament within the last twelve months or so the Government has gone out of its way to make adequate provision for members of the Waterside Workers Federation because of the difficult nature of their employment and because they are subjected to certain disabilities which other workers in industry do not experience. They were given long service leave and many other benefits. I suggest that there is no industrial reason why the present batch of strikes should be rolling around the country.
– We must remember the average wage they get, too. It is more than ?24 a week.
– Senator Cavanagh might well cogitate upon the fact that the actual financial gains of members of nonCommunist unions, for example the Federated Ironworkers Association and the Federated Clerks Union, are very much greater than those of Communist-led unions. I find myself wholly unable to accept the proposition which is so often put forward by some honorable senators opposite that leaders of the Communist-led unions are elected because of their industrial efficiency. They are not efficient.
The other surprising item which he dug up from the disgraceful past - which I should have thought he would be glad to leave buried - was the matter of the refusal to load pig iron. He suggested that the waterside workers were defending Australia b’y refusing to load pig iron. Whether that decision was right or wrong is not immediately for me to argue, although I would be prepared to argue it. But does he think that the foreign policy of this nation should be taken out of the hands of the elected government and given to any industrial union? Is that the proposition that he puts before the Senate?
A few months ago on the Melbourne waterfront we had a disgraceful example of industrial banditry. The gallant little country of South Viet Nam has been fighting for its existence for eight years. It is one of the countries in South-East Asia which have refused to pull the forelock to Communist aggression. President Ngo Dinh Diem and his people have been an example of what a little nation of 18,000,000 people can do if it is prepared to stand up to Communist aggression and infiltration. I am proud that this Government, which I support, came forward quickly to offer help to the Vietnamese people. It has sent them barbed wire - I do not know the exact number of rolls - and it has sent them radio equipment, rifles and ammunition. A few months ago, on the Melbourne waterfront, Communist Bull had the effrontery to address the waterside workers and put to them that this barbed wire, which Australia was sending to its ally, South Viet Nam, was for the purpose of erecting concentration camps. Senator Cavanagh knows, as well as comrade Bull knew, that the barbed wire was being sent for the purpose of setting up strategic hamlets. Comrade Bull knew, as well as Senator Cavanagh knows, that the strategic hamlet policy has smashed Communist infiltration in South Viet Nam, and that that is why the barbed wire was not to go. I shall read to the Senate a press release from President Ngo Dinh Diem, issued after the first anniversary of the strategic hamlets, on 17th April, 1962. Making due allowance for the difficulties of translation from Vietnamese into English - I shall not read all of it - the statement reads -
After only one year, the irresistible movement of strategic hamlets has already gone far beyond the original tactical objective. In constant progression, this movement has upset all the subversive manoeuvres of the enemies of the nation and it has, in addition, strongly shaken the foundations of their very organization . .
The programme of fortified villages with a community life of their own, in which the rural population can till its fields and raise its living standards secure against the marauding Communists, is the quintessence of our truest traditions.
That is what the barbed wire was wanted for, and the Communists, who controlled and dictated to the Melbourne section of the waterfront, knew it. The President went on -
At the same time that general security grows, the foundations of the personalistic revolution take root in the countryside, bringing the certainty of victory for a just cause. The strategic hamlet system builds the rural collective advancement on innovation and progress in all fields - military, political and social, as well as cultural and economic.
Later on, he referred to aid, some of which came from Australia. He said -
Progressively, thousands upon thousands of the rural Vietnamese population were brought from their undefended rice paddies and thatched huts into the safety of the fortified villages, where their food could no longer be stolen by the marauders, their leaders threatened with death, or their youths kidnapped and pressed into unwilling service for the Viet Cong under penalty of torture for their parents, sweethearts or wives.
That is the type of thing for which the barbed wire was intended. That is the sort of thing which the local Communists on the Victorian waterfront intended to st.00 Finally, the President said -
In addition, the strategic hamlets were supplied with radio transmitters and receivers. The receivers not only brought the villagers in closer touch with the centre of government; they kept the hamlets in touch with each other and with the nearest stronghold of regular Vietnamese troops, who would be instantly alerted should the Viet Cong launch a sneak attack against any hamlet. These attacks have become fewer and fewer, as the Communist casualties mounted in unsuccessful attempts to storm the village fortifications.
That is why the Communists did not want the barbed wire to go. It is quite clear from Senator Cavanagh’s remarks that he regards the Communist Party of Australia and the international Communist Party of the world in a somewhat different light from the totalitarian parties of any other colour. He described them as having some affinity with the Australian Labour Party.
– I did not.
– For myself, I do not believe that that is true.
– I take a point of order. I say that the statement is not true.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar). - Order! The honorable senator will have a chance later to make a personal explanation.
– I am glad that the honorable senator says that the statement is not true, because this gives me an opportunity to read his exact words, which were -
Between members of the Communist Party and those who may be termed militant members of the Labour Party is some line of demarcation which we cannot define.
That was said by Senator Cavanagh, in the Senate, last October.
– That is not correct.
– To that, I think, most honorable Labour men would take great exception and great umbrage. I have never been one to take the line that the Australian Labour Party is next door to communism. I regard that proposition as being defamatory of a great political party. The only objection which I have taken in the past, which I take to-day, and which I shall take in the future, is that in very many instances the nexus between members of the Labour Party and communism is so strong that it appears that members of the Labour Party are doing the work of Communists and communism. I hope that thai- distinction is abundantly clear to members of the Senate. The honorable senator opposite, at about the same time, complained that Communists were not being admitted to Australia by our screening authorities. I should like to know whether he is prepared to support the proposition that we should deliberately bring into this, country traitors and saboteurs, or whether that was just, perhaps, some minor abberation at question time when he was thinking of something to say.
I am sorry to have had to take so much of the time of the Senate on the minor matter of Senator Cavanagh. I turn now to a question of major national development. Tt is pretty well established in this chamber, which happens to be a States’ house, that Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is the social, cultural and economic heart of the Commonwealth. The pulsing life of Australia revolves around a line which runs between Bourke-street and Collins-street. I do not think that it is necessary for me to pursue a parish-pump line, because I am really serious on this matter, in respect of which I hope the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) may have some discussion with the Victorian Government. I refer to the developing of an alternative port for the city of Melbourne.
At the present time, the second largest city in Australia is served, so far as access by sea is concerned, through the Rip into Port Phillip Bay. This has been described by well-known navigators as one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world. 1 see Senator Kendall looking across at me. He may be able to confirm that description from his great maritime, experience. Western Port Bay, on. the other hand, has almost, all the advantages which the great harbour at Sydney has; I do not think it is wrong, Mr. Deputy President, to urge the development of a particular area in one’s own State. The development and improvement of a key State such as Victoria must be reflected in the enhanced economic health of the nation as a whole.
The. Commonwealth, might perhaps see fit, under section 96 of the Constitution, to make a special grant to the Victorian Government, with particular conditions, attached to it, to ensure that Westernport Bay is developed in the way I suggest. At the present time, super tankers, for example, cannot cross the Rip. They cannot reach Melbourne. I think that in fact one has done so, in a rather hazardous manner. Some large cargo ships are compelled, to unload portion of their cargo before reaching the city. Westernport Bay, which is only 35 miles from the heart of the city of Melbourne and 25 miles from the great industrial area of Dandenong, has an entrance channel which is three miles wide and which does not narrow to less than a mile all the way to the site of any proposed port or harbour. It has a depth varying between 40 feet and 53 feet. Because of the fact that the entrance is largely protected by Phillip Island, the water in the bay remains reasonably calm at most times, and there is ample water accommodation for the largest ships afloat. Residentially, the hinterland which feeds the bay area is a most pleasant part of the Mornington Peninsula and is well served with roads and all other facilities. Industrially, it taps the vital Dandenong area. It is perhaps well to remember that at this stage- vast quantities of motor equipment are manufacured by three motor firms at Dandenong. There are large food processing works and a whole string of other industrial factories which need an outlet and which, at the moment, have to send all their finished products on the long road to Melbourne and out through the bottleneck of. the port of Melbourne, or by road transport.
The area is easy of access for the delivery of coal, oil and briquettes. As long ago as 1928, a royal commission on Victorian outer ports pointed out that the maritime aspect needed little attention, as the physical conditions pertaining in Western Port Bay were acknowledged to approach perfection from the viewpoint of navigation, economical construction of harbour works and general maintenance. Each of the two port sites in Western Port Bay which have been suggested by responsible authorities are capable of providing sheltered berthing and of taking the. largest
Vessels at present operating in world trade. This is a matter which, I hope, the Minister for National Development will see fit to discuss with the Victorian authorities, because I believe that now is the time to take action, before the vast expansion of industry in Dandenong causes an unavoidable bottle-neck between Dandenong and the port of Melbourne. The matter might also be of some interest to the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton) from a defence point of view. The Flinders Naval Depot is located on the western shores of Western Port Bay.
I wish now to refer to two sales tax anomalies. The collection of sales tax is imposing very great hardship on small identors and importers for a reason which probably was not considered at the time the legislation was originally enacted. A few years ago, it was customary for merchants to meet their accounts within 30 days. Cash within 30 days was a normal term of trading, but for some reason it is more customary these days for merchants to meet their commitments within 60 days and, in many instances, within 90 days. However, sales tax has to be paid on the twenty-first day of the month following the date of invoicing the goods. The result is that, in many instances, small indentors and importers are suffering grave hardship. I know of one such man who has to finance quite large customers to the extent of £3,000 or £4,000 every month, since he has to pay the tax before he receives the amount from his customers. I suggest to the Government that this anomaly might be overcome by adopting the New Zealand and British system, under which sales tax is payable on a quarterly basis. For example, three months’ sales tax Which might be due on 31st March would become payable on 1st July. This would enable the indentors and merchants who are at present financing large parts of the trade, to be paid the tax before they in fact have to pay it to the Commonwealth.
There is another rather unique feature which attaches to the New Zealand legislation. The people who gather the tax for the New Zealand Government are allowed 2i per cent, commission for doing so. I suppose that a suggestion of such a revolutionary nature should be put forward rather tenuously. Under the present system in this country an indentor is put to some trouble if a purchaser should default. He must prove the facts to the satisfaction of the Taxation Branch which, of course, acts very fairly in such instances. On proving his case the indentor receives a refund of tax. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of administrative difficulty and red tape which makes things very awkward for the small indentor and the small importer. I hope that at some time the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) will consider this matter, which I think is one of tax justice.
The other sales tax anomaly to which I propose to refer relates to a classification in respect of which I have been unable to understand the explanations given by the Deputy Sales Tax Commissioners. Under the law, equipment which is used by wholesalers as an aid to manufacture is tax-free when purchased by them for manufacturing goods. At the present time, Australian film-makers purchase magnetic recorders for the purpose of placing sound on film. It is an intermediate process and is not the actual process which is used at the tail end of the film. Nevertheless, it is an integral step in the placing of the sound track on a film. For some reason which I have been unable to understand, and which the two producers who have spoken to me also have been unable to understand, the Commissioner of Taxation refuses to regard these pieces of equipment, which are essential tools in the manufacture of film, as being an aid to manufacture. I trust that the responsible Minister will feel disposed to have a look at this proposition.
I wish now to refer to the recent conference between President Soekarno of Indonesia and Liu Shao-chi, the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, during the visit of Liu Shao-chi to Indonesia in April of this year. The two chiefs of state issued their final communique in Djakarta. Reference to the text will show that it might just as well have been drafted entirely in Peking. It is a matter which must give all Australians considerable food for thought. It contains straight-out attacks on the West. The language is quite incontinent and it would seem that from the point of view of international bargaining at all events Soekarno is well and truly in the pocket of red China. I do not propose to read in full the report from the Antara press agency - an Indonesian agency - of 20th April, but I propose to read out a few paragraphs of it. The report commences -
President Sukarno and visiting Chairman . of the People’s Republic of China Liu Shao-chi to-day signed the Indonesia-China Joint Statement. The signing ceremony took place at the “ Merdeka “ Palace.
A list is then given of the people who attended. The report continues -
The talks were held in an atmosphere of cordiality, friendship and complete understanding. The two parties had a full exchange of views on the question of further strengthening the relations of friendship and co-operation between the two countries and on international problems of common concern.
The mutual support of the two countries in the struggle against imperialism and old and new colonialism has been correspondingly strengthened. In the field of economic and technical cooperation, they have assisted each other to the best of their ability whenever necessary. Cultural interflow between them has also developed markedly.
The Chinese Government re-affirmed its resolute support to the Indonesian people in their just struggle to recover West Irian and re<-unify their country; and it warmly congratulated them on their significant victory in this struggle. The Indonesian Government re-affirmed its full support to the Chinese people in their just struggle to liberate Taiwan-
In other words, to hand over the people of Formosa to Communist dictation - and oppose the scheme of “ Two Chinas “; and it firmly stood for the restoration of the legitimate rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations.
That is bad enough, Mr. Deputy President, but unfortunately the recognition of the same red China is one of the cardinal points of policy of the alternative government of this country. I think it is time that those responsible for the formulation of Labour’s foreign policy got around to a more intelligent discussion of Australia’s position so that perhaps some time in our lifetime this country may enjoy the undoubted benefit of a bi-partisan foreign policy. The statement goes on -
The two parties expressed the agreed view that the Sino-Indian boundary question could and should be settled fairly and reasonably on the basis of the Ten Principles of the Bandung Conferee -. and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. . . . They expressed their resolute opposition to foreign intervention in the SinoIndian boundary dispute.
That is, they were opposed to the help that Great Britain, the United States and Australia were giving to our Commonwealth partner, India, in this mattei. The report further states -
The two parties pointed out with gratification that the present international situation was most favourable to the people of the world in their great struggle against imperialism and colonialism.
The two parties then went on to say that imperialism and colonialism were the root cause of international tension and the threat to world peace. They then expressed support for the revolution in British North Borneo. The report states -
In this connexion both sides expressed resolute support for the people of North Kalimantan in their courageous struggle for the right of selfdetermination and independence,
They then went on to attack the proposal for Malaysia by adding -
The statement proceeded -
Both sides stated their unequivocal support for all the Vietnamese people in their just struggle for the peaceful reunification of Viet Nam and emphatically rejected any outside interference in this matter. Likewise, both parties expressed full support for the Korean- People’s struggle for the re-unification of Korea. They expressed resolute support-
There is a fair bit of resolute supporting going on in this statement - for the peoples of Angola, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Nyasaland, Bechuanaland, Kenya, Zanzibar and South Africa in their just struggles against colonial rule and oppression and for national independence and freedom.
Then they get a bit lyrical. They say -
The two parties expressed their sympathy for the gallant Cuban people-
They do not say whether it was because of aggression by Soviet Russia or perhaps because the Americans had threatened to protect themselves from aggression from that quarter - and reaffirmed their support for their firm struggle to preserve their right to direct their national development according to their own ideals and aspirations, without any foreign interference or threats of whatever kind.
I suppose they intended to add “ except from Soviet Russia “. That strikes me as an alarming document to issue as an official statement from a nation which is now Australia’s neighbour in New Guinea. It is a matter which must cause us to think furiously. No thinking statesman in any part of the world is anxious to see a large international conflagration, a small one, or a police mission - call it what you will - but there comes a time when talking is of no avail and we must stand by our friends and allies. There comes a lime when Australia as one of the nations of the free world must stand up and be counted.
.- I presume that we are discussing four appropriation bills, although any one sitting in the Senate this afternoon could be very well pardoned for believing that the case was otherwise. This afternoon I have heard discussions about various subjects. I do not want to belittle those discussions in any way, because the subjects are important. I heard one senator discuss matters relating to the defence of Australia. He said we were not spending sufficient money upon defence. Then he dealt with other matters, but he did not say which items would go short were we to spend more on defence from our revenues, which exceed £1,600,000,000. He finished the story he had to tell about defence by saying that the old people in Tasmania and the rest of Australia deserved a better deal and better treatment than they were receiving at the present moment.
The price of wheat was an item discussed by one honorable senator. That, of course, is an interesting subject, not only in Australia, but also in many other countries, and it will be interesting in the future. Then we heard a discussion about the activities and inactivities of the waterside workers, and of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Commonwealth Industrial Court. We have listened to these matters before and it would appear that these are things that are constantly discussed, not only in this Senate but also in other parliaments.
There is no riddle associated with the work of waterside workers. When they finish their day’s work they are out of a job. Until the Commonwealth does something about providing these workers with a weekly wage rate we will always have the turmoil that we are having at the present time. We must put the waterside workers upon a weekly wage. They will then become part of the general body of workers and will enjoy much greater security than they enjoy at present.
Then, while sitting here, I heard somebody speaking about the need for sales tax relief. These are subjects that I believe should be raised on an occasion such as this. When I first stood up 1 said that I presumed we were discussing four financial bills. I have looked at two of them and found that they relate to sums of money that it is expected will be expended before 30th June this year. I know very well that these sums are for what are termed Additional Estimates. The main amounts were voted when the Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure were dealt with last year; but it has been found that for certain reasons the amounts voted by the Parliament to the Treasury are running short, so we have the Additional Estimates before us now.
Why is it that the finance officials of the Treasury, and of various other departments, wish to have additional sums voted to them? After looking through the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) I can understand that extraordinary or unusual expenditure has been incurred by some departments. I shall refer to just one item which to me is interesting. We are asked to vote the sum of £142,640 for the United Nations Organization. We have heard recently that the United Nations is having a very lean time financially, so probably that is the reason for the additional vote. Although I cannot imagine the Commonwealth of Australia being backward in its contribution to the United Nations, I understand that some member countries, which put a high value upon their membership of that organization, have not paid their contributions. That brings us right down to the hard question that has to be decided in all groups and associations in Australia, irrespective of their membership: What privileges has a member who does not pay his contributions? I hope that some solution of the present problem can be found because I am one who believes that there is some good in having the United Nations continue to function as a world body.
When I first picked up the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) to ascertain what additional amount we were being asked to vote I learned that it was £47,503,000. Some of the items that make up that amount are of interest. One is the sum of £25,000 for “ Earthquake relief - Iran “. Nobody in Australia will begrudge the people of Iran that sum if they are suffering as the result of an earthquake. The next item is “ World Food Programme - Contribution “, for which the sum of £223,220 is provided. Again, I say that we have a responsibility as one of the important countries of the world to make contributions of this kind. Another item is a grant of £20,000 to the Government of Viet Nam for the relief and resettlement of refugees. The sum of £25,000 is included for “Disaster relief - Indonesia “. These, of course, are payments which create good relations with other countries.
There are other items that I do not propose to mention. As I have said the total for the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) is £47,503,000, and having looked at that I was inclined to say that surely that would be sufficient. But I found that the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill seeks an additional £7,395,000. The other two bills make appropriations for the purpose of carrying on the affairs of Australia until the Budget for the year 1963-64 is passed. These sums, too, are substantial, but nobody will suggest that Australia can be governed for less. We are governed in the community through a myriad of financial channels. To be governed at all we must have channels flowing with money. So, we have the situation in which the Government is faced with the responsibility, first, of collecting its revenue. That is one of its major responsibilities. Its second responsibility is in the spending of that revenue.
One hears people complaining about having to pay high taxes or having to pay taxes of a certain type. Associations complain about having to pay sales tax, and others say that pay-roll tax should be abolished. One hears all kinds of complaints about the taxation structure of the Commonwealth. Then again there is a body of people that asks why the Government does not carry out more work; why it does not spend more money, and so it goes on. When we meet in this Parliament and get down to dealing with appropriation bills, naturally the members of
Parliament wish to spread their discussions and deal with subjects that interest them and the people of their electorates.
It is rather interesting to look at the sum that the Government set out to collect last year- £1,600,000,000. As I said earlier, the Government must have sources of revenue. It must levy taxation. I glanced through my documents a while ago to see how the Government is making out. it is interesting to calculate revenue collections as an average per head of population. For customs duty the sum paid per head of population last year was £8 17s. 8d. Many people in the community will say that that is too much and some will even argue that they should not have had to pay anything because we should produce all we require and no goods should be imported. So there is no such thing as complete satisfaction about taxes. In excise the amount collected amounted to £25 10s. lOd. per head. Of course, the cigarette smoker and whisky drinker complains about the excise that he has to pay. He knows what he has to pay for the goods he buys, but that amount includes a hidden tax. As with all the other indirect taxes, nobody knows what he is paying in customs, excise or sales tax when buy ing. a commodity. The sum paid per head of population in sales tax last year was £14 6s. 10d., and in income tax the amount was £49 15s. 9d. Taxes on companies averaged £24 4s. lid. per head of population. The dividend withholding tax amounted to 12s. lid. per head. Pay-roll tax worked out at £5 18s. 5d. per head, and gift duty at 5s. 7d. Other revenue, which I shall not quote in detail, worked out at £6 15s. lid. per head. The total of these taxes was £138 0s. 4d. per head of population. Then there were other revenues which the Commonwealth had to collect, and they brought the total to £152 2s. 4d. per head of the population. I am only mentioning this to give an idea of what has to be paid in taxation per head of population. That gives the Government the revenue for the purpose of carrying out the purposes of government in order to allow us to live in an organized community and to do all the things that have to be done. There are other funds. There is the Loan Fund and the Trust Fund. I do not propose to give any particulars about them.
It is one of the responsibilities of the Government also to set out how it will expend its revenues. It is rather interesting to go into that. For the sake of the record more than anything else, I propose to mention the cost per head of population of some of the services of the Commonwealth. This afternoon, I heard an honorable senator say that we should spend more on defence. Perhaps if I were to ask him how much is being spent on defence per head of population he would not be able to tell me. We are paying £10 6s. 9d. per head of population on defence. On war and repatriation services the expenditure per head of population is £10 4s.11d. In respect of the National Welfare Fund, the cost per head of population is £35 17s. 4d. Then there are other special appropriations. I shall not detail them. The cost of those per head of population is £9 13s. l0d. Then we have departmental expenditure and the salaries of the public servants and the cost of their equipment and associated expenditure, all of which averages £18 8s. 4d. per head of the population. On capital works and services the expenditure is £611s. 8d. per head. The expenditure on Territories sounds rather small, being £5 9s. 9d. per head. Payments to or for the States work out at £39 2s.1d. per head. Total expenditure for the whole year worked out at £154 2s. 4d. per head. I mention those figures in order to give the Senate an idea of what has to be paid and what has to be done.
When all the money has been paid out a question arises: What is the lot of the typical citizen in the community? We pass from year to year. The Government’s annual revenue has increased to £1,600,000,000. What is the standard of living of the typical citizen in the community? We ask ourselves: Are we any better off? Is there any improvement? Have we any greater security? Have we any greater facilities for safeguarding our health? We ask those questions and look for an answer to them in some form, and we do our best to answer them ourselves. It grieves me to notice that last year over £15,000,000 was paid out for the purpose of making dole payments to unemployed workers. That fact indicates to me that there is a group of workers in the community who are not well off. Their welfare is at a very low ebb. In addition to its payment of £15,000,000 for the dole, the Commonwealth, this year, paid over £17,000,000 to the States to enable relief works to be carried out. This is not a good picture. One knows that somebody somewhere in the community is copping it in the neck. It is the wage and salary earner. One looks for causes. One looks to see why there is unemployment, then a run of employment and then more unemployment.
In this Commonwealth we have something which is called a tariff. It has operated as long as there has been federation; in fact, it existed before federation. I have here a document upon which I propose to comment. I shall refer to page 64 of a paper called “Tariff Provision and Dumping - Tariff Board’s Report on Paper and Paper Board “. As far as my memory serves me, there has been no discussion on this subject at all - not upon this paper, anyway. In passing I mention that the Australian Tariff Board did excellent work in investigating this matter. Its report covers about150 pages. Some of the information is statistical, but the Tariff Board had to do the work. Perhaps one could express some regret that we have not been given an opportunity to discuss these things in the Parliament.
– You will be.
– I think that a discussion on them would be all to the good. We should know about these things; there should be a debate upon them. But it is interesting to read what the Tariff Board said about paper and paper board. It is interesting when you know that there are factories operating in various States manufacturing paper and paper board and that, over the years, they have been working at full capacity. Then there has been a hiatus and the men have been laid off. Later, the factories have had to recruit fresh staff and recover their training costs. This is what has happened. The Tariff Board made an exhaustive review of the situation and under the heading of “ Findings “ it made this comment -
(a) Corrugating paper and kraft liner exported to Australia from the United States of America have been sold to a person in Australia at export prices less than the fair market value of the goods; and
This comment is by an impartial board. The report continues -
(a) Fine papers and paperboards exported to Australia from Britain are being sold to a person in Australia at export prices less than the fair market value of the goods; and
(a) Kraft paper exported to Australia from Sweden has been sold to a person in Australia at an export price less than the fair market value of the paper.
It is good to know that there is such a body to investigate these things and furnish information to the Parliament, because as we proceed towards the 1970’s and 1980’s the Parliament will have to be more watchful about these matters. The time has passed when we can be neglectful of them, lt is more important to devote time to these things than to matters which I would say are of less importance. I leave the matter there because I do not want to establish that dumping has been carried out by some people in some countries at the expense of Australian industry. I leave it to the Tariff Board to furnish the evidence on that point.
The Tariff Board’s report for 1961-62 is an interesting document. It is listed for discussion and I hope we shall have an opportunity of discussing it briefly before the Senate rises, so I shall not speak on it now.
When there was a threat that the United Kingdom would go into the European Common Market we read of trade missions travelling overseas to Asia, South America and practically every country in the world trying to expand our trade. Some of them were sponsored by State governments and by commercial organizations, but they all had the same objective - to seek new markets for Australian products. Then the critical hour came when Great Britain was not accepted into the European Common Market, and it is rarely indeed now that one reads of any body of people going overseas to seek new markets.
Evidently, our efforts have begun to decline again because the need is not there. We can still rely on the United Kingdom market; never mind the others. While these missions were travelling to Asia and elsewhere they were actually gaining new markets, but evidently those concerned are satisfied now to get back into the groove.
If they are going to consolidate the work they did when there was a threat to our trade they should persevere and establish that work on a more solid basis.
I am putting my views in a simple way. I believe the United Kingdom will join the European Common Market before long. Already she has taken action to sever preferences that were afforded Commonwealth countries for many years. The United Kingdom is divesting herself of her obligations and when that is completed she will be ready to go into the arms of the President of France. I should not be surprised at all if the United Kingdom made another application next year to enter the European Economic Community, and I have a feeling she will be admitted on her second application.
– Great Britain will not go in to be ruled by France.
– The Rome Treaty does not allow one country to rule another. Each country has equal rights. I have heard it mentioned in the Senate once or twice that very soon the work force employed on the Snowy Mountains project will be disbanded. Already the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority has begun to dispense with staff. It does not need so many engineers and skilled staff as it had a few months ago. This is to be regretted. With constructional work it has always been the same. The employees go from one project to another; but it does not seem that there is another project in the Commonwealth at present for the transfer of such an efficient body.
I would regret the complete disbandment of that work force, and I have in mind something I propose to suggest to the Commonwealth Government. Everybody knows that Brisbane is about 500 miles north of Sydney and there is a single railway line between Newcastle and Brisbane. It is time we had a double line with trains passing each other at all hours of the day and night. This is 1963 and all States are producing far more than they were 70 to 80 years ago when the railway lines were laid. They suited Australia’s purpose then; but in the interests of defence alone we should have a double line between Newcastle and Brisbane. There are mountains there to tunnel and work to be done on the line similar to that which is being done in the Snowy Mountains. I sincerely submit this project to the Government now, because it would take two or three years to construct the line.
I recall that a Senate Select Committee was appointed to inquire into road safety in Australia. It sat in all the capital cities and wherever it thought necessary to collect evidence. The committee furnished what I thought was a very good report and its recommendations were sound. They could have been adopted by any road safety council in any of the States.
– They have been more or less adopted fully in Western Australia.
– I read that they have been approved in various centres, but approval is not sufficient. That is not giving us safety on the roads. It is estimated that in Queensland the direct and indirect loss from road accidents amounts to £16,000,000 a year. Over the six States the loss at a conservative estimate would exceed £100,000,000 and certainly would not be less. There is no authority to do anything that will relieve that situation. One picks up a daily newspaper in any State and reads of teenagers having been killed the previous day on the roads. That goes on every day of the week. In some cases whole families have been wiped out in road accidents. There is a sort of constant road war in Australia. The time has arrived when some body should be set up by the Commonwealth and the States with power to take action in whatever is the cause of the accidents, whether it be excessive speed, insufficient tuition of drivers or something else. We cannot continue at this rate.
– Could not the States implement the recommendations?
– According to my reading of the Constitution and the law this is a State obligation because the States control the police, traffic, hospitals, morgues and cemeteries. But they do not appear to be moving in the proper way. The loss is a national matter. When it is raised with a view to correction the expense is mentioned. What will it cost? Against that, we have the big loss of life.
– It would be interesting to ascertain how many of the recommendations have been adopted by the States.
– I think they have accepted them.
– Some of them.
Senator BENN__ They have accepted most of them. But merely accepting them is not satisfactory.
– I mean they have implemented some of them.
– The implementation is the important thing. I had a lot of matters to mention, but I do not propose to detain the Senate very much longer. The few matters I have mentioned are important. It is good to know that when we are dealing with an appropriation bill we can discuss any subject under the sun. It is the sort of thing that makes one enjoy living in the democracy in which we do live. We are free to comment upon rates of taxation and to condemn the Government as much as we wish for the way in which it has spent the money, knowing at the same time that every penny which is collected is properly accounted for by the officers who ha’e a responsibility to account to the Parliament for public funds. I hope we shall always have the right to say what we think is wrong and to ask that that wrong be corrected.
– As Senator Benn said, many subjects have been discussed during this debate. Among the statements that have been made was a reference by Senator Cavanagh to a class which he said he represented - the workers. Senator Hannan has dealt with the matter, and I do not propose to let it pass either. It is quite wrong for any member of this Parliament to speak about classes of people in Australia. This is a democratic country in which every individual has the right to rise to higher and better things if he has within himself the will or the ability to do so. The fact that one person is poorer than another, or is not as rich, should not be a bar to his rising to better things. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I know that poor people can rise to better things if they have the capacity to do so. To play upon the senses, the sympathies or the fears of people who have been described as belonging to the working class is a bad mark on the record of the Australian Labour Party.
I do not speak of people as being workers and non-workers but as being employees and employers. Many people who employ others work as hard as, if not harder than, their employees simply because within them is a determination to lift themselves to a greater height of achievement and a higher level of prosperity. Members of the Labour Party, the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party should welcome the efforts that are made by Australians to lift themselves to higher things. I have no time for this continual harping about “ the class I represent “. I should not like to belong to any party which represented only one class of people. I believe that the Labour Party likes to think, as we do on this side of the chamber, that it represents all sections of people within the Commonwealth of Australia. A party which represents only a particular section of the people is a sectional party and consequently does not have the breadth of vision which parties in Australia should have.
T should like to speak particularly about the subject of development. Many people have spoken about defence, but I believe that to develop our country is the best way in which to ensure our defence. The stronger we make this country internally by developing it the stronger we will make it from the viewpoint of defence. As the rate of development becomes greater so will the population become greater. As our population becomes greater, we become richer in the men, money and equipment that will help us to defend ourselves against attack by others. Queensland has offered in the past, and it still offers, great scope for development. That State has often been spoken of - and unfortunately still is - as having a great future. I believe we should not continually speak about a great future but that we should think in terms of the present and should forge ahead with development as quickly as possible.
It is interesting and pleasing to note that a great transformation is occurring in Queensland. From the northernmost tip of the State to the southernmost point development is being undertaken in what may be described as a well-balanced manner.
It is satisfactory to note that in the overall picture greater development has been undertaken in Queensland than, possibly, in any other of the larger States. The nature of its railway system has tended to ensure decentralization, and its road systems have done likewise. I believe it is to the advantage of the State and the Commonwealth not to have the people centred principally in the capital, but to have them distributed throughout the State. If honorable senators look at a map of Queensland they will see that cities, towns, villages and little settlements are dotted throughout the State as far away as the western border, the Cape York Peninsula and even Thursday Island, as well as around the Gulf of Carpentaria. Perhaps some of these centres of population are small, but it is important to note that these little pockets of development have occurred.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of development in Queensland has been the undertaking of projects of some magnitude. At the northern tip of the State we have the Weipa bauxite fields, which are regarded as being possibly the largest bauxite deposits in the world. The bauxite is of very rich quality. The company which is operating the field has built a harbour so that ships may take the bauxite away to be manufactured into alumina at a southern factory. A considerable sum of money has been spent on the construction of that harbour. Many men will be employed and much money spent in the development of the field. What appeals to me in particular - it should please every Australian - is the fact that this further developmental project has been undertaken in a distant part of the State. As the population in this area grows, it will help to provide a better distribution of population within Queensland than exists at the present time. 1 am very sorry that the alumina factory will not be established at Weipa, because if it had been erected there an even greater aggregation of population would have been achieved in that area. The alumina factory is to be established at Gladstone. A sum of £35,000,000 will be spent on that project. It will be seen that this industry will be of considerable magnitude.
– Gladstone is a beautiful port.
– There is no doubt about that.
– Where is Gladstone exactly?
– It is in the southern part of the State, a few hundred miles north of the capital. Gladstone has a very beautiful harbour and it is admirably suited to this form of development. The establishment of this factory will lead to greater development and a greater population at Gladstone. A lot of development is radiating from that town at the moment. Not far away is the Moura coal-field, which is being developed by a combination of Australian and overseas interests. If overseas capital is employed, I believe that is the ideal arrangement. The Thiess Brothers organization, a construction authority which is very well known in Queensland and in the region of the Snowy River, is not only developing the coal-field, in conjunction with the Peabody organization of America and the Mitsui company of Japan, to enable Queensland to export coal, particularly to Japan, but is also constructing a railway line so the coal can be brought out to the coast. Around the Gladstone area we shall see considerable development, with the establishment of the alumina factory and the expansion of the Moura coal-field.
– Do not forget Heron Island.
– That island is a very fine tourist centre. Many people think of the Capricorn and Bunker island groups as being part of the Great Barrier Reef, but they are separate reefs, south of the Great Barrier. Further north, in the Nebo district, just inland from my own city, Mackay, Thiess Brothers are investigating coal deposits. They are to spend £150,000 over the next year or two to examine deposits of anthracite, a very valuable type of coal. We know that coking coal is in much shorter supply than steam coal. It is, therefore, most important that this field should be thoroughly investigated and opened up. I believe that Thiess Brothers will not waste time. Very good seams have already been discovered, and there are indications of great developments in the not distant future.
Over the years we have seen the rapid development of Mount Isa, in which previous governments have played their part. With the rebuilding of the railway line to the coast, it will be possible to carry much more ore. This is a striking illustration of the development of an area where thousands of people are busily working many hundreds of miles west of the coastline. It is pleasing to note that the reconstruction of the railway line will cost less than was expected. I understand that the mine’s export earnings, from the sale of lead and copper, will be greater than the export earnings of the great wheat industry. Regarded in that light, this is a very significant industry.
In the central region of Queensland we see the development of the brigalow country for cattle production. I understand that about 4,000,000 acres are to be opened up. This brigalow scrub is very dense. It has to be rolled, burned and cleared. Then the grass is sown. Developed in this way, it is very fine country for cattle. My colleague, Senator Sherrington, knows it very well. He has taken a great interest in the cattle industry. A few days ago I saw in the “ Courier-Mail “ a photograph of land that was cleared towards the end of last year. It showed two men standing in grass that was almost as high as they were. Within a few months, a tremendous transformation has taken place. The development of the brigalow country will lead to a great advance in the cattle industry.
– You have a good State Government, which will give decent leases.
– Yes. It is possible to get freehold tenure of 10,000-acre blocks. This will provide a great incentive to development of these blocks, lt will permit a much greater return than would have been possible if the old leasehold system had been retained. This Government has supplied funds. The development is a splendid joint undertaking by the CountryLiberal Party Queensland Government and the Liberal Country Party Commonwealth Government. It will be recognized as one of the greatest pieces of development that Queensland - possibly Australia - has seen in a rural area. The cattle industry is most important because of its export earnings. That is generally recognized.
Further north, in what we term the wet country, the King Ranch organization is developing an area of 50,000 acres. It is spending a considerable amount of money on cattle production of a different type. This is another indication of what is going on in Queensland. As a result of the co-operation of the State and Commonwealth Governments, we have three main beef roads leading from the west to the coast. These will be a great blessing to the cattle industry and they will make a great contribution to the general welfare of the State. In hard conditions or in times of drought, it will be much easier to transport cattle to the coastal meat works. These roads can truthfully be said to promise the saving of a national asset in the form of many hundreds of thousands of head of stock in a few years. Still further north is a very large iron-ore deposit that has been investigated by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited for several years.
– Is that at Constance Range?
– Yes. I believe that it will be shown to be a very large deposit. lt has been the subject of intensive investigation. The Minister for Mines, Mr. Ernie Evans, is determined to make sure that that deposit will not just lie there but will be developed. There is no doubt that in the long run it will be a great asset to the State and the Commonwealth.
Probably the most striking and imaginative development that has taken place in Queensland, or in Australia, in recent years, is the finding of oil. This has been a very long and costly process. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber, and other people all over Australia, have taken a very great interest in the discovery. It is of immense importance, from the point of view not only of oil usage but also of the saving of money now going overseas for the purchase of supplies, lt will lead to the development of side industries, such as the petro-chemical industry, which will be of tremendous importance from an industrial point of view, possible of even more importance than the oil itself. Near Brisbane, two oil refineries are being established, one by Ampol Petroleum Limited, our own Australian company, of which all of us should be proud, and one by the Amoco organization, an American company. Moonie oil will come to the coast towards the end of the year and we shall see the development of a petrochemical industry, which will be of tremendous value to the nation..
I want to pay tribute to two men who have played an important part in the discovery of oil. One is the State Minister for Mines, Mr. Ernie Evans. The legislation that he introduced attracted companies to Queensland to explore for oil. The other is our own Senator Sir William Spooner, who played an important part by fighting for subsidies for oil search. I remember occasions when he was very strongly criticized. In this achievement, he has played a very noble part. This Government has helped to bring the project to fruition.
Queensland stands on the threshold of still greater development. Our primary industries are in good heart. The sugar industry will earn £100,000,000 this year. Queensland earns more income overseas than does any other State of the Commonwealth. I believe that from this year forward its earnings will be much greater. Thanks are due to the Commonwealth Liberal-Country Party Government and to the Country-Liberal Party Government of Queensland.
– It is always a pleasure to listen to Senator Wood because he constantly adopts an objective approach to problems as he sees them. We may differ in our approach, but I hope that I shall be able to portray in correct perspective and with a due sense of proportion the exact state of affairs in Queensland. The position there at the moment is not quite so much to the credit of the Country-Liberal Party Government of the State as Senator Wood would have us believe. It should not be thought that I am implying that Senator Wood tried intentionally to mislead us. I have too great a respect for his integrity to suggest such a thing. But let us look at the facts. I shall deal with them in accordance with the sequence he adopted.
The honorable senator spoke of the small settlements in Queensland and of the credit they are to the State. He said that it was desirable to foster them in the national interest, and also because of the part they play in national development. But let us look at what is happening under the administration of the present CountryLiberal Party Government which has been in office in Queensland since 3rd August, 1957, that is, nearly six years. No one would know better than Senator Wood and Senator Sherrington, who are exchanging confidences at the moment, the part that railways play in the development of a State such as Queensland, which is sparsely populated. Queensland’s many miles of railway help in rural development and contribute to the happiness and contentment of the people who live in the country. Incidentally, under the Nicklin Government there has been a continuing drop in the rural population of Queensland. That Government came to office nominally to look after the interests of the country people. There is a majority of Country Party members in the Queensland Government, though that majority does not control the policy of the Government. That is controlled by the Liberal Party minority. If any honorable senator opposite wants to challenge that statement, I can give him instances to show that there has been a denial of Country Party policy and an acceptance of Liberal Party ideology and policy.
What did the Country-Liberal Party Government in Queensland do with the railways which had rendered such worthwhile service and which were so eminently desirable in the interests of rural settlement? It took up 346 miles of railway and left people who formerly had been served by such railways without rail services. That is how considerate the Queensland Government is of rural interests and of the people who see fit to dwell in country areas.
– What did the Queensland Government do with the railway?
– It sold it for a paltry few thousand pounds, and the people who bought it made thousands of pounds on the deal. Take the Laura to Cooktown railway, for instance. The State Government sold that railway for £5,000, and the successful tenderer in turn sold a small portion of it for £12,000. That is what that government did with the railway.
– Was it not sold by public tender?
– Yes. I am not imputing dishonesty, or anything like that, to the Queensland Government. The Minister knows that I would not do that. I think that the members of the Queensland Government are merely incompetent. I do not think they are dishonest at all. I have never suggested, and I hope I did not imply, that they are dishonest.
– Well, you did to me.
– I cannot be blamed for your deficiencies, Sir. I was not responsible for them in the first place; I would not be old enough, anyhow.
– You misled me also. I thought you were implying dishonesty.
– The answer I gave to Senator Henty applies equally to you.
Let me deal with the brigalow country, to which Senator Wood referred. The first section of the brigalow lands development is being undertaken now. An area of 11,000,000 acres is involved. The soil is good, and there is an annual rainfall of from 15 to 25 inches. The present Federal Government agreed to lend - not to grant but to lend - £7,000,000, or a matter of a few shillings per acre. It costs 33s. per acre to clear the land which then has to be seeded, fenced and stocked. A house must be erected on the block and equipment must be purchased. I do not want it to be thought that I am taking advantage of this occasion because a State election is imminent in Queensland. I feel that I have a responsibility to the Senate to make the facts known.
– You are the greatest knocker Queensland ever had.
– Let me remind the Minister that on the last night on which the Senate sat, prior to the last general election, the Government authorized a loan of £20,000,000 for the re-conditioning of the Mount Isa-Townsville-Collinsville railway. It increased the beef roads grant the day before the election. Subsequently, while I was away, it had to advance further moneys because, as I had pointed out, the Toads would be no good unless they were scaled. The graziers knew that in advance, but you people would not listen to what they told you about the development of the pastoral industry.
Let me return to the development of the brigalow country. I agree that the scheme is justifiable and that it will make a real contribution to the expansion of the cattle industry in central Queensland, which, I believe, is the best fattening country for beef cattle in Australia. The Premier, in launching the scheme, said that it would make land available on freehold terms. You people opposite aTe always proud of such terms bceause it is a part of your ideological approach to alienate the people’s heritage. We of the Labour Party have never denied the fruits of work and production in relation to land tenure, but we do not say that land should be alienated, as is occasioned by freehold tenure. Mr. Nicklin said that the scheme would make land available, by way of ballot, to those engaged in the pastoral industry. The implication of his statement, and, indeed, the idea that he desired to nurture in the minds of people engaged in pastoral pursuits, was that, irrespective of the amount of capital they possessed, their names would go into the ballot, provided that’ they had the necessary experience. But what conditions were actually laid down? The areas of the blocks vary from 6,000 to 10,000 acres. Before a person’s name can go into the ballot he must have at least £12,000 in cash.
– That was included in Mr. Nicklin’s original statement.
– Yes, I know; but it was not what the people engaged in pastoral or agricultural pursuits thought would be the position. He did not make the information widely known, although it may have been in his plan. I know that it was definitely his intention that a restricted number of names should go into the ballot-box.
– I said that was in the original statement made by Mr. Nicklin.
– But most of those engaged in pastoral or agricultural pursuits did not know it. Senator Sherrington comes from the country, and he should know as many people in - country areas as I do.
– He knows more than you do.
– Senator Sherrington is -honest, and he will say that he does not know more people in the country than I do.
– I think he does.
– You in your ignorance are entitled to think what you like. The position is that an applicant must have £12,000 in cash or readily-convertible assets to the value of £12,000. So, how many people can put their names into the ballot-box? Further, in case the Government wants to stop any one from obtaining a block there is a preliminary condition that the applicant has to go before a committee of three. There is no appeal from the decision of that committee, cither to the Land Court, the Minister, or anybody else. The committee has an arbitrary and absolutely fina] decision and applicants are bound by that decision.
Following subdivisions it has always been the desire in Queensland to make land available to those who have devoted onethird, one-half or three-quarters of their lifetime in pastoral or agricultural pursuits and who are qualified to develop the land because they have the competence to do so.
– This land was never developed under the Labour Party’s plan. It is land that is currently held under lease.
– The Labour Government would not give them a decent lease.
– They had a 33 years lease with the option to continue. That was the practice under the Labour Government. Under a government of your political ilk much larger blocks were farmed out, but even Labour was decent enough, irrespective of the extraordinary grants that were made, to give settlers a home block of a suitable living size. Blocks that had improvements on were balloted for and the improvements paid for.
– At what value?
– At the current prices.
– Not on your life!
– Why do you not believe the people who know and who would contradict me if my statement were not correct?
– They did contradict you.
– No, they did not.
– Didn’t you hear them?
– I heard no Queenslander contradict me. You should accept that as definite evidence that what 1 am saying is true.
– What did you say?
– I am not going over it again. After all, my time is limited. Mention was made of Constance Range. That field has been investigated for many years but the public of Queensland do not know whether or not it is of commercial significance. The Government has a responsibility to the people to let them know. I am not quarrelling with the export of hard coking coal from Moura, because we have to export something if we are to maintain our standard of living. However, if we have a commercial deposit of iron ore in our State we should not be exporting something that might be essential to the early establishment of a steel works in Queensland.
Senator Wood mentioned oil. We are all indeed pleased that oil was discovered in Queensland. The honorable senator paid tribute to Senator Sir William Spooner and to Mr. Evans, the Minister for Lands and Development in Queensland; but do not let us forget that all of the areas at present being explored - including the area being drilled by Australian Oil and Gas Corporation Limited - were investigated by a Labour government. We commend the Federal Government for the assistance it has given to exploration but I level one criticism at the Government.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Figures brought to my attention prior to my leaving for overseas indicated that £136,000,000 was being spent annually by Australia on the importation of crude oil products. So we are all thankful for the discovery of oil in Australia. I am particularly pleased that it was found in my own State, but it would have been worthwhile for Australia if it had been discovered in any State. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber will share our hope that the geological formations of this area of Queensland will reveal many more oil deposits of commercial value, lt has been estimated that by 1967 Australia’s imports of oil will amount to £175,000,000.
In connexion with the discovery of oil, my friend Senator Wood paid a great tribute to the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) - notwithstanding the inefficiency of this Government - and also to Mr. Evans, the Minister for Mines and Development in the Queensland Government. I realize that Senator Wood, like myself, was not making an electoral speech, although Mr. Evans happens to be a member of the Country-Liberal Party Government which will face the wrath of the electors on June 1st of this year.
– We will see about that.
– If there is any justice a Labour government will be returned in Queensland despite the “Nicklinization “ of the electoral boundaries. The Queensland Government has had the benefit of advice from that old campaigner the Premier of South Australia, Sir Thomas Playford, on the mal-distribution of electoral boundaries and the denial of democratic rights. The word “ gerrymandering “ has gone out in Queensland and has been replaced by the word “ Nicklinization “. If the present Government of Queensland is returned at the forthcoming election it will be by virtue of the preferences of a splinter party and the mal-distribution of boundaries to the detriment of the State and of the nation. Let me now proceed with my speech in an orderly fashion, as I permitted you to do, Senator Scott.
– You have lost your place.
– No, and I have not lost my place or my thoughts, as have some people. Honorable senators opposite, like people of a similar political ilk in Queensland, claim that they are interested in rural development. They repeatedly claim that they are the champions of decentralization; but what happened when oil was discovered? The Ampol company was interested in establishing a refinery in central Queensland, near Rockhamption, but the Nicklin Government sold out to the Amoco Company and gave it a preference of 5 per cent, in governmental business. That cut the ground from under the feet of Ampol.
– Ampol would have received that too.
– Wait a minute; I will tell the story as I probably know it better than you do. Ampol purchased the freehold of an area near Brisbane. It is at this point that I sometimes become irate. I have the greatest respect for the monarchy, not because of its authoritative power, but because it holds the countries of the Commonwealth together. What I become annoyed about is the thought that members of the Government of Queensland - this is not a responsibility of members of the Commonwealth Parliament - made a fool of Her Majesty. At their request, Her Majesty laid a foundation stone on Bulwer Island, ostensibly at the oil pipe terminal. But the terminal will not be there at all. It will be where Ampol is. How will the Queensland Government answer that? Does it intend to shift the stone, or to let Her Majesty be held up to ridicule for years and years?
As I have said, the Queensland Government thwarted the proposal to establish an oil refinery in central Queensland. I invite honorable senators to listen to what would have followed from the establishment of that refinery. These facts have been supplied by none other than Mr. Glenister Sheil, the general manager of Mount Morgan Limited. There would have been a petro-chemical works, fertilizer works, a plastics industry and so on. Every one knows that under the control of the Mount Morgan company nearly 11,000,000 tons of pyrites was available. Unfortunately, because of the action of the State Government all these things have been denied to central Queensland.
Senator Wood made one omission while he was speaking, but I do not think he did so intentionally. He omitted to mention that possibly the greatest commercial deposit of bauxite in the world is in the Cape York Peninsula.
– What about the Gove Peninsula deposit?
– Let me make my speech in my own way; I have been completely courteous to honorable senators opposite and I ask for the same treatment. The deposit on Cape York Peninsula is estimated to contain 600,000,000 tons of bauxite with an alumina content of approximately 50 per cent. But there are other much larger deposits in the area and the total could amount to 2,000,000,000 tons.
I have seen it repeatedly claimed by Country Party and Liberal representatives that the Cape York Peninsula deposit was discovered after the Country-Liberal Party Government took control of the treasury bench in Queensland. That is not so. The presence of bauxite there was first discovered in 1903. It was not then recognized by Mr. Jackson, the mining engineer of the day in Queensland. Subsequently, in 1946-47, Dr. Whitehouse recognized that it was bauxite and the assays revealed between 30 per cent, and 50 per cent, alumina content. Sir Maurice Mawby recognized that there were laterite beds occurring right across North Australia. Constantly neglecting its responsibility for the developmental needs of North Australia, the Government has done little about them. But Sir Maurice Mawby, who was then Mr. Maurice Mawby, recognized the possibility of the occurrence of a large deposit of bauxite. Subsequent investigation revealed, as I mentioned previously, that it was almost certainly the greatest deposit of bauxite in the world.
Recently, at an official opening ceremony mention was made of the establishment of a refinery at Gladstone. The present Government of Queensland proclaimed, almost automatically, rights to the deposits that 1 have mentioned, although it was prepared to let raw ore go to New Zealand for smelting because of the local cost of electric energy at .25 pence per unit. As recently as last month the “ Financial Review “ said that there was extreme doubt about the establishment at Gladstone of a refinery to concentrate the bauxite to alumina. The State Government ‘ lacks a sense of responsibility.
The Commonwealth Government has an ideology similar to that of the Queensland Government. Supporters of this Government said, “ We can gain political advantage out of this, irrespective of what it amounts to “. But the “ Financial Review “ said that there was extreme doubt as to whether the refinery would be established at Gladstone. The refinery has been estimated to cost £35,000,000. Sir Maurice Mawby has not contradicted that statement. As recently as last Sunday the Country Party Premier of Queensland, who leads the Country Party and the Liberal Party, hoping for party advantage, made a statement. I am going to tell the real story to the people.
– We are not now on the air.
– I know that, but people read what 1 say because they know it is true; and it will be recorded in history. This is the story of what Mr. Nicklin said when questioned by Mr. Wakefield, who asked whether there was any suggestion that this refinery would not be established in Gladstone. The Premier replied that he could not give an affirmative answer. He did not prevaricate. I do not think that Mr. Nicklin would tell a lie because bucolic Frank would not be capable of one. But he said that he accepted the statement which had been made on a social occasion during that week although neither had real confirmation. Do not honorable senators think that the Premier of Queensland, on the eve of a State election, in the interests of settlement in a particular area of my State, has a responsibility to elicit a definite answer from Sir Maurice Mawby, of Consolidated Zinc, which is associated with the Rio Tinto organization and the Kaiser Corporation, when the Western Mining Corporation and the Alcoa organization of America have established a refinery at Kwinana and a smelter at Anglesea, and a French firm is moving into Gove? I think he has a real responsibility as regards the rights of the people of Queensland. Yet he does not know the answer to this question. I would say that he does not care as long as he retains control of the treasury bench in Queensland.
Those are the few things with which 1 wish to deal in respect of Senator Wood’s remarks. He always attempts to adopt an objective approach. Members of the Government parties are joined in an unholy alliance, as every one has recognized. It is not holding together too well, because they could not agree on the re-distribution of electoral boundaries in the Commonwealth. I am certain that Senator Wood will be grateful for being put in possession of the facts. Let me deal with two other senators. I heard quite a bit of Senator Lillico’s speech. There are two speeches that I propose to deal with. Unfortunately I did not hear the whole of Senator Hannan’s speech. A feature common to both these speeches was an attack on the waterside workers. The waterside industry is a hazardous one. We know about its difficult conditions and the irresponsibility of the Government in relation to the. rights of those who are engaged in that industry. The waterside workers will admit to any one that not all the faults are on the other side. They will accept responsibility for some. They will accept blame. They say that they should not be condemned in the public mind. But they say. because they are Australians just as we are, that not all the faults are on their side. It is a hazardous industry. Any one who knows waterside work knows how hazardous it is.
Let me give an example. I refer to the quarrel which these men have with work conditions affecting their safety and health, and the welfare of their families. There was a dispute. A representative of the Stevedoring Industry Authority came in. He directed the waterside workers to continue work. Two men in one gang had been injured. One had a sprained ankle. Some one, with the callous indifference characteristic of Government supporters in both chambers, said that he was malingering. There was no tangible evidence of his injury except, perhaps, a swelling. There was no radiographic evidence to substantiate his claim. But another man fell over and fractured two ribs. The fractures were shown up radiographically. There was tangible evidence in this case. Yet, irrespective of the. cause of the stoppage, and irrespective of the men’s right to strike, they were penalized to the extent of four days’ attendance money. Every one knows that the authorities are trying to get rid of older men who have been a lifetime in the industry because they cannot keep up the pace. Many of them have back disabilities. The employers are trying to get rid of them in order to replace them with young healthy men because the Government and the shipowners know that, in the process of time, they must provide a pension scheme for the older men. They are not going to have, in a pension fund, these men who have given almost a lifetime to an industry. That is why those engaged in this industry are being pilloried, why they are being attacked unjustifiably. It is all very well for Senator Hannan and Senator Lillico to say that the Waterside Workers Federation is not controlled by Communists but is directed by them. The vast majority of the 21,000 members of the federation, including just over 2,000 in the port of Brisbane alone, are anxious to do a job for Australia and for their families.
But supporters of the Government do not realize that these men have rights. The waterside workers would sooner throw the stevedoring industry set-up overboard and deal directly with the shipowners, but I wonder sometimes whether they are correct in this approach. I wonder whether the Government has erected a facade to protect the shipowners and to punish the waterside workers. I notice that honorable senators on the Government side who had so much to say this afternoon when attacking the waterside workers are silent now. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) gave some facts on this matter in the House of Representatives, and very little was done to contradict him. I am telling the truth about these matters and I also am not being interrupted. These are statements that should be made. The waterside workers are honest, decent Australians who are engaged in a hazardous industry. Many are being displaced by mechanization on the wharfs, and this Government has done nothing to rehabilitate the displaced men.
– Was it not lousy the way the Hurseys persecuted the waterside workers in Hobart?
– We are not talking about Hursey and his son. If the Hurseys had certain rights they had the law to protect them. Senator Hannan would know that better than I do because of his training and his calling. I am trying to deal with this matter in a big way because I have a sense of proportion concerning my responsibilities and the rights of the unionists.
– That is a new acquisition.
– It has always been a characteristic of mine, and every decent person has acknowledged that I have bad that quality since I was a child. I was speaking of the waterside workers and the penalties that have been inflicted unfairly on them. Not only were unfair conditions imposed under the 1961 legislation; there was something dreadful about the way the Government took a basic right away from these men. Their whole livelihood could be affected. A waterside worker could be submitted to medical examination. The medical report need not be made available to him. He could be submitted to an examination by a doctor not of his own choosing. The doctor need not be a specialist or an orthopaedic surgeon even though a bone or muscle disability was concerned, yet the waterside worker had no access to the report. Surely not even supporters of the Government would agree that that is fair or equitable. I am a reasonable man in my approach to human problems and national responsibility, but I think these men are entitled to scream and squirm over the maladministration of successive Menzies Governments.
Having dealt in my own efficient way with Senator Hannan and Senator Lillico I turn now to another aspect of Senator Lillico’s speech. He spoke of the desirability of overseas capital investment in Australia. We appreciate the know-how of overseas people. We are grateful for their technological knowledge and their ability to assist in the development of Australia. But how much are we going to pay for this assistance? The latest figures available to me show that in 1961 £120,000,000 went out of Australia in dividends. I do not know what the current figure is, but it is evident that within a few years it will reach £300,000,000 a year. When you think that over the last decade we have had an overseas deficiency of £1,600,000,000 because of the importation of this overseas capital you wonder when we will get an even break.
The farmers and the rural community are not grateful to the Government, because under its administration their returns have not kept pace with the increased productivity. You cannot be prosperous unless you have production, said the Government. I invite supporters of the Government to ask the rural community what they think about the increase in production and the Government’s approach to that increase. There has been no real consideration of the. producers’ rights.
As recently as a few months ago Canada was squirming because it had no reason to be grateful to the United States of America. I certainly would not condemn the United States of America, but I notice that supporters of the Government refer to the
United States of Americ. as America. There are three major areas in North America and there are many States and nations in South America. In portions of the world - and I am not referring to the Soviet bloc, as some of my political opponents have said - there is a measure of antagonism because all these people are referred to as Americans. North and South America are composed of many nations. 1 shall deal in detail with the United States of America later.
Canada has not been ungrateful for United States investment, and Canada does not deny investors in the United States of America their right to dividends. The money invested in Canada by United States investors has helped the advancement and development of industries in Canada. When you think that 66 per cent, of major industry in Canada is controlled by corporations and companies of the United States of America, it will be noted that policy is being determined not in the interests of Canada, Canadians or the country’s development, but in the interests of the foreign corporations. If, unfortunately, we continue to be governed by governments of the same political persuasion as this Government, Australia and Australians could easily find themselves in the same situation.
We have four bills before us to-night. I do not know why that is so, but perhaps the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge), who represents the Treasurer in this chamber, will offer an explanation. He is a very efficient Minister, even though he is a bit partial to the Ansett-A.N.A. organization. The Liberal-Country Party set-up in Victoria is so partial that it proposes to conduct an inquiry, allegedly to protect the reputation of public servants. In the Commonwealth sphere a distinguished and leading public servant intervened on behalf of Mr. Ansett to say that not only could he operate airlines-
– No. He is heir to the kingdom of Liberal-Country Party control. He is even able to get land in Victoria so apparently the Minister for Civil Aviation is not alone in his partiality. I do not blame him individually, because I think he is under the direction of the Cabinet. Who really is responsible I do not know, because I am not taken into the Liberal-Country Party cabinet room to discuss matters.
– You must have been under the chair listening.
– One does not need to be there, because everybody knows the partiality of the Government towards the Ansett organization. It is becoming a crying shame - I do not say it is a disgrace, because the word “ disgrace “ implies a measure of dishonesty and, as you know, Mr. President, it would be far from me to impute dishonesty. I would not impute one iota of dishonesty to the Minister for Civil Aviation, but I would impute a measure of inefficiency to him, in association with the other 21 Cabinet Ministers - and a real measure of inefficiency at that. I am entitled to do that, Mr. President.
Let us get on with these four bills. It will bc said by supporters of the Government that these measures are being considered together to meet the convenience of honorable senators. Irrespective of who has asked that they be considered together, I think they should be considered separately because two of them are quite divorced from the other two. Two are designed to appropriate money which I understand is to be expended before 30th June. That money will be made available by the use of various financial mechanisms. It is not unknown, or indeed unusual, to find a measure of wrong estimating. Let us not forget that in the appropriation bills there are items which will involve the expenditure in one case of approximately £1,000,000, in another case of approximately £2,000,000, and near enough to £1,000,000 in many other cases. Perhaps some supporter of the Government, or even the Minister for Civil Aviation if he sees fit to do so, will rise and say that in relation to the very large sums which have been collected this year the inefficient spending of more than £2,000,000, without any real regard to the rights of the people and without a sense of responsibility to the nation, is of no great consequence.
The point is, as I have said, that there has been in the past a measure of wrong estimating. Therefore, why should we not consider the appropriation measures apart from the supply bills? We realize that money must be provided to meet the needs of the Public Service and to meet capital expenditure between 1st July and, say, November next. Let us hope that a general election is held before all that money is spent so that, if Labour is returned to the treasury bench, some of the money will still be available. If, unfortunately, the Government still continues to occupy the treasury bench, supply will still be granted. I again ask why we should not consider the appropriation bills and the supply bills separately. The Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1962-63 provides for the expenditure of more than £47,000,000, and the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill (No. 2) 1962-63 makes provision for the expenditure of more than £7,000,000. The appropriation bills and the supply bills deal with totally different issues.
Now let me deal with other matters that I believe are of importance. I was appalled, horrified, even terrified when I read a press report in which the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Mentzies) was reported to have said -
The Government will not be frightened into action by claims.
Of course, he meant claims by the Public Service. I recall the time when the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) took away the livelihood of men engaged in certain industries in Victoria, particularly the textile industry. Businesses went bankrupt. The government was callously indifferent and said it would not be pressurized. But when the banks stood over the Government, it was prepared to be terrorized and pressurized. I have before me an advertisement which is headed “ Wanted! Salary Justice “. It states -
Because of the bitter opposition of the Government, “ White Collar “ Public Servants:
Missed out on the 2i times margin in 1954.
That was consequential upon legislation introduced by the Government led by Mr. Menizes, as he then was. In 1952, by legislative enactment, the Government departed from the stabilized system of arbitration and denied industrial justice to Australian public servants, who had worked efficiently and loyally. In 1954, when they were entitled two and a half times the margin that obtained in 1937, the Government of the day, which was little different from the present Government and which certainly was not different in ideology, denied the increase to public servants. Public servants missed out on the 28 per cent, margin in 1959. The Government of that day, which also was led by Mr. Menzies, saw fit to reduce the margin for some public servants to 17 per cent., thus denying them industrial justice and making them, as they claimed, second-class citizens. The advertisement continues -
Must the Public Servant always receive less?
A DECADE OF GOVERNMENT ANTAGONISM!
That is my opinion, but they are not my words. The advertisement further reads -
Look at the record: The Government legislated in 1952 to destroy the independent Public Service Arbitration System and threw the Public Service into the hurly-burly of outside industry. Why? To maintain uniformity of salary fixation by the main Commonwealth Arbitration Tribunal, the Government said.
I repeat that when 1954 the arbitration commission awarded a uniform increase in margins, the white collar public servants received much less than other wage and salary earners. And as I said earlier, the same thing happened in relation to the decision to award a 28 per cent, increase in margins. In big black type, the newspaper states what the public servants demand. Government supporters should beware, irrespective of what the Prime Minister said. He is speaking in another place tonight - no doubt to distract attention from me and to take away my crowd.
The public servants have rights. They must not again be denied salary justice. Any further denial of salary justice by the Government will automatically trigger off concerted political action against all politicians who support wage injustice. The Government is denying these people the economic conditions to which they are entitled. It has been doing that for years, and every one will remember this. Honorable senators opposite know that the protest by public servants is spontaneous. The inference from what was said in the other chamber is that it is a Communist move. The honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) did not say that the so-called agitators were Communists, but he did say that there was a struggle for power within the union and that one official, Mr. Thompson of New South Wales, had been a card bearer in the Communist Party.
We must remember that the number of people employed in the Public Service is enormous. Before this Government was first returned, it stated that it would reduce the number by 10,000. It was then pandering for votes from people outside the Public Service. However, subsequently it increased the number of employees in the Public Service. Surely the Government must know that the present protest could not be a Communist-inspired move. Public servants claim, legitimately, that the Government has fixed their salaries by legislative enactments which determine the salaries of top officials. The Arbitration Commission has stated that it must be guided by what the top officers receive. When Public Service salaries are compared with salaries paid to similarly qualified men and women outside the Public Service it must be admitted that Public Service salaries are very poor.
Government supporters must realize that meetings of public servants are being held because of a sense of indignation, because the Government has denied its responsibility, and because it has not respected the rights of these people or recognized their worth. It has paid no attention to the contribution they have made to the nation. Meetings have been held in Perth, in Adelaide as recently as a couple of days ago, and in Brisbane as recently as 30th April. The Brisbane meeting carried a resolution which has caused grave concern. With the consent of honorable senators, I incorporate it in “ Hansard “. It reads -
This meeting of Commonwealth public servants condemns the Commonwealth Government for its continued refusal to conciliate with public servants’ unions on salaries and wages in the Commonwealth Service, for its continued neglect to increase salaries and wages in keeping with general wage and community living standards and for its deliberate denial of wage justice to its employees as evidenced by -
persistent and direct Government opposition to arbitration claims which should be disputed between unions on the one hand and the Public Service Board on the other, without Government interference;
deliberate and vicious destruction of the independence of the Public Service Arbitrator;
discrimination against its own employees by its support for the principle of tapering off marginal increases;
failure to increase Public Service wage standards to the same respective levels as apply to the State Public Services; and
refusal to apply the principles of professional work value rises to other trades, professions and groups in the Commonwealth Public Service; and in supporting the policy of the High Council affirms that if the Government continues its suppression of the salaries of its own servants and continues to deny justice by directly opposing unions’ just arbitration claims, then the unions have no alternative but to campaign actively against the Government and its supporters.
Due regard has not been paid to the number of people leaving the Public Service. I know that Government supporters claim that public servants are so well trained that they are readily employed by outside industry, but it has never occurred to the Cabinet or to Government backbenchers that these people are worth holding. If they are readily acceptable to private industry, surely it is worth holding them so that they may contribute to increased efficiency in governmental administration.
We in Queensland are very concerned. In that State there is an anti-Labour administration, which is associated with the Commonwealth Liberal-Country Party Government. The “ Courier Mail “ of two days ago contained a report under the heading “ Small Drop in Jobless “. It stated that the number of unemployed in Queensland had fallen by 344. To what number did it fall? It fell to 19,433, or 3.2 per cent of the State’s work force! We must appreciate that even that is not an accurate estimate of the number unemployed. It has been said that if one asks a silly question he will get a silly answer, but I asked a sensible question and did not get any answer at all. In1960 the Commonwealth Statistician’s office conducted a sample survey of unemployed, which was followed by quarterly surveys. The results of these were to be published. Surveys were conducted in 1961 and 1962 and, I take it, in 1963. But the information has not been published and we cannot get the figures. Why? Because the Government is not prepared to face up to the position. The investigation has revealed that the percentage of unemployed is at least 1 per cent, above the figure released by the Department of Labour and National Service.
SenatorHannan. - Nonsense!
– It is not nonsense at all. Let the honorable senator go into the office and get the figures. Let him, in his next speech, substantiate what he says, if he can. But he cannot. When I make a statement, 1 put the facts on record and tell the truth. I repeat that the number of unemployed is at least 1 per cent, above the figure released by the Department of Labour and National Service.
– The honorable senator will have a chance to defend the Government’s policy on unemployment. The Government was allegedly wedded to full employment. First it was prepared automatically to accept unemployment to the extent of 65,000 people. Now there are 97,000 unemployed.
– That is better than the 500,000 that your crowd had.
– Only on one occasion. Let the honorable senator not forget that the figure was 1.4 per cent, when this Government took over. There is no possibility of alleviation of the unemployment position if the Government is to continue with the inefficient policies that are so characteristic of it.
– What about drawing stumps?
– He is a doctor, not a dentist.
– Yes, and a particularly good and competent one. The Government has not been honest in relation to finance. It tried to help the Queensland Government, which was struggling in its inefficiency and ineptitude. It was in a morass, not knowing what to do. The Queensland Government did not know how to handle the affairs of the State, so this Government gave it a couple of hand-outs. To sum up the maladministration and the inefficiency, particularly so far as finance is concerned, of the Nicklin-Munro Government in Queensland, I can do no better than to quote what Mr. Bolte said at the Premiers’ Conference last year. I shall not quote what Mr. Heffron said or what any one else said-
– You know, of course, that the advertisements for the Labour Party in Queensland are already on the garbage bins in Brisbane.
– I would not know what the Queensland Labour Party ‘is doing or thinking. It is a splinter group, like the other splinter groups on which this Government depends. The present Government parties in this Parliament would not be in office if it were not for the Communist preferences which their supporters received at the polls. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) received Communist preferences and we know where they came from. They came from the card-carrying members of the Communist Party, not the camp followers.
– They were organized by Senator Hannan.
– No, I cannot accept that. He was not game to go up there. What happened in the Moreton electorate was that the Communists advised camp followers to give their second preferences to Labour, but the active members of the Communist Party, the people who are part and parcel of this ideological set-up, gave their preferences to the Liberal candidates, and that is why Mr. Killen was returned. It is also why the Government parties are in office in this Parliament to-day. That is the real story of the return of the Government led by Sir Robert Menzies.
– Tell me how many of the Communist preferences the Labour candidate received.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar) - Order! Senator Dittmer has the floor.
– It is about time I received a fair go. I am trying to tell a story which is consistent with the facts, Mr. Deputy President, but honorable senators opposite will not give me a proper hearing. I do not propose to continue for much longer. That will be a matter of gratification for honorable senators on the Government side, because they do not appreciate criticism. However, others will be grateful to me for telling the real story of what is happening in this country, particularly in my State.
I have so many things to deal with that I cannot mention all of them. This Government has been most neglectful of its responsibilities. It accepted responsibility in relation to my own State only on the eve of the last federal election, when it knew that the whirlwind . was against it and that the gale, politically speaking, was behind us. That was why the money was forthcoming for the Mount Isa railway. That railway could have been constructed much more cheaply had the Queensland Government listened in 1956 to the advice that was available. It knew that the daily tonnages of ore from the Mount Isa mine could be lifted from 8,000 tons to 14,500 tons. The Mount Isa mineral deposits are among the really great commercial deposits in the world. Instead of listening to the advice that was given to it, the Queensland Government sent Mr. Hiley, the inefficient Liberal Treasurer in Queensland, overseas, knowing that the International Bank would refuse the government’s request. Mr. Menzies, as he then was, also went overseas, not particularly for that purpose, because the Mount Isa railway did not mean very much to you people then, but nevertheless, he did have an hour’s talk with Mr. Eugene Black. His efforts were unsuccessful, because you were not interested in Queensland. That was the year before the general election. Then, when you felt this political whirlwind coming, what did you do? You came forward with the Mount Isa railway proposal. You did so, not so much because you appreciated the needs of this major industry, or the need for expansion in the best cattle country in Australia, but because you felt that here was a way to purchase votes.
– Who told you all this?
– I am telling you the true story.
– It is very tedious.
– It does not matter whether it is tedious or not. If you do not want to listen and to hear the real story, you may leave the chamber, but I am determined to tell it in the interests of my people. As I said earlier, that is why you came forward, on the night before the Parliament finished its sittings prior to the general election campaign, with a few more pounds for beef roads. That is why you decided to bolster the present government in Queensland, with all its maladministration.
The Commonwealth Government will not ; face its responsibilities in the field of education. It screams and squeals about the cost of pharmaceutical benefits. I have challenged the Government repeatedly to conduct an inquiry to determine what the pharmaceutical benefits scheme means to industry, forgetting all about the humanitarian side, the social responsibility of the Government, the decrease in mortality, and the need to alleviate suffering and disability. The Government should try to appreciate what the scheme means to industry because men and women who have been sick are returned to work so much more quickly. The Government should also try to appreciate what it means to production and to taxation revenue. On every occasion that there is an increase of expenditure on pharmaceutical benefits, you people squeal and squirm because you do not recognize that the people have any rights.
In relation to medical and hospital benefits, only recently there was an unseemly argument between the Federal Minister for Health (Senator Wade) and the New South Wales Government. What you did was successfully to destroy the free hospitals system of Australia. We need a co-operative approach by the government at Canberra, regardless of whether it is a Labour government or an anti-Labour government, and the State governments. You know what you did in 1952. In your endeavour to abolish the scheme 100 per cent, and in order to destroy it completely you withheld for weeks the miserable 8s. a day subsidy for a hospital bed in Queensland. That was done in an endeavour to force the State Labour Government of the day to abolish free hospitalization in Queensland. If there had been in control of the treasury bench in the Queensland Parliament the people who are now in control of it, you would have been successful, because they screamed then for the destruction of the scheme. Dr. Noble, the present Queensland Minister for Health, said on the eve of the 1957 election. “ We will not abolish free hospitalization “. He said that, not because the ideological approach of the present Queensland Government weds it to free hospitalization, but because, as he said, no political party dare abolish it in Queensland. That is the approach of the associates of this Government in Queensland.
It is time that the Minister for Health in the federal sphere recognized that the Labour Party’s health scheme meant something to the people. There was an intention in the mind of the late Sir Earle Page that 90 per cent, of hospital and medical costs would be met. Do you know how they are being met to-day, Mr. Deputy President? In regard to hospital expenses, they are being met by increasing contributions to such a degree that they are getting beyond the financial ambit of the ordinary family man. He is prepared to take a risk now and to gamble on whether or not illhealth will occur in his family. In regard to medical expenses, the intention to meet 90 per cent, of the costs disappeared long ago. The contribution, together with the miserable amount offered by the Commonwealth, is in some cases as low as 40 per cent. Overall it amounts to from 65 per cent, to 70 per cent, lt is time that the Minister for Health took this thing in hand and had a real inquiry into the whole setup. I doubt whether the Government will do that. All it does is to ensure that as the expenses increase so shall the contributions from the poor unfortunate contributors.
When the Government did do something worth while in this field, in what way did it do it? In the recent hospitals dispute in New South Wales the Government made the Hospitals Contribution Fund of New South Wales face up to a settlement at a cost of £1,500,000. The Government would not itself face up to the increased cost of hospitalization. Honorable senators opposite know the limitations the Government has imposed. It lifted the original Commonwealth benefit frown 8s. a day to 12s., and then to £1 provided that person was in a benefit fund that insured him for a minimum of 16s. a day.
The Government has not faced up to any real responsibility. It has neglected the rights of the people and has not developed Australia. This country has to progress just as every other country has. I heard Senator Lillico say that Japan has progressed. Of course it has. Honorable senators at least should be honest. Practically every honorable senator opposite is honest other than in a political sense. If the Government wants to return to a 48-hour week we will fight it on that issue. On every ground, whether it be finance, education, medical, hospitals, development, social responsibility, national rights, State rights or local government, the Government led by Sir Robert Menzies has failed.
.- I ask for leave to make my speech at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to make further constitutional reforms in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as another stage in the political development of the country and its people. The action the Senate is being asked to take will be seen in perspective if we think of the Papua and New Guinea Act as the constitution of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. This Parliament is enacting an amendment of the constitution at the request of the legislature of the Territory. The political advancement of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is part of a peaceful constitutional process. A basic principle is that in each successive stage of advancement the people of the Territory can and should participate in the process and make their own judgment. In all matters of political advancement the Government’s firm intention is to defend the freedom of choice and respect the wishes of those dependent on us. We try to engage the interest of the people by consulting with them in working out what they themselves would regard as being best suited to their needs and their circumstances, and their position in the world.
The Government’s aim is to ensure not only that the legislature of the Territory is enlarged from time to time but that the method of choosing its members will be such as to ensure that it is truly representative and that its members can speak on behalf of the people of the Territory with personal independence and the strength that comes of having the trust and confidence of the people. We also want to ensure that it has clearly recognized functions and power to perform these functions. While this means that exceptional care has to be taken on matters of detail such as compilation of rolls, electoral boundaries, method of voting and qualifications of candidates, it also brings a wide range of practical problems related to the exercise by the legislature of its powers. To take one example, this bill proposes that a majority of the members of the legislature will be elected freely on a common roll. This means that at a time when Australia is providing most of the funds for expenditure in the Territory, when the Australian Government has to give an account to the United Nations of what is done in the Territory, and when the Australian Government and Parliament are still responsible for the defence, and the economic and social advancement of the people, we are proposing that there should be a majority of elected members in the legislature that makes the laws and votes the money.
The Papua and New Guinea Act does provide for the disallowance of ordinances made by the Territory legislature, but this is a negative provision which does not help in the practical problem of getting the financial estimates passed or government bills enacted. This problem has been met, not by reducing the powers of the Legislative Council, but by facing up to the political reality that the appointed minority of official members in the council will have to obtain the support of a significant proportion of the elected members in order to pass the estimates or to enact a law.
Another practical problem which arises is the need that these reforms will create for preparing an executive body which will eventually become responsible to a wholly elected legislative. Measures have already been taken to produce in the Administrator’s Council an embryo executive and it is now proposed to enlarge this council considerably and to require the exercise by it of fuller functions. At the same time parliamentary secretaries will be appointed from among the elected members to understudy those official members who act in the legislature in a role resembling that of Ministers. By these and other means the Government will try to ensure that there will be members of the legislature who have gained some executive experience.
Honorable senators will be aware that the present proposals derive from and are the consequence of a good deal of work that has been done throughout the post-war years. At the time of inauguration of the Legislative Council established under the act of 1949, the Government foreshadowed future changes. In laying the groundwork for political advancement special attention was given to the field of local government and in ten years the point has been reached where there is now a widespread and vigorous interest in this field of government. In 1950 there were four village councils covering less than 12,000 people. By 1955 there were nine councils covering 38,000 people. There was then a reconstruction and consolidation «f the work in this field and to-day there are 78 councils covering a population of close on 700,000. As the result of this work in local government there is now a considerable element in the total population that has become familiar with the processes of government, including the processes of choosing representatives and expecting the representatives to act not for themselves but on behalf of their communities in managing communal affairs. Local Government councils have produced many hundreds of persons who have become accustomed to take part in the affairs of deliberative bodies.
I might mention at this stage that a new local government ordinance is in preparation for introduction to the Legislative Council for the Territory. Under this ordinance the role of local government throughout the Territory will be expanded considerably so that local government councils will have wider responsibility in raising local revenues and applying revenues to local purposes and will take a more active role in providing services for their communities and shaping policies of local application. They will cease to be native local government councils and will be able to become local government councils embracing the whole of the community whom they serve. This move will extend to the sphere of local government the type of electoral reform that is being made for the Legislative Council.
In the post-war years attention has also been given to the need for political preparation of the people in other fields, such as the co-operative movement and the association of the native people with Australian people in the affairs of the district advisory councils, town advisory councils and statutory boards, such as the Education Advisory Board, Native Loans Board and the Copra Marketing Board. The Government is also appreciative of the way in which the various non-governmental associations, such as the Returned Servicemen’s League, farmers and settlers’ associations, the Public Service association and others, have drawn representatives of the indigenous people into their councils.
Furthermore, the progress made in education is now beginning to have its political effect and in all phases of Territory life, but particularly in the Public Service, in the staffing of local government councils and co-operative societies and in the organization of associations of various kinds, a younger generation of articulate and knowledgeable men and women is taking an increasing part in public life.
Then there are the special courses of training of various kinds that have been undertaken both in administration and political leadership, including visits to Australia and overseas, in order to broaden the knowledge and experience of persons active in public affairs. Without these and other measures the people of the Territory would not have been ready for the step now proposed
I turn now to the reform of the Legislative Council. Honorable senators will recall that, under amendments to the Papua and New Guinea Act made in 1960, elections were held in the Territory early in 1961 for a council in which the number of elected members was increased from three to twelve and the number of native members was increased from three to a minimum of eleven, with additional places open to appointment regardless of race. When the new Legislative Council was opened in April, 1961, it was announced on behalf of the Government that this was only to be a stage in further constitutional change.
At the time when the reformed council was instituted the expectation was that the council might run a full term and that, after a second election, proposals for the next step forward would be placed before the council. In the light of experience of the rapid progress of the people of the Territory it has been found that the next step can be taken before the next election rather than after it.
I should like now to set out the precise steps taken in arriving at the decision on these reforms and on the timing of them.
As I have said, the new Legislative Council was opened in April, 1961. In September of that year the Legislative Council itself envisaged the appointment of a select committee to consider constitutional reform. A committee of public servants was set up by the Administrator in October, 1961, to assist administratively in the development of any new proposals by giving attention to such matters as the development of efficient electoral machinery, the political and electoral education of the people and the means by which direct elections could be held by secret ballot from a common roll. A select committee was appointed by the Legislative Council in March, 1962, as anticipated in the previous September, and this committee presented its first interim report in October, 1962, followed by its second report in February of this year. The Legislative Council adopted both of these reports, which were forwarded to the Australian Government and approved by Cabinet without delay and with only minor reservations. Copies of the select committee’s reports have been distributed to all senators.
The visiting mission of the United Nations, which had in the meantime visited the Trust Territory of New Guinea, made a report in April, 1962. This report suggested that preparations be made for the election of a “ representative parliament “ of about 100 members not later than 31st December, 1963. As the select committee had already commenced its inquiries when the visiting mission’s report was received, the Government preferred to await the select committee’s report before passing an opinion on the suggestions made by the visiting mission. The select committee had under notice the suggestions made in the visiting mission’s report, and two of the indigenous members of the committee had attended sessions of the United Nations in New York at which the work of the visiting mission was discussed. The select committee had made exhaustive inquiries and discussed suggestions of various kinds with hundreds of native leaders in the presence of their people. Its proposals were adopted by the Legislative Council after they had been made public throughout the Territory.
For these reasons the select committee’s reports commended themselves to the Government as an expression of the views of the inhabitants of the Territory endorsed by the legislature of the Territory. While the Government pays proper deference and respect to the visiting mission’s report, it will be clear that the reports of the select committee, which we believe are fully in conformity with the objective which the visiting mission was trying to serve, have been the chief formative influence in shaping this bill.
I turn now to a description of the bill. Explanatory notes on the various clauses of the bill have been prepared for distribution to honorable senators, and so, at present, 1 will describe the main provisions of the bill in general terms.
The first group of provisions in the bill proposes changes in the membership, structure and name of the Legislative Council. The total membership will be raised from 37 to 64. It is proposed that the Administrator of the Territory should not be an ex-officio member and president, but that the legislature should elect its own presiding officer, who will have the title of Speaker and who will be the servant of the House.
The elected membership will be raised in number from twelve to 54. Of this total, 44 members will be elected from a common roll in single-member constituencies, described in the select committee’s report as open electorates; and ten will be elected on a common roll in single-member constituencies, described as reserved electorates.
There will in future be no appointed nonofficial members and the number of appointed official members will be reduced from fourteen to ten. Thus the total of 64 is made up of ten official members, 44 members from open electorates and ten members from reserved electorates. lt is expected that the 44 members from the open electorates will be indigenous persons, although it is not obligatory that they should be, and in that case the change will mean that the number of indigenous members will be raised from a prescribed minimum in the present Council of eleven, of whom only six were elected, to a prospective minimum of 44, all elected.
Although matters relating to elections will be covered in ordinances of the Territory and not in the bill now before the Senate, I might explain at this point the nature of open and reserved electorates. The arguments in favour of this arrangement are set out at some length in paragraphs 15 and 16 of .he first interim report of the select committee. At one time it had been thought that, with the establishment of a common roll, some non-indigenous members would be elected by popular vote, but, as the inquiry proceeded, this prospect became more and more unlikely and the realization of this caused a good deal of dismay among the indigenous people themselves, who, while they said that they would feel bound to vote for their own people, also said that they badly wanted some of the Australians to be elected, too. In addition, they wanted to have a say in which Australians were to be the members. This device of open and reserved electorates was chosen as the means by which both wishes could be met. Only non-indigenous candidates can be chosen in the ten reserved electorates, but all voters take part in their election. In practice this will mean that at each general election every voter will take part in two ballots, the first to pick one of the 44 members for an open electorate and the second to pick one of the ten members for a reserved electorate. The roll in both cases will be the same. In keeping with the recommendation of the select committee this arrangement will be reviewed before the election next after the one in March, 1964.
The reforms for the legislature include the establishment of a common roll and the introduction of direct voting by secret ballot by the indigenous voters. Enrolment is to be extended to all adult inhabitants of controlled areas. It is contemplated that in the conducting of the secret ballot it will be made possible for presiding officers at polling booths to give assistance to voters who require help. Effect will be given to all these matters by ordinance of the Territory.
In the bill before the Senate express provision is contained in clause 9 wherein the new proposal for section 36 (3) of the act establishes the principle of no disqualification on the ground of race. In addition to the usual disqualifications for members, the new section 37 ensures that official members are officials connected with the government of the Territory, and disqualifies public officers from being elected members. For the rest the amendments in this bill may be described as facilitating the electoral reforms or giving power to make them. Two further changes proposed by the. bill are to increase the normal term of the legislature from three years to four years and to change the name from “ Legislative Council “ to “ House of Assembly “, a name which is thought to reflect more truly the character of the body. All these changes are affected by replacing the wholeof division 2 of part V. of the principal act by a new division under the title of “ Division 2. - The House of Assembly “. One question which may arise in the minds of some senators is whether the number of elected places - namely 54 - and the total membership of the House of Assembly - namely 64 - is large, enough. They may recall that the report of the United Nations visiting mission mentioned 100 members. It is estimated that the average enrolment of voters in 44 open electorates will be not more than 30,000 and the average total population in each of these electorates will be about 46,000.
The second group of provisions in the bill concerns the Administrator’s Council. The membership of this council at present is the Administrator, three official members of the Legislative Council, and three nonofficial members of whom at least two must be elected members, lt is proposed to raise the total membership from seven to eleven by increasing the number of non-official members from three to seven and stipulating that all seven shall be elected members of the House of Assembly. This reform which, as explained earlier is part of a deliberate purpose of preparing for a future Territorial executive, is a government decision and is not founded on the select committee’s report.
In addition to the amendments to give effect to constitutional changes, the oppor tunity has also been taken to make a number of other amendments which have been found to be necessary from experience with the operation of the act. The most important of these is to apply the procedures which this Parliament found desirable in respect to assent to or disallowance of ordinances of a Territory when it amended the Northern Territory Administration Act in 1959. The bill makes provision for the Administrator or the Governor-General to return ordinances with recommended amendments as an alternative to the more drastic action of withholding assent or disallowance of an ordinance. It remains to indicate briefly those matters, other than the ones already mentioned, on which legislative action will be required in the Territory to give effect to the select committee’s report. These are the compilation of the common roll, qualifications for electors and candidates, creation of open and reserved electorates, delineation of electoral boundaries, appointment of under-secretaries and provision to enable a member of the public service to resign in order to stand for election and to be re-appointed without loss if he fails in the election.
The Government is anxious to secure the passage of this bill so that consequential measures can be introduced in the June and September meetings of the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea and all administrative preparations completed in time for the first elections under the new order in March, 1964. In commending the bill to the Senate the Government expresses its appreciation to those persons of all races in the Territory, both those elected by the people and those in Government service, whose work over a period of years has created the conditions in which we can make this major step forward. In particular, a very great burden will fall on the officers of the Administration and the leaders of the indigenous people in helping to ensure that the new system works. We rely greatly on attracting from all races the candidature of men and women who will be ready to shape the House of Assembly with skill, understanding and patience during its formative years. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 538).
– In rising to support the bill, I do not intend to follow the example of the previous speaker in his filibustering technique. It has often been claimed to be a very good thing to send senators overseas, but I am sure that if, when they come back here, they adopt the techniques that are used in other Parliaments the Senate would get very tired of them. Senator Dittmer claimed that the Menzies Government had obtained its majority in the Division of Moreton by gaining the preferences of the Communist candidate. 1 should like to remind the Senate that the Labour candidate obtained the majority of the Communist preference votes on that occasion. That fact proves that the Australian Communist Party preferred the Labour candidate to the Liberal candidate.
I want to join with my colleague, Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, and my Victorian colleague, Senator Breen, in their appeal on behalf of civilian widows. The position of these widows is well known to all members of the community, and we sincerely hope that the Government will soon be able to grant further well deserved assistance to them. I should like also to support what both my colleagues have said in regard to home health services. It was my own municipality of Kew, in Victoria, which pioneered the first home health service. But there is a slight difference in what is required in different States. In Victoria, for instance, the State Government subsidizes home health services to the extent of four-fifths of the total expenditure. I feel that if the various States were to follow the Victorian pattern there would not be the same call on Commonwealth funds. I well recall that, away back in 1956, I directed attention to the fact that a very ample home health service is attached to the Hospital Department of New York State. I went on to say that that department operated the hospitals. Its home care programme started in 1948 at a few selected hospitals, but it has developed enormously. It caters for patients in four age groups who are in need of long-term care, the child with a cardiac condition, the arthritis, multiple sclerosis or Hodgkin’s disease patient, as well as aged patients with the various chronic conditions which occur with increased frequency in old age. I believe that if it were possible for the Government to combine with its domiciliary nursing service a home help service which would give the assistance I have mentioned the Government would not be called upon to find more money; it would require to find less money because of the decrease in both the capital and maintenance cost of hospitals as a result of the establishment of a home help service.
I should like to reply to several statements that were made by Senator Turnbull this afternoon. I had hoped to deal with the general subject of health, but I fee] that several statements made by Senator Turnbull were so provocative that they call for an answer. It was a surprise to me that, with his medical experience, he was so sadly lacking in knowledge of the matters with which he dealt.
I thought that one of his statements fell oddly from a man who has been in a State parliament and represents a State in this Senate. Senator Turnbull said there was nothing the Commonwealth could not do through the purse. If we were to accept that viewpoint in the Senate we would be unworthy representatives of the States. That is the last thing that should enter the mind of a State representative.
Senator Turnbull spoke of geriatrics, and here again I thought that he implied, as he did when he spoke of housing, that the Commonwealth Government should be responsible for the establishment of geriatric clinics. In Victoria units for elderly people have been established within some of our major hospitals. There is a very fine one at Mount Royal, Royal Park, and it is one of the most modern in Australia. There is also a unit at Caulfield and another at Greenvale. Just recently at the Melbourne Home for the Aged at Cheltenham, I had an opportunity of attending the opening ceremony of a one-day hospital. This is quite a new departure. Provision is made for patients to go to the hospital each day for treatment, whether geriatric or rehabilitta.tory. They are returned to their homes at night. Hospitals and homes at Ballarat, Castlemaine, Bendigo and Bairnsdale, also provide treatment and throughout Victoria we have facilities for geriatric treatment for 390 patients at any one time. This is a very worthy contribution to the problem of old age by the Victorian Hospitals and Charities Commission, which operates under the control of the State Government.
Senator Turnbull referred to the loneliness of old people and the need for them to be helped in the declining years of their lives to fit into the social pattern of the community. I remind him that in all Australian States except Tasmania there is an organization known as the Old People’s Welfare Council. It was established in Victoria mainly through the energy and the interest of Mrs. G. J. Nords. It extended to the other States except Tasmania, although I believe it is hoped that a council will be set up in Tasmania at an early date.
The council in Victoria, which is under the presidency of Sir Charles Chippindall, carries out research programmes. It helps elderly people to overcome their problems and in the various municipalities and country districts there are more than 130 clubs where elderly people gather and are able to meet people of their own age. We have had marriages result from the contacts made in these clubs. Senator Turnbull had experience as Minister for Health in Tasmania and he claims to be an authority on health. He invited me to come to Tasmania and it is an invitation I will be happy to accept, but he might well come to Victoria and see what is being done there.
The honorable senator made another statement which I challenge most emphatically when he said that we have done nothing for the aborigines. By that I presume he means the Commonwealth Government has done nothing. He went on to criticize the Minister for Health (Senator Wade), and I suppose in criticizing the Minister for Health wilh regard to aborigines he also criticized the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). - I have not much time, but I should like briefly to say something about the measures that have been taken by the Menzies Government to give care and attention to the aborigines who are under our control. There are about 17,000 of them in the Northern Territory. Expenditure on aborigines, according to the Estimates, will be £1,600,000 in the year under review, which is £600,000 greater than in the preceding year. In 1962, there were approximately 2,615 aboriginal children attending special schools and in the 38 schools there were 86 teachers. It is estimated that about 3,900 aboriginal children of school age are in the Territory and that of that number only 1,300 are not now attending school. It is hoped that within the next couple of years all aboriginal children in the Northern Territory will be attending school.
In addition to these children who are fullblood aborigines there are about 3,720 children enrolled in government schools. Of course, in these schools there are many children of mixed blood. So with new modern schools in the Territory opportunities for aboriginal children are becoming just as good as they are for children in other parts of Australia.
Another wise procedure by the Government has been the construction of homes through the Northern Territory Housing Commission which are available for rental to persons with limited means. These persons include aborigines and part-coloured people. If anyone were asked to define the greatest improvement in conditions for aborigines one could say it was definitely in the medical services and the opportunities to learn and practise hygiene. So I congratulate the Minister for Health on the great advances in the field of public health in the Northern Territory in the past few years. The Department of Health in the Northern Territory administers hospitals, medical clinics, road and air ambulances, infant welfare centres, school medical services, the leprosarium, and many other services. Many members of the Parliament who have travelled through the Territory will have visited the hospitals. Some may have had a look at the main hospital, which is in Darwin. A few years ago the Darwin hospital, which was a carry-over from the war years, was inadequate, lt probably served its purpose for some years, but recently we were privileged to receive a report from the Minister for Health in which he detailed many of the improvements and extensions that had been completed or which were in the course of construction at the hospital, and improvements to hospitals “ down the track “, as the Darwin people term it. 1 was in Darwin last year when approval was given for the construction of a new 90-bed air-conditioned ward block, with added beds for aborigines. That will provide for an additional 108 beds in all and will make the capacity of the Darwin hospital 392 beds. Although I have been in Darwin on a number of occasions, I do not think 1 have ever heard more favorable comment about any proposals than about the proposal to extend and modernize the Darwin hospital. When I was there last the authorities were very much interested in the construction of a new modern operating theatre. That work has been completed. The theatre was opened last year. In addition to the new ward, a new fully-air conditioned nurses home has been constructed, and extensions have been made to the out-patients ward and the casualty and administration blocks. It is also hoped to have a new lecture roam for the training of nurses. This is a very important factor. For several years the Darwin hospital has been recognized as a training hospital, and local girls have been able to undergo their training there. So far they have been able to receive only a single certificate, but there is to be a new obstetrics course and the girls who qualify in that course will be able to obtain in Darwin double certificates that will be recognized throughout Australia and in many other parts of the world.
Another commendable feature of the health service in the Territory was the decision to train aboriginal girls as nursing aides. I have had an opportunity to meet several of them. One in particular was married to an aboriginal lad who came from a mission station. When the girl finished her training she and her husband intended to go back to the mission, she to do nursing and he to instruct in hygiene. The work that is being done at Darwin, at Alice Springs where extensions to the hospital are being made, at Tennant Creek and Katherine is giving great opportunities for study and the treatment of all people. The benefits that accrue to the part-aborigine or fullblood aborigine are the same as those which accrue to the European.
Specialist treatment, particularly in the Darwin, hospital, is very good. Twentynine doctors are employed in the Northern Territory, including a specialist physician, a surgeon, an obstetrician, an ophthalmic surgeon, a pathology specialist and a chest specialist. Many honorable senators know that the aborigine has been very susceptible to tuberculosis. The Government, in its wisdom, decided to engage a chest specialist who is conducting a survey - particularly in the settlements - which is the first of its kind in the Northern Territory. When sufferers of chest ailments are found, he will give them specialist treatment. In addition, he is a consultant to the Department of Mines. So for the first time in the Northern Territory the services of a first-class chest specialist have become available. In Darwin there are also six other doctors who are in private practice.
I do not think any one should mention the medical services that are provided in the Territory or the north of Australia without referring to the aerial medical service. Last year the service covered more than 220,000 miles. A new plane has been purchased, and it is hoped that in the future it will be possible to cover a wider area and to give more regular treatment to people in remote areas. I wish to refer finally to a special kind of treatment that is provided, mainly to aborigines. I refer to the treatment that is available at the leprosarium, which is just out of Darwin. As honorable senators know, the Government finances the leprosarium and the staff is provided by an order of Roman Catholic nuns. One has only to visit that place to witness the dedication and the devotion of the nuns and doctors who attend these people. One of the most promising aspects of the treatment of leprosy of which we have heard in recent years is the fact that Dr. Hargraves, a dedicated man who won a World Health Organization scholarship, has returned to Australia skilled in the art of operating on the deformed limbs of people who suffer from the dread disease of leprosy.
It is most unjust to suggest that the Government has done nothing for the aborigines. It has provided housing, schooling, and welfare and health services. lt is true to say that in the towns of the Northern Territory health services are provided for all people, but I wish to emphasize that the aborigine shares them equally with every other person. Both the aborigine and the white person have benefited from the Government’s economic policy in the Territory and its development of that area. Many of us remember Darwin as it was as recently as 1956 or 1957. It was a place that had been shattered by the war, a place with sub-standard housing. I well recall that in 1957 the Public Accounts Committee conducted an investigation into the administration of the Northern Territory. During three weeks of intensive study of the problems of that area, we visited houses that were sub-standard. We saw broken-down wharfs, we saw inadequate educational facilities and, as I mentioned before, we saw a hospital that was serving its purpose but was not modern or airconditioned, or in any way comparable with hospitals in the south.
But to-day, when one goes north, it is a pleasure to see Darwin. It is certainly a city with difficult climatic conditions, and with people who, because of the very nature of the place, find it difficult to make homes there. But it is a city that is forging ahead, with beautiful buildings, good schools, and churches that are the admiration of every one who visits the area. It has a good harbour and wharf facilities and probably the best aerodrome in the world. All these and other improvements help to . make people more contented in a difficult area. The real problem associated with the north and other places where living is hard is the provision of amenities to make people feel that the place is worth living in and make them want to go on and develop a part of Australia that is so vital to the rest of Australia.
In conclusion, I also should like to congratulate warmly the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) on what he has done for the aborigines and his efforts to integrate them into the life of the community. I believe that nothing is more important, particularly to a mother and her children, than to know that there is an adequate health service, that the hospital is good and that the attention is first class. I believe that these conditions have been made possible in the Northern Territory largely by the work of the present Minister for Health (Senator Wade), through his department. I support the bill. I hope that the money that is to be spent in that part of Australia will not be regarded as the maximum and that, as the years go by, Australia will provide more and more assistance for the people who live in the north.
– For reasons of State, I do not propose to speak at length on this matter. I support the bill, and I shall refer only to one specific matter, namely, the Colombo Plan and Australia’s part in it. I refer to this matter because of my belief that the Parliament, including the Senate, should pay more attention to the functioning of the plan than it has paid in the past. For the purposes of the record, it is appropriate to outline the background of the Colombo Plan. It came into being in 1950. Australia, of course, took the initiative under the leadership of the then Minister for External Affairs, Sir Percy Spender. A conference of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers was convened in Colombo in January, 1950 to consider economic policy in south and south-east Asia, to recommend the establishment of a consultative committee to examine what assistance the area needed, and to consider how countries outside the area could help. The Commonwealth countries concerned were Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Malaya and British Borneo also were represented. The foundation stone of the plan is the principle that the help which one member extends to another is arranged bilaterally. Since the plan came into effect in 1950, the Australian Government has received budgetary approval each year for certain expenditure. Up to 31st December, 1962 it had distributed no less than £45,280,938. Contributions have been made to Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaya, Nepal, North Borneo, Pakistan, Philippines, Sarawak, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the Mekong project. With the concurrence of honorable senators I incorporate in “ Hansard “ the amounts given in technical assistance and capital aid by Australia to these countries, from the inception of the plan in 1950 until 31st December, 1961. They are as follows: -
I am as strong an advocate of the principles of the Colombo Plan as is any other senator and there can be no doubt that Australia’s contribution of about £45,000,000 is magnificent. The significant point is that this contribution is made by a two-line entry each year in the Budget Papers. Apart from the item in the vote each year for the Department of External Affairs, a progress report on the plan, and Australia’s contribution to it, is tabled in the Senate, and doubtless in another place. I feel obliged to direct the Senate’s attention to the fact that, so far as I have been able to glean, the last tabling of such a paper in this place was on 16th May, 1962, approximately twelve months ago. That document was entitled “ Colombo Plan, Progress Report on Australia’s Part to 31st December, 1961 “. So, as a Parliament, the only information that we have in relation to the vast sums of money being spent are the two-line entries in the Budget Papers each year, and the progress reports, which carry us only to 31st December, 1961. There are subsequent documents to the progress report of 31st December, 1962. I have acquired them and have had a look at them, but I understand they have not yet been tabled in the Parliament.
I suggest that the Parliament must take a more active and direct interest in the progress of the Colombo Plan. The scene in South-East Asia is changing. The effect of foreign policy in the Pacific area is becoming more and more the affair of Australia. The contribution which Australia is making to the countries of South-East Asia is important and significant. It may be well for us, as a Parliament, to look at the relationship between the contributions we make under the Colombo Plan to the various countries of South-East Asia. I do not propose to develop the argument at this time, but we may need to give more assistance to some countries than to others. We know that the Federation of Malaysia is to be created as from 31st August this year. The Federation will comprise Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo, Malaya and Sarawak. It is worthwhile to look at the contributions which Australia has made under the Colombo Plan to those countries over the ten-year period and to equate them to the contributions made by Australia to Indonesia, for instance, in order to decide whether a shifting of emphasis may not be desirable with future contributions. I do not wish to take the point any further than that.
I direct attention to the fact that the Parliament takes only cursory note of the procedures of the Colombo Plan. I believe we have an obligation to look at them very intimately, and that the Parliament could well have a full-scale debate each year on the projects proposed under the plan for that year. I think that that would be in the interests of this nation and also of the countries which are the recipients of Colombo Plan assistance. On reading a text-book to-day, I came across the following passage: -
Parliament is the great house of laity for the nation. Ministers are spokesmen of the laity. Their task is to bring common sense to bear upon expert and official sense. As far as the law is concerned it is the layman, whether as Minister or member of Parliament, upon whom is placed the final sovereign power to decide what is to be done.
In that regard, I believe we have tended to leave things to officialdom. As a Parliament, we should take a keener interest in the work that is being done under the Colombo Plan. I repeat that this suggestion is not offered as criticism of what has already been done. I make the suggestion because I believe that inevitably there will be a shifting of emphasis in the contributions which Australia is making and that the Parliament should have its say and take its part in the direction of that emphasis.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill and the associated appropriation (Works and Services) Bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for certain expenditure for which provision was not made in the 1962-63 Estimates. The various items contained in the Additional Estimates can be considered in detail in committee and I propose at this stage to refer only to some of the major provisions.
Further appropriations totalling £7,400,000 are sought by the departments in the defence group, but it is not expected that the total expenditure will exceed the Budget provision of £210,000,000 by more than £3,900,000, including £1,400,000 special aid to India. An amount of £6,01 2,000 is sought for departmental votes. However, there will be savings under other items and it is not expected that the net additional expenditure from revenue will exceed the Budget estimate of £148,000,000 by more than £3,000,000.
The additional amount provided includes £100,000 grant towards the construction of the Howard Florey Laboratories at the University of Melbourne; £229,000 to cover increased fees and allowances under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme; an additional contribution of £142,640 to the United Nations; a contribution of £223,220 to the world food programme; £300,000 for grants to eligible organizations under the Aged Persons Homes Act for the construction of homes for aged persons; £1,348,900 for migration generally, including £1,150,000 for British migration; and £198,000 to cover the increases in the salaries of architects and engineers attached to the Department of Works. An additional appropriation of £913,000 is sought for repatriation benefits, such as medical, pharmaceutical and dental benefits and for maintenance of patients in non-departmental institutions.
Under Business Undertakings, an amount of £226,000 is sought for the Commonwealth Railways to cover increases in salaries, administrative expenses and the cost of the procurement of stores and materials. An amount of . £1,522,000 is sought for the Postmaster-General’s Department. However, there will be savings under other items of that department, and the total expenditure is not expected to exceed the Budget provision of £106,459,000 by more than £690,000. The major part of this additional expenditure is to meet the higher rates of pay awarded for engineers.
An amount of £419,000 is sought for Territories, including £179,000 for the Northern Territory and £239,000 for the Australian Capital Territory. Estimated additional payments to the Department of Education of New South Wales for education in the Australian Capital Territory total £132,000. Under Payments to or for the States, an amount of £92,000 is included to cover reimbursement of capital expenditure to State governments under the Tuberculosis Act.
At the time of the Budget, it was estimated that expenditure which would ordinarily have been charged to the Consolidated Revenue Fund would exceed receipts by £47,300,000. It appeared, also, that it would be necessary to pay £51,000,000 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve in 1962-63 to assist in meeting commitments in respect of State works and housing programmes. In order that this amount would be available, and to avoid a deficit in the Consolidated Revenue Fund, provision was made for £98,300,000 of expenditure on defence services to be charged to the Loan Fund. It is now clear that little or no assistance will be needed from revenue for State works and housing programmes. This, in turn, means that the charging of defence expenditure to the Loan Fund may be reduced. Accordingly, expenditure on defence services will be charged to the Consolidated Revenue Fund after the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) has been enacted. It is estimated that the amount involved may be as high as £30,000,000 and it is proposed to seek an appropriation of this amount from the Consolidated Revenue
Fund. This, of course, does not affect the total expenditure on defence services during the current financial year; it provides, however, for this expenditure to be met from the Consolidated Revenue Fund instead of the Loan Fund. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 8th May (vide page 296), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amend.ment or debate.
Consideration resumed from 8th May (vide page 296), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a first time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this bill is to appropriate £301,764,000 to carry on the necessary normal services of government, other than capital works and services, during the first five months of the financial year 1963-64. These are services placed before the Parliament in the Appropriation Acts 1962-63. The total sought is £301,764,000 comprising -
In general, these amounts represent approximately five-twelfths of the 1962-63 appropriations. However, the amount of £102,873,000 for Defence Services makes allowance for heavy contractual payments due in the first five months of the financial year. The amount of £51,017,000 for War and Repatriation Services includes provision for the payment of war pensions at existing rates for the pension pay-days falling within the period.
There is no provision for new services except in tine Defence section. However, in accordance with established practice an amount of £16,000,000 is sought for an advance to the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year and to make moneys available to meet expenditure, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 8th May (vide page 296), on motion by Senator Paltridge-
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Words Used in Debate.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I shall not delay the Senate long. I rise for the purpose of correcting a statement that was made to-day. During the course of the debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) to-day Senator Hannan stated that I had complained that Communists were not permitted into Australia. He went on to say that I had said that there was some affinity between the Communist Party and the Labour Party, and I challenged him on that. He said that he would quote what I had said last October. He quoted me as having said that between members of the Communist Party and those who may be termed militant members of the Labour Party is some line of demarcation that we cannot define.
I claim, Mr. President, that the statements made by Senator Hannan are incorrect. At no time have I complained because Communists were not permitted into Australia. I asked two questions on this subject. I asked whether membership of the Communist Party was a bar to naturalization of migrants who were in Australia. Following on that I made the statement that Senator Hannan said I made about the line of - demarcation. I desire to quote from “ Hansard “, of 2nd October, the question I directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, which appears under the heading “ Naturalization “. I asked the Minister -
On the following day I asked the same Minister the following question: -
I direct to the Minister representing the Minis ter for Immigration a question arising out of a purported reply that I received yesterday. How many migrants have been refused naturalization because they have not been considered suitable for Australian citizenship through political or trade union associations or activities? What is the standard adopted by the Government in deciding whether an applicant’s trade union activities are bona fide or make him unfit for Australian citizenship? That is the Minister’s phrase. What reports does the Government accept in deciding whether a migrant’s activities in a trade union are bona fide or such as to make him unsuitable for Australian citizenship?
In referring to what I said about the line of demarcation, Senator Hannan unfairly quoted a portion of a sentence which is capable of the interpretation that Senator Hannan implied only after it is taken out of its context. On 25th October, last year, in the debate on the Estimates, I made the following statement: -
Then, as Senator McClelland stated, on 3rd October I put another question on the noticepaper, but no reply has been received to date. So we do not know the standard adopted by the Government to decide whether an applicant’s trade union activities are bona fide or such as to make him unfit for Australian citizenship, to use the phrase that appears in the Minister’s answer. In some instances that have come to our knowledge, the activities of migrants in the trade union movement appear to be the only reason for their non-acceptance for naturalization. A new Australian who is a member of the Communist Party in Australia might well be, in the Minister’s opinion, not suitable for Australian citizenship, but I point out that by a decision of the Australian people the Communist Party is a legal organization in Australia. I do not think it is for any Minister to say that some one who decides to join a political party which the people accepted as a legal organization, and which remains a legal organization, is unsuitable for Australian citizenship.
While T could, perhaps, appreciate some concern over those who may be members of the Communist Party, between members of the Communist Party and those who may be termed militant members of the Labour Party is some line of demarcation that we cannot define. We know that many members are denied naturalization because of various activities. In one case the activity objected to was the distribution, in the referendum campaign, pf “ how-to-vote “ cards which were contrary to the wishes of the government at the time.
I suggest that no fair-minded person could think from reading that report that I said other than I can appreciate the Government’s concern about those who may be members of the Communist Party; between members of the Communist Party and those who may be termed militant members of the Labour Party in some line of demarcation established by the Government that we cannot define. It is only because Senator Hannan has put that construction upon what I said that I now wish to put the record straight. It is clear from the Minister’s reply to my question, and from the remarks of Senator Buttfield who entered the debate, that they believed that I had intended to convey something that is not borne out by a reading of the complete text. I should like to make it clear that I acknowledge a clear line of demarcation between a Communist and any member of the Labour Party. Although T believe that any fair-minded person would put no other construction than that on what I said, Senator Hannan has twice quoted only that portion of my remarks which might give the impression that I cannot distinguish between a militant member of the Labour Party and a Communist. I’ have now put the record straight and I shall not attempt on future occasions to reply to allegations such as these. Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.24 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1963/19630516_senate_24_s23/>.