24th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied th» following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer: - 1 to 9. I have some information about the organization which is the subject of the honorable senator’s questions, but am not able before the adjournment to answer them all in detail. I shall make further inquiries and at a later date furnish such information as I am able to supply.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer: - 1 to 4. Appeals, and applications for leave to appeal, to the Privy Council from the Supreme Court of a State do not come within my administration. I doubt whether any office in Australia maintains records from which the information sought by the honorable Senator could be compiled. Certainly my own department does not. I shall, however, have inquiries made and shall let the honorable Senator have the information if it is available.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Has the Uniform Companies Act, as adopted by the six States, been made applicable to the Australian Capital Territory?
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer: -
Yes, on 1st July, 1962, the same day as in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
The following answer is now supplied: -
The aiuthority’s interest in conservation, however, extends to the catchments also, and although it has no direct responsibility as far as these are concerned, it is making an annual contribution of £12,000 to the State Government to compensate in part for the loss in revenue to the State resulting from cessation of grazing in the higher parts of the catchment areas. Grazing and frequent burning at these high elevations were undoubtedly the most serious erosion threat to these catchments. Part of the £12,000 is being used by the State Soil Conservation Service to repair effectively areas at high elevations which have been severely damaged in the past by grazing and natural causes. As a result of an investigation of the Hume reservoir made in 1959-60, the Victorian Soil Conservation Authority reported that during the 27-year period of its existence there had been an accumulation of silt amounting to only 13,500 acre feet. Deposition of silt was taking place at the rate of 500 acre feet per annum. This is negligible in a reservoir with a capacity of 2,500,000 acre feet.
The catchment of the reservoirs in the Snowy Mountains scheme is far more stabilized and far less subject to erosion than the catchment of the Hume reservoir. Accordingly it is reasonable to expect a proportionately lower rate of siltation in the Snowy reservoirs.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The Minister for External Affairs has supplied the following information in answer to the honorable senator’s question: -
– Pursuant to statutory requirements I lay on the table of the Senate the following papers: -
Superannuation Act - Fortieth Annual Report of Superannuation Board, for year 1961-62.
Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act - Fourteenth Annual Report of Defence Forces Retirement Benefit’s Board, for year 1961-62.
I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to these reports.
– The report of the Superannuation Board shows that the balance of the Superannuation Fund was £92,600,000. In this regard honorable senators will appreciate that, just as it is necessary for life assurance companies to accumulate reserves to meet current and future liabilities to policy holders, so is it necessary for the Superannuation Fund to be accumulated to pay existing pensions, and the pensions and other benefits falling due in the future. There were 19,849 pensions being paid at 30th June, 1962, and 119,010 employees were contributing for benefits to be paid on retirement.
The Commonwealth Actuary is now conducting the statutory investigation into the state and sufficiency of the Superannuation Fund as at 30th June, 1962, and his report will disclose whether the rates of contribution by employees are sufficient to provide the fund’s share of the benefits prescribed, and whether there is a surplus of assets over liabilities, which may be used to provide additional benefits.
The actuarial investigation in 1952 assessed the future liabilities of the Superannuation Fund at £59,900,000; the assets of the fund at that time amounted to £26,000,000 and this, added to the value of the contributions to be made in the future, left a surplus of £653,000. In the 1957 valuation, the future liabilities were calculated at £96,300,000; the fund’s assets amounted to £50,000,000 and after taking the future contributions into account, a surplus of £2,900,000 was reported. Of this surplus, £764,000 was used to meet the cost of increases in children’s pensions, £350,000 was applied towards increases in widows’ pensions, and £1,500,000 was allocated to reduce the additional contributions otherwise payable by existing male contributors for an increase of 25 per cent, in pensions for their widows; the residual balance was carried forward.
The balance of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund amounted to £19,700,000 at 30th June, 1962; there were 42,467 contributors and 4,402 pensioners at that date. As with the Superannuation Fund, it is necessary to accumulate reserves to meet the current and future liabilities of the fund. The next actuarial investigation into the state and sufficiency of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund will be made as at 30th June, 1964.
– I lay on the table the following papers: -
Report of Royal Commissioner, Mr. Justice R. L. Taylor, on Alleged Improper Practices and Improper Refusal to Co-operate with the Victoria Police Force on the Part of Persons Employed in the Postmaster-General’s Department in Victoria in Relation to Illegal Gambling.
I ask for -leave to make a statement in relation thereto.
– In this statement, the first person singular pronoun relates to my colleague, the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson).
On 17th April, 1963, I informed the House that the royal commissioner, the Honorable Justice Taylor, appointed to inquire into alleged improper practices and improper refusal to co-operate with the Victorian police force on the part of persons employed in the Postmaster-General’s Department in Victoria in relation to illegal gambling, had presented his findings to His Excellency the Governor-General. I mentioned at that time that His Honor had gone into the matter very closely indeed and that the report required careful study. In fact Cabinet appointed a sub-committee to ensure that proper and thorough attention was given to the report, and Cabinet has now considered and accepted the subcommittee’s report.
The royal commissioner’s report . is. critical in varying degrees of the central administration of the Post Office, the Victorian administration and particular persons within the Victorian administration. In respect of term of reference (a) - improper practices - the commissioner found that improper practices on the part of employees in the Victorian administration occurred in 55 of the 260 items referred to the commission but also added that having regard to the number of employees in that administration and the nature and extent of its activities over the period concerned, these improper practices, although themselves reprehensible, were relatively few.
A study of the report will show that tha 55 cases occurred over a period approaching seven years and that during this time the Post Office progressively strengthened its directives. In his report the commissioner states -
It is also evident that the alterations made in departmental practice since 1950 have made it progressively more difficult for persons intending to use telephone for illegal gambling activities to obtain them.
It is significant to note that only 3 of the 55 cases of improper practice occurred since the issue of the most recent directive in 1960 and as mentioned in the report disciplinary action had been taken by the department against any offending employee who could be identified and charged.
In respect of term of reference (b) - improper refusal or failure to co-operate - the commissioner found that a number of persons in the Victorian administration had improperly refused or failed to co-operate with the police in the detection of illegal gambling. The commissioner found that, with few exceptions, these persons were not actuated by any improper motive, in that they had acted in accordance with the policy laid down by the central administration. Therefore the report discloses no ground for disciplinary action against any officer beyond that already taken.
While control of illegal betting is a matter for State governments, both sides of this House have been concerned to limit the extent to which Commonwealth communication facilities may be used to circumvent State laws and to ensure that the Post Office, without impairing its relations with the public or violating secrecy of communications, provides State police with certain information when requested to do so. The basis of the policy followed was first laid down in war-time by the Curtin Government in 1943 and confirmed as a peace-time measure by. the Chifley Cabinet in December, 1946. The paramount consideration is that subject to those cases of national security for which statutory provision is made in the Telephonic Communications (Interception) Act, the secrecy of postal, telephone and telegraph services must be maintained.
Secondly, whilst officers of the department are not to be burdened with the obligation of policing State laws, the Post Office must be careful to ensure that its regulations, directives and administrative procedures are so expressed and observed as to minimize abuses of the various facilities provided by the Post Office and prevent their use in breach of law.
Thirdly, where without breach of the secrecy provisions or impairment of the confidence which must be maintained between the Post Office and its customers, the Post Office can furnish State police authorities with certain information on receipt of a request from the police, on the definite understanding that such information will be regarded as confidential and used solely for the purpose of detecting illegal practices. The Government holds the view that the Post Office should supply such information to the police in order to assist them in detecting breaches of State laws in relation to illegal gambling, and from time to time directives conforming to these principles have been issued.
The current directives defining the assistance which could be extended to the police on receipt of a request from them and authorizing the measures also to be taken by the Post Office in preventing the use of its facilities for illegal gambling activities were issued during 1960. However, the findings made by His Honour in relation to improper practices or failure to co-operate together with His Honour’s general observations indicate that some further provisions are necessary in the directives issued during 1960 after consultation with the Victorian police. Accordingly the Government, after close consideration of the report, arranged for a new directive to be drawn up which consolidates and strengthens the directives already in force and makes the necessary additions to them.
The additional measures now proposed will provide for the following further action to be taken by the Post Office: -
On request from the police, through the established liaison channels, supply the police with -
I would emphasize to the Senate that the new directive conforms to the basic principles I have postulated. Also, information received from a number of other countries makes it clear that the governments concerned do not require their postal and telephone administrations to accept any greater responsibility in preventing the use of their services for illegal gambling. The directive defines the nature of the information which may be given to the police on request together with the internal steps the Post Office shall take to ensure that abuses of its services shall not take place. However, it does not depart in any way from the basic and vital principles - namely the secrecy of postal, telephone and telegraph services which has been carefully observed over the years - and the Post Office will not be required actively to enforce State laws.
There is a tradition of confidential relationship between the Post Office and its
Customers which it would be against the public interest to destroy or impair. Moreover, the Government believes that the public would not wish to impose obligations on Post Office staffs which would require its employees to act as informers with all the unpalatable consequences imposed on the staff and injury to the respect which the Commonwealth Public Service now enjoys.
I have laid on the table the report of the royal commissioner and the revised directive, which indicates the action the Government has decided to take in relation to that report. The 1960 directives will be found at page 114 and 149 of the royal commissioner’s report. A comparison of the new directive with those now current will indicate the changes and additions which have been made. The Government believes that the additional measures it now proposes to introduce will afford State police authorities as much assistance in the prevention of illegal gambling activities as the Post Office can reasonably be asked to give.
– Western Australia) [11.30]. - I move -
That the paper be printed.
I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill seeks the approval of the Parliament to the borrowing of up to 11,000,000 dollars, or about £4,900,000, by the Commonwealth on behalf of the Australian National Airlines Commission. It includes an appropriation of the Loan Fund to enable the proceeds of the borrowing to be advanced to the Australian National Airlines Commission, to which I shall refer later by the more commonly known name of Trans-Australia Airlines. The Consolidated Revenue Fund will also be appropriated to enable the Commonwealth to meet payments of principal and interest, and of other charges associated with the loan, out of funds to be previously provided by Trans-Australia Airlines.
This bill is similar to another measure which I intend to bring before the Senate in a few minutes and which also will seek the approval of the Parliament for a borrowing by the Commonwealth in New York for aircraft purposes. The borrowing which will be the subject of the next bill was made on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited. In each case, the borrowing is being made by the Commonwealth in order to provide finance to assist the Government airlines in purchasing additional jet aircraft and related equipment for the extension of their front-line fleets. In each case, too, the same lender is involved and the bills, and the loan agreements annexed to them, are therefore drawn on similar lines. I therefore suggest that it may be convenient for the Senate to consider both bills together.
The arrangements for the borrowing for Trans-Australia Airlines, which is the subject of the bill now before the Senate, are similar to those approved by the Parliament in August, 1962, when the Commonwealth borrowed 4,600,000 dollars, or £2,000,000, on behalf of Qantas. The Commonwealth will make the entire proceeds of the borrowing available to Trans-Australia Airlines on terms to be determined by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). These terms will be the same as the conditions under which the Commonwealth itself has borrowed the money. As Trans-Australia Airlines will be required to meet all charges as they become due under the loan agreement, the Commonwealth assumes a function similar to that of guarantor of the loan, and there will be no net charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
As has previously been announced, each of the two major domestic air transport operators - Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. - has decided to purchase two heavy turbo-jet aircraft for introduction into the Australian domestic network in the latter half of 1964. The selected aircraft, the Boeing 727, is a three-engine craft with an all-up weight of 152,000 lb., a passenger carrying capacity of approximately 100 in a mixed first class-tourist configuration and a speed of about 600 miles per hour. These new aircraft will become the airlines’ front-line equipment. From the proceeds of the proposed borrowings 10,000,000 dollars will provide part of the purchase price of the two Boeing aircraft and related spare parts and equipment to be purchased by Trans-Australia Airlines. The balance of the cost of the aircraft and related equipment will be provided by Trans-Australia Airlines from its own resources. Should Trans-Australia Airlines decide to purchase a flight simulator for aircrew training, an additional 1,000,000 dollars can be borrowed in accordance with the option that has been included in the loan agreement and which requires a decision to be made by 30th June, 1963.
Including the present loan, and that proposed on behalf of Qantas to which I referred, earlier, the Commonwealth has now borrowed 60,400,000 dollars in New York for the purchase of aircraft since 1956, of which 44,400,000 dollars has been for Qantas Empire Airways Limited and 16,000,000 dollars for Trans-Australia Airlines. Of the earlier loans totalling 40,400,000 dollars, an amount of only 17,600,000 dollars or less than half, still remains to be repaid. In addition, a further 39,200,000 dollars has been borrowed for aircraft purposes from the International Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Washington, of which 31,500,000 dollars is still outstanding. These loans have contributed significantly to the fleet extension, modernising and re-equipping which Trans-Australia Airlines and Qantas Empire Airways Limited have undertaken in recent years. Negotiations for the loan for TransAustralia Airlines were completed with the lender, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, early in April and the agreement became effective as of 1st March. The full text of the agreement is annexed as the schedule to the bill.
The loan will be drawn by the Commonwealth at the request of Trans-Australia Airlines as payments for the new aircraft are required by the manufacturer. Drawings on the loan will commence immediately after Parliamentary approval has been obtained to the bill, and are to be completed by the end of 1964. Until December, 1964 interest is payable at the rate of 4i per cent on amounts drawn, and a commitment fee of $ per cent, is payable on the undrawn balance.
In December, 1964 the Commonwealth will exchange the interim promissory notes it has issued to the lender, as the loan is drawn, for a series of fourteen notes of approximately equal value which are payable half-yearly between June, 1965 and December, 1971. The notes repayable in 1964 and 1965 will bear interest at 4i per cent. The notes repayable between 1966 and 1969 will bear interest at 4f per cent., and those repayable in 1970 and 1971 will bear interest at 4i per cent. The average interest rate over the life of the loan is less than 4$ per cent, per annum, making this the most favourable borrowing so far arranged by the Commonwealth for aircraft financing in the United States. Other provisions in the loan agreement are similar to those included .in earlier agreements negotiated by the Commonwealth in the United States for borrowing for aircraft purposes.
The terms and conditions of the borrowing have been approved by the Loan Council, and the borrowing will be additional to the Commonwealth’* programme of £48,600,000 for housing approved at the February, 1963, meeting of the Loan Council. As with previous loans arranged on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited and Trans-Australia Airlines, the Commonwealth is acting only as an intermediary, and the borrowing will therefore involve no net call on the Commonwealth’s resources. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill seeks the approval of Parliament to the borrowing of up to $9,000,000 or £4,000,000, by the Commonwealth on behalf of Qantas Empire Airways Limited. It is the bill to which I referred when introducing the Loan (Australian National Airlines Commission) Bill a few minutes ago. The lender is the same for the loans for both Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines, and the bills and annexed loan agreements have therefore been drawn up on the same principles. The major terms of the two loans, such as interest rates and repayment dates, are identical and I have already suggested that, in these circumstances, it seems unnecessary to repeat the detailed information on the arrangements for these borrowings which I included in my speech on the Trans-Australia Airlines loan bill.
The loan for Qantas will assist in financing the purchase of two additional Boeing 707-1 3 8B jet aircraft, which are expected to cost a total of $11,100,000. The two additional aircraft will be needed by early 1965, and will increase to thirteen the present Qantas front-line fleet of eleven Boeing aircraft. The Government’s approval has already been given for Qantas to place an order for the two additional aircraft and associated equipment, and the aircraft are scheduled for delivery in September and October, 1964. The proceeds of the proposed borrowing will provide part of the purchase price, while the balance of the cost of the aircraft and associated equipment will be met by Qantas from its own resources.
As with previous loans arranged on behalf of Qantas and Trans-Australia Airlines, the Commonwealth is acting only as an intermediary, and the borrowing will therefore involve no net call on the Commonwealth’s resources. By acting as the borrower the Commonwealth has, however, made use of its own high credit standing overseas to obtain terms more favorable than the airlines may have been able to secure had they arranged the borrowing directly. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’Byrne) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 22nd May (vide page 665), on motion by Senator Gorton -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The bill is designed to approve the agreement between the United States of America and Australia for the establishment of a naval radio communication station at North West Cape in Western Australia. This station will be the only one of its kind in the world outside the United States, where it has a similar station established in Maine. It is clearly part of the global strategy of the United States of America in relation to the activities of its navy, including nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines. At this stage I indicate that it is unfortunate that, after the sitting of the Senate lasting until almost 3.30 a.m. to-day, the Opposition is obliged to proceed at once with this bill. It is not that we have lacked thought and discussion on the subject; but I find myself in the position of not having the advantage of having read what has been said by Government spokesmen in the debate in another place recently. So, whatever I may say in relation to announcements by the Government, I indicate at this early stage that I have not glanced at, let alone read, the announcements made over the last day or two. I think the Senate will appreciate that it was not possible for me to do so, having regard to how heavily I was engaged on an important bill yesterday.
When we come to consider this question of the establishment of the base in Western Australia the first and outstanding question is: Is it good for Australia? In my view, one cannot answer that without looking at the> proposed station against the world background. I would like to say a little on that aspect to put the station in perspective as I see the situation.
When World War II. ended the United Nations Organization was established with the hope of people in many places that this was the organization that would bring the nations together in a forum, and that that would be the last of war. It was thought that the world would begin to sort itself out. Unfortunately, that has not proved to be the case. We find that the nations of the world went through the motions of international co-operation by entering into that organization and apparently accepting the obligations it imposed, but they beat a very hasty retreat to nationalism as soon as they feel the occasion demands it. I should just like to give some examples of that. We .have seen Russia in relation to the countries of eastern Europe; the United Kingdom, France and Israel in relation to Suez; and France in relation to the United Kingdom’s application for entry to the European Economic Community. It is rather interesting to note in that connexion that the United Kingdom was not rejected by Germany and Italy, its former enemies in the last war, but by one of its allies, and1 an ally whom Britain had very largely succeeded in liberating from occupation. These are the extraordinary things that are happening in the world in its disturbed condition to-day.
Finally I point to the United States of America in relation to Cuba. The United States acted very quickly and very firmly from a national viewpoint when nuclear missiles were established close to its mainland. Of course, the newly independent and developing countries are basically, and I say understandably, nationalistic. One sees that acutely in Indonesia’s attitude to what was Dutch New Guinea. Next we witness the confrontation - to adopt a word much favoured - of the two great nuclear powers, the United States and Russia. They keep the world in a state of constant tension, with world peace dependent on each one’s fear of the other’s nuclear power.
Surveying the world scene further, one finds the Communist nations lined up against the other nations of the world, and one sees signs of a conflict between nations of different colours. One even finds the colour problem in America becoming more acute day by day.
Leaving that atmosphere of physical conflict, one looks at the position of trade, which must never be ignored in assessing the state of tension in the world. Trade is a powerful motivating force. On more than one occasion it has been responsible for world war. We have still the perennial conflict between haves and have-nots. The highly industrialized countries look to other countries for raw materials to keep their dense populations employed, whilst those other countries face the acute need for industries to develop their own resources, to maintain their populations and to increase the standard of living of their peoples. India is the perfect example. Mr. Nehru, to whom I had the privilege of speaking for an hour and a half in London, indicated to me his problems, one only of them being that he had to find work for 14,000,000 new workers per annum - a colossal problem. The new and developing countries face desperate problems arising from deficits in their balance of international payments, and all this adds up to a conflict of human wills and interests extending as far as I can see into the future. I see turmoil in the world, not only for the rest of this century but probably, at least, for the next.
Having made that survey - I have no doubt that I have sketched in only some of the important factors operating - I say that unilateral disarmament and neutralism would amount to national suicide. I draw the attention of the Senate to the situation which has developed between India and China. Only a few months ago all was relatively quiet between those two nations. Now they confront each other across the northern border of India, and what will be the ultimate outcome of that nobody can say. But one can see a threat to Australia if the Chinese do prevail and come down into the Indian Ocean very near to us and to one of our borders where we have very little in the way of defence. We in Australia cannot escape being caught up in this swirl of events and conflicts. We are heavily dependent upon and involved in international trade. We have vast surpluses of foodstuffs, wool and minerals that we must sell, and the fact that we have the capacity for that surplus production makes us one of the prizes of the world, as well as affecting our position in international trade.
Again, the discovery of oil in Australia, at the moment in relatively minute quantities, is a factor that projects us into another aspect of world war. I do not want to develop that theme now; I merely indicate that with Russia and the Middle East controlling 70 per cent, of the world’s reserves of oil, and with Russia exploiting its strong position in oil as an instrument of the cold war, the mere presence of oil in this country, with all its advantages, projects us further into the maelstrom of world politics.
As I see it, we are in a turbulent era, the end of which we cannot foresee. We cannot rely upon our own defences alone in that situation. la other words, we cannot be unalined. We must have allies and those allies cannot be expected to preserve our nationhood in Australia unless we are prepared to help ourselves and to cooperate freely with them. From the shape of the conflict ahead, I think Australia’s choice of sides is quite clear. If the conclusion is accepted that Australia cannot be unalined, the question is to whom should she turn? The Australian Labour Party made its position perfectly clear in that matter in the policy speech delivered by its leader, Mr. Calwell, in November, 1961. The extract that I have in mind is this -
If, however, war should be forced upon the free world, Australia, whether we wish it or not, will be involved. In those circumstances we who belong to tha free world will stand with the free world and will give wholehearted support to its cause. There could be no other course for those who cherish freedom and believe in democracy.
Where do we look for allies? The United Kingdom, weakened politically and economically by the last war, has practically withdrawn from the Pacific and Asia and is looking increasingly to Europe. The United States has made it plain that it regards the United Kingdom as important only as an integral part of Europe. Aus tralia cannot look with assurance to the United Kingdom for early or substantial aid in an emergency. On that point I invite the Senate to consider a statement by the Prime Minister of’ Great Britain, Mr. MacMillan, which I saw recorded in the Brisbane “Courier Mail” of 13th February, this year. Speaking to Australia, he said -
Australia must depend for its future on the continuation of the Anglo-American alliance.
In the light of what I have just said regarding the position of the United Kingdom in this area and its increasing tendency to move into Europe, the only practical interpretationfor this country of that statement of the British Prime Minister is: In future, you look to the United States of America.
– That is not correct.
– That is my interpretation of it. On the point of looking to America, let me say on behalf of the Opposition that it was a Labour government, particularly through the efforts of Mr. John Curtin, which began our very firm’ alliance with the United States. In this respect, I say as an Australian and as a member of the Opposition that we shall never forget what the United States servicemen did in this country and for this country in the last World War. If we failed to be grateful for that, I think we would have no virtue at all. We should never forget it. We should remember also the part that the United States is playing in the world to-day, with an unparalleled generosity. It is seeking to uphold nations all over the world with economic assistance amounting, not to thousands or millions of dollars, but to billions of dollars. It is undeniable that American might and power are really the mainstay of the whole of the West.
That does not prevent me from saying that we are justified from time to time in differing from the United States in regard to the policies it follows. We have differed in the past, and no doubt we shall do so again in the future. That does not alter anything I have already said. It is unquestionable that we must deal with our great ally and friend - it is acknowledged by the Opposition as being such - on a basis of preserving our own dignity and self-respect. This involves our right to express an opinion contrary to that of the Americans. I may say that I did so quite freely when I was at Washington and New York, in discussions with high executives in the American Administration. To their credit, they frankly admitted errors and explained the circumstances which had led to them. I do not propose to go further into that aspect, but the type of relationship I envisage does not prevent criticism of the Americans from time to time and differences of opinion with them. We can reach agreement, even if we agree to differ. We can do that pleasantly, without disrupting our basic relations. That is the broad outlook as I see it.
Coming close to home, I turn to the Anzus Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. It is, I think, the focal point of our foreign affairs relations in the field of treaties. This treaty has always disturbed me, because in article after article it is completely plain that it is confined to aggression and attack in the Pacific area. Those words recur in almost every clause. There is an exception, but first let me quote sufficient of the various articles to emphasize the point I am making. Article HI. provides -
The Parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific.
It is entirely delimited. Article IV. provides^ -
Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
– If Australia were attacked or threatened in the Indian Ocean area, would she not, because of that fact, also be threatened in the Pacific area?
– Not necessarily. I should think that if we were attacked in the Indian Ocean area America could say, pursuant to this treaty and as a matter of fact and law, “ We are not committed “. But let me complete my theme.
Article V. states -
For the purposes of Article IV., an armed attack on any of the Parties is deemed ‘ to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of any of the Parties, or oh (he island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific oi on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.
I know that the Government does not rely upon any of those articles. It goes to Article II. which, I concede, is general in its application. Article II. provides -
In order more effectively to achieve the objective of this Treaty the Parties separately and jointly by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.
That is general. There is no delimitation in this respect. That is the point at which the Government claims the establishment of the naval communication station at North West Cape is being undertaken pursuant to the treaty. I accept that.
Let me look for a moment at the SouthEast Asia Collective Defence Treaty. It is generally conceded that this is not as effective as we should like it to be. It, too, is strictly delimited. The whole thing is expressed as being subject to an understanding by the United States of America that it is contracting, in the case of armed attack, to resist only Communist aggression. That leaves open a fairly wide field. I merely record, in presenting our external position, that that is one of the factors in it.
The first matter with which I want to deal in relation to the naval communication station at North West Cape is the lack of frankness on the part of the Government until very recently, and even then, it was only as a result of pressure from the Opposition that the nature and character of the base were explained. We were told about it by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) on 8th September, 1960, as the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) stated not very long ago. Mr. Townley stated on that date -
The Governments of the United States of America and Australia have held informal discussions concerning the establishment of a naval radio communications station in Australia. A technical survey team will arrive in Australia on 18th September to study the feasibility of establishing the station in Australia. If the results of the technical survey are satisfactory, the two Governments will then consult with a view to reaching an agreement under which the station will be established.
I merely comment, quite mildly at this stage, that there was no reference in the statement to submarine activity. On 26th March, when the Prime Minister directed our attention to that statement by Mr.
Townley, he omitted to mention other statements made by Mr. Townley on 25th October, 1960, not very long after the statement to which I have referred, in reply to a question asked in the House by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). Mr. Cairns’s question was in the following terms*. - 1 direct a question to the Minister for Defence. Is he aware of statements that have been made that it is proposed to use the Woomera rocket range for the launching of long-range missiles, and to establish in north-western Australia an atomic-powered long-range radio station, and that both of these projects will be under the control of another country. If the Minister is aware of these statements, will he make efforts to ensure that an early statement is made to this House, and that the people of Australia are informed of the true situation?
Mr. Townley replied ;
Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the reports to which the honorable member has referred, nor am I aware that anything of the nature he has mentioned is proposed for Australia.
Let me repeat the words, “ nor am I aware that anything of the nature he has mentioned is proposed for Australia “.
– Meaning, an atomicpowered station.
– I remind honorable senators opposite that I have limited time at my disposal and that they will have an opportunity to speak during the debate. Mr. Townley continued -
Should anything of that kind develop, naturally an announcement would be made in this House if it were in session, or otherwise in some appropriate, way; but at present I know of no suggestion of that sort whatever.
I say that that demonstrates a complete lack of frankness.
The next we heard from Mr. Townley was on 6th and 8th March this year. This was the first reference made by anybody in the Government to the true nature of this base. The basic purpose, of course, is to establish a station to communicate with atomic-powered submarines armed with atomic weapons. We heard from the Prime Minister on 17th May last year. At that stage, in a considered statement, no reference whatever was made to submarines. He said, among other things -
The purpose of the station … is to provide radio communication for United States and allied ships over a wide area of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific.
– ‘that would include submarines.
– Yes, but having regard to the nature of the base, the high purpose of it - a high-powered lowfrequency station unique in the world outside America itself - why was the true purpose of the station kept from the people of Australia? Why was it left for the Australian Labour Party earlier this year to ferret out the facts and to force the Government into an admission of what the true nature of the base was? I suggest that the statement by the Prime Minister was clearly designed to keep knowledge of the true nature of the station from the Opposition and from the people of Australia, and to present the station as an established fact without proper consideration having been given to the matter by the people.
Anybody who heard the Prime Minister reply to the second-reading debate on the evening of 16th May, and heard the lameness with which he argued that, of course, allied shipping included submarines, would realize how completely aware he was of his own default in this matter.
– With respect, let me say that he said allied naval ships would include submarines.
– The honorable senator will have an opportunity to put his argument. I am putting the Opposition’s view-point, which is my own viewpoint, regarding the utter lack of frankness - I will go further and say deception - by the Government, of the people and the Opposition. It is quite clear that it was left entirely to us to establish the facts. Will somebody on the Government side indicate to me where the slightest indication was given that we were to be faced with the situation which is contemplated in Article 11 of this agreement? Article 11 provides -
The United States Government- may lease from the Australian Government communication services within Australia and to overseas destinations and may establish and operate radio circuits as required for the passing of defence communications …
Presently I will want to know exactly what that means. I “ have not. seen any explanation of how far that goes. Until I am informed to the contrary I suggest that in that article there is the opportunity to involve the whole of the radio communications system of Australia. Was that. not an outstanding fact? Should not that have been mentioned most particularly? At a later stage, when the bill is in committee, I shall certainly ask a lot of questions as to what is involved in that article. At the moment I am documenting the charge of lack of frankness on the part of the Government. Is it of no consequence that the whole of the radio communications system of this country is to be involved? We of the Opposition regard this as lack of frankness and deception. That is the charge I am making at the moment.
I refer to, and support, what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), the leader of the Labour Party in another place, had to say in the course of his speech on the second reading of this bill. He said -
We are brought inevitably to my original charge - that the Government has consistently understated and cynically misrepresented the position in order that ‘ any objectors, any one who queries any aspect of this agreement, may be the more readily branded with the crude charges of anti-Americanism and disloyalty to Australia’s “ war-time friend and ally.
I support that charge of my leader in relation to this matter. Again, speaking on the lack of frankness, I advert to the inchoate condition of the arrangements between America and ourselves. There are many matters yet left for determination. 1 invite the Senate to consider that this matter has been in the air since 1960 - three long years! One would have thought “that all of the details of this vastly important agreement would have been worked out in that time. Let me indicate some of the things that are still unresolved, even at this stage when the Parliament is asked to consider the matter. Under Article 2 of the agreement the United States is entitled to a lease of the land in Western Australia for 25 years. The Minister in his speech said that the land will be cut up into areas that will be exclusive, controlled, or restricted. What is the nature of the areas that are to be exclusive, to be controlled or to be restricted? What does anybody in the country, apart from the Government, know about it? The Opposition knows nothing about it, but the Minister in his second-reading speech promised there would be a land lease agreement at some future date. Why has that not been determined after three, years? Why should Australia and the Opposition have to be asking at this stage what principle determines the division of the site into exclusive, controlled or restricted areas? That is surely a most important element of this agreement.
I refer to Articles 4 and 15 relating to Australia’s use of the station. There are to be technical arrangements controlling our use of this station. What is the nature of those arrangements? Does anybody know what they are? Of course nobody knows, because the Government has not yet concluded them. Article 5, dealing with the use of Australian resources, calls for a further agreement. The powers of a civil commissioner to be appointed in Western Australia under Article 6 are yet to be agreed upon. What are his powers to be? What has he to do? There is not one word of explanation. I have mentioned already Article 11 which deals with the important matter of the lease of radio services in Australia. We are left completely in the dark on that. There is to be a further agreement under Article 14 regarding the cost of Australia’s use of the station.
Let me refer to one other important matter, dealt with in Senator Gorton’s speech in the small hours of this morning. We are yet to get a protocol establishing the status of each country’s armed forces in the territory of the other. I direct attention to the complete absence of any provision in the agreement for the notification of the initiation of warlike operations by either party from the station. What a chaotic condition in which to present this epoch-making situation between America and ourselves relating to the station, with all these matters unresolved! If the Senate does its work, as I am sure it will in the course of this debate, the Minister will have a great many things to answer. Many gaps remain to be filled in. We of the Opposition protest against being called upon to pass judgment on this agreement when, after three years, so many matters of very great importance in relation to it are not yet resolved. The Government was clearly in default, and plainly wrong, in presenting the project at all until it had made more progress in these matters, every one of which is vital to a proper assessment of the worth or otherwise of this station.
– You were complaining a little while ago of insufficient information twelve months ago. Now you are complaining that it is presented at this stage.
– I am completely consistent. I cited the statement of the Prime Minister in May, 1962, to indicate lack of frankness. It is clear that many matters of importance remain unresolved. The Opposition has had to dig through the agreement to find that these matters have not been dealt with. If the Government has not been lacking in frankness then it has been incompetent in not having these matters before us.
– Because it did not put out, at large, the technical arrangements? Good Lord! Who would understand them?
– The Opposition has from the beginning not opposed the establishment of a base, by our ally, America. But we have sought to attach conditions - very proper conditions - to its establishment. It is very interesting to note that the laying down of those conditions greatly influenced the Government’s thinking in the final stages. One has only to traverse the speech of the Minister for External Affairs, as reflected in the speech to which we listened in the early hours of this morning, to find dealt with and adverted to each of the elements that were raised, to the advantage of this country, by the Opposition. Many i’s were dotted and many fs were crossed after the Minister for External Affairs had an opportunity to consider the case that was put on behalf of the Australian Labour Party.
Let us take the question of sovereignty, protection of which was one of our requirements. The Government claims that all the requirements on sovereignty are fulfilled. In a completely technical sense, I agree. I suppose that the ultimate test of sovereignty is whether we could cancel this agreement; whether the Parliament could repeal the measure that is before us. As a matter of cold law, we could. As a practical matter, it would be unthinkable. First, it would certainly completely disrupt our relations with our ally. Secondly, it would leave us open to an action for damages at the instance of the United States.
– What? Good Lord!
– If the honorable senator holds a contrary opinion, let him express it when it is his turn.
– An action for damages!
– I was referring to a matter of cold law, in relation to a proposition that I say is unthinkable. As a purely abstract concept, in the final analysis we have sovereignty.
– To suggest that if this Parliament repealed that agreement there would be ground for an action for damages is just nonsense, I say with great respect - undue respect.
– With the same amount of respect to Senator Wright, I completely disagree with him. I have stated my proposition. Another aspect is that we demanded that we should have control of our own people, that our law should apply to them and also to the United Spates personnel. We are presented with the Status of Allied Forces Agreement which is referred to and - I think I am right in saying - incorporated in this agreement, because the last preamble states -
Considering that the two governments are entering into an Agreement concerning the Status of United States Forces in Australia, which agreement is to be read with this Agreement . . .
On looking at that agreement, I find that it is very largely in line with the regulations applicable to allied forces throughout wartime under the National Security Act which were initiated by the Liberal-Country Party Government in the early part of the war and extended and applied under the Labour Administration. I should like to quote two brief extracts. First, I refer to Article 8 of the status agreement dealing with offences. Paragraph (4) reads -
The foregoing provisions of this Article shall not confer on the military authorities of the United States any right to exercise jurisdiction over persons who are nationals of or ordinarily resident in Australia unless they are members of the United States Forces.
Paragraph (11) (a) of Article 12, dealing with civil claims, reserves our position in these terms -
The United States shall not claim immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of Australia for members of the United Stales Forces or of the civilian component or dependants in respect of the civil jurisdiction of the courts of Australia.
So I consider that the Opposition’s second requirement was met. a
The third requirement was that the base should not be used to stock-pile or store nuclear missiles. That has been conceded. I come now to the real conflict between the Government and the Opposition - the question of joint control and the possibility of automatic involvement of Australia in war. That is really the one great issue that lies between us now. I concede that the fullest possible consultation between the two parties is provided for under the agreement. At any time, at the request of either, consultation can take place. We of the Opposition are realistic enough to recognize that if a nuclear attack were launched against Australia or the United States of America there would be no time for consultation whilst a nuclear missile was in the air on the way. Retaliation must be immediate. But, of course, that will be arranged long beforehand. It is a contingency that can be foreseen. It can be particularized and made the subject of an agreement. Before the event, that is a situation that must be determined as a result of consultation. The Opposition has never asked that, with a nuclear missile hostile to Australia or to America on the way, we should be consulted as to what should be done. We have never put up any such nonsense. It is a matter of minutes between the launching and the explosion on a distant target. Immediate retaliation, immediate interceptory measures, are called for and they will have been settled as a result of prior consultation and agreement. That is not the position which really worries us. Many other matters can be resolved before the event. I have no doubt that we now have an agreement of that nature under the Anzus pact. The type of action which will be taken in these circumstances is already determined.
In regard to joint control, I ask: Did the Australian Government ask for joint control, or did it not? If it did not ask for joint control, why does it complain when the Opposition prefers the same request? I ask another question: If the Government did not ask for joint control, why did it not do so? If it did not do so, it was false to its trust to this country and it let the nation down; it abdicated from responsibility entirely. The absence of joint control could plunge either Australia or America into war automatically without the knowledge or consent of the other.
To illustrate the point I am making, I refer to the reply that was given by the Minister for External Affair to Mr. Chaney on 21st May. The letters in question ought to have been disclosed from the very beginning and we should not have had to wait until some news of them leaked out and the Minister was compelled to table them in the Parliament. The Parliament should have been given the freest information. The letter forwarded by the American Ambassador to the Minister on 7th May contains this interesting passage -
It is also understood that it was not intended to give Australia control over or access to the contents of messages transmitted over the Station.
He was referring to American messages. I ask the Government: What is the position in relation to Australia’s messages? Is there a similar veto on the part of America against our messages? Is our naval code available to the Americans? Are we free to use it? In the whole of this agreement where is there any comparable position in favour of Australia?
I put this to the Senate very seriously: Who knows who our friends or enemies will be during the next 25 years? Just let us look at the changes that have taken place in the world. I have already referred to the fact that our former enemies, Germany and Italy, propose to welcome Britain into the European Common Market but that a former ally has rejected the move. I point to our relations at the moment with Japan - an enemy which came right to our shores but which is now a friend of ours. I put this as one of the major queries which I address to the Government: What is the position in relation to the despatch over this station of Australian messages to any submarines we may have, or to any of our naval vessels? Under the agreement we are conceded the right to use the facilities. But on what terms is that concession made? Do the terms which apply in favour of America apply to us? If they do not, why riot? If America insists upon complete and absolute control of the contents of messages transmitted, I ask on behalf of the Opposition whether that applies to our messages. Can our messages be vetoed? I envisage a set of circumstances in which this country could find a need for warlike activities against some other nation - I need not name any, because one cannot see into the future - and would want to send a message to alert our naval forces. That might involve us in a conflict in which America did not want to be involved.
I am putting the argument that there should be a two-way traffic. Under this agreement, either country could originate unilateral action through this station without consulting the other but almost necessarily involving the other automatically in war. My personal view is that there ought to be a clear two-way agreement about that to indicate the position of both parties.
– Are we not allies?
– I do not know the answers to the questions I am posing. They are not available in anything we have received from the Government. I ask the Government to tell us in detail what control we have over our messages. The Minister may disagree with my argument that we may have a war on our hands in which America does not want to be involved, but I ask him whether we are free to send our messages. Is our code sacrosanct and kept for ourselves?
I conclude what I want to say about the subject of control by pointing out that the United States of America has many treaties relating to bases all around the world. In those cases has America taken the attitude that she has adopted toward us - that she had to have sole control over the stations? Indeed, she has not. I have in my hand a copy of “ Keesing’s Contemporary Archives “ for the period from the 8th to 15th March, 1958, which gives particulars of the agreement entered into between the United Kingdom and the United States of America in relation to the use of ballistic missiles in Britain. The story is a long one and I shall not read it all. I shall just quote some extracts from the agreement. lt states -
The decision to launch these missiles will be a matter for joint decision by the two Governments.
– They are British missiles.
– They are American missiles on British soil.
– No. They are American missiles which have been handed over to the British Government.
– It is a matter for joint decision by the two governments.
– That relates to the launching of missiles.
– That is much more important even than ordering them to be launched. At the key point, the Americans are prepared to have joint control. The agreement continues -
Any such joint decision will be made in the light of the circumstances at the time and having regard to the undertaking the two Governments have assumed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
The report of Mr. Sandys’s statement on the agreement to the House of Commons reads -
Mr. Sandys went on: “The missiles will be manned and operated by units of the Royal Air Force. The agreement provides that the missiles shall not be launched except by a joint positive decision of both Governments …”
Mr. Sandys, in reply, said . . . There would be special arrangements for ensuring that there would be rapid consultation about the joint decision, but he did not think the House would expect him to go into detail.
Mr. Chetwynd (Lab.) asked whether the decision to use the bases would be political or military, and at what level the final decision would be taken.
Mr. Sandys replied: “The decision will be taken in the same manner as the arrangements for taking decisions under the Attlee-Truman agreement. It will require a joint positive decision of both Governments - I emphasize Governments, not military commanders.”
The position in relation to a similar arrangement with Italy is set out in “ Keesing’s Contemporary Archives “ for the period from the 11th to 18th July, 1959. It deals with Thor missiles. Perhaps I had better read a part of this paragraph. It states -
The U.S. State Department announced on March 30, 1959, that an agreement had been signed in Rome under which the Italian armed forces would be equipped with American intermediaterange ballistic missiles.
They were the Jupiters, I understand. Then this comment appears -
Diplomatic sources in Washington said that the nuclear warheads would remain under United States control and that Italian personnel would receive training in the use of the missiles, both in Italy and the United States. It was pointed out that the Italo-American agreement differed in one particular from the Anglo-American agreement for the provision of Thor missiles; whereas the latter required only the approval of the British and American Governments for any decision to use the missiles and their warheads, the former- that is the Italian one - laid down that any such decision would need the approval both of the Italian Government and of NATO Supreme Headquarters.
So there were three people, or three elements, in that consultation and control. Let the Leader of the Government comment on these: I refer him to the Polaris Clydeside base in Scotland. Without going into detail, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom indicated that Polaris missiles would not be fired in any circumstances in United Kingdom territorial waters, that British control over that base within territorial waters was absolute, and that the Government was satisfied that those missiles would not be used without the greatest degree of consultation between his country and our ally that the situation allowed. On the last point he was referring to the activities of the submarines when outside territorial waters. He expected to be consulted even on that.
There are two other stations to which I shall simply make this very brief reference: There are the Midas early warning station and the ballistic early warning station for Great Britain. Both those stations are commanded and operated by the Royal Air Force, not by the Americans. I have said enough, unfortunately in sketchy form and quite inadequately, to indicate the possibility of reaching agreement with the United States of America. I ask the Minister specifically to answer the question that I have put: Did we seek joint control? If we did, stop complaining about the Opposition asking for it. If we did not, how badly we let this country down. I indicate, on behalf of the Opposition, that we will pass the second reading of this bill. We do not oppose the establishment of the base. We weigh the advantages and disadvantages of it. There are disadvantages in that we will attract bombs more readily in the direction of Australia to this and to other communication stations that the Americans are entitled to lease. We have decided in favour of the base as a proposition. We recognize that there is not much future for this country unless we come under the protection of the nuclear deterrent of the United States of America, unless we, are under the umbrella of American protection. In committee, I shall move an amendment directed to the question of the automatic involvement of Australia in war without its prior knowledge or consent. Labour, if in government, would hold to this agreement even in its present inchoate form. But we should certainly seek to re-negotiate it on the question of control and the automatic involvement not merely of Australia but of one party by the other, in war. I repeat that the Opposition values the co-operation of the United States of America. We initiated it; we fostered it; we got the vast advantages of it for Australia in the last war in the circumstances that I have already outlined.
[12.40]. - There is always charm and novelty in a debating exercise. One endeavours to forecast the line of thought that might be taken by one’s opponent. I confess that I am at a loss in two respects in this debate. First, I did not anticipate that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) would depart from the procedure that his party adopted in another place in moving for the deferment of the third reading of the bill for a period of six months. I cannot believe that a new procedure is to be adopted in the Senate.
– The Opposition in another place supported the second reading of the bill. The Minister is quite obviously confused. We supported the second reading.
Then I may take it that on the third reading there will be the same procedure as in another place?
– You may take nothing; you will find out when we get to the th i: d reading.
The other thing that gave me some surprise was the long detailed examination by the Leader of the Opposition of events and occurrences in an attempt to create an atmosphere and establish a case that there was some subterfuge on the part of the Government, that the Government had not placed the full facts before the Parliament and the people, and that the Opposition was surprised in the final analysis to find the nature of the use to which this station would be put. I did riot prepare myself to reply to that argument because I did not believe that a person with the standing and prestige of the Leader of the Opposition in this Senate would advance it in any serious fashion. I cannot believe that any Australian, even any member of the Australian Labour Party, can seriously believe that there was any attempt on the part of the Australian Government, from the first statement that was made about this base to the last, to conceal or withhold anything in order to create any impression other than a true impression of the full purpose and use of this base.
What is the present situation? The present situation provides a complete reply to any suggestion such as that made by the Leader of the Opposition. The Parliament has before it the complete agreement which sets out all the facts and all the circumstances relating to this station. Whatever Opposition senators have not known previously can only have been due to their own lack of imagination, lack of knowledge and lack of ability to foresee the possibilities. They now have the complete agreement before them in circumstances in which, technically, there is no obligation on the Government to have this agreement ratified by the Parliament. The Government, if it so desired, need not have put the agreement before the Parliament. However, it has done so in order that there shall be no misunderstanding and in order that everybody shall know the situation because of the fundamental importance of this agreement. I cannot really believe that the Opposition has put th:s criticism forward seriously. If it has, then it is another indication of how long the Menzies Government will be in office. This is a further indication of the lack of capacity of the Australian Labour Party to understand the Australian people - if it thinks that the Australian people really believe that there is substance in that sort of criticism.
Sitting suspended from 1.45 to 2.15 p.m.
Before the sitting was suspended I said I would refresh my memory on the allegation that there had been no disclosures about the United States naval communication station at North West Cape. I have done so to a limited extent in the time available and I shall refer to three statements. I do not think there is any need to take them further than that. A statement was made by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) in September, i960, in which he told of the proposal and announced that a survey team was coming’ to Australia. He made a progress report in January, 1961. But I think any possible doubts were set at rest by the statement made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in the House of Representatives on 17th May, 1962. The right honorable gentleman said, as reported at page 2449 of “ Hansard “-
The purpose of the station … is to provide radio communications for United Slates and allied ships over a wide area of the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. The power supply required for the station will be provided by conventionaltype diesel motors. The total area of land affected by the project will be about 28 square miles . . . The estimated capital cost of the station itself will be of the order of £A.33,O00,0O0.
No reasonable person looking at those three statements can have any doubt at all about the purpose, use and effect of this station. A radio communication station costing £33,000,000 obviously would be a most up-to-date, efficient and effective naval communication station, with all modern equipment. I have taken the Opposition’s accusation so lightly that I am not quite clear what it is in specific terms. I take it to be that there is something wrong with being connected with a station that will have something to do with nuclear submarines.
– Submarines were not mentioned at all in the Prime Minister’s speech.
– To me, that is puerile. It was announced that £33,000,000 would be devoted to one of the most modern naval communication centres in the world, and then the Opposition says, “ But you did not mention submarines “.
– Government spokesmen specifically mentioned ships.
– Oh, really! A number of honorable senators want to speak in this debate and I do not propose to be provoked into argument on that point. I want to leave time for others to speak. I refuse to argue this matter. I do not want to be offensive, but I do not believe that the Australian Labour Party could seriously say of a naval communication station on which the United States of America was going to spend £33,000,000, “ We never thought the base would communicate with submarines “. I refuse to spend any more time discussing it.
Might I first contrast that sort of attack with the Labour Party’s attitude on this base as I understand it. First, there is this puerile statement that Opposition members were not told the communications station would communicate- with submarines. Then they said the station would be outmoded in a few years. According to the Opposition there would be such great technical developments that the station would have an effective life of only a few years. Despite that, the Labour Party took all the points it could. Then the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) reached the height of absurdity, if there is anything more absurd than saying the Opposition was not told that the station would communicate with submarines. As I understood him, the honorable gentleman said publicly that there was a secret agreement which covered the main points sought by the Labour Party. The Leader of the Opposition said that this secret agreement covered joint operation which was what the Labour Party wanted. He said, in effect: “You have a secret agreement which gives effect to the Labour Party’s wishes. You are concealing it so that you can beat the Labour Party politically.”
I have a personal regard for Mr. Calwell and I simply fail to understand how he could be so absurdly advised as to make a public statement to that effect. The Government felt that as that statement came from such a responsible person it should be refuted immediately. So, as is not unusual with documents like this, the actual letters on the subject that have passed between Australia and the United States of America were tabled in the Parliament. They confirm exactly every word that was used in the Minister’s second-reading speech. Of course, the second-reading speech was drafted with knowledge of that exchange of letters and was stated in such specific terms as to confirm the contents of the letters. Having seen the letters in which the United States Government made it absolutely plain that it would not agree to joint control of the station the Labour Party claims that that is wrong and that we could have had joint control if we had so desired. That is the sort of attitude that lost Australia the Manus base, and Australia is not going to lose this North West Cape base because of the mental attitude and the approach of the Labour Party.
I had proposed to make my speech in an orderly fashion and lead methodically from one point to another, so I shall try to get back to that plan. I also make the point that I do not accept the view that the Labour Party really thinks that it is practicable to obtain joint control of the new base. I am sure that approximately half the Labour Party have accepted the view that it would be a bad thing for Australia if we had joint control because of the damage it could do to the efficiency of the station in tragic circumstances, if they arose. That being the case, the Labour Party is saying, in effect: “ We are not against this base. All we want is a better base. We think this station is a good thing for Australia. All we would like to do is to improve the conditions.” By the same token, the Opposition is saying most dishonestly and insincerely, in the plainest of parliamentary terms, “ We will defeat the legislation that gives this base to Australia “. That is the effect of the procedure adopted in the. Parliament by the Labour Party. I have criticized the Labour Party previously for what I consider to be the unpardonable sin of going back on its principles and saying in its policy speech, “ We will not have socialism in this term of Parliament “. To me it is an unpardonable sin for a great political party to forgo its principles for the purpose of obtaining temporary political support. But that sin pales into insignificance when compared with the Labour Party’s attitude on this bill. It states that it wants to have the American base, but then seeks to deny the base to us, hoping that the people of Australia will not understand the significance of the parliamentary procedure that is being followed.
I want to make three points, because this is an historical debate. I only wish that I were better equipped to deal with the issues. First, I remind the Senate of the importance of the base to Australia. Secondly, I say that it is impracticable, undesirable and unwise for Australia to attempt to obtain joint control of the base. Here let me remind the Senate of what joint control of this base would mean. In the world in which we live joint control could mean a veto on the use of the base and a veto on the use of this communications base could mean a veto o;t the use by the United States of its nuclear power throughout the world.
– Do you think that is possible?
That could be the effect of joint control. Signals from this communications base will cover large parts of the world, but the Labour Party proposes that we should say to the United States of America. “ We claim the right to determine the circumstances in which you can use this means of communication “. Could the United States be expected to agree to that proposal?
The third point is this: The Australian Labour Party is divided on this matter. A substantial proportion of the party approached the issue in a responsible way. Yet, in order to play to that section of the party which is irresponsible, the Opposition is adopting a subterfuge in parliamentary procedures. It is hoping that the people of Australia will not appreciate or understand Labour’s political dishonesty in claiming to support the erection of this station, whilst, at the same time, using parliamentary procedures to prevent its establishment.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) traversed some part of the international position. I had contemplated doing so, but I shall not have time. I think the Leader of the Opposition acted quite properly in attempting to put this project in perspective, but a point that I think he did not make with sufficient emphasis is that this communications centre will be of profound importance to Australia in two sets of circumstances - in the event of global nuclear war, and in the cold war as it is being carried on at the present time, short of the use of nuclear weapons. If honorable senators believe as I do - pray
God that I am right - that the existence of nuclear weapons will prevent global war, then this communications base will be of greater importance to Australia because of its deterrent effect and its potential value in local wars in South-East Asia.
No sane person does not want to avoid the use of nuclear weapons, and even the testing of nuclear weapons. We ail agree that these are desirable objectives. However, protracted negotiations have failed to produce a practical formula for banning tests. 1 believe that in those negotiations we of the democracies have approached the issues with -great honesty, and sincerity of purpose, but we have failed. We are now in the situation that we must have total disarmament because of the superiority of the Communist powers in conventional weapons.
What is happening to-day is, to me, almost incongruous. Global war would mean total destruction, and it is being avoided because of the existence of nuclear weapons. So we have the incongruity that nuclear weapons, designed for war, are preventing war. The very machines that have been designed for vast destruction we now describe as a deterrent. They have achieved a purpose quite different from that for which they were originally intended. We, by set purpose, are not a nuclear power. However, I think I echo the words of the Leader of the Opposition - if 1 am wrong I hope he will not correct me too harshly - when I say that the centre of conflct in the foreseeable future may be in our part of the world rather than in the northern hemisphere. That is because of the comparative success of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization arrangements.
This is a situation that we have to face realistically. In our part of the world we must not ignore the possibility of diplomatic successes. We cannot overlook the possibility, or even probability, that the area of dispute and the risk of war can be reduced by diplomatic representations. I hope that we shall never automatically treat our neighbouring countries as being hostile, but shall remember all the while the possibility that good sense will triumph and that we will eventually be able to live together. But in all circumstances, to echo the words of Oliver Cromwell, the great hero of Senator Hannan, we should maintain our faith in God, but keep our powder dry. We must remember that, in the long run, Australia’s position turns upon its ability to develop its resources and increase its population, avoiding fantasies such as the proposed nuclear-free area. We must remember all the while that our problem is in the short term, rather than in the long term, because in the long term we will become a ‘great nation. I think there is only one track along which we can go, and that is towards strengthening our defences to the extent that we are able to do so, depending on arrangements with allies in whom we have confidence. Senator Hendrickson. - Who are they?
– The most important of them is the United States of America. The most important defence treaty that Australia has is the Anzus Treaty. The’ establishment of this radio communication station is entirely in accordance with the spirit and intention of that treaty. I say that any political party which opposes the carrying out of the spirit and intention of the treaty assumes a grave responsibility.
– Who is opposing it?
– I shall not answer that foolish interjection. The Labour Party intends to vote against this bill. I think it is obvious, but nevertheless, it should be stated, that so far as we can see into the future, it is the United States which will primarily carry responsibility in South-East Asia and in the part of the world in which we are so vitally interested. I suggest that the United States Seventh Fleet - if I am wrong, I do not think I am too far off the target - is the most important of Australia’s defence preparations. Our ability to communicate promptly with that fleet, whether it is nuclear-armed or whether it is conventionallyarmed, is surely of the essence of the Australian defence programme. We live in a world in which the science of communication changes from day to day and in which no notice is given that hostilities are about to commence. Everybody feels that if there is another war, whether it is a global war or a limited war, it will be on the pattern of the attack on Pearl
Harbour. Prompt and speedy communications are essential in this age in which the boffins fight one another and in which scientific devices become obsolescent almost overnight. I know nothing about the working of this station, but I have no doubt that there will be a constantly changing set of scientific instruments. The considerations I have mentioned apply, quite apart from the most selfish point of view which Australia could adopt and apart altogether from its desire to make its contribution towards avoiding global war. They apply even from the narrowest point of view, having regard to Australia’s requirements in the world in which we live.
Prompt communications are vital for us in the world of to-day. I do not think any of us could forget about nuclear weapons, but if we could, I think we would still have to agree that this base is vital for the proper equipment of American and Australian naval forces in this part of the world. If we turn over the page, so to speak, and look at the matter from another angle, we see that this proposal will bring to Australia the benefit of the deterrent. It is one of the great insurance premiums that Australia pays to maintain peace in this area, because the efficiency of this communication station will have such a marked effect on the efficiency of the American and Australian naval forces. I hope - in fact, I believe - that it will provide efficient communication in times of hostilities, and there is also the likelihood that efficient communication will prevent hostilities. That is one of the views I hold, and I think it is correct.
I have spoken for long enough and have said most of the things I wanted to say. I have made the accusation, and I repeat it, that the Labour Party is being dishonest in this connexion. It wants to make a pretence to the people of Australia. It wants to derive the electoral advantage from showing common sense in supporting the base, at the same time as it panders to its own left-wing element. The Opposition proposes to vote against the establishment of the base, using the forms of this Parliament to do so. Let us be under no misunderstanding. Australia needs this base for its own purposes, and needs it badly. The United States needs it for the purposes of its own global defences. The United
States wants to establish it, thank God, because of that country’s sense of responsibility and its endeavours to preserve peace in the part of the world in which we live. The United States is willing to provide the station in circumstances involving an ally which it holds in high respect. It is a proud thing for most of us to be able to say that, despite our size as a nation, the great American nation holds us in high regard. Indeed, the United States would not risk such an important part of its communications system in our territory if it did not hold us in such high regard.
You reach a stage, Sir, in trying to express your thoughts, when you run out of both words and notes. This is an important matter and I should like to summarize it by saying that I think it would be a terrible thing for Australia if we did not have the benefit of this communication station. I believe that that also would be the view of half the members of the Australian Labour Party, if they were prepared to stand up and support the proposal without any subterfuge. It is a terrible indictment of a political party to say that it is endeavouring to disguise its real views and to confuse the people of Australia, by adopting a parliamentary procedure which is aimed at denying Australia the benefit of this base and repeating the tragic mistake of Manus Island. That would be the result if the vote of the Opposition were to prevail in this matter. The Labour Party hopes that its* dishonesty will not be seen by the Australian people.
– I wish to congratulate Senator Mckenna on he grand way he coped with the rather difficult job of camouflaging with a mass of words the real intention of the Australian Labour Party. I should say that the agreement concerning this communication station, when it is concluded, will be the most important document to be signed in Australia for many years. There is only one possible cause of world wars now. It is the determination of those people sponsoring the communistic ideology to destroy democracy and subjugate the peoples of the world to their foul doctrines. Anything that will deter this enemy is good. The Australian Democratic Labour Party, therefore, strongly supports the building of this base at Exmouth Gulf.
Why do we need a deterrent? We need a very strong deterrent because the whole of South-east Asia at the present time presents a grave danger to Australia. We must find ways and means at this very moment to safeguard our country. We all know what is happening in Laos and South Viet Nam. We are not doing much in those areas, and should be doing a great deal more. The Americans are pouring in men, money and machines to stop the red stain that is gradually creeping towards Australia. The building of this base will help to stop that red stain from coming closer. Yet we have the Labour Party attempting to destroy this base at Exmouth Gulf!
– You prove that!
– If another conference of the Labour Party is held it may be that you will not have the one man over. It was only bad luck, from the point of view of the left-wing, that the gentleman from Queensland voted as he did. There were two other delegates from Tasmania .who were supposed to vote against the base. When they went back they were asked by their left-wing unions why they did not vote, in the way they had been instructed.
– So what?
– They turned then and supported the abolition of the base. If another Labour Party federal conference is held it is likely that the result will be different. There could be a change when the Labour Party holds its federal conference in June.
– There is to be no conference in June.
– Well, it will not be long before one is held.
For many years now some people have been suggesting that because we are allowing American money to pour into this country America is going to take us over. Some people have been against the idea of so much American capital coming into this country. I have always supported the inflow of that capital for the reason that I think we need to make ourselves indispensable to the United States. One way that that can be done is through the almighty dollar. Another way is to make ourselves absolutely indispensable to America’s safety. At present America considers Australia as a country on its outer defence line. In a show-down the United States naturally would look after itself first; it would defend its own shores. Australia is only on the outer fringe of its defence line.
I have often wondered how we could get America interested enough in us to consider us vital to it if a testing time came. I think the answer is in the signing of this agreement for the establishment of the communications base. America is now showing that it considers Australia an essential part of its defences and an essential element in democracy in South-East Asia.
– Would not America defend us without having dollars over here?
– I am not denying that the dollars she has invested may be a reason, but the position now is that she will have a communications base that is essential to her own defence. Now, in fact, Australia as a country is essential to American defence.
Another point which should be closely considered is the possibility of a conventional war in this area. In a very short time we may well be faced with a Communist country right on our borders. I know that at present Indonesia has an army which is non-Communist and is friendly toward us to a certain extent. It may remain friendly, but there is a possibility that communism could win there. Honorable senators know as well as I do that the Communist Party obtains 25 per cent, of the votes cast in Indonesia. If Viet Nam and Laos were to become Communist, and Malaysia is not a success, the pressure will be on in Indonesia. That country could become Communist. Then our testing time would really come. If a conventional war were to break out in this area do you not think that the countries to the north of us would hesitate to attack Australia if we had a mighty American base on our northwest coast? I think that this base would be a great insurance for the defence of Australia. In a conventional war countries would think twice before attacking us. Apart altogether from the provisions of the Anzus treaty, if they attack us, they will be directly attacking America. So we can see that this base is essential to Australia.
When we examine all the arguments of the Australian Labour Party, we find that they are quite stupid. I am sure that 75 per cent, of the members of the party, and 90 per cent, of their supporters, who elected them, do not really believe in what Labour is bringing forward in the Senate to-day. Labour representatives say that there should be joint control so that we will not be brought into any nuclear war. If there is joint control, there must be joint responsibility. If there is joint control and something, involving America, happens in some other part of the world, automatically we will be involved in any war that follows.
– What muddled thinking!
– You personally may not want that base. It may be that you will not get a trip up there. If there is to be joint sovereignty or joint control, there must be joint responsibility. Labour supporters are trying to have one without the other. Why was this proposal made by Labour? It was brought in, when the Communist-controlled left wing of the Labour Party-
– Here we go!
– It is true.
– It is untrue.
– You, more than any one else, know that it is true.
– It is untrue.
– You know that the Communist-controlled left wing established the policy favouring a nuclear-free zone. Since then, it has been caught up in the matter of the Exmouth Gulf base. Fancy a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere! Half of you do not believe in it. All that you are asking is that Australia be subjected to nuclear blackmail by any countries north of the equator. Those countries that are causing us trouble at the moment are north of the equator and they can aim their inter-continental ballistic missiles towards Australia. Would you wait for them to do that and give in without a fight?
– Did you not support the principle of nuclear-free zones at the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference?
– Did you not vote for the resolution?
– He walked out.
– I did not walk out. You ought to read the speech I made at the conference. Labour supporters have proposed the establishment of a nuclearfree zone. The Labour Party’s brilliant poet, Mr. Haylen, even wrote a little poem about it and about the proposed base, with apologies to Dorothea Mackellar. I read that with great interest and I thought it was not at all bad. When I was in Queensland a few days ago, the sixteenyear old daughter of one of our candidates in the Queensland elections handed me a poem in answer to Mr. Haylen’s splendid effort. I should like to read it. Entitled “ A sunburnt country, with apologies to Mr. Haylen “. It reads -
I would hate a sunburnt country, where Commos fly the planes,
Nikita Kruschchev’s conquest, a land of grief and pains,
Liquidations by the thousands, indoctrinations by the score.
If you have realized it already, I hope it strikes you more.
Core of my heart, my country, farewell to the fair and free,
With the raids from Moscow coming, your answer is the D.L.P.
The foolish ones who protest to keep us nuclear free
Will be the first to run for cover when Nikita troops we see.
Yes, I love a sunburnt country, not under Com mo rule
But never do I wish to attend an indoctrination school.
That is quite a good answer, I believe, to Haylen’s tremendous poem.
The Labour Party’s advocacy of a nuclear-free zone is stupid. Why does Labour try to destroy the Exmouth Gulf base? Labour senators do not believe in this policy, but they are led by the nose. They are led by the nose because they cannot get rid of the Communists who are controlling their party to-day. I am appealing to you people to do something about it.
– Tell us what to do.
– I know that you do not know what to do; you are guite genuine about that. We shall soon tell you what to do.
– I have been waiting for years to hear you tell us.
– I have been trying for several years to tell you what you should do, but you are too frightened for your seats to do something about it. We all know the leanings of my friend in front, Senator O’Byrne. The importance of this base transcends any politics. We think that Australia is worth saving and fighting for. We must defend this country.
I was very pleased to hear the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) deliver a statement on defence yesterday. It seems that a little more is to be done to defend Australia than has been done in the past. I hope that even more will be done than was forecast in the Minister’s statement. This country is really worth fighting for. We do not wish to give it away, even though the Labour Party is attempting to do so at the present time. The insidious way in which the Labour Party is trying to prevent the establishment of this base is rather shameful, as the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) pointed out a moment ago. The Labour Party is using parliamentary procedures in an effort to hinder the establishment of this station, hoping that the. people of Australia will not understand what it is doing. The Minister put honorable senators opposite right on the line when he said that they were trying in every way possible to prevent the establishment of the base. I think the Labour Party is traitorous in the way in which it is dealing with affairs in Australia.
I conclude by repeating my opening remark that this is the most important agreement that has been signed for the benefit, the defence and the safeguarding of Australia for the present and the future.
– I rise to support the bill. For many years to come this will be one of the most important measures, if not the most important measure, that will have been debated in the Senate. America, with the full approval of Australia, is to spend approximately £33,000,000 upon the establishment of a radio communication base at Exmouth Gulf in the north-west of Western Australia to enable her to have contact with her vessels scattered throughout the world. We must realize that this base is to be established in the interests of defence. We must decide who will be the attacker if there is a nuclear war. Who has been the attacker in the past? Has America any ideas about expanding her empire? Has she had any since 1918, or even since the beginning of this century? In my opinion, the whole idea behind the establishment of this base is the prevention of the spread of communism throughout the world, particularly in the South-East Asian sphere in which Australia is so vitally interested.
When we look at Communist movements, we note that the attack against the free world stems from two separate points. The two countries concerned - Russia and Communist China - are not altogether in agreement. Has Communist China any ideas about expanding her empire? The answer to that question is to be found in the events of the last four or five years. Communist China has attacked and conquered Tibet and has entered India and fought there for what she believes to be some of her territorial rights. Has America done that sort of thing? As members of the Senate, we must get a clear picture in our own minds of the purpose of this base. Will it be established for the purpose et attack, or for the purpose of defence?
– You would not know.
– There arc 36 members of the Australian Labour Party who will tell you which way you must go, and you will do what they tell you. I have a fair idea of the purpose of the base. I am trying to develop the point that neither Australia nor America has ever attacked another country, and neither of them ever will. We have no territorial ambitions. Both countries want to bc left alone. But, in the interests of world peace, America has, with the agreement of the Australian Government, decided to spend £33,000,000 on the establishment of this base in the north-west of Western Australia to enable her to communicate with her naval vessels
Apparently Opposition senators are instructed about what is wanted by certain people outside the Parliament. I think that is a fair statement. A meeting of the Labour Party executive was held in Canberra a few weeks ago, and those 36 people decided by a vote of 19-17 that under certain circumstances, with some alterations to the agreement, the Labour Party would support the establishment of this base.
– That is so.
– You do not believe that to be true?
– Yes, I do.
– So you are supporting the measure? No doubt many honorable senators opposite oppose the establishment of this base secretly, but they have been instructed by the party’s executive, following a majority vote, to support it.
A great amount of labour will be neede I to construct the base, and that labour will be supplied by Western Australia. Conti acts will be called almost immediately. We read in this morning’s press the terms and conditions upon which the labour unions will agree to supply labour to construct the base. Most of the labour that will be required will be provided by Australia, and wherever possible the materials required will be supplied from Australian sources. A powerhouse will be erected there to supply the necessary current, and no doubt the crude oil which will be needed to generate the power will come from Australian refineries. The expenditure of the sum of £33,000,000 to which I have referred will create a tremendous amount of employment in Western Australia. It has been stated in the press, which has an Australia-wide coverage, that approximately 1,000 people will be employed there for quite a few years while the base is being constructed. A complete new township will have to be built, and Australian goods and equipment will bc used. At the present time 1.9 per cent, of the work force in Western Australia is unemployed. The employment of these 1,000 persons will reduce the level of unemployment in that State by one-half of one per cent.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) said that Great Britain was taking particular interest in the European countries and that he considered - and I think this was a fair statement - that Britain would be hard pressed at the moment, to come to our assistance in the event of an attack from overseas. Therefore, to whom do we look? We look to America to come and help us. With that in mind, we find that we have signed an agreement, the Anzus pact, with America. This provides that if we are attacked, America will immediately come to our assistance in this area. So, Sir, I would say that when this base is constructed it will be of great assistance in stopping an attack on Australia whether by conventional arms to which Senator Cole referred or by other means if America gets involved in a nuclear war. This base would be of vital importance to Australia. The Opposition has advocated joint control of the base.
To-day, two great powers have nuclear arms. One is America, which probably has the greatest quantity; the other is Russia. We hear of other countries getting nuclear arms. I understand that China will be manufacturing nuclear bombs within a decade. France is testing nuclear bombs. But at the moment there are two great nations that have them. We must have a nuclear deterrent as the cheapest and easiest way to prevent a nuclear war. I do not believe that one nation will attack another nation unless it has a great superiority. I believe this to be true because even a nation which has a nuclear weapon will not be eager to make the first attack on a nation which could retaliate with nuclear weapons. We have to examine this position in relation to nuclear armaments. I think it is terribly important. I think that every one in the Senate will agree that the first nuclear attack will not be made by us or by America. If there is to be an attack by a nuclear power it will be made on the Western world by a Communist nuclear power.
– Are you suggesting that Australia should manufacture its own atomic weapons?
– I did not say that. I am talking about nuclear weapons and the people who have them and the people who will be involved if a nuclear war occurs. I am suggesting that if there is a nuclear war it will be between the East and the West. Communist China or Russia could make the first attack. But the conflict will take place between the Communists and the Western world. As honorable senators know, Communist China would seek, if it had the power, to conquer the world by force. At the moment, I think it can be said that Russia is not in agreement with that ideology. That is the split between the two Communist countries. We do not know how far it will go. But immediately there is a nuclear attack on the Western world including Europe, the United Kingdom and America, by the Communist countries there would be an immediate response in the form of a nuclear attack by the Western world on bases established in Communist countries. That is why this station has been established. It is necessary to have a deterrent.
It has been said that Russia has a lot of submarines equipped with nuclear armaments. So has America. They will be stationed in various parts of the world and, no doubt, if the attack comes those submarines will be used for counter-attack on the country that makes the original attack. That is what is meant by a “ nuclear deterrent “. From the time that the first nuclear attack is made, the country attacked would have only minutes - fifteen or twenty minutes at the most - to retaliate with similar weapons. That is the reason why the greatest deterrent to nuclear attack is the possession of sufficient power to enable a counter-attack to be made. The possibility of counter-attack will strongly influence nations not to make a surprise attack.
We saw evidence of that fact recently in Cuba. When some of us were abroad it was found that Cuba had missile bases on her territory on which missiles could be pointed towards American bases.- If the Cubans had been allowed to develop those bases, missiles could have been launched, at the pressing of a button, towards any point in America. We know that when President Kennedy announced that those missile bases would have to be removed from Cuba the first support from any country for the President of America was announced by the Prime Minister of Australia (Sir Robert Menzies). We were very proud of that fact; but the announcement was delayed for some time although it was the first of the kind to be made. I want to say one or two words about the speed at which it is necessary to make these decisions. If you have dual control and a decision has to be made it involves time. In this matter, time is the essence of the contract. In Washington, on 1 6th November, 1946, it was alleged before an investigation committee that was inquiring into the attack on Pearl Harbour that a message sent by a military attach6, Lieutenant Odell, who had been stationed in Melbourne, to the High Command in Hawaii had been delayed for seventeen hours because the Australian Cabinet of the day - in 1941 or 1942 - was about to hold a meeting. According to a report published in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ the military attach^ alleged that because of the delay of seventeen hours the message was delivered in Pearl Harbour twelve hours after the Japanese had started shelling the base.
– What was the date in 1941?
– I can give the date of the inquiry but not the date of the attack.
– In 1941 your Government was in power.
– I remember quite distinctly, and 1 am sure you will agree, that when the attack was made on Pearl Harbour, the Labour Party was in office. All I want to say is that I am quoting what was reported in the “ Sydney Morning Herald ‘*. It stated that in Washington on 15th November, 1946, a committee was holding an inquiry into the happenings at Pearl Harbour, lt was alleged to this committee that a message sent by a certain military attache named Lieutenant Odell, who was stationed in Melbourne, to the High Command in Hawaii, was delayed for seventeen hours because the Australian Cabinet-
– Was it the Cabinet or the War Cabinet?
– I am using the word Cabinet. That is what is in my notes - the Australian Cabinet. The report continued that the Australian Cabinet was going to hold a meeting. The military attach6 alleged that because of a delay of seventeen hours, the message was delivered in Pearl Harbour twelve hours after the Japanese attacked and destroyed five battleships and damaged five other battleships, and caused heavy losses of other equipment in Pearl Harbour.
– The Australian Cabinet caused that?
– I am saying that because of the need for the Australian Cabinet to decide whether or not this message should be sent, evidently a delay occurred. These are not my words. These are taken from the “ Sydney Morning Herald “. A delay of seventeen hours occurred, with the consequent result that five battleships of the American fleet were destroyed and five others were seriously damaged and many lives were lost. That is a true story.
– They had only one line of communication through Melbourne. That is silly.
– It happens to be true. Then we recall the Australian Labour Party’s handling of our defences after the second world war. What did the Labour Party do with Manus Island? One has only to read the records. They show just what sort of an authority the Labour Party would be if it were in government. The United Stares Government was prepared to take over Manus Island, which was already stocked with naval equipment for the defence of the northern part of Australia. At that moment there was equipment worth £120,000,000 on Manus Island.
On 30th June, 1946, the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ reported that negotiations were being carried out between the Australian Government and the American Government regarding the transfer of Manus Island to America so that America could maintain her naval establishment there. In October, 1947, some nineteen or twenty months later, the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ reported that the Labour Party had quibbled and haggled until the American Government had lost interest in Manus Island. The Americans just could not negotiate with the Labour Government.
Now the Labour Party says that as soon as it forms the Australian Government it will re-negotiate the terms of the agreement on the new naval communications station. Then we will have more haggling and quibbling, and what happened over Manus Island in 1947 will happen again. Because of the haggling and quibbling of the Labour Government the Americans walked out of the defence base at Manus Island, where they had spent £120,000,000. The proposal now is to spend £33,000,000 on a base at North West Cape in Western Australia for naval communications. If it were not established the Labour Party would say we were leaving the country defenceless.
I repeat that the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna)’ said that when Labour was returned to office, the first thing it intended to do was to re-negotiate this agreement. The record of Labour’s negotiations and re-negotiations shows that it lost Manus Island with 120,000,000 worth of equipment because of haggling and quibbling. We will get the same result with this base as we did with Manus Island if a Labour Government ever gets into office. The Americans will put their hats on, walk out of the North West Cape station and say goodbye. The Americans were the Opposition’s friends as well as mine during and after the second world war. Let us face the facts. Who saved Australia? Was it the Communists?
– Who got the Americans to come here after your Government crawled out of office?
– That is a nice statement. The honorable senator said we crawled out of office. We were defeated in 1941 on the floor of the House.
– You were not defeated. You ran out.
– A vote was taken. This is a true story and it should be told. There were two Independents, Messrs. Coles and Wilson. They voted against the Government and gave the Opposition the numbers. It is impossible to govern without the numbers, as the Opposition knows.
– Why did they do it?
– I hear an honorable senator interjecting that there may have been a suitable reward. I do not know what went on between the Labour Party and Messrs. Coles and Wilson, but I know that as a result one was made chairman or managing director of the National Airlines Commission which runs T.A.A. and the other was appointed Administrator of Norfolk Island. Was that a deal? I do not know, and I am not going to say anything about it, but that is what happened. We did not walk out of office. We were defeated on the floor of the House and two Independents got particularly interesting jobs afterwards. Going back to the communication centre, it is interesting to relate that six Western Australian members of the Labour Party federal conference voted against the establishment of this communication station when the conference met at the Hotel Kingston in Canberra.
– That is not true.
– The press reported that six members of the Western Australian delegation to the Canberra meeting voted against the establishment of the naval communications station at North West Cape. These people are Western Australians. They came to the national capital with the intention of instructing their people who work for them here to vote the thing out. We have members of the Opposition criticizing the Government on unemployment. But when we are going to employ an extra 1,000 to establish a base they do not want it established. Why? I am not accusing members of the Labour Party executive or of the Labour Party itself, of being Communists. All I am saying is that of the 36 men who met in Canberra, it would appear that nineteen, including six from Western Australia, would sooner have the Russians here than our American friends. That is the inference I draw from the way the members voted. Therefore, I have to stand up to tell the Senate what I think. I have expressed my honest opinion. I do not say that those men are Communists, although some may be. I do not know. Nor do I suggest for one moment that any honorable senator opposite is a Communist.
– I am not accusing you of being pro-Japanese.
– That should make you feel happy.
– Yes, we are both happy. Mr. President, I am amazed that members of the Labour Party have the audacity to come into this chamber and give lip service to this bill when it is obvious that they do not want the base and are using parliamentary procedures in an attempt to avoid having it.
– I wish to make it clear from the inception that all members of the
Labour Party support the establishment of this base, but we do so with reservations. Senator Scott whipped himself into a fury and from the way he was speaking I thought he would go for an hour, but Senator Willesee’s reference, by interjection, to his association with the Japanese knocked him right to the ground. I think Senator McKenna’s opening speech in this debate gave an excellent analysis of the situation that confronts Australia to-day. He talked at length about the Anzus and Seato pacts, and the question of Communist aggression. Government supporters claim that written into this agreement is a provision that the United States will protect us in certain circumstances. The Opposition supports the establishment of the base but believes that Australia should have a. say in its operation. As Senator McKenna said, if a nuclear attack were under way, there would be no question of consultation on the use of the base.
Before turning to my main arguments on this measure, I should like to refer to the cable which a certain Lieutenant Odell, is supposed to have sent to the United States high command just prior to Japan’s entry into the last war. This was referred to yesterday in another place. I have mentioned this to some gentlemen who were members of Labour’s war cabinet at the time, and they have told me that this is the first they have ever heard of the matter. So 1 give the lie direct to what was said. Some honorable senators opposite are always talking this nonsense about Manus, and I have no doubt that from now on they will talk about Lieutenant Odell. I remind Government supporters that their Liberal-Country Party Government ran out of office in 1941.
– Yes, deserted, this country at the time of its greatest crisis. The United States then co-operated completely with the Labour Government. On the subject of Manus, I refer the Senate to “Hansard” of 9th February, 1949. While Dr. Evatt was speaking Mr. Abbott interjected -
The United States of America wants back Manus Island for its own use.
Dr. Evatt then said ;
The honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) has been very consistent on that point. I think that he has been very wrong about it. He knows’ very well that there are two points of view with regard to Manus. One is that that base should be completely handed over to the United States of America. I think that is a completely preposterous proposition. No suggestion of that kind was ever put to us by the United States of America at any time.
How could we give up part of a territory which under our trusteeship responsibilities is an integral part of a territory which Australia is bound to defend? According to Admiral Hamilton, Manus is the Scapa Flow of the Pacific, and it is the duty and right of Australia to develop it as the forward base for our carrier arm. I should be surprised and astonished to hear that any reason was given to anybody in this country to complain about that attitude. We have never received any complaints about it. The President of the United States of America has not so much as breathed a word on the subject. As I have said, the relations between our two countries could not be more cordial than they are to-day.
So, I hope that the allegation in relation to Manus will not be made again in this chamber. It is only a stunt.
– That statement was made three years after the event.
– Well, it was not twenty years.
– Three years.
– The allegation has been answered right from the time it was first made.
I congratulate Senator McKenna on his very fine address. Attempts have been made to whip up hostility in this debate. The Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) said there was no obligation on the Government to bring this bill before Parliament, and he spoke about electoral advantages to the Labour Party. The fact is that this bill has been brought before Parliament to secure electoral advantages for the Liberal Party. However, in view of the debates that have taken place here and in another place this plan has failed.
Members of the Opposition recognize that Australia has an area of 3,000,000 square miles, a coastline of 12,000 miles and a population of only 11,000,000. We are concerned about the well-being of this country. We live in a very troubled world. Like every other Australian, I am concerned about the future of Australia and of our children. We have been free because we have had good and powerful friends. As others have said, Britain has kept us free for the past century. In World War II. it was the lot of the Labour Party to make a direct appeal to America, and I should like honorable senators to recall some of the statements that were made at that time. In particular, I should like them to recall statements made by the present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the hostile objections that came from other members of the Liberal Party when this direct appeal was made to the United States. We live in the Asian world and unquestionably Australia is the coveted prize of the underprivileged nations. I recognize that diplomacy can play a very important role in the close association we can have with our near neighbours. We must recognize that Australia is in the Asian bloc and is looked upon with covetous eyes by the people of Asia. We have to remember what happened in World War I. and World War II. In the days of World War I., Japan was on the move, and we were fortunate to arrive in time to take New Guinea from the Germans. We all know of the great struggle waged by the Australians and their American friends in New Guinea in World War II. We recognize that we have alongside us to-day a nation of 97,000,000 people and that, at the present moment, it is undergoing great trials and travail. We do not know from one moment to the next when the economic crisis in Indonesia may become worse and affect us in this country.
I welcome the establishment of the United States radio base. To be frank, I wish that we were ringed with such bases. I have no qualms whatever in making that statement, because I am concerned about the well-being of this country, and so is the Australian Labour Party. Over the years, the Australian Labour Party has won not only the support but also the approval of the American people. When Mr. Arthur Calwell visits America in the very near future, I am certain that what we are asking for in relation to this base, and which the Australian Government should have asked for, win be granted by the American Government because it knows what the Labour Party has achieved in this country.
The poverty that exists in Asia is a . very cruel thing. Can it be wondered that we are looked upon with envious eyes? We want peace, and we love freedom. The Labour Party wants to help the people of Asia to improve their conditions because we know that there can be no peace in the world while hunger and want are found amongst so many millions of people. The Labour movement is concerned about the lives and conditions of the people of the world, and particularly the people of Asia, for it is concerned, too, in protecting our own living standards. This is a policy, a platform and a principle which the Labour movement has fought for throughout the centuries. We wish to help the underprivileged people of the world. We have suggested that the huge surplus of wheat which we hold at the present moment should be used for that purpose. On other occasions we have suggested that Canada and the United States of America might assist in the same way.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! I think the honorable senator is getting away from the matter under discussion.
– Very well, Mr. President. The matter under discussion, of course, is the defence of this country. I believe our defence has many aspects. In my view, the naval base that we are discussing could be used to great advantage so far as we are concerned.
We of the Labour Party believe in safeguards in matters such as this. I am sure the Americans would welcome such arrangements. They do not want to come here as an army of occupation. They want to come here as allies and friends, and they are prepared to give their lives in a common cause. Because I believe the Americans recognize our position, I think there is no reason why we should not be able to work together under a joint arrangement. We should do everything to ensure that the sovereignty, the security and the best interests of the Australian nation are upheld in this matter. That was possible in World War II., and it has been possible under the operation of the Anzus and Seato Pacts. This concept is embodied in the agreements which have been signed by Britain, Italy and Turkey. Wherever the United States has established installations as a part of its global defence system, the principle of joint control has been agreed upon by the host country and the United States.
– That is not true.
– It is true in the case of the agreements between the United States and Britain, Italy and Turkey. Obviously, such an arrangement was never asked for by the Australian Government.
– It would not have been agreed to, anyway.
– I do not know about that, but we are certain that it was not asked for. Our leader will visit the President of the United States. I am certain that the discussions which the Leader of the Opposition has with the President of the United States will be successful, because President Kennedy is a man who knows the history of Australia. He knows, too, of the awful war record of the present Australian Government. As an historian and a man who fought in World War II., he is aware of the circumstances in which the present Prime Minister and a government of the same political complexion as the present Government capitulated at that time, a few weeks before Japan struck at Pearl Harbour. He will be aware of the great appeal that was made by Mr. John Curtin in his New Year message on 29th December, 1941, when he said -
Without any inhibition of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.
President Kennedy might know of what Mr. Hughes, the then leader of the United Australia Party, said. Mr. Hughes stated that if what Mr. Curtin had said meant that Australia should look for aid to the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics rather than to Britain, he did not agree with him. He went on to say -
I believe it would be suicidal and a false and dangerous policy for Australia to regard Britain’s support as being of less importance than that of the other great countries with which we are associated.
The present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said at the time -
Mr. Curtin has made a great blunder if he thinks that the ties between this country and Great Britain are merely traditional. They are real and indissoluble. Australian sentiment will not, in my opinion, tolerate any other view.
I am satisfied that had the present Prime Minister and his government remained in office during that period, the Australian Government would have been regarded in England as one of the puppet governments. In accordance with the allied strategy of the time, we would have been expendable, and it would have been necessary to win back Australia after the war. I do not know what would have happened to the men and women of this country if the Japanese had set foot on our shores.
– There was not even a Liberal Party at that time. It had another name.
– The party has had a number of names. The people of America know the part that our great Labour men have played in our history. They know of what John Curtin did in 1941 and they also know what the last Labour Prime Minister did in 1946. They are aware of the record of Australians in relation to the Berlin blockade, and of our efforts in connexion with the Woomera rocket range. I am certain that if the Leader of the Opposition were to go to America and put forward the views of the Labour Party regarding the naval communication station, they would be accepted by the President of that country as being necessary for the well-being of Australia. When the Leader of the Opposition comes back and tells the people of Australia just how recreant this Government has been to its trust, the great advantages which it thinks it may gain from arrangements of this character will be shown to be non-existent.
.- At the outset, I wish to say that the North West Cape establishment has been incorrectly referred to, both in the Parliament and in the press, as a United States naval base. That description connotes a kind of naval fortress or arsenal. It is important that it be properly understood by all who address themselves to this bill that there is no reference to a naval base in the measure. The title of the bill is “ United States Naval Communication Station Agreement Bill”. I was rather intrigued by the speech delivered by Senator Fitzgerald. There is not the slightest doubt that any one who has listened to the debate in this chamber up to the present, or who had the benefit of listening to the debate in another place or of reading newspaper reports of the decisions made at the Federal Labour Conference held in Canberra, must come to the conclusion that the Opposition is totally opposed to the establishment of this base in the terms that have been agreed upon between the Australian and the United States Governments. The Opposition clearly is trying to gull the Australian people into believing that it is not opposing the establishment of the station, but it is nevertheless pushing very hard the directions handed out to it by the Federal labour Conference held in Canberra a fe.v weeks ago.
There is not the slightest doubt, too, that the Opposition is out to kill the bill absolutely. Otherwise there is no reason for the amendment which was moved in another place to defer the third reading of the bill for six months. Anybody familiar with “ May’s Parliamentary Practice “ will know that deferring a bill for six months is equivalent to defeating that bill absolutely. In those circumstances the bill is entirely finished. If the Opposition was out to support the bill and the agreement between the two governments it would not have moved that amendment. It would be standing alongside Government supporters who advocate that the terms of the agreement should be accepted.
When he spoke just now, Senator Fitzgerald was absolutely in line with the attitude of Government senators. He wished the bill success. He said he was in favour of it. He said that he wished Australia were ringed round with stations of this type so that it could be adequately defended. He protested also his undying friendship and goodwill towards the Americans. I was pleased to hear him say these things, but it is obvious to me that he is right out of step with the policies determined by his masters in the Labour Party’s Federal Conference. I just direct attention to the oddity of the situation.
The debate on this bill throws into bold relief the two voices of the Labour Party.
– The two faces.
– Yes, and also the two faces. There is a section of the party, of which Senator Fitzgerald is a member, which stands four-square behind the terms of this bill - but there is another section of the party. I repeat that there are two voices in the party. The debate throws into bold relief, in particular, the dominance of the elements who sympathize with the principles of communism but who dare not show their hand too clearly. I think it is important to show the background of the present agitation against this bill. There are many leading so-called Labour men who do not hesitate to declare where they stand in a matter of this kind. One of them is Mr. J. Egerton, president of the Brisbane Trades Hall and a member of the Australian Labour Party innerexecutive in Brisbane. He is reported in “ The Building Workers’ Journal “ as saying -
I have seen socialism growing and developing in Communist China and I wish that Australian workers had the same opportunities as the Chinese.
Mr. Egerton is one of those gentlemen who do not like the terms of this bill. That indicates that there is a great division of thought in the Labour Party. In fact, the party is split right down the middle on the policy of extending goodwill to the United States because of the protection and coverage it can give us against attack or invasion.
– Was he one of the faceless men?
– If it was only Mr. Egerton who entertained that view it would not matter, but the Austraiian Labour movement, unfortunately, is honeycombed with men who profess Australian Labour beliefs but who are great supporters of and sympathizers with the Communist point of view. That is why there are these gentry within the Labour movement who loudly denounce the United States naval communication project at North West Cape.
These people are anti-American because American military strength stands so powerfully in the way to prevent international communism from overrunning Australia and the world. That is why they have declared for the recall of Australian servicemen from Malaya. That is why they demand the recognition by Australia of Communist China and a seat for that country at the United Nations. That is why they demand unity tickets with Communists in Australia.
– Where do you find that in the bill?
– I am tracing the background of the opposition to the bill. To that extent I think it is thoroughly relevant.
– I rise to a point of order. A little while ago Mr. President ruled that Senator Fitzgerald was straying from the point because he was not talking about matters connected with the bill.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Anderson). - What is the point of order?
– The point of order is that Senator Maher is now talking about unity tickets, and I suggest that that is too far removed from the bill.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Senator Maher has the responsibility to link his remarks up with the bill. In regard to the ruling of Mr. President, I happened to be in the chamber at the time. Mr. President, as I understood it, took the view that Senator Fitzgerald was referring to an honorable member in another place or to a past Prime Minister. I remind Senator Maher that he must link his remarks to the bill.
– Thank you. I have to trace in the background, and show where the hidden hand lies in this country so far as our security is concerned.
Mr. Frank Waters, a member of the Australian Labour Party executive in Brisbane and a delegate to the recent Australian Labour Party conference in Canberra made the following statement, according to the Warwick “ Daily News “ -
It is my firm conviction that the Labour movement in Queensland will gain in strength and virility by the affiliation of the Communist Party with the Australian Labour Party.
I connect that up by saying that there is a strong connexion between the Communists and the Communist element of the Australian Labour Party who in recent times gave this ruling in Canberra against the bill. I know Mr. Waters very well. He was a member of the Queensland Parliament for a short period during my term as a member of that parliament. He is an influential member of the Australian Labour Party and he knows where he is going. He expresses the inner thought of the men who govern and direct the policy of the Labour Party in my own State.
The Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party, as it expressed itself at its conference the other day, is conscious of its power, and when it wishes to exercise its authority does not hesitate to ride roughshod over its parliamentary supporters. Evidence of this is seen in the Australian Labour Party conference which was held in Canberra a few weeks ago to consider the directive to the Parliamentary Labour Party on the attitude to be adopted in relation to the communication station at North West Cape. The whole despicable show had a cloak and dagger touch a la Skripov, as was well expressed by a Melbourne newspaper, under the caption, “ Mr. Calwell waits outside “. The report reads -
Opposition Leader Mr. Calwell, and the Deputy Leader, Mr. Whitlam, came to the hotel soon after midnight. They stood outside in the cold air and were kept informed of the debate trend by their supporters who left the conference at regular intervals to confer with them in the dark hotel courtyard.
I have been informed also from private sources that Mr. Calwell, the alternative Prime Minister in Australia, and his deputy were standing behind bushes, no doubt to get some protection from the wintry air in the hotel backyard at 2 a.m., whilst the 36 faceless men of the conference inside the warmth of the tavern set the course for their timid supporters to follow. The ruthless discourtesy handed out to the Federal Labour leaders by the faceless men, and the inhumanity of leaving the parliamentary leaders to freeze in the backyard of the hotel in the early hours of the morning could only be matched in a Communist country. It was a disgraceful episode, showing the contempt in which the parliamentary leaders are held by the men who claim to lay down rules for them.
A fateful decision was made by the Chifley Labour Government in relation to Manus Island, which has been referred to by Senator Fitzgerald. I want to show very briefly the analogy that exists between Labour’s rejection of the American offer-‘to maintain the Manus Island base and the attitude of Labour members of this Parliament to the construction of the United States naval communication station at North West Cape. There is a great similarity .between the two situations. Dr. Evatt was Minister for External Affairs in 1946. Japan had been defeated. It was evident to all of us that the alliance of Communist Russia and Communist China must develop sooner or later into a source of danger to this country. The danger is closer to-day than it was then. That underlines the need for the naval communication station at North West Cape. The Americans were our proven friends, as all are prepared to admit. They were our allies in the war with Germany and Japan. They had spent 600,000,000 dollars in the equipping of Manus Island as a great defensive military base. This great island has one of the safest harbours in the world. Prior to the battle of Leyte, in the Philippines, 1,200 vessels were assembled in Manus harbour. The Americans constructed on the island ten airstrips which were built to take the world’s largest bomber and fighter planes. Facilities, equipment and amenities to meet the needs of a vast army were set up on the island. American drive and dollars converted Manus into a mighty bastion for the future defence of Australia and New Guinea.
After the capitulation of the Japanese, the Americans thought that this great base, which had cost so much to develop, should be continued. They took into account the ferment throughout South-East Asia and the military successes of the red Chinese armies in China, and they offered to remain. They made a proposal for the sharing with Australia of control of the Manus Island base in a mutual security pact. Surely this was a heaven-sent opportunity for a country like Australia, with a small population, to have the protection of a powerful nation. The Labour Party of the day turned this offer down flat. As the direct result of this tremendous mistake, the Americans abandoned Manus Island and left it to its fate. No effort was made by the Australian government of that day to garrison the island and retain for future military requirements the mountains of equipment which were left behind. Instead, orders were very promptly given from Canberra to take such action as would destroy the future effectiveness of the base.
Under the Labour government of that time, this great fortress of the south Pacific, Manus Island, was reduced from a powerful military base to a desolation of jungle regrowth. How did such a scandalous happening come to pass? There were many good, loyal Australians amongst the supporters of Mr. Chifley’s Government, just as there are good, loyal Australians in the Opposition to-day. Mr. Chifley himself was a man of the highest integrity. But there were crafty operators, having great power and influence behind the scences who set in motion within the Labour Party the argument which the Communists initiated. The red Chinese were moving on to big military successes on the China mainland. The international Communists did not want a great American fortress maintained at Manus Island. Then, as now, there were people at the organizational level to dominate and direct the best elements of the Labour Party to do their bidding. That is the great danger which faces Australia. That is how I connect up the whole of my remarks. It is impossible for Australia to feel secure whilst these Communists and Communist sympathizers have control, from the organizational level of the Labour Party, and are able to give an order which the ordinary, decent Labour member of Parliament either has to obey or forfeit his endorsement at the next election campaign.
That is what happened at Manus Island, despite Senator Fitzgerald’s protestations. I should like to refer also to the Labour Party’s attitude to the South-East Asia Treaty Organization ever since the inception of that organization. The Labour Party has continuously ridiculed and opposed Seato. Mr. Calwell, in his 1961 policy speech, went so far as to advocate that Seato, a defensive body, should be converted into a cultural organization. I dislike the word “ culture “ because it is worked to death by the Communist Party.
– And abused.
– And wrongly used.
– It is wrongly employed. I mention these matters to show that the Labour Party’s general attitude to Australian defence, which is dictated very largely by men outside the Parliament who are not responsible to the electors, runs in a continuing pattern. We do not forget the decision of the Labour convention in Hobert in 1956, which directed Labour members of Parliament to advocate the recall of Australian servicemen from Malaya.
– From what are you quoting?
– I am quoting from the resolutions that were carried at the Hobart convention. How did that direction for the recall of Australian servicemen from Malaya appeal to the hard-pressed British and Malayan troops in their lifeanddeath struggle with the Communist bandits in the Malayan jungles? Where is the Australianism in a resolution of that kind? The resolution was inspired, originated and developed by the Communist element which has power and authority inside the Australian Labour Party organization in this country.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, that statement is offensive to me, and I am certain it is offensive to the honorable senator’s brother, who is the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in New South Wales and is a member of the Labour Party. I ask you to rule that he must withdraw the statement.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! What is the statement in question?
– He called his brother a Com.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. -Order!
– The honorable senator referred to the Labour Party as being controlled by Communists. That is objectionable to me.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! I will not rule that the statement is out of order. It was a generalization which Senator Maher made on his own behalf; it was not a statement about any particular senator.
– I have not made any charge against any individual senator.
– J. rise to a point of order. It has been the custom for many years in the Senate if an honorable senator should ask that an offensive expression be withdrawn for that expression to be withdrawn. I ask you to make a similar ruling now. Although there is no provision to that effect in the Standing Orders, it has long been the practice of the Senate.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! Such matters are left to the judgment of the Chair. If the Chair were to rule out of order every comment which honorable senators said was objectionable to them, debate would be completely stifled. I can assure the Senate that no honorable senator will be allowed to make any personal comment about any other senator.
– I have not made a charge against any individual member of the Senate. As I said earlier, my claim is that the A.L.P. organization is honeycombed with men who are extremely leftist in their point of view, who are sympathizers of the Communists, and who are prepared to work on unity tickets with them.
– Do you place your brother in that category?
– I make no comment about my brother or any other member of the Labour Party who is a member of the Parliament.
– He does not like it.
– I asked: How did this resolution of the Hobart convention appeal to the hard-pressed British and Malayan troops who were then engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the Malayan bandits in the jungles of that country? Just let us imagine the comfort which this direction brought to the Chinese Communist leaders in Peking and to the Communists of Hanoi in North Viet Nam and other far away places? Labour members of the Commonwealth Parliament who opposed this decision of the Hobart convention paid the price by losing their seats in the Parliament. Their elimination by the A.L.P. organization-
– I rise to a point of order. I point out, Mr. President, that Senator Maher is now addressing his remarks to a conference which took place about a decade ago. When Senator Fitzgerald was referring to China, you indicated that he should come back to the matter under discussion. I suggest that you should do likewise to Senator Maher.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Senator Maher, your excursions into these fields will be limited.
– I have only been outlining the trend that has been apparent. Those who value the security of this country must watch that trend and ever be vigilant. Without involving any individual member of the Senate, that is the position as I see it. This station at North West Cape is designed to provide for our defence - to protect us from invasion or attack by any other country. It is important that we should know where the opposition comes from and who are the men in the background, without making any charge against individual members of the Senate.
I have noted a constant trend towards neutralism on the part of a large and vocal section of Labour Party supporters. Those who think that neutral policies will save them in this world of ours are dreamers. India provides a classic example of neutralism. Mr. Nehru, entrenched behind a policy of non-violence and neutrality, thought that his country was safe from attack and invasion. He knows better now. He had an opportunity to link up with Seato, but he rejected it. When red China struck, his country was quite unprepared for the blow. We all have very great sympathy for Mr. Nehru in his dilemma, but I hope that India’s disillusionment has been observed by other nations and by thinkers in our own country who hope to escape attack from powerful Communist countries on the score of neutrality.
I remind the Senate that security lies in strength and the courage to defend our possessions. It also rests upon our alliances with the United States of America, Britain and the countries of South-East Asia. That is why I rejoice in the conclusion of an agreement under which the United States Government undertakes to establish, maintain and operate a naval communication station at North West Cape which is to be used as and when required for the common defence of our two countries. As I understand the situation, the station will be serviced by United States personnel and it may cost almost £50,000,000 when completed. The agreement provides that both governments may consult as need arises about all matters related to the station and its operation. The station will be available for our own communications whenever required, but there will be no joint control as is desired by the Opposition.
– There is no room for joint control where the fate of our country might be determined in a matter of minutes by nuclear attack. Let me say, in reply to Senator Hendrickson^ interjection, that two men cannot ride a horse, each having different bridles and pulling against each other and thus impeding the progress of the animal. To change the metaphor, let me say that too many cooks would spoil the broth. I understand that the agreement will remain in force for 25 yeaTS. The Opposition’s argument that nobody knows what sort of government will be controlling the United States during that period applies in reverse with equal force in our own country. Nobody knOws what sort of government will hold office in Australia during that period. But we all believe and hope that reasonable men will have control in both countries. I did not hear Senator McKenna speak this morning, and I may be doing him an injustice in what I am about to say. If so, I stand to be corrected. I was informed that he said here this morning that a Labour government might cancel the agreement.
– No, not repudiate it but re-negotiate it.
– Then I correct my remarks in relation to Senator McKenna. It is very clear that the Leader of the Opposition in another place, Mr. Calwell, has been talking of the re-negotiation of the agreement if he achieves power. In such an event, I do not think that Mr. Calwell would undertake anything so foolish. If he ever makes such an attempt, I think he will find a much chillier atmosphere, sitting on the steps of the White House in Washington watting for the renegotiation of the agreement, than he experienced in the backyard of the Kingston Hotel in Canberra, in recent weeks, waiting for a direction from the faceless men. Labour leaders who talk in this strain about re-negotiation are trifling with Australia’s future security. This is needling the Americans and harassing them when they are concerned about extending protection to us in this dangerous SouthEast Asian zone. We should be desperately anxious to encourage them to proceed with this station at North West Cape so that we shall have their co-operation and help when we need them.
Anybody who has travelled in SouthEast Asia, as I. did in 1960, will know that the mcn at Hanoi, the Viet Minh, are constructing roads, and the Chinese are constructing roads on their mainland down to the border of North Viet Nam. They are looking ahead. They are building military roads so that when the time is ripe in their judgment they will not hesitate to strike. If they finally get down to the South China Sea the countries which are holding together under difficulties, such as South Viet Nam, Thailand, Laos, Malaya and even Indonesia, may be in dire distress. We have to seek every kind of protection possible to maintain our foothold here and to meet any challenge which the future might hold. That is the most likely direction from which a challenge could come. So it is quite stupid to go around needling the Americans. If that is done too persistently history may repeat itself and we may experience, a repetition of what happened at Manus Island. The Americans might get tired of the exercise and decide that if a big section of the Australian public do not want an American station for the protection of Australia then the Americans might as well use the money to build a station somewhere else. That is a great danger. When listening to some of the men whom I have heard speak in another place on this issue you .would think that the Americans were our sworn enemies, judging by the venom of the attack against them.
The Opposition fears that the presence of this station at North West Cape would automatically involve us in war. I do not think that anybody can logically justify that argument. Admittedly, collective security, wherever it operates in the world could involve one country automatically in a war in which another country had become engaged. If two countries are bound by agreement to come to each other’s aid obviously if one becomes involved in a war then the other becomes involved in it, too. But if this happened in our case it would mean that we would get into the camp of powerful friends who would be able to dish it out as well as to take it. These are the common risks against which every country has to provide. We cannot do better than we are doing to-day. We are on the best of terms with the United States of America. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has done a wonderful job in his talks with the American Ambassador and in the different approaches he has made in the United States. He has looked ahead to ensure the safety and security of this country and he has achieved his objective very well, as is exemplified by the terms of the bill.
If war did come in this area Australia would have an obligation, under the Anzus treaty, to go to the aid of the United States. Similarly, the United States would have to come to our aid. The station at North West Cape would be only incidental to any war situation. God forbid that this should come to pass. But if it did every Australian would have reason to be thankful that the Government had had the foresight to implement this agreement for our protection. I want to emphasize that the commitment of Australia or the United States to go to war if either party is attacked existed by virtue of the Anzus Treaty long before this plan for the communication station at North West Cape ever went on to the drawing board. So those who have been loudly saying that we are likely to be involved in war because of the construction of this station overlook the fact that we are bound by solemn agreement to go to war if the United States is attacked just as the United States is bound to come to our aid if we are attacked. That is the collective security that we enjoy to-day. We are not one whit worse off in our risk by the erection of this station at North West Cape than we were before it was ever contemplated. We had our obligations then and we have them still under the Anzus Treaty. This Government is doing its best by all manner of means to make Australia secure in the troubled world in which we live. I think that everybody will agree that this station at North West Cape will vastly improve the Australian defence position if we axe ever called upon to honour our pledges under the Anzus Treaty.
The statement which has been made that we are surrendering our sovereignty at North West Cape by contributing to the common defence is just plain silly.
– Who made such a statement?
– The statement was made in another place that we were surrendering our sovereignty and that we would be in trouble. In making this contribution to the common defence, Australia is not parting with its sovereignty in any way whatsoever. There have been demands for consultation, but they are not needed in my judgment. However, such provision does exist. We all know, now, what this station is being built for.
– Tell us.
– I will. It is being built for the guidance and control in all circumstances of allied shipping, peaceful and naval, including submarines with conventional and with nuclear weapons. I do not think anybody is so blind that he cannot see that this station is being built for the defence of Australia. I am sure that 80 per cent, of our people support the terms of the agreement expressed in this bill. I am grateful to the United States Government for such a safety provision in our interests, and I support the second reading.
– Unfortunately, I shall have to devote some of the time available to me to the speech of Senator Maher. We on the Opposition side were wondering just when we would be attacked. We had a sideswipe from the leader of the Government (Senator Sir William Spooner) who referred to the left wing, but we were amazed at the length of time that elapsed before the attack really came. Senator Maher did not deal in any measure at all with the bill before the Senate. He made excursions into history and interpolated comments, not about what various incidents actually meant but about how he and his associates interpreted them. With the indulgence of honorable senators I shall digress, as Senator Maher did, to deal with some of these statements.
Speaking of Senator Fitzgerald, Senator Maher referred to my colleague’s so-called masters. That would have been offensive to me, and if Senator Maher and his colleagues intend to talk of masters I remind them that if they want to hand it out they must be prepared to take it. I suggest that Senator Maher might think back to the period just before the last general election when the real master of the Liberal Party - the president of that party - directed that Liberal candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives should not appear on television. Only those chosen, such as the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), were allowed to appear. That was a direction from outside and, in their meekness, but certainly not in their humility, they took it.
– It was not obeyed.
– It was.
– There were a number of breaches.
– Then those concerned should have been dealt with for breaches of party discipline. Senator Maher referred to a Mr. Egerton of Brisbane and certain opinions he expressed on facets of life and industrial activity in the People’s Republic of China. Mr. Egerton is entitled to his views. There have been many occasions when he and I have not agreed, and we have been on the organizational side of the Australian Labour Party for many years. Even if I disagree with him, I can say that Jack Egerton is direct in his views. Not long ago I heard him expressing, reasonably forcefully, his condemnation of certain aspects of Communist life. If he saw something to praise he is entitled to praise it. If he saw something to condemn he has the right to condemn it. So let us be fair.
Senator Maher referred to Labour policy on the recognition of the People’s Republic of China. That does not necessarily mean that we sympathize with the dictatorial approach that is based on the ideology of the People’s Republic. But we remind the Government that it was the Attlee Government in Great Britain that gave diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic and that neither the Churchill Government, the Eden Government nor the Macmillan Government has seen fit to terminate that recognition. So I suggest that Senator Maher have another look at the position.
Senator Maher referred to unity tickets. They are far away from the bill and I do not propose to deal with them. However, I can tell honorable senators opposite who are interjecting that I am not fearful of dealing with that subject, so they had better not challenge me.
The position in the Senate to-day is characteristic of the procedures of the Menzies Government. It introduces important bills in the dying hours of the parliamentary session. To-day we have been dealing with two important matters. One is the establishment of a near-representative government in Papua and New Guinea, regarding which the eyes of the world are on us. and now we have this bill on the establishment of a naval communication station at North West Cape. If honorable senators challenge me I shall take all my time and ask for an extension.
Senator Maher referred to Manus Island. Perhaps there was an error of judgment there. It is not the only error that has been made by governments in the history of Australia. It is not so many years ago that a government led by the present Prime Minister, and the succeeding government led by Sir Arthur Fadden, failed Australia to such an extent and were so inefficient in their conduct of national affairs and the mobilization of our resources and manpower, that the second of them was thrown out of office. It was not thrown out by the Labour Party but by two members who were Independents. Those members saw fit to reject the Fadden Government and support the Curtin Government. Later, in 1943, the people of Australia by an overwhelming vote of confidence gave John Curtin a terrific majority. So all the errors are not made on one side.
I think it is unfortunate that personalities and names should be brought into the debate. Senator Maher referred to remarks allegedly made by a Mr. Waters and reported in a Warwick newspaper. I do not know whether or not the report was correct. The Australian Labour Party is so used to having statements distorted by the anti-Labour press that we do not readily accept press statements at their face value. In any case, Mr. Waters was entitled to his opinion. Further, in respect to the attitude of the Labour Party, we can only deal with the decisions of the policymaking body of the party, and that is the federal conference. It decided that the party should favour the establishment of a communications station at North West Cape. It does not matter whether one, two, three or more men voted against that vital motion. In my party the majority will prevails and the decision reached was that we should favour the establishment of the base. That is why we are supporting this measure to-day. If time permits I shall detail the conditions that we wish to have associated with the establishment of this base. These do not detract from our support of the’ base in broad principle. Irrespective of what honorable senators opposite or government supporters in another place may say, and irrespective of how they may attempt to distort the facts and indulge in political misrepresentation, it cannot be denied that the Labour Party supports, in principle, the establishment of the base.
Incidentally, why is the bill now before the Senate? Why did it come before the other place? The Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton), who is in charge of the bill, said that it was not necessary to bring such a measure before the Parliament. The honorable the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) said the same. But a bill has been brought before the Parliament, despite the fact that the Government, by executive action, could have entered into the necessary agreement and made its conditions binding upon us. The bill has been brought before the Parliament because of a political miscalculation by the leaders of the Government. They thought, after mature consideration, that they had the Labour Party over a political barrel.
– Don’t you think the agreement should have been brought before the Parliament?
– I think it should have been. I readily agree that the Parliament should be given an opportunity to discuss this important matter. But why have not the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), the Minister for Defence (Mr.
Townley) and the Attorney-General been more frank and politically honest with members of Parliament over the last three years? After all, we are the representatives of the people. Why was this agreement signed before the subject had been debated by the Parliament?
– It was brought here for ratification. You know that.
– You know that the agreement was binding once it had been signed. As a member of the Ministry, you should know that better than I do. If I am wrong, I am in company, because the Minister for the Navy, who represents the Attorney-General in this chamber, and the Attorney-General himself have both said that there was no necessity to bring the agreement before Parliament.
– It is not a bad democratic process to bring it before Parliament, is it?
– I do not want to digress from my approach to this problem. Senator Maher referred to Seato. If he had approached me, or any other representative of the Labour Party, he would have been able to ascertain the Australian Labour Party’s attitude to Seato. The honorable senator should not forget that we have no definite protection under Seato. Irrespective of what Government supporters may maintain, there is little definite obligation on the United States to come to the aid of Australia. There are certain provisions in the Anzus pact, more particularly in relation to the Pacific, but as recently as only two months ago Professor Graebner, one of the outstanding professors of history in Illinois in the United States said, “ If Indonesia invaded Australia, the United States would be annoyed, but would not go to war “. Perhaps he is in a better position than I am to interpret the attitude of the United States. I concede everything that the United States did to help Australia in the last war at the request of a great Prime Minister - possibly the greatest Australia has ever had - John Curtin.
– Order! I suggest that in referring to a former Prime Minister the honorable senator should not use his Christian name. He was Mr. Curtin.
– I shall refer to him as the late Mr. Curtin. We had aid from the United States during the last war, but that was not a one-way traffic. We are grateful for the tremendous amount of assistance rendered by the United States in material, man-power and so on, but it was not a one-way traffic. Gratitude is not necessarily synonymous with lifting the cap, tipping the forelock or bending the knee. After all, as a base Australia served the war purposes of the United States, so let us approach these problems in a realistic way. The Australian Labour Party’s policy statement on Seato is as follows: -
We draw attention to our policy statement in 1961, which we reaffirm and further state that this organisation is ineffective but we should not withdraw from it until adequate arrangements are made in accordance with Conference decision related to new treaties.
That refers to the South-East Asian countries -
Confrence therefore requests that action be taken towards this end at the earliest opportunity.
If honorable senators opposite care to pursue the Seato treaty they will learn that it is not of any definite protective value to Australia. We hope that the nations associated in this treaty would come to our aid in a time of necessity, but they need not necessarily do so.
Another statement by Senator Maher related to communism. We have become so used to such remarks that we just accept them. Crying “ wolf “ too often is not effective, so the public does not heed these statements either. That was shown in the election of 1961. If there is any real value in being in sympathy with the Communists, the Government should be eternally grateful for that because it is due to the good will of Communists, demonstrated through the preferential system of voting, that Sir Robert Menzies is to-day Prime Minister of Australia and that the Liberal and Country parties control the Treasury benches.
It has been suggested that the establishment of this base at North West Cape does not automatically involve Australia in war. Certainly not. But I remind government supporters that it is not necessary to have a declaration of war to become involved in war. Many countries have been invaded without war being declared. Whether a country is automatically at war or at war because of a declaration does not matter very much when invaders are in its territory and missiles landing on its people. No matter how a war starts, it is still at war. So, we should put this problem in its correct perspective. We must think in terms of the fundamental purpose to be served by this base. There can be little doubt from the information which has been extracted piece by piece from government supporters, that this base is of vital importance to the United States.
– And to us.
– That is why we are in favour of it, but we are in favour of it on certain conditions, such as that the United States will automatically come to our aid when we are in jeopardy. We have no definite assurance that that will be so.
I do not want my remarks to be interpreted to mean that I am against the United States, because that would be incorrect. Unlike many supporters of the Government, I do not refer to the citizens of the United States as though they were the only Americans. In fact, the United States is but a portion, although a wellendowed one, of the North American continent. The citizens of the South American nations, and also the people of Canada and Mexico, are antagonistic to the common use of “ Americans “ as meaning only the people of the United States. I do not want to detract from the extraordinary generosity which has been shown by the people of that country in spending more than 1,000,000,000 dollars on foreign aid since the war, but let us keep these matters in perspective and look at them from a practical point of view.
Technically, Senator Maher may have been correct when he said that we would not automatically be involved in a war because of the operations of this station. I think most people will concede that this base will not necessarily help to solve Pacific incidents. From what I can gather, it is part and parcel of global strategy. It will be used, by means of a mechanism, to direct messages to nuclear-powered submarines, or submarines with nuclear warheads, which could be launched at practically any part of Asia. In the process of time, if the missiles had the carrying capacity they could be used” to strike at Russia, and there is little doubt that, with improvements, their carrying capacity will be developed.
Let me pose a question to the Australian people. Does any sensible person really believe that, if we have a base being utilized to serve a mechanism of attack or retaliation on the part of the United States, the enemies of that country will not automatically regard us as their enemy, too, and that they will not attack this base in order to dislocate the mechanism of communication? I think that any reasonable person will concede that they must do so.
– Do you mean that Australia should be completely isolated?
– The honorable senator refers to isolation. The area in which the base is to be established may not be a very heavily populated region, but it is still a part of the national territory of Australia. Because only a few Australians live there, should we exhibit a callous dis- regard towards them? Does the honorable senator suggest that we should not have worried about the 400 people who were killed at Darwin in the last war? Does she not think that every other Australian had a responsibility to those men, women and children? When we speak in terms of isolation we must realize that the destructiveness of nuclear-powered weapons does not remain only in the area in which the weapons fall.
– More Australians would have died if it had not been for America.
– And possibly more citizens of the United States would have died but for Australian men and women. The honorable senator should remember that. The people of the United States recall that fact with gratitude, even though some Australians are prepared to go cap in hand to the government of that country. Many of the people of the United States are grateful to the people of Australia for the services rendered to them. Sensible Australians are grateful for the help given by the United States in the last war, even though that country’s entry into the war was somewhat delayed and followed the bombing of Pearl Harbour.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir William Spooner) usually is dispassionate in his approach to a debate. For the greater part of his speech on this bill he was dispassionate on this occasion, too, but always towards the end of a parliamentary session he seems to become somewhat petulant and irritable. For five minutes before the suspension of the sitting for luncheon he sought to take the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) to task, but I think that every one was impressed by the extraordinarily efficient case that was made by the Leader of the Opposition. I refer not only to the statements that he made, but also to their remarkably complete documentation. Surely a tribute should have been paid to him. The Leader of the Opposition made quite clear the approach of the Labour Party to this problem. The nature of that approach has been known to the Leader of the Opposition in the other place, and it has also been known to the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber. That is why I say that the Leader of the Government in the Senate was not at all fair in this respect. We excuse him, even if we cannot pardon him, on the grounds of petulance and irritability on what probably will be the last day of the sessional period.
Senator Sir William Spooner referred to the left wing of the Labour Party. I do not know what the left wing is, nor do I know what the right wing is, but I have maintained for many years that the Labour Party is a radical progressive party. Australia and Australians have been grateful for its efforts during the comparatively short period that it has controlled the treasury bench in this Parliament.
– It had a record of coal importation, black markets, and so on.
– The honorable senator has mentioned black markets. On 9th May last, excise and tariff orders were brought down for the purpose of exempting from duty goods used under the agreement. All the goods used by the United States in connexion with the base are to be free of customs and exise duty. That is what this Government proposes to do. Therefore, Senator Scott particularly should keep both weather eyes open to see that there is no illicit trafficking in the west. If any honorable senator opposite wishes to challenge my statements in this respect, I have here the orders to which I have referred. There is really no great need to discuss the details of this bill which sets out, in somewhat indefinite terms, an agreement between the United States of America and Australia. Much detail should be conveyed to the people of Australia, even if a similar courtesy is not shown to the members of the Opposition.
We have no substantial reason to assume that we shall be accorded the courtesy of being informed about the events that are transpiring. Experience in recent years, has shown that the senior governmental representatives have not seen fit to tell members of this Parliament about their proposals. I suggest, however, that at least they have an obligation to the people of Australia to let them know what is going on. We think that, if the Government were prepared to show some political decency, it would agree that we are entitled to know what is transpiring. Instead, there has been a cavalier and rude approach on many occasions when members of the Opposition have asked questions in a sincere desire to obtain information. Questions have been arbitrarily brushed aside, to use a common term, but at least the matter has been ventilated before senior governmental representatives. Now that they have not got the Labour Party across a political barrel, as it were, they should have the decency to provide to the people of Australia the information they are justified in asking for.
What did the Labour Party determine at this much maligned conference? It came out definitely and unequivocally in favour of the establishment of the base at North West Cape.
– By one vote.
– Subject to certain conditions. I’ do not appreciate the half smart remarks from the other side of the chamber, irrespective of whether they are based upon a so-called factual report from a newspaper, that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party were skulking behind bushes outside the Hotel Kingston. Any one knowing the Hotel Kingston will know where this conference was held. It was held in the lounge. I have attended many meetings there.
– They were not allowed there.
– Do not forget that there. are plenty of other places in the Hotel Kingston. Even if the representatives at the conference had desired to skulk behind the bushes the licensee would certainly not have allowed them to stand out in the dark and the chill. He would have seen that they were inside and provided with comfort. I do not wish to have things reported in “ Hansard “ which could reflect discredit on two distinguished Australians.
I do not wish to speak for much longer because I know that a number of others want to speak. As I have said the Government in its political intolerance and with a sense of irresponsibility-
– He is reading his speech.
– I am not reading my speech. I do not have to. I am not like some people. I repeat that with a sense of irresponsibility the Government has brought this bill down to-day, but out of a sense of fairness so characteristic of me and my political associates I do not desire to deny other honorable senators the right to speak at some length. The Australian Labour Party simply laid down the conditions under which it thought this base should be established. It made it unequivocally clear that the base should be established. The first condition it insisted upon was that Australian sovereignty be maintained. Surely there is nothing wrong with that, even though the Prime Minister has on occasions contemptuously disregarded our sovereignty and treated it as a mere nothing. That is uncharacteristic of such an arch-royalist and great monarchist.
The next condition stipulated was that Australian citizens engaged in work at the station should be subject to Australian law. The Government has seen fit to, accept that condition. The third was that the radio communications centre should be under the joint control and operation of the Australian and United States governments and its facilities should be available to Australian forces. I do not have to deal with the latter part of that condition because it too has been accepted. Some have said that it is not practicable to have joint control, but during the last war there was joint control in many activities. It did not appear to work inefficiently. It has been said that you could not expect the United States services to make available to Australia their secret codes. No one would expect that. That is not the intention at all. The Labour Party has in mind joint control in respect of major policy decisions which could mean otherwise that Australia would be automatically involved in war, its people destroyed and the country laid waste, with no decision on the part of the government of the day. Apparently the Government does not care a fig whether this country is laid waste and its people destroyed. All that the Labour Party is asking for is protection against that. The position is as simple as that, and what we ask for is capable of accomplishment.
Another condition laid down by the Australian Labour Party is that in the event of the United States being at war with, or threatened with war by, another power, Australian territory and Australian facilities must not be used in any way that would involve Australia without the prior knowledge and consent of the Australian Government. I do not have to speak on that at any great length. That is one of the features of Labour’s approach to this problem, but governmental representatives have conveniently skated over it. They have not faced the issue because they know they would have to put up with the ire and antagonism of the Australian people.
The final condition is that the radio communications centre shall not become a base for the stockpiling of nuclear arms in time of peace. The Minister for External Affairs has since given an assurance that that will not happen. The only quarrel there can be with the conditions laid down by those on this side of the chamber is on the item of joint control, and our desire for Australia not to be automatically involved in war. In our desire to preserve the integrity of this nation and the rights of its people we have the Australian people supporting the Australian Labour Party.
– Before directing my remarks to this most important measure I think it right and proper that some attention should be given to the remarks of Senator Dittmer. He opened his speech in a tremor of apprehension. The normally calm orator was flustered and worried.
– I rise to a point of order. I seek your guidance on this, Mr. President. I consider the remarks of the honorable senator offensive to me. I did not open my remarks in a tremor of apprehension. That implies a measure of ignorance or guilt and I would ask-
– Order! The point of order is not upheld.
– If the honorable senator will feel better about it, I will say that he was in a quiver of apprehension. He was shaking like a jelly or an aspic. He says that my remarks are offensive, but I remind the Senate of his offensive reference to the distinguished gentleman who leads this nation. He referred to him as an arch-royalist. I suggest that that stigmatizes the honorable senator as the base roundhead that he is.
– I was paying him a tribute.
– It was fairly well concealed. We have to look around for the reason for the honorable senator’s worry. He expressed worry that the expected attack connecting the Labour Party with the Communist Party was so long in forthcoming. All I tell him is not to be impatient. I wonder why the honorable senator was worried. All we are doing in this bill is to tell our good American friends that they can have the facilities for a naval communication station in Western Australia. Honorable senators opposite claim that they forged the links of our friendship with America. They claim that it was they who brought American troops here and saved this nation in its hour of direst peril. They claim that they have nothing but the tenderest love and affection for the United States. In all these circumstances why should they be apprehensive? They say that this measure has been brought to the Parliament simply because it will be of some benefit to the Liberal Party. Why? This measure, they say, is brought to the Parliament only because it will embarrass the Labour Party. Why, in the name of all that is wonderful, when honorable senators opposite are such good friends with the Americans, when they love them like brothers, should they worry because we are giving the Americans facilities for a naval transmitting station? Frankly, I just cannot understand it. To get to the root of the trouble, it is necessary, like a Polaris-carrying submarine, to dive beneath the surface. Senator Maher pointed out in very moderate terms the undoubted nexus between certain members of the Labour Party and the Communist Party. I do not know whether or not that would be a matter that would worry Senator Dittmer. Perhaps it would.
I want to get around to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), for whose erudition, normal sense of fair play and powers of logical reasoning I have always had the highest regard. But to-day his heart was not in his work. He did not like what he was doing. He did not believe the words that he uttered and, sin of sins, he failed to finish a quotation from’ a speech by Mr. Macmillan and so completely destroyed the effect of the speech. He said that the Labour Party supported the establishment of the station, but it wanted joint control. He gave a couple of analogies, both of them unsound, and he quoted from a speech by Mr. Macmillan in the House of Commons in relation to joint control. It is not in character for the Leader of the Opposition to suppress a quotation. I shall now finish it for him’. On 8th November, 1960, discussing in the House of Commons the question of nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom, Mr. Macmillan said -
We can be satisfied that the United States Government will not use these missiles anywhere in the world without the fullest possible previous consultation with us and our allies.
The honorable senator did not continue the quotation any further.
– Was that right?
– Yes, that was right, but Mr. Macmillan went on to say -
T use the words “ fullest possible “ consultation because consultation might obviously be impossible in circumstances of a sudden surprise attack upon the West.
It was dishonest to leave that sentence out of the quotation, and it was completely and utterly misleading. I want to complete the quotation from Mr. Macmillan’s speech.
– Why do you not make one of your own?
– First, 1 want to clean up a few untidy aspects. I shall get around to you later. Mr. Macmillan then went on to say -
We would, indeed, not wish to insist on prior consultation in such circumstances, because it is the absolute certainty of retaliation which deters aggression.
Why would the Leader of the Opposition omit that fundamental quotation from what Mr. Macmillan said? It completely destroys the whole line of the honorable senator’s argument.
Some statement was made during the debate in another place and in this chamber to the effect that there was joint control over other bases which the United States had set up with its allies. That statement is simply not true. There are very few other bases exactly on all fours with the naval station proposed to be established in Western Australia. There are other bases which are similar. The only instance that I have been able to find in which joint control is retained is in relation to a base in fascist Spain. In the United Kingdom the Government entered into an arrangement in May, 1959. I challenge any honorable senator opposite to go to the Library, obtain the agreement, and show one word in it which indicates joint control by the United Kingdom and the United States of America over the missiles or the base from which they would be operated. It is arrant nonsense to say that there is joint control. It is simply not true. I give the same challenge in regard to Turkey. I went through the agreement in relation to Turkey. There is not a word about joint control. Why do honorable senators come into this place and make statements which are simply not true? What I am saying can be tested, and I invite any one to test it. I suggest that they have a look at America’s arrangements with Pakistan and free China. They will not find provision for retention of joint control in any case. The Labour Party is misleading the people of Australia when it puts that phony condition upon its acceptance of the establishment of this great base, which will be used for the defence and security of Australia and of the free world.
I want to come to the place where the real attitude of the Labour Party shows itself. I do not mean the attitude after the faceless men have been at work. I mean the attitude expressed in the Parliament before the masters met at the Hotel Kingston, either inside or outside the bushes - I do not know which. At the end of October, in this chamber, honorable senators opposite made a number of speeches which were reported with great delight by the Communist “Tribune”, on Wednesday, 14th November.
– Do you get that?
– I was able to obtain a photostat copy. The “ Tribune “, with great glee, reported -
Labour senators hit out at Government’s proU.Sgrovelling.
It went on -
In a lively debate last week, Labour senators criticised the Menzies Government for handing over Western Australian bases to the U.S.A. and for its subservience to the U.S. Administration in supporting the blockade of Cuba.
The first one to get a medal was Senator Hartley Cant, the distinguished foreign affairs statesman from Western Australia. The newspaper report continued -
Denouncing what he called the intrusion of the U.S.A. into Western Australia, Senator Hartley Cant, Labour, W.A., gave a long list of bases and facilities granted to the U.S.A. He demanded that the Government should tell the nation “ whether America is to be allowed to come into Australia and annex part of Australia “.
The Government is co-operating with our great ally, the only ally capable of giving us real physical support, and what does the honorable senator opposite call it? He calls it “ being annexed “. Then we come to what was said by another distinguished commentator on foreign affairs, Senator Cavanagh, who, according to this journal - asked whether Australia was becoming so much a part of the U.S. defence system that “she will be a target for bombs if war breaks out between America and other countries “.
– Who said that?
– Senator Cavanagh. It will be recalled that Senator Cavanagh is unable to distinguish between a militant Labour man and members of the Communist Party. He is also reported as having said that Australia “ should not take sides in a war between Russia and America “.
Senator Arnold, who normally does not intrude into these matters, received an honorable mention. He is reported to have taken this point of view -
We ought not to tumble in as quickly as we possibly can and agree with the American President whenever he takes action.
As we look further down this report in the Communist press we find that Senator Cavanagh believes that we were wrong in lining up with one particular side over Cuba. If we were wrong in lining up with the United States in relation to Cuba, what does the honorable senator really think about the base in Western Australia? He is reported to have said that we should have gone to the United Nations with the Cuba dispute. If the honorable senator believes that we should have gone to the United Nations with the Cuba dispute, what does he think about the United States base in Western Australia? He said further that we should not create hostility and should not be continually suspicious of Russia. Then there is reference to quite a stack of other matters which clearly indicate that Senator Cavanagh’s spiritual allegiance is not to the free world.
We now come to the statements of a man whose erudition in relation to the European Common Market and foreign affairs has become a byword in this chamber - Senator Hendrickson. He is reported as having said that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had come into the last war on the side of the Allies - that in 1939 she had been an enemy but in 1943 she was an ally - that high officers of the Australian armed forces had photographs of Stalin in their homes, and that we had sent Russia aeroplanes and armaments. I want the honorable senator to listen carefully to the next section of the report, because he may not have said what he is reported as having said. This is merely a Communist paper, and one really cannot rely on it! He is reported as having said -
– I rise to a point of order. Is not the honorable senator reading extracts from newspapers or documents other than “ Hansard “ and referring to debates in the Senate during this session in breach of Standing Order No. 414?
– Order! What is the honorable senator reading from?
– I am reading from a photostat copy of a report of debates in this chamber during the last session. The report is dated 14th November, 1962.
– The honorable senator is in order.
– I had really finished dealing with this aspect of the matter. I do not know why it should upset honorable senators opposite so much.
– It has not caused me to become upset. I have not complained.
– I applaud your courage.
– From what newspaper was the photostat copy taken?
– It was taken from the Communist “ Tribune “ of 14th November last. I was not able to address to Senator Hendrickson a question that I had proposed to ask. He said that we had supplied the Russians with guns and aeroplanes and added -
I do not know whether the honorable senator means that a Labour government would supply Russia with aeroplanes and equipment in preference to the United States of America or was just generalizing from what happened during World War II.
– What construction do you put on it?
– As Senator Hendrickson is able to speak for himself, I shall let him say what was meant.
– I will do so. You need not worry about that.
– I have no doubt that the honorable senator will advert to that matter.
– I did not think you could get photostat copies in the sewer.
– That is a new development in your case. I have referred to extracts from reports of speeches made in the Senate before the dictates of the Labour Party executive were made known, so that the people of Australia might have a better insight into the real feeling of these people towards our American allies-
The support which the Australian Labour Party is giving to the base is, to say the best of it, being given quite reluctantly. In another place members of the Labour Party attempted to kill the bill. They attempted to deceive the people of Australia by saying that they would support the motion for the second reading of the measure, and then by means of a procedural manoeuvre at the third-reading stage they attempted to kill the bill. They are directing their attention not so much to the establishment of the base - they know that 85 per cent, of the Australian people are behind the Government in its approval of the base - but to the agreement. They know that if they can defeat the agreement, or the terms upon which this Government has encouraged our ally to set up the base, they will defeat the establishment of the base.
The Leader of the Government in the Senate has pointed out that some play has been made upon the fact that honorable senators opposite and members of the Labour Party in another place were not told that naval vessels include submarines. As Senator Sir William Spooner said, that is really too childish to require attention. I direct the attention of the Senate to another argument that has been advanced. It is this: If we set up a great naval communication base in Western Australia-
– It is not a base.
– I rise to a point of order. Is a senator entitled to describe a bill wrongly. This establishment is not referred to as a base in the bill.
– Order! The point of order is not upheld.
– I have never known my honorable friends opposite to be so touchy.
– It is a communication station.
– If the setting up of this communication station, as my friend, Senator Maher, has described it, means that Australia is being put in the firing line, that Western Australia will become the target, and that in some way or other the security of this nation is being lessened, surely any question about whether we have joint control is absolutely irrelevant. Some reference has been made to the fact that the presence in Western Australia of this station will automatically commit us to war in the event of an American adventure. I remind the Opposition that the Anzus agreement, which acts as a shield and bastion to this country, which has done so for twelve years and will, I hope, continue to do so indefinitely, and the conclusion of which is one of the finest pieces of work that the Menzies Government has undertaken, already commits us to engagement with the United States if either ourselves, New Zealand or America is attacked. It is arrant nonsense, it is a play on words, it is sheer casuistry, it is depriving words of their meaning to say that the setting up of the station in Western Australia will increase the chances of Australia being drawn into war.
I have already referred to the subject of joint control. The bill gives Australia the right of consultation. We must look at this in a practical way. From day to day and on every day of the week the Australian Government is in consultation with the American Government about one thing or another. It is not as though we were not on terms of great friendship with our ally. We are on such terms with America. It is absolute nonsense to suggest that Australia has no right of consultation. The right of consultation is all that is given to Great Britain. If that is good enough for Great Britain it should be good enough for us in this context.
Would the Americans come here under an agreement which was subject to instant cancellation not at the will of the elected representatives of the people but at the whim of 36 faceless men? Of course, they would not. Nobody could blame them if they picked up their bat and ball and went home when that sort of arrant nonsense is pedalled in the National Parliament.
– I rise to order, Mr. President. I invite your attention to Standing Order No. 418 which reads -
No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament or any Member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament, or against any Statute . . .
I point out that, among the 36 faceless men to whom Senator Hannan has alluded, there is the Leader of the Opposition in the Queensland Parliament, the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) in this
Parliament, the honorable member for Braddon (Mr. Davies) in this Parliament, and Senator Toohey who is a member of this chamber. I suggest that the words “ faceless men “ are offensive to those members of Parliament, and it should be withdrawn.
– Order! The point of order is not upheld.
– Mr. President, I want to deal in some detail with the Manus Island disgrace. The relations between Australia and the United States of America have been of crucial importance to this nation at least since 7th December, 1941. Professor Werner Levi at page 173 of “ American-Australian Relations “ makes the following statement, referring to World War II.:-
Experience during the war has shown that the U.S.A. and Australia are important to each other and that the security of both depends to a considerable degree on co-operation. Since the policy of neither nation indicates its conviction that the United Nations will eliminate the need for mutual or regional security agreements, realism on both sides will make possible a compromise solution on the island question and other problems anc! thus enable the two nations to be of mutual assistance.
The great pity of the matter is that the good professor failed to take into account the tremendous stubborness of the then Australian Minister for External Affairs, Dr. Evatt. Senator Fitzgerald, in his address to this chamber, stated that in 1949, three years after the Americans had left the Manus Island base, Dr. Evatt had indicated disappointed that the negotiations had - shall I say - failed to fructify. There is a particularly good reason why the negotiations had failed to fructify. In this connexion, I refer to “ Australian Diplomacy and Japan 1945-1951 “ by Professor R. N. Rosecrance, who is a professor at the University of California. At page 58 of his book, Professor Rosecrance has stated, referring to Australia and the United States -
Manus Island proved to be the issue which would crystallize the different conceptions of military co-operation entertained by the two States. Manus, an Australian-mandated territory of the Admiralty Group, had been seized by United States forces from the Japanese in February, 1944. Subsequently America built a formidable base on Manus, which it used to stage the invasion of the Philippines. The harbour at Manus at one time accommodated an American fleet of over a thousand vessels. Floating docks, airfields, a hospital, roadways, and living accommodation for thousands of men were constructed on the island. Precisely how much was spent by the United States on the base is in dispute. Estimates range from £A. 50-250 million, though the figure most often heard within the American government is 156 million dollars. It is safe to say, in any case, that the expense was not trifling.
I refer to that description of the great base at Manus in order to indicate what a bastion that would have been for our security. What a tremendous shield and what a buffer it would have been if it had been manned by an American ally. Why is it not so manned? Because of the impossible stubbornness and vanity of the Australian Minister for External Affairs of the time.
– Who was he?
– I wanted to keep this on a non-party basis; but it was Dr. Evatt. Referring to the fact that the United States had reached the conclusion that she would like to use the facilities which had been built on Manus, Professor Rosecrance wrote -
The first conclusion was reached in August, 1945, in a report of the House Naval Affairs sub-committee. It was reinforced in September when H. Struve Hensel, Assistant-Secretary of the Navy, named nine major Pacific bases which the United States needed to retain. The list was “ limited to those we should intend to maintain and which are susceptible to defence “. Manus was included in the list.
My great worry is this: If Labour ever again became the government, the stubbornness and stupidity of its approach to the naval communication station at North West Cape could well have the same effect as Dr. Evatt’s negotiations had in regard to Manus Island. We could lose the naval communication station, too. There were considerable negotiations between Australia and the United States from 1946 onwards. In 1946, Mr. Chifley and Dr. Evatt went to an Imperial Conference in London. At page 62 of his book Professor Rosecrance has slated -
At the conference itself Chifley and Evatt took a strong line against concessions to the United States on Pacific bases. While Britain reportedly supported “ in principle “ many of the American requests for bases in the Pacific, the Australians argued for the creation of Commonwealth defence machinery in the Pacific . . .
Then Mr. Chifley was able to come home and say he had defied the Americans to their faces and that they would not get the base on the terms on which they wanted it. At the end of 1946 the Australian Government sent Dr. Evatt to Washington to restate the Australian position on Manus Island because the Americans were showing some signs that they might not go on with this great act of international charity. Dr. Evatt re-stated to the Americans Australia’s previous condition that any arrangements for the use of Australian facilities should provide for reciprocal Australian use of American bases at Guam, Truk and elsewhere. Imagine that! The good doctor would allow the United States to use the Manus base provided that America allowed us to use American bases at Guam and Truk, which we could not man anyhow. That was the rock upon which these negotiations foundered.
– The Communist rock.
– It was a rock, at all events. The Americans said, “ All right. We will even go along with that. You let us use the Manus Island base, which we built for 156,000,000 dollars, and wc will let you use any of the bases you like to built on any of our islands.” There was a pretty loud silence after that. That was the end of negotiations. At page 64 of his book Professor Rosecrance has stated -
At the end of 1946 America formally notified Australia that the proposal that Australia should have the right to use American facilities on its Pacific island bases in exchange for rights to use the Manus base was unacceptable.
It was unacceptable despite the fact that the Liberal Government in later years offered to the Americans the use of Manus Island. But by that time the magnificent 1 56,000,000-dolIar base had reverted to the jungle. The plant, fittings and equipment at Manus Island were offered to the then Australian Government for a song.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– -When the sitting was suspended I was referring to a statement made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) last February in which he said -
Labour’s defence policy is indefensible.
He was referring to a directorate from the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour
Party opposing the naval base at North West Cape. Nothing is changed. Labour’s conditions for supporting the establishment of the base are wholly unacceptable to the United States of America. Nothing is changed and, therefore, in the words of Mr. Calwell, Labour’s defence policy is still indefensible.
The establishment of the base is not a matter of supiness or subservience. It is a matter of two friends - one more powerful than the other, and the more powerful one needing the moral support of its friend - coming to an agreement. I think it is time all Australians who value their country’s security should stand up and thank their Government for this measure. I think we should say nationally to our great ally: “ We may be small, but you can count on us. You can trust us. We will be with you. When the chips are down we will stand up and be counted.”
– At the outset, I want to take this opportunity of congratulating the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber (Senator McKenna) and our leader in another place, the honorable member for Melbourne (Mr. Calwell) on the magnificent addresses they gave on this proposal to establish a naval communication station at North West Cape in Western Australia. The agreement to establish the base has already been signed. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) would not have brought this legislation before the House but for one reason: He is rather uneasy sitting on his thistle. He is not too comfortable at all, and I do not think the Queen did him any good by conferring the honour she did upon him. We find that the Prime Minister received his honour for chivalry. I have read the dictionary definitions of the word and have heard various men of standing explain its meaning. When I have finished with the right honorable gentleman to-night I do not think anybody in this chamber or elsewhere will call him chivalrous.
– That is a reflection on Her Majesty ..the Queen.
– Her Majesty could be easily misled. The Prime Minister would not have brought this legislation down when he had a majority of 32 in the
Lower House. Now he has only a majority of one. He thought that the opposition he would get from this party would give him an opportunity to go before the electors in the very near future and do the same as he has done in the past. He would not have had to explain his stewardship at Canberra at all. He would have said that the Labour Party was opposed to defending Australia. Senator Hannan said that the people should trust this Government because it was right behind the people in regard to the defence of Australia. What was the cause of the defeat of a Liberal government in 1941?
– A couple of Independents.
– Senator Scott says it was two Independents. Earlier to-day he said that those two members - Messrs. Coles and Wilson - received jobs for their votes. I remind the Senate that Mr. Coles took on a job without any salary to control rationing in Australia during the Second World War.
– What did he do?
– He was controller of rationing during the war. The Menzies Government was defeated because it had no leadership and Australia had no defences. We had a Prime Minister who was a great supporter of Hitler. I will read to the Senate the right honorable gentleman’s words - not mine - when he spoke before the Constitutional Club in 1938.
– Has this any relation to the bill before the Senate?
– I want to prove to this House why America will not agree to joint control of the new communication station while we have fascists in control of this Government. There was full co-operation between the two nations from 1942 to 1945 during the war. This is what the present Prime Minister said at the Constitutional Club in 1938 -
Why was Hitler able to tear up the Treaty of Versailles and absorb Austria and the Sudetenland without firing a shot? The dominating reason why he was able to do it all is that he gives the German .people a leadership to which they render unquestioning obedience. If you and I were Germans sitting beside our own fires in Berlin, we would not be critical of the leadership that has produced such results.
That was the statement of the present Prime Minister in 1938 after he returned from overseas.
– He was talking of what the German people thought and not what he thought.
– He was saying what he thought, and he added -
I repeat what I said when I came back from England - it is imperative that we should get to understand the German point of view and so help to destroy the German delusion that the democratic countries do not understand her and have no sympathy with any of her ambitions. I know that when any public man offers the opinion that the German point of view ought to be studied and understood some fathead will accuse him of being a Nazi or a Fascist.
That statement was made by the present Prime Minister in 1938 and he has never denied it. He admits to it. Another Minister in the Menzies Cabinet made a statement at that time that the Japanese could have walked into Australia with one battalion because we had no defence. One of his own Ministers made that statement. When I hear members of this chamber talking of Manus Island I remind them that if it had been left to the administration of the Menzies Government in 1941 there would have been no argument about who had Manus Island. The present Prime Minister was prepared to give it to the Japanese and to let the Japanese take over northern Australia. That is well known. Irresponsible senators on the Government side have said that the Curtin Cabinet delayed correspondence that was supposed to have gone to the United States of America before Pearl Harbour. I say that that is a lie. It was never done. I challenge honorable senators who have made that statement to produce evidence of its truth.
– Has the honorable senator heard about the Brisbane line?
– The Brisbane line would have been an accomplished fact had not Messrs. Coles and Wilson decided to empty out the Menzies Government. What was the position? We had no defences. That was admitted by the present Prime Minister. It is here in black and white that we had no defences but that nobody could blame him. Whom could we blame? I well remember sitting in this chamber when the Labour Prime Minister, Mr. John Curtin, sought the assistance of the United States of America in 1942. I heard the Leader of the Opposition at that time, Senator George McLeay, attack the government of the day for daring to cut the painter with England and call for American assistance. They opposed bringing the Seventh Division back to Australia, or to the islands.
– Were you a senator then?
– I am not listening to interjections.
– Tell us about the Brisbane line.
– The Brisbane line, as I said before, would have been an accomplished fact if the Menzies Government had stayed in power in 1941. The decision made by my party on this base was not made lightly. Senator Hannan spoke of the 36 “ faceless men “. I have referred to the conduct of the Menzies Government in the early war years. All I need add on that subject is that we still have a gutless government which is not prepared to face up to facts and to do the things that it should do. Why not? Because the United States will not trust it with the secrets relating to the use of the base in the north-west of Western Australia. The United States trusted the late John Curtin and the late Ben Chifley.
The Government has criticized our methods of dealing with this proposal relating to our defence, and, after all, defence means a great deal to the people of Australia. I remind honorable senators opposite that the Australian Labour Party is the only truly democratic political party in the Commonwealth.
– It is dictated to by Ji outside body.
– There is no person who can dictate to it.
– What about the 36 delegates? They tell you what to do.
– The 36 delegates that represented the States at the federal conference were elected by the rank and file of the Australian Labour Party.
– They were elected.
– They were appointed! Whom do you think you are kidding?
– They were elected democratically at a conference held in each State. In the Australian Labour Party we have State conferences to deal with State affairs. Anything that relates to federal legislation is left to the federal conference and the State bodies elect the delegates to that conference.
– Where do you come in?
– I have my vote. What about the Minister who just interjected? Does he have a vote in selecting the representatives of his party?
– Who voted for Senator Buttfield?
– Exactly. How many South Australians had a vote to say that Senator Buttfield should be No. 3 on the Liberal Party’s ticket for the last election for the Senate in that State? I believe that Senator Buttfield has done the best she can in view of the way she is chained down by the party. She belongs to a party which is a dictatorship. Its delegates have something before them which is not known to the people of Australia.
It was not until within the last couple of days that we found out the purpose of the proposed base. I defy any supporter of the Government to bring into this chamber evidence that he had knowledge more than a fortnight ago of what this base would be used for. There was nobody who knew. Even the Ministers contradicted each other. We were forced to make a decision because the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) announced that he would bring the agreement before the Parliament. We know that that was a political stunt. We all know about Skripov. The Prime Minister should go into the export and import business because he brings spies here and deports them. That seems to be the job he is in now. If a Western diplomat behaves in Russia as Skripov behaved here he is imprisoned, just as the Englishman, Wynne, has been imprisoned. But our Prime Minister allows these people to come to Australia and do as they wish, and then allows them to go home. He thought that members of my party would fall for his trap, but we did not. Skripov would not apply for political asylum here because the Liberal Party is linked with the Communist Party. Both parties work together. That is why the American Government will not trust this Government. This Government came into power on the preferences of the Communist Party. If those preferences had gone another way this Government would not occupy the treasury bench to-day. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) won his seat on the preferences of the Communist Party, and that is well-known in the United States of America.
– What percentage of Communist votes did the Labour Party get?
– And what-
– Order! These constant interjections are making it impossible for the speaker to carry on.
– Government supporters have stated that certain delegates to the Labour Party federal conference held in Canberra came from unions which have Communists in official positions. That is not news. But I should like to remind the Senate that rank and file members of the trade union movement have a right to elect whom they choose to be their executive officers. If a delegate to the Labour Party conference works on the Victorian railways, and the secretary of the railways union is an alleged Communist, does that justify branding the delegate as a Communist? If that is logic, then Senator Hannan is a Communist because he belongs to an organization the secretary of which is a Communist. But of course it is not logic. I have heard honorable senators opposite ask in this chamber why we do not get back to a Labour Party of the kind we had in the days of Andrew Fisher, Jim Scullin, John Curtin and Ben Chifley.
THE PRESIDENT.- Order! Senator, I would be pleased if you would refer to these men other than by their Christian names.
– I am sorry.
The constitution of the Australian Labour Party now is not different from what it was then. We have never changed it. The anti-Labour parties do not have a constitution. Ever since the Australian Labour Party was formed it has had the one platform and the one name. The procedure adopted in 1910 has been followed right up to the present day.
– That is dead right; and the same thinking, too.
– Pretty conservative, are you not?
– I can see that I have the Ministers very touchy and quite alarmed about this. They are afraid that the public will hear the truth instead of the half-truth. The Labour Party has never had any other kind of policy-forming system than that which it adopted in 1910. By that system delegates to the federal conference are elected from each State. Because certain men happen to belong to organizations which have some Communist officials, they are branded as Communists. Has any one ever heard anything so ridiculous?
I listened last Sunday night to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who branded the Victorian delegates to the conference as Communists. Those men gave quite a lot of consideration to suing the honorable member for Mackellar, but after getting legal advice they decided against it. He could get doctors to certify that he is mad, and you cannot claim money from a madman. If honorable senators look back over the records they will see that our party has always been the Australian Labour Party - not tie U.A.P., the Nationalist Party, the WintheWar Party or any other term that can be used to blind the people politically. In 1942, when Australia was facing the gravest crisis it has ever faced, we were forced to call upon America. No one gives more credit to the United States than I do for the job it did at that time, but it was not a one-sided affair. Every operation undertaken by United States forces in this area was undertaken in conjunction with our own military and naval officers. Nevertheless, the Americans are not prepared to allow the present Government of Australia into the secrets that it will be using in connexion with the communication station in the north-west of Western Australia because it is afraid of this Government.
Senator Hannan and other honorable senators opposite have referred to the Communists in the trade unions and on the federal conference of the Labour Party. Senator Hannan stated that thousands of people would be employed in building this base. How are the authorities to get men there from any union which has not some Communist association and which has not officers who have been elected by the rank and file of the organization? The trade unionists will be there to help build the base, and they can be trusted, just as every other Australian can be trusted. The honorable senator has a habit of insinuating certain things in this chamber. He has referred to a speech that I made last November, in which I stated that during the Second World War Russia had become an ally of the Western powers. I said that we had supplied Russia with ships, aircraft and munitions, and that if the same position arose again we would again supply it with equipment. Who can say that we would not do so? Who, in 1939, would have said that Russia would be our ally in 1943? Who would have said in 1942 that to-day Japan would be classed as one of our allies? Any one who said that then would have been imprisoned. World conditions change with time. With all respect to the United States, we know that it did not enter either of the world wars until well after England and Australia had taken an active part.
What we in Australia want to ensure is that our officials have some say in the control of this base. That is the only argument that we have against the base. This party, Mr. President, has agreed to the United States being granted permission to build the base, under certain conditions. All we ask is that we should not be obliged to buy a pig in a poke, or that we should not have to fall for something that may turn out bad for us. We want to see responsibility in this connexion placed in the Commonwealth Parliament, but that has not been done. The agreement has been signed because the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) thought he could win four or five seats by having an election in November if we were to oppose the base. He thought the agreement would not have to come before the Parliament for ratification. He was of the opinion that he could use it as a political trick, like the tricks he has used on occasions in the past.
I am pleased that we at least know now the purpose for which the base is to be used.
– It is not a base.
– Well, let us call it a project. We know the purpose for which it is to be used. Honorable senators have referred to the Anzus Treaty during this debate. Australia is a partner in that treaty with New Zealand and America. In the agreement for the construction of this project in Western Australia, the Government wants us to be a dummy, or a satellite. It wants to give away the sovereign rights of the people of Australia, as it has given them away in every agreement it has signed. With due rupert to everybody concerned, Mr. President, who can say that for the next 25 years we shall always be so close and friendly with the United States? Who can say that in all that time we shall be on the same footing as we are to-day? I do not think that any one in this chamber can say that that will be so. I do not think it is proper that we should give our birthright and our sovereign powers to another country. We should use pacts, such as the agreement to construct this base, to try to keep peace in the world.
I believe that the next world war, if there is one, will not be fought with nuclear weapons. We were told when the First World War ended that the next war would be fought with the terrible mustard gas. I said then that such a suggestion was foolish. Mustard gas was never used.
– Yes, it was.
– To a very small degree. The powers knew that if they used the gas it could blow back on their own troops. I venture to say that if there is another world war, nuclear weapons will not be used in it. Wars are fought for trade. The people who make the big profits from trade should fight the wars. Instead, they create wars and leave the workers to fight them. When the workers have fought and won arid they look for some remuneration, all they receive is the right to walk the roads with their swags.
I heard Senator Hannan speak this afternoon of the free world. I had the temerity recently to ask Senator Gorton, who represents the Minister for External Affairs in this chamber, whether he could tell me the countries which belong to the free world. He said, “I would not give you my opinion”. I know that he could not give me an opinion because if he did so it could be criticized. I have had the privilege of visiting China, Japan, Pakistan, India and other countries which are supposed to belong to the free world. The people of those countries are free to starve, Mr. President, or to be used as cannon fodder whenever the bosses wish. There is no free world to-day. Wherever there is hunger there is no freedom. Australia took a very active part in fighting for freedom in two world wars - the First World War, in which I served, and the Second World War. The Germans tried to invade England but were prevented from doing so by the gallantry of the workers of that country. What is the position to-day? Because of the attitude of the anti-democratic Prime Minister of England, the Germans are able to walk into England.
An honorable senator opposite stated earlier to-day that the Prime Minister of England had given to the United States the right to establish a base there for Polaris missiles, without any reference to the government or the people of the country. Do you think that is right, Mr. President? Have not we always been proud of the fact that we belong to the Commonwealth of Nations? Of course we have. The people in England who fought in two world wars are ignored to-day and German troops are allowed to walk into the country, as Japanese troops could walk in here under this Government. In England and America there are millions of unemployed. I believe that the number of unemployed in America is about 7,000,000. If we were to have a nuclear-free world there would be 20,000,000 unemployed in that country.
The erection of bases such as the one we are discussing does not solve world employment problems. The way to solve them is to find useful work for the people to do. If we want to prevent war we must provide for the people who have been robbed over the years by the rich men, whether they be in Asia, India, Cuba, or some other country, financial assistance to develop the natural resources of their country. If that were done, they would be able to feed and clothe themselves and their families. There would then be no fear of war. We could never have communism in this country because the people have work to do. You get communism where people are underfed and starving. Sir Robert Menzies spoke of the job of work in taking over countries that Hitler did without firing a shot. Why? Because the Communists promised to provide the people with food.
– Did that apply in Tibet?
– Exactly. If you had been in Tibet you would be glad that the Communists took it. The people there were dying in the streets. They were fly-blown even before they were dead. The same occurred in Cuba. You people call places like India and Pakistan parts of the free world, but in those countries people borrow children, break their arms, and use the children as beggars. The free world! I think it is wrong.
I hope that the people of Australia at the first opportunity will see that a Labour government is returned to office which can co-operate as an ally, and not as a satellite, with the great United States of America. That government will have this agreement revised so that our experts - military, naval and air - will have the opportunity to confer with the American experts. If this base is to be used in war I hope it will be run jointly as our common war effort was run from 1942 to 1945.
– You will say, “ Yanks, go home”.
– Listen to the McCarthy of this chamber.
– Order! Senator Hendrickson, you will withdraw that remark.
– With due respect to McCarthy I withdraw it.
– Order! You will withdraw the remark unreservedly.
– I withdraw it unreservedly. I want to say in conclusion-
Government Supporters. - Hear, hear!
– I know that you people opposite have had enough to-day, but you will have more from other speakers in this debate who will tell the people the truth. Those speakers will not have to get behind closed doors, read copies of the “ Tribune “ and then repeat in this chamber what that journal says. They are free men who can exercise their freedom when they attend branch meetings of the Labour Party. I congratulate both the Leader of the Opposition in the other place and the Leader of the Opposition in this chamber on the magnificent speeches they made on this bill. I hope that Senator McKenna’s amendment will be carried so that the agreement will be revised.
– The speech that has been shouted across the chamber is an excellent instance of the ideology that Senator Hendrickson follows. He has put to us plainly that in his view the issue of war or peace in the world to-day hangs on capitalism. He said that all wars are fought for trade and for the defence of capitalistic interests instead of for the defence of the workers who engage in those wars. His other proposition was based upon a rank distrust of the United States of America.
I am very interested in the arguments that have come frequently from the Labour side of the chamber during the day. Honorable senators opposite have complained that the Government has presented this bill to the Parliament so that the agreement that has been signed can be approved by the Parliament. I would have thought that that was a very simple democratic process, one which every democrat should applaud, particularly as the Government decided to submit the agreement to Parliament for approval before exchanging the instrument with the American Government. It is quite obvious that the hesitation that the Labour Party has in accepting this procedure, and the burning resentment that it displays over it, are because this debate has disclosed to the country a contemptible situation within the Labour Party which embarrasses the undoubted prospects that the party had of winning the confidence of the people. I sympathize with the Opposition, but I will return to that aspect of the matter a little later.
I want to recapitulate four simple propositions upon which I think the minds of honorable senators should be focussed.
They are essential to this agreement. First, the agreement recognizes and maintains the sovereignty of Australia as well as that of the United States. Secondly, the agreement provides that the control of this naval communications station shall rest with the United States. It provides thirdly that there should be consultation between the two governments on all matters connected with the station and, fourthly, that the Australian defence forces should have the use of the communication services of the station. It is deplorable that one of the two major parties in the Australian political scene should be opposed to the establishment of the station on those principles. During the post-war era there has been a great conflict between communism and democracy. I think we ought to remind ourselves that the western democracies have retained thenascendancy in the struggle only as a result of the superiority of strength that has been maintained through the combined strength of America, our own country, New Zealand and Europe. If a conflict were to arise, the combined strength of these countries far exceeds that of the Communist countries.
The predominant unit of that terrific strength stems from the resources of the United States of America. It is the predominant country in the world and its protective care has maintained our freedom. I think it was deplorable that the Leader of the Opposition in his speech this morning should have quoted Mr. Macmillan, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, as having said that the protection of the free democracies rested upon the Anglo-American alliance, and then deduced from that that we can look only to America in the event of another conflict. I repudiate entirely the idea that Britain would not be the first to be forthcoming in the defence of this country to the full extent of her resources, as a result of the natural obligations that exist between Britain and Australia.
America is the predominant partner in our half of the post-war world. The taxpayers of America - that is one thing that the Leader of the Opposition, with enormous generosity, conceded - have paid generously to protect the rest of the world. The United States Government has paid us the unique compliment of putting confidence in the integrity of this country, to the extent that it chose Australia as the country in which to place a naval communications station costing, from the point of view of equipment, £33,000,000, and from the point of view of ancillary and necessary structures, another £30,000,000 to £40,000,000. Surely those who think ought to realize the nonsense of Senator Hendricksons opening remarks. They should realize that the United States of America is demonstrating a confidence in this country that has been developed by thirteen years of steadfast effort on our part to prove our mutual interest and our resolve to support one another.
So it is that we have the Anzus and Seato pacts and, linking our situation with Europe., we have the Nato defence structure. Where would we be in the post-war world without these alliances? Senator McKenna in those passages that gave the light in his speech, as distinct from the valleys that showed the shadows, said that our position in isolation in the World to-day would be desperate. Is there any soul in the Senate who would not be concerned for the safety of this country and all that it means to us without the alliances to which I refer, in which the United States of America is the predominant partner? Should we remain unthoughtful of the situation, complacent as to this country, and merely amuse ourselves with trade union agitation and artificial basic wage structures, when we see the movement of ideas in red China, the trouble-making activities in South-East Asia and, indeed, some announcements and activities on the part of our nearest neighbour to the north - Indonesia - which have a content of disquiet.
Having partners in the alliance, let us examine the first objection which Senator McKenna now levels against this bill. He says that it is open to objection because the establishment of this defence communication station will automatically involve us in war. Suppose that no such station were ever established, and that Guam and Okinawa, the great Pacific bases of the United States, were attacked. What does the Labour Party say its attitude would be, in fulfilment of treaty obligations? Would it hesitate and hold back or would it accept the position that an attack upon America is an attack upon Australia? What is the significance of this half-thought-out nonsense that the mere location of a signal station at North West Cape would automatically involve us in war? Suppose that, without this station being established, the Northern Territory, New Guinea or Queensland were attacked. Would we expect the United States to come to our aid immediately under the Anzus pact? Is there anybody in this chamber who wishes to throw a doubt as to whether the United States would stand firm? Do not argue that the dry, technical legal language of the pact, which we all know, preserves the right of the American Parliament to make the final decision. Trust, confidence and mutual loyalty in alliances are the things which make it imperative that if there is an attack upon Australia, or upon American interests in the Pacific, we stand firm and committed.
The establishment of this radio station will neither add to nor detract from that commitment. That should surely negative the nonsense that stemmed from the Leader of the Opposition to-day, to the effect that the agreement was open to the objection that it involved us automatically in an American war. I have spoken in the sense that it is to be assumed that we contemplate no such conflict, except in defence. Does anybody on the Labour side say that there is any risk that America will take the initiative in aggression?
– I should not think so.
– No. Therefore, I need not argue that aspect. But I remind the Senate that there was a reference by the Leader of the Opposition, which was parroted by Senator Hendrickson within the last hour, to this effect, “Twenty-five years is the period for which the base is to be established. Who knows what our alliances will be in 25 years? Has there not been a complete change of attitude in relation to Communist Russia, Germany and Japan? “ It does one good to absorb the silence for a moment, and reflect upon what is implied in this silly argument of the Leader of the Opposition. America is an English-speaking nation. Her interests are completely in line with our own, as are her traditions and principles. She has been steadfast in the defence of the same interests as ours in two world wars. Having seen the duty to take world leadership, she has put a protective shield around the whole of the democratic world. Yet, people who represent a potent political party in .this country put forward a wavering finger to indicate distrust and to suggest to the people of Australia that, in their conception of the realities of our security over the next 25 years, we should fear the prospect that the American defence interests and foreign policy will depart from the defence interests and foreign policy of Australia. There can be no other significance in the reference made by the Leader of the Opposition this morning.
His other objection was that the treaty did not provide for joint control. I asked a simple question: . Who owns this base? Land of an area of about 25 square miles is being leased to the American Government, which will establish with its own resources a defence communication station. I should have thought that, prima facie, the lessee who constructed the undertaking at his own expense would have control of it. An Englishman’s home, is his castle, whether he is a leaseholder or a freeholder. The man who constructs this establishment is entitled to control it. But in that respect the agreement is at all times subject to the parliamentary authority of this Parliament. As a matter of actual legal authority, approval could be withdrawn to-morrow by a repeal of the act. The agreement contains a provision which ensures that the station shall not be used for purposes other than defence communication. I have referred to the provision under which the Australian armed forces are entitled to the communication services of the station.
One is at liberty to ask why the Labour Party is so concerned that there should be provision for joint control by the two governments. The agreement already provides that in relation to every subject covered by the bill there shall always be consultations. That, of course, involves an exchange of views and, so long as people are allies, a readiness to understand each other’s point of view. In pressing for ‘the right to control the station, the Labour Party’s only purpose must be an attempt to veto the use of the station by the United States at some particular time. If Communist submarines are moving in Pacific waters or the waters of the Indian Ocean, is it likely that this base will be nullified in the hands of the United States of America? If nuclear submarines from Communist countries are within a range of two, three or one hundred miles, is it likely that the station will send a message to New York and wait until it obtains the approval of a Labour Prime Minister before sending a signal to vessels? I should think that one has only to postulate that situation to show that the purpose of the Labour Party is mala fides and that a stipulation of the kind suggested is most inappropriate.
Reliance has been placed upon an agreement which was entered into between the British Government and the United States of America in regard to ballistic missiles which were entrusted by America to the United Kingdom. That agreement provided that the ownership of the missiles should pass to the United Kingdom upon their being placed in the British Isles. I should think, having regard to the relative situation of Great Britain vis-a-vis Russia, the nature of the weapons, and the fact that ownership of the missiles should pass to the British Government, nothing was more appropriate than that the agreement should provide for joint control. But the situation in relation to Exmouth Gulf, from which ballistic missiles will not be fired but from which radio communications will be sent and radar detection of an impending attack will be exercised, is quite the reverse. In this case the station will still be subject to the ownership of the United States and will deal only with communications.
The only other aspect of the agreement with which I want to deal is the subject of sovereignty. We heard Senator Hendrickson, if you please, speaking about sovereignty and saying that the agreement invaded Australia’s sovereignty. Anybody with half an inkling of constitutional tradition could not entertain any doubt about the sovereignty of Australia being fully and completely preserved. Sovereignty implies unlimited legal authority to control and resume this undertaking. Senator McKenna admitted that that authority resided with the Australian Parliament, that an act of the Australian Parliament could restore the situation to what existed originally, and he added the fantastic and fatuous idea - it shows how bereft of real matter the Opposition is - that possibly it would expose this country to an action for damages. If the “ Hansard “ reporter could have recorded the presence of tears, I should have been obliged for him to do so.
I approach the Labour Party’s attitude on this issue with lamentation. Nine months ago the Labour Party had some prospect of gaining the confidence of the Australian electorate. Mr. Calwell made public announcements about the indefensible defence policy with which the party had been saddled in relation to this station, and he indicated that the Labour horse would not be able to jump the hurdles at the next election. So he consulted the Labour Party executive and called a special meeting. I can well understand why Senator McClelland rose and invoked the standing order which provides that it is discreditable to suggest that an outside body controls the judgment of honorable senators in this chamber.
Undoubtedly, it is one of the weaknesses of the Labour Party that the legislative judgment of its parliamentary members is under the control of a body which the Australian electorate cannot hold in respect. The parliamentary group was able to obtain approval for this undertaking only after a contemptible majority vote of 19 to 17 following two days of debate. Obviously that majority was achieved only after a decision was made by one hestitating person so that Mr. Calwell would not be entirely disgraced. Honorable senators opposite simply sit on the other side of the Party executive whose directions they put into effect. Opposition senators do not give the country’s defence the consideration it deserves but act as the automation of the Labour Party.
What is my authority for saying that? It is not an excerpt from the speech that was delivered by Senator McKenna this morning but an excerpt from a speech which he delivered on 17th October, 1950 - on a despicable occasion when, after it had taken a forthright stand at the secondreading stage of a debate on a certain bill, the Labour Party turned upon itself and accepted defeat because it was so directed by the party executive. This is what Senator McKenna said, as reported in “ Hansard “-
– That is all right.
– The report continues -
Not only is every member of the parliamentary Labour Party honorably bound by the decision of the federal executive-
Is that still all right?
– The report continues - but so also is every member of the Australian Labour Party throughout Australia. Lest there should be any misunderstanding on that point let me make it clear how the federal executive is elected … So far as I, and other members of the federal parliamentary Labour Party are concerned, whatever we may say regarding that decision in the halls of the party, we are bound by the decision, and accept it unquestionably.
These are words which I have quoted previously. I repeat them to place on record my contempt of a party which pretends to be a significant party in the Parliament but accepts direction on such a preeminent consideration as the country’s security and defence from an outside body. In this instance that party has had to accept a resolution of approval carried by a contemptible majority of 19 to 17; and that approval stipulates two conditions the fallacy of which I have already demonstrated. They are a disgrace to any political party. If the Australian Labour Party wants to have any chance whatever of commanding the confidence of the Australian electorate it should say not only that a Labour government will discharge our treaty obligations in protecting our allies as well as ourselves but also that it will afford to our ally all possible opportunities within Australia to establish a defence communications station, which is vital to any defence effort that our own defence forces can make. It is vital also to the management of the armaments of our allies on which every Opposition senator, man by man - if that is the appropriate term - depends for his defence.
– Mr. Deputy President, I ask for leave to make my remarks at a later hour.
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.
On 21st February last the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) announced the Government’s decision to continue for a further period the export incentive measures introduced into our taxation law in 1961. The primary purpose of this bill is to give effect to this decision of the Government in relation to the export incentive contained in the pay-roll tax law. I shall follow the introduction of this bill by placing before the Senate another bill which among other things, will have the effect of continuing associated incentives provided in the income tax law for the same period as the pay-roll tax incentive.
Under the bill I am now introducing, it is proposed that the export incentive in the pay-roll tax sphere be renewed so that it has a further period of five years to run after the end of the current financial year, 1962-63. This will mean that the present incentive will continue to be available in relation to pay-roll tax paid or payable up to 30th June, 1968. Under the present law it would have expired at 30th June, 1964. As honorable senators will be aware, the incentive provided by the pay-roll tax law is in the form of a rebate of an employer’s liability for pay-roll tax. To qualify for a rebate for any financial year it is necessary for a firm to increase the value of its exports for that year above the annual average value of its sales on export markets during a base period. The base period, which was prescribed when the incentive was introduced into the pay-roll tax law in 1961, is the two year period that ended on 30th June, 1960.
In further explanation of the rebate I might mention that where, during a financial year, a firm increases the value of its exports over the annual average level it achieved in the base period, and that increase is equal to 1 per cent, of its gross business receipts for that year, the firm becomes entitled to a rebate of 12.5 per cent, of its pay-roll tax for that year. The amount of the rebate increases in accordance with the proportion of the increase in value of exports to the gross business receipts, so that when, during a financial year, the increase in value of exports over the annual average value during the base period amounts to 8 per cent, of the gross business receipts for that year, a firm becomes entitled to a rebate of the whole of its pay-roll tax liability for the year.
In his announcement in February, the Prime Minister stated the basic reason for the Government’s decision to extend the operative period of the export incentives. He said that it is of the essence of measures of this kind, undertaken to provide special incentives that, once established, they ought to be carried on long enough to produce their intended results.
The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has supplied me with some figures which will interest honorable senators. They show that the incentives have been followed by intensified export activity. At the end of last month, 510 firms had claimed pay-roll tax rebates totalling about £2,340,000 in respect of increased exports in the financial year 1961-62. It is expected that rebates for the current year 1962-63 will be between £3,000,000 and £3,200,000.
The bill also effects some technical amendments of the definition of gross receipts for the financial year. These receipts are, as I have already stated, a factor in determining the amount of a rebate. In any particular case where a rebate for the whole of the pay-roll tax for a financial year is not available, the larger the amount of gross receipts taken into account the smaller the amount of the rebate will be. Under the present law, gross receipts, broadly stated, include all amounts derived from carrying on a trade or business in Australia which are assessable or exempt income for the purposes of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assssment Act. This requires bringing to account as gross receipts such amounts as the excess of the value of closing trading stock over the value of opening trading stock, bad debts recovered, the recoupment of depreciation on disposal of depreciable assets for a consideration in excess of their depreciated values, and balancing adjustments relating to expenditure allowed as an income tax deduction in earlier years. In any given case involving a partial rebate of an employer’s liability for pay-roll tax, the inclusion of these amounts in gross receipts diminishes the amount of the rebate that would otherwise be available.
The Government has taken the view that the amount of a rebate should not be reduced by the intrusion of the factors I have mentioned into its calculation. The amounts concerned are not considered to be business receipts in a strict sense and the Government accordingly proposes by this bill that they should be deleted from the scope of gross receipts for a financial year. A memorandum explaining the technical aspects of the bill is available for the information of honorable senators, to whom I commend the bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cant) 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.
One of the principal proposals in this bill is complementary to the Pay-Roll Tax Assessment Bill on which I have just spoken. Its purpose is to extend until 30th June, 1968, the period in which expenditure on the development of overseas markets for Australian products may qualify for the special income tax allowance introduced in 1961. The allowance, honorable senators will recall, was part of the Government’s programme to provide incentives for Australian enterprises to enter, or expand1 their operations in, export markets.
The special income tax allowance is available in respect of expenditure incurred on the promotion of overseas markets for Australian goods. If that expenditure qualifies for deduction under the general provisions of the income tax law, the special allow ance results, broadly speaking, in a second deduction being allowed for that expenditure. As the special allowance is to be available for appropriate expenditure incurred1 up to 30th June, 1968, exporters and prospective exporters may now plan their overseas promotional activities in the knowledge that the double deduction will be available over the next five years.
The bill contains a number of other proposals and I mention first a proposal relating to the payment of fines imposed by courts for breaches of the income tax law. As the law now stands, a court which has imposed a fine for such a breach has no power to allow time for the payment of the fine, or to permit payment by instalments. A person unable to pay a fine as soon as it is imposed may accordingly be confronted with immediate imprisonment. In practice, the courts have often found means of avoiding that result, but the Government considers that there should1 be a specific statutory power in the courts to allow time for payment of fines, or to permit payment by instalments. The bill contains provisions which will give such a power to the courts.
Next I mention two provisions of the bill which relate to the exemption from tax of certain dividends. The first of these provisions concerns dividends originating in mining profits which are exempt from tax. The present law authorizes exemption in respect of dividends paid wholly and exclusively out of those exempt profits. Where the recipient of such dividends is a company it may, in turn, distribute wholly and exclusively therefrom dividends qualifying for exemption in the hands of its shareholders. If, however, the dividend is transmitted through two or more companies interposed between the mining company and the ultimate recipient of the dividend, the exemption is lost. There are no logical grounds for the termination of the exemption at this point and it is now proposed to extend the exemption to dividends paid by successive companies wholly and exclusively out of funds originating from exempt mining profits.
The other proposal relating to the exemption of dividends concerns dividends paid out of certain profits that have borne private company undistributed income tax at rates applicable to the incomes of individuals. The existing provisions of the law exempt dividends so paid only if they were distributed before 1st January, 1963. In December last, the Treasurer announced that the period in which such dividends might be distributed free of tax would be extended for a further two years, and the bill gives effect to that decision of the Government.
A further provision in the bill will exempt from tax educational allowances paid by the Commonwealth to certain persons who are in Australia solely for the purpose of pursuing a course of study or training. In the case of students receiving full-time education at a school, college or university, income derived by way of scholarships, &c., is already free of tax. The exemption does not, however, extend to a number of students and trainees under the Colombo Plan or a Commonwealth aid programme who are not receiving full-time education. The educational allowances paid by the Commonwealth to these students and trainees are now to qualify for tax exemption. The measure will not, however, disturb the existing basis of taxing other classes of income that the students and trainees may derive.
Effect is also to be given to the decision of the Government to extend for a further year the period in which gifts made to the Australian National Committee for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign will be allowable deductions for income tax purposes. Existing provisions authorize the allowance of deductions for gifts of £1 and upwards made to the organization not later than 30th June, 1963. The bill will permit deductions to be allowed for gifts made up to 30th June, 1964, and this extension will doubtless give a stimulus to an appeal organized on behalf of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. In the case of gifts to the Australian National Committee for World Refugee Year, it is proposed that income tax deductions be continued only where the. gifts are made not later than 30th June, 1963.
Finally, I refer to a provision in the bill which will extend to transactions on the transfer or redemption of treasury-notes the same basis of taxation as applied to the short-term seasonal securities which the treasury-notes replaced. The same basis will also be adopted in relation to the noninterestbearing inscribed stock to be issued under amendments to the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act approved by the Senate last week.
As explanations of each clause of the bill will be found in a memorandum available to honorable senators, I do not propose to embark at this stage on further details of the measure. I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cant) adjourned.
– I present the Sixth report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
Australian National University Bill 1963.
Customs Tariff Bill 1963.
Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Bill 1963.
Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill (No. 1) 1963.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate in this bill.
Debate resumed (vide page 756).
– The debate on this bill so far, both in another place and in the Senate, has revealed very clearly the traditional deep cleavage that exists between the Government parties and the Opposition when it comes to an important measure relating to defence. When that measure also has some relevance to the opposing world forces - the forces of communism and the forces of the free world - then the debate in this Parliament takes on a serious vein and indicates quite clearly to the people the grave differences that exist between the Government parties and the Australian Labour Party on these questions.
I do not know why the Opposition has not proceeded in this debate with the normal speaker-for-speaker arrangements.
I do not know whether it is a mere oversight that I have been forced to speak following Senator Wright, or whether the Opposition has run out of speakers. I hope the Opposition is not going to toss it in so early in the evening, because I can assure the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) that many more honorable senators want to express views on this bill. It is of considerable importance that as many senators as possible should express their views.
I preface my remarks by making observations about the purpose of the measure. I suggest to the Senate that there is only one main purpose envisaged in the bill, and that is the establishment of a communication station in the north-west of Western Australia for the purpose of providing defensive measures and, if necessary, war-like measures against Communist aggression. Furthermore, it will provide those defensive measures and war-like assistance to the free world in the event of a nuclear war.
We must not lose sight of the fact that this is a pretty grim consideration. This communication station is part of America’s plan, in association with the other free nations, to defend the democracies in the event of a nuclear war. I feel that at some stages of the debate that fact has been lost sight of, but I think it is basic to the arguments on this matter. I will willingly concede that once the Communist imperialist threat to the world ceases then communication stations such as this will no longer be necessary. But it follows from that, of course, and from what I said in the first place, that arguments that America would or might use this station in circumstances opposed to Australian defence policy are utterly unreal and completely academic. They are calculated, I think, only to divert the Australian public from the real issue. If one postulates in this discussion the important element that this station relates to atomic war and concerns only the conflict between the free world and the Communist world, then how can any one suggest that there can be any difference of policy between Australia and America in that conflict? No one could possibly imagine such a conflict between America and the Communist countries without automatic participation in it by Australia and the other democracies of the free world. Any one who stands up in this chamber and suggests that there may be circumstances where this station could be used by America against the wishes of Australia is not seised of the realities of the situation at all.
I come now to my next point. I feel that we are apt sometimes in these debates - I also make this mistake - to isolate the main aspect of the bill from its context. I submit that this bill and the North West Cape communication station must not be regarded in isolation. The station is only part of a global pattern in which America has accepted the tremendous responsibility, in association with other democracies, of providing an enormous fabric of nuclear defence. This fabric stretches from Canada to Britain, Asia Minor, Japan, through the Pacific, and now into the Indian Ocean. So we must not allow this discussion to get out of context because this station has a relationship to all those great defence establishments that America and her allies have, by common consent, set up around the world in this global strategy against the imperialist forces of Russia and China.
The western nations have expressed themselves in regard to this policy freely and voluntarily by solemn treaties. I refer to such treaties as Seato, Nato and Anzus. I put it to the Senate to-night that the attitude of the Australian Labour Party on this measure indicates that it does not want, and objects to, the establishment of this base on the north-western shores of Australia. That means, in effect, that members of the Labour Party want to tear up the Anzus treaty and refuse to allow Australia to accept responsibility as a free democracy, with this great American nation, for the preservation of world peace. I submit that we must not ignore the context in our consideration of the importance of this station.
This station is to be situated adjacent to the Indian Ocean and, in terms of global strategy, one has only to contemplate for a moment the position of the Indian Ocean and of the countries that surround it, to realize that that region is the weakest part of the world so far as protection from Communist aggression is concerned. Let me repeat that. If one looks at the defence forces established by free world, led by America, on a regional basis, the region surrounding the Indian Ocean is the weakest region in the world so far as protection from Communist aggression at a nuclear level is concerned. We happen to be responsible for the security of a nation that has a long coastline on the Indian Ocean. For some hundreds of years Great Britain accepted the responsibility of ensuring freedom from aggression in the Indian Ocean region. We had the protection of the British navy. We accepted that situation happily. But with Britain’s withdrawal from this area, and with the weakening of Britain as a defensive power, there is a serious vacuum in the Indian Ocean region. Now here is America with a great defence potential - the greatest in the world - undertaking to accept the responsibility to preserve peace in this region. On the other hand, here is the Australian Labour Party saying, in effect, “ We reject this offer “.
I have said that I believe that the attitude of the A.L.P. in regard to the bill is not really one that can be accepted on its merits. I believe that if the A.L.P. were honest, it would say, “ No, we reject the bill; we do not want an American base in Australia.” I think I am postulating the Opposition’s real view on this bill when I say that, and I propose now to give five reasons for my view. First, let us turn to what some honorable senators have said in this chamber in recent months about such a proposition. As recently as 7th November, 1962, Senator Cant made certain statements in the Senate concerning this matter. Honorable senators will no doubt remember the occasion very well and will recall that I participated in’ the debate. Senator Cant took great exception to remarks that I had made and then commenced to discuss the projected communication station. At page 1246 of “ Hansard “ of 7th November, 1962, the honorable senator is reported to have said -
As the Minister said to-day, the Americans have been granted a rather long lease of an area at North West Cape, and four square miles of it - admittedly only a small portion of Western Australia - will be, in fact, a closed area. I do noi’ know just exactly when that area will be closed or whether, during the period of construction, unions in Western Australia will be allowed entry to police conditions, rates of pay, &c. I suppose there will be some secret installations.
He supposed correctly, of course. He continued -
The Australian Administration may be locked out of that part. The Government should be able to inform the nation about these things that are going on - this American intrusion - and whether America is to be allowed to come into Australia and, as the article states, annex part of Australia.
There, we have the attitude of one honorable senator opposite. Let me turn to the remarks of another honorable senator opposite, which were made on the same day and in relation to the same subject. I refer to Senator Cavanagh, from South Australia. At page 1269 of “ Hansard “ of the same date, the honorable senator is reported to have said -
Senator Henty has said that America is Australia’s main bastion of defence. We should increase the forces necessary to defend Australia, but we should not take sides in a war between Russia and America, which appears inevitable unless something is done to stop it. We should do all in our power to see that international disputes are settled by the United Nations.
I have referred to the statements of those two honorable senators, and I intend shortly to refer to other remarks that have been made by interested parties in this debate, because they confirm the pattern and, I think, help to establish my proposition that the Opposition is not bona fide in its remarks on this bill. Its real purpose is to defeat the bill.
The third illustration I put forward on this question is the very interesting element in Labour’s policy regarding the oftrepeated nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere. I take it that Senator Willesee proposes to contribute to this debate. If he does so, I invite him to say something about the nuclear-free zone policy of the Labour Party which has been mentioned in the Senate many times during the last year. It is not denied that the policy of the party is to seek such a zone. I ask Senator Willesee to try to reconcile that policy with the affirmed and re-affirmed views of Senator McKenna, who said to-day, “We are not trying to stop the erection of this base”, or words to that effect. Either one policy or the other is not correct. You cannot have at the same time, Sir, a nuclearfree zone and an American communication station at North West Cape for the purpose 0 of conducting nuclear war in the southern hemisphere. In this respect, the Labour
Party is out on a limb, a fact which has not gone unobserved by many people. I shall mention some of them in due course. I should think there would be only one inference to draw from this position. If it is the policy of the Labour Party that there should be a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere, then the party must automatically reject the presence of an American nuclear signal station at North West Cape. I think that what I have just said lends strength I to my contention that the Labour Party is stalling in this debate and has been putting up a subterfuge.
I pass on to the matter of joint control. Again, I suggest that an examination of the matter will show only one thing, and that is that the Opposition is actually opposed to the establishment of the base. Let us examine the realities of a jointly controlled communication station. Let us assume that there was in this isolated part of Australia a great communication station staffed by technical officers, and with an American officer in charge. If we adopt the Labour Party policy of joint control, the American commanding officer would have sitting alongside him an Australian officer who also would be in charge. Anybody who has ever tried to control a service installation with two leaders, each having the right to veto the actions of the other, will appreciate how difficult it would be to operate such an installation successfully under those conditions. The people who put up a cock-shy such as this cannot be serious, because no service unit, from a battalion to a squadron of aircraft, could be controlled jointly by two people, each with the right to veto the decisions of the other. It is a preposterous suggestion when the realities of it are examined.
For the sake of argument, let us assume that we have an American commander and, alongside him, an Australian officer. Since it would be, not a command head-quarters but a base or station for the sending of signals to submarines and so on, let us try to imagine what would happen if the American commanding officer were to receive instructions to send a certain type of signal to a submarine in the middle of the Indian ocean and that the Australian ° officer asked to see it, as he would be obliged to do if the Labour Party policy were adopted. Having looked at it, he might say, “I do not like the contents of this signal and I am going to exercise my right of veto on its despatch “. That would prevent the American officer from sending the signal. If we follow further the implications of this ridiculous suggestion by the Opposition, we must assume that the Australian officer would have to send the signal to his own head-quarters. It is obvious that it would then have to be sent to Canberra, because there would be no point in dual control unless the political decisions in regard to it were made at Canberra. Why have joint control if there is not to be some kind of political interference with the nature of the control? Otherwise, it would be meaningless. So, we must assume that the Opposition would require the signal to go to the Minister for Defence in Canberra. Also let us assume that Senator McKenna was, for the time being, Minister for Defence. Of course, there would be only one thing for him to do. He would have to seek instructions from the federal executive of the Labour Party. He would take the signal to the federal executive, and he could be kept waiting outside all night until it had made a decision.
That proposition sounds ridiculous and it is ridiculous. It is absolutely absurd, but what other interpretation can one place on the suggestion that there should be joint control, if there is not to be a political decision made at some level by the Australian component of the joint control? There is no other reason for it One can only draw the inference that the Australian Labour Party - if it ever gets back to the treasury bench - wants to interfere with the day-to-day decisions that are made on defence measures. And why? I am coming to that now. I intend to read from an Australian newspaper.
– Could they not set up an office at the Hotel Kingston?
– That is possible. As the fifth illustration supporting my proposition that the Australian Labour Party is putting up a phoney defence I am going to read extracts from a well-known Australian newspaper. I will give the name of it in a moment. It says -
The Federal Conference of the A.L.P., in a vote of 19-17, declared for acceptance of the base on the conditions that Australian sovereignty should be preserved, that the base should be under “joint control” of both Australia and the United States, and that “facilities” there should not be used in the event of war without Australia’s consent.
That is putting forward the Australian Labour Party policy very plainly. Let us continue and see what this newspaper says -
This was not the decision that the right wing wanted, but the best they could get.
I think that is a pretty fair statement too -
The left forces in the Labour Party suffered a set-back, but the decision gives them a firm basis for opposition to the base.
I think that is worth repeating -
If ever there has been opposition to this measure we are seeing it in this chamber to-night. The article continues -
We are against United States bases on Australian soil, for the control and direction _ of nuclear submarines or otherwise, we are against the stockpiling of nuclear weapons. Our policy is for a nuclear-free zone in the Pacific, and we support the Labour view-point of a nuclear-free -southern hemisphere.
That observation, of course, is perfectly logical. You cannot have American bases and support a nuclear-free policy. Then the article proceeds -
We believe that a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere, properly applied, would exclude such a base as the United States plans to -establish in Western Australia.
The position taken up by the Menzies Government on .these issues calls for close attention by the labour movement. Firstly, the government has -not revealed the terms of the agreement with the United States imperialists or the extent to which Australian sovereignty is involved.
I have heard that story in this chamber even to-night from no less a person than Senator Hendrickson, who was very upset about the loss of Australia’s sovereignty. The article goes on -
Secondly, in the debate in Federal Parliament, the Prime Minister described Labour’s policy of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere as “national suicide”.
I have heard that said, too, in connexion with this bill. The newspaper continues -
It would make Australia a first target in the event of nuclear war, and this country has no defence against nuclear destruction.
Finally we come to this statement -
The suggestion of the Prime Minister that nuclear weapons could be “ deployed in Australia’s -defence” does not mean that Australia would have them. The United States imperialists would have control of these weapons, and we would be only pawns, expendable pawns, in their aggressive plans. The United States aggressors would decide when and how to use these weapons, not Australia. They would be “ deployed “ for purposes of United States aggression and war. All they would bring Australia would be annihilation.
That has been the theme of the Australian Labour Party in this chamber on this measure.
– From what are you quoting?
– I am quoting from that well-known Communist newspaper, the “ Guardian “, of 18th April. My only reason for quoting from this newspaper - of which honorable senators opposite have a very fair working knowledge - is to try to establish-
– You seem to know more about it than we do.
– Do you accept the “ Guardian? “
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar). - Order!
– I am quoting from the “ Guardian “ for two purposes. First, this shows that even the Communist newspaper is more logical in its approach to the question of American bases than the Opposition is. On the one hand, the Communist line is that the Communists want a nuclear-free zone and they know that that automatically excludes an American base. On the other hand, the Australian Labour Party does not say that; it wants two bob each way. The second reason I quoted from the “ Guardian “ was to show that most of the arguments against this measure propounded by the Opposition have been exhibited already along the same lines in the “ Guardian “. Here is an accredited Communist newspaper opposing the establishment of a base for the purpose of giving protection from Communist nuclear aggression. Here are our friends in Opposition, for the same reasons, doing the same thing. Yet they profess to be friends of America and they claim they are not opposing the measure. They say they want the base if we agree to this ridiculous suggestion about joint control, which is quite impracticable.
All I want to point out in conclusion is that nobody in Australia believes the story told by the Labour Party. I do not think anybody in this chamber does either. It is not going down with the people; it is not getting to first base. The debate has shown adequately the deep cleavage between members of the Australian Labour Party which always arises when matters of ideology are involved. It is a regrettable thing that the alternative government of this country cannot yet achieve an adequate degree of solidarity on one of the most vital issues that concerns us - the issue of security. It is most regrettable that in these circumstances the Opposition has found it advisable to oppose something which every other democratic country in the world is applauding - to oppose the establishment of a base that every other democratic country with an ounce of spunk would accept with alacrity.
– Would France accept it?
– Yes. She is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and contributes heavily to the upkeep of American forces in Europe, as the honorable senator very well knows. There is no joint control; the forces are controlled by America. There has never been a service unit in the world, since the days of Julius Caesar, run on joint control principles, and Senator Justin O’Byrne would know that very well. It would be much more honest if the Opposition were to come straight out and say: “ We oppose this measure. We do not like Yanks in this country. We prefer to run the risk and leave the Indian Ocean open to Communist aggression.” I think that this is the most regrettable thing I have seen in the Senate for a long time - this subterfuge that is being put up by the Australian Labour Party. It is not going over. I heartily support the measure.
– It is usual, in a debate of this nature, to reply to the arguments of the preceding speaker, but my old boxing instructor told me never to bruise my hands on preliminary boys, but always to hit somebody worth while. Therefore, I shall deal with some of the speakers who, in my great charity, I regard as worth while. I do not intend to reply to the stupid speech by that lightweight, Senator Vincent.
This bill has been described by Senator Sir William Spooner, Senator Cole, and that great intellect, Senator Scott, as the most important bill we have had before us for many years. I heartily disagree. There is nothing which would have prevented the Government, had it stopped advocating a divided responsibility, from signing this agreement in the exercise of its sovereign powers. The matter need never have been brought before the Parliament. But because the Government thought that there was a political content in the subject, it decided to throw to one side its responsibility as a government and to meddle in political affairs. Sir Robert Menzies and Sir William Spooner decided to bring this matter into the political sphere. Last night, we dealt with a bill to establish in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea a democratic form of government for those people who may be the finger that will point at us over the years to come. That matter was ten times more important than the establishment at North West Cape of a base, which is nothing more or less than the modern version of the. Morse key. But members of the Government clinging to office and to the emoluments of the free enterprise they talk about, regard this matter as being the more important.
Last night I deplored the fact that the Government had taken advantage of debates to make snide attacks on our nearest neighbour, Indonesia. It lacks facts that would enable it to introduce in the Parliament a debate on Indonesia. That great democrat, Sir William Spooner, who, I hope, will go to New York shortly to replace Sir Howard Beale, and who says that the matter of establishing this communication station is so important, has never placed on the business-paper an item that would permit a debate on Indonesia. I would not quarrel with that if, in the wisdom that from time to time we doubt so much, he thought that that matter was not important in the parliamentary context. However, he obviously encouraged his supporters to make snide attacks on our nearest neighbour under cover of these two debates. For the Minister, Senator Hannan, Senator Turnbull, and others, to introduce those side issues into these debates is paltry in the extreme. Although I think that this is an important debate, their behaviour underlines the fact that their conception of what is important in the national and international fields is so outdated as to be hardly worth talking about.
Senator Sir William Spooner, in his usual fashion, started at a particularly low level, and the level was not lifted by subsequent Government speakers. As we know, the Minister never lets a good speech be spoiled by the introduction of facts. If it is necessary to include a fact, he throws the matter aside, because in his view of the political scene he does not believe in putting the truth before the Parliament. Evidently, he does not think that the Parliament is important enough to have the facts of a case. He began by saying, with his peculiar logic, that we opposed the establishment of the station. Then Senator Scott, of the Liberal Party, and Senator Cole, of the Democratic Labour Party, said that we had been instructed to support it. I wish these people would make up their minds as to whether we are supporting or opposing the measure. They seem to take umbrage at the suggestion that we are instructed.
– It would assist if you were to make up your own minds first.
– The honorable senator is not in his proper place. As I said last night, he is almost out of his mind.
– You called him Perry Mason.
– Yes, and I apologize to Perry Mason. Senator Sir William Spooner, Senator Scott, and other Government supporters say that the bill is important. The Minister, after all, was knighted only recently. As a so-called responsible Minister and Leader of the Senate over a long period, if he had the interests of this country at heart, he would not stand and say that the Opposition was opposing the project, which is completely untrue. Would one not expect him to be looking at the international scene? If he were the great Australian that he claims to be, he would say, “ Here is a united front, with the Australian people recognizing their association with the Americans “. He would acknowledge that the Opposition was doing what every Opposition should do, namely, trying to improve the bill. He would say that we welcomed the plan, under the terms of the Anzus treaty, to establish a communication centre in the North West Cape or Exmouth Gulf area, which I know particularly well, rather than expressing the cheap McCarthy smears that he and the rest of his colleagues threw at us to-day.
I did not intend to speak to this bill. That great democrat, Senator Vincent, said that we did not have any speakers to put up. Later, he said that although we had a speaker, that speaker could not answer his brilliant questions in any event. There is muddled thinking on this matter. I heard Senator Sir William Spooner, Senator Scott and Senator Cole say that when this communication station was established the free world would be strengthened and our neighbours would be afraid to attack us. This was because we would have this modern version, however advanced, of the Morse key about which I know something but which is remembered now by so few of us. This will not be a base for atomic weapons. If the Government would make up its mind we might get some sort of debate on this matter. What we are debating is the establishment of a very low frequency communication centre at North West Cape, which will augment the American communication system throughout the world.
Senator Cole said that when we had this modern version of the Morse key our enemies would be frightened to oppose us. Senator Sir William Spooner spoke about the great deterrent. He said that now that we had the atomic bomb throughout the world, it would be a weapon of peace rather than a weapon of terrible destruction. Does he think, for only a moment or two, of the tremendous responsibility that anybody who regards this as a weapon of peace takes into his hands? The muddled thinking that has emanated from the Minister and other Government supporters, including the D.L.P. representative, Senator Cole, is so unreal. Senator Scott said that the only possibility of peace rested upon possession of the nuclear deterrent. I tried, by interjection, with all the friendliness that I have for Senator Scott, to ascertain whether he meant that Australia should have it. Then he started to wander away from the point.
If we have a great deterrent it will become a source of danger to us, because if the enemy has any brains at all he will attack it. That is precisely what we would do in the event of war if we were placed in his position. If people disagree with you about the establishment of a communication base in Australia, you must accept their views as being honest. There is no doubt about the fact that if you establish something which will be a danger to a potential enemy, he will be as aware of its danger as you are. It has been implied that this station will have a great defence potential and a great potential for attack should such a need arise. The fact remains that this establishment will be a very low frequency radio station - I wish I could get that into the non-technical minds of honorable senators opposite - and that it will be a part of the American defence system.
– That is what we have been saying.
– You have concealed it so completely that nobody has been able to recognize it. The Minister for National Development has referred to the base as being a great means of maintaining peace. If the Government says that possession of atomic bombs or atomic weapons in all their modern forms will ensure peace - as I understand his interjection, Senator Scott says that the establishment of this base will ensure the maintenance of peace - it is using an argument that was thrown out more than 100 years ago. In other words, it is saying that might is right. Senator Sir William Spooner says that the atomic bomb, which is a great article of destruction, is really an article of peace. Senator Scott supported the Minister. I do not think I have ever heard Senator Scott express any radical views in opposition to those of the Liberal Party. Those honorable senators say that if we possess such arms peace will reign supreme.
If that is so, why do they not condemn the United States of America for approaching Russia year after year with disarmament proposals? What honorable senators opposite are saying, in effect, is that the only way to ensure world peace is for us to have an arms race. If honorable senators opposite do not believe what I am saying, let them read the “ Hansard “ reports. It is of no use for them to shake their heads at me. That is precisely what has been said by supporters of the Government. But it happens to be quite the reverse of America’s policy. President Kennedy has stated quite clearly that atomic arms should not fall into the possession of all sorts of people all over the world. Various nations are trying to put an end to the arms race, to freeze the armaments already in existence and slowly to reduce their number.
Senator Sir William Spooner places himself far above the President of the United States of America and says that nuclear missiles will be a great deterrent, that they will ensure world peace. The honorable senator ignores the fact that this great deterrent could be placed in the hands of a person - I say it with great modesty and charity - who was a little unbalanced. If it had been placed in the hands of Adolph Hitler in the dying days of the last war, what would have happened? I believe Hitler was a mentally deranged man. There could be people in the world to-day who are as mentally deranged as he was. Let us consider the mistaken statements of Khrushchev. How can we trust a man who was prepared at a meeting of the United Nations to take off his boot and belt the table with it to emphasize what he was saying?
Supporters of the Government are saying that if everybody gets this deterrent, nothing untoward will happen. What we need to-day is men with developed minds who can handle atomic weapons. We need atomic men as well as atomic weapons. I repeat that Senator Scott and Senator Sir William Spooner argue that the only way to peace is to place atomic bombs in everybody’s hands. To do that would be like putting prussic acid in the bands of your little child and saying to him, “ If you are naughty I will pour it all over you “.
I pay Senator Cole the tribute of saying that I believe he delivered a quite honest speech. He said quite frankly that it was important for Australia to be indispensable to America. He added that that could be done in one of two ways. He said, first, that it could be done through the almighty dollar - that, if we were tied financially to America, we would be her responsibility if attacked. He said that the other means of doing it would be by establishing this communication base - this very small set-up within the American defence system. He’ expressed the view - I think it was echoed by Senator Sir William Spooner and Senator Scott - that there was no adequate communication system in existence to-day. Senator Scott cast his mind back to 1941 and said that a message was delayed either because the Labour Government of the day was traitorous to the Americans and wanted to see them destroyed or because the communication system was such that it took seventeen hours to have the message sent to Pearl Harbour. I do not see the point in what he said. The fact is that communication systems have developed to such a degree that it is now possible to bounce television signals off satellites which move around in outer space.
I was brought up fifteen years ago in an atmosphere of telcommunication, but when we think in terms of the systems that are in operation to-day it may well have been 1,000 years ago. However, it is still possible to transmit messages without a communication station at North West Cape. We still have on the part of the Government muddled thinking which revolves around the method of sending signals in 1808 or some such time as compared with the systems that are in operation in this atomic age. As I said last night when we were debating another bill, the thinking of members of the Liberal Party and their little cohorts of the Australian Country Party who are clinging on to them desperately is so far behind the times that they are unable to keep themselves informed of modern systems of communication. I repeat that Senator Cole said that the only way in which we can be saved is to be tied to the Americans either through the almighty dollar or through some telecommunication system. He says that if we are tied to the Americans, in no circumstances would they let us down.
That is the sort of view that has been expressed during this debate. It worries me greatly. I thought the debate we had last night in relation to Papua and New Guinea and the speed with which we could bring independence to the people of the Territory was very good. In my view, honest opinions were expressed on both sides of the chamber. But when we have outdated thinking of the kind that has been displayed during this debate I become quite worried. Surely honorable senators understand that messages could still be trans mitted if one station were destroyed. There would still be a million ways in which to transmit messages. They could be bounced off satellites or even transmitted by the conventional telecommunication and telegraphic systems amongst which we were reared. We could still get a message to any other part of the world. To say, as did Senator Cole and Senator Sir William Spooner, that we would not be expendable if this base were established is so much nonsense. Do suporters of the Government not recall that during the last world war that great statesman Sir Winston Churchill said that in certain emergencies Australia would be expendable? That was revealed by John Curtin in the course of debate. In the view of that Australian Prime Minister we were not completely expendable. But the fact is that in any extreme war Australia would be as expendable as Formosa, which has a population of much the same size as our own and which occupies as strategic a position in the world.
To say that we accept the American dollar or a very small interest in the communication system worries me so much that I am frightened to discuss this matter on an intelligent level. Senator Spooner, who generally makes low-level attacks and makes no secret about that practice, mistakes toughness for ability. He hits with everything that he has. He does not claim to have very much finesse. But when he is supported by Senator Cole, I become really worried. I do not mind being hit in the political ring when I know why the Government introduced this bill. This bill need never have come before us because the Government has the power to sign the agreement with the United States Government.
Senator Cole said that the Opposition’s approach to the agreement was traitorous. All that we have said is that with the United States and New Zealand we are a party to the Anzus treaty. We claim that our duty as the Opposition in this place is to point out the imperfections in the agreement. Surely if the Government believes in an opposition and if it believes in a two-party system in Australia and in the rest of the British Commonwealth, it must believe that we should advance reasonable propositions. All that we claim is that the Australian Government - even this Australian Government - should have the right to say whether we shall go to war. AH that we want is recognition of. the Australian Government’s right to maintain its sovereignty, and to ensure that if this great land mass of Australia is to be given away it will be given away under our terms. We are not unmindful of the situation overseas. All we claim is that we should abide by the rules. When we see the way in which control changes hands in Africa, when we see the way in which all sorts of fluid situations arise, and when we see the way in which British influence is waning and American influence is growing stronger, we claim that we should keep our hands firmly on the Australian nation.
I should have thought that our alliance with America would have been the last thing mentioned by members of the Liberal Party. The last Labour government came into office not as a result of an election but as the result of the complete dissolution of what was known as the United Australia Party - now they call themselves Liberals - under the leadership of Mr. Menzies, as he then was, and of the Australian Country Party whose then leader, Mr. Fadden, resigned as Prime Minister, and a Labour government came to office. It is most interesting history to a student that after so many years out of office a Labour government returned to power not by the vote of the people but because popular demand forced two Independents to decide that a Labour government should be in office. When we called upon our American allies for assistance - one would think that we were great haters of the Americans to hear honorable senators opposite - those parties took advantage of the opportunity, even in time of war, to attack the Labour Government. The political successors of those people sit opposite us to-day. The same Sir Robert Menzies who now leads them then said that we were cutting the painter with the Old Country, that we were turning our back on dear old England. He stated that we were selling out to the United States.
Being a Western Australian, I knew something of the late John Curtin. One of the things which worried him until his death was that any good Australian should claim that we were pulling out of the British Commonwealth of Nations. He said, “ Surely they should realize that this very position has been brought about so that we can remain a powerful member of the British
Commonwealth of Nations and so that we can remain to govern our own people “. But never mind about the war. Never mind about the fact that we had our backs to the wall. The Liberals who sit here to-day could not leave politics out of that situation.
I am particularly glad that Senator Scott is now in the chamber. This is a rare occasion. His speech this afternoon has induced me to inject personalities into the debate, something I have avoided in the thirteen years that I have been in this place. He made pretty clear accusations that two men whom I have never met - Mr. Coles and Mr. Wilson - voted against the then government parties, led at that time by Sir Arthur Fadden, who had been Prime Minister for six weeks, and put a Labour government in office. Senator Scott said, in effect, “I do not know, but they both received emoluments and jobs after they had taken- that action “. What does that statement mean to any reasonable man? Does it not mean that they sold out the duly elected government of the Commonwealth of Australia for personal gain? I do not think that it can mean anything else.
Senator Scott is perfectly correct when he says that they received jobs. Mr. Coles established Trans-Australia Airlines which this Government hates so much. Mr. Arthur Drakeford, who was Minister for Civil Aviation in the Curtin Government told me about this whole incident. He went to Coles and said, “I suggest that your salary should be £2,000 a year “. This money-grabbing person replied, “ No, I think it should be £3,000 a year “. But what Senator Scott failed to find out was that Mr. Coles then said to Mr. Drakeford: “ I will not accept one penny of the salary. I want to make it my contribution to postwar reconstruction in Australia.” Mr. Coles worked without salary in that heavy job which Senator Scott implied he accepted as a reward for tossing out the government which had failed this country. More than that, the late Mr. Drakeford also told me, “ Not only did Mr. Coles do that; he also instructed his secretary to list the normal travelling allowances that he received as a public servant and he refunded those amounts to the Treasury “. So Mr. Coles whom Senator Scott has claimed took this particular job for personal gain, made a great contribution to Australia without salary and without any cost to the Australian taxpayer. Mr. Coles even refunded amounts which any reasonable man would have accepted as normal outofpocket expenses. I have repeated those statements to show how low this debate has sunk, and how low Senator Scott and his colleagues will go to attack us.
This afternoon I interjected quite harsh during Senator Scott’s speech. As every one knows, he is a very wealthy man. I do not want to repeat the slanderous statements which he made. I content myself with saying that 1 bear him no illwill; but in charity I say that he should be the last person in this Parliament to suggest that any one sits here for his own personal gain and not for the good of the community. I take it no further than that. If he wants to challenge me in debate I shall meet him with a great deal of pleasure, but in my charity I do not want to repeat his slanderous statements. I merely say that he should be the last person to make them. I do not want to go over the old ground again.
– We had an agreement about the length of time for which each Senator should speak in this debate.
– There is no agreement that I know of. As far as I know I have every right, as a senator, to speak my mind on this matter. I have made no agreement about this. I think I am speaking well within my time under standing orders. I do not want to go into the whole of the politics of this thing. I do not want to go into those things that have been decided and examine what the Australian Labour Party did and said and what somebody else said. I want to deal with the debate as I have seen it grow. But there is one thing that I would like to do in particular because I have waited thirteen years to do it.
Government senators have said that the Opposition is controlled from outside the chamber and that we are here as mere puppets. I have heard senators opposite speak of 36 faceless men. Senator Scott was so muddled that he was talking about all sorts of things. I do not know what newspaper he had read them in. With all the inaccuracies that appear in newspapers I pay this tribute to the press: I do not think that the newspapers could muddle the facts as much as Senator Scott has muddled them. I do not want to stay in the Labour Party if it becomes a mad political group. I was born into the Labour Party because my father was a Labour candidate when I was eight years old. I have reconsidered my position several times and I have always decided to stay in the party if the people of Western Australia want to send me back to the Senate. But I would not want to stay in the Parliament if I had to be merely a member of a political group.
The oldest and most successful political group in Australia is the Australian Labour Party. The Liberal Party of Australia was born only during the last ten or twelve years. Its members are ashamed of the party name under which they lived so many years ago. Some of the freshmen on the back benches, of course, do not have to suffer from the shame of that memory. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) is one who led the United Australia Party.
Honorable senators opposite have said that the Opposition should be ashamed of having an outside organization. We are fortunate to have an outside organization. The Australian Labour Party is an organization which has roots going down into the Australian community. It is democratic in the truest sense. Any one who will sign a document saying that he is not a member of any other political party in Australia, including the Australian Communist Party, and will pay an entrance fee of 7s. 6d. can become a member of the Australian Labour Party. When I joined, the entrance fee was 4s. Such people can come into our gatherings and enjoy the right to move any motion which could finish up being the subject of debate or action in the Commonwealth Parliament. If that is not democracy in the true sense of the word I should like to know what is. If a political party does not have such a broad outside organization as that it automatically becomes subject to meetings of small groups.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! The honorable senator is getting wide of the debate.
– With very great respect to you, Mr. President, I am replying to a major attack which has been made on the Opposition by Government senators in debating this bill. It has been insinuated, particularly by Senator Vincent, that the Opposition’s attitude to the bill is due to the nature of the organization of the Australian Labour Party. It has been stated that the Opposition is controlled by faceless men. I know your great toleration, Mr. President, and I respect your admonition but 1 think, with great respect, that this question has to be dealt with. I consider that a parliamentary party has to be broadly based. If we are going to have senators here who are responsible to no one then we shall all be senator Turnbulls - coming in when we like and not answering to anybody. It cannot be said that that is good for democracy.
I shall cut short my remarks on this aspect, Mr. President, because of the kindly remarks that you have directed to me. But does anybody believe that the Liberal Party of Australia is answerable to nobody? Recently, the Opposition took the extreme step of moving what was virtually a vote of no confidence in the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) because we believe that he is controlled from outside the Parliament. One does not do that unless one is serious. We shall have a Tammany Hall in Australia - the worst possible situation - if we invite people to enter this Parliament only for personal emolument and gain. The parliament should represent the people of Australia. If it falls into divisions, that is all to the good. But I completely reject the contention that because the Labour Party is founded on a broad democratic basis there is something wrong with it. If I had to come into this Senate and represent nobody I would resign.
– You could not get in here if you did not represent somebody.
– Why should I not ignore such an interjection? I shall close with these remarks, because I do not want to traverse the broad basis of the debate. I would not have said these things to-night if the Leader of the Government (Senator Sir William Spooner) had not started the debate on such a low level and if he had not been so efficiently followed by his supporters. The reason for the attitude adopted by the Opposition in this debate is not that we say that this bill deals with an atomic base. It deals with a link in the radio communications of our friend and ally, the United States of America. Labour welcomes that in Australia. All that we wish to do is to give some aid to the Government. We believe it is our duty, as Her Majesty’s Opposition, to offer amendments to this bill. Because we welcome the base, we would not destroy it if we were the Government. We would try to amend the agreement to include some of the safeguards that we have advocated. I say with great respect to Senator Scott, Senator Hannan and Senator Cole that we are not a bunch of. traitors or Communists because we do that. We merely try to do our duty as an Opposition. We put this position fairly before the Australian people. We deplore the fact that the Government, which had the legal right to sign this agreement without putting it before the Parliament, had to make a political football out of a very important matter in the field of world affairs.
– in reply - Before answering the points made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) which, to a great extent, have been remade by speakers throughout this debate. I should like to make this one observation on the meanderings we have just heard from Senator Willesee: The personal attacks which we have just heard, particularly the attacks on Senator Scott and Senator Spooner, reflect the kind of courage that we would expect of Senator Willesee. Apart from that, I think we can leave to Senator Scott and Senator Spooner the answering of these attacks, which I am quite certain can be answered physically, verbally and certainly mentally at any time at all. This is not the sort of debate into which to import the childish personal attacks to which we have been listening. The main points made by the Leader of the Opposition, which, as I have said, have been remade by others, cover ground with which we have been familiar for some considerable time.
There was one point raised by one or two speakers - not, I think, by the Leader of the Opposition - to which I should first like to advert. That was. the suggestion that the agreement need not have been brought before this Parliament. That is true. That statement was followed by the suggestion that the agreement ought not to have been brought before this Parliament, and that bringing it before this Parliament did not affect the question of whether or not it would be carried out. I direct the attention of the Senate to the fact that the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), in his second-reading speech on this bill, said that the Prime Minister announced some weeks ago that the Government had decided to submit the agreement to the Parliament for approval before exchanging with the American Government its instrument of approval. It is this Parliament which will decide whether these instruments of approval are to be exchanged or whether they are not to be exchanged.
But there are more reasons than that for bringing this bill before Parliament in this way in order to get Parliament’s approval before the instruments are exchanged. One is that, having been brought before Parliament in the form of a bill, and, Parliament having passed it, it becomes an act of the Commonwealth of Australia, not merely an executive agreement which could be changed by some other executive. It becomes an act which would require parliamentary action before it could be changed. Anybody who has studied the history of this matter and seen by what a hair-like majority the governing body of the Australian Labour Party decided to agree, on conditions, to this agreement, will know that a switch of only one vote in the future could, if there were no need for parliamentary approval, reject the agreement which it is my belief this Parliament will pass as an act.
The Leader of the Opposition has asked me a number of questions about the various articles in the agreement. He suggested, for example, that Article 11, which states that communications services other than this communication station may be leased in Australia by the United States, should have spelled out definitely and precisely what communications services could be leased. A suggestion of that kind could only emanate from’ a lack of knowledge of the technical considerations involved. Is it to be spelled out in an act of Parliament that, for instance, eight, or nine or twelve channels may be leased? Is it to be spelled out in an act of Parliament that there must be some sort of statutory approval for a specified number of communications services and are the sort of communications services that may be leased to be set out exactly? That would make it binding, inflexible and quite ridiculous. All that is required is knowledge that it may be done. What we have included is a permissive clause which has been agreed to by both governments, and which is designed to make the station better able to work. Indeed, some of these channels are being used jointly by various countries at the moment.
The honorable senator asked whether a third nation could use the station, and suggested that no other ally could use it. In fact, provided both the United States Government and the Australian Government agree, an allied country can use the station. The Leader of the Opposition also asked whether Australia could use the station to send its own messages. Australia can use the station to send its own messages in its own codes without giving the key to those codes to the United Stales, which will be sending the messages for us. He also asked whether this Government sought joint control of this station. This again, I suggest, indicates a complete lack of appreciation of what the situation relating to this station is. The Leader of the Opposition said stop complaining about the Opposition asking for it. Let me deal with his second point first.
I know of no complaint against joint control on any ground other than that it is technically completely ridiculous, impracticable and unworkable. The point is that there is no complaint about a suggestion of joint control but there is every complaint in the world against a suggestion that unless there is joint control the station will not be established. That is what we complain about, not the technically absurd suggestion that there should be some joint control.
What happened in this case, as has become abundantly clear from the debate and from the documents tabled in connexion with the matter, was that the United States approached Australia and asked, “ Will you allow us to build on your soil a communication station and allow us to control it? “ In the course of the negotiations which followed that approach, the question of consultation came up. It was raised by the
Australian Government and it became clear in the course of the discussions - it was clear from the start - that consultation would be given in every respect except where it compromised the original request that the United States be allowed to establish and control the station. Surely, when a request such as this is made, the choice becomes clear. Let us look at the background to it all.
Without going into great detail or taking up much time, let us look at the things on which I believe Australia ought to make her choice, lt has been conceded by the Leader of the Opposition that for the rest of this century - 1 think he looked to the future and said “ possibly for the next “ - we will be living in a disturbed part of the world, we will bc living in conditions of unforeseeable danger, and we will be existing in those conditions to a great extent under the protection of the United States of America. I took down his exact words which were that we in Australia would be living under the American atomic umbrella. In other words, he conceded - and this is true - that we rely for protection from atomic blackmail from a country which has atomic weapons while we do not and for protection against atomic attack basically on the deterrent potential of the United States of America. Yet he is still prepared to say, to the United States as I believe the Opposition is saying: “We look to you for protection against atomic blackmail. We look to your atomic umbrella for protection against atomic attack. We expect you to be ready to risk the decimation of your own country in order to help protect us against the decimation of ours. But you must not put a wireless station here to assist you to do that, and you cannot control it unless we can veto the signals you send from it, otherwise, we might share some of the risks which you are taking to help us after having conceded that we come under the protection of your atomic umbrella.”
That is the background to this question and it is because of that background that the choice surely becomes perfectly clear. Let us get away from this bric-a-brac, this fustian, this attempt to pretend in connexion with this matter. We understand the causes for it. We know the desire of a great number - I think probably the majority - of members of the Parliamentary Labour Party is that this station should be established on exactly the terms upon which it is being established. We also know the minority of members who are opposed to its being established at all. These are stresses set up within the Parliamentary Labour Party. We also know - indeed we have had confirmation of this from Senator Willesee and others to-night - that there is outside this Parliament, not electee! at all and not responsible to the electors, a body of 36 people whose majority vote could change the policy of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the decisions which the Party is bound to follow. With all these stresses, it is understandable that an attempt to fog the issue should have been made. But the choice is simple and clear. A request is made that we agree to a station being established under United States’ sole control. We can accede to that request and accept, in the common cause, any risk that may be involved, always remembering that on political matters there is complete consultation under the agreement and under the Anzus pact, or we can -reject the request. We can reject it outright, but that is not suggested. The Opposition has not suggested that we should reject the request outright. But it could be rejected in another way, by imposing conditions which we know beforehand to be unacceptable and by saying, “ Unless these conditions are accepted, we will not allow this station to be put here “. That is precisely the course that is being suggested by the Opposition It wants to impose conditions that it knows are unacceptable and so prevent the base from being established. The Opposition has not the courage to come straight out and say, “ We reject this base outright “.
There is not even any logic in this approach as it has been developed recently, because even the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon, with an extraordinary change of ground - I would be glad to know whether it has his party’s authority - said, “ Of course, there is no question but that the United States of America should have sole control of this station and should have the sole authority to send signals to fire atomic missiles should there be a surprise atomic attack on the United States “. The honorable senator said: “ Of course, we would allow the Americans to do that. This should be worked out by discussion because no reasonable men would expect anything else.” That is precisely what has been worked out. Yet in apparently smaller things, because of the instructions given to the Opposition, we have this indirect rejection, which is just as final and just as damaging to us as the outright rejection which would have been the cleaner way for this to be done by those who are opposed to us.
– What does the Minister mean by “ cleaner way “?
– Cleaner, more honest and more courageous. It would have been better to say, “ We reject this outright “ rather than to say, “ We insist on imposing conditions which we know will make the construction of this base impossible “. As I said before, the imposition of such conditions would have an end result - as indeed would an amendment to the motion for the third reading - of preventing this base from being built and preventing this agreement from being concluded, thereby damaging the capacity of the United States of America to protect us and itself. It would prevent us from playing our part in a full realization of the Anzus Treaty. On what grounds? On the grounds that if we play our full part and do help, we may run into some small danger. What sort of danger would it be? As a consequence of rejecting this agreement, we would be a small country alone in the Pacific, without friends because we were not prepared to help them. We would hang down to the south of China - great and expansionist as it is - with Russia extending its conquests through Asia. We would be thinking, with our 10,000,000 people, that such a course would be safer than taking a full part with our allies under this agreement.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– The noise and the tumult have died down as we go into what I hope will be the quieter confines of the committee. I propose to move an amendment to clause 2 of the bill, which reads -
The agreement dated the ninth day of May, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, between the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of the United States of America relating to the establishment of a United States Naval Communication Station in Australia (being the agreement a copy of which is set out in the Schedule to this Act) is approved.
To this clause, I move the following amendment: -
At the end of the clause add the following words: - “ with the understanding that the station will be operated in a way which will not bring Australia into war (whether in the Pacific or Indian oceans or elsewhere) without the knowledge and consent of the Government of the Commonwealth and in the spirit of the undertakings to consult and act which the governments have assumed in Articles HI and IV of the Anzus treaty “.
Despite all the arguments upon this bill, the truth of the matter is that the fundamental difference between the Government and the Opposition lies in the ambit of this very amendment. That is why we seek an understanding that the station will not be used in a way that would throw Australia into war without our prior knowledge and consent. Does the Government say we should be so protected? Does anybody on the Government side say that this is not a proper principle to affirm? If honorable senators opposite vote against this amendment - in traditional form and set out in the way of an understanding - they are really affirming the proposition that our ally may use this station in a way that will bring Australia into war without our knowledge and consent.
I want to refer straight away to the questions that have been put to me in this place. I heard one honorable senator, and more recently the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton), ask what Australia would do if the United States of America were suddenly to be attacked by a nuclear missile that was en route. We have been asked: Would we want joint consultation? And we have been told that that would be impracticable. I was surprised when I heard that from a private senator, but I was amazed when I heard it from the Minister.
– I did not say that.
– You posed the question. The minister has completely overlooked that the answer is in the Anzus treaty. In those circumstances, under the Anzus treaty we are already contractually bound to act forthwith. The Minister should realize that what should be done in those circumstances has been determined at every level of our armed forces already. Nothing has to be decided under this agreement in relation to that. All the armed forces of Australia are clearly under instructions at this moment - and have been for years - to go into action the moment there is a nuclear missile directed at Australia, directed at New Zealand or directed at the United States of America.
The honorable senator pretended that, although we knew a nuclear missile was under way, we would demand consultation between governments. That consultation would already have taken place under another agreement. The Minister raises a completely false issue by ignoring what is set out in the Anzus treaty and is already a matter of clear decision between governments. That completely falsifies the position and the truth.
We are concerned about the fact that, in a world in which alinements change dramatically from year to year, and even from month to month, we are to be tied, under this agreement in formal written form, with all its imperfections as we have pointed out, for a period of 25 yeaTS. The Opposition feels under a most solemn obligation to study the implications of that. I point out to the Minister for the Navy that the amendment that I have moved is put in favour of Australia. We ask for an understanding in favour of Australia only. But surely the United States has an interest, and a pretty vital interest, in the same proposition. I should imagine that it would have suited that country equally as well as it suits us to have had an understanding of this type written into the agreement. The fact that we write this understanding into the agreement does not affect the Anzus treaty. It does not affect the firm and binding obligations that we have under that treaty. It does not disrupt all the detailed arrangements made between the armed forces of the two nations at every level.
In the many years that lie ahead and are contemplated under this agreement, if either party by a code message, the meaning or significance of which may not be known to the other party - Senator Gorton has conceded that that will be the position; that each party will be using its own code; that neither will know what messages the other is sending - instructed a unit of its fleet to initiate or to engage in war-like operations, retaliatory action against the station at North West Cape at least might be expected almost immediately, thus affecting both parties. That is a two-way arrangement.
It is conceivable that one party might be engaged in a war in which the other does not want to be involved. That is a very easily conceivable situation. It might be a war with conventional arms at the instance of Australia in which we alone are affected and in respect of which the United States might say, “ For reasons that are expedient to us, we do not want to be embroiled by reason of our position as a joint user of this station “. The United States is concerned because if there is an attack on the base it will fall on Australians and Americans at the base alike.
The reverse proposition for which we contend in our amendment - I repeat it in the light of that explanation - is this - . . with the understanding that the station will be operated in a way which will not bring Australia into war, whether in the Pacific or Indian oceans or elsewhere, without the knowledge and consent of the Government of the Commonwealth . . .
We are talking about future events at a station which is not yet erected. Now is the time to make the arrangements. We should not leave them until these matters crop up. If ever there was an understanding that should be written into an agreement of this nature, it is the very one that I have put in the amendment.
– How would that understanding be implemented? How could you implement it?
– I would say that a good deal of it could be done now. But one could contemplate a great many situations that might arise, and everything that can be cleared out of the way at once ought to be done in the same way as it is done now under the Anzus treaty by frequent consultation between the governments. The Prime Minister tells us that there is almost daily consultation.
The question of a sudden attack, whether by conventional arms or nuclear arms in the general way, is covered under the Anzus treaty already. Do not rake up the whole field of international arrangements and peg them around the bill that we are considering, which relates to a naval communication station. If you do that, you make the error of confusing the circumstances of a particular station. There are many circumstances in which, if hostilities are to be initiated, the party initiating the hostilities will know in advance what it is going to do. There is no great haste there. There is the fullest opportunity for that party to consult with its partner. It is a different matter when there is a sudden attack. I have dealt with that. In what I said just now I referred specifically to the initiation of hostilities from Australia by one party without reference to the other.
What we of the Opposition say is this: With all the time that could be at your disposal in that very deliberate act, at least you should tell your partner, get his view, and certainly give him time to put on his tin hat before the bombs start coming down on his head. That seems to me to be the very essence of common sense. I believe that, in actual fact, with the full power of consultation arising under this agreement, that will be done. The United States was concerned to write precisely into a letter - which it had confirmed by the Government and which, as a result of publicity the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) produced very reluctantly the other day - a request for an understanding that there was to be no control by Australia of the messages or the contents of the messages that the United States sent out.
To show the incompetence and default of this Government and to show its failure to look after the interests of this country I put this question: Why did it not occur to the Government and the Minister for External Affairs at that point to say to the United States, “Now you give us a similar assurance in relation to American messages “? But the Government did not do that. It says: “ Leave everything to the United States. Trust in the United States and the Almighty.” They are two good things to trust in. In this matter the United States wants no control over its messages. Senator Gorton says that we will have our independent code, we will be able to send our own messages, and the United States will not interfere with us. Where is that in the bill? When the matter is raised acutely by the United States and it is brought specifically under the Government’s notice, the Government has not the gumption to ask for a similar assurance in relation to Australian messages. In that particular the Government condemns itself and exposes the whole inefficient approach that it has made to this agreement.
What alarms the Opposition is what Senator Gorton says about the question of joint control. I asked him this simple question: Did you ask for it or not? I have not got the answer yet. He dodged the issue. He said that the proposal originated in this way: The United States said, “ Will you let us build a station at North West Cape on the basis that we have sole control? “ “ Then “, said Senator Gorton, “ we went on to talk about consultation.” It is quite clear from the way that the honorable senator put the matter to the Senate that the Government did not ask for joint control and did not press for it. That is a gross default on the part of this Government in its negotiations for this base - acquiescence. It did not even exercise an independent mind in relation to the various matters that cropped up.
I would think that if the United States had been asked for a measure of joint control in the terms that I have explained, and if it had been asked for protection of the sanctity of our messages in the way that I have explained, it would have said, “ Yes “. In respect of bases all over the world that have been named in this chamber to-day, it has been shown that in matters far more important than a naval radio communication station the United States has agreed to joint control or dual control - a principle which Senator Gorton dismisses as impracticable in the relatively limited time in respect of this relatively minor matter, by comparison. I have before me an example of the readiness of the United States, when a case is put, to vary an agreement. The committee will remember the spy trial-
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- I am rather disturbed at the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) in relation to the support of this amendment which has been circulated.
Speaking for myself, it seems that the whole concept is predicated upon a complete misunderstanding of what is involved in the use of a signal station of this nature. I shall just raise two or three matters to illustrate what I mean. First, it does not matter who it is - it could be an ally operating in the closest partnership in a war, for example, or even in peace-time - it is very proper that each ally, for the basis of security, retains complete control of the ciphers. Not only should it retain control over ciphers; it should retain control over the procedures by which the enciphered messages are then issued through the inter-communication channels. Let us assume that the Americans concede that we might have a liaison officer there. How is our Australian liaison officer to know that the enciphered message will not be prejudicial to what Senator McKenna claims is the physical integrity of the Commonwealth of Australia?
– He has to ask Canberra.
– Yes, he has to ask Canberra. That is the first thing. This is not only a matter of theory. It would be physically impossible to have joint control operating over an inter-communication system.
– I should like to indicate that nobody suggested that our liaison officer, or our representative at’ the base, should see and understand every message. We are contracted out of that. We are contracted out of it under the letters that were exchanged with the American Ambassador. That is why we are seeking a separate obligation to be placed upon the United States, the other party to the agreement - the very reason that we do not know the nature of the messages. The honorable senator suggests that the Americans may be sending a message that will attract hostilities to Australia. It is not a matter of lack of understanding, but the way it is done. We fully understand that we will not know the content of the messages, and we have not ruled out the understanding that the Government has accepted in favour of America. But we never had the sense to ask for a similar undertaking in our own favour. We understand the position perfectly well, and I think that is the very base of the reason why we ask for a specific agreement. It is no good saying to America: “ Only you know the contents of your messages. Supply us as soon as you can if any of those are likely to draw fire.”
– Just a moment. Senator. You add to that, “ And you cannot send them without our consent “.
– I have not added that.
– Then you should.
– I have not added that because I, in like’ terms to those already expressed by the honorable senator, respect the integrity of the United States. I believe that having entered into an agreement the Americans would honour it.
– The point made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has no validity. Let us proceed on the argument which has been advanced, that this is to be used - and I quote this as an example - for protection. If the message has to be passed to an atomicallyarmed submarine, that submarine could only operate as a second-strike weapon. In other words, the war has occurred. We have been hearing for a long time that this is going to be used to signal Polaris nucleararmed submarines. A nuclear-armed submarine is a second-strike weapon. The first nuclear exchanges have taken place at that stage from land-based systems of nuclear delivery; at that stage something has to be done and what is known as the secondstrike capacity comes into play, and this is an atomically armed submarine. It has been argued that at that stage, when the secondstrike capacity has to come in, there must be consultation before the station can be used to send an operational message. But the second strike has to go off within minutes. So, apart from procedures of inter-communication at a base of this nature, the mere form that this requires is ludicrous because the war that was predicted would be in being.
– I think we are getting confused about the type of station with which we are dealing. We are talking all the time as if this station is to initiate messages. It will do nothing of the sort. It will be just a relay station for messages that will be formulated, perhaps in Washington itself; its purpose will be to relay messages around the world. Australia happens to be in a convenient spot in which to place one of these stations. All the arguments that Senator McKenna has brought forward fall down for the simple reason that this station will not initiate the messages that will go out from it. In fact, the people manning the station would not even know what the messages contain. Yet members of the Opposition say that this station will be directly responsible for giving orders to Are atomic weapons.
– I am very interested in the staff organization which is postulated in Senator McKenna’s proposition. First, I ask whether he is arguing that the onus is on the officer commanding the station to exercise a proper discretion in pursuance of the proposed amendment to inform the Australian authorities at the station of a message which comes within the meaning of the amendment.
– I will answer you now. No; a major decision of that nature must be a matter between governments.
– We are getting closer to it. If it is a matter between governments, how does the American government official, or service officer, at North West Cape make this decision? I should like the honorable senator to explain that one. If it were an American official it would be a most extraordinary set-up. If it is to be an American officer who is to have the onus thrust on him, I should like the Leader of the Opposition to tell me exactly what would happen in a situation when a decision is made at the base by the American authorities, military or civil, which would be a unique suggestion in respect of the conduct of a service. If the Australian authorities are to be informed of the contents of a message, the message would have to be conveyed, I take it, to the Australian authorities. But what will the Australian authorities do with it?
I assume that the only practical way out of this would be to do as Senator Cormack suggests. A liaison officer should be appointed and he should receive the actual document. To whom does he hand it? Quite obviously you cannot mess up politics at that level with service procedure and activities. Obviously, he would have to hand it on to his command head-quarters. As Senator Cole pointed out quite rightly, this station is not a command head-quarters. It will merely transmit messages and will have no authority to initiate them. Messages are not initiated at a signal station in anybody’s language or in anybody’s army. They are initiated at command head-quarters and command head-quarters will not be at North West Cape.
What does this unfortunate Australian officer do with a message? I presume he transmits it to the Australian Army authorities. I would like information on this point. This is not a service question; it is a political question thrown into the lap of this unfortunate officer. What does he do? He has to go to the politicians. He has to go to the Minister for Defence and ask, “ Is this message calculated to do something in terms of Senator McKenna’s amendment? “ There is no other reason for this extraordinarily difficult and complicated staff exercise that Senator McKenna postulates. If there is no political element in this decision, there is no reason for the amendment. A decision in terms of this amendment is purely a political decision. The Minister for Defence or perhaps the members of the Australian Cabinet would have to be consulted.
This is getting a bit Gilbertian, because the members of the Australian Cabinet might be in bed. If it is very late at night, they probably would be. They would have to be sent for because they probably would not be in Canberra. They would have to be assembled to make a decision. Meanwhile the war would flow on, and this unfortunate officer at North West Cape, in an Australian uniform, would still not be able to get his instructions as to what to do.
I would like Senator McKenna to follow up this point and give us a staff exercise in realistic terms. He should tell us where this would finish, because this, I suggest, is the natural consequence of a very silly suggestion.
– I hesitated to rise because Senator Ormonde is anxious to speak, but I happened to be agile enough to get to my feet first. Frankly, 1 do not understand all this balderdash from the Government side, with honorable senators opposite making allegations against the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). Irrespective of what they suggest, the Leader of the Opposition prepared a good case and has now proposed an amendment. It is all very well to say that the United States authorities have the right to refuse to consult, that time would not be available to consult and so on. The point is that this station is in Australia and not in the United States. That is why the Leader of the Opposition is so concerned. The suggestion is that pre-determined action would be taken in certain conditions. There is no suggestion that if it is necessary to launch a missile within a minute, the members of the Cabinet would have to be pulled out of bed.
– If they are in bed, they have to get out of bed.
– They could be consulted in bed, of course.
– We permitted you gentlemen opposite to make your stupid statements in your own way; now let us make some sensible statements for a change. The ridicule piled on the Leader of the Opposition is not becoming to those who attack him. This amendment is moved in all sincerity and in an effort to preserve the rights of this nation. It should be considered in a suitable way, and should not be treated as honorable senators, particularly Senator Cole and Senator Vincent, treat it. There is a measure of sane judgment in the amendment and the approach of the Opposition is sound. The Leader of the Opposition realizes that all the people concerned cannot get together in a minute, half an hour or an hour, but, as I have said, the action to suit certain conditions would have been decided upon. Surely the two nations, the United States of America and Australia, could arrive at a decision. That is all the Australian Labour Party asks for and that is all the amendment seeks.
.- The nub of the amendment, which has been carefully worded and which has been so worded as to disguise its true effect, is to prevent the United States of America from using this station to assist itself in any war in which it may be engaged without the consent of the Australian Government. A great deal of time has been taken in talking about the possibility of communicating with Polaris submarines. Of course, this station will communicate not only with Polaris submarines but with other submarines and with surface craft. It will not be solely engaged in sending signals to missilecarrying submarines. Any normal navy, particularly one of the size of the United States Navy, will have more and more of this type of vessel in the Pacific and it is essential that there should be communications with them.
The use of this station by the United States to communicate with its vessels will not of itself in any circumstances involve Australia in war. It will be passing on messages and decisions to those out in the field. Use of the station could be regarded by others as a breach of neutrality and may lead them to make war on us, but it would not of itself involve Australia in war.
What this amendment really means, and indeed what it says, is that if the United States wants to use the station to communicate with any naval vessels to assist its capacity to fight, whether with conventional or atomic arms, it cannot do so unless the Australian Government gives its consent. We have heard, particularly from the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), about the necessity for consultation. Of course there is necessity for consultation. Article 3 of the agreement expressly provides that the two Governments will consult at the request of either on any matter connected with the station and its use, given time for such consultation to take place. This provision for consultation is good. The Leader of the Opposition stated, I think twice now, that other countries do not make this type of agreement with the United States.
– That is right.
– He now interjects that that is right. The United States has made agreements on the establishment of communication stations with several countries, but not one agreement contains any provision for joint operation or for the sort of veto that this amendment would give us. For the record, the United States made an agreement of this kind with Pakistan on 18th July, 1959, as shown in United Nations Treaty Series Volume 395. It made an agreement of this kind for a communications system with Canada on 4th November, 1952, as shown in United Nations Treaty Series Volume 207. It made one with China on 6th August, 1958, and another on 15th April, 1960. It has made one with Belgium since then. In not one of those agreements has there been any suggestion of this joint control and this veto. Indeed, some of them do not have the provision for consultation that we have. If this is to be argued, let it not be argued on any ground that this is some unusual kind of agreement. That is what has happened with communications agreements. The Leader of the Opposition from time to time has referred to other agreements in an attempt to bolster his staggering case. He has spoken of agreements, not of the kind we are discussing here, but agreements covering circumstances in which weapons have been given by the United States to some other country, and agreement by the United States has been required before they may be used, as with atomic weapons. That is a completely different thing.
The real point is that there is now full provision for consultation. If the Opposition’s amendment were accepted it would mean that, consultation or not, the station could not be used for any of the military purposes for which the United States is erecting it, unless we allowed it to be used and allowed messages to be sent. Naturally, that would destroy the whole efficacy of the station.
– I wish to ask the Minister one question. Out of his experience, can he visualize circumstances in which the United States or the Western powers would create a war situation without our knowing something about it? Honorable senators have spoken here to-night as though there will be push-button war. That is a catch phrase and it really means nothing. There always has been, and I should think there always will be in the future, a hotting-up period. I cannot imagine that there would ever be a situation involving this station in which America pressed a button to fire a Polaris missile from a submarine without consulting Australia.
It seems to me that too much has been made of this argument. I believe that consultation means part-control. When you engage in consultation you are exercising semi-control. There is not a great deal of difference between the two propositions. However, I should like the Minister to tell me whether he can visualize a situation in which we would go to war without a second’s notice. Personally, I think the idea is ridiculous.
.- I think that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) has visualized, as I have, the possibility of an atomic attack being launched against the United States of America at a second’s notice. We both have said that in those circumstances there clearly could not and should not be any right of veto and that there would need to be a reaction to such a situation.
The honorable senator has asked whether I could imagine the United States and the Western world creating a war situation in this area. My reply is: No, I cannot, but I can imagine somebody else creating a war situation, and I can imagine a need for the United States to react against the aggressive actions which had created that situation. The United States would need to have an untrammelled right so to react. It would not be proper for it to be prevented from doing so by a veto on communications which might help it to react in that way.
– In the light of Senator Vincent’s humorous and facetious contribution, I wish to say to him very gently that communications between governments take place at diplomatic levels, with all the expedition that is associated therewith. If we are to take his speech seriously, it seems that he is not aware of that fact, but I do not think he intended to be taken seriously.
Senator Cormack pointed out that, in his view, instructions from the station at North West Cape regarding hostilities would be of a secondary nature. This means that a war would be already in progress and Australia would be already committed in those circumstances, under the Anzus pact, so that the problem which the honorable senator posed simply would not arise. In reply to Senator Gorton, I merely want to say that there is a great similarity in many ways between this station and the bases, bomber stations and submarine stations that are covered by international agreements abroad. Activity at every one of them could involve the host country in war. That is a factor which is common to all of them.
– But they are nucleararmed, are they not?
– Not all of them. I have in my hand at the moment a document relating to a bomber base in Great Britain. The committee probably will remember that several years ago there was trouble in the world because of spy flights over Russia, and Mr. Macmillan was taken to task in the United Kingdom Parliament. Mr. Harold Watkinson, the British Minister for Defence, called the attention of United States officials to the need for a specific understanding that the British could veto United States flights that could be interpreted as conflicting with British policy, and the United States Government agreed to accept that as an understanding.
– That related to spy flights.
– Yes, from a bomber base.
– It did not relate to the sending of a message.
– No, but I am merely indicating that America, in far more important matters than this, has accepted joint control all over the world. I shall not go through the agreements again. I mentioned them earlier to-day. In the instance to which I have just referred of an agreement which showed some deficiencies and was loosely and widely drawn, as is the agreement we are discussing, the two governments simply exchanged notes on the need for an understanding. America asked for an understanding regarding access to the contents of messages and got it from our Government, but our bright Government did not have the wit to get a mutual covenant or understanding in its own favour.
I wish at this stage to ask the Minister one or two questions. Under Article 2 of the agreement, the United States Government is conceded all necessary rights of access to, and all exclusive use and occupancy of, the land on which the station is to be built. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, indicated that there would be three categories of areas: Exclusive, controlled and restricted. First, I ask him: What are those categories? What is the difference between them? Secondly, will Australia have any say in those classifications? Generally, what is their purpose? Is Australia to be prevented from having access to areas that are deemed to be exclusive? If they are exclusive one would expect Australia to be denied access, but if we are to be granted access, it would appear that, on the face of it, they are not exclusive. I should like the Minister to explain that term. 1 have gathered from what the Minister has said that our messages will be sent in our own code, to which the United States will have no access at all. I ask: Will our own operators send the messages? If that is the arrangement that is to apply in actual use, why is not the nature of our use particularized in the agreement itself? It is a very important right and should not be left as a general proposition that we shall have access or use.
With regard to Article 6, I ask: What is the purpose of appointing a civil commissioner at Exmouth? What functions are likely to be assigned to him? Have there been any discussions on the nature of his duties? Nothing has been said in explanation of this matter, so far as I know. Article 11 authorizes th3 United States Government to lease from the Australian Government communication services within Australia and to overseas destinations. I ask the Minister to explain the scope of that provision. The Minister stated in effect, that he did not know, because he asked how could he say whether there would be eight, nine or ten such services. I submit to him that it could relate to the whole of the radio services of Australia. Surely the Government is not so ignorant, after three years of negotiation, as not to know something of the extent to which America wants to enter into our internal radio services. I think it behoves the Minister to give the committee some clear idea of the real scope of this provision.
– I have been asked about several articles. One was Article 6, about which I was asked why a civil commissioner was appointed.
– And what are his functions?
– Well, they are sort of civil administrative functions, concerned with matters like roads, electricity, housing settlements and provision for areas in which civilian workers will live outside the base. I suppose he will have jurisdiction over communications with the Western Australian Government and things of that kind. I think you would cover the subject by saying that he would have control of civil administration for civilian workers outside the base. As I am reminded, those people might be Australians.
I was also asked about article 2, and the provision in this article for exclusive use. This does not mean exclusive to the point of preventing the Australian Government from having access to the area. Exclusive use relates to four square miles in which the United States installations will be actually erected. The controlled and restricted zones which make up the re; mainder of the 28 square miles are so controlled and restricted in order to provide for technical safeguards, such as the avoidance of electro-magnetic interference to or from United States radio equipment. There will be controls to prevent this in those areas. Other areas will be exclusive, except that the Australian Government will have a right of access to them.
Article 4 says that the communication services will be available to the Australian armed forces. The use by Australian armed forces is provided for in the agreement, and the United States Navy will have no access to or veto over messages passed to Royal Australian Navy ships. The messages will be sent out by United States Navy operators.
– Why should we not include that in the written agreement, or get a written understanding about that arrangement? Did we ask for such an understanding?
– At the moment I do not know, and I do not know that there would be much point in it, in any case.
I was asked another question about Article 11. As I pointed out in my secondreading speech, this provision is permissive in scope, not binding on either side. These communication services may be hired by the United States Government, both inside Australia and to overseas destinations. If you read the article further, you find that the radio frequencies, powers, bandwidths and so on which will be used in any communication services leased from the Australian Government or established by the United States Government will be agreed between the two governments. The United States Government agrees to take all practicable measures to keep to a minimum all types of electronic interference from its radio transmitters. One effect of this is to prevent the establishment of channels of communication and methods of communication by the United States Government in Australia unless they are agreed upon, and unless the method of operation is agreed” upon by the Australian Government.
The other effect is to make it permissive for the Australian Government to lease to the United States channels under the control of the Australian Government for these purposes. I suppose that if one wished to go to the ultimate limit of possibility, it would be theoretically possible for the Australian Government to agree to lease all its communications if it wanted to do so, but there is not very much likelihood of that happening. The article was actually inserted on the initiation of the Australian Government, and it was inserted to ensure that United States naval communications are used only for military purposes - that is spelt out in another part of the bill - and that all private and commercial telegrams to and from North West Cape shall be passed through the Postmaster-General’s channels and charged for, and that those channels shall be used and no other channels not agreed upon.
– There is no safeguard about that in the clause, is there?
– Yes, I think there is. Where can you find provision in the clause for some channel to be set up by the United States without the agreement of Australia, or where can you find provision for some channel owned by the United States Government?
– I suggest the leasing arrangement is unlimited in terms.
– The services may be leased, but the arrangement is under the control of the Australian Government.
– Can you not give the Senate some idea of what was in the minds of the United States Government as to the scope of this provision?
– It is a matter of what was in the mind of the Australian Government, because the article was inserted on the initiation of the Australian Government in order to give the protection that I have referred to. The article also ensures that the United States Navy will use only those radio frequencies cleared by the Postmaster-General’s Department, and that other technical features will not interfere with Australian radio services and use, because anything which did so interfere with Australian radio services and use would not be agreed to by the Australian Government.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be added (Senator McKenna’s amendment) be added.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator G. C. McKellar.)
Majority . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Adoption of Report.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) put -
That the report be adopted.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed -
That the bill be now read a third time.
– I move -
Leave out “ now “, insert “ this day six months
My reason for moving such an amendment is that the Opposition does not oppose the establishment or operation of the station. It does not wish to oppose the third reading. It does wish, however, to express dissatisfaction with many aspects of the Government’s performance in relation to the agreement. The only available way to record and express our dissatisfaction is to resort to the archaic procedure provided under the Standing Orders of this chamber. My motion is drafted accordingly.
The Opposition’s dissatisfaction arises under a number of heads. Not only has there been no real effort to obtain joint control, or some measure of control in association with the United States of America over the station, but it would appear that no request was made for this. That is confirmed if the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) is correctly reported in the “ Age “ of 9th May last, in which the following statement appeared: -
The United States Government has agreed to all the conditions proposed by Australia for operation of the proposed American naval radio station at North-West Cape.
The Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) said this today at’ a Government party meeting.
Nothing missing so far as the Government is concerned! That certainly does not accord with the viewpoint of the Opposition.
– That means that you are relying on a statement made at a party meeting as being a Government statement?
– I did not quote that as a Government statement. I said “ If the Attorney-General is correctly reported “. I took extreme care to say that. I do not allege the authenticity of that statement. I said, “ If the Attorney-General is correctly reported “. I did not allege he was.
– Were those his words or what somebody else is reported to have said he said?
– I do not know that. I shall read the report, heading and all, if the honorable senator would like to have it presented exactly. This report appeared in the Melbourine “ Age “ of 9th May under a heading in quite large type which reads, “Australia’s Terms on Base Accepted “. The report bears the date line, “ Canberra, Wednesday “, and reads -
The United States Government has agreed to all the conditions proposed by Australia for operation of the proposed America! naval radio station at North-West Cape.
The Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) said this today at a Government party meering.
Whether he did, I do not know. I merely say that if that report is true it confirms what we have heard to-day from Senator Gorton, who has told us that Australia did not ask for anything. That is my summing up of what we got from the discusions with the United States. The Government asked for nothing and, accordingly, it got very little. The United States got all that it asked for.
Our dissatisfaction arises also from the fact that so many matters that are listed in earlier debate were not dealt with, although they are of very great importance. They have not been dealt with, but are left to be settled in future agreements - and that after three years of discussions and negotiations!
We propose this amendment as a protest against suppression of the true nature of the station as an integral part of the nuclear deterrent. We .protest against the failure to secure a provision that Australia would not be automatically involved in war through activities initiated at the station. We protest against the shabby political manoeuvrings of the Government in this vital matter of peace and war, because that is what this issue comes down to. We resent the mean aspersions cast by some honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber on the Australian Labour Party and its members. I remind them that the supporters of that party represent at least half the total number of the electors of Australia. Honorable senators who demean themselves by indulging in that kind of slander are welcome to any joy that they derive from the exercise, but no one on this side of the chamber envies them, the moral responsibility that they assume. I repeat: The Opposition does not oppose the proposed station. We recognize that its presence on our soil strengthens the assurance that the United States will come to our aid in an emergency.
– Who wrote that?
– The Opposition will co-operate with the Government in an approach to the United States to remove the imperfections in the agreement. Those imperfections are many. For the benefit of Senator Marriott, I say that I wrote this myself. It fs in my own handwriting, and the honorable senator may have it as a trophy and a reminder of our pleasant personal association, if he wishes.
.- The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and those who sit behind him are certainly going to extraordinary pains to prevent the establishment of that which they say they do not oppose. In the first place, they insisted on a power of veto over messages, although honorable senators opposite know that this would prevent the establishment of that which they say they do not oppose. Secondly, Opposition senators proposed an amendment that, had it been passed, would have prevented the establishment of that which they say they do not oppose. Thirdly, they objected to the adoption of the committee’s report on this measure - a most unusual proceeding and one that, if * the Opposition had won the vote, would have prevented the establishment of that which they say they do not oppose. Fourthly, we now have before us an amendment that is, in effect, a motion to defeat the bill straight out. Standing Order No. 217 refers to the motion, “That this bill be now read a third time “, and states -
Amendments may be moved to such Question by leaving out “ now “, and adding “ this day six months “, which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the Bill …
The Opposition has adopted four stratagems in an attempt to prevent the establishment of that which Opposition senators say they do not oppose. I suggest, Mr. President, that the sooner that which they do not oppose is established, the better it will be. Therefore, the sooner we take a vote on the amendment, the better.
– Mr. President, it should be put on record in “ Hansard “ that the Australian Labour Party has fought to the last ditch to prevent the construction of the communications base at North West Cape. This fight is against the best interests of Australia and against the wishes of 80 per cert, of the people of Australia, and is waged at the behest of a Communistcontrolledjur /a that is not responsible to the electors of Australia
.- Mr. President, I rise to express my resentment at the last few words uttered by a person who was one of the so-called faceless men - a person who was at one time a member of a conference that deliberated on Australian Labour Party activities. I repeat that this person was one of the socalled faceless men.
– He had the courage to stand by his convictions. He did not come in here and vote for the Communist Party Dissolution Bill 1950 as you did when you were directed to do so by your twelve-
– He came in here under false colours. He has no record of any integrity whatever wherever he has been.
– I carried you in here at one stage.
– Sometimes, I wish I could carry you out. As usual, Senator Cole is prepared to distort, to smear, to lie and to say anything at all to discredit honorable senators on this side of the House. I resent that very much indeed.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! Will Senator O’Byrne come back to the business before the Senate?
– Yes. The business before the Senate has just been concluded by a-
– Mr. President, I object to Senator O’Byrne’s statement that Senator Cole was prepared to lie, and was lying. I ask that those remarks be withdrawn. They are unparliamentary under the terms of Standing Order No. 418.
– There is no substance in the point of order.
– The debate has been fully developed. We are now at the third-reading stage. As I have said, I express my resentment at an honorable senator continuously and specifically, for purposes contrary to the good order and Government of Australia, placing on record in “ Hansard “ remarks of the kind that he has just made. He imputed no motives, but his own motives are expressed in his words. He does not do justice to other honorable senators here and he is no credit to the people who were foolish enough to send him to this place as one of their representatives in this chamber.
Question put -
That the word proposed to be left out be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Friday, 24 May 1963
Debate resumed (vide page 706).
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– The two bills that we are now to consider relate to loans which are to be raised in the United States of America for the purpose of financing the supply of aircraft for the Australian National Airlines Commission, which operates Trans-Australia Airlines, and for Qantas Empire Airways Limited. The Opposition fully realizes the great importance of the main purpose of these bills, that is, to provide first-class aircraft for our domestic and overseas air fleets. In that respect, we on this side of the Senate can only give our approval and support to the bill, but I must make a few comments relating to the method of the financing of the purchase of these aircraft.
Trans-Australia Airlines will require 11,000,000 dollars, or about £4,900,000, with which to purchase Boeing 727 aircraft. The Boeing 727 is a very fine aircraft. It can carry about 100 passengers all told at a speed of about 600 miles an hour. The acquisition of these aircraft will bring our internal domestic fleets right up to world standard.
The cost of modern aircraft is staggering to many people who have watched the development of aviation over the years. However, with the development of modern aircraft we must expect costs to increase. I think greater consideration should have been given by the Government to finding suitable aircraft within the sterling area. I have heard the Boeing 727 compared with the Trident. However, the Government in its wisdom has decided to permit the airlines to purchase the Boeing 727. This matter of the relative merits of the two aircraft probably will never be adequately settled because we may never see the British counterpart of the 727 in use in Australia.
The amount involved in the two bills now under discussion is 20,000,000 dollars or about £9,000,000. In his second-reading speech the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) said that over the years 100,000,000 dollars had been expended on the -purchase of aircraft in order to keep our domestic fleets up to modern standards. We have been told that the loan market in Australia is very bouyant. The Opposition believes that the purchase of these aircraft could have been financed easily by making an appeal on the loan market or by issuing a direction or making a request to the Reserve Bank to finance their purchase. The Government’s policy of placing this country in irretrievable pawn by the nature of its overseas borrowings is alarming. The balance between our imports and exports is made up by overseas investments in this country, which in themselves are borrowings because people who invest here expect to be able to obtain not only their profits but a substantial rate of interest on their investment. The financing of loans raised for purposes such as those outlined in the legislation makes the export of capital from this country in the form of interest and redemption payments a burden which will eventually become too intolerable for the economy to bear.
The Minister for Trade, having looked at the overall picture, recently expressed his alarm at this trend. I believe the Government could easily have taken a stand on this matter rather than go to underwriters in the United States for what is a relatively small sum so far as international finance goes. The principle could well have been established that these aircraft should be purchased through the Reserve Bank of Australia or from loans raised within this country. Savings bank deposits are high because, owing to the insecurity that has existed for the past two years since the credit squeeze, people have not enough confidence in the future to get involved as they were previously in hire purchase debts, perhaps for the replacement of furniture and other things in their homes. These savings bank deposits could easily have been used for the purpose of the measure which is now before us.
I hope the Government will realize the extent to which we are finding it necessary - if I may use a phrase which has been bandied about - to sell the shop to pay for the groceries.
– That is virtually what is being done in an endeavour to encourage overseas investment, most of which is going into key industries already established here. If these funds were coming into the country exclusively for investment in basic production industries the position would be different. But, as I have said, a large proportion of overseas investment money, and even hot money, is going into established industries which are proven revenue producers and which are capable of attracting all available taxation concessions. Australia is virtually being skimmed of the funds which should be salted back into development. Regardless of whether a business is large or small - and Australia is a business proposition - unless you plough back into it every penny you possibly can your rate of development is slowed down. The purchase of these aircraft and related equipment for our domestic airlines could have been financed by the people of Australia who have a great pride in our airlines and who, I am sure, would have responded adequately if the Government had explained to them why the money was required.
As the hour is late I shall not prolong this debate. I move -
That the following words be added to the motion: - “, but the Senate is of opinion that the financing of the purchase of jet aircraft and related equipment should have been met from revenue and not from loans raised overseas “.
– in reply - I quite agree with Senator O’Byrne when he says that the hour it late; but I cannot agree with much of the remainder of his comment, particularly that which relates to the manner in which it is proposed to finance these purchases of aircraft. Before I deal with that matter, I wish to make a briefer reference to his comment about the selection of aircraft for the domestic airline and his go to British manufacturers and, consequently, we will not have Trident aircraft instead of Boeings.
The Senate should know that the airlines concerned have a completely free and unfettered hand as to the kind of aircraft they purchase. I should like to say in commendation of the way in which the airlines went about the matter that their assessments of the various aircraft which were available were comprehensive and complete. I have administered the portfolio of Civil Aviation for some years now, and I must say that never before have I seen such fine detail as that which each line put into the assessment of available aircraft before it made its final Choice. It may be that something would have been done for the airline industry if One airline had purchased one type of aircraft and another airline a different type. That may have introduced a further element of competition which would in some respects have been desirable. At least, that has been and still is the opinion of some people. The airlines were quite free to do just that. If that result had ensued, the Government would have accepted the different choices of the two airlines.
The amendment which has been moved is designed to have the Senate express the opinion that the financing of the purchase of the jet aircraft and related equipment should have been met from domestic revenue and not from loans raised overseas. As I Understand it, Senator O’Byrne’s submission Was based upon the proposition that funds Were available in Australia for investment in government loans and that in the state of buoyancy which now exists it would have been much better if the Government had availed itself of funds from that source rather than from overseas. Although we are enjoying a state of buoyancy with respect to domestic loans, it should not be assumed that every £1 which can be raised domestically cannot be employed. In an expanding, burgeoning economy such as we have at the present time, one of the fundamental tasks we have is to secure the necessary resources to finance development. If we secure those resources at sensible rates overseas and achieve the net result of adding to our resources for development, we have done the best that can be done in the circumstances. So the Government, having regard to the buoyancy of the local market but acknowledging that there was a use for all the funds that could be raised locally, took the course of approaching the overseas market to finance these particular acquisitions. It is not a new course; it has been pursued by this Government for many years.
It was extremely appropriate - possibly more appropriate in many ways than in the case of other overseas loans - that this finance should have been raised for the purchase of aircraft because, at least as far as the acquisitions by Qantas are concerned, the overseas loans are repaid by overseas earnings. That is a particularly good combination. In addition, we have had the advantage, as I mentioned in my secondreading speech, of securing a particularly favourable interest rate. I should have thought that this at least would have had some appeal to members of the Opposition, seeing that the Government’s own airlines will have the benefit of this low interest rate.
My only other comment is in the nature of a general reply to Senator O’Byrne’s remark that the Government’s policy in relation to overseas loans is having the effect of placing Australia in pawn to overseas lenders. I reply merely by quoting some very pointed figures. I refer first to the combined! Commonwealth and States overseas debt which, at 30th June, 1949, was 26.2 per cent, of the national income and at 30th June, 1962, was only 12 per cent, of the national income. Looking at the position another way, the interest liability on overseas debt as a percentage of national income was .9 per cent, in 1949 and only .5 per cent, at 30th June, 1962. Quoting still another very pertinent set of figures, our overseas interest liability as a percentage of exports f.o.b. was 3.3 per cent, in 1949 and 2.8 per cent, at 30th June, 1962. Finally, the overseas debt interest liability expressed as a percentage of the total interest liability was 20.4 per cent, in 1949 and was reduced significantly to 16.9 per cent, at 30th June, 1962. I have cited those figures, not to provoke any argument at this early hour of the morning, but merely to reply to Senator O’Byrne’s statement that this Government’s policy on overseas borrowing is placing Australia in pawn. A mere reference to the figures shows that that is not the case.
The Government rejects the amendment.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be added (Senator
O’Byrne’s amendment) be added.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed (vide page 706).
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed (vide page 758).
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– The main purpose of these two bills is to give incentives to what I might call the export industries. The proposed amendment to the Pay-Roll Tax Assessment Act seeks to extend the period of operation of the pay-roll tax rebate of 121/2 per cent, for each 1 per cent, increase in gross income from exports. The second bill seeks to extend the period of operation of what I might call the subsidy for export sales promotion provided under the Income Tax “ and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act. The proposed extensions are for a period of five years ending on 30th June, 1968.
These schemes have been in operation for approximately two years and nine months and the fact that it is now proposed to extend their periods of operation would seem to indicate that the Government is satisfied that the experiment that it initiated has been successful. In order to decide whether it has been successful it is necessary to make a critical examination of our balance of payments position. I have compared the figures for the first nine months of each of the years 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1962-63 in order to decide whether these incentives have led to an improvement in our balance of payments position. For the first nine months of 1960-61, our balance of trade showed a deficit of£ 153,000,000. In the same period, the debits for invisibles exceeded credits by £202,000,000. The total deficit on current account was £355,000,000. This bring me to the point raised by Senator O’Byrne a little while expression of regret that the orders did not ago that these deficits have to be met or covered by an inflow of new capital. In the first nine months of that year the inflow of capital was £230,000,000. That left our international reserves for that year with a deficit of £125,000,000. In the first nine months of 1961-62 we had a favorable trade balance of £175,000,000 and the invisibles showed a deficit of £159,000,000. So the current account showed a surplus of £16,000,000. Capital inflow fell off very largely in that year. It amounted to only £49,000,000. That gave a surplus of £65,000,000. In the first nine months of 1962-63, according to the latest figures that are available, there was a favorable balance of trade of £18,000,000, but the invisibles showed a deficit of £188,000,000. So the current account showed a deficit of £170,000,000. The capital inflow was £200,000,000. That gave us a surplus of £30,000,000. In the first nine months of those three financial years the deficit on current account amounted to £509,000,000; there was a favorable balance of trade of £40,000,000; and there was a capital inflow of £479,000,000. So the overall result of monetary movements was a deficit of £30,000,000.
The interesting point about this matter is that, whilst we are, in effect, by this legislation subsidizing the export industries, we have to import capital in order to achieve a favorable balance of trade. The Australian Labour Party is not opposed to a properly controlled inflow of capital to Australia. We realize that we must have an inflow of capital. But we must look critically at the way the capital is flowing in. We should be doing more about that instead of being hungry for an inflow of capital and letting it come in in any way that it will.
The Government proposes an incentive to the export industries by the use of the taxation weapon. We are of the opinion that that is not a successful way to encourage exports. Whilst it is possible to trace through the taxation figures the amount of pay-roll tax that is rebated to firms because of increased exports, at this time it is not possible to trace the benefit that may be accruing to the export industries as the result of what may be termed the export promotion incentive. The statis ticians may be able to trace that through, but they would not be able to do it with any certainty because no one can say whether the export promotion would have taken place had the promotion incentive not been there. It will be some time before we will be able to see the results of that - if we ever do see them.
If the Government wants to subsidize the export industries - we believe that we have to promote exports as much as we possibly can - we are of the opinion that instead of using this cumbersome method of encouraging exports it would be better for the Government to give straight-out subsidies to the export industries. I did not have time to examine the secondreading speech delivered by the Minister in this chamber, but I did examine the second-reading speech made in another place. I should like to cite some figures that were given there. It was stated that under the Pay-roll Tax Assessment Act the rebate for 1961-62 had been £2,340,000 and that the rebate applied to 510 firms. For the year 1962-63 the estimate is £3,200,000, and for the year 1960-61, £1,592,000 was allowed in rebates to 551 firms. So, between 1960-61 and 1961- 62 there was a decrease of 41 in the number of firms who qualified for rebate. The Minister said also in his second-reading speech that claims for 1961-62 were still being processed. However, that does not mean those claims will qualify for rebate.
The balance of trade on current account is running strongly against us, and our imports bill is rising; but, at the same time, our export income is not rising commensurately with our imports bill. We believe that something more than this method is needed to rectify that position. We must be careful about the inflow of capital to ensure that it is not used to gain control of our internal industries in the interests of outside organizations. In that event overseas interests would be enabled to control our ability to export. As one of the large trading nations of the world, we must prevent such a development.
I should like to give just one instance of this trend. Most of the State governments, and the Commonwealth government, are concentrating somewhat on the tourist industry in Australia as a means of bringing in substantial amounts of capital. The
Western Australian Government is doing that; the Premier of the State is its Minister for Tourism. One way of attracting money from tourists is to sell them souvenirs. That business, of course, brings in quite a large sum of money. But when one walks into the shops and inspects these souvenirs one finds too often that they are imported. When the Empire Games were in progress in Perth the shops were full of souvenirs. Boomerangs were very much sought after, but most of the boomerangs offered for sale were found to have been made in Japan. We are not getting very much out of that sort of trading and if we have to allow an inflow of money to cover these imports it is time the Government examined the position.
Clause 3 of the bill to amend the Payroll Tax Assessment Act highlights the difficulty of understanding the income tax laws. I do not want to read this clause, but any one who examines sub-clause (3.) and looks at the act as it relates to this sub-clause will get some idea of the difficulties that lay people have in trying to understand the income tax laws. I understand from a question placed on the notice paper by Senator Murphy some time ago that the difficulties of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act have been commented upon by the late Mr. Justice Fullagar in trying to construe Part VII. I think it is time the Government had a look at this act and re-drafted it. The Government should try to make the act more readable so that laymen may understand it. In its present form, even the legal men have some difficulty with it.
It is true that clause 3 is the attempt by the Government to iron out some of the anomalies that were not foreseen when the rebates of pay-roll tax were introduced in 1961. The weaknesses that have been revealed whilst the act has been in operation are now being corrected. The Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill contains six other provisions. Whilst I do not want to comment at any length upon them, I think it is necessary that they be mentioned. The first allows time, to pay fines. One would not think that this is unreasonable in view of the large fines that are inflicted in taxation matters when large amounts are being claimed by the Taxation Branch. The second exempts educational allowances paid to students by the Commonwealth. This is laudable, provided it is properly policed in respect of part-time students and trainees. The third, which refers to prescribed stock and seasonal securities, is merely a machinery measure, with the seasonal securities going out of existence and the prescribed stock coming into existence.
There are some misgivings about the Government wanting to extend the tax-free dividends from the mining industry through what could become a maze of companies. It is intended to extend for a further two years from 3 1st December last the exemption of dividends paid out of certain profits which have borne the undistributed income tax payable by private companies. This proposal goes back sixteen years, to 1947. One would think that the dividends would have been distributed by this. We allow existing exemptions of mining profits to be retained when successive companies distribute dividends having their origin in exempt mining income. A period of some years might elapse before the dividends had worked their way through that process. As with the other instance to which I have referred, we could easily find ourselves in the same position regarding taxation exemption. One of the principal purposes of the bill is to prescribe the time limits for the allowance of deductions for gifts to the World Refugee Year and the Freedom from Hunger Campaign.
That is all I have to say regarding export income and the amendments to the PayRoll Tax Assessment Act, but I wish to make some comments relating to income tax. Once again, I bring to the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge), who represents the Treasurer in this chamber, the position which exists in respect of the shire of Geraldton. It is doubtful whether the shire is inside or outside zone B, for taxation purposes. The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation has ruled that it is outside the zone, but the boundaries of zone B do not definitely indicate that that is so. In view of the high cost of living in Geraldton, I am of the opinion that k should be in zone B. If the Government is of the contrary opinion, it has a clear responsibility to define the boundaries of the zone. The only way to test the ruling of the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation is to take the matter to court and have the court decide it. It is not right for the Government to leave a part of the population in the position of the people who live in the shire of Geraldton. The Senate is about to adjourn for the winter recess, during which time the Budget will be prepared, and I think that the Government should then have an opportunity to consider this problem. 1 respectfully request the Minister to place it before his Cabinet colleagues.
As honorable senators are aware, the income tax act provides for rebates to be allowed in respect of medical expenses incurred by people who live in isolated areas. There may be hospitals and medical practitioners in such areas, but they may not necessarily be able to provide medical treatment for the residents. For instance, if a local resident medical officer in Western Australia certifies that a person requires treatment which will necessitate his travelling to Perth, the State Government pays the fares to Perth of the sick person and an attendant.
In such a case the taxpayer is not entitled to anything, of course, because there is no outlay. But people in the western part of South Australia sometimes have to travel 600, 700 or 800 miles to Adelaide for medical treatment, and they cannot claim any part of the fare paid as a deduction from income for taxation purposes, because it has been ruled that the fare is not part of the medical expenses. I think the Government should give consideration to this matter. The disability becomes more pronounced if it is a child who becomes ill, because then two fares are involved. One of the adults in the family must go with the child and stay in Adelaide whilst the treatment is being given. Yet, as I said earlier, no part of the fare is allowed as a deduction for taxation purposes. I can tell the Senate that I am not speaking of hypothetical cases. I know of people who have had to travel from Ceduna to Adelaide for medical treatment in these circumstances. I think the Government should give some thought, when preparing the Budget, to allowing some part of the fares paid in these circumstances, by people living in isolated areas, to be deductible from income for taxation purposes. Mr. President, the Labour Party does not oppose the measure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed (vide page 759).
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The answers are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1 to 5. The Government agreed to provide certain assistance to Mr. Donald Campbell in connexion with his attempt at the world land speed record on Lake Eyre. This assistance took the form of the loan of Commonwealth facilities and the provision of some services. The Commonwealth installed and maintained certain communications equipment, made available on loan an ambulance, a fire-fighting unit and other equipment drawn mainly from the services. The test vehicle and its spares were transported at no charge, over the Commonwealth railway. No cash contribution was made towards the venture. The Government, I think properly, lent support to the first attempt at a world land- speed record on Australian soil and shares the disappointment that the attempt was washed out by unseasonable rains. I know of nothing which would confirm recent press speculation about an attempt on the water speed record. I understand that Mr. Campbell would still like to carry through his plans for an attempt on the land speed record if an alternative site to Lake Eyre were available, but finding such an alternative site in the time Mr. Campbell has available presents substantial difficulties. The question of any further assistance to be extended by the Commonwealth to Mr. Campbell in the event of his finding a suitable alternative site would have to remain until the Government knew what was involved.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice- =-
Has the Australian National Line yet acquired a site in Sydney for its Tasmanian roll-on roll-off service; if not, will the Minister ensure that it docs not filch public lands for this purpose?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following reply: -
Negotiations by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission for the purchase of an industrial site in Sydney as a terminal for the “Empress of Australia “ are nearly completed and therefore the question of the use of public lands for this purpose does not arise.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following replies: -
asked the Acting Minister for Trade, upon notice -
Is it a fact that Japan is unwilling to import fresh fruit, and particularly citrus fruit, from Australia because of a fear of fruit fly infestation; if so, is any attempt being made by the Department of Trade to arrange for such importations by Japan if the Australian Government is willing to guarantee that the fruit is grown and packed in fruit fly free areas?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
Yes, Japanese quarantine regulations, which have been in existence for some years, prohibit importation of fresh fruit from Australia because of presence of fruit fly.
This problem has been the subject of special study by Department of Primary Industry which resulted in representations being made recently by the Australian Trade Commissioner in Tokyo to secure a relaxation of the ban. These are still under consideration by Japanese authorities.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Has the consolidation been commenced?
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following reply: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following replies: -
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
S and 6. Responsibility for the provision of adequate care for these unfortunate children primarily rests with the State governments. However, I am advised by my colleague, the Minister for Repatriation, that to the extent that production can be made available, his department produces artificial limbs and appliances for State Government departments, philanthropic organizations, and private persons who cannot be satisfactorily fitted elsewhere. Under this arrangement, children afflicted with congenital malformations due to thalidomide have been fitted with artificial limbs.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows: -
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice -
Has the Department of Air or the Royal Australian Air Force a dossier of investigations on reported sightings of unidentified flying objects?
– The Minister for Air has supplied the following answer: -
The Department of Air does obtain information about all well reported cases of unidentified flying objects and maintains a dossier of investigations made into these. For the honorable senator’s information, although many reports of this nature have been investigated very carefully, nearly all of them are explainable on a perfectly normal basis. On occasions they are found to be weather balloons, high flying aircraft or even stars. On one occasion it was established that a reported “ space ship “ was, in fact, the moon. Of all these reports received to date, only approximately 3 or 4 per cent, cannot be explained on the basis of some natural phenomenon and nothing that has arisen from this 3 or 4 per cent, of unexplainable cases lends any support for the belief that interlopers from other places in this world, or outside it, have been visiting us.
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
Report on Items.
– I lay on the table of the Senate reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Certain measuring, controlling and recording equipment.
Circuit breakers and switch units.
Fuel injection equipment and nozzle testing outfits.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the termination of the sitting this day to the day on which the Senate next meets.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till a day and hour to be fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each senator by telegram or letter.
Senate adjourned at 1.52 a.m. (Friday) till a day and hour to be fixed by the President.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1963/19630523_senate_24_s23/>.