25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 1 1 a.m., and read prayers.
Motion (by Senator Sir William Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the National Library Act 1960, the Senate elects the President, Senator the Honorable Sir Alister McMullin, to be a member of the Council of the National Library of Australia for a period of three years from this day.
– I direct a question to the Minister for National Development. Will the Minister indicate what steps have been taken to establish the Division of Northern Development in his department, as promised at the election? What steps, if any, have yet to be taken? What sections, if any, will be comprised in the new division? What information is he able to give regarding senior personnel of the new division?
– The functions of the new division have been announced by the Prime Minister and embodied in the usual administrative order. Agreement has been reached with the Public Service Board concerning the initial staffing arrangements. The first eighteen positions, including that of the head of the division, will be advertised and applications invited either to-day or to-morrow. A good deal of thinking about northern development is going on within the department, and the formation of the division is not halting or delaying consideration of the specific proposals for northern development which have been advanced by State governments. They are under consideration, in consultation with other departments concerned. We would, of course, like to see the new head of the division appointed before we finalize all our thinking upon the division’s specific tasks and functions. I am sorry that I cannot say what sections will be comprised in the new division. I do not know what the breakup of the division will be.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Has the Minister seen a report which states that -in Western Australia tenants of furnished premises containing television receivers have been prosecuted for failure to take out viewers’ licences? Will he say whether these prosecutions reveal an anomaly in the Broadcasting and Television Act? Does this position apply with respect to a tenant renting furnished premises for only a short period?
– It is a fact that sometenants of furnished premises in Perth were recently prosecuted for failing to hold television licences. I emphasize that people and not premises are ‘licensed to own television sets, and, of course, the individual owner must live on the premises. The act provides further that an owner may take out a hirer’s licence which, of course, makes provision for those people in business to hire out sets on a multiple basis. Had a hirer’s licence been taken out these sets would have been licensed and there would have been no prosecution.
– By way of preface to a question addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation 1 point out that congestion at Adelaide airport is manifest and, particularly in hot weather, the atmosphere is uncomfortable. Has work commenced on extensions to the terminal at Adelaide airport? When will the extensions be completed? Is any provision being made for modern and efficient air-conditioning? Is any other information available concerning the passenger terminal which might be of interest to the Senate?
– Extension work has not yet commenced at the Adelaide terminal building. The proposed development of the terminal is in the planning stage with a view to inclusion of the work in the 1964-65 development programme, subject, of course, to the availability of funds. It is not yet possible to give a completion date or even an estimate of how long the work might take. That will be determined by the Department of Works after the plans have been developed further. This will be a relatively complicated job because it will be necessary to keep the terminal open to the public during the time that the extension work is being carried out. The time of construction therefore will be longer than for ordinary jobs of this nature. Provision is being made for a mechanical cooling ventilation system including evaporation cooling. This system will give comfort comparable to that at the Perth airport terminal and the proposed new Launceston airport terminal. In relation to the last question as to whether any other information is available, at this stage I can only say that I myself well appreciate the congestion which now takes place at Adelaide during peak periods, and naturally enough I am as anxious as the honorable senator to get the work under way.
” EMPRESS OF AUSTRALIA “.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that the “ Empress of Australia “ will be going into service shortly between Sydney and Tasmania, to the great benefit of Tasmania? Is the Minister aware that tourists from the mainland States will appreciate the opportunity of visiting the most scenic State in the Commonwealth through the new service? Will he arrange for those concerned with the successful establishment of the service, and representatives of personnel responsible for the construction of the vessel, to be the guests of the Australian National Line on the inaugural trip? Does the Minister agree that a trip similar to that undertaken by the “Princess of Tasmania” would tend to publicize the service which is being provided?
– I will be pleased to refer the suggestion to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I have >no doubt that the Australian National Line will take the opportunity to celebrate suitably this very notable occasion as it has done in the past when it has introduced a new ship.
The Minister for Housing is aware, as we all are, that similar schemes are operating in both the United States of America and Canada. However, I remind Senator Sir Walter Cooper that conditions in Australia are different from those in each of those two countries, more particularly because of the existence in Australia of the State housing commissions which provide homes for lower income groups with moneys the interest rates on which are subsidized by the Commonwealth Government. I assure the honorable senator that the matter is under close study, but I remind him at the same time that the Minister for Housing has a big task ahead. He has to establish his department and staff it. In addition, he has to implement the £250 home subsidy scheme: That in itself will be a major legislative and administrative task. I know that the Minister has before him the objective of introducing legislation covering the home subsidy scheme as quickly as he can and at the same time formulating detailed arrangements for the housing insurance corporation as quickly as practicable.
– I should like to address a question about the banning of books to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Some people refer to the honorable senator as the Minister for obscurantism, but I do not agree with them. A few weeks ago a gentleman in Brisbane had to seek the aid of a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, in an effort to effect a mental cure, advised the man to read the book “ The Art and Practice of Love “. Honorable senators will understand that, being an octogenarian, I am not much interested in that subject. When I approached the department about this book, which was written b’y Albert Ellis, not Havelock Ellis, I was told that it was deemed to be a prohibited import. This is my question: If a recognized psychiatrist applied for permission to import a banned book because a certain patient of his needed it to restore his mental health, would the Minister consent to the request?
– In applying censorship principles I have always hesitated to deal with individual cases. I am not aware of this particular case at the moment, but I shall refresh my mind on the position. If the honorable senator places his question on the notice-paper, I shall give some thought to the proposition and inform him of the result in due course.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. For years people have advocated the diversion of some of the northern rivers into the interior of Australia. Has the Minister ever considered the feasibility of this proposal? Has any investigation into it ever been made?
– I have not seen any detailed examination and investigation made of that proposal. It was originally, advanced by Dr. Bradfield some years ago. I can give only the general reply that in my contact with my officers - and not only my own officers but officers of the State governments - I am left with the very firm impression that the general consensus of opinion is that it is impracticable because of the large losses that would occur in evaporation and seepage in the long track the water would have to cover from the mountain ranges to the inland where there would be a suitable area for its use.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. It refers to a subject which is being brought very keenly before the public in southern Tasmania at present - the programme of the “ Empress of Australia “. Has the attention of the Minister been called to the leading article in the Hobart “ Mercury “ to-day in which very strong language is used suggesting that the statement by the Minister for Shipping and Transport yesterday implies a repudiation - the article calls it a “ a contemptuous repudiation “ - of promises previously undertaken? Will the Minister use his best influence to induce the Minister for Shipping and Transport and the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission to engage in forthright business consultations with the Hobart Marine Board at the earliest opportunity to establish a programme which will restore the confidence of the southern Tasmanian community in the proposition that all promises previously given by any Minister or by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission will be completely fulfilled?
– All I can do is assure the honorable senator that I will bring his question and the background information to the question to the notice of the Minister. I am not acquainted with the details. The honorable senator has implied that promises made some time ago are now in jeopardy. I have no knowledge of this, but I will certainly bring the matter to the notice of my colleague who, I am sure every one will agree, has a capacity for entering into forthright and businesslike discussions with any one with whom it is his ministerial duty to do business.
– I direct a question to the Minister for National Development. What progress has been made towards the constitution of a national coal research council and towards the establishment of Australian coal industry research laboratories, both of which were recommended in the report of the Coal Utilization Research Advisory Committee made to the Minister on 20th March, 1962, and approved by the Government?
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER.Senator Murphy will agree, I think, that the proposals made by the Coal Utilization Research Advisory Committee involved a most comprehensive programme of research into the uses of coal. It was contemplated that the parties to the new organization would be not only the coal mining industry but also the coal consuming industries, such as the gas and steel industries, and the State Governments, the Commonwealth Government, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, which at present has a large programme in hand, and the research organization alreadyestablished by the colliery proprietors.
Sir Harold Raggatt, the Secretary of my department, visited all States and discussed the kind of arrangements which were in contemplation to finance and organize the new body, finance being an important consideration. The various parties wished to ensure that there would be research programmes which covered their particular spheres of the use of coal. Sir Harold made such good progress in those discussions that letters have now been despatched from the Prime Minister to the Premiers asking that each State nominate a minister to conduct the arrangements on behalf of the State concerned. When each State nominates a minister to be responsible for the matter I shall call a conference of ministers and other parties concerned for the purpose of hammering out a constitution and making other necessary arrangements.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether he would be good enough to inform me of the significance of the large discoveries of petroleum gas which recently were made in Queensland. Would he care to outline to the Senate the importance of gas in the generation of power in Australia? Can he say whether the discoveries have revealed gas in sufficient quantities to warrant its transportation to capital cities, including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne?
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER.Large deposits of gas have been discovered not only in Queensland but also in South Australia. I hesitate to express a view on their potentiality because as Senator Scott suggested in the last part of his question, the unknown factor at the moment is the size of the deposits. A good deal of work has been done in Queensland but I rather feel that more work has yet to be done to establish the size of the deposits. That is of vital importance.
Large capital expenditure would be required to pipe the gas to places where it could be used and it is necessary, therefore, to establish definitely that the deposits of gas are sufficient to last for a good period of years. I do not say that in a spirit of pessimism. All the information that is coming forward seems to indicate that the deposits of gas are sufficiently large, but that has yet to be definitely established. I am not prepared to go into the realm of the potentialities of gas. The use of natural gas, of course, has revolutionized industry in the United States of America and other countries where supplies are available. In a country with long lines of communication and great distances, the economics have to be worked out. This is another one of the instances of additional national resources being discovered almost from year to year. The existence of this additional great national resource, if confirmed, as I believe it will be, could have a dramatic effect on Australia’s industrial development.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Housing seen a report appearing in .the Adelaide “News” of 26th February, 1964, which states that home builders receiving loans from the Commonwealth, including ex-servicemen in receipt of war service loans, will not receive the £250 savings subsidy? Does this report express the current policy of the Government? Is it the policy of the Government to restrict the scope of the announced housing subsidy and discriminate against ex-servicemen and purchasers of homes built by the Department of the Interior?
I had not seen the report when I answered Senator Bishop’s question yesterday; he showed it to me after I had answered the question. Even if Senator Bishop’s interpretation of the newspaper report is correct, no restriction has been imposed on the scheme as originally announced, namely that this was to be a subsidy on homes not built with Government finance. The two points raised by Senator Bishop relate to policy matters under consideration by the Minister concerned. I cannot answer them. I doubt whether the Minister himself could answer them at this stage. We must possess ourselves in patience for a week or so until the legislation is brought down in the Parliament. Following the discussion that I had with Senator Bishop yesterday, I made inquiries and found that the two points are at present under analysis and examination.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Could the large retail commercial houses be encouraged to mark their advertising signs with the price of merchandise expressed in both decimal currency and pounds, shillings and pence, so that people might become progressively familiar with the new currency before the official changeover?
– If 1 may say so, this matter is one of increasing public importance. I can assure the honorable senator that it is at present being actively considered, with other matters relating to the introduction of decimal currency, by the recently appointed Decimal Currency Board. I shall acquaint the board of the honorable senator’s interest in this particular matter, which I think is of first-class importance.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. Recently the Government announced increased benefits to contributors to medical benefit funds for general practitioner services. Does the Minister not know that it is in the field of specialist services that the public urgently needs financial assistance? Was this decision to help the general practitioner made for the reason that the benefit organization alleged to be under the control of the Australian Medical Association - formerly the British Medical Association - is almost totally controlled by medical practitioners and there is no specialist representation? Can we expect that at some time in the near future the Government will do something to relieve the financial pressure on those people who must have specialist treatment, particularly with relation to operations?
– First let me make the point that the general practitioner is the corner-stone of the National Health Scheme. The reason is that down through the ages he has always been the qualified man nearest to the patient. The general practitioner knows the patient’s ills and his constitution better than anybody else does because, traditionally, he brings the patient into the world and looks after his health until he finally passes on. So we make no apologies at all for the fact that the general practitioner ranks very highly in our thinking in relation to the National Health Scheme.
The specialist, too, fills a most important role in the National Health Scheme. To that statement I add the suggestion that the honorable senator should contain himself in patience because it is our intention to bring before the Parliament amending legislation to put into effect the increased benefits to which he refers. I hope that when this legislation is brought down, he will realize that we have recognized the services of other people as well as general practitioners under the scheme.
– I preface a question to the Minister representing the Treasurer by saying that I understand that the major Australian trading banks have joined together to provide additional funds to finance exports and that they are to form a new bank. I also understand that the Reserve Bank of Australia is to make a substantial contribution to this new bank. I ask the Minister whether the establishment of the new bank will require legislative approval. Can the Minister indicate the magnitude of the support which the Reserve Bank is to give to this project? In view of the tremendous importance which the new bank could well have to the export industries of Australia, will the Minister consider making a comprehensive statement with relation to what, on the face of it, appears to be a wonderful project?
– The honorable senator’s question contains a certain amount of detail, and, for that reason, I think it would be preferable if I got something in the nature of a comprehensive answer from the Treasurer. Broadly, however, the scheme is that the eight trading banks will form a company to engage in the financing of exports in approved cases. The eight trading banks, of course, include the Commonwealth Trading Bank. At this moment, I am not sure whether the Reserve Bank of Australia will be subscribing capital to the venture, but it may do. I am not sure of the extent of legislative action which may be necessary but it occurs to me that some legislation will probably be necessary to cover the Commonwealth Trading Bank’s participation in this venture. I shall have a look at all the questions that the honorable senator has asked and see whether I can get’ a comprehensive answer for him as early as possible.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation, who I think is the appropriate Minister. I refer to the developments that have taken place in Qantas Empire Airways Limited over the last fortnight, threatening disruption of its programme. If I may be permitted to say so, to my mind it is most disquieting that such an airline, with world-wide services, can be afflicted by added costs and inconvenience in such circumstances. Will the Minister consider the appropriateness -of legislation’ to provide that in an industry of this kind it shall be illegal to precipitate a strike without giving at least one month’s notice or perhaps three months’ notice of the grievance? Such legislation would enable all avenues of arbitration to be used in order to prevent the necessity for any dislocation of services. This is an industry in which the rates of pay are such that deferment of an increase for three months could not be said to threaten the pilots with poverty or undue hardship. World-wide communications are dependent upon the maintenance of airline programmes, so such legislation would appear to be required in the national interest. I ask the Minister to consider the suggestion.
– I am naturally directly and vitally interested in this matter. However, the question of the introduction of industrial legislation is one for consideration initially by my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, to whom I will submit the suggestion.
– Is the Minister for Health aware that some chemists in Sydney will not supply to the public application forms for membership of the Hospitals Contribution Fund of New South Wales? Is the Minister able to confirm or deny a report circulating in Sydney that this situation is being encouraged by the Medical -Benefits Fund of Australia because it urgently needs new enrolments owing to its present financial position? Will the Minister compel all chemists to make available to the public application forms for both the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia and the Hospitals Contribution’ Fund of New South Wales?
– The answer is “ No “. I will not take any steps to compel chemists, or members of any other section of the community, to make themselves available as agents for any organization,, for the simple reason that I believe that that would be -wrong in principle. Furthermore, the Commonwealth Government has no power to do that. I believe that the chemists are perfectly entitled, in a free enterprise system, to make their own decisions on these matters. If the position were reversed, would the honorable senator then be asking me to take this action, which is abhorrent to a free-enterprise government and to the Australian people?
– My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. I refer to the request made by the Western Austraiian Government for financial aid from the Commonwealth for the extension of the modified comprehensive water scheme. Is it a fact that officers of the Commonwealth were sent to Western Australia some months ago to investigate the case put forward by the government of that State? Could the Minister say how far these investigations have progressed and when they will be completed? When is it likely that some decision will be made on this most important project?
– The information that I have on this matter is that the Commonwealth officers, in association with officers of Western Australia, have completed the field work, that is, the surveys that it was necessary to make in respect of the various properties and the general conditions. They are how engaged on the task of analysing the data and information that they obtained in the course of that field work. I would not be prepared to say how long that work will take. As the honorable senator knows, it is a pretty large task that the officers are doing.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Housing. I refer to the proposed grant of £250 to be made available as a housing deposit on the basis of £1 . for £3. Does the Minister know that in the week in which that announcement was made during the election campaign the Tariff Board imposed a tariff on imported timber, principally Oregon? Is the Minister aware that building experts say that the consequent addition to the cost of imported Oregon will add £90 to the cost of a house of wooden structure? Has the Government any plans to stop erosion of the value of the £250 grant by higher building costs arising from action taken by the Tariff Board to increase the tariffs on building materials?
– I do not think the honorable senator can relate a Tariff Board inquiry to the- new housing assistance scheme. I could, very unfairly, interpret his question -as saying that he is against the protection of. Australian industry. I know that that is not the position. We have evolved this .housing subsidy scheme.
Contemporaneously, Tariff. Board action may, initially, result in increased costs. We always hope, however, that Tariff Board action will lead eventually to the establishment of a good Australian industry which is able to sell its goods below the cost of comparable imported goods. I do not think it would be practicable for us to try to maintain the status quo in these matters with a view to protecting the recipients of a subsidy from every influence that operates in the Australian economy. I think that the Commonwealth’s, task - one in which it has been successful - is to maintain costs generally at a stable level. There has been no general increase in the Australian cost structure for some years. If we can maintain that position, that is the best form of assistance we can give.
– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate permit me, uncomplainingly, to draw his attention to the fact that to-day I am placing on the notice-paper again a question which - 1 placed there originally on 7th May, 1963, and which had not been answered when it was expunged from, the notice-paper at the expiration of the last Parliament? The question affects the important subject of the preparation of the budgetary papers, in relation to the constitutional powers of this House. I ask the Minister to accept my acknowledgment of his courtesy in having engaged in some personal discussion with me on the matter. However, as this is a matter of constitutional importance, an answer to the question will be of great interest to every honorable senator. My request is that, consistent with other urgent obligations of the Minister, he will do his best to give early consideration to my question and to supply an answer at any rate before we have to consider the Budget Papers this year.
The question that Senator Wright put on the notice-paper had very wide ramifications and required a good deal of careful thinking. I am happy to inform the hon- orable senator that the matter has now been considered by the Government. As the Government’s views have been clarified I would hope that when the question reappears on the notice-paper it will receive a prompt answer.
Debate resumed from 26th February (vide page 67), on motion by Senator Morris -
That the following Address-in-Reply to the Speech of. His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to: -
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
– Last night Senator Branson referred to large sums” of money that the Government has made available for the development of northern Australia. Later in my speech I propose to say something about the development of northern Australia but at this stage I would say that Senator Branson was not quite fair when he quoted figures that appear in “ Hansard “. While they do represent a considerable amount of money which is being spent in northern Australia, very much of that money is in the form of advances to States for expenditure in the. areas concerned and that money will be repaid to the Commonwealth Government with interest. Whilst the areas will benefit from the expenditure of the money, the Commonwealth’s expenditure in the area is not as great as the figures which appear in “ Hansard “ purport to convey.
I want to deal with the flax industry at Boyup Brook in Western Australia, where the only flax factory in the State is operating. This co-operative venture should commend itself to the Government from the point of view of decentralization, this being a co-operative factory operating in one of the outer areas of the State. The industry located in this small town, about ISO miles south of Perth, employs 50 people and the wages expended in this small community amount to £70,000 a year. Rail freights for commodities transported to the area amount to approximately £8,000 a year.
Some time ago the Commonwealth Government decided to cease paying - a subsidy to the flax industry. In the main the flax industry, particularly in eastern Australia, was owned by the- Commonwealth Government, as distinct from the industry to which I have referred which is owned by a co-operative group. It is interesting to note that in 1949-50, when the basic wage was £7 3s. 6d., the flax fibre produced per man amounted to 2.37 tons and the cost per ton for each employee to produce that fibre was £162. In 1961 when the basic wage was £14 17s. 3d. the production per man of flax fibre increased to 5.5 tons and the cost per ton for each employee was reduced to £147.
– What are we to deduce from that?
– That over the years the industry has become more efficient and has been able to increase its production per man, and reduce the cost per employee, despite the fact that the basic wage has almost doubled in that time. I will not dispute the fact that the flax industry is a highly intensive labour industry. . In other words the cost of labour plays- a. very big part in the cost of production. The production per acre increased from 1.25 tons in 1941 to 2.79 tons in 1962.
– Over what area?
– I cannot tell you the area that has been planted.
– I wanted to have some idea of the - dimensions of the industry to which you are referring.
– The industry could be expanded sufficiently to produce the bulk of Australia’s needs. . -The average yield in the Benelux countries, from which we import our flax fibre to-day, is 3.4 tons per acre. The Australian industry is in a sufficiently efficient state to compare favorably with the industry overseas.
Flax line fibre similar to that produced in. Boyup Brook in Western Australia enters Australia duty-free, but flax rovings and slivers are allowed into the country at a duty of 45 per cent. This simply means that the producers of flax receive no protection whatsoever, but that the manufacturers of flax are protected by a very high tariff. Flax growers at Boyup Brook receive £14 15s. Id. a ton for the material that they produce but in France, Belgium and Holland, the countries from which our flax fibre is obtained overseas, the growers who are heavily subsidized receive £27 17s. a ton. Our industry is expected to compete with the heavily subsidized industry overseas. In 1961-62 imports from the countries I have mentioned cost the Australian people £332,095. This, of course, is a drain on overseas funds, particularly when it is realized that the Boyup Brook industry could be expanded to satisfy the. bulk of the needs of Australia. - We in Western Australia do not think that the Boyup Brook industry should be expected to compete with, heavily subsidized overseas industries. We believe that the action of the Commonwealth Government in refusing to continue the payment of a subsidy, to grant another subsidy or to give tariff protection to the industry flows from the fact that previously the Commonwealth Government owned the flax industry in eastern Australia and that it - was believed that war was not likely to occur- in the near future with the result that the flax industry would again become an important defence project. If we pay heed to the note of urgency which the Government has struck in . relation to defence matters, we cannot be certain that war is not likely to occur. It has been suggested that a subsidy pf £15,000 per annum over a period of five years would be sufficient to allow the industry to develop to the stage where it would be self-supporting.
– With what output?
– With its present output. Cross-examine somebody else. I told you that I did not know the acreage that was being planted. The industry has suggested that a tariff imposition of from 3 per cent, to 5 per cent, would be sufficient to raise the amount of money that would be required to provide a subsidy for the industry.
I point out that sulphuric acid made from pyrites attracts a subsidy of £1,405,859, copper a subsidy of £686,451 and rayon yarn a subsidy of £230,000 in addition to a duty of 22-i per cent, on’ imports. It was stated in the Parliament in 1962 that the bounty paid plus tariff worked out at £4,000,000, or £1,600 per annum for every employee in the industry. Cotton attracts an annual subsidy of £315,105 and dairy produce a subsidy of £13,750,000. The subsidy on tractors is £1,100,000, and goldmining attracts a subsidy of £1,000,000 a year. It is obvious that without the payment of subsidies these industries could not survive, lt is difficult to find a secondary industry in Australia which is not receiving tariff protection or a. bounty, or in many cases both. The Government should consider again paying a bounty to the flax industry to enable it to provide a measure of decentralization and employment for the people who since the industry was established have built their homes around it.
The next matter I wish to raise relates to the issue of television licences by the Postmaster-General’s Department. Recently in Perth two people were prosecuted for not having television licences. They were not fined but each had to pay 8s. costs. The prosecution arose from the fact that each had gone into a rented furnished home in which was situated a television set that was licensed by the owner. The licence was held by the owner and did not pass to the tenant. The effect of the department’s decision is that the television set is not licensed but the owner is and that in addition to the owner having to hold a licence for the set the viewer must hold a licence. The decision further means that each and every tenant who goes into a furnished flat must purchase a licence for the set in that flat. Let us’ take the matter to some sort of extreme. If the premises were to change hands every month, each year thirteen television licences would be issued for the one set for a total payment of £65. Is it conceivable that bousing trusts and commissions which let furnished places would license any sets that might be in those premises?
The Postmaster-General’s Department has suggested that the difficulty could be overcome by having each furnished home that is available for rental licensed as a lodging house. Once a dwelling is licensed as a lodging house it becomes subject to all the State regulations which apply to lodging houses. It is not thought that people who simply want to- rent a home would want to register it as a lodging house. If the dwelling were registered as a lodging house, the registration would cover each tenant who went into occupation. In Western Australia the regulations that are applicable to lodging houses are very strict, and the homes in question would- have to conform to the requirements of those regulations. If the suggestion were adopted, furnished premises let by housing commissions and trusts would have to be licensed as lodging houses. I suggest to the Postmaster-General (Mr. ‘ Hulme) that the department should seriously consider having television licences apply to the -sets and not to the individual or individuals concerned. In other words, once a licence is issued, it should apply to the set in question for twelve months irrespective of who views it or who owns it. .
Reference was made in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech to the problem of freight costs for the north. His Excellency said -
A study of the problem of freight costs for the north is being put in hand.
I propose to mention a matter that I have mentioned’ before. Western Australia operates what is known as the State Shipping Service. It operates in the most isolated area - of Australia and provides a shipping service to the port of Darwin, which is under Commonwealth control. But because of the sparseness of population and the length of the route that the ships must traverse! the service operates at a loss.
Because of rising costs, the loss has been increasing each year and has reached the vicinity of £1,000,000 per annum. Only in the last two years has the Commonwealth
Grants Commission seen fit to take into consideration the losses shown by the State Shipping Service in providing this service to the outback area. Western Australia is being penalized in respect of the loss shown by the State Shipping Service. Over the past twelve years, freights and fares have been increased. The service is not run as a tourist proposition although I know that the Ansett organization is at’ present developing a tourist service between Darwin andFre mantle in conjunction with its airline and the State Shipping Service.
The service was established as a convenience for the residents of the northern area. Return fares were kept low to enable people from the north to travel south during thenholidays and so that women and children could get out of the area during the bad wet season. However, owing to pressure by. the Commonwealth Grants Commission, those fares and freights have had to be increased. Freights are a major problem in the development of northern Australia, and as various branches of agriculture are established in this area it will be found that unless some relief in freight costs is given to those who are developing this area, the cost of production will be too high to permit them to compete with products from areas closer to the markets. This is a responsibility which must be faced by the Commonwealth Government as the development of this area progresses more rapidly.
Of course, progress plays its part in the losses that are shown by the State Shipping Service of Western Australia. Large sums of money are being spent on the development of roads in the area and this development permits direct transport by road. All the wool that comes out of the lower areas of the State - what might be termed the Gascoyne and De Grey areas - is transported by road. The road services attract all the profitable freights but all the low freight articles such as empty drums are carried by the State Shipping Service. The road transport operators take the cream of the business in the area and leave the less profitable goods for the State Shipping Service to carry to the metropolitan areas. in addition,, the Western Australian Government has followed the example set by the Commonwealth railways and has developed a pick-a-back service through to Meekatharra. This is about half way to the De Grey area. From the railhead at
Meekatharra, the road transport takes over. It travels through the hinterland and takes products which otherwise would go through the nearest port. To-day, the transports do not go near a port. They, travel inland 200 or 300 miles from the coast. The State Shipping Service has to overcome all those difficulties and at the same time endeavour to show that it is operated on a reasonable basis, particularly in respect of costs.
I warn the Commonwealth Government that it cannot have it both ways. - It cannot have development of ‘ northern Australia and low direct freight rates. The cost of getting goods, into and out of this area must be reduced either by a subsidy or some other means. When the Commonwealth Grants Commission makes its report, the Government should consider disregarding any section of the report that ‘ adversely affects Western Australia arising from losses shown by the State Shipping Service.
– I cannot understand why the Grants Commission would make a recommendation against a State if the relevant service is necessary and is run efficiently.
– This is a necessary service. There is no other service. It is true that MacRobertson-Miller Airlines Ltd. provides an air service through the area. I suppose with supplementary aircraft the airline could take care of the major portion of the passenger transport but it could not do anything with goods.
– I would have thought there was an argument for a greater grant if it is a necessary service run efficiently.
– The question of efficiency is not one for me to determine. Recently the Commonwealth Grants Com-“ mission inquired into it. I have not been able to get a copy of the report by Captain Williams and I have not seen it. But he did not raise any criticism of the administration of the service. He did suggest that passenger .fares and freight rates be increased by 40 per cent, and the Government had no option but to increase them. I have travelled on this service on many occasions over many years and I believe it is an efficient service although I do hot ‘ know whether I am qualified to judge. It’ is a fact, as is shown by the reports of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, that
Western Australia is penalized for the losses that are carried on this service.
Before the Senate rose prior to the; general election last year, I raised the question of a fendering system at the Darwin wharf. As the Commonwealth Government is spending some £400,000 or £500,000 on extensions to the Darwin wharf I asked the Government during the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate to consider putting in a really decent type of fendering system that would protect the State ships when they entered Darwin harbour. I do not know whether the Government has reconsidered the matter in . the light of my representations but the Darwin . wharf certainly requires an uptodate fendering system because pf the climatic conditions.
– What do you mean by a fendering system?
– Fenders are placed alongside the wharf to hold ships away from the wharf and to prevent them from damaging either themselves or the wharf.
His Excellency the Governor-General, in the Speech that he made in the chamber recently, stated -
The mineral industry has continued to advance in terms of production and exports and in becoming more diversified. My advisers continue to encourage the development of our mineral resources and their maximum processing in Australia.
I am rather interested in the words “ their maximum processing in Australia “. At Weipa, in north Queensland, bauxite is being mined. It is then being processed into alumina and exported. In Western Australia large deposits of bauxite exist in the Darling Ranges, and some £10,000,000 has been spent on a plant to process the bauxite. The alumina is being sent to Geelong, in Victoria, where it is processed into aluminium. It is proposed to export 120,000 tons of alumina a year to Japan. Surely we could proceed much further with the processing in Australia. Is it not time that we considered fabricating the raw material and exporting it in fabricated form, so that work would be provided for Australians instead of exporting the alumina and providing work for Japanese workers? I realize that the Japanese must have work, but so must our own people.
– It would take some time to build a treatment plan.
– I think we have the time to do it. I wish to direct attention to the large deposits of iron ore that have been been discovered in Western Australia since, the Government lifted the embargo on the export of iron ore.
Western Australia has now become one of the large sources of iron ore in the world, and the ore is of high grade. There are proposals to export some 30,000,000 tons of iron ore from Mr Goldsworthy and 1.0,000,000 tons a year from Mr Tom Price. I am concerned about the company known as Hastings Holdings which has reserves of iron ore at Mr Tom Price. The reserves are estimated at 5,000,000,000 . tons of high grade ore. The Australian shareholding in the companies which hold these reserves amounts to approximately 6 per cent. . The reserves are held by a company known as Conrio, which ,is an amalgamation of Rio Tinto and ‘ Conzinc! and the Kaiser corporation. The Kaiser corporation holds 40 per cent of the shares in Hastings Holdings and Conrio holds 60 per cent. Ten per cent, of the shares in Conrio are held in Australia, but none of the shares in the Kaiser corporation is held in this country.
Not a great deal of work will be provided for the people of Western Australia in the extraction of the iron ore because the mine will be simply a big quarry. A limited num-, ber of workers will be involved in the extraction of the ore. Large and rather costly machinery will be used. The bulk of the profits that flow from the. industry will go out of Australia because of the large overseas shareholding in the companies concerned. It is not proposed to process in Australia any of the ore. It is raw material that will be shipped from Australia and the processing will provide work for people in other parts of the world. Not a great number of our’ workers, in comparison with the : number in the work force, are unemployed at the moment; nevertheless there are unemployed people in Australia who could be employed in processing these raw materials.
– Does not the export of the ore build up our overseas funds and enable our overseas trade to go on, at the same time enabling employment to be maintained here?
– If I have time I propose later to say a few words about overseas trade.
It is proposed to export 5,000,000 tons of high grade iron ore from Tallering Peak and Koolanooka Hills. A royalty of 6s. a ton is to be paid to the State Government in respect of the ore, but because Geraldton harbour does not provide a sufficient depth of water for large ore vessels to come in and take the ore away, and because the State Government has not sufficient funds to finance the development of the harbour, it has had to reduce the amount of the royalty. Smaller ships will have to be used to take the ore away. 1 think that this is a matter which the Commonwealth Government could look at under the heading of the development of ports. There is no constitutional restriction to prevent the Commonwealth Government from spending money in any way it pleases in connexion wilh the transportation of goods, either between the States or overseas. The Government has not measured up to this responsibility in the past, but there could always be a starting time for it to do so.
The Geraldton area is a very rich one. In a comparatively short period it could become richer still if the intensive search for oil which at present is being conducted about 30 miles inland from the port were to be successful. It is also a very rich farming area. It is developing rapidly and would’ benefit very much from a first-class port.
– Will the honorable senator permit an interruption? Would he like to comment on the statement in the 1963 report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission that no adjustment had been made for the loss of the State Shipping Service of Western Australia?
– That is true.
– You said that the State had been penalized for it.
– It has been penalized, too. While no adjustment has been made, the State Shipping Service has been told that if the losses are not reduced action will be taken through the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The State Government set up a commission, under Captain Williams, to inquire into the service because there had been threats by the Commonwealth Grants Commission to make adverse reports in respect of the losses.
I want to say a little about the development of Northern Australia. Many of these things I have said before. The only way really to develop northern Australia is to get population into the area and keep it there. This simply means that all of the amenities of modern life must go with the population. It is not sufficient to provide beef roads and harbour facilities. These projects have attracted the most assistance from the Commonwealth Government, and I agree that they must be undertaken. We must also provide hospitals, dentists, schools and power supplies. If these amenities do not go with the other investments, we will not get people to go to the north and stay there. Men will go there, taking their wives, who will remain until such time as the family starts to grow up. Then, when health problems arise and higher education is required, the children have to be sent away from home. It is not very long before the women go after them, and shortly after that the- men go, too. Without providing amenities in northern areas, we will not get a stable population there.
The cost of providing these amenities will be very high. We not only have to provide buildings; we also have to provide staff, and staff, particularly trained staff, cannot be provided there at rates of pay and on conditions for which it can be obtained in the metropolitan areas, or elsewhere in the southern part of Australia where it is more congenial to live. For instance,. 1 can remember when, some little time ago, there was a population of 1,250 at Wittenoom Gorge, and the company wanted a resident doctor. It offered a practice with 1,250 persons, plus £1,500 a year and the most up-to-date hospital in Australia, but it took two years to get a doctor to go there. So it can be seen that if medical services are to be provided in such areas we shall have to pay. Of course, civil servants such as schoolteachers can be sent there on transfer. They go for a limited period of two- years. This creates an instability within the service. Unless conditions and wage rates are satisfactory to them they will not stay there. Senator Paltridge will appreciate the difficulty that arises in housing his departmental staff in northern areas. The cost of providing homes for workers employed by the Department of Civil Aviation there is much greater than the cost of providing homes in other areas. When I say “ much greater 1 mean as much as 100 per cent, greater.
The Government must look at these things. It is of no use to provide a deepwater port at Derby, a new jetty at Broome, and a road from Derby to Wyndham for the quick transport of cattle, or to encourage the establishment of abattoirs in these places, if provision is made for only seasonal workers to go to the area. This has been one of the drawbacks in the development of the Broome meatworks, and the Broome and Wyndham areas over the years. Workers from the south go up for the season. They spend nothing in the area all the time that they are there. They are provided with considerable overtime to encourage them to work there and they receive high rates of pay. At the end of. the season they go south, where they spend the money they have earned in the north. Unless the money that is earned in the north is spent in the north, for the development of the north, the Government . will just go on pouring money in without the greatest benefit being achieved.
Only if population is established and kept in the north will the return from the resources and production of the area be spent in the area and circulated to provide more work. There are many ways of achieving this other than by providing actual money. It can be done by providing tax concessions. It has been put to the Commonwealth Government that tax concessions to people earning money in northern Australia should be very high and that if a proportion of the money earned be re-invested in the area the ‘ tax concession be as much as 100 per cent., that is, that the income bc tax-free. I am not an economist and I do not know how that would work out. I have been told that to make the northern part of Western Australia a tax-free area would cost the Treasury £2,000,000 per annum at this stage. It may be more or it may be less; I do not know. In any case, the cost would not be very great. This would be a method of persuading private enterprise to go to the area and to invest. In that way private enterprise would give the Government assistance in the development of the area. Without some attraction, the private investor will not go to the. north, and without proper amenities people will not go there to stay.
– I have very much pleasure in joining with those who have spoken to this motion, in their expressions of loyalty to the Throne. I . also take the opportunity to congratulate Senator Morris on his maiden speech in this chamber. I share the. regret expressed at the circumstances that led to the postponement of the Queen Mother’s trip to Australia. 1 hope that this will be a case merely of postponement and not of abandonment. 1 also associate myself with the expressions of sorrow and grief at the naval disaster that befell this country in the loss of the “ Voyager “ only a few days ago. There was some solace for the bereaved relatives in the very large attendances at memorial church services in Sydney. Indeed, during the service which I attended at St. Andrew’s, the cathedral was overflowing and many people were outside listening. All flags were at half mast. This was only some recognition appropriate to such an occasion. I, too, express my very deep sympathy with all of the persons who suffered bereavements in this tragic occurrence.
The Governor-General’s Speech referred to the development of Papua and New Guinea. It has been a cause of satisfaction to those of us who have some knowledge of this area to note the success of the first election that has taken place in the Territory. Apparently the people have gone into this very enthusiastically, displaying a great deal of interest. The manner in which the first election has been conducted is a very good omen.
Mention was also made in. the Speech of the development and growth of Australia. I am sure that not one of us can deny that development and growth have taken place and that we all rejoice in them. Very shortly there is to be a meeting of the nations at which Australia will be present. The purpose of. the meeting is to consider world trade; a question which occupied the attention of the committee of the. United Nations of which I was a member in 1962. The objective of the committee on that occasion was to have Australia admitted to the forthcoming conference as a developing nation. The Australian delegates succeeded in their efforts and I am quite sure that this conference should be of great benefit to the developing nations in particular. One objection that was raised to the admission of Australia was her wealth compared with that of some of the other nations which will be taking part in the conference, but we succeeded in pointing out that although our wealth per capita might be considerably greater than that of some of the other countries we are still a developing nation.
Last evening, I was very surprised indeed to hear Senator Cant refer to the old question of unemployment. I thought that the present unemployment position reflected such great credit on this Government’s policy that at long last we would not be hearing any more from the Opposition on the subject. But we were wrong; we did hear something more. I merely wish to emphasize that, in spite of the large influx of migrants and in spite of a very large number of school-leavers, the unemployment figures have shown a considerable decrease. One point about the unemployment figures released, I think last -month, that interested me greatly was the fact that they showed that ‘ in 1961 more than 1,000.000 women were in employment in Australia. Some eighteen months or two years ago, I tried to obtain figures relating to the employment of women, but was unsuccessful. I find how that of the 1,000,000 women employed in’ 1961, 444,680 were married. 1 am not suggesting for one moment that all married women need not be working, but I do point out that as the number of unemployed is only a small proportion of them we surely dispose of the cry that unemployment exists to any extent in Australia.
Of the 444,680 married women, 74,660 were in the 35 to 39 years age group. I repeat that I am not suggesting for one moment that married women should not work but we should keep these facts in mind when we are talking about the unemployment position in Australia. Only recently I noticed that one of the large industrial firms in Australia was sending officers overseas in an effort to recruit men because in Australia there was a shortage of the type of labour it needed. Again, last week 1 read in one of the rural newspapers of New South Wales that one large machinery firm was trying to recruit labour from the country for certain periods of the year when employment in the country was somewhat slack. By obtaining employees from the. country when employment was slack there, this machinery firm would have an opportunity of manufacturing more machines that are required in Australia. The firm took this step because of the shortage of labour in the area in which it was established.
Another important thing we will have before us this year is the report of the Committee of Economic Enquiry which was set up some twelve or eighteen months ago.At the time the committee was appointed, it was obvious to all that some time would elapse before the committee could issue a report. I am sure we all await the results of its investigations with considerable interest. One thing that has given me, in common with many other honorable senators, a great deal of satisfaction has been the setting up of a northern division in the’ Department of National Development. Here I take the opportunity of saying how1 milch I support Senator Morris in his advocacy of the development of the north and the ideas he has put forward. We realize that other- parts of Australia also have problems, “ but we simply must develop the north.
Speaking of developing the north, I re-, mind honorable senators of the very’ great, work that an organization known as the Federal Inland Development Organization’ has done for Australia. This organization was set up about three years ago and from very small beginnings on the part of a few men, it has grown to the stage where it is now exciting the interest of thousands of Australians not only in New South Wab-s, not only in- Queensland, not only in the. Northern Territory, but also in Victoria, . Tasmania, South Australia and Western. Australia. In addition, it has gained the sup- ‘ port of one of our large oil companies, Mobil Oil (Australia) Proprietary Limited, . which has financed a feature film that was., produced by Cinesound Productions Proprietary Limited. I understand that that film has been shown in all the capital cities of Australia as well as throughout the . country districts and is now having a very good run indeed in the United Kingdom. I have seen this Cinesound film. It is a . very good one. It enables those people who . have not had the opportunity of coming : down through the Channel country to appreciate what has been done there so far and to understand the great improvement that can be effected there by providing the roads which Fido has been advocating. I understand that “ Pix “ magazine also published a long article about what can be done there.
I know that some people would decry the importance of the Federal Inland Development Organization, but I say emphatically here that I am not one of those people. I have definitely supported it and stressed its importance ever since its inception. Quite apart from advocating the construction of beef roads which the Government has undertaken, Fido has aroused the interest of many people and it has done, and is continuing, to do, very good work indeed. At the outset, some of our Queensland friends felt that roads such as those advocated by Fido might syphon off some of the meat that was then going to the Queensland abattoirs, but first the Queensland Government and now the Queensland people concerned, especially those living on the coast side of the road, have come to realize that this loss need not necessarily happen. They have now come to appreciate that apart from enabling fat cattle to be brought down from the area, the roads make it possible for poor cattle to be brought out when drought conditions prevail and for . cattle to be taken back to restock the area when conditions are suitable. I understand that at the present time about 2,500 miles of beef roads either have been finished or are under construction.
– In Queensland?
– No. We have 2.500 miles of beef roads in all I shall endeavour to give further details in a moment. I am told that the traffic on some of those beef roads which have been completed is already so heavy that they are proving to be too small. To date, the Commonwealth Government has provided over £16,000,000 towards the cost of constructing these roads. I understand that Queensland has cattle roads running through different parts of the Channel country, the Gulf country and Cape York Peninsula. Those of us who have had the opportunity of flying over the Gulf country .and the Channel country and have seen the potentialities of those areas have a full realization to the benefits that can accrue from the construction of good roads in those areas. Already something like £3,000;000’ has been spent on this work. I understand that in
Western Australia the beef cattle roads will run through the Kimberley division. As I said earlier, many of these roads are still in course of construction and it is very pleasing indeed to know that the Commonwealth Government is seised with the necessity for constructing them.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was dealing wilh the proposals that have, been made to develop the north by various means, including the construction of roads. These roads will be of great assistance to the beef industry but I think there is no doubt at all that in the years to come they will be of considerable assistance also to the tourist industry. Yesterday, Senator Wood told us of the large potential tourist attractions at the Great Barrier Reef, and I thoroughly concur with what he said. The roads that are now being constructed will eventually be connected and will certainly help our tourist trade, which last year earned about £20,000,000.
It was mentioned in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech that attempts were made to negotiate meat agreements. We have just seen the very successful conclusion of a meat agreement with the United States of America. That agreement is very satisfac- tory indeed to meat producers here, but it has aroused some criticism from United States meat producers. However, I want to stress the fact that the meat concerned in the agreement is not what we regard as prime quality meat. The meat exported will be second-class meat. We have not attempted, and I hope we shall not attempt, to enter into competition with prime beef in the United States of America. During 1963 our exports of beef to the United States of America rose to some 257,000 tons. That was a remarkable increase and was of great benefit to Australia as a whole. The agreement just concluded provides that in 1964 we will be permitted to export 242,000 tons; in 1965, 251,000 tons; and in 1966, 260,000 tons. From then on the increases will be based on the rate that pertained during the previous years. The annual increase is likely to approximate 3.7 per cent.
We have to remember that, in order to obtain access to American markets, in many cases we must make extensive alterations to our abattoirs. Where this has not already been done, the alterations are in the process of being carried out. This has been made necessary by what most of us would regard as pretty stringent requirements. The United States authorities have said that unless their conditions are met import licences will not be granted. In some cases alterations costing £30,000 or £40,000 are required. Some of the meatworks in New South Wales considered that it would not pay them to make the alterations; they believe that their export trade so far would not warrant the increased expenditure. One of the problems associated with getting the right to export meat to the United States of America is to ensure that, before killing, the beast is inspected by a veterinary officer. In New South Wales at the moment we have not enough veterinary officers to do the work. That situation has to be overcome.
It was said also that other markets were being explored, and with some success. That is quite true. We have found that in the last few years a big change has taken place in the eating and clothing habits of many of our Asian neighbours. This has been to our benefit. People are now wearing clothes made from wool instead of from other materials. They are’ eating cereals, such as wheat, which they were not eating before. They are now eating meat, which they were not eating before. In addition to eating beef, in many cases they are developing a taste for mutton. This is all for the good of Australia.
I should like to refer now to the roads agreement. During the last five years the Commonwealth Government has provided assistance to the States for roads to the extent of £250,000,000. A new agreement is to be entered into very shortly, arid we all expect that more money will be provided for the construction of roads. That is a very good thing indeed. I suppose that all honorable senators have been contacted quite recently by the lord mayors of the various capital cities in an endeavour’ to gain support for a proposal, emanating from them, that 40 per’ cent, of the amount set aside under the roads agreement should be devoted to roads in capital cities. I want to say here and - now, without any equivocation, that I will not have a bar of that. Under the present roads agreement, the amount set aside for rural roads - that is, roads other than the main trunk roads and the highways running through the country districts - is 40 per cent, of the total grant. It had previously been 35 per cent. The proposition emanating from the lord mayors is that 40 per cent, of the total grant should be given to them for use on roads in the capital cities. They say that that would not interfere with the rural roads, which could still attract 40 per cent, of the total grant. Under that proposal, only 20 per cent, would remain to be spent on our main highways. I reiterate that I will not have a bar of that proposal. The lord mayors are shutting their eyes to the fact that Australia is still dependent on rural industries for its export earnings. It is very nice to- have large capital cities, but their populations are increasing far too quickly. These cities are becoming top heavy, and the building up of good conditions - in them is stultifying the country areas, which provide the finance to keep the cities going.
Housing assistance has been discussed. The subject was mentioned this morning by the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner), who said that quite a few details of the scheme had yet to be ironed out. I think it is very laudable to try to help young people to get homes of their own. This is something that young couples set out to do, and I believe it is of great assistance to the nation to have young people in their own homes. I. want to enter a plea for the people in country areas. I do not want to underestimate the importance of country towns, but very often in the country districts there are properties adjacent to country towns which would be deserving of assistance. I think it will be very hard to get that assistance for them, but I hope something can be done in that connexion.
I have been approached by builders in the cities who have pointed out to me the need to train more apprentices in the building and plumbing industries. Some assistance should be granted in this field also. I know that assistance has been given, by way of aid to technical schools, in the training of apprentices, but the main bone of contention on the part of these builder’s seems to be that they suffer quite a loss in time and money in training apprentices, and then, having trained them, find that they are promptly annexed by somebody else. This is not an easy problem to solve, nor is it one that applies only to the building industry. It has application also to the plumbing industry. Because of this situation, an extra responsibility is borne by the builders and this adds to the cost of a building. I feel that if some extra assistance could be granted for the training of apprentices we would avoid some of the pitfalls that we have unfortunately found in the past. I admit that a solution to the problem is not easy to find, but something additional to the present assistance could be given.
Perhaps it is pertinent to mention, while speaking of apprentices, that in the printing trade the employers in many cases wish to employ more apprentices but are not allowed ‘to do so because the unions will not let them. This was told to me only a few months ago by one engaged- in that industry. I was’ amazed to learn that fact but he assured me that it was true. If that is the case 1 hope that it will be altered very speedily. I am glad to notice that flood mitigation is at long last to be given some attention. It has been- very galling indeed to. see the wealth of many of our soils being washed away, with consequent loss in production and financial loss to the owners concerned. I am very glad indeed to see that a forward step has been taken in this direction.
The Speech mentioned also the proposed alteration that will be required in the Representation Act to give effect to the Government’s decision’ concerning electoral divisions and it also mentioned the alterations necessary in the Commonwealth Electoral Act. . I know that feelings on this subject are varied in the other place and in this chamber also, but I make no apology for putting the case forward for country areas whose representation has been whittled away over the years. The position in two New South Wales electorates, which I propose to describe, is just too silly for words. One is the electorate of Parramatta where the subdivision previously proposed would have resulted in about 60,000 electors being on the roll. It is an area which, if one were energetic enough, he could cover in a day or a day and a half on a bicycle. This electorate was to have had the same number of electors as the. electorate of Cowper which, I suppose, would take 4± days in a motor car to cover, even if . it could be covered in that time.
Time and again, we have seen these rural areas in New South Wales whittled away, if not completely wiped out. I do not mind whether the electorates have been represented by the Australian Labour Party, the Australian Country Party or the Liberal Party. The point to which my party objects is the denying to rural people of the representation to which they are entitled. You can call this representation gerrymandering if you like but I am strongly in favour of it. 1 was very pleased indeed to see in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ editorial this morning a common-sense view expressed in relation to this particular intention of the Government. There has been a lot of wild talk about this matter which has been too silly for words, and I am pleased indeed to see that mention has been made of the Government’s intention in His Excellency’s Speech.
Time and1 again I have made mention of immigration in this’ chamber. 1 am very pleased to see that the number of British migrants coming into Australia is to be increased by 10,000 a year. As I have said before, inquiries I made when I was overseas led me to’ the impression that, on the whole, our people entrusted with the task of bringing migrants to Australia are doing a very good job, in spite of the criticism levelled at them from time to time by people who are not fully informed on the subject. It is quite easy to criticize when one does not know the full facts. After all, in .the long run we must remember that our defence is bound up with immigration.
His Excellency made reference to water research. It is pleasing to note that a water resources council is to be set up in accordance with the promise made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) at the general election, prior to the last one. This is a matter on which one must hasten slowly. I understand that at the moment steps, are being taken to obtain full details. That is being done as a. first step.
The Commonwealth Scientific .and Industrial Research Organization is continuing to do very good work. Australia owes a great deal to this very fine body. I was pleased, and quite surprised - I suppose that would be the correct way to put it - to realize that while most of us knew that certain clovers had an effect on the fertility of grasses, this fact is being made the subject of research by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. This organization is an excellent body and I think that the majority of people in Australia, and particularly the average man in the street, does not realize how much this country owes to the C.S.I.R.O.
Last, but not least, I come to the Malaysia situation. I was pleased to read in this morning’s press that Indonesia and Malaysia had agreed to hold another meeting. I was very taken with the remarks devoted to this subject by. Senator Cormack in the speech he made yesterday. His remarks were very, informative to most of us and he hit the nail on the head in his exposition on the subject. I feel that the conference that is now about to take place would not have been held had it not been for the very definite and clear stand by the United Kingdom; the hardening attitude of the United States of America- towards the unfortunate confrontation policy adopted by Indonesia; and. last, but by no means least, the unequivocal stand that has been taken by the Australian Government. It has been said over and over again that we want to be friends with Indonesia. We have not deviated from that line at all, but we have made it clear also from the outset that we have certain obligations to Malaysia, and that those obligations would be fulfilled.
The attitude therefore on the part of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia has, I think, encouraged the Malaysia Government to take a firmer stand which has now resulted in the Indonesian Government’s agreeing to a further meeting. Without wishing to indulge in any talk that might tend to make it more difficult for this conference to arrive at a decision, I will say that we cannot afford to let the Indonesian people be under any delusion at all as to what the Australian position is. We have not done so, and I am sure that we certainly will not do so in the future.
I feel, therefore, that the Speech delivered by His Excellency in this chamber on Tuesday is. worthy of support. It gave a clear indication of what the Government intends to do in the future. In view of our past record and the security that we have enjoyed, I think that Australia will go forward and will certainly maintain that very high standard of living that it has been fortunate to possess for such a long time. Therefore I have very much pleasure in supporting the motion that has been moved.
Senator WILLESEE (Western Australia) (2.34]. - Speaking on the motion for the adoption, of the Address-in-Reply, which is the time-honoured name given to the present debate, we have before us a rather diverse document, namely the Speech of His Excellency, the Governor-General, which has been prepared by the Government. In it, His Excellency uses the timehonoured expression, “ My advisers “. It has been interesting to note that so many honorable senators have spoken on the question of Malaysia. It is significant because I suppose that if one looks back over these debates during the last few years, it is very rarely that one has heard honorable senators express their views on a foreign affairs topic so close to our shores. The Government has shown a weakness in the handling of South-East Asian affairs. After all, if one wants to make a popular speech it is well known that you must say the things that your listeners want to hear. If you do they will tell you that you have made a good speech.
I am referring not so much to recent times as to the early stages of its term of office when I say that in relation to problems such as those which affect Malaysia and Indonesia the Government, rather than taking the lead, has been content to be a follower. Let me deal with one of the great errors that has been made by this Government in dealing with people like the Indonesians who at the moment are adopting a difficult attitude. Of course, there are man’y reasons why they should adopt such an attitude. Indonesia became a nation la unusual circumstances. The Indonesians bad to take over the administration of a country which had been ravaged by war. That was- a task for which they had not been well trained. As we look back over the history of colonization we see that the British stand out as being good colonizers. That is obvious when one goes to places like India and Pakistan, where the old British tradition is still being maintained. To have contact with the public services of those countries makes one feel he is in England or is dealing with one of the public services of Australia. But that cannot be said of Djakarta and the rest of Indonesia.
I believe that, in assessing the situation in Indonesia, we made a tremendous error in underrating the genuine desire of the Indonesians to take over the area that is now known as West Irian. The Australian Government, instead of taking a lead in the matter and examining the situation carefully, has made speeches that the people wanted to listen to. lt is quite natural for people to consider the facts of history. When they see dictators or semi-dictators arising, their minds go back to the days of the last war and there is a natural tendency to resist a return to the situation that existed then. We must always remember that, although legally their action might have been wrong, the Indonesians had a strong desire to take over West Irian. It is quite silly for us to continue harping about the fact that Indonesia’s action was merely a move to divert the attention of the Indonesians from the state of their own economy. I recall having interviewed trade union leaders, lawyers, politicians and people in all walks of life in Indonesia. I was tremendously impressed by the genuine desire of these people to take over West Irian.
If we had been much more active in the field at the time in question, we would have been of much greater help in the final settlement. The Americans kept completely out of the area for a long time and were saying nothing about it. Eventually the stage was reached after a period of ten years, where it was obvious that the Dutch wanted to get out of West Irian and the Indonesians wanted to take it over. Finally the Americans came into, the picture, because they did not want to see war break out. If war had broken out and the Indo- nesians bad been defeated, there would have been fragmentation and trouble in Indonesia and it would have been much easier for the Communists to have taken over that country.-
When I hear supporters of the Government criticize the Australian Labour Party for its attitude to communism, I often think of the tremendous fillip which was given to the cause of international communism by the part that was played by ‘ the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) during the Suez affair.’ Although the Suez affair cost the leader of the British Government his position, the Prime Minister of Australia did not suffer a similar fate. At that time we were supporting white nations against an emerging coloured nation. The eyes of the African and Asian countries were -turned upon us. The same thing happened because of our attitude to the situation in West Irian. Even though legally and technically Indonesia might have- been wrong, the peoples of Africa and Asia believed the Indonesians were defeating colonialism and that they were seeing the end of the colonial system. They felt that the only country which was standing out against them was Australia. Eventually an American, Mr. Ellsworth Bunker, came from across the seas to act as mediator in the West Irian dispute. I should have been much happier if the mediator had been an Australian and if the Government had said: “ Here is a situation that is not of our own making. However, because of our interest in peace and the development of this part of the world, we will step in to take the lead and the initiative.”
If I were advising this Government on foreign affairs, I would say to it,.” For goodness sake go into the Pacific area and regain the initiative that has been lost since you assumed office “. What other country in the Pacific area has all the graces and enjoys all the benefits that we enjoy? With the exception possibly of New Zealand, we have the highest standard of education, plenty of food, plenty of opportunity for development and so forth. Australia has a solemn duty to try to do all it can in this region. We ought to be much more active in extending the hand of friendship than we have been. To extend the hand of friendship does not mean that a country is weak. The -hand must be strong and the clasp must be firm. With the invasion of India by Communist China, -the emergence of Malaysia, the problems in relation to the Philippines and Indonesia, insurrections in Sabah and the problem of Timor hanging over us, this is a most inappropriate time for the Prime Minister to say, “ I am British to the boot heels”. Such a statement can be misconstrued. In the Pacific we should be doing for our’ allies what they are doing for us in the European zone and elsewhere. Obviously Britain was overcommitted during the last war. America cannot continue forever to extend assistance all round the world and to get into situations for the handling of which she is probably not well equipped. Therefore, Australia ought to be moving in to take the initiative’ in this area.
– You must move from a position of strength and not from one of weakness.
– I do not think that even at this stage Australia could be accused of moving from a position of weakness. We must not forget our traditional alliances. If Australia were involved in a major war, it is a pretty fair bet that Britain, America and other countries would be on our side. 1 believe that the initiative in the Pacific area is being allowed to drift away from us. We are prone to take things for granted or to think of them in terms of black and white or good and bad. 1 suggest that in the .field of foreign affairs there are no such colours as black and white but that there, are varying shades of grey.
When Indonesia looks at the Malaysian situation, she has a genuine belief that if the Malaysian concept is a success there is a real danger of the fragmentation of her own country, because of events such as those which occurred in Sumatra some time ago. Sumatra wanted to set up its own centre of administration. Indonesia has a genuine fear that Sumatra might try to join in with Malaysia.
– It is a possibility.
– It is a possibility. I do not know that it would happen. I do no’t know to what extent such movements have been welded together within Indonesia. It must be remembered that even with our long traditions of British government, familiar as we are with administration, we have trouble in co-ordinating the administration of six States. We would do well to ponder on the difficulties that would exist if practically everybody was uneducated and we we’re trying to run a country with all the difficulties of Indonesia.
These are some of the difficulties we are inclined to under-rate. I do not say that in every case we could adopt a strong position, but the Government could show far more understanding of the situation than has been shown, and Australia could offer more leadership and initiative. There was the situation in the Philippines which laid claim to a part of the territory of Malaysia. There again, it was bad diplomacy to allow the situation to arise at all. The Philippines Government laid claim to a section of North Borneo and documented its claims. While the argument was still going on, whether the Philippines Government was right or wrong, they woke up one morning to find the disputed territory was in the Malaysian Federation. .
– Surely if Lord Cebbold’s commission had gone to that area a year or eighteen months previously, the Philippines could have argued their claim to Sabah.
– Now the honor. able senator is trying tq argue whether the claim was right or wrong. I am not competent to give a decision or- even perhaps to offer a sound opinion; but in the diplomatic field, it was bad to allow the situation to develop. It would have been better first to have settled that claim before deciding that the area was to go into Malaysia. At least we would have had the Philippines on side. Now there is further fragmentation in the area when I believe that by careful’ negotiation and a little more smart governmental work, we would have been able to prevent the problem that exists to-day.” The negotiations were not the responsibility of the Australian Government but the result of the negotiation’s will lie heavily at the doors of the Australian Government.
So I say we should show more initiative in this area. We should be entering more and more into these negotiations, thus showing that we have a vital interest in the area. We must show that we are a nation with much more wealth, and willing to help these people, but that we will not be pushed around in the course of the negotiations.
We have had a tremendously bad press in relation to Indonesia over the past few years. We have had headlines referring to the “problem on the New Guinea border” and thai sort of thing. For five or six years, we have had travellers coming back and saying the Indonesians were hostile people. Those who made these statements had their only contact with the Indonesians during the hour their aircraft was at the Djakarta airport. Yet these statements have been published under prominent headlines in the Australian press. This was a time when the Australian press could make a contribution to the situation, not by suppressing news - which should not be suppressed if it is news - but by showing more balance and tolerance and by doing a little more research and probing into the details before presenting information to the Australian public. It is tremendously vital that this should be done.
It is good to see that this matter has been brought into the field of debate by the references to Malaysia and Indonesia in the Governor-General’s Speech. I think we are taking everything a little bit for granted. This Government has shown a trend- -and maybe, that is why it has had electoral success - to apply its ear carefully to what the public wants. But that is not leadership. The Government has experts to advise it, and it is the responsibility of the Government not to say and do simply what the public by instinct would like the Government to say, but to inform the people on a situation and explain why certain things must be done- even though such actions might be unpopular.
I understand that other honorable senators are waiting so I will not go further into this matter at present. Several matters covered by the Governor-General’s Speech will be the subject of legislation and we will have an opportunity to debate them later. I will simply say that we have grown up first with a tradition of leaving situations to the Royal Navy. Since the Second World War, we have been inclined to say that .the Americans will come along to handle the situation and we have dropped the initiative. But looking at the line-up of nations to-day, it is our responsibility to preserve and develop this area and to take the initiative. We must not only be Australians putting forward the Australian point of view but must do in this area for our allies in other parts of the world what they have been doing for many-generations in the European and American zones.
– I should like to associate myself with the messages of loyalty to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second and congratulate the mover and seconder of this motion before the Senate. I should also like to mention my personal sorrow and understanding at the loss of H.M.A.S. “Voyager”. I listened with a great deal of interest to the remarks of ‘Senator Morris who delivered his maiden speech in this chamber. I would point out to the Senate and to anyone outside who is interested that Senator Morris and Senator Sherrington are not the only members of this chamber who go out into the back blocks of Queensland. I want to make that quite clear. Indeed, I doubt whether there is one city, town, township, village or occupied piece of land in Queensland that has not been visited during the past eighteen years by one of the Liberal and Country Party teams, the first led by Senator Sir Walter Cooper and the second by Senator Maher. .
For the past fifteen years Senator Wood and I have been a -team and during that period we have taken part in no less than five elections and a double dissolution. ‘In every election we have been successful. Surely that shows that these visits made over many years - fifteen years in my own case - must have had some bearing on our return to the Senate. Quite apart from electoral matters, the members of both political teams have made, a good contribution to the work of the parties they represent.
A number of honorable senators will remember that it took me four years to persuade the Government to declare the fishing industry a primary industry with all the attendant benefits. Finally, they got depreciation averaging and the Government stopped charging fishermen road tax on the fuel they used at sea. All these things were done quietly and without any great splurge. One of. the Ministers took the credit - if any credit was given to, anybody - but at least we got these things done.
I want to conclude this first part of my speech by telling Senator Morris, who wis a member of the Queensland Government, that those associated with the State Government do not understand what we in the Senate have been doing or trying to do or the amount of success that we have had. Indeed, some years ago when I was asked to speak in Brisbane on what the Senate does and the workings of the Senate, one of the State members of Parliament- I will not say who it was - was most surprised to find that we had Ministers in the Senate. I mention these things purposely to try to stop what might grow into a schism between Federal and State parliamentarians. Queensland has been very well governed by the Nicklin-Morris Government and more recently, by the Nicklin-Munro Government. It is through the work of those Governments that the people of Queensland are receiving the benefit of the improvements that are being made. So much for those comments which had to be made.
In every newspaper that we pick up we see references to expenditure on material things, such as £30,000,000 on the Mount Isa railway, £24,000,000 on the Collinsville powerhouse, £22,000,000 on beef roads, £50,000,000 by way of new capita] investment in Queensland’s expanding sugar industry, £500,000 on the Gladstone to Moura railway, and expenditure on new port works at Gladstone and on other works being carried out at Rockhampton and elsewhere. I suppose that this kind of thing has been going on all the time I have been in the Senate. Apparently such references are considered to be news. We never get round to the other side of the picture. We should leave the materialistic things aside for . a while and have something to say about what I shall call, for want of a better term, culture, using the word in its broad sense. Recently, no doubt in common with most other honorable senators, I have been interested in forwarding the various arts. I took .the trouble to run through the history book in order to ascertain facts which I did not already know. I thought that I might be able to make a speech in this chamber which would be somewhat of a change from the normal run of speeches.
There are the trouble spots of the world to-day, such as Viet Nam, Cambodia, Crete, Cuba, Indonesia and all the other countries to which Senator Willesee referred. We read of wars, fighting and banditry. Many people are homeless and starving. Refugees are separated from their relatives. We were reminded of some of them at Christmas time when a hole was made in the Berlin wall to allow the West Berliners to visit their relatives in East Berlin. If those who decry what is being done here pause to think of the conditions in some countries they should realize what a wonderful place Australia is to live in. But as I said before, I am a little disappointed that all our efforts seem to be materialistic. Our good artists - firstclass people - spend most of their time overseas. At the same time, it is both interesting and heartening to find that our comparatively tiny population has produced in each generation at least one or two people who have received world acclaim in their particular sphere. Our success in the various fields of art had to be placed, until recently, against the background of 3,000,000 square miles of isolation.
Let me deal first with the field of literature. On percentages, Australia is one of the most literate nations in the world. We have in this country one bookshop for every 14,000 people. In the United Kingdom there is one bookshop for every 30,000 people and in the United States of America one for every 160,000. Australia is therefore a long way ahead in this respect. In the early history of Australia, much of our literature was in the English style, but . even in those very early days we had some outstanding works, such as Marcus Clarke’s “For the Term of his Natural Life”, and Rolf Boldrewood’s “Robbery Under Arms “. Towards the turn of the century there was a trend to the production of distinctively Australian literature. I have in mind Ethel Turner’s unforgettable book “ Seven Little Australians “ which, I suppose, most honorable senators have read, and Mrs. Aeneas Gunn’s “ We of the Never Never”, which eventually was used as a school text-book. In the present century we have seen the works of Miles Franklin sud Roy Bridges, Frank Dalby Davison, Kylie Tennant, Eleanor Dark and others. I could go on for quite a long time in detailing the excellent literature that has been produced by Australians.
One of the difficulties is that we lose many of our up-and-coming authors. The booksellers and publishers in this country are able to take only the cream of the works because of the expense of publication.
When the books are published it is necessary to charge as much as 30s. and 35s. a copy, although before the war it was possible to buy such books for as little as 2s. 6d. or 3s. 6d. In the present decade we have seen the work of Colin Simpson. His book “The Country Upstairs” was magnificent, I thought. It was full of information and was beautifully written. Then there was “ The Shiralee “, by D’Arcy Niland.
Turning to the musical side, I was interested, in the course of the research that I undertook on this matter, to find that our first overseas success was achieved by Amy Sherwin, who was known as the “Tasmanian Nightingale”, away back in the 1850’s. When she went overseas she was extremely well received. She had a first-class voice. She was followed soon after by Ada Crossley who, nearly 100 years ago, became one of the finest contraltos in the world. Much later, Ada Crossley was followed by Dame Nellie Melba, Amy Castles, Una Bourne, who was a pianist, Florence Wood, Harold Williams, Joan Hammond, Peter Dawson and Percy Grainger. All of those people had terrific success overseas but did not do a great deal of their work in Australia.
It is interesting to note that the University of Adelaide was the first ‘ in Australia to establish’ a chair of music, while ‘Melbourne was the first city in the British ‘ Empire to establish a conservatorium. Since 1936, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has done a magnificent job in meeting, the evergrowing demand for orchestral music. The free open-air concerts and the youth concerts arranged by the commission are always well attended. I find them most interesting and well worth listening to.
In the world of painting, names such as those of Lambert, Meldrum, Longstaff, Heysen, Ivor Hele and Dargie come to mind. We see in the King’s Hall in this building paintings by some of those artists. We cannot forget Namatjira arid his unusual and striking works. 1 doubt whether we have yet what might be called an Australian theatre in the sense that we speak of the English theatre and the Italian theatre. Tn the field of ballet, I suggest that we are founding a definite Australian tradition of quality and tone. It is interesting to learn that our first theatrical performance, which was a play called “ The Recruiting Officer”, was produced in Sydney on the first anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet.. It is also interesting to know that the play was staged in a decorated barn and that the actors were convicts, while the price of admission was paid in rum, tobacco, corn and eggs. The first playhouse in Australia was built in 1796 and the first performance of Shakespeare in Australia was in 1800 - quite a long time ago.
Although I have spoken very briefly, I feel that I have said sufficient to show that the Australian contribution to the arts has been something which we can pass on to future generations as an achievement of which they can be proud, and which should never be forgotten in the search for the more materialistic attainments.
– In addressing myself to the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, I think that I can quite honestly associate Labour with the regret that has been expressed in the Governor-General’s Speech for the Queen Mother’s inability to visit Australia. I suppose the institution of the British Royal Family is outstanding amongst the remaining royal families in the world, in that it has managed to fit in and live with democracy. That does not apply to very many of the other royal families that are left, but it is so in the United Kingdom. I believe that it would be true to say that the principal buttress of the Royal Family in the Commonwealth of Nations is - I was about to use the expression “ the working class “ - the little people of the British Commonwealth. We all recognize the part that the Royal Family has played in extending democracy, particularly throughout the eastern nations. I think it can be said with a good deal of truth that the United Kingdom Government and the British Throne commenced the liberation of the eastern countries by establishing home rule in India. That was a wonderful thing to do and it has been of great benefit to the world.
Sometimes, of course, the Royal Family gets knocks. In Trafalgar Square and other places, left-wingers and radicals of all types get up and talk about the Royal Family, but the English people do not seem to mind that. I remember a cartoon in the old “ Bulletin “ showing a speaker criticizing the Royal Family. A person who did not understand the British asked a policeman, “ Why do you not do something about protecting the Royal Family? “ The policeman said, “That is not what I. will do, but I will arrest the interjector, if he does not stop. The speaker is entitled to a fair go.” That is characteristic of the English-speaking people. The Royal Family receives some knocks but most of these come from the conservatives or tories of the Commonwealth. For instance, the position of the Queen was greatly endangered recently when Harold Macmillan, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, went behind the backs of all democratic institutions and, I think, plumbed the depths of Machiavellianism, to have the present Prime Minister of the United Kingdom appointed. That was very bad for the Throne and for the Royal Family.
– How . does it line up with precedent?
– I do not know about precedent. 1 cannot go far back. I am only a young man. I take for my. authority some of the leaders of the United Kingdom Conservative Party, who did not make the grade in the fight for leadership. I think it is true to say that democratic institutions were not consulted in the appointment of Sir Alec Douglas-Home or,, as Sir Robert Gordon Menzies says, “ My friend Alec “. Now I want to come to the recent election in Australia. We. thought we would be over there and that you would be here. Probably the most surprised man on earth at the result was Sir Robert.,, He got a bigger shock than Cassius Clay, who got shock enough.
– The Prime Minister has not the lean and hungry look of Cassius, though.
– Probably not. I do not think that, a week before the election, either side thought that it could win. I shall not try to give the Senate the reasons why Labour lost, but if we were outmatched in anything it was in subtlety. 1 I pay tribute to the Prime Minister’s subtlety, his sense of proportion and his political sense. He was the difference between us and victory.
– His statesmanship was.
– I would not call it that. The Labour Party has a difficulty in fighting an election because it is a democratic party. It has a settled policy, it has branches in every town. Every town in New South Wales has a branch of the Labour Party. These branches decide policy for us, and we do hot apologize for that. We have unions - over 100 of themaffiliated. All of these meet in halls and democratically discuss policy.” I know what Senator Hannan is going to say next.
– I did not say a word.
– No, but I can read your thoughts. As I was. saying, these unions meet, in halls and they decide Labour policy. From that point, right through the councils of the Labour Party, through the State conferences, through the federal conferences, come these matters of policy. They eventually take shape in our federal organization and, we hope, finally in the Parliament. That is our. organization. Sir Robert .Menzies is not inhibited by the same restriction. I do not want to be too antiLiberal, but I should say that the Liberal Party has no . organization in the sense that we have. Its conferences, for example, do not determine policy. They merely suggest it. They do not write the policy. . Sir Robert Menzies had a flexible situation. Mr. Calwell’s policy came before our caucus and our executive, . and was discussed. It was a settled document. But not so with the Liberal policy. Sir Robert, as the spirit, moved him during the election campaign, made changes in policy- irrespective of the written policy of the Liberal Party. For example, in relation to State aid, he said, “ I shall get some votes on this “, so he . suggested the provision of £5,000,000 for private secondary schools and, mind you, other secondary schools - about 1,000 altogether. Of course, he has taken them for a ride. They thought that they were going to get big money, but they are only going to get fish and chips. Why could Sir Robert Menzies not do that? He made that announcement and he put the matter into the policy speech against the decision of the Liberal Party’s conference and the Liberal caucus in New South Wales. He did it against a pronouncement by Robin Askin, the. Liberal Party’s leader in that. State. But Sir. Robert Menzies did not have to worry about that. He has no rule, no platform, indeed no anything.
– He has just got the majority.
– That is right enough. Numbers are important, I know. But the ideas were not the ideas you had on it and I should say that most honorable senators here are opposed to that principle.
– Speak for yourself.
– You might not be opposed to it.
– I said I was not.
– I “ said most honorable senators would be. But the adoption of the policy is now an accomplished fact. The matter is no longer political. The question is now an academic one. Your Prime Minister made it such against the wishes of the majority of your party, and it helped to win the election for you. But people who voted against us and our endowment programme, which would have meant much’ more to them than the Liberal proposals, will find that they have been taken for a ride and that the Government’s proposal means nothing to them in terms of £ s. d. The people who voted for the proposal and who will now be sacrificing something in the way of endowment - I refer now to the big families in the community - will have many years to work it all out and will probably change their minds. I am not arguing that it was not the right thing to do. That is not my argument here. I am merely pointing out the Machiavellianism or subtlety of your Prime Minister.
I thought that the Prime Minister and many other members of the Government parties played a very dangerous game in connexion with the defence of this country during the election campaign. They tried to stampede the people into believing that the threat from Indonesia was almost immediate, that we were threatened all round; yet, since the election, we have not heard anything about new bombers. I know that some matters are overstated at election time and that a certain amount of licence is granted then; but when we hear the Prime Minister endangering our relations with Indonesia by talking about the Communist hordes that are ready to step into Australia, and when we know that such a suggestion is untrue, it seems to be going a little too far.
My friend, Senator Cormack, one of the few men on the Government side who sent me a Christmas card, said that the threat of communism came from Indonesia. I think he did a disservice to Australia, because what he said is not true. Indonesia is not a Communist country. If he moved among the Indonesians as the members of the Labour Party do, he would know that it is untrue. At the branch level, at the district level and at every other level, we of the Labour Party try to establish good relations with these people, and, because we do so, we know that what Senator Cormack said is not true. I have never been to Indonesia, but I know that whenever I have attended a gathering in association with Indonesians they have begun the meeting with a prayer. They talk aboi.it God and about believing in God. They do not impress me as people who have any sympathy whatever for communism.
Let me take honorable senators back a few years to the days of the early fight in the Labour Party over the Communist issue. At that time our opponents on the Government side and everywhere else were trying to disrupt the Labour Party and tear it apart. They referred to Sukarno as a Communist. Throughout that period they said that he was the leader of the Communist movement. That was untrue. I think it is very wrong and very bad international policy to adopt those tactics. I would say that during the election ‘ campaign, great risks were taken by the parties opposite in the propaganda they used in an effort to prove, for political reasons, that the Labour Party’s policy was directed by Communist or pro-Communist planners. Such a charge is absolutely untrue.
We do not apologize at all for the construction and constitution of the Australian Labour Party. In a sense, honorable senators opposite have the same type of constitution. It is alleged that 36 faceless men govern our party. That term was invented by one of the professional pressmen whose job it is to wreck Labour. I repeat that he invented that term. Mr. Calwell and Mr. Whitlam walked out of the meeting of our executive at night after having been in a hot room all day. When they were out of doors they naturally thought, as reasonable human Beings, that they could stand and talk with a few friends. They -did stand outside for- a few minutes. Somebody, who was in a tree with a camera took- their photographs, not from the front, but from the back, distributed those photographs to the world and. said the two men were waiting to receive their instructions from the 36 faceless men. All I want to say about the incident is that there would not be an honorable senator sitting on the Government side who does not agree that he also answers to an executive and 1 would say to honorable senators opposite that the 36 men who form our executive are a lot better known to the ‘ public than their 36.
– But you are bound to obey the directions of your executive.
– And your leader is not bound to obey your executive. He just does what he likes.
– No, he acts with the independence of an elected representative.
– There was not a man or woman on your side of the chamber who knew what the policy of the Government parties was going to be until you heard it from the Prime Minister.
– The Prime Minister does not have to wait outside pubs all night to receive his instructions.
– I am talking about the election how because, had the result been different, you would not be on that side and we would not be on this side. What I am saying is quite germane to the - question before the Senate.
Sir Alec Douglas;Home, the Prime Minister’ of England; in lighter vein said that the Beatles in the United States of America were England’s secret weapon. The members of the ‘. Australian Democratic Labour Party are this Government’s secret weapon. The Government parties were able to wage a very respectable fight on this occasion and remain clean because they had another group df men throwing the stink-bombs, if I may use that term. They were carrying the fight for the Government parties, the fight that I thought they really wanted to keep out of, because I do not think there is any man on the other side ofthe chamber who really wanted to see the kind of behaviour, misrepresentation and Machiavellianism - that occurred - during the last election campaign. Certainly 1 do not think the Prime Minister or my friend Senator Wade wanted to be’ in that kind of thing:
I wish the leader pf the Australian Democratic Labour Party (Senator Cole) were here now. to hear what I have to say. Two afternoons before the election date was announced, I saw the leader of the D.L.P. rush in and do his hair, as the average public servant does when he is called before the chief of the department, put on his coat and rush down to a certain office. And who do you think wanted him? The Prime Minister wanted him 1. The leader of . the D.L.P. got what some of you people never get - a private interview. He walked out of there with the plan and, I do not doubt, knowledge of where he was going to get his campaign funds. No honorable senator can tell me that Senator Cole could himself rake up ?250,000 to fight an election. The Democratic Labour Party fought the election with plenty of money. Its television campaign alone would have cost more than the television campaign of either the . Liberal Party or the Australian Labour Party. That campaign was of such a doubtful nature that I am certain that nobody on the other side of the chamber would want to see it repeated. T believe that if honorable senators opposite could find some other force capable of defeating Labour they would willingly get away from the John Birches who’ are represented in the Democratic Labour Party. The Democratic Labour Party’s campaign was completely un-Australian. It brought into our elections methods of character assassination which had previously been unknown here,’ I pay honorable senators the compliment of believing that they did not want that type of campaign. Nevertheless, that is what they got.
– Mr. Deputy President, I submit it is entirely out of order to bring the remarks of a vice-regal person into a discussion or debate in this chamber.
– I do not want to say anything that would be out of order. The Governor, at a meeting that I ; attended, spoke, of the great luck that we are having in Australia and warned that luck might not always be with us. He related our prosperity to luck. I think there is .a great deal in what he says. This Government has had quite a lot pf luck. There are many reasons why it should consider itself fortunate. As an example, I have only to refer to some of the industries that come within the province of Senator Sir William Spooner. He can stand up in this chamber and speak of record coal production and record, oil production, despite the fact that some people cry wolf about communism at every opportunity. I should say that if the Communists were doing in the unions what it is suggested they are doing we would not have this record prosperity. Despite the charges about Communist control of the unions and of the Labour Party, every week shows an increase in productivity in Australia. We have this increase despite what the Democratic Labour Party and honorable senators opposite say in their attempts to belittle the Australian Labour Party.
– That is because of the effectiveness of the fight against communism.
– The only thing that is keeping communism alive in Austra-
Ha to-day is the organization that helped you to win the election. As I said six years ago, if the National Civic Council were out of the way and the situation were cleared up in the trade unions so that the average unionist knew that he could vote for a reasonable Australian Labour Party candidate, we would not have a problem. You cannot blame unionists for wanting to vote for a Communist instead of for a candidate from the National Civic Council. Until you clear out the John Birches and leave this fight to us in the Labour Party, uninhibited by the reactionaries who now tag on to us on every occasion, embarrass us and prevent us from winning .the fight, you will have communism in Australia.
I want to deal with a few other matters that I have considered in the short time that I have had to prepare this address. I cannot understand why this . Government will do nothing to stop the cigarette advertising campaign. This is possibly the only country in the Western world that does not put some restrictions on the advertising of cigarettes. If it is. true, as the medical profession ‘ says, that those who continue to smoke risk contracting lung cancer - I think it is true and that no further evidence ‘is needed - it is just as logical to deal with the tobacco menace as it is to deal with thalidomide. Senator McClelland and others spoke about thalidomide and the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) was quick to act. That drug was banned, and plenty of other drugs have been banned. The tobacco industry is dealt with in other countries and its advertising is restricted. Why not here? It seems to me to be a waste of effort for the Minister or anybody else to .mouth .platitudes about the dangers of cigarette smoking while they allow the commercial television stations, the radio stations and the newspapers to assist in advertising the social advantages of cigarette smoking. The advertisements appeal particularly to youth. They try to impress on the young girl or the young man that it is big to smoke. In my early days I smoked tea leaves and roots, but at that time the newspapers did not try to entice me to do so. However, that is the position to-day. I . suggest that the Government have a close look . at this question. Senator Wade announced to-day that the State Health Ministers would meet soon to discuss the matter. I have heard it said that the Commonwealth has no powers to prevent this advertising, and I have heard also that the States have no power. Mr. Bolte said the other day that his State has no power. Apparently nobody has the power. I have heard it suggested that something should be done to try to induce tobaccogrowers in Australia to go out of the industry and transfer to growing other crops. I have always been struck by the fact that the tobacco industry is not really prosperous and has had to be helped along. What is wrong with the Commonwealth Government’s saying to tobacco-growers, “ We will help you financially and subsidize you in any new crops that you might be prepared to grow “? I do not want to go into details about other crops that might take the place of tobacco. At the same time the Government could do something about cutting down imports of tobacco,- and direct a vigorous advertising campaign to the youth of this country through the schools on the danger of smoking. That is an absolute “ must “ for the Government in the present circumstances. People are deeply concerned about the inconsistency of the Government’s attitude in relation to this matter.
I admit that the Government has a problem. It will probably say that it believes in free enterprise and it cannot interfere. That is not actually true because the Government does interfere with free enterprise when it suits it to do so. It interferes with it very forcibly on occasions. It interferes with banks. Through Dr. Coombs it tells the private banks that they have to do this ; and that. I need not develop that. The old idea that private enterprise is sacrosanct is dying. There is no private enterprise to-day in the real sense of the word. About 65 per cent, of the effort in the country is related in some way or other to Government aid and Government planning, and I do not see why the suggestion I have made should not be adopted in relation to the tobacco industry, as long as the people engaged in the industry are not hurt.
I should, like to say a few. words about what the Minister for Health said this morning in relation to public health and the general practitioner. The proposed amend-, ment to the National Health Act was mentioned by His Excellency. The Minister, said that the national health scheme is based on the general practitioner. If that is true. what is happening in the sphere of medicine? A change is taking place. I read in the “ Medical Journal “ - the official organ of the profession - a fortnight ago a notification to general practitioners that a change is to come about. The Labour Party’s policy is to develop the specialist clinical system and most doctors that I have talked to agree with that policy. The Government is contemplating increasing payments from medical funds to people who go to general practitioners. I welcome, the suggestion and congratulate the Government but it is not doing anything for the people who are really hurt. The Government will assist people who are paying 25s. and 30s. a visit. I have never heard anybody growl about that. The people being hurt are those who have to pay £60 or £80 for an operation by a specialist, and who obtain only about a quarter of that amount from a medical fund to assist them to pay the specialist. I think that the Government should do something to help these people to meet the high cost of specialist treatment.
I welcome the idea that the Government proposes to eliminate the requirement that a patient must be referred from a general practitioner to a specialist. I have always thought that that was wrong. It forces people to go to two doctors when it is necessary to go only to one. Under the. present system it is necessary to visit two doctors. I should like the Government to remedy the position , as quickly as possible because I consider it is very important to 75 per cent, of the people of Australia who subscribe to a medical fund. The main financial pressure on the public is from specialist charges. ‘
I now turn to housing. I know that the Government intends to bring in bills that will be welcomed by the Labour Party, but I would hope that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) might have a look at some matters connected with housing before; these bills are finally drafted. The first necessity is to prevent the £250 loan from being eroded by rising costs. I have seen already in the newspapers advertisements inviting people who have obtained the £250. loan to contact the advertisers. There are all sorts of ways for speculators to exploit home builders. The second point I wish to make is most important. The Prime Minister said that,. under the scheme to provide extra finance for housing, the guaranteed loan would be restricted to three times the amount of the borrower’s annual income. Therefore, to obtain a loan of £5,000 the family income would have to be at least £1,660 per annum. That is so according to the Prime Minister’s own reckoning. If this is so a number of people who thought they would get this benefit are not going to do so. A large number of people do not earn that amount of money per year. The “Sydney Morning Herald” dealt with this matter a few weeks ago..
I wish to conclude by saying that the Labour. Party can make a great contribution to the Government of the country even though it is in opposition. We do not believe that it is always necessary to be in power to do good. In 1945 the Chifley Government altered the Banking Act which gave the Commonwealth Bank control, in certain respects, over the private banks. The present Government has continued that legislation ever since. If the Chifley Government had not done anything but that, it would have justified its existence. We have examples every day of Labour policy being applied in financial affairs. In these matters the Labour Party is very often ahead of the thinking of people on the other side of the chamber. We have not the associations with vested interests that the Government has and it is no embarrassment for us to take the action that we think is right. 1 have come to the end of my time and, as there is another speaker to take part in this debate to-day, I shall conclude on that note.
– I join with other speakers in the expression of loyalty contained in the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply. Along with other members of the Senate on both sides of the chamber, 1 express the hope that the cancelled visit of the Queen Mother is only a’ visit deferred. I congratulate the mover and seconder of the motion. The mover, of course, is a new senator. He comes to’ lis with a vast experience in” Government at the State parliamentary level. I think that he will make a very real contribution to the deliberations in this place as the session proceeds. We were, of course, all interested in his contribution iri relation to the north of Australia. This, of course, is a national parliament where we tend to deal with national problems. Those of us who have come from State legislatures feel that we take a wider outlook on national problems. As I said, Senator Morris made a very real contribution to the proceedings of the Senate, and I am sure that we will have the benefit of many more such contributions during this session and many succeeding sessions.
This is the twenty-fifth Parliament of the Commonwealth. In the House of Representatives the Government, which has been in office since 1949, has a majority of 22 members. I am sorry that Senator Ormonde has left the chamber, because I wanted to tell him that I am quite convinced that a very real factor in the prolonged period of office of this Government has been the leadership of Sir Robert Menzies. This afternoon Senator Ormonde has treated us to a consideration of the technical details of the administration of the Liberal Party. All I wish to say in reply is that where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise. Senator Ormonde indulged in quite’ a lot of fantasy; with which I shall not deal. But I could not fail to recall reports of what was said last week at a conference of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labour Party, which held a post-mortem on th: failure of Labour at the last general election. I recall quite vividly a statement by a member of the executive of the New South Wales branch that members of the Parliamentary Labour Party should be made to take their questions to Mr. Calwell so he could read them before they were asked. However, this is an exercise that we might well discontinue.
– He would be entitled to his opinion.
– Nobody wants to ,be ungenerous in victory. One must be modest in victory. I remind Senator Dittmer that we did not start this little exercise; Senator Ormonde did. Let me remind Senator Ormonde that the success of the Government parties flows from the fact that they have always espoused a political philosophy that has been based- upon the maintenance of a free enterprise economy, that our philosophy has remained constant and that a fundamental of our policy has been equality of opportunity for all. in my opinion, the most dramatic and significant part of the Governor-General’s speech was that in which His Excellency said -
My Government- will continue to support the political and territorial integrity of Malaysia. In addition to its pledge to provide forces, if necessary to assist Malaysia and Great Britain in the defence of Malaysia against externally directed aggression or insurgency, my Government is taking active measures to assist the development of Malaysia’s own defence resources.
Australian relations with Indonesia have, of course, deeply concerned my Ministers. Government policy towards Indonesia continues to be one of friendship, pursued with patience, frankness and realism. The major interests which we have :n’ common should, if possible, be preserved. But my advisers continue to make it clear to Indonesia that we have commitments in relation to Malaysia which we will honour.
That is a statement which every adult Australian should have clearly fixed in his mind and should understand. It is a forthright declaration which is not -capable of being misunderstood. It has been made previously in press* statements and press releases, but now it appears in a document of the’ Parliament. It is a clear and concise statement about Australia’s intentions in relation to a very critical matter.
As members of the Parliament, we- have an obligation to inform the people of Australia of the real’ significance of Malaysia and its relation to Australia’s future wellbeing. Therefore, I wish to place on record a brief background of the coming into being of Malaysia. On 27th May, 1961, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Prime Minister of Malaya, made an historic statement in’ an address to the Foreign Press Association of Singapore. He referred to the desirability of a union of Malaya, Singapore; North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak. Such a proposal had many advantages, and I should like to refer to some of them. First, for all the territories involved economic benefits would accrue from the creation of a larger economic unit which, as tariff barriers were withdrawn and gradually removed, would provide greater markets for manufactures and greater opportunities for raising per capita output and living standards. Secondly, there were the advantages to be derived from the pooling of human and natural resources, and in particular from the pooling of educational and technical skills which in some of the countries concerned were in very short supply. Thirdly,, there were human and social advantages to be derived from the joining together of people who had much in common historically and culturally.
Fourthly, the association of Singapore with Malaysia would mean that Singapore, with the help of a central government, would be more able to control the subversive elements whose objective was to make the island a Communist base. Fifthly - perhaps I shall enlarge upon this point a little later - to the people of Singapore the formation of the Federation of Malaysia offered an obvious means of ending colonial status and of eliminating the possibility that the Federation of Malaya might by-pass its services and facilities, particularly its port facilities, the maintenance of which is fundamental to the natural development of the island of Singapore. Sixthly, the people of Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo were being offered a quick means of achieving independence at an early date. Seventhly, in the ultimate the formation of such a federation would provide an effective defence against communism. The final advantage, which would accrue to all the territories concerned, lay in the fact that the machinery for a central government, frail though it may have been, was. already established in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the then Federation of Malaya.
The formation of a new federation came very quickly. In September, 1962, a referendum was held in Singapore and the people voted strongly in favour of joining the federation. - Opposition to the federa- tion occurred in Brunei and there was a revolt against the proposal but it was put down internally without external support and subsequently, the constitutional’ government of Brunei, with the support of its people, agreed to go into the federation.
In Sarawak and North Borneo, local government elections were held but they were fought on the overshadowing issue of whether or not those States should join the Malaysian union. The candidates who were strong advocates for joining the federation had an overwhelming victory. That, I think, is fairly good evidence of support for the proposal. The federation was to come into existence on 31st August, 1963. There was a delay of approximately fourteen or fifteen days and it came into being early in September, 1963.
Indonesia has been opposed to Malaysia from the outset and it has threatened to crush Malaysia. The threat has been repeated by Indonesia many times and’ it has supported this threat by allowing Indonesian guerrilla troops to operate in North Borneo even while the Indonesian leaders were at a conference called at the instigation of the Attorney-General of the United States of America, Mr. Robert Kennedy. .
The new Federation of Malaysia has a population of approximately 10,000,000. It covers an area of 137,778 square miles. As I have already said, the federal capital is established at Kuala Lumpur. Forty per cent, of its people are Malay in character, 43 per cent, are Chinese, 9 per cent, are Indian, and the balance of about 8 per cent, are indigenous Borneo peoples. These are’ the overall figures and they vary from State to State of the federation.
The Malaysian Federation has existed for something less than six months. To survive, and then to prosper it needs time. I was interested in the speech of Senator Willesee who did remarkably well in the circumstances under which he was called upon to speak. I agree with him and want to comment on some of the points he raised. It was a real tragedy that the Federation of Malaysia was confronted as it was at such an early stage of its existence. Such a federation needs time to draw the loose ends together. It needs time for the sovereign States comprising its membership to adjust themselves to the new central government and to understand the functions and role of the federation.
We in Australia are a federation of some sixty years’ standing and we are still having problems of division in relation to the functions of the States and the Commonwealth. So a federation of this nature needs time to establish itself. It needs time to build up a public service and above all, in view of the threats to its existence, it needs time to establish proper diplomatic and consular groups. Those groups are most important at a time . when a country is threatened by external forces. That is when the diplomatic wing, of the government becomes particularly important.
Here we have a federation which is being confronted with external problems in the first six months of its life. It needs time to establish proper defence components. When I refer to defence components, I do not necessarily mean only its manpower but the multiplicity of things that go to establish a - proper basis of defence. Just think what is involved in the defence of Australia with 10,000,000 or 11,000,000 people and, consider how our defence situation would have been six months after we had formed a federation. That gives us some idea of the problems that the Federation of Malaysia is facing. Indonesia threatens its very existence and in any circumstance, the threat of a nation of 100,000,000 against- a federation of 10,000,000 people is a very serious matter. Iti the circumstances, this threat is frightening indeed.
I want to give one example of the effect of this threat by referring to the island and port of Singapore. Under this threat, the island of Singapore is suffering heavily. For a variety of geographical and physical reasons, the port and island of Singapore is most important as an outlet for the whole of the Malayan .archipelago. When the Dutch left Indonesia, the port of Singapore became even more important than it was previously because Indonesia used Singapore quite extensively. Singapore is a magnificent port. It has tremendous port facilities for ships and barges. It has great advantages for trade because of the banking structure that has been built around the island of Singapore. Indonesia was able to send raw rubber to Singapore for. treatment - The rubber was easily transported to Singapore and could be treated there without trouble. There was ample labour and the rubber could be shipped after processing to the world’s markets to the advantage of Indonesian trade. The port of Singapore is fundamental to the. island of Singapore which is a member of the Federation of Malaysia.
Quite clearly, Indonesia is no longer using the port of Singapore and that must have an immediate effect on the economy* of the island of Singapore. Within the first six months of the federation’s existence, one of the federation’s ports has been attacked. So this economic threat to Malaysia is very real and it is a threat that we in Australia must understand.
The United Kingdom Government has given the States of the federation complete self-government and it is determined to ensure that they receive the benefits of self-government. The federation must be given an opportunity to practise selfgovernment and Australia, as part of the Commonwealth of Nations, is playing its part in giving effect to that decision. The statements contained in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech and expressed in the motion before the Senate indicate the determination of the Commonwealth countries to ensure that Malaysia is given time to develop and eventually to prosper. But there is a far deeper significance in the preservation of Malaysia which must be apparent to all. That is the containment of communism. Senator Ormonde properly made the point that Indonesia is not a Communist country. I feel bound to point out, however, that there is a greater degree of communism in the Government of Indonesia and in the country itself than in any of the uncommitted countries of the Far East. It must follow that any break, in the antiCommunist wall would have tremendous advantages for Indonesia if that country were bent on aggression. So, I say that the whole question of the containment .of communism in the Far East must be looked at in relation to the threat to Malaysia from Indonesia. Australia particularly cannot afford to permit any weakening of Malaysia.
I have just returned from a three weeks’ tour qf South-East Asia. My visit was of necessity very brief, and for obvious reasons I could not go to all the places that I would have liked to visit. .1 am convinced that Australia is unaware of the real nature of the downward thrust of communism. When you live in South-East Asia for three weeks, Sir, reading the daily newspapers and listening to the radio, you become very conscious of the dangers and risks. We in Australia are not receiving the message. It is not coming to us loudly and clearly. The great free press of Australia has an obligation to send more and more correspondents to the Far East so that we in Australia may have a better understanding of the events that are occurring there. It is regrettable that those events are not receiving the press coverage that they should. We in this Parliament have an obligation in this respect. It is futile for us to try .to help the people of Australia to make, a decision if they are not being given sufficient background information concerning the problems with which the Government is confronted.
The need to resist the southern push of communism is most important. During my tour of South-East Asia I visited Taiwan. The Republic of China - that is, free China - is doing a real and magnificent job to contain communism. It is true that it is receiving American assistance. Nevertheless, the need for such containment is seen very clearly in Taiwan, and also in South Viet Nam, Korea, Cambodia and Thailand. The containment of communism is linked very closely with the preservation of the Federation of Malaysia. Weakness or collapse in any of the South-East Asian countries to which I have referred must have a damaging influence on the ability pf the other mainland states to preserve the front against communism We must npt forget that.
It is easy to say, “ Oh well, the recognition of red China by France did not mean very much “. I was in South-East Asia at the time that the French decision was announced. I can say that it had a most damaging effect in’ South-East Asia because it tended to show a weakness in the anti-Communist front. There must be no mistake that Communist aggression is a real .thing. When one of the major nations of the world decides for its own -reasons, which I shall not canvass, to recognize red China, the psychological damage is great. The point I am trying to make in my speech to-day is that resistance to the downward thrust of communism is of vast significance to Australia.
The people of Taiwan are doing a magnificent job. In the short period of ten years they have embarked on land reform and now have a very high standard of education. Health standards have been raised and agriculture has been improved. Opportunities have been provided for people to own farms. It is a great story because it is being written at a time when the people of Taiwan have had to make a real contribution to their own defence and when they have had what we” would regard as a population explosion.
I believe that the Commonwealth countries have a part to play in resisting the ‘ downward thrust of communism. America is playing its part in the preservation of the countries I have” mentioned. The United Kingdom, Australia and the other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations should see to it that Malaysia is allowed to survive and is given time to provide its people with a free and democratic way of life and prosperity. Any threat to the existence of Malaysia is, in truth, a threat to the whole of the Far East. It is also a threat to Australia. The references to defence in His Excellency’s Speech are therefore of real ‘ significance for us. Despite Senator Ormonde’s comments, the Speech indicates that there has been a considerable build-up of our defence forces. For instance, expenditure on the acquisition of modern equipment for the Army is being increased from £10,000,000 to £17,500,000 each year, covering a complete range of weapons,’ communications and radar equipment, light aircraft, water craft and vehicles.
While I was at Kuala Lumpur last week an Australian military mission also was visiting the city to advise the Malaysian authorities. That is a part of the job being done by Australia in this field. The people of Australia, realize that the defence of Malaysia is a serious matter. For that reason I again make the point that the press of Australia has an obligation to publicize the events which are occurring in Malaysia and elsewhere in South-East Asia - so that the people of this country may have the opportunity to make their own judgment.
His Excellency’s Speech is most comprehensive. Almost any paragraph of it could form the basis of a speech if one chose to develop it. I dp not want to do that, .however, and I know that honorable senators would not want to listen to me if I were to do so. However, I wish to state my views in relation to a particular matter mentioned in the Speech. His Excellency referred to the intention of the Government to introduce legislation dealing with restrictive trade practices. In my view, the drafting of such legislation will require very careful consideration, and when the legislation comes before us it will call for the careful scrutiny of members of both Houses of the Parliament. We can all see before our eyes evidence of certain undesirable business practices. As I see it, we have the responsibility of assessing the degree to which these untenable practices operate and, having determined that degree, we have to satisfy ourselves as a legislature as to the extent to which legislation should be enacted to control those practices. To me, that is the fundamental issue - determination of the degree to which we should introduce legislation to control the fault. We must make an assessment as to how- bad the practices are and how important the restriction of trade actually is. I want to make perfectly clear that, for my part, I am not persuaded that we should produce a giant to kill a flea. I am not persuaded that in a free enterprise economy we should overload, restrict and weigh down the economy with a big, dramatic piece of legislation. The people of Australia would deplore the establishment of a complex multiplicity of controls which would in themselves establish a bureaucracy and in the ultimate could produce a situation in which the cure was worse than the disease.
Lest I am misunderstood, let me say that in my view we travel a very delicate but not impossible path. When we look around, we see governments practising systems of orderly marketing. We see zoning in relation to food, and we see restrictions on road transport which is in competition with railways. We must face the fact that at the governmental level we have restrictive practices. - We - must determine where rationalization finishes and restrictive practices commence. Big business may be restrictive, but it is not necessarily so. Big business in some fields is very necessary, for instance where heavy capital expenditure is required to produce efficiency. The complexities of orderly marketing and distribution are not to be confused with restrictive trade practices.
The Speech makes clear that when the restrictive practices legislation is introduced it will be left open to scrutiny for a reasonable time before being debated. This is a commendable proposition. I am sure that as a result a good piece of legislation will ensue, which will have regard to the fundamental principles of liberalism, which will not inhibit business vitality, and which will preserve the real benefits of free enterprise. That is what I believe. As a Liberal senator, I am prepared to settle my contribution to this debate on that.
’. - I desire to participate in the debate and seek leave to make my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Reports on Items.
– I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: -
Weedcides and insecticides.
Syringes and needles.
Iron or steel tube and pipe fittings.
Knives with forged stainless steel blades.
Emulsions and pastes of vinylidene polymers and copolymers; and
I also present reports by a special advisory authority on -
Aluminium and aluminium alloy waste and scrap.
Wool piece goods.
Safflower seed and soya bean oils; and synthetic organic pigments.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Sir William Spooner) read a first time.
[4.21]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators will be aware that it is the intention of the Government to increase the size of the Ministry from 22 to 25. They will also be aware that the Ministers of State Act now in force, makes provision for the appointment of not more than 22 Ministers. The purpose of this bill is to amend the act to allow the Government’s proposals to be put into effect.
Since 1956, the last occasion on which the provision of the act relating to the number of ministerial appointments was amended, the practice has been for two Ministers to hold two portfolios. Thus in the last Parliament, Sir Garfield Barwick administered the Department of External Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Department, and Mr. Freeth the Department of Works and the Department of the Interior. The Government now proposes to make separate appointments to these portfolios, and in addition, has appointed a Minister to take charge of the newly established Department of Housing. Thus, with the objects of relieving Ministers of the responsibility of conducting two departments and of providing for the new ministerial position, the intention is to create three additional ministerial positions. The bill now before the Senate is framed to permit this.
With the increase in the number of Ministers, an increase in the annual sum set aside for the Ministers’ salaries will be required. As it is not intended to add to the number of Ministers in the Cabinet, the sum involved will be the minimum recommended by the 1959 Richardson committee which inquired into salaries and allowances of members of the Parliament. This will mean that the sum of £66,600 currently authorized, will be increased to £73,350.
I commend the bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Sir William Spooner) read a first time.
[4.25]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The Second and Third Schedules to the Public Service Act list, respectively, the departments which comprise the Commonwealth Service and the Permanent Heads of those departments. With the Government’s decision to establish a new Department of Housing and to vary the title of the Department of Trade to Department of Trade and Industry, it is necessary to take action to amend the above schedules.
As honorable senators will be aware, action has already been taken in accordance with the provisions of Section 64 of the Constitution formally to establish the new Department of Housing and to introduce the new title of Department of Trade and Industry. It will be apparent to honorable senators, therefore, that the amendments proposed by this bill are purely machinery ones. I commend the bill : to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 4.27 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 February 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1964/19640227_senate_25_s25/>.