25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOON ER (New
South Wales - Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for National Development). - by leave - I move -
That the following Joint Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen: - “To the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty: Most Gracious Sovereign:
We, the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, tender to your Majesty and to His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, our warmest congratulations on the occasion ofthe birth of a son -and express the great joy felt by the people of Australia at this event.
We take this opportunity of expressing our continued loyalty to the Throne and Person of Your Majesty.”
Mr. President, I think it is only necessary for me to speak briefly to this motion because it relates to one of those occasions on which there is no difference of opinion between honorable senators on each side of the chamber. We may differ on some matters, but the one thing that binds us together is our common loyalty to the Throne. I hope that honorable senators agree that the simple message I have read expresses in most appropriate terms the sentiments that we feel.
Sir, the birth of another son to Her Majesty is a matter of very great importance to us all for various reasons. It affects the succession to the Throne. It also affects the pleasure, happiness and well being of Her Majesty herself. We take very great pleasure in the news that Her Majesty is well in both health and spirit.
Here I think we might strike a homely note and say that we do hope, and, indeed, we believe, that Her Majesty in particular, and His Royal Highness, will have that continuing joy and satisfaction from the affection and love of this new child which she, and he, so richly deserve. I always think that we are a fortunate people in having at our head Her Majesty and His Royal Highness because, not only in their public lives but also in their private lives and conduct they have earned our respect, to which they are entitled, and in addition, our affection.
I conclude on the note that honorable senators on both sides of the chamber wish Her Majesty and Prince Philip well, and wish the new Prince a long and a happy life.
– I have great pleasure in seconding the motion. All members of the Australian Labour Party in the Senate warmly support the motion and endorse the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the Government (Senator Sir William Spooner). We welcome the advent of the little man - the new Prince - to the Royal Family and trust that he will have a long, happy and useful life. We heartily congratulate his parents, Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, on the happy event. We express our affection for and loyalty to Her Majesty, together with our admiration for the way in which, despite the heavy responsibility of her great office, she has fulfilled herself so nobly as a wife and mother.
We are happy that the line of succession to the Throne is now so firmly established by the birth of a third son. We shall continue to watch the development in life of all four children of the royal household with a very keen and sympathetic interest.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave - I wish to inform the Senate that the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) left for overseas on 7th March. The main purposes of his visit will be to attend the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, commencing in Geneva on 23rd March, and the Commonwealth Ministers’ meeting in London on 19th March. During his absence, the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) will act as Minister for Trade and Industry.
– My question is directed to. the Leader of the Government. Has he seen a statement by his colleague, Mr. Bury, the Minister for Housing, that the complex building regulations and housing standards of the various States add an estimated £250 to the cost of each new home? Is the estimate of £250 correct? If so, will the Government consider the possibility that this additional cost could be reduced substantially if a relatively simple, and less complex, set of standards and regulations were produced? Will the Government request the Minister to arrange for a meeting of the various Housing Ministers to work out a set of standards which, while allowing for climatic differences in the various States, would be simple, direct and less expensive?
– I did see the statement of my colleague. I do not know whether the estimate of £250 is correct, but I am sure that my colleague would not have used it if he did not have a good foundation for it. This matter has been considered in the past, but the States have met difficulties in agreeing upon a common set of regulations. The matter has been considered at previous conferences of the State Ministers for Housing. Obviously my colleague must have had something in mind when he mentioned the matter. I wish him well in any endeavour to obtain success in this field.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. In view of the increasing feeling which has been freely expressed in Queensland that the recently discovered Moonie oil deposits are not being purchased and utilized by Shell Refining (Australia) Proprietary Limited and other international oil company interests in Australia because of pressure exerted by those companies which are opposed to the use of the oil, will the Minister state what steps the Commonwealth Government proposes to take to make sure that oil from such deposits as those at Moonie is utilized in this country?
Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER__ I wish entirely to dissociate myself from any view that pressure is being exerted by the Shell company or other international oil companies in relation to the sale of Moonie oil. On the contrary, the Shell company with which I have been closely associated in these negotiations is making every endeavour to find a solution to the problem and finalize the purchase of the oil. I remind the Senate that the Shell company and other international companies have already drawn supplies of crude oil from Moonie. During the course of negotiations the oil companies have indicated that they realize that it is in the national interest that this Australian crude oil be purchased and refined in Australia. I am confident that that is their bona fide approach to these negotiations.
I am disappointed that finality has not been reached but, in my opinion, it is not the fault of the Shell company. The price margin between the buyer and the seller has now been reduced to two cents a barrel, representing about £30,000 in relation to the total volume of crude oil which is valued at well over £4,250,000. It is not the price that is the difficulty. There are new matters which the Union Oil Development Corporation has raised quite unexpectedly in the last few days. I am in touch with the situation. We want the parties to come to an agreement between themselves. No good purpose is served and the negotiations are harmed, not helped, by accusations that the international oil companies are not attempting to finalize arrangements to purchase the oil.
– Will the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization inform me whether he is aware that a new steel and plastic laminate with the mechanical strength of steel and the anti-corrosive characteristics of plastic has been manufactured in at least one country? Is it true that it is used for car bodies, railway rolling stock, constructional panels and facing materials?
– The answer to the first part of the honorable senators question is, “ No “. I am, therefore, unable to answer the second part of the question.
– I direct a question to the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. Has the Government guaranteed to subsidize a Japanese shipping firm so that there can’ be trade between Australia and South America? Is it a fact that if this trade commences, only the Japanese company concerned will operate ships between Australia and South America? If this is so, why was the arrangement necessary?
– I understand that the shipping company which was operating between Australia and South America, conducting what was known as the Boomerang service, indicated that it was no longer able to continue that service. Arrangements have been made with a Japanese company which is prepared to operate this vital service to South America.
– Will the Minister for Customs and Excise inform the Senate whether consideration is being given or will be given by the Government to an extension of the fertilizer subsidy to potash?
– [ have noticed that resolutions submitted from various sources have urged that the fertilizer bounty be extended to potash. Following the usual practice when such resolutions are received by the Government, these will be considered when the Budget is being framed.
– Is the Minister for Health aware that the town of Karoonda in South Australia has been without regular medical services since 15th February, and that if a replacement doctor cannot be found the Karoonda hospital, which services a district with a population of 2,000, will be forced to close? Is the Minister aware that other areas in South Australia are in a somewhat similar position? Has the Minister noted a reported statement by the president of the South Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association that the crux of the problem was that not enough places were available at the University of Adelaide for the training of students in medicine, although it was hoped that plans for the future would overcome this bottleneck? In the meantime, will the Minister consult with the South Australian Government to see whether some interim action can be taken to prevent country districts in South Australia from being left without medical services?
– I was not aware that Karoonda had been without a medical practitioner since 15th February. I want to make it quite clear to the honorable senator that it is not within my province to confer with the Minister for Health in South Australia on matters in this field. The registration of doctors and other such matters are entirely for the States to decide. The State governments have the prerogative to manage their own affairs in this field. There is nothing I can do under existing legislation to help in this connexion. Perhaps I will be pardoned for saying that I do not think it is true to say that problems of this kind are due to a shortage of doctors in Australia. Rather, I think they are due to an unequal distribution of doctors. The States have a responsibility to survey the needs for medical services in both urban and rural districts, and to do what they consider right and proper to fill vacancies. The honorable senator referred to university limitations on the study of medicine. That matter also is a responsibility of the State governments and does not come within my jurisdiction.
– Has the Minister for Health read a statement about the possibility of a rise of 2s. 6d. a week in medical benefits contributions as outlined, according to the Sunday press, in the monthly bulletin which is issued by the Australian Medical Association to doctors in New South Wales? Will the Minister inform the Senate whether such an increase would be in keeping with the Government’s policy? What action will the Government take if such an increase is forced upon members of medical benefit funds?
– Am I to understand that the honorable senator suggested that an increase of 2s. 6d. a week might be asked of contributors to medical benefit funds?
– I have not seen the statement mentioned by the honorable senator nor have I any knowledge of it. In February of this year the medical and hospital benefits funds conferred about this and other matters. It was unanimously agreed - I use the term responsibly - that there would be no consideration even of any increase of contributors’ fees until the end of this year at the earliest. Having that knowledge in mind, I am at a loss to understand the origin of the report to which Senator Fitzgerald has referred.
– I address a question to the Minister assisting the Prime Minister in relation to educational matters. How many educational requisites or items, of stationery that are used by school children and other students are subject to sales tax? Are items such as rulers, exercise books, pencils and Biro pens subject to a sales tax rate of from 12* per cent, to 25 per cent.? Does the Minister consider that it is reasonable to impose sales tax on these items when they are used exclusively for educational purposes? Has he been requested by representative bodies to abolish sales tax on such requisites? If so, is he in a position to make a statement on the matter?
– I have not been approached by any representative bodies to abolish sales tax on stationery, rulers and similar items. No doubt if I were approached, it would be necessary for me to refer the representations to the Treasurer, because he administers the taxing authority and he would advise the Government on matters of policy which make up the rest of the honorable senator’s question.
Board in New South Wales. The re-use of water is of such consequence that not only do the relevant authorities undertake research programmes in this connexion, but also they keep in touch with research programmes that are being undertaken overseas. They have practical methods of keeping in touch with water users and bringing to their notice ways and means by which water may be re-used. As the honorable senator implied in his question, this is a matter which is becoming of increasing importance as our demand for, water grows.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Health. I ask whether he is aware that a charitable campaign is about to be undertaken in Sydney for the purpose of raising funds for the building of a new eye hospital. Does the Minister know that the Sydney Eye Hospital is the only hospital in Australia operating solely as an opthalmic hospital and that citizens from all over Australia and from the Australian Territories go to it for treatment? Does he know also that some 66,000 patients are treated annually at the hospital? Bearing in mind the nationally important work carried out by doctors and nursing staff at the hospital, and the most unsatisfactory - indeed, appalling - accommodation arrangements for staff and patients, is the Minister prepared to recommend to Cabinet that the Commonwealth Government subsidize the funds to which I have referred?
– I take it that the honorable senator is in effect asking for a special grant to be made towards the cost of building a new hospital. Such matters come within the province of the Prime Minister’s Department. I shall bring the honorable senator’s representations to the notice of the Prime Minister so that a decision may be made on them.
– Can the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services say whether there are available detailed statistics concerning the number of physically handicapped people who have been rehabilitated back to a normal working life, the number being given rehabilitation treatment - at present, the number anxious to have the use of rehabilitation facilities, the number able to work part-time in sheltered workshops, and so on? Though much has already been done by this Government to help such people, does the Minister agree that there is still more to be done? Does he consider that the successful rehabilitation of physically handicapped persons reduces not only the drain on national resources caused by the payment of invalid pensions but also the incidence of mental ill health? As a register of disabled people is necessary for future programming of rehabilitation by both governmental and voluntary organizations, will the Minister discuss with his colleague the possibility of having such a register compiled? Could this be done by his department, making use of whatever limited information is already available, or by the method, which is perhaps even more suitable, of making the information available to a voluntary agency capable of compiling such a register and assisting the agency financially by a special grant for the purpose?
– I am sure that there would be available statistics relating to persons who had received the benefit of treatment at the rehabilitation centres which are conducted by the Department of Social Services. I do not know whether there is information available concerning persons treated by hospitals and centres other than those under the control of the Department of Social Services. I fully subscribe to the honorable senator’s view of the importance - not only in financial terms but also in terms of human contentment - of this rehabilitation work. I shall put before my colleague, the Minister for Social Services, the honorable senator’s suggestion for an extension of government policy.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. During 1961 or 1962, did Commonwealth security officers on several occasions, as reported in the Adelaide “Advertiser” of 14th March, 1964, interview Mr. Ivan Michailov, a migrant who returned to Russia with complaints about Australian conditions? If so, could the Senate be informed of the purpose of the interviews, and would the Attorney-General care to make a statement on this case?
– Obviously, I do not know whether the security organization interviewed some individual in 1961 or 1962, but if the honorable senator will put the question on the notice-paper we shall see whether the Attorney-General cares to make a statement on the matter.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation. In view of the ever-increasing recognition of the importance of geriatrics, and because of the high degree of success of the post-graduate geriatric training course conducted by the Department of Repatriation in New South Wales last year, and the intention, as announced by the Minister, of conducting a second course in New South Wales, can the Minister give any indication as to when similar courses will be arranged in other States?
– I cannot give the honorable senator a specific reply to that question. I shall discuss the point with my colleague, the Minister for Repatriation, and ask him to inform her directly of his plans.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Government or the Australian Wheat Board been approached by Communist China for supplies of wheat from Australia on a longterm contract? If so, what consideration has been given to the submission and on what basis will the contract be negotiated?
– As far as I know, the answer to the honorable senator’s question is “ No “. I have no knowledge of representations having been made by red China to the Australian Wheat Board for longterm contracts for the purchase of wheat. Indeed, Sir, the reverse appears to be indicated, by reason of the fact that on more than one occasion payment for red Chinese purchases has been made before the due date. That would indicate, to the casual observer anyhow, that the Chinese were not in great need of long-term credits. If I were a member of the Australian Wheat Board, I should certainly use that argument, if representations were made for long-term assistance, to show that the Chinese were not really in a position to substantiate a case of hardship or need in relation to credit.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral been directed to recent press statements that television antennae currently in use in Melbourne, numbering nearly half a million, cannot be used to receive Channel 0? Has the secretary pf the .Australian Broadcasting Control Board expressed some doubts on this matter and stated, “The Board does not expect great difficulty, although some antennae may have to be modified “? If this is so, is it a fair inference that the board allocated Channel 0 to the city of Melbourne, one of Australia’s densest viewing areas, without being fully aware of the implication of such allocations? If this is not the position, what tests were in fact taken by the board to ascertain the suitability or otherwise of Channel 0 for Melbourne?
– I prefer the honorable senator to ask his question at some time in the foreseeable future and after test patterns have been undertaken by Channel 0. At this point of time, I would not concede that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board did not give appropriate consideration to the allocation of Channel 0 because, whilst one voice of authority in this field may argue that existing antennae are not serviceable for Channel 0, there is an equally loud voice arguing that they will be suitable while still a third voice argues that some slight modification will be needed. I think this matter must remain in dispute until Channel 0 goes on the air.
– In addressing a question to the Minister for Health I remind him that some months ago he said in this chamber that the Government- was conferring with the drug houses of Australia for the purpose of securing a reduction in the high cost of drugs. Is the Minister in a position to tell the Senate what progress has been made, and can he give us some general outline of such progress?-
– Lest the question create a wrong impression, I emphasize that my reference was not to Drug Houses of Australia Limited, which is a registered company. It could be inferred from the honorable senator’s question that our negotiations were confined to that company. I know the honorable senator did not wish to convey that impression, so I hasten to explain that our negotiations cover the widest possible field.
Evidence of the success of those negotiations is revealed in the fact that since, I think, July of last year, we have succeeded in obtaining some very substantial reductions in the prices of drugs. Tetracycline is one that comes to mind. I think in that period the overall savings exceed some £2,000,000.
The honorable senator asked me to discuss our present activities. I do not think that would be politic as we are progressing very satisfactorily by negotiating, and I should not like to prejudice our chances of success by publicizing just what our activities are. As time goes on I shall be in a position to inform the Senate of added savings, certainly of savings in one direction in the near future.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether it is a fact that at a dinner recently given by the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association he stated that approximately oneseventh of the fuel used to generate power in the world was gas. Can the Minister tell me whether gas is cheaper than coal or diesel fuel? In view of recent large discoveries of gas within Australia, can the Minister say whether he anticipates that in the future gas will be piped to the main industrial centres of Australia?
– I think the first point I should make is that the statement was not made at a dinner; it was made incidentally during the course of a talk that I gave to the’ Australian Petroleum Exploration Association yesterday in Melbourne.
Increasing discoveries of gas are going to present a most interesting situation so far as Australian development is concerned. I said yesterday, and I repeat to-day, that it might even be that the discovery of- gas deposits, if they are big and if they are well situated, will prove to be as important to Australia as the discovery of petrol because, as a fuel, gas is of some consequence.
In examining the use of gas as a fuel, we must give consideration to the economics of each particular proposal. Gas located close to the seaboard is, of course, more valuable than gas that has to be piped for long distances. Tentative studies made by my department indicate the possibilities, for instance, that if there is sufficient gas at Rolleston in Queensland, it might be an attractive substitute for other fuels at the proposed alumina works at Gladstone. In a place like South Australia, which has not fossil fuel resources, the gas discoveries at Gidgealpa are of great importance.
One cannot answer the honorable senator’s question in general terms. One must consider the size of each deposit, its location, and the cost of bringing the gas to a place of use and set those factors against the alternative which is of great value from the point of view of decentralization in Australia - the possibility of industries being sited on the gasfields in the same way as big power stations are sited on coal deposits to-day.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the significance of the day, I ask: Does the Prime Minister not consider that the time is appropriate for Australia to follow the example of Great Britain, the United States of America, the Dominion of Canada and other great democracies and appoint an ambassador to Ireland?
– I shall ensure that Senator Tangney’s suggestion is conveyed to the Prime Minister, knowing that the matter is already under consideration.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the AttorneyGeneral. The Minister will recall that in February, 1956, the Government appointed a committee to review the provisions of the
Bankruptcy Act. In December, 1962, that committee furnished its report accompanied by a fully-drafted, complete revision of the act. I ask the Minister whether the Attorney-General has any plans for the submission of that bill to the Parliament. If he has not, I ask the Minister whether the Attorney-General will give consideration to the viewpoint that at least two of the recommendations of the committee are urgent. I refer, first, to the recommendation that the amount of the debt upon which a person can be made bankrupt should be increased from £50, as at present, to £250 and, secondly, to the recommendation relating to the entire repeal of section 221 (1.) (b) (i) of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act. The repeal of the section was strongly recommended by the committee in paragraph 141 of its report relating to the abolition of the provision giving to the Crown wholesale preference over unlimited amounts of income tax.
– I cannot undertake at question time to answer in detail the legal - submissions put forward by the honorable senator with relation to certain sections of the Bankruptcy Act and which, in his view, would improve the existing act. I do recollect that a revision of the act has been the subject of consultation between the Attorney-General and, I understand, representatives of the States. I do not know what the precise terms of the consultation were, but I believe that the AttorneyGeneral does intend to take some action in this matter. In order to put the matter beyond all doubt, I suggest that the honorable senator put his question on the noticepaper so that the Attorney-General himself may deal with it.
– I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General whether he recollects having stated in the Senate some time ago that arrangements were in hand to provide a television service to country areas in Western Australia. Is the Minister yet in position to advise the Senate of the progress made with respect to the matter and what the general system will be? Will the service be given by booster stations, or by some other system?
– 1 think that Senator Cooke has taken me too literally. He has made the rather sweeping statement that I said in this chamber that arrangements were in hand for the extension of television services to country areas in Western Australia. If I allow that statement to go unchallenged, it may well be thought that I was speaking then with a knowledge that I did not in fact have. From time to time in this place I have emphasized the very great difficulties that the Postmaster-General is encountering in his endeavours to extend television to rural areas in Western Australia. Indeed, my colleagues on this side of the chamber have been asking questions about this matter almost daily. What I have said is that, with some exceptions - they are fairly well defined in Western Australia - real progress has been made in the extension of television services. There are, however, great technical difficulties to be overcome in some areas, such as Kalgoorlie and, I think, Geraldton.
When I refer to progress in the extension of television services to these rural areas, I should like it to bc understood that the technical officers of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department are continually endeavouring to perfect ways and means of taking satisfactory television services to the areas. The Postmaster-General believes - and I am sure that most thinking people would support him - that people in rural areas are just as entitled to first-class television services as are those in urban areas. In the endeavours that are being made to take television to the far-flung areas we have in mind the standard of television services that obtains in urban areas. I assure the honorable senator, without being specific so far as the various areas are concerned, that the Postmaster-General’s Department and the Postmaster-General himself are devoting a great deal of energy to finalizing the scheme for Western Australia.
– My question to the Minister for National Development arises from an article on roads that I read in the “ Financial Review “ a day or two ago. Is it a fact that, in addition to the £375,000,000 that is to be made available to the States during the next five years under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act, £45,000,000 will be spent on roads by the Commonwealth itself? Is it a fact also that the Commonwealth proposes to set up shortly a Commonwealth bureau of roads? Does this mean that the Commonwealth will undertake a much larger share of national road construction than it has done in the past? Is it the intention of the Commonwealth to allocate some of this £45,000,000 to metropolitan areas, as a result of requests from metropolitan local government authorities? Finally, will the Government give further consideration to the needs of South Australia in regard to beef roads, the lack of which is likely to have a serious effect on beef supplies to Adelaide?
– The questions asked by the honorable senator range far and wide, and it is very difficult to keep them all in mind in attempting to answer them. Briefly, the position is something like this: Whereas the Commonwealth will have provided £250,000,000 in the fiveyear period which ends in June of this year, it has agreed to find £375,000.000 for the next five years. That is an increase of 50 per cent., representing an amount of £125,000,000. I do not think anybody could say that that is not a generous approach to the problem. The Commonwealth has commitments - I am not quite sure of the amount involved, but I think Senator Hannaford said it was £45,000,000 - over and above this £375,000,000. The Commonwealth thinks that it would like to have available more detailed advice than it has at present, and therefore it is proposing to set up this bureau. The establishment of the bureau will not mean that the Commonwealth will provide more money for roads, nor will it mean that the Commonwealth will provide less money for roads. It means that the Commonwealth will have available better information from impartial sources than it has now.
The £45,000,000 - or whatever the correct figure is - is not related to roads in urban areas. The decision at the Premiers’ Conference was that £375,000,000 would be provided, and that 40 per cent, of that money was to be applied to feeder roads. The provision of money for urban roads is the responsibility of the State governments. Although it is true that the Commonwealth will find £375,000,000 over the next five years, “it is expected that the total expenditure on roads will be something ‘of the order - of £1,100,000,000. Because of this large difference between what the Commonwealth will provide and what the States will provide from their own resources, it is impracticable, I think, for the Commonwealth to adjudicate on the needs of the various States. That must be left to the State governments.
– I should like to ask the Minister for National Development a question in relation to oil surveys. Is the Minister in a position to inform the Senate whether surveys for oil along the Australian continental shelf come under the authority of the States concerned? As the States have sovereign rights, what is the line of demarcation between the rights of the States and of the Commonwealth?
Senator Cooke has raised a very complicated matter, to which I could not do justice at question time. Australia is one of the largest areas in the world suitable for offshore drilling. The coast of Australia is so long, and there are prospects of oil discoveries in so many areas, that this is one of the largest areas in the world in which offshore surveys can take place. Off-shore drilling is divided into two categories - drilling which is carried out within territorial waters and drilling which takes place on the continental shelf. Only the lawyers know the difference between the one and the other. Unfortunately, 1 find difficulty in persuading the lawyers to tell us the position. What has happened is that we have had conferences between the AttorneysGeneral and the State Ministers for Mines, and we have had discussions between Commonwealth and State officers to try to find a formula under which we will remove all legal ambiguities and, at the same time, protect Australia’s external affairs situation, which has to bt taken carefully into consideration. We are asking the officers to see whether they can agree upon a formula to which all governments, State and Federal, can agree. My great concern is that the time taken to find this formula may hold up the search in these off-shore areas. I am doing my best to get a practical formula which will not hold up exploration while the officers are. teasing out the complexities associated with the matter.
– Does the Minister representing the’ Postmaster-General know that cards have been printed by the Postmaster-General’s Department which have no information on them other than that a parcel is to be picked up by a person who receives a card? On that card the only information given is that the parcel is to be picked up at a delivery counter. It is not said where the delivery counter is. Would the Minister agree that, if he received one of these cards, he would expect to go to the local General Post Office, wherever it might be? As this is not the case, will the Minister take up with the PostmasterGeneral the possibility of having the use of these cards discontinued as they cause a great deal of wasted time and frustration to the people who receive them?
– I have not seen the card to which the honorable senator has referred. However, I can say that, if I received one, I would know where to take it because there is only one place to take it in the town in which I live. I can well understand the thinking of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department in having this type of card printed. The department would hope that it could be used throughout Australia, because the printing of special cards for every location would be impracticable.
– Could each card not be stamped with the location at which the parcel is available.
– That is a worth-while suggestion. I shall take it up with the Postmaster-General and see whether he can do something along those lines.
– The Acting Minister for Trade and Industry will be aware that on 1st March last his colleague made a statement to the effect that three extra vessels had been furnished at normal rates of freight to cope with the huge increase in the apple and pear exports from this continent to Europe this year. In view of the anxiety felt by the industry just before these arrangements were made, will the Minister have the present arrangements between the Conference lines of ships and the Australian Overseas Transport Association examined to ensure that they provide Australian exporters with sufficient ships and the most economical services that can be arranged between this country and Europe?
– If I remember correctly, four additional ships were arranged to lift the balance of the apple crop of about 1,000,000 cases from Hobart. Negotiations are still proceeding to see whether we can get more ships to call and lift this crop at freight rates in accordance with the growers’ wish, that is, rates not in excess of 12s. 9d. a case, which the growers normally pay. I understand that the existing arrangement is due for review early in this year and that negotiations connected with the renewal of the agreement will take place during the next month or so between the two bodies which the honorable senator has mentioned. I shall ask the Minister for Trade and Industry to keep his eye on this position in order to see that as equitable an agreement as possible is made.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport aware that apple exporters in Western Australia have sent 100,000 cases of Granny Smiths to Singapore but have reported that apple exports from the State are considerably restricted by the lack of freezing space on boats going to the appropriate markets? When the agreement to which the Minister has just referred is negotiated, will Western Australia receive consideration similar to that received by Tasmania in connexion with the allocation of freezing space for apples at rates similar to those applicable to Tasmania?
– If ships of the conference lines take apples from Western Australia to Singapore, the cargo would be covered by the agreement about whichI have already spoken. If the apples are not carried by conference line ships I shall have great pleasure in seeing whether additional refrigerated space can be made available for them. I commend Western Australia for continuing to increase the export to Singapore of its apples which arc nearly as good, at any rate, as Tasmanian apples.
(Question No. 2.)
Senator AMOUR, through Senator
Cavanagh, asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What was the cost of the coaxial cable between Sydney and Melbourne?
What amount was paid to the owners of land for the right to enter and cut?
What was the cost of surveying?
What was the cost of the bulldozers used in clearing the land?
What was the cost of trench digging machines?
What was the cost of housing over the cable?
What was the cost of filling the cable with gas?
Was all the work carried out by the PostmasterGeneral’s Department; if not, what portion was let to contractors?
What were the terms and conditions of the lease granted to Sir Frank Packer - Channel 9, Sydney?
– The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
(Question No. 4.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
Will the Minister inform the Senate as to the end distribution, and the opinion of the Government as to the efficacy of the end distribution, of sums of money raised from the Australian contributors for the Freedom from Hunger campaign?
– The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following reply: -
The Australian National Committee for the Freedom from Hunger Campaign has undertaken to support fifteen projects, submitted jointly and to be conducted by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The sum of £500,000 has already been remitted to UNICEF in support of milk conservation schemes in India and Pakistan. Progress payments in relation to three of the FAO projects have already been made. These are a fertilizer project in Ceylon, a nutrition project in the South Pacific and a rural broadcasting seminar in New Delhi. The rural broadcasting seminar was held to emphasize the importance of radio in enabling farmers to keep abreast of technical advances, economic conditions and marketing arrangements. Further payments will be made to FAO as and when additional requests for funds are made to the Australian National Committee. The next two priority projects in the FAO list are poultry projects in India and Burma. The Australian Council of Churches and the Australian Catholic Bishops also collected funds for particular projects during the active raising drive in Australia. These collections were made in the name of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign and with the assistance of the Australian National Committee’s publicity machinery. The Government has been kept fully informed of progress with respect to the collection and disbursement of funds and believes that the funds collected have been disbursed in appropriate channels and constitute a significant contribution to solving the crucial international problems of hunger and malnutrition.
(Question No. 5.)
asked the Acting
Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
(Question No. 6.)
Senator BRANSON, through Senator
Is it a fact, as reported, that Kalgoorlie in Western Australia will receive television facilities by way of a micro-wave link connecting Western. Australia with the eastern States?
Has land been purchased in Merredin in Western Australia for the erection of a tower in connexion with the proposed micro-wave link?
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
(Question No. 7.)
– through Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin. - asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. upon notice -
– The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
(Question No. 1.)
Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
Minister for Social Services has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1 to 3. Social service benefits are paid to Australian citizens who qualify under the Social Services Act and, as a matter of policy, no record is kept of their ethnic origin. The information requested by the honorable senator is therefore not available.
(Question No. 9.)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The Postmaster-
General has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
The Victa company was given approval along with a second company, namely, Horrocks Roxburgh Proprietary Limited, in line with the long established policy of the department to provide services by private industry instead of by the department wherever such services can be shown to be in the best interest of the telephone users and the department. For example, for quite a long period of years a number of private companies have been providing private automatic branch exchange telephones by direct sale or hiring to subscribers. The department merely insists that the equipment shall be approved. It is then tested by the department before it is connected to our network.
The department does not intend to give any company a monopoly. As indicated above, already two separate companies are authorized to supply public telephones on private premises. The department would consider applications from other companies on their merits to join in this class of work.
(Question No. 15.)
Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Primary Industry has furnished the following answers: -
(Question No. 17.) .
Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The Minister for External Affairs has supplied the following replies to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1 and 2. The outcome of the problem mentioned by Senator McClelland was described in the following statement which I issued on 4th October, 1963:-
The Minister for External Affairs, Sir Garfield Barwick, announced today the successful outcome of representations to the Japanese authorities over recent incidents involving damage to the fishing gear of Australian fishermen off the New South Wales coast.
Sir Garfield recalled that the Minister for Primary Industry, Mr. Adermann, had furnished him with details of the incidents and has asked that the matter be taken up with the Japanese Government. Sir Garfield said that this had been done. He had now received information through the Japanese Embassy in Canberra that cables has been sent by the Japanese Fisheries Agency to all Japanese fishing boats known to be operating in the waters off the east coast of Australia, instructing them to use every caution, and particularly to prevent accidental drifting of their fishing gear which might cause damage to Australian fishing gear. To try to prevent the recurrence of previous incidents, Japanese fishing boats had been given full information about the areas where Australian fishing gear, such as lobster pots, was laid out.
The Japanese Embassy had advised that similar warnings and information had been sent to the major Japanese associations of tuna and bonito fishermen.
In commenting on the above advice, Sir Garfield expressed appreciation of the prompt and co-operative attitude which the Japanese Embassy and the Japanese authorities concerned have taken in response to the representations which had been made.
(Question No. 18.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
(Question No. 24.)
Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished the following reply: -
(Question No. 30.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
Relative to the report, mentioned by Senator Bishop in a question to the Minister on 29th October last year, that the Kalgoorlie to Kwinana rail standardization project should be completed in 1967 and that the timetable for South Australian work might be advanced, will the Minister advise (a) whether the Kalgoorlie to Kwinana project will be completed earlier than scheduled and (b), whether the work on the Port Pirie to Broken Hill section is progressing satisfactorily and is likely to be completed at the same time as the Western Australian work?
– My colleague has forwarded this reply -
(Question No. 32.)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice - .
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied this information -
(Question No 38.)
Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the fact that the citizens residing close to the Langwarrin military camp in Victoria, which is not at present being used for Army activities but which the Minister’s predecessor in office stated was under consideration for possible use by Regular Army units, are seriously concerned at the possibility that the Army may take steps to acquire their land?
As uncertainty has arisen as a result of unofficial discussions with these residents, will the Minister state whether any decision has yet been made concerning the future use of the Langwarrin camp and whether it is contemplated that the camp area should be extended by the acquisition of further land?
If no decision has yet been made to resume the use of the camp for Army activities, will the Minister undertake not to proceed with any acquisition plans until representations have been made on behalf of ‘ the adjacent landholders?
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
– On 5th March, 1964, Senator McClelland directed a question to me about a complaint against my department as expressed in a letter published in the “Sydney Morning Herald” of 18th
February, 1964. The complainant, a Miss Stella Scroggie, intimated that on two occasions customs officers had removed articles from parcels addressed to her from overseas sources and had not notified her of such removals.
A search of records held by the Department of Customs and Excise produced no evidence of a book being detained from a parcel addressed to Miss Scroggie, nor is there any record that any article addressed to her had come under notice. Furthermore, inquiries have revealed that the animal quarantine authorities have only slight interest in marine sponges and in the unlikely event that such a sponge is detained, it is the practice to place a notice to that effect in the parcel. Where goods are seized as prohibited imports, my department is meticulous in sending seizure notices to addressees.
I might add that the writer of the letter, when contacted by an officer of the department, stated that perhaps she was mistaken and that the article in question may have been pilfered.
– by leave - Mr Deputy President, the statement I am about to make was delivered by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Hasluck) in another place to-day.
I wish to inform the Senate of the decision of the Government to provide certain defence aid to Malaysia. On 28th January the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) announced that the Government had been given to understand by the Malaysian authorities that assistance in the form of material and training would be useful in the development and expansion of their own forces and that accordingly a defence mission would be sent to Malaysia to discuss with the Malaysian Government, and to assess, what items within Australia’s capacity to supply might be needed.
The defence mission left Australia on 9th February and had close and useful discussions in Kuala Lumpur during the following two weeks. As a result, it was able to prepare for the Government’s consideration firm proposals on the details of the assistance
Australia could offer and the types of assistance that the Malaysian authorities considered would give them the earliest and most direct support. The mission’s report combines an assessment of Malaysian requirements with an evaluation of Australian capability to assist.
After considering the report the Government has decided to provide substantial quantities of ammunition, engineer equipment, general stores and various small craft, all of which are urgent requirements for the Malaysian defence forces. Some items of ammunition and equipment will be supplied immediately from our own Army stocks, which will then be restored to their present level by further procurement. The material items will be produced in government munitions factories and private industry, including the shipbuilding industry.
Also, training courses will be provided in Australia on a greatly increased scale for Malaysian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel during 1964 and 1965 as part of the aid programme. The Malaysian armed forces are being assisted also by the secondment of a small number of officers and men of the Australian services until the training of their own personnel is further advanced. Under the aid programme Australia will bear portion of the costs of its seconded personnel.
The Government believes that this programme should appreciably assist Malaysia to strengthen her defence forces more quickly.
I lay on the table the following paper: -
Defence Aid for Malaysia - Ministerial Statement, 17th March, 1964.
Debate resumed from 5th . March (vide page 287), 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.
– Prior to the interruption of the debate I had been referring to Senator Drury’s remarks concerning the recent visit of Mr. Chou En-lai to Africa. I gained the impression that the honorable senator thought that China might take over Africa and, by so doing, gain enormous strength and power and greater ability to threaten world peace. If the taking over of Africa by China would be a shattering blow to the free world, surely every Labour senator can see the grave danger to Australia of Communist China’s southward march. The invasion of east New Guinea by Indonesia might then happen. We must defend east New Guinea so long as it is in our trust.
The people of Indonesia have been excited and inspired by President Sukarno and have asserted their role in world affairs.. Their sense of importance is genuine. They had a long and bitter struggle to achieve independence and to establish their identity. The revolution has produced few results. Its effects have been superficial. It has not altered the structure of Indonesian society. Living standards are probably worse to-day than they were formerly. The revolution has lost its spirit and there is now a mere juggling with slogans. Indonesia may be reviled and spurned, but that merely supports the Indonesian belief that the world sets wrong standards and that the Indonesian standards are the right ones. President Sukarno arranged the Afro-Asian conference at Bandung in 1955. The conference was an Indonesian success, but the spirit which it engendered did not last.
Sukarno is not a dictator in the Western sense. He has no party machine which holds him in power. His effective power is limited by consultation. What kind of behaviour may be expected of this leader when he believes that his powers are failing? He wants a place in history. He has done much for Indonesia, but he has not laid the foundations of growth and prosperity in the economic field. Let us compare President Sukarno with Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia. The Tunku can look back on six years of steady economic growth since Malaya was granted independence. He has concentrated on the slow and unspectacular task of improving living standards, and he will continue to do so. On the other hand, Sukarno must realize, when he looks at the economy of his country, that insufficient time will be available to him to do all that is needed to be. done. However, as a revolutionary leader he doesnot lack assurance. He is a symbol of Indonesia’s fighting spirit.
Indonesia’s opposition to Malaysia is understandable when we appreciate that federation has strengthened the States of Malaysia, in contrast to the disorganization which exists in Indonesia. It appears that Indonesia will not be satisfied until the Federation of Malaysia is destroyed and Indonesians occupy east New Guinea. The Australian Government, in its wisdom, has proposed that the Pacific Islands Regiment should be increased in strength from 700 to 1,400 members. Even 1,400 troops is not a great many with which to defend approximately 200,000 square miles of difficult country. The mapping of the area is an urgent task. If it is necessary to construct roads, to move villages and to build new villages, there will be a constant need to review the maps of the area and to keep them up to date. Communications are easily the most important factor in this area.
The defence of east New Guinea is our responsibility. Great Britain and the United States of America are not committed to defend Australia, but it is good to have strong allies. People ask why we should send our sailors, soldiers and airmen to such places as South Viet Nam, Thailand, North Borneo and Malaya. I ask: Would we be justified in asking for. troops to help prevent Indonesia from taking east New Guinea? The People’s Republic of China has a standing army of 3,000,000 men. China supports all the Communist action that is taken in South-East Asia. If China were to control South-East Asia, either directly or indirectly, would our defence arrangements be affected and our safety endangered? I say that they would -be. Indonesia has 300,000 troops. We are training Indonesians in Australia. The Indonesian forces are equipped with Russian and American weapons. Anti-personnel munitions, such as bullets and grenades, are manufactured in Indonesia. It is possible that in time China and Indonesia will be in a position to launch an attack on Australia. We are not an attacking nation. We do not threaten the world when we strengthen our defences.
While the defence of east New Guinea is primarily our responsibility, we would gladly welcome assistance from Great Britain and the United States. In our complacency, we have left the management of our defences in the hands of the experts in the Navy, the Army and the Air Force. We created the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Army, the Department of Air, the Department of Supply, and a Department of Defence Production. To an outsider it has never appeared that co-ordination was being exercised between the various departments. National service was established under the Department of Labour and National Service. Responsible members of the public ask: Who was responsible for the cancellation of national service training? If it was cancelled on the advice of service chiefs, upon what ground did the Government abandon the scheme? Did the powersthatbe endeavour to swing public opinion to the support of national service training?
Many members of the general public believe that the top brass - as they describe the executives of defence - was too apathetic, that it hated to get busy, and that to it the social round was more important than national service. It seems lamentable that in Australia we cannot find instructors for national service trainees, even for training in rudimentary defence. Why is it that Australia, which produced magnificent fighting machines in two major wars, is unable, according to experts, to find instructors for national service trainees?
We had the Morshead report a few years ago. Did it recommend abolition of the three service ministries? What is the function of the Minister for Defence? Hs should have very wide, if not complete, control. We could still have Navy, Army and Air Force ministries under the direction of the Minister for Defence. What does the public know of ‘ what the Minister for Defence has ever done? The public repeatedly asks such questions. It also asks whether any reorganization of Army administration has taken place since 1958. Was anything done about the Morshead report? To the layman it seems as though no co-operation, liaison or integration of planning ever occurs. Recently Professor Beddie stated -
The highest level at which the chiefs of staff regularly confer with civilians is the Defence Committee. It consists of senior public servants.
The Defence Committee is chaired by the Secretary to the Department of Defence, not by the Minister for Defence. Is it true that the Minister for Defence does not participate in the drawing up of military plans? Are there delays in . reaching decisions? Did financial cuts prevent the completion of various programmes?
In military or defence affairs the” need for completion of plans is often greater than in civilian affairs. The public believes that there is an absence of effective Cabinet co-ordination, leading to divergency of policy. Divergencies have occurred, perhaps, between defence policies and diplomatic policies. We note that there has been no effort to establish contacts with public opinion in the fields of foreign affairs and defence. Was any idea of creating a public opinion abandoned on account of internal and external factors? The consequence has been that the public has remained largely ignorant of the more serious predicaments with which the Government has had to grapple.
Under present-day conditions, one of the serious weaknesses of our system of responsible government is that we make the Executive the sole judge of what is to be classed as secret, and that the classification is allowed to stand for at least 50 years. The result is that ministerial statements on foreign affairs and defence not only are infrequent but also are so processed as to. exclude, wherever possible, any invitation to critical and informative debate. There are certain aspects of defence and foreign affairs which obviously lend themselves to control through parliamentary committees. No standing committees to deal with any of these points have been established.
We have the Foreign Affairs Committee. Is it hamstrung or is it hogtied? It meets in camera. It can consider only matters referred to it by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). No Opposition member serves on the committee. This is a tragedy. Labour says that it wants co-operation with the British Commonwealth and that it wants secure relations with the United States of America, but Labour’s words and actions seem to be in direct contrast to this. Labour has always criticized defence expenditure but has never actually voted against it. We all agree that responsible ministerial control of defence activities is sound. Was the Morshead report rejected on this score? Apparently Parliament itself seems to have no control and to exercise no influence on defence matters. Diplomacy is excellent but it must be sustained by strong defenceforces.
I should like to mention one or two points in relation to the Army, including its equipment and organization. The public was very interested in the pentropic organization. What is the pentropic division or organization? I recall that the very word “pentropic” was supposed to strike fear and awe into the hearts of the enemy. Everything was just exciting and exterminating. But critical people thought that “ pentropic “ was a catchword or catchcry to cover up our lack of defence. Perhaps the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) may give worthwhile information about the merits of the pentropic organization. It has been in operation for some time. Has it any defects? Does it fit into the United Kingdom or American systems of defence? Is it a brutal fact that we need to double our competent Army strength to make the pentropic system work?
There is great difficulty in getting troops in a buoyant economy. Many people advocate selective national service. We cannot expect volunteers to come to our aid for overseas service. We must never split the Army again, as Labour did in World War II. In a non-nuclear war, there rs no . substitute for ground forces. To hold ground, one must have infantry and artillery and other ground forces, which must be supported and supplied. The great task to which each and every member and senator must face up is the securing of the personnel required for service in the Navy, Army and Air Force. That is a mighty big problem, for Australia’s resources are limited. This Government ha-, emphasized the need for, and assisted in the economic development, of Australia ever since it assumed office in 1949. It has also spent enormous sums of money on defence. Perhaps we bargained for peace in the past. Dare we take further risks unless there is a peaceful settlement of the Malaysian dispute and other events in Indo-China?
This Government is compelled, by the force of the unsettled international situation, to spend much, more on defence in future. Let us all,.. irrespective of party, co-operate so that Australia, with the help of trusted allies, may be placed in a sound . position to defend, and’ maintain- this country against any aggression from outside. If we do this, then we can proceed with vigour and vision to the fulfilment of the Government’s programme of legislation as outlined in the Governor-General’s Speech. I support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech.
.- I rise to support ‘the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply to the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. I feel this is one duty that the Opposition has to accept and we on this side take great pleasure in being associated with the message of loyalty contained in the Address-in-Reply. The debate has ranged over a very wide field. Some of the contributions have been very interesting and worthy of every consideration. Others have not wandered so far afield. I do not intend to cover every subject that has been traversed.
I think it safe to say that His Excellency’s Speech was a blueprint of the Government’s legislative programme for the first session of the Twenty-fifth Parliament. I think it also fair comment to say that the Speech as read by His Excellency displayed lack of clear thinking, lack of initiative and lack of vision on the part of the Government. I am prompted to say so because I feel that Hi’s Excellency’s Speech gives us nothing to hope for in the way of planned development of the northern part of Australia. In my view, it was merely a reiteration of the Government’s old policy. It contains only the same old piecemeal policy which this Government has followed throughout the period it has held office.
I think everybody living in Australia realizes that the northern part of the continent must be developed as quickly as possible. It is my opinion that the north and north-west of Australia should be opened up by the Government with the assistance of private enterprise. What private enterprise has done so far in managing undertakings in that part of Australia and trying to open up the country is commendable but I feel that, rather than private enterprise giving the lead to the Government, the Government should give the lead to private enterprise. The cost of the machinery needed to develop the northern part of Australia is extremely high, as is also the cost of transport, and those factors make it financially impossible for private enterprise to develop that part of Australia to the stage where it will be populated as thickly as honorable senators on both sides would wish to see it populated.
Senator Mattner stressed the importance of populating the northern part of Australia because the threat of invasion of the north is very real indeed. We all know only too well that many envious eyes are turned towards the northern part of Australia because some of the countries to our north are greatly over-populated. Therefore, I think it fair to say that the northern part of Australia would appear to be the answer to the prayers of those countries which urgently need further areas into which to spread their population.
– Do you not think it might be more attractive if it is developed?
– I was making a point that the northern part of Australia should be developed more.
– It might then be more attractive to those who are turning envious eyes towards it.
– It might be more attractive to them, but I would say that it would also be more attractive to our own people if there were in that part of Australia facilities’ similar to those which are now available in other parts. I feel, too, that the Government should encourage decentralization to a greater degree than it is doing at the present time. I think the honorable senator will agree with me when I say that, in the main, Australia’s population is confined to the seaboard because the facilities which are available along the coast are much more attractive to not only the migrants whom we are bringing here but also the Australian-born. Those facilities are certainly much more attractive than the ones available in the far-flung areas of northern Australia. Although, by developmental works, we may be making northern Australia more attractive to those people to whom Senator Buttfield refers, it is essential that we develop it to make it more attractive also to our own people and migrants. The effect of the policy may be to forge a two-edged sword. By making it attractive to one class we cannot help but make it attractive to another class. The ‘ northern part of Australia . must be developed irrespective of whether we make it more attractive to other people outside.
While speaking of development, let me say how pleased I was a short time ago when this Government announced its intention to make available to the Tasmanian Government a non-repayable grant for the development of the Gordon River project. Although I realize that the Tasmanian Government is most appreciative of this Government’s action in making that non-repayable grant available, one factor which caused me and a number of other people some concern was the timing of that grant. I think it was rightly accepted in Tasmania that the grant was made as an election bait. Most honorable senators will remember that the information about the amount of money to be made available was made public only a short period before the election in November of 1963. A number of other projects in Tasmania should be given favorable consideration for nonrepayable grants. 1 think I am quite safe in saying that the hydro-electric projects in Tasmania are enormous and that their output of electricity will be higher than that from the Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme. I realize, of course, that there is a difference between the Tasmanian schemes and the Snowy Mountains scheme in that the Snowy Mountains scheme makes provision also for water conservation and the supply of water to various States but, speaking only of electricity output, the Tasmanian projects, when completed, will produce more than the Snowy Mountains project, when completed.
We will reach a stage in Tasmania when our potential will dry up. How long that will take, nobody knows. No doubt the non-repayable grant that has been made to Tasmania will assist the State Government to go ahead quicker with its hydro-electric schemes than it would have done normally. lt is therefore reasonable to suppose that the potential available to Tasmania will dry up sooner than would have been the case had the grant not been made available. What will happen when we reach the limit of developmental work on hydro-electric schemes in Tasmania? 1 would suggest that we will then have to look around for other ways of developing power. It is reasonable to suppose, at this point of time anyway, that the only other way in which we will be able to generate electricity will be by the use of thermal power. That brings to my mind the proposal to develop a thermal power station in the Fingal valley. That may be a long-term plan, but eventually the station must come. The Fingal valley is an area in which avenues of employment are diminishing very fast. If it had not been for the policy of the Tasmanian Government to begin forestry plantations and other projects there would have been an exodus of population from the area to other parts of Tasmania and perhaps to other parts of Australia. Many people living in the area could not afford to move out, except, perhaps, to save their families from starvation. They would suffer heavy financial losses by moving into other areas.
I wish to correct a wrong impression that was given by Senator McKellar in his contribution to this debate. The honorable senator is reported to have said -
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 monly 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 I hope that it will be altered very speedily.
The unions do not oppose, and never have opposed, employers in their applications to employ apprentices in any industry. I am sorry that Senator McKellar is not in the chamber to hear what 1 have to say. I point out to him that the determination of the ratio of apprentices to journeymen in any industry is made by an apprenticeship commission. I have no doubt whatever that Senator McKellar was told this story and that he was prepared to accept it as being correct, but the ratio of apprentices to journeymen in an industry is fixed- by an apprenticeship commission. In this way, protection is given not only to journeymen but also to apprentices. Each industry has its own peculiarities. If we are to have good tradesmen or journeymen, it is necessary for apprentices to be properly taught. Quite often one apprentice is allowed for every two, three or four journeymen, according to trie type of industry concerned.
If journeymen are overloaded with apprentices, the criticism will be levelled that the apprentices will not become, efficient tradesmen. There is too much of that kind of criticism to-day. Apprentices are referred to as no-hopers, or it is said that they will never be as good as the tradesmen who are teaching them. Too much of that type of criticism is indulged in about apprentices and the youth of Australia. I suggest to Senator McKellar that he check his information. He will find out that -n apprenticeship commission fixes the ratio of apprentices to journeymen. The employers certainly tender advice to the apprenticeship commissions on this ratio in particular industries as do the unions. The commissions adopt a policy which we in Australia have learned to accept over a number of years. If we cannot arrive at a settlement by conciliation, we revert to arbitration. I thought I should clear up that point. I repeat that if apprentices lack supervision, they will not become efficient workers.
I mentioned a few minutes ago that unfavorable comments have been made about the youth of to-day. I cannot agree with all the disparaging comments which are made about the youth of to-day. I think they are as good as the youth of any other day. Certainly there may be some no-hopers, and unfortunately many people are prepared to judge the youth of to-day by the no-hopers who may exist. However, there have been no-hopers from time immemorial, so I do not think that anybody should be adverse in his comments about the youth of to-day. I trust that Senator McKellar will check the point that I have made.
I have mentioned the Gordon River project. There are a few other matters in Tasmania to which I should now like to refer. Some of them, I think, should receive the attention of the Government. The first one with which I wish to deal concerns the lack of postal facilities in some areas. I commend the Postal Department generally for the services that it has made available. I think it is one of the finest institutions in Australia. Nevertheless, it is open to criticism in some respects. The subject of postal facilities has been raised more than once in this Parliament and I shall confine my remarks, now, to two or three areas in and around Hobart.
I should like the department to look into the provision of postal facilities in South Hobart. The facilities in that area are a disgrace. I think that the provision of better facilities there would produce a greater volume of business for the department. I suggest that the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Hulme) should obtain a report on the facilities in this area.
There are two other areas near Hobart which are coming into their own insofar as population is concerned. It looks as if considerable development will occur there in the very near future. They are Claremont and Austin’s Ferry. The State Labour Government is going ahead with the housing project in the Claremont area, and as Claremont extends and spills over into Austin’s Ferry better postal facilities should be made available in that district. It might not be practicable yet to provide an official post office, but one bone of contention, at the present time, is the mail delivery. It is not unusual for mail which should be delivered in the morning to be delivered in the afternoon in that area. I am not referring to peak periods. I am referring to what normally happens. I feel that, as the population of the district grows, better postal facilities should be made available to the residents.
Another matter concerning which I think some explanation should be given is the lag in telephone installations in Tasmania. Quite recently, reference was made by Mr. Gilson to the number of applications for telephones which had not been satisfied in Hobart. I do not know why a great number of telephones is awaiting installation. I do not know whether the cause of the delay is lack of cable, lack of trained personnel, lack of equipment or something else. However, I think that the Government should endeavour to remedy the situation.
Another matter which causes me grave concern is the installation fee which is charged for a temporary telephone service. I have here a telephone account in respect of a temporary service which was made available only for a very short period but it was necessary that the service should have been supplied. The installation fee was £10 although it was known that the service would be used only for a very short period. In addition to the installation fee, apparently £2 15s. lid. was placed on the account in respect of other charges. Whether that was a dismantling charge or whether it was charged in respect of some wiring that had to be done I cannot say. However, the total account seems an enormous amount of money to have to pay for a telephone service which the Postmaster-General’s Department knew perfectly well would be in use for only a short period. I think that the Government could well examine the incidence of these installation fees which could discourage the use of telephones on business premises.
On a number of occasions I have raised the question of the Commonwealth offices in Hobart, but I feel that I should again bring this matter to the attention of the Senate. I think that approval to proceed with the construction of new Commonwealth offices was given in 1947 or 1948. So far, no progress has been made. A person who is not familiar with Hobart does not know where to go in order to look for a Commonwealth office. The Commonwealth offices are scattered from one end of Hobart to the other. I know Hobart quite well but I have to look up the telephone directory in order to be sure I have the address of some departments. The Government should provide funds for the construction of the new Commonwealth offices and so provide work for persons who are unemployed. It is quite possible that when a number of State projects are completed in the very near future more people will be looking for work. If the Commonwealth Government were to undertake the projects which I advocate, Tasmanians would not have to go away from home in order to look for work. But they will have to do so if suitable action is not taken in the near future.
I should appreciate an announcement by the Government in the very near future of the conditions under which the grant of £250 will be made to young couples who wish to purchase homes. I have had many inquiries from young couples who would like to have an idea of the details of the scheme. Many people want to know just what they have to do to qualify for this grant. Perhaps that question is not so difficult to answer but it is not so easy to get other information. Some people want to know when the grant will be made available, and whether it will be available only to persons who save £250 or whether it will be made on a . pro rata basis. Will it be available to those who are buying homes through a government instrumentality? These are questions that are being asked, and we would appreciate it if the Govern ment would make the information available so that members of Parliament could answer the questions asked by electors.
I wish to comment on some aspects of the speech made by Senator Turnbull, who was in the chamber earlier to-day. Senator Turnbull referred to the plight of mental patients .who are deprived of their pensions while, they are in mental hospitals. This is a matter in which I have been interested for a long time and I regret that we have not been able to persuade the Government to give favorable consideration to the needs of these mental patients. I do not want to traverse all the ground covered by Senator Turnbull, who did a good job in speaking on this subject and was supported, perhaps passively, by .Senator Wedgwood, who is also interested in this matter. I believe that many persons support the retention of pensions by mental patients, yet the Government has not seen fit to assist those in mental institutions in this way.
I wish to direct attention to a particular case in which I gave assistance only recently. This involved a man who married a woman much younger than himself. They had a family and the youngest child has just entered high school. The father is now in his 70’s and in his later years he has been confined to a mental institution on two or three occasions. Under the existing Commonwealth legislation, his pension payments have ceased while he has been in a mental institution and only his wife and child have qualified for social service benefits.
Apparently the child is quite brilliant. I have seen the headmaster’s report and I can say that I have seen very few better school reports on individual children. Because the child’s father was deprived of his pension while he was in a mental institution, the parents did not have sufficient money to buy a uniform and books for the child. That is the sort of problem that arises when a pension is not payable to a person in a mental institution. I have been active in this case and I am pleased to say that the high school concerned will provide for the child to get a uniform and the Minister for Education in Tasmania has made provision, for the child to get books. But if it had not been for persistence in this case, a child who apparently is quite brilliant could have lost her chance for secondary education and eventually might have lost work opportunities and her value to the community. I again impress on the Government the need to consider favorably making allowances available to patients in mental hospitals. If the Government is not prepared to agree to payment of the full pension, perhaps it would review individual cases such as the one I have mentioned and give some supplementary assistance where there is shown to be hardship.
I turn now to the provision of an Australian national overseas shipping line. I have been a great supporter of such a service for many years. We on the Opposition side have pressed for an overseas shipping service and hope that one day we shall achieve this objective. Reference was made in the Senate to-day to the record apple crop available in Tasmania this season for export. Considerable difficulty has been experienced in shipping the apples available to overseas markets. A number of ships have been diverted to Tasmania for this purpose. What better service could we have than ships attached to the Australian National Line, large enough and properly equipped for the overseas trade?
– What tonnage would the honorable senator suggest?
– That is not for me to say. I suggest quite seriously to Senator Wright that the Australian National Line would be more competent than I to make such a decision. Neither the honorable senator nor I can claim to be experts in this field. I think a decision of that kind should be left to the experts. I have no doubt that we have the workmen and the dockyard facilities “ in Australia to construct ships suitable for the overseas trade and equipped to take our products to the markets of the world. That has been demonstrated very clearly by the construction in Australia of the “Princess of Tasmania “ and, more lately, the “ Empress of Australia “.
I may be accused later in the debate of peddling the cause of the Australian National Line so that we may have ships for overseas trade, of advocating socialism and the rest of it; but I would be quite happy to accept such criticism, because I think it is vital for Australia to be able to put her products on the overseas markets when they are required. We know quite well that private enterprise will not operate routes unless they show a considerable profit immediately. It is quite well known that many routes will not return an immediate profit, that first something must be done to develop them. I repeat that a government shipping line would assist Australia’s primary and secondary industries to place their products on the world’s markets.
A few moments ago 1 mentioned the “ Empress of Australia “. The proposed itinerary for this vessel is giving a number of people in Tasmania a headache. Quite recently the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth) visited Hobart and made some comments which came as a shock to many people. He said, amongst other things, that originally Hobart was not considered as a port of call for the new ship. I have always been under the impression that Hobart was the first port in Tasmania to be mentioned. At a later stage of the history of this project it was generally understood that the vessel would travel from Sydney to Hobart and from Sydney to Bell Bay alternately, and I believe that most people were quite happy with that arrangement. do not suggest that Hobart is the only Tasmanian port at which the “ Empress of Australia “ should call, but there should be some clear statement in the very near future to remove the confusion that exists. I believe it is safe to say that the “ Empress of Australia “ is essentially a passenger ship and that its cargo-carrying capacity is only of secondary consideration. I i.m not quite certain about the number of passengers which it is expected that the vessel will carry, but I think it is approximately 240.
– The number would have to be greater than that for that run.
– I am open to correction on that point. If the honorable senator has another figure in mind, I should be happy for him to correct me.
– Anyhow, it is not important.
– It is not particularly important. The point is that the “ Empress of Australia “ is essentially a passenger ship and cargo is of secondary importance. But apparently the present Minister for Shipping and Transport is trying to make it one of the conditions of the operation of the vessel that cargo shall be available so that it will bc a payable proposition. How the Minister or the Government can suggest at this point of time that the operation of this vessel may not be a payable proposition is beyond my comprehension. It is time that the Government asked the Australian National Line to make known, through the Minister, the vessel’s schedule and when it will come into operation, and to indicate that the position will be reviewed after twelve months’ operation. None of those points seems to be clear.
One other point is not clear. I understand that Captain Williams has an interest in the Fleetways transport company, which is a large freighting organization. It is not clear whether Captain Williams’s interest in these matters may eventually result in the “ Empress of Australia “ being diverted entirely from Hobart to the northern ports of Tasmania. Such a decision would be bad. I believe that the benefits of this vessel’s trading from Sydney to Tasmania should be shared equally between the north and the south of the island. An assurance along those lines to the people of Tasmania would make them quite happy. I ask the Government to clarify the whole position in the very near future so that in particular people who will be dependent on this vessel for transporting cargo to Tasmania may know what service will be available to them.
[5.33]. - Mr. Deputy President, 1 support the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I express my loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen as has been done by all honorable senators. Also, I congratulate Senator Morris upon the speech he delivered after he moved the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I am sorry that illness prevents him from being here to-day because I propose to devote all my remarks to the development of northern Australia, which was the theme of the honorable senator’s remarks. I remind the Senate of the size of the problem of developing the north. The area in question carries 60 per cent, of the cattle population of Australia and includes three-quarters of Australia’s surface water resources in addition to large underground water resources. It has been only during the last few years that northern Australia has been proved to be one of the great mineral provinces of the world. It is covered to a large .extent by sedimentary basins which are potential oil-bearing areas. It ranges from the well developed areas of eastern Queensland to the dead heart of Australia, the Simpson Desert. There are four administrations operating in the area- the Queensland Government, the Western Australian Government, the Northern Territory Administration, and the Commonwealth Government. In recent years, private investment in the north has increased very substantially indeed. Obviously, one of the principal tasks in developing northern Australia is to encourage close co-operation between governmental and private activities, in such a way that private investment in the north also will be encouraged.
After much deliberation and thought, based on the experience of the past, the Government reached the conclusion that the most effective method of stimulating development would be to establish a new northern development division within my department. That has been done. But that decision was reached only after the most careful thought had been given to the alternative proposal to establish either a separate ministry or a statutory authority. The decision has been made but the door has been left open for the States of Queensland and Western Australia’ to propose an alternate approach and to make specific proposals to the Commonwealth. They have not yet done so, although I think that as far back as last luly press reports indicated that this was their intention. When they bring their proposals forward we shall consider them.
I propose, Mr. President, to speak of the new division that has been established within my department, to set out its functions and, if I can, to forecast the way in which it will work. The Northern Development Division will consist of three branches. The first branch will be concerned with developmental proposals. Its task will be to evaluate such proposals, whether they come from private enterprise or State Governments, or emanate from the work of the division itself. The second branch will be a policy branch which will deal with big issues rather than specific developmental proposals. By “big issues “ I mean such matters as transport conditions in the north, taxation arrangements, the provision of amenities and other matters of a broad policy nature. The third branch will deal with the natural resources of the north. Its task will be to co-ordinate, to examine and to search out ways of identifying and developing the natural resources of the area. That is the framework of the new division.
Initially, the staff of the division will be a comparatively small one. Above all things, as I see it, there must be a flexible approach to the problem of development. We must not start out with too rigid ideas of what should be done. As the division grows and its work develops we shall come to know the skills that are required and the type of officer needed for the work that has to be done. We do not want to begin with a large organization. We want to begin with a sound organization and to build it as circumstances develop and we gain experience. It is not contemplated that the division will be a designing or constructing authority. It is not proposed that the division will construct water works, railways and roads. Such work will be left to the States or to the Commonwealth, wherever constructing authorities exist. I hope that as time goes by we shall find opportunities for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, for instance, to carry out specific works in the north. I again make the point that the division is not to be a designing or constructing authority.
I turn to the three branches of the division. The new projects branch, I suppose, will in the nature of things attract the most attention. It will have a very wide field to cover. It will consider proposals, whether they come from private industry, from the States, or from within the division, relating to water supplies, power conservation, the pastoral industry, the agricultural industry, the mining industry, and other matters affecting the north. The plan of campaign contemplated is that within the division we shall have a few skilled and expert officers with knowledge of engineering and other subjects. By and large, however, the division will turn to State and Federal departments and to the companies concerned. It will gather expert knowledge wherever it exists and use it in the evaluation of the various proposals.
The new division already has a substantial volume of work on hand. I believe it is correct to say that the north of Australia is really entering upon a new era of mineral development, primarily due to the work of mining companies. But in the world in which we live capital investment by mining companies and others without doubt is stimulated and made sure by a governmental authority which has an interest in such investment and which stands alongside the companies and gives them a helping hand and assistance as the occasion arises. The big mineral development which will come within the care of the new branch is the first thing in contemplation. In addition, specific proposals from the State governments are awaiting attention and evaluation. Queensland has asked that we extend the brigalow lands scheme. It has asked us to make a survey of a second area of approximately 2,000,000 acres in the Belyando-Suttor-Bowen area. We have already agreed to provide £7,250,000 to open up 4,300,000 acres. I think it is of great significance that, alongside the sum of £7,250,000, it is anticipated that some £12,000,000 of private investment will be involved in taking up properties and developing them. That is a large proposition on its own. It is contemplated that cattle turn-off will be increased from 5,000 to 24,000 head and that the value of production will be increased from £1,000,000 to £7,000,000 a year. It is thought that cattle turn-off could be increased even to 38,000 head a year.
– Upon what kind of reports have those estimates been based?
They have been based on an examination made by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and on reports from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock.
The Government of Queensland also has asked that we assist with the Emerald project on the Nogoa River, which is a tributary of the Fitzroy River. This is a £12,000,000 scheme and involves a water storage of 1,200,000 acre feet, to serve an irrigation area of some 60,000 acres. Queensland has asked, too, that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization land classification survey for 1964 be extended to include the Nogoa River area and to go into the Burdekin valley. Western Australia has asked for finance for the Ord River scheme. This is a 150,000-acre project to support a community of from 10,000 to 20,000 persons. The Commonwealth is already committed to find £5,800,000 of the first stage which will cost a total of £8,400,000. The additional cost to complete the scheme is estimated at £30,000,000.
I mention those matters, Mr. President, to indicate the kind of work that we contemplate will be done by this branch of the new division. It will look at these proposals and, in conjunction with the States and with people outside Government circles, it will evaluate them and make recommendations to the Commonwealth. I have no doubt at all that further proposals will come forward. I remind the Senate that this is the system which has worked well in the past and has led to so many other proposals which the Commonwealth has supported. There will be the added advantage that we shall have a special organization to evaluate, consider and recommend proposals that relate to the north of Australia. I do not think that there would be a dissentient voice to the proposition that in northern development, with so much money and the future of the north at stake, we want to be certain that proposals are sound before we go into them. We want to be certain that they will succeed.
– Will this organization discuss questions of priority?
– I shall come to that. I have a specific reference to it. The question of priorities is not easy. I turn to the policy branch and I propose to give some idea of the things that it will do. It will not deal with specific developmental proposals. It will deal with broad general questions - freights, taxation, amenities, living conditions, markets, and unused resources, such as timber. I interpose to recall that Senator Morris made the point that we must not blind ourselves to the fact that northern development is so largely a personal problem. The climate is different from the climate in other parts of Australia, and costs are significantly higher. For instance, structural steel which costs £55 a ton in Sydney costs £81 8s. 6d. in Darwin, and more inland. The officers of the policy section will, in consultation with people who live in the north, people who are interested in the north, and State governments, pay attention to general questions rather than specific development projects.
Let me illustrate what I mean. I have put to the Senate previously the view that transport costs are one of the largest single problems of the north. We do well to remember the great changes that have taken place in transport in the north in recent years. The north has become very much more air-minded, with great benefit to it. The growth of air services has made a substantial contribution to northern development. In the past ten years the Department of Civil Aviation has expended no less than £31,900,000 in northern Australia. Its programme for this year totals £4,500,000. f make a further point, which I think is interesting. Light aircraft have become an important medium of transport in the north. In 1954 Queensland had 107 licensed light aircraft and Western Australia 79. This year Queensland has no fewer than 370 and Western Australia 148.
I cite transport as an illustration of the kind of problems into which we want the policy branch to look. It will consider other matters of a similar nature with a view to . assisting northern development. There has been a tremendous change in the moving of cattle in the north. For all practical purposes, the day of the drover has passed. Giant road transport trains are taking over. The cattle population is increasing and more roads are vital to meet the changing conditions. The Commonwealth has already agreed to contribute to the cost of constructing over 2,000 miles of roads for cattle transport. So far it has spent £16,000,000 on the provision of cattle roads, yet there is a need for more road’s. I return to the question of priority. One of the practical questions is whether it is possible, having regard to all the various governmental responsibilities, to evolve a construction programme in an order of priority which will tap the prospectively rich cattle areas and link them with high speed roads for heavy transport.
An important feature is the proposal in the policy speech, which will be serviced by the new division, to appoint a committee to inquire into the costs of northern transport and to bring forward proposals. Costs, in the north are so high in every way that one of the most important contributions to northern development could come from the analysis and dissection Of facts and from the views that emanate from this committee. This we hope will lead to more efficient, more economic, . cheaper and better transport. 1 come now to the resources branch. 1 think everyone in the Senate is aware of the principal resources of the north, but we are apt to think of them in terms only of mineral and cattle. There is no doubt that in the long run water resources will be the foundation for closer settlement and increased population. Equally, there is no doubt that we have yet a lot to learn about the behaviour of bur northern water resources and about tropical agriculture. It will be one of the functions of this branch, not on its own but in conjunction with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and State departments, to develop thoughts and ideas, and to stimulate practical experiments and research, as on the pilot farm on the Adelaide River. It will have to watch the results of the Ord River scheme, remembering all the while that closer settlement based on water use is a long-term rather than a short-term prospect for northern development.
I have touched on cattle development. There is no doubt that cattle production has progressed materially. Taxation benefits are enabling pastoralists to plough back profits for the development of properties. Beef roads are extending, and there is quicker and better access to market. Facing the problem in a factual way, even if large holdings are sub-divided, resulting in a greater cattle turn-off, the pastoral industry by its very nature is not a large employer of labour. We must stimulate the pastoral industry and increase cattle production, with the realization that this will not give us population of the size that We want to see in the north. I always come back to the thought that the best prospect of increasing population in the north is to encourage mining activities. In particular, we should take every step that we can to ensure that the ores that are won are processed in the north itself. The development of the three big centres of population in the north, Mount Isa, Mary Kathleen and Rum Jungle has been based on that line of thought:
We have been pursuing this policy overthe years, and we have achieved some success. In the last few years, the Commonwealth alone has spent £7,300;000 on prospecting for minerals in the north, and it has been a rewarding programme. For instance, the export income earned from uranium has reached £80,000,000. The discovery of bauxite at Weipa has meant a capital investment of at least £40,000,000 there and at Gladstone. The Mount Isa company has spent, I think, £24,000,000 to date and proposes to spend another £22,000,000. The Kianga-Moura development has been responsible for an investment of £15,000,000.
This seems to me to provide the immediate prospect of increasing the population of the north appreciably, but there is good scope for further development. For instance, half of Australia’s tin resources is located in northern Australia. Again, although the Commonwealth adheres to an estimate of 8,000,000,000 tons, the Minister for Mines in one State suggests that the iron ore deposits in the north may be as much as 15,000,000,000 tons. Only recently, on Groote Island we have found what appears to be easily the largest manganese deposit in Australia. So I feel that if we only continue what we are doing by way of mineral exploration and encouragement, we will do rewarding work which will be well justified by the results achieved.
Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.
Prior to the suspension of the sitting I had outlined the functions of the branches of the proposed new Division of Northern Development. I do not propose to cover that ground again, but I should like to make the point that the division will be busy and active right from its commencement. A big programme of work is commencing from Darwin to Wyndham, Perth, Broome, Townsville, Gladstone and Pilbarra. Large works programmes are already in existence.. There are new meat-works at Darwin and Katherine with a capacity of 30,000 head of cattle a year. A new pilot farm scheme will be launched soon on the Adelaide River. Northern Territory experiments in fattening cattle on pasture and fodder crops indicate that cattle gain weight in the tropical north at a rate comparable with that in the southern States. The Water Resources Council is just getting into its stride. A great task lies ahead, because it takes years of collecting data before a big water conservation scheme can be properly launched.
The Government sees the new division working in co-operation with other government agencies - for instance, with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization on soil usage, with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics on the economic possibilities of crops, with the Department of Trade and Industry in finding new markets for the products of the north, and with the Bureau of Mineral Resources on mining activities. The basis of operation will be accumulation, cooperation and the co-ordination of a series of activities.
I wish to stress the point that in this new approach with this new organization we must not lose the benefit of the experience of the past. We want to accelerate progress, but we want the acceleration to be based on what we already know in the various government departments and on what is known by the people who are already living in the north. Officers of this new division will confer with people In northern Australia and seek their point of view. This is not to be a desk organization; it is to be comprised, I hope, of officers with experience of the north. There are a great number of dedicated men in the public services who know northern conditions. I hope that the new division will attract to its staff some of these officers.
I make the point also that we should remember in our planning for the future the extent to which the north has developed over the last decade. From 1947 to 1961 the north had a population increase of 40 per cent., an increase greater than the average increase of 38 per cent, throughout the rest of Australia. There have been great population increases in Cairns, Townsville and Darwin. I speak subject to correction, but I believe that in the last decade the population of the Northern Territory itself has doubled. There has been great progress, due, I believe, very considerably to the fact that progress has not been retarded during the last decade by failures such as those that occurred in the past. In the past proposals were carried forward to an advanced stage without sufficient basic examination, and therefore did not succeed. We have not had that experience with the government schemes of the last decade.
I believe it is right to point out the extent to which the Commonwealth has already committed itself in northern developmental projects. I have a list here which shows that in Western Australia and Queensland the works to which the Commonwealth is committed amount to a total value of not less than £48,300,000. I do not want to go through the list in detail. With the concurrence of honorable senators, I incorporate it in “ Hansard “ -
Although I have given a list of Commonwealth projects totalling £48,300,000 in value, and although I have made the claim that the north has developed materially over the last decade, I do not wish to give the impression that the Commonwealth has done all of this alone or that the Commonwealth aims to do it alone in the future. I believe that the art of the exercise is to obtain a co-operative effort by private investment and State governments combined with the Commonwealth Government. The State governments have been active. There has been added interest in the north. Private investment has been active. Australian and overseas mineral companies in particular have been active in exploration and development. The task of this new division of the department is to increase that activity - to increase the tempo of development. I believe that this can be done. I believe that there is a great potential on the eve of development in the north - that there is great potential just coming into development. I have no- doubt that considerable governmental expenditure will be required over the years, but we want to make sure that the present rate of progress is not only maintained but also is accelerated.
– Do you mean the development of the mineral fields of the north?
– I mean the development in all directions in the north. I shall deal with that in a minute. One of the main tasks of the new division is to identify where additional governmental expenditure - whether State or Commonwealth - can be made with the greatest advantage.
I make the further point that it would be a gross error of judgment to say that only governmental expenditure is wanted. We would be wrong if we were to blind ourselves to the fact that there are inherent disabilities in northern development by comparison with development in other parts of Australia. The geographical situation is such that the cost of doing things in the north is significantly greater than it is in the south. Living conditions are not as attractive as they are in the south. However, I have great hopes that we will do better in the future than we have done in the past.
I want to make the point that in my judgment the most satisfactory and soundly-based development will occur as a result of a continuation and intensification of a policy of seeking out, measuring and evaluating natural resources and finding ways and means to develop them. That is what has happened during the last decade. That is why, comparatively, during the last decade the north has gone ahead.
I do not think I make an over-statement when I say that the extent of the development that has occurred in Australia over the last decade has shown what it is possible to do, and has triggered off the present public demand for further development in the north. During the last decade the things that are now being done were not thought practicable of achievement. We have shown at Rum Jungle that mining can be carried out under tropical conditions. We have shown that we can achieve development in cattle production, rice growing and other activities, all of which have captured the imagination, with the result that there is a demand for development at an even faster rate.
In my talk I have tried to bring out five points. The first point I tried to make was that the work of recent years has led to substantial progress in the north - progress greater than at any earlier period of the north’s history, if we leave out of account the gold-mining days of the 1850’s and 1860’s. That is the first point I make. The next point is even more important, namely, that the progress we have made has not yet gained its full momentum. The great mineral discoveries have yet to be properly developed. The Ord River scheme has only just been started. The beef cattle roads are not yet fully operative. Oil has not yet been found in commercial quantities. Development has only just started. The things that have been started have potentialities for the future, but have not yet reached the developmental stage.
The third point I make is that the work is going on. A series of developmental proposals is now before the new division for examination. If the proposals are found to be sound and well-based they will be a basis for future development of the north. I remind the Senate of the statement in the Governor-General’s Speech that the speed of these operations will be accelerated as time goes on and as our knowledge increases.
The fourth point I make is that we have set up a new organization which will devote itself entirely to northern Australia. It will have only that one purpose. Its concern will be to specialize and concentrate only on the north of Australia. It will, I hope and believe, comprise skilled officers drawn from other departments with access to the knowledge that is in those departments and with the benefit of the experience of the work which the cattle people, the mining people, the agriculturalists and the pastoralists have already done in the north. I believe and hope that it will be in touch with them. Finally, I believe this new organization will give us a sound basis on which to ensure that northern development is being consistently and properly promoted.
– I want to commence my speech by supporting the expressions of loyalty to the Throne, as contained in the AddressinReply. I also support the expressions of sympathy for the families of the late President Kennedy and the victims of the unfortunate “ Voyager “ incident. Of all the events that have happened in recent years I think that the untimely death of President Kennedy was the one which caused concern to -most people in most countries of the world. I well remember being captivated, to some extent, by the influence of this young man. I had attended an International Labour Organization conference and was returning to Australia through America. I had the pleasure of seeing President Kennedy at a political convention when he won the Democratic Party’s nomination as presidential candidate.
There is no doubt that, in studying politics and human relationships, it is necessary for us to have regard for the influence of a personality in very critical times. The influence of President Kennedy was very great. Probably two of the greatest statesmen of our time were President Roosevelt and President Kennedy. Others have played a great role in world events but I think that those were the two personalities who most influenced the world at critical stages of history. Both of them faced great opposition in their own country.
When President Roosevelt was trying to inaugurate economic reforms he was charged with being a radical and a Communist. In inaugurating his New Deal, he had many conservative and vested interests against him. Despite all the opposition he managed to make secure the economy of the United States of America and later he managed to atd the peoples of the world who were fighting for freedom. I well remember the labour programme that he announced. Later, I had the pleasure of knowing that the labour organizations in the United States, for the first time in the history of that country, actually adopted and supported his political party. Up to the time of the selection of J. F. Kennedy as candidate for the presidency no party in the United States had the complete support of the labour movement. This was the first occasion on which a labour programme of reform had been adopted by the whole trade union movement. There is no doubt that the resultant unity made possible the success which the president finally attained within his own country.
There are two major facts which I think ought to be put on record. The first is the achievement for the first time in the economic and industrial history of the United States of legislation for a minimum wage throughout the nation. Secondly, there was the great contribution which President Kennedy made in international affairs. It seems to me that we have to recognize that, despite differing political theories, the influence of a great personality can be extended outside the free world. Such a man can gain the confidence of many people outside our camp.
There is no question but that when a nuclear test ban treaty was introduced into this chamber it was noted that it was very restricted but the accomplishment of it was hailed as a great achievement. The person who probably did more than any one else to make that treaty possible was President Kennedy. The United States is a power friendly to Australia, and we will probably rely even more upon that country in the future. It is to be hoped that Mr. Johnson, the new President, will be able to continue its great record of achievement both within its own nation and in relation to other countries.
I want to say a few things, briefly, about the last general election. I think that certain speeches made in this chamber have distorted the picture so far as the part played by the Australian Labour Party in that election is concerned. I refer particularly to the references made by Senator Cole and other people who have tried to raise an old bogy by saying that the Australian Labour Party is influenced by Communist theories. Reference to “ Hansard “ will indicate that Senator . Cole argued that, as the Communists supported our opposition to the penal clauses in arbitration legislation, therefore, there must be some sort of unity between the Labour Party and the Communist Party. He also claimed that because the Labour Party and the Communist Party disagree with certain sections pf the Crimes Act, the Labour Party must have some unity with the Communist Party. The trouble is that these statements are half truths. The whole story has not been told. When resolutions of the whole trade union movement are mentioned, it should be pointed out that within the framework of the trade union movement there is a central organization called the Australian Council of Trade Unions. All unions in Australia subscribe to this, thereby participating in the control of the trade union movement. Decisions are made on behalf of the whole trade union movement, not only by an executive, but, once every two years, by the meeting of a congress. This congress is attended not only by ordinary workers, trade union representatives and trade union secretaries who support the Australian Labour Party’s policy but also by members of the Communist party and the Democratic Labour Party. The A.C.T.U. lays down a certain programme, just as the United States labour machine declares that it believes in minimum wage legislation and other matters. It does not mean, simply because we subscribe to what the A.C.T.U. declares to be its policy, that we are allied with Communist Party policy. As a matter of fact, all those who come within the framework of what is called the “ Parliament of the trade union movement “ are obliged to accept its policies, and that is what the’y do. That is what many secretaries and members of other parties do. 1 suppose there is even an odd member of the Liberal Party who goes along to the A.C.T.U. and votes according to his conscience on the resolutions.
I want to mention here the penal provisions of the arbitration legislation. It is no secret that we oppose those penal provisions. Anybody who takes the trouble to read the history of industrial relations will see that from the inception of the trade union movement, the trade unions have always been opposed to restrictive provisions which they believed hampered their organizational activities. South Australia, incidentally, was the first Australian State to give legal right to workers to combine into unions. Before that, there was no right of combination. Repressive penal provisions have always been opposed by the trade union movement. The Australian Labour Party has grown from the trade union movement. The South Australian records indicate that the first people put into parliament in South Australia by the trade unions were ordinary people in the community. They were endorsed as trade union candidates and later they were organized into a united Labour Party. They put forward the policy of the trade union movement.
Anybody who knows the industrial set-up in the United Kingdom knows that there are no penal provisions in the industrial legislation there. One piece of legislation of that sort was put on the statute book in 1950 but it has not been used. In the United Kingdom, if the employers and the unions want to fight their battles on the industrial front, they argue and battle on as long as they like, provided no harm is done, until somebody decides to compromise. This Government recently adopted a system of joint consultation on the waterfront, but it is nothing more than a copy of the system which has operated in the United Kingdom for many years. Devices of this sort should be supported and should be the subject of experiment.
Honorable senators opposite talk about the Labour Party having policies which other parties also support, but on the whole our moves are the traditional moves of the organized trade union movement and are bona fide. The same thing occurs when we talk about a nuclear-free zone. I want to put on record, for those who do not know it, the Australian Labour Party’s attitude to the nuclear-free zone. An explanation of this attitude was given last year by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) in another place. He said -
Briefly, our proposal is to call a conference of all the nations in the southern hemisphere, or having interests there, which are signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, so that they may consider what we have put forward. The signatories to the treaty - they include all the nuclear powers - have agreed to have a nuclear-free zone from the South Pole right up to the sixtieth parallel of latitude. We want them to meet so as to obtain agreement among them for the extension of the nuclear-free zone right up to the equator. The Prime Minister attacked this proposal as recently as last week at Port Pirie. In reply I wish to make two points. The first is that our proposal is a disarmament proposal which may or may not be accepted by the other parties to whom it is put. If they reject it, or if any of them reject it, nothing is lost on the present .position. If they accept it, something is gained. Every disarmament proposal has this characteristic.
Many of the policies of the Labour Party are progressive policies. All the reforms which have been made in a welfare society were regarded as revolutionary in the old days, but to-day they are taken for granted. Liberal governments have adopted many of the points of policy which we advanced at a time when they were regarded as extremely revolutionary. I remember Senator Scott, I think, reporting to the Senate on decisions of the Interparliamentary Union. I questioned him about a recommendation from a committee in respect of the general policy on nuclearized zones. The nuclear-free zone is an objective of the Labour Party, but the trouble is that ideas of this sort can be distorted. Unfortunately, unless you place the whole picture before the people so that they can be adequately informed, they may get a completely false concept of the policy of the Labour Party.
It is true, of course, that within recent years the Australian Labour Party has copied the methods of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom insofar as it has set up specialized committees. It may be argued that a fault of the Labour Party’s organization is that too many people know the party’s business. All its reports and recommendations become public property. They are made known so that people will understand them. They are published earlier than might be considered necessary. They are not kept until the eve of an election, although that might be done. The Labour Party does not rely on the gimmicks of one person. It produces a deliberate policy, based on the combined thought of the Labour movement. This is not done by some crazy group of 36 faceless men. All our policies come up from the bottom of the Labour movement. Although some people may disagree with them, they are evolved by democratic processes.
How can we influence the newly independent nations we want to influence and how can we instil in them a desire for parliamentary democracy if we do not observe political morality ourselves? How can we hope to persuade the peoples of the newly emerging nations, independent and sovereign states for the first time, that they should have freedom to express their ideas through a parliament and. that dictatorship is wrong? How can we justify parliamentary democracy if we do not try to practice it and keep to the rules? Reference is made in the Governor-General’s Speech to the need to sustain the widest international co-operation to prevent wars and disputes. It seems to me we might well start at. home and try to get a greater degree of support for proper parliamentary practices here. The Australian Labour Party believes in the parliamentary system. I am one of those who has seen and criticized other systems. In the long run, democracy can prevail although it is slow moving and has been challenged over the years by untoward forces.
We know that many people were misdirected before the Second World War. I can remember that about that time people were waking up to the need for collective security, but we heard ordinary folk who exercised an intelligent vote in the community saying that the Japanese advance into China was a civilizing mission. There were those who believed that the experiments in Spain by the fascist forces did not do a great deal of harm. There were some who argued also that Mussolini, in invading Abyssinia, was carrying civilization into that country. But we knew that finally the test had to come and that we had to uphold the democratic process. In criticizing the policies of parties, let us be as fair as we can be in placing responsibility where it should be put. It seems to me that over the years the Australian Democratic Labour Party has been adopting every possible device to keep the Labour Party out of office. Unfortunately, as happens in family circles, people who fall out take the most offensive and aggressive action and in the instance to which I refer these mainly comprise ex-members of the Labour party who are continually attacking the Labour movement.
I refer now to another form of attack which is made mainly by those who occupy the Government benches and who frequently talk about the trade union movement and Communist officials. What sort of position would this Government or even a Labour government be in if it had to deal with two or three central Labour organizations? If in Australia we had a situation like that which obtains in Europe where there might be a religious trade union centre, a Communist trade union centre and a social democrat trade union centre, the Government would not be able to manage the economy and settle the demands of the workers. In Australia we have a great national trade union centre. But the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) or his departmental head does not say, “I cannot meet this deputation because one member of it is a Communist “ or “ That deputation includes a member of the Democratic Labour Party “. The body with which the Minister deals is a central representative body. The Minister and members of that group discuss and try to settle problems, and in many cases they are successful. I have been a secretary of a trades hall council and I know what occurs. It is the task of the trade union movement to settle as far as possible issues which affect the workers. That means that representatives of the movement have to confer with governments of different political colour. We in Australia should be satisfied to know that in this country we have a central trade union group the leaders of which are members of the Labour Party who have had great experience in trade union matters. When I hear people talking about what happens in the trade union movement, I find myself wishing that they might have shared some of the experiences of members of the movement who in the majority of cases have displayed a sense of responsibility and who have a great capacity for settling disputes and thus saving the nation a great deal of money, and also assisting their members.
Nowadays when the Government says that our balance of trade position is good and a number of important social reforms are being undertaken, the Government tends to regard those developments as being part of a plan. Prior to 1961 the Government had adopted stop-and-go policies and had no clear concept of the plan that is now being evolved and which has been based largely on the policy of the Australian Labour Party. The Government’s policies prior to 1961 were criticized by the people of Australia, who in that year gave the Government the greatest fright of its life. The Government’s policies were criticized not only by the workers in the community but also by people in business such as motor car manufacturers, who were subjected to savage sales tax increases, and refrigerator manufacturers. Those people who over the years had acquired skills and factories were put out of business and we suffered a recession. Much of the legislation that was introduced by the Government following the election of 1961 was based on policies enunciated by the Labour Party. In every modern community it seems that, as the Labour Party advocates certain social reforms, the government of the day, often a conservative government, adopts those reforms as part of its own policy. Thereupon a new task is thrown upon the Labour movement. Although the improvement in our balance of trade position is not exactly an accident, it is really not a direct result of good administration by the present Government. It is one of those occurrences about which the Government finds itself in a position to boast.
The Government has boasted about its success at the last general election. Like other honorable senators, I do not wish to detract from the Government’s success. We know that we were beaten, but we should accept our defeat in the same way as does a man who is beaten on the football field. Nevertheless, that defeat will not lead to our altering our policies or our determination to see that our theories are put into operation. I referred earlier to the campaign that was waged against us before the last election. It does seem to me that, because of the propaganda that was poured out, the people were afraid to vote for the Labour Party. They were influenced by unfair electioneering methods. However, we trust that after the next election we shall occupy the Government benches.
Now I come to one or two matters that were mentioned in His Excellency’s Speech - improvements in communications and the setting up of a roads advisory committee. I propose to refer to an industry with which I have had personal association in the past and which poses a great national problem. I refer to the railway transport industry. It is high time that the Government not only acted upon the representations of a number of people about the need for the standardization of rail gauges but also tried to get a picture of the needs of road and rail transport. We in Australia have been long-winded about standardizing our rail gauges. The overall project has not yet been completed. The completion of the standardization of the gauge between Port Pirie and Cockburn, perhaps by 1967, will be a great step forward for the whole of Australia and for South Australia in particular’. But there is a great need to consider how road transport should fit into the picture. I say that because over the years the railway systems progressively have become less important due to the growth of other forms of transport. When I was a young man the Islington railway workshop was the finest railway workshop in the southern hemisphere. I am speaking of the period from 1927 to 1930. At that time that workshop could produce what was then a modern flat car every hour. We are not building much heavier cars to-day. We were then building flat cars of from 40 to SO tons, gondola cars, sheep vans and refrigerated cars. To-day that workshop is second rate; it is not getting sufficient contracts.
Let us look at the position in the Commonwealth Railways. Over the years the Commonwealth Railways have employed from 18 to 22 apprentices each year. They now have a total of 89 apprentices. At the present time the Commonwealth Railways have only a servicing shed at Darwin and an old-fashioned workshop at Port Augusta, which could be made to provide employment in that decentralized community for all sorts of young people. These workshops should be equipped to produce all the requirements of the Commonwealth Railways. In the event of war, we would have to build such equipment and would find ourselves running around trying to get the workshops equipped to do the job. We should be thinking now about building a completely new workshop at Port Augusta to manufacture our requirements. If we consider the items of equipment which are now being ordered from external sources and from Australian private manufacturers, we see that we are losing not only the opportunity to develop skills in our own workshops but also the capacity to produce our requirements in the event of war.
According to a report which was distributed recently, orders were placed for eight 1,800 horse-power diesel-electric standardgauge locomotives, seven 72-ft. standardgauge cattle vans, 24 standard-gauge flat wagons, 27 standard-gauge open goods wagons, and three standard-gauge water tank wagons. Last year, tenders were reinvited for the following equipment: 4 second-class passenger sleeping cars, 1 dining car, 2 first-class lounge cars, 4 coach cars, 10 brake vans, 12 passenger bogies and 110 goods bogies. As honorable sena tors know, we have purchased rolling-stock from Japan and Germany, although it could have been built by Australian workers in Australian workshops.
There seems to be a growing idea in government circles that when all is said and done railways are not very important because the roads can do the job. Recent developments in road transport indicate that the new road vehicles can be co-ordinated with the railways. Special vehicles of many kinds are being built to cope with modern developments such as the pick-a-back system. We should endeavour to ensure, in co-operation with the State governments, that heavy goods are taken off the roads and placed once again in the hands of the railways. Who has not seen and been disturbed by the great transport vehicles which travel on interstate roads? Not only do they disrupt normal traffic; in addition, they ruin the roads in no time. Heavy road traffic is very expensive so far as road maintenance is concerned. I do not say that all road transport should be disallowed. No doubt there is a place for road transport in our . overall transport system. There is a need for quick access roads to railheads, and perhaps the railways should be responsible for such roads. I think it will be agreed that if heavy transport vehicles were removed from the roads many lives would be saved.
I wish to make one or two points about the railway system. Honorable senators will remember that I have asked questions in the Senate in this respect. I have already mentioned that by 1967 it will be possible to travel by rail from eastern Australia to western Australia on a standard-gauge track. I think it is necessary that Adelaide, should have the benefit of the work of standardization. Only a few days ago the Premier of South Australia was asked a question on this matter in the State Parliament. He said that he would consider it and would consult the Federal Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth) on it. I trust that the Government will consider favorably the need to complete the standardization work and that it will support the South Australian Government in constructing a standard gauge line to Adelaide. I hope, too, that the west coast section pf; line will be connected to the standard gauge, line. There remains only a short distance of some 50 miles, from Whyalla to Port Augusta, for the link to be complete. Perhaps the South Australian Government should pay for the work, as I was told in this chamber last year in answer to a question that I had asked on the matter. The responsible Minister said in effect, “ If the State Government wants to spend its own money it may do so “. The standardization of rail gauges is a national matter. I do not think it can be said that country towns will be adversely affected because of the introduction of more efficient transport services. I hope that in years to come trains will be able to travel from the west coast to the east coast of Australia without the necessity to transfer from one gauge to another.
I come now to a matter which I think is of some importance. 1 refer to the need for a central Commonwealth building in South Australia, a project which would seem to be even more justified by the Government’s recent addition to the number of government departments. In South Australia, 27 Commonwealth departments lease approximately 300,000 square feet of private office accommodation at an annual cost of about £500,000.
– Mainly for the benefit of insurance companies.
– Whatever the motive is, the fact remains that that is the position. 1 submit that the system does not provide for communications between the departments. Some departments, such as the Department of Works and the Department of Supply, which are doing magnificent work and have expert staffs, have small offices situated throughout the State. Sir Thomas Playford, who is known to be a free enterprise Premier, is planning to build a great new building in which many of the State public servants are to be housed. It will cost £2,600,000. It is to be of seventeen stories and will accommodate 1,700 State government employees. In addition, it is intended that government departments should occupy a part of the new police building and also several floors of the new Reserve Bank building. When I asked a question on this subject last year, reference was made to a survey for the purpose of assessing the need for a building such as I have suggested. I think it is logical -that the Commonwealth should construct a central building, not only for reasons of prestige but also to ensure close contact between the various departments thereby assisting administration. If a State Government is able to erect the kind of building that I have mentioned, surely the Commonwealth Government should be able to do so, instead of putting money into the hands of private people who are doing very well anyhow.
I wish to refer to the matter of assistance by way of living away from home allowances to apprentices. I think that Senator Marriott and Senator Morris raised the matter earlier in the debate and that Senator Gorton replied to their comments. The action that has been taken, in consultation with the employers and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, is worth while. It ensures that a young person may complete his apprenticeship in the shortest possible time. An apprentice who comes to the city from a country area is paid a living away from home allowance. At the present time this provision applies only to apprentices in the metal trade, the electrical trades and the building industry. I hope that the Government will extend it to apprentices in all sections of industry because this provision has been one of the most beneficial of all the provisions that have been secured over the years. Assistance to young people in learning a trade has been one of the aims of the trade unions over the years. In many cases accommodation is extremely costly.
In recent weeks I have received complaints from holders of Commonwealth scholarships and their parents because of the fact that the living away from home allowance which is paid to the student is not an allowable income tax deduction. I know that the position was altered in the last Budget, but I am of the opinion that in a system of educational assistance, which the Government professes to support, such allowance should not be taxable but should be an allowable deduction. Finally, I again refer to a matter that I raised at question time this morning. I can see no reason why students should be obliged to pay sales tax on equipment which they purchase for educational purposes.
I regret that earlier in my remarks I neglected to congratulate Senator Morris, our new senator from Queensland, on his maiden speech. I found it very interesting. The developmental plans for Queensland which he discussed seem to me to correspond with the aspirations of honorable senators on this side of the chamber, who wish to see the greatest possible development in the north of Australia.
. -I join with other honorable senators in reaffirmation of loyalty to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and in thanking His Excellency the Governor-General for the Speech which he was pleased to address to the Parliament. We rejoice, and congratulate Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, on the birth of another Royal Prince. To-day, Sir, in a formal way we wished him a long and happy life. We were very disappointed that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was unable to come to Australia because of illness, but we are delighted to hear of her recovery and we trust that her visit will not be long delayed. In the meantime, we look with anticipation to the visit later this year of the Princess Marina, who will be assured of a very warm welcome.
His Excellency referred to two tragic happenings during the period when the Parliament was not in session. The assassination of President Kennedy removed from this world one of its greatest sons. The news shocked the world. He was a person of outstanding capacity,, character and charm. He was “ one of the new generation of Americans born in this century, tempered by war and disciplined by a hard and bitter peace “. Those, Sir, were his own words, and I think that they fitted him completely. He crusaded compulsively for what he believed to be right, particularly as it affected the ordinary man. He was devoted to the cause of peace around the world. One could say that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a great patriot. Perhaps in this decade we are too close to his work to appreciate its full significance. In his inaugural address of 20th January, 1961, he threw out a challenge to Americans and non-Americans alike when, as you will recall, he said -
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
As has been said frequently in this chamber, his life was all too short. I believe, Sir, that his record and his name will find an abiding place amongst those of the great leaders of all time.
The second tragedy was the loss of H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “ with so many brave Australian sailors. We have from this Parliament sent expressions of sympathy to their loved ones. I for one hope that the bravery of many of those men will be suitably recognized.
I should like also at this stage to congratulate the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) on the success of the Government at the last general election. Senator Bishop, in one part of his speech, tried to persuade us that the election was won by the Government on policies laid down by the Australian Labour Party. That is rather a ridiculous assertion to make. As a matter of fact, ever since 30th November last, the Labour Party has been seeking reasons for its defeat - and it was a crushing defeat, as we all know. 1 should have thought that those reasons were well known and understood by many of the Labour Party’s members, but perhaps those who do understand them are too afraid of their left wing to voice them. I had intended to speak about other matters but I have changed my mind since Senator Bishop spoke. I should like to give what I consider are the four major reasons why the Labour Party was defeated so conclusively.
In my opinion the first reason for the success of the Government and the defeat of the Opposition was that the Labour Party had no public image that could compare with that of the Prime Minister. Our campaign benefited greatly from the work of the Prime Minister himself. Whether it was on the public platform or on television, or in any other contact whatsoever with the public, he was able to impress his audiences with the fact that he was a leader of capacity, of intelligence, and also of integrity. That, I believe, was the first reason why we were so successful in the election campaign.
The second was that the Labour Party refused to face the real issues. Mr. Calwell wandered from one place to another, making promises one day and altering them the next, whereas on the other hand the Prime Minister insisted that foreign affairs and defence were the issues on which the electorate must make its choice, and the people of Australia believed him. The Government, without equivocation, stated its policy with regard to the defence and security of Australia, but the Labour Party did not face the real issue. Rather, it depended on the credulity of the people. It promised them all sorts of things, but the people did not believe its promises.
The third reason- I think this is a very important one - was that the Labour Party did not attract the support of the young people. The reason is plain for all to see. To-day, through better education, radio and television, we have a much more sophisticated public than we had even ten years ago. To-day the young people do not believe in the class struggle, nor do they care to have repeated over and over again what happened in the depression 30 years ago. They have lived in an era of great prosperity. They have seen the development that has taken place in Australia and they want a share in that development. They do not believe that they belong to a downtrodden group. The policies of Labour, based on the class struggle, are the policies of 20, 30 or 40 years ago, which do not appeal to the youth of to-day. I had the great privilege of being with the Prime Minister at his last public meeting of the campaign at Maribyrnong. What surprised and pleased me more than anything else was to see the response that he received from the young people and to witness their appreciation of the points that he made. I am sure that the young voters were largely responsible for the success of the Menzies Government. The fourth reason why we won so well is that the women of Australia will not return a Labour government. As a matter of fact, I have read in the daily newspapers that Mr. Calwell is examining the reasons why women prefer a Liberal government to a Labour government, but I do not think we need go any further than a statement by Senator Cavanagh in this place. He said -
We shall continue to do what we think is right for the nation, whether or not it is acceptable to the electors of Australia.
No political party with that in mind would ever attract the attention or the votes of the majority of women in Australia. The older women remember only too vividly the years that followed the last war, years of shortages, black markets. . The members of what was then called the string-bag brigade remember the threat to nationalize the banks and the threat to place the medical profession under direct government control. To-day, the women are the money savers of the nation. In the last few years, many of them have had incomes of their own. They have earned money, and they have saved it. We are told that in most countries of the world to-day the number of women investors is very high. In some cases, they represent up to and more than 50 per cent of the investors on a stock exchange. So I say that the Labour Party will have to alter its policy before it can hope to be attractive to the women of Australia.
I did intend to say something about the development of north Australia, but, after hearing the speech of the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner), I content myself by placing on record just how deeply indebted the Senate is’ to him for his speech. I thought it was a fascinating story, outlining, as it did, the programme of the Government for the acceleration of the development of the north. I was most interested when he spoke about the problems of transport in the north and the additional cost that has to be borne by people living there. To give an instance, I am always horrified when I am asked to pay ls. 8d. or 2s. for a Melbourne newspaper in Darwin. I mention that to give some idea of the high cost of everything in the north. I believe that Australia’s future will be determined by our attitude to and our development of the north. Therefore, I commend the Government most heartily for setting up this special division within the Department of National Development to give proper attention to the development of the north.
I would like to answer another statement. It was one made by Senator Poke to-night, and I wrote it down while he was speaking. He said that he regretted that the Government had not seen fit to assist patients who had gone into mental hospitals. He mentioned my name. He said it was a subject in which I was very interested. Again, I had not intended to refer to mental health, but I feel I cannot allow Senator Poke’s statement to go unchallenged. If he means to convey that on this occasion the Government has decided not to grant pensions to patients in the mental hospitals, he is correct,. but to suggest that the
Government has not done anything for patients in mental hospitals is to overlook the facts completely. After the Menzies Government came to office in 1949, it expressed great dissatisfaction with, and concern about, the arrangement that was then in operation between the Commonwealth Government and the State governments with respect to patients in mental hospitals. It invited Dr. Alan Stoller to make an appreciation of the needs of mental patients. We all know how well Dr. Stoller carried out that task. We also know of the report that was published and that became known as the Stoller report. It shocked government’s and the public alike. Newspapers right across Australia took up the story, and, for the first time in the history of Australia at any rate, the people were made aware of the needs and conditions of people in mental hospitals.
The Commonwealth Government acted, and acted promptly, by offering to the States a grant of £1 for every £2 provided by them up to a limit of £10,000,000 to be provided by the Commonwealth Government for capital expenditure on mental hospitals. In Victoria, which is one of the most advanced States in mental hygiene, this work was proceeded with immediately
Under the direction of Dr. Cunningham Dax, chairman of the Mental Hygiene Authority. If one did not know the inside story, one would be amazed at the progress that has been made with the rebuilding and reconditioning programme in the field of mental health in Victoria, the State which I know better than any other. Now, a further worth-while concession is mentioned in His Excellency’s Speech. I refer to the statement that the Commonwealth Government will provide for the next three years £ 1 for every £2 provided by the States and that there is to be no upper limit by the Commonwealth Government at all. So the problem is now back with the various States because they will be able to proceed just as far as they wish with their own mental hygiene programmes. Therefore, much as I would agree with many of the Statements made by Senator Poke about this subject, I feel that on this occasion he did not represent correctly what the Commonwealth Government is doing.
During the. next few,weeks, many enabling bills dealing with education, child endow’- ment and housing will be coming before the Senate and I do not propose to-night to traverse any of the ground that they will cover. In conclusion, I should like to congratulate the mover and seconder of the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply, to congratulate the Government on its record over the past fourteen years and to express the hope that the next three years will see greater prosperity for Australia and a higher standard of living for the Australian people. I support the motion.
– I join with all preceding speakers in expressing sympathy towards the Queen Mother and the families of persons who suffered injury or lost their lives in the tragic sinking of H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “. I should like also to support the many statements which have been made by honorable senators about the death of President Kennedy. Perhaps his greatness and his influence in the world can be measured by the feeling, which is undoubtedly shared by all in Australia and is obvious throughout most of the world, that his death was not merely a loss for the United States of America but was a personal loss for most of the citizens of the world. Each one of us suffered a sense of shock and a feeling of great personal loss when we heard the news of his tragic death. He was a great democrat, a man who upheld the constitution of his own country and was determined to see that the liberties of all persons in it were preserved. He would not encourage or permit any departure from the rights which were guaranteed to persons under the constitution of his country.
I am disturbed that in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech there is a proposal which amounts to a warning by the Government that it is preparing an assault upon democracy in Australia. We know that the contents of the Governor-General’s Speech are not prepared by him but are the responsibility of the executive government. We find in the Speech the following passage -
Regarding the Electoral Act, my Government will introduce amending legislation to make it clear that, in making any proposed distribution of ‘a State into divisions for electoral purposes, the Distribution Commissioners shall take into account community, of economic,’ ‘social and regional interests, difficulties- of communication, remoteness or distance, the trend of population changes, physical features, and the relative areas of proposed divisions. No fixed quota differential is proposed.
What does this mean? It has been explained by prominent members of the Country Party. The explanations have not been disavowed by the Government. This proposal will pave the way for inequalities in electorates and inequalities in representation - in short, for a departure from democracy in the Commonwealth of Australia.
Children in our schools are taught that Australia is a democratic country and that in a democracy the government holding power does so with the consent of the majority of the governed. It is true that in Australia there is democracy, but not in all parts of Australia. In South Australia, where there is a Liberal Government, there is no democracy. It is a lie and a deceit to teach the children of South Australia that there is democracy in that State. A majority of the people have voted against the government of South Australia for many years, and that Government is in power by the votes of a minority only of the South Australian people. When, after the last election, it seemed as though even that Government - supported in power by a vicious manipulation of the electoral laws - might be threatened in a future election, and that although 53 per cent, or 54 per cent, of the people voting against it could not remove it from power, perhaps 55 per cent, or 60 per cent, might do so, an attempt was made to change the constitution so that not even a tremendous majority of 60 per cent, could remove it from power.
This type of inequality in electorates, Which has maintained a Liberal Government in power against the wishes of the South Australian people, can in the long run only produce civil disobedience. In fact, had the proposals of the South Australian Government to make the gerrymander of electorates worse than it is become law there would have been civil disobedience in South Australia. That is the only remedy left to the people if they are deprived of democracy. If they can no longer have the government they want through the ballot box, then they must protest in whatever way they can against laws, and against a government, which deprives them of democracy.
In the Governor-General’s., Speech . we see an attempt to pave the- way ‘for the same type of manipulation as occurs in South Australia. The proposals are such that there will be no fixed quota differential. As has been explained, that will mean that there will be no limit-
– Is there a fixed quota differential now, in the present act?
– There is a quota which is fixed along the general lines of what was proposed in the Constitution, in the absence of any other provision. The provision is in the Commonwealth Electoral Act and under it a quota is fixed by which the number of persons in electorates should be roughly equal. Because mathematical precision is not possible, the electoral laws permit a departure from that quota of up to one-fifth. You may have an electorate which differs in size from the norm or the quota by one-fifth upwards or one-fifth downwards. That in itself was something which was regarded by the joint committee of this Parliament which investigated the Constitution as having dangers to democracy, in that the one-fifth differential was larger than it ought to be.
– Did it ever operate?
– The differential has always operated because, as I said, it is not possible to have a mathematically exact adherence to the quota in each electorate. There have been departures from the quota, in some instances, of more than 10 per cent, but very rarely has this happened. The report of the Constitutional Review Committee shows that one can easily keep within a differential of 10 per cent. In the interests of democracy in Australia, we ought to keep within that differential. In answer to the honorable senator who has just interjected, I point out that the joint committee stated that the margin of onefifth on either side of the quota for a State which the act allows may disturb quite seriously a principle which the committee believed to be beyond question in the election of members of the national parliament of a federation. This was that the votes of the electors should, as far as possible, be accorded equal value.
The committee stated -
The full application of the margin each way to two divisions in a State could result in the number of electors in one division totalling 50 -per’ cent, more than the number of electors in the other division. Such si possible disparity in the value of votes is inconsistent wilh the full realization of democracy.
The committee which made that statement included Government supporters and members of the Opposition.
– What was the differential recommended by the committee?
– It was one-tenth. As Senator Wright who was a member of the committee will recall, the committee was of the view that that was quite sufficient to enable the purposes of redistribution to be carried out consistent with democracy. The committee took the view that a permissible margin of one-tenth on either side of the quota for a State should allow sufficient flexibility in determining the electoral divisions for the election of members of the House of Representatives. The committee considered that the adoption of a maximum margin of one-tenth would make a very material contribution towards preventing the manipulation of the divisional structure of a State for political purposes.
The view of the committee was that this matter was so important to democracy in Australia that there should bc a constitutional amendment to entrench provisions for uniformity of the value of the vote with a provision for a maximum departure from the quota of one-tenth. What is happening in connexion with this proposal? The proposal is not merely to leave aside any unconstitutional entrenchment. It is not merely to leave the position as it is with a differential of one-fifth. The proposal is to remove entirely any limit on a departure from any quota or norm in electorates. It represents a reversal of the position which exists in the United States where, during the existence of the republic, it has been found that, when one departs from equality of voting, those who benefit from the inequality are most reluctant to give up the power which they gain by it. The inequalities, therefore, tend to grow worse and worse until one reaches what can be described only as a national scandal. That stage has been reached in the United States but, by a series of monumental decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, the inequality of electorates is being corrected. One of these judgments was recently handed down. It was the famous judgment in Wesberry and Sanders. With the concurrence of the Senate I shall have the majority judgment in that case incorporated in “ Hansard “.
Appellants arc citizens and qualified voters of Fulton County, Ga., and as such are entitled to vote in Congressional elections in Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. That district, one of 10 created by a 1931 Georgia statute, includes Fulton, Dekalb and Rockdale Counties and has a population according to the 1960 census of 823,680. The average population of the 10 districts is that of the Fifth. One district, the Ninth, has only 272,154 people, less than one-third as many as the Fifth. Since there is only one Congressman for each district, this inequality of population means that the Fifth District’s Congressman has to represent from two to three times as many people as do Congressmen from some of the other Georgia districts.
Claiming that these population disparities deprived them and voters similarly situated of a right under the Federal Constitution to have their votes for Congressmen given the same weight as the votes of other Georgians, the appellants brought this action under 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1988 and 28 U.S.C. Section 1343 (3) asking that the Georgia statute be declared invalid and that the appellees, the Governor and Secretary of State cf Georgia be enjoined from conducting elections under it.
The complaint alleged that appellants were deprived of the full benefit of their right to vote, in violation of (1) Art. I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States, which provides that “ the House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states . . .”; (2) the due process, equal protection, and privileges and immunities clauses of the 14th Amendment; and (3) that part of section 2 of the 14th Amendment which provides that “ Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers. . . .”
The case was heard by a three-judge district court, which found unanimously, from facts not disputed, that: “It is clear by any standard . . . that the population of the Fifth District is grossly out of balance with that of the other nine Congressional districts of Georgia and in fact, so much so that the removal of Dekalb and Rockdale counties from the district, leaving only Fulton with a population of 556,326, would leave it exceeding the average by slightly more than 40 per cent.”
Notwithstanding these findings, a majority of the court dismissed the complaint, citing as their guide Mr. Justice Frankfurter’s minority opinion in Colegrove v. Green, 328 U.S. 549, an opinion stating that challenges to apportionment of Congressional districts raised only “ political “ questions, which were not justiciable. Although the majority below said that the dismissal here was based on “ want of equity “ and not on nonjusticiability, they relied on no circumstances which were peculiar to the present case; instead, they adopted the language and reasoning of Mr. Justice Frankfurter’s Colegrove opinion in concluding that the appellants had presented a wholly “ political “ question.
Judge Tuttle, disagreeing with the court’s reliance on that opinion, dissented from the dismissal, though he would have denied an injunction at that time in order to give the Georgia Legislature ample opportunity to correct the “ abuses “ in the apportionment. He relied on Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, which, after full discussion of Colegrove and all the opinions in it, held that allegations of disparities of population in state legislative districts raise justiciable claims on which courts may grant relief. We noted probable jurisdiction, 374 U.S. 802. We agree with Judge Tuttle that in debasing the weight of appellants’ votes the state has abridged the right to vote for members of Congress guaranteed them by the United States Constitution, that the district court should have entered a declaratory judgment to that effect, and that it was therefore error to dismiss this suit. The question of what relief should be given we leave for further consideration and decision by the district court in light of existing circumstances.
Baker v. Carr, supra, considered a challenge to a 1901 Tennessee statute providing for apportionment of state Representatives and Senators under the stale’s constitution, which called for apportionment among counties or districts “ according to the number of qualified voters in each.” The complaint there charged that the state’s constitutional command to apportion on the basis of the number of qualified voters had not been followed in the 1901 statute and that the districts were so discriminatorily disparate in number of qualified voters that the plaintiffs and persons similarly situated were, “ by virtue of the debasement of their votes,” denied the equal protection of the laws guaranteed them by the 14th Amendment. The cause there of the alleged “ debasement “ of votes for state legislators - districts containing widely varying numbers of people - was precisely that which was alleged to debate votes for Congressmen in Colegrove v. Green, supra, and in the present case. The court in Baker pointed out that the opinion of Mr. Justice Frankfurter in Colegrove, upon the reasoning of which the majority below leaned heavily in dismissing “for want of equity,” was approved by only three of the seven justices sitting. After full consideration of Colegrove, the court in Baker held (1) that the district court.had jurisdiction of the subject matter; (2) that the qualified Tennessee voters there had standing to sue; and (3) that the plaintiffs had stated a justiciable cause of action on which relief could be granted.
The reasons which led to these conclusions in Baker are equally persuasive here. Indeed, as one of the grounds there relied on to support our holding that state apportionment controversies are Justiciable we said: “… Smiley v. Holm, 285 U.S. 355, Koenig v. Flynn, 285 U.S. 375, and Carroll v.
Becker, 285 U.S. 380, concerned the choice of representatives in the Federal Congress, Smiley, Koenig and Carroll settled the issue in favor of justiciability of questions of Congressional redistricting. The court followed these precedents in Colegrove although over the dissent of three of the seven justices who participated in that decision.”
This statement in Baker, which referred to our past decisions holding Congressional apportionment cases to be justiciable, we believe was wholly correct and we adhere to it. Mr. Justice Frankfurter’s Colegrove opinion contended that Art. 1, Section 4, of the Constitution had given Congress “ exclusive authority “ to protect the right of citizens to vote for Congressmen, but we made it clear in Baker that nothing in the language of that article gives support to a construction that would immunize state Congressional apportionment laws which debase a citizens’ right to vote from the power of courts to protect the constitutional rights of individuals from legislative destruction, a power recognized at least since our decision in Marbury v. Madison, 1 Crach 137, in 1803. CF. Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat 1. The right to vole is loo important in our free society to be stripped of judicial protection by such an interpretation of Article I. This dismissal can no more be justified on the ground of “ want of equity “ than on the ground of nonjusticiability.” We therefore hold that the district court erred in dismissing the complaint.
This brings us to the merits. We agree with the district court that the 1931 Georgia apportionment grossly discriminates against voters in the Fifth Congressional District. A single Congressman represents from two to three times as many Fifth District voters as are represented by each of the Congressmen from the other Georgia Congressional districts. The apportionment statute thus contracts the value of some votes and expands that of others. If the Federal Constitution intends that when qualified voters elect members of Congress each vote be given as much weight as any other vote, then this statute cannot stand.
We hold that, construed in its historical context, the command of Art 1, Section 2, that Representatives be chosen “ by the people of several States “ means that as nearly as is practicable one man’s vote in a Congressional election is to be worth as much as another’s. This rule is followed automatically, of course, when Representatives are chosen as a group on a statewide basis, as was a widespread practice in the first 50 years of our nation’s history.It would be extraordinary to suggest that in such statewide elections the votes of inhabitants of some parts of a state, for example, Georgia’s thinly populated Ninth District, would be weighed at two or three times the value of the votes of people living in more populous parts of the state, for example, the Fifth District around Atlanta. CF. Gray v. Sanders, 372 U. S. 368. We do not believe that the framers of the Constitution intended to permit the same vote-diluting discrimination to be accomplished through the device of districts containing widely varied numbers of inhabitants.
To say that a vote is worth more in one district than in another would not only run counter to our fundamental ideas of democratic government, it would cast aside the principle of a House of Representatives elected “ by the people,” a principle tenaciously fought for and established at the Constitutional Convention. The history of the Constitution, particularly that part of it relating to the adoption of Art. 1, Section 2, reveals that those who framed the Constitution meant that, no matter what the mechanics of an election, whether statewide or by districts, it was population which was to be the basis of the House of Representatives.
During the Revolutionary War the rebelling colonics were loosely allied in the Continental Congress, a body with authority to do little more than pass resolutions and issue requests for men and supplies. Before the war ended the Congress had proposed and secured the ratification by the states of a somewhat closer association under the Articles of Confederation. Though the articles established a central government for the United states, as the former colonies were even then called, the states retained most of their sovereignty, like independent nations bound together only by treaties.
There were no separate judicial or executive branches; only a Congress consisting of a single house. Like the members of an ancient Greek league, each state, without regard to size of population, was given only one vote in that house. It soon became clear that the Confederation was without adequate power to collect needed revenues or to enforce the rules its Congress adopted. Farsighted men felt that a closer union was necessary if the states were to be saved from foreign and domestic dangers.
The result was the Constitutional Convention of 1787, called for “the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. . . .” When the convention met in May, this modest purpose was soon abandoned for the greater challenge of creating a new and closer form of government than was possible under the Confederation. Soon after the convention assembled, Edmund Randolph of Virginia presented a plan not merely to amend the Articles of Confederation but to create an entirely new national government with a national executive, national judiciary, and a national legislature of two houses, one house to be elected by “ the people,” the second house to be elected by the first.
The question of how the legislature should be constituted precipitated the most bitter controversy of the convention. One principle was uppermost in the minds of many delegates: That, no matter where he lived, each voter should have a voice equal with that of every other in electing members of Congress. In support of this principle, George Mason of Virginia “argued strongly for an election of the larger branch by the people. It was to be the grand depository of the democratic principle of the government.”
James Madison agreed, saying, “ If the power fs not immediately derived from the people, in proportion to their numbers, we may make a paper confederacy, but that will be all.”
Repeatedly, delegates rose to make the same point: That it would be unfair, unjust and contrary to common sense to give a small number of people as many Senators or Representatives as were allowed to much larger groups - in short, as James Wilson of Pennsylvania put it, “ Equal numbers of people ought to have an equal number of Representatives. . . .” and Representatives “of different districts ought to hold the same proportion to each other, as their respective constituents hold to each other.”
Some delegates opposed election by the people. The sharpest objection arose out of the fear on the part of small states like Delaware that if population were to be the only basis of representation the populous states like Virginia would elect a large enough number of representatives to wield overwhelming power in the national government.
Arguing that the convention had no authority to depart from the plan of the Articles of Confederation, which gave each state an equal vote in the national congress, William Paterson of New Jersey said, “ If the sovereignty of the states is to be maintained, the representatives must be drawn immediately from the states, not from the people; and we have no power to vary the idea of equal sovereignty.” To this end he proposed a single legislative chamber in which each state, as in the Confederation, was to have an equal vote. A number of delegates supported this plan.
An ‘Unjust Principle’
The delegates who wanted every man’s vote to count alike were sharp in their criticism of giving each state, regardless of population, the same voice in the national legislature. Madison entreated the convention “ to renounce a principle which was confessed unjust,” and Rufus King of Massachusetts “ was prepared for any event, rather than sit down under a government founded in a vicious principle of representation and which must be as shortlived as it would be unjust.”
The dispute came near ending the convention without a constitution. Both sides seemed for a time to bc hopelessly obstinate. Some delegations threatened to withdraw from the convention if they did not get their way. Seeing the controversy growing sharper and emotions rising, the wise and highly respected Benjamin Franklin arose and pleaded with the delegates on both sides to “ part with some of their demands, in order that they may join in some accommodating proposition.”
At last those who supported representation of the people in both houses and those who supported it in neither were brought together, some expressing the fear that if they did not reconcile their differences, “some foreign sword will probably do the work for us.”
The deadlock was finally broken when a majority of the states agreed to what has been called the Great Compromise, based on a proposal which had been repeatedly advanced by Roger Sherman and other delegates from Connecticut.
It provided on the one hand that each state, including little Delaware and Rhode Island, was to have two Senators. As a further guarantee that these Senators would be considered stale emissaries, they were to be elected by the state legislatures, Art. I, Section 3, and it was specially provided in Article V that no state should ever be deprived of its equal representation in the Senate. The other side of the compromise was that, as provided in Art. 1, Section 2, members of the House of Representatives should be chosen “ by the people of the several states “ and should be “ apportioned among the several states. . . . according to their respective numbers.”
While those who wanted both houses to represent the people had yielded on the Senate, they had not yielded on the House of Representatives. William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut had summed it up well: “ In one branch, the people ought to be represented; in the other, the states.”
The debates at the convention make at least one fact abundantly clear: That when the delegates agreed that the House should represent “ people “ they intended that in allocating Congressmen the number assigned to each state should be determined solely by the number of the state’s inhabitants. The Constitution embodied Edmund Randolph’s proposal for a periodic census to ensure “ fair representation of the people,” an idea endorsed by Mason as assuring that “ numbers of inhabitants “ should always be the measure of representatives in the House of Representatives.
The convention also overwhelmingly agreed to a resolution offered by Randolph to base future opportionment squarely on numbers and to delete any reference to wealth. And the delegates defeated a motion made by Elbridge Gerry to limit the number of representatives from newer western states so that it would never exceed the number from the original states.
It would defeat the principle solemnly embodied in the Great Compromise - equal representation in the House of equal numbers of people - for us to hold that, within the states, legislatures may draw the lines of Congressional districts in such a way as to give some voters a greater voice in choosing a Congressman than others.
The House of Representatives, the convention agreed, was to represent the people as individuals, and on a basis of complete equality for each voter. The delegates were quite aware of what Madison called the “ vicious representation “ in Great Britain whereby “ rotten boroughs “ with few inhabitants were represented in Parliament on or almost on a par with cities of greater population.
English System Scored.
Wilson urged that people must be represented as individuals, so that America would escape the evils of the English system under which one man could send two members to Parliament to represent the borough of Old Sarum while London’s million people sent but four. The delegates referred to rotten borough apportionments in some of the state legislatures as the kind of objectionable governmental action that the Constitution should not tolerate in the election of Congressional representatives.
Madison, in The Federalist, described the system of division of states into Congressional districts, the method which he and others assumed states probably would adopt: “ The city of Philadelphia is supposed to contain between fifty and sixty thousand souls. It will therefore form nearly two districts for the choice of Federal Representatives.” “ Numbers,” be said, not only are a suitable way to represent wealth but in any event “are the only proper scale of representation.”
In the state conventions, speakers urging ratification of the Constitution emphasized the theme of equal representation in the House which had permeated the debates in Philadelphia.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney told the South Carolina convention, “The House of Representatives will be elected immediately by the people, and represent them and their personal rights individually …”
Speakers at the ratifying conventions emphasized that the House of Representatives was meant to be free of the malapportionment then existing in some of the state legislatures - such as those of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and South Carolina - and argued that the power given Congress in Art. 1, Section 4, was meant to be used to vindicate the people’s right to equality of representation in the House. Congress’ power, said John Steele at the North Carolina convention, was not to be used to allow Congress to create rotten boroughs; in answer to another delegate’s suggestion that Congress might use its power to favor people living near the seacoast. Steele said that Congress “ most probably “ would “ lay the state off into districts,” and if it made laws “inconsistent with the Constitution, independent judges will not uphold them, nor will the people obey them.”
Lectures by Wilson.
Soon after the Constitution had been adopted, James Wilson of Pennsylvania, by then an associate justice of this court, gave a series of lectures at Philadelphia in which, drawing on his experience as one of the most active members of the Constitutional Convention, he said: “ AM elections ought to be equal. Elections are equal, when a given number of citizens, in one part of the state, choose as many representatives, as are chosen by the same number of citizens, in any oilier part of the state. In this manner, the proportion of the representatives and of the constituents will remain invariably the same.”
It is in the light of such history that we must construe Art. 1, Section 2, of the Constitution, which, carrying out the ideas of Madison and those of like views, provides that Representatives shall be chosen “ by the people of the several states “ and shall be “ apportioned among the several states . . . according to their respective numbers.”
It is not surprising that our Court has held that this Article gives persons qualified to vote a constitutional right to vote and to have their votes counted. United States v. Mosley, 238 United States 383; ex parte Yarbrough, 110 United States 651. Not only can this right to vote’ not be denied outright, it cannot, consistently with Article I, be destroyed by alteration of ballots, see United States v. Classic, 313 United States 299, or diluted by stuffing of the ballot box, see United States,
Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right the vote is undermined. Our Constitution leaves no room for classification of people in a way that unnecessarily abridges this right. In urging the people to adopt the Constitution, Madison said in No. 57 of The Federalist: “ Who are to be the electors of the Federal Representatives? Not the rich more than the poor; not the learned more than the ignorant; not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscure and unpropitious fortune. The electors are to be the great body of the people of the United States. . . .”
Readers surely could have fairily taken this to mean, “ one person, one vote.” Cf. Gray v. Sanders, 372 United States 368, 381.
While it may not be possible to draw Congressional districts with mathematical precision, that is no excuse for ignoring our Constitution’s plain objective of making equal representation for equal numbers of people the fundamental goal for the House of Representatives. That is the high standard of justice and common sense which the founders set for us.
The Provisions of the United States Constitution are very similar to the provisions of the Constitution of Australia. Article 1, Section 2, of the United States Constitution contains the following words: -
An amendment to section 2 reads as follows: -
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several Slates according to their respective numbers.
The provisions »f the Australian Constitution are very similar. Section 24 provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth and States - . . the number of members chosen in the several States shall be in proportion to the respective numbers of their people.
– This chamber symbolizes the representation of States as sovereign bodies. It does not purport to represent the people as individuals. Of course, the States are accorded equal representation. 1 am referring to the proposal which concerns the House of Representatives, and the constitutional provision is that the members shall be chosen by the people directly. In relation to the similar words in the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court of that country in its historic decision said -
We hold that, construed in its historical content, the command of Article 1 section 2 that Representatives be chosen “ by the people of the several States “ means that as nearly as is practicable one man’s vote in a Congressional election is to be worth as much as another’s.
Further, it said -
To say that a vote is worth more in one district than in another would not only seem counter to our fundamental ideas of democratic government. It would cast aside the principle of a House of Representatives elected “ by the people “, a principle tenaciously fought for and established at the Constitutional Convention.
The principles which apply in the United States should apply here, not merely as a matter of construction of the Constitution but because we have a democratic government and because the right to an equal vote is inherent in any democracy. There are no political superiors or inferiors in the political arena. Why should one man’s vote be different from another man’s because he lives in a different area? I have great respect for the people who live in the sparsely settled areas in Australia. But why should the vote of a man who lives in such an area be worth more than that of a man who lives in an urban or suburban area? The claim that those who live in rural areas should have a vote which is of higher value than the vote of those who live in urban or suburban areas is an affront to democracy.
Let us examine the proposal. It is said that justice can be done to people in rural areas only if the electoral system has a bias in their favour. Justice can only be done if they have greater representation than they would have under the principle of equal vote, equal value. What does that mean? It means that those people say that they should be entitled, through an alteration of the electoral laws, to prevent a majority of the people from doing what they would otherwise do. That is not democracy. It does not matter how important the interests are of the rural areas, the urban areas or the suburban areas. There is one interest that is more important than any of these, and that is the preservation of democracy in this community.
One docs not expect miracles from democracy. It is enough that we can say that in this country we have democracy except in a State such as South Australia. We believe that all Australians are political equals. It does not matter what their birth, their education or the place they live in; they should have an equal voice in the election of representatives. They should have an equal voice in the government of this country. No person who believes in democracy should support a proposal which is designed to pave the way for the destruction of that principle. What is proposed may work at one time in the interests of those in a rural area; on some other occasion it may work against them. But, no matter whom it is intended to benefit, there should be no favour towards any section of the community. When one sees a proposal to remove a limit which already is much wider than one would expect to be used in a democracy, one can only take alarm for the future.
An argument is put up that representatives of the large electorates have difficulty in getting about their electorates. It is said that it is wrong that there should be one person representing a compact area and one who has an area of some hundreds of square miles to serve. The second situation could be met in many ways. One could give extra help to the man with the electorate larger in size. One could give him an extra allowance. But we should not interfere with equality of voting on the pretence that this is necessary in order that a representative may be able to serve the needs of his electors by getting around among them. This is a paltry excuse for striking down a principle which goes to the very heart of our democracy.
Mr. Deputy President, you may think and others in this chamber may think it is a shame and a disgrace that a proposal such as this should be announced in the Governor-General’s Speech. It is one which should earn the contempt of every person who believes in democracy, not only in this chamber but throughout Australia. But this proposal has been brought in. The Government has the numbers. It believes that it can force through a proposal that will serve its sectional interests. But if every member of this Parliament will examine his conscience, he will see that this is a proposal which should be rejected. Those who understand the fundamentals of our democracy and know how important it is that these matters, which are the bulwark of our democracy, must be preserved will use their endeavours to see that, whatever happens in the House of Representatives, these proposals will not be countenanced in the Senate.
– I take pleasure in, first of all, reaffirming with my colleagues our loyal sentiments to Her Majesty the Queen. I also express my sympathy to the American people for the loss of President Kennedy in very sad circumstances and to the families of those who lost their loved ones in H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “.
Since last speaking in the Senate, I have had the privilege of representing this Parliament at a meeting of the Interparliamentary Union in Belgrade. I extended my visit to cover many countries which I thought were of particular interest to Australia. I chose to go to countries where I felt we had particular political interest - countries close to us and far away. I propose to devote the main part of my remarks to some of those countries. I am reminded of the first matter to which I shall refer by my expression of loyalty to the Crown. I refer to the Commonwealth of Nations which was formerly referred to as the British Commonwealth of Nations. I expressed my loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen because she is the Queen of Australia as well as the Queen of Great Britain. I think it will serve Australia well if we get our thinking straight about the Commonwealth of Nations. When we go to England, we are confronted with three gates, through one of which we must pass with our passports. There is one under the notice “ British Commonwealth “, one under the notice “ Commonwealth “ and one which is labelled “ Foreign “. I was shocked to find that I was not allowed to go through the gate with the notice “ British Commonwealth “. Because it was such a shock, I believe we have to think about this matter.
England still has her family of nations, her fledglings that she is steering towards independence in a splendid way. In the past, England has done her best for us too, but she now considers that we are old enough and established enough to stand on our own two feet. I think this is probably a good thing. We have to stand on our own two feet and we are doing it extremely well. But there is a new relationship between us. I think it becomes a business relationship. We are partners with England. It is to the advantage of both of us to see that we trade well, remain prosperous and act as partners. 1 was very interested to read the report of the debate in the British Parliament about the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister cited figures to indicate the assistance that Britain was giving to underdeveloped countries. He said that since 1957 Britain had committed £300,000,000 in fourteen Commonwealth countries, and that each year it is giving £120,000,000 in aid to those countries and £80,000,000 to international funds. That aid is of tremendous advantage, to the underdeveloped countries. It is necessary to ensure that Britain is in a position to continue that sort of work, because I believe that only by doing that can we hope to retain peace in the world.
On many occasions England has been described as a nation of shopkeepers. That should help us to understand the point I am trying to establish. The British Government is helping the shopkeepers, but those shopkeepers have a responsibility to see that they help themselves and take advantage of the assistance that the Government is giving them. I do not think that the British shopkeepers are paying sufficient attention to their own efficiency or are displaying a sufficiently keen desire to give service. I offer that as a constructive criticism, because it is not always easy to ee what is wrong with oneself. I hope that if we have the same fault we will be told about it. The efforts of the British Government to enter the European Common Market could have been a godsend in bringing the shopkeepers to their senses and in leading them to try to increase their efficiency. Britain’s efforts to join the Common Market have been a godsend to us, because we have been encouraged to stand on our own feet and to develop trade nearer home. We have developed that trade most efficiently.
When travelling through different countries I made a point of looking at trade opportunities. I was given some very constructive suggestions which perhaps , the Senate does not want , to. hear just now ‘as the hour is late and the debate is nearly finished. I shall mention them on another occasion. The Government has been almost beyond criticism in its efforts to promote trade, but there is still much that can be done by private individuals in Australia to take advantage of trade opportunities. Individual States could be encouraged to take advantage of such opportunities. I believe our efforts would be far more effective if we could send individual trade missions to promote one type of commodity on an Australian basis. I discovered that in many countries traders wanted to buy our goods in bulk and to sell them under their own brands.
Aid is another subject in relation to which I should like to have had more time to speak, because I believe that it is of great importance to us. We need to give aid to the countries that are near to us. Of course, we are doing a great deal through the Colombo Plan, the South-East Asia Treaty Organization and in other ways. It is not always advisable to give aid in monetary form. That becomes apparent when one goes to Indonesia and sees how the aid given to that country not only is being wasted but is being used in a corruptible manner. Most of the monetary aid that has been given to Indonesia by the rival political forces of the world has been spent in Djakarta. That has caused a great deal of friction within Indonesia, because the people in the islands other than Java are resentful of the fact that they are not getting a proportionate share of that aid. I believe that that is at the bottom of the wide state of unrest that exists in Indonesia, which probably in turn is at the bottom of the policy of confrontation that is being adopted by Indonesia towards Malaysia.
Indonesia has to do something to hold her people together and to remove the irritation that is being caused throughout the islands by the way in which monetary aid is being wasted in Djakarta. It seemed to me that the money was being wasted. It was being poured into extravagant buildings and monuments. Of course, it may not be regarded as being wasted when it is being poured into projects such as stadiums and halls in which President Sukarno gives his rallying speeches. But when one sees a roadway to such a stadium built with, a twoinch foundation, which lasted less than one year and which is now almost rubble, one realizes that aid so used for political purposes is of no great value.
Having spoken of the dissatisfaction Which exists in some of the islands of Indonesia because of the way in which monetary aid is being spent, 1 am led to speak about Indonesia’s policy of confrontation. It is rather significant to note that when the formation of the Federation of Malaysia was first mooted President Sukarno and his Government were in favour of it. They said publicly that they thought it was a good idea. However, when the plan began to take shape they said that it would be necessary to have a plebiscite to obtain the opinion of the people who would be affected. That expression of opinion having been obtained, the formation of the federation has been criticized and has been described as a neo-colonial plot.
I should like to speak about the constituent parts of the federation. One needs to look at the internal problems of Malaya itself to realize that a little time was needed to get the plan for a federation moving. The main problem confronting Malaysia is that of its multi-racial policies. In the main three racial groups are involved - the Malays themselves, the Chinese and some Indians, and in the Borneo territories indigenous races including mainly tha Dyaks. The existence of all these racial groups causes great problems. Each country has a different way of approaching the problems. Many of them arise from the age of the people, who mostly are very young. Families are very large. These young people are coming into the work force. This causes each country within Malaysia to be frightened of the possibility of crossmigration with consequent internal problems. Malaya, of course, has almost the same number of Chinese as Malays and is handling its problems extremely well. Malaya has coped with this problem for many years. The Malays themselves are protected by special laws, which preserve various jobs for them. They fear that otherwise the more industrious and perhaps astute Chinese would gain control of the country.
Singapore has quite a different problem. There 85 per cent, of the population consists df Chinese, 50 per’ cent, of whom are under the age of 21 years. The energetic and extremely dynamic Prime Minister of Singapore is doing a magnificent job in solving Singapore’s problems. He has performed a colossal feat in providing homes and educational facilities for the people. Education for the Chinese has been a problem in itself, because the Chinese have tended to have class schools which have not been open to government inspection, and it is from them that the subversive elements seem to have been spreading. This problem has been tackled by Lee Kuan Yew. He is now proceeding with a scheme of industrialization in Singapore to provide employment for the people. Perhaps his greatest triumph in relation to Malaysia was in successfully negotiating to retain within Singapore a large portion of the revenue from taxation. He realized that the Chinese people in Singapore were not happy with the idea that their money was to go out of the island. Lee Kuan Yew was able to arrange that 60 per cent, of the taxation revenue should be retained in Singapore.
– Is that arrangement limited to a particular period?
– Not that I know of: Lee Kuan Yew agreed to make a loan of 50 billion dollars to Sabah, which formerly was North Borneo. He stipulated that half of the labour force to be employed on construction works for which the loan was to be used, was to come from Singapore. This stipulation is causing another problem, because Sabah already has employment difficulties. It has a young population and the Government wants to give employment to the people of Sabah. I think that it would be willing to accept a great many of the more experienced and skilled workmen from Singapore, but this in turn would create a political problem. So, while Lee Kuan Yew is insisting that half the loan moneys should be used to employ his own people, he is creating a problem for the people of Sabah. It can be seen that a great deal of negotiation is necessary to solve such problems.
I wish now to turn to some of the problems of the Borneo territories which, I think, are perhaps the ones we know least about. Sabah and Sarawak were both at a disadvantage in the earlier days of their development in that they were privately or semi-privately developed. By that, I mean, that ‘they Were not ‘developed’ by ‘governments. In the case of Sabah, the North
Borneo Company undertook the development of the territory. In Sarawak, there were the rajahs. In both countries the semi-private developmental organizations did a splendid job, but obviously they did not have the resources that are available to governments. This factor has caused, I think, the difference that exists between the people of the Borneo territories and the more advanced people of Malaya and Singapore. Between the two territories of Sabah and Sarawak there is a difference in the fertility of the soil. In Sabah the soil is reasonably fertile. The country was bombed during the war which means that the cities and towns have had to be rebuilt. There are no slums. There is very little communism because there is prosperity, both on the land and in the cities.
Administration is being carried on in reasonably stable conditions. There is a long coastline of 900 miles, and a short border is shared with Indonesia. The population of Sabah consists of 300,000 indigenes and 100,000 Chinese. The significant fact is that there are 24,000 Indonesians who have come across the border to seek employment. I think that employment has been and still is more readily available in Sabah than over the border, and it is certainly more rewarding. This immediately brings to mind the reason why the Government of Sabah does not want to have unemployment in the country. If unemployment existed there would be scope for the Indonesian forces to work on the 24,000 Indonesians living in the country. Although Indonesia has tried to stir up trouble among the Indonesians in Sabah, they are quiescent and contented there.
It is significant that the laws protect the Malay people against the more industrious and astute Chinese. I was told a story which I think illustrates this point. The law provides that taxi drivers must be Malays. In a particular case, a Malay taxi driver bought his licence and was approached by a Chinese who said to him, “ We will pay you so much more to keep out of it and we will run your business “. The Malay agreed and sat back very comfortably with the money that the Chinese paid him to keep out of the way and let them run the business. One of the problems of .each of. these countries is that the Malays, who are not- as energetic as the Chinese but .who are. very gentle and charming, are easily pushed aside by the Chinese. It is a problem to keep the peace between the two races.
There is a need to educate the villagers in Sabah. This, perhaps, is the biggest problem. I believe that it is one that we in Australia could help to solve by means of television. It would be a practical proposition for us to train some of the people of Sabah to be technicians and educationists so that they might be able to spread education throughout the villages by means of television programmes. It is now possible to obtain transistor television sets for which an electricity supply is not necessary, but of course technicians would be required to keep the sets in order. This is a matter which Australia might well consider in respect of all the territories of Malaysia.
I turn to Sarawak, which is smaller than Sabah and which has a much shorter coastline but a longer border with Indonesia. The soil is not as fertile as that of Sabah. The population is much younger, approximately half the people being under the age of fifteen years. About 15,000 young people enter the work force each year, and this creates a great problem. Sarawak was not bombed during the war. The cities are rather slummy compared with those of Sabah. Communism has entered the territory and has caused a great deal of difficulty, particularly with the young people who are going over the border to be trained by the Indonesians.
I think it is of interest to say something about -Brunei which has not as yet come into the federation. There is a difficult problem in this connexion. Brunei is a very small country with a small population, but it is wealthy because of the oil which has been discovered there. A considerable portion of the royalties which have been paid on the oil has been invested in the country. Approximately £7,500,000 a year is received in royalties and is sufficient, without the need for internal taxation, to keep the small population very well looked after. In 1959 the people of Brunei gained a new constitution which provided that there should be a free election in three years’ time. There were to be seventeen elected people on the council, sixteen to be nominated by the Sultan. Elections were held in 1961 or 1962, and sixteen of the seventeen elected members belonged to the party led by Azahari. II am giving all this detail in order to explain why the rebellion in Brunei took place.
It seems to be quite a common thought that the rebellion was anti-Malaysia. However, I was assured when I was there that that was not the reason. Many people have claimed that it was, in an attempt to strengthen Indonesia’s contention that the people of the territories did not want to join the Federation of Malaysia. The reason for the rebellion was that the sixteen elected members of the Parliament could not get their way against the sixteen members nominated by the Sultan and the additional member. There was an uprising by people who were against the feudalistic system. When the British officers retired from Brunei the Sultan chose Malays from Malaya to come in and help run the country because there were insufficient trained local people to fill the positions. These men were not very carefully chosen and they did not fit into the life of the country. There was a great resentment against trie rather feudalistic system and this, I am sure, was the reason for the rebellion. The uprising was very quickly suppressed. The Malay people do not like fighting and they were quite easily brought to order. There is still a chance, I believe, that Brunei may be persuaded to enter the federation. The Sultan himself is not anti-Malaysia. He wants to retain his own power and prestige, as in his own right he ranks ahead of the king of Malaya because of the time of his accession to power. If these things were sorted out Brunei could, I believe, be brought into the federation.
I shall touch very briefly on other matters which I examined. One is the opportunity for tourism. We have in the last week or two seen a good deal of publicity on the successful promotion of tourism. In six years we have increased the income from tourists from £6,000,000 to £29,000,000, as a result of the enterprise of the Australian National Travel Association, backed by the present Commonwealth Government. Through this association we have offices in the United States of America, one in London, one in New Zealand and one in Hong Kong, but we still need to put more money into the promotion of tourism and particularly to establish offices in Germany and Tokyo. Germany has really leapt ahead as the leading tourist country of the world. There are so many German tourists in Europe that almost invariably an Aus tralian is first asked whether he is a German; he is then asked whether he is an American. I was told that last year German tourists in Europe spent 808,000,000 dollars, which was more than the combined expenditure of American and British tourists. That being so, Australia needs to get very quickly into the promotion business in Germany, in order to try to persuade some of those people to come here, not only because they spend well and we need the money but also because we need the goodwill that flows from tourism.
We could well do more in New Guinea, which is a wonderful country for tourism. It is politically opportune at present to persuade tourists to go to New Guinea and see for themselves what a splendid job this Government has done. Almost invariably, whenever one discusses New Guinea in other countries, one finds that the people to whom one is speaking have not the faintest idea of how primitive are the indigenes of New Guinea, how much has to be done to help them forward, and how fast development is proceeding. I hope that in the very near future we can do more to promote tourism in New Guinea.
There is a very interesting situation in the case of Japan. Until now, currency restrictions have been imposed by the Japanese Government upon tourists wishing to leave the country. We have frequently seen Japanese business people here, but we have not seen very many tourists. However, in recent years they have been encouraged by enterprising business people to enter a scheme which allows them to pay now and go later. There are now 60,000 Japanese who have actually paid their fares to various countries against the time when they will be allowed to go. As from next month they will be allowed to take out of the country 500 dollars in addition to their transport costs. Almost immediately there will be an opportunity for very many Japanese to visit here. We should establish an office in Tokyo and engage in more promotion.
It is very significant that by 1970 supersonic aeroplanes will be in the air. From Hong Kong to Melbourne will be only a 3i-hour flight, from Tokyo to Melbourne 4i hours, and from San Francisco to Melbourne 5 ± hours. Such rapid transport seems to me to offer great opportunities for us to entice people to come here, because it will no longer be possible to say that
Australia is too far away and that to go there takes too much time.
J should like also to mention briefly the subject of migration, in which I have always been and still am extremely interested. Australia needs more people and it needs them quickly. We are having a most successful run with migration promotion, particularly in England. Nobody knows how long English people will continue to come here in their present numbers, so we need to look at the migrants that we may expect to get from other countries. I was disappointed to find that the Spanish Government is discouraging emigration. Its attitude is logical, because it has now launched a five-year developmental programme for which, in the foreseeable future, it will need all of its own people. Spain still is a comparatively povertystricken country. There have not been a great many employment opportunities for its people. There is no middle class as we know it and there is a huge gap between the very rich and the very poor. The Spanish Government is not encouraging its people to go as far away as Australia, so that there will be opportunity for them to be brought back to Spain from nearby European countries when the Spanish development plan is in progress. This means that there is need for a great deal of negotiation with the Spanish in the hope that we may be able to persuade them not to continue their rather restrictive policy on this matter and to allow more of their people to come to Australia. 1 sat in on some of the interviews in the migration office and I found that Spaniards were a splendid type of migrant. They are anxious to come here, but at present facilities are not available for them.
I found, too, that a great many Armenians in Egypt apply to come to Australia, but never actually take the plunge. I referred to this matter recently by way of a question. I suggest that we should have more effective films for showing these people what is available in Australia and what the country is like. They indicate a willingness to come, but they need a little hit of impetus to send them on their way. They would be very suitable migrants if v/e give them a little more encouragement to come here.
When one leaves Australia it becomes very, clear, that this, is quite. the best country of the world in which to live and to which to encourage migrants and tourists. We have an opportunity to bring people here. We must go ahead with confidence in ourselves. Australia is an even more prosperous and exciting country to which to bring people than is America. If we go ahead in the way in which we are going, and if we continue with the good government that we have, we shall -be able to increase our population in the way in which we hope.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Presentation of Address-in-Reply.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) agreed to -
That the Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General by the President and such honorable senators as may desire to accompany him.
– I have ascertained that His Excellency the Governor-General will be pleased to receive the AddressinReply to his Speech at Government House to-morrow at 4.30 p.m. I extend an invitation to all honorable senators to accompany me on the occasion of its presentation.
The “Old Contemptibles”.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed–
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I do not intend to keep the Senate for any length of time, but I wish to draw attention to the efforts which are being made by representatives of the old contemptible now living in Australia to attend certain very important celebrations to be held in Great Britain in a few months’ time. This year, 1964, is the fiftieth anniversary of the battles of Mons, Marne, Aisne and Ypres. For the benefit of those who do not know, I explain that the name “Old Contemptibles “ is derived from a reference by the Kaiser during World War I. to the British Army as a contemptible little army.
In Australia, there are a comparatively few members of the contemptible little army - I do not know the exact number - who desire to attend the celebrations to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of their heroic deeds, but they heed some assistance if they are to do so. I do not know for sure, but I expect that a number of honorable senators, and honorable members of another place, have received correspondence, about the matter. - 1 know-that I. have a very large file dealing with it. I followed up tho representations made to me by addressing, on 30th October last, the following question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister (Senator Sir William Spooner): -
It was some time before I received any reply to that question. As a matter of fact, finally I had to ring Canberra in order to obtain a reply, and that answer was very brief. It read -
The Prime Minister has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
The Government has considered these requests and in accordance with long established policy has been obliged to refuse them.
No explanation for the refusal was given but, in further correspondence sent to another member of this Senate a fairly full explanation was given. Amongst other things, that reply said -
I recently considered a request on this matter from Sir Edmund Herring- he is, of course, Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria - and told him that I felt unable to offer any Commonwealth help for attendance at the celebrations. The following passage from my letter to Sir Edmund will make clear the reasons for this decision: - “ The Commonwealth receives many requests for financial assistance to exservicemen’s and similar organizations so that they may take part in ceremonies of a commemorative kind (e.g. pilgrimages to war graves). It is not practicable either to meet all such requests or, among so many of equal merit, to make a selection. The long established policy of Commonwealth Governments therefore has been not to grant such requests.”
I suggest, Mr. President, in all sincerity that the matter 1 am raising is not analagous to the requests mentioned in that reply. This is a request by those desiring to attend celebrations to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the heroic deeds I have mentioned, and I do not think that any precedent would be created if the Government were to make a financial grant to enable those of the “ Old Contemptibles “ in Australia who are eligible and desirous of attending the celebrations in Great Britain to make the journey.
In support of my representations, I point out that I have been given to understand - and I believe this is correct - that Sir Edmund Herring, Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe, Governor of Victoria, and the Victorian Government are sympathetically disposed towards granting some assistance to the “Old Con.temptibles “ who wish to attend the celebrations overseas.
– How many do you suggest wish to go?
– I am sorry, but I have no idea. I understand that, unfortunately, the organization in Australia to which these Old Contemptibles belong is a fairly loosely knit one, but I suggest that their number would not be great. In any case, I suggest that if this Government were to make some contribution towards defraying the expenses of those wishing to go overseas, it would not matter how many of them wanted to go. All I ask is that the Government make some gesture.
Before I received a copy of the reply sent to another honorable member of this chamber, I followed up my question by writing a letter to the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). I am generous enough to concede that I do not think the Prime Minister personally saw my request. I am fortified in that belief by the fact that the reply which I received to my letter to the Prime Minister was signed by Senator Gorton for the Prime Minister. I do not say that in any derogatory way of either the Prime Minister or Senator Gorton. I realize that the Prime Minister has multitudinous tasks to perform, but, at the same time, I must say that I do not think he has personally seen my request. I wrote to the Prime Minister in these terms -
I am in receipt of your reply to a question asked by me re celebrations to be held in Great Britain this year to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Mons, Marne, Aisne and Ypres and have seen a fuller reply sent by you to Senator McKenna in which it appears that the Government is loath to create a precedent.
If the above assumption is correct may I point out that these celebrations are quite out of the ordinary, being the 50th Anniversary and the next major occasion of celebration would be the Centenary, when of course there will not be any Mons veterans left to participate.
Having regard to the fact that there are not many who are eligibles resident in Australia, may I suggest that this matter be further considered and that the Government make a contribution to assist those desirous to attend what will be memorable celebrations commemorating those valiant deeds of heroism.
I suggest in all humility that one cannot elaborate too much in attempting to make one’s point clear, and it is for that reason thatI raise the matter to-night on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. Time is getting short. I understand that the principal celebrations will be held in Great Britain in June and July. But it is not too late for the Commonwealth Government to make some gesture to those people who are known even to those who were not alive in that period as the “ Old Con- temptibles “ for the valiant deeds they performed on behalf of democracy as we know it. A contribution from this Government would be a very fine gesture indeed. I repeat that Sir Edmund Herring, the Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe, the Governor, and the Victorian Government are all sympathetically disposed towards the request. As a matter of fact, there is in progress in Victoria at the present time an appeal seeking to establish a fund to assist “ Old Contemptibles “ who are resident in Australia to attend the celebrations to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of their valiant deeds and heroism. I suggest to the Government that it re- consider this matter.
I should like, through you, Mr. President, to make sure that the responsible Minister in this chamber brings this matter to the personal attention of the Prime Minister, because without casting any reflection upon anybody,I must say that I am quite sure that the Prime Minister has not been confronted personally with this request.
.- in reply-I willsee that the request made by Senator Sandford is personally looked at by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies).I believe that it has been already personally looked at by him. I do not think that the question is quite as simple as Senator Sandford has suggested. Those of us who are old enough remember the actions of those who were in the British Expeditionary Force in the battles to which the honorable senator referred, but there are many organizations within the overall organization of the returned soldiers, some of which can point to the same sort of heroic actions as can be pointed to by the “ Old Contemptibles “.
It occurs to me, for instance, that there will be a 50th anniversary very soon of the landing on Gallipoli, a deed which can rank with those of the “Old Contemptibles”. There is an organization of those who took part in that landing. A year or so after that - these things come out of my memory as examples of some of the problems which have been raised by this request - there will be the 50th anniversary of that most wonderful calvalry charge made by the Australian Light Horse Brigade in Egypt under Allenby, which finally broke the power of the Turks. That is another great deed of arms, confined to an organization of ex-Light Horsemen. One could go on and mention organizations which, in relation to the last war, can point to particular deeds of great daring, confined to a small number of people within the overall organization of the returned soldiers. For example, there are the Rats of Tobruk who for so long held the outpost of Tobruk. As the Prime Minister indicated in his letter, it is difficult to name one of these organizations and say that, because there is an anniversary, financial assistance should be given to those members of it who wish to attend the anniversary celebration.
– This is a 50th anniversary.
– The 50th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli and the 50th anniversary of the exploits of the Australian Light Horse will be occurring soon. There will be other 50th anniversaries of the First World War and there will be 25th anniversaries of the last war coming up. For these reasons, the Commonwealth Government has not made specific contributions to organizations contained within the greater organization of the returned soldiers of Australia. I am interested to hear that the Victorian Government is sympathetically inclined towards this appeal. I think everybody would be sympathetically inclined. I should be more interested to hear whether the Victorian Government makes a government contribution. If it did, that would be a matter for it.
Having said that, and having given what I believe are the reasons behind the Prime Minister’s reply to Senator Sandford, I will see that the Prime Minister does personally know of this request. I believe that he does personally know of it now, and did know when he wrote a letter for me to sign.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.25 p.m. ,
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 March 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1964/19640317_senate_25_s25/>.