18 March 1964

25th Parliament · 1st Session

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

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Senator O’BYRNE:

– I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, as the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the Prime Minister’s well known interest in cricket, which is shared by countless Australians, will the right honorable gentleman investigate the unsatisfactory reception, because of interference, of broadcasts by the British Broadcasting Corporation about the coming Australian cricket tour of the United Kingdom? Will the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Postmaster-General, make representations to the Australian Broadcasting Commission with a view to having alternative arrangements made for a direct-line broadcast to Australia of the forthcoming test matches so that Australian listeners may enjoy a satisfactory coverage?


– I assure Senator O’Byrne that I shall bring the matter to the notice of the Prime Minister and shall ask my colleague, Senator Wade, to take it up with the PostmasterGeneral to ascertain whether the reception can be improved.

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Senator WRIGHT:

– By way of preface to my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, I inform him that in this morning’s Hobart press and elsewhere recently public statements have been made to the effect that Captain J. P. Williams has an interest in Fleetways Transport and Agency Proprietary Limited which is inconsistent with his duties as the chairman of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, which controls the Australian National Line. I ask the Minister whether he will investigate the statements and present to the Senate a full and accurate report on the facts to enable honorable senators to form an opinion, about ..whether any interest that ;,Captain Williams has in that transport com pany, which I understand is allied with certain shipping companies, is inconsistent with his duties as chairman of the commission controlling the Australian National Line.


As Senator Wright has said, Captain Williams is chairman of the commission controlling the Australian National Line. That is not a full-time position and it would not be inconsistent for him to have other business interests. I have received a message from Captain Williams. Apparently this matter has been publicized in Tasmanian newspapers. I assume that it was in anticipation of questions being asked of me in the Senate that he sent me certain advice. Captain Williams repeats that no shipping company has an interest in Fleetways Transport and Agency Proprietary Limited. Macdonald Hamilton and Company Proprietary Limited operates tugs in Brisbane but has not operated any other shipping for some years. Gibbs Bright and Company Proprietary Limited has had no ships for at least 50 years. William Crosby and Company is the agent for the Ellerman line but has not operated ships for more than twenty years. Captain Williams has stated that there is no secret about his holdings. They are well known to the other commissioners of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission and before Captain Williams accepted the position of chairman he disclosed his holdings to the commissioners and the Minister for Shipping and Transport at that time.

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Senator ORMONDE:

– I direct a question to the Minister for National Development. Has the Minister seen a report that the Australian Gas Light Company of Sydney is to change from coal gas to natural gas for its fuel requirements? Does the Minister realize that if this happens, all gas coal producing mines in New South Wales will close? When does the Government intend to do something to protect the coal industry from cheap fuel oil which is being dumped in Australia?


– I do not know that the statement by the chairman of the Australian Gas Light Company,

Mr. Crane, related to fuel oil. I read the statement and I thought it was an announcement by Mr. Crane which indicated the possibility that if gas became available, the Australian Gas Light Company might turn its thoughts to using natural gas instead of gas produced from coal. I saw a statement in reply by Sir Edward Warren, chairman of the New South Wales Colliery Proprietors Association, who said that if Australia were fortunate enough to find supplies of natural gas, it would be at least five years in his opinion before that natural gas would become available.

This discovery of natural gas is an exciting and a very important national development but we have not yet reached the stage where any one can say with certainty that we yet have natural gas within an economic distance of Sydney. We live in hopes and in anticipation of it but we have not reached that point yet. We need to note that qualification because so much in relation to the use of natural gas will turn upon the cost of piping it from the point of discovery to the point where it may be used. As I said yesterday, one of our big hopes is that the discovery of natural gas might take industries away from the seaboard to the natural gas field. This is an important matter and I think Mr. Crane did well to indicate the possibilities because fuel is sold on an intensely competitive market. The country that has energy at the lowest economic cost will be so much better equipped than other countries in the competitive industrial world of to-day. I think both sides are doing well - as I myself have tried to do in thought and statement - to direct public attention to the possibilities of this new source of energy.

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– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Can the Minister inform the Senate whether any thought has been given to the establishment of a special educational television channel in Australia? If so, is the Minister aware that in other countries where such a step has been taken, there has been a tendency for the national and commercial stations to ignore their responsibilities for” providing good educational or enlightenment programmes and to use the time for programmes of a lower standard? Will the Minister take this finding into consideration if such an allocation is being considered?

Senator WADE:
Minister for Health · VICTORIA · CP

– As I think the honorable senator will concede, the PostmasterGeneral has pursued a policy of making available television facilities of the Australian Broadcasting Commission for the purpose of providing education in schools. If I understand the question correctly, the honorable senator wants to know whether a special channel can be provided. Some thought has been given to this matter, but channels are at a premium. It might well be impossible to arrange for a special channel to be made available for the provision of educational facilities, but I know that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is increasing progressively the education content of the programmes transmitted over the national stations. If there is any other information that I am able to convey to the honorable senator after I have spoken to the Postmaster-General on the matter, I shall make it available to her.

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Senator WOOD:

– I address a question to the Minister for National Development. It relates to the question I asked in the Senate yesterday regarding the sale of Moonie oil. Is it correct, as stated in the “ Hansard “ report of the Minister’s reply to my question, that supplies of crude oil have already been drawn from Moonie?


– I am sorry to say that the “ Hansard “ report, of the answer I gave yesterday is incorrect in that I am reported to have said that the Shell company and other international companies had already drawn supplies of crude oil from Moonie. That, Mr. President, is not correct. As we Know, no one has yet drawn supplies from the Moonie field. Whether the error was my fault or that of “ Hansard “ does not matter much, I think, but I feel that the correction should be placed on record.

Senator Ormonde:

– Does the Minister no.t correct his proofs?


– I have so much confidence in “ Hansard “ that I never correct my proofs. I repeat: The fact is that no oil has yet been taken from Moonie.

A wrong interpretation could be placed on the sentence, in the early part of the answer I gave to Senator Wood’s question yesterday, which begins -

On the contrary, the Shell company with which I have been closely associated in these negotiations . . .

I think it is fair to say that I have been closely associated with the company in the negotiations, but it has been suggested to me that I should make it plain to the Senate that the answer is not to be interpreted to mean that I have been closely associated with the Shell company other than in connexion with the negotiations.

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– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Defence been directed to a Reuter report that Brigadier Logan, EngineerinChief, Army Head-quarters, Canberra, told reporters in Port Moresby yesterday that works for a large-scale Army expansion in Papua and New Guinea, worth £10,000,000, were now awaiting the approval of the Australian Cabinet? Can the Minister inform the Senate when it is anticipated the expansion will commence?


– I have not seen this newspaper report. As the statement is attributed to an officer of such high rank, I feel I should refrain from answering the question until I have had a chance of seeing the report. Therefore, I ask that the question be put on the notice-paper.

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– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy whether, without awaiting the report of the inquiry into the “ Voyager “ disaster, he will ensure that all ships on which naval men are serving have escape hatches capable of being opened in times of emergency and adequate lifeboats or rafts in serviceable order? Will he also ensure that instructions ‘are given -to all naval . personnel on how to inflate life rafts and that all seagoing naval personnel Who are unable to swim will be taught to do so before being permitted to serve on vessels at sea?

Senator HENTY:
Minister for Customs and Excise · TASMANIA · LP

– I ask the honorable senator to put the question on the noticepaper. I feel that it is based only on what he has read in a newspaper report and I am not prepared to comment on this. I shall ask the Minister for the Navy to give the honorable senator a reply.

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– I ask the

Minister for Customs and Excise whether he is aware of the public controversy at present existing in both Victoria and New South Wales with regard to the withdrawal from sale in one State and the proposed withdrawal from sale in another State of a book entitled “ The Group “. Was this book once the subject of review by the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board, and was it accepted by the Minister as being suitable for sale within Australia? Does the present controversy once again highlight the unsatisfactory state of affairs and inconsistencies existing as a result of differences between Commonwealth and State laws regarding censorship in Australia, thus encouraging people of other countries to think that Australians may be a nation of literary morons? Bearing in mind the importance of this matter to Australians generally, will the Minister arrange for an early conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers to achieve uniformity between the Commonwealth and the States regarding censorship laws?

Senator HENTY:

– I am aware that there have been some differences of opinion between Victoria and New South Wales with relation to the book to which Senator McClelland refers. The honorable senator asked me whether the book was reviewed by the Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board. It was reviewed, and it was recommended for release. A book does not come to my notice in those circumstances. The book mentioned by Senator McClelland was released in accordance with the recommendation.

I have had conferences with State Ministers with relation to the possibility of obtaining uniform censorship laws. A great degree of uniformity has been achieved. Many discussions have also taken place between State officers and officers of my department on the subject; but throughout those discussions the one sovereign right which the

States insisted upon retaining in all circumstances was the right to act as they wished within their own borders in such cases as this. If there is any opportunity for further consultation between the States and the Commonwealth which I believe could lead to greater uniformity, I shall endeavour to ascertain the opinions of the Ministers on the matter.

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Senator GORTON:
Minister for Works · VICTORIA · LP

– I do know that towards the end of last year - I think it was in October or November - the Department of Labour and National Service foresaw that there would be a shortage of labour in Queensland because of the great expansion and boom conditions in that State resulting from the establishment of alumina works, an oil refinery, the construction of a railway to Gladstone and so on. Accordingly, officers of the department made surveys to ascertain what the position would be when the expanded sugar areas came into production. 1 know the officers have been in consultation with the leaders of the sugar industry there. This expansion will require the recruitment of 17,000 men to the sugar industry in Queensland for transporting and milling. It will not be easy to recruit this work force because last month the number of registrants for employment, instead of increasing, dropped by about 3,000, and that is unusual for this time of the year. However, in conjunction with the leaders of the sugar industry, the department feels that it will be able to find the required amount of labour. Certainly, the honorable senator can be assured that consideration has been and is being given to this particular question.

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Senator TANGNEY:

– I address a question to the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. Is the Minis:er aware that

Western Australian manufacturing exporters are showing increasing concern about the lack of shipping and also about the high freight charges for exports to SouthEast Asia and other markets close to Western Australia? ls he aware that exporters of perishable foodstuffs are particularly affected by the lack of refrigerated cargo space on vessels operating between Fremantle and Hong Kong and that at least one £30,000 order was lost because of a lack of regular shipping services? In view of the need for export markets, as evidenced by the present trade mission voyage of the “Centaur”, will the Minister confer with the Minister for Shipping and Transport with a view to investigating the possibility of ships of the Australian National Line entering into this service?

Senator HENTY:

– In answering the honorable senator’s question 1 refer her to the reply that I gave to Senator Cooke yesterday when he asked a question on similar lines, and also to a reply to a question on notice in which the Minister for Shipping and Transport pointed out that the Australian National Line did not have refrigerated cargo space available and so could not enter this type of trade. However, I shall bring to the notice of the Minister for Shipping and Transport the shortage which the honorable senator has suggested now exists and 1 shall discuss the matter with him, as she has requested.

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Senator LAUGHT:

– My question is addressed to the Minister assisting the Prime Minister in relation to Commonwealth activities in education. Can the Minister state when committees will be set up to make recommendations to the Government for the purpose of regulating the distribution of funds for science blocks and similar equipment for non-government schools in South Australia? Can the Minister say who will be the men and women who will serve on these South Australian committees?

Senator GORTON:

– At the moment I cannot tell the honorable senator when these committees will be set up. The committees will not have anything to do until applications for funds have been received and schools have been placed into categories. Then it will become necessary to get advice on the priorities to be allocated to schools in each category. I cannot tell the honorable senator at this stage who the men and women serving on these committees will be. However, it is our intention and our hope that the representatives of the various nonCatholic denominations will each nominate a person to work on a committee for such schools, and that the representatives of Catholic denominational schools will nominate one person or, if they wish, several people to act and advise on priorities in that field, so that we will not have conflicting applications from the Marist Brothers, the Christian Brothers and other teaching fraternities. I cannot tell the honorable senator when the committees will be set up. I have not yet had the opportunity to visit all States to set up the committees, although I have been to one or two States. The committees will be set up in plenty of time to do the work for which they are designed.

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Senator SCOTT:

– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is it a fact that Australia’s gold and cash reserves overseas now exceed £800,000,000? Does he believe this to be a safe level? What interest is payable on these reserves if they are let out to earn interest? If interest is not payable, will the Government give consideration to bringing some of the money back to Australia for use in developmental projects, particularly in Papua and New Guinea? I understand that the Australian Government has a case before the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for assistance to develop that Territory. Why cannot Australia use some of its overseas reserves, which stand at such a high level, to finance developmental projects?


– ft is true, as Senator Scott says, that overseas balances are at an all-time high level, reflecting the stability of the economy. I am sorry to say that it would not be practicable to bring these balances back to Australia for re-investment, because they reflect the net result of Australia’s overseas trading transactions.

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– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration. Has any change been effected in the Department of Immigration with respect to the supervision at the Perth air and Fremantle shipping terminals of arrivals from, and departures for, overseas destinations? If so, could the Minister say what effect the change has had, how it is working out, and whether the anticipated savings will be achieved?

Senator HENTY:

– There have been some changes. For many years the Department of Customs and Excise has done this work for the Department of Immigration at both airports and overseas shipping terminals. The Department of Immigration believed that the traffic had grown to such an extent that the work should be carried out by its officers. After consultation with the Public Service Board it was agreed to institute a sue months’ trial period with the officers of the Department of Immigration carrying out that portion of the duties which the Department of Customs and Excise used to perform. The new system has run for- about six weeks but I have not yet had any report on the result of the operation.

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– My question to the Minister assisting the Prime Minister in relation to educational matters relates to the question asked by Senator Laught. Is the Minister aware that for many years in South Australia a committee which was initiated by that great philanthropist, Sir Roland Jacobs, has been giving assistance to non-governmental schools for the provision of science buildings? If he is aware of this will he ensure, when he sets up committees, that the existence pf the present committee is not overlooked?

Senator GORTON:

– I have an idea that the honorable senator is probably referring to State grants by an industrial committee which is part of an Australia-wide organization to which firms make contributions. That is the only organization of which I know which for years has been making grants to schools to build science, blocks. It may be that there is some local organi zation in South Australia the operations of which are confined to that State. If that is so it appears that the committee has not, over the years in which it has been operating, supplied anywhere near the requirements of the schools in that area for science blocks. I believe that a committee of the kind which has been set up, or an industrial fund of the kind which has been established, to collect money from private people to build science blocks for selected schools is very valuable and should continue its work in the same manner as it has been working in the past. I do not believe that the committee, per se, has a place as such in the procedures which the Commonwealth will follow. For one thing, the industrial committee has been limiting itself to boys” schools and has not taken into consideration girls’ schools or co-operative schools. It is a committee which has paid no attention whatever to any claims which State geographical boundaries might impose, and it has paid no attention whatever to any grants which different denominations might require. In view of the procedures to be followed, which have been outlined, I do not believe that this committee as such could act for the Commonwealth, though perhaps individual members of it might.

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– Has the Minister for Customs and Excise, who is representing the Minister for Civil Aviation during his absence, seen a statement that Ansett Transport Industries Limited proposes to purchase six Douglas DC-9 twin jet airliners at a total cost of £8,000,000 for delivery in 1966? Is it part of the Government’s policy for the rationalization of air services that both Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. should enlarge their fleets at about the same time? Has T.A.A. decided upon any enlargement of its fleet? Has Ansett Transport Industries Limited sought the consent of the Government for the purchases I have mentioned? If so, when is it expected that the application will be considered?

Senator HENTY:

– There has been no alteration of the Government’s two-airline policy, which has often been described in the Senate by the Minister for Civil Aviation. As I am not aware of the details which the honorable senator requires, I ask him to place the question on the noticepaper.I shall then obtain the information from my colleague.

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Senator WRIGHT:

– I preface my question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, by bringing to his notice certain figures which are set out in the February issue of the “ Commonwealth Automotive Review “. This publication reveals that in 1960 a total of 11,700 motor vehicles were exported. In both 1961 and 1962 the number fell to 7,900 but in 1963 it rose to 15.900. I ask the Minister whether those figures have been examined with a view to ascertaining the effect of the incidence of sales tax on the motor vehicle industry. Can the Minister tell me whether, in view of the fact that last year the number of vehicles exported rose significantly, consideration has been given to affording the motor industry a bonus sales tax advantage, similar to the bonus pay-roll tax advantage for the purpose of boosting exports?


-I was not aware of the marked variation in the numbers of motor vehicles exported, although I had known from general information that there had been a falling-off and then a rapid recovery. I personally had attributed a good deal of that recovery to the bonus portion of the wages tax formula. I think it is fair to say that in this big industry, as in others, we are now commencing to reap the benefit of our export drive. For example, I was intrigued to note that a motor vehicle was placed on one of our. export-drive ships. When I asked a question about the matter I was told that as a result of our venture in this field markets were being opened up. A suggested expansion of the bonus incentive to include sales tax as well as pay-roll tax raises a rather big question of policy which I would not attempt to canvass in a reply to a question.

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Senator ORMONDE:

– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week a Premiers’ Conference was held here in ParliamentHouse. I think I would be like all other senators-


– Order! The honorable senator must ask his question.

Senator ORMONDE:

– The only information we received about the conference was from the newspapers. Is there any means whereby honorable senators can see the minutes or report of the conference?

Senator Sir WILLIAM SPOONER.Premiers’ Conferences are generally held in open session. Newspaper reporters, and of course, honorable senators, may then be present. Usually a report of the proceedings of such conferences is printed. It becomes a public document and is available for all to see. On this last occasion, when the Commonwealth aid roads formula was discussed, the Premiers themselves resolved to hold their discussions in camera and not make them open to the press. I am sorry to have to say that I am not aware of the implications of that decision or whether the report of the proceedings will now be published as a public document. I ask Senator Ormonde to place that part of his question on the notice-paper so that we may ascertain whether the report will become public.

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(Question No. 8.)

Senator BROWN:

asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -

If a recognized psychiatrist applies for a banned book because a certain patient of his needs it to restore his mental health, would the Minister consent to the request?

Senator HENTY:

– I furnish the honorable senator with this reply -

I am unable to give a precise answer to the question because the regulations require that I have a report from the Director-General of Health. I would naturally be guided by the Director-General’s report.

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(Question No. 19.)

through Senator Cooke

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -

  1. Has the Minister seen a statement that, according to Japanese Surveys conducted every year by major confectionery manufacturers),in Japan, chocolate is the favorite of the Japanese people?
  2. Has Australia made any efforts to capture any of the Japanese confectionery market?
  3. Are there any chocolate manufacturing companies in Australia the overseas parent companies of which refuse to allow their Australian counterpart to export beyond certain limited areas? If so, what are the names of the chocolate companies concerned and their parent organizations?
Senator HENTY:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -

  1. No.
  2. Yes, but confectionery is still subject to import licensing in Japan and this has limited our opportunities.
  3. Chocolate manufacturers have provided the Department of Trade and Industry with the details of their export franchise arrangements. As this information was provided voluntarily on a confidential basis, I am unable to disclose details of the arrangements.

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(Question No. 22.)

through Senator O’Byrne

asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -

  1. What was the cost of the sound recording apparatus installed in the new Supreme Court building in Canberra?
  2. What savings, if any, have resulted from the installation of such equipment?
  3. What has been the success or otherwise of this method of recording compared with the employment of manual reporters?
  4. Is it proposed to extend sound recording apparatus to other Commonwealth jurisdictions?
Senator GORTON:

– The AttorneyGeneral has furnished this reply -

  1. The cost of sound recording equipment (including wiring and installation charges) in the Supreme Court at Canberra was £3,600.
  2. The equipment has been in use for too short a period to enable savings that might accrue to be calculated with any degree of exactness. Also, the system is still in the experimental stages. Minor modifications are being made to the equipment and staff are still being trained.
  3. Experiments with the equipment up to the present have been successful and presiding judges have praised the quality of transcripts produced.
  4. The question as to whether sound recording apparatus will be used in other Commonwealth jurisdictions will be decided after the system in Canberra has been in operation for a reasonable period and has been thoroughly tested as a means of reporting cases in which oral evidence is given.

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(Question No. 42.)

Senator BRANSON:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. What is the attitude of the Department of Health to the Russian surgical instrument which uses metal staples instead of needle and gut to join together blood vessels or nerves?
  2. Does the Minister agree with Professor Androsov that the instrument makes possible a quicker and better quality join than most surgeons can achieve with conventional methods?
  3. Does this instrument make it possible to join very small veins and nerves in vascular and neurosurgery?
Senator WADE:

– The following are the replies to the honorable senator’s questions: -

  1. The choice of any particular surgical instrument is the responsibility of the operating surgeon. The Department of Health does not attempt to influence surgeons in any way in their choice of instruments. The Russian surgical instrument referred to is a development of the original surgical stapling device constructed by the Budapest physician Aladan Von Petz in 1922, for suturing of stomach and intestines. Extensive surgical stapling development has occurred in the U.S.S.R. since 1941 when V. D. Gudor, a Soviet engineer, designed a device for stapling the ends of blood vessels. The success of the instrument has stimulated parallel efforts in other countries, particularly Japan, Canada and the United States. In particular, Mallina in the United States has developed an instrument which is believed to be just as effective as the Soviet device and much simpler. Several American firms including du Pont plastics and the Central Research Division of Becton Dickinson and Company have made valuable contributions in the design and manufacture of the instrument. Should difficulty be experienced by any surgeons in importing surgical instruments into Australia my department would be happy to help facilitate the importation.
  2. On the information available it would appear that surgical stapling instruments may be able’ to achieve quicker and better quality joins in selected cases than could be achieved by conventional methods.
  3. Yes.

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(Question No. 43.)


asked the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -

  1. In view of the considerable sales of wheat and a prospective sale of wool to Communist China, is there any reciprocal trade with Australia; if so, in what commodities or items and in what quantities?
  2. Is there any demand on the part of the Communist Chinese Government to increase our imports from them?
Senator HENTY:

– The reply to the honorable senator’s question is as follows: -

  1. Yes. Figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician show that imports from mainland China in 1962-63 totalled £5,627,755 compared with £3,810,611 in the previous year. Values for some of the principal items were as follows: -
  1. Government measures in respect of imports into Australia do not discriminate against imports from mainland China. Such imports receive as favorable treatment as those from any other nonCommonwealth source. The great bulk of Australia’s import trade is in the hands of private traders who make their own decisions as to the source of their imports.

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(Question No. 40.)

through Senator O’Byrne

asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

  1. Will the Minister arrange with the Department of the Navy for it to be made a condition of future navy recruiting that all trainees should be able to swim, as is the case with police trainees and trainees in other vital callings?
  2. As much public money is spent on learntoswim campaigns, could it be made obligatory for all present naval personnel to attain competency in swimming, so as to avert tragic losses of life through drowning in any future naval disaster?
Senator HENTY:

– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -

The present regulations are designed to ensure that all entrants to the Navy are given instruction in swimming. In the case of ratings this takes the form of two separate tests in both of which the man is clothed and is to swim 50 yards, after which he is to be able to keep himself afloat for three minutes. One test is conducted in a swimming pool or shallow water and the other in the open sea or suitably enclosed deep water area. In addition, life-saving is taught to the more proficient swimmers, advanced classes being formed for this purpose as opportunity occurs. Career officers - that is, those who enter through the Naval College at Jervis Bay- are required to attain the

B ronze Medal Certificate before graduation under tests conducted by officials of the Royal Lifesaving Association. Other officers - that is, those who are entered for short service commissions - are also given swimming tests.

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Motion (by Senator Gorton) - by leave - agreed to -

That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to amend the Weights and Measures (National Standards) Act 1960.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Standing Orders suspended.

Second Reading

Senator GORTON:
Minister for Works · Victoria · LP

.- I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

For some years it has been the aim of the Commonwealth to provide for the establishment and use throughout Australia of uniform units and standards of measurement of those physical quantities of importance in trade, science and industry, as it is constitutionally empowered to do. To this end a National Standards Laboratory was established in Sydney under the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, which is equipped to maintain the Commonwealth standards of measurements of a wide variety of physical quantities. A Weights and Measures (National Standards) Act was passed and under it a National Standards Commission was appointed.

One of the major concerns of the Commonwealth has been to obtain uniformity between the States in the traditional weights and measures fields of weight, length and volumetric capacity, although, in fact, the Commonwealth act and its regulations have much wider application to such quantities as electrical power, quantity of heat, density, pressure and temperature. To assist in this object the commission has for several years organized an annual conference of weights and measures officers from the various States, which have proved a very useful medium for the discussion and solution of common problems.

One such problem of outstanding concern has been the approval of measuring instruments for use for trade. To ensure that such instruments as butchers’ scales, cloth measuring devices and petrol pumps shall be of appropriate accuracy and satisfactory construction and shall not lend themselves to fraud, the instruments are inspected by State weights and measures officers and, if satisfactory, are stamped. To be accepted they must, inter aiia, conform to a pattern which has been approved by the State weights and measures authorities. That is the present position.

Unfortunately different States, working independently, have arrived at different requirements for such patterns with the result that, at present, instrument manufacturers can be put to great cost and inconvenience by having to submit the same prototype instrument to each State in turn and in some cases having to modify the instrument in several different ways to meet the requirements of the different States.

I think it will be agreed that this is neither a satisfactory nor an efficient state of affairs. To obviate it the conference of weights and measures officers proposed that the Commonwealth should establish a central body to be charged with the responsibility of giving approval to the patterns of measuring instruments which may be used for trade, such approval to be effective throughout Australia. This proposal has the support of the Chamber of Manufactures and was approved by a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers concerned with weights and measures, under my chairmanship, held in Canberra in 1962.

The 1962 conference of Ministers suggested that this function might be made the responsibility of the National Standards Commission. To do so would extend the functions of the commission beyond those given it under the Weights and Measures (National Standards) Act of 1960 and could involve the commission in acquiring property and employing staff. Hitherto, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has met the notverygreat needs of the commission for staff, finance and facilities. Accordingly, the present bill has been prepared, primarily to make the commission responsible for the approval of patterns for instruments for use in trade, in addition to its other functions in the field of weights and measures. As a corollary it is proposed that the commission be constituted as a body corporate.

The occasion of the proposal to amend the act provides a convenient opportunity for several other relatively minor amendments to be presented which are needed to facilitate the operation of the act. Some State weights and measures authorities have found that the hierarchy of standards provided by the 1960 act is insufficient to meet their particular needs. Pending the provision of additional grades of standards it has been necessary to delay the full implementation of the regulations made under the act by twelve months, until 1st January, 1965, in order to avoid grave inconsistencies and possible repercussions in the State weights and measures field. Provision for additional grades of standards has been included in the bill.

The commission, for its part, has found it necessary to clarify the way in which certain verifications may be effected and measurements checked. The resulting amendments are of a somewhat technical nature and do not significantly alter the basic system of weights and measures provided by the 1960 act. It is intended that regulations to give effect to the new provision will be made as soon as the act has been amended. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 4 to 8 p.m.

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Address-in-Reply: Presentation to the Governor-General.


– I desire to inform the Senate that this day, accompanied by honorable senators, I waited on the Governor-General and presented to him the Address-in-Reply to His Excellency’s Speech on the occasion of the Opening of the Twenty-fifth Parliament, agreed to by the Senate on 17th March.

His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply: -

Mr. President,

Thank you for your Address-in-Reply, which you have just presented to me.

It will be my pleasure and my duty to convey to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen at once the Message of Loyalty from the Senate of the. Commonwealth of Australia, to which the Address gives expression. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

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Ministerial Statement

Senator GORTON:
Minister for Works. - by leave - I point out that, in reading the statement on international affairs made by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick · Victoria · LP

in the House of Representatives last week, when I use the personal pronoun, it is to be taken as referring to Sir Garfield.

It is now some months sinceI had the opportunity to speak to the House on foreign affairs. Now, at the outset of the new Parliament I would like to give some broad review of the international scene, of some of the most important of recent events, and of the Government’s attitude.

First some observations on East-West relations, for the state of these constitutes a climate within which the events of general international life take place. There has been a distinct moderation in East-West tensions, that is, between the Western world and the Soviet Union with its Eastern European associates, though not with Communist China. This moderation is a cause for some encouragement. The immensely powerful combination of the Soviet Union and Communist China, which for a decade posed a united threat to world peace, has shown distinct signs of disunity and divergence. At the same time, the leaders of the Soviet Union, the more mature of the two great Communist states, have shown a clear realization of the dreadful meaning of nuclear war and a pre-occupation with the problems of their own internal development - not least, with agriculture, that perpetual and apparently incurable area of weakness in the Communist system.

The Soviet leaders, turning their attention to such internal problems, remembering the terrible losses suffered in the last war, under some pressure from their own people for a better life, and faced with difficulties in the international Communist movement, have appeared in recent times to be more concerned with these matters than in undertaking foreign adventures. This does not mean that they are any the less ready to exploit national and international situations for the furtherance of their own ideologies and the weakening of the Western world. This, unfortunately, they do unremittingly.

Changes that are taking place, however, within the Eastern European countries themselves - the shattering of the monolith, the stirrings of independent thought and even action, the opening of windows on the West, the sense of disenchantment with doctrinaire socialism - open up prospects that pressures within the Communist world itself may act in favour of a saner relationship between East and West. We should at all times be aware that we are not dealing with a rigid and inflexible phenomenon, but with one that is in a state of constant change. This being so, we should be both sensitive and alert, ready to explore on the one hand possibilities of genuine accommodation, and on the other cautious and hardheaded to guard against deceit. It is in our interest to encourage diversity and the seeds of independence among Communist countries, and to see the penetration of Western ideas among their peoples. In this respect there can be value in the natural growth of non-political contacts of all kinds - in the arts and sciences, in sport, in travel - between the Communist and nonCommunist worlds.

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The situation in respect of Communist China is less encouraging. Recent weeks have seen two important developments -

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Government of France and the Chinese Communist Government; and

The termination of relations between the Government of France and the Government of the Republic of China.

These developments should be mentioned together, since they are closely related; one is the consequence of the other.

Honorable members will recall that on 27th January . there was an official announcement from Paris and Peking that the “ Government of the French Republic and the Government of the People’s Republic of China have decided by common agreement to establish diplomatic relations. For this purpose they have agreed to name Ambassadors within a. period of three months.”

The French Government had been good enough to give us advance notice of their decision to establish diplomatic relations with Communist China. We were told that in making this decision France had made no prior commitments with regard to her relations with the Chinese Nationalist Government in Formosa, her attitude to Chinese representation in the United Nations, or anything else. In various official statements, French spokesmen indicated a desire and intention to continue relations with the Nationalist Government.

On 28th January, the day following the joint communique from Peking and Paris, I issued a statement that Australia would examine with interest the conditions under which recognition had been- agreed between France and the Chinese Communist Government. I added that Peking’s attitude on a number of crucial issues had been a principal impediment to her wider acceptance into the international community and it remained to be seen whether there had been any change in her position. I said that in the meantime no change in Australian policy in respect of recognition was called for or desirable.

A number of people assumed that France had broken new ground by succeeding in establishing diplomatic relations with Peking and still being able to maintain relations with the Nationalist Government in Formosa. However, on the very day after the French had taken the step of committing themselves to establishing diplomatic relations with Peking, the Chinese Communist Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Peking issued a formal statement making it perfectly clear that there had been no softening in their attitude in respect of Formosa. Peking left no doubt that a condition for the exchange of ambassadors between Paris and Peking would be that representatives of the Nationalist Government should not stay on in France.

And that is exactly the way things worked out. Faced with the prospect of being told to withdraw their representation, the Nationalist Government felt obliged to act first by announcing, on 10th February, the severance of relations with France.

So much for the succession of events. The incident has at least served to demonstrate, if this was needed, that recognition of Peking and the establishment of diplo matic relations are not the simple and straightforward process that man’y pec-pie represent it to be. The incident shows that Peking has in no way moderated or modified its attitude to Formosa and the 12,000,000 people who inhabit that island. Peking does not confine itself to requiring that a recognizing country shall cease to have diplomatic relations with the Nationalist Government. Peking continues to assert its authority over all the people of China and affirms, as it did in its statement of 27th January, “ that Taiwan is part of China’s territory “. Peking’s “ People’s Daily “ in an editorial on 28th January stated -

The Chinese people are determined to liberate Taiwan. We have the full right to make Taiwan return to the fold of the motherland in whatever form we consider appropriate. The Chinese people will resolutely smash any attempt to create “ twoChinas “ and any plot to detach Taiwan from China.

This is not new. Indeed, it would have been novel to find Peking adopting any different attitude. It is nonetheless a matter of great regret and concern. So far as Australia is concerned, it remains our position that the fate and future of the people of Formosa should not be bargained for and disposed of in negotiations and diplomatic manoeuvres in which they play no part. Recognition, on Peking’s present terms, would involve just such an action.

That is not to say that we wish to turn an unresponsive face towards the people and authorities of mainland China. Nothing would bring us more satisfaction than for a situation to develop where there could be wider contacts on a basis of friendliness and mutual respect. Unfortunately, the behaviour of the Communist authorities in Peking has left little opportunity for progress towards this end.

In addition, Peking’s hostility is directed not only against the Nationalist Government, but against that Government’s alliance with the United States. Peking leaves no secret that its objective is to remove United States - and other Western - influences not only from Formosa but from the whole of the Western Pacific. There is no reasonable basis for doubt that Peking’s purpose in so doing is to facilitate the extension of its own influence.

In a nuclear world which increasingly abhors the use of force in the pursuit of national aims China does not conceal its’ readiness to employ physical force for policy purposes. I am not merely referring to China’s advocacy of violence and revolution within the Communist ideological argument. I am referring to China’s anachronistic approach, by modern standards, to international behaviour among States.

In this connexion we cannot and should not forget the significance of the Chinese physical assault on India, which occurred despite India having taken the path of seeking China’s friendship, of following a nonaligned policy and of committing resources to economic development rather than military preparedness.

These policies were answered by the Chinese crossing the boundary in September, 1962, and launching sharp military attacks and deep penetrations into Indian territory. As rapidly as they were deployed, so were the Chinese forces withdrawn - but not entirely. This was a calculated and controlled resort by Communist China to military force for political purposes. The threat remains. By their command of the Tibetan plateau the Chinese remain poised for renewed action. The group of Asian countries, the “ Colombo Powers “, evolved proposals for a peaceful settlement which have been accepted by India and refused by China.

The Government of India, however, reacted in a spirited and determined fashion and was quick to use the proffered defence aid1 from Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia and New Zealand. Military assistance has continued and has assumed a longer-term character, and a sense of continuing mutual interest has grown. Towards the end of last year, United States and British service aircraft, with some Australian participation, took part in air training exercises in India under the auspices of the Indian Air Force. This has not affected India’s policy of nonalinement, in the sense that India remains uncommitted to mutual defence obligations. But India has accepted the need that matching strength must be created and positioned to counter-balance China’s readiness to resort to force; India has also accepted the fact that equipment and technical aid for defensive purposes needs to come from the industrialized countries.

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In the light of my comments on China I turn to the statement by General de Gaulle on 31st January, about the neutralization of South-East Asia and a treaty of neutrality. These were subjects of such importance that in diplomatic exchanges we have sought clarification about the French ideas. I am informed it was not General de Gaulle’s intention to make practical proposals for immediate application. He has, as we have been informed, a lengthy time-scale in mind. There is as yet no French neutralization plan and indeed before one could’ be developed there would need to be intensive discussions and consultation among the countries vitally concerned, including the South-East Asia Treaty Organization members. President Macapagal, in commenting on President de Gaulle’s statement, has rightly drawn attention to the determination of countries in the region to have the deciding voice in shaping their own future.

It is far from my wish to be negative or unresponsive about proposals having a bearing on peace and1 stability in South-East Asia. Nor is the Australian Government critical of the pursuit of a policy of neutrality and non-alinement by individual countries. I believe, however, that any broad discussion of neutralizing this or that area through concerted international action must quickly address itself to precise situations. One would need at the outset to know which countries are envisaged as falling within the neutralized zone, what form the guarantee would take, which States should do the guaranteeing, what would’ happen about foreign forces and bases, and so forth. A major effort has been made in recent years to bring about and maintain an international status of neutrality for Laos. This is a small, land-locked country of few resources and at a low level of development and yet the task of making the Geneva agreement work continues to be taxing and difficult despite the untiring devotion of the Prime Minister, Prince Souvanna Phouma. The political elements within the country have yet to achieve a sufficient sense of national unity; the integration of the contending armies into one national force has not been accomplished; North Viet Nam continues to supply and equip the Pathet Lao forces, to train political and military cadres and to add the presence of military units of its own from time to time. The Communist elements are restrained only by their desire not to destroy the Geneva agreements since, in destroying the agreements they would by their own action nullify the Seato declaration of noninvolvement. 1 would invite the attention of honorable senators to another aspect of this idea of neutralization. The constant goal of Australian policy in Asia is to see the development of strong well-organized countries standing on their own feet and confident of their national independence. We do not under-estimate the difficulties in attaining a stable region steadily rising in political and economic strength. Some countries are bedevilled by population pressure; some lack homogeneity and sense of national community; in some the Government writ does not run in the outer provinces; in some there are deep-rooted ethnic and cultural group differences. Many have tremendous problems of food and health. The general requirement is for a strong and stable central government with established institutions for administration and security and law and order providing improving standards of life for their whole population. It is the elements of internal weakness which make subversion the preferred method of Communist penetration. The process of subversion, which exploits ethnic divisions, remoteness, human needs and ills and all the other factors, goes on unrelentingly until it can gradually take on the added character of de facto control over parts of a country. Neutralization does not stop the process of subversion nor provide a remedy for it. I ask myself the question, therefore, how is this problem of subversion directed from outside to be handled under any neutralization scheme? Can the issues be defined and made susceptible to agreement among the guaranteeing countries? Can the neutralized country be helped to acquire the means of maintaining its internal security? Can it evoke outside aid if its government considers it necessary?

This is very relevant to South Viet Nam. There is talk from time to time of the neutralization of South Viet Nam - usually may I say, only in terms of the neutralization of the South and not the whole of Viet Nam. All too often, I believe, the solution of neutralization is offered as a course of despair. Proposals affecting Viet Nam have to be seen in the perspective of a country fighting for its survival against a ruthless, terrorist campaign of internal Communist subversion which receives great external aid, and in relation to the importance of South-East Asia as a whole to the free world.

Substantial aid from North Viet Nam comprises the systematic training in permanent camps of recruits from South Viet Nam and their re-infiltration as cadres to form the political and military backbone for Viet Cong forces fighting Government forces in South Viet Nam. The number runs into several thousands each year. North Viet Nam maintains its pressures, and a large number of insurgents remain armed and organized in South Viet Nam. At present the Viet Cong regular forces number more than 25,000.

Present reports of the progress of the war against the insurgents are not encouraging. The level of incidents has reached a high peak and acts of terrorism have become increasingly reckless. United States personnel, who are giving devoted service in many advisory capacities to the Vietnamese Government and armed forces, are a particular target of attack. The present difficulties are to be seen against the background of the internal changes that have taken place in Viet Nam with the fall of President Diem last November and a regrouping of power within the Military Revolutionary Committee in January. As the government of General Khanh settles down, and is given United States support - vigorously re-affirmed by the Secretary of Defence, Mr. McNamara, on his current visit - there is reason to hope that the outlook will improve. Under such circumstances, the withdrawal of external defence support from the South Viet Nam Government - and this is what would be involved in neutralization - would be a very grave matter. Another question to which any discussion of neutralization should give rise is the place of so-called “ foreign “ troops and bases. China has massive armies - two and a half million men, and sufficient logistical capacity to use very large numbers: North Viet Nam - with t an army estimated at 240,000 - has much more powerful forces than her neighbours. Elements of these forces have in recent years been sent back and forth across the frontiers of Laos. This means that, in parallel with any plan of neutralization, there should continue in being the deterrent of countervailing power. But what concerns me is that if bases and conventional forces are withdrawn from countries in South-East Asia the possibility of controlled and graduated resistance to Communist China and North Viet Nam disappears. Then, if the guarantee of neutrality - supposing it to exist - were ruptured we should have the grave choices associated with recourse to nuclear weapons.

Let me expand a little on this point. For resistance by conventional means to be possible there must be a sufficient body of forces equipped and mobile in the region, and the means of transporting, supplying and reinforcing them. This means, of course, barracks, air strips, transport aircraft, fighter cover, supply dumps, maintenance and repair facilities and the like. Through a combination of forces in being, adequate logistics, and the pre-positioning of stocks, limited or “ brush-fire “ aggression is capable of resistance by conventional means. Even in the event of largerscale aggression, immediate defence by conventional means provides that vital breathing-space of time for risks and consequences of nuclear conflict to be brought into account. The West does not want to find itself manoeuvred into a position where the alternatives would appear to be using nuclear weapons or not resisting aggression. To have no conventional capacity in this .region would foreclose any option as to the use of nuclear power.

At the same time, there is the desire amongst some of the countries of the region, as an aspect of their newly won sovereignty, to consider defence and security as primarily, and in the minds of some as exclusively, a matter for a coordinating approach on a regional basis by the countries of this region. Australia supports and encourages regional associations and links among South-East Asian countries, and is ready to consider participation in such arrangements to the appropriate degree. But it is apparent that a selfsupporting security system, confined to members of the region, is not at present practicable. “ Foreign “ troops and bases certainly entail political and diplomatic problems, but it must remain an Australian objective to urge upon our Asian neighbours that they should neither weaken the security of the region, nor seek to distort the balance between themselves, by working towards an early removal of these bases. I may say that no controversy surrounds Australian forces in the countries where they are stationed.

Political issues concerning the future of bases in the Asian region will require continuing attention. I do not refer to the well-worn criticisms employed in Communist propaganda, but to problems and uncertainties which stem from strongly conceived ideas of national independence. This can lead to the allegation of so-called “ neocolonialism “, that is to say, the accusation that a new sovereign country is not fully independent because it has retained treaty connexions with the former colonial power which have the effect of impairing its sovereignty. We should not avoid discussion and debate on this thesis with our Asian neighbours.

Some of the major bilateral security treaties which are in force to-day are in the Asian region, namely, the Treaty of Mutual Co-operation and Security between Japan and the United States, the Mutual Defence Agreement between the Philippines and the United States and the Anglo-Malaysia Defence Agreement. All of these treaties represent the outcome of careful negotiation and they embody a whole range of conditions and stipulations meeting requirements of sovereignty and of a basic national interest of the partner countries. Furthermore, these treaties are public documents, registered with the United Nations, which have been ratified as a result of the constitutional and legislative processes of the countries concerned, each of whom I might add - Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia - have democratic, popularly elected governments. In respect of the Anglo-Malaysia treaty, which is the object of Indonesian criticism, the Malaysian Government is perfectly free in the matter and if it so wish could say at any time that the treaty was no longer in effect. In other words, it cannot be assumed by even the most doctrinaire anti-colonialists that such treaties are necessarily imposed or are an intolerable diminution of sovereignty.

The British response to the request from the Sultan of Brunei, where there was not a single British soldier stationed until the rebellion, inevitably led to an Indonesian charge of colonialist interference in the internal affairs of Brunei. It is important to recapitulate the facts. It was puzzling at the time that Azahari should resort to engineering a revolt in Brunei shortly after his party had won the Brunei elections and was strongly placed to press its claims for constitutional advance and a greater share in the government of the country. It has, however, become increasingly apparent that the ambitions of Azahari ran well beyond the internal politics of Brunei. It will be recalled that the revolt itself at the time was not confined to Brunei but touched fringe areas in Sarawak and Sabah. The movement at the time was called the “National Army of Kalimantan Utara “, the significance of this being that Kalimantan Utara denotes the whole of the geographical area, Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak, that is, the whole of the non-Indonesian half of the island of Borneo. Azahari, who is to-day in Indonesia, does not claim to be the leader of the Brunei party or of a Brunei government in exile. His claim is that he represents the national government of Kalimantan Utara. He claims - correctly - to have infiltrated members of the “ National Army of Kalimantan Utara “ not into Brunei but into Sarawak and Sabah. His clandestine radio is directed not so much at the Sultan of Brunei as against the Tunku and the whole Malaysian concept. While the Government of Indonesia has so far held back from recognizing him officially as Head of the Revolutionary Government of Kalimantan Utara, no obstacles are placed to his so representing himself, and there is constant pressure from the Communist Party of Indonesia that he should be given official recognition. 1 have gone into this detail because I think that the facts are important for Australia and because the facts illustrate the problems with which we have to deal, namely, the problems deriving from externally encouraged insurrection. Let us suppose for a moment that Britain had not met its treaty commitments to the Sultan of Brunei. We would have had in Brunei the proclamation of a Government claiming authority over the whole of the northern part of the island of Borneo, and one which would have sought and gained Indonesian support. Instead of witnessing as we have an orderly democratic transition of Sarawak and Sabah from colonial status to independence as federal units within Malaysia, the prospect would have been for a turbulent and destructive power struggle throughout the three territories which would have been destructive of orderly development and the degree of racial tolerance which has been achieved. These are realities which we must be prepared to see. It was the presence of British power, made possible under the necessary time scale by the existing bases, which prevented what would have been a disaster for this area.

It seems to me entirely proper - and often prudent - for countries which may be comparatively deficient in trained and adequate security forces of their own, to seek guarantees of survival and stability through security arrangements with third countries. Honorable senators will have noted, in this connexion, the recent actions within the informal framework of Commonwealth cooperation, by the President of Tanganyika and’ the Prime Ministers of Kenya and Uganda in asking for British military assistance to restore internal order, and the evident beneficial effect of the prompt British response will, I am sure, be appreciated by honorable senators.

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I turn now to the serious problems of Indonesian hostility towards Malaysia, in particular to the question of the cease-fire and the latest consultations among the Governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

It will be recalled that as a result of Mr. Kennedy’s efforts, President Sukarno announced on 23rd January that he had ordered a cease-fire to be put into effect and on the same day Tunku Abdul Rahman said Malaysia would extend its fullest cooperation to facilitate arrangements for the cease-fire.

The Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and the Philippines and the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia met in Bangkok from 5th to 10th February. They agreed to approach the Secretary-General for his designation of Thailand to supervise the cease-fire. They were not able to agree, however, on the essential elements of a cease-fire arrangement. Malaysia said that as part of the cease-fire Indonesian forces, regulars and irregulars, must be withdrawn from Malaysian territory. The Indonesians said that these forces would be withdrawn only when some general political settlement was reached. Malaysia formally entered a reservation to the communique issued at the end of the meeting, which reservation said that the cease-fire would not be fully effective as long as these forces remained.

However, far from agreeing to withdraw their forces, the Indonesian Government, a week after the Minister’s meeting was over, said publicly that it wished to arrange supply missions to the guerilla groups in Sabah and Sarawak, and that the cease-fire was a “ standfast “ without a change in positions or a withdrawal. The Malaysian Government replied that it had the right to take all necessary action to maintain public security within its own territory.

Indonesian leaders continued to assert their intention to supply their forces within Malaysia, by air or land, with the result that the Malaysian Government took appropriate action to warn the Indonesians of the consequences of unauthorized overnight of its territory. Dr. Subandrio subsequently stated that Indonesia had “ no plans “ for air-drops on the Malaysian side of the border.

In a further attempt to obtain agreement on a proper cease-fire arrangement the Malaysians requested that a further ministerial meeting be held in Bangkok. Members will know that the meeting which took place last week was unable to resolve the issues involved in the cease-fire.

The facts are not in dispute. There are in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak several hundreds of infiltrators from Indonesia. The Malaysian Government has stated that within its knowledge the number has increased from two hundred to at least four hundred over the period of the cease-fire; that is, new infiltrations have occurred. This total of infiltrators comprises remnants of Azahari’s so-called national army of Kalimantan Utara; a number of Chinese members of Communist organizations in Sarawak who crossed into Indonesia; and a stiffening of Indonesian y regulars and irregulars. These elements ] have been brought together, grouped, £ trained and supplied by Indonesia. None of this has been denied by the Indonesian Government, and indeed, most is asserted by that Government. The Indonesian Government has acknowledged that it exercises control over and has a responsibility for these groups. Small groups of dissidents and saboteurs have also been infiltrated into mainland Malaysia and Singapore.

Indonesian policy follows a discernible course. For their own reasons, unconnected with any provocative conduct on the part of any of the constituent groups in Malaysia, the Indonesian leaders decided that they wished to prevent the creation and success of the new Federation. To achieve this Indonesia decided on a policy of “ confrontation “, which involved at the outset the use of economic and psychological methods together with military assistance in the way of training and supply to Bornean dissidents, who for one reason or another desired to oppose by physical means the formation of Malaysia. It was hoped that this “ confrontation “, combined with the subversive influence of the dissidents who were being supported by Indonesia, would cause such a climate of tension that internal unrest and uprisings within Sabah and Sarawak and possibly within other parts of Malaysia would result. In this respect the Indonesians, victims of their own philosophy of revolution, appear to have misjudged the political will of the people and the efficacy of the security forces. The infiltrators have not succeeded in their political aim of establishing themselves on the ground in any substantial force within Malaysia and up till now have in the main only been able to carry out hit and run raids followed by retreat. More recently, the Indonesians are talking of the existence of “ pockets of resistance “, but this expression again relates simply to the presence of their infiltrated groups, and is an attempt to invest them with a contrived political significance.

Indonesia has thus resorted to the use of force to achieve its aim of preventing the successful creation of Malaysia, which neither in point of numbers nor in point of military power, threatens Indonesia.

The Charter of the United Nations requires all its members, of whom Indonesia is one, to refrain from the threat or use of .force against the territorial integrity or ^political ^independence of any state. . In accepting the report of its Credentials Committee the United Nations General Assembly in substance endorsed the SecretaryGeneral’s report in which he certified that the principles of the Charter as to selfdetermination had been adhered to in the formation of Malaysia. The vote of the Assembly was 91 in favour with 11 abstaining and some of those abstentions related to features of the report not connected with Malaysia. Malaysia is seated in the United Nations as a member, that is to say, as a sovereign state entitled to equality with all other members in the organization. No question of recognition or non-recognition has any relevance to Malaysia’s position in the international community as a nation or to the obligations of its fellow members of the United Nations. To place and maintain Indonesian forces in Malaysia is thus in breach of the charter.

And the Bandung declaration of the Afro-Asian nations, which included a clear statement of the principle of nonintervention that no nation should intervene or interfere in the internal affairs of other countries has its own relevance.

Having failed to cause the disintegration of Malaysia through infiltration and subversion, Indonesian policy now seeks to use the continued presence of the guerillas as a tactical weapon to secure advantage and concessions in any discussions which Indonesia and Malaysia may have. This is the position adopted by Indonesia, as I said at the outset, in the course of the meetings of Foreign Ministers.

This is a situation which Malaysia, as 1 think rightly, believes it cannot accept. Any discussion among the three nations on political issues should take place on terms of equality without tactical advantage to any one of the participants. These conditions are not met while Indonesian troops are maintained in, and indeed continue to be intruded into, Malaysia. Without firm and acceptable arrangements for their withdrawal, it is difficult to see how such a discussion can take place. And it is also difficult to see how the question of their withdrawal, or the terms upon which they should be withdrawn, can form part of any political question which three equal sovereign nations may need to discuss.

The Malaysians therefore refuse, to de,fer to the Indonesian doctrine that Indonesia may introduce troops into another territory and then demand that the terms on which they shall withdraw these troops is a political question for discussion. Neither Malaysia, Indonesia’s other neighbours, including Australia, nor the rest of the international community could accept this doctrine or its implications. Nor has Indonesia any claim to the support of other countries in its endeavour to coerce Malaysia into its acceptance.

It is greatly to the credit of the Malaysians that they have been willing to take part in ministerial talks to arrange a proper or effective cease-fire. Their patience and demonstrated anxiety for peace merit our full commendation. The course which Indonesia is following merits international disapprobation. None the less, the Malaysians no doubt will continue with restraint to explore ways and means consistent with the maintenance of their sovereignty to achieve a peaceful solution of their relations with Indonesia.

I am sorry thus to speak of Indonesia. I have constantly sought to promote the friendship of the two peoples and h-ve been astute to seek and to study Indonesia’s points of view. But Indonesia cannot expect that Australia can do other than condemn breaches of accepted international obligations and of accepted norms of international conduct. Australian policy towards Indonesia will continue to be one of seeking to promote sound, friendly relations without sacrifice of Australian vital interests - in which I include performance of its commitments to other nations and the maintenance of its own territorial sovereignty. The time has surely arrived for Indonesia to pause in its present course and to review the position in which it has placed itself.

The Government is following these matters with the closest attention and Cabinet has reviewed the position on several occasions. We have publicly stated our support for Malaysia and our disapproval of Indonesia’s policies and courses of act ion towards Malaysia. We have made Australia’s position quite clear through diplomatic channels and by direct communication on the part either of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) or myself-with. Ministers in Indonesia^. Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Britain, America and indeed other countries.

At this time we await Indonesia’s decision whether or not to withdraw the infiltrated troops, forbear to intrude any more troops and to meet around the conference table to discuss, in accordance with proposals which I understand are afoot, and I would hope, resolve Indonesia’s relationship with Malaysia.

I may add here that the Malaysians have already notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations of Indonesian breaches of the recently announced cease-fire. This is a wise course, firstly as the SecretaryGeneral was actively involved in the creation of Malaysia and needs current information if he is to exert his influence in supporting the political and territorial integrity of Malaysia; and secondly as a prelude to the consideration by the United Nations of any matter arising out of the Malaysian/ Indonesian situation, should Malaysia decide to bring such a matter before the United Nations. The timing and the nature of an approach to the United Nations is clearly a matter for Malaysian decision after consideration of a number of relevant factors and the results of bilateral and regional discussions.

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Events in Africa during the last few months focus attention on the postindependence troubles of that continent. Where there were only eight independent countries at the end of 1959 there are now 34; at least two more will gain independence this year. This tremendous transformation has not been accomplished without conflict and difficulty - one has only to recall prolonged bloodshed in Algeria - but on the whole the transition to independence has been harmonious, and forms a creditable record to the responsible attitude adopted by both the former colonial powers and African leaders. Independence, however, is in itself no panacea for all the ills that confront a new country. There are difficult social and economic problems; there is the fundamental problem of development and raising living standards; and there is, in certain African countries, the problem of race relations.

The first necessities for the new countries in tackling their problems constructively are law and order and stability of frontiers. Recent events underline this point. Fighting broke out last year between Algeria and Morocco over a border dispute. In Zanzibar, which attained its independence only a few months ago, the Sultan’s Government was overthrown; during the disturbances several thousand people were killed. There have been troubles among elements of the armed forces of other East African countries, leading to the sending in of some British troops at the invitation of the governments concerned. Ethiopia and Somalia are engaged in fighting over a question concerning their border. In West Africa the army of the former French colony Gabon attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow the Government. There are still disturbances in the Congo; and tribal massacres between the Watutsi and Bahutu peoples in Rwanda and Burundi.

It is for the leaders of the African countries themselves to find ways of effectively solving their own difficulties. They are fully aware of the need to do so. In May, 1963, the heads of 30 African states met in Addis Ababa to discuss the question of African unity and how to achieve it through economic, social and cultural cooperation. As a result of this meeting the Organization of African Unity was formed. Already this organization has at least one practical achievement; its mediation brought peace between Algeria and Morocco.

The aim is clear. As indicated by African spokesmen themselves, it is to achieve independent, prosperous, firmly-based and harmonious societies in which no group shall have exclusive privileges, but in which there shall be genuine equality among citizens, without racial barriers or racial conflict. But in the Portuguese territories and in Southern Rhodesia - and even more acutely in South Africa, where matters are made worse by the doctrine of apartheid - the problem presents itself of a minority, now enjoying effective power and a traditional position of privilege, which sees in the rise of independent states, and in the emancipation of Africans elsewhere on the continent, a threat to the continued stability of the country and to their own position. The future of these areas must be a matter of great anxiety and concern to countries outside Africa, because of the implications of their special difficulties for the wider questions of which I shall . speak in a moment.1 7v .’ .’ v. ;

Southern Rhodesia is a territory with which Australia and many Australians have long had connexions. Until the end of last year, it formed a part - with Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia - of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, now dissolved. Nyasaland will become independent, under the name of Malawi, in July, and Northern Rhodesia is also expected to become independent before long. Southern Rhodesia has had responsible government since 1923; but there is pressure on the part of both communities in Rhodesia for independence now. The non-European nationalists are insisting on a new constitution which would enable the early election of an African majority; they are opposed to independence being granted while the Government is not based on such a majority, but they appear prepared to envisage the possibility of some short interim period. The European community, which forms about 8 per cent, of the country’s population, has made the major contribution to the economic strength of the country and to a modern social system. It maintains that the Africans are not yet ready to govern and that the present constitution would in any case lead to a non-European majority. The issue is how the opposing views can be reconciled, lt must be solved by the people of Southern Rhodesia themselves; and the decision of the terms and timing of Southern Rhodesia’s independence is primarily a matter for settlement between the Rhodesian Government and that of Britain.

But we in Australia are concerned because of the possible effects on the Commonwealth and internationally if things go wrong; our interest is that the circumstances of Southern Rhodesia’s independence should not lead to the nonrecognition of the government in Salisbury by most other governments, to ils nonadmission to the Commonwealth, or to the establishment in exile of a rival authority, claiming to be a government which might be supported by the African and many other states. If this were to happen, an Algerian type of situation may develop and a cleavage between the black and white communities emerge which might well prove deep and lasting. This would be a disaster not merely for Rhodesia but for racial harmony in Africa and even beyond.’

Patience is needed to avoid such an outcome and flexibility in exploring mutual concessions which can lead to the peaceful transition which is the only alternative to conflict. Any hasty decisions now on the part of any of those responsible in either community can only make that conflict more certain.

I have spoken of these African matters at some length because of their particular bearing upon an issue of sinister and apparently of growing importance; one which we in Australia cannot afford or hope to ignore. It is that of race relations. Sir Alec Douglas-Home has pointed in a recent speech to the broad coincidence of rich and poor among the peoples of the world with differences in skin pigmentation, and to the possibilities of trouble which this implies. The Chinese Communists are trying to exploit racial ill-feeling: they arc, it seems, doing their best to fan the fires of racial hatred in Africa.

I was glad to note that U Thant, the distinguished Secretary-General of the United Nations, in the course of an important speech at Algiers last month, uttered a specific warning about the danger of racial hatred. He said -

There is the clear prospect that racial conflict, if we cannot curb and finally eliminate it, will grow into a destructive monster compared to which the religious or ideological conflicts of the past and present will seem to be small family quarrels. Such a conflict will rol away the possibilities for good and all that mankind has hitherto achieved and reduce men to the lowest and most bestial level of intolerance and hatred.

These are wise words. We in Australia, who hope to build so much on the goodwill of the Asian countries which are our neighbours, will do well to ponder them. And people should reflect that the Commonwealth, however diverse it may become and however insubstantial the ties which may appear to bind its various members, is of unique value as an association transcending racial differences, and for that reason alone deserves the respect and support of all men of goodwill, both within the countries of the Commonwealth and outside them.

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Mention of the Commonwealth leads me to say something of our relationship wilh India and Pakistan.

Iri the sub-continent two countries, with both of whom Australia maintains the friendliest relations, have failed to achieve the harmony and sense of common purpose without which the security and well-being of the whole area are in jeopardy. On my visit to Pakistan and India in late 1962, just after the Chinese Communist attacks across India’s borders, I was impressed by the tremendous upsurge of national feeling and national unity that I witnessed in India as a result of the emergency. At the same time I came up in Pakistan against the reality of very widespread and strong antiIndian feeling arising from the unresolved Kashmir dispute and the belief that India had not finally accepted the fact of the partition of the sub-continent.

Nevertheless the crisis at the time offered the chance for Pakistan and India to settle their differences. Unfortunately the bilateral ministerial talks then arranged, and held between December 1962 and May 1963, came to an end without agreement being possible. 1 have dealt elsewhere with the way India has knuckled down to strengthening her defences and coping with the China threat. The scale of Western defence support for India is often misunderstood or misrepresented. In essence India is standing on her own feet but, arising out of the Nassau agreement between the late President Kennedy and Mr. Macmillian, the United States and Commonwealth countries able to take part have provided, subject to Indian request, defence aid in the order of 120,000,000 dollars. The emphasis has been on building up mountain divisions in the areas directly threatened by China and in improving air transport and ground support capability. At Birchgrove last year the two Western leaders agreed that there was a continuing need to assist India.

Australia for its part has contributed a grant of around £2,000,000. Our aid has taken the form of military clothing, wool, rifles, ammunition and tools from our defence production resources. We have in addition actively gone into the question of assisting India’s defence production facilities, not in the sense of setting up new industries but in modernizing and improving the techniques of existing ones.

In view of the Indian-Pakistani differences and Pakistan’s concern lest any accretion of Indian strength is turned against Pakistan’s interests, it is necessary to stress - as we have done direct to the Pakistanis - that the defence aid to India, which we regard as essential and not incommensurate to the threat involved, is directed solely against that threat from Communist China. This is illustrated by the types of assistance given. Moreover, we have guarantees in written form from the Indians regarding the stipulated end use of the military equipment provided. It is to be borne in mind too that levels of Western defence aid over the years to Pakistan - we ourselves have programmes under Seato aid - are in no way affected by what we have lately felt bound to do for India.

The abiding disharmony in IndianPakistani relations has had most disturbing manifestations recently in communal troubles in both East Pakistan and West Bengal. The Pakistan Government felt impelled in all the circumstances to refer the Kashmir dispute back to the Security Council of the United Nations and another inconclusive debate was held recently.

I felt, myself, when in India and Pakistan - and still feel - that Australia’s part was not to intervene in their dispute, nor to offer solutions, nor for that matter to attempt the role of mediator. We have confined ourselves to keeping in front of the leaders of both nations the great significance for the sub-continent which the resolution of their differences would have and also the grievous consequences of failure to resolve them. We all know, and none better than the leaders of India and Pakistan, of the very serious dangers to which communal unrest can give rise, but the view of the Australian Government is that only the two governments directly involved can take effective steps to cope with such unrest. It is our hope that they will take, firmly and promptly, whatever action is required to control the situations that arise, consulting and agreeing on joint action as necessary.

The Kashmir problem is proving most intractable and continued patience and some flexibility on both sides are clearly needed. It is the sincere hope of the friends of both countries that they will continue to pursue only peaceful means in seeking a settlement and, of course, the United Nations machinery exists for this purpose. There have recently been renewed suggestions of mediation in the dispute and in the light of the existing tension these merit most careful consideration.

It is relevant to mention that Pakistan has been pursuing of late an active policy of “normalizing” its relations with Communist China which it recognized in 1950. It has, of course, a legitimate right to do this. Our concern is that, especially having regard to the unresolved SinoIndian conflict and the bad state of IndianPakistani relations, the moves they do take or contemplate do not exacerbate the tensions and difficulties in the area. Just recently the Chinese Communist Premier, Chou En-lai, paid a visit to Pakistan and it is worthy of note that the Pakistani leaders during this visit did not hide the vitality and meaning of their continuing and fundamental Western attachments.

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The realities of our geographical situation require that we should devote much attention to our interests in Asia and to the destinies which link us with our Asian neighbours. As I have said on other occasions, this does not mean that we can or should neglect our relations with the countries of Europe - and I am here considering Britain as a European country, though I have in mind no less the countries of continental Europe - with which our direct ties have been increasing and will, I believe, continue to increase.

For we have a special community of interest, with the countries of Europe and very particular ties with them. Though our country is physically remote, we are ourselves a European people; the society we have established here is European in its values and traditions; its civilization and language; its whole nature. Remoteness has not meant isolation: not only do we continue to draw upon Britain and Europe in a vast variety of ways - whether as a source of population, capital, and technology, or of inspiration in the arts - but also we ourselves have actively shared in shaping Europe’s own destinies.

This fact alone is sufficient to show the impossibility of Australia treating European affairs as in any way secondary. But we must also recognize that Europe is assuming a new and wider importance for us. There is the post-war economic revolution; there is the movement towards European unity, both economic and political. The European Economic Community has exerted a notable influence in both respects. There is a re-emergence of European states - and I am thinking in particular of France, but not only of her - as world powers pursuing active world-wide policies and seeking to influence events in areas remote from them. The new role of France in Asia, for example, could have direct and important consequences for Australia. Finally, there is the increasing role of European countries in the provision of aid and development capital, to Asian as well as to other less developed countries, both direct and through such bodies as the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Moreover, we are now in direct contact with European countries in a way which we were not before 1945. A whole network of direct relationships has grown up linking Australia with other countries as well as with Britain: Relationships in trade, where Europe is very important to us; in civil aviation and communications; in migration; in investment and industry, in science and education; and these relationships are growing. We maintain - and we may on occasion need to strengthen - our own governmental representation in European capitals.

An important task for Australia, I believe, is to make ourselves effectively known to European governments and peoples; to make them understand’, if they do not understand already, that Australia’s prosperity and economic growth are not a matter of marginal importance; that they have a real interest - self-interest, if you will - in our existence as a centre of European civilization, an advanced, stable and already highly industrialized country in a region where such countries are few. They need to be aware - if they are not already aware - of the extent to which the future of our whole part of the world concerns them; that they cannot limit their vision to Africa and1 to the European side of Suez, or believe that a prosperous Europe can afford to neglect a poverty stricken Asia.

And so far as Australia itself is concerned, we offer to the new Europe a market, a field of opportunity for investment and for migration of a kind which is rare if not unique in the world.

It is against this background that we have recently taken certain decisions about increasing our representation in Europe. We have established an embassy in Athens and are about to do likewise in Vienna. We have recently accredited the first Australian ambassador to Stockholm and a consulategeneral has been established in Madrid. We plan to invite certain prominent European statesmen to visit Australia. I have in mind a visit, to begin some time after the Seato meeting in April, to London and several of the major European capitals. There are new personalities in government and influences on the European scene. My aim will be to make or renew contact with British and European leaders, in order to establish and develop points of common concern, but also to impress upon them the considerations of the community of interest between Australia and the countries of Europe which I have just been mentioning.

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In September of last year I led the Australian delegation during the opening phases of the 18th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. I shall not attempt to review all aspects of the session, which will be covered in the report of the delegation to be presented to Parliament at a later date. However, I should like to mention several items of particular immediate interest.

The eighteenth session met in the somewhat more hopeful atmosphere which followed the conclusion of the treaty providing for the partial suspension of nuclear tests to which the United States, the Soviet Union and the great bulk of the members of the United Nations had given their agreement. It was hoped, and this hope remains, that agreement on this partial step towards universal disarmament would open the way for agreement on other basic issues of contention between the east and west.

The principal significance of the United Nations lies in its role as an instrument for the preservation of international peace and security. Some doubts have been thrown on its capacity to play that role effectively owing to the failure of certain member states to contribute to the cost of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The main point of disagreement is that Communist bloc members have refused to give financial support to operations of the United Nations forces which are based on decisions of the General Assembly, and France also has an objection in principle which has resulted in her failure to pay in full her assessed contribution to the United Nations. Put briefly, the Communist bloc argument is that United Nations operations to keep the peace should be authorized and controlled by the Security Council alone; whereas experience has shown that the use made of the veto in the Security Council has made it necessary for the General Assembly itself to take a greater responsibility for security matters.

The Australian Government has always been a supporter of the principle of collective peace-keeping actions. We are anxious to see progress in settling the financial questions which threaten to vitiate the already limited powers of the United Nations in this regard. We hope that we shall soon see some concrete evidence of a Soviet disposition to seek a practical solution to this problem so that the United Nations can play its part in helping to prevent breaches of the peace, or in organizing armed forces to restore peace where its aid is sought.

As I have remarked, one limited step towards the United Nations goal of a treaty covering general and complete disarmament may be seen in the nuclear test ban treaty. Discussions on wider aspects of disarmament continue in the United Nations Committee on Disarmament in Geneva. The Soviet Foreign Minister recently compared the flow of words coming from this conference to the ceaseless bubble of the waters of the famous fountain in the Lake of Geneva. It is true that negotiations both in the United Nations forum and elsewhere have bogged down, and, in our view, largely on the crucial question of Soviet unwillingness to agree to negotiate methods for inspection and verification of disarmament which we in the Western world regard as adequate and which in our view must form an essential part of any real agreement.

The eighteen-nation Disarmament Committee now meeting in Geneva has before it five areas for discussion outlined by President Johnson. These include -

In our view this type of “ area “ approach has many merits. It may be hoped that agreement can be reached on such collateral measures which, while not themselves constituting disarmament in the strict sense, may help to build up confidence for more comprehensive agreements. We would like to see serious negotiations proceed on such issues. For example the proposed “ freeze “ on the production of nuclear delivery vehicles and the closing down of at least some plants for the production of fissionable material would certainly require some inspection arrangements, but this would be relatively less complicated and less onerous than the verification provisions required in a scheme for total disarmament. They could be used as measures to test procedures and thereby to gain confidence in more far-reaching arrangements.

The Soviet representative at the Geneva Disarmament Committee has also put forward a nine-point plan which for the most part re-affirms previous Soviet positions. Some slight indication of the possibility of a new Soviet attitude in one direction, however, was contained in the proposal of the

Soviet Foreign Minister at the last session of the United Nations General Assembly that an agreed and strictly limited number of nuclear delivery vehicles and their warheads should be retained until the end of the third and final stage of an agreement for universal disarmament. In the past, the Soviet Government had required, broadly speaking, that all nuclear weapons and vehicles should be destroyed prior to the elimination of conventional weapons. This new Soviet suggestion acknowledges, although it falls far short of Western requirements, that in any acceptable programme for universal disarmament, balance between nuclear and conventional weapons should be preserved at all stages of the disarmament processes.

It is too early to judge how fruitful the current Geneva talks on disarmament will prove to be. In the few weeks that have passed since their re-opening, it cannot be claimed that the conference has come to real grips with any of the particular proposals before it. In this connexion, I can only endorse the proposal made by the British Foreign Secretary in Geneva last month that there should be agreement on an improved conference procedure with less time being spent on general discussions and more on details in expert working groups.

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There was some discussion at the last General Assembly about the possibility of establishing zones which would be free of nuclear weapons. A proposal relating to Latin America was referred back to the States concerned for further discussion. Australia, in common with its Western allies, is prepared to consider the feasibility of establishing such zones where they accord with the wishes of the States principally concerned, and in areas where the military balance of power would not be materially altered. However, the Government has made it clear that these conditions could not be satisfied in the geographical area in which we live and that, in common with our American allies, we are opposed to the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Asian-Pacific region.

The question of carrying out nuclear test explosions, such as those proposed by the French in the South Pacific, is quite another matter. The Government has continued to express its hope that the Nuclear Test

Ban Treaty, to which it gave its prompt support, should be given as nearly a universal application as possible. It is obviously to the interests of Australia and of all the countries of South-East Asia that the Chinese Communist regime should not carry out nuclear test explosions when it has the capacity to do so. Indeed it is vital to any effective scheme of universal disarmament to prevent such a further proliferation of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. We have expressed our opposition to the French proposal to test in the Pacific and will continue to call France’s attention to the desirability of her accession to the treaty and to the undesirability of any spread of nuclear capacity.

One other aspect of the United Nations to which I should advert because of its particular significance to Australia, is the discharge of our international obligations towards our dependent territories. By virtue of Australia’s Trusteeship Agreement, with the United Nations, Australia continues to be a member of the Trusteeship Council and we are also a member of the Committee of Twenty-Four of the General Assembly which concerns itself with problems relating to the dwindling group of territories which are described as non-self-governing. Australia has scrupulously fulfilled its United Nation obligations in regard to both trust and non-self-governing territories. We have sometimes had to face poorly informed and even hostile opinion in reporting on our administration of our territories. I am pleased to say that the Australian report to the Trusteeship Council last year on the trust territories under our administration was well received both in the Trusteeship Council and in the General Assembly. Favorable attention was particularly given to those parts of our reports which dealt with the development of self-government within Papua-New Guinea and which described the elections which are now taking place there with a common roll of voters for a new House of Assembly in which twothirds of the seats are open to the indigenous people.

The Australian Government will continue to emphasize in the United Nations our goal that the people of our nonselfgoverning territories should be permitted to develop without interference and in an orderly manner so that in. due course they can determine their own future in the world:

Australia is a middle power in more senses than one. It is clearly one in the general sense in which the expression is used. But also it has common interests with both the advanced and the under developed countries; it stands in point of realized wealth between the haves and the have-nots. It is at the one time a granary and a highly industrialized country. It has a European background and is set in intimate geographical propinquity to Asia.

This ambivalence brings some strength and offers promise of a future of which Australia can be confident, a future of increasing influence. But it poses continuing problems in identifying peculiarly Australian objectives and in finding balance in the policies devised to attain them. As well, it emphasizes the need to seek and to accept collective security, with all the compromises which such a course so often entails. It involves support of the United Nations and participation in its activities, conscious that indispensable and useful as that organization is, it cannot provide the assured means of deterring or suppressing aggressive activity.

In what I have said to-night 1 have sought to identify some of these Australian objectives and to indicate how the Government has, I believe, found a balanced policy response to some of the problems which have emerged.

I present the following paper: -

International Affairs - Ministerial Statement, dated 11th March, 1964- and move -

That the paper be printed.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Senator HANNAN:

.- I move -

That the Senate take note of the Report of the Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television, presented to the Senate on the 29th of October, 1963.

This motion was to have been moved by Senator Vincent. On 29th November, 1962, I moved in this chamber that a select committee of the Senate be appointed to inquire into, and report upon, the encouragement of the production in Australia of films and programmes suitable for television and matters’ incidental thereto. The Senate duly carried the motion and a select committee of seven senators from both sides of this chamber was appointed.

By unanimous vote members of the committee elected Senator Vincent to be chairman. At this stage, I express the keen disappointment of myself - and I am sure of all members of this chamber - that illness at the present moment prevents our chairman from taking part in this debate - more so in view of the hard work, energy and drive which he devoted to this inquiry. If I may draw a metaphor from the past, many of us, including my friend Senator McClelland and other honorable senators opposite, felt that we were the first white men to have worked under Senator Vincent. I pay an unstinted tribute to his zeal, tact and diplomacy in handling six other senators with widely divergent political views and ideas. One has only to recite the names of the seven senators who comprised the committee to realize how wide and diverse would have been their approaches to problems other than those involved in the matters in hand. The fact that, with a few reservations made by one of our colleagues, by and large the bulk of the recommendations in the report were unanimous is a tribute to the tact and diplomacy of Senator Vincent and a measure of his success.

Including those who made written submissions, more than 150 witnesses came forward to give their views and those of their organizations upon the Australian television scene. The committee visited every capital city. Its sittings were held in public. The evidence tendered undoubtedly represents a very fair cross-section of the Australian opinion. I am speaking from memory when I say that the evidence covered a little less than 3,000 foolscap pages.

Senator McClelland:

– The number was 3,600.

Senator HANNAN:

– I am indebted to my friend Senator McClelland for mentioning the precise figure. The committee set out to ascertain whether there was any practical method of assisting local television production and matters incidental thereto. Because in Australia and in the world generally 56 per cent. of(, programme material consists of drama- I use that as an approximate figure; it varies by 1 per cent, or so as one moves around the world - the committee devoted itself mainly to that aspect of programming. As a result of the evidence placed before it, the committee came to the conclusion that some local production and exhibition was feasible. I hope to discuss the terms, conditions and quantum later.

Of approximately 150 witnesses, only fifteen were managers of commercial channels. A noteworthy feature of the inquiry was that, with the exception of the managers of the commercial channels, no witnesses took the view that Australian production was impracticable. They simply said that it needed proper protection and encouragement - the same kind of assistance that any similarly placed growing industry would require. One of the things which rather astonished members of the committee was that the people who were running the commercial channels and who supported the protection of other Australian industries thought that the idea of protecting the Australian programme production industry was absurd. I could not quite follow that line of reasoning.

Senator McKenna:

– Was that general, or was it a particular view?

Senator HANNAN:

– I think it is fair to say that in general the commercial channels had a strong dislike of local production. I must be fair to them and say that they gave their reasons. They said that locally produced programmes had a low rating, that they were expensive and that they could not compete with imported material. In the course of our inquiry, of course, we received a good deal of evidence in rebuttal of those propositions. I hope to discuss later in my remarks the methods recommended to bring about Australian production.

As an example of the tremendous assistance that television has been to the United States of America in one way or another, let me quote the comments of Mr. Cumming, a Melbourne witness, who made a written submission to the committee. He said that the whole world envied America, that it envied America’s gold-plated way of life, and that, was predominantly because, of

C ‘ IH .» -

a virtual monopoly in English-speaking countries of films and television programmes. He added -

America’s success internally and abroad is due to ideas and the ability to communicate them. The fabled and fabulous “ American way of life “, with its tail-chasing production-consumption spiral, is built and maintained on a foundation of publicity and advertising.

The corner stone of this intangible, but nonetheless effective foundation, is the American Film Industry. The historically anonymous men who built it are indirectly responsible for Ike’s power at summit meetings, the Rockefeller-Guggenheim millions, and the average American Golden-Age prosperity.

A multi-million dollar industry profitwise, the American Film Industry is worth billions more in stimulated consumption and publicity.

That is a matter, Sir, to which Australians in this country must give great attention. The important thing is not that a programme produced in a particular country tells a particular story but the economic and cultural stimulation of the nation’s ideals which accompanies the production and exhibition of that programme material. Mr. Cumming continued -

Yet it bears no relation to America’s natural resources.

He said, of the industry -

  1. . it is composed entirely of ideas, words, pictures, people. To-day “ The Movies “ flow to every part of the world, carrying impressions of America, good and bad . . shaping the habits of people from Iceland to Australia.

I direct the attention of the Senate and of Australians in general to those words. He went on -

Rarely do we question this . . . rather, we seem to be blindly resigned to the fact that America is the only country in the world able to feed the hungry man of our newest and most powerful medium . . . television. More propaganda for “ the American Way of Life “I

I think I have said enough in this chamber on earlier occasions to give a strong indication that politically I am not anti-American. I am very far from being so. I believe that the Anzus Pact is the very lynch pin of our security. I do not believe that it is possible for us to have too tight a political nexus with our American friends. But I do say that we are not the fifty-first state of the United States of America. We are a British community. I believe that our own culture, our own traditions, our own way of life should be immortalized on television rather than those of a foreign nation, no matter how friendly and’ how important that nation may be to us.

Looking at the organizational set-up of television in Australia, we should have the best of both worlds. We have both national and commercial channels. However, the committee found that there was widespread disquiet about the programme materia] that was available to Australian viewers. Many station operators simply took this view: “ Look at our ratings. We give the public what it wants “. There was abundant evidence that the public definitely did not want a great deal of what it was given, but it had no say in the matter.

Australia is one of the few countries in the world which does not protect its local industry in some way from American competition. Even in Great Britain, with all its resources, it has been found necessary to implement an actual, if not a legal, quota of 86 per cent. British programme content. I believe that all the evidence submitted to our committee by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board itself shows that it does fail to discharge properly the obligations placed upon it by statute. Section 114 of the Broadcasting and Television Act states - I have not the precise wordsthat wherever practical, the services of Australians shall be used in television programmes. I want to refer to page 3 of part I. of the Report of the Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television. It states -

Section 16 (I. He) imposes an obligation upon the Australian Broadcasting Control Board “ to ensure that adequate and comprehensive programmes are provided by . . . stations to serve the best interests of the general public; “

It is implied that the primary obligation for this purpose rests upon the commercial television licensees but Parliament, by using the word “ ensure “ in relation to the Board, has made it clear that the ultimate and final responsibility of ensuring that this is carried out rests with the Board.

It is my opinion - and I believe it is the opinion of members of the committee who will speak for themselves - that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has failed to discharge this function imposed upon it by statute in an adequate manner. The report of the committee continues -

The section also defines in a positive manner the broad terms as to what are suitable programmes. Programme’s are to be “ adequate “ and ‘^comprehensive”’-‘ . .’ . -“to serve the best interests of the general public”. 1 will not deny that those words have a certain vagueness about them. I will not deny that the board has certain difficulties in complying with these statutory requirements but after hearing the evidence and carefully checking the relevant statutory provisions the committee was of opinion that the meaning of this obligation could be summed up in these three subparagraphs -

The expression “adequate” programmes means, inter alia, that programmes should have a high standard of quality - technical and artistic.

The expression “comprehensive” programmes means that programmes should have an overall balance as to subject-matter, content and variety. The Committee accepts the British concepts in this respect, namely, that programmes should “ inform, educate and entertain “.

“To serve the best interests of the general public “ means neither to cater almost exclusively for majority interests, nor to play down almost exclusively to the lowest common denominator of public taste. Expressed in a positive sense it means, inter alia, to serve the widest interests of the general public by including special interests and minority interests. “ Best “ interests also means, inter alia, to utilize the tremendous power of television to influence and enrich both the emotional and intellectual values of the people and to improve moral standards in society.

I think it would be a very brave person indeed who would claim that all these things have been accomplished in commercial television in Australia under the direction of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. The report of the committee states -

The Committee attaches the greatest importance to a proper interpretation of this provision. In view of the general nature-

I say this having regard to the pretty vague and general language of the statute - of the existing wording and of the rather limited interpretation now being placed upon its meaning by some commercial stations -

The Committee Recommends- and I support the recommendation - that section 16 (1.) (c) of the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942-1962 be amended to make it clear that the section has the meaning set out above.

That was referring to the interpretation I have just read. The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board gave evidence that although a number of breaches of the board’s television standards had taken place, no licensee was. ever threatened with disciplinary! action. < I might interpolate here that >the standards ire excellent in the sense that they are designed or drafted in such a way as to secure, if implemented, a very high standard of television transmission. However, the evidence of the chairman was that no licensee had ever been threatened with disciplinary action for a breach of the standards. This was over a period of just on seven years.

The chairman also said that while he was uncertain of the meaning of certain sections of the Television and Broadcasting Act which confers powers and obligations on his board, the board had never asked for clarification or amendment of the legislation. The board seemed to take the view that the more vague, the more amorphous and the more indefinite its obligations were, the happier it and the channels supporting it would be.

Senator Benn:

– That was for administration.

Senator HANNAN:

– I agree. While appreciating the Australian Broadcasting Control Board’s difficulties, I feel - and other members of the committee will speak for themselves on this point - that the board should have been more vigorous. I turn now to some examples in which, on the evidence given to us by the board, more vigorous and positive action should have been taken by an administrative body. For example, the board appears to have accepted as a major discharge of its responsibilities an annual complaint, per medium of its annual report, as to certain serious deficiencies in television programmes. The commercial stations have ignored these complaints, the board has reported, and the board has left it at that. This is a statutory body charged with the control of a certain industry. Its directions have been ignored and the board has left it at that. To use the words of the chairman of the board -

We have proceeded on the basis of consultation and sweet reasonableness with stations.

This complacency on the part of the board is reflected in the correspondingly complacent attitude on the part of commercial television stations. Quite early in 1960, the then Postmaster-General made a request that at the end of three years operations, the proportion of Australian programmes televised by any station should be not less than 40 pir cent, of the total time of transmission. This does not refer only to drama but to the overall programme matter. It is admitted by the commercial stations that this request is regarded as a firm direction to be obeyed but only stations TVW in Perth and GTV and HSV in Melbourne have carried out this direction. All the other stations have continued to disobey it. The board has failed to enforce this direction. Again, I do not propose to go through all the examples given in the report. I think I have said enough to indicate that there has been a milk and water disciplinary approach by the administrative authority in control of this industry.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission, of course, is a different proposition. In a sense, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has an easier row to hoe in the discharge of the statute and in the presentation of comprehensive programmes because it does not have to worry about making a profit. Even so, payment by the Australian Broadcasting Commission for local programmes and scripts is so low that it offers scant opportunity for independent Australian operators. The Australian Broadcasting Commission, however, has accepted its statutory obligations and deserves high praise for its dramatic productions. Its serial stories of early Australian history were noteworthy. Two recent productions were, in my view, in world class. I do not think it would be wrong to mention them by name. One was the beautifully mounted operetta “ Hansel and Gretel “, by Humperdinck - a magnificent production - and the other was Bolt’s play on the life of St. Thomas More, called “ A Man for all Seasons “.

Even allowing for rating difficulties, it seems clear that in the more populous States at all events the commercial channels hold more than 87 per cent, of the viewers. What is their position in regard to Australian content, including quiz shows, cooking demonstrations, news readings, sporting telecasts and the like? Only three capital city channels have reached the 40 per cent. Australian content requested by the Postmaster-General. I think that in fairness I should say that they are Channel TVW in Perth and the two Melbourne commercial channels. According to figures provided to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the main programme category is drama. Between 45 and 50 per cent, of all the television programme time in Australia, as in the rest of the world, is devoted to drama. Some channels provide 1 per cent, of Australian drama, others as much as 3 per cent., and still others none at all.

It is obvious that it is in the important field of drama - I use the word loosely to mean anything which tells a story - that Australian creative production must be found. We are unlikely to earn international goodwill with a cooking demonstration. We shall not save much foreign exchange on a quiz show. We shall not provide much work for Australian actors, actresses, technicians, producers, directors and writers with a sportscast. Australians do not gain much of an idea of their own culture and heritage from a weather report.

Senator Maher:

– Weather reports are necessary, nevertheless.

Senator HANNAN:

– I do not criticize the necessity for them, but I regret the fact that the weather reports represent almost the sole Australian content of some television channels.

Senator Ormonde:

– The weather reports are always wrong, anyhow.

Senator HANNAN:

– I express no view on the accuracy of the weather reports. It is in the field of drama - light, medium, heavy or musical - that a genuine and an exportable Australian image may be created.

I wish to make it abundantly clear that I am not one who feels that all the current television programmes warrant adverse criticism. I think that all the television stations are to be congratulated on their technical excellence, on the quality of the picture and, let it be said, on a great deal of the transmitted programme matter. I shall leave to other speakers in the debate the questions of horror, violence, sadism and so on. I am directing my remarks not so much towards positive defects in the programmes as to the fact that virtually no dramatic programme is Australian, a state of affairs which appears to be both disastrous and unnecessary.

I turn to Parts VI. and VII. of the report which are concerned with Australian drama, Australian film and Australian production. With your permission, Mr. Deputy President, I shall refer to certain sections of the report which deal with those important matters. Some criticism of the report has been made on the basis that nobody should bc compelled to watch junk. I believe that all members of the select committee and, indeed, all members of the Senate, would agree with that proposition. While nobody wants to be compelled to watch junk - some witnesses gave evidence that all Australian production was junk - we do not believe that local production is either necessarily junk or necessarily bad. We concede the point, to support which there is abundant evidence, that it is impossible to produce on video-tape, say, a half -hour or an hour programme, for less than a sum between £2,250 and £4,000, or a film of the same duration for less than something between £15,000 and £20,000. While we concede that point, we say that it is grossly unfair that a top-ranking American production, which may have cost £60,000 or £70,000 to produce, can be sold in this country, according to evidence given to the committee, for £400 in Sydney and approximately the same amount in Melbourne. I think that the “Ben Casey” series was mentioned in this respect. Such an arrangement is tantamount to dumping. The charge certainly would not cover the cost of film if the programme were produced locally. All that the members of the committee said in relation to that matter is that most people in Australia believe that Australian industry should be given reasonable - I emphasize the word “ reasonable “ - protection from the imported article. Nobody believes that so many Australianbuilt automobiles would be running around this country at the moment if it had not been for the protection and the assistance given to the local motor industry.

Senator Wedgwood:

– They are not necessarily the best, though.

Senator HANNAN:

– We shall get to that point later. Nobody suggests that we build the best in Australia. I wish to be fair in this regard. Some of the early measures that were taken to protect the Australian motor car industry were taken by a Labour administration, but 1 trust that party politics do not enter into the matter that we are debating to-night. I believe that my colleagues on the committee and I were as one in urging the desirability of a viable local production industry for reasons which have been stated so often in the Senate that I hesitate to state “ them again now.

Part VI. of the report deals with Australian drama. Paragraph 59 states -

Drama is recognized as having the greatest psychological and emotional impact upon the audience of all types of television programmes. A programme in “ dramatic “ form is therefore the most powerful .weapon of all in its effect upon the moral standards of the community and in influencing its values.

I wish to digress for a moment at that point. In the past, many speakers in this place and in other places have said: “ Let us make a lot of documentary films about “the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority and all sorts of engineering and developmental projects and export them abroad. We will get our friends overseas to watch them “. In truth, Sir, most films of that type would have a very poor rating in overseas television programmes and cinema houses. Some form of dramatic content is needed in order to rivet the viewer to the set or to the cinema screen. The committee directed its attention time and again to that point. In emphasising that the present virtual absence of Australian dramatic content from our television programmes is a serious matter, the committee’s attitude was confirmed by the weight of informed public opinion from wide sections of the community.

The undesirable sociological and cultural consequences that may be expected from a continuance of this state of affairs are apparent to many Australians and should need no emphasis by the committee. Perhaps the greatest danger lies in their effect upon the rising generation, the adult population having grown up without television. Day after day, young people are receiving nothing but the most inadequate picture of Australian national traditions, culture and way of life. They are recipients of a highly coloured and exaggerated picture of the way of life and morals of other countries, mainly, of course, our ally the United States of America.

I do not propose to traverse at great length the recommendations of the committee in regard to dramatists, writers and the rest. I say simply that the bulk of the evidence before the committee supported the proposition that Australian actors, actresses, technicians, script writers and all other people associated with the production of programmes were, by international standards, horribly underpaid.

There was, I must concede, some conflict of opinion. The Screen Writers Guild put the proposition that, provided the pay was adequate, there was a virtually unlimited number of script writers to provide good quality scripts. Other witnesses took the view that, no matter what they paid, there was not a substantial number of writers of quality in this country to provide good quality scripts. After listening to the evidence on both sides - I do not take a middle course so as to be put out of the line of fire from either side - I believe that in most instances, given adequate payment, Australian writers could produce the scripts required for Australian television programmes.

Senator McKenna:

– Was that the view of the committee generally?

Senator HANNAN:

– I think so. I can speak only for myself at this stage, but I believe it to be the view of my colleagues, who will doubtless express their own points of view, perhaps with more precision, at a later stage.

I now come to the industry which, of course, is the backbone of recorded television programmes - the Australian film industry. When I use the term “ film “ I very deliberately include, as the committee very deliberately included in paragraph 98 (2), videotape, telerecording and similar media. I think it is pretty generally agreed by the technical authorities that film is the most readily interchangeable medium of television programmes in the world. It is probable that film provides the best quality of lighting, if not necessarily the best quality of picture. It is capable of almost universal exhibition, but film production is about ten times as expensive as television videotape and kinescope recording. Accordingly, the committee in its recommendations has regarded videotape and kinescope recordings as being films for the purpose of assistance.

I am indebted to the witness, Mr. Whitchurch, Who made a written submission to the committee in regard to the difference between film production and television production, and I have taken the liberty of summarizing this submission. This is a rough approximation of what he said and I think it is important that the Senate should bear it in mind: For every hour of assisted Australian film production which can be seen on our screens we can provide, for the same amount of money, approximately ten hours of videotape or kinescope recordings. In the film method, every shot is an individual job. The electricians, the sound engineers, the directors, the camera men and the actors have to prepare for the individual shot. It is taken as many times as are necessary to obtain perfection. In dramatic production, where actors speak lines, there is a matching but separate piece of sound track for each individual shot. Editors laboriously join together the best picture shots and their correlated sound shots. There is no limit to the sweep of the camera, which may be indoors or outdoors. Inferior sound is rerecorded. All persons working on this type of production require years of experience. It requires laborious attention to detail and sometimes seemingly wasteful repetition of effort. It is small wonder, then, that film technique is the most costly method known for the production of a television programme. The evidence suggests that, in Australia, £20,000 is a rough approximation of the cost of a half-hour episode of film, making allowance for actors and actresses of reasonable ranking.

Videotape and kinescope are very much cheaper and very much quicker. Videotape is the process by which live television pictures and sound are electronically recorded on a wide magnetic tape in a rather similar manner to that of the normal sound tape recorder. The programme can be replayed instantly, erased and edited. This process gives a quality of picture and sound almost as good as that of the live programme itself. The point I wish to make about this is that by the time a videotape programme is recorded it is virtually ready for showing, but after a half-hour film is recorded, it may be five or ten weeks before editing, sound marrying and matching is completed.

Kinescope is merely the photographing of the television tube at the time of a live performance. Its quality is not as good as that of film and not as good as that of videotape, but it does enable live productions to be reshown on the same station or in other States at other times. The cost of production of a particular programme is greatly reduced if it can be shown on a number of channels. As a matter of fact, although in Australia it is not generally accepted that kinescope recordings are of top quality, most of the British programmes shown in this country, as appears from the evidence of the late Mr. Danton, are actually kinescopes.

I do not want to become unnecessarily involved in the technicalities of production, and I want now to come to this proposition: The Australian television programme producing industry, whatever its medium - film, videotape or kinescope - must walk before it can run. At the moment, it is barely tottering. It is subsisting on a diet of production of advertisements for commercial purposes. To pay the large-scale subsidies involved in film production to the local industry as at present comprised, for the purposes of export only, would in my view be to court economic disaster. No export industry can prosper unless it has a sound grip on the local market, and this the local industry does not have on our local television screens. I refer to the analogy of motor car production, or any other form of production. We just cannot jump into the wild maelstrom of sales of programme material abroad until we have definitely established the solidity of our industry on our own home screens. That is why the committee has recommended that the cheaper methods of production - videotape and kinescope - be included when it comes to assisting film producers.

What does Part VII say? I shall not go through the entire part. In substance, what it says is this: A reputable producer may approach a body which will be known as the Television Council. The Television Council, whose proposed constitution is referred to in another part of the report, will be a body which will advise the Minister on his obligations under the Broadcasting and Television Act and which will administer the subsidy fund. The committee believes that the licence fee which is paid by the commercial stations at the moment is grossly inadequate. It is £100 plus 1 per cent of turnover. Accordingly, the committee has made the following recommendations as to fees: -

For the first £100,000 of the gross earnings of the station from the televising of advertisements or other matter - nil.

For the next £400,000 of these earnings- 2 per cent.

For the amount by which these earnings exceed £500,000 - 4 per cent.

Expressed in percentages, those are fairly sweeping increases, but compared with the percentages charged in Britain, they are merely chicken-feed. It is impossible to compute with very great accuracy the precise amount to be raised, but a sufficient amount should be put into the Treasury to enable the film production subsidy fund to operate.

The recommendations which the committee has made are based not entirely but almost entirely upon the British National Film Finance Corporation. The committee has suggested that a producer should be in a position to approach the Television Council and say: “ Here is a script for a production which I propose to make. Here is a breakdown of my budget costs. It will cost me £10,000 to make.” I use that figure for the purposes of argument. The council will then vet the script. If the council believes it to be a worth-while project, it will say to him: “ All right, we believe you to be a reputable producer. We believe you are in earnest about the production of this programme. Here is a subsidy of £2,500. If you come back to us within a period of twelve months and we are satisfied that you have faithfully translated the script which you have shown us on to film, videotape, kine, or whatever it may be. there will be a further subsidy of £2.500 payable to you.” In other words, the council will make available to a reputable producer one-half of the budget required to produce a programme. It is suggested that great discretion be vested in the council. For instance, if the council believes that the producer has other means, that would be a reason for refusing a subsidy.

As I have only a few minutes left, I do not want to go through all the details of administration; but, by and large, the committee was firmly seised of the advantages of the British system Which has been largely responsible for keeping the British film industry afloat since the war. What the committee has done has been to lift the scheme and, mutatus mutandus, make those changes which make it suitable and satisfactory for television administration. The report goes on to say that in the event of the film making a profit on its sale, then, £1 for £1, the money comes back to the Commonwealth and its producer, so that in some circumstances the subsidy will amount to a loan while in others it will remain a plain subsidy.

I want to leave Parts V. and VI. I have made reference to the setting up of the Television Council. There are a number of other important headings in the report which will be covered by my colleagues on the committee and, doubtless, by other speakers. I want now to refer to certain other aspects of the programming industry in Australia.

It is my belief that although many splendid programmes originate in the United States of America some of the worst do also. It is simply pointless for Australian commercial television licensees to say: “ These are imported United States programmes. Therefore, automatically they are better than any of the locals “. Automatically they may be slicker and perhaps automatically they may be smoother, but I seriously question whether they are automatically better. Just listen to what one American who should know said about some of these United States programmes which are coming into Australia. When John F. Kennedy won the presidential election about three years ago, he appointed Mr. Newton Minow to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and that gentleman turned out to be the toughest critic of American commercial programmes who had ever operated in the United States. The commercial television channels and broadcasting stations had become a bit accustomed to a mild, half-frightened commission. They had never had to cope with a man like Minow before. So his blast really put them on their toes. He challenged the station and network operators and owners to sit down in front of their sets from sign-on to sign-off. He told them they would see a vast wasteland, a procession of gang shows, violence, audience participation shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence and cartoons and, endlessly commercials, many screaming, cajoling and offending and, most of all, boredom.

Those are the kind of programmes which are being imported into this country in great volume. Those are the programmes described by the most competent critic in the United States in the terms which I have used and which are being used to bank up profits. I am not averse to profits. On the contrary, I am all for profits in the right place, but to pay 36 per cent, and 40 per cent, on capita] to certain channels to the complete exclusion of the Australian image on our dramatic television screens is too much.

I do not want to go right through Minow’s criticism. It is fairly lengthy, but I do say to those television commercial operators who believe that the public taste is as low as some of their programmes that they should take a week-end off and read some of Newton Minow’s speeches, digest them and act upon them. He retired a few months ago, but while he was chairman of the commission he used to fret about American television giving the world such a curious self-portrait of America. As the American critic, Samuel Grafton, also said, Edward R. Murrow, U.S.I.A. Director, suggested in 1962 to the National Association of Broadcasters, “ When you put your tapes or kines in your salesman’s bag you should have regard to what goes in as well as to what you hope it will bring back.” In other words, he indicated that they should have a care for the national image which they propagated throughout the world as much as they should have care for the commercial returns which they hoped to receive from their programmes.

I believe that Minow’s words should do a great deal to shake the complacency of the commercial channels as crystallized in the written evidence of Mr. Cowan who appeared before the Senate committee on behalf of the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasting Stations. The witness pointed out the undeniable achievements of commercial television stations but carefully avoided any discussion of their failure to create a national image. Other commercial witnesses, followed by perhaps inspired newspaper articles, pushed the line that all local drama was “ junk “. They showed that top-class American one-hour shows could be bought for about £450 in Sydney and for about £400 in Melbourne, although these shows had cost originally about £62,000 to produce in the United States. It is not surprising that the local productions at £2,500 to £5,000 for tape and £20,000 for film showed some comparative deficiencies in polish, though not necessarily in story line. One of the interesting things to emerge from the inquiry was that some Australian scriptwriters who wrote for local productions were also writing scripts for imported productions which came back to us. In other words, the scriptwriters were the same people.

I refer now to another . article by Grafton on the quality of the programme material which was exported. Grafton said -

Almost tragically, from the image-forming point of view, the top of American television output - from our fine musical shows such as the old “ Voice of Firestone “, the “ Bell Telephone Hour “ end the great Leonard Berstein musicals for the millions, to variety shows like Ed Sullivan’s and Garry Moore’s - are hardly known at all abroad. In many countries the natives have every reason to believe that we use pianos only to hide corpses in, never sing except in night clubs to gangster audiences and rarely have any conversation with each other except for a few telling lines emphasized with a pointed gun.

These are criticisms of American programmes made by Americans - not by dogooders or well intentioned politicians in Australia.

Senator Maher:

– Thank Heaven there is a a knob on the television set

Senator HANNAN:

– That is a point. The article continues -

Much of what we send abroad is close to the kind of TV former Chairman Newtown Minow of the FCC once called “a vast wasteland”. The better things we do are, by and large, kept a kind of national secret.

Since assisting in the compilation of the report which is before the Senate my attention has been directed to an article by Dr. B. P. Mccloskey, Assistant Chief Health Officer in Victoria, which appeared in “Adult Education” for December, 1962. Referring to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the good doctor said -

Programming by commercial stations is deficient by Australian Broadcasting Control Board standards and it causes concern that some of these standards are mandatory and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has not strictly enforced them. Thus the great opportunities J for’ ‘ good in television, in enlarging the horizons of children and in cementing family ties and associations have been largely neglected. The hope of the Board that television stations would make the most of these opportunities has not been realised but tha Board appears to have taken little action to remedy this.

The Australian Broadcasting Control Board should be encouraged to enforce its standards io full, and should strictly enforce undertakings regarding programming and conduct of stations made to the Board, by applicants for television station licences, after the licences have been granted and regular programmes are being transmitted.

The good doctor then refers to the Australian Broadcasting Commission and states - . . while providing programmes somewhat more balanced than those of Commercial Television it has so far largely neglected Educational Television despite the wealth of material available and used by educational stations overseas.

I shall omit a part of the article and come next to what Dr. Mccloskey said about television station owners. In this regard I should like to make the point that I put to every television channel manager or operator who appeared before the committee the question, “ Do you accept the proposition that you have a duty to the nation in operating your channel, as well as a duty to your shareholders? “ Invariably the answer was, “Yes; we believe that we have a national duty “. Although there was a pretty glib acceptance of the proposition, the evidence which came before the committee was rather to the point that the proposition was ignored in practice. The article states -

The responsibility of television station owners to the public is not simply one of giving the public what it wants to see. Schramm-

He was one of the investigators - for instance, found that viewers come to learn to like the programmes available to them although ordinarily given a chance they would not select these programmes. In other words he found that the public demand for television programmes can become distorted as a result of early restriction of choice.

The fact that the public has not deserted television nor is there any public uprising against the general content of television programming cannot be taken to indicate that television stations have no responsibility to improve programming. They have a clear responsibility at the same time to mitigate its adverse influence on the growth and development of children . . .

I did mot know df Dr:. McCloskey’s article until after the committee had prepared its report. I am glad to have confirmation of our views from such a source. I have heard the view put, doubtless from inspired sources, that the Australian public has paid so many millions for television receivers that they should not be forced to watch poor local productions. What the people who put this view forward really mean is that while channels can earn 36 per cent, to 40 per cent, on capital on imported drama they should not be forced to make any contribution to the nation which makes those percentages possible, and so on in a similar vein in regard to the large amount of sales tax which is recovered by the Government on television equipment.

I have heard the criticism, also no doubt inspired, that the committee was trying to force culture upon an unwilling public. This attitude is found, in effect, if not in word, in a childish attack upon the committee’s findings by one Colin Bednall, published in the “ Bulletin “ for 30th November of last year - a date which will be remembered. Mr. Bednall’s impartiality is, of course, guaranteed by the fact that he is the manager for GTV-9 in Melbourne, a station which is controlled by the interests that control the “ Bulletin “. He dismissed the committee’s report, which he has not read fully - or if he has, he has not understood it - by calling it a “ witch-hunt “. What a strange word for an Australian to use about Australian production, its producers, artists and technicians.

Senator Maher:

– I do not think he is an Australian.

Senator HANNAN:

– I express no view on that. He called the term “ the quasi monopoly power of commercial channels “ as fresh out of the propaganda sheets of left wing unions. What a pity it is that Mr. Bednall does not read good reactionary critics like Newton Minow. As for culture has Mr. Bednall forgotten that he, with the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, Mr. Osborne, was a member of the 1953 royal commission, which recommended, among other things -

No. 30: The objective of all television programmes must be from the outset to provide programmes which will have the effect of raising the standard of public taste.

Senator McClelland:

– He was also a wit- nesa- before the committee.

Senator HANNAN:

– That is so. Recommendation No. 39 of the royal commission was as follows: -

Immediate steps should be taken to encourage the creation of programmes which will set acceptable cultural standards and further important national objectives.

Perhaps Mr. Bednall should also look at recommendation No. 40, which states -

There is an obligation on all television stations to ensure that the best use is made of Australian talent.

I propose to deal at some later time with the article in the “ Bulletin “. Time precludes me this evening from disposing of all the fallacies and inaccuracies in that article.

I want to draw attention to the fact that when television was set up in this country the present Administration, in the person of Mr. Davidson, made it abundantly clear that it wanted Australian television to have an Australian character. This is not adopting a parish pump, local or parochial view. [Extension of time granted.] I am indebted to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) for his courtesy in obtaining for me an extension of time. I shall round of my remarks as quickly as I can. I wish to direct attention to the fact that when television was introduced into Australia by the present Administration the Government wanted it to have an Australian character. I think that the Opposition and the Government were at one. I may be harping on the point that this is a matter in which, I believe, there is no division between the Labour Party and the Government. On 10th May, 1956, during the debate on the introduction of television, the then Postmaster-General, Mr. Davidson, said -

I point out very definitely that no one on this side of the chamber-

That is the Government side - will bow to any one else in his realization of the potentialities of television and in his determination to use those potentialities to the utmost extent for the development of Australian art and culture. Let that point be understood immediately.

The importation of American productions cannot be allowed to continue to the detriment of Australian production. At the start, therefore-

He was speaking in 1956 - we are endeavouring to restrict such importations by the imposition of an import quota.

That was in the days of import licensing.

I want to refer to an apparent attempt to mislead the committee on television by the placing of certain evidence before it. A number of commercial channels gave evidence that they had spent large sums of money in the making of local drama productions for which they could not obtain a sponsor. Evidence having been given that they had spent about £5,000 on producing a local drama and could not get a sponsor, it seemed reasonable to us simple laymen on the committee that you could hardly expect them to continue to do this. What we did not know until half-way through the inquiry and then only as a result of persistent cross-examination by members of the committee - was that 70 per cent, of the programme matter in Australia is unsponsored. Mr. Dick, the assistant general manager of GTV Channel 9 admitted in evidence that television stations prefer that state of affairs because, under the television standards laid down by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, for every half-hour of sponsored programme material a station is allowed three minutes advertising matter, whereas if it has an unsponsored programme, and is using what is called “ spot participation “ advertising, it can use six minutes of advertising. That, of course, Mr. Deputy President, throws an entirely different light on the picture. As the stations prefer to have an unsponsored programme, I cannot understand why, in those circumstances, they have difficulty in screening Australian productions.

Since I understand that other members of the committee will be discussing the necessity for overseas sales in order to have a completely viable industry I do not intend at this stage to discuss that aspect. I just want to quote a press cutting which warms ones heart after all the adverse criticism one receives from various quarters. I am delighted to have a press cutting about an article in the “Methodist Times”. The article reads -

The Methodist Times has called for fewer American programmes and more Australian films on television.

The article goes on -

It wants not only drama, but also shows reflecting our national characteristics and ideals.

The Times, official organ of the church, welcomed the recent report of the Senate Select Committee on TV.

Any viewer would agree with the committee’s finding that there was too much drama involving crime, violence and horror, it said.

I read that merely to indicate that the views put forward by the committee have some support from outside.

Nobody in his right mind - certainly no member of the committee - wants to put a ban upon imported American material or imported material from anywhere. The members of the committee have suggested in substance - I am not going right through the various positive recommendations that have been made - two things which stand out. They have recommended that a form of loan subsidy, based on the British practice, be introduced in this country, and they have suggested, after hearing evidence for and against, that a quota of 9 per cent, be fixed for Australian dramatic content in television productions. Nine per cent, is a very small percentage compared with the percentages which operate in other countries. The committee deliberately chose this small percentage to make sure that the quality of local production would not suffer and so that the accusation could not be made that quota quickies would be foisted upon the viewing public.

In conclusion, I would like to thank my colleagues on both sides of the Senate for the patient hearing which they have given me in dealing with this most important national matter. If I might express my belief in the functioning of the Senate, one of the most important constitutional and practical matters in which the Senate may engage, in my view, is a dispassionate, impartial approach, on a non-party political basis to important problems of a national character such as this. I commend the report to the Senate for its earnest consideration and I hope that in the fullness of time appropriate action will be taken by the administration.

Senator Wright:

– I second the motion and reserve the right to make my remarks until later.

Senator MCCLELLAND (New South Wales) [9.47J. - I was given the opportunity by the Australian Labour Party and by members of the Senate to serve on this very important Senate select committee which was set up to inquire into and report upon the encouragement of the production in Australia of films and programmes suitable for television and matters incidental thereto. Might I say, at the outset of my remarks, that it is not often that I throw bouquets in this chamber to Senator Hannan? However, on this occasion I commend him for the excellent dissertation that he has given to the Senate on the report that has been furnished by the committee.

Unfortunately I, along with my colleagues on this side of the chamber, feel that the motion moved by the honorable senator does not go far enough. Whilst wc appreciate the motion that the Senate should take note of the report of the select committee, we believe that the motion should be amended. I now move -

That the following words bc added to the motion: - “ and the Senate requests that the Government implement the recommendations of the select committee as soon as possible.”

Along with Senator Hannan I express my personal regret - and I am sure I can express the regret of all members of the select committee - that this evening, when the report of the select committee is under discussion, the chairman of the committee. Senator Vincent, through illness, is unable to be present. During the course of the sittings of the committee Senator Vincent from West Australia showed to each of us who sat with him - and 1 am sure to those who came forward and gave evidence - that he had a vast and intimate knowledge of the industry. 1 go so far as to say that when we sat down to prepare our report and to discuss the evidence that had been given to the committee, it became obvious that he probably had a greater knowledge - taking into account every facet of the industry - than anybody else in this vast Commonwealth. He was a tireless chairman, an indefatigable worker. I pay him my personal compliment, and in doing so I am sure I am supported by every other member of the committee.

This has been an important and very effective select committee. Since the report was tabled in this chamber I believe there has been a slight improvement in programming on the part of both the commercial television stations and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Like Senator Hannan, I do not wish to criticize at will the programmes that are shown in general to the Australian public. Some of them are of excellent quality and some of reasonable quality. But, unfortunately, together with other members of the committee, 1 believe that there still could be a vast improvement in the standard of programming by both the commercial stations and the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

As will be seen in its report, the committee made 79 recommendations, 70 of which were agreed to unanimously. 1 hope that those recommendations not only will be noted by the Senate but also will be implemented by the Government as soon as possible. We have moved our amendment to the motion before the Chair because in recent years we have had the experience of a joint committee having been appointed to report upon the Constitution, of its report having been submitted in 1958, but of there having been no discussion of that report in this chamber. Opposition senators believe that the recommendations of the select committee on television are of such importance that not only should they be noted by honorable senators but the Government should take steps as soon as possible to implement them.

The fact that the Government agreed to the appointment of the committee on 29th November, 1962 - approximately seventeen months ago, when both Houses of the Parliament were comparatively evenly divided - indicates that there was a belief within the Government’s ranks that all was not well with Australian television. Having heard evidence, the committee has found that to be so. Tn Part I. of its report, the committee dealt with public concern over television programmes. Having considered the evidence presented to them, members of the committee unanimously came to this conclusion -

There is much public concern over television programmes. This concern, as might be expected, comes mainly from the more informed or responsibly minded section of the community and it is widespread.

  1. The disquiet is with programmes from both the Australian Broadcasting Commission and commercial television, although the greater weight of criticism is levied against commercial television.

Altogether 139 witnesses, who represented a wide cross-section of Australian thought and opinion, gave evidence. It is very significant indeed that the only section of the Australian community which came forward to the committee and said that in its view nothing was wrong with television was that which included commercial television proprietors and the Federation of Commercial Advertisers. Every other section of the community pleaded for something to be done. It was obvious that Australians were not getting the value that they expected to get in return for their investment in television receiving sets. It was generally believed, when the committee was appointed, that the industry needed very careful scrutiny and investigation.

We must bear in mind when Senator Hannan moved for the appointment of this select committee the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) moved that the following words be inserted at the end of paragraph (1) of the motion - and to inquire into and report upon the extent and effects of the influence exercised by the press, radio, film and allied interests on the films, programmes and general development of commercial television.

The amendment was not agreed to. The committee’s terms of reference as set out in the resolution of the Senate are to be found in the introduction to the committee’s report. They include this passage -

That a Select Committee of the Senate be appointed to inquire into and report upon the encouragement of the production in Australia of films and programmes suitable for television, and matters incidental thereto.

Between February, 1963, and November, 1963, the committee sat in every capital city in Australia. At the instigation of the chairman, it sat even on public holidays in certain capital cities and at week-ends. Senator Hannan has reminded us that 3,600 foolscap pages of evidence were taken, that 139 witnesses came forward and gave oral evidence and that in addition numerous written submissions were received from many interested organizations. When dealing with the weight of evidence, the committee stated, in paragraph 5 of its report -

The major criticism referred to, particularly in relation to commercial television, were the subject of submissions from a large number of witnesses. The actual number of witnesses who expressed these views and their concern is, however, not as significant as the fact that so many of these people were appearing in a representative capacity. They were speaking on behalf of the large numbers of other Australians whose views in many instances had been previously obtained.

The weight of ‘evidence is, therefore, not only matter of the. number of people who gave evidence. Its real measure is the volume of public opinion that the witnesses represented and upon whose behalf they spoke.

Members of the Roman Catholic faith, members of the Protestant denominations, and representatives of women’s organizations, the younger generation and the great trade union movement told the committee that they believed something should be done to improve Australian television standards. Undoubtedly, the press regarded the committee’s activities as very important. Sittings of the committee were well covered by journalists representing a wide cross section of the Australian press and their reports received great prominence in the metropolitan daily newspapers.

Such a committee is important because this was the first inquiry of a parliamentary nature into mass communication in Australia apart from the royal commission which inquired into television in Australia before its introduction. It is significant also when we consider that at this time - ten o’clock in the evening - according to statistics, some 1 per cent, of Australia’s population are listening to the parliamentary broadcasts and about 80 per cent, are watching television.

The tempo of the television industry in Australia can be gleaned from the fact that in 1956 when television was introduced in Australia, there were only 73,000 television sets. To-day, seven years later, there are about 1,700,000. One could speak for hours on this subject. Members of the committee will agree with me that the compilation of the report meant the burning of a lot of midnight oil by the members of the committee and its officers. I congratulate Senator Hannan on the excellent digest he has given of the various facets of the report in the course of an hour. This debate provides an opportunity to speak on mass communications generally and this, of course, is an era of mass communication. Motion pictures, radio and television have all been developed considerably only within the last 30 years. An important side of television is the educational aspect and this is dealt with adequately in the report. One could also speak of ratings as related to television programmes. But in the short time available to me, I wish to speak of television as it affects the ordinary man in the street - the man who goes to work all day to earn his living, returns home, has dinner and sits with his family to watch television. In speaking of this industry I think of the man who pays between £150 and £200 for a television set and £5 5s. a year for a television licence. After studying the report and considering the evidence as a member of the select committee, I believe that that man is not getting a fair go and is not getting proper value for his money.

For the purposes of the debate, I intend to expand upon the following points: First, Mr. Deputy President, I will say that certainly there is too much imported material in all categories of television as set out in the Australian Broadcasting Control Board’s report which was relied upon by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in its submission to the committee. Secondly, because of lack of encouragement by commercial licensees, Australian film producers, actors, artists and writers are not being given sufficient opportunity to develop their talents in the interests of Australia and themselves. Because of this lack of opportunity, Australia is missing out on potential markets abroad. Thirdly, 1 will say that in the interests of Australia, impetus must be given to such encouragement as soon as possible by the implementation of this select committee’s findings.

Fourthly, between 1956 when television was commenced in Australia and the present time, the holders of commercial television licences have been more interested in securing profits for themselves and their shareholders than they have been in the public welfare. Fifthly, I will say that the real blame for the way in which the industry has been allowed to develop loosely, can be laid at the doors of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. It has allowed the industry to develop in the interests of those who run the stations and not in the interests of those who view the programmes. Sixthly, I will say that there is a dearth throughout the world of good family and children’s programmes as well as documentaries, and Australians should be encouraged to produce such programmes as soon as possible, not only for Australians, but also for Australia’s export markets.

Dealing with the last point first, 1 would point out that the select committee had before it representatives of many agencies, both American and British. Evidence was given by various witnesses that there was a potential market both in the United States of America and in Great Britain for such programmes: It was very interesting to read only last week that next week in the United States of America there will be shown a full hour length documentary on Australia dealing with the Australian way of life. This was produced by an American company which sent American producers and American television experts to Australia to produce it. That very fact illustrates that there is a market at least for documentaries in the United States.

At page 81 of the report of the select committee there is an appendix containing replies received by the committee, following its inquiries about the prospects for Australian television films on overseas markets. Some relevant replies were as follows: -

Belgium- The prospects for Australian television film of adequate artistic and technical quality are theoretically equal to those of any other foreign country. . . .

Britain - So far as the marketing of Australian television films in Britain is concerned, this- would appear to be largely a question of salesmanship on a competitive basis of good quality.

Italy - Australian films of high artistic and technical standards which were also adapted to the Italian taste could find a market. . . .

Japan- There could be a market for good quality Australian films. . . .

New Zealand - Australian films of good quality would certainly be considered for purchase. . . .

Sweden - Australian television film would need to compete with other foreign films available, particularly American and British. Sveriges Radio told us that Australian films most likely to be of interest were actualities, documentaries and children’s films.

Thailand - Australian programmes are acceptable and welcome on TV in Thailand - especially if provided free.

This illustrates that not only is there a market for Australian television programmes within Australia itself but also - as is shown by reports made available to the committee from various parts of the world - there is ample opportunity and a great potential for Australian film producers.

Let me now deal with my first point that there certainly is too much imported material shown in all categories. I refer particularly to, drama. In this respect I wish to refer to the .comments made by the select” committee at pages 14, 15 and 16 of the report. The committee states in paragraph 59, on page 14 -

Drama is recognized as having the greatest psychological and emotional impact upon the audience of all types of television programmes. A programme in “ dramatic “ form is therefore the most powerful weapon of all in its effect upon the moral standards of the community and in influencing its values.

If we look at the table which appears on page 14 we find that drama accounts for 54.5 per cent, of the total transmission time of commercial television stations in capital cities.

In paragraph 60, at page 15, the committee states -

An examination of the proportion of Australian drama in relation to imported drama reveals that the .Australian content is most inadequate.

During the committee’s hearings evidence was given that of the total dramatic content of programmes shown on Australian television only 3.5 per cent, was Australian in origin. In relation to television programmes dealing with crime, horror and violence, which go into Australian homes in the category of dramatic productions, let me turn to Part I of the report, under the heading “ Public Concern over Television Programmes”. The committee states -

The disquiet is with programmes from both the Australian Broadcasting Commission and commercial television although the greater weight of criticism is levied against commercial television.

Senator Hannan referred to an address by Mr. Newton Minow, of the United States Federal Communications Commission. I wish to direct the attention of the Senate to an article by Mr. George Malko, an American television producer, headed “ Australian TV: The Wasteland Down Under”, published on 11th August, 1962. With the concurrence of the Senate, I incorporate it in “ Hansard “ -

In the six years that it has had television, Australia has probably done less than any other country to present programs which reflect its own way of life. Outside of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which is bound by the government that supports its existence to present primarily Australian fare, the commercial stations have almost consistently offered viewers the ready-made products of American television.

Before anyone insists that a certain amount of American programming can be found all over the world, let me offer the viewing schedule of an average evening in Sydney. There are three channels, two of them commercial. This is what they telecast on Tuesday, May 1, 1962. Beginning at 7 p.m., Channel 7 presented Sea Hunt, while Channel 9 presented Father of the Bride. The Australian Broadcasting Commission offered News, Newsreel, and Weather. Taking the three stations in that order we find that, at 7:30, Channel 7 had Ben Casey, Channel 9 Follow The Sun, and Channel 2 (the Australian Broadcasting Commission) Wells Fatso. At 8:30, it was The Untouchables on 7, Perry Mason, on 9, and Silents Please on 2, which had showed a program called People at 8:00. At 9:30, Channel 7 screened Maverick, 9 had Bourbon Street Beat, and 2 presented Linda Vogt and Emma Den Hollander in a musical recital. At 9:00, Channel 2 had programmed Town and Country, a rural program which included gardening and Ashing hints. At 10:30, the last program of the evening came on. Channel 7 ran City Detective, and 9 screened the movie “ My Dream Is Yours,” with Jack Carson and Doris Day. At 10:00, the Commission had showed After the Battle, with an episode entitled “ London.” At 10:30, it presented News and Newsreel, and then went off the air at 10:55. Channel 7 which had ended its day with City Detective, had the Headline News at 11:30 and then Reflections, a brief religious message. Channel 9 presumably went off the air after the movie ended.

The central issue raised by such programming is: which country is Australian TV reflecting - Australia or the United States. Part of the problem lies in the quality of the local programs produced. One young boy said, in reference to TV, “ You may get some Australian ones, but when you do they’re not as good. I wouldn’t say they’re bad, but they’re not as good.”

While the Australian Broadcasting Commission does produce local programs as best it can, notably two dramatic series on historic themes, the majority of the audience switches to those channels presenting the tested entertainment from across the sca. True, the commercial stations have from time to time presented an Australian documentary, but these are such exceptions, and treated as such, that their effect must be judged apart from the attention television is regularly given by the Australian viewer.

Why are Australians not being shown programs which reflect their way of life, give them an understanding of their own country, and at the same time are good enough to compete with American programs? The reasons are not too complex. To begin with, one must understand where the money to operate stations comes from and how it is being spent. In 1956, when the government decided to start programming television, commercial licences were granted as well. The only organizations with enough money to undertake such operations were newspapers.

While the Australian Broadcasting Commission, run on government funds, grew to its present position of operating nineteen TV stations across the land, six of them in the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart, newspapers were fighting to gain control of as many different stations as possible.

There are no networks in Australia, and as a result every station is in a position of singular influence. This influence is extended by the link with the newspapers. In Sydney, for example, ATN-7 is owned by Amalgamated Television Services Pty., Ltd., a subsidiary of John Fairfax, Ltd., which publishes the Sydney Morning Herald and the afternoon Sun. Both the newspapers and the television station have the same board of directors, headed by R. A. G. Henderson, managing director of John Fairfax, Ltd. TCN-9 is owned by the Consolidated Press, Ltd., which publishes Sydney’s other morning newspaper, the Telegraph.

In Melbourne, the Herald, a different organization than Sydney’s Herald, owns franchises on stations in all the cities but Sydney. In addition, the Melbourne Herald publishes newspapers in every one of those cities. In some cases it is the only newspaper published. It has been rumored that Sir John Williams of the Herald, disturbed that Sydney’s Consolidated Press controls a Melbourne Station, will enter an agreement with the Sydney Morning Herald regarding Channel 7, thereby giving Sir John blanket participation in the policies of commercial programming in every major Australian city.

When you argue with someone from a commercial station that it is their duty to insist sponsors produce local programs, they say it costs the sponsor too much money even to consider it. Comparing the money sponsors want to spend with the costs involved in creating what American producers consider to be a finished product, they’re certainly right. Some years ago the Dinah Shore Show, which was being Produced in the U.S. for some $100,000 a week, was available in Australia for $4,000. The cost was split between Sydney and Melbourne, each running it independently since there is no network link. Under such circumstances, what sponsor in his right mind would spend even $5,000 trying to produce a local show, when for less he can be recognized as the sponsor of so finished a product as the Dinah Shore Show?

True, there are one or two Australian-produced programs that enjoy high ratings. These are largely sposored by gasoline manufacturers, companies with a product permanently in demand. The simple economics of the Australian market are such, however, that anyone in a position of sponsorship realizes that even full saturation of the country’s 10 million population will not bring back an appreciable return for a major investment. As a result very little money, in toto, is being spent to put programs on the air, whatever their origin.

Finally, and most importantly, there is no law placing a limit on the amount of foreign programming which may be used. In England the Television Act requires that a proper proportion of the programs shall be of British origin and performance. The British Broadcasting Commission is not tied to this, but the practice seems to indicate that 14 per cent, of independent (commercial) programming is foreign in origin while 12 per cent, of the BBC’s programming is foreign produced. The obvious solution for Australia would be to introduce a similar Television Act, but it somehow seems late in the game to expect this to happen.

Most of the people working for the Australian Broadcasting Commission are convinced that by choice or circumstance they are producing true Australian programs, and there people are aware of the danger facing all television in Australia. Many of those who work for the commercial stations are content to operate as a selling service, a liaison instrument between the sponsor and the programs he can buy to offer his viewing buyers.

Those who seek something more from commercial television ase usually frustrated. The one thing which has made it most difficult for Australia to develop its own approach to television is that by the time it started, in 1956, the world, and particularly the U.S., knew a great deal about the medium. While England had rejected imitation, Australia succumbed to it.

There is some optimism. Bruce Gyngell, Program Director for TCN-9, owned by the Consolidated Press, Ltd., believes Australia can develop a national medium. “ I think Australian television has got to set out,” he says, “ and get a type of program which is going to inform and entertain the public, .give them much more of the knowledge and background of this country o’f ours, and I think we’re going to have to develop this pride, we’re going to have to be rah-rah a little bit, and feel and think Australia is the greatest country in the world.” The thought is well taken, but its tone may ring familiar to some of our own champions for better television.

If, in the coming era of international broadcasting, we are one day to watch a program from Australia and know, when it is over, that we have really seen something Australian, great changes will have to be made. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have succeeded in creating television programs that emulate Hollywood’s greatest trait - the world looks and says, “ Made in U.S.A.” This is something that a few other countries have achieved and that many more must aspire to, Australia not the least among them.

As honorable senators will see, Mr. Malko said that Australia had done less than any other country to present programmes which reflected our way of life. He also stated that while imitation had been rejected by the people of the United Kingdom in the early days of television in that country, unfortunately Australia had succumbed to imitation in the few programmes that it had attempted to produce. Mr. Bruce Gyngell, who in 1962 was programme director for TCN-9, which is under the control of Australian Consolidated Press Limited, stated -

I think Australian television has got to set out and get a type of programme which is going to inform and entertain the public, give them much more of a knowledge and background of this country of ours, and I think we’re going to have to develop this pride, we’re going to have to be rah-rah a little bit, and feel and think that Australia is the greatest country in the world.

I hope that the proprietors of TCN-9 will take cognizance of the remarks made by the programme director on that occasion.

Having dealt with the lack of quality in television programmes, let me turn to the second aspect of my remarks. Australian producers, actors, artists and writers are not being given sufficient opportunity to develop their talents, in their interests and also in the interests of Australia. I think it is fair to say that that is obvious, having regard to the paucity of Australian programmes on television. I wish to refer to evidence given by Mr. Eden, an officer of Actors’ Equity of Australia when the committee first took evidence in Melbourne between 5th and 8th February, 1963. At page 142 of the transcript of evidence, Mr. Eden is reported to have said -

Since the commencement of television, work for actors in radio has declined by more than 98 per cent, and there has been no appreciable volume of work offering in television to offset this decline in employment for actors.

He went on to say that at the time he was giving evidence there were 3,000 fully qualified actors in Australia and that of this number only 200 were employed on a fulltime basis. He pointed out that the remaining 2,800 were employed in a part-time capacity; that they might be employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission for a week and not have another engagement for a month. He said that, because Austraiian actors, artists and writers were not getting a fair go, we were losing the best people in those fields. They were going overseas to make their name in overseas productions. That is not merely a bad thing; it is a shocking thing. After television had been in operation in this country for seven years, during which time large profits were made by the proprietors of commercial television stations and 1,700,000 television sets had gone into Australian homes, there was work available on a permanent basis for only 200 Australian actors. I believe that the Government could do much to ameliorate this state of affairs if it were to adopt the recommendations of the select committee.

I want to cite an article which appeared in the “ Bulletin “, another publication of Australian Consolidated Press Limited. As I have already said, the company is also the proprietor of TCN-9 in Sydney. On 10th February, 1962, the “Bulletin” published an article under the heading “Take It or Leave It “, by David Williams, in which the following comments were made: -

After a careful look at Australian television during the years since I returned from overseas I have come to the conclusion that two of the greatest obstacles to good television here are that pay to actors and artists is not high enough, and the basis on which that payment is made is not very sound.

Later, he says -

The commercial stations claim that there is not a large enough audience to justify live drama production. If they genuinely believe this, they cannot have studied British television, where there are four or five hour to hour-and-a-half plays a week, not to mention live serials, etc. Admittedly it has taken some years for these plays to build up a big following, but now they rate the top times and draw nearly the largest number of viewers!

Mr. Williams goes on to state that there is no doubt that television will follow the same pattern in Australia and that Australian television stations should be anticipating this now and making plans accordingly.

Evidence was given that hundreds of Australians were successfully engaging in this industry in other lands and that most, if not all, of them would be very happy to return to Australia to assist in the development of an Australian film industry. I refer to paragraph 99 of the committee’s report, which has something very important to say on the matter. It is headed “ Increased Content of Australian Drama - Long-term Factor “ and reads -

As the only way to obtain cheaper supplies of television programmes is through the establishment of an export market in films, it follows that any substantial increase in the content of Australian television dramatic programmes is very closely related to and in fact dependent upon the extent to which Australia can develop her film industry and sell her films overseas.

The evidence showed that some 41 film producers were engaged in this industry and that most, if not all, of them had to rely for a living on the production of Australian television commercials. If they were not producing these, they were producing animated cartoons. They pointed out that but for the imposition of, virtually, a 100 per cent. Australian quota on television commercials most, if not all, of them would be out of business to-day. In this regard, it is interesting to read paragraph 100 of the committee’s report, which states -

The rise and fall of the Australian film industry is a melancholy spectacle for contemplation by Australians. One often hears it said that “ Australia can never make films “, and that the business of film making is “ best left to those countries who can do it better than we can “.

This means, of course, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and other countries. The paragraph continues -

The Committee rejects the sentiments so expressed.

Honorable senators may be interested to learn that Australia produced ‘the ‘world’s 1 : . tq ?. .« first motion picture in 1901 and that from then until the years immediately before World War I. it was one of the world’s leading producers of full-length films. No fewer than 198 full-length feature films were made in and exported by Australia during that period, and these films were made by Australian artists, directors and producers. The case that the Opposition puts to the Government, in urging the implementation of this report,, is that Australia having been one of the largest filmproducing nations in the world between 1901 and 1914, without the assistance of television, there is no reason or justification for saying that these things cannot be done now.

The committee was presented with a great deal of material for and against the imposition of quotas. This is a subject to which Senator Hannan has already referred. In supporting Senator Hannan on the subject, I do no more than refer to paragraphs 79 and 80 of the report. We say that there is nothing unusual about quotas, that they are already applied in relation to television commercials, and that they are an acknowledged success. I have already mentioned the evidence that the 41 film producers iri Australia are basically relying on the production of Australian television commercials to keep them in business. The committee points out that the quota principle is already being applied by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in its requirement of an overall proportion of 40 per cent. Australian material of any type. The committee also emphasizes that local television programme production is virtually unprotected in a country where protection of local industries has been of the essence of government policy since federation. For these reasons, the committee accepts the principle of the establishment of a quota for Australian drama. As Senator Hannan stated, we urge in the first instance a quota of 9 per cent, for Australian dramatic productions, this figure being set on the basis that there will be no room for the manufacture and presentation of what were known in England some years ago as “ quota quickies “.

I now come to my fourth point. I turn to the matter of commercial television stations and to m’y assertion, that between the time when television ,was first introduced anil the present, the holders of commercial television licences have been more interested in their profits and those of their shareholders than in the public welfare. This is dealt with in Part IV. of the report at page 7. Before I come to the committee’s recommendations with regard to commercial television companies, it might be interesting, by way of illustration, to deal with the four principal commercial television stations in Australia- ATN-7 and TCN-9 in Sydney, and HSV-7 and GTV-9 in Melbourne. Let me refer to the cases made by the licensees in their original applications to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in relation to the presentation of live production programmes, and therefore programmes which are Australian in origin. When ATN-7 applied to the board in 1959, it proposed that 67 per cent, of its programmes would be live productions, and therefore Australian productions. But turning to the board’s report for the last financial year, one finds that after engaging in this industry for seven years the quota achieved by ATN-7 was not 67 per cent, of live productions, and therefore Australian productions, but only 37.7 per cent. In its original application, Channel TCN-9 made a proposal for 50 per cent, of the programmes to be live productions, and, therefore, Australian but to-day - seven years later - it is showing the Australian people only 35.3 per cent. Station HSV-7 Melbourne, in its original application, proposed 78 per cent. Australian content seven years ago but it is showing only 42.7 per cent. Australian content to-day. Station GTV-9, the other large commercial television station in Melbourne, proposed a quota of 54 per cent, in its first year, 55.8 per cent, in its second year and 62.8 per cent, in its third year; but to-day, after seven years of operation, according to the fifteenth annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, it is showing only a mere 43.3 per cent.

If we turn to the evidence of Mr. Wheatland, general secretary of the Professional Musicians Union of Australia, who gave evidence before the committee in Melbourne on 1st August, 1963, we find most illuminating material. It is interesting to observe that when these four commercial stations, Channel 7 and Channel 9 in Sydney and Channel 7 and Channel 9 in Melbourne made their original applications to the Australian Broadcasting Control

Board for licences, they estimated that collectively they would lose £857,000 in their first three years of operation; but, instead of losing £857,000, they made a profit of over £350,000. Between 1956 and 1962, according to reports published from time to time by the board, these four stations made a profit of some £6,371,372.

Senator Wright:

– To which companies are you referring?


– I am referring to Channel 7 in Sydney, Channel 7 in Melbourne, Channel 9 in Sydney and Channel 9 in Melbourne. I am ignoring other stations that have come into being since that time. I am dealing only with those four large commercial television stations and pointing out that whereas, in their applications to the Broadcasting Control Board, they estimated that they would lose £857,000 between them in the first three years of their operations, the evidence of Mr. Wheatland discloses - and this is confirmed by the annual reports of the board - that the anticipated deficit of £857,000 became a net profit of £350,000. In the last six years, they have earned between them a net profit of £6,371,372. Time does not allow me to discuss in great detail the committee’s recommendations. Suffice it to say at this stage that the Opposition, and I am sure all other members of the committee, agree that paragraphs 40 to 43a, of the committee’s report, which deal with commercial television stations, should be implemented as early as possible.

Let me refer now to one or two other documents that have come to me since the presentation of the select committee’s report. A Mr. Cowan, general manager of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations - an organization known as Facts - gave evidence to the select committee. From recollection, I think it is fair to say that he gave evidence on the last day of the hearing of evidence by the committee. Mr. Cowan, like most other Australian commercial television station proprietors, said that he and his organization could see very little, if anything, wrong with television as portrayed to the Australian community. Here let me quote from the editorial of a publication called “Harvest” issued in November, 1963. I understand that “ Harvest “ magazine is published by the Marist Fathers every month from February to November. This is what the editor, Mr. Glynn, wrote about the evidence given by Mr. Cowan -

The Facts of (TV) Life.

The Senate select committee meeting (at the time of writing) in Canberra to enquire into the encouragement of Australian productions for television in Australia has produced some revealing statements.

Giving evidence before the committee, Mr. A. S. Cowan, General Manager of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations stated that no widespread dissatisfaction with commercial television programmes could be demonstrated. Mr. Cowan went on to deny blandly that programmes were studded with horror, crime and violence.

Coming from a top executive with a responsible position in the television world, the comment gave me heart as I settled down before TV to verify the good news for myself. In one brief, adstudded hour this is what I saw.

A sadistic lunatic plots the theft of a neighbour’s wife. When the husband threatens him with a gun, the sadist knocks him unconscious and murders him by smashing his skull four or five times against an iron grill.

The wife investigates; sees her murdered husband; turns to flee and is strangled. A woman friend enters the apartment and as she turns for the police is strangled to within an inch of death.

Abruptly, the double murderer releases his third victim in response to an esoteric summons from a nearby room where victim number two is stretched on a bed. The star enters the bedroom and proceeds to fondle and make love to the dead body of a strangled woman. Revolting to the extreme, yet not an isolated theme as every viewer knows.

How then could a man entrusted with the responsible position of general manager of FACTS be so misleading before a Senate Committee about the absence of crime and violence on TV?

To a point, television in Australia provides a worth-while entertainment and information service for the community. But, in view of its ramifications television represents a huge community investment and we are entitled to much more than TV has offered to date.

In the final paragraph, Mr. Glynn wrote -

As long as executives like Mr. Cowan stubbornly refuse to admit the defects of Australian and imported programmes, so much longer will they fail to serve the community as nobly as they claim. So long as they continue to delude themselves with mob-ratings that are quantitative and not qualitative, drawn up by advertising agencies with a vested interest in certain programmes, to this extent would Mr. Cowan’s organization be well advised to alter its name from FACTS to FIGMENTS.

Senator Wright:

– -Does, no authority have the power to prohibit that sort of stuff on television? *‘n- rjk


– I am coming to that point very shortly. So far as I was concerned as a member of the committee, it was obvious to me that Mr. Glynn, in his excellent editorial, portrayed the widespread dissatisfaction felt by Australians with the type of programming coming to them over Australian television.

I think the report of the select committee emphasized that certain programmes had a great deficiency; and that through the medium of television, too much crime, horror and violence of an imported nature were being presented to Australian family life. I have partly dealt with the commercial undertakings engaged in this vast industry. These companies are large commercial undertakings, operating in a commercial world. Although we deprecate the amount of crime, horror and violence that they show in their programmes and the amount of money that they spend on the purchase of imported material - to the detriment of Australian programmes, the Australian industry, and Australian artists and producers - -I do not suppose that the entire blame for this approach can be levelled at the Packers, the Fairfaxes and Williamses. After all, they are in the industry to serve their own interests and those of their shareholders. However, I think we would appreciate them more if they admitted this to the Australian public. So far they have got away with far too much, to the detriment of Australians.

The committee feels that it is about time that the operators of commercial television stations put more into the industry. As Senator Hannan has said, the committee recommends that the licence-fees paid by the commercial stations to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board should be raised considerably, but perhaps not nearly to the extent that now operates in the United Kingdom. In the course of my remarks Senator Wright interjected and asked’ whether anything could be done to stop the flow of crime, horror and violence into Australian homes over television.

Senator Wright:

– No, I asked whether there was any authority to prohibit a programme such as you described. I should think that a programme such as that would be horrifying to any decent person.


– That was not my description; that was the description given by Mr. Glynn in the magazine to which I referred. I imagine that there would be power to prohibit such programmes. Perhaps Senator Wright, who is a lawyer, would know better than I whether the power vested in the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is sufficient to protect the interests of the Australian viewers.

I come now to the laxity of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in exercising proper control over the industry. The powers that it should exercise have been rather sadly neglected. The chairman of the board, Mr. Osborne, gave evidence before the select committee. I shall leave it to others to express their opinions on the manner in which Mr. Osborne gave his evidence. 1 think it can be inferred from the manner in which Senator Hannan spoke that he had formed certain conclusions. Having regard to various matters set out in the committee’s report, I do not have the impression that Mr. Osborne can be regarded by Australians as a second Mr. Newton Minow - the man who was responsible for the control of commercial television in the United States of America for some years. Senator Hannan has already referred to Mr. Newton Minow’s famous speech and to the fact that he challenged American television proprietors to sit down in front of their sets in their own homes and view their own programmes. The Senate should be aware that this challenge was issued to Sir Frank Packer by the chairman of our committee, Senator Vincent. Sir Frank Packer’s reply was, “ I won’t take you up on that”.

Relating my remarks again to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, I wish to refer to paragraphs 24, 26 and 27 of the committee’s report. It will be seen from paragraph 24 that the following question was addressed by the committee to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board -

What orders or directions, under section 17 of the Broadcasting and Television Act, or any other directives in relation to programmes have been issued by the Board to licensees of commercial television stations generally or to specific licensees?

The board provided the following reply -

No orders or directions under section 17 of the Act relating to programme matters have been issued by the Board to licensees of commercial television stations, but circulars have been sent to stations on the subjects of televising of imported advertisements . . and on televising of films known as “ tough As “.

In paragraphs 26 and 27 the committee quite fearlessly expressed its opinion. It said -

  1. The Committee appreciates the difficulties of the Board in carrying out its responsibilities under the Act. It has the problem of enforcing more adequate programmes upon commercial stations who have the admittedly difficult threefold function of accepting their basic national responsibility because of their monopolistic position; maintaining a high standard of programme (which can be very expensive); and making a profit therefrom.
  2. Nevertheless, the Committee considers that the Board, particularly in recent years, during which time commercial television has become established upon a sound economic basis, could have discharged its obligations more adequately and effectively.

Specific instances are set out in paragraph 28, and in sub-paragraph (4) the committee states - lt comes as a surprise to the Committee that the Board has neither threatened nor taken disciplinary action against any commercial licensee. This lack of action can only be explained by the vague and uncertain attitude of Mr. Osborne with respect to the Board’s obligations under the Act. In answer to a question upon this matter the Board answered - “ The Board has not threatened any commercial television licensee with disciplinary action. When breaches of the Programme Standards come under the notice of the Board the matter is taken up with the station management, either verbally or in writing according to circumstances. There is continued consultation between the Board’s officers and station managements and a high degree of cooperation is received from stations.

Because of insufficient time, it is not my intention to go through the various reports presented to the Parliament by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Year in and year out the board has expressed dissatisfaction with various facets of television as presented by the licensees of Australian commercial television stations, yet we find that in an answer to a question from the committee the board made the extraordinary statement that no disciplinary action had ever been taken or contemplated. I think it is fair to say that it is the opinion of every member of the committee that the board has not exercised its powers, as acknowledged at page 6 of its fifteenth annual report. The committee has said that the board has not discharged its statutory responsibility under section 17 (1) of the Broadcasting and Television Act, but instead has said to the holders of commercial television licences, in effect: “ We do not wish to discipline you. We ask you not to contravene the act. Please, merely be good boys.”

I could refer specifically to certain sections of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board’s last annual report, but because of the lateness of the hour I merely refer in passing to paragraphs 226 and 217. The committee believed that the board should be strengthened as a body, and that the representatives of the industry, both employer and employee, should be heard by this very important statutory board.

Because of the lateness of the hour I do not intend to take up any more time. Other members of the committee will be speaking on other matters. We of the Opposition believe the report of this select committee to be of great national importance. The committee’s findings, if implemented, will spell out a great future for Australia’s artists, writers and film producers, and the Australian television industry generally. I suggest on behalf of the Opposition that by giving support-


– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.

Senator Cant:

– 1 second the amendment moved by Senator McClelland and reserve my right to speak at a later stage.

Senator CORMACK:

.- The time is getting late but I should like, with your permission, Mr. President, to say that it is a rather melancholy occasion on which I rise to speak in die absence of Senator Vincent who is ill, in support of the motion that the Senate take mote of the report of the select committee on television. I am sure that all honorable senators feel as I do that it was the enthusiasm and drive of Senator Vincent that first persuaded the Senate to set up this committee, and that the hard and ardous work of the committee in its investigations was due substantially to the enthusiasm that Senator Vincent brought to his task. As it is fairly late and there is pressure of Government business, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

page 386


Bill received from the House of Representatives.

Standing orders suspended.

Bill (on motion by Senator Sir William Spooner) read a first time.

Second Reading

Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister for National Development · New South Wales · LP

[10.54]. - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The Government’s proposals relating to child endowment were outlined by the Right Honorable the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in the joint policy speech on 12th November, last year. This bill is in fulfilment of the policy as then stated. In past years, the Government has directed available finance towards improving mainly the pensions and unemployment and sickness benefits schemes where the need has been greatest. The progress made in those fields has reached a point where it is now appropriate to turn our attention to child endowment.

Mr. President, the bill before the Senate has three main purposes: It increases from 10s. to 15s. a week the rate of child endowment for third and subsequent children under J 6 years of age in families; it increases from 10s. to 15s. a week the rate of endowment for children who are inmates of institutions approved for child endowment purposes; and it provides for the first time in the history of child endowment in this country for the payment of 15s. a week to the parents or guardians of full-time students aged 16 to 21 years who are attending schools, colleges, or universities and who are not employed.

The present rate of endowment is 5s. a week for the first or only child under the age of sixteen years and, irrespective of the size of the family, 10s. a week for each other child under the age of sixteen in the custody, care and control of the endowee, usually the mother. Thus, where there are three such children in a family, endowment is paid at the rate of 25s. a week, increasing to 35s. a week for four children, 45s. a week for five and so on. Under the bill, endowment will be payable at the rate of 30s. a week where there are three children under sixteen years of age and will increase by a further 15s. a week for each additional child. Endowees with three or more children under the age of sixteen years will not be required to apply for this increase. It will be paid to all eligible persons by the Department of

Social Services from information contained in existing records.

The proposal to increase to 15s. a week the rate of endowment payable to children under sixteen years in approved institutions needs no explanation. It is a measure that will be of a great benefit to the many less fortunate children in religious, charitable and government institutions throughout the Commonwealth. As in the case of families, the increase will be made available by the Department of Social Services without the necessity for an application to be made by the institutions. I am happy to say that the Minister for Social Services has obtained an assurance from each State Premier that State expenditure on child welfare will not be reduced because of the increased rate of child endowment payable to children in institutions. The State Premiers have also assured the Minister that the increase will be used “ to the exclusive advantage of the children concerned “.

The effect of .the two proposals which I have just mentioned will be to increase by 5s. a week the rate of endowment payable in respect of over 900,000 children under sixteen years in 520,000 families. In addition it will increase by 5s. a week the rate payable in respect of some 25,500 children in institutions. The benefit of the measures will therefore spread widely throughout the community and will be welcomed by the larger family groups and the institution authorities.

Mr. President, our child endowment scheme is at present confined to providing some assistance towards the financial burdens imposed by the rearing of children up to the age of sixteen years. Great progress has been made in technological and other field’s over recent years and with this has come a consequent need for advancing the education of our younger generation to higher levels to keep pace with the times. It has become a matter of great concern, therefore, to all parents conscious of their responsibilities for the education and future of their children and, indeed, a matter of national importance, that measures be taken to assist parents with the costs involved in allowing their children to remain longer at school and obtain a higher education. The bill before the Senate contains one such measure. It provides for the payment of endowment at the rate of 15s. a week to the parents or guardians of students aged from 16 to 21 years who are receiving full-time education at schools, colleges or universities and who are not employed. Students who are inmates of institutions and who are undergoing fulltime education will also come within this provision.

Debate interrupted.

page 388


The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the negative.

page 388


Second Reading

Debate resumed.

Students who are in full-time employment will not come within the provisions of the bill, as full-time employment is incompatible with full-time studies. As the purpose of this payment will be to assist parents with their educational responsibilities to their children, full-time students who are undertaking their studies - other than secondary school studies - as a condition of employment, and who are receiving a normal wage or salary, will not be covered by this new scheme. This will apply also to cadets, apprentices, trainee teachers and nurses and others who receive education and training as part of their employment or who are bound to an employer or future employer.

It is proposed to make payment to the person having the custody, care and control of a student. This follows the existing law relating to payment for children under the age of sixteen years. A wide interpretation will be placed on the term “ custody, care and control “ and in most cases payment will be made to the mother. The Department of Social Services has no information available from which to arrange this payment. Consequently, it will be necessary for qualified persons to lodge applications with the department. Application forms are available at all post offices and at offices of the department. It is proposed to make payment by cheque at twelve-weekly intervals.

Existing endowees who have a child turning sixteen years of age after 9th March, 1964, will be invited by the department to apply for student endowment if after reaching the age of sixteen years the child will be continuing with full-time studies. On lodgment of a claim qualified persons will be paid the higher rate of endowment from the commencement of the endowment period after the child reached the age of sixteen. This will mean that there will be no break in the continuity of payments in respect of the child. It is estimated that the parents or guardians of some 140,000 students will benefit directly from the provisions of the bill relating to endowment for student children.

It now remains only to mention two further items of the bill. First, in pursuance of our responsibilities to protect public moneys, and to overcome a serious defect in the existing law, the opportunity is being taken to include in the bill a provision requiring persons in receipt of endowment to notify the Department of Social Services within fourteen days of the occurrence of certain events affecting their continued eligibility for endowment - namely, where a child ceases to be in the custody, care and control of the endowee; ceases to be in Australia; dies; marries; or being a student child ceases to receive full-time education or begins employment.

Secondly, to ensure that the benefits of the bill will accrue to eligible people as nearly as possible from the beginning of the school year provision is made for both the increase for third and subsequent children and endowment for student children to commence from 14th January, 1964, that being the beginning of the endowment period in which schools generally opened, provided the endowees or claimants for student endowment had qualifying children in their custody, care and control on or before that date. Where custody, care and control were assumed after 14th January, the date of commencement of the increase or the payment for a student will be determined in accordance with the existing legislation. lt is proposed to make the first payments under the bill on endowment pay-day 7th April, 1964, with twelve weeks’ arrears where applicable.

I now turn to the question of the costs involved in the measures I have outlined. First, I should mention that quite apart from this bill, expenditure on child endowment for 1963-64 has been estimated to reach £76,600,000, which is an increase of £8,900,000 over the expenditure for the previous year. This increase would occur because of the natural increase in the number of children and because an extra pay-day, including an extra pay-day for endowees receiving payments by quarterly credits to bank accounts, falls due in this current year. I should also mention that expenditure from the National Welfare Fund is already expected to exceed the very large sum of £411,000,000 this year. It is estimated that the increase to 15s. a week for third and subsequent children in families and for children in approved institutions will increase expenditure by approximately £12,100,000 in a full year. Approximately £5,700,000 will be spent in the current year. Provision of endowment for student children is estimated to cost £5,600,000 in a full year and £2,600,000 for the balance of this year. The total additional cost of the proposals therefore is £18,000,000 a year.

Mr. President, child endowment is not the only avenue through which assistance is being provided for children. Over the past fourteen years the Government has introduced many measures to improve and raise the standard of social services in Australia and among many outstanding achievements must rank the provision of additional payments for children whose parents are in receipt of pensions or unemployment, sickness and special benefits, or tuberculosis allowances. Members of the Senate will recall that last year legislation was enacted to increase certain of these payments, with the result that they are now provided at a uniform rate of 15s. a week for each child. At the same time the law was extended to provide for the continuation of these payments up to the end of the year in which children attain the age of eighteen years while they continue to receive full-time education and are wholly or substantially dependent on pensioners or recipients of tuberculosis allowance.

The Commonwealth scholarship scheme and the deductions from income for taxation purposes which the Commonwealth allows in respect of children, including student children aged 16 to 21 years, and deductions in respect of education expenses of children, are other factors which must also be taken into account when considering the level of Commonwealth assistance towards the costs of rearing and educating children.

The measures contained in the present bill are a fitting addition to the Government’s past achievements. They will make a further contribution to the incomes of larger families and will assist parents to meet their educational responsibilities. They are in keeping with the Government’s progressive outlook on social services and with the best principles of financial responsibility and good government. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Kennelly) adjourned.

Senate adjourned at 11.12 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 March 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.