9 April 1964

25th Parliament · 1st Session

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

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Senator DRURY:

– I direct a question to the Minister for Health. Is it true that the Government is considering legislation which would compel friendly societies’ national pharmacies to charge 5s. for all doctors* prescriptions dispensed in their shops? If this is true, does not the Minister believe that such legislation would penalize the members of these organizations, particularly those who have been members for many years, and that over a period of time it would cause the membership to decrease in an alarming manner?

Senator WADE:
Minister for Health · VICTORIA · CP

– lt is true that the Government is about to introduce into the Parliament a series of amendments to the National Health Act, to give effect to, amongst other things, our election undertaking to increase benefits in respect of medical costs. The answer to the honorable senator’s question will be revealed in due course. In the meantime, there is no need for him to take the suggested implication too seriously.

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Senator BREEN:

– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. In view of the disturbing and confusing situation that obtains regarding censorship, does the Minister intend to call a conference of Commonwealth and State authorities to discuss the evident desirability of uniformity of procedure? If so, can he indicate how soon the conference will be held?

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

– We have had some conferences on this matter over the past few years. One was at ministerial level. A work party consisting of officers of the various State departments and the Department of Customs and Excise has met once a year for two or three years. As a matter of fact, it is meeting in Canberra to-day. 1 think that the initiative must come from the States. They, of course, have the inherent sovereign power of censorship, which was one of the powers not passed to the Commonwealth at federation. If the States were to take this initiative, I am sure that the matter would be closely examined at federal level and that we would do all in our power to co-operate. As I say, there is a conference this morning and some useful results may come out of that discussion.

The honorable senator says that the position is confusing. That is putting it mildly. Only yesterday I noticed that another honorable senator had on the notice-paper a question regarding a television documentary film. Whilst the Postmaster-General will supply him with the answer, I want to say to him now that this film was produced in Australia and therefore does not come under the Customs (Cinematograph Films) Regulations. We have no power to act in such matters.

Senator Ormonde:

– It was not produced here.

Senator HENTY:

– I understood that it was produced in Australia. My censorship officer advises me that it has never come to his notice. It would not come to his notice unless there was an application to export it from Australia. I refer to the film called “ The Glittering Mile “. That incident shows that confusion exists not only in relation to literary censorship but in other fields as well. I am sure that everybody in Australia, including all the relevant authorities, would welcome a sensible and practical approach to the problem of achieving uniformity in this matter.

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Senator BROWN:

Mr. President, I have many questions, of both a general and a particular nature, to ask this morning. They could perhaps be answered by the Ministers representing the Ministers for Defence, the Army, the Navy, Air, or Supply. I think that actually there should be one co-ordinating authority and that there are too many Ministers dealing with defence matters. However, I shall address my questions to Senator Sir William Spooner, who is the chief and most competent quiz master on the Government side. 1 have great faith in his competence. I ask him whether he agrees with the following excerpt from a brochure, printed by the Shum Shing Printing Company of Hong

Kong, which recently came into the hands of members of the Senate: -

Political power grows out of (he barrel of a gun . . . Whoever has an army has power, for war settles everything.

That statement was made by Mao Tsetung, the head of the Communist Party of China, in a speech in November, 1938, and neither Mao nor his party has ever deviated from this credo. My questions are: If war came, could Australia successfully defend itself? It would be a local war, of course, because the military intelligentsia and most modern thinkers agree that there is practically no defence against nuclear attack. Is it true, as was recently stated by Sir Raymond Huish at a returned soldiers’ conference, that Australia spends less on defence, proportionately, than does either Holland or New Zealand? Is Australia’s relative defence expenditure among the lowest of the countries of the world? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether, because of the recent farce with Centurion tanks in Queensland, the Army is to abandon the Centurion tank? Are these tanks obsolete by modern standards? Will the Government consider the purchase of modern tanks that can be transported by air? Have not the Swiss a tank that weighs only 8.7 tons and carries a 90 millimetre gun, whereas the Centurion tank weighs 50 tons and carries a gun of only 76.2 millimetre calibre? Did not the farce at Tin Can Bay, in Queensland, demonstrate the utter unsuitability of the Centurion tank for Australian conditions? Is it a fact that the Centurion tank cannot be transported by air? Is it true that recently it took three weeks to transport Centurion tanks from Victoria to Tin Can Bay? Is it also true, as was stated by Mr. Cray, the honorable member for Capricornia, that it would take a fortnight for Centurion tanks to travel sixteen miles by road to a firing range, as was necessary recently in the Tin Can Bay area? I have some 50 additional questions, Mr. President, but 1 shall not ask them this morning. I shall reserve them for another time.


– I think I may reasonably commence my reply to Senator Brown’s questions by saying that he could hardly expect even me to be knowledgeable on all the topics he has raised. I take refuge, as 1 must, in a general answer, because I do not think the honorable senator or any one else would expect me to have in my mind information on all the questions he has asked. 1 can give this general answer: With all our limitations as a nation of only 11,000,000 people, 1 think the Australian people can quite justifiably have confidence in the defence arrangements we have made and are making. We are living in rather troubled times. The Government is constantly reviewing existing arrangements. We are operating, as every one needs constantly to remember, in two different ways - on the diplomatic front as well as on the defence front. The defence front runs in two different ways. One concerns the treaty arrangements which we have made and which add tremendous strength to Australian resources. The other concerns arrangements for our own armed services. I finish where I started: I believe we can have confidence that what we are doing is being well done and covers the various contingencies which our defence advisers suggest might arise in the future.

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– Will the Leader of the Government in the Senate inform the Senate when the report of the Committee of Economic Enquiry under the chairmanship of Dr. Vernon might be ready to deliver its report?


– I cannot give a direct answer to the honorable senators question. My information does not come directly from the chairman of the committee. My knowledge is that the committee is working very hard indeed, lt is putting a great de..1 of time and effort in:o the inquiry. My own opinion is thai it might yet be a couple of months or more before we get the result of the committee’s work. The information I have leads me to the opinion that when the report does become available to us it will bi a very comprehensive and valuable document.

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Senator MURPHY:

– My question ls directed to the Minister for National Development. In the Budget speech last year, the Government announced a decision to constitute the National Materials Handling Bureau within the Department of

National Development at a cost of up to £60,000 a year. What has the bureau done to carry out its intended functions of expanding existing research, advisory and administrative services to cater for industry as well as the armed services and government departments?


– The last information I had on the matter was that the establishment of the bureau had been approved by the Public Service Board. I am not sure that it has yet actually started its intended operations.

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Senator LILLICO:

– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry state what quantities, in percentages if possible, of the ingredients used for the manufacture of margarine are imported into Australia? Of the quantity imported, if any, is it correct to say that the materials are produced in countries with very low labour costs? What are the potentialities for the marketing of dairy products in the countries of the Soviet bloc, red China and Cuba?

Senator WADE:

– The ingredients used by the manufacturers of table margarine vary and, of course, are the manufacturers’ own business. So far as I know, there are no State or Commonwealth laws which prescribe what those ingredients shall be. The main ingredient is derived from copra, which is imported from Papua and New Guinea. I suppose it could be said that copra is produced under low-wage conditions. However, the expression of the oils and the refining processes are undertaken in Australia by Australian labour, which has a very high standard of living. The third part of the question related to the butterbuying potential of Soviet countries. I am bound to say that, so far as I know, there has been no buying activity by Soviet countries in the butter markets of the world for some years. The Australian Dairy Produce Board has had no difficulty in disposing of our surplus of butter in traditional markets, which, the honorable senator will concede, are our best markets.

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Senator BENN:

– Has the Minister for Health observed that the death of a Brisbane resident this year was caused by a vegetable which had been sprayed with nicotine? Has he observed also that during this week twenty head of cattle died in the Gatton, district of Queensland through eating in or near a field where potatoes had been sprayed with an insecticide? Are poisons and insecticides used for spraying vegetables packed in containers which clearly explain the health hazards associated with their use? If this subject does not directly concern his department, will the Minister arrange to have the subject discussed at conferences between his department and State departments of health in order to establish uniform precautions relating to the use of insecticides on all crops?

Senator WADE:

– The question interests me - it is of interest to us all - but I have no jurisdiction in the fields to which the honorable senator refers. They come within State laws. However, I have before me the answer to a question asked by an honorable senator some time ago concerning pesticides, insecticides and various chemicals that are being used to-day. The answer to that question, I believe, will show what the Commonwealth may do to assist in this matter. That answer will be available later.

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Senator LAUGHT:

– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. By way of preface, I invite his attention to a statement, which appeared in the Adelaide “ News “ yesterday, that on Tuesday last the Irish Foreign Minister, Mr. Frank Aitken, speaking in the Irish Parliament, indicated that ambassadors might soon be exchanged between his country and Australia. Has the Minister had his attention drawn to this statement by Mr. Frank Aitken? If the statement is correct, when does he expect an Australian ambassador to be appointed to Ireland?

Senator GORTON:
Minister for Works · VICTORIA · LP

– I have not seen the report referred to by the honorable senator. However, I understand that for some considerable time the Minister for External Affairs has been discussing with the Irish authorities’ possible methods of overcoming the difficulties of accreditation, which have hitherto been almost insurmountable. I do not know the stage that those discussions have reached, but it may well be that they are reaching the stage when this sort of announcement can be made. If an ambassador is appointed, the announcement of his appointment will be made by the Government.

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– My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Trad. and Industry, ls it a fact that the Minister for Trade and Industry recently announced that the duty of 3d. per lb. on tea would be lifted as a gesture to developing countries? Is it also a fact that the very next day after this announcement had been made the Tea Council of Australia, representing different traders in this country, said there would be no commensurate reduction in the price of tea to the consumer because of higher tea auction prices? Does this mean that the total amount previously taken up by duties is now passing into the hands of tea traders and not to the Australian public? Has the Minister caused investigations to be made to see whether there is any justification for this attitude or whether any concession has been passed on to consumers in other developing countries? Is this just another racket perpetrated at the expense of the Australian public?

Senator HENTY:

– Naturally enough, I know of the announcement of the reduction of 3d. a lb. in the price of tea, and the reduction of the duty from 5d. to 2d. a lb. on packet tea imported into Australia. The position as I understand it, and as the honorable senator has indicated, is that a rise in the price of tea was imminent because of a rise in prices at tea auction sales overseas.

Senator Wood:

– The price was actually announced.

Senator HENTY:

– As the honorable senator interjects the increased price was actually announced. An increase in the price in Australia was imminent. As a gesture to the less-developed countries and to assist them in the sales of their product, the Government announced a reduction of 3d. in the duty on tea, and thereby forestalled a rise in the retail price in Australia. As a consequence no one in Australia will make any additional profit. Instead of the price going up because of overseas prices having increased at auction sales, the reduction in duty will enable the price status quo to be maintained. The increased price at auction sales is, in itself, of benefit to the less developed countries.

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Senator ORMONDE:

– Is the Minister for Health in a position to say when the Government’s promise to introduce increased medical and hospital benefits will become effective?

Senator WADE:

– Some three or four weeks ago I announced that the target date for the implementation of the increased benefits had been set down as 1st May, subject, of course, to the passage of the legislation through both Houses of the Parliament. Perhaps I might qualify that statement by saying that the legislation is almost ready to be introduced into the Parliament and that I hope that the Parliament will give a speedy passage to it to enable the benefits to be implemented as from 1st May. If circumstances prevent the legislation being passed by that date it will, of course, be proclaimed as soon as possible after 1st May. There will be no undue delay on the part of the Government.

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(Question No. 65.)

Senator BISHOP:

asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. Would a Commonwealth employee totally or permanently incapacitated for work by injury be subject, under the First Schedule of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act, to a reduction in the amount of compensation or injury payment on account of an entitlement to superannuation or extended leave benefits?
  2. Is the Treasurer aware that in similar State legislation no such provision applies and that Slate employees would be entitled to compensation payments in addition to superannuation and/or leave benefits?
  3. Have any claims arising from the H.M.A.S. “ Voyager “ mishap been adjusted to take into account superannuation, deferred pay, or extended leave payments under the provisions of the act?
  4. Does the Government propose to review this act?
Minister for Civil Aviation · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -

  1. Under the provisions of paragraph (Ia) fh) (ii) of the First Schedule of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act the consolidated revenue portion of pensions granted under the Superannuation Act and the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act are taken into account in determining weekly compensation payments. Any benefits due by way of extended leave or furlough are independent of, and not affected by, compensation provisions.
  2. Yes. In the legislation of some States superannuation type benefits are excluded from adjustment. However, State compensation legislation differs from that of the Commonwealth in a number of respects and varies from State tj State. Overall Commonwealth provisions are not regarded as being less appropriate than those of the States.
  3. No. As indicated in (1) above, extended leave benefits are not affected by compensation provisions. Likewise deferred pay is independent of compensation benefits. Should any case arise of the termination of the engagement of a survivor of the “ Voyager “ tragedy on medical grounds attributable to that event, and the servicemen concerned is in consequence granted a Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund pension, paragraph (1A) (b) (ii) of the First Schedule of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act would bc applicable.
  4. The Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act is reviewed from time to time and amended as circumstances warrant.

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(Question No. 72.)

Senator TOOHEY:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Are officers of the Commonwealth Health Department compiling a “ death list “ of detergents, floor polishes and other household items, which is expected to include more than 30,000 poisons and their antidotes?
  2. ls the poison death rate of Australian children more than five times as high us in Britain or the United States?
  3. If such a list is being compiled would the Minister include a report on insecticides and weedicides which are now being sold in Australia?
  4. Will the findings be given wider publicity than that indicated in press reports?
Senator WADE:

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

  1. Officers of the Commonwealth Department of Health are compiling a poisons register which will include detergents, floor polishes and other household items.
  2. No. Although the death rate of Australian children (under 15 years of age) from poisons is a little higher than in the United Kingdom, it is slightly lower than in the United States.
  3. The list being compiled will include information regarding the chemical properties, toxicity, symptomatology and treatment of poisons - including insecticides and pesticides.
  4. The information being assembled will be distributed to the States to assist in the establishment of poison control centres, and any publicity attendant on the setting up of the centres will be the responsibility of the Health Departments in the States.

May I add that if any honorable senator would like the information when it is available I shall be happy to put it in his hand.

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Formal Motion for Adjournment

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - I have received from Senator McKenna an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of public importance, namely -

The Government’s failure to honour its international and moral obligations to apply and promote the principle of equal pay for mcn and women for work of equal value.

Senator McKENNA:
Leader of the Opposition · Tasmania

111.28]. - I move -

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn til) 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 14th April, 1964.

To-day there is a general, though certainly not a universal, recognition of the bare justice of the claim that equal work should attract equal pay. In England, the cradle of democracy, women were relegated to an inferior position until the turn of the last century, through male prejudice and a baseless assumption of male superiority. We saw the position that, on marriage, the real estate of the wife vested in the husband for the term of the marriage and all her other property passed over to him. That made rather a farce of the marriage ceremony. In the course of the ceremony the husband said to the lady, “ With all my goods I thee endow “, but the common law completely dispossessed her. Women were denied a vote. The situation of decades ago could not have been better set out than in Trevelyan’s “ History of England “ and “ Social History of England “. The author points out that the Industrial Revolution, bringing the sexes together in industry, and bringing about a change in the position of women regarding education, led to a change of thought in the late Victorian era. I would like to incorporate from the “ History of England “ two brief paragraphs dealing with that aspect, and also a further reference to the beginning of the time when women began to be emancipated. The founder of that movement is cited as Florence Nightingale, the heroine of the Crimean War. She won for women a new conception of their place in society, supported by John Stuart Mill’s compaign for the franchise. With the concurrence of honorable senators I incorporate in “ Hansard “ two brief extracts from the “ History of England “, one on page 618 and the other on page 653, dealing with these matters.

The advance in humanity, democracy and education, and the changes in industrial method bringing large crowds of wage-earners of both sexes together in offices and factories, led to a new conception of the place of woman in society. The education of women, from being almost totally neglected, became in a couple of generations comparable to that of men. The position of women in the family was altered in Jaw, and was yet more altered in practice and opinion. Finally the movement for their political franchisement ceased to seem absurd.

But the 25,000 lives that the country lost in the Crimea saved very many more in years to come. For the real hero of the war was Florence Nightingale, and its most indubitable outcome was modern nursing, both military and civil, and a new conception of the potentiality and place in society of the trained and educated woman. And this in turn led, in the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, to John Stuart Mill’s movement for woman’s suffrage, which Miss Nightingale supported, and to the founding of women’s colleges and the improvement of girls’ schools, when at length some provision was made for the neglected higher education of one half of the Queen’s subjects.

To-day, women have been given recognition, rather belatedly, as human beings. They are no longer regarded, as they were, as chattels. They have been given educational and other opportunities which have enabled them to win their way through to the professions and to positions in commerce and industry. Looking around the Senate, I can see that they have won a place even in politics. They have also a place in the world of sport.

I come at once to the legal obligations, as I see them, of the Commonwealth Government and the Australian nation in the matter of equal pay for equal work. This is an obligation that arises by a statute of this Parliament. I refer to the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 which approves the charter and authorizes membership for Australia. The preamble says this, amongst other things -

We the peoples of the United Nations determined to reaffirm faith … in the equal rights of men and women . . . have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.

There is one of the very bases and purposes of the United Nations Organization of which we are a member and by whose provisions we are legally bound not only under the charter but also under an act of this Parliament. I refer to the International Labour Organization Act 1947 in which Australia’s membership of that body was approved by our own Parliament. The relevant portion of the preamble to that act reads -

Whereas universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice;

And whereas conditions of labour exist involving such injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled; and an improvement of those conditions is urgently required; as, for example . . . recognition of the principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value.

That preamble is translated into substantive effect in Article 1 wherein it is stated -

A permanent organization is hereby established for the promotion of the objects set forth in the Preamble to this Constitution.

So, there are two clearly arising obligations upon the nation to implement and further the object of equal pay for equal work regardless of the sex of the workers.

In all that I have read in the statements made by the Minister for Labour and National Service, I have never seen any advertence to those two firm obligations upon which are based our obligations as a matter of international law. He deals with the convention of 1951 and a recommendation of 1951 from the International Labour Organization, but I invite the Government to consider the binding force of those two great obligations, accepted by virtue of an act of our own Parliament.

Then there are some moral obligations. I propose to refer to four of them. There is the simple principle of social justice and the mere recognition of women as human beings. That is the first, the simplest and the greatest of the moral obligations. I refer next to another public document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirmed on 10th September, 1948. and supported by Australia. In paragraph 2 of article 23 there is this provision -

Every one without any discrimination has the right to equal pay for equal work.

We have subscribed to that declaration, the greatest statement upon human rights in the history of the world to date. It is not for us merely to give lip service to it. It is for us to give effect to it. That is the second great obligation. I come then to the question of the 1951 convention of the I.L.O., which seeks to implement the principle of equal pay for equal work. The Australian Government gave lip service only to that principle. When the real test came on the vote to approve the resolution for a convention, the Australian Government ignominously abstained. It did not record a vote at all. It spoke in favour of the principle and then had not the moral courage to do its duty and to back its words.

Senator Morris:

– When was that?

Senator McKENNA:

– 1951. I am speaking of a convention called “ Convention No. 100 “. This Government has never since ratified the convention and, as a matter of cold law, is accordingly not bound by it. But as a member of the I.L.O., in the context I have already put, the Government has at least the highest moral obligation to uphold and to implement the principle as far as it possibly can. Such countries as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand also did not ratify that particular convention. But every one of them has taken action - very effective and far-reaching action in the case of many of them - to implement the convention. 1 hope that time will permit me to give to the Senate at a later stage of my address particulars of what those and other countries have done under the convention. At 1st January, 1963, 43 nations had ratified the convention. Their names may be found at page 101 of the document entitled “Equal Pay”, issued in 1963 by the Commonwealth Department of Labour and National Service. The list is very extensive, covering many of the great European countries. With the concurrence of honorable senators, I incorporate it in “ Hansard “.

Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Byelorussia, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Gabon, Guatemala, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Libya, Malagasy Republic, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Rumania,

Senegal, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, United Arab Republic (Egypt), Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Yugoslavia,

Senator Anderson:

– Was the document issued by the Commonwealth Department?

Senator McKENNA:

– Yes. lt is a very comprehensive document, covering pretty well all aspects of the subject. 1 would say that it is a “ must “ for anybody who is addressing himself to this question, and I compliment the department upon it.

Senator Morris:

– In what year was that issued?

Senator McKENNA:

– 1963. The fourth moral obligation to which I refer relates to a recommendation that was approved by the I.L.O. shortly after the 1951 convention was put through, and in the same year. That called upon the various members of I.L.O. - and we are one - to take positive steps. It was a recommendation that they take positive steps. The Australian Government supported this. The Minister, at page 1 of the circulated copy of his latest statement, made in the House of Representatives on 18th October, 1962, dismissed that recommendation in the most off-hand fashion with this comment -

A recommendation of the I.L.O. carries no more legal obligation than its name implies.

In other words, he showed almost a complete contempt for a recommendation which his own Government supported publicly when the recommendation was put up. What did that recommendation in fact require should be done? I shall cite only the relevant portions. Paragraph 1 called upon members to take appropriate action to ensure application of the principle of equal pay for equal work to all employees of central government departments or agencies. That certainly has not been done. Next, it called upon members to encourage the application of the principle to employees of State, provincial or local government departments or agencies. That has not been done. Paragraph 2 stated that appropriate action should be taken to ensure the application of the principle, particularly as regards industries and undertakings operated under public ownership or control. How can an Australian Government, which has done nothing under any one of those heads of the declaration deny that it has abdicated its moral responsibility to carry out a recommendation which it joined with other members of the I.L.O. iri making? It is hyprocisy if a government does nothing, having publicly supported that recommendation. The recommendation required that there be consultation with State Governments, in the case of a federal body such as ours. There was consultation in 1953, 1954, 1956 and I960, but none since.

Senator Wedgwood:

– With what result?

Senator McKENNA:

– No result that led to any action. In the very last paragraph of the statement made on 18th October, 1962, the Minister took the attitude that he would not have another consultation. He put it in these words -

In the light of what has been said the Government docs not think it appropriate to invite the Premiers to a discussion of the question of uniform legislation to deal with equal pay.

The Government has practically abdicated all activity in relation to this vastly important subject. I am afraid that I shall not have time to traverse what has happened in other countries. I make the comment that even last year, before recent federal legislation, equal pay had been implemented by some 22 of the various American States. It applies to at least onehalf of the American population. By notable federal legislation only last year, all those persons in America engaged in interstate commerce and in overseas trade, including those engaged in producing goods for those two types of trade, are bound to apply the principle of equal pay for equal work. That is of very recent vintage. We find that in Canada both the federal and provincial governments have legislated to a considerable extent in this matter. The United Kingdom legislated recently, I think it was in 1959.

Senator Morris:

– When you say “ legislated “, do you mean legislated to make it compulsory?

Senator McKENNA:

– Yes, in particular fields. If the honorable senator will refer to the document I have mentioned he will find at page 89 and other pages nearby, details of the whole of the United Kingdom activity in this respect.

The position in the United States of America is referred to at page 86 of the document, that of Canada at page 87, the United Kingdom at page 89, and New Zealand at page 93. The position in France can be seen at pages 94 and 95. The

European Economic Community, under the Treaty of Rome, is referred to at page 97. That modern body has imposed on all its members a strict obligation to implement the principle of equal pay for equal work and has taken action to have the principle completely adopted within three years. In New Zealand there is firm legislation, as there is in Canada. In France, the principle is enshrined in the constitution. In that country it is not merely a matter of ephemeral legislation. What is Australia’s position? 1 have already indicated that Australia has ignored its obligations under the terms of the United Nations Charter and the charter of the I.L.O. It abstained from supporting Convention No. 151 of the I.L.O. and has not ratified the convention. It has generally abstained from voting on numerous resolutions dealing with equal pay before two United Nations bodies - the Commission on the Status of Women and the Economic and Social Council. In 1962, at the session of the Economic and Social Council, Australia actually voted against a resolution calling on all members of the I.L.O. who had not ratified the convention to do so.

That is a very sorry record for Australia before the world. The only positive efforts that have been made in this country in the last thirteen years are these: The Labour Government of New South Wales has legislated in the matter. The details of the legislation may be found at page 43 of the document I have mentioned. It is not extensive legislation, but it does represent action in the matter. The legislation applies to something less than 10 per cent, of the female work-force in that State. The Tasmanian Government sought to put through legislation in both 1961 and 1963. The legislation was carried in the House of Assembly, the popularly-elected house, but was rejected on both occasions in the Legislative Council. Thirdly, there is the policy of the Australian Labour Party which has been repeated from time to time. In the party’s policy speech during the recent federal election campaign we stated -

A Labour Government will honour Australia’s international obligations by ratifying the I.L.O. Convention on the question of equal pay for work of equal value. We will support the adoption of this principle before the relevant Federal tribunals. Labour will put this principle into effect in the Commonwealth Public Service and Commonwealth Government instrumentalities. 1

There, at least, is a clear commitment to action. The only other action was that taken during the 1949-50 basic wage case when the trade union movement sought establishment of the principle before the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, as it was at that time. The application was rejected.

I come now to the Australian Government’s declaration of policy in relation to the matter. This brings me back to the statement made by the Minister for Labour and National Service on 18th October, 1962. As might be expected from the history of this Government’s performance in the matter, one finds that the statement is legalistic and evasive. Every excuse is sought for the Government’s failure to do anything positive about this vastly important principle of social justice. As an example of legalism, the Minister pointed out that the convention and the recommendation were silent about the level at which equality was to be established. He also pointed out with truth that the convention would be satisfied if the male wage were reduced to that of the female, or if some immediate figure between the female and the male basic wage were settled upon as the norm. How unreal that is. It is neither politically nor practically possible in this country to reduce the basic wage in such a manner. The one thought that is in the minds of people who arc advocating equal pay is that the female rate shall be brought up to the level of the male basic rate. In the view that I take, it is a legal quibble for the Minister to try to divert the matter along that path.

In referring to the obligation that arose under Convention No. 100 of 1951, the Minister stated that it sought application to all workers, and he emphasized the word “ all “. From that, he inferred that we could not move in the matter until the principle could be applied to all workers. J deny the validity of that inference. In fact, I say that it is entirely incorrect. If we were to wait until the principle could bc applied to all female workers, no step would ever be taken. Under the terms of the convention it is quite practicable to take one step at a time. I am not pretending that this is a simple matter, that it has not great complexities and does not need to be approached with caution, but it cannot be left stagnant and unattended to as the Government has left it.

What could the Government do in the matter? I suggest that it could arm itself with the necessary power if it adopted the recommendation of the Constitutional Review Committee to hold a referendum for the purpose of conferring on this Parliament power over terms and conditions of employment. It would be convenient to have such a referendum at the next Senate election. The proposal would receive the support of the whole of the Labour movement. If 1 per cent, or 2 per cent, of Government supporters were to support the proposal it would be carried, because it would have the unanimous support of the Labour movement throughout Australia.

The Government also could chance its arm by ratifying the convention, lt could invoke the external affairs power to put the convention into effect throughout Australia. That could be done and ought to be done. 1 am not saying that it is certain that the High Court of Australia would uphold such action as an exercise of the external affairs power, but nobody can deny that such a move might succeed, having regard to the conditions laid down in the Goya Henry case many years ago. There is a paucity of High Court decision on the subject.

Finally, without any constitutional change and without any international treaty upon which the Government could base action, it could follow the example of the United States. That country has a federal body, and States, just as we have. The federal body has legislated in the fields of interstate and overseas trade, and in relation to people engaged in producing goods for those two categories. There is nothing to prevent the Government from legislating in those fields, nor is there anything to prevent it from legislating in the territories it administers, and for its own public servants and those who serve in its instrumentalities. The Government does not lack constitutional power at this minute and has not lacked it during the fourteen years it has been in office. Yet, it has done nothing but give lip service to a principle in which 1 believe it has no real faith. I judge that from its performance. In his statement at page 5, the Minister directs attention to the fact that there is an element of needs in the basic wage in Australia. That has been outmoded for the past 25 years. 1 refer to the Minister’s own document - another document entitled the “Labour Report” of 1961 - where this is acknowledged in almost the first sentence dealing with the basic wage. At page 82, it is stated -

The concept of a “ basic “ or “ living wage is common to rates of wage determined by industrial authorities in Australia. Initially the concept was interpreted as the “ minimum “ or “ basic “ wage necessary to maintain an average employee and his family in a reasonable state of comfort. However, it is now generally accepted “ that the wage should be fixed at the highest amount which the economy can sustain and that the ‘ dominant factor ‘ is the capacity of the community to carry the resultant wage levels’’.

It is unquestionable that for the past 25 years, with one exception when the equal pay case was before them in 1949-50, the question of the needs element of the basic wage has been completely discarded and is utterly outmoded. If honorable senators refer to page 86 of the document on equal pay, they will find that Judge Beeby - I think it was in 1952 or 1953 - indicated that the dominant consideration was economic capacity to pay. There is a further reference to this matter at page 88 of the document.

The Minister claims it is remarkable that the trade union movement has not in recent years approached the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission which can decide the issue. I contest that statement. The commission cannot decide the issue. It can deal only with disputes before it. It cannot deal with persons under State wages awards comprising at least half of the work force of Australia. The trade union movement knows its own business best, lt has heard the commission say that it is neither a social nor an economic legislature. That has been said both in Australia and New Zealand. Such bodies cannot be expected to act as an economic legislature. From experience, the trade union movement has learnt to get social and industrial progress by legislative action. That was the case with the 40-hour week when New South Wales led. It was the case with long-service leave when the States led. It was the case with the waterside workers when Tasmania forced this

Parliament into doing something about long-service leave for waterside workers on an Australia-wide basis. The trade union movement has forced the adoption of workers’ compensation. It has taken action in connexion with the maritime industry and the stevedoring industry. We can safely leave it to the trade union movement to know what is the best and most effective action for it to take. Other countries have had public inquiries into this matter. What has this Government done? For fourteen years, there has been no inquiry about the effects that equal pay would have beyond the establishment-


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

Senator GORTON:
Minister for Works · Victoria · LP

– The contention of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) is that the Commonwealth Government, as a result of various conventions and recommendations of the United Nations and bodies affiliated with the United Nations, has some legal obligation which it is not carrying out. I suggest that that initial contention is completely untrue. There is no legal obligation which the Commonwealth has undertaken and which it is not carrying out. lt is quite true that in various United Nations and International Labour Organization conventions on this matter the Commonwealth Government has accepted the principle of equal pay, as the Leader of the Opposition has indicated. In some cases it has abstained and in others it has not abstained from voting on combined resolutions. The conventions to which I have referred have always accepted the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. The 1951 resolution to which the Leader of the Opposition referred expressed the opinion that States should observe the principle of equal pay for all workers for work of equal value insofar as that was consistent with the State’s existing methods of determining rates of remuneration. Always, this has to be read against the background that it can be done only so far as it is consistent with the existing method of determining rates of remuneration. There is no doubt at all that in this Commonwealth of Australia, perhaps pre-eminently among the nations of the world, it is accepted by all members of the population that an arbitration court is the existing medium for determining rates of remuneration. That is the first point I wish to make on the claim that undertakings have been accepted by the Government and have not been carried out.

The statement of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) of 18th October, 1962, sets out what I believe is a fair statement of the Commonwealth Government’s obligations under the Constitution of the International Labour Organization with respect to the instruments. The Minister stated -

The Commonwealth Government’s obligations under the Constitution of the I.L.O. with respect to the Instruments are to consider itself whether effect can be given to them;

Always against the background of the usual method of fixing remuneration in this country to which I have referred - to refer them to the State Governments and consult with such Governments about their implementation; to inform the Commonwealth Parliament and the Director-General of the I.L.O. about the outcome; to submit reports to the I.L.O. as requested; and to consult with the States from time to time to review the possibility of implementation. The Commonwealth Government has honored these obligations in every particular.

I think we can take it for granted that if these obligations had not been honoured in every particular, we would have heard a great deal on the subject from the Leader of the Opposition in his speech. I want to point out also that there is a vast gap in this field between theory and practice - between theory and result. I understood the Leader of the Opposition to say that in Great Britain, legislation had been introduced to provide equal pay for work of equal value. In response to an interjection, however, he qualified this by saying, if I understood him correctly, that this had happened in certain fields or certain professions. This, indeed, is true. It is only in limited fields that this has happened in Great Britain. At page 89 of the document on equal pay, we find this statement -

The U.K. Ministry of Labour and National Service reports that it is in the non-industrial field and particularly in the public sectors of it where the identification of “ equal work “ is comparatively simple that the main movement towards equal pay has taken place. The application of equal pay in the industrial sector remains limited. It does not apply for instance, to government industrial workers. Nevertheless there are some collective agreements and Wages Council Orders which provide in some measure for equal pay. 1 emphasize that this report from the United Kingdom Ministry of Labour and

National Service points out that the application of this principle does not apply to government industrial workers and that it remains extremely limited in the industrial sector throughout the United Kingdom. All the Leader of the Opposition can point to is a wishy-washy result that there are some collective agreements which provide in some measure for equal pay. This does not give quite the impression of the whole-hearted application of this principle which one might have gathered was the case from the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. Again, we were told in the course of the address by Senator McKenna that France has this matter of equal pay for work of equal value enshrined in its Constitution. So it has. But the application of the principle, enshrined in that constitution, is apparently not what would be wanted in Australia. I quote from page 95 of the brochure which, referring to France, states -

The principle of equal pay for equal work is implemented in the Civil Service, in governmentcontrolled enterprises, in the teaching profession, and in several other professions.It is said, however, that it is difficult for women to obtain promotion to higher posts, and that certain of the highest posts are in actual fact inaccessible to women.

This is only one small sector of the French scene. The National Assembly of France in 1957 was presented with a report, prepared by the Labour and Security Committee, which pointed out that in spite of the existence of several laws providing for equal pay and for equal rights in all spheres of activity, the great majority of the women and young girls were still found among workers whose wages were lowest. The report listed four principal causes for the differentials between male and female wage rates. I emphasize that this was a report made to the French Parliament, pointing out the reasons and causes for the differentials between male and female wage rates. In France, where equality is supposed to be enshrined in the constitution, the causes given were -

  1. the practice of fixing a lower hourly wage rate for women, still existing in certain industries, especially in the food, chemical, glass and ceramic industries.

They are all big industries -

  1. variation in the bonuses and other variable elements in wages which employers may use to the detriment of women.
  2. the general low level of wages in industries which employ mainly women, e.g., textile and clothing industries.
  3. the fact that women are kept on jobs of an inferior character through discrimination with respect to the access to certain occupations . . .

So it does not appear that the rewards and remuneration of women are what one might expect them to be, considering that the French Constitution imposes upon the French Government an obligation to give equal pay for work of equal value. I go on further and point out that in France the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions noted -

  1. . if the French Government can state in all conscience that equality of salaries is enforced in the country, it must, however, be specified that this applies to minimum wages.

France ratified the I.L.O. convention on equal remuneration in 1953. However, the I.L.O. progress report prepared for the sixteenth session of the Commission on the Status of Women noted that in France the average difference between men’s and women’s wages in case of equal qualifications had widened somewhat - from 6.8 per cent. in 1956 to 8.9 per cent. in 1960. So in spite of the ratification of the convention, in spite of what is stated to be in and is in the French Constitution, in fact women are receiving less pay than they were previously in that country. I make these points merely to indicate that there is a vast difference between theory and practice and between the letter of the law and the application of practical facts in the countries to which the honorable senator has referred.

I said previously that it was the obligation of the Australian Government - an obligation which has been carried out - to consider the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and whether effect could be given to that principle, which has been accepted by the Government. The matter must be considered against the background of the I.L.O. convention and against the background of consistency with existing methods of determining rates of remuneration. The background in that latter case is the Arbitration Commission. It seems to me that the question posed by the Leader of the Opposition, as it applies to this country, is whether the Government, against the background of the usual methods of fixing wages in this country, should take steps to make the base wage for men and women the same, or whether it should be left to the Arbitration Commission to take any action that is required along those lines. I emphasize that it is in the base wage that the difference between the male and female remuneration takes place, at least so far as Commonwealth Government employees are concerned. The Commonwealth Government now pays equal margins to men and women, but there is a difference in the base rate. As Senator McKenna mentioned, in 1949-50 there was an application to the Arbitration Commission for a female basic wage equal to the male basic wage. I believe that that is the only time that there has been such an application.

Senator Morris:

– Was that to the federal tribunal?

Senator GORTON:

– Yes. At that time the late Mr. Justice Foster made some comments which I believe are relevant to this argument. Merely because I read these comments, I am not to be taken as endorsing them. This is a matter of argument, and I know that the Leader of the Opposition disagrees with the views expressed. The late Mr. Justice Foster said that the male basic wage was- a social wage for a man, his wife and his family. He stated that no claim was made for a unit wage upon which equality of wages could be based, and he thought that no claim was made because it might have resulted in a lower male basic wage. We have been told by the Leader of the Opposition, and I believe it is true, that there is virtually no chance of a reduction in the existing basic wage in order to bring wages into equality. I accept that as a statement of practical fact, but that does not mean that I accept that the male basic wage can be kept where it is, instead of rising, if an equality of basic wages is introduced. If the basic wage is a social wage, one which is paid having regard to the needs of a man, his wife and his children - I merely postulate that - it would seem to be reasonable, or it could be argued, that that wage, paid for the needs of a family, would be greater than that required for the needs of an individual. If the basic wage is not a needs wage but a wage settled for the community by the Arbitration Commission, based on what industry can afford to pay, then the commission must have in mind, when it reaches a judgment, a wage which it believes the economy can support and industry can pay.

Senator Wright:

– For an individual or the family unit?

Senator GORTON:

– I try to leave the family unit aside and refer to the needs wage. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has to decide, as the Leader of the Opposition suggested it would, solely on the criteria of the capacity of industry to pay and the capacity of the economy to bear a certain sum. The sum must be defined at some stage. The arbitration court must come to a judgment on that. Having decided on the sum, that sum must be divided amongst the workforce - as it now is in relation to the base wage - by a method which gives either equality or inequality as between men and women.

If the Arbitration Commission has in its mind a sum which the economy can bear and which industry can pay, and if at the same time as it has that sum in mind it decides that an equal wage should be introduced for men and women, then it follows that the commission would be unable to grant an increase in the male basic wage which would make for inequality. All these things ought to come into the mind of an arbitration commissioner and these things ought not, I believe, to be decided by a parliament or by a goverment in a country where we have an arbitration commission which works so successfully.

There is no doubt, of course, that the application of the principle advocated by the Leader of the Opposition would add hundreds of millions of pounds to the wages bill of this country. It is not my intention to say whether that would be good or bad. I see the suggestion purely as a factor that would add hundreds of millions of pounds to the wages bill. Surely if we have an arbitration commission which is charged with assessing all the factors in the economy before it arrives at the wage which ought to be paid, we should leave the matter in the hands of the commission. If the commission is charged with assessing productivity, unused productive resources, future growth and other economic factors which are taken into consideration in fixing a wage which sets a pattern for the whole economy and growth of the country, then it ought at the same time to take into consideration the economic effect of fixing a wage which would give equality between men and women. This is an important factor which the arbitration commissioners ought to take into consideration together with all the other economic factors which apply. It is not something, I suggest, which parliaments or governments should - aside altogether from the consideration of the Arbitration Commission - bring in arbitrarily and probably in an insufficiently integrated fashion.

Let me try to crystallize what I have said in, I think, a rather incompetent manner. If what I have said is correct the proper avenue for this whole question to be considered is in the Arbitration Commission and the proper time for it to be considered is when the whole question of wage alteration arises. I again speak of basic wage alterations. Why is it that this has not been done by the trade union movement? I cannot but feel that an appeal is being made to the sense of justice in men and women and to the idea that equal pay should be given for work of equal value. But another factor comes into this matter which I think has been overlooked in this debate. Does not the suggestion mean that all the various jobs done in Australia would have to be assessed one against the other by an arbitration authority to fix the value of the actual work and to assess which job contributed most to the economy of Australia? That is done now to a certain extent.

Senator McClelland:

– It is done to a very large extent.

Senator GORTON:

– Yes. If it is done now to a large extent would that not indicate the necessity, perhaps, for a reassessment of the whole field if something of this magnitude were undertaken? I seek merely to indicate that there are in this suggestion such far reaching implications, which must act and interact on many other sections of the economy and on many other economic considerations, that it would be completely wrong for this matter to be decided, in my view, by any other body than the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, or at any other time than when the commission was considering the whole question of wage rates throughout Australia - wage rates designed to keep the economy going and to give to the people of Australia the greatest capacity to buy the products of that economy at a stable price.

I think I have crystallized my thoughts, and the thoughts that the Government has, on this matter. I shall reiterate them very briefly. There is no legal obligation upon the Government to carry out any recommendations. There is no absolute legal obligation on the Government to carry out any convention. There was an obligation upon the Government to take certain action as a result of a resolution and recommendation of the International Labour Organization. Those actions have been taken. There is much - I cannot call it misrepresentation - misunderstanding which must have been fanned by the speech of the Leader of the Opposition as to what in fact is happening in this field in other countries such as the United Kingdom and France. Above all there is in Australia a tried and tested method of examining matters such as this in the context of the whole wage structure. If that tried and tested method is used and if, as a result of its being used, hundreds of millions of pounds are added to the wages bill in Australia, then at least, that amount will have been added as a result of a consideration of many factors by the Arbitration Commission and. as a result, no doubt, of decisions of the commission which would not be apparent but which would represent abstentions from raising base wages in other respects.

Finally, I repeat that the Government is paying in margins an equal amount to men and to women. The fixation of the base rate should be left to what the International Labour Organization convention recognizes countries have. I refer to the usual machinery for examining and fixing wages which varies from country to country. In this country the machinery has stood the test of time and I believe it operates better than does the machinery which exists in any other country in the world.

Senator COHEN:
New South Wales

– Listening to the speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) it became obvious that on this question the Government is doing a very substantial and not very comfortable wriggle. The truth of the matter is that the Minister’s speech fails to disclose what is really implicit in the Government’s attitude. The explicit attitude of the Government is that it has not ratified the 1951 equal pay convention of the International Labour Organization, although it voted for the recommendation that was made after the convention was adopted. The Government says it is not opposed to the principle of equal pay. That phrase “ not opposed “ appears in all the statements that have been made in recent years by the Minister for Labour and National Ser-,ice (Mr. McMahon), but the Minister is completely silent on what kind of positive steps are required of the Government to enable it to fulfil, if not its legal obligations, then at least its moral obligations.

The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), in his very careful statement and survey of the position to-day, did not base his whole case on international legal obligations. He put what I suggest was a convincing case, based upon Australia’s membership of the International Labour Organization and its adherence to the words of the preamble of the constitution of that body, and based upon Australia’s membership of the United Nations and its adherence to the language of the charter. Those are matters that might be the subjects of debate, but substantially, in the field of equal pay, the case is made out that there is an international obligation binding on Australia. However, the Leader of the Opposition, in his attack upon the Government for its failure to act in this matter, combined the two questions of legal obligation and moral obligation. We have heard not a word from the Minister as to what kind of moral obligation rests upon Australia in relation to its international commitments.

It is one thing to say, “ We cannot spell out of our having voted for the recommendation in 1951 some kind of legal obligation that is enforceable in an international court of justice”, but it is an entirely different thing to treat that as though it were the end of the matter and as though all that remains to be done is to leave this problem to the arbitral tribunals of this country. The positive obligation that the Government undertook in voting for the recommendation in 1951 was an obligation to promote the principle of equal pay for equal work, but in what the Minister has said there is not a word about positive steps taken by the Government in pursuance of that obligation. It is an obligation out of which this Government cannot be allowed to wriggle. It is perfectly plain that the obligation undertaken is to do our best - responsibly, on all occasions and in all avenues - to advocate and implement the principle. Nothing is being done about that.

The second obligation is to start immediately, wherever that is practicable, to implement the principle in the Commonwealth Public Service. A lot of red herrings were dragged across the trail by the Minister during his speech a few minutes ago. He spoke of the hundreds of millions of pounds of expenditure that would be involved in the application of this principle. If the application were limited in the first instance to what the I.L.O. convention and recommendation suggest - to female workers in the Government’s services - then we have it on the authority of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), in an answer given to a question in another place on 17th May, 1962, that the cost would be less than £2,000,000 a year. There can be no beating about the bush. An expenditure of slightly less than £2,000,000 a year - perhaps it might be a little over £2,000,000 now- is. all that would be required to implement this principle in the Government’s services. Why is it not being implemented in the Government’s services?

The Minister dealt with the position in other countries. He took time off to deal in some detail with the problems in some of the countries to which the Leader of the Opposition referred. This brings me to the difference between our approach to this subject and the negative, supine approach by the Government. What the Minister did not draw attention to was that the countries referred to b’y the Leader of the Opposition have made concrete attempts, imperfect and necessarily incomplete, to fulfil their obligations. They are countries which are moving and not standing still in the matter. The Minister dealt with France. It was only in 1953, I think, that France ratified the convention. France is doing something positive. She has ratified the convention and is moving in the government services. Other countries had only limited success in putting this principle into effect, but they are all countries in which there has been recent adherence to the convention. West Germany ratified it in 1956. The language used in the treaty establishing the European Economic Community is perfectly plain and amounts to a requirement that its members shall adhere to the principle of equal remuneration for equal work. These are vital matters, and they light up the basic differences between the Government and the Opposition.

The Minister says: “Why not go to the Arbitration Commission? That is the forum for adjudication on industrial disputes and industrial questions”. That has apparently been the attitude of the Government to this question over the years. What he overlooks is that this is not an ordinary domestic industrial matter in which the contending economic interests present their cases and in which there is a resolution of the dispute by an industrial tribunal. This is a matter in which Australia is committed internationally to a social judgment about the place of women in society. This is not primarily an industrial question. Equality of treatment of women in remuneration is merely one aspect of it. I can see honorable senators on the Government side who proudly belong to the ranks of women almost nodding in agreement with what I am saying. I am delighted to see it, because I am on their side. Although I have not seen the secret document, I understand that even the constitution of the Liberal Party includes a formal support for propositions about equal pay and equal status for women. Certainly the Australian Labour Party’s policy on this question has been made perfectly clear by the Leader of the Opposition.

Senator Prowse:

– You have not got too many women on your side of the Senate.

Senator COHEN:

– We have one woman on this side of the Senate and I think she has made a splendid contribution to this Parliament and to the public life of this country.

Senator McClelland:

– We have no lady members of the Country Party in the Senate.

Senator COHEN:

– As my colleague Senator McClelland says we have no lady members of the Country Party in the Senate. As my time in this debate is limited, let me get back to the problem that is posed by the Minister as to the forum in which the argument should take place. He says it should be the Arbitration Commission, and that is what the Government takes its stand on.

Senator Mattner:

– What do you say?

Senator COHEN:

– 1 say, first of all, that the Government should move to grant equal pay to women in its own service. That is a completely unanswerable proposition. The second thing on which we have heard nothing, and it will be interesting to hear what subsequent speakers on the government side have to say about this, is what the attitude of the Commonwealth Government would be to an application to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission by the trade union movement, at a time which seemed appropriate to it, for equal pay for women for equal work. What is the attitude of the Commonwealth Government going to be?

Senator Ormonde:

– It is neutral.

Senator COHEN:

– If it remains neutral the Government will not be doing its best to promote the principle in accordance with its international obligations. The fact of the matter is that the Government’s case on this question is disingenuous. It has never had any real enthusiasm for the principle of equal pay. Again and again Ministers say in official statements, “ The Government is not opposed to the principle.” We want to know - “ ls the Government for the principle, or is it not “? If it is for the principle, what answer can there possibly be to the suggestion that it should implement the principle in the first instance in relation to its own employees? This might, and should, have repercussions beyond the confines of Government employment. If there is one thing that is understood by people in employment in these days, it is that the lead ought to come from the Commonwealth Government.

We are past the stage where the Commonwealth Government can adopt a negative and unhelpful attitude, and take the view that these matters must be left to industrial tribunals. Is it conceivable that the Government should appear before an industrial tribunal and say: “True it is that we voted for the recommendation in 1951. True it is we voted for the recognition of the principle and that steps should be taken to apply to employees the principle of equal pay for work of equal value; but we have not done that ourselves yet because we are waiting for an adjudication from this industrial tribunal; and furthermore we do not propose to support the applications before the industrial tribunal “. ls that what we are going to have? If that is what we are going to get, then it is all humbug on the part of the Government, and shows that the Government does not really believe in the principle and does not support it.

Senator Prowse:

– The Labour Party does not believe in that principle.

Senator COHEN:

– The Labour Party docs believe in that principle. Just put us to the test on it, if you will. The Leader of the Opposition has said that if this matter ever became the proper issue, it would be supported by the whole of the Labour movement. Let the Government implement this principle in respect of its own employees, if it is going to support it. If the Government believes in the principle, let there be full-blooded support for the proposition to-day. There is an open invitation to those honorable senators who know that what has been said on this question is correct to come out and declare themselves.

In conclusion, I repeat that the real truth in relation to equality of pay is that it is part of a much wider question. You cannot separate out one aspect concerning the status of women from other aspects - their rights as mothers, as heads of families or as bread winners. Each aspect is related to the others. This is a matter to be dealt with by this Parliament and the nation as a whole. If this question is left to the industrial tribunals, they in their wisdom may say: “ We are not impressed wilh international opinion on this matter. We are concerned with economics. We have worked out the figures and they do not seem to help the application. The Government itself is not very keen about it. We will not do anything about it.”

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Benn). - Order! The honorable Senator’s time has expired.


Mr. Acting Deputy President, may 1 say at the outset that I regret that this debate on equal pay for men and women is turning into a party political debate, because I feel that the cause of women will be greatly prejudiced should it continue in that form alone. It is true that the question of equal pay for women for work of equal value is one of the most discussed and controversial questions throughout the whole of the free world to-day. Therefore, I feel that we should not look at it with emotion or prejudice.

To me, the principle of equal pay for equal work is fundamentally a matter of justice. I think it is that, no more and no less. If women qualify in the same way, do the same work, and give the same service to the community as men do, I believe they are entitled to receive from the community equal remuneration for their work. The other arguments that may be applied one way or another are to my way of thinking quite beyond the point altogether. Discussions on this principle are not confined to Australia alone. It is true that the principle of equal pay has been re-affirmed at the international level from time to time, and it is also true that world events have helped to shape policies on the status and the rights of women in various countries of the world in connexion with equality of pay. The writing of equality of women into the constitutions of India and Japan has brought to the women of those countries a status and opportunities which, but for that, they would not have enjoyed. The emergence of women from purdah in the eastern countries has resulted in their taking their place in the professions and in the industries of their countries. I had the opportunity when I was in those newly developing countries some years ago of appreciating what the women of those countries were achieving through an equality of status. I believe that we must look at the world picture. If we are to derive any benefit from that study, we must recognize that the women of Australia are as much entitled to the benefit of the enlightened thinking that is going on in other parts of the world as are the women in those places.

There is a great amount of frustration in the minds of women in the professional classes. This is so particularly in the case of women teachers who are called upon to qualify for a certain position. They and many other women have to undergo the same competitive eliminative examinations as mcn, and they find, on appointment, particularly in the Public Service, that they work side by side with men who have inferior qualifications and inferior capacities, and they receive less remuneration than the men do for the work. I do feel that the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) over-simplified the position when he came to offering a solution to the problem.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.


– Just prior to the suspension I had stated that in my opinion the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) had over-simplified the situation in connexion with the ratification of the convention because, as he very well knows, it is necessary for the States to ratify the convention before the Commonwealth is able to do so. On occasions when the States have been asked to do this, they have not complied. In relation to the courts, Senator McKenna said the matter was very complicated. He went on to put forward solutions of the problem and he expressed some doubt as to whether those solutions would be acceptable. So, Sir, I feel that he did not present a very good case.

As we all know, differentials in wages paid to women have been in existence ever since 1912. At present under Commonwealth awards women are paid 75 per cent, of the male basic wage. In the States, the rate varies from 65 per cent, to 75 per cent. I am a keen supporter of equal pay for equal work but I believe that while the present system of wage fixation prevails in Australia the Commonwealth Government has no alternative but to support the statement it has made on a number of occasions that the Commonwealth basic wage either for men or women is a matter for determination by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Therefore, if we are to obtain a universal basic wage, it must be through the established courts of the country. The same argument, of course, is valid in relation to State awards. It is not true to say that the courts have done nothing about the matter because in Victoria 23 wages board tribunals already have made determinations in favour of equal pay for the whole or part of their industries. Therefore, where cases have been before tribunals equal pay has been granted in some instances.

I should like to say something about women in the Commonwealth Public Service. It will be very little, because I have spoken on this subject on many occasions. I believe that the first thing the Commonwealth Government should do is to implement in its own service the recommendation contained in the Boyer report in relation to women. In the Public Service we see more anomalies than we see in outside employment.

The Australian Labour Party has certainly not attempted to persuade the trade union movement to submit a case to the court. Senator Gorton earlier mentioned that the present female basic wage was fixed at the time of the 1949-50 inquiry. There have since been inquiries in 1956, 1957 and 1958. Very recently an application for an increase in the basic wage has been before the court. But in no instance has the trade union movement submitted an application for the elimination of the differential in the female basic wage. While the unions do not submit a case, it is useless for any one in this place or anywhere else to forecast what the decision of the court would be. I should have thought that if the Opposition were sincerely and genuinely interested in what happened to women in industry it would have been able to persuade the Unions - and there are many women in the unions - that the way to achieve what they wanted was through an approach to the court. Instead, it has been completely silent on the question. Senator McKenna said that the affairs of the trade unions were their own business. No one would deny that, but on the other hand one would wonder why the Labour Party did not advise the trade unions, and particularly women members of the trade unions, that their best interests would be served by putting a case before the Arbitration Commission. So in this manner the Labour Party speaks in this place and outside it with tongue in cheek. It knows very well that there is at present one way, and one way only, to achieve equal pay for equal work. I am not concerned, Sir, with the arguments that will be put forward on one side or the other about the difficulties associated with defining what is equal work. That problem has been overcome in other countries and it should not be outside the capacity of an Australian court or of Australian advocates to arrive at a satisfactory definition of the term.

In conclusion - my time in this debate is very limited - I want to forecast to the Senate that equal pay for equal work will come for the women of Australia, lt will come when the effects of co-education arc felt perhaps more than they are felt to-day. It will come, I am certain, when young women, reading history, join in the struggle for the full emancipation of women. As Senator Cohen said, we have gone a long way with their social and political emancipation. There is still a fight to be won on the industrial level. I hope that in the generation that is growing up to-day - better educated, perhaps more sophisticated than the generation associated with me and many of my colleagues, shorn of the prejudice and emotion that have always surrounded this question - the young men will assist the young women to get justice in their work. Whilst I do not support the motion, I am pleased to stand in this place and say that I shall fight on for equal pay for equal work.

Senator BISHOP:
South Australia

– I support the propositions advanced by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and Senator Cohen. 1 thought that I would be able to compliment Senator Wedgwood unreservedly for having made a good contribution to the debate. I heard the worthwhile remarks that she made at the beginning and the end of her speech. She made the point that in this modern world the problems associated with equality for the sexes are being widely discussed. She said that in the newly emergent countries and in the new democracies statesmen are giving proper recognition to the principle of equal pay for equal work and political equality between the sexes. She said, too, that this was not just a matter of industrial or wage standards but also was concerned with social and political justice. We on this side of the chamber agree that that is so, and it is for that reason that we support the principle of equal pay for equal work.

At the end of her speech the honorable senator said that she thought that in time the principle would apply generally. We on this side are confident that it will. However, apart from the expression of those fine sentiments, it seemed to me that the honorable senator did as she accused members of the Opposition of doing. It will be remembered that she said we were insincere because we had not advised the trade union movement to make a positive application to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Surely she does not suggest that the matter of equal pay for equal work is a simple one for arbitration. In making that statement I suggest she herself was being insincere and was turning away from her obligation as a female member of the Senate to support positive action to bring about equal pay for equal work.

The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), when he was Minister for Labour and National Service, and the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) have made various statements in an attempt to explain away the failure of the Government to ratify the International Labour Organization conventions dealing with this matter. Excuses have been made on each occasion that the Opposition has tried to test the reaction of the Government to its obligation to ratify conventions made by an international body to which Australia contributes and which it supports. Australia has accepted the obligation to send delegates, including governmental representative and representatives of the workers, to I.L.O. conferences. After matters have been discussed by the organization and recommendations have been made, the necessary documents are distributed to member countries. The Commonwealth Government apparently takes the view that there are certain constitutional reasons which prevent it from adopting the principle of equal pay for equal work.

Senator Wedgwood referred to the increasing acknowledgement of the need for the adoption of this principle, and she also referred to the importance of female labour in commerce and industry. The work of women in the community is growing in importance and will continue to grow. We say that the Australian Government has not faced in a positive way its obligation, as a member of the United Nations and as a supporter of the I.L.O., to apply the principle of equal pay for equal work. It is not sufficient merely to undertake routine research and to distribute the relevant documents, nor is it sufficient to raise the issue with the States and disseminate copies of the resolutions that have been passed in relation to the matter. Positive action is needed, in consultation with the State Premiers, to make the principle of equal pay for equal work a live issue. The great trade union movement of Australia has been advocating the adoption of the principle, but it is no longer a simple trade union matter. Advocacy of adoption of the principle is now much stronger and covers a much wider field than was the case originally. At the time that the I.L.O. adopted the principle, the Australian Council of Trade Unions represented people who, in the main, might be referred to as workers in overalls. Since then, advocacy of the principle has come from the ranks of professional workers, office workers and many others whose status in the community and manner of thinking would indicate that they are more akin to supporters of the Government than of the Labour Party.

I do not intend to canvass at this time the technical reasons and constitutional difficulties which the Government has advanced for its failure to adopt the principle of equal pay for equal work. Reference has been made to the difficulty of applying such a principle in a federation of sovereign States. We of the Labour Party say that an important and modern nation should adopt the principle, despite the difficulties. I suggest that the first thing to do is to get the State Premiers together with the express purpose of ratifying the convention. The second thing is to make equal pay for equal work applicable to State Government employees. The third thing is to set up a special bureau similar to that which has been set up in the United States. This suggestion was made to the Minister for Labour and National Service only last night.

I have looked through the pages of “ Hansard “ to see whether I could find evidence of a change in the Government’s attitude to this matter, but I have not been able to find any such evidence. Due to trade union pressure, the Government has produced some worthwhile documents on the subject, and we appreciate its efforts in this respect. In 1962, when a deputation waited on the Minister, he agreed to establish a section within the Department of Labour and National Service for the purpose of carrying out research into problems affecting the work of females in the community, but of course that is not all that needs to be done. We want to see a special bureau set up.

Senator Wedgwood:

– Which member of the Opposition in this chamber has ever previously mentioned a special bureau?

Senator BISHOP:

– I have said that the request was made last night. In 1961, President Kennedy established such a body in the United States, under the chairmanship of the late Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. We suggest that, if the Government will not take the other important steps that we think it should take, at least it should adopt the course of establishing a special bureau.

Each successive deputation which has waited on the Minister has noted a tendency towards a more sympathetic attitude to this question, and such an attitude has been evident, too, in the contribution made to debates in the Senate by female members of this chamber. They have indicated that the question of equal pay for work of equal value performed by women is important in their minds. Nevertheless, they have avoided their obligation to make the matter a positive issue. We of the Opposition say that the objections raised by the Government are spurious and that it is merely a diversion to say that it is necessary to approach the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The question of equal pay for equal work is not simply an industrial matter and cannot bc decided by an industrial body because, as the Minister for Labour and National Service stated recently, if the problem is to be tackled in the way that the deputations from the A.C.T.U. want it to be tackled, regard must be had to the associated convention dealing with discrimination on the basis of sex. We of the Labour party see the question not only as an industrial one but also as a social and political one.

During the war years the Labour Government established a women’s employment board because, during that period of emergency, it was decided that it was necessary to place in industry a large number of women to do work which formerly had been done by men. A special act of parliament was passed. The board, under the chairmanship of the late Mr. Justice Foster, prescribed equal rates of pay for women in many industries, and in some instances the principle of equal pay still applies.

If there was any percentage reduction it was based only on the sort of physical restrictions which might apply to women in certain occupations.

So there was a sort of emergency situation and an acceptance of a policy by the Government in the war years. We sec the situation to-day with the modern trend in industry where increasing numbers of female workers in industry are accepting great responsibility. This does not apply only in the commercial field where women are taking jobs formerly taken by men but on lower rates of pay. Women are working on very complicated machines. They are taking over supervision and carrying out all the tasks and responsibilities of mcn and often perform more productive work than the men.

Not only is this situation growing in all sections of commercial, banking and office work; in more recent years, in manufacturing industries, girls have been working in stock-keeping, pay offices and accounting, operating automatic machines and generally replacing men. This is a world in which women are taking an increasingly important role. They are doing as much productive work as males but they are getting lower rates of P-y. If Government supporters recognize this situation, why do they not grasp the nettle and say, “ We will support these representations “? These views are not simply the representations only of the Labour movement which might comprise purely a trade union wage claim, but represent views of white-collar, semi-professional and professional groups. Why not grasp the nettle and say, “ We will do what the International Labour Organization expects us to do and make this a live issue in this Australian Parliament “?

Senator Wedgwood:

– Take it to the courts.

Senator BISHOP:

– The courts are not in a position to assess anything/” which is not purely an industrial matter.

Senator Henty:

– They do it every day.

Senator BISHOP:

– They have not done this. This is not purely a wage question. It must be recognized that in Australia the basic wage is fixed by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. We have grown up in the tradition of having an annual review of the basic wage whether it is based on the concept of capacity to pay or of needs.It is, in fact, a composite wage in my opinion but I will not argue that question.It is still a minimum wage. Let us suppose that in this Parliament somebody suggested that the lady senators should have a wage based on a female base rate with a margin for skill and an attendance bonus or an inducement bonus such as is paid to-day to equate the female wage with the male wage. Immediately, there would be a squeal about injustice andI agree that such a complaint would be justified.

As I have said, certain Government supporters who applaud the principle of equal pay do not carry out the moral obligation of saying that this way of approaching the situation is as good as can be obtained in this world. The Opposition does not say that there are no complications in this issue. Obviously there are complications. Those who have studied the New South Wales legislation of 1958 and the proposed Tasmanian legislation on equal pay and the arguments used by the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) on the different minimum wages throughout the world, know that there are certain basic complications in employing the equal pay principle.It cannot be done in this way or in that way - by a basic wage application for instance - for the reason that the courts would sst their faces against such a concept because of social aspects not directly related to industrial matters.

Senator Wedgwood:

– How do you know that?

Senator BISHOP:

– One can visualize this. In the sort of world we have to-day with great advances in technology and the use of productive machines, there has been a change in the whole concept of industry and the position of. women in industry. Members of the Government say, as we say, that women are going into industry in ever-increasing numbers. Ministers recognize this but they are not prepared to Teward the women adequately for their intrusion into industry and commerce. They, like the opposition, see the developments in commerce where young people go into jobs and women do the same work as the men. Sometimes it is more important work but it is accepted thatthey work for lower pay. They are the real hazard to the male workers. It is not a situation which the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) suggested. It is that if females get equal pay this could constitute a threat to male wage levels.

This Government is obliged to meet the requests of the deputation seeking equal pay if it intends to keep faith with its obligations to the I.L.O.


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

Senator McKELLAR:
New South Wales

– I support the views that have been expressed by the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) as the Government’s statement of the policy of the parly I support. Our policy is that matters of this kind should be referred to the conciliation and arbitration courts. That is the view that has been outlined to-day. In rising to sp:ak on this subject, unless one is prepared to support it, he is apt to stick his neck out - to put it crudely - and bring down on his head the wrath of a certain section of the female community. However, I derive some comfort from the words of the poet who wrote -

They are slaves who will not choose

Hatred, scoffing and abuse.

They are slaves who dure not be

In the right with two or three.

While, perhaps, I might be in theminority, seeing that I have been electe d to this Parliament, I hope that while I am here I will have sufficient moral courage to express my views. The views that I am about to express are largely my own but I think they are held by many in the community. I feel that there are exceptions to the rule of general equality of pay for the sexes. Since I have to work alongside lady senators, I say at the outset that in the Senate we have one exception.I think that the lady senators should be paid the same as other members of the Senate. I will go further than that and say 1 think that the Whip on the Government side - Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin - should receive the extra pay that she gets. That is another case. Having put myself at peace, I hope, with the lady senators 1 will bring down the fires of wrath on my head from other sections.

Senator Buttfield:

– Does the honorable senator think that the lady senators should also get the same pension rates?

Senator McKELLAR:

– I am not going any further on that subject. Honorable senators will have to be satisfied with what I have said. The matter to which I shall now refer has not been touched upon. I am one of those fuddy-duddies, I suppose, who look upon the male as the breadwinner.

Senator Wedgwood:

– Not always.

Senator McKELLAR:

– Generally speaking, the male is the breadwinner. Once wc get away from that state of affairs, our society is going to be the worse for it and eventually it will be the worse for the women too. What do we find in connexion with equal pay? Do women want equal treatment in every respect? Do we want women to stand at the bar with us calling for drinks?

Senator Buttfield:

– Yes.

Senator McKELLAR:

– Here is one lady senator who has said, “ Yes.” 1 think she is in the minority. Do we want our women to do pick and shovel work on the roads as I saw the women doing in Bangkok?

Senator Ridley:

– They get bigger pay.

Senator McKELLAR:

– They were less pay. Do we want our women to be like the Russian women and work as they have done in the past? Is this what we want with equal pay for the sexes? Do we want the respect that has been accorded our women folk to be abolished because each is one of the mob? Are they to fight for their seats in trams, buses and trains? Some might say they do so now. Do we want them to be in a position where the men say, “ They get the same pay as we do. Let them stand up.”? That is what we would get eventually with equal pay. It is inevitable. I have a complaint on the question of women folk and it has reference to the young ones. In recent years in the area in which I live it seems to have become common for females, whether aged seven months or seventy years, to go out in slacks, particularly in winter. That is all right, but it is not so good when they go out in skintight matador pants, with thongs on their feet. I refer particularly to the young girls, who appear to be uncombed, unwashed, unwanted, unattractive and unhappy. That is the sort of situation we will reach if this proposition is accepted. We like to see our women nicely dressed. I think we all agree that there is nothing nicer to look at than a young, attractive and nicely dressed girl. She immediately engenders the respect that is due to her sex. The type of girl that I referred to earlier is probably not responsible for her dress - I blame the parents - but she does not engender any respect at all. Indeed, she tends to destroy the respect that she should get from a boy friend.

Senator Wedgwood:

– What has this to do with equal pay?

Senator McKELLAR:

– Quite a lot. With equal pay for the sexes, we will bring about a situation in which women will be on the same level as men and will wear dungarees and shirts. Some of them do so already. Is that what we want? Do we want to see women wearing shirts? Let me take the argument a little further. If a boy took his girl on an outing, I dare say that she would be called upon to pay for her share of the outing.

Senator Buttfield:

– That is all right.

Senator McKELLAR:

– It may be all right, but it shows a lack of respect, under this proposal, that would be inevitable. There is no question about that. I was very impressed by the demeanour of the young people in Scotland. The boys and girls there were well-dressed and well-behaved.

Senator Buttfield:

– The boys wear the skirts there.

Senator McKELLAR:

– Not always. I can recall a bus journey to a certain town in Scotland. The conductress appeared to be only sixteen or seventeen. She was welldressed, nicely spoken and a perfect lady. Although she was performing that work, she attracted the respect that her sex should receive. She was quite different from the girls who wear matador pants and thongs. In Rome too I was impressed by the demeanour and dress of the girls. I did not see one girl there dressed in matador pants, and surely to goodness the weather in Rome becomes cold enough. The girls were well-dressed, and engendered the respect that they should receive. But I feel sure the girls to whom I referred earlier attract the label “ Widgie “ - a label that has been attached to so many of our young people. They may not be “ Widgies “ and they may not act in the way that girls dressed in that fashion might be expected to act - I hope not - but they do not engender respect. I mentioned recently that in Australia to-day we have more than 1,000,000 women in our work force, and of that number 444,000 are married. Surely we are all agreed that the best career for any woman is marriage. I feel very sorry for the woman who, perhaps through no fault of her own - a smart woman engaged in intellectual work and doing a good job - finds in her old age that she is left on her own.

Senator Buttfield:

– They might prefer it.

Senator McKELLAR:

– There is a song to the effect that any man is better than no man at all. It has been suggested that ] flatter myself, but I say quite seriously that one of the greatest needs of any man is the companionship and love of a woman. I believe that that applies also to the opposite sex. That strengthens my argument that the best career for any women is marriage. “ have been told by employers that there is a greater degree of absenteeism among women employees. 1 cannot say from personal knowledge whether that is so or not. 1 do believe that very strong consequences could flow if women were granted equal pay. I know that there are arguments on both sides. Some suggest that it would lead to fewer men being employed, and 1 believe that that could be so in certain industries, although in other industries it might not be so. I have the greatest respect for the jobs that many of our womenfolk do. It was proved in the Army that they could do a splendid job. 1 remember that we had some A.W.A.s attached to the last unit in which I served. These bits of girls did a very good job, driving three-ton trucks sometimes at 50 or 60 miles an hour. Those girls certainly did a good job, but I want to return to what I said at the beginning. In some cases 1 think women are worth the same pay as men, but not as a general practice. I will not have a bar of that. Senator Bishop made a very unconvincing attempt to reply to the proposition put to the Senate by Senator Wedgwood, who asked why the unions had not done more to see that equal pay for the sexes was introduced. The Government has been charged wilh not being sincere in its approach to the problem. If the Government has been insincere - I do not accept that for a moment; 1 think it has been fairly constant in its approach to the problem - I believe that the unions must accept more blame than the Government in this respect.

There is another aspect that should bc mentioned. After listening to the arguments advanced by the Opposition and to the suggestions that all womenfolk are right behind this demand, one would perhaps be pardoned for thinking that was so, but I know very well it is not. A very large number of women are strongly opposed to equal pay, and they are showing a lot of very good sense in their opposition to it. There is no question about that. Again I am probably treading on somebody’s corns, but I cannot help that. I shall not attempt to analyse the legal aspects of this problem, to say what the Government can do or refer to the obligations it has in this connexion. I think that no one should consider this proposal without having regard to family life in Australia. If all our womenfolk decided that they wanted to take jobs and entered into competition with the 3,000,000 men in our work force, I suppose that there would be some effect on our marriage rate and, eventually, on our birth rate. If Australia is to be developed, as I feel sure it will be, we will need many more young Australians. I do not intend to be derogatory to the immigrants who are coming to Australia, but we all agree that families of young Australians are the best immigrants that we can have. That aspect must bc kept in mind when discussing this problem.

It would be very nice to be able to stand up and say that this or that should be done for our women, but I return to what I said earlier. The man is still looked upon as the breadwinner of the family - unfortunately, in some cases he is not able to manage - and I sincerely hope that that aspect will be kept in mind. I feel that that will lead to happier family life in Australia, and it certainly will be for the benefit of some of those misguided women who are plugging now for equal pay. I do not know whether I will live long enough to see the forecast made by Senator Wedgwood come true. I am feeling pretty healthy at the moment, but it might be a long time in coming. Having endeared myself to all the womenfolk of Australia, I must say that I oppose the motion.

New South Wales

.- Senator McKellar, who has just resumed his seat, made a provocative, if not an extraordinary speech. I do not know whether, in the course of his remarks, he was attempting to be satirical, whether he was adopting the role of a comedian or whether his speech was the product of sheer conservatism. He said that for all intents and purposes the male is regarded as the bread-winner in the Australian family and that the woman’s place is in the home. However laudable an expression of opinion that may be the fact is that many married women in the community are at work to-day because of the economic policies pursued by this Government. They are at work in order to attain a reasonable standard of living.

However laudable an expression of opinion the remarks of Senator McKellar might be, they do not excuse any one from upholding the principle that if men and women are doing the same sort of work in the same industry, of the same value to an employer, the woman should not be paid less than the man for her services. Senator McKellar spoke about women who wore matador pants, but the fact is that if a woman is working in industry and is wearing a skirt, while the man is wearing pants, there is no justification for the woman who is wearing the skirt to be paid less than the man who is wearing the pants.

This is an important matter because it affects a very large section of the work force of the Australian community. Despite the Government’s statement that it does not oppose the principle of equal pay it has done nothing since it has been in office to remove a great social inequality that has existed in the community for years, and which still exists. As Senator Wedgwood rightly said, this is not merely a question of wage justice, it is also a question of social inequity. Senator McKellar quoted some poetry, but I ask honorable senators to realize the truth of the famous saying that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. If this Government continues to ignore justice to the women of the work force of the Australian community it will have sheeted home to it at some time in the future the real strength of that adage.

There was a time, of course, when women had even to fight for the right to vote for those to be their elected representatives.

Those women were members of the great suffragette movement led by Mrs. Amelia Pankhurst. In those days, in order to achieve their status in the community, the women had to engage in sit-down strikes. Their leaders at one stage or another had to go to gaol in order to fight for their rights. If my memory of history is correct one member of the suffragette movement - I think her name was Mrs. Murphy - flung herself under hooves of racing horses at Ascot in order to sheet home to the public that the right of women to vote for elected representatives was a just and real one.

We do not expect the womenfolk in this community to have to do that sort of thing to-day. We believe it is time that the Government appreciated the sincerity and the justice of the demands of the women’s section of the Australian work force. The situation is clear and simple. What are the facts? At the 1951 International Labour Organization Convention the representatives of this Government supported a recommendation in the terms set out in recommendation No. 90 of that convention as follows: -

Appropriate action should be taken after consultation with the workers’ organizations concerned, or, where such organizations do not exist, with the workers concerned -

to ensure the application of the principle of equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value to all employees of central Government department’s or agencies; and

to encourage the application of the principle to employees of State, provincial or local government departments or agencies, where these have jurisdiction over rates of remuneration.

I say frankly that it is a scandal that this Government has not honoured its moral, if not legal, obligations to this important international convention. I know it is said that it is not the Government’s responsibility to implement this resolution but that is a matter for the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. As I have said - and I think a Government supporter, Senator Wedgwood herself pointed out - this is not only a matter of wage justice but it is also a matter of social inequality. Since the 1951 I.L.O. convention was held, by 1963, some 38 countries had incorporated a provision for equal pay for the sexes in their legislation. Forty-three countries had provided for equal pay for the sexes in their public services and 77 had provided for equal pay for school teachers. Since that time, what has happened in the United States? I quote, now, from a paper published by the American Federation of Labour from Washington, D.C., dated 25th May, 1963. The article is headed “Equal Pay Bill Passes Congress “ and reads as follows: -

The Labour backed Equal Pay for Women Bill moved through both the House and the Senate in less than a week - after an eighteen year campaign for a Federal law to outlaw wage discrimination because of sex.

Senator Wright:

– Where was that?


– This was in the United States of America. I am reading from a report dated 25th May, 1963. lt continues -

Both the House and Senate bills prohibit employers from equalizing wages by lowering higher rales for men instead of raising lower wages paid to women.

Equal pay under the legislation would be required for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility which is performed under similar working conditions.

Wage differentials would be allowed only if based on factors other than sex.

Senator Wright:

– Did you say that that bill was passed?


– The bill was passed through both Congress and the Senate, according to the report, in less than a week. That was a statement in “ A.F.L. News “ published in Washington on 25th May, 1963.

Senator Hannaford:

– Would it be mandatory for all the States of the United States of America to accept that?


– I could not say what the situation is as far as federalism in America is concerned, but 1 should imagine that once the bill had passed through Congress it would become federal law in the United States.

Let me return to the situation in Australia. This Government by its negative altitude - I speak quite frankly - is allowing cheap labour conditions to exist in its own Commonwealth Public Service merely on the basis that the sex of a person justifies wage discrimination. The Commonwealth Year Book for 1963 discloses that the 1961 census showed that 60 in every 100 males of the population and 20 in every 100 females of the population are in the work force of the Australian community. Whilst all these do not come within the perview of the Commonwealth Government or the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the fact remains that if the Commonwealth Government acted in this matter so far as its own employees are concerned, it would set the pace for all Australian industry and all the Australian State governments to follow. What is the situation with regard to female members of the Commonwealth Public Service? In this regard, I quote from the report of the Committee of Inquiry into Public Service Recruitment, which came before the Parliament on 19th February, 1959. This report, which is commonly known as the Boyer committee’s report states at paragraph 236, dealing with the employment of married women in the Public Service, that -

Over the past ten years women have supplied about one-quarter of the permanent officers and over two-thirds of the temporary employees in the Fourth Division. Since 1949, when the Service began regular recruitment of girls to the base grade of the Third Division, the proportion of women in that Division has risen from about half of one per cent, to a little over 4 per cent.

At the time the report was presented - namely, February of 1959 - there were some 30,800 female workers engaged in the Commonwealth Public Service. The point I make is that there has been for years a steady increase in the employment of women throughout the ranks of the Commonwealth Public Service, particularly since the end of the war. As I shall show later, from a recent preliminary report of the Commonwealth Public Service Board, the increase has been quite substantial since 1959. The fact is that this Government is saving itself hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds by employing women at cheap labour rates to do work of the same type and value as that being done by their male counterparts in the Commonwealth Public Service. These women are being denied wage justice merely because of the circumstances of their birth.

We find, from a perusal of a preliminary statement prepared by the Commonwealth Public Service Board, that in the last four years there has been an increase of 4,780 in the number of female employees in the Service since the presentation of the Boyer committee’s report on Public Service recruitment. No one, not even the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), who has spoken during this debate has argued that the women engaged in the Public Service do not exert the same skills as their male counterparts or do not require the same qualifications. In other words, the work they do is work of equal value so far as the Commonwealth is concerned. I say that in the interests of wage justice and in the interests of social equality. They should be paid at the same rates as male public servants.

We of the Labour Party seek wage justice for this very important and large section of the work force of the Australian community. As Senator Wedgwood has rightly said, it is as certain as the night follows the day that at some time in the not too distant future wage justice will be accorded to women engaged in the work force of the Australian community, no matter how long the Government may procrastinate and no matter how it may fulminate on this very important aspect. The female workers may take some solace from the fact that in the not too distant future their rights will be recognized, if not by this Government then by another government.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.

South Australia

– Let me say at the outset that I am very disappointed to hear women’s rights and women’s willingness to work in the community being battered around in what 1 call the political football style. We hear the argument adduced that somebody should be taking the initiative, somebody should be taking positive action and, in the course of my remarks, I will say who I think should be taking this step. May I say first of all that if nothing else has come out of this debate talking about it has been of some value. Only to-day, right in the middle of this debate, we on the Government side have elected a woman to the office of chairman of a parliamentary members’ committee. That is the first time a woman has been appointed to such an office. I do not think the Opposition can claim to have done that yet.

Senator Ormonde:

– She was the best offering.


– That may be so, but even though a woman may be the best offering on the Opposition side, the Opposition does not recognize the skill of women in filling such positions. I have said that value has come out of this debate. I believe that equal pay for equal work and the granting of equal opportunities for women are matters of social justice. It is the method of applying these principles which constitutes the problem, and that needs to be worked out not by us but by a qualified body after a great deal of investigation not only into the economic effects of their application, which has been the main topic of debate to-day, but also into the social effects. I believe that this principle should be introduced from the base not from the top because we in this democracy who believe that we should do the greatest good for the greatest number realize that you must start at the bottom where the greatest number are affected and work up from there. That is certainly my opinion. I believe that When this is introduced - and I agree with Senator Wedgwood that it will be introduced in the right way - the whole of our social structure will be altered. Our rates of taxation will be altered, and our social service benefits may need to be altered. We shall have to submit all these considerations, which are beyond the capacity of you or me or even, I believe, of the Government, which is fully occupied with the day-to-day affairs of governing the country, to a fully qualified body of people who are now doing this kind of work. I refer to the Arbitration Court. In this country we have accepted the principle of submitting disputes over rates of pay to the Arbitration Court. I believe that this is a dispute that can go to the Arbitration Court despite the fact that Senator McKenna does not agree with that argument. I believe that it is not right for any government to attempt to force the hand of the Arbitration Court by legislating for its own employees and then leaving the Arbitration Court no alternative but to follow suit with wages paid in private enterprise regardless of the economic and social effects involved.

I believe that the initiative lies with the unions in this matter. This has been said over and over again, and I repeat it. I believe that the unions should take the dispute to the court, put forward their arguments and, as they do in other disputes, rely on the wisdom, impartiality and experience of the court in giving a fair deal to all. They can then challenge the Government to intervene. This, I believe, is the right procedure.

Senator Cohen:

– Do you think the Government should support such an application?


– I think the unions should challenge the Government to intervene.

Senator Cohen:

– Do you think the Government should support such an application?


– If the Government wanted to intervene, it would be perfectly entitled to do so, but the Government does not take the initiative in these cases, lt is up to the unions to take the initiative. I believe that the Opposition is not sincere in its attempt to lift the status of women by supporting this campaign. 1 think we are all agreed in principle that equal pay for equal work and the granting of equal opportunities to women constitutes social justice, but the problem is just where to begin these equal payments and offering these equal opportunities, and this is where the Opposition has not helped. Undoubtedly, both the men and the women have done the same training and acquired the same skills in the professions and in other avenues and even received equal remuneration, but what women lack at the top is equal opportunity to obtain the work of their choice. How often do we find doctors, lawyers and teachers doing exactly the same work as their male counterparts but either not getting the same remuneration or not getting the same opportunities? 1 think this is iniquitous. To add to this indignity, in times of national emergency and shortage of labour, differentiation is forgotten in the face of expediency. We have seen this only to-day in the postal strike. The unionists have kept women out of the sorting of mail, surely women’s work; but now that they do not want to work certain shifts, they are willing to allow the women in to do the work. I have not noticed that they have taken any direct action to see that the women receive the same rate of pay.

Only a few weeks ago, Senator O’Byrne complained about the lack of shearers in the pastoral industry. I suggested, maybe facetiously, that women might be called upon. It is interesting to see that the Australian Workers Union, in its paper, came out with the statement, “ Come Off It, Nance! “ It does not even want women to help the industry out. We have heard to-day of many countries which have done away with the inequalities of pay for some skilled people. Most of those countries do not have the industrial system that we have. They do not have an industrial court to decide these matters. So, it is not a relevant argument to say that the governments of those countries have legislated in the matter when those countries do not have the system we have where the arbitration court should be dealing with the matter. If the demands were only for equal pay for equal skills and output, I believe we could all agree with them. We could be sincere about it and say we agreed on that point; but I believe that if we had an equalpayforequalwork system, it would be an incentive for women to become efficient and highly qualified. This incentive would be provided by creating improved conditions which would raise productivity and living standards generally. To try to raise wages without using productivity is where the problem would begin. The arbitration court is the body to judge those matters and to go beyond those things and make a very careful examination. The arbitration court is the competent body to do that.

If the Opposition or the Australian Council of Trade Unions, for which Opposition senators sometimes speak on this matter, wanted a rate for every job they could easily have gone to the arbitration court during the last fifteen years. Neither the Opposition nor the A.C.T.U. has ever done so. I also point out that it is not always in the interest of women to have equality brought about. In saying that, I am probably supporting to a certain extent - but not quite - what Senator McKellar had to say. I do not agree that the instances that he gave of the social inequalities within Australia are all that matter. It does not matter if women wish to wear trousers, or if they want to stand alongside their menfolk and drink under equal conditions. Those are not the things that matter.

What I do find difficult to reconcile myself to are the equalities that exist in the Communist countries, particularly in China and Russia. I have seen them there. I believe that if women do want to have equality then they will have to accept equal responsibilities and equal privileges. We, as women, would be expected to forgo the privilege of being treated as a woman, and would be treated alike in every respect. For instance, we would have to accept equal liability for our spouses’ debts. We would have to accept responsibility for the maintenance of children. We would have to share the costs of legal proceedings. We would have to forgo the right to claim age pensions five years ahead of men and, perhaps, even to accept widows’ pensions. Those are some of the things which are the problems in introducing this equality. In addition, as Senator McKellar said, women would have to accept a share of the cost of entertainment. That might not be very popular with young people.

Worse than those things are some of the things that I have seen happen in Russia and China. Women in the urban areas in those countries load and unload heavy trucks, trains and ships. They build the roads and they shovel the snow off them in winter. They carry bricks and build houses. They carry out all the dirty jobs mostly avoided by the men with whom it is claimed they are equal. In the agricultural areas of those countries, women work in production teams along with men, not because they want to but because none of them earns enough individually to keep a family unaided. It is essential for all to work.

That condition does not apply in this country. Individuals in Australia can afford to keep a family; but that is what happens if this is permitted to go too far. I only point that out as a warning of what we should watch for. The result of equality in the countries I have mentioned is that the women have lost all signs of feminity and charm. In fact, they are plainly unattractive. As for claiming the privilege of a vestige of chivalry - well, I wish you could have seen me rushing so as not to be last to go through a door, having to carry my own heavy bags, and rushing so as not to be the last in a queue. That is what the women are forced to do in those countries. They follow along with the rest and do the best they can. I do not think it is very dignified to see this happening. That is’ why I go gently on this subject. There are many of us who still say that this is not what we are after, who wonder whether if we introduce this principle, we will be able to hold back the flood of all these equalities which are, perhaps, not quite so desirable.

If we can reward skill and enterprise with equal remuneration, by all means let us do it, and do it quickly, admitting that men and women are complementary to each other. But let the Communist idea of equality be a warning to us. I certainly believe that the status of women is of primary importance. I believe in a little femininity, with a little dependence and a lot of individuality. If women think this can be done after agreeing to an equal base rate of pay for both men and women, I will support them to the hilt. I am not satisfied yet that the majority do think this. For that reason, I would very willingly go along with Senator McKenna’s suggestion that we have a referendum to see how many people do support it. That is why I say that I believe men and women are complementary to each other. I believe that their skills and their various achievements should be equally recognized. But I say. “Let us be careful. Let us take this to the arbitration court. Let the court examine what social effects will come from it. “ Then, when the arbitration court fixes rates of pay, that is the time when the Government should intervene or not as the case may be.

Western Australia

– I will endeavour to bring the debate back to the subject before the Senate. Only one Government senator has kept to that subject. That speaker was Senator Wedgwood. I think that if ever one sentence completely destroyed an argument, it was her statement that equal pay for men and women was a question not of legalities, etcetera, but of pure justice. In that one statement, she completely answered her own Minister. The speeches of the rest of the Government supporters in the debate have not been anywhere near the mark. Therefore, I will try to get back to what the Labour speakers and Senator Wedgwood have had to say.

This subject has emerged, in Senator Wedgwood’s words, as a case of pure and simple justice. The demand for equal pay for men and women has developed in the post-war world. During the war, we heard a great deal of talk about a brave new world in which the injustices which led one generation into a cataclysm, would not be revived. A declaration was signed by many countries to the effect that never again would people be judged on their race or creed. The nations t:w learnt their lesson from the genocide adopted by Hitler in Germany. Australia,,,, ,.th other nations, said that discrimination would not be practised against people in 1 industry because of their sex. Those noble, sentiments are embodied to-day in conventions of the International Labour Organisation, the, United Nations Charter, the Declaration of Human Rights and, quite recently, the Treaty of Rome which joins six nations in the European Economic Community-.- Over a short period, those things have come about. They were preceded ‘by the enhancipation of women. The changes are not due to industrial concepts, as Senator Cohen pointed out, but are based on the concept of equality. We have seen the effects in some States in Australia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and other countries. The Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), who spoke at length, said that in this matter there were no legal obligations existing, and, therefore, there was nothing binding the Commonwealth Government. Not once did he mention the point raised by Senator Wedgwood as to simple justice. A moral obligation rests on the Commonwealth Government as a result of the conventions which we have approved, even if we have not legally and technically ratified the particular one to which Senator Gorton referred. I disagree with Senator Wedgwood only on a very minor point. She said that this was a controversial subject throughout the world. From my examination of the treaties and conventions that have been signed, I think it is rather a non-controversial subject.

Senator Wedgwood:

– I did not say that the treaty was controversial.


– No, the whole question. I do not think that it is. There is some controversy but there is a fair amount of unanimity. I cannot see why the Government, while declaring that it will not discriminate against people because of creed, race and colour, should be discriminating in this respect industrially, politically and socially. Senator Gorton spoke about the amount of money that equalization of remuneration would cost, but he did not mention a figure, because he did not know what it was. This is one of the few enlightened countries in the world which in the past fifteen years have not made a survey to find exactly what the situation was. The Minister finished by washing his hands of the matter, saying that it ought to go to the Arbitration Commission.

In spite of about four direct questions from Senator Cohen, Senator Buttfield would not say what actions she thought the Government ought to take. She did not say whether it ought to do what it did at one basic wage hearing, namely, oppose the union’s case for a hearing, whether it should merely give evidence that would damn the union’s case for an increase; or whether it should come forward and support the case. We did not hear one word about that aspect from either Senator Buttfield or Senator Gorton. We were given no intimation about what the Government’s attitude would be. As Senator Cohen pointed out, this is not so much an industrial matter as a question of establishing a concept. I do not believe that the Commonwealth Government, in the establishment of a concept so important as this, ought to delegate responsibility to one of its instrumentalities. It should come forward fearlessly and establish the principle in the name of simple justice. If this principle is just, if we should not discriminate against people on this ground, does not the Commonwealth Government think that it should lay the principle down in the same way as the governments of the United States of America and Canada have already done. There is no lack of precedent in this country in relation to governments establishing concepts on matters of great social importance. The concept of child endowment was first established by the New South Wales Government and later adopted by the Commonwealth Government. The concept of workers compensation was vigorously opposed in New South Wales in the early 1920’s but nevertheless it was established. Likewise, the concept of a fortyhour week was established. When one examines all the great social concepts that have been established in the past 40 years one finds that some government has been responsible. Governments have not delegated responsibility to subordinate authorities. So there would be plenty of precedent for the Commonwealth to take action in this regard. lt would be completely correct for the Commonwealth to establish this concept in this field.

When we examine what tribunals have done in this regard we find that in certain instances they have come out and awarded equal pay. I can speak only of the ones that I know. The Western Australian arbitration court many years ago - I think under Mr. President Dwyer - spelled out very clearly in the award applicable to barmen and barmaids that this principle should apply. Although it could have been argued in the days when heavy kegs of beer were handled that barmaids were physically handicapped, the court adjusted the marginal section of the wage and the basic wage so that the total wage of the barmaid was the same as that of the barman. We have seen the same thing more recently in the printing trade award in relation to certain art work. For specified jobs women receive the same rate of pay as men.

When an honorable senator suggested that the principle of equal pay should be established in the Commonwealth Public Service, Senator Mattner interjected that if this were done a precedent would be set for the rest of Australia, although he did not use the word “precedent”. Under the Western Australian clerks award, female ledgerkeepers receive the same total rate of pay as men receive. Some other awards are completely silent about this aspect and there is no discrimination against women. The principle of equal pay applies particularly in the transport industry. This, I imagine, would be a carry-over from the war period. During the war many women were paid 100 per cent, of the male rate. The general rate was 90 per cent, of the male basic wage. After the war, some tribunals raised the female basic wage in some industries from 54 . per cent, to 75 per cent, of the male wage. We then did not hear any cries about calamity. Nobody said that as a result of, this 50 per cent, increase in the female wage the basic wage would be flattened. We did not hear the nonsense that we have heard from Senator Buttfield and Senator McKellar about slave labour resulting. All of this has not to be done in one fell swoop. It will not be a simple matter to bring about this reform, but no industrial reform is ever simple. That is appreciated by any one who has ever worked in the industrial field, including some of my friends on my left, one of whom has already spoken. It is always a matter of give and take. It is a field in which the exception proves the rule. That establishment of this principle is perfectly possible is shown by the fact that it has already worked in some awards in some parts of Australia.

The question is not one of legality. It is a matter of whether we believe the things we were saying at the end of the war about not differentiating between people for any reason in relation to rates of pay and conditions. I was instrumental in having removed a provision relating to a ban on the employment in the postal service of persons of aboriginal or part-aboriginal blood. In the north-west of my State people do not say to a coloured man, “ Because you are coloured we will not pay you the same rate as we pay to a white man.’.’ We do not pay different rates on account of differences in religion. Why should not people who do the same work receive the same rates of pay?

Recently I studied the findings of one of Australia’s chief conciliation commissioners. He had looked at this problem very, closely. He found that in some cases men were obviously more skilful than women. In other cases - these were in a minority - women were more skilful. In still other cases one could not differentiate between the skills of men and women. All sorts of arguments against equal pay have been raised. It is said that the rate of absenteeism amongst women is higher. Have the hotels and clubs in Western Australia had to worry about that down the many years during which they have had to pay the same rates to barmen and barmaids?

It is interesting to note that the United States of America, which is a high-cost country, .has taken, a very strong lead in this regard.’ It has passed a federal law on the matter. I am sorry that Senator Wright, who interjected when Senator McClelland was speaking, is not present. It is quite definite that the law has been passed. That is stated quite clearly in the paper which I have and which my friend did not have before him. The principle has been accepted by 22 of the States and it is laid down very clearly in the same fields in which this Commonwealth Government has jurisdiction. The law applies in the fields of interstate commerce, commerce with foreign nations, and the production of goods intended for such commerce. Under section 92 of the Constitution, similar action could be taken in Australia, but the Government has not chosen to do this. President Kennedy did not say, as Senator Gorton seemed to say, that if anybody ended discrimination against women in this respect he would nod his head in approval. President Kennedy said -

Women are entitled to equality of opportunity for employment in Government and in industry. But a mere statement supporting equality of opportunity must be implemented by affirmative steps to see that the doors are really open for training, selection, advancement, and equal pay.

President Kennedy proceeded to implement that policy in the fields in which he had jurisdiction. He set the example, and 22 of the American States followed his example, so that the principle of equal pay for equal work has become established right throughout America. Where awards had been negotiated, he gave the authorities concerned two years in which to amend the awards.

I suggest that the Australian Government should follow the Kennedy line. President Kennedy took positive action in relation to the colour question and, to a lesser degree, the question of discrimination against people because of their religion. He also took positive steps against discrimination in industry simply because people happened to be born females. He gave positive expression to the belief, embodied in the United States Constitution, that all people are born equal. He did not regard it as a shibboleth, or merely pay lip service to if, he went ahead and gave it practical effect at every level. There are many similarities between the United States and Australia. We have the same kind of Constitution. There are certain fields in which the governments of both countries may legislate.

However, there is one important difference between the Government of the United States and that of Australia. The Government of the United States believes in the resolutions it signs and tries to do something positive about them. The American people have the necessary leadership to enable that to be done. The difference is that Australia lacks leadership.

New South Wales

– I enter the debate with some reserve because on both sides of the chamber there has been an expression of views which do not follow the traditional lines. I confess that I find myself in agreement with much that has been said on both sides. On the other hand, I disagree with statements that have been made not only by members of the Opposition but also by honorable senators on the Government side. Until Senator Willesee reached his peroration, I was inclined to accept substantially the whole of his argument. However, I think that the Opposition’s case is vulnerable in that it has been argued on the basis that the Government does not believe in the fundamental issue that we are discussing. I think there is a reasonable degree of proof, supported by documents, that the Government does not disapprove of the broad involved in this matter.

I wish to comment on a series of statements made by Senator McClelland. In his enthusiasm to support the Opposition’s proposal, he suggested that the case for equal pay for equal work was bound up with the proposition that women must go to work of necessity, because of the cruel economic circumstances into which this Government has forced them. That, of course, is not a sound argument. It completely distorts the facts. 1 hope that the honorable senator did not mean to make such a suggestion, and I also hope that I have not exaggerated. Probably more married women were working during the period of office of the Labour Government, proportionately speaking, than there are now. I remind the honorable senator and other members of the Opposition who set themselves up as representatives of the great trade union movement, that there has been hardly an appeal to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the last half-dozen years - in fact, during almost the whole period of office of this

Government - in which the advocate for the unions has not asked for a prosperity loading, or some such loading on the wage structure, on the ground of prosperity and the ability of the community to pay.

Senator McClelland’s argument therefore falls to the ground. It is condemned out of the mouths of union representatives who appear before the Arbitration Commission. I remind the Opposition that in terms of economic security and prosperity, Australia is probably better placed to-day than is any other country. The savings of the working community are higher than they have ever been. The ordinary people of Australia, like ourselves, enjoy more amenities and advantages than the people of almost any other country in the world. We have more motor cars and refrigerators and more aids in the home, such as washing machines, as well as all the other things that go to make life worth while, than people elsewhere. To round off this aspect of my argument, I point out that the female working population represents only 20 per cent, of the total female population of Australia, according to the 1961 census figures. The female work force in 1961 numbered 1,059,158. I think it is correct to say that only about 50 per cent, of the female workers would be married women. Senator McClelland’s argument was a dangerous one. The Opposition’s case was spoilt by the suggestion that equal pay for equal work is associated with the necessity for women to work because of the economic conditions in Australia.

The Opposition’s proposal refers to the Government’s failure to honour its international and moral obligations to apply and promote the principle of equal pay for women for work of equal value. I suggest that the Opposition’s case has failed for the reason that there can be no doubt that, from an international point of view, the Australian Government has accepted its responsibilities. The proposal put forward by the Opposition has been very carefully drawn. I think that even Senator McKenna realized that he could not sustain a case on the basis that Australia had failed in its international obligations in this regard, and that in order to give himself more room for manoeuvre he wisely, from his point of view, inserted the word “ moral “. “ Moral obligations “ is a nice-sounding expression and, of course, it provides tremendous freedom for debate. It was significant that, in leading for the Opposition, he did not dwell on the aspect of failure to honour our international obligations. By implication, he seemed to accept the fact that we have conformed to our international obligations. Instead, he dwelt on the failure to honour moral obligations. Senator Cohen, in his introductory remarks, went straight to the moral aspect rather than to the international one.

The debate has ranged over a wide field, and on both sides of the chamber there have been departures from the lines which we might expect honorable senators to follow.

In view of the fact that the debate has tended to ‘get away from the matter before the House, and as the debate is nearing its conclusion under the terms of the Standing Orders, I think I should restate the point of view of the Government. I propose, therefore, to read from the document “ Equal Pay “ which was produced by the Department of Labour and National Service in 1963. It refers to a statement made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) on this issue. This is the extract from the document -

In April, 1962, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Labour and National Service met a deputation from the A.C.T.U., the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations and the High Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organizations. The deputation asked the Government to implement in respect of its own employees the I.L.O. Convention and Recommendation of 1951 dealing with Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value. The Prime Minister promised that the Government would examine anew its attitude to equal pay.

I make that point because the Opposition has based its case on the statement that the Government is diametrically opposed to equal pay for the sexes whereas in point of fact it is not. The Government issued a statement upon this subject from which I wish to read extracts. As late as October, 1962, this statement was made on behalf of the Government -

While the Government does not oppose the principle of equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value, it does not consider that it would be acting responsibly if it were, by its own decision, to apply the principle to its own employees in advance of a definitive determination by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. . . Since the 1920’s it has been the practice in the Commonwealth Public Service to pay to females and males alike the same margin where they occupy the same positions. However, to apply the I.L.O. Instruments in their entirety would be to create for them a wage structure vastly different from that currently applying generally throughout the Commonwealth. There would be consequences in the field of Commonwealth Government employment of significance just as considerable for men as for women employees.

It has long been the custom in Commonwealth Government employment that standards of remuneration should be maintained in proper relationship with those in the private sector and in other spheres of Crown employment. In the context of the highly integrated Australian industrial relations system, if the Commonwealth Government were to act on its own, a whole new set of anomalies between conditions in Commonwealth employment and elsewhere would be created and industrial unrest would be inevitable. The Commonwealth would, in effect, be prejudging, without proper enquiry, the whole issue of equal pay. . . The question of equal pay in the Australian scene involves such complexities and raises issues of such magnitude and consequence to the wage structure - affecting men and women alike, the economy at large, and the employment of men and women as to require that it should be thoroughly and dispassionately examined apart from emotion and the stresses of Party politics. It is the Government’s view that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is the proper body to make the examination.

That is the point on which the Government rests its case. The extract continues -

The Commission is the body empowered to deal with such matters and is generally so recognized. If, therefore, the trade union movement wishes to pursue the matter it has its remedy in a claim to the Commission in the normal way - a process recognized as appropriate by the I.L.O. Instruments themselves.

That, of course, is the very point upon which the Government relies and it is the point which justifies me in saying that the Government has conformed to its international obligations. There are further extracts at that level which I do not intend to pursue because of lack of time. I make the point that because the International Labour Organization allows that compliance with its convention may be consistent with the system of wage regulations in each country, the Government has complied with its international obligations.

The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) referred to the United Kingdom and other countries in support of his case. Senator Willesee referred to the United

States of America. It is an historical fact that the principle of equal pay has had some ups and downs in the United Kingdom. Reference is made to this at page 89 of the document “ Equal Pay “ to which I have already referred. I am not suggesting that what I am about to read from the document comprises the entire case but it gives some of the pros and cons and the reference to equal pay in the United Kingdom is rather significant. It states -

The U.K. Ministry of Labour and National Service reports that it is in the non-industrial field and particularly in the public sectors of it where the identification of “equal work” is comparatively simple that the main movement towards equal pay has taken place.

That is fair enough. The main point I want to make is this -

The application of equal pay in the industrial sector remains limited. It does not apply, for example, to Government industrial workers. Nevertheless, there are some collective agreements and Wages Council Orders which provide in some measure for equal pay.

If you read this document, you find that the history of equal pay for equal work is a continuing process. I think Senator Wedgwood made this point.


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

Senator BENN:

The Senate is discussing -

The Government’s failure to honour its international and moral obligations to apply and promote the principle of equal pay for men and women for work of equal value.

I come from a State where provision such as this has appeared in legislative form since 1916. I propose to cite the Industrial Conciliation and1 Arbitration Act 1916 in this connexion. Like all industrial acts, it prescribes the powers of a court, how awards shall be framed in respect of annual leave, overtime rates, working hours and similar conditions. Section 8 of this Queensland act states -

Without limiting the generality of the powers of the Court, the Court may make an award with reference to a calling or callings -

Provided that in fixing rates of wages in any calling -

The same wage shall be paid to persons of either sex performing the same work or producing the same return of profit to their employer;

That provision has been in existence for the past 48 years. It has been used by the industrial courts of Queensland in fixing wages for female employees. For example, an examination of the shop assistants award which operates in the southern division of Queensland will reveal that female employees engaged in the grocery section of any shop shall be paid the rate fixed for males. Also, females employed in hardware shops or hardware sections of shops must be paid the male rate. Because of the wording of the act the industrial court is required to take judicial notice of the provision that I have quoted and to apply it to every case of wage fixation with which it deals.

I believe it is generally known that in the past 60 years many tribunals within the Commonwealth have had the responsibility of fixing wages. In some cases wages boards have operated to deal with working conditions and rates of pay. In other cases State industrial courts have operated, and in addition the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission has operated for very many years. The work of these tribunals over the years has resulted in numerous awards, with thousands of classifications of work with varying rates of pay. We know that the tribunals do not act lightly in discharging their functions and that the rates for the classifications have been fixed in a responsible way.

In Queensland, since 1916, the industrial courts have been required to take into consideration the work performed by females, as compared with that of the males. There has been no calamity in Queensland as a result of that legislation. While Government supporters were speaking I was wondering what their real objection to the proposal was. I could understand their objecting on political grounds to a motion brought forward by the Labour Party, but when it came to discussing the subject itself I felt that in their hearts they believed in the substance of the proposition. I honestly believe that they feel that it would be right and fair for a provision of this kind to be inserted into the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act so that the commission could take cognizance of it and, as far as possible, apply it. In the short time that I have left I wish only to stress again that a provision such as this has operated in Queensland for a number of years and that Queensland is no worse off than the rest of the Commonwealth. I feel that in Queensland, at least, justice is done to the females who are working.

Senator MORRIS:

.- I realize that there is very little time available-


– Order! The time for this debate having elapsed, the Senate will proceed with the business of the day.

page 560


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 8th April (vide page 526), on motion by Senator Wade -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Senator LILLICO:

– For years past Tasmania has spent a half, and in some years very much more, of its loan funds on the development of hydroelectricity. That has been a burden about which people have complained. They have said that this has deprived other State public works of necessary funds. However, the State Government, I think rightly, has been committed to a policy of hydro-electric development.

In my opinion it will be a source of satisfaction to many people in Tasmania that this grant of £2,500,000 will facilitate the development of hydro-electric schemes away from the area of the central plateau. Many people in Tasmania thought that a mistake was made when hydro-electric schemes were concentrated on the central plateau of Tasmania, where the catchment is small, where the streams are comparatively small and where the rainfall, compared with the rainfall of the west coast, which will be partly opened up by this road, is also small. In my opinion, Tasmania paid the penalty for that policy this year because the limited area in which the schemes were located suffered one of the worst droughts in its history. This resulted in a curtailment of industrial power by about 15 per cent.

It seemed to many people - I have heard this matter discussed in the State Parliament many times - that the obvious thing to do and the wisest course to take was to locate at least some of the hydro-electric schemes in areas of heavy rainfall and of larger streams, where they would not have to depend so much on catchment and could depend more on flow. It is more than twenty years ago that Sir John Butters, who at that time was the man in charge of hydroelectric development in Tasmania, in relinquishing his position, advised those charged with the responsibility to go to the rivers on the west coast where there was more water and where conditions were more conducive to stable hydro-electric schemes.

There is great merit in the gesture that has been made by the Commonwealth Government on allocating this money to Tasmania. It will facilitate the opening up of what are regarded as areas with better natural resources for hydro-electric development than the central plateau of Tasmania. I support the bill.

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

– It is a pleasure to all Tasmanians to see the reception that this measure has had on both sides of the chamber. The point just mentioned by Senator Lillico is interesting. Access to this area of Tasmania will enable a new source of water for the State to be tapped and, I believe, will enable the State to remedy the mistake it made when it confined its attention to the Great Lake and the central plateau. Because the State confined its attention to this area, this year Tasmania maintained the highest rate of unemployment of any State in the Commonwealth. There was a lack of power for some industries, which had to retrench some employees. I know that nature was partly responsible for this situation occurring, but had the wisdom of Sir John Butters been properly heeded an alternative source of water would have been available and the last twelve months would not have been such a difficult period for Tasmania, lt is interesting to note that the Commonwealth, through the Department of National Development, has played a great part in the development of this area. Two or three years ago an aerial survey was made of the west coast with an aircraft containing the. most modern and efficient equipment. The survey disclosed that the large Savage iron ore deposits were far greater in extent than the Department of Mines of the Government of Tasmania realized. The survey may lead to the exploitation of those iron ore deposits. Further than that - this was one of the things that influenced those of us who supported the Government in this move - a mineral belt runs far into the area which this road will serve. The west coast contains nearly all the known minerals in the world.

Quite apart from that, the road will enable the hydro-electric scheme to be implemented in the area by 1976. The. commissioner made the case that the Tasmanian Hydro-electric Commission was unable to finance the construction of this road and at the same time finance the construction of the hydro-electric stations in the area in time to deal with the volume of power that will be needed in Tasmania by 1976. The Government considered making this nonrepayable grant in conformity with its policy to assist projects which will produce a greater export income for Australia. That is the policy upon which this grant is based. It was established that, as a result of the assistance provided by the Commonwealth, extra export income will flow from overseas.

Figures on export income were quoted last night. I have noticed the tendency by some to incorporate Tasmanian exports to the mainland of Australia in export figures. For the purpose of this grant it is export income from overseas that the Government is wishing to increase. Quite apart from the hydro-electric development, the development of the. mineral fields may lead to discoveries and development in this area which will bring in far greater export income from overseas and thereby bring wealth to Tasmania, and in consequence wealth to Australia itself. 1 wish to comment on one or two other points. Senator Poke said that this was the first time since he had been in this chamber that a non-repayable grant had been made to Tasmania. At the time I said that that was not the case. I should like to put it on record that in 1961-62 a non-repayable grant of £990,000 was made to Tasmania. In 1962-63 a further non-repayable grant of £1,520,000 was made. In. 1963-64 a sum of £1,408,000 was forthcoming as a non-repayable grant for the purpose of alleviating unemployment. These grants were made while the honorable senator was a member of this chamber. Apparently he did not understand what they were all about. In addition to that, a non-repayable grant amounting to £355,000 was made which was of great assistance to Tasmania in the rebuilding of some of its mental institutions. Those are just a few instances. I have a number of others, but I will not weary the Senate with them. I just want to establish the fact that this is not by any means the first non-repayable grant that has been made to Tasmania. It is the first grant made under the policy to increase export income from overseas, and it is the first case submitted by Tasmania in which a magnificently documented and attested case has been presented to the Government. I congratulate the Commissioner of the Tasmanian Hydro-electric Commission and members of his staff who prepared this case.

Previously we have had desultory requests, mostly in the form of a letter from the Premier of Tasmania to the Prime Minister. In the case of the construction of an electrical station in the Fingal Valley the Premier wrote to the Commonwealth Government saying that the Tasmanian Government did not believe that the construction of the station was an economic proposition and that it was not prepared to support the application. However, if the Commonwealth Government would support the project the Tasmanian Gvernment was prepared to go ahead with it. If honorable senators honestly think that that is the way to prepare a case for a proposition which would increase export income in an endeavour to bring the case within the ambit of the policy of the Federal Government, I do not agree with them. I am sure that they do not believe it themselves. The first time that Tasmania came with a proper and completely documented case - an excellent case - it received this non-repayable grant of £2,500,000 to put in this road to develop an area so that its mineral resources can be tapped and the vast hydro-electric resources that are available in the King River and the Gordon River may be used. I understand that, when finally developed, this project will produce almost as much hydro-electric power as will come from the Snowy Mountains scheme - not quite as much but almost as much - and that will be of tremendous assistance to Tasmania.

During the course of the discussion Senator Poke referred to the Duck Reach hydro-electric scheme on the South Esk River. This was the first hydro-electric scheme in the southern hemisphere, and the City of Launceston was the first city in the southern hemisphere to be lit by hydroelectric power. Under its acquisition powers, the Labour Government of Tasmania acquired the scheme, taking it away from the City of Launceston. The Government prevented the council from obtaining money to develop the scheme and finally acquired it. The Government offered the council £66,000 for it. The case went to arbitration and the council obtained £266,000. It is interesting to note that the Labour Government of Tasmania had an eminent counsel appearing for it in its fight against the Launceston City Council - no less a person than the present Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honorable Sir Robert Gordon Menzies. It was a most interesting arbitration case. I sat through it all. The council finally obtained £266,000 although the amount offered by the Labour Government of Tasmania had been £66,000. This is all history now but it is part and parcel of the great hydro-electric scheme of Tasmania.

I close by saying that if Tasmania is to go ahead, as I hope it will, more of these types of non-repayable grants will have to be made. There are immense possibilities for irrigation schemes which could assist Tasmania. I believe that it is possible - it is yet to be proved - to irrigate many of our orchards in southern Tasmania and thus stabilize to some degree the number of apples that Tasmania will be able to produce. But all applications for such grants must be based on cases properly documented and substantiated with facts and figures which can be examined by the Commonwealth Government’s experts. If further grants are recommended, much good can result. Last night I asked one or two honorable senators opposite who were talking about cases which had been put up to tell me of any case that was substantiated, as this one was, with facts, figures and evidence as to the benefits that would flow from making the grant. They were unable to name one. I hope that we shall see more of these grants made in the future, but all cases submitted will need to be properly documented so that they can be thoroughly examined.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

The bill.

Senator WRIGHT:

.- I shall not detain the committee for long, but I wish to bring to notice that clause 5 contains a requirement as to the standard of design or construction of the road that is to be financed. I think that introduces a real element of responsibility in regard to grants of this sort. The committee may wish to notice also that it is provided by clause 6 that the Treasurer of the Commonwealth is entitled to all the information that is required with regard to expenditure. The grant is conditioned by that. Finally, in order to prevent disputes of the kind that have been incapable of responsible solution in the past, when there have been overpayments but no right of recovery, clause 9 provides that if by accident, inadvertence or for some other reason, an overpayment of the State’s just demand has been made, that overpayment may be recovered. 1 take notice of these things because I am not sure that they have parallels in any similar legislation of this type that has preceded this bill. I make no assertion about that, and I shall be glad of any information the Minister can give me on the matter. We see an awareness of the need to sustain proper responsibility in regard to federal grants when we see in this bill provisions as to the standard of design and construction of the road, provisions relating to proper accounting methods, provisions requiring proper information to be supplied with regard to State expenditures and provisions for refunds of accidental overpayments.

I link that matter up with a general observation at this stage. It is an observation that I made on a previous occasion, without committing myself in any way. I said then that a great deal of Commonwealth money was being paid to the States for special purposes, and I suggested that a question which was coming up for mature consideration was the degree to which, in the exercise of its responsibility for expenditure, the Commonwealth should impose conditions to ensure that the policy purposes that it wished to be fulfilled were in fact fulfilled. On that occasion, Senator

Sir William Spooner indicated that he was well aware of the gravity of entering into such a field. This grant, of course, is in no way parallel to such grants, but it is proper, in my view, that the conditions set forth in the bill should be imposed so as to put the payment on a definite basis of responsibility for both the State and the Commonwealth.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Third Reading

Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a third time.

page 563



Senator LAUGHT:
South Australia

– I move-

That the Senate take note of the Ministerial Statement on International Affairs presented to the Senate on 18th March, 1964.

I believe it is the wish of all honorable senators thatthe important statement by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) which was read to the Senate by Senator Gorton should be noted and discussed. That is the purpose of the motion. The statement made by the Minister for External Affairs gives a broad view of the international scene as at 18th March, 1964, and sets out the Government’s attitude to it. While giving consideration to the statement, it occurred to me that the international scene is developing day by day, or really hour by hour, and that some tremendously important developments have taken place since 18th March.

I think I would be doing less than justice to the Minister for External Affairs if I did not say that I am sure that the majority of honorable senators welcome his statement and congratulate him on the hard work he is doing in his portfolio. He displays great patience in dealing with the peoples of the many races to the north of Australia. He has not spared himself travelling under difficulties and at high speeds from country to country. Overall, I think we are distinctly fortunate in having such a person as our Minister for External Affairs. It is well to note also that he can now concentrate on this portfolio alone, instead of having to share his time between it and the portfolio of Attorney-General.

This painstaking man has brought to the portfolio of External Affairs the mind and training of a very distinguished lawyer. Throughout the whole of this statement one detects the stamp of the lawyer because of the great attention given to detail and the logical presentation of arguments leading up to the points which the Minister desires to put to the Senate. In all, it is a most rational and enlightening statement. I hope that these statements will occur more frequently and that opportunities for debating them will be more frequent in the Senate.

I am rather sorry that the Minister for External Affiairs did not give more thought and attention to the question of the Commonwealth, or what is sometimes called the British Commonwealth, in relation to the international scene as it is viewed in Australia. Yesterday, there appeared in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ a reprint of an article which earlier this month appeared in the London “ Times “. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ headed the article “Britain And The ‘Farce’ of The Commonwealth “. It is a most searching article. I feel I cannot agree with a number of the conclusions in the article, but the London “ Times “, which is a responsible paper, engaged an unnamed but Obviously eminent journalist to write this article as one of a series of three.

I think the Minister for External Affairs should apply his talent to the preparation of a report to the Parliament on the whole question of the Commonwealth. If he thinks that this article is extravagant, he should accordingly attack it, because such an article as this should be dealt with at the highest level. We have to remember, after all, that a good deal of our strategy, particularly our military strategy, is linked with the strategy of the British Commonwealth. A good deal of our diplomacy is also linked with the diplomacy of the British Commonwealth. If it could be substantiated that such military strength or strategy of the British Commonwealth is not real, or that it is fanciful or imaginative, without fair base, as this article in the London “ Times “ rather logically seems to conclude, then the sooner the Australian Government knows it and evaluates it, the better it will be for all of us.

I am not saying that that is the position. What I am saying is that such an article in the London “ Times “, repeated yesterday in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “, makes me present to the Senate the point that it is of the utmost urgency for the Minister for External Affairs to give attention to this theme. I go further and say that the Minister holding the portfolio affecting Commonwealth affairs could well be the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). If it was found that this matter comes under the portfolio of the Prime Minister, I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty), who is seated at the table, to present that view to him, because I think it is of great importance that we evaluate correctly in this country the strength, strategy and capacity of Britain as the centre and cornerstone of the British Commonwealth and, at the same time, the strength and capacity of the other members of the British Commonwealth. There are a good many of them at the present time. To pluck a few out of the air, I mention Zanzibar, Ghana and Canada.

The sooner this Parliament has a careful assessment presented to it of the capacities and strategies of the component parts of the British Commonwealth, including the United Kingdom, the better we will be able to devote our attention to the complete question of the external affairs of this nation. At the present time, we get a little bit here and a little bit there. We may be looking at television and see Gurkhas or men of the famous fighting regiments of the United Kingdom on a river in Sabah fighting off intruders and maintaining security.

I was recently in Singapore. There I was privileged to hear a speech made at the airport by the distinguished Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. I well remember one statement he made. He had been away in the United Kingdom negotiating the question of Malaysia and, in his absence, members of the political opposition had been stirring up unrest. One of the things he said in answer to a question by his opponents as to why he allowed the British to retain their naval base in Singapore was, “ I did so because it means work for 40,000 people in Singapore “.

As I say, we obtain information from here and there. So, an assessment should be made as to how strong the British Commonwealth is, especially in the area in which wc live. We hear of an air base in the middle of the Indian Ocean, possibly somewhere near Adieu Atoll. We hear that there is to be a rather strong aircraft carrier component east of Suez. We should be made aware of the situation there and in other places if we ere to give full consideration to the questions raised by the Minister for External Affairs in the paper before us.

In making these points, I am not in any way critical of what is in the ministerial paper itself. It is encouraging, when reading the report of the Minister, to see his reaction to what can be called changes for the good in Europe. He says that there are stirrings of independent thought amongst the European peoples. He makes that point in a colourful way, by saying that there are the openings of windows on the West. We all recall with gratitude the fact that the Berlin wall was opened for a week or so during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, it has been closed again. There is always the chance, of course, that next time it could bc opened for a longer time.

I think it is a matter of being patient and exploring the possibilities of a general accommodation between East and West in Europe. Statements made by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, President Kennedy and other men of prestige and fame show that matters are proceeding favorably towards more general accommodation between East and V..s

It is encouraging to note that tourism between the Soviet and Europe and India is flourishing in a way in which it has not flourished before. More airlines are being permitted to operate between East and West. It is interesting to note also that in sport, art and science, contact is developing. As one who is rather keen on tennis, I am sorry about the trouble with regard to our own very good tennis players being accredited. I believe that tennis players moving between countries behind the iron curtain and our own country can help in their own way.

I do not want to spend any more time on the situation between East and West in the European zone. I feel sure that persons such as my colleague, Senator Buttfield, who has recently been behind the iron curtain to an international conference as a delegate from this Parliament, would speak of it with much more expertise than I would. I do want to come to the situation as I see it in the area nearer to Australia, which is considerably less encouraging. I believe that the Chinese Communists have gone out of their way to do a good deal of fishing in troubled waters in Asia and Africa. I believe it is the intention of Peking to remove the United States and Western influence from Formosa, from Asia, and from the west Pacific. Peking is most envious of the influence of the United States in the post-war period in South-East Asia.

I thought that I should’ confine my remarks to the areas that a delegation from this Parliament visited in June and July last. In this delegation the Senate had the Opposition Whip, Senator O’Byrne, Senator Drury. Senator Maher, and myself. I thought I would present to the Senate the conclusions to which I came with regard to the problem of Communist China in the areas that we visited. One of the fundamental conclusions to which I came at the end of the tour was that Communist C.ina had a profound influence in shaping the attitudes and policies of the countries ‘hat we visited. It was an interesting exercise to observe what these countries appeared to be doing to keep their integrity despite the attempt by Communist China to influence them. I use the term “ Communist China” to make clear to the Senate that I mean mainland China. But when one is in South-East Asia nobody appears to talk about the two Chinas. The only China they appear to talk about is the Peking China, mainland China. Nobody, referring to China, appears to limit it to the island of Formosa. So when I use the name “ China “ in this debate I use it to indicate mainland China, the Government thereof being in Peking.

The question I ask is: How can Australia bring its real influence to bear on the situation, to keep the integrity of these independent nations in South-East Asia? The delegation visited Thailand, Burma, Singapone, Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines. I discovered that although we are a small nation with a population of only 11,000,000 people, with a commensurately small Army, Navy and Air Force, we are exercising quite an influence in the area. I wish to give credit to the quality of our External Affairs officers on the spot. I think that the quality of our diplomacy in the area is very high by any standard. We show a definite interest in the United Nations agency known as the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. Our Colombo Plan activities are well-known in government circles in the area and also amongst quite a large section of the population. The part that we have played in the South-East Asia Treaty Organization, both on the military side and on the cultural side, is well recognized. We are somewhat envied as a country with a mature industrial economy. Except in Singapore and part of Malaya, the industrial economy is not very strong in the region. We are well forward in university training, in doctors, educationists, engineers and road builders. This is well-known, and the fact that we are prepared to share the talents of these people with South-East Asia gives us a prestige far greater than an average nation of 11,000,000 people would have. Also, it is known and acknowledged that we have a tradition of government which is the envy of a good many South-East Asian countries. i was rather interested to know that a member of the Victorian bar, an officer of the Victorian Government, was in Malaya to assist in establishing a system of registration of firms and companies. In other words, this new area, wanting to develop its business technique, is looking to Australia for assistance in creating its company and firm legislation. A gentleman who is now Registrar-General of Deeds in South Australia was co-opted to put in a system of land title registration for the city state of Singapore. He worked there for more than a year. In other words, we have a contribution to make, and we are making it, in government regulation so that business can flourish. Land title registration is most important in a developing industrial complex. Company law is also most important in such an area. So Australia’s contribution in the traditions of government has already been acknowledged.

I discovered that a great problem in every country we visited was that of the Chinese minority within the country and, further off, the problem of the possible activities of China. The Chinese minority in Burma represents about 1.5 per cent, of the total population. In Thailand, 2,500,000 of the 27,000,000 inhabitants are Chinese. In

Malaya, 40 per cent, of the inhabitants are Chinese, and in Indonesia, 2.5 per cent, of the population of 100,000,000 are Chinese. In the Philippines, 500,000 people, or approximately 1 per cent, of the total population, are Chinese. In Singapore, 80 per cent, of the people, or the vast majority, are Chinese. All those Chinese communities appear to have some nexus or liaison with China itself. The authorities in the countries I have mentioned have their weather-eye cocked on China. These Chinese communities seem to me to pose a big problem for the countries to the north of Australia. They are rugged people who are interested mainly in business activities, and because of that they know their way around very well in the countries in which they live.

The situation in Burma is interesting because to the west of that country lies India, to the east lies Thailand, and to the north lies China. The Burmese people received a great shock when they observed the entry of Chinese forces into India a year or so ago. They are living under the constant threat of the Chinese moving down into Burma, which is a very fertile and rich country with tremendous agricultural potential. The Burmese are doing a considerable amount of research work in irrigation. The Australian Government is helping, under the Colombo Plan, by donating pumps with which to raise water from the rivers, so that the Burmese will not have to rely on the normal seasonal overflow of the great rivers. With the aid of pumps, they are able to irrigate the land and grow a second ar.d even a third crop of rice in the one year.

What a great prize Burma would be for China in its expansion southwards. With the magnificent Irrawaddy River entering the sea near the great port of Rangoon, Burma would be a jumping-off place for China in ils expansion towards Africa, Ceylon and other places. It may be said that it is perhaps a little far-fetched to think in terms of Burma being overrun by China and of China using Burma as a stepping stone on the way to Africa, but I do not think so. having regard to statements that have been made concerning Mr. Chou En-lai’s recent visit to Africa. It will be remembered that Mr. Chou En-lai visited a number of Hie new nations of

Africa not so long ago. On his return, the following statement was made: -

Chou En-lai received a topline V.I.P. welcome home from his African-Asian tour. Even Mao Tse-tung went to the airport to greet him. He behaved with great decorum during most of his trip, but at Mogadishu-

On the eastern side of the African continent - the true purpose of his visits was revealed when he said, “ Revolutionary prospects are excellent throughout Africa “.

Burma is of great importance to Australia, and we should watch very carefully events that occur there. At the present time, the country is governed by a revolutionary committee headed by General Ne Win. I believe that the committee is composed of men who are dedicated to the interests of their country, but their present policy of ordering out of Burma everybody who is a non-Burmese, and their reluctance to allow Burmese students to come to Australia under the Colombo Plan, pose quite a problem. We must watch events in Burma very closely.

In saying that we must watch the activities of the Chinese in Asia, let me turn to Thailand. When we were in Thailand we saw the situation at top level, because we arrived there at a time when the first land exercise of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization was concluding. The exercise was carried out not on the border of Malaysia and Thailand, or the border of Burma and Thailand, but on the Laos border. As we know, the Chinese had stirred up a good deal of trouble in Laos in the preceding year. The whole of northeast Thailand is a problem area because of the infiltration into it, during the monsoonal season when the countryside is flooded, of disruptive persons from across the border. They are sent there by the Communist Chinese to stir up trouble. This is another example of Chinese fishing in troubled waters. The Australian Government can be proud of its imaginative plan to assist the Thai Government in building feeder roads in the north-east of Thailand. These roads will enable the Government of Thailand to keep open communications in the rice-growing areas during the difficult periods of the year when the countryside is flooded by the overflow of the large rivers, including the tributaries of the Mekong River. The Australian Govern ment has engaged road-builders from the Snowy Mountains scheme to go to Thailand. They live in communities with their wives and children and train young Thais in the use of heavy earth-moving equipment. This assistance is important in enabling Thailand to maintain its integrity.

Thailand has a very proud record in that it has never been overlorded by a European country. It has never been part of the colonial empire of England, Holland, Spain or Portugal, although all of those countries have operated in South-East Asia during the last 300 or 400 years. Thailand has always been independent and apart from the invasion by the Japanese during the Second World War, it has been free. I think it is essential to Australia and to the interests of peace in that part of the world that Thailand should retain its independence.

There is a definite threat of action by China in that area. Of course the interest of Australia and Thailand in the South-East Asia Treaty Organization is most important because after all one of the main features of the organization is that it is not aggressive of itself but is designed to retain the integrity of the countries concerned. lt was very encouraging to me to see the Royal Australian Air Force unit at Ubon in Thailand, which was visited last week by the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn). The bearing of the Australian airmen is first-class and they do Australia credit in this difficult foreign country.

The Australian Government is also assisting the Thai Army to train its men in the maintenance of vehicles. Normally, these young soldiers do not have very good training in the maintenance of motor vehicles. About twenty Australian Army officers, non-commissioned officers and men are working in a splendid Army workshop which was presented by the Australian Government to the Government of Thailand. The important feature of this work is that the Thai soldiers who finish their training in a year or two go back to their villages and set a standard of vehicle maintenance that was not known previously in that part of the world. Australia is having a real influence there and at the same time is endeavouring to preserve the integrity of this important country to the north of us.

I turn now to Malaya which is one of the components of the Federation of Malaysia. Australians have been prominent there in helping the Government of Malaya and, previously, the British to keep down the insurgents who were bringing the whole economy of the country to a stop. Malaya relies heavily on production of rubber and tin and the insurgents were so active that the rubber farmers and tin miners were not able to operate. The campaign against the insurgents has been quite successful and it is generally acknowledged that the work of Australians during the troubled years was first class. At present there are Commonwealth forces representing Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom on the Malayan Peninsula. The Chinese minority is causing the legally constituted democratic government of Malaya considerable concern and we were able to see how security is being maintained in the area. 1 can assure the Senate that the prosperity of Malaya is high indeed. The university which was recently built probably has one of the finest university complexes in the World. As Senator O’Byrne stated in a speech recently, the school children are very keen. In fact, the school buildings are used twice a day. The early morning and early afternoon shifts hand over the building to another lot of children who attend school in the afternoon and early evening. So keen are they to get abreast in the education race that they use their school buildings twice a day. I believe thm is a great future for Malaya and I acknowledge the references in the Minister’s speech to the constant vigilance that must be maintained to ensure that the minority which is closely linked to China - the spiritual home of those people - does not set the programme back.

The delegation also went to Indonesia. In that country, there is a real fear of the Chinese. It is rather difficult to know what the final attitude of President Sukarno will be but it was interesting to see the students’ reaction to the Chinese. It is not very noticeable but it is there all the same. We went to Bandung and were shown row after row of shops. All that bore the names of Chinese had been stoned and the windows broken but the others had not been attacked. A similar state of affairs existed in the resi dential areas where the houses of the Chinese had been damaged. So at the student level there is an upsurge of fear and annoyance with the Chinese. Consequently, one gets the impression that there is a minority in Indonesia that is not persona grata with the people of that area.

In the Philippines we discovered that a watchful eye was maintained and I think I can say without fear of contradiction that in South-East Asia the weather eye is always cocked on China. I consider that we should be ever watchful in this area and should do what we can to keep the properly constituted legitimate governments in those areas free from the ravages of discordant minorities within and without. Peace and contentment in those areas will bring forth economic viability. The countries in that part of the world will continue to flourish only if they are independent economically and can take their place in world trade.

I wish to say a few words now about Africa as I see the situation. In 1959, Africa had eight independent areas. Now there are 34 and two more will appear this year. This great continent has 34 separate independent governments. Possibly many of them are carried on by most inexperienced people. There are different races, different living standards, different histories and different traditions. I was very interested to read of the difficulty of communication which has arisen between Gabon and Nigeria. This illustrates the problem that can exist between two countries. Until a year or so ago, when both these countries were given their independence, if a message was sent from one to the other it would have to go, although they are next to each other, from Gabon to Paris, from Paris to London, and from London to Nigeria. These adjoining countries had no direct telegraphic communication with each other, and I understand that is the situation in many of the independent African countries. In the past they have been part of European colonial possessions and have never worried about communicating with each other.

I believe that the problems of boundaries and communications are among the problems that are bedevilling Africa at the moment. We frequently read about border disputes. Fortunately, a conference has been held at Addis Ababa and I believe that as a result of the conference there may be an improvement in communications and understanding between the independent African countries. Naturally, Chou En-lai, following the traditional Communist policy of fishing in troubled waters, has been down there. I understand that, with President Nasser, he issued a joint communique during his recent visit to the United Arab Republic and that it contained a sentence re-affirming Chinese support for the independence of the people of Yemen. He and President Nasser, who also is adept at fishing in troubled waters in the Near East, or the Middle East as it is sometimes called, got together on this communique.

I was interested to read in the Adelaide “ News “ yesterday a statement by Mrs. C. A. Ryan. 1 have had the privilege of meeting this lady. She is a South Australian who has been in Kenya for most of her adult life. This lady has nothing against the movements for independence going on in Africa. As a matter of fact, she is shortly to return to Kenya to resume her normal life, knowing that the Government of Kenya, in all probability, will be composed entirely of Africans. It is not expected that there will be other than complete African dominance. The heading of this article is, “ A Woman from Kenya wants Australia to provide scholarships to African students to counteract the influence of Communism there “. The report reads -

She hopes a number of firms throughout Australia might be interested in providing these scholarships.

She believes that’ from Australia’s point of view it. would be suicidal to allow an eruption of communism in Africa, in which case Australia would find her western boundaries menaced as well as her northern ones. “ Africa’s top students should be educated in the western way of life rather than in the Communist one “, Mrs. Ryan said.

Many brilliant young men of fine character were seeking education overseas, she added.

That is a statement by an eminent lady in South Australia, about to return to Kenya, on the fear that she has of an eruption of communism in Africa.

Senator Drury:

– Did you get the feeling in South-East Asia that the people were concerned about the position in Africa and were afraid that eventually China would take over Africa?

Senator LAUGHT:

– I do not know whether Senator Drury was in the Senate when I began my speech and referred to Burma. I mentioned the fear of the Burmese that the Chinese to the north will come down and use Rangoon as a jumping off point to Africa. The Chinese are active, hard-working people and they are moving down through the areas of South-East Asia, slowly infiltrating the north-east of Thailand. The excellent rivers system in Burma would enable them to do the very thing that Senator Drury mentioned.

I conclude my speech by acknowledging what the Minister for External Affairs has put in his paper. I hope that I have added something for the information of the Senate. I ask the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) to take note of the point I made before he entered the chamber this afternoon. I hope we will have in the Senate at an early date a full appreciation of the position of the Commonwealth and its efficacy, as seen by the Government in the light of the rather startling articles that have appeared in the London “ Times “, one of which was reprinted in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ yesterday. I feel that until we get a considered appreciation of the situation so far as the Commonwealth is concerned we will find it very difficult to make a complete assessment of our own external affairs policy.

Senator Sir William Spooner:

– You said there were several articles in the “ Times “. I have only read one of them. Do you have them all?

Senator LAUGHT:

– I have one article that appeared in the “Times”. The other articles are not so much on the question of the Commonwealth. The statement made by the Minister on 18th March was adequate, so far as it went, but I point out that other developments have occurred since 18th March. I ask that an early statement from Government sources be made as to the position. It gives me great pleasure to speak in this debate because I believe that the topic raised in the paper issued by the Minister for External Affairs is of great importance to the Senate.

South Australia

– I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate on international affairs. I think it is significant that, throughout most of the debate, there have been not more than one or two honorable senators present on the Opposition side and that not one of them has been prepared to speak on this subject, which is vital to Australia. I do not know of any subject which is more important to Australia at present than international affairs and our relations with other countries. It does not matter what we do as a government to provide social services, roads or the other things that people want; every one of them can be prejudiced if we do not have peace and security in which to live and enjoy those benefits. I say that foreign affairs is a most important subject. Even as I say that one of the Opposition senators thinks it is time to leave the chamber.

First of all, I should like to congratulate the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) on this most interesting, comprehensive and informative report. I do not know of any statement on international affairs that we have had for many years that could compare with this one. He has given us no end of information. He has covered all parts of the world, and the Statement is one which every one of us can study and learn something from. One of the things which struck me in reading it, and which strikes me in moving about the world, as I have been fortunate enough to do recently, is that there are three political power blocs in the world to-day. They are the democratic nations which we call the West; the Communist nations which we might call the East; and the uncommitted nations of the Afro-Asian block. What is also clear is that in the democratic nations the governments serve the peoples and in the Communist countries the peoples serve the governments. I think that that is a clear and important distinction. We need to be careful that we support governments which are in existence to serve their peoples.

Although the uncommitted nations appear to be sitting on the fence it does not hurt to warn them that they are in great danger of being deceived by Communist propaganda and by tactics that are being aimed at them, as Senator Laught has said, in an endeavour to try to win them over to the Communist side. If this should happen we in Australia, and those in the rest of the democratic countries, might well regret that we had not taken more interest in what is going on.

Early in his statement the Minister talked about the moderation in East-West affairs, particularly in relation to the Western world and the Soviet Union. He said that this gave some room for encouragement. I agree that it is encouraging, but 1 think we have to be very careful of any relaxation of tension on the part of any Communist country, lt is not very difficult to realize that the Communist faith has been developed on the scientific investigations which were made by a scientist by the name of Pavlov who experimented with dogs. He found he could condition the reflexes of the dogs by treating them kindly, by feeding them at certain times and then by ringing a bell when he fed the dogs. The dogs eventually could be made to come to food, and to have their salivary glands activated merely on the ringing of a bell with no sight of food. This is an important fact because it indicates that you can train people in the same way by conditioning their unconscious reflexes, lt was found that when the treatment was reversed and, instead of the dogs being treated with kindness they were suddenly treated with cruelty, their reflexes became muddled. Their whole mental attitude became muddled and they virtually arrived at a state of mental breakdown. When these dogs were caught in a flood and they were starved and terrified their reflexes broke down completely and the scientist was able to instil into the brains of these animals just what he wanted them to do.

This is merely the pattern ot what has happened under the Communist reg.m;;. People have been treated with kindness and then with tension. These treatments have been reversed backwards and forwards until the people have arrived at a state of mental breakdown at which they have been ready for the so-called brainwashing that goes on. This is why 1 say that we need to b<* very wary of the relaxation of tensions lest the relaxation is reversed to our discomfort and disaster.

The Minister said also that the Communist states have shown a clear realization of the dreadful meaning of nuclear war That, of course, is not difficult for any one to realize. We all know that nuclear warfare would be a disastrous thing. We need to realize, however, that the Communist countries have seldom had to use war in order to compel their captives to submit to communism. They have merely had to use the threat of war. Therefore, the threat of a nuclear war is all that the Communist countries need to use. Russia itself, and China also, have used infiltration, subversion and minor warfare in order to introduce peaceful revolution into the countries they have sought to influence. Naturally we are all interested in the progress of Russia. I hope that the present moderation of the tactics of Russia will mean a change for the good, but 1 merely say that we should be wary of these tactics. Russia has not yet changed its slated intention to dominate the world.

As Senator Laught said, we in Australia should perhaps be even more concerned about Communist tactics in China. He mentioned many of the countries in the South-East Asian area. In talking and thinking about this area I have related these countries to a mental picture of a bunch of grapes. If we look at this bunch of grapes we see across the wide part of the bunch countries which he spoke about - Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam. Further down the bunch we come to the Malayasian countries and the Philippines. Further down we come to Indonesia and New Guinea and right at the bottom of the bunch is the solitary, single grape - Australia. We can well realize that if most of these grapes are plucked the one lone grape on the bottom of the bunch is not going to be of very great value to the other countries in the world. Senator Laught said also that it is from China that the fear of being plucked comes to these nations.

Since I have realized this - as most of us have - I have not been prepared to accept the propaganda that is put out about China. I have always wanted to go and see for myself whether the tactics of communism were as they have been described. This I did last year. I returned with the belief that we of the Western world need to get to know the Chinese people a great deal better than we do. I do not mean by this that necessarily we need to recognize China diplomatically. Frankly, I think that this will probably come, but not until Communist China is prepared to accept the fact that we recognize also Formosa or Nationalist China as a nation. Until red China is prepared to accept that fact I do not think we should negotiate with it for diplomatic representation. But it is not necessary to recognize China diplomatically in order to send people into the country to get to know the Chinese people. By doing this we can render a little less effective the propaganda put out to the Chinese people that we of the Western world are people that can be described by such words as “ colonialists “, “ imperialists “ “ reactionaries “ and other words which create a mental picture of big bad wolves or bogymen. If we do not go into China and make ourselves known to the Chinese people their propaganda will remain effective.

It was very obvious to me that the Chinese people were curious to know what we were like. I think, perhaps, they were a little amazed to find that I, as one of the people of the Western world, was not quite as bad as they had imagined. As the Minister said in his statement we need to create friendships through non-political contacts and through travel. I endorse his remarks entirely. I think that more and more people should go to red China.

Perhaps it would be interesting if I gave some of my impressions and experiences in China itself. In crossing the border from Hong Kong to red China, one is immediately hit with the impression that one is inside a vast concentration camp. There is a prison-like atmosphere. It is drab, dull and desolate and the people seem to be fraught with despair. I embarked on a train for the three or four hours’ journey to Canton. At the end of the carriage was a compartment loaded with propaganda in various languages, free for all to take and absorb. I tried to read some of the propaganda pamphlets. I was utterly bored and sickened with the repetition and the Communist-type language that was used. Although the pamphlets contained words familiar to us in English those words did not mean the same thing when used in Communist propaganda. Going through the countryside, one of my strongest impressions was of the numerous recently-built factories, all seemingly inoperative. It was very clear throughout China that although the Chinese had been very industrious in building modern factories, the Russians had let them down by not supplying them with the machinery with which to operate them. This has certainly checked their industrial progress, but I do not believe that it will check it for very much longer. When visiting an industrial exhibition, I was struck by the quantity and quality not only of the heavy machinery but of other industrial and medical products as well as other types of goods put out by the Chinese. They are determined to make their own machinery, to see that their own factories work, and I believe, having seen the determination that they show every other way. that this will be done.

Of the people, I can only say that they seem to have no mirth, whereas in other countries where one meets Chinese one finds them a happy, laughing people. Within red China, the people seem to have no fun. They seem to be robots or puppets of the Chinese Government, dancing as the Government pulls the strings. Another way of describing them would be as pawns on the Communist chessboard.

Arriving in Canton, although 1 had nothing with which to make a comparison, I found that the atmosphere was drab and dull - an atmosphere of despair. Having been further north, up to Peking - which, of course, is the capital - 1 realized that the further away from the capital cities one is in Communist countries the less tense and the more relaxed are the people. I realized then that the people of Canton were comparatively relaxed, although wherever one went one realized how regimented the people were. Although I am unable to compare the present China with China as it was before the Communist regime, 1 am quite willing to concede that some initial progress has been made under the present regime But. of course, it is very easy to achieve this when you can regiment people, as the Communist countries can do. If they can tell the people that they have to go here, there or anywhere else and work under whatever conditions are dictated and at whatever rates of pay are dictated, they can achieve an initial improvement in standards, and I think it is quite evident that this has happened in China.

I chose to go from Canton to Shanghai, which is almost two days train ride away, to see for myself what the countryside of

China was like. It was a very uncomfortable train rid;. It was extremely hot and very lonely, but it is not unusual to be lonely in Communist . countries. I believe everybody living in the country is lonely, because communism forces loneliness on people. They dare not trust any one. They become single entities or, as I have said, pawns on the chessboard of the Communist regime.

The train was extremely clean. One of the worst features was the loud speaker - there is one in every compartment - from which throughout the day and, I think, most of the night - a high-pitched Chinese female voice was blaring out what was obviously Chinese propaganda. My meals were served to me only after everybody else had finished. After they had finished, I was summoned to sit in solitary state to eat. This, I believe, is quite common with visitors.

Senator Cavanagh:

– They may not have trusted you.


– That seemed quite evident. I quite expected them not to trust me. Perhaps that is why I was put in solitary state. But, again, it may be they had something to hide and did not want me to eat wilh other people on the train.

Senator Hannaford:

– Did you get the same food as they did?


– I do not know, because I was not given any until after the others had left.

Senator Ormonde:

– Did you enjoy it?


– Yes. 1 enjoy Chinese food very much. One thing that was significant was that it was not until after the meal was ov.r that the washroom was opened. I was then allowed to go in and clean my teeth or do whatever else I wished to do. It was a completely mixed washroom. It was used by women, children and men together. Immediately we had finished our ablutions, the washroom was locked and was not opened again until after the next meal. I believe that this facility is available only to people travelling what one might call first-class. Most of the people on the train were not travelling firstclass. They were travelling in most uncomfortable carriage:., which had completely upright wooden seats. I saw many of these people lying over the table which divided two seals in order to get some relief. After getting out of the train at a station, the people were able t<- buy meagre portions cf the food which had been wheeled up on a machine somewhat like a bicycle. They had very little choice. That was the only food they had in the whole two-day train ride.

Senate Ormonde. - Were you the only English person on the train?


– Not only was I the only English person on the train but I did not speak to another English person in the whole two weeks that 1 was in China. One of the most uncomfortable features of the train ride - in fact this may be said of my whole stay in China - was the way in which the people gaped open-mouthed at me. When I got out at a station to stretch my legs the population would fall back. All the people in the train would look down upon me open-mouthed. That happened wherever I was. If I were in a motor car and happened to stop in a street, the people turned round to gape. It was an extremely uncomfortable experience.

In Shanghai, which, of course, we must realize is the industrial centre of China, the experience was very interesting. Although we might say that the British record of behaviour in Shanghai is not all that perhaps the British themselves would like to remember, we must bear in mind that it was the British who built Shanghai and gave this industrial city to the Chinese. Flying from Shanghai to Peking I gained my first impression of the area. The aeroplanes are extremely primitive. The one in which I travelled had no seat belts, no air vents and very primitive seating accommodation. Even more interesting was the fact that the hostess did not sit down during the entire flight, and it was a very lone one.

Senator Hannaford:

– What sort of planes were they?


– On the flight up the plane seemed to be something like a DC3, but coming down from Peking it seemed to be a plane of the Convair type.

It was from the air that I realized where the 600,000,000 people of China live. I mentioned that the people of China are pawns on a chessboard. From the air I saw what really seems to be the chessboard. It was just as though one were looking down on a gigantic chessboard, the villages being the black squares and the communal lands the white squares. Never had 1 seen such crowded areas, so many people living on such relatively small areas of arable land. I did visit a commune and I saw that the production units, both male and female, certainly worked desperately hard - at equal rates of pay, I believe - but they had no joy in their work so far as I could see. In most cases the men and women alike wore blue jeans, patched unbelievably. In fact, they had a real patchwork effect. In the commune I found a clinic, which, of course, is for treatment of the people of the commune. Although there were some 20,000 people living in the commune, there was only one clinic and, I believe, only one doctor to look after them all.

On arriving at Peking, one of the first things that I noticed was the daily exercise that every one does. No matter where the people happen to be, they do their exercises. If they happen to be in the streets, they will stop and do their exercises, because that is part of the Communist way of life. The Communists require that they must be healthy and keep up their exercises.

Senator Maher:

– That is one good point.


– Undoubtedly there are some good points; I do not suggest there are not. Another good point was that a great many of the people in the cities had bicycles, which I believe is something new. They can now earn sufficient to buy themselves bicycles. It was also evident that the streets were clean, although the living conditions were extremely poor. We saw the success of the campaign for ridding the country of flies, mosquitoes, rats and sparrows. I was told by some people who had lived in the country that these campaigns were a frightful imposition on the people because most of the students from the universities would simply open the door of anybody’s house and go through on the excuse that they were there to kill the flies, rats, mosquitoes, or whatever it was. The people had no privacy in their own homes. The university students walk through their houses and knock them about in order to kill the pests. Maybe that is a good thing. I do not know, but that is the result.

Where religion exists, it is run by the State, because it is considered that religion was a tool of imperialism. Although in some of these countries the Communists boast that religion is there, it is obvious that the priests, or whoever is running the church, belong to a union which is controlled by the State. The visit to kindergartens, which is part of the routine plan supplied by the Chinese authorities, was a pleasing experience, wherever children were gathered, as it always is. They seemed to be happy, but it was obvious that they had been indoctrinated; that they had been told to be pleasant. They called me Aunty. They took me by the hand, and they performed their dances and their singing exactly as they were told. It is also clear that it is in these schools that the indoctrination begins.

Inevitably, when visiting factories, I was asked to sit down and I was given an indoctrination talk for about an hour about the wonderful things that had happened since liberation. Always the talk was the same, and always it was extremely boring. When visiting housing areas, I was given a choice. I was told: “If you wish to visit a house, just say which one you would like to go to. You will be free to visit any of them.” But it was obvious that the entire street was ready for visitors and that all the people are schooled in the answers to be given to the questions asked. The Chinese people are rightly proud of their culture. This is particularly so in Peking where the palaces, temples, tombs, and even the Great Wall of China are joys to behold.

The last thing I did before leaving Peking was to go to the Revolutionary Museum. The only way I can describe that museum is that it is one enormous hall of hatred. It was an embarrassing performance. It was a performance well staged by the Communists and intended to be embarrassing.

Senator Wright:

– Hatred directed at whom?


– Hatred directed at the Western world. I was taken around, not by my own interpreter, but by the director of the museum. He did not speak English. He described every photograph - I can only say that there were millions of them - in Chinese, which had to be translated into English. The uncomfortable part of it was that because the director was speaking in Chinese, there gathered around us a large number of Chinese people who were able to hear my country, the British nation and the American nation vilified. I found that was an extremely embarrassing experience.

Senator Hannaford:

– That was interpreted to you?


– That was interpreted to me.

Senator Wright:

– Did they impose restrictions regarding places to which you could go?


– The programme drawn up for me before I went in completely occupied all of my time. The point I want to make now is that even in admitting that progress has been made we must always remember that the people have arrived where they are through the frightful phases of communism which are very evident in the Chinese race. We must recognize, too, that they have happened on more or less the same basis in other countries which have been taken over by communism.

I think it will be of interest to the Senate if I number the phases which are carried out in order to suppress every recognizable group of people within the country. The methods used were to ridicule, to vilify, and to degrade every one. It is said that only the politically pure can stand up to the test of mass struggle and inevitable confession. It is only those who co-operate with the party and who follow the party line that can hope to survive under a Communist regime.

The first of the campaigns was for land reform. This, of course, was designed to eliminate the landlords and bring the peasants under the direct control of the party. The second phase was the suppression of counter-revolution. I might mention I am using the names which were used by the Chinese Communist Party itself. This phase of Communist development was designed to eliminate the possibility of any union of political opponents from the previous regime. Any one who had anything to do with the nationalist government was struggled against in typical methods of ridicule, vilification and degradation.

Then came the thought reform. This was supposed to reform the intelligentsia, but it was nothing more than an effort to destroy the intelligentsia and to prevent any thinkers seeing through the evils of the regime. This thought reform was directed at the intelligentsia in the universities. As soon as the cadres were available to move into any group, the next phase began.

In this thought reform campaign, members of the party were introduced into the universities. One was sitting at every table where students were eating or working, and one was put into every dormitory or the living quarters, ““hey reported on every movement that was made and every word that was spoken by the students, after which the groups were brought together. They then had to criticize. The Communists did not even stop there. Each student had to write an autobiography of himself from the age of eight. Then, in the group movement, these autobiographies were criticized. The intelligentsia were completely put down by these methods which were used by the Communists. One of the methods that was used in this particular phase was to bring trucks with loudspeakers outside the home or dormitory of the person being struggled against. The vilification was aimed at that person through loudspeakers day and night. It might sound easy for me to say this, but it is very hard for any human being to stand up to prolonged vilification of this type.

The fourth phase was what was called the three-anti government phase. All the public servants who had been begged to stay on after the Communist Government established itself following its take-over from the Nationalist Government were attacked. This phase was called the three-anti government campaign because it was imposed to eliminate bureaucracy, waste and corruption within the government service. This, of course, appealed to the workers, but that was not its real intention at all. It was simply a campaign conducted against any one who has a comparison to make between the Communist regime and other regimes.

Then came the five-anti campaign, which was to destroy the unity and influence of the middle classes. The five major sins of bourgeois capitalism were bribery, tax evasion, stealing government property, cheating in contracts, and stealing state secrets. These were five sins which had to be confessed to by all capitalists and middle-class people. It sometimes took days and even weeks to force these people to confess that they had committed any of these five disgraceful sins.

Having encouraged the workers to vilify these and the other classes or sections, the Communists worked the minds of the workers into a frenzy and created a sort of arrogance in the workers who were led to believe they were the ruling class; but, of course, it was then their turn to be suppressed. This suppression is what was called the democratic reform. It was said it was meant to raise the political level of the party, but it was really only to make the workers subservient to the party. At this time, many trade union leaders who had been trade union leaders under the previous regime, and who were popular and respected by the workers, were the ones to be brought under attack. However, the Communist Party was afraid to attack them openly. This is the way they were eliminated. Honour rolls were put up in the various factories and the names of respectable people were put on those rolls. Eventually, those people were farewelled with great celebrations, merely to be taken to the border regions away from their families, there to die of heartbreak and hard work.

Later, as I have mentioned, came a year of relaxation. This again is quite unworthy because this is typical of Communist tactics. During that year, people began to brighten their attitudes. They thought: “Well, we have gone through all these phases. Now, perhaps, we will be all right.” 1here was even some semblance of night life. Life itself began to regain a little bit of pleasure, but many people realized it was only a last fling. It was not long before a general line was announced which was a contradiction of the previous policy. All the previous literature was destroyed and the new policy line was put up. It was meant to soften up all the capitalists who were left for the take-over by socialism. Endless meetings took place. Endless criticisms went on within those meetings. Suicides became the order of the day. When they became too prevalent, the regime would relax.

Sitting suspended from 5.46 to 8 p.m.


– When the Senate rose for dinner, I had been outlining some of the phases of communism. Having taken up the Minister’s statement that the Russian atmosphere towards the

Western world had now moderated, I gave a word of warning to the effect that we had to continue to be suspicious of this moderating atmosphere, because it is part of Communist tactics, in whatever country one finds communism, to alternate tension with relaxation, keeping the people in a state of nervous tension, when they are never quite sure whether it is going to be one phase or the other.

Senator Dittmer:

– What do you think your Government is doing with the Australian people? Are you not keeping the mothers in a state of tension?


– No. I think that the mothers are being extremely well looked after. I went on to point out that, even though Russia appeared to take a moderate attitude towards us, this was just part of its pattern of peaceful co-existence, because underneath its attitude of moderation it continues its infiltration, subversion and economic warfare - in fact, everything short of nuclear war. I also pointed out that it has hardly ever been necessary for Russia to use war to subject any of its satellite countries to its ideology. It has only had to use the threat of war to achieve its aims.

Senator Ormonde:

– Did the Russians do that in Cuba?


– That is not a Russian satellite country. I was in the process of outlining some of the phases of communism as they have appeared in China, the country which at the moment is necessarily of most concern to Australia, since it is the one which is overhanging the countries which are in our area. China, as I pointed out, suppressed all recognizable groups. It paralyzed the people with fear and reduced them to a state of apathy and despair in which they could be easily handled and kept under control.

I went through the phases, the first being the one of land reform, in which the landlords were eliminated.

Senator Dittmer:

– We are supplying them with strategic materials.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar).- Order!


– If the honorable senator does not like me to inform the people of Australia or the Senate of the phases of communism, I suggest that he leave ‘the chamber, but I think it is extremely important that everybody should know what those phases are and to be reminded of them from time to time. That is the only way in which we can hope to keep this country out of the hands of communism. If the honorable senator who has been interjecting does not like it, I suggest that he go out and talk his Communist ideas to other people.

Senator Dittmer:

– I take a point of order. The attractive lady senator said that I should talk my Communist ideas to other people.

Senator BUTTFIELD__ I suggested that you might.

Senator Dittmer:

– I object to the expression “ Communistic ideas “ because, frankly, I would be more divorced from communism than perhaps some of the people on her side of the chamber.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order! I call Senator Buttfield.

Senator Dittmer:

– That is not quite fair.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I call Senator Buttfield.

Senator Dittmer:

– It is not quite fair, just the same.


– In spite of the interjections, I intend to remind the people of Australia of what the phases of communism are, because I feel that it is vitally important that we should all know them, remember them, and recognize them when we see them. The first phase in China was land reform. The Communists set out to eliminate landlords and bring the peasants under the control of the party. The second phase was the suppression of counterrevolution, when everybody who had any contact with the nationalist group was eliminated, because the Communists did not want anybody to be able to draw comparisons between the previous nationalist government and the present Communist Government.

The third phase was that of thought reform, when the Communists purported to correct the thinking of the intelligentzia - mainly the people in the universities. What they actually set out to do was to degrade the intellectual people, to put them out of their positions in universities into lowerrating positions. This, of course, was designed to prevent any thinkers from seeing through the present regime’s tactics. The fourth phase was the three-anti campaign, which was designed, the Communists said, to eliminate bureaucracy, waste and corruption in government. Actually, this was to eliminate all the administrators or public servants who had done as they were asked to do, who had helped to establish the Communist regime and from whom the Communists had drawn sufficient cadres or public servants of their own. They set to work to eliminate those people who had been loyal and faithful to them.

The fifth phase was the five-anti phase, which was, they said, designed to destroy the five major sins of the bourgeoisie - bribery, tax evasion, stealing Government property, cheating on contracts, and selling State secrets. Although the purpose was slated to be to get rid of these things it was really to destroy the unity and influence of the middle-class people. Then, having trained the workers to feel that they were the ruling class, aggravated their arrogance, and got them into a state of frenzy in their new found power, the regime decided that it was time to suppress the workers themselves.

Then came the phase of democratic reform, when the workers were made subservient to the party. This was followed by a period of relaxation, when the people began to feel that perhaps all of these phases for eliminating people had passed and they might expect to live in peace and quiet. However, that lasted for only part of a year.

Then came the general line, which was a new party line. The old party line was said to be a contradiction. All of the literature was destroyed. Endless meetings were arranged for people to be reindoctrinated with the new line. The ninth phase was the elimination of counterrevolution. This was designed to eliminate any individuality. Although the intellectuals had previously been degraded and humiliated, that was not sufficient. It was now their turn to be attacked again. This is an important fact. The Communists are rot content to leave the people alone. The people have to be constantly re-attacked. In this phase, intellectuals who were writers were particularly attacked and again degraded.

The tenth phase was another phase of thought reform, when those capitalists who had survived the five-anti campaign were sent to school to be educated in the ideals of communism. This was designed to deceive foreigners and make them believe that even capitalists, if given a chance to study and to understand the methods of communism, could believe in communism. These people had to go to schools regularly and frequently. They had to attend lectures on love of the mother country and communism. They had to learn the history of socialistic development, which, according to the Communists, ranged through primitive communism, to slavery, to feudalism, to capitalism, to socialism, and finally to communism. As a third step, they had to learn dialectical and historical materialism, which the Communists claim is the key to progressive materialistic development, which they say is part of communism. The eleventh phase was the hundred flowers campaign, when Mao Tse-tung announced that the people should blossom forth and express their points of view, and that 100 schools of thought should prevail. He asked them to express their opinions, to criticize the party cadres, to really come out and try to strengthen the Communist Party by correcting anything that might be wrong with party members. He said that those who did not blossom would not be their friends. He promised the people of China that no measures would be taken against them if they expressed their opinions, but of course, as we have now learned, the Communist word means nothing. The minute they had done their blossoming and had exposed the location, the extent and the nature of the opposition, the next phase was commenced. That was the rectification campaign. This was the time when Mao Tse-tung began not only to correct the party officials who had been criticized by the people, but also to suppress those who had done their blossoming.

Then came the anti-rightist campaign which was to correct contradictions not only among the people but also between the people and the enemy. People’s courts were set up, and offenders were condemned to learning through labour. This, of course, was the third round against the intelligentsia and the bourgeois. The fourteenth phase was the great leap forward. Having suppressed most of the thinking people - the people with education and ideas of self-expression - 4he Communists began the next phase of suppressing the workers themselves. They were told to set up backyard steel furnaces. Not only did they do their work during the day time, but all - men and women alike - were expected to work the furnaces at night, working sometimes for as long as eighteen hours a day. The raw materials used in the furnaces were their own possessions, including their kitchen utensils and things of that kind. This, of course, had the effect of completely ridding the working people of everything they had owned. Having deprived them of all such things and forced them into this over-work and having completely suppressed them and tired them out, they were ready for the next step. This was, of course, the formation of the communes.

As 1 stated at the beginning of my remarks, China has been turned into a huge concentration camp. The people own nothing and are completely regimented under the Communists. They can be pushed around. Although the Communists will claim that it is the production units which control production, decide the things that are to be grown and divide up the returns after the government has taken its share, that is not so. lt is really the commune committees which direct the production of the production teams. Having done all those things and having placed the workers completely under their thumb, the Chinese Communists began their arrogant outside activities. They commenced to shell Quemoy and Matsu with the idea of invading Formosa. Fortunately, the Americans were too strong for them, and that idea failed. They then moved into Tibet and suppressed that country. They acted against India. Senator Laught has outlined what the Chinese Communists have done and arc still doing in Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam and even in countries as close to Australia’s shores as Indonesia and Malaysia.

Senator Maher:

– And they are breathing “ their hot breath on Russia’s neck at the moment.


– Although the Chinese Communists and the Russian Communists have a difference of opinion at the moment, do not let us imagine that that will be of any help to us. They both have the same ideals. They both intend to dominate the world. Communism does not change. That is something to which we must be alerted. We have to appreciate the things that have been done to the people in Russia and China. Those people are desperate and apathetic. They have nothing to hope for. In our country we have everything to hope for. We are encouraged to be individuals, to have initiative and to express ourselves. Let us see to it that we keep things that way and that we continue to alert our own people to the methods of communism so that they will be able to recognize them and combat them when the Chinese Communists move forward, as inevitably they will.

Senator CORMACK:

.- I am sorry that I was taking my ease, Sir, when you gave me the call. I was doing so because I expected that, in a debate such as this, a member of the Opposition would have had sufficient interest in the matter we are discussing to rise to his feet and participate. Nothing has disappointed me more than the spectacle, during the late afternoon, of the empty benches on the Opposition side of the chamber, although the external policies of the Commonwealth of Australia were being discussed. I am left with the melancholy conclusion that the reason honorable senators opposite are not displaying any interest at all in the debate is that there is such a state of confusion inside their ranks that they are unable or are not sufficiently courageous, either as individuals or as a party, to demonstrate their views on foreign policy in this place, which is the appropriate forum in which to do so. This singular situation has existed during the last three or four hours that this momentous debate has been occurring. I say it is momentous because the foreign policy of Australia relates to the well-being and the future national integrity of this nation. Yet, there they sit. Perhaps, in duty bound, they provide a quorum, but they are mentally constipated and apparently unable to proffer any opinion regarding the conduct of Australia’s foreign affairs.

Although, Sir, 1 am trying hard to stir a flicker of acknowledgement and interest in honorable senators opposite, they sit in stolid silence. Apparently they are not interested. I can only conclude that their lack of interest is due to the fact that they cannot decide in their own minds what foreign policy should be pursued. It must be a matter for enormous resentment in the electorate that the members of the Australian Labour Party have reached such a state of mental stagnation that they are not able to proffer any criticism or comment on the subject of foreign affairs.

Senator Maher:

– Are they waiting for the pronouncements of the faceless men?

Senator CORMACK:

– 1 do not know, lt may be that there is a state of confusion in the cabal which sits anonymously in various parts of Australia, lt may be that the division exists there. Who knows? The fact remains that the members of the Opposition in this chamber have in front of them one of the most significant statements on foreign affairs that have been released in Australia perhaps since 1953. Yet, not one word of comment do we hear from them. Therefore, Sir, with your permission I shall address my remarks to honorable senators on this side of the chamber, thereby abdicating the responsibility of honorable senators on the Government side to seek to convert the members of the Opposition from views which they wrongly hold. As honorable senators opposite have expressed no points of view, there is nothing on which I can comment, and therefore I must address myself to honorable senators on the Government side of the chamber.

I agree with Senator Buttfield that we must not be fooled because trouble exists between China and Russia. Honorable senators know, of course, that the trouble began in Bucharest in 1958, when there was a conference of Communist parties from all over the world. It was on that occasion that the Chinese Communists launched their attack on the Russian attitude. If I remember correctly, the Chinese delegate concerned was Mr. Piu. For three or four years after that occasion it was thought that the exchanges which occurred could have been shadow sparring, but it is obvious that there is a large area of disagreement between the Communists in China and the Communists in Russia. However, it is only a disagreement amongst thieves as to the best way to crack the safe and who will share the booty. There is no other area of disagreement. They are united, as Senator Buttfield has said, in their determination to achieve, perhaps by slightly different ways what to them is the desirable end result of the pursuit of communism. Then, as I have said, there is the sharing of the booty.

Having said that, I repeat that we should not be fooled by some of the liberal opinions that are beginning to be canvassed around Australia, Western Europe and even the United States of America that there is a possibility of making a deal with the Russians. The truth is that so far as we are concerned in Australia, the problem in South-East Asia is that we have to deal with the power of Communist China. That becomes a great problem.

Honorable senators may recollect that on a previous occasion I suggested that the great problem in South-East Asia was the fault line that runs down the Malayan peninsula to the northern boundaries of Australia. Honorable senators may also recollect that I said this problem was exacerbated in my opinion by the fact that on either side of this line there seem to be two separate spheres of influence with certain little bridges, as it were, across this geographical and political fault line. I suggest further that the energies of the Department of External Affairs through its ambassadors, ministers and officers should be directed - as no doubt they are attemping to direct them but they should be pursued more vehemently or with greater drive - to see whether we cannot get complete agreement between Great Britain and the United States of America as to the common policy that must be pursued in South-East Asia. If we are not able to achieve a common policy between the American power and the European power, both of which have responsibilities in this area for the peace of the world, then I can see a situation of great danger to Australia.

There has intruded into this area since 2nd February - as was mentioned by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield

Barwick) - the suggestion by General de Gaulle that South-East Asia be made a neutral area. Any one who knows anything about the President of France and who has attempted to gain some understanding of the nature of this man since he first went to Britain from France as a refugee brigadier-general in 1940 and has followed his subsequent career, cannot be other than impressed by the fact that he is a man of great distinction. He is not only a man of great distinction but also a man of courage. Moreover, he is a man who personifies the best mental processes and the highest quality you find in a Frenchman - a mind of keen and incisive logic. But when you examine the statement of General de Gaulle that South-East Asia should be neutralized, you begin to wonder whether age has overtaken him and whether the logic of his mind has been clouded. You also wonder whether he has some scheme which no one else can see by which South-East Asia’s neutrality could be determined, not with advantage to the West but certainly with no advantage to the Communists that they do not already possess.

I have been through all the public references I can find to try to ascertain what lies behind General de Gaulle’s attitude and his statement on the neutrality of South-East Asia. I found that the more you look, the more peculiar it becomes because except for the bald statement President de Gaulle made in his announcement, nothing seems to be quite clear or discernible that will enable one to form an opinion as to what he is really attempting to do.

It seems to me that if one seeks to neutralize an area, as the Minister for External Affairs has pointed out, one inevitably has to consider how one can enforce or preserve such neutrality once it has been achieved. It is all very well for the Prince President of Cambodia to say that he will neutralize Cambodia and will not have anything more to do with the Americans from whom he has been getting 30,000,000 dollars in aid a year or that he will have nothing to do with the Communists of North Viet Nam or China. The fact is that he believes he can maintain a neutral position.

If General de Gaulle says that the old French lndo-China empire which is now divided into North and South Viet Nam and Cambodia is to be neutralized, who is to see that it remains neutral? We know perfectly well that no one has been able successfully to prevent North Viet Nam and the Chinese Communists from penetrating Laos although under the Geneva accord, this is supposed to be a neutralized area. Laos itself is not neutral.

If we decide that South Viet Nam is to be neutralized, who is to see that it remains neutral? Who is to see that North Viet Nam does not continue its present active military penetration of South Viet Nam? I am forced to the reluctant conclusion that there is no possibility of neutralizing South Viet Nam unless you involve yourselves in the curious semantic paradox that you abandon that part of South-East Asia entirely, allow it to be totally Communist and therefore totally neutral but under a Communist neutrality. It would not be Communist neutrality because this area would merely become a jumping off place, as Senator Laught suggested, from which other elements of South-East Asia may be penetrated. In other words, you would then have a recrudescence in Malaya of Communist activity. The same would happen in Cambodia and in Thailand and eventually the whole of South-East Asia would go.

As a matter of policy, we have allied ourselves, both militarily and civilly, with the United States of America and the U.S.A. has guaranteed that in the event of Australia’s interests being attacked, the United States will come to the aid of Australia. When our foreign policy is based to a substantial degree on such considerations, we have to ask ourselves, “Is it in the best interest of Australia in these circumstances that the U.S.A. retain its foothold in South Viet Nam, or should the United States allow itself to be persuaded by the theories of the President of France to abandon South Viet Nam?” If the U.S.A. is not to abandon South Viet Nam but has to remain there, then it must be at least supported actively and publicly by those people who are the allies of the United States.

To be an ally involves two responsibilities. One has to be not only a receiver - and we have substantially put ourselves in that position - but one also has to be a giver. Therefore, if we are to ally ourselves with the U.S.A. as we have done in the interests of the integrity of this nation, then our national integrity requires a price. It seems to me that the price is the price we must pay for the second responsibility - giving as well as taking. We must aid the U.S.A. if it is required to find a military solution to the situation as it exists in South Viet Nam.

As I see it, this is the great problem that confronts the United States in its attempt to prevent what I mentioned earlier - the collapse of that area in South-East Asia. I think at that stage the U.S.A. will be compelled to follow one of two courses. Either it must seek a military solution, which it is capable of doing and invade North Viet Nam, or it must pull out of that area completely. If the United States pulls completely out of that area then it is perfectly obvious that the United Kingdom will no longer be able to sustain its commitments under Seato, nor will Australia, with its puny military effort, be able to more than make encouraging noises on the side line. This is a melancholy situation, I fear. I want to suggest to my colleagues on this side of the chamber that if the United States ceases to regard South Viet Nam as a vital area, if the United States will not seek a military solution and pulls out of South Viet Nam, we have to envisage the set of circumstances that will then flow.

It would be an improper defence structure in Washington, or here in Australia, that did not envisage, not the likelihood of these events occurring but the possibility of them occurring. If the United States of America decides to pull out of South Viet Nam it is obvious that we in Australia, with the forces that we have at our disposal, would also have to pull out of Malaysia. In other words, Malaysia would have to be abandoned and President Sukarno’s aims to crush Malaysia would have been achieved. If these events occur President Sukarno will have achieved his objective without having lifted a finger. If these events occur - I am merely postulating this to the Senate - we will see at one stroke a complete failure of our foreign policy as it exists at the moment. A whole new set of circumstances would come into being. Therefore, we must either reinforce the situation that now exists in South-East Asia with everything within our capacity, or at least give a greater demon- stration of intent to reinforce if these circumstances of greater weakness develop.

We must make up our minds about what we will do if the United States pulls out of South Viet Nam. If it does, as I see it, and as I am sure the American defence committees would see it, the United States must move at least as far east as the old 1942 strategic line, which I have mentioned before in the Senate. The United States would pull back its military bases at least as far east as the strategic line - which is really an area rather than a line - beginning at Japan in the north and ending at Papua and New Guinea in the south. Papua and New Guinea would then become, as it was in 1942, the southern anchor of the United States strategic line. It is obvious that the United States would not abandon the Philippines, because that is the bulge, as it were, in the strategic line. I assume that the United States would pull as far back into the Pacific as that. I believe that that is the next bound, if I may use the strategic term, to which it could retire.

This immediately poses a new set of conditions. A characteristic of Indonesian foreign policy at the moment is to claim that wherever there is a European influence, whether it is physical, financial or economic, that is neo-colonialism. It seems to me inevitable that immediately we have the circumstances which I have postulated, it is apparent that Indonesia will then use the term “ neo-colonialism “ against the Commonwealth of Australia in relation to Papua and New Guinea. Honorable senators should not attempt to pass over lightly or with derision the effect of this black propaganda word, “ neo-colonialism “. The word means a great deal to people who use it, although it is extraordinarily difficult to understand really what they do mean by it. To them it is a witch-doctor word which excites them.

I heard the word in February when I was in Kuala Lumpur, representing the Senate at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I spoke to many men from Africa and Asia and asked what they meant by neo-colonialism. No matter how rationally or logically I tried to argue with them about it, I could make no impression at all. It becomes an article of faith. It is almost the beginning of a social and economic credo which does not bear any examination or argument. Honorable senators may have noticed in the press in the last two or three days reports of a gathering in Djakarta at the moment, by the invitation of the Government of Indonesia, of representatives of the African States and some of the Asian States to discuss neocolonialism. When the banner with the strange device of neo-colonialism begins to wave with regard to Australian occupancy of Papua and New Guinea, it is inevitable that we will find ourselves in a situation similar to that from which we are trying to escape in South-East Asia. We will find ourselves immediately involved in a most dramatic way with Indonesia in relation to Papua and New Guinea. I take no notice whatever of the protestations that are made from time to time to the effect that the Indonesian Government understands Australia’s situation in Papua and New Guinea. I do not believe them for one solitary moment. It seems that to Indonesia it is merely a matter of knocking off the bottles one by one. Therefore, we have the curious situation that South Viet Nam is important to us, because if South Viet Nam goes we will be involved with a problem in Papua and New Guinea. If South Viet Nam goes in the next eighteen months or two years, then within three years we will have the problem of how to handle t!:e propaganda claim of neo-colonialism levelled against the people and the Government of Australia in relation to Papua and New Guinea.

That leads me to a final problem of some magnitude, to which I advance no solution whatever, but merely pose it as a problem. ls Papua and New Guinea worth so much to us that we should risk getting ourselves into that position? Circumstances can easily arise in which we will have to make up our minds whether to retreat. It is all very well saying that the United States should retreat from South Viet Nam because it has no right to be there. We can argue that with glibness because we are a considerable way from the area, but this situation could easily arise in Papua and New Guinea. We would then have t* face the problem and decide whether we should retreat.

Senator Anderson:

– Papua is an Australian Territory.

Senator CORMACK:

– That does not make any difference. This situation may bc nearer than many of us expect. It is not often that I am so morose and gloomy, but in the absence of an intelligent Opposition I have confined myself to addressing remarks to my colleagues on this side of the chamber. These are matters of great importance which, if the Opposition were doing its job, would have been actively canvassed by the senators of the Opposition.

Senator WRIGHT:

.- I rise to participate in the debate on the motion that the Senate take notice of the statement that has been made to us by the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick). That statement was made in a comprehensive way in this chamber on 18th March, on the subject that he called international affairs. I wish to dissociate myself as deliberately as I can from the interjection that emanated from Senator Cooke who suggested that the statement being debated was out of date for discussion to-day. A month in the development of the thoughts of this nation in regard to external affairs is not one moment of time in international affairs. It would be of great significance to this chamber if we considered, not only the items contained in this most thoughtful and concise statement of 18th March, but also the statements made on European politics during the 1930’s. We could derive great advantage from them. Added to this there is the supplementary consideration of nearnorthern matters that now begin to press upon us and which we begin to perceive dimly.

If there is one occasion on which, as a member of the Federal Parliament I am thankful to be able to speak, it is on this occasion. Even if I reveal deficiencies of understanding they may give confidence to others to contribute to the debate in order to increase my knowledge. By a coordinated approach we may even yet submerge party divisions on a matter such as this and promote a degree of interest that might advance the security of this country at a time when the safety of our children, and their aspirations and purposes, are matters of great importance.

I was very interested to listen to the remarks of my colleague, Senator Laught, when he opened the debate on this matter this afternoon. After acknowledging Sir Garfield Barwick’s assessment of the situation he ventured to suggest that there was one omission of some significance in the statement, namely, an omission to make reference to trends within the British Commonwealth. I had the good fortune last year to meet in London representatives of other Commonwealth countries attending the annual convention of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, an association which meets to promote goodwill and foster understanding. The representatives at the convention had the great advantage of gaining an insight into the affairs of the United Kingdom and also into the affairs of those nations that still subscribe to the Commonwealth association.

After gaining an insight into the institutions of the United Kingdom by visiting various points in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, we sat down to a rather brief meeting in London. Representatives were present from India, Mauritius and Canada. Unfortunately Pakistan and New Zealand were not represented. Representatives were present also from Uganda, Australia, Nigeria and various States of the West Indies. I came away saddened at the inevitable impression I gained of disunity of purpose in these representatives. But, Mr. President, one could not escape gaining a sympathetic understanding of the outlook of the countries that these people represented. They have long been yearning to bring their people to a state of economic stability so that they can understand, not only the internal affairs of their countries, but also the complex and horrible international problems with which the viciousness of men’s minds has confronted the present-day world.

There was no united resolution on the part of any of the democracies represented at the meeting - whether they were those of the Mother Country, countries that have attained a reasonable degree of development, or those democracies in Africa in their earliest years of development - to defend the common association. That does not seem to me to be in conformity with what the British Commonwealth of Nations should represent. One has only to recall that India, notwithstanding recent attacks from China, and notwithstanding, as Sir Garfield’ Barwick reminded us in his statement an ever-growing trend to appreciate continuing assistance with which her wellwishers have gratefully provided her, is determined to continue her policy of nonalignment. Then the Commonwealth has lost South Africa due to a particular policy adopted by that country. Nigeria has developed her institutions, but anybody would have reached’ false conclusions if he believed that that State would be likely to get behind any endeavour to promote the common defence of the British Commonwealth.

Then there is Pakistan. One has only to go through that country to see the deplorable results of the exodus that has been caused by religious schism. Pitiful refugees are still housed in - I was about to call them hutments but they are not hutments - bag coverings. The valley of the great Indus River 30 years ago produced wheat for export but is now infertile. Warehouses along its harbours are filled with American wheat. The position is due to the fear engendered because of the religious troubles that exist between the Hindus and the Moslems, which has caused the nation to clutch at a shadow of succour even from Communist China because it fears India - a friend of ours - across the border.

Let us appreciate these influences that are pressing down upon poor humanity, including ourselves. We have our own problems because we do not grasp our opportunities within the British Commonwealth. Let us be coldly calm in facing the fact that there is little community of inspiration when it comes to committing men and wealth to the tragedy of war in common defence of the British way of life, than which I believe civilization has not produced anything superior. I use the term “ British way of life “ not in an insular sense: I use it to describe a way of life which, according to the lessons of history, we should all be happy to emulate and develop. There is not that spirit of common defence.

I remind my colleague, Senator Laught, who provoked the discussion of this matter, that when we were discussing over the last three years what is still a transcendently important issue in the conspectus of this debate, the issue of a united Europe, I referred to an excursis by Professor Allen, Professor of Anglo-American History in the University of London, which he calls “ The Anglo-American Predicament”. In it Professor Allen develops a theme which begins with an appreciation of the reduced international potential of the British Isles. Winston Churchill was not speaking without a sense of what was to come when he said that the fight in 1942 would be Britain’s finest hour. He knew that the strength of the British Isles was going to be sapped and weakened by the effort - and it has been.

If we look at the trade situation, we find that the trade which stems from the British Isles has diminished relatively to that which stems from other countries. On a pre-war basis, that reduction is quite significant. Again, if we look at the state of armed strength of the British Isles, we have to recognize that in the post-war world there are only two leviathans in existence - one the United States of America and the other the Soviet empire. In further support of my point I refer to the Royal Navy. During the latter part of the last century and the first part of this century, the British Navy was the core of our strength in the North Sea and in the Pacific, particularly after Singapore was developed. Yet, with the development of armed strength and the perverted uses of science to which Churchill referred, the United States Navy in 1956-57 had seven times the personnel of the Royal Navy. As against the five battleships, 22 aircraft carriers, 31 cruisers and 366 destroyers, escorts and frigates in the navies of the whole British Commonwealth, the United States Navy had 15 battleships, 103 escort carriers, 74 cruisers and 664 destroyers. Taking capital and income together, the wealth of the United States would be from six to eight times that of the British Isles, and the armed strength of the United States, particularly having regard to the advance of that nation in the nuclear field, dwarfs any force that Britain could muster. So we in the Commonwealth must realize that we are no’, now in a position which compares even faintly with our position in the I930’s, when we overestimated our strength and accepted the challenge.

Having said that, I appeal to the people of Australia and the representatives of those people in the Senate not to despair of promoting the values that are inherent in the concept of the British Commonwealth of Nations. That Commonwealth is a free association of nations, attracted together not only by the symbol of the British Crown but also by the ideals, institutions and traditions that the British people have developed and which, transplanted in the dominions and provinces beyond the seas, have bloomed to profit. In India, Pakistan, Nigeria, New Zealand, Canada and Australia those ideals attract the people who in their responsible moments sit in government in those States. They would not take the risk of dissociating from the British Commonwealth of Nations and forfeiting those values. Slender as are the links and inconsistent as are the ties between these countries, if we do not develop this association of nations, freely attracted to those ideals, we shall lose something that forms not merely the basis of but the inspiration for common action, primarily for peace and secondarily for the prosperity of the peoples concerned. When people develop some degree of prosperity they have an opportunity then to assess the values that really make up life and which are unattainable without peace.

One is sad to see disunity growing within this association. One is sad to see the diminished strength of the central focal point, the British Isles. One is sad to see in some quarters even disrespect for the contribution that the British Isles has made over the last century, particularly in the life and death struggle of the Second World War. Nevertheless, while we have the association going, every government within it should make every effort to mould mutual friendship. As I heard suggested in the course of the debate this afternoon, we should make every effort to promote our ideals in the new nations of Africa by offering their students scholarships and other means by which they may come here to receive the benefits of education in this country.

For the first time, I believe, since 1945, international problems have aroused real attention in our electors. One feature has been the North West Cape naval communication station, and another is the Indonesian and Malaysian conflict of opinion. This interest has developed within our community. If the people know the reduced degree to which they can depend upon Great Britain, that will develop appreciation that we have to ensure the security of our country, its people, their children, their institutions, and their aspirations. There are two ways in which we as government participants - 1 include every member of Parliament in that function - can contribute to that purpose. I want to make it doubly clear that the first is defence and strength of arms, because we cannot engender confidence in our allies, without whose help we would be weakened and probably attacked and overwhelmed, unless we make a contribution out of the purse to maintain forces and armed strength which will be a creditable contribution to any united effort. Mr. President, pray God that that defence force is never committed to war. But is there any one is this chamber who can believe that it is not the maintenance of armed strength in a unique degree by the American taxpayer that has prevented the southward advance of Communist China? lt is only by the development of American nuclear arms that there has been a deterrent to the government of Communist China, which preaches the gospel that power comes out of the gun and, as the Minister for External Affairs says, exhibits an attitude of behaviour that is not acceptable to the international community because it preaches the gospel that power is to be promoted and advanced by war. I believe that the Communists do not dare to develop that attitude because of the terrific strength of members of the United Nations. So we have the duty to be strong. If ever I had dreamed that I would have to advocate the subscription of moneys to this useless equipment of destructive war 1 would have been dismayed, but it is the inescapable requirement of national duty. For myself, Lt is imperative also that we exert every effort to contrive a means to settle international disputes without war.

There were those who despised the League of Nations and the institutions that it developed. I have taken the opportunity in recent months to read Eden’s memoirs of the history of the 1930’s up to the time he left office in 1938. I have read also the life of Hitler and Vansittart’s “ Missed Processions “, the three of them in common producing anew the impression as to the duty that I believe resides in us to be constantly vigilant so that no opportunity to prevent war by international misunderstanding is missed. 1 will give the Senate an instance of what I mean. About six months before Munich, Eden was holidaying in Marseilles, in the south of France. A message came from President Roosevelt to the British Government suggesting the calling of a world conference to stem the disagreement that was occurring amongst the European nations, and for disarmament. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Chamberlain, without consulting his Foreign Secretary, sent a reply pouring cold water on the idea. Can anybody imagine that Winston Churchill who could then command the confidence of only about five members in the House of Commons would have failed to see the significance of American interest in the settling of European world affairs? Yet Mr. Chamberlain had the effrontery to send back a reply, without having referred the matter to his Foreign Secretary, pouring cold water on the idea. Eden rushed back to London and, with the aid of Vansittart and his staff, developed negotiations with the Americans in which the formal idea was revised. But, due to the intransigence of Hitler vis-a-vis Czechoslovakia, Roosevelt had lost interest, and American intrusion into, and influence on, European affairs and world affairs were lost at that vital moment. If America had taken that step instead of maintaining the cold isolationism that it did maintain until after the advent of the war even Hitler probably would have been deterred from marching into Czechoslovakia and Poland.

Mr. President, I mention those matters because the United Nations has been created and one agency of it is the International Court of Justice. Presiding over that court is one of our own distinguished countrymen, Sir Percy Spender. Yet, the jurisdiction of that court is withering and its influence has become completely insignificant. That is on record, even from such an ardent enthusiast for the gospel of international tribunals of peace as Professor Julius Stone.

When I was in London, one of my great regrets was that, through a sense of courtesy to British hosts, I felt unable to follow the impulse to go to Athens, where the lawyers of the world had convened a conference. Supported by the American Bar Association and the Ford Foundation, they had gathered together no fewer than 105 distinguished judges, jurists and lawyers of the world. With their counsellors, experts and other participants, they accounted for an attendance of 1,000 people. That conference followed three or four other significant conferences that had been held in the cause of substituting law for war in the resolution of international disputes. In the past we have failed to make law an effective agency for the settlement of international disputes. The Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association made Athens a focal point for bringing together, not practitioners of politics, but the best minds experienced in all systems of government. It is systems of government that present the menace to men’s rights and peaceful lives.

I want to bring to the attention of the Senate the efforts that were made in Athens last year, following previous conferences in San Jose, Costa Rica in June of 1961, in Tokyo in September of 1961, in Lagos in December of 1961, and in Rome in April of 1962. The conference produced three documents. One was a proclamation that the rule of law must be established as the medium which the world should adopt now to settle international disputes. Another was a declaration of general principles, and the third was a lawyer’s programme of work, in which the conference advised the consideration of improvements in the United Nations and regional political organizations, the revision of the International Court of Justice and the creation of regional courts. This is an idea that I believe we should study and develop, because of the inaccessibility of the International Court at The Hague, which sometimes comes to a decision three months after an international situation has developed. If there were branch courts from which, perhaps, an appeal might go later to the central court, the system would be possibly more effective to meet the realities of life. Other matters which I shall not enumerate were discussed at the conference.

Not only theoretical idealists are devoting their minds, their money and their time to the development of international tribunals. This great group of international Jurists, supported by the Ford Foundation and the American Bar Associaton, also discussed the matter, but not a word is heard of this great movement either on the pavement or in the Parliament. Australia was represented at the conference. Some West

Indian colleagues from our own conference also went to Athens. There are no illusions as to the practicability of establishing a court that could arrest an irrational figure such as Sukarno, or appeal to un undeveloped country, as, for instance, Zanzibar, on the shores of Africa. Western democracies have the opportunity of such a tribunal in the United Nations. Yet, Mr. President, reading the reservations wilh which even the United States subscribed to acceptance of the jurisdiction of that tribunal and the conditions with which they hedged their acceptance, one realizes that there is need for terrific advocacy and persuasion to get even Americans to re-orient their ideas towards the promotion of an international court which will be able to substitute its decision for the arbitrament of war.

I know the difficulties for the Western nations, for the undeveloped nations, and for those nations where educational institutions, unfortunately, are scarcely beginning. Although we failed in this cause in the 1930’s, let us not say that one is a cranky idealist to appeal for every consideration that can be given to this situation in our day and generation, when communications have contracted the world. Let us develop the mutual understanding that Sir Garfield Barwick advocates at all levels, not merely with the Soviet people but with all other peoples. I believe that the environment now is more prospectful for the achievement of this purpose than it was in decades past, when the effort failed. At any rate, Mr. President, the prize of the achievement is so terrifically great that even if one man spent his whole life in pursuing the fantasy he would spend it much more profitably than in earning guineas.

The next aspect of international affairs to which I wish to advert is one which occupied - quite properly - a subsidiary place in Sir Garfield Barwick’s statement, namely, the European situation. Sir Garfield was good enough to say, after noticing the preoccupation with South-East Asian affairs, that we should never forget that the focal point of this world’s activities and life is still in Europe. I had the opportunity for some two days of visiting Berlin and, for about three hours, after passing through the wall that divides Berlin, of seeing something of East Berlin in a conducted tour. I saw the primitive, maudlin mentality that led to the existence of that wall of concrete blocks and barbed wire as a division between Russian ideology and West Berlin, which is governed by our allies. I turned away depressed and sad at heart because of the dreadful disappointment experienced by the people of West Berlin in seeing their city divided. Because I appreciate what the Russian memorial on the other side of the city represents in sacrifice by the Russians in their defence against the Nazi attack, I hope that I have an understanding of the apprehension of Soviet Russia regarding the regrowth of Nazism in Germany.

I had the temerity, Mr. President, in a statement that I prepared for publication and which, I am happy to say, was printed, to comment that I came away with the idea that I should accept the West Germans not as blood brothers but rather as bloody brothers. I hope that our Minister for External Affairs will consider the interest that we in this place have in assessing the development of West Germany’s attack potential during the last ten or twelve years, The barbarities that Hitler incubated in Germany, and the unmentionable atrocities that were inflicted on his own people and ours, have shown that modern writers would be well advised to keep us alerted regarding the possibilities of the re-growth of national socialist ideas. I should be interested to know the degree to which people who took a significant part in Hitler’s activities have been recalled into the agencies of government in West Germany. I, for one, should like to be informed of the extent to which, since the admission of West Germany to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, that country’s defences and its ability to develop armed forces have grown, as well as the degree of control and practical supervision that is exercised over them.

I mention that matter, Mr. President, because my apprehension in this respect had prompted me to take an interest in the debates in this Parliament concerning the European Common Market. I am pleased to note that the British High Commissioner, in a paper which was distributed to all parliamentarians as recently as a fortnight ago and which seeks to bring us up to date concerning developments in the European Economic Community and the European Free Trade Area, has reminded us that the Common Market was designed primarily as an attempt to unite political activity. At the stage when the Treaty of Rome was evolved, the French had in mind the ultimate national federation of Europe and the submerging of national differences. I take time to mention this matter now because it was out of the development of the Coal and Steel Community in 1950 oi 1951, and of Euratom a year or so later, that six countries of Europe were actually able to reach agreement on the basis of a constituent association in the form of a federation.

As I attempted to explain to the Senate some time ago, the countries concerned faced great constitutional difficulties. One of the features of this development was the creation of a court with power to enforce the constitution and its own decrees, backed by the combined strength of all the parties to the arrangement, in the same way and to the same degree as our High Court is backed by all the constitutional processes of the federation of Australia. That was a most significant step towards the erection of international tribunals. It is a significant step forward that countries of Europe should have been able, despite the differences that existed, to reach such a degree of internationalism. Rarely do I make such assessments on the basis of my own viewpoint. In this instance, I am quoting Robinson, one of the most experienced of the post-war generation in the field of international law. There are sound hopes that we may see, modelled on the European development that I have mentioned, an effective system of international courts in other spheres.

I have felt at liberty, Mr. President, to express my views on these matters this evening, though not in a detailed fashion, in order to attract discussion from my colleagues. I hope that they will be able to show where the aspirations and ideas I have expressed are at fault. I feel that I am not handicapped by pressure of time. I have devoted myself to the Commonwealth and to international courts, with particular reference to European unity, but I should hate to leave with the Senate the impression that I am not conscious that our immediate concern lies to the north of us, in the area of South-East Asia, of which Senator Cormack speaks with such authority.

If the press has any conception of its duty to the nation, it will see to it that the people of Australia are informed of the position described by Senator Laught in reviewing his experiences in South-East Asia during his visit there as a member of a parliamentary delegation last year. Senator Cormack has had his knowledge of the area refreshed by a visit to Malaysia in December. I pay an especial tribute to Senator Buttfield for the courage which she showed in going to Communist China. She gave us a vivid and, I believe, a thoughtful account of her impressions of conditions in that country. I note that Senator Paltridge, who is the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, is in the chamber, arid I say for his benefit that I hope that the opportunity will be taken by the Government to send to Asia two delegations, each of six members of the Parliament, this year and every year until our understanding of the area between Pakistan and Tokyo is such that we feel that we understand Asia. When that time comes, I think that Asia will better understand us.

There are some significant things regarding this area to which the Minister for External Affairs has called our attention. I have read Churchill’s memoirs and his references to the Cross of Lorraine. I have read some of General de Gaulle’s own biography with terrific appreciation of and admiration for his courage and his understanding of the needs of France in international relationships. But 1 have to pause when I contemplate that General de Gaulle announced recently that he, for France, had decided to recognize Communist China. This carried with it the consequence that Nationalist China withdrew its accreditation from Paris the next day.

Senator Hannaford:

– It had to do so.

Senator WRIGHT:

– Quite so. I should like to be assisted to understand the real influences that lie behind General de Gaulle’s decision. It is completely incomprehensible to me that he, who was succoured by London and assisted by President Roosevelt in all his terrific intransigencies, should have done this. As soon as the Allies marched through Normandy, they made a place for de Gaulle’s armed forces on the front. Having arrived at a decision on how Germany should be controlled, when

France was no longer a force, the British and Americans gave him a sphere of occupation in Germany. This enabled France to come back into international existence in its own right.

What was the reason for General de Gaulle’s decision on mainland China, when the United States of America was so deliberate in its insistence that Nationalist China should still be supported and when this insistence carried with it the consequence that mainland China should not be recognized but should be ignored internationally? What was the influence that prompted President de Gaulle, as the leader of France, to give, either designedly or inadvertently, what I believe to be a blow to the cause of Western democracy?

As Senator Cormack has said, it is Communist China that has activated the Communist spirit in North Viet Nam. We have had anxious incidents in South Viet Nam. We have had evidence from the U.S.A. of growing concern as to its capacity to keep control of that area. Yet this is the moment that President de Gaulle chose to recognize Communist China and announce the view that South-East Asia should be neutralized. Neutralized? What does that reflect upon the South-East Asia Treaty Organization? The nations interested in these areas have combined under Scato on a mutual basis of agreement each to develop the others’ integrity. They have agreed to meet any common danger according to their constitutional powers and to consult with each other on any threat to any one nation’s integrity. A debate such as this will be deficient unless at the appropriate time we have from the Minister further enlightenment, so far as that is diplomatically possible in public, on the reasons underlying this extraordinary decisionon on behalf of France.

Finally, I want to refer to the immediate dispute in Malaysia. Recently, a representative of the Indonesian Government took the opportunity to say publicly, for publication in the press, that Australia has no right, in the terms he used, to interfere in this matter. This is something upon which all responsible members of this Parliament should be particularly definite, clear and vocal at this time, so that the people we represent will understand whether that was a legitimate view for the representative of

Indonesia to express. We should fortify ourselves by reference to some of the facts. Briefly, the relevant facts are that Malaysia takes the view that Malaya and Singapore should have a common interest and that all British interests in Borneo should have an opportunity to federate in Malaysia. A question arose as to whether this was a snide move for the retention of a British sphere of influence, and the United Nations inquired whether the proposed federation represented the real will of the peoples concerned. United Nations officers subsequently were able to report to the United Nations that the approach for federation was in accordance with the will of the people.

I ask you, Mr. President, on what level of international impudence is it possible for a country to interfere in a proposal for states to federate and to bring together so many of their interests as are common; to elect their representatives to a Malaysian Parliament and to proceed, in accordance with parliamentary procedures, to govern their own affairs? Indonesia should be acting in accordance with the United Nations Charter and not threatening to use force against such a new nation. lt is now a matter of history - the Australian electorate has endorsed this stand - that the Australian Government has stated that if Malaysia is attacked on such an unprincipled ground, completely unjustifiable on any basis of international law, Australia with Great Britain will lend its aid to support the integrity of Malaysia. 1 say from the depth of my heart that I dread to think that a generation of Australian youth should be committed to any war-like conflict in that cause. It is for that reason that 1 ask the Minister to explain to mc more fully the attitude of the United States of America to this particular development. I know that Mr. Robert Kennedy went through this area, I believe in a shadow of compromise, and did little to clarify the issues by disclosing the decision of the United States Government concerning this situation. The other problem which vexes my mind is whether or not the United Nations has been asked to take, or has taken, any notice of the developments recently, other than to refuse the suggestion that came from the Bangkok conference some six weeks ago that the cease-fire that was then proposed should be supervised by Thailand. Tell me, why is it that all the activity and jurisdiction of the United Nations are not being focused on this point to reach a solution?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.

Senator HANNAN:

– I think the Senate must be indebted to Senator Wright for his long, careful and thoughtful exposition of the problems of foreign policy which face Australia to-day. The whole Senate, regardless of the political affiliations of its members, has followed this careful analysis with great interest. I did so, even though there were one or two passages of either philosophy or policy upon which my views would certainly diverse from his. We are indebted also to Senator Buttfield for her address to the Senate, and particularly for the courage she displayed in entering red China on her own and spending so much time there. In her own very astute manner she gathered much valauble information which she has placed before this chamber.

I congratulate the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) on the statement which is now being debated. Its tone is firm, authoritative and decisive. If honorable senators look through the pages of the statement, they will find that there are one or two cardinal points of cleavage in political policy between the Government and the Opposition. It is probably true to say, as Senator Wright did say, that for the first time for many years foreign affairs were decisive in an Australian federal election. In my mind, there is no doubt that the issue on 30th November last was decided very largely on national security, upon whether the hand upon the tiller should be changed. The Australian electorate had the choice of going on with the Administration in which it had complete confidence in matters of foreign affairs or changing to a government wilh a foreign policy which was hesitating, vacillating and indecisive. The position in which Australia finds itself in relation to foreign affairs has been contributed to largely by the firmness of this Administration since 1949, because we as a nation not only seek the help of great and powerful friends and allies but also must be ready, wiring and able to give them such help as they may reasonably require for the mutual benefit of all concerned.

I take some pride in recalling that the first airmen to fly alongside airmen from the United States of America - the nominal United Nations force in Korea - were Australian airmen. The first naval vessels to take part with American naval vessels in coastal bombardment against the Communists in Korea were manned by Australian sailors. Not the first, but some of the first soldiers to engage in land action in Korea in defence of the freedom of that peninsula in particular, and South-East Asia as a whole, were Australian soldiers. I believe that the record of this Administration has engendered in our greatest ally a sense of security and trustworthiness which I hope will stand us in good stead in the years to come.

I am not one to denigrate the great work done by the Labour Administration during the war in maintaining - I do not think 1 should say forming - encouraging and developing friendly relations between the United States and Australia. I think it would be unfair if the work done by Mr. Curtin and his Administration of that time were overlooked, neglected or denigrated. However, I express personal disappointment that so much has been done by his successors to dissolve the bond between Australia and the United States. Unfortunately, very little which could have been done to weaken those ties has been left undone by the Opposition. I shall not go through the list but merely mention Manus Island, the installation at North West Cape, and the nuclear-free zone. Such matters have been debated in this chamber on many occasions. However, I do want to advert to three or four passages in the Minister’s statement which I believe warrant particular attention, and then refer to some other aspects of the position in South-East Asia.

It is true, as earlier speakers have said, that an ideological conflict has developed between Russia and China, the two Communist giants; but as Senator Buttfield has said, the free world cannot take great comfort from this event. The main cause of the argument appears to be as to the best way to slit the West’s throat. To my way of thinking, that is not a matter which should give us very great comfort. Sir Garfield Barwick said -

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 preoccupation wilh the problems of their own internal development - not least, with agriculture, thaI perpetual and apparently incurable area of weakness in the Communist system.

Later, in referring to the strange fact of General de Gaulle’s recognition of red China, Sir Garfield said -

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.

It has been announced by Radio Peking so often that I have lost count of the number of times that the Chinese Communists will not have a bar of the two-Chinas policies. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has said the same thing. Therefore, it is futile, in my view, for honorable senators opposite to say that realism demands the recognition of red China while at the same time maintaining friendly relations with the people of Formosa, or Taiwan, to give it its Chinese name. Sir Garfield, quoting from 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.

That is what the Communists say, and the voice of the Nationalists is equally as emphatic and decisive. Since the people who are vitally affected by the policy must have some say in its determination, I think that the two-Chinas policy must be given away even by those people who are most optimistic about it.

Nobody has questioned General de Gaulle’s courage or integrity. Even his political opponents in France have shown no inclination to challenge this great man’s personal integrity, but I think that many people, from Sir Winston Churchill down to private members of this Parliament, would be very much inclined to criticize his wisdom, prudence, tact or judgment. As Senator Wright said, there is not the slightest doubt that to encourage communism by the recognition of red China at this time - with South-East Asia almost ready to collapse as a result of infiltration by Communist forces - would be folly beyond imagination. President Macapagal of the Philippines, speaking at the time of General de Gaulle’s recognition of red China and about his quaint proposal for the neutralization of South-East Asia, directed attention to the fact that the countries in the region had the right of a deciding voice in shaping their futures.

The first lesson which the West learned in dealing with the Communists was taught by the Berlin airlift. For reasons which cannot be explored at the moment, because of the time factor, defeated Germany was carved up into zones of influence which were in themselves the very seeds of further trouble and dissension. West Berlin was made an island in a Communist sea. Very narrow lanes of access were provided on the ground and aircraft had to maintain a particularly restricted approach path to the Western area. In 1948 Communist’ pressure was put on the Western nations to get out. A blockade was set up. Stalin thought that because the West had been tapping the mat to Communist blackmail over the past two or three years, it would continue to do so. However, the Berlin airlift was instituted and the people of Berlin - who, on many occasions, had had cause to fear Royal Air Force and United States aircraft - had cause to bless the aeroplanes which brought them food and supplies and kept West Berlin going.

Almost 300 allied servicemen - 287, I think - lost their lives in providing food, equipment and the other supplies necessary to keep a great city going during the period of months that the blockade was maintained. These deaths occurred because of the deliberate and brutal Russian jamming of radio frequencies which made navigation in the circumstances extremely difficult. Years ago, action of that type would have brought war without shadow of a doubt. The Russians were guilty of provocation, treachery, deceit, and I think murder is not too strong a word to use. All these things have been present in Russia’s attitude since the war, but because the West realizes - as the Russians now realize, and the Communists in China have not yet realized - there will be no victors in a nuclear war, great forebearance has been shown Ultimately the blockade was lifted and the West won through.

That was the first lesson. How well the lesson was learned was indicated by the late President Kennedy’s courageous stand on the Cuban issue. Here again, the world was faced with a situation which could easily have dissolved the globe - if that is the correct expression to use - into flames. The courage and determination of the American President ensured that Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba. Wellmeaning people in the West have adopted the line that we must never oppose Communist threats or Communist blackmail because nuclear war is so horrible. Everybody agrees that nuclear war is horrible, but the lessons of the Berlin airlift and of the Cuban crisis clearly show that the Russians are just as appreciative of the power of nuclear destruction as are the most rabid peace fronters in this country or the most rabid columnists in the United States.

I want to say a little about some of the other countries in the South-East Asian area which are of significance to us. Senator Buttfield’s interesting account on her trip through red China served to underline the enormous importance of that country - its enormous power and the threat it poses to us. Seven years ago Mao Tse-tung is reported to have said that if China lost 300,000,000 people in a war it would still have more people left than any other country. That is not a very encouraging philosophy for an opponent to hold if you are thinking of bargaining with him in the cause of peace. Mao Tse-tung has criticized the Russians severely for joining in the present limited nuclear test ban. Recently t heard an interesting item on Peking radio. The Chinese Communists complained that the Russians took away from them the blueprints for nuclear power and nuclear explosives. What 1 am saying is not hearsay in the sense that some one told me of it. The Peking station, broadcasting in English, comes through quite strongly at about halfpast nine every evening and can be listened to by any honorable senators who may feel disposed to lap up a little propaganda. The burden of the Communist propaganda was that when China has nuclear power it is not going to bother about this silly test ban. It will use nuclear power as an instrument of foreign policy whenever that suits it.

Members of political parties in Australia and, oddly enough, most of ‘he newspapers have, for many years past, conducted a fairly strong campaign, urging the recognition of Communist China because, it is said, that is the realistic thing to do. The argument is that 650,000,000 to 700,000,000 people cannot be ignored. The suggestion is that for this reason the Government should recognize the red Chinese and should support their admission to the United Nations Organization. On many occasions in this chamber we have discussed the reasons why that should not be so. The preamble to the constitution of the United Nations sets out that the nation wishing to join must be a peace-loving nation which is prepared to forswear - I use that word in a genera! sense - aggression as an instrument of foreign policy. It is very difficult to argue on any set of facts that the Chinese fit that qualification. Secondly, it would be setting a premium on violence and force to enable these people to push their way into the United Nations. It would mean betraying people who have been good friends to Australia.

Senator Dittmer:

– If you had the say, would you sell them strategic materials?

Senator HANNAN:

– No.

Senator Dittmer:

– The Government does.

Senator HANNAN:

– The honorable senator asks me whether I would sell them strategic materials. If he were to ask me whether I would sell them wheat, my reply would be that I would be perfectly happy to sell them wheat provided that wheat was distributed by the Red Cross, as I have suggested in this Senate.

Senator Dittmer:

– What about wool and steel?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Anderson). - Order!

Senator Dittmer:

– I am asking him a question. I am trying to get an explanation.

Senator HANNAN:

– I think I have given you a straight answer. I have never been a proponent of the theory that one is able to establish reliable trading bases with Communist countries.

Senator Dittmer:

– You are opposed to trading with them. Is that right?

Senator HANNAN:

– I am opposed to basing the economy of this nation upon the good faith of Communist commercial relations. 1 think I have made that abun dantly clear even to Senator Dittmer whose knowledge of English is not the best.

Senator Dittmer:

– You have not made anything clear. I may even agree with you.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! The honorable senator must not continue to interrupt.

Senator Dittmer:

– I am not interrupting. I am trying to learn.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - If you continue to interrupt I shall have to take measures about it.

Senator Dittmer:

– It would not be the first time, would it?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! Do not provoke me.

Senator HANNAN:

– I was reciting practical reasons against the recognition of red China. I come to another very practical one; the reason that it would be betraying people who have been good friends of this nation. The Chinese Nationalists were driven off the mainland in 1948-49, not because, as the leader-writers and some professors said, of corruption inside the administration, but by raging inflation and the treachery of the Russian Army in making unlimited arms and munitions from the Japanese available to the Communists.

At the present time there is on Taiwan - the island of Formosa - a well-trained, well-equipped army of 650,000 men. That army possesses modern equipment and automatic weapons. The air force based there flies jet planes. The only air engagement over the Taiwan Straits resulted in almost fantastic success for the Nationalist airmen - 32 planes to two. Those are incredible figures. The navy is a small, unimpressive force of perhaps half-a-dozen destroyers and a few landing craft and auxiliary vessels, but the army and the air force are well-trained and well-equipped and they constitute quite a powerful ally. After the republic of Korea this is, I think, the fourth most powerful army in the world. Why, in the name of all that is sensible, should Australia alienate friends such as those for the very doubtful advantage of recognizing red China?

Let us get down to a lower level. Let us think merely of what other people will think of us. Why. when we have had such assistance from the United States of

America, and why, when the Anzus Pact is the very key to our security, should we possibly risk offending our great and powerful allies by adopting some crackpot policy of recognizing the only people who are capable of wiping us out? A number of other arguments may be adduced along the same lines, but I think 1 have said enough to indicate that sanity - and selfishness if you like; I put it at its lowest level - argue that we should maintain our present policy with regard to red China.

But I would like to see some change in our administrative action towards Nationalist China. We have in this country at the present time an ambassador from Taiwan, but we have no ambassador in Taipei. This is a matter to which I have drawn the attention of the Parliament on a number of occasions. In my view, Australia’s vital interests would be far better served by having adequate representation on an ambassadorial level in Taipei rather than at Phnom Penh where a vacillating neutralist is in charge of the country. We have recently opened an embassy in Phnom Penh. I would not like necessarily to see the Phnom Penh embassy closed, even though it is of not such great use, but I do think an embassy should be opened in Taipei. 1 want to say a word or two now about another country whose security is in a sense essential to the safety of Australia and indeed to the safety of all South-East Asia. 1 refer to South Viet Nam where the Americans and the South Vietnamese are engaged in a most bitter and cruel war against Communist terrorism. In Malaya - and Australian troops took their part in it - we had an example of how difficult it can be, even in a country where the terrain docs not favour the terrorists so much, to put down terrorist guerrillas. I am informed that it takes approximately seventeen troops to cope with one guerrilla because of the large number of advantages with regard to mobility and other things held by guerrilla forces.

I am not one of those who joined in the chorus of criticism against the late President Diem. In my view, the most serious blow which the cause of real freedom has suffered in South-East Asia in the last few months has been the murder of the outstanding anti-Communist leader on the mainland of Asia. As honorable senators will recall, in 1954 Diem came to power in a disunited country, a country which had almost been destroyed by strife. With all his faults of administration, he did at least, with American help, give his country a viable economy in nine years. At the time of his murder, he was making some progress in the fight against the Viet Cong. He was a man who, for some reason or another - perhaps partly because he was a man of retiring disposition - provoked unending hostility from the newspapers of the Western world. The Press of the West must bear a heavy responsibility for the murder of President Diem. I myself personally checked some of the nonsensical reports said to have emanated from Saigon and found them to be entirely untrue. The stories of the trading by the President’s relatives are, as I have found from my own investigations, substantially untrue. The general impression given by our newspapers was that there was a great persecution of Buddhists in Viet Nam. We were told that SO per cent, of the people in Viet Nam were Buddhists and that they were being persecuted by this nasty little president. One of the things which, apparently, some of the newspaper correspondents who sent their reports about Saigon from Singapore did not realize is that there are more Buddhist sects than there are Christian sects and that whilst a Buddhist may be a Confucianist, a Confucianist is not necessarily a Buddhist. All the inhabitants of Viet Nam who are Confucianists are not necessarily Buddhists. We were regaled with stories of how steelhelmeted army troops with automatic weapons assailed the harmless Xa Loi pagoda. We were told stories of Buddhist nuns and monks being hurled off balconies and of monks at their prayers being bayoneted. Ninety-nine per cent, of those stories have since been admitted to be untrue. In the unfortunate raid on the Xa Loi pagoda, one person was in fact killed. One person is one too many, but there is a vast difference between one person and the numbers mentioned in the press reports.

Senator Hannaford:

– Do not forget about the cynical reference by Madame Nhu to the barbecuing of monks.

Senator HANNAN:

– I will touch on the matter of the reports of the barbecueing of Buddhist monks, although it has nothing to do with the raid on the Xa Loi pagoda. As the honorable senator has raised the point, 1 would like to direct his attention to an astonishing fact. When six people burned themselves with petrol between 1st May and 1st November in Viet Nam, that was front-page news. There were pictures in the press of the world. Probably the honorable senator does not know this, but in the five weeks following the coup of 1st November, five more people burned themselves. Presumably, the six who burned themselves between May and November were proving that Diem was a scoundrel and had no popular support. I would like to know what the press of the world thinks the five who burned themselves in the following five weeks were trying to prove, and why the burnings were no longer news. Why is not the press of the world interested in publishing pictures of Vietnamese burning themselves now? Why did that cease to be news when Diem was murdered? Those are questions which, as members of a responsible Parliament, we have to ask ourselves. For many of us, the press is virtually the only source of information on SouthEast Asia, but fortunately that is not the case in regard to all of us. I did not intend to advert to that matter because date, time, place, name, chapter and verse should be provided in regard to the subsequent burnings, and I propose to do that in this chamber at a later date.

The die is now cast for good or for ill. Diem has gone. The incompetent and inept administration which took over from him lasted for two months and now, apparently, a more efficient man has taken over. MajorGeneral Khanh carries our good wishes and hopes for success in the dreadful civil war in his country. Not since the time of the Spanish civil war have such atrocities been perpetrated by terriorists upon their own people. When Diem was alive and there was some drive in the army, approximately 2,000 troops and about the same number of Viet Cong troops were killed every month, at the start of 1963. The numbers have dropped a little on both sides since. But with the rains coming in the Mekong delta, bringing conditions which will assist the Viet Cong men, I am afraid that murder, rape and arson and all the other con comitants of Communist terrorist activities are going to make their mark felt even more violently in that unhappy country.

I, for one, believe that in dealing with a situation such as this there should not be half-measures. I agree with General Van Fleet, who succeeded General Mark Clark in Korea, that you have to get to the root of the trouble. Van Fleet was prohibited, as were his predecessors, from bombing the Chinese concentrations across the Yalu River. I agree with Senator Cormack that if we are going to make a success of the war in South Viet Nam, with all the risks which are involved, we have to examine the possibility of wiping out the supply dumps of the Viet Cong wherever they are concentrated, whether they are in Laos, on the edge of Cambodia or in sampans outside the three-mile limit. I believe you have to hit the Communists at their supply bases to destroy their power to murder. I think it is only being meaty-mouthed to talk about the increased risks and to say that if we do this they will do that. They are doing it now, and we are getting little change out of the operation.

I feel that the Senate has a great deal for which to thank the Minister for External Affairs. It should thank him for the clear and concise way in which he has stated Australia’s attitude to the countries of SouthEast Asia. I see an indication of the maturity of this country in world affairs in the fact that so much significance and importance is attached to the statement.

South Australia

Mr. President, as 1 am coming into this debate at a late hour, there will not be very much opportunity for me to develop the theme of my contribution. However, I would like to say at the outset of my remarks that I think it is a very good thing that this matter of foreign affairs was put on the notice-paper again. In a sense, it was inadvertently removed from the noticepaper. At the instigation of a Government senator, it has been re-introduced. I think the debate on this subject so far has justified that re-introduction. The contributions to the debate which we have heard from Senators Laught, Buttfield, Cormack, Wright and Hannan - all Government speakers - have been of a fine character and have covered the ground in a most adequate fashion, having regard to the vast complexity of the subject-matter under discussion.

I enter a foreign affairs debate with due humility, because most of the knowledge that I have is gleaned from reading. I have had comparatively little experience of visiting other countries, unlike some of our colleagues, such as Senator Cormack and Senator Buttfield, who are more experienced in foreign affairs and who have had the opportunity of gaining first-hand knowledge of the countries with which, in the main, we are dealing in this debate. I honestly believe that the debate has been well worth while. I regret very much that we have not had contributions from the Opposition. I know that honorable senators opposite are capable of making good contributions on foreign affairs. Their viewpoints may not coincide with ours but on occasions I have been extremely interested in speeches by Opposition representatives in this chamber and in another place. There is no doubt that foreign affairs are the key subject of the National Parliament, involving our relationship with other countries and our very existence. That is why a foreign affairs debate is of the utmost importance to the Parliament and to the people. I only regret that some of the contributions made to-night were not made when proceedings of the Senate were being broadcast so that listeners might have heard the views expressed.

Foreign affairs - our relationships with other countries - are extremely complex. Sometimes they appear to be full of contradictions. Even on our side of the Senate views of senators differ to quite a material degree. In some debates over the years I have felt myself to be at variance with other government supporters on important aspects of foreign affairs that were of very great moment at the time. I shall not mention those matters but I have at times been very disturbed at speeches made by some Government supporters, because my views did not coincide with theirs. I am not suggesting that I was right and they were wrong. We all have honest opinions and sometimes I thought that things said by Government supporters could well have been left unsaid. I have certainly felt on occasions that things said by the Opposition, too, could have been well left unsaid. In matters of foreign affairs we should try to arrive at the truth and the cause of the troubles that beset the world. Honesty is of paramount importance when we are considering our relationships with other countries and other peoples.

Mr. President, I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later date.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

page 595


South Australia

– by leave; - 1 present the following paper -

Inter-Parliamentary Union - Report of the Australian Delegation to the Fifty-second Conference held at Belgrade, in September, 1963.

Senate adjourned at 10,26 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 April 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.