25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
New South Wales Grant (Flood Mitigation) Bill 1964.
Tasmania Grant (Gordon River Road) Bill 1964. Weights and Measures (National Standards) Bill 1964.
– I ask the Minister for National Development: Is it a fact that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited is exporting steel to Hong Kong? Does an exporter of steel require a permit? Under what conditions is the export of steel permitted? Is steel permitted to be exported, without limit, to the so-called traditional markets? What steps are taken to see that this steel is not re-exported?
– I can oblige Senator Arnold only by answering his question in general terms. I know, from my own knowledge, that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company does export steel and seeks opportunities to export steel, but always conforming with the requirements of Australian supply and demand. In the ordinary course of events, the production of some categories of steel is sometimes in excess of demand. From time to time there are surpluses of steel of certain shapes, sizes or descriptions, and it may be that there are shortages of other types of steel. When opportunity offers, Broken Hill Proprietary seeks export markets but at the same time it endeavours to keep a balance so as to meet Australia’s requirements.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Is it not a fact that the predecessor to the present Minister for the Interior authorized Mr. George Howatt, from the University of Pennsylvania and now attached to the Department of Political Science in the University of Tasmania, to prepare a report for the consideration of the Government on ways and means of overcoming deadlocks between the Senate and the House of Representatives? Has the report been considered by the Government? Does the Government intend to give the Parliament an opportunity to read and debate the report? If so, when is the paper likely to be tabled in the Senate?
– Mr. President, Senator Marriott advised me that he sought information on this subject and I am now in a position to inform him that in December, I960, the Professor of Political Science at the University of Tasmania, Professor D. A. Townsley, wrote to the Minister for Shipping and Transport informing him of Mr. Howatt’s desire to undertake some research work into Senate election procedures. The university agreed to accept this study as part of Mr. Howatt’s research leading to a Ph.D. degree. The Minister offered Mr. Howatt opportunities for consultation with the chief electoral officer and payment of reasonable expenses and agreed that the department would arrange for the printing of the resulting manuscripts. The draft report has not been read yet by the Minister and no decision has been taken.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. How many Western Australian members of the House of Representatives have made application to have their Commonwealth Parliamentary offices within the boundaries of their electorates? How many of these applications have been granted and to whom were they granted? Whose applications were refused? Does the
Commonwealth own the accommodation which is occupied by the member? If not, how is the accommodation held - by a lease or periodical tenancy? If it is held by lease when does the lease expire? Has the lease expired since first entered into? If so, has it been renewed, when was it renewed and when does the renewed lease expire? Is it intended to renew the lease when it again expires? Why were other applications not granted?
– J am sure that the honorable senator would not expect me to know those details. If he will put his question on the notice-paper, I will endeavour to obtain the information he requires.
– I direct the attention of honorable senators to the practice of asking long and involved questions which is again becoming prevalent, lt is impossible for the Minister representing a Minister in another place to have knowledge of the information sought in questions of this kind. 1 seriously suggest to honorable senators that they should put such questions on the noticepaper, particularly when the proceedings arc being broadcast and listeners have difficulty in understanding proceedings. Honorable senators may ask long questions if it is necessary for them to do so but I suggest that they make their questions as brief as possible and to the point. If questions are lengthy and the Minister in the Senate is not likely to have the information requested readily at his disposal, I request honorable senators to put the questions on the noticepaper.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it a fact that the Western Australian Government has decided to seal the east-west road, commonly known as the Eyre Highway, as far as the boundary of South Australia by 1967? Can the Minister give me an assurance that the South Australian Premier and his government will seal the South Australian section of this road?
– I understand from my reading of the newspapers that the Western Australian Government has announced its intention to seal the eastwest highway as far as the South Australian border over quite a lengthy period. My further understanding is that the work was commenced two or three years ago and has now been carried some miles beyond Norseman. I am certainly not in a position to give the honorable senator an assurance that the South Australian Government will take similar action. I have no knowledge at all as to the plans of the South Australian Government in regard to sealing its section of the east-west highway.
– My questions are directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. First, does responsibility for the police party which is being chosen for duty in Cyprus rest on the Commonwealth Government or on each State government? Secondly, if an Australian policeman is killed or incapacitated iD the course of his duty in Cyprus, to which body does his next of kin look for compensation, if any? Thirdly, has the Australian Government received official advice from the United States of America relating to Senator Fulbright’s mission to Greece and Turkey? Fourthly, will a considered statement be made by the Government to indicate whether or not Australia is picking sides in somebody else’s struggle?
– The genesis of this matter was a request from the United Nations Organization to provide a small police body for normal police duties. It is not a case of interfering in some one else’s problems. It is a request, which we cannot brush lightly aside, from the United Nations Organization, which is a responsible body, to make a contribution. As to the details that Senator Hendrickson requests, I should prefer him to put the question on the notice-paper so that I may be accurate in my reply.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. In view of the announcement last week by the Premier of South Australia that the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited intends to spend a further £10,000,000 in extending the capacity of steel production at Whyalla by the erection of a new blast furnace to replace the one that is in existence there, have representations been made by the
South Australian Government for a standard gauge rail link to be constructed from Whyalla to Port Augusta? Because this new construction which is envisaged by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company will increase steel production, does not the Minister think that a standard gauge rail link would be a highly desirable innovation?
– I am not aware that any recent representations have been made by the South Australian Government to the Commonwealth Government for financial support for the construction of this railway.
– A Commonwealth railway.
– I am not aware of any recent representations. I recall that some years ago the South Australian Government did discuss this matter with the Commonwealth Government. I do not recall whether it was on the basis of a Commonwealthfinanced State-owned railway or a Commonwealth railway. I have no knowledge of anything that has happened recently as a result of the announced plans of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, but T shall refer the question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport and get an answer to the honorable senators question.
– T desire to ask a Question of the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Minister seen a report in the Melbourne “Sun News-Pictorial” of Friday, 1st May, 1964, to the effect that Dr. P. W. van der Veur, a senior research fellow in the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University, had claimed that official Australian maps show the border of Papua and New Guinea overlapping into Indonesian territorial waters? Is the report being investigated? In any event, will the Minister give an assurance that immediate action will be taken to rectify, if necessary, any mistake on our part which could give rise to serious misunderstandings in the future?
– I have not seen the particular report referred to. I find it difficult to credit the report because the boundary to which the honorable senator has referred is the boundary between Papua and New Guinea on the one side and Indonesian New Guinea on the other. The boundary is the subject of a treaty, wherein it is clearly defined. It follows a specified parallel of latitude or longitude. There is no room for dispute as to where that boundary is on a map. It follows that parallel until it reaches the Fly River at a point where a cairn has been erected, and then it follows the middle of that river. I find it hard to credit that the boundary should be improperly marked, unless there has been a printing error, because its location is known geographically as the result of a treaty.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Has the Minister noted the comments of Mr. E. T. Bessell, the retiring Director of the Tasmanian Tourist Department, who, after a lifetime in the tourist industry in Tasmania, has said that whilst the advent of the “ Empress of Australia “ would substantially improve the present tourist position no real impact would be felt until a second ferry like the “ Princess of Tasmania “ was provided? Will the Minister take serious note of Mr. Bessell’s further observation to the effect that investigations he has made show that such a ship, sailing out of Melbourne, could be filled every night of the week for eight months of the year? The “ Princess of Tasmania” runs only three nights a week. Is the Minister in a position to make an announcement concerning the possibility of a second “ Princess of Tasmania “?
– Senator Lillico was good enough to indicate to me his interest in this matter. This gave me the opportunity to confer with my colleague, Mr. Freeth, who has replied as follows: -
I have seen the press report of Mr. Bessell’s statement, but he has not submitted any details of his investigations to the department or to the National Line. I will be interested to examine them if he cares to make them available. However, my own information does not indicate that there is an unsatisfied demand to the extent suggested. The passenger returns of the “Princess of Tasmania “ show that she was filled in only two months of the last twelve and over 95 per cent, filled in another three months. In any case it would be impossible to operate a second ferry even if the suggested passenger traffic was available. This type of vessel depends primarily on freight income for successful operation and there is every indication that the new vessels entering the Tasmanian trade this year will cover the demand for some years to come. Without the assurance of adequate freight income a second Bass Strait ferry would be certain to incur very heavy losses. All concerned agree that a second ferry eventually will be needed and the only question is that of timing. This has been kept under continual review and the vessel will bc provided when there are reasonable prospects of successful operation.
– I direct a scries of questions to the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Although it is a long series it should not be necessary for me to put the questions on the noticepaper because they can be easily answered if the Government’s attitude is clear. Does the Attorney-General recall a private- reply, given to me last year in response to a question on the notice-paper, that he would be vigilant in considering whether any information supplied to him disclosed any offences against Commonwealth law by the Australian Nationalist Party? Is it not a breach of Commonwealth law to form, or belong to, a party whose principles are the same as those of the German Nazi party, which the Minister admitted were those of the Australian Nationalist Party? Was the pasting of swastika signs on cars in Sydney on 9th April of this year and at Whyalla last year not a breach of Commonwealth law?
– The Communists put them on.
– No matter who put them on, was it not a breach of Commonwealth law? Was the holding of a meeting at Ashfield, New South Wales, last Wednesday, at which those on the platform wore khaki shirts and riding breeches, with brown belts, shoulder straps, arm bands with swastikas on them and also tiepin: with swastikas, not a breach of Commonwealth law? Was the holding of a meeting on a platform decorated with photographs of Hitler and the American Nazi leader, Lincoln Rockwell, and with a large German eagle perched on a circular swastika badge, not a breach of Commonwealth law? Was not the statement of the principal speaker that he was the commander of the storm troops, a movement directly associated with Lincoln Rockwell and with
Colin Jordan, the Nazi leader in England, who was imprisoned there last year for his Nazi activities, a breach of Commonwealth law? Is there no Commonwealth law to prohibit the formation and activities of a movement to kill which Australia sacrificed thousands of lives? Is not the formation of Nazi movements in Australia promotion of the cause against which we thought it necessary to go to war in 1939? Have members of the Liberal Party appeared on platforms with these Nazi movement promoters? If there is no Commonwealth law to curtail the activities of Fascist agents, will the Government consider introducing an anti-fascism bill - a fascism dissolution bill?
– If the activities to which the honorable senator refers took place there is no question but that they were at the least a manifestation of a lunatic fringe and at the most something that nobody wants to see develop in Australia. As to just exactly what the Commonwealth law is on these matters, and as to whether there is a breach of Commonwealth law in somebody being stupid enough to put on a khaki shirt and get up on platforms or do any of the things to which the honorable senator refers - if they were done - I can only say, not being a lawyer, and not having been given any notice of the question, that I do not know. But I am quite sure that the cause to which the honorable senator refers for which Australia went to war in World
War II. was to fight against totalitarianism of all kinds, and I should hope that this Government would, with the support of the Australian people, do everything possible to suppress totalitarianism of all kinds.
– Has the attention of the Minister in charge of Commonwealth activities in relation to education and research been directed to a statement attributed to the Leader of the Opposition in another place, giving his calculations of the likely distribution of Government funds to non-government secondary schools for science blocks and science teaching equipment? Will the Minister make available the actual figures of the proposed distribution?
– I saw the statement reported to have been made by the Leader of the Opposition in another place but I did not study in any detail the figures that he gave. The figures can be made available and will be made available when required. As I think the honorable senator knows, after certain processes have been followed - processes which have been explained to the Senate - there will be in each State a sum of money for use by non-government schools. That sum of money in each State will be divided up in proportion to the number of secondary school pupils enrolled in Catholic or, if you prefer it, Roman Catholic schools, and in schools of some different denomination or of no denomination at all. The proportions vary very considerably in the States. I have not the figures accurately in my mind but, speaking from memory, in New South Wales quite a large proportion - I would say 70-odd per cent. - of these enrolments are at Catholic or Roman Catholic secondary schools. In South Australia, the State from which the honorable senator comes, the distribution is practically even - down the middle - and in other States the distribution varies in different ways.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service inform me whether plans have been completed to provide a training scheme for tradesmen? If such plans have been completed, will the Minister inform me where I may obtain a copy of the details of the scheme?
– First, I do not know whether plans have been completed, in the sense of having been agreed to by the employers, the trade unions and the Minister for Labour and National Service. I know that this matter has been under discussion and I undertake to get from the Minister such information as at this stage can be made available. It may be that some matters are still under discussion between the Minister and the trade unions, but I shall get for the honorable senator such information as can be made available.
– My question is directed to the Minister for National Development. Is it a fact that the Minister has approved payment of a maximum subsidy, not exceeding £165,048, under the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act to Phillips Petroleum Company for a stratigraphic drilling operation in Queensland? Would the Minister indicate the location of this new drilling operation and when it is expected the work will commence and give any other information which may be of special interest to Queensland people?
– As honorable senators know, a series of applications for subsidy have been made and I release a statement at monthly intervals giving full details of approvals. I do this so that everybody can know what proposals are being subsidized and so that the people who are making applications can know the types of applications that are being approved I think it is most desirable that the matter should be given wide publicity so that there can be no suggestion that certain applications are refused and others are approved. Occasionally in relation to applications such as this one I make a special statement. I made this special statement because this application involved an extraordinarily interesting hole. It is the second deepest hole that has been drilled yet in Australia. A substantial sum of money is involved and a substantial amount of subsidy is being paid. I made the statement, also, because the application indicates an increasing interest in oil search in Australia and the continually improving technical capacity of people engaged in oil search. Developments - are occurring in many directions. There is this extraordinary deep hole in Queensland, a proposal for drilling in Bass Strait and off-shore proposals in the north of Western Australia. Large seismic programmes, covering big areas, are being undertaken in Australia and I do my little best to keep the public informed because of the importance of oil search to Australia. I try to keep the world informed so that more people will come to Australia to make their contribution with new skills and techniques.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for the Army noted a statement by Major Skinner, the commanding officer of C Company, 3rd Battalion, New South Wales Regiment, that the Citizen Military Forces are below strength? He stated that at 31st March the strength of the forces was 4,537 short of the Government’s target for 30th June of this year. Are those figures correct? If so. does the Minister consider the position satisfactory? If not, why is the recruitment of the Citizen Military Forces at this stage about 13 per cent, lower than the figure which the Army has reasonably accepted as a very moderate target?
– I did read this morning the statement to which the honorable senator refers. 1 am under the impression that at this stage the Citizen Military Forces arc not at the strength that the Minister for the Army requires. A regular progressive policy is being pursued to obtain full strength in this field and 1 believe that we are attaining success as we go along. As to figures, I cannot answer the question off the cuff. If the honorable senator puts that part of his question on the notice-paper I shall get the actual facts from the Minister for the Army.
– My question is addressed to the Minister assisting the Prime Minister in relation to Commonwealth activities in education. Has a unanimous request been received from State Premiers or State Ministers for Education for a Commonwealth inquiry into education? If not. have any States requested such an inquiry and is the Commonwealth considering initiating one?
– I should like that question to be placed on the notice-paper, because I have not in my mind a completely clear picture as to which States have suggested the holding of an inquiry. I think New South Wales suggested that there should be an inquiry into primary and secondary education. When this matter was being discussed, it was suggested that the Commonwealth should make a special grant for education to the various States. That suggestion was opposed by some of the Premiers, including the Premier of South Australia and the Premier of Victoria, who said that such action might tend to cause the State Governments to lose control of their budgets. Those Premiers had some objection to a special grant for education being made by the Commonwealth. That ties in wilh any projected examination of the subject. If the honorable senator cares to place her question on the notice-paper or to see me later, I shall gel the details for her.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation been drawn to the two most recent accidents involving crop-dusting aircraft? During last week a crop-dusting aircraft crashed near Tully, in North Queensland, and caught fire after striking power lines. At Myponga, in South Australia, another aircraft lost a wheel in flight and had its single engine wrenched from the frame after a nosedive landing. In view of the frequency of accidents involving crop-dusting aircraft, does the Minister believe that safety standards in maintenance or operation are not being complied with? Does he believe that special safety regulations are necessary to cover such operations?
– The procedure followed in respect of any air accidents, which of course include accidents involving crop-dusting aircraft, is that as soon as possible after the crash an on-the-spot investigation is carried out by officers of the Department of Civil Aviation. Almost as soon as the accident occurs a report is submitted and officers proceed to the scene of the crash. Wrecked aircraft are examined minutely and technical assessments are made of the causes of the accidents, if there is evidence of any deficiency in observance of the safety standards required or in the actual operation of the flight, action is taken against the offending pilot.
– The crash at Tully was caused by the aircraft hiding overhead wires.
– 1 am aware that a report has reached my table, but I do not retain in my mind the actual details of the accident. As the honorable senator has pointed out, the crash at Tully was caused by the aircraft hitting overhead wires. That fact would be the subject of the closest examination by departmental officers. I repeat that if action is necessary against pilots who offend against the safety regulations or the operational regulations, that action is invariably taken.
– I address to the Minister for Civil Aviation a question about a statement in to-day’s press that the two major Australian airline organizations each intend to purchase one additional Boeing 727 aircraft. Can the. Minister inform the Senate what financial arrangements have been made for the purchase of these aeroplanes from America? Can the Minister give the Senate any idea when the first two Boeing 727’s, which are to arrive later this year, will be put into service? I also ask the Minister whether he can inform me what is going to happen to other aeroplanes which are now in service, particularly in Western Australia where a subsidiary of Ansett-A.N.A. is carrying on a service from Perth to Darwin. Will some of the planes that are now in operation replace the antiquated planes which are in service on other routes.
– Answering to the last part of the question first, 1 inform the honorable senator that it is expected that the first Boeings will be commissioned by both operators in October or November this year. The third Boeing to be acquired by each operator, to which press reference was made this morning will be commissioned in about September, 1965. The honorable senator has asked me what financial arrangements have been made by both purchasers for the provision of these two latter aircraft. I am unable to tell him at the moment. The orders have been lodged and, if I may use an Americanism, the delivery dates have been slotted, but the actual provision of finance has not yet been finalized either by the private enterprise operator or by Trans-Australia Airlines. This matter will be proceeded with immediately.
The older units in both fleets will be disposed of. I am not aware that it is the intention of MacRobertson Miller Airlines Limited, an Ansett-A.N.A. subsidiary in Western Australia, to purchase or take over from its parent airline any of the aircraft which will go out of commission as the Boeings come in. It is the subsidiary’s intention, as I understand it, not to take over the used aircraft but rather to commission newer, more modern aircraft. The first of these modern aircraft which will be bought by MacRobertson Miller Airlines will be a Fokker Friendship. This will be in service in Western Australia during June July. There will then be two Fokker Friendship services on the north-west run.
– On 7th April last, the Minister for National Development answered, on notice, a question about the establishment of a national forestry council. I now ask the Minister: What progress has been made since then? Is it correct as stated in a recent newspaper article that the Victorian Government is the main cause of delay in this proposal which is of great national importance?
– My recollection of what I said on 7th April is not quite clear, and, therefore, I am at a disadvantage in commencing to reply to the honorable senator’s question. I had a meeting with my colleagues, the State Ministers for Forests, and we discussed the formation of the National Forestry Council, to which all government’s have agreed in principle. There has been a bit of disagreement as to what Ministers should constitute the council. The Commonwealth Government has thought it appropriate that there should be Commonwealth representation comprising myself, as I am now in charge of the Forestry and Timber Bureau, and my colleague, the Minister for Territories, because there are forest lands in the Northern Territory just as there are in the States. Some of the States have raised the question as to whether there ought to be more than one Minister from the various States. I think that the discussions we had clarified the situation. I am hopeful that in the near future we will receive from all of the Governments concerned replies or clearances which will enable us to go ahead. As Senator Murphy said, the Victorian Government had a point of view on this matter; but other governments had points of view as well. I am hopeful that the situation will be finalized very soon. We will let a week or so run by. If no finality has been reached then, I will start the matter off again by trying to get satisfactory replies from the States.
– I direct a question to the Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Is he in a position to inform the Senate of the stage that has been reached in the fight against the sirex wasp?
– I think this question should have been referred to the Minister for Health. All that I can say in answer to the honorable senator’s question is that the stage was reached a week or so ago when the Commonwealth Minister for Health very ably chaired a conference of representatives of State departments and the Commonwealth at which the fight against the sirex wasp on the entomological front - trying to control the insects themselves - and on the front of removing infected timber, was reviewed. Decisions were made then as to the continuation of the fight. That is about all 1 can say at the present time.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport: Has the Commonwealth Government made any move at any time, in collaboration with the Governments of South Australia and Victoria, regarding the construction of a standard gauge railway between Melbourne and Adelaide and between Adelaide and Port Pirie? If the Commonwealth Government has not made any such move, will it consider doing so, because the construction of this railway would be the final step in the linking of all Australian capital cities with standard gauge railways and would be very important from the national development point of view?
– The State railways arc, of course, State Governmentowned instrumentalities.
– I referred to a move in collaboration with the States.
– I appreciate that you did. I say again that the State railways are State Government-owned instrumentalities. Any upgrading or improving of a State railways system is invariably made on the initiative of the State Government concerned. I am not aware that any approach has been made for the standardization of the Melbourne to Adelaide link, but I think that talks have been held from time to time on the ultimate standardization of the Adelaide to Port Pirie section. I will discuss the honorable senator’s question with my colleague and see whether there is any uptodate information that 1 can get for him.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior read a news item in to-day’s edition of the “ Canberra Times “ which states that during last week-end Canberra policemen took part in the saving of at least ten lives on the new Lake Burley Griffin and that although the police have appealed to all citizens to observe safety factors they are going to patrol the shores of the lake as thoroughly as possible? Will this service prevent the Canberra Police Force from carrying out some of its previously normal duties? If so. is it anticipated that the force will be enlarged in order to watch over Lake Burley Griffin?
– I have not seen the newspaper report to which the honorable senator referred, but I know that it is common talk in the city that some people were rescued from Lake Burley Griffin over the week-end. I do not think there will bc any need to enlarge the police force in order to give this kind of service to the people of Canberra. Lake Burley Griffin is a new addition to the ca .ital. I think that, ere long, the people who live here will become expert in their approach to the lake or perhaps will not be drawn to it by its novelty. I am certain that, as lime goes on. these teething troubles will disappear. I will consult with my colleague. If there is any intention to increase the size of the police force, I will advise the honorable senator accordingly.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs read a press release from the Indonesian Embassy which lodges a protest against a report in the Sydney “ Sun “ of Friday, 24th April, allegedly originating from Indonesian official sources in Canberra, that Indonesia does not favour Mr. Paul Hasluck as the Australian Minister for External Affairs? Was that report denied by the Indonesian Embassy? Has the Australian Government accepted the denial? Can anything be done to stop such harmful and dangerous fabrications by certain sections of our press, as (hey are not conducive to friendly relations between Australia and Indonesia?
– I have not read the article to which the honorable senator referred. 1 think it would be extremely difficult - I know he will agree with me in this - to devise a method of preventing newspapers from exaggerating or, as happens in some cases, inventing news, without also devising a system which would enable undue restrictions to be placed on the freedom of newspapers to make the sort of criticisms which they ought to be able to make of governments and all concerned wilh our public life. However, 1 think this sort of report does underline the fact that it is incumbent upon newspaper proprietors, if they are to be worthy of the freedom of the press which must be granted to them, to check and double check facts before they make them public. I do not think I can go any further than that.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has he noted a press summary of a report made by Mr. W. J. Cuthill, S.M., to the Victorian Parliament concerning alleged deception in the packaging of goods? The report was highly critical of the methods used by some companies. As the public interest is clearly involved, will the Government make available to honorable senators copies of the report and permit a debate on this most important matter?
My recollection is that this was a report made to the Victorian Government. 1 confess that all that I know about it is what I saw and heard when watching a television programme in which the pros and cons” of the subject were debated. I do not think it would be appropriate for the Commonwealth to step into something which the Victorian Government at present has under its care and attention. I think the Victorian Government might, with some justification, resent the Commonwealth’s doing that. I am, of course, assuming that this report is the result of an inquiry which was inaugurated by the Victorian Government and that the report has been made to the Victorian Government. As Senator Toohey knows, there is nothing to prevent him from inaugurating a debate in the Senate, on this or any other topic as a matter of urgent public importance, if he can get the support of other honorable senators.
– As I happened to be the chairman of a State and Commonwealth conference on weights and measures and packaging some years ago, perhaps I could inform the Senate that the report was made by Mr. Cuthill as the result of the Victorian Government undertaking, at that conference, to make an investigation into this field on behalf of all the States and the Commonwealth. The report has been tabled in the Victorian Parliament. I do not know whether any other State government has yet seen it. I have not.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Is it the intention of the Postmaster-General to transfer the post office at the Adelaide railway station to a building being constructed by Miller Anderson Limited two streets from the Adelaide railway station? Would this transfer deprive the large numbers of people who travel by rail, including interstate travellers, of postal facilities at their destination and cause serious inconvenience? What is the reason for the transfer?
– I do not know whether the Postmaster-General intends to transfer the post office to which the honorable senator has referred. I will refer the honorable senator’s question to the Postmaster-General and ask him to supply the information to the honorable senator direct.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Has the Minister yet had an opportunity to consider the report on deceptive packages which was prepared for the Government of Victoria by a magistrate, Mr. Cuthill? Do customs officers exercise any surveillance over packaging of goods which are imported, especially as to whether such packaging is deceptive or not?
– We have no jurisdiction over deceptive packaging within Australia itself.I do not know whether the honorable senator had the opportunity of watching the Australian Broadcasting Commission programme at the week-end on which an eminent packaging executive and the president of the Victorian Consumers Association discussed this matter. Various packages were displayed during this television programme, and it was most interesting to see what the consumers’ representative considered to be deceptive packaging and to hear the real reasons why that type of packaging was used. In many cases, the packages were not deceptive although I am not saying that there is no deceptive packaging in Australia. So far as I am aware, the packaging of imported goods does not come within the jurisdiction of the Department of Customs and Excise. It would be the contents of the cases which would be in question and we rarely open cases except when the imports are spirituous liquors or goods of that type. I will make inquiries but I do not think the packaging of imported goods within the concept of the question asked by the honorable senator, comes within the jurisdiction of the Department of Customs and Excise.
– I direct a question to the Minister assisting the Prime Minister in relation to Commonwealth activities in education. I preface my question by referring to the sit-down protest last week by students of the University of Melbourne against what the chancellor of the university, Sir Arthur Dean, has described as the deplorable situation of the university library.is the Government aware of the acute problems facing the University of Melbourne in providing adequate library facilities for students? Has the Government or the Australian Universities Commission received any requests from the university for assistance for this purpose? Will the Minister confer with the Universities Commission with a view to taking urgent steps to relieve what appears to be a critical shortage of funds for the provision of library space, books and staff at the university?
– I think it would be quite improper for the Commonwealth Government to interfere in the internal administration of the University of Melbourne or any other university by trying to tell the authorities how they were to use funds that were made available to them. What the Commonwealth Government does is to get recommendations from the Universities Commission as to capital grants for additions or improvements to universities, and as to grants for recurrent running expenses. The Commonwealth Government examines those recommendations and if it accepts them, it then provides the Commonwealth’s share of that money for the use of the universities concerned. It is not the function of the Commonwealth Government to move in and say, “ You must spend this money in this direction or some other direction “. As far as I know, the Commonwealth Government has received no request from the University of Melbourne in regard to this matter, nor would we receive such a request from the Universities Commission because the particularization of these amounts would,I think, be out of our field.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the attention of the Leader of the Government been directed to the fate that befell two of Labour’s leaders at the week-end when one, Alderman Jones, was returned with an overwhelming majority as Lord Mayor of Brisbane and the other, the Premier of Tasmania, Mr. Reece, was given a record-breaking vote at the Tasmanian State elections? Does the Leader of the Government know that both gentlemen are members of the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party? Will he say in what way the description “ faceless “ could be applied to either of these gentlemen?
– I realize that Senator Hendrickson can take comfort from what has happened in Brisbane and Tasmania. I think the honorable senator is whistling in the graveyard, however, if he assumes from these results that there will be a similar result in the next federal elections.
(Question No. 25.)
Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers to Senator McClelland’s questions: -
(Question No. 47.)
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
– The following answer is now supplied: -
(Question No. 28.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers: -
Three officers were brought before courts martial -
(Question No. 60.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
What is the Department of Labour and National Service doing to overcome the shortage of apprentices - (a) through liaison with Slate apprenticeship and technical education authorities through the Australian Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, and (b) otherwise?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answers: -
The Australian Apprenticeship Advisory Committee has given much time to the whole problem. New attitudes to age of entry to apprenticeship, length of apprenticeship, content of training courses, &c, have emerged and these have been met with practical responses from technical education and apprenticeship authorities. The committee has also been working towards the production of more statistical data on apprenticeship and on a uniform basis.
The department has held discussions at the national level with both sides of industry and the slate authorities in regard to the engineering, electrical and building trades. These discussions have led to more flexible apprenticeship arrangements, particularly in respect of shortened terms for boys wilh higher educational qualifications. There has also been general acceptance that the determining factor in the number of apprentices employers may engage should bc the employers’ ability to provide adequate training Further national conferences are planned and will include the printing trades.
In the engineering and electrical trades, a special scheme for the training of lads of seventeen lo twenty years of age has been evolved. Lads are apprenticed for an effective three to three and a half years with twenty weeks’ continuous technical college training in the first year. These special courses were introduced in New South Wales and South Australia last year and in Queensland this year; they cover fitting and machining, electrical trades and motor mechanics. Technical education authorities and employers who have taken lads speak highly of the arrangements. The Commonwealth has provided financial assistance to encourage resort lo the scheme.
Commonwealth financial aid has also been made available to open up apprenticeship opportunities in the engineering and electrical trades, and more recently the building trades, in country areas. Already employers are receiving assistance in respect of more than 160 additional apprentices they have taken on, and the application of the scheme is steadily expanding.
There arc encouraging indications that the apprenticeship intake for 1964 will be significantly higher than in 1963, though this will not be reflected in the output of tradesmen until three lo five years time. Moreover, in some Slates, and in some trades, insufficient lads are coming forward to fill the apprenticeship vacancies available. Apart from stimulating training for skill within Australia, the Government has of course always placed a strong emphasis on skilled workers in the migration intake with special emphasis on those trades in which shortages are most serious.
Currently the department is having discussions with the A.C.T.U. and relevant unions and the appropriate employer organizations in relation to government proposals lo relieve the more acute tradesmen shortages. These proposals arc aimed at supplementing the existing methods of producing tradesmen by the accelerated training of young mcn and adults who are desirous of being trained and who are suitable for training in these trades. The adoption of these proposals will not mean any slackening of the department’s efforts to increase the apprenticeship intake.
(Question No. 84.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
Army’s plan to lake over, as a train fire range, 12,000 to 14,000 acres of thickly timbered hilly country at Tungkillo in South Australia?
– The Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers: -
(Question No. 85.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice -
– The Minister for Air has supplied the following answers: -
Air in Australia informed of the progress made in the development of this aircraft. He will be required to provide advice to the Department of Air on manning training and support equipment requirements connected with this aircraft as they are developed in the United States Air Force. (b) No. (c)Group-Captain Spurgeon is a highly qualified and experienced bomber pilot. His most recent appointment was that of Commanding Officer Bomber Squadron at R.A.A.F. Amberley and prior to this appointment he commanded No. 1 (Bomber) Squadron. (d) The cost to Australia will comprise allowances whilst the officer is seconded as project manager. These are assessed at approximately £3,500 per annum. In addition his fares to and from the United States will cost approximately £A800.
(Question No. 99.)
asked the Minis ter representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Is it a fact that in past years taxpayers assessed for provisional tax, who found difficulty in meeting their full liability by the due date, were able to arrange to pay by instalments without penalty until as late as 15th June, but that in Victoria, this year, extensions will not be granted without penalty beyond 1st June; if so, what is the reason for this change, particularly in respect of the extension for the provisional tax component?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer: -
Section 206 of the Income Tax Assessment Act authorises the Commissioner of Taxation to grant extensions of time for payment, or permit payment to be made by such instalments and within such time as he considers the circumstances warrant. Where a taxpayer is unable to meet his current year’s assessment by the due date, it is the practice of the Taxation Office to grant an extension of time for payment or to permit payment by instalments in those cases where the reasons submitted by the taxpayer warrant such action. Each case is considered on its merits and the extended time for payment could be to a date before or after 1st June depending on the circumstances of the case.
As a general rule no distinction is made between taxpayers liable to pay provisional tax and other classes of taxpayers except that in the former cases attention may be drawn to the right to vary provisional tax. The present policy of the Taxation Commissioner regarding additional tax for late payment is no different from that followed last year.
(Question No. 102.)
asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers are as follows:- 1 and 2. I have studied a varbatim report of Dr. de Ocampo’s address and I have noted the statements referred to by the honorable senator.
(Question No. 105.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows: -
The statistics required by the honorable senator arc not at present available. The Australian Universities Commission has asked the universities for the information but it will be some time before complete figures are to hand.
(Question No. 109.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers: -
Darwin Town Area Leases Ordinance 1947- 1963. A lessee who has not completed the building covenants of his lease cannot mortgage his interest without the consent of the Administrator. Upon completion of the building covenants, consent of the Administrator is not required.
Crown Lands Ordinance 1931-1963. The Administrator’s consent is required before a lessee of any lease granted under litis Ordinance can mortgage his interest.
Special Purposes Leases Ordinance 1953-1963. The Administrator’s consent is required before a lessee can mortgage his interest.
Church Lands Leases Ordinance 1947-1963.
There is no provision in the Ordinance relating to a mortgage and a lessee would have a common law right to deal with his interest in this way.
Agricultural Development Leases Ordinance 1956-1963. The Administrator’s consent is required before a lessee can mortgage his interest.
(Question No. 111.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers: -
(Question No. 113.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
If such disclosures are not subject to any limitation, but at the discretion of the head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization -
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1, 2, & 3. The functions of the security service are set out in section 5 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization Act, 1956. The discretions given to the Director-General by section 5 (i) of the act are exercised by the DirectorGeneral in the particular circumstances of any given case according to the requirements of security, and not otherwise.
(Question No. 119.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows: - 1 and 2. The problem of the death of woodland eucalypts is one which has been developing over the years as a result of several factors. Firstly, many shade trees in grazing areas have become mature or post mature in the last thirty to forty years while the activities of man, rabbits, and grazing animals have meant that there has been little natural regeneration. These trees which are past their prime are more susceptible to fungal attack and are less able to resist attack by a wide variety of native insects. The other important factor has been that over the last twenty years or so the climate in south-eastern Australia has been distinctly different from average, particularly in respect of having higher rainfall. These climatic conditions have favoured the attack of eucalypts by a series of native insect pests. It should be emphasized that the trees are not being killed by a new disease or by some introduced insect pest. Officers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Division of Entomology have been investigating the situation but it is still too early to indicate what measures should be adopted. It is unlikely that insecticides will provide an answer to the problem because of their cost and difficulty of application, although it may be possible to use them for treating individual trees. However, whatever remedial action is taken the problem will be mainly one of providing for the replacement of woodland trees, many of which are well past their prime. This problem is one for action by State forestry departments. The research being undertaken by the Division of Entomology will help indicate the factors to be taken into consideration when deciding what tree species should be selected as replacements.
(Question No. 122.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
Are Indonesian officers still being trained with Australian army officers in Australia?
– The Minister for the Army has provided the following answer: -
Two Indonesian officers are attending the 1963-64 staff college course at Queenscliff which commenced in June, 1963, and will conclude in December next.
(Question No. 126.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is the salary payable to Professor Hanna Neumann, who has been appointed professor and head of the new Department of Pure Mathematics at the Australian National University’s School of
General Studies, comparable to the salary payable to a male professor and head of a department of similar status?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows: -
I have been informed that Professor Neumann’s salary is the same as that which would be paid to a male professor and head of a department of similar status.
Debate resumed from 15th April (vide page 660), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The bill proposes amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1932-63 and contains five schedules. Complementary to the bill is a series of machinery amendments to the customs tariffs affecting other countries. For convenience, I intend to deal at this stage with the Customs Tariff Bill, the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Bill, the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill (No. 1), and the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Bill.
The schedules under consideration deal with quite a wide range of items which have been the subject of investigation and report by the Special Advisory Authority and the Tariff Board. To make a full examination of all the matters that have been before the authority and the board would require a tremendous amount of time. Each of the items in its own sphere is of great importance to the expanding Australian economy. The first Schedule provides for temporary duties on safflower seed and soya bean oils. The main industry concerned with the importation of these oils is the paint industry, which uses from 60 to 70 per cent, of them. The blending of oils with other materials in the manufacture of paint is a traditional practice. Although synthetic paints are being developed, oil-based paints with pigments seem to be the most durable. The Special Advisory Authority has therefore given very close consideration to the importation of safflower seed and soya bean oils. In 1961-62, 724,000 gallons of safflower seed oil and 400,000 gallons of soya bean oil, making a total of 1,124,000 gallons, were imported. Imports rose in 1962-63 to 730,000 gallons of safflower seed oil and 720,000 gallons of soya bean oil, a total of 1,450,000 gallons, being an increase of over 300,000 gallons. The report of the Special Advisory Authority stated that it appeared likely from imports in the first three months of 1963-64 that 1,420,000 gallons of safflower seed oil and 144,000 gallons of soya bean oil, a total of 1,564,000 gallons, would be imported during the current financial year. There is a steady increase in the demand for these oils and it appears that safflower seed oil has become dominant over soya bean oil in this field.
The authority has found it necessary to make recommendations for alterations in the tariff and protection, but has made an exception on representations by Marrickville Margarine Proprietary Limited, which is concerned only with edible oil. The authority stated that table margarine recently developed in Australia was produced from safflower seed oil and that the grade of oil required was much higher than that which was currently available in Australia, so any duties imposed on oil of that grade would not help Australian crushers. I hope that Australian crushers of safflower seed will take up the challenge. Most other primary industries are more and more taking the advice of agricultural research authorities, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, in an effort to improve the quality and standard of their products. The Special Advisory Authority drew attention to the fact that Australian crushers had asked that increased duties should be imposed on soya bean oil as well as on safflower seed oil. He stated -
Having regard to the fact that imports of soya bean oil, in recent months, have fallen, and also the fact that the overseas prices for this oil seem to be rising, rather than falling, there would be very little justification for imposing increased duties on soya bean oil if this product was considered in isolation.
Mention was made also of a large measure of substitutability between soya bean oil and safflower seed oil. “ Substitutability “ is an interesting word. This is the first time that I have come across it but the special authority used it. He mentioned that it was said that soya bean oil could replace safflower seed oil in 60 per cent. of its applications. Evidently there is very little difference in the end product of these two seeds. From what I could gather safflower seed oil seems to have replaced the old linseed oil which used to be the basic oil used by paint manufacturers. Evidently the development of safflower oil is a more economical proposition than the development of linseed oil. The special authority recommended that the duty should commence to operate when the f.o.b. price of soya bean oil falls below 9s. 6d. per gallon.
The next item that comes up for consideration is the matter of synthetic organic pigments. As this is a very complicated and technical matter there is nol very much that I intend to say, other than to stress the fact that when the Tariff Board made its report in 1960 it disclosed that there were three Australian manufacturers of synthetic organic pigments. Since then imperial Chemical industries of Australia and New Zealand Limited has commenced production. Only two companies subscribe to the request for the imposition of the temporary duty. A third manufacturer - Industrial Chemical Products - supplied the Department of Trade with all the information it sought, but did not take any part in the inquiry. This company entered into an arrangement with an overseas manufacturer and is now known as I.C.P.-Hoechst Proprietary Limited.
The Australian manufacturers estimated the total Australian demand for the goods under reference to be about 2,400,000 lb. per annum. If this is correct it would appear that the Australian manufacturers are supplying less than 10 per cent, of the demand in the unprotected range and about 25 per cent, of the overall demand. It would appear that there is a lot of scope for the development of the pigment industry in Australia and that the protection being offered to the industry under this legislation will provide the necessary incentive.
It is to be hoped also that monopolization of the production of synthetic pigments will not develop as has been the case in other instances where synthetics have challenged a natural product. I hope that the Special Advisory Authority will find some way to review the position in order to ascertain whether the protection will allow a monopoly to develop. Tn another place the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly), when debating this very matter, said that we have to rely on a change in human nature to get people to play the game. That, of course, is my view and it is also the view of many of my colleagues. Human nature, in the final analysis, gets back to the jungle and the only way in which civilized people can live together in a community is for them to live and let live and respect the rights of others. If they are to revert to the law of the fowl yard where the chief rooster has the first peck - that is what monopolists want - we will have to alter our attitude towards the people who exploit the weaknesses of human nature. If they get the opportunity (o create a monopoly they will undoubtedly exploit the public. I hope that the recommendations of the Special Advisory Authority will assist the industry and that, also, a very close watch will be kept on any trend towards a monopoly.
The next subject with which this legislation deals is timber. This opens up a tremendously wide subject of great importance, not only to Tasmanians but also to practically all the eastern States and the coastal areas of Western Australia where the rainfall is suitable for the nurture and production of millable forests. It is a great pity, of course, that geographically, climatically and geologically Australia happens to be the worst-off of any continent in its production of timber. This subject must, of course, be given very close attention by instrumentalities responsible for the continuity of future supplies of timber. Over the years we have faced the threat that I have mentioned previously.
First of all the grazier went in with the axe and ring-barked hundreds of thousands of acres of valuable timber. He did not do this merely for the sake of destruction but because he thought that he would receive greater production from his soil by relieving it of the trees that were draining the nourishment necessary for the production of grass. These men worked hard and long and built up our primary industries but, in the overall picture, they caused great wastage and their actions bordered on vandalism. As a result Australia has started off at a disadvantage compared with virtually every other continent - particularly Europe and the United States.
Authorities have neglected to foster the planting or regeneration of forests. As we all know, our forest and parklands carry placards urging us to protect our green countryside, but fires ravage our timber lands. With their limited resources, forestry departments are able only in certain supervised areas to prevent fires from laying waste one of our most priceless assets. Because of this a very close investigation should be made into the whole of the timber industry.
The Tariff Board, in its report on timber dated 6th September, 1963, directed attention to the need and made certain recommendations. I point out that the report was not ordered to be printed until 27th February, 1964. The board’s first hearing in relation to this reference was in Sydney on the 26th and 27th Sepember, 1962. The board subsequently sat in Perth on 9th October, 1962, in Melbourne during October, 1962, and in Canberra during November of the same year. It will be noticed that a considerable period of time elapsed between the presentation of cases for and against the imposition of a protective tariff and the submission of the Board’s report.
It is of interest to note that an argument has developed about the difficult economic problem of imposing a permanent tariff to preclude unfair competition with an Australian industry and the advantages or disadvantages of quantitative restrictions. Arguments can be advanced for and against the use of quantitative restrictions, but of all the industries to which such arguments may be applied the timber industry affords the best example. We suffer from a chronic shortage of timber in proportion to the area of our country, our population potential and our standard of living which requires the use of timber in a high percentage of good quality homes, in the furniture used in those homes, and in an endless number of byproducts of the tree. We must be very careful to ensure that our main objective is that the market is supplied with timber of the highest quality possible at the most economic price.
A case has been presented both for and against the restriction of imports of timber by the application of increased duties or quantitative restrictions. Traditionally Aus tralia has been a big importer of Oregon pine from Canada and the United States of America. The report of the Tariff Board to which I have referred states -
During the five years ended June, 1962, imports of Douglas Fir -
That is, Oregon pine - came from Canada, the United States of America and New Zealand in the ratio 54:45:1 respectively.
Douglas Fir accounted for 47 per cent, of all timber imports in 1960. In that year, which was also the peak year for Australian production of sawn timber . . ,
Oregon pine has been used traditionally by our building industry. It is a good, soft timber which is resistant to many termites and which seems to mature very well in the building. There is no doubt that it is a fine timber.
On the other hand, we have witnessed a development of our own softwood industry. To drive or walk, or even to ride on horseback as I have done, through the forests surrounding Canberra is a source of joy. Even to fly over those softwood forests is a pleasant experience. The development of these forests close to Canberra must make an impact on government policy and must tend to lead the Government to ensure that greater assistance is given to the States not only for the regeneration of their eucalypt forests but also for the planting of softwood forests. Because of the period that elapses between the planting of a tree and the time when it reaches maturity, the development of softwood forests has not seemed to be an economic proposition. Although small dividends are received from thinnings over the years, so many other activities have been competing for the investment of money that forestry activities have not been as popular on the stock exchange as they might have been. We all recall what happened in New Zealand in the 1930’s. I can recall the scandals that were associated with the flotation of forestry companies in the country round about 1924 and 1925. But the trees that were planted at that time have proved to be a valuable asset to New Zealand. Of course, we in Australia are importing a proportion of those softwoods.
It must be remembered that when the Tariff Board presented its report the timber industry was passing through a very bad period. The board listed the following among the main reasons that were advanced in favour of quantitative restrictions on imports -
Honorable senators will recall that representations were made here and in other places at that time for some amelioration of the employment situation in the timber industry, lt was claimed that imports were aggravating the problems of local companies - that the imported timber was being sold competitively and was displacing sales of Australian timber. It will be recalled that reciprocal trade agreements had been made with Malaya, Borneo and other timberproducing countries, and until the situation settled down it was difficult to know the points from which the strongest compeltition was coming. Importers of timber said that the imported product was being used mainly for purposes for which Australian limber was not suitable.
Australian millers also tended to mill poor quality material if the protection extended to them was too high. I think that statement is borne out by the fact that shortly after the war there was a high and rising demand for homes, and millers in various parts of the country produced some very poor timber which gained for them a bad reputation. I feel that the same basic element of human nature that was referred to earlier .vill encourage that type of thing, unless it is checked. The facts of life now are that millers have to produce timber of a high quality to be used in the home of a man who not only has invested his life’s savings in the dwelling but also will be paying off the mortgage on it for the rest of his life. The millers are obliged morally to give the public the choice of the very best quality timber that can be obtained. I am very pleased to see, in looking at random samples of timber on jobs or in stacks, that the quality of the limber has improved out of all recognition compared wilh what the builders and other people using Australian timbers were getting when the market was heavily under supplied.
The employees in the timber industry should be protected. They are skilled men. The safety precautions that are imposed in mills are observed as far as possible, but the risk to life and limb in this industry is very high. The employees who are engaged in the depths of the forests in the felling and logging of timber work under very hard conditions. The people who transport the timber from the forests into the mills are skilled drivers and experienced bushmen. They have hazards to contend with. The various people associated with the breaking up of the logs in the milling stage are also skilled employees. In my view, they are far too important a section of the community to be subjected to the uncertainty that seems to bc inherent in the timber industry. The fluctuations in demand are bad enough. At the present time, we are seeing a building boom. The number of homes that are being constructed, according to the figures that were quoted recently, is as high as it has ever been. This is a very good sign. It shows that the building industry is recovering from ils slump. The boom in the timber industry will continue while there is this demand and the quality of the timber supplied is kept high.
The question of economics is also important. The millers have to get their price for their timber, lt is my view that the Tariff Board and the advisers of the Government have been very wise to retain the policy of quantitative restrictions. This is an industry which must be played by ear, as it were, from time to time. If the Australian millers can increase their output and the Australian building industry can increase its demands, they should be allowed within certain limits to go their hardest and to use all the facilities they have available to them to expand the market for timber. But, if the market is running short of timbers, the Australian people, for whose comfort and convenience the industry supplies its product, should not be made to suffer because of man-made shortages. It is the great responsibility of the Tariff Board and the Department of Customs and Excise to watch the interests of the Australian citizen who is the end user of this product. In that way, they are able to soften the blow of the jungle law that seems to operate when one section of the community is protected by tariffs and the result is shown to be unfair to the rest.
Speaking in another place against quantitative restrictions, an honorable member said, that they gave some merchants the opportunity of having supplies of timber when there was a general shortage in the community, and that these merchants put up their prices to a tremendous extent. There must be some way by which the department can obtain information from the timber associations, or the people who have the interests of the industry at heart, so that it can clamp down on these men and say to them: “If you have this surplus and you are selling it at a high profit, thereby increasing the costs to the people, you had better watch your p’s and q’s. When the quotas for imports of timber are determined next time you will get a decent sort of a jolt.”
I believe that whatever protections can be reasonably given to the Australian timber industry should be given in view of the fact that the timber is used for the promotion of the comfort and welfare of Australian home builders. Those protections are warranted, and we on this side of the Senate support the proposals contained in this legislation. However, I feel that the ball is in the court of the Tariff Board and that it should not allow bulling, stagging and bearing of the market as is being done on the stock exchanges in Australia and similar circumstances which have previously operated such as demand altering and price altering to bring about a shortage of timber. I do hope that that trend will be carefully watched in the interests of the home builders in this country. It is not much use the Commonwealth Government giving a £250 subsidy to young people to assist them to build a home if some cunning gent, is going to tie the market up and charge an extra £250 for timber that is to be used in the building of the home, and the furniture for it.
The timber industry is an industry in which Tasmania, particularly, is interested. Tasmania is most fortunate in having a high proportion of its land capable of growing good timber. I would like to see much more money coming from the Commonwealth Government to the Tasmanian Forestry Department to allow it to plant more softwoods. I believe that the closest supervision should be kept on the paper industry to see that every millable tree is used for milling and that only the scraggy ends and the other unusable parts of the trees are used for the manufacture of paper and paper products. That, of course, is a matter for the State instrumentality. There is an urgent need for much more nation-wide interest to be taken in the timber industry, because we are in the unfortunate position of having timber resources that are small in relation to the area of this continent.
The Third Schedule deals with such widely ranging items as pillow cases and certain weedicides and insecticides. There is no doubt that weedicides and insecticides are making a tremendous contribution to our economy in the primary industries, by eradicating many types of weeds and insects. If it is at all possible for local manufacturers of these products to produce them economically and competitively, every encouragement should be given to them. The Tariff Board remarked that there was a tendency towards the dumping of these commodities in Australia. I would like to acquaint the Senate with the section of the Tariff Board’s report which reads as follows: -
On 23rd October, 1962, the Minister for Customs and Excise forwarded to the Board references concerned with the application of Section 7 of the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act 1961 to imports of PDCB and ODCB.
Those are the technical terms for para.dichlorobenzene and orthodichlorobenzene The report continues -
The provisions of Section 7 and other relevant sections of the Act are set out in Appendix C to this report.
Further down the report states -
From the evidence, the Board has concluded that imported PDCB and ODCB are quivalent to locally produced material, and that most shipments of both chemicals have been at prices below normal values obtaining in the country of export at the time of export. The degree of dumping varied considerably. It has been as high as 25 per cent, of the normal value in the case of some British and French exports.
The evidence also casts doubt on the accuracy of current domestic values declared on some invoices, particularly for German material exported through Denmark.
It is very pleasing to see that the Tariff Board is right on to people who arc prepared to dump their goods in Australia and thereby undermine our local industries. The board’s recommendation wilh regard to weedicides and insecticides has brought to the notice of the Parliament the fact that dumping has been going on, and the board has recommended the necessary protection.
The board’s reports deal also wilh knives with forged stainless steel blades, iron or steel tube and pipe fittings and electric lamps, all of which are most important to some of our new young industries. Those industries, I am pleased to see, are being given protection in their teething stages. However, I hope that there will be sufficient elasticity in dealing with the problems involved in encouraging industry to grow here to ensure that the Australian people are given a fair go and that there will not be any exploitation under the cloak of tariff protection. We have to trust the Tariff Board to do that job. No one else is capable of doing it and no one else understands the problems associated with it so well. The matter is in the board’s hands. It has a very important responsibility to the Parliament and to the Australian people. We never hear any great criticism of the Tariff Board’s reports and we certainly never hear any criticism of the board’s basic integrity and honesty. That is a great thing to be said about an instrumentality such as the Tariff Board, which is dealing in this jungle of which I previously spoke. The board does a very good job.
The only other Tariff Board report with which I wish to deal relates to syringes and needles.
– Does it deal with syringes used on racehorses?
– Hypodermic syringes may be used on racehorses, but 1 wish to deal with the manufacture of synthetic syringes. Tuta Products Proprietary Limited in Victoria is producing synthetic syringes, but only as a by-product or a sideline. There are 60 employees of this firm producing plastic syringes. The Tariff Board’s report states that Tuta estimated Australia’s requirements of plastic disposable syringes at between 5,000,000 and 50,000,000 per annum, while A. E. Stansen and Company Proprietary Limited estimated the annual demand for nondisposable syringes at approximately 500,000. The report states-
Other witnesses were unable to specify a definite figure but suggested that in favorable circumstances the increased use of plastic disposable syringes could cause demand to rise as high as 20,000,000 per annum.
It is on that point that I would like to say a few words. In hospitals where many injections of penicillin and various antibiotics and other health-giving and diseaseresisting venines and vaccines arc given the use of the syringe has increased but, with that increased use, there has come about a greater need for hygiene. It is necessary to ensure that injections given by means of these syringes are completely hygienic. Every time a doctor or qualified sister uses a syringe, it has to be returned to the autoclave for sterilization.
– Do they not throw them away?
– I am talking about the old orthodox metallic syringes. Because of the time element and because every syringe has to be carefully handled by a highly qualified sister, the cost to the hospital of using the metallic syringe is out of all proportion to the work it actually does. Now the plastic syringe is more or less the new order of the day. The manufacturing chemist takes a plastic syringe and fills it with the specified dose, under supervision. The syringe goes to the hospital, where it is used and then disposed of. I think everything possible should be done to enable all bulk users of these syringes to buy them at a price which will allow them to dispose of the syringes after first use. That applies to the needles, too.
– Are the needles also of plastic?
– No. They are very sharp and are made of a special metal. There are various sizes of needles and the finer a needle is the more expensive it becomes. We must take into consideration that the Tariff Board can have an important influence on the economics of hospitals.
I would like to see this matter reviewed because this report was inconclusive in my opinion. The board did not have witnesses from the hospitals. The witnesses included a number of bulk users whose attitude seemed to be that it was not really their business. Those who really put up a case for tariff protection were the representatives of a firm employing 60 people at Portland in Victoria. These people had a fair case but they were not engaged in full-time production. They complained that the cost of the basic materials to make the synthetic or plastic syringes was so high that it made their prices higher. They also complained of the effect on prices of competition from Japanese needles. The point is that I do not think the Tariff Board really saw the implications of the costs involved in its findings and the effect on the future distribution of the various vaccines throughout the country by health authorities. I hope that the board will treat this as more or less a quantitative restriction to be reviewed at an early date. I hope it will have another look at this matter with a view to lightening the work of highly trained sisters not only so that hospital costs will be reduced, but also so that they may gain beneficial results from advances in scientific knowledge.
Let us consider the treatment given to children from the most tender age. Only yesterday I had personal experience of the treatment that is given for the prevention of poliomyelitis, chicken pox, smallpox and other diseases to which children are prone. I believe the minimum profit should be derived from such treatment commensurate with the highest level of efficiency. The Tariff Board could have quite an important influence on these matters and I hope that a particularly close watch will be maintained on the relevant industry.
I think I have referred to all the items covered by the bills except kitchen knives and table knives. I have no comment to make on them except that the Opposition’s policy favours the encouragement of production in Australia of table and kitchen knives of the design known as the Waterloo bolster. Generally speaking, all the recommendations under discussion are in line with the policy of the Australian Labour Party to protect, nurture and develop Australian industries wherever possible in order to create opportunities for employment. We want to create an image in international trade which will show that Australian scientists, workmen and producers generally have the intelligence, the brainpower and the know-how to produce goods that will serve an appropriate purpose in the community. I commend the bill to honorable senators.
.- The probability is that if Australia did not engage in international trade - if she did not sell her surplus products overseas and did not buy on foreign markets - we would not be discussing customs tariff bills. The Opposition realizes how important this legislation is to the manufacturers and to the workers of Australia. We say that Australia cannot progress and become the nation we want to see unless we can sell our surplus goods and buy from other countries the goods we need in our manufacturing industries. If the bills before the Senate are examined, it will probably be discovered that very few of the items mentioned appear in the shopping list of a typical Australian housewife. Nevertheless, as I have said, the legislation is important.
I remind honorable senators that a conference of the signatories to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is now being held in Europe. This conference has been in progress for four or five weeks and it will sit for several weeks more. About 41 countries are represented and they are discussing more than 100 items. As I understand them, the discussions associated with Gatt are for the purpose of lowering tariffs that operate now in the various countries concerned and to determine whether the trade between those countries can be expanded. I am unable to say what the outcome of the conference will be. As a matter of fact very little information is emerging from the conference and at the moment, I do not know whether Australian industries will be affected by the discussions.
Countries may be classified according to their industries. Some countries are regarded as being highly industrialized. They are countries which have a wealth of resources and the machinery to convert their resources into manufactured goods. It is generally found that their standard of living is higher than that in less highly industrialized countries. Then there are other countries which have some industrialization and are fairly wealthy in natural resources. Another group of nations falls into a different category. These nations have little industrialization and, unfortunately, in some cases their resources are not extensive either.
I think the purpose of Gatt is a good one if it can be established in conference that trade barriers can be eliminated by reducing customs tariff charges. If it can be agreed that such charges are a hindrance to international trade, certainly some good will be achieved. The policy of the Australian Labour Party on customs tariffs is simple. Labour believes in effective tariff protection for Australian industries and import embargoes in favour of those industries. It is also stated in the policy of the Australian Labour Parly that (here should be no tariff preference for another country except upon an equitable reciprocal basis.
When we deal with amendments to the customs tariff bills which come before the Senate from time to time, we appreciate how difficult it is for any political party to lay down in concrete form its policy on customs duties. Although I have not read it anywhere, one may deduce from the legislation passing through the Senate at various times that the Liberal Party has a policy in regard to customs duties.
The Tariff Board operates mainly when the Minister refers something to it for investigation. After fully examining the subject matter referred to it by the Minister, a report is furnished to the Parliament. I examine all the Tariff Board reports that I have time to examine because I think that their importance warrants such an examination. The Government’s policy is to be found in the reports.
There is also operating a Special Advisory Authority which was established in 1961 or early in 1962. It is a tariff authority which can quickly investigate cases referred to it by the Minister without having to call evidence and without having to devote time to examining witnesses. The authority furnishes a report as to what should be done in respect of customs tariffs. I think that the authority has done a very good job. It has functioned satisfactorily to date, and I hope that it continues to give immediate relief to industry when it is required.
The popular conception of tariff protection is that there is erected a high tariff wall within which the manufacturers of a country may pursue their industry with complete immunity from foreign or outside competition; but we know that that is impossible these days. No industry can hide behind high tariff walls and expect to pursue its operations without considering the other industries in the Commonwealth and without giving some thought to their operations.
In the Commonwealth we have a large quantity of excess materials. We have bauxite, some of which is being exported at the present time. We also have coal, wool, meat, wheat, dairy products and other commodities available for export. We must have goods to sell on foreign markets if we are to be able to buy the goods that we require. I understand that about 30 per cent, of our imports are required for the manufacturing industries. It is interesting to note how our export trade is faring and to see who are our best customers.
New Zealand’s purchases amounted to £62,800,000 for the financial year which ended in March last, and red China’s to £62,450,000. Of course, these arc days when countries must trade with each other. The Australian Labour Party has no objection to that. The United States of America is Australia’s third best customer, and to the end of March last the value of the goods sold to that country was £110,000,000. There appears to be a race between Japan and Britain to become our best customer. To the end of March last Japan purchased £185,000,000 worth of goods, and Britain also purchased £185,000,000 worth. These are factors that should he considered when we are dealing with tariffs.
I read in the press the other day about a Japanese cartel operating within the Commonwealth. One might say, “ This has very little lo do with the bills wc are considering “, but we are dealing with custom tariffs and if a cartel is operating in respect of goods exported from Japan to Australia it concerns the Commonwealth and this Parliament. The newspaper report stated -
An Australian chemical manufacturer yesterday claimed that Japanese chemical producers and the Japanese Government were operating a chemical export cartel.
The cartel enabled the Japanese industry to capture export markets by selling chemicals below domestic prices and often below the Japanese production cost.
The manufacturer, C.S.R. Chemicals Proprietary Limited, was appearing at a Tariff Board inquiry into the section of the Australian chemical industry producing acetyl products.
C.S.R. said that manufacturers’ cartels were an integral part of the Japanese chemical industry, and worked closely wilh the Japanese Ministry for International Trade Development. ]f the Japanese manufacturers are able to have their goods, which are to be exported to other countries, subsidized by the Japanese Government, that gives them a distinct advantage over Australian manufacturers. Evidence like that should be placed before the Tariff Board, and I have not the slightest doubt that the Tariff Board would take cognizance of it when it was making its decisions in respect of tariffs.
There are certain industries operating in the various States which are of great importance to them. For instance, in Queensland we have the sawmilling industry, which a few years ago constantly employed 6,000 people, but I understand that the number has diminished considerably during recent years. Production of sawn timber in Australia in 1962 was less than in each year from 1951 to 1961. One finds that hard to believe, but if the Tariff Board has investigated the matter and found that to be the position, I am not going to dispute it. At page 31 of the Tariff Board’s report on the limber industry, which was furnished in September 1963, the board had this to say in regard to timber -
Most of the logs imported into Australia are admitted under By-law, under security, for use in the manufacture of plywood and veneer, at rates of Free (British Preferential Tariff) and 5 per cent, ad valorem (Most-Favoured-Nation). Most saw logs, on the other hand, arc dutiable at 7i per cent, ad valorem (British Preferential Tariff) and 25 per cent, ad valorem (MostFavouredNation).
Most of the imported logs come from Borneo and Sarawak, peeler logs being admitted free of duty and saw logs at 71 per cent, ad valorem from those countries.
In another part of the report the board said -
A group of North Queensland veneer manufacturers and also plywood and veneer producing members of the A.C.S. of New South Wales requested that Q.Rs. be imposed on peeler legs. This request was opposed by the Australian Plywood Board Limited, and importers of logs.
In view of the plywood industry’s increasing difficulties in obtaining log supplies and the importance of cost considerations lo plywood producers who must compete with substitute materials, the Board considers that the industry should have unrestricted access to peeler logs at the lowest available price. The Board proposes to recommend, therefore, that peeler logs be free of duty under the British Preferential Tariff and that the rates under other columns of the Tariff bc fixed at the lowest level consistent with international commitments.
When you realize where some of the timber is coming from you understand that Australia is not the great timber-producing country that most of us think she is. Wc find timber being imported from Canada, the United States of America, New Zealand, New Guinea, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, North Borneo, Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Nauru, Fiji and South Africa. Of course, not much timber may have been imported from those countries; nevertheless Australia does import, or has imported, timber from them.
– Are our timbers equal in quality to a lol of the limbers from those countries?
– We have in Australia many areas that are regarded as waste areas, with soils that do not grow grass lor sheep or cattle. I have always thought that some suitable timber of commercial value could be grown there. Comparatively little afforestation is taking place in Australia, compared with the potential for increasing our timber industry. It seems to me that we plant the trees that will grow the easiest. For instance, one can find pine forests between here and Sydney. Along the Australian coast one finds areas devoted to pine growing. However, I hove not seen many areas devoted to the growing of hardwoods. I am sure that in Queensland many square miles could be planted with oak, cedar and other woods that have a high value in the timber yards.
– Have we a timber that will compare with Oregon?
– No. I do nol think that in Australia there is a timber comparable with Oregon pine, which is an outstanding timber.
I have little more to say on this subject. The Opposition does not oppose the bills. I look forward to the Tariff Board doing its utmost - as I believe it does now - to protect Australian industry. The Commonwealth has a immigration policy under which it is bringing thousands of people into Australia every year. If wc are to continue with that policy, we must have industries here to offer employment. At present about 36 per cent, of Australia’s work force is engaged in factories, in the manufacturing industries. If we are to sustain a high level of employment we must afford our secondary industries as much protection as possible.
– in reply - The Opposition and the Government are in accord on the policy for the protection of Australian industry. Therefore, the matters raised by honorable senators opposite on these various reports are not controversial. Their comments prove that the reports have been studied. I believe that all governments have placed full reliance on the Tariff Board and its decisions as to the rates of protective duties necessary to safeguard efficient Australian industry. I was pleased to hear Senator O’Byrne pay a tribute to the Tariff Board for the manner in which it conducts its inquiries and for the way in which it accepts its responsibility by holding public inquiries at which everybody is able to give evidence on the matters currently before the board.
The policy in relation to by-law admission is written into the legislation. If a suitable equivalent product is not reasonably available in Australia, a product can be exempted and permitted concessional admittance under by-law. The antidumping and subsidy laws are written into the legislation to guide the department in this field. I want to refer briefly to dumping, because in another place during the course of the debate on these Tariff Board reports the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) raised some matters that I think should be replied to. He referred particularly to the Tariff Board’s report on paper and paperboards, dated 19th December, 1962. According to page 1093 of the House of Representatives “ Hansard “ for Wednesday, 15th April, 1964, he said -
We are now asked to approve an increase in the duties on paper and paperboards. What is the use of discussing them in this chamber? Last year, we discussed here, and approved, duties that seemed to me to be dangerously high. But, in some cases, the manufacturers believed that they ought to have even more protection, and they obtained it with the help of the Minister for Customs and Excise. I shall explain how this has been done. . . . The Tariff Board, in its report on paper and paperboards, stated that dumping of certain kinds of paper from particular countries was taking place, lt found that, in some cases, paper was being bought at dumping prices, but that this was not harming the Australian industry. That is not surprising, because the importer was Australian Paper Manufacturers Limited.
I find nothing sinister in the fact that a manufacturing firm takes the opportunity to establish beyond doubt to the Tariff Board that certain paper is being dumped1 into Australia. There is no better way of establishing that situation to the Tariff Board than by importing the paper and then being able to produce the documents and facts relating to if to the Tariff Board. I see nothing sinister in a manufacturer importing paper and using that evidence before the Tariff Board to show what is taking place. The honorable member for Wakefield went on to say -
The board found that dumping was taking place in a limited field. But the Minister for Customs and Excise issued dumping and subsidies notice No. 10, which proclaimed all classes of paper and paperboard as coming within the scope of the dumping legislation, including those classes of paper that the board had found were not subject to dumping here.
On page 38 of the Tariff Board’s report of the 19th December, 1962, the following appears: -
The evidence on exports to Australia from Scandinavian sources is not wholly conclusive. There was evidence that some Scandinavian exporters would be willing to reduce prices, and in some circumstances to reduce them below fair market values. Invoices for some past shipments appeared to provide prima facie evidence of dumping but, apart from one case, the information is not sufficiently reliable to support or deny claims that sales have been made to Australia at export prices less than fair market values.
The report continued -
The Board received no evidence which would indicate that there have been exports in Australia from European sources other than Sweden at export prices less than fair market values.
Earlier, the board stated -
A.P.M. submitted evidence regarding a particular shipment of kraft paper from Sweden in respect of which it obtained a rebate from the list price. The evidence submitted relating to that shipment indicates that the paper was sold to a person in Australia at an export price which was less than the fair market value of the goods. Since A.P.M. was the importer, injury if any was in the board’s view self-imposed and offset by a gain from the rebate paid to the company. There is, however, the possibility of import transactions of a similar nature by importers other than A.P.M. and the board considers that the administering department . . .
That is. the Department of Customs and Excise - . . should keep imports of kraft papers from Sweden under surveillance.
I mention these things to the Senate, because this evidence was taken in 1961. The Tariff Board’s report was made in 1962, and we have now - later than 1963 - taken certain action to which the honorable member for Wakefield objects. Surely he does not believe that in these matters the world stands still. The Tari.T Board did not say that there was not dumping; it said that there was inconclusive evidence. There was a particular case of dumping but there was inclusive evidence about other cases, and it warned the department to keep these matters under surveillance. This is what has been done.
The honorable member for Wakefield, as reported at page 1094, stated -
In spite of the board’s clear and unequivocal recommendation, the Minister is now imposing dumping duties on kraft paper imported from Austria. The legal justification relied on is a fact that (he action has been taken after a report by the Tariff Board, even though the board found that paper from Austria was not being dumped here.
That is not correct. The board said no such thing. The board said that at that stage, in 1961-62, there was no evidence. This is 1964. The department was of the opinion that this paper was being dumped. Being convinced of that, it took the appropriate action laid down in the act. The department declared the normal value of the particular class of paper. If the department has not established a normal value for paper from that country, it is empowered under the act to use a value from a third country which it believes would be comparable. The department applies that value tentatively until such time as the normal value can be established. The department had no normal value in respect of Austria. In this case the department used the Scandanavian price - the Scandanavian cartel price, if one likes to put it that way - as the tentative value, because it believed that such a price would closely approximate the normal value for Austria. But this was tentative. I am happy to say that the department received confirmation by cable that enables it to say that this paper was in fact being dumped in Australia. The department has not the actual normal value. When that figure is obtained, the department will J set about either charging additional duty to the importer or making a refund if too high a duty has been charged.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the matter of dumping which was raised in another place when this legislation was , being discussed. I had referred to some statements that had been made, one being that the Government was using dumping legislation to give added protection not granted by the Tariff Board. That is not so. Perhaps I could give a simple illustration to explain the effect of dumping legislation. The Tariff Board examines a case put to it and grants a certain amount of protection to an Australian industry on the basis of the evidence given. Let us assume that a certain type of paper is being imported into Australia valued at £60 a ton. After an examination the Tariff Board recommends that the duty necessary to protect the Australian industry against the paper being imported at that normal value of £60 a ton is £10 duty a ton. Then the country concerned, in order to overcome the effect of that impost of £ 1 0 a ton, drops its selling price from the normal value of £60 a ton to £50 a ton. The Government by means of dumping legislation, returns the position to the status quo as determined by the Tariff Board. An extra duty is not imposed. We have no power to impose an extra duty above that recommended by the Tariff Board. I want to make it quite clear that that is not the purpose of the dumping legislation. Dumping legislation has been used by all governments to protect industries and I think that Australian industry is entitled to be protected against unfair competition from goods being dumped or subsidized from overseas. That is the only purpose for which we use this legislation.
In relation to Gazette Notice No. 10 which has been discussed the department endeavoured to establish the normal value from the countries of origin in order to assist the importer as much as to assist the department. As an importer in past days
I know this side of the business. You get a quotation from overseas. Having first ascertained from your customs agent what the customs duty will be, you buy on that quotation. However, when the goods arrive you find they have been sold to you under the normal value and that the goods also attract dumping duty. You say to yourself, “ Well, I would not have bought the goods if I had known they were going to attract a dumping duty.” The department is trying to establish a normal value / so that an importer placed in that position can say to his customs agent, “ What is all the duty on paper from this country?”. The customs agent can reply, “ The duty is so much, as fixed by the Tariff Board “, or “ The normal value is so much.” If a 1 merchant buys below the normal value then he can expect to attract an additional dumping duty. If the importer contests the normal value and it can be established that the country concerned has, in fact, reduced its price, or that circumstances in that country have altered so that the normal value is lower, then, of course, the importer can seek redress. If he establishes his case the department will give him redress. If the matter is still in dispute the importer has the courts of law to protect him. He can contest the matter in a court of law and therefore is, in fact, protected.
I was referring to one or two other matters and I wish to quote again from the speech of the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly). He said-
In my opinion, the officers of the Department of Customs and Excise are dedicated to the protection of Australian industry and they pride themselves on this. They see it as their duty to collect the maximum duty. All their training is to this end. But this is surely wrong. They should administer the level of duty recommended by the Tariff Board and not try to increase it as they have certainly done in this case.
He is talking about a case in which dumping duties were imposed. The purpose of the Department of Customs and Excise is to apply rates of duty recommended by the Tariff Board and accepted by Parliament. The department has a duty to see that those rates are applied. It is nonsense to say that the department can apply any other rate of duty because it can not. The honorable member went on -
There is an aura of secrecy about the whole business that is positively frightening. When I wrote to the Minister expressing my concern about what is going on and asking to be informed of the effect of the action taken, I was told that the information was confidential.
That is not correct. I have turned up the correspondence in question and the only thing that the department refused to disclose was the name of the importer and the amount that the importer paid for his goods. Those matters are confidential between the importer and the department and cannot be disclosed.
– It is part of the evidence before the Tariff Board.
– I am not talking about the Tariff Board. I am talking about a member of this Parliament who wrote seeking certain information. The department answered every question he asked except that it did not supply the name of the customer and the amount he paid for his goods. Those matters are confidential between the customer and the department.
– I rise to a point of order. When I spoke earlier I directed attention to the fact that we were dealing with Customs Tariff Bill 1964 and the complementary bills relating to Canada, New Zealand and Papua and New Guinea. The Customs Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1964 deals with paper and paper board about which the Minister is speaking.
– I am merely referring to dumping duty and mentioning paper by way of illustration. We will be debating the bill relating to paper later. I do not wish to worry the Senate but I thought I should mention these matters that were raised by the honorable member for Wakefield. Further, on page 1095 of “ Hansard “ the honorable member is reported as follows: -
In a debate last year, I quoted from a letter in which the department refused by-law entry for a certain class of paper simply on the grounds that this would be detrimental to Australian Paper Manufacturers Limited. Evidently no inquiry was made as to whether this company made the product. The reply simply came back that Australian Paper Manufacturers Limited would be disadvantaged. Yet this company imports a lot of paper. Docs it apply to the Department of Customs and Excise for by-law entry of the paper it imports? Docs it apply for by-law admission of a class of paper on which its competitors pay full duty rates? Other importers do not know whether this is happening but there is a lot of suspicion in the trad’:.
The by-law procedure is simple. I am sure the honorable member who made that statement does “not understand the first step in the administration of these regulations. All applications for the by-law admission of commodities are judged by the one standard. There is no secrecy about the matter. The decision to admit goods under by-law is published in the Commonwealth “ Gazette “. Australian manufacturers may see what goods are to be admitted under by-law and accordingly may take steps to protect their own interests. There is no need for any suspicion. I repeat that the decision is published in the Commonwealth “ Gazette “ for all to see and no one person is treated differently from others. The honorable member asked -
What chance does the small man operating in the country have?
There should be no difficulty about any trader obtaining from the Department of Customs and Excise all the information he wants. The relevant application forms will be sent to anybody who writes to the department and states that he wishes to apply for the by-law entry of certain goods. The department will give him every assistance, be he a large trader or a small trader.
The honorable member for Wakefield concluded his speech with the following statement: -
In New Zealand, the Government has appointed an Ombudsman who is charged with the responsibility of seeing that the ordinary citizen gets a fair go. . . . If we had an Ombudsman appointed in Australia, 1 would hope that he would start his operations in the Department of Customs and Excise. He would probably find that he would never get out of the building.
Mr. President, we have spent a lot of time endeavouring to explain a somewhat intricate system. All I can say is that, if an Ombudsman is appointed in Australia, I hope he does not take as long to acquire a knowledge of customs regulations as obviously the honorable member for Wakefield is taking. Otherwise he would never get out of any building.
Following the statements and allegations that were made about Gazette Notice No. 10, which relates to the dumping of paper and paper boards, 1 caused the department to have a comprehensive look at the matter. I am quite satisfied and convinced that the administrative action which has been taken has been soundly based. In fact, I believe the Government could have been accused of dereliction of duty if it had not implemented the dumping legislation when it believed that dumping was occurring. I am very heartened by the fact that we now have knowledge that there was dumping in the case in point. We do overhaul our procedures. We streamline our administration wherever possible to assist our customers. Then we review the situation to see whether our streamlining has been successful. Order No. 10 has been in operation for nearly a year. I propose within another twelve months to get the department to review the position for the two-year period and then if necessary to refer the matter in part or in whole back to the Tariff Board.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
– by leave - I would like, for a few minutes, to take up the time 04 this chamber to acquaint honorable senators with a recent decision of the Government concerning the content of future annual appropriation measures. Briefly, the Government has decided that, from 1964-65, the contents of the Appropriation Bill and the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill will be amalgamated, subject to the separation out and inclusion in separate measures of any particular items which, as a matter of interpretation, do not fall within the description of appropriations for the “ ordinary annual services of the Government”.
Perhaps I might be permitted to point out some of the considerations which influenced the Government in making the decision, particularly as the composition of these bills is thought by some senators to affect the rights of the Senate. Honorable senators will recall that in 1961, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, as part of its examination of the financial documents presented to the Parliament, held an inquiry into the separate Estimates for Additions, New Works and Other Services Involving Capital Expenditure. The fiftyfourth report of that committee set out the results of the inquiry and, since it contains the salient features which were there discussed, I would strongly recommend that honorable senators take time to study it. In it one will find details of earlier considerations of this question on ordinary annual services - going back as far as the opinions of Attorney-General Deakin in 1901 and, more recently although in essence no different, statements by the SolicitorGeneral, Sir Kenneth Bailey.
The investigation stimulated an examination of the origin of, and the necessity for, the division of proposed annual services of the Government into separate appropriation measures and it was found that the matter hinged upon an interpretation of sections 53 and 54 of the Constitution. These provisions are vital to the bi-cameral structure of the Commonwealth Parliament as they preserve the ‘financial initiative of the House of Representatives and limit the power of the Senate to amend money bills. On the other hand, however, section 54 does provide the Senate with a most necessary safeguard against the practice of “ tacking “ or, to use Quick and Garran’s phraseology, “ an attempt on the part of the House of Representatives to embody in the annual appropriation bill provisions irrelevant and foreign thereto - a course which would prejudice the right of the Senate to amend or reject such provisions “.
It was found that, in the early days of the Commonwealth, some discussion had centred on the question whether there should be a division between capital and current expenditure. However, it had been pointed out then that this was not the relevant distinction. For instance, on the introduction of the first Supply Bill into the Senate in June, 1901, a debate took place on the question whether certain expenses in connexion with the Royal Visit and reception were “ ordinary annual services of the Government “ within the meaning of the Constitution. This debate and the subsequent preparation of the first estimates for new works and buildings prompted the Treasurer to obtain legal advice on sections 53 and 54. Attorney-General Deakin advised that appropriations for buildings required in the ordinary course of departmental business were appropriations for the ordinary annual services within the meaning of the Constitution and that whether they should be included in a separate bill was a matter of policy merely.
In 1951 the question was raised again when the Auditor-General annexed to his annual report an > lion of the SolicitorGeneral on the content of the Appropriation Bills. The situation which concerned the Auditor-General, and which still exists in the current bills, was that their contents were not mutually exclusive in the nature of their proposed expenditures, mainly because of the inclusion in the main Appropriation Bill of “ capital “ expenditure relating to the defence services. The Solicitor-General expressed the view that the ordinary annual services of the Government may be described as those services provided or maintained within any year which the Government may, in the light of its powers and authority, reasonably be expected to provide or maintain as the occasion requires: the fact that the expenditure is incurred on an item of a capital nature is not the determinant in deciding whether expenditure is “ ordinary annual “. This opinion was followed by a debate in the Senate, in which it was moved that the opinion be acted upon and the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill be regarded as a bill which the Senate may not amend. The motion was resolved in the negative following an equal division.
In the inquiry which led to the fiftyfourth report, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts obtained opinions and evidence from the Solicitor-General, who, after further careful thought, confirmed that - and here I quote from his memorandum of 6th March, 1961, printed as Appendix A to that report - 20. (i) strictly on the ordinary principles of constitutional interpretation, there are no legal objections lo the inclusion in an ordinary annual Appropriation Bill of all the provisions that are now customarily included in an annual Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill, with the possible exception of certain types of grants.
I should add that, in all his opinions, the Solicitor-General emphasized that the question whether a particular Appropriation Bill dealt exclusively with appropriations for the ordinary annual services of the Government was one to be resolved between the two Houses of Parliament and not by the courts. The report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts also recorded the administrative advantages and the more effective Parliamentary procedures which would flow from an amalgamation of the main Appropriation Bill and the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill. The Joint Committee of Public Accounts refrained from making a positive recommendation, although the clear implication to be drawn from its report is that there ought to be a change in the present practice, which is open to much misunderstanding and confusion. Clearly enough, the description in the title of the Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill, “ for the purposes of additions, new works and other services involving capital expenditure “, carries an implication that the bill includes all items of a capital nature and leads to such questions as the one asked by Senator Wright. On the other hand there is no benefit to be gained, and a good deal of labour involved, in attempting to separate all expenditure that could be comprehended within the term “ Works and Services “. And, as I said earlier, this is not the relevant distinction in this context. What is relevant is not the distinction between “ capital “ and “ current “ but the distinction between those services which are, and those which are not, ordinary annual services of the Government. This is the distinction which we have decided shall obtain henceforth.
One of the matters which falls to be considered in relation to this distinction is the treatment for this purpose of grants to the States. We have received legal advice that, at least in some cases, such grants should not be regarded as being for the ordinary annual services of the Government.
On the other hand, there will be a significant number of cases in which an appropriation for a section 96 grant will be an appropriation for the ordinary annual services of the Government. Parliament might, for example, pass a law approving certain grants to the States on the occurrence of specified future events, and include in that law the statement of the terms and conditions of the grants. In such a case, both Houses might properly regard the provision of the funds to service the grants as being for the ordinary annual services of the Government, especially if the law approving the grants contained an express provision that the grants were to be made out of moneys to be appropriated by the Parliament. It follows that a grant to the States will not be regarded as being for the ordinary annual services unless it is clear from the circumstances that the grant should be so regarded.
The unsatisfactory nature of the division between the existing appropriation measures is apparent. Both bills contain a mixture of items of proposed expenditure - some ordinary annual services of the Government, some not - and yet custom dictates that one bill the Senate may not amend at all and that the other within limits, it may. It is basic to the Government’s decision that in future the distinction should at least be rational: One bill will contain proposals for ordinary annual services; proposals that are not will form the subject of a separate measure. The first-mentioned bill will be one that the Senate cannot amend, although it may request amendments. The other will be capable of amendment, subject to the restrictions imposed by section 53 of the Constitution; and insofar as the Senate cannot amend such a bill, it may make requests.
Following the amendment last year of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives and the review, in association with the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, of the Budget document, a clearer presentation of financial information to the Parliament at budget time has been achieved. The amalgamation of the two bills for the ordinary annua] services of the Government will be a further step towards greater simplicity of documentation and procedures.
Honorable senators will have the opportunity of examining the practical effect of the Government’s decision when the Supply measure for 1964-65 is brought down in the present session. I commend the change to them.
I present the following paper: -
Appropriation measures - Change in form of annual bills - Ministerial Statement, dated 5lh May, 1964.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) - by leave - proposed -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 15th April (vide page 660), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Consideration resumed from 15th April (vide page 660), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 15th April (vide page 661), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– As this bill, like the two previous bills, is complementary to Customs Tariff Bill 1964, there is no opposition to its passage through the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 16th April (vide page 710), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- This measure is connected with complementary legislation of a machinery nature in the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Bill (No. 2) 1964 and the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill (No. 2) 1964. If. is the wish of the Opposition that the three bills be debated together. It is rather interesting that there has not been an amendment of the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Act under this heading. One of the first items dealt with by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) during his second-reading speech on this bill concerned an amendment on raw coffee, which completes the implementation following international negotiations, of the tariff changes recommended by the Tariff Board as a means of assisting the coffee growing industry in Papua and New Guinea. Perhaps the Minister will explain later on why in this respect it is not necessary for any amendment to be made of the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Act. There was an amendment relating to tariffs on timber, but in regard to such an important matter as coffee there does not seem to be any corresponding amendment.
I think the Senate should give attention to the question of providing every possible assistance to the coffee growers of Papua and New Guinea, because coffee is a part of the diet of the western world. It is becoming more and more popular, particularly since the process of making instant coffee has been developed and brought to such a high standard. It we take what happened in the United States of America as a precedent, it seems that coffee could become a challenger to our traditional tea imports.
– Some people think it sacrilege to use instant coffee.
– A lot of people feel that they can get the advantages of the aroma and taste of coffee in this way with much less trouble than previously, when the bean had to be roasted and ground and the coffee freshly made and properly percolated. There is no doubt that you lose something with instant coffee, but, on the other hand, it is becoming a most popular beverage.
– It saves a great deal of washing up.
– As Senator Tangney has said, it saves a lot of washing up, and that is a big consideration in this day and age. I believe in this country the day of the crockery manufacturers is coming to an end.
In my opinion, the recommendations of the Tariff Board will greatly assist the growers of coffee in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Production of coffee in the Territory has been expanded considerably. No coffee was produced in Papua in 1951 but the report of the Tariff Board dated 27th April, 1962, shows that in 1961 the area under coffee totalled 599 acres. In New Guinea, the area under coffee has grown from 370 acres in 1951 to 7,415 acres in 1961. Altogether, coffee is being produced in the whole of the Territory from more than 8,000 acres.
Some information in the Tariff Board’s report should be noted carefully by the growers in the Territory Reference is made to the fact that two varieties of coffee - -robusta and arabica - are grown. Evidently, the robusta variety is more suitable for use in the instant coffee process but arabica is produced in greater quantities. I hope that growers will realize the significance of the growing popularity of instant coffee and will maintain a balance in the supply of different varieties. At the same time I hope they will supply Australia with the bean that gives us the most wonderful of all beverages - freshly roasted, ground and percolated coffee of the best quality.
I want to refer now to the matter that was raised by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) on a previous occasion when he referred to dumping. This matter is related to the report of the Tariff Board on paper and paper board. I am pleased that the Minister saw fit to make a statement on dumping in reply to the rather irresponsible statements that have emanated from the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) in another place. The honorable member for Wakefield seems to have some particular aberration about the Tariff Board and the whole question of the protection of Australian industries. Possibly the honorable member claims to be the idealistic supporter of private enterprise who would like to overcome such arrangements as the European Common Market and the Kennedy round. He would like to wipe that all out and have us adopt the blowyouJackl’mfireproof system. The honorable member for Wakefield has been getting a lot of publicity and I feel that the Minister has quite justifiably called him to book by asking him to have another look at the statements he has been making and, perhaps, to see the error of his ways in attacking many of the recommendations of the Tariff Board and the Special Advisory Authority.
This matter is of very great interest to me as I am anxious to tee the paper and paperboard industry in Tasmania prosper. This industry is of great economic importance to Tasmania. It employs more than 2.500 workers and its ramifications, from the production of timber in the forests to the shipment of the finished product from Tasmania, extend through the whole economy. The north-west coast of Tasmania relies heavily on the prosperity of the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited at Burnie. The Tariff Board has realized that there has been some dumping and it has not wasted any words in drawing attention to this matter. The board has made it possible for Tasmanian manufacturers of a wide variety of paper products to continue building up a soundly based and relatively competitive product. Unfortunately, recently, overseas competition and other factors have forced the Associated Pulp and Paper Mills to threaten dismissals of employees. I do not know whether this threat was put into effect. It was reported to have been made at the height of a State election campaign in Tasmania and the report of the dismissal of men could have been exaggerated in the heat of the election battle. I hope that, that situation has altered and that the company can not only retain its present number of employees but can enlarge and expand its production and its investment.
It is of interest to note that, at the time of the Tariff Board’s inquiry, it was revealed that the capital investment of Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited totalled £12,000,000. This sum was used in the production and sale of fine paper products and a large proportion of it was expended on the installation of new paper-making machines. An examination of its economic position has shown that in the past the company has maintained its profit at a satisfactory level but in 1961-62 the profit fell substantially. This was the year when the Tariff Board revealed that substantial dumping had occurred and it took prompt action to deal with those concerned.
I take this opportunity of stressing the importance of the paper industry which is a subsidiary of the timber industry in Tasmania. There has been the opening up of new areas on the west coast of Tasmania. Perhaps many people do not realize that these areas have a rainfall of up to 100 inches a year. The timber resources are gradually being developed and exploited. 1 hope that a balance will be kept between the needs of the paper industry and those of other industries in which timber is used. 1 mentioned that fact previously when I was speaking to the other bill with which the Senate dealt.
It is the responsibility of A. P. P.M. to ensure that every log that is cut in Tasmania is assessed for its fullest value. If it has a greater value to other industries than to the paper industry from the national point of view it should be sawn and used for building or furniture purposes. If it falls short of that value, then A.P.P.M. should have open access to it. I hope that economic pressures will not cause the waste of very valuable resources that are being made available by the State government and by the forestry department. The timber is being held in trust for the people and very substantial and generous leases arc being granted to the paper industry. 1 hope that this trust will be respected. It is of great importance to see that the industry is being looked after on a national level so that any temptation to over-exploit economically the timber resources of Tasmania is minimized.
I think it is worth while to remind the Senate of a dissenting opinion which was given on the matter of the protection of paper and paperboard products by Mr. Murray, one of the members of the Tariff Board. The report states -
Mr. Murray is of the opinion that the main recommendation of the board, whilst affording limited protection over a range of A.P.M. products, is not sufficient to provide the company with an opportunity to recover the large and profitable share of the Australian market which is necessary if it is to consolidate its commercial operations and, at the same time, to provide sufficient funds for future mill and forestry expansion.
This docs not suggest that the Board should err on the side of extravagance but Mr. Murray is not satisfied that the protection recommended is, beyond reasonable doubt, adequate and reflects full recognition of the contribution to national development which A.P.M. and others of a kind within the paper industry are making.
I think that these are very important observations. There are people who, in an exaggerated and flamboyant way, attack the whole principle of protection of our industries. They could exert, in an indirect way, pressure on the members of the Tariff Board not to be too broadminded on these matters. I hope that the Tariff Board will always bear in mind the very important point that Mr. Murray made in stating that he was not satisfied that the protection recommended was, beyond reasonable doubt, adequate and reflected full recognition of the contribution to national development which the paper industry is making.
Again, Mr. Deputy President, the Opposition does not oppose this measure. We say that in making recommendations along these lines the Tariff Board is doing its very best to protect the continuity and security of employment of Australia workmen throughout the various industries, and also to assist Australian investors. It is interesting to note that for the time being this particular section of industry seems to have escaped large inroads by overseas investors, and I hope that that position will continue because I should hate to think that our limited timber resources were to be the means of keeping some one from New York, London, Paris or Switzerland sitting back in comfort or roaming round the casinos of Monte Carlo, when we could well put those resources to better use in this country. With those few comments, on behalf of the Opposition I hope that the measure has a speedy passage.
– in reply - Senator O’Byrne referred to the value of the coffee industry in New Guinea. I thought that perhaps he would like to know that in accordance with the Tariff Board’s recommendations, there is a duty of 5d. per lb., but there is a by-law remission of 2d. per lb. for users taking 25 per cent, but less than 30 per cent, of New Guinea coffee and a full remission of the 5d. per lb. if they take at least 30 per cent, of their requirements in
Papua-New Guinea coffee. This assures clearance of the New Guinea crop. It is a very valuable crop to New Guinea which we are out to develop in every way possible.
Senator O’Byrne also referred to the paper industry, particularly on the northwest coast of Tasmania, and the tremendous part it plays in the economic life of Tasmania. He rightly pointed out that this is an industry upon which a tremendous number of Tasmanians depend for a livelihood, not only those people who work in the mills but also those who cut the timber and cart it. One or two comments which Senator O’Byrne made previously about the protection of our forest lands apply particularly to the great industry which is carried on by Associated Pulp and Paper Mills Limited at Burnie. It has a magnificent fire protect ion system based on a wireless station on Ballantyne’s Peak, which covers the whole of the area. Fire fighters go out at the first sight of a fire and so protect the forests. As Senator O’Byrne rightly said, in every part of Australia it is very important to see that our limited reserves of timber are protected from destruction by fire.
Another great service that this particular organization gives to Tasmania is in respect of its policy of re-afforestation. This policy applies to hardwoods particularly, and it is of great significance to the industry. I appreciate the fact that the Opposition has supported these measures.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I ask the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) whether or not the authorities take into consideration in relation to the paper industry what I might call the collections of the rag trade. I know a little bit about this matter. I am speaking of the costing of the industry, which I think is an important aspect of it. In every city there are smart people /ho set out to collect all types of rags and papers, ostensibly for hospitals. They hand out bags to which are attached notices that a specific hospital will benefit from the rags and old clothing deposited in them. In
Senator Anderson’s area it would the Ryde Hospital that would benefit. Of course, that hospital never sees the material that is collected. It gets 10 per cent, only of the collection. The Australian paper mills - I know of one at Nowra - pay up to £100 a bale for old clothes. What influence does this practice have in the timber industry? I can see a situation where it might be better to ban this sort of trade to ensure the use of more timber. The collection of rags and old clothing for conversion into paper does not provide much employment, and the paper industry is, as far as I can see, engaging in a form of exploitation. Some very shady characters are engaged in this form of collection in the various States. What influence does this trade have on the paper industry?
– I am not technically equipped to answer that question but I should think, from my limited knowledge, that paper manufacturers would use rags for high-class paper. I should think also that the quantity of that paper would represent the tiniest part of the entire production of the industry. It would be merely a speck in the output of the industry. That is the only information I can give the honorable senator. He spoke of shady characters. I am certain he was not speaking about the Tasmanian paper industry, because I do not know of any shady characters in the industry there. The paper industry is a very complex industry and one that is developing in all parts of the world. Internationally every one wants to have a go at it and seeks to enter into the international paper trade at all sorts of prices. It is a difficult business to conduct. Senator O’Byrne and I agree on this point - if on nothing else - that the Tasmanian industry is a fine industry and one that is invaluable for the Tasmanian economy.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 16th April (vide page 711), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- As this bill proposes a necessary adjustment to complement Customs Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1964 the Opposition wishes it a speedy passage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 16th April (vide page 711), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the bill be now read a second lime.
.- This bill amends the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Act and is similar in intent and content lo the previous bill relating to the Canadian preference. There is no objection from the Opposition to ils quick passage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 22nd April (vide page 831), on motion by Senator Wade -
That the bill be now read a second t.’me.
.- At the outset, I want to make it quite clear that if in the course of my remarks there is any measure of criticism it is not intended personally against the Minister for Health (Senator Wade), for whom each and every member on this side of the chamber - I feel that this applies equally to members on the Government side - has the greatest respect. We appreciate the everpresent courtesy associated with the Minister’s every activity.
I am particularly pleased on this occasion that the Minister for Health is handling this bill. Not long ago, when Senator Fitzgerald proposed a motion lo discuss, as a matter of urgency, a national inquiry into the problem of mentally retarded children, the task of leading for the Government side was entrusted lo a Minister who, as a part of his responsibilities, was in charge of research into animal husbandry. So we on this side are pleased indeed that the Minister for Health is handling this bill.
When one carefully analyses the secondreading explanation, he finds that it is completely superficial. It certainly refers to the question of financial assistance to the States and mentions what has been clone through the previous act passed in 1955, which this bill is intended to supersede as from 1st July, 1964. That aci followed an inquiry conducted by Dr. Stoller and Mr. Arscott, which showed that grave overcrowding and a deplorably low standard of accommodation existed throughout Australia. The Minister stated in his secondreading speech that the 1955 act supplied the States with the desired stimulus, which was abundantly evident throughout Australia, to provide much more accommodation of a considerably higher standard than was then available.
When we think of the approach to this problem and of the innumerable families affected by mental disease, we are apt lo wonder just how sincere the Government is. I sometimes wonder whether this is just another snide approach to delude the Government, in the same manner as will be followed in a bil! which will come before the Senate to provide a paltry amount to bc divided amongst States to provide aid for scientific training. The amount will not be so paltry as the amount that has been devoted by the Government through the years for tertiary education, but it will be comparatively paltry in the light of the needs of the nation. Australia is one of the modern nations of the world which, we claim, enjoys a relatively high standard of living and which needs a high standard of education if it is to maintain its place in the world.
Remembering the mouthful the Minister made of the change in terminology from “ mental institution “ to “ mental health institution “, we realize that there must be some lack of sincerity in approach. The bill is almost completely indefinite. I propose to analyse it for august senators, all of whom could do it much more completely than I.
– Hear, hear!
– I said that only so that the honorable senator would agree, but I know there is no truth in his agreement; it is not based on fact. Clause 4 states -
In this Act, “ mental health institution “ means an institution carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally defective persons, being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State.
I do hope that the Minister will define exactly what he means by an institution. Does he mean a hospital for sufferers from mental diseases? I shall tell him in advance what an institution is. It is an organization or an establishment. So let him make quite clear to the people of Australia what the Government means by an institution. Does it mean, as we commonly accepted in the past, a hospital for mental diseases? The Minister’s advisers may tell him what they like, but it has been commonly accepted by the public that an institution for the mentally afflicted or for persons suffering from mental diseases is a hospital devoted to that particular purpose. In the light of modern trends in treatment and of developments in psychiatric fields, the term has acquired a much wider meaning. However, this bill does not specifically provide for any enlargement of what the term has been commonly accepted to mean in the past. Frankly, Mr. Minister, I do not think that the Government ever had any intention of providing for the modern developments that have taken place in the field of psychiatry.
The expression in the definition, “ conducted by … a State “ is quite clear, I should think, to every one on both sides of the chamber. Then we come to the term, “ in receipt of a grant “. What exactly constitutes a grant? Is it 3d. a year, £3,000 a year, or £100,000 a year? Can it be measured in terms of service? Can it be measured in terms of goods given? Considered in these terms, the definition is, on my appreciation, com pletely divorced from what a definition should be. I feel certain that the Minister would not be responsible for this. Either it is the result of careless parliamentary draftsmanship, or the Government’s intention is to delude the public; and I know that the parliamentary draftsmen are extremely competent.
The assistance to be provided will commence on 1st July, 1964, and the rights of those States that have not expended money that was available to them under the 1955 act will not be denied. Fancy limiting the provision to three years! In this field of medical endeavour, a cure may take years. It is a field in which major establishments have to be erected. How can the States plan? The Government claims that through the provision of these moneys it will be assisting the States. Fancy giving them a three-year period in which to programme works. It is completely impracticable, if not impossible, for them to do that. Coming from Victoria, the Minister himself knows much better than I what happened in that State. Victoria was the first State to utilize to the full the miserably parsimonious hand-out of the Commonwealth under the 1955 act, which provided £1 for every £2 spent by the States on capital structures or equipment, to a limit of £10,000,000. For how many years have the Victorian Minister for Health, Mr. Mack, and the antiLabour Premier of Victoria been crying out for assistance in this particular field? I know that my own State, Queensland, because of a retrograde type of government there, has not utilized to the full the amount available to it. As honorable senators know, I am not sparing in praise even of my opponents. I know that the anti-Labour Government of Queensland has to some extent moved into the field of modern treatment and has taken many people suffering from mental diseases into general hospitals or annexes established thereto. But it has not utilized funds for the improvement of capital structures in hospitals already established.
– For that, the Nicklin anti-Labour Government of Queensland stands condemned, just as the
Western Australian Government stands condemned. 1 did not hear the interjection from Senator Kendall. 1 take it that he was disapproving of what I said. 1 am not of a suspicious nature, but perhaps it was not altogether an altruistic or modernistic approach in the field of psychiatry that determined the Queensland Government to place in general hospitals patients suffering from mental diseases.
– Did it not give a broad interpretation of “ institution “?
– Let the honorable senator, if he does not mind, ask his question when 1 finish dealing with this point, because the intelligent people are listening to me. J will answer the question later. We all know that patients in general hospitals attract from the Commonwealth Government a subsidy that they do not attract when-
– They are doing away with that in the general hospital in Brisbane.
– Will the honorable senator, like Senator Hannaford, mind waiting till 1 finish dealing with this point? ] will then answer both of them as courteously as I always do and as efficiently as I am capable of doing. When patients are placed in general hospitals, irrespective of the disease they suffer from, they attract a Commonwealth subsidy at a daily rate. When patients are admitted to hospitals for mental diseases, for some reason Commonwealth governments - and I include the present Government’s predecessors - in control of the treasury bench have seen fit to regard patients suffering from mental diseases as being in a class dissimilar to those suffering from other types of diseases. Why this is done passes my comprehension. Because of the Government’s callous disregard of the right of these people to enter a hospital for mental diseases, the various Stale governments are encouraged to place them in general hospitals, f repeat this because I think it is so important. Il demonstrates the blatant, callous, disregard for these people, by the Government in control of the treasury bench. Xt demonstrates the Government’s social irresponsibility.
– The Nicklin Government is trying to get these people out of the general hospitals. That is why it is going to use Chermside.
– lt is taking them to the general hospitals. Senator Kendall knows the position just as well as 1 do. He moves around. He knows of the need for capital structures in Queensland, not only for general hospitals to treat so-called acute medical and surgical conditions, but also for hospitals for mental diseases. He knows the location of these hospitals. He knows the various demands but is trying, by subterfuge, to confuse the issue. He knows that the Nicklin Government has neglected its responsibility. Whether sufficient money has been provided by the Commonwealth is not the question, lt is not my responsibility to deal with that question here. The fact is that the Nicklin Government has neglected hospitals for mental diseases. We know that there is a movement afoot but surely it must bc admitted that these people are still being housed in the way I have mentioned. They are not well clothed.
– You would not call Goodna a general hospital?
– 1 do not class it as a general hospital. I am referring to it as a hospital for people suffering from mental diseases. Do you not think that it is in need of capital expenditure? Do you not think that the hospital at Charters Towers is in need of capital expenditure?
– Then that is all right. That is the answer 1 want. 1 do not need to proceed any further with the matter. Dr. Cunningham Dax has said that because States are not entitled to financial assistance except under certain conditions no provision is made for modern advances in psychiatric treatment. Honorable senators opposite can read any of the papers written by Dr. Cunningham Dax. They can speak to him and he will tell them these facts. Any psychiatrist with a modern approach to these matters will tell them that the modern tendency is to establish wards in association with general hospitals, making these people part and parcel of the community. Psychiatrists realize that mental disease is just one phase of disease and should not be regarded as different from diseases of the lung or; diseases of the heart. Yet, there is no provision for any assistance to be rendered to mental patients.
I notice the Minister is reading something. Is he reading what the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz) said in order to answer me or is he just trying to digest what I am saying? Let us have a look at clause 8 of the bill which reads as follows -
For the purposes of this Act, an amount shall not be taken to have been expended for or in connexion with the buildings or equipment of a mental health institution unless -
the amount has been expended for or in connexion with -
the acquisition of a building (including the land on which building is erected) to be used for the purposes of a mental health institution;
the erection of a building to be used for the purposes of a menial health institution, including the acquisition of the land on which the erection of building takes place;
the alterationof a building used. or to be used, for the purposes of a mental health institution; or
the acquisition of equipment for use ina mental health institution; and
the expenditure was incurred with the prior approval of the Minister or of a person authorized by the Minister to give approvals for the purposes of this section.
That is desirable and the Opposition commends the Government through the Minister for Health, for that provision. But does not the Minister realize that there arc defects in the bill? There is no provision for the maintenance of these people. In the last nine years only £8,472,003 has been spent. Does the Minister realize how much it costs to maintain people in these so-called mental institutions? I refer to these institutions as distinct from ancillary services provided on a voluntary basis for mentally retarded children in some cases with a small measure of assistance from the States. There are institutions which provide occupational therapy facilities for mentally retarded adolescents and hundreds of voluntary bodies, and some State bodies, which are not included in the statistics furnished by the Bureau of Census and Statistics. In round figures the maintenance of these people would amount to 20,000,000 a year and yet the Government has the colossal impudence to stand before the people, and before the Opposition, and tell us what it is doing. There is no need for the minister to yawn. He will get much more punishment before I am finished.
– It is the hot weather.
– Some one behind me suggests it is the hot weather. I would not dare suggest that. The Government and those in control of the treasury bench make a great show about providing less than £1,000,000 a year towards the cost of capital structures. The Government accepted the Stoller report with great acclaim but it did not adopt it. In the time available to me, I shall demonstrate that fact. I have dealt with the salient features of this bill. Before I go on to the other matters I suggest that, at a later stage, we deal with clauses 4 and 8 together. I have discussed what the bill allegedly contains. Now let us see what it does not contain. First, I point out that the Government has a national responsibility. An increasing degree of power is being concentrated in Canberra. Though there may be a decentralization of administration and spending, a centralization of power is inevitable, because the control of the nation’s purse strings is in the hands of the Parliament at Canberra. Control of the purse-strings means control of the activities of the nation. So the Government has an increasing responsibility whether it be in the field of development, in which it only makes gestures; in the field of education, in which it does comparatively little; in the field of scientific training, in which its efforts are paltry; and in the field of mental disease, in which, considering the size of the problem, it is doing almost nothing. As Dr. Stoller said in his report following his inquiry of 1954, the Government should establish a federal division of mental health. The Government has done nothing about that.
I was about to refer to the story that is contained in the annual reports of the Department of Health. During the administration of the department by the previous Minister for Health, the department was neglectful in its submission of reports. I commend the present Minister for the submission of an annua] report. Previously reports were submitted biennially and even then one had to wait for a further period of eighteen months after the report was duc. But since the present Minister for Health took control of this department there has been a more rapid approach to the discharge of this responsibility. We all are appreciative of the competence that has been displayed in the submission of the department’s report in more recent times.
– Wc have a good
Minister for Health.
– What we are seek ing is a competent government. We know that he is a good Minister. We are not quarrelling about his virtues; we are quarrelling about the competence of the Government. The Minister has his virtues. We all know that, and we admire him. But we are talking now in terms of competence, a sense of social responsibility, and a realization of the magnitude of the task which faces the Government. That is what we are dealing with at the present time - not the virtues of the Minister.
– ls not this bill a recognition of the size of the problem?
– Do you think so?
– I would suggest that it certainly is something along that line.
– The approach of this bill to the problem is like drawing a comparison between a tick and a bullock.
– You do not suffer from tick?
– 1 do not, for tunately. But I sympathize with those who suffer from tic - not ticks. I ask the honorable senator not to cause me to digress. He is using up my time, as he usually does. Let us get back to what I was saying about the deficiencies of the bill. J am concerned not so much about what the bill provides as about what it docs not provide. I have already referred to the superficiality of the measure. Let us consider the general deficiencies and the lack of sense of responsibility on the part of the Government in this field. The bill does not contain any provision for capital structures associated with general hospitals. The provision of such structures is one of the modern trends in the field of psychiatric treatment. Even though the Minister may seek cover behind the definition that I provided him with and may say that an institution is an organization or establishment, he cannot run away from the fact that the bill docs not provide for capital structures associated with general hospitals. I feel certain that prior to my rising to my feet the Government had not intended to provide any assistance lor the erection of capital structures in association wilh general hospitals for the treatment of mental diseases.
– The Government still has no such intention.
– One does nol know. The Government is rather cunning. lt might yet escape. J have left the hatch open. I hope the Government escapes through the opening and provides financial assistance for such projects. I would be grateful to the Government if it did so.
What provision does the Government propose to make for neuro-surgical units, more particularly when the conditions being treated are associated with what is described as mental disease? None, I lake it. What special organization will the Government provide for? ls ii aware of the tremendous voluntary effort that is being made by countless thousands of people to assist these unfortunate people who either arc totally incapacitated through mental disease or who are mildly or moderately mentally retarded? The Government is providing nothing for those people. How can it expect any particular Slate to do so? A vehement cry has been sent up in Victoria, the Stale in which the Minister for Health resides. As the Minister knows, the modern trend is to take out of the mental health institutions, as the Government so charitably describes them in the bill, older patients who are suffering from senile dementia. Such people arc a menace lo nobody. Their minds have deteriorated for various reasons. Perhaps they have suffered from a measure of cerebral degeneration or arterial disease. No provision is made in the bill for such people. Does the Government expect the States to clutter up the hospitals that have been established for people suffering from mental disease with those who should be removed and placed in geriatric accommodation?
– The Government is unconcerned.
– Possibly it does not know what is needed. But probably, as
Senator Cavanagh has suggested, it is unconcerned. The Government is more concerned about window-dressing at a minimum of expense. The more glamorous the show and the lesser the expense the more acceptable the proposal is to the Government.
Only a fortnight ago the Opposition directed attention to the rights of mentally retarded children. Senator Fitzgerald proposed the holding of a national inquiry into the problems of mentally retarded children in Australia. The only answer we got from honorable senators opposite was the complaint that we were asking for money. The only money involved would have been that which was needed to conduct a national inquiry. That was all that we sought. The Government, callously indifferent, as it usually is. rejected our proposal. It would not even entertain the idea. Does the Government not realize that, if suitable training facilities were provided, many of these children could be assured of a brighter future? Does it not realize that the parents of such children have certain human rights which the nation recognizes but about which the Government is loathe to do anything?
Perhaps the Government wants to look at this problem as it is so wont to do, only in terms of pounds, shillings and pence. Even so, it must realize that if it lets these children drift along they inevitably will become invalid pensioners. In what way has the Government approached this problem not only from the humanitarian point of view but also from the point of view of pounds, shillings and pence? Where has the Government provided the facilities for training the children, and assisted those persons who arc anxious to help them? The children can be helped in the economic field of human endeavour. They can make not only a contribution to their own happiness and the contentment of their parents and other relatives, but also an economic contribution to their own material welfare and to the productivity of this nation.
The Government is not prepared to do anything to assist in such matters. Yet it puts this bill before us, and the Minister in his second-reading speech would convey to us that it is something extraordinarily wonderful. I will be quite frank and say he was somewhat discreet in his language; he did not overflow with praise of what he was doing. As I said a moment ago, he attempted to convey that the bill was something extraordinarily wonderful-
– Hear, hear! It is, too.
– Are you agreeing with whatI am saying?
– I am agreeing with what the Minister said.
– It is one of the first times you have agreed with me, and it is one of the few times you have been right.
– Does not this bill provide that there is no limit to the amount that can be spent if the States will come to light with their share?
– You say there is no limit?
– The expenditure is up to the States.
– There was a definite limit from 1955 to now to the amount of assistance.
– There was, but there is no limit now.
– There is a limit to the extent that the assistance is for a specific period.
– That is right.
– It is limited by the very indefinite definition included in the bill. It is limited by the time factor and the comparatively short term of three years.
– I agree.
– If any State decided to-morrow to build a major capital structure, thetime factor would be considerable. The drawings-
– But if the States are building authorities-
– Let me finish this point. You posed the question. I intend to finish my answer irrespective of your interruptions, rude or otherwise. If any State decided to-morrow, within the terms of this so-called bill of assistance, to build a capital structure, the determination of the pattern and the completion of the drawings would take anything up to 40 to 50 weeks. The calling of tenders and the letting of contracts would take the period to fifteen to eighteen months. If the cost of the structure involved a major amount of money the building would be large and would take two years to erect.
– That is three and a half years in all.
– Yes, and this bill is to operate for three years. That is one capital structure.
– There could be numerous capital structures. You do not need to worry about that.
– Provided the States raised the funds they would get the benefit of the Commonwealth grant. But they are frustrated through the miserable approach of the Federal Government to its national responsibility. The States have not the money to embark on these ventures on their own.
– According to your argument, the States will not need the money because it will be too late by the time they get it through.
– That is not what I said at all, Senator Scott. If you had listened from the time I answered Senator Hannaford, you would have heard me point out how impracticable this short-term limitation of three years was. If the Government said this assistance would go on indefinitely, I might have commended it on the time factor; but the Government has limited the operation of the measure specifically to three years. Had the Government signified that at the end of three years it would be more generous and reasonably responsible regarding its obligations, I could commend the Government. But when the Government talks in terms of three years’ limitation and1 major capital structures, and Senator Hannaford says that there is no limit to what the States can spend, the question arises whether the States could embark on programmes the cost of which they could not ultimately meet. If, through some misfortune in Australia, the Government was returned at the next election and repudiated the extension of the provisions of this bill beyond 1st July, 1967, the States could not meet the cost of the programmes upon which they had embarked. Does the Government not realize that even in 1955 it at least specified in the bill the amount available so that the States could plan their programmes. Here again the Government snidely says, “ All right; the sky is the limit.” But what does the Government do? The Government puts a coil of barbed wire in front of the States and while they are looking at the sky they stumble over it. The coil of barbed wire is. as it were, the limitation of time. You must have very astute coves gulling the public and gulling the States -
– What is the coil of barbed wire?
– Do you not know what a coil of barbed wire is? It is an obstacle to fall over. It may be a help to you in the west when you string fences, but it is commonly accepted as a nasty obstacle to tumble over and a difficult one to handle.
One honorable senator opposite said that the Government earlier was prepared to provide £.10,000,000, but that in the next three years the amount will be determined by the provision made by the States for capital structures. Even so, the Government will not provide one penny more to maintain those capital structures, lt is quite possible to visualize that in the future we could get back to that terrible state on which Dr. Stoller reported in 1954. He said that there was gross overcrowding; that the structures were sub-standard; that bathing facilities in many cases were absent; that toilet facilities were disgraceful; that kitchens had to be seen to be believed; and that the clothing of the people was deplorable. That was the position. Yet, the Government will not face up to any of its responsibilities in this field of medical treatment. I propose to remind the Government of Dr. Stoller’s report on which it allegedly acted in introducing the bill in 1955. The Government miserably gave £10,000,000, provided the States found £20,000,000, for capital structures. The Government would then find nothing to maintain the buildings, and would not provide for the people who toiled therein. So miserable is the Government that age and invalid pensioners, who are admitted to the institutions or hospitals, are deprived of their pensions, so eager is the Government to save its social service budget. In other words, if these pensioners have no relatives they can have no amenities unless they receive the charity of generous citizens.
That is the position in which the Government places the unfortunate pensioners who arc admitted to these institutions.
– The States did not use all the money provided by the Commonwealth under the 1955 act.
– If the honorable senator had listened to me, he would know that I said that they used only £8,400,000.
– Some of the States sidestepped the problem by putting people into these other institutions.
– I went over that matter earlier. Do not waste my time. I am becoming annoyed by interjections from Senator Hannaford and Senator Scott. I do not mind people who seek information sincerely, but these honorable senators are not doing so. They are trying to waste the short time I have in which to deal with a serious subject. I am not prepared to take that from them. Dr. Alan Stoller, in the report tendered as the result of his inquiry carried out in 1954, summarized the position in this way -
Any programmeto remedy matters must take into consideration -
The remedy of overcrowding in mental hospitals.
The improvement of medical standards in mental hospitals.
The provision of large numbers of suitablytrained professional staff.
An increase in community services, includ ing early treatment services, clinics, training centres, and community education.
A programme of applied and basic research.
What did the Government do? In some small measure it faced up to one of the matters mentioned in the report - overcrowding - in that it agreed to provide up to £10,000,000 to the States if they found £20,000,000. With regard to the rest of the report, which mentioned matters absolutely essential inthe field of medical research, treatment and cure, the Government did absolutely nothing. Do not lake my word for it that Dr. Stoller suggested the establishment of a federal division of mental health. Let us see what he and his confreres said. Their report stated -
We consider, from our own observations, and a close study of the extent and nature of the national interest in mental health in the United Kingdom, United States of America, and Canada, that a Federal Mental Health Division would be desirable in Australia. It could act as a clearing house for the distribution of mental health knowledge; could, by subsidies, encourage activity in the mental health field, where it was most needed; and could examine the overall statistical position for the guidance of State and Federal Governments. It would act as a catalyst in fostering new mental health developments, according to the needs of each State. It would also be in a position to develop a functional liaison with the Commonwealth Departments of Labour and National Service, and Social Services, insofar as they were able to help with the rehabilitation of psychiatric patients, and with the Repatriation Department. We think that merely making a monetary contribution to the Slates may not, of itself be sufficient.
A miserable contribution is made to the States. The report continued -
We commend especially the structure of the most recently constituted Federal programme, that of the Dominion of Canada, where the Federal Government contributes moneys, on a partcontributory basis, for mental hospital construction and improvement, services in general hospitals, establishment of clinics, training, research and rehabilitation.
The Government stands condemned by the very man that it appointed to make a report as far back as a decade ago. Then there is Dr. Cunningham Dax, one of the most enlightened psychiatrists to come to this country. He has done a tremendous amount in this field of medical endeavour, particularly in Victoria and has held a light aloft for many psychiatrists throughout the length and breadth of this country. He has pointed to where the future lies for people suffering from mental disease.
This Government controls the Commonwealth Treasury and its coffers are overflowing with money. It is receiving more than it ever anticipated receiving. The gross national product and the gross national income have increased tremendously, but the Government is still miserably parsimonious inits approach to human problems. It thinks only in terms of pounds, shillings and pence, and even then it does not think sufficiently. The Government cannot realize that by spending money in this field it could not only make a contribution to human happiness and contentment and medical cures, but also could make a contribution towards increasing the gross national product and the gross national income. It could make provision for assisting and maintaining these people. It could provide educational facilities and occupational therapy for them. It could provide for the training of psychiatrists and for co-operation between medical endeavour and sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists. If the Minister did that, he would do well. I know that he is one who, given a chance, will make a name for himself in the history of the care of the mentally afflicted people of this country; but if he is hamstrung by the Government of which he is a member his name will not be remembered.
– J have almost had to take a breath myself after listening to that peroration by Senator Dittmer. I might say, at the outset, that 1 support the motion for the second reading of the bill. Senator Dittmer said that the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) had used discreet language. That was very gracious of him, and it is a pity that he himself did not use discreet language. He talked of a snide approach, of a paltry approach to the needs of the nation, of lack of sincerity, of the Government being miserably parsimonious and deluding the public, and so on. All that was extraneous to the bill.
I presume that the Opposition will support the bill, but what Senator Dittmer did was to mention a series of things which the bill did not include and then proceed to try to prove how necessary they were. All that, of course, was interesting enough, but we have before us a simple bill which provides for the granting, under certain conditions, of sums of money to the States. The question of whether or not patients in mental hospitals should receive pensions from the Department of Social Services raises a human factor and is an interesting subject for debate, but it is certainly not a subject for debate while we are discussing this bill. However, as Senator Dittmer raised the question, I think it is fair to say that any person admitted to a mental institution in New South Wales comes under the control of the Master in Lunacy. It would not matter whether he was in receipt of a social service pension or had won a lottery; the moment that person became an inmate of that institution the Master in Lunacy would take his money. If the Department of Social Services paid a pension to such a person it would only be providing money to the State of New South Wales. I admit that those remarks are extraneous to the bill, but since Senator Dittmer raised that subject I wanted to put him right on the facts.
– That is not putting me right on the facts. If a person with private means is admitted to a mental institution, does not the Master in Lunacy make funds available-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar). - Order! You have already spoken, Senator Dittmer.
– After that little exercise, I think we might get back to the bill. The purpose of the measure is to give effect to the Government’s announced decision to continue for a further three years Commonwealth assistance to the States in the field of capital expenditure on mental health.
– It is not sufficient.
– That is’ a fair comment. If you believe that, you are entitled to say so, but we say that we are providing the money with which to do it. The bill will, in fact, repeal the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act of 1 955 and replace it with legislation which will continue the assistance provided by that act, and additionally it will provide, from 1st July next, similar assistance to those States which have exhausted or which may in the next two years exhaust their shares of the original grant.
It is interesting to note - although it is not of great importance - that the act of 1955 was entitled the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act. The bill before the Senate is entitled the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Bill 1964. The change of name is characteristic of the more enlightened approach, these days, to the problem of mental illness. Senator Dittmer made some references to mental health which I found quite interesting and I think he added to our knowledge of this subject, but as 1 have said, the titles of the two measures that have been before the Parliament reveal the more enlightened approach to mental illness.
This change has taken place over a period of years. In the old days people talked of mental asylums but now they refer to these places as mental health institutions. The walls have been knocked down and they have become pleasant places where those who are mentally ill can receive treatment. This trend stems in part from the act of 1955 and the bill will make a contribution to the new approach to the problem.
Honorable senators will recall that under the 1955 legislation, grants to the States were limited to a total of £10,000,000. To date, the States have taken up only £8,400,000 of the amount that was available to them. The legislation in 1955 provided grants to the States on the basis of £1 for every £2 provided by the States under certain conditions. Some States, which have been more resolute in this matter than others, have taken up the whole amount available to them. Others - notably Queensland - have not taken advantage of the grant available under the 1955 act.
I should like to put on record for the purposes of this debate how the £10,000,000 was allocated State by State and how much has been taken up by each Stale. The relevant figures are as follows: - -
Victoria and Tasmania have taken up (heir quotas. New South Wales has received all but £240,000 of its quota. The sum not taken up is not a great amount of money when speaking in terms of capital expenditure on hospital construction. Queensland and Western Australia have taken up approximately only 50 per cent, of their quota and South Australia has taken up about 80 per cent. The States have only to conform to the £1 foi £2 conditions and the other conditions relating to the type and purpose of the capital works to obtain this money but in fact some States have not done so.
Senator Dittmer referred during the debate to the three-year term proposed in the new legislation and he made the point - with some force I thought - that it was difficult to envisage the planning of projects of this nature for a period of three years. Surely to heaven no State health authority would be in such a parlous position that it would not have planned ahead to meet the requirements of hospital administration.
I could not imagine any State department or any State health authority or, in fact, any State government being in a position where it would have to say: “ We have not got a clue about our future plans. We will have to start from scratch to plan our hospital administration and future needs for mental health, hospitals and similar institutions “. I would not expect them to have such an approach te any field of government endeavour.
I think it is axiomatic that every State government would know its needs in terms of schools, hospitals and buildings for any department ten years ahead. That is the purpose of a public service. To suggest that the three-year limitation period is inadequate because it would take fifteen months to work out plans and call tenders and another two years to get them completed is not a valid argument.
During the debate in the Senate, and in another place as well, the whole argument of the Opposition has been based on aspects of this matter which bear no relation at all to the hill. I agree that the questions raised were interesting. Perhaps they will be more suitably debated when the Senate is dealing with another health matter but in this bill the Government is merely reenacting previous legislation. The title has been varied and some limitations which were in the previous act have been removed but money is to be provided for capital purposes to the States on the basis of £1 by the Commonwealth for every £2 provided by the States. Any discussion that goes beyond those provisions has no bearing at all on the bill we are debating. Strictly speaking, the discussion might have been ruled out of order. But in this chamber in the second-reading stage the Chair quite properly allows a very free debate.
It is true that the Chifley Government in 1948 chose to help the State Governments in this field by subsidizing the running costs in mental health institutions by payments ranging from 8d. to ls. 2d. a patient a day. The present Government is helping the States by way of grants for capital expenditure with the aim of improving the standard of the institutions or hospitals concerned. This was done, as Senator Dittmer has said, following an investigation by Dr. Alan Stoller who, at the request of the Commonwealth Government, made a survey of the whole mental health field throughout Australia in 1954-55. Following Dr. Stoller’s report the Government provided £10.000,000 for the States on certain conditions which are still in force. In a period of almost ten years the States have applied for only £8,400,000.
The effect of the stimulus provided by the Government in this field has been most marked in some States. I can speak only of the State of New South Wales but I know from my own observations that real progress has been made in this field during the last ten years. Gone are the days when these institutions were surrounded by high walls and bars; when they were grim’, sinister looking places. If we visit Ryde, Gladesville and Callan Park to-day-
– That was not because of the £10,000,000.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order! You have already spoken.
– If we visit those places we see the altered approach to this particular field of mental health. Walls are being pulled down. The light is being let into the buildings which are, in fact, being designed as hospitals. Patients are encouraged to move about and to go out to a degree. Altogether it is a completely different approach. In reply to the interjection of Senator Dittmer, the alterations to Broughton Hall are a direct result of this particular legislation. A marked change has occurred in this field.
Clause 4 is the limiting factor in determining eligibility for subsidy. The clause provides -
In this Act, “ mental health institution “ means an institution carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally defective persons, being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State.
Clearly the intention of the Government is to provide assistance to the States in a restricted field. Attempts to widen the scope of the bill by moving amendments to cover handicapped or mentally retarded children who are not required to be cared for in a mental hospital would serve no other purpose than to defeat the object of the bill. This is clearly a bill in which the Commonwealth Government says to the States: “ We offer to help with capital expenditure in mental health institutions and we will do it pursuant to the policy speech which was given by the Prime Minister. This is a continuation of the principle contained in the 1955 act. The bill we are bringing down now is in conformity with the policy speech.”
– Are you widely experienced in hospital administration? What is a mental health institution?
– You are trying to pin me down to a definition. The definition is in the bill and I invite you to take that matter up with the Minister.
– Where is the definition in the bill?
– This is a bill based on the principle contained in the 1955 act. While it is interesting from a debating point of view to bring in other matters, in truth and in fact this is a bill to provide a sum of money, unlimited within the period of three years, to the States on the basis of £1 for every £2 of capital expenditure. Frankly, I think it is a good bill, and I propose to support it.
– There is something in Senator Anderson’s statement that this bill has the specific purpose of allocating money for the building of institutions. Technically he is correct, but I think that is where the difference of opinion arises between the States and the Commonwealth. The 1955 legislation may have been the logical way in which to give direct aid to the States for building asylums, as they were then known. That was in the days of the barbarian approach to mental health. We have travelled a long way since then.
I think the fundamental conflict between the States and the Commonwealth is that the States - not only New South Wales where there happens to be a Labour government that is dedicated to mental reform, but all the States - apparently have different ideas from those of the Commonwealth Government in relation to mental health requirements. Possibly one of the most ardent critics of the Commonwealth Government in relation to this matter is Mr. Bolte, the Premier of Victoria. He is on record as saying some very strong things, much stronger than those Senator Dittmer said here to-night.
– He said them rudely, too.
– 1 do not know about that, but he was reported to have made very strong remarks about the Government’s health policy. He accused the Menzies Government of standing in the way of mental reform in Victoria. 1 do not want to develop the political side of this argument because I think that this measure is beyond politics, but there is a conflict existing between the Commonwealth Government and the States. The purpose of the bill is very narrow. If Senator Anderson were to think for one moment and ask himself why ali the moneys provided under the 1955 act were not used - I think he said something like £2.000,000 was not used–
– About £1,500,000.
– If he asks himself why that was so, I think he will agree that the reasons were, first, that the States, before they got the £1 subsidy, had to spend £2, and, secondly, that the States did not agree with the idea of developing mental asylums or mental institutions.
– They can spend the money in another way.
– No, they can not. As Senator Dittmer and Senator Anderson have pointed out. the bill definitely refers to mental institutions. 1 am not saying that there are not things that cannot be done within mental institutions. I agree with Senator Anderson that the fences are coming down, that the outlook has been changed, that new treatments are being developed and that new buildings are being constructed in the established asylums. I am using the word “ asylum “ in its worst form because it is only recently that we have changed our thinking on the mentally ill. I am not saying that this money might not still be needed to improve the places that are already established. All the modern experts who give thought to mental development and the treatment of the mentally ill believe in the decentralization of medical treatment for the mentally ill. They are moving away from the concept of mental institutions. In New South Wales the authorities have gone far and wide with their buildings. They have developed the cottage system. I use that expression because it aptly describes the buildings. They are getting people who are not severely mentally ill to live in cottages. They are talking about educational systems for the mentally afflicted.
My reading of official documents in the last few days has shown me that most of the people who are mentally afflicted are not sufficiently afflicted to be in mental institutions.
– The money can be used for early treatment centres.
– That is where I gave the Government an opportunity to sneak out. I hope it will accept my suggestion. Senator Wedgwood can enlarge on that. That may tie the Government.
– Can 1 go on now, senator? You have interrupted my train of thought.
– You were talking about the cottage system.
– That is right. All manner of experts have expressed views on this. I hesitate to accuse the Commonwealth of being uneducated in this matter or of being so reprehensible as to want to continue the asylum system. This is an inhuman sort of money bill which is directed to meeting capital needs in connexion with mental asylums; in other words, it is designed to do something for people who are almost beyond cure. Most of the 40,000 - which I think is the number mentioned by Senator Wedgwood a few nights ago when she delivered a very fine address on handicapped children - are not ill enough to be in hospital. At the risk of being misunderstood, 1 should say that it would be more important for the Commonwealth Government to spend money on trying to get treatment for the children who are mentally ill and for those sections of the community that can be cured, than to concentrate one legislative effort like this on the provision of buildings for people who we could say arc almost beyond cure. I hope that the Minister will be able to disabuse my mind of the idea that I have, but from reading the legislation and studying speeches made in another place I have come to the conclusion that the latter is the intention of the bill. It has been said that this bill is very limited and that it deals with capital expenditure on and improvements to institutions. The Government still clings to the word “ institutions “. The bill does nothing about those matters that the experts talk about.
In New South Wales mentally ill people are classified in four sections. The first classification relates to mildly intellectually handicapped persons with training potential in varying degrees who as a rule can live satisfactorily at home with their parents or guardians. These persons require and may be expected to benefit from special educational care or from vocational training. The second group comprises the moderately intellectually handicapped persons with training potential in varying degrees who could be cared for at home or by guardians with the aid of special educational provisions and of special care facilities. The third group comprises mildly or moderately intellectually handicapped persons with training potential in varying degrees who. because of additional handicaps, such as severe behavioural disturbances, cannot be cared for at home or in an institution for normal children. The fourth group, of course, is the seriously ill group. Possibly it is the smallest group. It comprises the severely intellectually handicapped persons who by nature of their disability are totally dependent and require constant residential care. Unless I read the bill incorrectly, it is the last group that the Commonwealth Government is concerning itself with in this legislation. We believe, and I suppose most honorable senators opposite also believe, that whilst that group should be cared for and get the best that is available, the greatest responsibility of governments is to the 75 per cent, of the younger children and people who are so mentally ill as those who are almost beyond aid. Some of this money should be directed towards helping those for whom there is some chance of recovery.
The Government of New South Wales has been advised by its advisory council that buildings should be erected in association with hospitals to house the mentally ill. For instance, there are big country towns in New South Wales where there is no provision whatever for partially mentally ill persons. The New South Wales Government’s idea is that those persons should be provided for in association with the hospitals in their towns. Of course, there are hospitals that already have such provision, and there are many country towns with institutions, but I am not talking about them; I am referring to those major towns which have hospitals but no facilities to care for the mentally afflicted. Of course, the serious cases in New South Wales must go straight to Gladesville, Parramatta or Callan Park, but I am not talking about those persons who are ill enough to be hospitalized permanently. I am referring to those who are capable, with certain supervision, to be looked after outside of hospitals. The modern trend is to that way of thinking about mental treatment.
Another aspect that may seem mundane arises from what Senator Dittmer talked about when he said that mental hospitals received no income in respect of age or invalid pensioner patients. It is possible that when a State government is examining its budget and thinking about what it should do with some of its available money it could be faced with the choice of spending money on Callan Park, for example, or in some other institution where that government thought it could do more good, but which could not be called a mental institution. The Commonwealth Government does not assist in financing the maintenance of such other institutions. I can visualize a situation where that government might say, “ We will not spend the money on Callan Park; we will spend it on another institution, although we will not get anything under this bill, and we will be adding to our costs and expenditure in the field of mental health “. I think it was said in the other chamber that that was the situation in Queensland. I know that once a person enters an asylum or a mental institution his age or invalid pension is stopped. Obviously that saves the Commonwealth Government money. I think that because of that circumstance the Government does not have to pay out about £1,500,000.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Mr. President, I invite the attention of the Senate to the fact that one of our former colleagues, John Owen Critchley, died at Adelaide on Monday, 27th April. He was well known to all honorable senators, except those who were elected in very recent years. He had a very fine record of public service in Australia.
Jack Critchley was elected to the House of Assembly in South Australia, for Burra Burra, at the general election in 1930. He was defeated at the general election in 1933. He was elected to the Senate for South Australia at the general election of 1946, in the early post-war period, and he took his place here on 1st July, 1947. He was reelected in 1951 and 1953.
In 1949, he was Australian delegate to the Empire Parliamentary Association conference at Ottawa. He was appointed Opposition Whip in this chamber on 1st July, 1950, and retained the position for more than seven years. He was a member of the Select Committee on Commonwealth Bank Bill (No. 2) 1950, in 1951. From 21st November, 1951, to 4th November, 1955, he was a member of the House Committee, and from 23rd November to 5th December, 1951, he was a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on War Gratuity. He retired from the Senate on 30th June, 1959.
Our colleague served in World War I. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 14th January, 1916, and served in the 10th Battalion. He embarked from Australia on 25th March, 1916, and was discharged on 25th January, 1918.
Mr. President, that is a record of public service of which any one might be proud. The ex-senator was a man of the most outstanding personal qualities. He was a true Labour man and a true Australian. He was saturated wilh the principles and the traditions of the party to which he belonged - the Australian Labour Party - and accord ingly he was predictable in all things political and many personal things as well, in all circumstances. He was always ready to fight injustice and to resist it. He magnificently upheld the party’s traditions of mateship and loyalty. I was very closely associated with him during the seven years that he was Opposition Whip in this place. He was a most efficient Whip, indefatigable in attending to his duties. Although he was very firm in carrying out his duties, he was at the same time very just and considerate.
Jack Critchley was a truly happy and lovable man. I recall many delightful personal associations that I have had with him down the years. He was not only my colleague in this Parliament but also my friend, and one for whom I had a very deep affection. Since his retirement, I have kept in regular touch with him year by year. On the very day that he died, I was due to discharge a political duty in Adelaide and I had arranged to defer my departure from Adelaide to a late flight so that I might have the opportunity to surprise him by calling on him. Unfortunately, a bout of influenza prevented that meeting, and also prevented me from attending his funeral a few days later. Senator Kennelly, who on his own behalf, went to Adelaide for the funeral, was kind enough to represent me on that sad occasion.
Jack Critchley was one of the men whom I met in politics that I shall never forget, for the reasons I have given and for many others that I do not give. I like to think that after his retirement from this place he had five happy years with his family, even though throughout the whole of that period his health was not particularly good. He was a most devoted family man and he was a man of the utmost personal rectitude and integrity. One could not help but have respect for him as well as an abiding regard. 1 sincerely trust that it will be a consolation to his widow and his three daughters to know that T speak for all members of the Australian Labour Party in this chamber when I express our deepest sympathy with them in their desolation. My colleagues join with me in trusting that their burden of sorrow will be relieved as soon as possible.
[10.36]. - Mr. President, every honorable senator who knew John Critchley when he was a member of this chamber has the kindliest and friendliest recollections of him. He was a unique sort of character. Above all things, he was a sincere and honorable man. He carried into politics the ability, which is, unfortunately, unusual, always to defend stoutly and advocate strongly the principles in which he believed, without the slightest touch of rancour, without the slightest touch of anger. We have had some stormy times in this chamber, but I do not remember an occasion, in the years when Jack Critchley was here, on which he lost his temper, on which he made bitter remarks and said things - as some of us do - which he subsequently regretted.
He had a long record of public service in the South Australian Parliament and in the Senate, and prior to that in the old 10th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. His interests always lay in trying to do what he could for ex-servicemen. He had his own little pet causes that he advocated consistently during the years he was here. He retired because of ill health. I share with the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) the satisfaction that Jack Critchley. from all the accounts that we have received, had some happy years after his retirement from the Senate. I join with Senator McKenna in extending sympathy to his widow and to his daughters.
.- I should like to join the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Sir William Spooner) in paying a tribute to the late John Critchley, who was a predecessor of mine as Opposition Whip, an office which he filled with great honour and great integrity. We were elected at the same time. We came into the Senate together in 1947. He impressed me in my early stages here - I being a young man and Jack Critchley an experienced man of the world - as a man you could always trust. He was a family man who had around him a devoted wife and a family who exuded a trust in him. For that reasonI always thought that John Critchley was a very good example of what an Australian citizen, a good digger and a good Labour man should be. I take this opportunity to express to his widow and family my very deep sympathy in their irreplaceable loss. I believe, too, that Australia has lost one of its very fine sons.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.41 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 5 May 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1964/19640505_senate_25_s25/>.