25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– My question arises from an experience of not less than 12 months ago when a relative by marriage, who had previously been a member of the Army, attempted to re-enlist and was rejected, along with 12 others, because he failed the educational test. I should like to know from the Minister concerned - probably the Leader of the Government in the Senate - whether, if conscription becomes the law of the land, conscripts will be called upon to pass an educational test and, if they fail, will be educated to the proper standard.
– Order! I think the appropriate time to ask that question will be when the relevant Bill comes before the Senate.
– Very well, Sir, but it is a good question all the same.
– My question ls directed to either the Leader of the Government or the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. Did the Prime Minister, in the Government’s last policy speech delivered on 12th November 1963, state that a change would be brought about in the price of petroleum products so that nowhere in Australia would the normal prices be more than 4d. a gallon above the level of the prices in capital cities? Did the Prime Minister also state that this would be effected by arrangements with the oil companies and by arranging with the States for the Commonwealth to make grants to them under section 96 of the Constitution to enable them to pay the appropriate compensation to the companies? As 12 months have now elapsed, will the Minister say what arrangements have been made with the oil companies and with the State Governments to bring this undertaking to fruition?
– As stated by the Prime Minister in his policy speech, and as repeated this morning by Senator McClelland, this project is to be undertaken after necessary negotiations with the oil companies and the States Discussions with the
States are imminent. A letter will be sent to the States within the next few days in connection with the detailed arrangements for the implementation of the scheme as it affects them.
– I believe that my question should be addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I preface it by saying that although I have continually disagreed, and still disagree, with the practice of broadcasting the proceedings of the Parliament, I am firm in my desire to see the rights of the Senate upheld. I understand that the proceedings in another place were broadcast yesterday when custom has been that the proceedings of the Senate have been broadcast when it has sat on a Monday. 1 understand also that the proceedings of another place today are being broadcast. I ask the Minister: Who is responsible for making this decision? Will someone take up the rights of the Senate in this regard in the future?
– I regret I am not able to answer the honorable senator’s question. I know that he is aware that the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Committee on which the Senate is represented has control of this particular matter. Frankly, I have not been able to keep up with certain events which occurred late last week and which resulted in a switch in the broadcasting arrangements for this week. All I can do in the circumstances is to inform the honorable senator that I will be happy, when I have all the details together, to let him know what has occurred.
– In view of the appalling educational standard of applicants to join the military forces as disclosed by the Minister for the Army, I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the Government will establish a committee of inquiry into primary and secondary education to ascertain whether alterations could be effected to our educational system that would ensure that all children leaving primary school would have an educational standard higher than the standard of the average child of ten years.
– As Minister representing the Prime Minister in matters of education, I shall answer the question. The running of primary and secondary schools and the curricula taught in them are entirely matters for the State Governments and do not come within the purview of the Commonwealth Government.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. Has the Minister seen reports in the Press that the Liberal Party has forbidden Senator Wood, who is the leader of the Government’s Senate team in Queensland, to appear on a Brisbane television programme in connection with the forthcoming Senate election? Could the Minister tell the Senate whether the ban was imposed by Sir Robert Menzies or Senator Sherrington who, I understand, is President of the Queensland Liberal Party, or was it imposed by one of the hidden persuaders who manipulate the Liberal Party behind the scenes? Has the ban been imposed on Senator Wood because it is feared that he will criticise the incompetence and folly of the present Government as he did once before?
– I am sure every honorable senator will agree that the question is fatuous, and that it has been asked in a spirit of light-hearted politics. I do not think the question really requires a serious answer. The honorable senator can be certain that the conduct of the election campaign in Queensland will be a vigorous and most successful one and that the honorable senator mentioned in the question and his team mates will be returned here with the complete confidence of the people.
(Question No. 301.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
Opponents of an increase in the price of gold usually argue that stability in the price of gold - which implies no general change in the present value of Fund members’ currencies in terms of gold - is essential for the satisfactory working of the present international monetary system. Some are concerned also that an increase in the price of gold might lead to inflation. It is also argued that an increase in the price of gold would provide windfall gains which would benefit particularly those countries which happen to be large gold producers or which hold relatively large stocks of gold.
(Question No. 326.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions - 1 and 2. The precise information sought is not available to me; banks are not required under Commonwealth legislation to furnish details of individual holdings of their shares.
Of the seven major private trading banks conducting business in Australia, five have their head offices in Australia and two - namely, the Australia and New Zealand Bank Limited and The English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited - in London. 1 understand that, in the case of the major trading banks with head offices in Australia, a high proportion of their shares would be held in this country, while a substantial proportion of the share capital of the two banks with head offices in London would be held outside Australia.
(Question No. 329.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answers - 1, 2 and 3. The manner in which a Minister conducts his correspondence with members of Parliament is a matter for his own decision. Some time ago I decided that in normal circumstances I would not include, in letters to members of Parliament, information of a confidential nature concerning individuals whose applications for admission to Australia or for naturalisation had been unsuccessful.
(Question No. 340.)
asked the Minister re presenting the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer - 1, 2 and 3. The amount of £11,059,625 appearing in the sixteenth annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board as representing the gross earnings of commercial television stations from the televising of advertisements or other matter is, as is noted in the report, extracted from accounts submitted by the licensees of commercial television stations in accordance with the provisions of section 106 of the Broadcasting and Television Act 1942-1964. There is no statutory requirement for a licensee to submit a detailed breakdown of its income for different types of advertising and this information is not available to the Board. I would be reluctant to suggest to the Board that the stations be approached to supply this information which may not be available in collated form and may be obtainable only after the expenditure of considerable time and effort. (Question No. 342.)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers - 1 (a). From 1st August 1964, to 31st October 1964, the following programmes of Australian origin have been telecast by station A TV Melbourne on a regular weekly basis: - five children’s programmes; five kindergarten programmes; fourteen news programmes; three current affairs programmes; one light music ‘ programme; and one variety programme. In addition, since the commencement of service, five outside broadcasts of public and sporting events have been conducted.
See answer to (d). (0 A weekly average of 1 hour 14 minutes or approximately 2 per cent. of ATV programmes has been of British Commonwealth origin. One half of this receives credit as if of Australian origin, and added to (he figure of 39.4 per cent. provided in 1 (c). above, produces an overall Australian content figure of 40.4 per cent.
(Question No. 354.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
In view of the fact that the “ Empress of Australia “ is scheduled to make her maiden voyage from Sydney to Tasmania on 5th December and will be carrying a full complement of passengers, will the Minister arrange for a polling booth, with presiding officer, to be provided on board the vessel on that day to enable passengers to exercise their democratic prerogative?
– The Minister for the Interior has furnished the following answer -
Under the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, an elector, who will throughout the hours of polling on polling day be travelling under conditions which will preclude him from voting at any established polling booth, may record a postal vote at any time after the close of nominations. In view of the existing postal voting provisions,I do not consider it necessary to provide a polling booth on board the “Empress of Australia “. In any event my information is that the “ Empress of Australia “ will not be at sea during the hours of polling on 5th December next.
(Question No. 355.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers -
There are standard scales of charges for parliamentary papers and for legal publications such as bills, acts, and ordinances. 2. (a) The scales are: -
A comparison with State Government Printers shows that the per page cost of legal publications published by the Commonwealth, as an example, is cheaper for some sizes and more expensive for others, the average prices however being comparable.
(Question No. 356.)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
What was the cost of printing the fifteenth and sixteenth annual reports of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for the years 1962-63 and 1963-64?
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer -
The cost of printing 2,263 copies of the fifteenth annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board for the year 1962-63 was £1,141 and the cost of printing 2,500 copies of the sixteenth annual report for 1963-64 was £1,626.
(Question No. 357.)
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has furnished this reply -
In the area for which Maitland is now the switching centre there are -16 other exchanges. Eight of them are automatic exchanges, namely -
The remaining eight exchanges are manually operated. These are -
Coincident with the cutover of the East Maitland automatic exchange, the Morpeth manual exchange will be closed and these subscribers will also be connected to the East Maitland exchange. Plans are also being prepared for the conversion of Kurri Kurri to automatic working but quite some time must elapse before the Post Office can afford this project a high priority.
Whilst the Post Office is anxious to convert all manual exchanges to automatic working as soon as possible, this must be undertaken in an orderly manner as part of a very large overall plan. Unfortunately, it is not practicable, at this stage, to indicate when subscribers connected to the remaining six manual exchanges mentioned above will be converted to automatic service.
(Question No. 358.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
Superannuation Fund as at 1st July 1963 was £102,689,341 and as at 30th June 1964, it was £115,865,303. With increasing numbers of contributors to the Fund and increases in pension entitlements, the balance has been increasing each year but there have of course been corresponding increases in the contingent liabilities of the Fund.
Since 1947 there has been a number of adjustments in existing pensions under the Superannuation Act designed to afford relief to those who have been adversely affected by the postwar rise in prices. The earlier adjustments were made by flat increases in the value of the unit of pension but more recent adjustments have been made on the basis of bringing the Commonwealth’s share of each earlier pension up to the level which would have applied had the pension commenced at a later date. This change in policy was adopted because flat increases in the unit value provide much smaller increases for earlier pensioners than for their successors in office who, because of higher salaries in more recent years, became entitled to a greater number of units and whose retiring pensions had not deteriorated to the same extent, because of the shorter period since their retirement.
The Government periodically reviews the position of all Commonwealth pensioners and will continue to do so. When any further funds can be allocated for the assistance of superannuation pensioners, it is likely that they will be distributed along similar lines to those of the 1961 and 1963 Acts which concentrated the funds available upon the relief of those with the greatest need by bringing the Commonwealth’s share of all existing pensions up to the level that would now apply had the pensions commenced at the end of 1959. If the total pension payable as a result of those increases is divided by the number of units of pension held at the date of retirement, it will be found that the payments now being made are equivalent to a unit value well above 20s. a week in many cases and in excess of 45s. a week for some pensioners.
(Question No. 360.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice -
– The Minister for Supply has furnished the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
(Question No. 368.)
asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Health has furnished the following reply - 1 and 2. The Commonwealth earlier this year accepted the principle that it would be desirable for a health education programme against smoking to be undertaken in conjunction with the State Governments. Such a programme would be designed to educate young people in particular regarding the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, with a view to discouraging them from acquiring the smoking habit. It must be recognised, however, that difficulties exist in relation to the implementation of a co-ordinated Australiawide education campaign of this nature, because responsibility for such a campaign rests primarily with the State Governments. The Minister for Health recently indicated to the State Health Ministers his view that a national campaign could only be effective if the respective responsibilities of the Commonwealth and State authorities were properly defined in advance and if each of the authorities undertook to carry out specific parts of a co-ordinated programme within the area of its own competence. The matter has not yet progressed to the stage where any clear delineation along these lines has been established, but the problems involved are receiving attention.
(Question No. 347.)
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– I supply the following answer -
– On 3rd September, Senator Wright addressed to the Minister then representing the Treasurer a question without notice in which he referred to the possible introduction by the trading banks of a fee on unused overdraft limits. As promised at the time, the honorable senator’s question was brought to the Treasurer’s notice. The Treasurer has now provided the following information: -
Some margin between borrowers’ overdraft limits and their actual indebtedness to banks at any time is a characteristic of the overdraft system and in the aggregate this margin is normally substantial. At the present time total overdraft limits exceed £1,900 million but the amount currently drawn is only about £1,100 million.
The whole matter of the volume of unused overdraft limits is prominently in the minds of the trading banks and the monetary authorities. It is a matter of concern to the trading banks themselves because of the need to provide for demands on their liquid resources in the event of a sudden rise in the extent to which limits are used. I understand that there has been some discussion in banking circles of the question of introducing a charge on undrawn limits, but I am informed that there are no proposals currently before the Reserve Bank in this connection. The Reserve Bank has, however, encouraged the banks to keep their unused limits under careful review and, as recently announced by the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the banks have been requested to exercise restraint over their new lending and to avoid as far as practicable further increases in overdraft limits outstanding.
– On 30th October
asked me a question without notice concerning a press report that Mr. Donald Campbell intended making a further attempt on either the water or the land speed record in Australia. Senator Sandford also asked me whether the Government had been approached to make a contribution to assist Mr. Campbell should he decide to make either or both of these attempts.
The Prime Minister has advised me that Mr. Donald Campbell has made no approach to the Government for any assistance in connection with an attempt on the world water speed record or a further attempt on the world land speed record.
The PRESIDENT (Senator (he Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). -I have received from Senator Cohen an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of public importance, namely -
The need for immediate action to enable the vacancy in the Senate caused by the death of Senator Vincent to be filled at the election for senators to be held in the State of Western Australia on the 5th day of December next.
.- I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 3.15 p.m. on Wednesday, 18th November 1964.
– I rise to a point of order. The subject matter proposed for discussion relates to the Senate election in Western Australia. I respectfully direct your attention, Sir, to the Constitution of the Commonwealth. I refer to Part II - The Senate, section 9. The second paragraph reads -
The Parliament of each State may make laws for determining the times and places of elections of senators for the State.
I suggest that it is not competent for the Senate to move and debate resolutions on a question which constitutionally comes within the province of a State Parliament and not of the Commonwealth Parliament.
– Mr. President-
– Is the honorable senator speaking to the point of order?
– Yes. I ask you, Sir, to reject the point of order. It is astonishing that an honorable senator who is a Minister should be heard to say that the question of the election of a senator to fill a vacant position in the Senate is not a matter which the Senate can discuss. No constitutional point is involved. The Commonwealth Electoral Act deals with the procedure for the issue of writs for elections and for the conduct of elections. The Commonwealth Parliament is fully competent to deal with this matter, and certainly the Commonwealth Government has every right to make suggestions to the State of Western Australia and to the Governor of Western Australia.
When I have spoken to the substance of the matter of urgency it will be amply demonstrated that what the Opposition seeks is something which is within the competence of the Government.
– Dealing with the point of order that has been taken, I should like to direct your attention, Sir, and the attention of honorable senators to other parts of the Constitution. I refer to section 15, which deals with the matter of casual vacancies. One passage reads as follows -
At the next general election of members of the House of Representatives, or at the next election of senators for the State, whichever first happens, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.
That is a matter which would become important in this debate.
As well as that, I refer to the Constitution, section 9 of Part II - The Senate, which states -
The Parliament of the Commonwealth may make laws prescribing the method of choosing senators, but so that the method shall be uniform for all the States. Subject to any such law, the Parliament of each State may make laws prescribing the method of choosing the senators for that State.
This Parliament has made laws prescribing the method of choosing senators. Here is a question that arises under the Constitution and, under such law, it is a matter which intimately concerns the Senate. It is Senate business itself. No matter could concern the Senate more intimately than the constitution of the Senate itself, and how the Senate shall be composed. It is unthinkable that this is not a matter which is properly the concern of the Senate. I ask that the objection of the Minister be overruled.
– Mr. President, last evening I had a quick look at the Commonwealth Electoral Act and I feel that the duties that have been required of the Senate regarding the filling of a casual vacancy have been fulfilled up to this point of time. The Electoral Act states the position regarding the filling of vacancies. This is a matter for the Government concerned and’ not, as I said, a matter for the Senate at this time. Although I do not have the Electoral Act before me at the moment to refresh my memory, I strongly support the point of order raised by the Minister for Customs and Excise.
– I think there is confusion in the mind of the Minister foi Customs and Excise who took the point of order. He relied for the fact that the Senate may not discuss a particular matter upon a paragraph of section 9 of Part II of the Constitution which reads -
The Parliament of a State may make laws for determining the times and places of elections of senators for the State.
I think, in fact, most of the State Parliaments have passed such laws. I did investigate this matter some considerable time ago. What I point out to the Minister is that the Opposition in seeking to raise this urgency matter today, is not seeking to pass any laws or to usurp the functions of a State or the power that is conferred upon a State. The matter of urgency is not a provision to pass a law to interfere with a State function. What is proposed is a matter for discussion, namely -
The need for immediate action to enable the vacancy in the Senate caused by the death of Senator Vincent to be filled at the election for Senators to be held in the State of Western Australia on the 5th day of December next.
– Surely that is a matter of time and place?
– This is a matter for the State.
– Suppose it is a matter for the State to fix the time and the place. The Opposition is pointing out the need for speed in this matter if the vacancy is to be filled at the Senate elections on 5th December.
There is a matter of great urgency here. Is the Minister asking the Senate to say that we should not discuss a matter concerning the filling of a vacancy in this chamber? That matter goes to the very root of democracy. The point at issue is whether the electors of Australia are to have a say as to who shall fill the casual vacancy or whether the Parliament of the State of Western Australia, or if it was not sitting then the Governor in Council of that State, will say who will fill the vacancy.
In raising this matter we are concerned about two things. There is the question of the constitutionality - and that does concern the Federal Parliament - of what is done because this will be open to attack if the opportunity to elect a senator by choice of the voters of Western Australia is not availed of when the opportunity offers. It may well be that the High Court of Aus tralia could decide, on an application to test the appointment either by the Parliament or by -the Governor in Council, that this opportunity is not availed of, or that the purported effort to fill the casual vacancy has been invalid. What a stupid position that would bring this Senate to. The Senate is asked to say at this stage that it is not to concern itself with a matter of that nature going to the very basis of the Constitution. As has been said, section 7 of Part II. of the Constitution provides that senators are to be chosen by the people. Those are the very words of the Constitution.
The Opposition raises the question as to the Constitution being observed in the letter and the spirit. That is the issue that is before the Senate in this proposal for discussion. Mr. President, if you were to uphold the point of order taken by the Minister, your ruling that this matter may not be discussed would be a most alarming and staggering one. That is the proposition before the Senate. That is the very proposition that the Minister put. I have only put it to you in those terms to show the absurd position to which you would reduce the Senate if you so ruled.
– As the Parliament of the State of Western Australia only is empowered under the Constitution to make laws for determining the times and places of election of Senators for that State, I rule the motion is not in order.
– Mr. President, I regret that I feel under the necessity, having regard to the principle involved in this matter, to move dissent from your ruling. I shall reduce my dissent to writing in a moment and will move that the matter be dealt with forthwith. (Senator McKenna having submitted in writing his objection to the President’s ruling) -
– I move -
That the ruling be dissented from and that the matter be disposed of forthwith.
– The immediate question is, “That the matter be disposed of forthwith “. I shall put that question.
– Mr. President, 1 wish to speak.
– Mr. President, Senator Cohen has indicated that he wishes to speak now.
– Order! There can be no debate on the question that I shall now put to the Senate.
– This is a matter of some importance and I have addressed myself to it only briefly at this stage. I ask for leave for Senator Cohen, who sponsored this matter, to address himself to the motion I have moved.
– A motion of dissent from my ruling has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, who has moved further that it be dealt with forthwith. I propose to put the second part of the motion to the Senate now. It does not call for debate. Indeed, debate on it is not allowed under the Standing Orders. Ring the bells. (The bells being rung) -
– A division is not required.
That the matter be disposed of forthwith.
.-I regret the delay which has occurred in this matter. I address myself now to the motion of dissent from the President’s ruling. I have indicated already that the Opposition believes that the matter which has been raised gravely concerns the Senate. I refer to what will happen if the casual vacancy caused by the death of Senator Vincent is not filled at the election of senators to be held in Western Australia on 5th December. You have ruled, Mr. President, that this is not a proper matter for discussion by the Senate. That ruling really alarms me, because this is a matter that goes to the very constitution of this House. It concerns the filling of our membership and the representation of a particular State.
It is important to the Senate that there should be proper consideration of the matter at this stage. The Electoral Act provides that after the issue of the writs, nominations cannot be called for seven days and that the poll shall take place not sooner than seven days after the closing of nominations. That allows a period of 14 days. I point out that the nominations for this election closed at noon on 9th November. Some hours later on that very day, Senator Vincent died. At that stage there were almost four weeks -
– The Leader of the Opposition appears to be discussing the substantive motion now. Is that in order?
– I am pointing out why the Senate is interested in this matter and why it is one of urgency.
– That is not the issue before the Chair now.
– I am dissenting from the President’s ruling that a discussion of this matter is not in order.
– The Leader of the Opposition should not debate the substantive motion at this stage, but that is what he is doing.
– I shall conclude the point I was making. The importance of this matter to the Senate is that there is still time to fill the casual vacancy at the election on 5th December. The President has ruledthat only the Parliament of Western Australia has power to fix the time and place for the election of senators for that State. But that does not mean that we cannot discuss in this place matters that are connected with that election. It is not proposed, pursuant to anything that is before the Senate at the moment, that any laws be made, That is the point I impress on the Senate. I am disposed to leave the matter at that stage for the present.
.- I support the motion of dissent from the ruling of the President that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). I point out that there is legislative authority for the Senate to discuss a vacancy in the Senate. The Electoral Act, in section 203, states -
Any question respecting the qualification of a Senator or of a Member of the House of Representatives or respecting a vacancy in either House of the Parliament may be referred by resolution to the Court of Disputed Returns by the House in which the question arises and the Court of Disputed Returns shall thereupon have jurisdiction to hear and determine the question.
In my submission there is an unanswerable case that it is competent for us to discuss the question of a vacancy in the Senate. The Senate may proceed to move and to pass a resolution in the terms of section 203 of the Act. Apparently, Mr. President, on the basis of your ruling, it would not be competent for the Senate to discuss a vacancy unless on a motion for reference under section 203. I gave notice yesterday of my intention to move a motion to the effect that the question should be referred to the Court of Disputed Returns and I suggest that there would not have been the slightest difficulty about the competence of the Senate to debate that motion. But,, it was indicated to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in the early hours of this morning by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Paltridge) that time would not be granted to debate my motion. I accordingly withdrew the motion in that form this morning, and I submitted the urgency motion which is presently being considered by the Senate.
Mr. President, I feel bound to say, with respect, that the ruling which you have given means that the Senate will abdicate its power and its authority to discuss the position of a vacancy in its ranks. Surely it is in the interests not only of the people of Western Australia and of any person who might be appointed by the Parliament of Western Australia to fill this casual vacancy, but also of the Senate itself that no person should come to sit as a senator or remain as a senator while substantial, doubts exist as to the manner in which he has been elected and as to his constitutional rights to sit in the Senate. I find myself astonished, with respect, by the proposition that the Senate cannot discuss whether the Constitution is being broken at the present time in the State of Western Australia in the election of a person to take his place as a senator. If we are reduced to the position where we cannot even discuss steps to be taken, or put forward a point of view that is based on the proposition that the vacancy is not being filled constitutionally in Western Australia, then I suggest that we shall cease to have any respect in the eyes of the general community which looks to the Senate at any rate to have some general competence over its own affairs and composition.
In a case which was decided on section 1 3 of the Constitution, which deals with the composition of the Senate, Mr. Justice Isaacs drew attention to the directly elective character of the Houses of Parliament. All that my motion does is to say to the Government, in effect, that it has two alternatives. One alternative is to agree to a resolution to refer this matter to the Court of Disputed Returns, which in these circumstances is the High Court of Australia, and the other alternative is to make representations to the Western Australian Government to issue a supplementary writ in time to make it effective for the election to be held on 5th December.
With the greatest respect, it seems to me that if we cannot debate that matter, then we cannot debate anything in the Senate. The matter which I raised on behalf of the Opposition fairly and squarely places the responsibility on the Government to make sure that senators are elected in accordance with due constitutional process. We are putting it to the Government that it is running away from the fight from its heavy responsibility to see that elections are conducted in accordance with the Constitution.
– We are not allowed to speak about it.
– That is the position. Mr. President, if we reach the stage where the Government is in the position of being able to turn its back on this problem and accept no responsibility, I venture to suggest that there is ample room for disagreement with your ruling. I suggest that it is clearly competent for the Senate to say to the Government: “There is a danger of a senator being elected not in accordance with the Constitution. That is what is happening.” The Government has the responsibility to do something about the matter or to face both the courts and the people on this issue. I cannot put it any more strongly than that.
In my view, there is the strongest basis, an incontrovertible basis, an uncontestable basis for the Senate to discuss this question. In the end, it may resolve to refer the matter to the Court of Disputed Returns to get an authoritative pronouncement upon a doubtful constitutional point, or it may by carrying this motion give a direction to the Government to take such steps as appear to be necessary and proper to safeguard the Constitution by calling upon the Western Australian Government to do its duty and to issue a supplementary writ which would have the effect of enabling the election of six senators instead of five senators at the election on 5th December. That is the proposition that the Opposition puts forward. With great respect, I suggest that the case for the competence of the Senate to discuss the matter is unanswerable.
.- I have been paired on the division list with a member of the Australian Labour Party as from 11.30 this morning, and therefore 1 will not be able to vote upon the matter. But I am bound to say that whether or not it is a matter of the administration of State laws or Commonwealth laws, or of considering the Convention on the Constitution or the propriety of filling a vacancy in the Senate, inherently it is a matter which is at the centre of the proper functions of the Senate. A complaint that can be reasonably brought forward from any section of the Senate, whether it stems from State laws or Federal laws, or from the Constitution, is one in. which the Senate is essentially fundamentally interested. Whether the debate will be inconvenient, or whether it will be a long debate, is a matter of mere detail which the procedures of the Senate can govern. I do submit that the question is one upon which it is essentially the unique duty of the Senate to make up its mind.
– I speak with some diffidence on a matter such as this, but it does seem to me to be primarily important that we conduct our debates in accordance with the Standing Orders and well established procedures. I think it is well established that Standing Order No. 64, under which the motion has been submitted, has relevance to matters of public importance which are specifically and exclusively within the province of ministerial responsibility. The motion is submitted under Standing Order No. 64. From my understanding of the matter, the long established and accepted practice is that motions submitted under that Standing Order are confined to matters of minsterial responsibility. If this is so, Sir, and you have ruled upon the question, then as I understand it, the matter is exclusively for the Parliament of Western Australia and it cannot be discussed here under a motion invoking Standing Order No. 64.
– I rise to support the honorable senators who have spoken on the Opposition side and also Senator Wright. Senator Paltridge has stated that the only matter which can be discussed on a motion of urgency is one which is specifically and exclusively within the sphere of ministerial responsibility. That is a criterion which has never been accepted and never would be accepted by the Senate. One has only to ponder the matter to see that the criterion obviously is wrong. If a matter was not only within the sphere of ministerial administration but also within some other sphere, the Minister would suggest that we could not discuss it in the Senate.
That is completely untenable. It has been stated elsewhere and it appears in “ Australian Senate Practice “ by Mr. Odgers that motions for the adjournment of the Senate to debate matters of urgency may be disallowed because the Commonwealth Government has no administrative responsibility in the matter, that is, where responsibility is exclusively resident somewhere else. Be that as it may, the Senate certainly has power to discuss under Standing Order No. 64 matters which concern itself, irrespective of whether they fall within the sphere of ministerial responsibility. One can easily conceive matters which may be of the utmost importance, which are Senate business themselves and do not fall within ministerial responsibility. The remarks in the book and the previous rulings must be understood in the context in which they are being discussed. This is a matter of Senate business.
I propose to indicate another basis apart from that upon which Senator Cohen relied. He stated quite rightly that under section 203 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act the Senate could, if it thought fit, refer the matter to the Court of Disputed Returns, thus showing that the Senate has competence to deal with this matter. But there is another basis upon which it is clear that the Senate has competence to discuss this matter. I ask you, Mr. President, and honorable senators to look at section 11 of the Constitution, which states -
The Senate may proceed to the despatch of business notwithstanding the failure of any State to provide for its representation in the Senate.
If one reflects upon the words, “The Senate may proceed to the despatch of business “, it is apparent that the Senate may not proceed to the despatch of business if it so decides, and it would be within the competence of the Senate right now to decide that it would not further proceed with the despatch of business until such time as the State of Western Australia had provided for its representation in the Senate. lt is evident that the Senate could, if it wanted to, take other steps. It is entirely within our competence to discuss these matters.
We are concerned with the composition of the Senate itself, lt must be within the competence of this chamber to discuss matters of such high constitutional import which intimately concern the Senate and are the Senate’s prime responsibility. We are the persons concerned with the composition of this body, whoever else may be involved. There is no doubt that the State of Western Australia is involved. The Senate is involved. This is the very heart of the Senate itself. It is unthinkable that it is outside the competence of the Senate to discuss this matter.
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Debate resumed from 16th November (vide page 1861), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the Senate take note of the following paper -
Defence Review - Ministerial Statement dated 10th November 1964.
Upon which Senator McKenna had moved by way of amendment -
That the following words be added to the motion - “ and opposes the Government’s proposals to conscript Australian youth for service overseas, regrets its failure to stimulate recruitment for the regular Army and condemns its delay in securing Naval and Air Forces to safeguard Australia and its territories and communications”.
Senator HANNAN (Victoria) [11.551- - When I concluded my remarks last night I was dealing with some of the criticism made by Mr. Calwell, the Leader of the Opposition in another place, about the weaknesses of the Government’s defence proposals. He said that the Australian Labour Party opposed the Government’s proposals on six grounds. He said that they were unnecessary, that they were impractical, that they would weaken the Army, that they were unjust, that they were dangerous, and that they were immoral. As to their being unnecessary, I ask the honorable gentleman whether he has observed the position in South Vietnam, Malaysia or Indonesia lately. As to whether they are impractical, I point out that the scheme is in operation in Allied countries and that we have had the substance of it in operation in this country previously. I find the claim that they will weaken the Army to be an extraordinary paradox. It indicates complete confusion of thought. How can we weaken the Army by strengthening it? It is difficult to accept the claim that they are unjust when one notes that all sections of the community without any equivocation are to be liable for selective national service. As for their being dangerous, words have lost their meaning if we are to say that to strengthen the defences of the nation is a dangerous proposition. The allegation that the Government’s proposals are immoral is in the circumstances simply bad theology. Quite clearly, Mr. Calwell intends to defend Australia to the last American conscript or the last Australian volunteer.
When referring to education figures quoted by Senator Cormack, Senator McClelland alleged that my colleague was casting a slur on the intelligence of Army men. That is not so, and I wish to rebut the allegation. What Senator Cormack did was to point out that the minimum standard of intelligence required to pass the Army test was equivalent to an educational age of about 10 years. That standard was laid down by the Australian Labour Party.
I respect Mr. Calwell’s enthusiasm, but I am afraid that as a military critic he has much in common with the celebrated majorgeneral of Gilbert and Sullivan. It is difficult to believe that, at least proleptically, Gilbert did not have the honorable gentleman in mind when he dealt with his famous major-general. Had he been alive now, perhaps he would have written words like these -
Iam the very model of a modern Major-General, I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral, I know the kings of England, and I quote the rights historical.
From North West Cape to Kingston Pub in order categorical;
In fact, when I know what is meant by “ mamelon “ and “ ravelin,”
When I can tell at sight a mauser rifle from a javelin,
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at.
And when I know precisely what is meant by “ commissariat “,
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery.
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery:
In short, when I’ve a smattering of elemental strategy,
You’ll say a better Leader never led the AX.P.
For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still in matters vegetable, animal and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General. I am the greatest General of the modern A.L.P.
It seems abundantly clear, Mr. Deputy President, as I said earlier, that at least proleptically Gilbert had the honorable gentleman in mind when he wrote lines similar to those.
It has been suggested that the Government’s proposal is a political stunt. The Melbourne “Age” of Friday, 13th November, destroyed that suggestion completely. The editorial of that date reads, in part -
Once again, the Labor party has become the prisoner of its own policy; a policy enshrined by tradition, but no longer relevant to present day realities.
In declaring that the Government’s programme would add little to our defences for at least five years, Mr. Calwell not only exaggerated the time factor, but overlooked that his own limited propositions, namely educating volunteer rejects and acquiring another aircraft carrier, would also take time. Mr. Calwell is well aware that reequipment of the defence forces is not a simple matter of over-the-counter shopping. He must also know that whatever the deficiencies in our naval and air defences, there is no substitute, in the brushfire jungle wars in which our forces are likely to be involved, for the trained, well equipped and easily mobilised soldier.
Mr. Calwell correctly projects the defence programme as the main issue in the Senate election campaign, but he has yet to produce a positive alternative to the Government’s plans
There is not the slightest doubt that the Government has a watchful eye on the Senate campaign, and rightly so, but it is grotesque to suggest’ the massive increase in the defence vote - an extra £400 million over three years - which will involve the Government in highly unpopular tax increases, is just an election stunt.
I hope that, having read those words, we will hear no more nonsense about the Government’s proposal being simply an election stunt.
I wish to make some reference to the changed world in which we now live, move and have our being, and to consider the alternative defence policy - or the lack of it - of the Australian Labour Party. Before the commencement of World War II Australia was protected by the bulwark of the British Navy and a strong umbrella of British, Dutch and French power which was raised between us and any hostile Asian power. Save for her interests and obligations in Malaysia, Britain has almost gone; the Dutch and the French have been evicted; and in New Guinea we have a land frontier with a populous Asian power,. Indonesia, which has been behaving in the most bellicose fashion and has actually launched military excursions against Malaysia. Communist aggression and subversion continue their dreadful march in South Vietnam,
Laos has been reduced to a cipher, Cambodia has a foot and a half in the camp of. Red China, India has had to suffer a Chinese border war, Red China herself now has an atom bomb, and there are uneasy-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKellar). - Order! I am quite sure that Senator Hannan is aware that he cannot read the whole of his speech. I am sure he is reading from copious notes.
– I am reading from copious notes which I prepared myself.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The honorable senator might well reduce the matter that he is reading.
– Very well. In the face of all that strife and struggle in South East Asia, honorable senators opposite take the view that there is no need to strengthen our defences. Nobody in his or her right mind wants war, but simply not wanting war will not be sufficient to avoid it. A parable reminds us that when a strong man armed keepeth his court there is peace. I hope Senator Prowse will agree that that is a correct quotation from the Scriptures, to which he referred so extensively yesterday. This nation must be sufficiently strong to ensure that there will be no quotient for any aggressor who attacks us. It is true to say that we do not stand alone in this area. We are associated with great and powerful friends in the S.E.A.T.O. alliance, but more especially we have been privileged largely through the instrumentalities of this Government in securing from the United States of America the great pledge in the A.N.Z.U.S. Pact.
– We have always had goodwill for America since the early days of World War II.
– I know that Mr. Curtin made approaches to America and I gave him full marks for that. I have never been critical of him for it. I would like Senator Tangney to know that it has been a great grief to us on this side of the chamber that that former pro-American attitude now seems to be completely reversed; that whenever the Americans wish to do anything in this country the Labour Party continuously opposes them. I refer, for example, to the North West Cape base, the nonsense spoken about a nuclear free zone and other matters which clearly indicate that whatever love the A.L.P. may have had 25 years ago for the Americans has now changed completely and entirely. I am reminded by a colleague that one honorable senator opposite has referred to the Americans’ presence here as an intrusion.
I want to emphasise that the A.N.Z.U.S. Pact was signed in September 1951 under the present Administration. I regard it as the linchpin of our security and the maintenance of good relations with the United States, which unquestionably are of primary importance to Australia. Can we expect the United States under the A.N.Z.U.S. provisions to send here conscripts to look after us and defend us if we are not prepared to take the proper steps in our own defence? A refusal to protect ourselves is precisely the defence policy which the Labour Party would substitute for the Government’s present measures. If that statement seems to be an exaggeration, I invite honorable senators to read the official “ Speakers’ Notes” issued by the A.L.P. at the time of the last general Senate election in 1961. Page 2 of the notes sets out the list of contents. All the old shibboleths on unemployment, monopolies and that type of matter are included, but although there are 24 headings, the word “ defence “ is not even listed. The word “ defence “ does not occur.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order! It appears to me that the honorable senator is reading his speech.
– If a party, Mr. Deputy President, does not list in 24 headings the subject of defence, at a time of an election campaign, I think it is fair to draw the inference that it has no policy on that subject.
– How long ago was it?
– It was 1961, at the time of the last Senate election.
– Did the honorable senator see what happened in 1963?
– I will, deal with that in a moment. Allow me to deal with it seriatim. I cannot leap about all over the place. It is therefore an inescapable conclusion that in 1961 the Labour Party did not have either a good policy or a bad or an indifferent policy on defence. It had no policy on defence at all.
I come now to 1963. Even as late as February 1963 Mr. Calwell was saying that the Labour Party’s defence policy was indefensible. They are not my words.
– Mr. Calwell said that, did he?
– Yes. I invite the honorable senator to examine the reports in February 1963 - it may be a month or so earlier. It was prior to the calling of the Kingston pub conference. In the “ Speakers’ Notes “ to which I have referred there is an allusion to foreign policy but defence is not mentioned. Under the heading “Foreign Policy” the first item referred to is the withdrawal of Australian troops from Malaya. Honorable senators can imagine how that attitude would strengthen relations at the moment. The notes then proceed to state that the S.E.A.T.O. organisation must be replanned on a cultural, educational, medical and technical assistance basis. That would be extremely useful in keeping out the Communist hordes! Presumably it would apply to those who are guilty of starting the present Communist aggression. The notes go on to say, under the heading “Foreign Policy”, that the Australian armed forces should be re-organised for defence specifically as a peace unit of the United Nations, not as an aggressive force. Presumably the Labour Party wants this country to have the same sort of protection that the Congo received from the United Nations.
To be perfectly fair, it is true that the Labour Party in 1963 varied its stand on the Malaya question. It has brought out some sort of mumbo-jumbo about a treaty, but in essence the matter remains unchanged. The simple truth is that the Australian people would never trust the present members of the Labour Party on the defence issue. They are not my words. They are the words of a Labour Party candidate at the last general election. I refer to the can.didate for the electoral division of Bruce.
– Another theatrical fellow.
– He is Mr. Barry Jones, as a colleague reminds me. Australians remember the tragic error of the expulsion of the Americans from Manus Island in 1947-48. It would be a matter of great consolation to the Australian people if there were a powerful American base lying athwart the line of a hostile convoy to this country from that part of the world. Australians remember the suicidal folly of the nuclear free zone suggestion, and the foolishness of saying to America: “You must come here and protect us, but you must not bring with you your most powerful weapons”. I wonder if the explosion of a nuclear weapon by Communist China has changed this line of thinking. I wonder whether Indonesia’s threat to have the nuclear bomb next year has changed this line of thinking. Honorable senators opposite will recall that Indonesia lies in both the northern and southern hemispheres.
Yesterday Senator Ormonde said by way of interjection that President Kennedy agreed with the policy of a nuclear free zone. I remind the honorable senator that President Kennedy said to Mr. Calwell in July 1963 that he did not understand the policy of the Australian Labour Party for a nuclear free zone.
– He did not believe in the extension of the bomb though.
– I have quoted what he said to Mr. Calwell. Those are the words of the late President Kennedy as they appeared in a report in the Melbourne “Age” of his discussion with Mr. Calwell. Even further than that, a spokesman for the American State Department - from memory I think his name is Stelle- said in November 1963 that if Australia should adopt a nuclear free zone policy, America would have to rethink the A.N.Z.U.S. Pact. I ask honorable senators: How crazy can a great political party get in propounding policies which can only be to our own detriment?
I wish now to refer to a matter which arose recently in this chamber and is fresh in the minds of honorable senators. I shall not go into it in great detail. I refer to the attitude of the Labour Party to the establishment of a United States communication station at North West Cape in Western Australia. Instead of welcoming this move as an earnest of American sincerity under A.N.Z.U.S. the initial reaction of ins
Labour Party was to object to it altogether. Mr. Calwell saw that this objection was fatal to electoral chances and made the famous statement which I quoted earlier to the Senate.
– What the honorable senator has said is untrue.
– No, it is not. It is true that initially the vote was 36 to zero; that is at the beginning of the discussion. We will get around to precise figures later on if the honorable senator really wishes me to give them. Instead of welcoming the move for the establishment of the communication station, the Labour Party did everything possible to kill it. The Labour Party actually voted to kill the Bill in this chamber and in another place.
Two months ago I was privileged to have an opportunity to discuss the establishment of the North West Cape base with the man in the Pentagon who is in charge of the venture - Admiral Roeder.
– How did the honorable senator get in?
– There was no reason to regard me as a security risk. The honorable senator does not mean that.
– But you create security risks.
– I do not think the honorable senator means that, either.
– 1 do.
– I ask that the statement be withdrawn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The honorable senator will withdraw the statement.
– I withdraw it.
– I was privileged to discuss the North West Cape base with Admiral Roeder in an open and public discussion at the Pentagon. Two or three other people were present during the discussion. The Admiral told me of the great store placed by the United States Navy upon this base and how delighted were the Navy and the United States Government in anticipation of completion of the project. He also gave me an indication of his appreciation of the way in which the matter had been handled by the Australian Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies).
I want to say now a little about the callup for compulsory military service, to which some people have given the coloured term “ conscription “. The times are grave and I believe that in the circumstances the remedy is proper. Nobody likes compulsion. Nobody likes compulsory military service, but as the Prime Minister has pointed out, there is no alternative. I think it is wrong for honorable senators opposite to suggest that everybody who is called up will necessarily be ‘trained overseas; or to quote the rather coloured description which has been used, to give their lives in the jungles of Malaysia. I think that we can learn from the past. We can learn a little from history. Simply because the Labour Party may have a tradition of opposition to conscription, it does not follow that its members should close their minds on the issue in 1964.
– Labour introduced compulsory military training.
– I shall come back and have a little to say about that in a moment. On 16th November 1942 the Australian Prime Minister was the late John Curtin, for whom I am sure all members of this Parliament have the greatest respect. Mr. Curtin found himself embarrassed by the position which existed under the Defence Act; that he could send some of the defence forces to one part of New Guinea but not to another part. As he said, he had had some embarrassing discussions with General MacArthur on the point. In November 1942 a special conference was called in order that the matter might be ironed out. Mr. Curtin requested that he be allowed to amend the Defence Act in order to send the Australian Militia Forces to those islands in the Pacific which the GovernorGeneral might state were associated with the defence of Australia. There was pretty keen argument, as we can imagine, and an interesting meeting took place in Melbourne on 18th November 1942. One would have thought that with the Japanese fighting in New Guinea, with the Americans hard pressed in the Solomons and with the Allies fighting across North Africa the Prime Minister would have had only to indicate’ the difficulties in which he found himself in order to have the conference agree outright to give him the powers he wished. That was not to be the case. When Mr. Curtin began, on 18th November, to put his view, the point of order was taken by
Mr. Calwell, the present Leader of the Labour Party, that because notice had not been given the matter could not be discussed.
The conference went on for two days. Mr. Curtin was, in fact, allowed to put his request. I use the word “ request “ advisedly. However, instead of giving an immediate answer the conference adjourned so that the six Labour executives in the various States could be consulted. I think that every vestige of opposition to the present Goment’s scheme would vanish if all Australians knew what happened at that disgraceful conference.
– The honorable senator is giving only a scanty report.
– I will deal with the matter in more detail if the honorable senator wants me to.
– This is a quarter of a century ago.
– Things have not changed very much because Mr. Calwell is at present using the language of 1916. This was in 1942. I wish to make passing reference to an editorial which appeared in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of Thursday 19th November 1942. In that edition honorable senators will find these words -
Taking his political courage in both his hands Mr. Curtin on Tuesday confronted the interstate Labour Conference with a request for permission to extend the territorial liability of the militia for service under the Defence Act. Its reply yesterday - a reply wholly unworthy of the governing body of the Labour movement in a time of national emergency - was to adjourn the discussion until December pending consideration and direction by the Suite branches.
The conference in effect sidestepped an issue of urgent national importance, and in evading responsibility for an immediate decision it administered an unmerited rebuff to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Curtin cannot be said to have raised the question either prematurely or in other than its most moderate form.
Then the editorial went on to discuss in general terms the necessity for the A.I.F. and the A.M.F. to fight as one army. In another part it gave some details of Mr Curtin’s reasons for saying that the Army should be unified. It said also, in words which perhaps have a familiar ring, that Mr. Forde, the then Minister for the Army, had said three weeks or a month earlier that the Army was getting all the recruits it needed through the A.I.F.
– How about talking about 1964?
– The result of the conference, as I said, was delayed for seven weeks until 5th January 1943. I know that it is difficult for honorable senators opposite to take this because the conference was a disgraceful farce that should never have been enacted.
– And the leopard does not change its spots.
– No, the leopard does not change its spots. These are the people who ask that at some future date - God knows when - they should be entrusted with the government and defence of this country. Mr. Curtin could not get permission to do what he requested straight away, although General McArthur himself, to use Mr. Curtin’s own words, had put forth his embarrassment. Honorable senators opposite have often claimed that the late Mr. Curtin and General McArthur were great admirers of one another, and I believe that to be true. The vote which was taken was four States to two in favour of the Prime Minister’s very moderate proposals. The interesting thing is, of course, that (he present leader of the Labour Party led the Victorian team which opposed Mr. Curtin’s proposals.
– That is the nigger in the woodpile.
– I have never called Mr. Calwell a nigger in the woodpile. Those are the honorable senator’s words, not mine. As I say, this was a disgraceful episode in Australia’s political history. I am bringing the matter forward only because honorable senators opposite are fond of making the foulest allegations against the present Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies - saying that he deserted in the face of the enemy in 1941 and all sorts of nonsense of that kind. After that, in 1963, the defence policy of the Labour Party emerged a little. With the exception of the purchase of a new aircraft carrier - we have decided to modernise “ Melbourne “ - all its proposals have been adopted in the present Government’s defence review.
I shall quote from a distinguished Australian who made a statement some considerable time after the 1942 episode to which I have referred. This gentleman said -
I think that Australia should build up its forces particularly the R.A.A.F. and in the Navy submarine and anti-submarine vessels having regard to the present trend of atom warfare by submarines. Expenditure on the R.A.A.F. is justified particularly because of the relatively low drain on our resources and because of the flexibility of airborne strength.
Do honorable senators recall who said that? That statement was made by Mr. J. B. Chifley on 2nd March 1951.
As honorable senators opposite have been invoking the name of Mr. Chifley as if his support of any proposition would give complete and absolute sanction to it, I cannot see why members of the Opposition should take such umbrage at the present propositions from the Government because the Government has done, among other things, precisely what Mr. Chifley suggested. The Government has built up Australia’s forces, particularly the Royal Australian Air Force. I am not going to list the aircraft that Australia is buying. We are also purchasing for the Royal Australian Navy submarines and anti-submarine vessels. In view of the suggestions which Mr. Chifley himself made, surely the actions of the Government should sweep away all Labour’s objections to these propositions.
Time is running on, but I think some reference should be made to one or two of the matters referred to as election stunts. I recall that, during the debate yesterday, Senator Cavanagh said that the Government created crises in election years, that there was no call for this type of vigorous rearmament and that this action was purely an election stunt. As a matter of fact, the word “ stunt “ was severely overworked yesterday. I intended to try to count the number of times “ stunt “ was used yesterday, but I was not able to get round to doing so. If Senator Cavanagh’s proposition is valid - of course, I take the view that it is not - presumably the Government persuaded Sukarno to drop a few paratroopers for electoral purposes. If the Government was really having this done as part of an election stunt, would it have got Sukarno to drop them in Malaysia? Surely that would have been a bit clumsy. Surely Sukarno could have had these paratroopers dropped in Darwin, Sydney or somewhere else in Australia so as really to jolly things along, if the Government wanted this as an election stunt. I hope we will hear nothing more of this nonsense that the defence of Australia is being made a political football because I think that it is a matter of general regret to honorable senators on this side of the chamber and, I feel, to many honorable senators on the Opposition side of the chamber that the main political parties of this country have not been able to evolve a bipartisan policy on defence. The Government of this country does not shoot its political opponents. Both sides of the House adhere-
– That is a matter of regret to you.
– What was that, Senator?
– That is a matter of regret to you.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wedgwood). - Order! I ask Senator Hannan to address the Chair.
– A question was being addressed to me. I did not hear what is was. Therefore, I am unable to answer it.
Honorable senators on both sides of this chamber adhere at least externally to democratic procedures. It is therefore a matter to be regretted that the defence policy for the entire nation cannot be evolved in some bipartisan fashion. But until the antiAmericanism of the Australian Labour Party is eliminated, until the Communist influence in the foreign policy of the Australian Labour Party is eliminated, and until those things which cause a deep cleavage and a deep gap between the proposals of the Government parties and the Australian Labour Party, that type of national foreign policy, regrettably, seems to be unattainable. I support the proposals of the Government, and oppose the amendment.
– Madam Acting Deputy President, we have listened for some time to the monotonous reading of a speech by Senator Hannan. He said that until Australia is rid of some political sections of the community - he means the Australian Labour Party which he says is anti-American and proCommunist - other important political sections of the community cannot get together. These are great sentiments. I think that pro-Communism in any section of the community ought to be eradicated. I believe that anti-Americanism and McCarthyism in the community certainly should be eradicated along with all those other undesirable things which have been introduced into our community by people professing to be well meaning. If we can get rid of those things, Australia will be a very great nation and will go much further than it has to date.
I am not going to waste a lot of time on Senator Hannan’s speech. I have jotted down several notes in connection with the subject matter of this debate and I shall take a little time to discuss them. As I listened to Senator Hannan’s verbal contortions, I thought it was amazing how he came back to the very ideology that he professes to hate, namely, Communism, when he criticised the Australian Labour Party in connection with its policy in respect of places like Vietnam and various countries which are parties to the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. He criticised us because we say that in those regions in South East Asia the Government ought to be paying more attention to scientific, social and economic problems rather than to the military aspect. The wisdom of that view surely, has become patently clear in Vietnam today. The honorable senator says that he wonders about our policy to keep out the Communist hordes. When he said that, a remark from Mao-Tse-t’ung immediately came to my mind. It is -
Political power grows out of lbc barrel of a gun.
That is the only construction I could place on what the honorable senator was professing in regard to the position in South East Asia today. I think Senator Hannan should get firmly into his mind the fact that when you deny the other person’s point of view, when you live in intolerance, and when you deliver the type of speech which has been heard here for the last 30-odd minutes criticising, smearing and alleging all sorts of things against the members and leaders of the Australian Labour Party because they happen to differ politically from Senator Hannan’s party, you do not defeat Communism nor do you defeat ruthlessness. Injustice is not defeated by injustice. Injustice only creates injustice. That is precisely what Senator Hannan is doing. Although he did not use the expression, I say that he certainly came up to the point where he could have said that power comes O’U the barrel of a gun. Looking at Vietnam today, surely the honorable senator can see that we are not worrying about bullets. We are concerned with bringing two groups of people together again. We are concerned to save them and to preserve something in the short life that we are giving them today.
I do not want to be dragged completely off the track by Senator Hannan. I say in charity to my political opponents that I do not think Senator Hannan’s views represent their general views. As much as I might disagree with honorable senators on the other side of the chamber, I do not believe that they adopt the attitude towards their fellow men that Senator Hannan does. Certainly, if they do so, they do not adopt the pontifical air that Senator Hannan takes unto himself but denies to everybody else.
I was interested in the speech made yesterday by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge). Senator Fitzgerald commented that this speech was a very moderate one for a man who can become very excited at times and who holds very strong views on matters such as this. Senator Paltridge explained more clearly, if not for the first time, the association between the National Service Bill which will be introduced into the Senate shortly in connection with conscription, and the cold war. I would like, in anticipation of the Bill, to examine the position in regard to the cold war which, of course, must dominate all defence thinking throughout the world today. I shall refer also to the necessity for the introduction of this measure at this time. I suggest immediately that I do not think that any consideration of the cold war with which I will deal can justify the bringing forward of this proposal on the eve of an election.
The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), in making his defence review statement last Tuesday night, said that the measures to be taken had become necessary because of the deterioration of the position in Vietnam, the explosion by Communist China of an atomic bomb, and the attitude of Indonesia towards Malaysia, which had been marked, first, by sporadic raids and more recently by the parachuting of troops on to the Malaysian mainland itself as distinct from its island components. Those facts are undeniable. What amazes me is that they seemed to surprise only one person in the community, and that is the Prime Minister himself. If he is genuinely surprised, then his actions belie that surprise.
As has been pointed out, and I do not want to reiterate the point, the actions to be taken by the Government will not achieve anything in regard to these problems in the near future, lt will be some time before the Government’s proposals take effect. In fact, on the basis of the presentation of defence review statements over the years we will be due to hear six more such statements before the proposals in this particular defence statement take effect.
The cold war situation is not new. As a matter of fact, it is one that has some amazing convolutions. It has had some amazing alterations. The cold war has markedly dominated the thinking and the attitudes of countries which are basically different from Australia and which have different concepts, different backgrounds, different sociologies and different actions in mind from our own.
Australia as a nation has been fortunate in being able to sit on the sidelines. I admit that this is not an entirely accurate statement, because Australia has been affected by events to a certain degree; but it has also had time to sit back and learn from events. We all remember a time when war seemed inevitable. It seemed that we had no chance of avoiding war, but now we can sec how a tolerance has been developed between the two great giants - the United States of America and Soviet Russia - which we would have thought impossible a few years ago. We have seen a tolerance grow and fructify between these two nations, in the atmosphere of the development of nuclear energy.
The explosion of a nuclear device by Communist China was no surprise. Therefore I cannot concede to the Prime Minister that it should have had any effect on the defence review. The Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), who is Acting Minister for External Affairs, said recently in answer to a question something that was apparent to everybody - that China was moving near to exploding an atomic bomb and that it would not be a surprise when it happened. The Minister for Defence, as I recall, spoke in similar terms after the bomb had been exploded.
– Would any of the steel that we export be incorporated in that device?
– I do not know. That is a problem to which Senator Hannan might apply his mind at some time. I would not have thought that this explosion of an atomic bomb by Communist China would have been surprising. A few nights after the exploding of the original atomic bomb at Hiroshima I was attending a lecture when the point was raised as to whether this new knowledge could be confined to one nation. The lecturer even then indicated how impossible it would be to confine scientific knowledge within geographic boundaries.
Senator Hannan was worrying today about Indonesia. To my mind, it is not important that Indonesia has stated that it will explode a bomb next year but might not do so. It does not matter whether Indonesia is wrong in its timing of that prospective achievement. I do not see how you can hold science down. Events have developed almost to the stage of a brush fire with the production of atomic energy. Any nation .that makes up its mind to develop atomic energy and use it for destructive purposes will be able to do so. That has been obvious for a long time.
In the early part of the cold war there was the unscientific thought that you would be able to confine the bomb to one nation and that no-one else would be able to have it. If you stockpiled atomic bombs, that was the way to peace, according to the thinking in those days. This is another matter on which I join issue with Senator Hannan and in respect of which my approach is exactly the opposite to his. The honorable senator said that because Communist China had exploded an atomic bomb and Indonesia was threatening to explode or was on the way to exploding an atomic bomb, this was all the more reason why the nuclear free zone advocated by the Australian Labour Party was completely wrong. I would have thought that it was an indication that we were completely right.
Except for political purposes before an election, I cannot understand criticism of any proposition which would contribute to disarmament. Such a contribution was tho only objective of the proposal for a nuclear free zone. The Labour Party’s proposal simply meant that Australia should take the lead in a specified zone to try to prevent, at least in that zone, the use of atomic weapons. Surely if that could be done it would be an advance towards disarmament. Such an agreement had already been reached in relation to Antarctica and was later reached in South America. It was only one quavering step forward, because it is not sufficient to ban one type of armament and fail to take action about others. Disarmament was inherent in the nuclear test ban itself; but Senator Hannan seems to think that we in the Australian Labour Party were traitors to Australia in some way because of our advocacy of a nuclear free zone.
If one follows Senator Hannan’s thinking to the end, one comes to the conclusion that we should be advocating atomic bombs for everybody - Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Timor or any place you can think of. If you take Senator Hannan’s thinking to a logical conclusion, there is safety in such a proposition. The honorable senator has such a mentality that he takes unto himself all sorts of rights but denies them to anybody else. His attitude seems to be that it is all right for Australia to have the atomic bomb, that nobody else should have it, and that in that way we will have peace. This was the kind of thinking that brought us almost to the brink of war at the very beginning of the cold war. Thank heavens, there seems to be some sort of tolerance or rapprochement building up through experience.
This was something that I hoped this Government would anticipate. I hoped that it would refrain from using this question for the purposes of its defence review. Surely the Liberal Government and the Liberal Party should learn a lesson from current history. We have seen the United States of America and Russia move away from this tricky question of the use of atomic energy. They have settled down, The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) said the other day that we have to develop with Communist China the very attitude that Russia and the United States of America have developed towards each other. I hate to use particular words in relation to situations because this is an age of labels and once you use a word, it is inferred that you are a Communist, a Protestant or a Jew or something else. But the word “coexistence “ has come into common use and that seems to be what Mr. Hasluck is advocating in relation to Australia and Communist China. He was not giving anything away. He did not say, for example, that there ought to be recognition by Australia of Communist China. He was saying that we should move towards a situation similar to that in which Russia and the United States of America are living.
We have seen an example of this new thinking in the split between the Chinese and Russian brands of Communism. In Russia we have seen a maturity of approach. In effect, the Russians have said: “ We do not want to press the old ideology of world revolution because, if that brings on an atomic war, all the progress that has been made by Russia over the years since 1917 will certainly be destroyed while we are destroying somebody else”. On the other hand, we see the immaturity of the younger partner, which is saying: “ World revolution is still possible. We can promote it in places like Vietnam without becoming involved in a world war.” These are the lessons that the cold war has been giving to the world. As I have said, Australia is in the happy position of being able to sit back an benefit from them.
If you throw your mind back to a few years ago, Mr. President, you will remember that, before the general atomic bomb tests, there were people - I heard them in this place - who were saying: “ Let us get in the king hit first. Let us drop a bomb first and get a tremendous advantage “. They advocated that action in both the European and Asian zones. Goodness knows what sort of a world it would have been today if we had listened to those voices. One might ask what this defence review is if it is not a political stunt. 1 am sorry if I offend the ears of Senator Hannan by using the word “ stunt “, but as a statement like this was made three weeks before an election, the smart ones on the side of the Liberal Party must have anticipated what would be said about it. If the Government would take its courage into its hands - as Senator Hannan said Mr. Curtin did in 1942 - this defence review is the sort of statement it would have made on the eve of a general election. The Government would have said: “For the first time in peacetime, we have to depart from the traditional volunteer system of Army service. We will introduce conscription and put ourselves before the people of Australia for their judgment”. That would have been political courage; but the Government has not shown political courage in submitting this review before a Senate election, which cannot alter the Government of the day. If the Government was looking at this review from the point of view of the cold war, surely it could have accepted the truism that what you look upon as desirable and what you believe is desirable is not always attainable. That is something that the Government could learn by examining the course of the cold war over the past few years.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I had been dealing with the suggestion, to which Senator Paltridge had directed attention, that the overriding reason for the defence review had been the impinging of the cold war on the South East Asia theatre. I said that the Government ought to have been able over the years to do more because Australia has not been greatly involved in the cold war manoeuvres, as have other countries. 1 had reached the point that there is a truism which this Government ought to bc able to recognise, that what we believe is desirable is not always attainable. I think that is something that has been recognised by Russia and America, and has largely brought about the state of affairs that exists between them today.
A few years ago we heard a lot about the policy of containment whereby Communism was to be contained within the borders of certain countries. This was brought about after the war when Russia moved into corridors through which she had been attacked on so many occasions. Her actions alarmed the Western world, and partly because of that the containment policy was born. It was realised after a while that you just cannot put walls around areas, whether they be imaginary or chains of bases, and hope for the best. We thought that was desirable, but we found that it was not attainable. I think there is a similar situation in relation to Indonesia.
From the frequent utterances of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), particularly those in the statement we are discussing, I have no doubt that he has thought it desirable that there ought to be a democratic government in Indonesia, our nearest neighbour, and that all the things that we consider desirable should happen in that country. But nothing that we can do will make that attainable. By offhanded references to Indonesia, or by trying to judge her attitude, we shall not make it any the more attainable. Here we find a paradox and a continuation of the cold war. The Prime Minister certainly gave the cold war roulette wheel a spin the other night, and his comments were underlined by those of Senator Paltridge. If we examine the attitudes to the cold war, we find that almost invariably, when we begin with a scheme to contain our enemies and help our friends, exactly the opposite happens.
I shall refer to only one or two matters because the hour is growing late for this session of the Parliament. I remember debating the Baghdad Pact in this chamber some years ago. Most people from the other side of the chamber were then saying: “ If you don’t agree with the Baghdad Pact you are pro-Communist because this is all part of the containment policy. This Pact will strengthen our allies and friends, and we ought to accept it”. It is easy to be wise after the event, but the effect that the Baghdad Pact had on countries near to us was almost unbelievable. One of the effects of the Pact was to help Pakistan on the question of re-armament. That immediately threw a scare into Afghanistan, which moved towards the Soviet camp. It threw a worse scare into India, which then started to arm itself. India was frightened of Pakistan over the problem of Kashmir, which Senator Cavanagh mentioned recently and which he was able to consider at close quarters when he visited the area a few months ago. Finally, there was a weakening of the endeavours of India. Whether that weakening led to the Communist Chinese attack, no-one will ever know.
If there is an important situation anywhere in the world today, it is the situation in India. Here we have two of the biggest nations in the world, one practising Communism and the other democracy. If ever we should give full marks to a nation for trying to battle on with democracy, we certainly should give them to India. With the trials and tribulations that that country has, it is stilt sticking doggedly to the system of democracy that we espouse. When we set out to help countries by means of the Baghdad Pact we damaged two countries that are within our own Commonwealth of Nations, and we did nothing to lessen the tension between them. In fact, by that very action it appears that we exacerbated the problems that they already had. The more we try to raise walls between nations the more dissension we seem to engender. The same comment applies to the technical rivalries between the East and the West. They have produced in Russia an unequalled degree of technological education and scientific study. Russia has produced a fantastic number of young people who are specially trained in technological subjects. The number of hours they work in a day and the number of days they work in a week to overcome their backwardness in this respect are almost unbelievable. The Russians feared the technical advantages of America and the rest of the Western world, and these advantages exerted pressures on them to make up the leeway.
We come to the situation in Vietnam. We debated this situation a little while ago and agreed on many aspects of the situation. lt is quite wrong for Senator Hannan to scorn us because we say that the final solution in such countries is not a military solution, but is a social, economic and scientific one. He says that that would not keep the Communist hordes out. As I have said, this matter goes back to Mao Tsetung’s statement that power grows out of the muzzle of a gun. What do we say to the ordinary Vietnamese who probably has one son fighting for one side and another son fighting for the other side? Probably some of his children have already been burned by napalm bombs. Are we to speak to him about keeping the Communist hordes out, or to tell him that somebody is proCommunist, and so on? When we divide Vietnam, when we go in to defend Vietnam, what do we do finally to our friends and allies? To use the dramatic phrase of Senator Hannan, if we did so to keep out the Communist hordes, it might be said that we had some justification for our actions, but does anybody say that we have succeeded? Can anybody, with’ any degree of confidence, point to a bright future in Vietnam?
We say the great and historical Marshall Aid Plan in the early days, which was followed by the Point Four Plan of foreign aid. If ever there was a country in history which disgorged its wealth without asking for anything in return, it is the United States of America. It has given foreign aid to many countries that needed such aid. Yet we find today that even the charitable and the sensible aid that has been given by America and for which nothing has been received in return, has been construed as a means of dominating countries. It has made a battleground of some countries. In Others there are signs with the words “Yankee Go Home “ on them. Those things happen in countries which we might think would be nothing but grateful. A cynical approach is being adopted to such aid and the matter becomes complicated.
It would be simple if we could adopt the attitude of Senator Hannan that the goodies are on one side and the baddies on the other, and that the goodies do everything good and the baddies everything bad. He has painted his pictures completely in black and white, with no shade of grey. But such an attitude is only a substitute for thinking. I am afraid that the Government has erred in this way. Instead of analysing the situation and taking advantage of the great wealth of experience that lies before it in order to examine the situation, it has used the information as a substitute for thinking. Isolation has become something of a dirty word. Particularly was that so in America in the early part of the Second World War. This Government has adopted the attitude that if there was a pact which covered a certain area, that was that. But when there has been little criticism of the A.N.Z.U.S. Treaty, or of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation, the Government has said that that was pro-Communist thinking, that the pacts were there, and that they were the answer to everything. That attitude was underlined by Senator Hannan today. Finally, injustice is met with injustice. Today I was amused to hear Senator Hannan quoting from newspapers and telling us what wonderful things they were. Because something was written in certain newspapers, therefore it was right, but only yesterday he made slighting reference to a newspaper, saying: “This is what you expect when you get an amalgamation between this side of the newspaper world and that side of the newspaper world.” So, in the mind of Senator Hannan, we come back to the goodies and baddies. If it is in a paper with which he agrees, it is gospel itself, and if the newspaper does not agree with him he thinks it has no right to exist at all. Unless a newspaper agrees with him 100 per cent., it is obviously wrong. We have seen this thing develop.
As I indicated earlier, Senator Hannan’s philosophy is to hate Communism but he perpetuates the very evil of hate in what is known in the world today as McCarthyism. lt is not sufficient to say that because something is in a Communist country it is bad and then, when we have the same thing in our own nation, to give it another name and deny natural justice, as he has done on so many occasions. He told us about what happened in the Australian Labour Party 25 years ago but I did not hear from him a defence of the statement that we are debating today. He said very clearly, and others have said, that foreign policy and defence policy ought to be bipartisan, and that there ought to be continuing policies. If that is so and if the Government believes that, why does it intend to introduce conscription? It does so because it knows just as well as everybody else in the community knows that conscription is something to which the Australian Labour Party will not agree. If there is to be a bipartisan policy, which one government after another can carry on very largely - I do not suggest in detail - in matters of foreign policy and defence, there must be some form of compromise. If people sit around a conference table, they sit there to compromise. If the Government wanted a bipartisan policy, if it genuinely wanted, when it left the treasury bench, a new government to carry on with its form of defence, it would have continued with the traditional system of volunteers for the Australian armed forces and not forced us into the situation of opposing conscription. I move away from this area of the cold war. It is a subject about which we could talk for a long time. I leave the thought that in its attitude towards the cold war the Government is flying in the face of history as we have known it for the past 15 or 20 years.
Senator Wright said that Senator McKenna had made this debate a political argument. Surely Senator Wright realises that when a proposal of this nature is introduced on the eve of an election, nothing more is needed to make it political. If the Government wanted to keep this matter out of the field of politics, the Government could have raised it months ago, or in a few months’ time. If it wanted to make the matter political, the really honest thing to do would be to raise the matter on the eve of an election for the House of Representatives, when the people of Australia would be able to express their judgment truly. The people cannot express their judgment truly at a Senate election. Senator Wright went on to say that Senator McKenna had copied the speech of Mr. Calwell, that Senator McKenna’s speech was a reiteration of Mr. Calwell’s speech. I suggest that if their speeches had disagreed Senator Wright would have had to give way to the leadership of Senator Hannan. Disagreement in the Australian Labour Party was the very thing that the Government wanted when it introduced this proposal. That is precisely why it was introduced. The Government did not realise the unanimity on this very point in the Australian Labour Party. The criticism would have been more valid had one speech flown off at a tangent to the other. If this matter is to be beyond party politics there must be compromise on both sides. The Government must leave a policy that can be supported by its successor.
asked how one weakened an army by strengthening it. I did not want to go back to the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes), who has been having so much said about him by the Labour Party in public and by the Liberal Party in private. Let me refer to his speech on the Budget, of which the speech contained in the document he so proudly circulated to members of the Parliament a few days ago is largely a reiteration, although the former, I feel, was much more strongly said. Dr. Forbes, speaking in the Budget debate on 20th August said, in relation to national service training -
Wc have not introduced it because to do so would bc against the unanimous advice of our military advisers. Why do our military advisers give that advice and why do we accept it? . . . Can we meet the current situation without reintroducing a national service training scheme? This is a matter that our advisers have attempted to assess. Their advice also is partly the result of their assessment of the adequacy of our forces to meet the situation if national service training were introduced. Would the forces be less adequate? Would they be more adequate? Would the introduction of such a scheme make no difference? A proper answer to these question springs from a knowledge of the defects of the national service training scheme.
As to the adequacy of our regular force to meet the requirements of the current cold war situation, let me emphasise that in strength it is down by a few thousand, not by tens of thousands as is some times suggested, lt is down from 28,000 to 24,000. This is hardly a situation calling for Herculean expedients or undue panic. In terms of efficiency, equipment and availability, the Australian Regular Army completely meets the requirements. In relation to the current requirement of the A.R.A. - highly trained, readily available forces - national service has certain military disadvantages . . . In other words the attributes to which we attach the greatest importance - readiness, efficiency, availability, would be substantially reduced by a national service scheme on any worthwhile scale in the circumstances existing at present
He finished his peroration by saying -
It appears to me that some of those who advocate the immediate introduction of national service training are taking undue counsel from their long term fears and advocate action to meet a possible long term requirement, action which would weaken our capacity to deal with the realities of the situation that faces us now and in the short term. Let them consider the possibility that, by doing what they suggest, we might make a certainty of the possible long term adverse situations which we seek to avoid.
– Who said this?
– Dr. Forbes, Minister for the Army. He repeated those statements in the document that we received from him. Senator Hannan, if he has any doubts about how one weakens an army by strengthening it, ought to have a word with Dr. Forbes - that is, if anybody in the Liberal Party is now talking to the Minister. A little while ago we had before us amendments to the Defence Act. I remember Senator Cormack taking umbrage. I did not know that such a cool gentleman could get so excited. He asked why we did not oppose the amendments. Senator Kennelly replied: “What more do you want? The object is to get legislation through. If you can get a unanimous vote, that is good work. That is what we are giving you.” Sections of (he Liberal Party were very concerned because we did not oppose that legislation. We agreed with it, because it dealt with a situation in which volunteers could be used by the Government as it thought fit. That was a compromise. That is the type of compromise about which we are talking. We went some of the way with the Government and said: “ If you declare a period of danger, you can take these lads and send them overseas.” Senator Paltridge was rather underlining this when he very proudly and quite properly spoke of the exploits of the Australian Army. He spoke of places where the troops were throughout South East Asia today and the tremendous effort that they had made. He seemed to miss the point that this service has been rendered by volunteers. What has been achieved - as Minister for Defence, he is very proud of it - has been done by the volunteer system.
If we analyse the Government’s proposals in terms of what is required in our neck of the woods, it is obvious that the advice did not come from the Department of External Affairs. I have more faith in the officers of that Department than to think that the advice came from them, because it flies in the face of every development and every form of progress that has been achieved. The general concept has been emphasised by Mr. Hasluck, who said that we must develop with Communist China relationships akin to those that have been developed between Russia and America. Quite obviously, as was expressed in ‘he words of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes), this advice could not have come from the Government’s military advisers. I now come back to Senator Wright’s reference to our turning the matter into one of party politics. We are left with the fact that the decision to implement the current proposals could have been made by only one set of people. We are left with the fact that the Government consistently at election time, with reckless disregard for the truth, produces an issue that will create an atmosphere of uncertainty.
– I enter this debate mainly for the purpose of endeavouring briefly to direct my mind to some of the criticisms that have been made by the Opposition about our defence preparedness and what we think requires to be done at the present time. The amendment that we are discussing is directed to the proposals that have been set out in the defence statement made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and which will be implemented when a Bill shortly to be introduced in this place is, I hope, passed.
It has been stated that the Government has done nothing to improve the Air Force, the Army and the Navy, and that what we now propose to do will not come to fruition for some years. It has been further suggested that those proposals will not meet our needs and therefore they ought not to bc implemented. If we put aside for one moment selective national service, the proposals set out in the defence statement do not constitute the first attempt that has been made by this Government to increase our defence capacity. They constitute an extension of the action that has already been taken. They do not constitute a new departure but, as 1 have said, are an extension of what has already happened.
What has already happened in the Services is by no means negligible. Let me speak first about what has happened in the Navy. Over the last five or six years frigates which were more than 20 years old and River class destroyers which dated from the last war have all been replaced with new and modern ships of the Daring and type-12 classes which are equipped with missiles and other improvements to fighting capacity. In addition eight other ships have been added to the fleet. That has involved the recruitment and training of crews and the maintenance of those vessels in all ways. During this same period there have been added to the Navy the anti-submarine helicopters to which Senator McKenna referred.
To illustrate the planning that has been applied to all three Services, I should like to advert to a question that was asked by Senator McKenna as a result of the statement that it is proposed to spend money within the next few years to modernise those anti-submarine helicopters. Senator McKenna asked: Why is this to be done? Were they not modern when they were bought? The answer is that, when they were bought, they carried the latest equipment that was available at the time for the purpose for which they were to be used. It was known that advanced equipment was being developed, and that probably it would soon become available. Special arrangements were made for this new equipment which had not then been completed but which had reached the final stage of testing to bc put into the helicopters later without any structural alteration. This is an example of the continuing process of improving the armament and equipment of all the Services.
– How long would that process take?
– For each helicopter?
– I am afraid I cannot answer with the degree of certainty that the honorable senator would like, but I should say that it would be a matter of weeks, because these helicopters were so built that this equipment could be put into them.
– Will that make them equal to anything of the same type overseas?
– I am now speaking at a time somewhat removed from when the original acquisition was made and I cannot be absolutely certain, but I believe it would make them equal to anything else in this field.
We have been subjected to the criticism that what we now propose to acquire for the Army, the Navy and the Air Force will take a long time to arrive. Of course it will. It takes a long time to build a ship or a modern aircraft. As evidence of what has gone before in this field, I point out that in the coming year there is to be a major addition to the Navy in the form of two D.D.G.’s. They will not be replacements of ships previously on strength but will be additions to the fleet. They will be bigger than any ships that have been added to the Navy in the last 10 years, with the exception of the aircraft carriers. In the year following that the first submarine will come into service, and following that another D.D.G., a submarine and an escort maintenance ship will come into commission. So year by year we will see the results of planning over past years for additions to the fighting capacity of the Services. I remind the Senate, too, of new ami-submarine weapons that have been developed, including the Ikara, and the added anti-submarine capacity that will be given to the “ Melbourne “ when Tracker aircraft eventually replace the Gannets.
I shall now refer to the Air Force. The Mirage fighters are coming off the assembly line as a result of the planning done in the past. These aircraft are moving into service with the Air Force as replacements of the Sabres. It is evident that this is not just a new and sudden move, but is a continuation of a move which, over the years, has borne fruit and is now bearing fruit. Hercules transport planes have been bought and placed in operation and are now to be augmented. Caribou aircraft have been bought, delivered and placed into operation. Orion anti-submarine aircraft have been bought as replacements for use with the R.A.A.F. Helicopters have been added to the Air Force and bombers are now in the course of construction as a result of fast action. This is all evidence that the Services have not in the past been neglected. It is evidence that the charge that nothing has been done in the Services is demonstrably wrong to anyone who looks around and sees the ships and aircraft and the men who man them, the accommodation for the men and the stores which already have been obtained and those which will come into operation in the Services in the next two or three years.
I move on to the Army. The issue between the Government and the Opposition in relation to the Army is whether at this stage there should be selective national training for overseas service. On this subject there is a clear-cut difference of opinion. I believe that because of the position in which this country now finds itself, national service training is necessary. It is surely a requirement of Australia to have in being sufficient numbers in the Regular Army to be able to fulfil our commitments and, at the same time, to retain in Australia a force sufficient to be able to organise and train and rapidly bring to a useful capacity the floods of volunteers who will flow to the colours when fighting actually starts. There is no need, and it would be wrong, for this country ever to try to hold a large standing Army in being. We have too much else to do. We have too much scope for development, too many other requirements and too many economic needs.
We should never seek to hold divisions in being, but we should seek to have enough men to fulfil our commitments and to have a nucleus of trained men who can take the civilians who will come when the need arises, and rapidly turn them into an army without detracting from our capacity to fulfil our overseas obligations to our allies.
– Do you think it is a good idea that conscripts should be mixed with volunteers?
– I believe that if you had a battalion or a company composed of conscripts and volunteers, after a week no one would know who was a conscript and who was a volunteer. That is my own belief in this matter. I was seeking to demonstrate that there is a requirement for a sufficient number of men to fulfil our two tasks. The numbers that are believed to be sufficient to do so are the numbers at which the Government is now aiming. There is a choice which can be made in seeking to arrive at those numbers. In order to train an Army sufficiently successfully to fulfil your obligations you can rely on the volunteer system. This method will take some years.
The alternative, if you think the situation justifies it, is to call up for national service training sufficient numbers to reach the position where you can do these works. It seems to me that the argument resolves itself to this: Is Australia at this stage in a position where it needs as quickly as possible to build up to the number of men required to fulfil these two tasks? If it is in a position where it needs to do that as quickly as possible, then selective national service training is the only way it will be able to do so. We believe that Australia is in the position where our numbers should be built up as quickly as possible. We have formed that belief because of a number of things that have happened in recent months and have not happened before.
Senator Willesee had a lot to say about the cold war. I agreed with much of what the honorable senator said, particularly as it relates to Europe. However, we have in this part of the world, as he pointed out, a man named Mao Tse-tung, whose philosophy is that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. He has used the barrel of a gun to expound his political philosophy and has done so quite successfully. He has used the barrel of a gun, for example, in Laos, where half the country is under his control or the control of his myrmidons. The same is true of Cambodia, for whatever reasons its ruler may be casting his eyes in the direction of Mao Tse-tung. In South Vietnam the barrels of Mao Tse-tung’s guns have inflicted and are inflicting untold misery. I emphasise the position in South Vietnam, because the barrels of American guns are not inflicting misery in North Vietnam. The Americans have not gone to North Vietnam seeking to impose political power out of the barrels of their guns. It is the Communists who take their guns to other countries to use them. It appears now that within a period of time there will be still more force behind this philosophy.
I think there is a need more urgently to build up our strength. But apart from the question of Communist expansion, which is only one aspect of expansion, we have also had the experience of Indonesia launching with small forces sporadic invasions of another country. Armed men have been taken over and dropped from aeroplanes at night or landed at the coast from landing craft at night on the mainland of Malaya, not in the territories over which Indonesia claims to be in dispute with Malaysia. This is not a matter of the expansion of Communist philosophy. It is a plain and simple matter of one country seeking to impose its will upon another country by the use of armed forces.
– Or as a diversion for Sukarno - which?
– I do not wish or propose to go into the underlying reasons which may motivate Indonesia. What concerns me is that we live in a world which could avoid fighting wars if people would avoid doing these things. In the clearest terms one country is prepared to use armed mcn to attempt to impose its will upon another country outside the borders of the first country. This has nothing to do with Communism, but is the old story of power politics. Examples of this have been multiplied in the last few months. Once this situation arises, once there is evidence of a willingness to do this kind of thing, I believe that a country faced as Australia is faced must say: “We cannot, apart altogether from questions of ideology, stand by and permit the use of armed forces by one country on another country if there is anything we can do to prevent it “. Apart from the fact that this sort of thing escalates into the wars which we seek to avoid, the situation is comparable to that described by John Donne, the poet, when he wrote -
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; lt tolls for thee.
Once this situation is allowed to occur without question, this country, or some other small country, may be the next one into which armed men will come. This is happening very close to us now.
For these reasons, which have become more and more evident in recent times, it seems to me that we must do something to meet, not an immediate situation, but a situation which recent events indicate is now more likely to arrive quickly. In order to meet the situation, we must have the capacity to fulfil our obligations and to expand our Army if the need should ever arise. The Government thinks that its proposals represent the proper course to take for the safety of all Australians. If the Opposition thinks that these measures are not required and that we should not take this action to meet the present situation because world events do not require us to do so, let that be the issue between us and let the issue be argued as far as possible on logical lines.
There is one other point I wish to make. A number of honorable senators have sought to make fun of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) and to show that he made a complete volte face in the various statements he made on this subject. I should like to put it on record that over the last 18 months or so the Returned Servicemen’s League and other similar organisations have been advocating national service training. They have been suggesting that this training should be for a long period of time. They have suggested national service training which would involve the call-up of all the 20-year olds or the 21-year olds, whatever the age chosen might be. They have advocated something on a far wider scale than the Government is proposing. It was believed, properly in my view, that an effort of that kind, a call-up of that size, would have diffused the Regular Army to such an extent that it would not have been in a position to do the job which it should be able to do. The Government proposes a different proposition altogether. It proposes to call up a limited number of people from one age group. That is the first great difference between the proposition to which Dr. Forbes was addressing his mind and the proposition which is now before the Australian people.
– Both were selective.
– I have always understood that the proposition of the R.S.L. was a large scale call-up of virtually all youths of a particular age, subject to exemptions of course. The R.S.L. wanted a large scale call-up similar to the call-up when national service training was previously in force. There is all the difference in the world between the two propositions. I think it may well be that some of the disabilities the Army saw in a large scale call-up will, for a short time, be experienced even with a small scale call-up. However, if the situation facing Australia now is such that the Army needs to be built up to a particular size, and if what the Government proposes will enable that to be done reasonably quickly then, with the changed situation, sone disabilities must be endured for a short time.
That, I think, concludes all that I wish to say.I shall summarise in a few sentences the points that I have made. The Government believes that in the situation in which Australia finds itself, it is imperative that we quickly get an Army large enough to be able to do the job needed to be done, and, if necessary, to be expanded. The Opposition apparently believes that the increase in the Army should be brought about purely on a voluntary basis. The Government has done much to improve the Army and the Navy, as can be readily seen. The additions which will be made year by year will provide evidence of past planning to build the Services up so that Australia will be in a position, not where it can defend itself alone, but where it can make a growing contribution through all three Services, which will be, in view of all our other requirements, the best that this country can have. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the Senate in this Bill.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with a message intimating that it had not made the amendment requested by the Senate.
Consideration of House of Representatives’ message.
Clause 4. (1.) In this Act- “ gross earnings “, in relation to a commercial television station in respect of a period, means the gross earnings of the licensee of the station during that period in respect of the televising from the station advertisements or other matter, including the gross earnings of the licensee during that period in respect of the provision by him of, or otherwise in respect of, matter televised from the station, not being earnings from the production and recording on photographic film, or the recording on photographic film, or matter consisting wholly of an advertisement;
Senate’s request -
In the definition of “ gross earnings “, after advertisement add “ , provided that if the licensee satisfies the Minister that any such earnings have been received in connection with the televising of, or the provision by him of, musical, dramatic or other artistic material wholly produced or originating in Australia, then only one-half of those earnings shall be included in the gross earnings of the station “.
– I move -
That the request be not pressed.
I wish to speak to the motion. We now know that the other place is not willing to accept the request. I would like to canvass again, very briefly in all the circumstances, some of the points which were made in relation to this request some days ago. The criticism of this request that I made in the first instance was that it was in fact incapable of definition. Other members of the Committee raised the point as to how musical, dramatic or other artistic material wholly produced or originating in Australia could be defined. The question is how those things can be described in particularity, which is essential in an Act of this nature. That question still remains unresolved. It is primarily for that reason that I suggest to the Committee that the request be not pressed.
For instance, one could conjure up all sorts of circumstances and pose the question I have just asked. I shall not indulge in this exercise for any length of time. But I turn, first of all, to what might be defined as “ artistic material “. I know that there are certain senators here who thoroughly enjoy watching bouts of fisticuffs on television or hearing broadcast descriptions of fisticuffs. I have heard an Australian Broadcasting
Commission broadcaster refer to one of the parties to such an engagement as being an artist in his profession.
– It is a noble art.
– Yes, it is a noble art. I just wonder whether we would regard fisticuffs as artistic material for the purpose of the request as it was defined in this particular proposal. If an Australian artist sang a German folk song, could we regard that presentation, in the musical category, as originating in Australia?
– The artist is an Australian artist.
– It is a question of interpretation. That is the point to which I referred earlier. Some people regard it as such but others may not so regard it. The situation could arise in the dramatic field where an Australian production was presented of “ Henry V “ or “ Richard III.” One wonders whether that is to be determined as being produced or originating in Australia. The two subjects, production and origination,, do not seem to be marriageable. I could illustrate this point for a long time. I know that the Committee would frown on me if I did so, because it would become a little boring after a while. I shall give one further illustration. We have, I understand, a very famous artist in Australia at the present time in the person of Winifred Atwell. Assuming that one of her concerts was televised or broadcast, and she played some Australian compositions, would that presentation come within the range of this particular request?
To sum up what I have been saying, I point out that the difficulty of definition is one of the real weaknesses in the request. lt is suggested in the request that these matters should be resolved on the basis of the definition by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in its category of programmes. By an odd coincidence, the Board, in its report for the year ended 30th June 1 964, has made quite considerable comment on this very problem. The Board itself has acknowledged in paragraph 212 that it is having some difficulty in definition. I shall not read the whole paragraph because it is fairly lengthy, but I will read sufficient of it to establish its theme. The paragraph commences -
The Board is not yet convinced that the basis of calculating the amount of Australian programmes is completely satisfactory.
The Board goes on to deal with this matter in some detail and then continues - the Board is now considering methods of completely recasting the basis on which calculation of Australian programmes would be made.
So, even taking the comment of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board as a basis for definition of the contents of this request, it appears that there is some element of uncertainty at that level in regard to assessment.
I have said that the terms of this request are incapable of definition. I have drawn attention to the proposition in relation to the solution which was given to me to handle the situation and have pointed out that that solution leaves a lot to be desired. I want to make the point now that it also is almost impossible to administer the provisions of this request from a governmental point of view. The administration would, in fact, fall back almost entirely into the hands of the television stations and the broadcasting companies themselves. This Bill represents a new form of legislation which does away with the existing arrangements that lend themselves to a degree of assessment on that basis and fixes those arrangements on an entirely new level. If the Committee were to insist on this request, we would return to the situation where the companies themselves would have to make an arbitrary judgment as to whether or not a particular item or programme had Australian content. So, a situation arises comparable with the existing one where the determining factor is the judgment by these companies in relation to a particular programme. The only alternative is the setting up of a tremendous organisation under which every second of every minute of broadcasting or television time would be assessed by government officials or Australian Broadcasting Control Board officials to determine and make a judgment of what constituted Australian content in accordance with the standards established. So, the situation is that an auditing organisation, shall we say, would have to be set up to make a determination as to what Australian content is; alternatively, we would have to fall back on an arbitrary decision made by the companies themselves on this particular matter.
There is only one other point I want to make. Rather gently, I direct the attention of the Opposition to the fact that its spokesman, Senator Cohen, moved an amendment at the second reading stage of this Bill. That amendment was to the effect that, in view of the position of television companies in regard to revenue, the amount that was to be charged under this new scheme by way of fees assessed on gross earnings was not severe enough. Perhaps “ severe “ is too strong a word. The prime purpose the amendment had in view was to attract more revenue from these companies.
– Those companies with gross income over £1 million.
– Yes. When its amendment failed, the Opposition then turned and gave support to the request with which we are now dealing. The request would have the effect of substantially reducing the amount of fees paid. There is inconsistency if, believing that the licensees should be paying more and that they have failed in one respect, you give support to a request which would have the effect of causing the licensees to pay something like
SO per cent. less. Certainly the amount would be reduced, because only one half of the earnings from these sources would be included in the gross earnings.
In all the circumstances, I suggest that the Opposition agree to the motion that the request be not pressed. I shall run through the reasons again quickly. This amendment is difficult to interpret; in fact, it is almost impossible to interpret the wording. It would be difficult to administer. There would be a need to set up an auditing system the cost of which would be out of all proportion to the revenue involved. Without that, you would have to fall back on a system which was largely one of interpretation by the licensees themselves. Finally, I make the point that we have repealed the other legislation and we are virtually in a no-man’s land in relation to licence fees. In all the circumstances, . I earnestly suggest to the Committee that it agree to the request not being pressed.
I finish on this note: The Posmaster.General was most careful to state during the debate in another place - I echoed his remarks here - that he is very conscious of the case for a close examination of the report on the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television, particularly in relation to the desirability of improving the Australian content of programmes. He has stated that he is currently examining this situation in the hope that he will be able to bring down a worthwhile proposition specifically designed and calculated to do the things which the author of this request, Senator Buttfield, no doubt had in mind. The Minister suggested that a far more logical way to do this would be by way of a separate exercise, rather than by way of a requested amendment to what in effect is a money bill. I ask that the request be not pressed.
– I rise again to say a few words on this Bill, which I call a most unfortunate Bill. 1 have not been particularly impressed by the arguments against pressing this request that have been given by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson), except for the last one, which he passed over very rapidly. That was to the effect that we had repealed legislation and were now in a state of hiatus, and that no licence fee would be chargeable if we were to continue pressing the request.
I do not believe that definition is a difficulty at all. I think it is quite within the capacity of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to state clearly what is an Australian programme and what is Australian content. The fact that the Minister was able to read from the Board’s report a statement that it was about to re-define, or was in the process of re-defining, the basis for calculating Australian content indicates that the Board is capable of doing this and would be able to do it. I see no difficulty in defining what is musical or artistic content.
As to administration, there may be some difficulties, but I do not think they are insurmountable. As I pointed out the other day, there is already a monitor who has to decide what is an advertisement filmed in Australia. If it is possible to have a monitor for one thing, it would be possible to have a monitor for another. Is not the making of decisions on matters of this kind what the licensees are doing all the time when they are making up their income tax returns or, in this case, the returns for assessing their licence fees? They present their figures and facts, which are examinable by the Commissioner of Taxation. After all, he has been given plenty of scope to make decisions in a Bill we passed last week. It would be quite possible for him to do the same thing in this connection. So I do not think that administration would be an impossibility.
What I am concerned about in the present assessment is that there is to be no allowance to a station for the cost of production of an expensive programme. When a programme is expensive it may mean that it has a better Australian content. That does not necessarily apply, but generally it is a better programme. For that reason the licence fee will be increased. This does not seem a sensible method of assessing a licence fee, and it is having a disastrous effect. I set out. to point that out, and I think I have achieved that purpose.
The fact that we are now in a state of hiatus leads me to say that I will not press for the request to be repeated. I regret that the Government has not been willing to accept this amendment. The effect of the present system - which I do not think was calculated before - is to make it much more difficult for Australian artists and Australian stations to give us the type of programme we are looking for and hoping for. The request we made was purely a gesture. It was token in its effect. For that reason, I think it is not necessary to repeat the request. I am satisfied with the assurance given by the Minister that he is going to consider this matter as a whole, so that he may come up with some worthwhile proposition in order to try to solve this difficult problem. I expect that to be done, and I will certainly be waiting for it with great expectation in the next session of the Parliament, after I am returned to the Senate.
I believe also it is a great pity that this huge impost has been put on the stations when they have had a great many difficulties imposed on them in the last few months. That is unfortunate. But since this is a budgetary measure, there is little we can do about it. I think it is most disturbing to the artists themselves to see the tendency of stations to dismiss some of their artistic personnel in order to cut down expenses. This is something we do not want to see. We know that we are likely to lose many of our artists who seek overseas experience, but we hope that they will return to Australia. We must see that there are plenty of opportunities for them to be employed here.
I hope that when the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme) is ready to come up with his worthwhile proposition, to use the words of the Minister for Customs and Excise, he will consult with both the licensees of the stations and the artistic people - Actors Equity and all the people concerned. I hope that he will get them to say what they feel would be the best way to solve this problem, but I hope also that they will not endorse the suggestion put up by the Opposition for a Government controlled pool of money. I do not think that is a solution.
– Order! I think the honorable senator is getting away from the resolution. I suggest that she direct her remarks to clause 4.
– Very well. The licensees themselves, or the actors perhaps, could start a school so that actors, script writers and others could get the experience and training that they need. If we do that, we may have a chance of reaching world standards with our programmes. Until we do, we cannot hope to improve the Australian productions. Our programmes must be of world standard so that they can be sold overseas. Because of the cost of an Australian programme, we must sell it overseas to get a return for the producer. These are considerations we must have in mind in assisting all those interested to get a better Australian content. It is certainly imperative that the programmes have the approval of viewers. When the viewers are not satisfied with the Australian content, they are most likely to switch off the station.
I am not impressed by the argument put up by the Minister in another place that if we do not let this measure pass, the Treasury would be deprived of £300,000 in revenue. I realise that there is an hiatus, but if the Government had been willing to accept our request there would have been little loss to the Government and there would have been a great incentive to the stations, the licensees and the actors themselves. They would have seen that the Government was showing its intention of helping them to improve standards. My intention in pressing the amendment was to direct the attention of everybody in Australia, including the members of the Government, to the fact that there was an urgent need to do this. Since the Minister has given an assurance that he will come up with a worthwhile proposition, I am not prepared to go on with the request.
.- The Opposition, unlike Senator Buttfield, is sticking to its guns. The position, as I see it, is not as was stated by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson).
– Who moved the amendment?
– It was Senator Buttfield’s amendment, and we supported it. I am indebted to my colleague, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Kennelly). I had assumed that all honorable senators knew who moved the amendment.
– I said that I was not prepared to press the request.
– It was Senator Cohen’s amendment which sought to take another couple of million pounds from the television stations.
– The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) says that our amendment was designed to take another couple of million pounds from the television stations.
– It was the honorable senator who used the word “ million “.
– The Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television said that to implement the whole of its recommendations would cost no more than £1 million in a year. We were not dealing specifically with the recommendations of the Select Committee. I remind the Senate that the Opposition moved an amendment in two parts. The first part advocated an increase in the licence fees proposed by the Government where the gross earnings exceeded £1 million. That applied to every metropolitan television station. The second part sought to provide that the whole of the proceeds from the licence fees should be paid into a fund to be expended at the discretion of the Minister on the encouragement of Australian productions for television. We received no support for that proposal from Senator Buttfield, or from any honorable senator on the Government side, although at one stage she said that she was favorably disposed towards the second part of the amendment but she did not support the amendment. That was the whole point of the Opposition’s case. We raised for the first time-
– We are not discussing that matter at all. We are discussing the amendment to clause 4, and the honorable senator is a long way from that clause.
– I ask for your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, I shall not be long. I suggest that the two matters are interconnected. I am giving my reasons for not acquiescing in the Minister’s proposal. The two matters are bound together. I undertake to keep within those limits. Unless our proposals are understood in relation to the second reading speech, they cannot be understood in relation to this proposal.
We raised in the debate something that had not been raised by the Minister. That was the question of encouraging Australian productions for television. We could not get support for our amendment on the second reading. When Senator Buttfield’s amendment came along, we had a look at it. It appeared to us to be establishing the principle that some differential treatment might be given where people are actively engaged in the production of Australian programmes for television. It was on that basis that we supported Senator Buttfield’s amendment. We see no reason why we should retreat from that position. If it was good for us on that occasion, it is good for us today. Nothing that has been said by the Minister has persuaded my colleagues and I to change our attitude in this regard.
As for the argument that if we do not now desist from this request the Government will lose revenue for some period, I think that there are two answers. First, the Government could accept the amendment. It then would not lose any revenue. Secondly, after the Bill was amended in this chamber, the Government could agree to the repealing Bill which accompanied it. If the Government had doubts about the position after we had made a request for an amendment, the question of repealing the Bill could have been deferred. All in all, we are not convinced by what the Minister has said, nor are we convinced, if I may say so with respect, by what Senator Buttfield has said. We have not received from the Minister in this debate any real assurance that he is taking positive steps in the matter. All that we have received is the assurance that he is anxious to consider the problem. That is a very different thing. It falls far short of the kind of assurance that we would need in order to say: “ He is so close to evolving a scheme that we do not want to interfere “. If Senator Buttfield is satisfied with the assurance that has been given by the Minister, all I can say is that she is very easily satisfied.
.- I voted for the request that the House of Representatives has rejected. I have listened to the explanation which was given by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson). I do not think that any reason which has fallen from the Minister, which is worth consideration either singly or collectively, would ever persuade me that my original decision was unsound. It is only in respect of money bills of rare significance that I think the Senate should assert its right to repeat a request against a decision of the House of Representatives which primarily is responsible for that type of measure. It is for that reason that I will vote for the course of not pressing the request.
– Senator Cohen has adequately set out the reasons why the Opposition will still press the attitude that it took on the occasion when Senator Buttfield moved the amendment in this chamber only last week. The proposal that was put forward by Senator Buttfield at that time was supported by the Opposition, not because it was moved by Senator Buttfield, but because we felt that at least this was a start on the long road towards getting high quality Australian programmes. I believe that the excuses that have been advanced by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) today, for adopting a different course, are quite spurious. The Minister has said that programmes of the type suggested in the request that was made could not be categorised with any accuracy at all. For some years the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, in its annual reports, has been categorising programme after programme. We see drama, light entertainment, sport, news, services, family programmes, information, arts and many other categories.
This practice having been in vogue for a number of years, I do not see why it cannot be continued.
At page 103 of the annual report of the Board we find a long tabulation showing categories and percentages of programmes. The heading reads: “ Analysis of Television Programmes by Categories”. The percentages of all categories are set out. At page 68 of the same report we see a tabulation of percentages of programmes of Australian origin transmitted by commercial stations. The Minister relied on parts of paragraph 212 in support of his proposition that the previous request should not be pressed. He read the sentence which states - . . the Board is now considering methods of completely recasting the basis on which calculation of Australian programmes would be made.
If the Minister will refer to the middle of the paragraph he will see the gravamen of the matter expressed in these words -
Now, after seven years of experience, stations have shown themselves to be capable of high quality production, although much of the transmission time that is credited to Australian programmes does not really contain items of high quality.
What the Board was saying was that it wanted to give greater recognition to high quality Australian programmes, which can be produced by stations and producers here. This is the purport of the request that we are still pressing. The Minister went on to say that this matter would fall on the judgment of stations unless we set up a tremendous organisation to determine whether or not a programme was of Australian content generally, but as I have pointed out such an organisation already exists in the Board. Little or no extension of the Board’s activities would be required to implement the request previously carried by the Committee.
The Minister said that if we believed that the licensees should pay more and then gave support to a request which would have the effect of allowing them to claim about 50 per cent, rebate on the fee involved, this was a complete about face. I hope that it will mean that the stations will get a 50 per cent, rebate on high quality Australian programmes. Then we would get something of a decent Australian quality such as we have been looking for over seven or eight years. The Minister also said that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme) had been careful to make the point that he was very conscious of the case for a close examination of the report on increased Australian content. My colleague, Senator Cohen, has answered that criticism very effectively. This situation has existed over since television came to Australia. In the first year programmes costing £275,000 a year were imported. Now, after eight years the cost of imported programmes for television alone has reached £5 million.
The subject has been raised time after time as a matter of urgency in another place in a number of Parliaments. The report of the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television has been on the table of the Senate for the last 12 months. Debate on it has been adjourned since 14th April last. Still we wait for action on the part of the Government. I certainly agree that the stations have not done the right thing. This has been shown by reports presented by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board ever since the advent of television. The Select Committee’s report shows that the stations have not done the right thing. The returns of the commercial stations, the profits that they make, and the lack of good quality Australian programmes show it, too. Indeed, the programmes themselves certainly show that the stations have not done the right thing.
The adoption of the request would be a start along the long road in an attempt to get something done. I thought Senator Buttfield was quite sincere in her desire to sec high quality Australian programmes. I hope that she still is. I regret that she has seen fit to change her attitude merely because the Postmaster-General has said that he is anxious to see consideration given to this matter. If the Government set aside the increased revenue to subsidise the production of Australian programmes, it would be in no difficulty in this matter. It has not seen fit to do that. We of the Opposition stick to our guns and say that there is nothing for us to do but to attempt to get something done. That is why we do not change our attitude.
Question put -
That the request be not pressed.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator G. C. McKellar.)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a third time.
Debate resumed (vide page 1892).
– I rise to take part in this debate because the Government has criticised the Australian Labour Party for the amendment it has moved. The Government has continued to say that the Labour Party is opposed to all forms of national service training. If honorable senators opposite look at the amendment closely, they will see that the Labour Party does not oppose the introduction of national service training but that what it opposes is conscription for service overseas. We have not heard supporters of the Government make any statements to support their charge that we are opposed to national service training. Reference to the amendment will show that what I am saying is correct. The amendment reads -
That the following words be added to the motion - “ and opposes the Government’s proposals to conscript Australian youth for service overseas, regrets its failure to stimulate recruitment for the regular Army and condemns its delay in securing Naval and Air Forces to safeguard Australia and ils territories and communications “.
I cannot see any sinister move on the part of the Labour Party in moving the amendment. 1 believe that the people of Australia will support the Labour Party in its action. Despite what has been said by the Government, the people are not blind to the fact that what the Government proposes is conscription and that their sons will be sent overseas for service.
In reply to an interjection that was made by an Opposition senator, Senator Gorton said that he did not think any trouble would arise from mixing conscripts with regular Army men. During the Second World War when Australia was threatened with invasion by Japan and the Labour Government introduced conscription, ignominious descriptions such as “ chocos “ and “ Curtin’s tourists “ were pinned to these men. Anybody who was in the Army at the time knows that there was strife between the chocos, as they were called, and the regular Army men.
– They were not regular Army men.
– They were members of the A.I.F. Although there was strife, I go so far as to say that when the pressure was on in New Guinea these Curtin’s tourists and chocos fought side by side with members of the A.I.F. at Milne Bay and proved themselves to be excellent soldiers. As everybody knows, the battle at Milne Bay was one of the turning points of the war for Australia. But back at the bases in Australia there was continual conflict between the two elements of the Service. I believe that the same thing will happen if this system is reintroduced. Regardless of what the Government says, conscription for service overseas is not in the best interests of Australia.
Senator Hannan said that in 1961 the Australian Labour Party had no policy for the defence of Australia, and he quoted ex- tracts from newspaper reports. Senator Willesee adequately replied to Senator Hannan when he pointed out that Senator Hannan had quoted only from newspaper reports and added that apparently it is quite in order for supporters of the Government to quote from newspaper reports but that when Opposition senators do so it is a different matter altogether. Senator Hannan said also that in 1942 the Australian Labour Party, which was then in office, did certain things which he thought were not in the best interests of Australia. Yet when the Curtin Government went to the people of Australia in 1943 and a mandate to continue the war effort it was returned with an overwhelming majority. I cannot see how Senator Hannan can reconcile that fact with his statement that the people of Australia were concerned about the way in which the Government of the day was fighting the war. The result of that election in 1943 showed that the Australian people looked to the Labour Government to get them out of the mess in which Australia had been placed as the result of the maladministration of the previous Government. The honorable senator, when speaking about the North West Cape station, said that the 36 delegates to the Federal Conference of the Australian Labour Party were to oppose the construction of that base. That is not true in any shape or form. The Labour Party selected delegates from the six States. At a monthly State Council meeting in South Australia, the six delegates to the Federal conference were instructed by the Council to support the proposal for the installation of the communication base at North West Cape. How can the honorable senator truthfully say that the 36 men were to oppose the installation of the base in Australia? We were never at any point of time opposed to the installation of the base, but were opposed to the lack of say that we had in its control. This has been emphasised in statements made since installation of the base has commenced.
I shall now deal with relations between Australia and Indonesia. The Government has known for a considerable time the strength of the Indonesian forces.. In 1963 the strength of the Indonesian Army was approximately 330,000 men; the Air Force contained 40,000 men and the Navy 40,000 men. Surely the Government was in possession of this information, because it was known to most members of the Senate that at that time the Indonesian Government was spending about 75 per cent, of its budget on defence. Yet last year Government supporters did not speak of calling up boys to be trained for the Regular Army. The Government has known for a long time that Indonesia cannot be trusted. From time to time the Indonesians have made statements about their intentions to establish friendly relations with other nations. Yet within a few weeks of the statements the Indonesians have done a somersault and reverted to their previous unfriendly attitude. I draw the attention of the Senate to an editorial which appeared in “ Suluh Indonesia “, an Indonesian newspaper, at the time that a parliamentary delegation from Australia was visiting Indonesia. This editorial should have made the Government aware of Indonesia’s attitude to Australia. The editorial was published on 6th July 1963 and is headed “Between Indonesia and Australia”. It states -
We consider it most important to give the widest opportunities to these representatives -
That is a reference to the parliamentary delegation - of the Australian people in their efforts to deepen their vision and knowledge of Indonesia, because for a long time the Australian Government and people have regarded Indonesia with doubt and suspicion. Furthermore, the people and Government of Australia have neglected the vast country which lies between the Pacific and Indian oceans and between Asia and Australia. They have thought as if there were a vacuum between Darwin and London, imagining there was nothing in between or overlooking the existence of Indonesia. With Indonesia awakening from its sleep and standing firmly on its own feet, they have regarded it with suspicion and doubt. Moreover, they have not infrequently taken up attitudes which were somewhat unfriendly.
I shall come now to the point I wish to make, the. point which should particularly have been noted by the Government. The editorial continues -
Such a situation will not apparently be advantageous. For God has willed that Australia and Indonesia must have a common border, which now exists in New Guinea. It is therefore clear that a peaceful atmosphere must be created between Indonesia and Australia - a peaceful atmosphere devoid of mutual suspicion. And what is more important to realise is that in the final instance, Australia will not be able to close its eyes to the fact of the emergence of the Asian people who are Australia’s closest neighbours. If it does not realise this, it is likely that Australia will one day be put in a corner in a none too advantageous position.
– The expression “emergence of the Asian people “ does not refer to Malaysia, I suppose?
– 1 am only quoting from the editorial. The G’overnment should have taken note of it, because it was a clear indication to Australia that unless we behave in a suitable fashion certain things might happen to us.
Although the editorial was published over 12 months ago, no action was taken by the Government to build up the strength of our Army so that adequate defence of this country could be provided.
– It is an election stunt.
– As my colleague says, it is an election stunt. From time to time we have been led to believe that China was acting in a certain way. Until recently no mention was made of the possibility of Communist China exploding an atomic bomb. Evidently everybody else knew that Communist China was working towards this objective. President Johnson of the United States of America said in a statement that the United States had known for many years that the Chinese were developing an atomic bomb site in China. I shall quote from an official text issued by the United States Information Service. It is the text of a radio and television address by President Johnson on 18th October 1964. President Johnson said -
The same day the Chinese nuclear device was exploded at a test site near a lake called Lop Nor in the Takla Makan Desert of the remote central Asian province of Sinkiang. The building of this test site had been known to American intelligence for several years. In recent weeks the rapid pace of work there gave us a clear signal that the long and bitter efforts of this regime were leading at last to a nuclear test. At first, in the 1950’s Russia helped the Chinese. This assistance in the spread of nuclear weapons may now be regarded with some dismay in Moscow.
Evidently the Americans were quite aware of the fact that the Chinese were building atomic weapons. The recent explosion of an atomic bomb by the Chinese has proved that they have achieved their objective.
I believe that the call up of our young men for national service training will not be in the best economic interests of Australia. As Senator Ridley said yesterday, the system of placing names in a barrel and drawing out the names of those who are to be called up might lead to the situation that at least .100 names are drawn out before one suitable trainee is chosen. This position arises because of the educational standards set down by the Army for applicants. If the Army had reduced its educational standards national service training would not have been necessary. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber have emphasised this point.
In the call-ups in 1942, 1943 and 1944 educational standards were not taken into account. If men were physically fit they were placed into training. Eventually numbers of them volunteered for service in the Australian Imperial Forces and acquitted themselves well overseas and in Australia. I believe that the same system should apply today. If these people who were rejected from the Army because they failed to reach the necessary educational standard had been given an opportunity to train in the Army, and whilst doing their preliminary military training had been given some form of educational training, they would have become assets to this country. It would not then have been necessary to introduce legislation to call up men for military service. I believe that the Government would have been able to obtain the men on a voluntary basis, instead of having to bring in a bill to conscript them. I support the amendment that has been moved.
, - I rise to support the defence statement and to reject the criticism contained in the amendment. Senator McKenna has moved -
That the following words bc added to the motion - “ and opposes the Government’s proposals to conscript Australian youth for service overseas, regrets it failure to stimulate recruitment for the regular Army and condemns its delay in securing Naval and Air Forces to safeguard Australia and its territories and communications”.
I have listened with great interest to this rather long debate, which has been characterised at one time by reason and at other times by passion. I think that such an important statement should be debated without too much passion. First, we should consider the need for a re-assessment of Australia’s defence needs and programme. The Opposition has said that the statement by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) is an election stunt. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna) referred to defence as a political football. It is terribly important that we look at this matter with 1964 eyes and not dwell too much on what was proper and expedient in 1917 or 1942. I shall deal with that point in more detail later.
The second question I pose is: What is our strategic position in 1964, not in 1914 or 1939? This involves, of course, an examination of our neighbours and our international associates. The third question is: What new defence provisions, if any, should be made? Finally, I shall discuss the question: What is the best way to deal with the situation from the point of view of equipment and personnel?
I agree that there is need for a reassessment of our defence position. The defence of any country should be continuously under review. The Opposition has chided the Government for making many defence reviews since it assumed office in 1949. I do not. I think the Government has been prudent. The defence needs of a country change continually because of the policies of other countries. In the immediate vicinity of Australia when the last war ended, the French were a big influence. The British, the Americans and the independent nation of Thailand also wielded influence in this area. Since then a number of countries have gained their independence. The French have virtually dropped out of the Asian scene. The place of the Dutch has been taken by the Indonesians. The Philippines have become independent. Malaysia and Burma are independent nations, and we have North Vietnam and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. With these changes going on all around us, it is quite logical and proper that the defence programme of Australia should be continuously under review.
I pay a tribute to the Minister, who has not held the portfolio of defence for very long, for the thorough way in which he has done his job. In particular I should like to complement him on the “Defence Report 1964 which was put into our hands recently. Reading it, one sees that under the defence set-up in Australia the Minister and the Department of Defence are responsible for the formulation of a unified defence policy and that the respective Ministers for the Navy, for the Army and for Air administer their Services in accordance with the approved policy. The Minister for Supply comes into the set-up, as the activities of his Department also are administered in accordance with the approved policy. There is a common strategic purpose behind the activities of each of the defence Departments. We are indebted to the Minister for causing this document to come into our hands. On virtually the first page of the report, the situation in South East Asia is dealt with. Whatever our views, South East Asia is important to us and we must gear our defence policy to events that are taking place there.
In considering defence I do not think it appropriate that debating points or tricks be taken. Nobody wins a defence debate. If nothing happens, it can be said that the money spent on defence is wasted. If something does blow up, it can be argued that too little money has been spent on defence. Defence is not something to which you can fairly apply hindsight, and on which you should take debating points. First, we should carefully examine the strategic position. I deplore some of the remarks of members of the Opposition, not so much in this chamber as in another place, to the effect that the Government is stunting by bringing forward this defence statement at this particular time. I think we must carefully examine the strategic situation on the mainland and in the islands of South East Asia.
I should like to pay a tribute to some very dedicated. Australians who are at present in those areas. Seeing that this is a defence discussion, I should like to mention the liaison officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force who are attached to our embassies and high commissions in that area. I should like also to mention the military observers attached to the South East Asian Treaty Organisation and other organisations of which Australia is a member. These men all have good service records. In many cases, towards the end of their service careers they are devoting their attention to assisting Australia’s needs defence-wise in the areas in which they are serving. Our appreciation of the strategic position is helped considerably by the efforts of these men. On visits that I have made to this area, I have had very interesting and informative discussions with these people. They are completely tireless and are able to work alongside people in friendly nations in South East Asia who are interested also in defence questions.
I was privileged to be a member of the same delegation as Senator Drury, who has just concluded his speech. I discovered that every country in South East Asia which I visited with the Australian delegation had its eye cocked on Communist China. We in Australia, whatever else we do, should have our eyes cocked on Communist China, too, and should work out our requirements from what are the probable needs of that huge nation. As I see it from my reading of the articles and books which have been written in connection with Communist China, or mainland China, for the first time in 300 years this country has become unified. There is a ruthless dictatorship in charge of it at the present time. What is more, there are Chinese minorities in every country in South East Asia. In Indonesia, there are traders, storekeepers and businessmen who are Chinese. Chinese are in the majority in Singapore. In the Peninsula of Malaya, approximately 50 per cent, of the population are Chinese. A large portion of the northern part of Burma contains Chinese people. Throughout South East Asia there are to be found Chinese. They are hard working, industrious people. When one goes to Singapore, one realises how well they have progressed and what an important part they are taking in the government of that democratic part of Malaysia.
Mainland China should be uppermost in our mind. The people of that country are very active. One should not forget, as no doubt honorable senators are aware, that about two years ago this country invaded India. China had done a tremendous amount of preparation work for this invasion, I am told, by way of building roads, to carry armoured fighting vehicles, to replace the tracks which once existed. In the huge area lying to the south of mainland China, there is a series of roads leading into Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Nepal, and Butan and also into Burma. Those roads were formerly tracks. Now they are as jeepable, I believe the word is, as they could be. To the north of South East Asia the Chinese have concentrated heavily on roadmaking. The roads are built by their people who are conscripted for service. I understand that the stones and rubble are conveyed in baskets by thousands of men and women and thus the roads are constructed. This enormous roadmaking programme is a physical feature of that area and it extends down towards Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Nepal and Burma, and also down into Laos and Thailand. I am mentioning this fact as something which could, in the course of time, seriously affect the defence position of Australia.
As I sec it, further activities of this tremendous country of mainland China are going on in other directions as well as the ideological side. When the parliamentary delegation was in Burma, we were told that certain border disputes that had existed between Burma and mainland China had been resolved and that there was a state of comparative equanimity and peace between the two countries. There was a real fear that Burma some day might be used by mainland China as a springboard into Africa using the splendid river system of the lrrawaddy to get down to the Port of Rangoon. From there, it is a very short sea haul across to Africa. When one considers the activities of Premier Chou-En-Lai within the last year in Zanzibar, the Congo and on the west coast of Africa also, one realises that he was not down there just for his health. One realises that in the not too distant future the aims of mainland China could well be directed towards that country.
I suggest that it is wrong to think of China as carrying on in the historic way it did and rather remaining to itself for the last 300 years. From my reading and observations and discussions with people in parts of South East Asia, I conclude that China is expanding and moving out from its erstwhile territorial country. Its move into India is quite significant when one realises that certain of the turmoil in the newly founded independent State of Zanzibar has been attributed to Chinese inspired activity. We could look a bit closer to Australia to see the effect of this Chinese plan. The Australian Government is engaged in several very interesting ways in Thailand. Firstly, Bangkok - Thailand - is the base of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. The Secretary-General and the officers of a number of cultural sectors of S.E.A.T.O. are based there. The Australian Government regularly supports S.E.A.T.O. exercises with elements of the Navy, Army and Air Force. In most cases, these exercises take place in or near Thailand.
When the parliamentary delegation of which I was a member was in this area about 18 months ago, it was obvious that the S.E.A.T.O. exercises were based on the possibility of an intrusion into north west Thailand from infiltrators in the direction of Laos. It was put to us, and it was pretty obvious, that the peace loving peasant folk of north east Thailand had their eyes on the Mekong to the north and the people beyond it because they feared the intrusion’ into their country from Communist China via Laos, and via Cambodia also. To assist the Thai people to retain their independence and integrity, the Australian Government has sent into that area engineers from the Snowy Mountains hydro electric scheme. They are helping the young Thais to build roads in the rather low-lying area which is normally flooded by the Mekong River. All this is being done to enable the Thai Government to retain its legitimate control and to service this territory. It is hoped that these bridges and roads will enable that Government to keep subversion to a minimum and maintain the prosperity of the area.
I mention these things in some detail to indicate to the Senate that there is a real danger to a rather famous historic independent country of South East Asia through infiltration generated from mainland China. Thailand is an admirable country. It has never been a colony of a European power. It has been independent for a long while, and it is in our interests and the interests of the free would that its independence be vouchsafed. I would suggest that our defence programme is rightfully geared to what help we can give there.
The Australian Government is acting very sensibly. It is not providing a sort of army of occupation to help the Thais but is providing skilled officers and non-commissioned officers to run a military school for the maintenance of motor vehicles. These include both vehicles to convey army supplies and fighting vehicles. This quasi military help by the Australian Government assists the Thai people to maintain their vehicles, and the young Thais go to the villages at the end of their training and brighten the ideas of villagers on the maintenance of motor vehicles.
We were privileged to have a good look at the Malay peninsula and were able to make contact with the Australian Forces - the Royal Australian Air Force at Butterworth and the Army near Malacca. We came away with the definite conclusion that the branches of the Australian forces forming, with British and New Zealand troops, a component of the Strategic Reserve were doing a splendid job for Australia. They were becoming acquainted with conditions in South East Asia and were learning how to live, manoeuvre and fight in those conditions. They were also giving a great sense of security to the peasant population. With the advent of the British forces, the peasants were able to go about their occupations, growing crops and tin mining. The Malay peninsula had not known this sense of security for a long time until the Far East Strategic Reserve put down terrorism. I mention that as another illustration of the work that is being done in that part of the world by our armed forces and of the uses to which our forces are being put there.
I do not propose to go into any more detail on these matters but 1 assure the Senate that, from my observations, this overseas service by Australian forces is of great importance. It shows we are prepared to co-operate with the United Kingdom and New Zealand forces and with elements of the American forces within the terms of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation. We are also a party to the A.N.Z.U.S. pact. It would be a very bad thing if we did not stand shoulder to shoulder with the British and New Zealanders. As members of S.E.A.T.O. we must show our good faith to our allies by actually being on the spot. Of course, we also have cultural organisations active in the area. We have people working under the Colombo Plan and in the agencies of the United Nations Organisation. Australia is showing a real interest in that area, and it is important that the integrity of the countries there should be safeguarded in the light of the ambitions of mainland China.
I think some honorable senators on the Opposition side have forgotten that we have not an umbrella over us now as we did in 1914 and 1939, when we had the protection of the United Kingdom. We are an independent nation and have to stand on our own feet. We should not expect help, from the United Kingdom. Since we have not this umbrella over us, we must expect that, if anything blows up, it will blow up very quickly and without very much warning. Like all honorable senators, I am rather concerned as to whether we have got going quickly enough, but I say that what we have done is quite important and quite significant. We have to realise that we are an independent nation, standing on our own feet and relying very much on what our allies can do as well as on what we can do for our allies.
I do not propose to deal in detail with the various items of defence equipment that are mentioned in the defence review of the Prime Minister. If this matter is carefully studied, it will be found that our equipment is as up to date as is possible for a nation of our size, but I want to stress that we have highly sophisticated pieces of equipment requiring men with more than just Saturday afternoon training to handle them. Our advisors have told us that the minimum time for a man to be trained to be useful in the handling of this sophisticated army equipment is two years. In view of the strategic factors in South East Asia, the Government rightly has come to the con.culsion that the correct way to defend Australia is not on the beaches of Australia or from hide-outs in the Blue Mountains or the Adelaide Hills, but by defence in depth. By defence in depth I mean defence in areas of insecurity at the present time. In other words, the question is: Where are our ramparts? Are they in Australia or are they in South East Asia?
I believe that the Government has made the correct decision in requesting that the men of the Services should be prepared to serve overseas. There has never been any doubt with the Navy or with the Air Force in that regard. If we were to restrain naval recruits or men in the Royal Australian Air Force from serving overseas, we would be in bother straight away. Honorable senators opposite say that the young men who are to serve in the Army should not be sent overseas. The Government has been unable to get the numbers it requires by a system of voluntary enlistment. Therefore, its plan has involved the question of compulsory national service, including overseas service. I believe that the Government went as far as it could in trying to get the numbers it required under the voluntary system. The reports from the Defence Services, as incorporated in the Prime Minister’s statement, indicate that it has not been possible to ensure that there will be enough trained personnel to use and to man the sophisticated equipment that is contemplated. Consequently, the Government has been forced to the question of call-up.
A good deal has been said about the inequity of using the lot system in the callup. I do not see anything morally wrong with it. I would like to point out to the Senate two instances of the system that come to my mind. One is in regard to jury service. It would be most improper for an officer of the court to bring in certain selected persons and say that they would constitute the jury. Instead, a large number of jury men, far more than are required, are called up. By means of the lot system a jury is chosen from the persons who are present in court. I understand that that system has been operating for hundreds of years. Also, to come nearer home and to something that affects all honorable senators, I refer to the system that is used to determine the position of the candidates on the ballot paper. It is determined by the lot system, which has operated for a long time. Yet one never hears any objection to this system from members of the Labour Party, particularly the honorable senators from New South Wales who have received the first position on the ballot paper for the forthcoming Senate election. In other words, the lot system has been used for the selection of our juries and for the selection of positions on the ballot papers in Senate elections. When everyone is equal, we have to determine an order of preference. Statements which have been made concerning the selection of men by the lot system indicate that emotion has been allowed too much rein, lt is a system which is well ingrained in our law.
I desire to refer to an article which appeared in this morning’s Press. It relates to the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia and concerns the question of whether call-up by means of a ballot would have a serious effect on the economy. The following article appeared in this morning’s “ Australian “ -
The Government’s decision to embark on a scheme of selective national training and its increase of defence commitments will place a burden on industry, but this will be readily acceptable in the broader interests of national security and survival
The Chambers of Manufactures put it at that level. Yesterday honorable senators opposite complained about the effect that the selection by ballot would have on the young men and apprentices, and the bad effect that it would have on industry. But Mr. Anderson, the Director of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia is reported to have said that there was no reason to fear any serious disruption to Australian industry or the economy because of this decision. He went on to say -
Manpower is, of course, becoming critically short in Australia, but the situation need not be unduly aggravated by the proposed call-up.
– The honorable senator should read the rest of the article to see how they are going to overcome the difficulty.
- Mr. Anderson referred to the fact that there would be coming forward a number of 20 year old youths who were born just after the last war. He then said that in 1966, 104,000 young people would turn 20 - 12,000 more than in 1965- ‘but that the call-up in 1966 will be only 6,900. He argues, of course, that it will not bring the dire results to industry that some honorable members opposite mentioned yesterday.
Prom my examination of the situation I approve of what is contained in the Government’s defence statement. I believe that, reluctant as the Government was to engage in this system of compulsory national service, it was forced to do so. With the clouds gathering in the South East Asian area, generated by the expansionist ideas of Communist China, the demands of the strategic position left the Government no alternative but to carry on with the plans which are envisaged in the defence statement.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wedgwood). - Does the honorable senator claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I claim that I was misrepresented by Senator Drury. He said that when I criticised the defence policy of the Australian Labour Party at the last Senate election in 1961 I was only quoting from newspaper reports and that therefore the criticism could be disregarded. I made it quite clear at the time I spoke that I was in fact quoting, not from newspaper reports, but from the “ Speakers’ Notes “ of the Australian Labour Party which were issued for the federal election on 9th December 1961. 1 had then and I have with me now, a photostat copy of the notes.
– 1 do not intend to detain the Senate for very long, but certain statements have been made in the course of the debate which call for some answer from the Opposition. 1 am getting tired of hearing statements that the Australian Labour Party is opposed to all forms of defence, and so on. Never once in the 15 years since this Government has been in office has the Labour Party opposed or denied to the Government one penny of the money for which it has asked for defence measures. The Labour Party has come into conflict with the Government on the way in which the money has been spent. We feel that there has been quite a waste of money on defence and that the people of Australia have not received full value for the many millions of pounds which have been expended during the years. This is particularly so in my own State, where there is a great deal of disquiet with regard to the Government’s defence programme. As a matter of fact, it seems to me to be rather queer that the full seriousness of the situation as outlined by Government speakers was not revealed to the Parliament until the last week of the current session. The Senate would not have had the opportunity to discuss the statement by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) on defence if the extra few days’ sittings, which were completely unscheduled, had not been granted. In Western Australia, even after the Prime Minister’s statement last Tuesday night, there was disquiet in relation to what is regarded as the neglect of the western third.
As honorable senators know, Western Australia is a very large part of this continent and is nearest to those parts of South East Asia which we know are the trouble spots from which danger can come to Australia. If the former Minister for the Navy, Senator Gorton, were here, he would bear out my statement that over the years I have persistently agitated for the establishment of some kind of naval base on our western coast. Government supporters say that the Australian Labour Party completely opposed the establishment of the American base at North West Cape. That is not correct. We did object to the method by which that agreement was made with the United States, with Australia being given no share in responsibility for what might transpire as a result of the building of the base. I say quite frankly that we in Western Australia were pleased rather than otherwise that somebody was recognising the existence of Western Australia and its importance in the strategy of South East Asia.
Also, there has been disquiet recently because last week all of the training aircraft at Pearce were discovered to be defective. Some time ago we had squadrons based in Western Australia but they were taken away to Richmond. Despite appeals from members on both sides of this chamber and in another place, those aircraft have not been returned to Western Australia. So far as the Navy is concerned, at “ Leeuwin “ we have a training school for juniors, but we all know how inadequate our naval defences are at this time. Western Australia has a terrifically long coastline. It is the one part of Australia which has known the actual ravages of war from attacks by a foreign foe in the 1 939-45 war.
I was surprised to hear Senator Hannan say this morning that Labour was antiAmerican. This is not so. Dr. Evatt, who was maligned very badly here by a Government senator last week, made a visit to the United States at the request of the Curtin Government in order to secure the co-operation and assistance of the American Government in the war effort. We know how well that man was received by the United States Government and we know how much we in Australia appreciated the arrival of American military and naval personnel when our defences were in a very bad way. Many Government supporters have been talking about umbrellas over Australia. Those umbrellas blew inside out in World War II. There was no lack of willingness on the part of Great Britain to give, the assistance we needed, but she was engaged in a life and death struggle in Europe, as the only bastion there against the might of Germany. Every man, woman and child in the British Isles was in a state of war. People who have never been to England cannot appreciate the magnitude of the effort she made. We must remember the size of England, how close she was to total destruction and how terrific was the war effort the people made. Australia could not expect her to give the assistance we needed when the Japanese attacked at Singapore.
We of the Labour Party have been completely conscious of those things. That is why, in the interim since World War II, we have regretted that better defence services were not established by the Government. The only thing that has happened over the past few weeks, apparently, has been a complete reversal of form on the part of either the Government’s advisers or the Government itself, particularly in regard to national service training. I should like to remind the Government that it was a Labour government which initially introduced compulsory military training for our youth. When the training was revised after the war the Government began the lottery system. It is said that in Australia everything stops on a certain Tuesday in November for a certain reason. Perhaps that is true. Now we are to carry the same lottery business . into our defences, but in a lottery there is always a prize. I am not quite certain who are supposed to be the prizewinners in this lottery - those whose numbers are drawn out or those whose numbers stay in. By this lottery a small proportion of our youth is to be called upon for national service for two years.
If we are to have national service - I prefer that expression to “conscription” - it must be universal. Everybody must be included. It is not fair to decide that one in 20 or 30 will be called up. The service will be for a period of two years, which I think is too long. We were told this afternoon by a military expert, Senator Laught, that it will take at least two years to train the lads to use the complicated mechanics of modern warfare. This view is stupid, because every youth who is called up will not be called upon to handle complicated machinery and to learn all the modern techniques. Not enough thought has been given to the matter. A great deal more investigation is required before a scheme like this is foisted upon us.
We are told that there is a great menace from Indonesia and that Sukarno is the bad boy of the piece. I wonder whether honorable senators heard last Friday a broadcast report of the arrival in Australia of our ambassador in Indonesia for talks with senior officers and members of the Government. Mr. Shann on his arrival in Sydney - remember that this was last Friday - told reporters that his return to Australia was routine and had no relation to Australia’s new defence arrangements. He said that he had called on President Sukarno on the day before the Prime Minister’s announcement on defence, that is, yesterday week. He found the Indonesian leader friendly and in good health. Mr. Shann said that when he left Indonesia, which was later in the week, there had been no indication of any change in the official Indonesian attitude. I should like to know whether there has been any consultation between the Government and Mr. Shann, who has been on the spot and not here in Canberra, what he has had to say about the gravity or otherwise of the situation in South East Asia, particularly in regard to Indonesia, and what he thinks are the real reasons for the urgency of calling up young lads next year and giving them two years military training.
It was my good fortune some years ago to travel to Europe and to visit Belgium, where I was received by the then SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations. I was received also by Monsieur Spaak and his wife, who gave me a beautiful piece of Brussels lace and told me that it was a gift, not to me personally, but because of what the Australians had done for Belgium. The people of Belgium were so kind that, once I said I was an Australian, I could almost have had Belgium for myself. I remind honorable senators that the men who fought in Belgium, at Flanders and in other parts, were volunteers. Just recently, I was in America. There again I found Australia’s prestige to be very high, particularly amongst American ex-servicemen who had been in Australia and who were fully aware of Australia’s war effort both on the fighting front and on the home front. Except perhaps in the latter days in New Guinea, which could hardly be regarded as being a sphere of overseas service, Australia was very well served during the last war by men who volunteered.
Last year 24,000 men volunteered for service in the Army, Navy and Air Force, but fewer than 6,000 of them were accepted. The remaining 18,000 were rejected for various reasons, one of the reasons given being that they failed to measure up to the required educational standard. Judging by some of the questions that were mentioned in another place yesterday, I very much doubt whether that would be a sound reason. Some of the questions were so stupid that apparently those people who were supposed to have failed the education test must have thought that those who asked the questions were stupid and they would not have anything to do with them. It seems ridiculous that the education tests should be such as were mentioned yesterday by the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) in another place. Other volunteers were supposed to have been rejected for medical reasons. Let us assume that only half of the 18,000 - that is 9,000 - were rejected on educational grounds. That is a great indictment on our compulsory education system. If that is the position, I am ashamed of our record.
I should say there are other reasons for the failure of our recruiting campaign. I know of one young man who joined the Citizen Military Forces and was posted to Queensland. A party of parliamentarians was to visit the camp in question. When word to that effect was received, the commanding officer told the men, who were not doing very much, to get lost and to stay out of sight while the parliamentarians were about. That happened two years ago. That makes young volunteers who give up good jobs discontented. I know another young man who, because there was nothing much to do and for other reasons which were beyond his control, returned to civilian life. I hope that the experience of lads who will be called up under the new defence proposals will be much better than the experience of this young man. He left the service of the Commonwealth Bank to join the Army. Later when he left the Army at his own request for private reasons - it was not his fault; he did not commit any misdemeanour - he went back to the Commonwealth Bank but was told that he could not have his job back as he had resigned to join the Army. He was told: “That was only another job. This is peace time.” He also was told that he would have to come back into the Bank through the usual channels after having sat for the Bank examination. He said: “I passed that examination four years ago. I had several years’ service and rose to be a teller.” He was told that he would have to take the examination again, but he could not do so because he was a few months over the age of 21 years.
The lads who are to be called up under the new defence proposals will turn 21 years of age while they are in service. I hope that better provision will be made for their rehabilitation than is made at the present time. When we find instrumentalities like the Commonwealth Bank telling men that they cannot be restored to their former positions because this is a time of peace and that the position would be different if it were a time of war, we will have to define the word “ peace “. 1 can prove what I have said. As a matter of fact, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has the particulars. The Minister for the Army of the day had the particulars too, but he did not do a thing to help. This young man to whom 1 have just referred has had only temporary work since. I think he still attends C.M.F. parades regularly. I said to him: “If the Army treated me like it has treated you I would tell those concerned to jump in the lake “. And I would do so. But this young man is much more forgiving than I, and he still does voluntary service.
I do not think for one moment that the voluntary system has failed. I am reminded of what G. K. Chesterton once said about Christianity. He said: “ Christianity has not failed. It has not been properly tried.” Much the same could be said about the system of voluntary service. The Government is under an obligation to tell the Senate what special circumstances have arisen within the last three weeks to lead everybody on the Government side to change their opinions about the need for compulsory training for overseas service as an integral part of the new defence policy. Some have said that it is because of the explosion of a nuclear bomb by China. Why should people be surprised at that? China has a culture that extends back much further than that of Europe, the United States of America or Australia. I believe that China was the first country to invent gunpowder. I do not know whether it is to the credit or discredit of the Chinese, but I understand that they were the first to publish newspapers. We make a mistake if we regard the Chinese as being a race of ignoramuses or illiterates.
The Minister for the Army has told us that the recruiting offices are filled with the flotsam and jetsam of the population - that is not a very complimentary thing to say about those who offer their services to the country - and that many of them have been rejected for service because they are illiterate. It is not because they have not reached a certain educational standard, because the so-called educational standard is not an educational standard at all. If these men cannot pass the simple tests that were outlined by the Minister in another place, then their rejection is due purely and simply to illiteracy. Has anybody ever heard a test as stupid as one mentioned by the Minister? Volunteers are confronted with the statement “The man has a cup”, and are then asked: “What has the man?” In case honorable senators do not know, the answer is: “A cup”. Has anybody ever heard anything so stupid? We can just imagine what kind of answer recruits, particularly Australians with a sense of humour, would give.
The Opposition is not opposed to real defence proposals. Throughout its existence the Labour Party has proved that when war has been thrust upon this country it has been able to govern successfully. I do not say that the Labour Party won the wars, or anything like that, but it has been able to gain the confidence of the Australian people and of the members of the Services in order that we might all work together towards a successful end of the wars. The Labour Party has been able to do this even without a majority in the Senate, a point which seems to be rather contentious at the present time. The Labour Party has proved that it could and would carry out a full policy not only of conscripting manpower, but of conscripting wealth if necessary in wartime. We are aware of our responsibilities in this regard.
I regret very much that those who support the Government, instead of giving us constructive proposals necessary for our adequate defence have seen fit to devote a great deal of their speeches to criticising the Labour Party. Many of their speeches have been insulting not only to those of us who are still living, but to some of our former colleagues who have passed on after their work was done.
Senator Laught referred to a statement by the Chairman of the Chamber of Manufactures, who said that industry might be disrupted because of the introduction of national service training. However, Senator Laught did not say that the Chairman had also said that one of the sources upon which industry could draw to avoid disruption was migrants to this country. According to what has been said in another place about the Government’s defence policy, migrants are not to be eligible for national service training unless they are naturalised. The Opposition differs from the Government in that we say that if national service training is to be introduced as part of a defence plan, it should be made universal. People who come to Australia to seek protection and the life available here should accept the responsibilities which are accepted by Australian citizens. In Western Australia during the last war people who had arrived there just before the outbreak of war waited until our lads went off to war so that they could walk in and take over the businesses while our lads were fighting overseas. They entrenched themselves in business and in industry.
The Opposition is an integral part of the Government of this country and we are in total agreement with any efforts to provide adequate defence measures. We do not mind how much money is spent, so long as it is spent sensibly and without wastage and ultimately produces a plan for defence so that Australia may remain a bastion of freedom in the southern seas. Australia is a bulwark against the onrush of Communism. We live in a democracy of people who are satisfied to fight to the last to retain their democratic freedom. We will not preserve that state by calling up a few 20 year old boys after their names have been drawn out of a lottery barrel.
.- Senator Tangney has just told the Senate that the Labour Party does not care how much is spent on defence so long as it is spent wisely. I believe that is her very definite opinion, but it is certainly not the opinion of the Labour Party as a political organisation in Australia. Very often members of the Labour Party have proved that their views are quite contrary to those expressed by Senator Tangney. I do not wish to recount all the things that have been said earlier. We have been reminded time and time again by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) in his policy speeches and election speeches of his opposition to the amount of money that is being spent, on defence. He has gone further and has said that should the people of Australia elect the Labour Party to office, a great deal less would be spent on defence and the saving would be devoted to other purposes.
I would not for one moment cast doubt on the sincerity of Senator Tangney. I know that she means what she says, but she has not expressed the true opinion of the Labour Party as it is available to all of us. It is rather tragic that the Labour Party does not know where it is going in defence matters. This is evident in pronouncements that are made by members of the Opposition in every debate on defence matters. A member of the Opposition will say one thing and the next speaker from the ranks of the Opposition will say something quite contrary. Each expresses his own views, but their views are so diametrically opposed that the Labour Party as a whole does not know where it is going.
Senator Tangney also said that the Labour Party did not object to the establishment of the United States communication station in Western Australia at North West Cape. I believe that she does not object to its establishment and realises its value. I shall quote from a document which I have. It is an authoritative document which contradicts what the honorable senator said a few minutes ago. It states -
In October 1962 the A.L.P. Federal Executive endorsed a resolution which was produced by Mr. Chamberlain and his dominated Western Australian branch of the Australian Labour Party, which read: “The Australian Labour Party is opposed to any base being built in Australia that could be used for the manufacture, firing or control of any nuclear missiles or vehicles capable of carrying nuclear missiles.” It was this same branch, again headed by Mr. Chamberlain, which fought to stave A.L.P. acceptance of the establishment of the radio base.
This is the branch in Senator Tangney’s home State. The document I have states -
It was on a vote of 19 to 17 that Labour agreed to the base and then on conditions of renegotiation.
– What paper is that?
– This is a document. I can get the honorable senator the authoritive statement. I could show the honorable senator exactly from where these quotations have been obtained. The paper I have in my hand is a document of my own preparation.
– The honorable senator said that it was an authoritative document.
– I did. I have quoted certain extracts.
– What is the document?
– I am sorry, I cannot tell the honorable senator the name of the document at the moment. However, he would know it, because these are historical records. These matters are on record in the journals of this country. All honorable senators know they are there. I have read them over and over again. I cannot remember the names of the documents unless I bring them with me. I shall continue the quotation -
Only one vote saved the Labour Party from an outright condemnation of Australia’s act in allowing the United States this radio facility. Nothing that has happened since indicates any change of attitude by the left wing dominated Opposition.
– I rise to a point of order. Under the Standing Orders I ask that Senator Morris table the document from which he is quoting.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - The honorable senator has raised his point of order at the wrong stage. He should do so at the end of Senator Morris’s speech.
– The pause has given me the opportunity to refer to the actual document. I wish to refer to the “ Western Sun “, a newpaper over which a great deal of control is exercised by Mr. Chamberlain in Western Australia. This is what was said in the “ Western Sun “ by Mr. Chamberlain, speaking again about the North West Cape naval communication base -
No current State or Federal legislation gives sanction to what the United States Navy proposes to do. Nor would public opinion in this country allow a Government to ratify such acts by legislation.
He went on -
The legal loots available to the Trades and Labour Council and the ultimate big stick of industrial sanctions will assist it in its fight to reject a move quite alien to our Australian way of life.
That is an extract from the “ Western Sun “ newspaper. Some honorable senators probably will be more familiar with the newspaper than I am. I think those statements reveal the cleavage within the Labour Party. The party has no unified approach to the problem of the defence of Australia, and that is why it always gets into such a mess. Labour Party members really do not know what their party’s ideal is. 1 think 1 can go even further than that. 1 preface what I am about to say now by saying that 1 think every member of this chamber and of the House of Representatives is most interested in this subject. I have heard at least a portion of every speech that has been made in this chamber, because I have been interested in what honorable senators have had to say. I have also gone to the trouble of reading most of the speeches made in the other place. I do not intend to refer to the speeches except to say that the debate in this chamber has certainly been on a much higher level than the debate elsewhere. The Leader of the Opposition in the other place was contradicting himself throughout his speech. 1 am perfectly certain that in their speeches about 45 per cent, of Labour spokesmen approached this problem from the point of view of their basic ideology, which is fundamentally different from ours. Another 45 per cent, of the speeches of Labour spokesmen have been directed to the Senate election campaign; I do not think anybody will deny that. The remainder of the speeches consisted more or less of irrelevancies. I have referred to a basic difference in ideologies and I should like to explain myself a little further. The first 45 per cent, of Labour spokesmen to whom I have referred have shown clearly that their attitude towards defence springs from a desire to remain peacefully neutralist. I think that sums up their contributions to the debate. They earnestly desire - they are sincere about this - to remain peacefully neutralist. Members on the Government side realise the fallacy of that approach. We realise that an approach such as that to the question of the defence of Australia at this point of time, under the circumstances which exist, would be suicidal.
Unfortunately those who adhere to the philosophy of peaceful neutralism forget that the world is an entirely different place from what it was even 15 years ago. The time taken to travel from one place to another has dwindled almost to vanishing point. The dangers that exist today have arisen because of new methods of transport, greater mobility and associated factors. In the days of World War I isolation was one of the best defences that any nation could have, but it became much less important during World War II. Today, tenchnically speaking, there is no such thing as isolation as far as defence is concerned. We are as open to attack in Australia today as were peoples separated only by artificial borders in the previous two world wars. Unfortunately, Labour cannot forget its old theories and its old approach. It cannot become modern; it cannot realise that we are living in a changing world. I do not suppose there is one person in Australia who does not sincerely desire to avoid war. None of us want it. Heavens above, we would be crazy if we desired war for war’s sake. But we must realise - and I believe the Government does realise - that we have been served notice over the past 15 years of the intentions of those who have an ideology which is foreign to ours. It is an ideology which is atheistic and materialistic and its adherents want to conquer the world. I am not just raising the bogy of Communism. Honorable senators know that what I am saying is true. This notice has been served on us, and if we do not recognise it we are very foolish.
Fortunately, honorable senators on this side of the chamber, notwithstanding that they want peace are realistic. Peace is the greatest thing we can hope for for ourselves, our children and our children’s children. Senator Cavanagh spoke on this subject, and I accept that he sincerely believes that peace is the greatest thing we can have. But we cannot have it just by hoping for it when peoples separated from us by only a few miles of sea are becoming stronger and stronger and are motivated by the idea of spreading their philosophy throughout the world. It is just being blind and foolish to say: “We know they have this motive, but they will not hurt us.” A lot of people have said that in the last 15 years, and a lot of people have been ruined for saying and believing it. Whilst we all want a peace, the worst philosophy that can be held by anybody in Australia is the philosophy that springs from a desire to remain peacefully neutralist. To act on such a philosophy is tantamount, I believe, to committing suicide.
I should like to move on to a much talked of aspect of the problem facing us today. Why is there now an urgent need for a build up of our defences? Frankly, I. find completely incomprehensible statements to the effect that there is no such need. On 25 th February we heard in this chamber a speech from the Governor-General about the problems and the troubles which face us in this part of the world. We were told in the clearest of terms Chat expenditure on defence was becoming ever greater. We were warned that if the world situation continued to get worse, much more money would need to be spent on defence. That was on 25th February, at the beginning of this session of the Parliament. Then in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech, and in the similar speech that was made by the Minister representing the Treasurer in this chamber, we were again told that subsequent to the period that had been referred to earlier there had been a further build up of defence expenditure. I am not sure of the exact figures, but I think the statement that was made by the Treasurer was to the effect that defence expenditure had been increased at that point of time by some 40 per cent, or 50 per cent, compared with what our expenditure was three or four years ago. That was the next warning.
When the Estimates were debated, all honorable senators were issued with the booklet which is entitled the “Defence Report 1964”. I trust that all honorable senators have read it. There again, a clear warning is issued. On page 5, under the heading “Australian Defence”, this report begins -
The financial year 1964-65 will see further substantial development in the expansion of Australia’s defence forces. The amount provided for defence in the Estimates is again increased and is now almost £300 million.
The booklet explains in quite considerable detail the constant build up of defence expenditure. There has been, throughout the whole of this year in this chamber, debate after debate in which opportunity after opportunity has been afforded honorable senators to appreciate the growing seriousness of our defence position. I believe it was in 1963 when a widespread review was made of our defence forces. Early this year, we were told again by the Government that there was to be another defence review. The review which we are debating today has been made available to us according to my estimate, in a period of one or two weeks, but there is not an honorable senator in this chamber who does not know that this review represents the culmination, not of hours or days of work, but literally of many, many weeks of work.
How in the name of fortune can any person say that these defence proposals are not merely an expansion of the proposals which have been made before, in practically all instances? There are one or two things I will refer to which are different. But, in the main, these proposals provide for an increase in quantum of purchase and in personnel. They do not represent - and this is the vital point - a change from one way of thinking to an entirely different way of thinking. The defence policy of this Government has been following consistently the one course. If any honorable senator in this chamber tries to deny that fact, then I would say that all he is doing is demonstrating that he has not paid full attention to the debates which have taken place here. There has been a steady movement forward, in many instances, towards the objectives which were stated last year, the year before, and the year before that. We are moving forward towards an increase in our defence expenditure and the provision of greater defence measures, and are not departing from the general procedure. Senator Ormonde, who is shaking his head, knows that this is true because I believe that of all those at whom I look when I speak, he is probably one who pays more attention to debates in this chamber than does any other honorable senator. He would know that what I am saying is right.
In my own amateur way, I have tried to study this question. I have tried to recognise the method of approach by those who are guiding the destinies of this nation. I believe that they have looked at this matter not as children but as adults. Unfortunately, there has been too much childish thinking in relation to this problem. Happily, the Government has looked at it from the adult point of view. Having done so, the Government has asked itself: “ What is the type of danger that Australia faces? Is it global war? Is it a brushfire war where troubles are breaking out in all the islands near to Australia?” Honorable senators must recognise the fact that the Government is able to secure intelligence information which is of a highly secret nature. All honorable senators know that this is so, because all governments inevitably do so. The
Government becomes possessed of intelligence reports the contents of which are not available to any person who is not a member of the Cabinet. The Government is not able to tell us the details of the intelligence reports which it receives because it would be ludicrous to do so. But the Government must act on those reports. When one remembers what has happened during the last two years and notes the steady movement forward along a path planned by this Government, one recognises that the intelligence reports have been well studied by the Government.
It is obvious to the layman - and I class myself a layman - who does not know the contents of the intelligence summaries of the specific situation that the Government has decided that Australia’s greatest danger is not of the global war type. If I recall the matter correctly, this opinion was included in the statement which we are now debating. Although these are not the actual words, in sense this is what the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said: “The fear or danger of global war has receded but the danger of the smaller brushfire problem which is a very great one for Australia has become worse and worse as each month has passed this year.” We do not need intelligence reports to recognise that this is so because we can see this ourselves if we study what has been happening. We have only to read the newspapers. I will not quote Press reports, but we have seen news items to the effect that an arms boost in Indonesia is taking place and that country is arming very heavily. We read that various countries which have nationals in Indonesia are advising many of them to return to their homelands because of the build up of danger in this part of the world. If we have any intelligence at all, we must be able to see from the outside to a small degree that this is so. The Government sees the situation to a much greater degree. Knowing the situation, it has decided what our greatest danger is. I believe the Government has decided that the danger facing us is not global. I say that after having listened to the speech delivered by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge).
I think the next question that the Government has asked itself - and it is inevitable that this question should be asked - is: “Should the situation in the Pacific north of Australia get worse, what is our task?
Are we to fight? If we are threatened, are we to participate in isolation or are we to participate in conjunction with our allies? “ The answer to those questions is perfectly obvious. I am happy to say that we have very strong and powerful allies, and that there is no doubt that the Government is co-operating with those allies in the defence of the Pacific.
It should be realised by everybody that if we are to act in concert with our allies in the Pacific area, we must plan our strategy and co-operation with those allies. How stupid would it be if four countries allied to operate in a certain theatre of war, independently built up the type of defences they wanted and left empty other avenues of vital importance. If Australia and each of its allies did that, not working with the others and not deciding upon a combined strategy, we would not have the overall strength to fight and resist if dangers were forced upon us. So obviously the strategy between our allies and ourselves is plain.
Here I come to a matter that has really caused me surprise. Apparently there are many people who believe we must look at the question of defence in isolation and try to give all-round cover through the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force so that we can protect our interests in the South West Pacific in isolation. That was said by at least one member of the Opposition. I had this in mind when I said we should look at this problem as adults and not as children. If there is a childish approach to the problem, surely that is it. We in Australia - our authorities and our Governments - are planning not in isolation but in co-operation. The final point of that section of my argument is this: While I have found that the Government keeps us very well informed so far as it can on these matters, we would be childish if we expected the Government to disclose all the details of the strategy which is planned to meet certain problems should they arise. Two wars have taught us that it is vital to keep from an enemy or a potential enemy as much information about your actions as you can. While we are examining this position as a Parliament, not as a government, we do not know the full facts of the danger. To condemn the Government and its methods from a situation of ignorance - and that is what it amounts to - is too fatuous for words.
This brings me to the curious attacks that have been made on the Government concerning the strike and reconnaissance bomber, the Fill A. I recall very clearly the complete change that occurred in overseas theatres of war during World War II when the strength of the allied aircraft was brought to bear on the enemy. I recall vividly also having read a thorough examination of the problems that faced Great Britain in the years preceding the Second World War. Senator Cormack referred to these problems yesterday. I summarise this point by saying that if Great Britain had been armed with the aircraft which were available in the two years before the Second World War, at her greatest point of danger she would have had obsolescent or obsolete machinery to oppose the greatest might ever been built up in this world. It was our salvation that the Spitfire came to the point of use, as the finest aircraft in the world, at the most critical period of our lives. 1 think of that when I consider the Fill A strike reconnaissance aircraft.
I have discussed this matter with many people and have asked questions of some who are infinitely more knowledgeable than I am. I have said to them that I have heard from members of the Opposition that the Canberra bomber is obsolete. All my reading indicates that this is not true. I have asked: “Is it true that the Canberra bomber is obsolete?” All authorities will tell you quite definitely that it is not true. Perhaps you could apply the word obsolescent to the Canberra bomber, and that might be reasonably correct. So let us assume that it is obsolescent. The next question is this: Is there in the world today an aircraft better than the Canberra which could fill in until we get the FI IIA? The answer I have received and which I believe to be correct is that there is no aircraft which could fill the gap between the time we ceased to use the Canberra and began to have the use of the greatest strike and reconnaissance aircraft in the world. It is quite easy for people to criticise the Government and ask: Why are we waiting for this aircraft? Why does not the Government do something? Heavens above, you cannot get the most up to date aircraft off the hook. They must be ordered. Modern aircraft are not the machines of 20 years ago. They are most complex. I think it is to the credit of this Government that it has planned thoroughly in every sphere so that at the point which it recognises to be the point of danger, we will be armed with the very latest units in the world. That is good defence planning. It is people who can plan who earn my admiration and the admiration of Australia.
I turn now to the selective call-up. I remember an honorable senator on the Opposition side saying that they had given away every type of selective call-up in Great Britain. I do not suppose that there would be a greater authority on this subject in the world than Sir Richard Gale, who is a former Deputy Supreme Commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Europe. In 1958 he came out of retirement to succeed Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery in the N.A.T.O. post of Deputy Supreme Commander. He is a man who knows this problem. Last Saturday he was asked what he thought about the proposal for selective training, and what Great Britain thought about H. He said that from his point of view he believed that Australia was doing the right thing. He went on to say, which is infinitely more important, that if England desired to build up her forces beyond the present capacity, undoubtedly it would be called upon to adopt the same method.
– The British are not doing that now.
– No, because they do not need to do it. We were not doing it six months ago because we did not need to do so. But the need exists today. I take a pretty dim view of the way in which many honorable senators opposite have tried to make capital out of part of a statement made by the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes). I think it has been grossly unfair to him.
Sitting suspended from 5.47 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension I had started to speak about a number of things that had been said about statements made by the Minister for the Army. It had been stated that he was radically opposed to compulsory training and quickly changed his view. This is most unfair to him. What he did say, as I recall it - I do not remember the exact words, as one does not - was that all authorities were opposed to the principle of universal compulsory training at that point of time. Anybody who suggests that the proposal now envisaged is universal compulsory training is rather off the beam. That is altogether a different matter. I can understand why the authorities did say that universal compulsory training would be disorganising. With an intake of many, many thousands at stated periods, a huge number of instructors would be required. This naturally would disorganise to a very great degree the Australian Regular Army. The numbers to be asked for under this scheme are altogether a different matter. They will be merely building the Army to the numbers that we hoped for and expected.
I should like to make a few comments about why some of our young men have not volunteered to the present. In my view, the reason is that they have not been impressed by the urgency that undoubtedly exists. Without any rancour or bad feeling, I say that the Australian Labour Party’s expressions of its views in relation to defence, and constant reiteration that we do not need to spend so much on defence, have left in the minds of a large section of the public a belief that the matter is not as urgent as they had first thought. Therefore, decisions which they might have made to volunteer have been deferred. I think the knocking policy on the need for defence has been responsible more than anything else for the lack of numbers that had been hoped for.
I should most strongly discount some of the suggestions that have been made as to the reasons for the lack of volunteers. I listened with considerable interest to Senator McClelland’s statement that it would be very difficult to get recruits into the Army when they did not have complete uniforms. He said that some of the members of the Citizen Military Forces could not get a new pair of boots and others complained about issues of socks and that sort of thing. I completely misjudge the calibre and character of the young men of Australia if in fact matters such as that could deter them from doing what they believed was their duty. I have seen, and I know that most other honorable senators have seen, our troops putting up with the most severe disadvantages and difficulties of service, but doing it cheerfully and willingly because they felt the need was there for them to do it. I am quite sure that that is a fact. Mr. President, I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are by now fully aware of the compelling reasons for the re-introduction of national service training. The principal features of the Government’s plans are that young men will be required to register for national service in the calendar year in which they reach the age of 20. The term of service for men called up will be five years - ‘two years in the Regular Army Supplement and three years in the Reserve, and national servicemen will be liable for service overseas. The Bill is designed to give effect to these plans by amending the National Service Act originally enacted in 1951. The necessary provisions are to be found in clauses 5, 10 and 12 of the Bill.
The general structure of the existing legislation as to registration and exemptions from liability to register has been maintained. The provisions of the Act enabling men voluntarily to seek registration ahead of their age group and to be called up have been retained. Judging by the response to date to the Government’s announcements, some volunteers will, as was the case in the past, be anxious to avail themselves of this provision. The provisions regarding registration continue to extend to aliens, and it is our policy that those who have chosen this country as their home should be liable to service. However, there are long standing rules of international law and practices which govern the comity of nations which have to do with the subject of compelling nationals of another country to serve in the forces of the country of which they are resident. And so while these matters are under discussion with the governments of the other countries concerned it is not intended, for the present, to require aliens to register. They will, however, be entitled to take advantage of the provisions for voluntary registration and therefore to volunteer for inclusion in a call-up. Again, judged by reports of reactions of young men from other countries who now make Australia their home, we may expect many to take advantage of these provisions. The Government certainly hopes so.
The original provisions about exemption from liability to serve, grounds of conscientious objection and the power of magistrates to defer temporarily on grounds of hardship, are also retained intact. Most of the provisions of the Bill are consequential upon the fundamental policy changes I have referred to earlier. There are, as well, new provisions of a technical kind relating to national servicemen who are commissioned as officers.
The Government gave much thought to the classes of young men who should be called up for service. One group of special importance is the married men. The Government has decided that men married before call-up action commences will not be called up. Generally speaking, this action will occur several months after registration takes place. Those who marry while in the Services or after action to call up has commenced will complete their service.
After weighing carefully the social, economic and administrative problems involved, we selected the 20 years age group to register. The needs of the Army were, of course, important. A high percentage of young men have been in employment for some time when they reach the age of 20. Those at universities and similar institutions engaged in full time studies will generally not be in that position. Moreover, most apprentices will be at the end of their apprenticeship at the age of 20 and many university students will graduate in their 21st year. The fact that the great bulk of men at the age of 20 are already working and have already embarked on careers is important. This means that after these men have done their two years’ service they will have careers waiting and employers to go back to.
Next we considered apprentices and students at universities and similar institutions. Three considerations are important in the case of this group. The community urgently needs trained men. Obviously men who are training or studying for trades status, or other similar qualifications, should be permitted to qualify as quickly as possible. The Army requires trained people - tradesmen, doctors, and engineers - for its specialist functions. It w.ll be in the interests of the apprentices and the university students to get their training completed - to be qualified - so that they may take up their careers on return from service. It would not be satisfactory if they had to resume their interrupted studies after completing their service. For the reasons I have given, the Government decided that the call-up ot apprentices, unless they wish to be called up, will be deferred until they complete their indentures. We have also decided that the call-up of full time students of universities, and sim lar institutions, will be deferred, as a general rule, at least until they have acquired their primary qualification. As I have mentioned, many will be graduating in their 21st year. No immediate statement can be made about the period for which other students will be deferred. So many different types of courses exist, and the motives for taking these courses are many. These different types of cases will be considered on their merits. Apart from apprentices and students, there will be no deferment of call-up on occupational grounds.
The present Bill is, of course, to be seen as part of a total plan. The importance we attach to the place of the Citizens Military Forces in the Army as a whole needs no emphasising. For this reason, the Government intends using the national service scheme as a means of encouraging men to enlist in the C.M.F. The Government proposes to defer from call-up those who are at the time of registration members of the C.M.F. and have given at least one year’s effective service in the C.M.F., provided that they continue to give efficient service for an overall period of five years.
Next, we propose to defer from call-up those who, before the ballot to which I will refer later, have been accepted for service in the C.M.F. and have undertaken to serve for six years and who continue to give efficient service during that period. We believe that these proposals will have a most useful effect on the building up of the strength of the C.M.F. and will have widespread public support. Provided that in the Citizen Naval Forces and Citizen Air Forces obligations equivalent to those applicable to the C.M.F. are present, the sorts of arrangements I have outlined will be extended to those other Forces. This matter is currently being studied.
What 1 have said about our intentions on the subject of deferment from call-up brings me back to the point I made earlier, that liability to call-up will continue to age 26 and in special cases to age 30. So men will not escape call-up simply because they have been deferred for a year or two. lt will be apparent from the figures given by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) that each 20 years age group comprises many more young men than we are proposing to call up. Therefore, it is important that equity should be done in relation to the call-up amongst all in any 20 years group. We faced precisely this same problem in the latter stages of the earlier national service scheme and we then devised a method of balloting which won general ‘approval. It has the great virtue of being simple, equitable and easily understood by those affected, and it does not lend itself to any manipulation. There will be just no room for favouritism or influence. The same techniques will be used on this occasion.
Honorable senators may be interested in a description of the technique. Following registration there will be a ballot based on dates of birth. Marbles corresponding to the days in the year up to the number needed to produce the required number of men will bc drawn. Let us assume, for purposes of illustration, that there is a registration of 100,000 young men, and that the Department calculates that 10,000 men will have to be dealt with individually by the Depart.ment to allow for deferments, medical rejections and so on in order to produce 5,000 men for call-up. In this case, assuming it were a year’s registration, 36 marbles would be drawn, that is, one tenth of the year’s days. Those whose birthdays correspond with the marbles drawn will be balloted in and thereafter considered by the Department, interviewed as necessary, and medically examined. From these, the number required for the call un will be provided. The ai-n will be to call up men for service within six months of their registration. At least until an announcement to the contrary is made, those who are not balloted in will be deferred indefinitely.
Let me now refer to a particularly vital matter - the question of arrangements to facilitate the re-establishment of national servicemen after their two years’ service. Honorable senators will notice that the Bill deletes from the National Service Act the code dealing with rights to reinstatement in civil employment of national servicemen. The reason is this: During this session Parliament wrote into the Defence Act a complete code governing reinstatement in civil employment for members of the defence forces. 1 believe this code had wide acceptance. It was basically the same as the provisions of the present National Service Act. There was no point in having two similar codes in different Acts. So the Government intends to bring down a Bill in the next session to extend to national servicemen the code recently written into the Defence Act, with such modifications as are needed to meet the case of national servicemen who are called up for two years’ continuous service. Legislation will also be introduced to amend the Defence Act to make adjustments consequential on the changes in the composition of the defence forces which this present Bill introduces.
The Government does not intend to stop at ensuring that a national serviceman called up for two years’ service will be entitled to reinstatement in his pre-service job. As things stand, a regular soldier who has served in special areas may qualify for benefits under specified conditions for repatriation cover and war service homes entitlement. National servicemen who serve in such areas will be similarly eligible. The whole problem of rehabilitation benefits for national servicemen is now under active examination and decisions taken will be announced well before the first call-up takes place.
Mr. President, this Bill is a reflection of the Government’s appreciation of what is essential to meet our country’s defence needs. Everything that has happened in the last few days confirms that the Government’s decision has the warm approval of every sensible and patriotic Australian. It cannot be said that we did not do everything practicable in the past to build up the strength of our Army. Yet the results are well known. In the changed circumstances announced by the Prime Minister last week, demanding a larger build up of our Army in a shorter span of time, selective national service training has become inescapable. There is no-one in our community who does not regret that this action has been forced on us and hopes that the threatening circumstances that have given rise to the Bill will not remain with us long. As the Prime Minister has indicated, these conditions have not been of our making. We seek for nothing better than to live in peace with our neighbours.
It is clear that the decisions taken must involve some diversion of resources to military purposes and affect the pace at which we would have wished to develop our country. But I fully endorse the view of my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), that this can be minimised if there is a greater effort to improve our productivity. That is what we wish to see;it is to the advantage of the whole Australian community. I have not the slightest doubt that the Australian people will not be found wanting in making the extra effort which the defence needs of our country require of us all. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
.- I think I am entitled to object to the action of the Government in introducing this Bill in the dying hours of this sessional period and within three weeks of a Senate election, thus preventing us from giving it the mature consideration that it deserves. If my memory serves me correctly, the speech that has just been delivered by the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) is quite different from the second reading speech delivered in another place by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). It seems to me that, the Government having heard the case that has been presented in opposition to the measure in another place, the second reading speech delivered here has been somewhat padded up.
I personally object very strongly to the following passage in the Minister’s speech -
Everything that has happened in the last few days confirms that the Government’s decision has the warm approval of every sensible and patriotic Australian. 1 leave the matter of sensibility for others to judge. I would prefer to leave it to my country to judge the patriotic feelings of myself and my colleagues who have different views on this Bill. I think the words are at least extremely ill chosen. I read the second reading speech of the Minister for Labour and National Service, who introduced this Bill in another place, and because I read it hurriedly I cannot be sure whether the words to which I object were included in his speech. It is my feeling that they were not. Even if they were included, I would expect Senator Gorton, who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service in the Senate, to omit them when introducing the Bill in the Senate. There are many people who consider conscription - particularly in peacetime - as an affront to the democracy of Australia. Because of the views I hold in relation to this Bill, I think that the words are badly chosen.
The legislation before us is one result of the Prime Minister’s defence review which will come into effect in a relatively short time. As I have said before, the Government has conducted 17 reviews since it came into office and, if I remember correctly, five of them have been conducted in the last couple of years. I remember that I said something to this effect to Government supporters on a previous occasion: “ The moment that one review gets off the press you put on another one. You always tell us when you bring them down that things have never been worse. You attempt to gull the Australian people that you have set up a defence of this country through the expenditure of £3,000 million, the amount you have spent on defence since you have been in government”. Government supporters are proud of that expenditure. Although five reviews have been conducted in the last two years, Government supporters are always referring to what will be done in the future. At least part of the legislation before us will come into operation in the next six or twelve months, which is a rather different effect from that which other portions will have. The results of some parts of the legislation will not be seen until 1968 of 1970. One wonders whether tonight’s issue of the Melbourne “ Herald “, a newspaper which is friendly to the Government, is not correct when it states -
Call-up “ Can Be A Winner “.
How Government sees Senate poll.
The Melbourne “ Herald “ seems to agree with us when we say that the Government’s proposal is an election stunt.
It is interesting to trace the history of conscription measures in this country. The conscription issue first arose during the First World War. The then Prime Minister,
Mr. Hughes, attempted to force conscription legislation through the Senate. Those of us who have taken an interest in Australia’s political history will recall reading, if not hearing, of the Ready-Earle scandal. The late Mr. Earle was then a senator from Tasmania. He did not agree with the legislation and got out of the Senate. The very next morning Mr. Ready from Tasmania presented his credentials as a senator representing Tasmania. I do not wish to imply that there was any collusion. It was just a matter of chance.
– It was good staff work.
– As my friend, the Minister suggests, it was good staff work. But a most remarkable thing happen :d. The move misfired because it is now a matter of history that Senators Keating and Bakhap would not be a party to it. Those two senators belonged to a party, the name of which I cannot remember at the moment. I do not know what the present Liberal Party called itself then. It has changed its name so often over the years that it is hard to keep track of the changes. It was not the Win the War Party, because that party came into being in 1917. I do not know what title the party used before then. Senators Keating and Bakhap refused to vote for the Bill that Mr. Hughes had succeeded in having passed in another place. That was the origin of the referendums on the conscription issue in 1916-17. It is now well known what was decided by the people and the soldiers who were serving in France.
– I do not think that it was wholly decided by the men in France.
– I think if my very pood friend has a look at the records he will see that what I am saying is true. The honorable senator was a very gallant soldier and no doubt he was in France at the time. He is attempting to interject, but I will leave him to have his say in his own way.
We receive this rush of legislation at a late stage of the session when everyone wants to get out and fight in the election campaign. It is a wonder that a lot more hearts are not subjected to great strain. It should be remembered that in 1916-17 we were at war, The next time the conscription issue was raised was in the Second World
War when it was introduced by the Curtin Government. Many references have been made to that period earlier today. Honorable senators opposite have read from books they obtained from libraries, but the facts were that Mr. Curtin raised the conscription issue at a conference of the Labour Party. However, the rules of the Party laid down that no fresh business could be submitted unless there was a two-thirds majority in favour of it. Mr. Curtin lacked that majority. A special conference was held three months later and the voting was 24 to 12 in favour of conscription. So Mr. Curtin brought it in. But the difference is that Australia was then at war. I suppose that during the 1916-17 period many people believed in glorious isolation, as do a tremendous number of our friends in the United States. It is true, as some honorable senators have said, that in those days we relied on the might of the British Navy. But as times change, opinions change, and possibly it is just as well that they do. But Government supporters, as I hope to show later, seem to have a happy knack of changing their opinions on very vital subjects in a matter of days. As I have said, in Mr. Curtin’s days the nation was locked in a titanic struggle with the Japanese. The leader of the Government in those days, recognising the Government’s responsibility to the people, broke away - let me say that quite candidly - from the traditions of the past. The Government considered that it was its duty to preserve Australia and to that end it took the steps it believed to be necessary. I think everyone will agree that it did not do a bad job.
The position today is vastly different. We do know who are our foes. Who is the enemy we are going to fight? Is it Indonesia? T thought Indonesia was a friendly nation. Have we not an ambassador there? Has he not officials on his staff? He might be home for a few months at present, according to what I have read in the Press, but I suppose that even an ambassador is entitled to some leisure. Is our enemy China? If it is, let the Government tell us. If one can judge from speeches and interjections, it is apparent that although honorable senators opposite have not said so, they think that China could be our enemy. That, however, does not impel them to do something to stop some people in this country from selling steel to China. China has exploded an atomic bomb. The possibilities are that the machinery used in the making of that bomb may have been manufactured from steel that came from Australia. However, it seems that that does not matter one iota if profits are being made. I am reminded of something I read about the First World War. The shells that were being shot at our men in various theatres in which they served were manufactured from material we had suppled.
This country has no enemy today that we can nail down. Will any honorable senators who follow me in this debate be prepared to say that the enemy of this country today is China, Indonesia or some other nation in South East Asia? Let them name the enemy. If we were at war, I would be right behind the Government; make no bones about that. But I have to be shown that we are. The Government has to tell us; it has the responsibility. Honorable senators opposite tell us proudly how the people have returned them year after year. To my way of thinking, that is the people’s misfortune, but this is the Government that has the responsibility in the matters we are discussing.
– It shows that the Labour Party is still a bit out of step.
– No, it does not. We are not a bit out of step. It shows the difference between your party and our party. One man decides the policy of the party of honorable senators opposite. I admit that he is a very able and astute leader; I have no quarrel about that. If he does not decide policy, he treats his Ministers with such contempt that I wonder how full-blooded men put up with it. I refer in particular to the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes). I am certain that my good friend the exMinister for the Navy, now the Minister for Works, Senator Gorton, could have given a most interesting address on the magnificence of our Navy and how it guards the waters around this nation. Who would be more able to do that than Senator Gorton?
– I did, but the honorable senator went to sleep.
– I should think that I would go to sleep, because he would be able to say so little there would be nothing to keep anyone awake. Let us consider how important this change of policy is. I am not speaking of the years from 1916 to 1942. Times have changed. Let us consider the position from 26th October until the present time. Let us consider what the Minister for the Army said on 26th October last.
– That is of this year?
– This year. The Minister for the Army made a speech at the opening of the Returned Servicemen’s National Congress on the 26th October 1964. I think that today is either the 14th or 15th November.
– It is the 17th November.
– The Government has kept us up for so long in the last week or so, attempting to force it legislation through by exhaustion, that a person can be excused it he does not know whether it is the 14th or the 17th of the month. It was about 21 days ago. This is what the Minister said -
Although it has been stated many times before, it is perhaps worth mentioning briefly the purely military disadvantages of conscription.
I tried to induce my friend Senator Gorton, the Minister for Works, to read that speech when he was speaking in the defence review debate and suggested that the military advisers had changed their opinion. I think that even the Leader of the Government said that in the other debate. If they have changed their opinion, all I say is that they are on a par with some of the Ministers of the present Government. I would hate to think that I could not take the word even of a political opponent in a debate, but it seems fantastic to me that the Minister for the Army should change his mind in the way he did. The Government does not propose to bring in conscription for the Air Force or the Navy, but just for the Army. It would be interesting to know why the military advisers changed their advice. I come now to deal with the period of time which the conscripts will serve, and, in doing so, I refer again to the statement made by the Minister for the Army -
Secondly, it is wasteful in the sense that you only get about 18 months service out of each person you train compared with 54 years service for most recruits.
It is true that, under this Bill, the conscripts will undergo training for two years. Then they will be placed on the Reserve for three years. They will have to attend a 14-day camp each year during their period on the Reserve. They may be called up at any time within the period of three years. But the Minister says that the conscripts are to be trained for only two years. There is no doubt that science is playing an extremely important part in the invention and introduction of new forms of mechanisation which will be used by the Army. One wonders why the Minister has changed his mind in the way he has, in view of the statement that he made in Tasmania.
I am sorry that my friend, Senator Hannan, is not in the Chamber because I am wondering whether he can tell me as much about the decisions of the Liberal Party as he tries to tell me about the decisions of the Australian Labour Party. The Minister for the Army had a good deal to say, but he has not produced proof that the Government’s advisers changed their opinion between the 26th October and 17th November. In the absence of such a statement one is entitled to say that this assertion by the Minister, which I have quoted, is documentary proof that his advisers informed him that conscription for service even within Australia was unwarranted. In this speech, the Minister made no mention whatsoever about service outside Australia. The Government is now asking for the introduction of conscription in peacetime. The Government will not name the enemy against whom this country may have to fight There are some Australian Army personnel in South East Asia at the moment. I think that they did come into conflict with a group of 60 or 70 Indonesian paratroopers who were dropped in Malaysia for the purposes of a raid.
– The Indonesians landed at the camp door.
– It is my opinion that they had no right to land anywhere in Malaysia. I think that this sort of action is against all the principles of decency that should be observed between one nation and another. The Opposition believes that the Government has not exhausted by any means the voluntary system of enlistment in this country. Some time ago, in another debate, I dealt with certain figures which were given in answer to a question upon notice asked by my colleague, Senator McClelland. Summarising the answer that was given, I find that the number of persons who made application to join the Australian Military Forces in 1963 was 11,079. Out of that number, 2,839 were accepted. Those figures really intrigue me. Whilst I agree that the same health tests should be applied to conscripts as are applied to volunteers, I wonder whether the same educational tests are to be applied to conscripts as are applied to volunteers. It is true that the Minister for the Army has said that his two charming daughters, who are aged 10 and 8 years, could do the examination which SO per cent, of these volunteers for enlistment were unable to pass. What is to be the position with any volunteers who have been rejected by the Army and who are within the age group to be called up? Are they entitled to take along their papers to show that they have been rejected for voluntary service and thus be exempted from conscription? After all, the Minister for the Army has said that the conscripts are to be mingled with members of the Regular Army. The Government could find itself in a very sorry plight indeed, but I have no doubt that it will be able to change its mind again to get itself out of trouble. I would like the Minister for Works, who introduced this Bill tonight, to answer this question: Is the Government proposing to take as conscripts young men who have already been rejected as volunteers for service in the Australian Regular Army? If it is, then I say it will be a fantastic state of affairs. The young men will be educationally unclean, if I can use that word. They have already been declared not good enough to join the Australian Regular Army. I ask the Minister to tell us whether they are to be taken as conscripts or whether their rejection papers debarring them from voluntary service exempt them also from conscription.
If these young men are accepted for service, then I think the Government will find itself in tremendous trouble. In this regard, I refer to the second reading speech of the
Minister for Labour and National Service in which he said -
Assume, for purposes of illustration, that there is a registration of 100,000 young men and that the Department calculates that 10,000 men will have to be dealt with individually by the Department to allow for deferments, medical rejections and so on in order to produce 5,000 men for call up.
I want to know by what juggling of figures this recruitment is to be achieved. If the Army can accept only 2,839 men out of 11,079 who volunteered, how can it expect to get 5,000 men out of 10,000 called up? I wonder how the Government is going to achieve that result.
I understand that the Government is spending about £750,000 to advertise for recruits. This money is being spent with its friends, the television stations and the newspapers. I will bet that my friend Sir John Williams is getting a fair chop out of it. But the Government does not tell the public that of 1 1 ,079 men who volunteered for the Australian military forces last year, 1,230 were rejected for medical reasons. That cuts down the number who were acceptable to less than 10,000. In addition, 5,593 were not accepted for “other reasons”. An explanatory note to the answer given by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) in which these figures were given stated that this category - includes persons who failed to follow up their applications, applications withdrawn, failed to report . . .
Let us stop there for a moment. Since the Government is spending so much money on advertising for recruits, will the Minister inform me whether any effort was made to check up on the persons included in that category? Was any effort made, or was the Government’s attitude something like this: “It is public money. We can spend up to £750,000 next year on advertising, so why worry?” There were two other categories mentioned in the footnote as including persons rejected for what were stated to be “other reasons”. One of these was applicants with “ unsatisfactory civil record “. I would like to examine each individual case before I commented on that category, but I would agree that we would have to look carefully at applicants of that sort before we allowed them into the Army.
The final category given in the Minister’s reply was “below required training potential “. It would have been very useful if that had been broken down into more detail. The Minister’s reply shows that, in addition to the numbers of rejected applicants I have mentioned - that is, 1,230 on medical grounds and 5,593 for other reasons - 1,417 were rejected on educational grounds. This Bill applies only to the Army, and the figures given in the Minister’s reply show that with the Army the Government failed to do what it set out to do and what it should have done.
The members of the Government are the administrators. It is true that no-one expects them to do the detailed departmental work themselves, but at least it is their duty to see that the work is done. There is no suggestion that any attempt was made to follow up the persons who failed to go on with their applications for recruitment to the Army. If that had been done, the Minister would have said so in his answer to Senator McClelland. The inference is that the Government does not care so long as it goes on spending the money.
It would be a shame if I did not interpolate here further evidence of the change of opinion on the Government side about compulsory service. I admit that the statement by the Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister for Defence to which I propose to refer, was published on 10th July, or just over four months ago. The Minister was reported to have said then -
The Government did not intend to reintroduce national service training, the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) said last night.
Then the Minister went on to state what it would cost. He is reported to have said -
A restricted scheme for training 12,000 youths a year out of a total of 102.500 would cost £20 million a year and mean capital expenditure over four or five years of another £24 million.
If the Minister said that, his arithmetic must be different from mine, because if national service training would cost £20 million in one year, I cannot understand how he estimated it would cost £24 million for four or five years. Reading his statement, I would say that he was most concerned about the money that would be involved. He is the one Who has expressed concern about the expenditure. Our only concern in connection with defence expenditure is that we have not received value for our money. I have heard many statements to the effect that the Opposition has voted against this and that defence proposal, but I challenge anyone to lay on the table evidence that we have voted against money being provided in recent years for the defence of Australia. I cannot go back over all the years, but 1 have been a member of this Senate for about 1 1 years, and I challenge anybody to produce such evidence for that period. It is of no use to make charges against the Opposition in an airyfairy way; let our critics produce the evidence. That reminds me that when Senator Morris was speaking he purported to be quoting from an authentic document giving the policy of Labour on defence. When he was asked to put it on the table it was a case of: “ No appearance, Your Worship “. When an honorable senator goes that far in making a statement we are at least entitled to expect him to produce the goods.
When the Minister for Works is replying, I should like him to tell me at what period in the two years service the conscripts will be integrated with the Australian Regular Army.
– After six months.
– I am grateful to the Minister for the information. On the Minister’s own words, these conscripts can be sent out of the country to fight if the Government considers it necessary. Who are they going to fight? The Government did not tell us. It will not declare war but it will send these men out of the country to fight someone. Does it mean that the conscripts will be integrated with the regular forces, whether it be a battalion, a division or some other unit? Is it satisfactory to the defence chiefs that youths with six months service, who will not be sufficiently trained in modern warfare, will be sent overseas to fight soldiers of other nations who have received the necessary training?
The Prime Minister said in his statement on the defence review that the reason for conscription was that the Government could not get sufficient men for the armed forces, because conditions are good in industry today. The facts and figures prove him wrong.
– ‘Prove it.
– I can prove it if the honorable senator wants me to do so. I have the figures here. They have been compiled by the Library Statistical Service from the Department of Labour and National Service news releases, and from page 58 of the “Defence Report 1964”. The figures show that, from 1960 to the present time, when the number of unemployed was greatest the number of recruits in the Army was smallest. I had these figures incorporated in “ Hansard “ on 13th November 1964 at page 1761. If the honorable senator would like to read them afterwards, he is free to do so.
– That proves nothing.
– 1 am proving that the Prime Minister was incorrect in the reason he gave for introducing conscription. He said that the Government cannot get recruits because conditions in industry are too good. I am not saying that the conditions are bad, but I have at the back of my mind the fact that the two wage packet economy operates for at least 40 per cent, to 45 per cent, of married couples in this nation.
We believe that if the Government adopts the volunteer method for getting recruits, it will get them. Surely the Government does not say that the youth of this country is not prepared to defend it. Surely the Government has not reached that stage in its haste to get this Bill through prior to the forthcoming Senate election. Conditions in industry are good today. The unemployment figures are low. I think that the Government has every right to be pleased with the figures. I only hope that the figures will remain as low as they are, no matter which Party is in office.
– We want to reduce the number of unemployed.
– I hope that the Government does so. I am certain that it will get a great deal of help in that connection from the Opposition.
Why do I say that this Bill is an election stunt? We have to look not only at the second reading speech that was delivered by the Minister in this chamber tonight, but also at the second reading speech that was delivered by the Minister for National Service and at the Bill itself. Reference has been made in the second reading speeches to many aspect of national service training, but they are not covered by the Bill. The best that can be said for this legislation is that it is untidy. It requires two more Bills and one other determination before it can be classed as a bill which deals at all properly with the question of national service training. The Government has said that at some future time it will set out the rights to re-employment of the people who are to be conscripted.
There is no great need to rush the legislation through at the present time. The Parliament will meet again in February of next year. Could not the Government have waited and introduced a decent bill then? In the meantime it could have intimated to the people of Australia what it intended to do. 1 am not asking the Government to do a Bolte act, as we say in Victoria. That is, to say nothing about the matter before the election and then bring it on in all shapes and forms after the election. The Government could have included provisions in the Bill which would dovetail in with the provisions in the Defence Act.
A few weeks ago we passed the Defence Bill. Under that Bill the Government introduced emergency reserve forces in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. It altered the provisions in relation to the Citizen Military forces so that its members now have to serve overseas. The Government gave the present members of the C.M.F. the right to contract out because they had enlisted to serve only in Australia and its territories. During the debate on that Bill there was no mention of conscription, apart from the fact that the Minister for Defence assured he Leader of the Opposition that the Bill did not provide for conscription. Is it any wonder that we oppose this proposal? The Prime Minister, in his defence review, said -
For some months the Department of Defence and the Service and Supply Departments, in close collaboration with the Chiefs of Staff Committee . . .
Yet three or four weeks ago, when the Defence Act was amended, the Government told the people that there was no conscription. To some honorable senators opposite, the most annoying aspect was that we on this side wholeheartedly supported that Bill. Now, all of a sudden, the Government says that conscription is needed. We disagree.
I have not had time to read the second reading speech made by the Minister for Works tonight but I obtained a copy of the second reading speech made by the Minister for Labour and National Service. The only difference between the speeches is that Senator Gorton tried to water his down. He knew the criticisms that had been made in the other place. I suppose he is entitled to water down his speech if he wants to do so. A classic example is provided by the case of the lad of 20 who is native born or the lad of 20 who is naturalised. They would take their chances in this wonderful barrel of marbles. I have been interested in a barrel of marbles for a long time but I have not done much good. If I remember correctly, there was a difference between the speeches of the Minister for Labour and National Service and the Minister for Works.
– Not very much difference.
– There was a difference in words and the inference to be drawn was different, but the effect is the same. Our fellows will be in the jungles of Malaysia or wherever the Government wants to send them, fighting against some enemy which the Government will not identify, while the unnaturalised lads will be here. It is said that the servicemen will get back their jobs. I have no doubt that that will be the case with those who had government jobs, but it is not so easy for ordinary fellows outside to get back their jobs. In two years, more particularly if the Government brings in a credit squeeze such as it introduced in 1960, many of the jobs will not be there. That is pretty important to young fellows. The Bill provides that servicemen will serve for two years and then may be on the Reserve for three years, but if a state of emergency is declared they will be kept in the Service. The Defence Act gives the right to the Minister alone to say who shall be deferred. The Government should not think that there will be deferments merely of students and apprentices. Wait till the farmers get the ears of the Government. There will then be many more. I think it is quite right that there should be deferments.
To sum up, the Labour Party is opposed to conscription in peacetime. We on this side say without equivocation that it is not needed. The young and the not so young will come to the aid of this country when they are needed. If the Government organised recruiting as it should do there would be no need to worry over this matter, because it would get the numbers. It seems that the Government is satisfied to spend without much organisataion, up to £750,000 on a recruiting campaign. I have seen a number of advertisements on television, and they look very well, but from answers to questions I cannot see that the Government has followed up the advertisements with organisation. The money has not served the purpose for which it was intended. However strong the logic may be, it is the numbers that count. I regret that the Government is taking this step, which I think is wrong. Many other people will think it wrong. Even at this late hour I should be delighted if the Government would consider other other methods.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Honorable Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– First, I congratulate the Government upon bringing this measure before us and particularly I congratulate the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Paltridge). One realises how hard he has had to work over the past few months on the defence measures that have been placed before us in the past two or three days. I speak as one who has been critical up to this point of the defence measures previously undertaken by the Government. Therefore, I am all the more pleased to be able to extend these congratulations to him now. I propose to emphasise some of the matters that were outlined in the second reading speech of the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) and to make some criticisms of remarks that have been made during the defence debates. I shall give some particulars of the position as it affects the United States of America.
The Minister stated -
We have also decided that the call-up of full time students of the universities and similar institutions will be deferred, as a general rule, at least until they have acquired their primary qualification. As I have mentioned, many will be graduating in their 21st year. No immediate statement can be made about the period for which other students will be deferred. So many different types of courses exist, and the motives for taking these courses are many. These different types of cases will be considered on their merits. Apart from apprentices and students, there will be no deferment of call-up on occupational grounds.
I hope that Senator Kennelly will note that statement. The Minister continued -
The present Bill is, of course, to be seen as part of a total plan. The importance we attach to the place of the Citizen Military Forces in the Army as a whole needs no emphasising.
I am particularly pleased to note that reference to the C.M.F. Then the Minister said -
For this reason, the Government intends using the national service scheme as a means of encouraging them to enlist in the C.M.F.
I pause there to remind honorable senators that on several occasions I have emphasised the role of the C.M.F. in the defence of this country in past years, and in the years to come provided it is given the opportunity. The Minister further said -
The Government proposes to defer from call-up those who are at the time of registration members of the C.M.F. and have given at least one year’s effective service in the C.M.F., providing that they continue to give efficient service for an overall period of five years.
Next, we propose to defer from call-up those who, before the ballot to which 1 will refer later, have been accepted for service in the C.M.F. and have undertaken to serve for six years and who continue to give efficient service during that period.
Further on the Minister said -
What I have said about our intentions on the subject of deferment from call-up brings me back to the point 1 made earlier, that liability to call-
This is important - will continue to age 26 and in special cases to age 30. So men will not escape call-up simply because they have been deferred for a year of two.
That is important, because there may be some who think that, by putting up a good story and getting deferment, they will be relieved of any obligation in the following few years. The Minister has said emphatically that that will not be the case. The Minister then said -
It will be apparent from the figures given by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) that each 20 years age group comprises many more young men than we are proposing to call up.
That is understandable. It will be noted that this problem has been attacked in a practical manner and that it is not proposed to call up willy nilly everybody who reaches the age of 20 years. Provision has been made for deferment on the grounds that I have already mentioned. The Minister said-
There will be just no room for favouritism or influence.
That statement is very important, lt should dispel the fears of many parents who think that because somebody knows somebody else he will be able to exercise some favouritism and obtain deferment or perhaps exemption from call-up. Unfortunately there have been instances of this kind; but fortunately, there have not been very many.
The Minister then went on to describe the method of the call-up. He said -
Following registration there will be a ballot based on dates of birth. Marbles corresponding to the days in the year up to the number needed to produce the required number of men will be drawn the Department calculates that 10,000 men will have to be dealt with individually by the Department to allow for deferments, medical rejections and so on in order to produce 5,000 men for callup.
In other words, the proportion will be two to one. That is not excessive, as I propose to establish by mentioning what has happened in the United States of America. Then the Minister proceeded to say -
In this case, assuming it were a year’s registration, 36 marbles would be drawn, that is one tenth of the year’s days. Those whose birthdays correspond with the marbles drawn will be ballotted in and thereafter considered by the Department, interviewed as necessary, and medically examined. From these, the number required for the callup will be provided.
So much for the Russian roulette, as the proposed method has been described by people who ought to know a lot better and who have been very derogatory about the means to be adopted for calling up these people. The Minister went on to say -
The aim will be to call up men for service within six months of their registration. At least until an announcement to the contrary is made, those who are not ballotted in will be deferred idenfinitely.
Provision has been made in regard to employment and so on. The Minister said in this regard - the Government intends to bring down a Bill in the next session to extend to national servicemen the code recently written into the Defence Act, with such modifications as are needed to meet the case of national servicemen who are called up for two years continuous service.
The Minister pointed out that, as things stand, a regular soldier who has served in special areas may qualify for benefits under specified conditions for repatriation cover and, most importantly, war service homes entitlement. The national servicemen who serve is such areas will be similarly eligible.
At this early stage in my speech I emphasise the following passage in the Minister’s speech -
We seek for nothing better than to live in peace with our neighbours.
One of the means of ensuring that we live in peace with our neighbours is to see that we are strong. Over the past few years many countries have adopted a form of pacifism of non-aggression only to find that the principles which they espoused, worthy though they be, have led them into a very unfortunate situation.
Time and time again within the last couple of days the Opposition has emphasised what was done when Labour was in office. If I interpret the statements of the Opposition correctly, the only alternative open to us is to rely on a Labour government. Let us see what has happened in the past under Labour administration. I do not think it is my job here continually to bait the Opposition; I do not think that forms part of the duty of a Government senator at all. But I do think that when such claims are made over and over again something should be done to combat them and that the truth should be told. I propose to do that very briefly. Let us look at Labour’s record. What happened after World War II in regard to Manus Island? We had an opportunity there to retain something which would have been very valuable in the defence of this country. Who was responsible for our losing it? There is no need to state the answer; it is quite obvious. I remind honorable senators that the United States of America ceased to exchange important secrets concerning the defence of that country and its allies because it could not trust the Labour Government in Australia. We know of the famous letter that was written by Dr. Evatt to Molotov.
– Oh, no.
– These are some of the things that have occurred. Honorable senators opposite have risen in the last couple of days and have told us what the Labour Government did in the defence of Australia. I am stating some of the things that happened. What happened when it was proposed that the American communication centre should be established at North West Cape? The Australian Labour Party offered very strong opposition. Time and again we have seen good measures designed to protect Australia opposed, I think, by only a section of the Opposition. But they have been opposed, and unfortunately it occurs repeatedly. It seems that it is possible for a small minority to influence the majority. I know that honorable senators opposite, possibly without exception are just as concerned as I am about the defence of Australia. Regrettably it seems that there are others who control them and honorable senators opposite are not able to do as they wish.
The Opposition has often made the suggestion that Australia should rely on the United Nations Organisation. I have been fortunate enough to see the United Nations in operation. As a member of the Senate I had the opportunity to represent this Government at a United Nations conference two years ago. It was the time when the Cuba incident occurred. I was present when the Security Council met to deal with the situation in Cuba. It was one of the rare occasions that the United Nations - particularly the Security Council - achieved a very desirable objective in a short space of time. Nine or 10 nations are represented in the Security Council and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has the right of veto, which it has exercised on many occasions. If a dispute which arises does not come before the General Assembly, it is brought before the Security Council. The Council discusses the dispute and decides on the action to be taken. If a dispute is brought before the General Assembly it may be debated for weeks. If Australia is subjected to aggression by another country and the matter is referred to the United Nations, we will be overrun by the invaders in the time which will elapse before a decision is reached by the United Nations. By that time it will be a case of, “Very sorry, too late, cannot help it”. That is not fantasy derived from imagination. It is one of the facts of life. It is ludicrous to think that we should rely on the United Nations for the defence of this nation.
– Does the honorable senator say that it is useless?
– No, I did not say it was useless. I said it was ludicrous. The Opposition is opposed to conscription of our young people for service overseas. Surely we will not do justice to them or do what is best for them if we deny them an oppor tunity to fit themselves for the defence of their country. The circumstances today are very different from those of 30 years ago. Methods of warfare were very different then from the present methods. Today because of the fast means of air travel, a distance of several thousand miles is no deterrent to an enemy. It is quite obvious that the defence of Australia may well begin outside Australia, in the first instance. That is why it is necessary that in peace time we should have our young people trained and ready to go if the necessity arises.
I turn now to the allegation that the Government’s proposal is an election stunt. 1 do not for one moment think that more than half a dozen members of the Opposition in the Senate or in the other place really believe that allegation is true. They do not believe it any more than I do. Let us consider the foolishness of the suggestion. Is any government just prior to going to the people for a Senate election stupid enough to ask them for big sacrifices and think that it will thus gain votes? It is too stupid for words. I repeat that there are probably not six members of the Opposition either here or in another place who really believe that allegation.
I believe that the Government is to be congratulated for placing before the people what will be required of them in the years that lie ahead. The Government is fortified in presenting this proposal to the people because we know perfectly well that they are willing and anxious to accept their responsibilities and undergo the sacrifices which will be necessary if we are to hold this country.
I come to the claim that the sons of farmers and graziers will be clamouring for exemption from national service training. The history of voluntary enlistment and national service training has been the same in Australia as Lt has in the United States of America. The young men who work on the land are the first to enlist. Perhaps this is brought about by the nature of their calling. It is an independent occupation and it may be that they develop a closer kinship with the soil and with their country. Whatever may be the reason, the fact remains that the young men who work on farms are the first to respond to any call by the nation. I am quite convinced that they will be the first to respond to any call made in the future.
Honorable senators opposite have asked why it is necessary to introduce national service training, because the voluntary system is good enough. Lt has been proved that the voluntary system is not good enough. During the past few months it has been stated over and over agan, even by top advisers, that it may become necessary to provide a system of selective conscription for national service training, or whatever we wish to call it, if the voluntary system of recruitment does not provide sufficient numbers. It has not provided sufficient numbers and the Government has been forced to adopt the measure we are discussing tonight.
It has been said that those who need national service training most will not receive it. I have no doubt that some will miss out. That is inevitable, but I believe that the majority of the long-haired bodgie types who need a haircut, a wash and something to put on their feet will receive national service training. Above all, what they need is the discipline that they will receive. After they have received training they will make quite good soldiers, airmen or sailors. There is nothing wrong at heart with these young people. All they need is to be given the chance to do something for their country and they will respond. I remind honorable senators now, as I reminded them on the first day that I came into the Senate, that just prior to World War II there was much criticism of the young men of London and Great Britain. They were described as lounge lizards, as effeminate, and as other things. In a few short months those same young men were fighting the Battle of Britain and by their deeds have joined the ranks of the heroes of Great Britain. If given the opportunity our young Australians could do the same thing.
Recently a section of the students at a Sydney university staged a demonstration against national service training. Unfortunately, the noisy minority in these places seems by its actions to place a label on the majority. I think that happened in the instance to which I refer. Young people in our universities today are undergoing voluntary national training in the Army, Navy and the Air Force and are doing a very good job. However, some of these mis-, guided young people have decided to stage demonstrations. Because they are in the minority I am not very worried about them. Surely we all agree that our youth today is in a very fortunate category. It has never known a depression and, in the main, it has not known a shortage of money, food or clothing. Our young people have had comforts and conveniences that 20 years ago were undreamt of by their parents. Now we are going to call upon the same young people to make some sacrifice if necessary. In some cases it may mean - I trust that it will not - the sacrifice of their, lives. They will be called upon to sacrifice some of the good times they are having and some of their leisure. Instead of running about in motor cars during the week end, they will have to do some duties in camp. It is not going to be a great hardship on them at present, and it is going to be of very great benefit to them in the future. Yesterday Senator Prowse gave us an illustration of the thinking of some young Country Party people in Western Australia, who advocated a system of selective national training. I welcome this. It is only one instance of the feeling of many young people, irrespective of their political leanings, throughout the length and breadth of Australia.
I was quite concerned to read about a prominent Methodist minister in Sydney, of whom Senator Prowse made mention, suggesting that we should devote more attention to giving assistance under the Colombo Plan instead of providing assistance of the kind we are discussing. That is the trouble with so many of these woolyheaded people. I make no apology for describing them as such. If their common sense were only given a chance to work, instead of their mouths, this country would be a lot better off. We have seen what happened as a result of the United States of America handling out aid right, left and centre to various nations. Instead of getting the gratitude of the people to whom she gave this aid, she got their contempt. This surely is evidence that the plan suggested by this minister would not be worth two ups. We also have the case of India. She adopted a policy of non-aggression and pacifism. She decided she was going to live by herself and would not lift a hand against anybody. What happened when China went into India? India had straight away to approach the United States and Britain for military aid, and now she has bad to embark on a policy of defending herself. It is just too silly for words for these people to get up and talk in the manner in which they have done. They are not giving any help to their country; indeed they are doing it a great disservice.
We have been told tonight, and on other occasions, that it is no good bringing in conscripts with volunteers, that they will not mix. That is too stupid for words; they do mix. I had conscripts and volunteers in my own squadron in World War II. As I mentioned here just recently, in the space of a few short weeks the esprit de corps of the conscripts was just as good as that of those who had volunteered. This measure has been brought in because of sheer, plain, stark necessity. No government wants to bring in measures such as this. We have been criticised in the past for not doing enough. Now when a measure of this nature is brought in - and the majority of people are saying that it should be brought in - we find that some of the carping critics are saying: “ We do not think you should have done this.” It is the old story. Everybody should be prepared to suffer some sacrifice, but not the individual. I wish to refer to page 1730 of a previous “Hansard” in which the No. 3 candidate on the Australian Labour Party ticket for the Senate election in New South Wales, Mr. Haylen, said that Australia should have no troops in Malaya.I wonder whether he still thinks that? I wonder whether he thinks that if he says this when he goes out, hoping to be elected to this Senate on5th December, that the people are going to return him.
– Mr. Haylen will be elected all right.
– It will not be any good for Australia if he is. I hope that he will not be elected. If there is anything I can do to prevent him from coming to this chamber, I am prepared to do it.
I want to refer briefly to an annual report of the Department of Selective Services of the United States of America. This report was made to the American Congress in 1962. I am quoting from pages 30 and 31 of that report. It is illuminating in view of the fact that the Government has been criticised, and some derisive remarks have been made, because the Army has had so many rejections. This report states -
The fact is that the Department of Defence requisitions upon the Selective Service Board on inductees-
Those are the people going in - have been almost exclusively Army requests and has caused many young men to exercise a choice and enlist in other Services. To a marked degree this supports the high enlistment rate of the Ah* Force and the Navy.
That is because of this selectiveness. The report continues -
It is an interesting commentary that a high induction rate stimulates enlistment, and as the induction rate falls, so does the enlistment rate.
I think that our system could very well have the same effect. If we have these chaps coming in as conscripts, if you like, at a fairly high rate, we then will have large numbers of volunteers as well. The report further discloses that the number delivered to the Board over a period was 4.4 million and the number not found to be qual fied for various reasons was 1.6 million. The Minister has recently given the figures in relationship to the Australian Army and has also given some of the reasons why those who attempted to enlist were not qualified. The failure rate in America was 38 per cent. According to the note I have, this referred to the period from 1948 to 1956. In other words, during a period of 8 years 4.4 million were called up and 1.6 million did not qualify for various reasons.
I would pause here to say that these men constituted what could be regarded as the cream of American manhood, yet there was a failure rate of about 38 per cent. In the period from 1st July 1961 to 1st July 1962, 656,000 were called up and 303,000 failed - a failure rate of 46 per cent. or almost two to one. There has been talk about the deferments that will be asked for in the farming areas. In America the lowest rejection rate occurred in the farming areas. General Omar Bradley was called before the committee in May 1948 and he gave the following evidence -
We began mobilisation of the National Guard-
That is the equivalent of our C.M.F. - in 1940, but it was 1942 before we could commit any of these men to action.
That is a period of two years. The Government proposes to have a period of two years training under its system.
At this point I want to emphasise that the status of American servicemen has been deliberately raised. As I mentioned only recently in the Senate, I believe that something of this nature would be of benefit in Australia. I understand that in America almost daily broadcasts are made to the effect that such and such a unit is serving at a particular place. The job that these young men are doing is brought before the American public. I think it is fair enough that the same thing should be done here, and I hope that it will be. These men are doing something for the welfare of the nation and what they are doing should be recognised.
I propose very briefly to deal further with the American report. General Dahl.quist, giving evidence on behalf of the Defence Department - this is mentioned on page 6493 of the same publication - was answering questions about the intelligence rate of inductees. It appears that the average intelligence rate for the selectees is 100. The following is what General Dahl.quist had to say -
We could take men with a lower score of 80, which is the Army base rate, but you will have to add more men to our total numbers. That is, we will have more men in our guard houses.
In other words, General Dahlquist said, in effect: “We would not be getting the good type of man if we were going to reduce the level from 100 to 80 as we would if the level was left at 100.” The General was asked this question -
You expect, General, to take the cream of the crop of young manhood?
The General replied -
We are willing to take men with an average of 80. When you go below 80, the proportion of men who cannot serve effectively rises very sharply.
I think that is only to be expected. There has been a lot of criticism of the standards which have been agreed upon by the Army for admitting men into its services. But I am told that the present standard is the same as was decided upon when the Australian Labour Party was in office some 20 years ago. The standard has not been altered. After all, there is a limit to the low rate of learning, if I can put it that way, below which the Army cannot go. I think it would be a feasible proposition to raise labour battalions, or some battalions of that kind, and to put in them men who would be fitted to do jobs which would not require persons possessing high educational standards.
Senator Kennelly challenged us to name any enemy against whom we would be likely to employ these troops. I know very well that he does not expect us to do so. Australia has not any enemy at this point of time to whom we could go tomorrow and say: “ We are going to send troops against you.” After all, that action would be equivalent to a declaration of war. I do not think that the challenge was made in a serious manner. I do welcome the statement made by Senator Kennelly that in the event of war the Opposition would be on the Government’s side. It was hardly necessary for him to tell us that because, after all, although we have our political differences here, when the chips are down we are all Australians and all British, fighting for the one cause. That is as it should be and always will be, I trust.
Senator Kennelly also said that the avenues of recruiting available through the voluntary system had not been exhausted. Surely I have given evidence that the voluntary system of enlistment has been found to be at least unsatisfactory; otherwise, the measure about which we are talking tonight would not be before the Senate. It is far better to engage men who volunteer, provided enough men volunteer for service. But not enough volunteers were coming forward. The honorable senator knows that. Senator Kennelly made the suggestion also that, in introducing these defence measures, the Government was concerned only with retaining its majority in the Senate. I know perfectly well that the honorable senator does not mean that because he has the highest appreciation of the men in this Government. It would be wrong to think for one moment that all they are concerned about is looking after their jobs at this time.
I wish now to address myself to something which I have mentioned before. A long term defence project in Australia must inevitably be tied to immigration. It is very pleasing indeed to see that this year some 70,000 Britons are expected to come out here. Unless we can build up our population irrespective of what we may do with our own defence forces, it is going to be very difficult indeed to provide a defence force of the nature that we feel we need. I recognise that we are in the closing hours of this Parliament. As it has been agreed that the number of speakers on each side shall be limited, I propose to conclude my remarks by congratulating the Government once again on bringing down the measure that we are discussing tonight.
. -I propose to be brief. This Bill provides in our present circumstances of peace for conscription for overseas service. The Australian Labour Party will not have a bar of that. What has been said here by speakers on behalf of the Government has had an air of unreality. Senator McKellar said that the United Nations is ludicrous, or it is-
– I did not say that.
– The honorable senator at least said that it was ludicrous to think that the United Nations could provide any effective protection for nations such as Australia. His colleague, Senator Prowse, interjected that the United Nations was useless. This is a proposition with which the Opposition will not agree. The United Nations provides some hope for the future of mankind. Only when there is some kind of a world federal government with military power centred in it will there be any reasonably certain hope of peace. But with the international agencies that we have and the regional agreements which have been made pursuant to the United Nations Charter, we have some hope of peace in various areas throughout the world. We ought to maintain this with all our effort.
The Government’s proposals are for various matters to be attended to, which may give Australia some increased defensive power some years ahead in the future. What are our circumstances in this world? Australia is a small nation. If we look at what counts in terms of national power in this century, we see that power is an equation of population and industrial strength. When honorable senators talk in the terms that have been used yesterday and this evening in this chamber, one would think that Einstein had never lived, that Emit Fischer had never lived also, and that wars today were conducted in the ways in which they were conducted in past centuries. There is no doubt that this equation of population and industrial strength still holds true whether war is conducted as in the First
World War or World War II or any atomic war. One cannot divorce these ultimate factors of power from consideration.
Certainly Senator McKellar adverted to the question of population, and said that he was pleased that endeavours were being made to increase the population of Australia. My contention is that, as the population of a country tends to increase, so the military potential and power of a country increase. As the industrial strength of a country increases, so its power and its military potential tend to increase. If we consider the situation of different countries in the world, we see that those with a very large population have correspondingly larger power whether in terms of military capacity or otherwise, than those countries with smaller populations. If we look at countries with great industrial strength, we see that they have correspondingly great military potential also. If one examines nations which are comparable in population, such as Japan and Indonesia, one sees that Indonesia has a large standing Army, a Navy and an Air Force, and that Japan has forces which are not truly described as Army, Navy or Air Force but rather as some kind of police force. This Japanese force is not as large or superficially as powerful as the forces in Indonesia. Yet who would doubt which was the more powerful nation? Who would contend other than that Japan was far more powerful and had far greater military potential than Indonesia? This is because of the tremendous industrial strength of Japan. It is interesting to observe that the figures for industrial and increasing gross national product and national capacity are one order of the figures for the nations of the world, and that the spending on armaments is given in another order. This is significant because on the figures published in the daily newspapers in the last fortnight, it appears that, of all the countries in the world, Japan is spending the least on armaments. Its expenditure on armaments is the lowest in the world in proportion to its gross national product.
Appearing in the same editions of these newspapers were the figures for the rate of acceleration of the economy, the rate of industrial expansion and the rate of increase of all those things which go to make up not only industrial strength but also military potential. Japan was the world leader on these figures. This is not mere coincidence because the lesson of history is that to the extent that a nation spends money on armaments, it actually reduces its military potential. A nation may improve its immediate military strength by such expenditure, but it reduces its military potential. That was really what was behind the speech of Senator Prowse last night, when he asked why Australia should have spent money eight or ten years ago on all kinds of warships, aircraft and other material. He said they would have been obsolete by now and we would have wasted our money - we would have spent on those things money that we ought to have been putting into our economy. That is true, and it applies at any point of time. If you spend vast amounts on armaments, you must realise that you are reducing both your industrial strength and your military potential.
The Australian Labour Party has made certain practical suggestions. It has been said by Senator Cooke and a number of other honorable senators on the Opposition side - in an oblique way it was said by some Government supporters - that Australia ought to be spending more money to increase its industrial strength and its military potential. We believe that, in preparing for the proper defence of Australia, we should endeavour to increase the military potential. We believe that money ought to be spent for defence by exploring aircraft production, by improving pur highways and by doing everything we can do in the way of scientific research - not only in the field of pure science but also in the field of applied science - and development to increase the industrial strength of Australia. If we can do that and increase our population, we will be in a position of very great strength. If we can increase our population and our industrial strength, we will increase our military potential.
The proposal in the Bill does hot meet with the approval of the Opposition. We regard it as entirely unreal and as an election stunt. We trust that the people of Australia will share our view at the forthcoming Senate election and reject the proposal.
.- in reply - The principles involved in this Bill have been very extensively discussed in another place and in this chamber in the debates on the defence review and on the Bill itself. To my mind, this comes down to a simple question of a difference of opinion, judgment and belief between the Government and the Opposition. The Government believes it should introduce this Bill because it is necessary to increase the standing Army of Australia to such a level that it can carry out its commitments and at the same time leave in Australia a nucleus to train the volunteer divisions which would flock to the colours if fighting ever started. The Army could be supplied with arms and other requisites from the things that have been built up by the Government. The Government believes that we will not reach the required level of numbers for the Australian Regular Army unless we use the selective call-up system which is envisaged in the Bill.
This is simply a matter of two questions. First, has the situation in Australia’s geographical vicinity - in this part of the world - deteriorated, not to a state of instant emergency but to a state where it appears necessary for Australia to be prepared in case of an emergency occurring sooner than seemed likely some weeks or months ago? If the events that have occurred indicate that such a position may develop, the Government says that it is necessary to build up our forces by the method stated in the Bill. If it were held that recent events in this part of the world have not increased the chances of an emergency occurring sooner than appeared likely some months ago, there would be no need to hurry with the purposes of this Bill and we could take all the years that might be required to get the requisite numbers of men by voluntary, enlistment. The Government believes that the circumstances that are developing make the Bill necessary.
As Senator Kennelly has said, it is the responsibility of the Government to make a decision. The Government assumes that responsibility. The Government is primarily responsible for Australia and Australians. It has responsibility for repulsing any threats to Australia and Australians in the future: We believe the situation as it is developing makes it necessary for what is proposed in the Bill to be done. The Opposition has a ‘ different view. It believes” that the proposals contained in the Bill are not necessary and that the circumstances do not warrant this measure. That is the issue between us, and no amount of debate is going to prove anything one way or another. The question is whether the country as a whole believes, as does the Government, that these steps are necessary because of what has happened and what might happen, or whether the country believes, with the Opposition, that the steps are not necessary because there has been nothing to indicate that an emergency is any more likely to occur now than it was months ago. That is the question to be decided. That is all I wish to say.
Question put -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 3
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– I present the fifth report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
(Question No. 363.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answers -
Bill received from the Mouse of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill concerns financial grants to the States over this and the succeeding two financial years to accelerate the measurement of the flow of rivers and the investigation and measurement of underground water resources. The Government’s decision in this matter was announced by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) in his recent Budget Speech. The Treasurer also said that it was expected that legislation would be introduced during the current parliamentary session and that provision had been made for payments to the States of £4.02,000 in the 1964-65 Budget.
The provisions of this Bill have arisen out of recommendations to the Governments by the Australian Water Resources Council which was established by joint action of the Commonwealth and the States in November 1962. The work of the Water Resources Council is aimed particularly at learning more about Australia’s water resources - precipitation; surface run off in streams and rivers; water below the surface of the ground; and water which is lost due to factors such as seepage and evaporation.
It is well known that Australia is a dry continent and it is also fairly well known that the flow of our rivers varies considerably from season to season and year to year. Droughts and floods are very much a part of the Australian environment. Some people may be inclined to query such a statement because it is getting on for 20 years since south eastern Australia experienced a severe long term drought. But for those who are far removed from central Australia where droughts are not uncommon, it is as well to recall the severity of the 1935-45 period and not become too complacent about the relatively good seasons that eastern Australia at least has experienced since the war.
The measurement of water resources and the development and conservation of water resources will not prevent the occurrence of the catastrophic flood or the severe drought. The ability to plan and construct dams with good basic data can however considerably reduce the effects of these extremes of nature. Good data can also ensure that money is not wasted in providing over large dams and other structures to compensate for ignorance about the natural phenomena that these types of water conservation works will be required to provide against over the years. Possibly of most importance, however, is that a good knowledge of our water resources will enable a proper appreciation to be made of water resources in relation to national growth and will provide guidance during consideration of matters such as extending development to, or in, one area as compared with an alternative area.
It is therefore pertinent that the principal objective of the Australian Water Resources Council is -
The provision of a comprehensive assessment on a continuing basis of Australia’s water resources and the extension of measurement and research so that future planning may be carried out on a sound and scientific basis.
This objective sets out a principle which the Government has been following in other fields. The principle is that of ensuring that there is sufficient information available about Australia’s natural resources to provide a sound basis for developmental planning. I need hardly point in this regard to the forward looking activities of the Bureau of Mineral Resources of the Department of National Development which have led to so many mineral discoveries and developments; to the basic topographical mapping activities of the Division of National Mapping of the Department of National Development; to the basic research activities of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; and to. the type of advisory service instanced by the Bureau of . Agricultural Economics.
The Commonwealth Government took the initiative in establishing the Australian Water Resources Council. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said in his policy speech in November 1963 that the Water Resources Council would be supported “vigorously, financially and otherwise “. The result is this Bill which could mean the Commonwealth providing financial assistance to the States of as much as £1,377,000 over the first three years. It is more than appropriate that I mention that the Water Resources Council has been established in a spirit of great co-operation between the States and between the Commonwealth and the States, and this is due in.no small measure to the diligence and efforts of the first Chairman of the Council, Sir . William Spooner, when he was the Minister for National Development. The good work is being continued by his successor and we find the same spirit of co-operation in the Standing Committee of officers under the chairmanship of Sir Harold Raggatt and in the several technical committees which carry out the more detailed assignments.
In each State and in the Northern Territory there is one principal authority concerned with the measurement of stream flow, although several agencies may carry out stream gauging for special purposes or in special areas. There is also generally one authority in each State which undertakes the investigation and assessment of underground water , resources. However, because water is used for many purposes ranging from municipal and industrial use to irrigation and the generation of hydro-electricity, there are many agencies and individuals vitally interested in records of river flow and underground resources.
I suggested a little earlier, in broad terms, that water storages for municipal and industrial supplies or for irrigation and hydro-eelctric schemes depend for their dimensions and their cost and reliability on studies of samples of stream flow records, precipitation records and evaporation measurements. Stream flow measurements, particularly those covering periods of drought, are most important. For flood mitigation works and the design of bridges and culverts similar measurements are necessary, with the accent being on periods of high stream flow. Measurements of a different type, but also aimed at assessing quantity, variability, and cost must be made to assess the artesian and sub-artesian water supplies used over a large area of Australia for domestic, industrial and stock watering purposes.
A long period of stream flow measurement is desirable if the chances of catastrophic water shortages or costly, overdesigned structures are to be avoided. In south eastern Australia the 18 year period since 1946 has been relatively wet, whereas the 10 years prior to 1946 covered a period of severe drought. The last 18 years would therefore provide a misleading sample of stream flow, a sample in fact which, taken of its own, would make insufficient allowances for drought conditions. The advantages of a long sample of measurements, preferably 50 years and more, taken at key positions on representative streams, will be almost self-evident to those at all familiar with the vagaries of Australian rainfall and run-off.
Stream flow is measured by gauging stations which usually record automatically on a chart the variation in water level. Gauging sites often need to be specially pre pared by building concrete weirs and installing permanent cableways and recording houses. There are about 1300 stream gauging stations in Australia at present and it is proposed, through this legislation, to commence a programme under which these will be increased by 1500 to provide a basic stream gauging network within the next ten years. While the installation of gauges to record water levels is the first but most important step in assessing stream flow, other procedures and equipment are required to calculate the relationship between water level and river discharge at gauging sites and to convert the water levels to usable form. This Bill will provide also for the necessary equipment to be purchased and staff employed to carry out these associated procedures and to record and publish results.
The investigation of underground water is quite different from, and more complex than, the assessment of stream flow. Underground water moves extremely slowly and there are enormous areas of land to be investigated. Here again the earlier the investigation starts the sooner will a proper knowledge of the resources be available for developmental purposes. Underground water investigations involve geological and geophysical exploration, the drilling of bores and the recording of water levels, yields and water qualities. These procedures and the determination of the rate of recharge and the reliability of an underground resources often require considerable resources of staff, funds and time.
The provisions of this Bill make separate reference to the measurement of the discharge of rivers and to the measurement and investigation of underground water resources. The Government has substantially accepted the recommendations of the Australian Water Resources Council concerning Australia’s needs for finance for water resources measurements and has agreed to make available the considerable finance on a long term basis which is provided for by this Bill. An endeavour has been made to ensure a fair Australia-wide allocation of funds based on the needs for stream gauging as assessed by each State. In the more complex case of underground water investigations, ah overall amount has been arrived at and this has been allocated between the States on a uniform basis using area and population as the yardsticks, as suggested by the Council.
The Premier of South Australia is not completely satisfied with the allocation between the States of the funds made available for underground water. While five Slates have agreed to the proposals as they stand in the Bill, South Australia would like to see a review undertaken of the distribution df underground water assistance for the second and third years. The Water Resources Council of Commonwealth and State Ministers is scheduled to meet in Hobart on 22nd January next and it is intended to have this matter discussed and reviewed by the Council after which the Minister for National Development would be in a position to again refer the matter to the Government if that is called, for. The current legislation does not of course cover the Northern Territory. The acceleration of the measurement of river discharges and underground water resources in the Northern Territory has been taken up by the Minister for Territories and an expedited programme paralleling that in the States is to be undertaken.
The Government has accepted that there should be a 10 year accelerated programme of stream gauging throughout Australia and this legislation is to ratify the provision of finance for the first three years. As far as the’ measurement of stream flow is concerned, each State has submitted its estimates of the capital cost of establishing within 10 years a basic network of stream gauging sites fully equipped and with all the associated equipment and facilities required to operate’ the stations and compute and record the discharge of streams. Each State has also provided estimates of the annual cost of operating and maintaining the network. The upper limit to the Commonwealth financial assistance .grants has been determined from these State estimates of annual operational and capital expenditure requirements.
Provision for grants in respect of expenditure by the States on stream gauging is contained in clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill. Clause 4 provides for capital expenditure and clause 5 for operational expenditure. Commonwealth grants will be provided, in accordance with the details specified in the First and Second Schedules, to assist the States to attain the programme of expenditure necessary for the establishment of the basic network of gauging stations. In respect of each State, the Commonwealth grant will be the amount by which the expenditure by the State, up to the ceiling of the agreed programme of expenditure, exceeds the base year figure. The’ grant, however, will be limited to 50 per cent, of the total expenditure.
These provisions for the measurement of river discharges could involve the Commonwealth in contribution of £767,476 over the three- year period. Financial assistance for underground water investigations and measurements is provided for in clause 6 of the Bill. In this case capital and operational expenditure are aggregated and there is payable a Commonwealth grant of £2 for each £1 of expenditure by a State over and above the base year figure. The total Commonwealth grants for underground water investigations available to the States in respect of each year’s expenditure by the States are as follows -
The Commonwealth totals have been allocated between the States on the basis of the States’ respective areas and populations, equally weighted.. The percentages applicable to each State are the following-e
The States’ shares derived from these percentages are set out in the Third Schedule to the Bill.
The Bill- also contains a number of machinery provisions of the kind normally incorporated in measures of financial assistance to the States. These include provision for approval by the Minister of programmes of works, provision for the making of advance payments to the State, and provision for submission of progress reports. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– As you, Mr. Acting Deputy President, would realise more than most honorable senators who are now present in the chamber, this is a particularly/, important Bill. Of the continents of the world Australia is the most “arid. The way in which this Bill has been introduced is a further example of the approach of this Government to legislation. Is it any wonder, Sir, that the people of Australia hold the Parliament in relative contempt? They speak of parliamentarians in derogatory terms and begrudge them the recent rise in salaries. The manner in which the Bill has been introduced at this late stage means that it cannot be approached analytically. We are now within a fortnight of the forthcoming Senate election. It has been suggested that the late Ben Chifley was hard in arranging his legislative programme. But I have heard supporters of the Government say that he never dreamt of being so irresponsible in his attitude to the rights of the representatives of the people to analyse legislation as this Government has been. I repeat what 1 said: Never was he so irresponsible in his attitude to the Parliament and never did he pay such small regard to the rights of parliamentarians as have successive Menzies Governments. We are now witnessing legislation, not by exhaustion, but by annihilation and frustration.
Over the last week we have witnessed so many scenes in the Parliament that one is almost ashamed to admit that he is a member of the Federal Parliament. Last week there were unfortunate episodes in the other place, and we have had unfortunate episodes in this chamber. Members are not responsible enough to acknowledge the seriousness of the discussions and to engage in them dispassionately. Whether they let their emotions sway them or whether they arc swayed by the desire to achieve electoral victory I do not know. Only this week we have seen the Senate humiliated. Why we should cop it I just do not know. Last week the other place rose relatively early. That is why I now propose to deal with this Bill in no small measure of detail. That is not a threat.
– - It is not a promise cither, is it?
– If the Minister is not interested, he may go out of the chamber. What happened on Wednesday night of last week? The other place rose relatively early. The Senate ran out of business on Thursday night. The other place was so contemptuous of the rights of members of the Parliament that honorable members went home on Friday and came back on Monday. I repeat the question that was posed this afternoon: What right has the other place to monopolise the broadcasting facilities of this institution? I had intended to raise this matter, but I pay a tribute to Senator Marriott for having anticipated what I wanted to say. He must have read my thoughts. I am so frank that they are easy to read; they are open for all to see. The members of the other place came back on Monday. They took the broadcasting facilities unto themselves on Monday, and they monopolised them on Tuesday. It is time that those who control the business of the Senate saw fit to determine whether this House should continue to exist or not. Quite frankly, if it is to continue to exist as it has in the past, I am in favour of its abolition. I am wedded to the abolition of the Senate, admittedly. If the Government is going to whittle away our rights, then the Senate should be abolished, and the sooner the better.
– Now deal with the States Grants (Water Resources) Bill.
– I am pointing out the perfunctory way in which the measure has been brought before the Senate. I am not being discourteous when I say that, because I know it is not the responsibility of the Minister and I know it is not his desire to be discourteous. I am just indicating how shabbily Ministers are treated, more particularly in the Cabinet, and how they fail to recognise their responsibility to this chamber. If the Government wants to survive in this place for any length of time and if it wants to ensure the survival of this House - I take it that members of the Government are wedded to the survival of the Senate - then it should ensure that its prestige is at least preserved if not enhanced. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) must admit that over the last week not only has the prestige of the Senate not been enhanced but that this House has been treated shabbily by the Government. That is why I asked earlier: Is it any wonder that the people of Australia are contemptuous of the Parliament, that they speak in derogatory terms of parliamentarians and deny them the right to a reasonable salary?
Now, just about a fortnight before the Senate election, we are dealing with the States Grants (Water Resources) Bill. I am reminded of what has been said by Sir
Harold Raggatt, a distinguished man and an able administrator. I do not always agree with him, and I do not agree with him on this occasion. When delivering a public address on a certain occasion he said that much nonsense had been written and spoken about the co-ordination of water resources on a national basis. I know that much nonsense has been written and spoken about this subject, but a lot of sense also has been written and spoken. It does not become the man to say what he said. Ours is the driest continent in the world. Incidentally, the more riverless half of the continent is the southern half; the greatest water supply is in the northern half.
This legislation is characteristic of the functioning of the Menzies Government. It provides too little too late. It is proposed to provide approximately £767,000 over the next three years for stream gauging and £610,000 for the investigation of underground waters. Under the threat of electoral defeat in 1961 a promise was made to establish the Australian. Water Resources Council. That promise was honoured. The Council consists of representatives of the Commonwealth Government, including the Minister for Territories, and State Ministers who are associated with water resources or irrigation. Under them, departmental officials form various committees. All that the Government proposes to do now is to provide for the determination of stream flows. Surely the Minister for Civil Aviation, who is in charge of the Bill in this place, realises there is much more than that to the utilisation of water resources, particularly with an increasing population and increasing development. The measurement of water heights and stream flow is important. We have the poorest record of the modern nations of the world in regard to these forms of investigation. There is no reason why we should be proud. The Government has been in office for almost IS years during boom times and an unprecedented period of good seasons. Water is of paramount importance to our primary industries and to the urban population, but all that the Government proposes to do on this occasion is to provide money to gauge stream flow and to investigate in a small way the underground water resources of this country. The Government has failed to accept its real responsibility in relation to this national problem.
In this country there are many great rivers. Unfortunately, in Queensland the Dividing Range is so close to the coast that there are no rivers of great magnitude flowing east for long periods. Great volumes of water pour down for a short time. On the western side of the Range, the rivers flow in great volume but dry up when the rains have passed. In Western Australia is the Ord River which has, I understand pouring down it five times the volume of water that flows down the Murray system. The Fitzroy River has three times the volume of the Murray system. But little is being done to survey these areas to assess the possibility of the utilisation of the water for irrigation, for hydro electric purposes and so on.
The Bill before us has two objects. If the Government had been seized with a sense of national responsibility it would have faced up to this problem in a much bigger way. The Fitzroy Basin, the watershed of the Fitzroy River, consists of 58,700 square miles of excellent soil, and has eminently suitable sites for four dams. This area could provide an annual income in the vicinity of £20 million, but nothing is being done in that area. The Burdekin River presents difficulties associated with silting, but other countries have faced this problem and found a solution.
I pay a tribute to the Commonwealth Government for its contribution towards the development of the Ord River scheme, even though it was an election gesture. An area of 30,000 acres has been cultivated because of the construction of the Bandicoot Bar diversion dam at a cost of over £5 million. The best fibre cotton in Australia is grown there. Although the crop has not been as large as was anticipated, ultimately it will be improved. Two crops are obtained annually. This does not occur anywhere else in Australia. Now the Western Australian Government is saying - justifiably I think - that the Federal Government is not prepared to face up to the cost of the utilisation in full of the water supply of the Ord River. The State Government refers particularly to the major scheme which embraces the Diamond Gorge, at an estimated cost of another £30 million. The Federal Government has not denied the charges of the Western Australian Government but has said that it will examine the matter. The Western Australian Government is impatient. I have read a Press report - I do not know whether it is true - that Mr. Court, the Western Australian Minister for Northern Development, has claimed that private money is available from overseas for the utilisation of the remaining 120,000 to 170,000 acres of black soil available for cultivation. Surely the Federal Government should be in a position to tell the Western Australian Government whether it is prepared to go on with the proposition. The issue should not be postponed, because a work force has been assembled and an excellent job is being done. If finance is not available the work force will be disbanded and may not easily be assembled again.
We realise how petty minded is this Government when it faces national problems. It attempts to pacify everyone by a small gesture, but never will it face up to a major issue in a big way. We have witnessed that. Even though the Government is wedded to conscription, in a year it wishes to obtain only 6,900 men for the Services. If the Government wishes to introduce conscription, it should face up to it in a big way and show a sense of national responsibility. It is foolish to try to pacify everybody.
Australia is a continent of about 2i million square miles. It is the most arid continent in the world. It is settled largely on the fringe and the land is utilised in the outback by the pastoral industries. A survey is urgently needed of our water resources, but the Government at this time says: “ We will provide £767,000 by way of assistance to the States over the next three years for stream gauging “. If honorable senators knew how the number of gauges in this country compares with those in the United States, they would be ashamed of our efforts, regardless of the extreme wealth and the natural endowment of the United States.
The Government talks in terms of expenditure of £610,000 over the next three years for the investigation of artesian and sub artesian bores. The pastoral industries depend a great deal upon artesian waters. Professor Lilley of the United States of America is a distinguished scientist who has a great interest in artesian waters. I wonder how often the Government has invited him to come to Australia. There are artesian basins all over Australia. Queensland has probably the largest artesian basin in Australia. These underground water supplies are vital to the. industries of the inland. In some places the supplies are replenished. In other places they are locked in by non-porous rocks so that wells are formed. Water that is taken from them is not replaced except by surface water seeping down. The extent of these resources must be determined. Only in that way can we estimate the future economy of our inland.
I appreciate that honorable senators on this side are anxious to get to the country to tell the story of the ineptitude of the Menzies Government and of its inefficient actions. It is the responsibility of the Opposition to make known to the Australian people the complete and utter incompetence of this Government. The people should be told of the political trickery in which the Government has indulged. The Bill before us is a measure of the Government’s disregard of the rights of this nation Although the Opposition supports the Bill, we do so with real reluctance because we say that it does not go far enough. It is not a due recognition of the legitimate rights of this country. Sir Harold Raggatt, a distinguished man and an able administrator, said that a lot of nonsense has been written and spoken about the co-ordination of the water resources of this country on a national basis. I think that a lot of sense has been written and spoken on the subject. The National Government has a real responsibility to co-ordinate these resources, although it may use the administration set up by the States. The Opposition recognises that a little bit is being given by this Bill, but it says that that little bit is being given too late.
– in reply - I want to put Senator Dittmer right on the actual amount that is to be spent by the Commonwealth and the States between them. It will run into £1,846,000 over the next three years. The Commonwealth’s contribution is £1,377,000 and the States’ contribution £469,000. I think that is a very good start. This is something which the Commonwealth Government has initiated and of which it can be justly proud. As I have said, an amount of £1,377,000 is to be allocated by the Commonwealth over the next three years to develop this great CommonwealthState co-operational scheme to obtain basic information on a very important subject.
It. is very easy for the Opposition, which has no responsibility, to talk about grandiose schemes and about spending millions of pounds. Members of the Opposition have great national outlooks on every subject that is raised. It is very easy, to adopt such an attitude when you have no responsibility for doing what is required. What I am amused about is that the smaller the man the greater is the national outlook that he tries to inculcate into himself.
– The smallness is physical, not intellectual.
– I once read in the “ Bulletin “ that the larger the hat, the smaller the property. I was reminded of that when Senator Dittmer was talking.
– The Minister is not going to get away with that. He is almost insulting me.
– The honorable senator has lost his sense of humour for a moment, but he will get it back in a little while. I thought I would put the honorable senator right on those figures. The Government is justly proud of initiating this project.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Motion (by Senator Anderson) proposed -
That the Bill be now read a first time.
.- I rise to speak on the motion for the first reading of this Bill, and to exercise my right under Standing Order 190 to speak on matters not relevant to the subject matter of the Bill. I desire to refer to the position which arose this morning when the Government blocked any discussion of the matter of urgency raised by me in relation to the need for immediate action to enable the vacancy in the Senate caused by the death of Senator Vincent to bc filled at the election for senators to be held in Western Australia on 5th December next. This was the second move within hours to prevent the discussion of a matter of great public importance and of great urgency. Yesterday I gave notice of my intention to move -
That the Senate by resolution refers to the Court of Disputed Returns the following question: - Whether the casual vacancy in the Senate caused by the death of Senator Vincent on the 9th day of November, 1964, should be filled at the election of Senators for the State of Western Australia to be held on the 5th day of December, 1964 (or on such later date to which the said election might be postponed), or at the first election thereafter, being either a general election of members of the House of Representatives or an election of Senators for the State of Western Australia.
In the early hours of this morning, as I told the Senate earlier, the Leader of the Opposition, Senator McKenna, was informed by the Leader of the Government in the. Senate (Senator Paltridge) that time would not be granted to debate my motion. I accordingly withdrew that motion this morning and submitted a motion for the adjournment of the Senate to discuss a matter of urgency, to which I have referred.
I want to. make it clear that on this issue the Government has shirked its responsibility, relying on the invincible logic of numbers. What it has blocked is a proper and responsible move by the Opposition to ensure that senators for Western Australia, without exception, are elected by the people of Western Australia on 5th December. The Government has been unco-operative and unwilling to permit discussion of the matter. Its efforts to prevent a debate on the issue have shown a cynical disregard of the democratic process.
T want to come now to the substance of the matter that I desire to put to the Senate. The problem can be stated shortly. Senator Vincent died on 9th November. His place in the Senate has therefore become vacant, and a substantial and urgent question arises as to whether his successor must be chosen at the election of senators to be held in Western Australia on 5th December 1964 or at the next election after that, which will be either a general election of members of the House of Representatives or an election of senators for the State of Western Australia. The term for which Senator Vincent was elected expires on 30th June 1968. In respect of the election of senators which is to be held in Western Australia on 5 th December next, the writ was issued on 26th October 1964. Pursuant to the power conferred on the Governor of Western Australia by section 12 of the
Constitution, it called for nominations for the election of five senators for the State of Western Australia. The writ named 12 noon oh 9th November as the closing time for nominations. It appointed 5th December 1964 as the day on which the poll was to be taken. Senator Vincent died on 9th November, the day on which nominations closed.
Section 21 of the Constitution requires -
Whenever a vacancy happens in the Senate, the President, or if there is no President or if the President is absent from the Commonwealth, the Governor-General, shall notify the same to the Governor of the State in the representation of which the vacancy has happened.
In (his case, Western Australia is that State. Apart from periodical vacancies - that is, vacancies occurring at the regular expiration of the term of senators - a casual vacancy may occur on the resignation of a senator. That is covered in section 19 of the Constitution. Section 20 provides -
The place of a senator shall become vacant if for two consecutive months of any session of the Parliament he, without the permission of the Senate, fails to attend the Senate.
A senator can become disqualified by reason of the happening of any of the events mentioned in section 45. The death of a senator is not specifically mentioned, but the senator’s place obviously becomes vacant upon his death.
The provisions for filling a vacancy are set out in section 15 of the Constitution, which reads -
If the place of a senator becomes vacant before the expiration of his term of service, the Houses of Parliament of the State for which he was chosen shall, sitting and voting together, choose a person to bold the place until the expiration of the term, or until the election of a successor as hereinafter provided, whichever first happens. But if the Houses of Parliament of the State are not in session at the time when the vacancy is notified, the Governor of the State, with the advice of the Executive Council thereof, may appoint a person to hold the place until the expiration of fourteen days after the beginning of the next session of the Parliament of the State, or until the election of a successor, whichever first happens.
At the next general election of members of the House of Representatives, or at the next election of senators for the State, whichever first happens, a successor shall, if the term has not then expired, be chosen to hold the place from the date of his election until the expiration of the term.
Section 15 goes on to provide -
The name of any senator so chosen or appointed shall be certified by the Governor of the State to the Governor-General.
The Leader of the Opposition sought information from the Leader of the Government in the Senate as to whether the vacancy had been notified to the Governor of Western Australia in accordance with section 21 of the Constitution. I understand that he was advised informally that the notice was given on 10th November last. Upon receipt of the notification, the Houses of Parliament of Western Australia, sitting and voting together, shall be required by section 15 to choose a person to hold the place until the expiration of Senator Vincent’s term - that is, 30th June 1968 - or until the election of a successor as provided in the Constitution, whichever first happens. The successor has to be chosen at the next general election of members of the House of Representatives or at the next election . of senators, whichever first happens.
No appointment’ has yet been made by the Houses of the Parliament of Western Australia. If the choice should be made before 5th December, the right of the person chosen to continue- to hold the place after the return of the writ in the election of senators for Western Australia to be held on 5th December 1964 would depend upon the answer to the simple question which I want to discuss, namely, whether Senator Vincent’s successor should be chosen at this forthcoming election.
Although no formal announcement has been made by the Governor of Western Australia so far as I am aware, no writ has been issued for the election of a person to fill the long- casual vacancy at the election of senators for Western Australia on 5th December 1964. Section 12 of the Constitution empowers the Governor of any State to issue writs for elections of senators for the State. It may therefore be assumed in the -absence of some prompt indication to the contrary - we certainly have not had that - that the Government of Western Australia does not intend to initiate the procedures necessary to provide for the election of six senators for the State of Western Australia on 5th December next, with the long casual vacancy being filled according to the requirements of section 9 (2.) of the Senate Elections Act 1903-1949. That section provides for the method of the filling of the vacancies both in relation to periodical vacancies and casual vacancies, long or short. In this case, it is a long casual vacancy.
The position which seems to be that taken by the Government of Western Australia and which is apparently held by the Chief Electoral Officer for the Commonwealth can only be justified on the view that the election to be held on 5th December next is not the next election of senators for the State of Western Australia within the meaning of section 15 of the Constitution to which I have referred, and that Senator Vincent’s successor should be chosen at the next election of members of the House of Representatives, unless there should bc a prior election of senators. The Chief Electoral Officer contends that the writ having been issued, the impending election has already commenced and therefore cannot be said to be the next election. Although the Opposition has been met by a wall of silence, it seems clear that this is the view that has been accepted by the Government of Western Australia and by the Commonwealth Government. It rests primarily on what was said by Chief Justice Griffith and Justices Barton and Higgins in the case of Vardon v. O’Loghlin in 1907, which was a case that dealt with a somewhat different situation relating to a Senate vacancy. I do not propose to take the time of the Senate to discuss the particular circumstances of that case except to mention that, in that case, referring to the term “election” as used in section 13 of the Constitution - and that section deals with periodical vacancies and not casual vacancies - the learned judges said -
The term “election” hi that section docs not mean the day of nomination or the polling day atone, but comprises the whole proceedings from the issue of the writ to the valid return.
I can see the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Paltridge) nodding his head in agreement because this is obviously the view upon which the Government of Western Australia and the Commonwealth Government are proceeding.
– That is right.
– However, this is not the only view, and it may not be the better view. As against the interpretation which was applied by Chief Justice Griffith in 1907 in relation to section 13, there would seem to be a strong case, I would suggest, for giving the word “ election “ a different meaning in the context of section 15 from that which it has been held to bear in section 13. In other words, the opposing view is that under section 15 the expression “until the election of a successor “ refers to the result of the polling; and, indeed, that the word “ election “ in the phrase “ chosen at the next election of senators “ is synonymous with the poll. Under section 15 the vacancy is not filled in the election, but at the election. One cannot vote “ at the whole proceedings “, the term used by the judges in Vardon’s case. In short, section 15 contemplates the election taking place at a point of time. The word election is not used in the sense of a series of processes beginning with the issue of the writ and culminating with the return of the writ, but in the sense of the actual polling process and the result thereof.
I submit to the Senate that the Constitution envisages voting by the people and that section 15 requires the successor to Senator Vincent to be elected at the election of senators in Western Australia on 5th December or at some later date to which, if this view is correct, the suggested election ought to be postponed. But whether this is a correct view or not, the question is obviously one of importance. That is why we of the Opposition sought a reference to the Court of Disputed Returns. In this case the Court of Disputed Returns is the High Court of Australia”.
We sought that reference under section 203 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The Senate has the power to refer the question to the Court under that section. This reference would have served to clarify the constitutional position for all concerned, including any appointee of the Parliament of Western Australia and the people of Western Australia. I suggest that it also would have been in the best interests of the Senate itself, for the Senate would not desire any person to take Senator Vincent’s place as a senator or continue as a senator unless any doubts about his constitutional rights to do so had been resolved by the High Court or by some other tribunal capable of making a determination in the matter. I remind the Senate that the jurisdiction conferred on the Court of Disputed Returns by section 203 of the Commonwealth El(toral Act is very wide. The Senate may by resolution refer to the Court -
Any question respecting the qualification of a Senator or of a Member of the House of Representatives or respecting a vacancy in either House of the Parliament . . .
The section provides that the Court -
Shall thereupon have jurisdiction io ‘hear and determine the question. .
Section 204 requires the President of the Senate to transmit to the Court a statement of the question upon which the determination of the Court is desired, together with papers, documents, etc’ There would seem to be no room for doubt that the question set out in the resolution 1 attempted to move was “ a question affecting a vacancy in the Senate”. That is what is required under section 203. Indeed, if the Court had been seized of this matter and held that Senator Vincent’s successor should b? chosen at the election of senators on Sth December, it would seem to follow that a failure to have a sixth senator for Western Australia chosen at this election would leave a vacancy as from the date of the return of the writ in the forthcoming election, notwithstanding that the Parliament of Western Australia may have in the meantime purported to have appointed a person to “ hold the place “ until the next election thereafter whether of members of the House of Representatives or of senators.
In such an event the Court, having determined the question referred to it, might be asked to make a consequential declaration, under Section 206 (c), that there is a vacancy in the Senate. In other words, if the Court should hold that the contention I am putting now were correct, whoever is appointed bv the Parliament of Western Australia to the Senate will not in fact lawfully hold his place until the next election of the members of the House of Representatives. He will hold it lawfully only until the return of th<* writ at this forthcoming Senate election.
I put it to the Senate that the intention of the Constitution is to ensure election of senators by popular vote and that, in the case of casual vacancies occurring, the successor should be elected on the first occasion on which there is a general vote of electors in the State concerned, whether it be for members of the House of Representatives or :-for senators. Any appointee is to be regarded as a temporary holder of the place. The Constitution requires the position to be regularised at the first available opportunity.
The question is a critical one for the people of Western Australia because the answer to it will decide whether they are to be represented until the next House of Representatives election - that is, in the ordinary course of events, approximately the next two years - by a senator elected by direct vote at the elections of Sth December or by an appointee of the Government of Western Australia who would not be required to face the electors until late in 1936 although the occasion to do so is right here and now. Nowhere, is the true position better put than by Quick and Garran in their “Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth “ published in 1901, the year of the Constitution. I suppose their comment on the section might be thought to be entirely unaffected by current events that happen in 1964.. They wrote contemporaneously with the founding of the Commonwealth and any comment by the learned authors is entitled to the greatest respect as it always has been in the Courts and. elsewhere. They said this of section 15 -
The choice of a person by the Houses of Parliament of a State to take the place of a senator who has ceased to act, is not regarded by the Constitution as the election of a successor; it is merely a provisional arrangement to save the expense of a special State election. The time for the triennial election might be close at hand, in which case the vacancy ‘ would be filled without any appreciable additional expense. If, however, the usual triennial election of senators is preceded by a general election of Members of the House of Representatives, an equally convenient and prompter method of filling the extraordinary vacancy is available. The legislative selection is only operative until the expiration of the term or the election of a successor, whichever first happens; it is merely an ad interim appointment, in order to save the State from being short of a senator, on the one hand, and to save the State the cost of a special election, on the other; the legislative appointee is not a successor of the deceased, disqualified, or resigned senator, but merely a temporary holder of the office, pending the election of a successor by the people of the State.
Apart from section 15, the general policy of the Constitution requiring direct popular elections appears from such sections as section 7, which declares that -
The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.
Section 24 declares that -
The House of Representatives shall be comprised of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth. . . .
In the case of Vardon v. O’Loghlin, which the High Court decided in 1907, and which dealt with a particular problem relating to a Senate vacancy, Mr. Justice Isaacs said of section 7 and 24 - and I particularly draw attention to this quotation -
The requirement in each case that members of the Parliament shall be “ directly chosen by the people “ is more than a mere direction, more even than a simple mandate as to the mode of election; it describes the composition of the Houses themselves, so as to express the essential nature of these Branches of the Parliament. Nothing could be more fundamental than the directly elective character of the two Houses.
Again, the same judge said in the same case -
The only title to a place and to a term of service is by direct election by the people. If such a title has once been lawfully created for the constitutional term, then, if the senator elected runs his course of service regularly, section 13 makes normal provision for the period of election of his successor; if, however, his term of service ends abruptly, as by death, resignation, or disqualification, section 15 applies. In that event the State Parliament or the State Governor in Council as the case may be does not elect a successor. There is created no new place and no new term; there is merely the nomination of a temporary occupant of the place already granted for the constitutional term by the people to the late senator, and the new occupant so chosen holds the place, not as a successor, but rather as a subsitute, and for no definite period. His occupancy ends, of course, at latest when the term ends; but it may end sooner, that is, when at the next general election of the House of Representatives or at the next election of senators for the State, the people re-grant the place definitely for the remainder of the original term of a true successor of the original senator.
In the same case, Chief Justice Griffith, and Justices Barton and Higgins said -
Section 7- which is the section providing for senators to be directly chosen by the people of the State - is the dominant provision. Those which follow, and which include provisions allowing the choice of a senator to be made in certain cases otherwise than by the people of the State, are ancillary. 1 emphasise that the clear intention of the Constitution is to let the people choose their senators, and no government has the right to by-pass the people unless the Constitution in express terms leaves the Government no other course. That is most emphatically not the case on this occasion.
We are not dealing here with a case where the casual vacancy occurs only a day or two before the poll. Senator Vincent died on 9th November, almost four weeks before Sth December which is the date appointed for the taking of the poll. There was then, and there still is, time for a supplementary writ to be issued to provide for a sixth senator for Western Australia to be chosen at the election on 5th December. Section 62 provides that the date fixed for the nomination of the candidates shall not be less than 7 days nor more than 21 days after the date of the writ. Section 63 provides that the date fixed for the polling shall not be less than 7 days or more than 30 days “ after the date of nomination “. Vardon’s case, to which I have referred and from which I have cited the opinions of the learned judges, supports the proposition that further writs are authorised in all cases of necessity. These steps can still be taken in time to allow the people of Western Australia to choose six and not merely five senators on 5th December. If it can be done, then it is clearly the intention of the Constitution that it should be done.
I urge the Senate to give serious consideration to the matter that I am putting, and I point out to honorable senators that what I have put contemplates, at least, the possibility that if the matter were to be referred to the Court of Disputed Returns, it might be necessary to postpone the election now fixed for Sth December. For example, if the question were referred to the Court of Disputed Returns, and this is what we have sought, and if the Court should decide that the Constitution requires that the vacancy should be filled at this election; and if the passage of time should have made it impossible to comply with the requirements of the Electoral Act before 5th December, I do not imagine that the Governor of Western Australia would wish to flout the decision of the Court. Undoubtedly, the election date would be postponed and the necessary procedures completed to enable six senators for Western Australia to be chosen at the postponed election.
The truth is that we are dealing with a very important and contentious matter. It demands the serious consideration of the Senate. I believe that the Government has only two alternatives. First, it may request the Governor of Western Australia to issue a supplementary writ for the election of a sixth senator for Western Australia at the forthcoming election. This would be the simplest way from the point of view of time and convenience. Secondly, it may refer the question to the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, thus facilitating an authoritative pronouncement on the meaning of the section. The Senate may refer that question to the High Court, as the Court of Disputed Returns, by the resolution of the Senate alone. That is the very purpose that I had in mind, and that the Opposition had in mind in proposing yesterday that the Senate should, at the next day of sitting, debate the motion. But the Government should certainly not take the attitude that it can let time slip by without arranging for a direct election or without agreeing that the question should be tested in the manner that we have proposed.
On behalf of the Opposition, I ask the Government to act promptly and positively and to respect the undoubted spirit of the Constitution. There is still time if the Government is willing. Let the people of Western Australia have their say. Let them have an election now. For our. part, we on the Opposition benches believe that what we are proposing is the only approach consistent with principle, and we call upon all honorable senators to support this attitude.
. -Senator Cohen has used the forms of the House relating to the first reading of money bills to express a point of view in relation to a matter not associated with the Customs Tariff Validation Bill 1964. That is his inherent right. At an earlier hour today the President of the Senate ruled that the motion of urgency moved by Senator Cohen was not in order, having regard to section 9 of the Constitution. The motion adverted to the vacancy in the Senate brought about by the death of Senator Vincent. It must be understood that anything I say is clearly not a reflection on the ruling which has been given by the President. It is merely an excursion into a broad subject along the lines which have been set down by Senator Cohen. He has given us his legal view on the sections of the Constitution which deal with casual vacancies. As I think he will admit, he is expressing a view completely contrary to the views that have been followed in this field since Federation.
– This has never occurred before. It is a completely new occasion.
– The honorable senator referred to Quick and Garran, who gave a legal view at the time when the Constitution was written, but everything that has happened since that time shows that where vacancies have been brought about after the issue of a writ-
– Before an election?
– And before an election.
– When did it happen?
– Just wait for it.
– There is plenty of precedent.
– There is plenty of precedent.-I shall cite a couple of cases to make the point. Ever since Federation the situation has been that vacancies of this nature have been filled by an appointment made by a State House or the Houses of Parliament in the State concerned.
Sitting suspended from 11.31 till 12.15 a.m.
Wednesday, 18th November 1964.
– I do not want to add a great deal to what I have said already on the matter that was raised by Senator Cohen. His interpretation of the provisions of section 21 and of the procedure for the Clerk of the Parliament, in the absence of the President, to notify the Governor-General of the existence of a casual vacancy, was factual. In this instance, Senator Vincent died on the evening of 9th November. Writs for the Senate election had been issued on 26th October and were returnable on 23rd January next year. Nominations had closed at midday on 9th November, shortly before the senator’s death. The Clerk, in the absence of the President, notified His Excellency, the Governor-General, by letter dated 10th November of the circumstances. All the procedures laid down in the Constitution were put in train.
Senator Cohen set forth a legal view. There have been no precedents for his view since Federation. There are precedents for States choosing to fill a casual vacancy when a vacancy has arisen after the writs have been issued. I shall refer to two of them which, 1 think, will make my point clear. Let us take, first, the case of Senator Badman of South Australia. In that instance the writs were issued on 24th September 1937 and Senator Badman resigned on 30th September 1937, four days later. Nominations had not closed at that time. In fact, they did not close until 2nd October. That notwithstanding, the writs having been issued on 24th September - I do not claim that is the reason for what was done but these are the facts and this is the precedent - Senator McBride was chosen by the South Australian Parliament on 21st October 1937 to fill the vacancy.
– Was that a Tory Government?
– I am trying to keep this debate on a very high level and I would not like the honorable senator to confuse the issue. The facts are as I have stated* them. The writs were issued on 24th September and the senator resigned on 30th September, before nominations had closed. Notwithstanding all that, the South Australian Parliament, in accordance with the precedent which had been followed since Federation, selected Senator McBride to fill the vacancy.
Then we had a case in New South Wales in which Sentor Duncan resigned on 1st December 1931 after writs had been issued on 28th November 1931. In this case also nominations had not closed. The election was not to be held until 19th December. Senator Mooney was chosen by the State Parliament on 23rd December to fill the vacancy.
The precedent which has been followed since Federation is laid down clearly in section 15 of the Constitution. The present approach, doubtless, follows the same procedure. Section 183 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act provides for the submission of a petition to the Court of Disputed Returns, but, of course, the appointment of a successor can be challenged only after the appointment has been made. It is significant that in the cases I have quoted there is no suggestion of a challenge to the appointment of senators elected af ter the issue of the writ. To sum up, the practice has been to regard the election- as having commenced at the issue of the writ. In these circumstances, I suggest that the very interesting submission that was made by Senator Cohen does not appear to have any application.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Bill now before the Senate provides for the validation until 30th June 1965 of the collection of customs duties under Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on 9th and 12th November 1964. These were the Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 25 to 29 and Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals No. 8. Honorable senators win appreciate that time will not permit the proposed tariff changes to be debated before the end of the present sitting. However, an opportunity to debate them will be made available to honorable senators during the next sitting. 1 commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
– Order! The Bills may be debated together, but they cannot be taken together.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Last October, the Government announced its intention to establish an inquiry to furnish advice as to the level of academic salaries which the Commonwealth should be prepared to support when making grants for recurrent expenses at universities. We said then that recommendations made to us would, if acceptable, apply as from 1st January 1964. We also said that, as an interim measure, we would stand ready to support professorial salaries at the rate of £4,600 a year in the period beginning 1st July 1963 ending 31st December 1963, and that we would introduce amending legislation to provide the supplementary funds required to support the new salary levels.
Accordingly we introduce two Bills. One Bill is to amend the States Grants (Universities) Act 1960-1963 in order to allow us to carry out our promise to support between 1st July 1963 and 31st December 1963, a level of academic salaries based on a professorial salary of £4,600 a year. The other Bill amends the Universities (Financial Assistance) Act, 1963, and is introduced as a result of the report of the inquiry by Mr. Justice Eggleston.
This report, which the Commonwealth accepts, recommends that an appropriate salary level for the Commonwealth to support in the case of a professor should be £5,200, and in the case of an associate professor and a reader £4,300. Mr. Justice Eggleston also, in the process of arriving at these recommendations, assumed that reasonable ranges of salaries for lecturers and senior lecturers should be from £2,400 a year in the case of a lecturer and up to a maximum of £3,800 a year in the case of a senior lecturer. We have accepted these assumptions as valid and are prepared to support their application.
In order to enable us to support these salaries, should the States and the Universities decide to pay them, ‘ we seek to appropriate, as an estimate of what will be required during 1964, a further £1.3 million. This is an estimate only as accurate figures cannot be arrived at until fuller information is received from the universities and the States including information as to the levels of salaries they will, in fact, adopt.
The States and universities can, of course, adopt any levels of salaries they wish but the Commonwealth will not support in universities in the States salaries higher than those provided for in this Bill and will, if lower salaries are paid, contribute only its share of those lower salaries.
In the Australian, National University the Commonwealth will adopt a similar policy as far as the School of General Studies is concerned; in the Institute of Advanced Studies we envisage a loading; broadly similar to that now paid.
The Government believes that the machinery employed in the production of the present report is the most satisfactory means for arriving at a measure of academic salaries appropriate for us to support and we shall, therefore, as suggested by Mr. Justice Eggleston, employ this kind of machinery in the future. But we are not prepared to adopt any specific period between reviews. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– Again we have an example of the dilatory approach by the Government led by the present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). We are not opposing the Bill because in some measure it metes out economic justice to those with higher academic qualifications in universities. But let us examine the economics of the proposal. This is certainly the greatest financial confidence trick ever put over the States. The Bill appropriates £1,300,000 to meet the cost of the increased salaries.
Professorial salaries are to move up to £5,200 a year while those for associate professors and readers are to be increased to £4,300 a year. But when we consider what will be returned to the Commonwealth Government by way of increased taxes resulting from these higher salaries, we realise that the Commonwealth Government probably will receive back more than it proposes to outlay. I repeat this is the greatest financial confidence trick ever played on the States. We have witnessed this type of thing often. The Commonwealth is claiming credit for paying increased salaries to intellectuals with academic qualifications, but I challenge the Minister to tell us the actual amount that will be returned to the Commonwealth by way of increased taxation as compared with the outlay proposed in the measure.
The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has a brilliant academic background. He had great success in his profession and as a parliamentarian has had a’ scintillating career. I thought that when he moved into the field of university education he would leave permanent footprints on the sands of the educational history of this country; but all he has left is an impress on quicksands. He entered the field in what I thought was a big way, but he left in a small way because he was not prepared to face up to the needs of primary, secondary and tertiary education.
I appreciate that the Bill before us deals with academic salaries and I do not propose to digress. However, I should be permitted, at least, in some measure, to make my remarks without distraction from the other side of the chamber. The terms of the inquiry conducted by Mr. Justice Eggleston were incomplete. On 14th May 1964 he was entrusted with this responsibility -
To advise the Government on the standard salary or range of salaries for a professor and the standard salary range for a reader or associate professor which the inquiry considers should be adopted as a measure of academic salaries to be used by the Australian Universities Commission for the purpose of recommending grants to be made to universities, including the Australian National University, for recurrent expenditure.
When the terms of the inquiry were announced, the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations requested that they should be enlarged. The Federation approached Mr. Justice Eggleston but he said that it was not within his authority to do so and he was not prepared to approach the Prime Minister. He was definitely limited by the terms of the inquiry. However, in his report His Honour made certain recommendations in relation to junior lecturers and senior lecturers, even though he had not been entrusted with that responsibility.
Again we are dealing with something that is vitally important but which comes before us in the dying stages of the sessional period. By its actions the Government shows just how arrogant it is. How contemptuous of Parliament is the Government we do not know, but in the last week it has given us many examples of its contempt. It has exhibited no sense of responsibility to Parliament and has completely disregarded the rights of the people by its treatment of important legislative measures that should have been discussed more fully and should have been open to the public to be assessed. The Press of this country, deplorable as it may be, has not seen fit to attack the Government. I have nothing but the greatest contempt for most of the Press of this country because it is wedded to a government which is completely intolerant of the rights of the people.
– Order! I ask the honorable senator to return to the Bill before the Senate.
– I am directing my remarks to the bill, Mr. President. If you will permit me and be a little tolerant towards me I will show you, Sir, how my remarks are related to the Bill. I may be a little dilatory in my approach, but I wish to show how important it is that qualified and efficient academic staff be paid adequate salaries, because from them will flow that to which the nation will owe much in time.
The Press has a responsibility to the people. I am completely contemptuous of the Press for its failure to recognise that responsibility. The Government has also failed to recognise its responsibility. A salary of £5,200 is to be paid to professors. I am aware that certain advantages are associated with their position. I heard someone say in another place that you have to measure academic salaries in economic terms. You do not necessarily have to measure them in economic terms. Many men with brilliant academic qualifications accept positions at universities because they prefer to do so. In the process of time they have to rear families. They are entitled to adequate salaries commensurate with their qualifications. A man’s wife may say: “You are more brilliant than so and so and he is earning £10,000 or £15,000 a year. You should at least be able to provide adequately for your children to attend suitable schools and you should be able to provide for them adequately at home, considering the talents that you exhibited as a youth and that you have had a successful career.”
A standard salary of £5,200 for professors is not too much. Let us be quite frank and quite fair about the whole issue. I saw in the report into academic salaries that Mr. Justice Eggleston said that universities had not much difficulty in filling their staff requirements, and that might be so, because of the limited amount that the staff can receive in salaries. As a modern nation, Australia has one of the worst records in the world in staff-student ratio. Australian universities do not meet the staff demands required for a proper staff-student ratio. This ratio varies from State to State, but generally it is worse in Australia than in many other countries. The ratio in Australia does not compare favorably with the ratio in the United States or in many other places. lt is not generally recognised that when the Senate or Council - term it what you will - of a university employs a professor who may have brilliant academic credentials, it is very rarely that it inquires into the teaching qualifications held by the professor or into his capacity to teach. For this reason, unfortunate students are obliged to listen to someone who has no capacity to impart knowledge. It is all very well for a m’an to have an honours degree - all credit to those who have them - but it is more important when appointing a professorial staff to teach graduates who will serve Australia in all phases of industry, development, the professions and so on, to ensure that the staff chosen are adequately equipped to impart knowledge to the students.
The Government has done little to help the universities to obtain suitable staffs. It has said that it will recognise its obligations in this regard, but what is proposed in the Bill will cost the Government nothing. The Government is talking with its tongue in its cheek in introducing this Bill, and if the States do not berate it then they are recreant to their trust. The Commonwealth will provide £175,000 this year to assist the universities and will provide £1.3 million next year. The amount provided each year will be adjusted following an inquiry. In the process of time the Government will have a further inquiry, but it has not determined when or why that inquiry will be held. The proposals in the Bill will cost the Federal Government nothing.
Honorable senators must not forget that it is vitally important to Australia as a nation that the universities have brilliant academic staff. There is no comparison between a first class brain, which is capable of imparting knowledge and which can be obtained for £5,200 a year - or £5,700 as was requested by the staffs association - and a second class brain which is incapable of imparting knowledge and which can be obtained for £4,000 or £4,500 a year. Conequently I believe that the Government has not recognised in full its responsibility. It has not recognised the importance of competent academic staff in universities. It has not accepted its responsibility to expand facilities for university students, nor has it accepted responsibility for the training of academic staff. It has not provided suitable inducements to attract competent men, and it has not provided the facilities and accommodation that are required. We cannot have graduates if the equipment is inefficient and insufficient accommodation is provided. Students will not do well and the number who graduate will be limited. The number who graduate with honours will also be limited, and in the process of time this will cause a decrease in the number of persons seeking academic posts.
The world recognises the urgent need for greater numbers of adequately equipped people, but Australia is spending a smaller percentage of its national income on education than practically any other country. When I make that statement I am not referring to British Guiana or the Falkland Islands, and I exclude Portugal, Spain and Turkey. But many countries are spending on education much more than is Australia, yet the Government claims credit for its approach to education. I give credit to the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) for his brilliant original thought that led to his instituting an inquiry into the needs and likely needs of. Australian universities; but neither he nor the Government has made first hand contact with the universities. The Government has never visualised the need for the expansion of university facilities. It has never thought of the effect of the rapid increase in the number of students, or of the demand for new universities. lt is more than three years now since a committee was appointed to inquire into tertiary education. The findings of that committee are not yet available to members of the Parliament or to the people of Australia. The Government cannot claim any credit for what it is doing tonight in bringing in this measure during the dying hours of the session. Never has a Cabinet been more guilty than the present one, with respect to this matter but never has an Opposition been more ready to accept its obligation than is the present Opposition. By rushing this legislation through the House of Representatives and the Senate in this manner the Government is being completely contemptuous of the Parliament. It is deriding the Parliament and the rights of Parliamentarians and thereby is making the people justifiably contemptuous of it.
Notwithstanding what I have said the Opposition commends the measure. The Bill does provide what can be accepted as reasonable salaries for professors, readers and associate professors, but the committee’s terms of reference were too limited. Although the Government was not prepared to extend the terms His Honour saw fit to include in his report what he thought should bc the range of salaries for lecturers and senior lecturers. How these things happen, I do not know. If he was not prepared to approach the Government why did he include these issues in his report? What he should have said was that they were outside the ambit of his authority and he was not prepared to do anything about them. These are busy people and they are entitled to consideration. Not only the professors and other staff members who were embraced by the terms of the authorisation of the inquiry are entitled to consideration. Other people serve a useful purpose and many of (hem may be equally as brilliant as the professors. The opportunity for advancement for them does not exist. There just happen to be no vacancies or if there are vacancies they are in places to which they do not want to go. The Government has to think of these people, of the purpose they serve and of the number of students who graduate under their hands.
When we think in these terms we must realise that there is something wrong with the system. Of the students who enrol at a university, in the process of time, either in the set time or in a longer period, 65 per cent, graduate. Approximately 40 per cent, graduate in the time set for a degree course. However, there is a tremendous waste of talent. There must be something wrong with the system because there are limited enrolments, and the situation is becoming worse. In certain universities there are a number of vacancies in second year. .What do we find? Students matriculate, enter first year at the university, pass the examinations but are not allowed to proceed to second year because there are not sufficient vacancies. How tragic this is for the nation and how terrible it is for the individual and his or her parents.
Irrespective of what salaries are paid to university professors and teachers, this situation will not be remedied until the Government adopts a bigger and better approach. A student passing an examination with 60 per cent, marks is not brilliant at all, but this was accepted in the past. Is he or she to proceed to the next year in the course? The Government is to give professors £5,200 per annum but it is not prepared, because of its miserable and parsimonious approach, to do anything in regard to the provision of the equipment and so on at universities which is so necessary and is needed so much not only for the students but for the nation. I know that every honorable senator is anxious to get home.
– And how! ‘
– That is only because an election is to be held. The honorable senator is interested in what I am saying although he would not appear to be. He might not be so interested after six o’clock on 5th December when all the issues have been determined. Perhaps what happens then might be a salutary lesson for him. He might trim his sails then not to the prevailing breezes but to the needs of the nation and the rights of the people. Perhaps this is not an appropriate occasion to speak in terms of Labour’s policy or in condemnation of the inequity and the constantly recurring inefficiencies of the Menzies Government. The people will have the opportunity to deal with those matters on 5th December.
But that is by way of digression. I just say that the Opposition does not commend the Bill. We do not oppose it. We are accepting it because it provides a method of economic justice for certain sections of university staff. But in no way does the Government proposal measure up to the demands of this nation as regards the provision of adequate technical facilities in the field of tertiary education. There has been no recognition of the rights of the junior ranks of academic staffs. Whether the Government acts on what His Honour suggests, outside the ambit of his authority, is a matter for the Government.
As regards the field of secondary and primary education, nothing is being done. With no solid foundation, how can you expect a reasonable superstructure? The Government has consistently refused support in this regard. It will pay a professor £5,200 a year to mould the minds of many people. These are persons who, in previous years, have never had any solid foundation in the field of primary and secondary education. So. this suggests to me that irrespective of the economic justice meted out to the professors, associate professors and readers, the Government is completely irresponsible in all fields of education in Australia. The Government does not recognise the needs of the nation. It does not recognise the rights of the individual child to utilise all the talents with which he or she was born. The Government does not recognise needs in other fields of education. Now, the Government fails to recognise that in establishing an aristocracy of science, it is not necessarily entering the kingdom of wisdom.
– in reply - About the only point on which I could agree with what the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat had to say was that this Bill does not do anything for secondary and primary education, since this is a Bill strictly limited to providing a level-
– I did not say that.
– You said that this Bill does not do anything for secondary and primary education.
– No. I referred to the Government’s attitude. I did not mention the Bill.
– I suggest to the honorable senator that he looks at “ Hansard “ tomorrow and he will find out just what he said - that is, unless he alters the “ Hansard “ report of his speech.
– I do not alter my speeches in “ Hansard “.
– When the honorable senator has finished making his second reading speech, I would point out that this Bill provides for higher academic salaries which the Government stands prepared to support. Obviously it does not deal with secondary and primary education. Therefore, that is the only point on which I can agree with the honorable senator who spoke on this matter. The Government does believe that it is entitled to some credit for this Bill. We know that the spokesman for the Opposition does not commend it-
– I did not say that at all.
– The honorable senator did. He did not commend the Government.
– I did not.
– The honorable senator should not deny so quickly what he said a minute ago. As I was saying, the spokesman for the Opposition has said that the Opposition does not commend the Bill. The Government does believe that it is entitled to some credit for introducing the Bill. As we said we would, we have appointed a committee of inquiry. We have accepted the recommendations of that committee of inquiry. Certainly, the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations is highly satisfied with the way the inquiry was conducted, with the results of the inquiry, and with the prompt action of the Government to accept those recommendations.
– Ask the States if they are satisfied.
– I am not talking about the States. I am talking about the Federation of the Australian University Staff Associations. The honorable senator seems to be having a little difficulty in understanding the point I am making. I will try to drive it into his head again. These staff associations are highly satisfied with the Government for having appointed the inquiry and for having accepted its report so promptly. They are highly satisfied with the way in which the inquiry was held.
One might have gained from the speech made by the spokesman for the Opposition the impression that what the Government is asking for in these Bills is only authorisation to support the higher salaries for professors and associate professors or readers. Of course, that is not true. As the second reading speech, which was in front of the honorable senator, makes abundantly clear, the Bills also deal with the levels of salary that the Government stands prepared to support for senior lecturers and lecturers. As everybody who has been concerned with this legislation - except the spokesman for the Opposition - seems to be satisfied with it, I again commend it to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time. .
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
As honorable senators will have noted, I made one second reading speech to cover both the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill and this Bill.
– In case the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) is under any ‘ misapprehension, I say that we members of the
Opposition commend the salaries proposed for professors and associate professors.
– That was dealt with in the previous Bill.
– I know that; but the purpose of this Bill is to give the States grants, which are to be applied to universities. I want to make it quite clear that we recognise that £5,200 is not an unreasonable salary for a professor and that £4,300 is not an unreasonable salary for an associate professor. However, we do not commend the Government on its attitude to education in general. .
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time,’ and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
(Question No. 352.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is as follows -
(Question No. 289.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice-‘
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
(Question No. 336.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Prime Minister has provided the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions - 1. (a) Commonwealth departments represented overseas are External Affairs, Immigration, Trade and Industry, Customs and Excise, Supply, Interior - News and Information Bureau, Defence, Army, Air, Navy, Treasury, Works, Audit, Prime Minister’s. Civil Aviation, Postmaster-General’s, Health and Primary Industry, (b) Statutory authorities represented overseas are Australian Broadcasting Commission, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, Australian Atomic Energy Commission, Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. and commodity boards.
Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portuguese Timor, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanganyika, Thailand, Trinidad, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Arab Republic, United States of America, Venezuela and South Vietnam. 3. (a) Representation in all of the abovementioned countries comprises either an embassy, a high commission, a commission, a legation, a consulate, a trade office or a migration office. Officers are attached to these missions in diplomatic, consular, administrative, trade, migration or technical capacities, (b) Representatives of statutory authorities are usually located in separate offices in the capacity of carrying out the functions of that authority.
– On 11th November, Senator Brown asked me the following questions without notice -
I desire to ask a few questions of the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is the Parliamentary Library fully staffed? Is there not a shortage of trained personnel to perform, research duties? How does the Library compare with other similar libraries as far as research work is concerned? Would not the availability of essential information provided by research officers improve the value of debates and assist senators and members to lift debates from the “Codlin’s Your Friend, Not Short “ level to a higher plane, more in keeping with the needs of the times?
I have now had an opportunity of discussing this matter with the President of the Senate who advises me as follows -
The question of adequate staffing of the Parliamentary Library to meet the needs of honorable senators and members is under close examination by Mr. Speaker and myself, with the continuous advice of the Joint Library Committee. Just now we are considering the extension of specialised legislative reference services beyond the statistical service to other subject areas. The statistical service was established in 1963 as a pilot project to test the need for such services for which the demand has been growing steadily during recent years.
We are also planning to strengthen the general reference staff to compensate for the high turnover common to library service in Australia today. Everywhere there is a great shortage of trained librarians and the Parliamentary Library feels its effect.
As to comparisons between our Parliamentary Library and others, and taking into account the support it receives from the National Library, it would probably, occupy a middle position between the great majority which offer less to their members and a few, such as the Library of Congress, which offer a great deal more.
– -On 9th November Senator Cant asked me the following question without notice -
My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Is it a fact that United States representatives in Western Australia have denied any statements that there is a colour bar at the North West Cape construction site? Is it a fact that Hardeman Monier Hutchison, the constructing engineers at the site, have also denied that there is a colour bar? Can the Minister tell the Senate whether a colour bar on native transport drivers exists at North West Cape?
At the time I indicated that I would look into the matter and obtain further information. My inquiries have revealed that Mr. Dickenson who is the Project Manager for the contractors, Hardeman Monier Hutchison, lodged a complaint with the Manager of Mayne Nickless, hauliers, that one load of stores had arrived at the site in broken condition.
On investigation a representative from Mayne Nickless found that the subject load had been driven by two inexperienced and part time aboriginal drivers. He issued in structions that not more than one inexperienced Aboriginal driver would be allowed to one truck. Apparently the words used were misconstrued in Perth to mean that no Aboriginal drivers were to be used. This interpretation was not correct. Aboriginal drivers are now being employed. There is no evidence of a colour bar or other discrimination at the North West Cape site.
(Question No. 319.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will the Treasurer make available to the Senate a statement showing - (a) complete details of all Federal subsidies paid to industries throughout Australia, (b) the dates the subsidies came into force, and (c) the period over which the subsidies operate or are to operate?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question -
Statement I below shows the period of operation of Commonwealth bounties and subsidies currently payable to Australian industries. Statement II shows the annual expenditure on each of these bounties and subsidies up to and including 1963-64, and estimated expenditure during 1964-6S.
(Question No. 361.)
asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Army has provided the following answers to the honorable senator’s question -
On receipt of ammunition from production into Army ammunition depots, an initial receipt inspection is carried out. This inspection is based on a sampling percentage system to detect recurring faults and defects. Should defects be revealed, further inspections up to 100 per cent. of the total receipt are carried out to isolate faulty ammunition. Regular inspections on a periodic basis are continued throughout the service life of the ammunition.
(Question No. 362.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
(Question No. 364.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
(Question No. 366.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
(Question No. 370.)
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) agreed - agreed to -
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the termination of the sitting this day to the day on which the Senate next meets.
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) agreed to-
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till a day and hour to be fixed by the President, which time of meeting shall be notified to each senator by telegram or letter.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Another year is rapidly drawing to a close. Once again the festive season is to be preceded by an election campaign so with these rather premature seasonal greetings, I combine my good wishes for those who face the electors next month. It has been a great privilege to be the Leader of the Senate during the past few months and despite the inevitable clashes of politics, it has been a pleasure to be associated with all members of this chamber. I extend to my colleagues of the Government and of the Opposition my warmest regards for Christmas. To my friends behind me I say: “ Thank you for your invaluable support and assistance, and good luck in the weeks to come. I confidently look forward to seeing as many if not more Government members on these benches next year. To my friends of the Opposition I. offer my good wishes but I am afraid I can only wish them somewhat less luck at the polls than I wish my colleagues.
I would not like to let the opportunity pass without paying a tribute to the many people who contribute to the workings of the Senate. In particular I thank you, Mr. President, for the impartiality which once again has been an outstanding feature of your year’s work. Credit must go also to Senator McKellar both for his efforts as Chairman of Committees and for the way he has performed his duties as Deputy President. I also thank the Temporary Chairmen of Committees. I extend my sincere thanks to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and the Deputy Leader (Senator Kennelly). My appreciation also goes to my Deputy Leader, Senator Henty; to the Whip, Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin; to my fellow Ministers and to senators on both sides of the chamber. I am sure we all truly endeavour to make our contribution as we see it to the Senate and so to the country. Like you, Mr. President, I believe we can all leave Canberra with the satisfactory feeling that a job has been faithfully done.
To the Clerk of .the Senate, Mr. Loof, to the Clerk Assistant of the Senate, Mr. Odgers, go my thanks and seasonal greetings. This applies equally to the Principal Parliamentary Officer, Mr. Healy, and the members of “ Hansard “ who so efficiently and patiently record our deliberations. Particularly do I extend my thanks and good wishes to the attendants. Our words are frequently reported elsewhere by the ladies and gentlemen of the Press and by the broadcasters and technicians of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. For their dissemination of our words of wisdom we are all very grateful.
A busy time is ahead of us all. With an election at hand, the festive season could not be further from our minds. However, this is the last opportunity that I shall have to wish some honorable senators the compliments of the season. I wish all a very happy Christmas and a successful and prosperous New Year.
President, I very cordially support the remarks made by the Leader of the Government (Senator Paltridge) about you and the Chairman of Committees (Senator McKellar) and the Temporary Chairmen. I thank Senator Paltridge for his courtesy and for his recognition of the fact that the Senate is composed of both Government and Opposition senators and that our work would be in a chaotic state but for the consultation between both sides about the sequence and arrangement of the business of the Senate. I am certain that my old friend and opponent, the predecessor in office of the present Leader of the Government, will appreciate exactly what I mean by that.
I extend to the Principal Parliamentary Reporter and the other members of the “Hansard “ staff our heartfelt thanks for their work in presenting all our arguments in readable form. I thank the Leader of the Government for his references to me and my colleagues of the Opposition. I thank, too, all the officers and members of the staff for their indispensable help and friendly courtesy at all times. I trust that our pending departure will leave them to pursue their duties more tranquilly and to resume their normal sleeping habits. Honorable senators are about to leave here to do battle with one another at the Senate election. There will be no rest and little sleep for any of us before 5th December.
I wish to make special reference to ona member of the staff, Mr. Sandy Cuthbertson, who is 65 and is about to retire. He will not be with us when we return to the Senate, He has probably been here longer than, any of us - certainly some years longer than I have been here. I am delighted to think that he is retiring so fit and well and I trust that he will remain so. I am sure that I speak for everybody when I say that I hope that he and his wife will thoroughly enjoy their forthcoming trip overseas, in the course of which he is to return to bonny Scotland, the land of his birth, for a time. I should like him to feel that we all shall miss him. We wish him and his wife good health and a long and peaceful life together.
I should like particularly to thank my colleagues for their hard work and willing co-operation. I have no hesitation in saying that I am proud of the thoughtful and forceful contributions that they have made to the debates here. On behalf of the Australian Labour Party, I extend to all those whom I have mentioned, and to all others who are present, very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
– Mr. President, in the regrettable absence of the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Senator Wade), I should like to associate myself with the Leader of the Government (Senator Paltridge) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) in extending good wishes to those who have already been mentioned. Our thoughts should go out also perhaps to those in this building who undertake the very important task of fortifying the individual members of this place and serving our needs by providing us with food and refreshment. I take this opportunity to congratulate the Leader of the Government on the success that he has achieved since taking over that office. I join with the Leader of the Opposition in wishing Sandy Cuthbertson a very enjoyable trip to bonny Scotland and a safe return.
As an individual, 1. want to express my thanks for the remarks made by the Leader of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition concerning my individual part in the work of the Senate. I thank all honorable senators for the co-operation that I have received from them and for the friendship that they have extended to me. I sincerely hope that before long we shall have the Leader of the Country Party back with us to speak for the Party again.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMulIin. - I thank the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Paltridge), the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) and Senator McKellar for their kindly references to me. They are greatly appreciated. I want also personally to thank the members of the staff who have carried out the work of the Senate during the year in the manner which has resulted in the success that we have achieved. I also want to thank the Chairman of Committees, his assistants for the work that they have done during the year.
I wish to refer to the work of the Library. The Library has provided a splendid service to the Senate this year. It will provide an even better service next year. It will provide the service that the Senate demands of it. I do hope and trust that honorable senators will make demands on the facilities of the Library next year which will encourage the Library Committee and the Library staff to provide greater facilities for them. We all agree that the members of the Library staff have done a splendid job. They are always willing, active and eager to help. It is to be .hoped that we can always maintain a staff of the same high standard.
The “ Hansard “ staff has been very faithful in its work of reporting the proceedings of the Parliament. It is one of the departments that come under the control of Mr. Speaker and myself, and it gives me no trouble whatsoever. It is easy to work with. The members of the staff perform their duties in an industrious and workmanlike fashion. We have a very happy relationship.
The Joint House Department must not be overlooked. There are many of its officers whom you do not see around the House and whom you do not know very much about, but all of them are playing their part in keeping the Houses running. Sometimes we do not realise the number of people who are employed by that Department and the number of activities in which they are engaged. It gives one the impression of working efficiently. We do not have any hitches, we do not have any delays, and we do not have great problems. All the officers of the Joint House Department have played a very important part this year.
The attendants, the messengers and the officials at the front door who assist in the sale of the booklet on Parliament - the sales are reaching 150,000 copies - have done much in their own quiet way to draw the attention of the people to Parliament itself. All that is good. I think it is fair to pay a complete and unhesitating tribute to the work that the Press has done. To my way of thinking, it has presented the news of Parliament faithfully and well. It has been interesting to see an increase. in the coverage of the proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament. Generally speaking, in reporting the proceedings of the Parliament, the Australian Press this year has maintained a very high standard and shown a great sense of responsibility.
I want to direct attention to two particular matters. The first is that we have dealt with 130 bills this year. That is quite a large number. The second matter is that the
Senate itself has had 62 sittings days and a total of 531 hours of sitting this year. I think that is a fair record for the Senate.
I do not want to let the occasion pass without paying a very brief tribute - I know that he would not want it otherwise - to Mr. Cuthbertson. He served his country well in both World Wars, and he has served Parliament House well. He has been loyal in all his activities. He has shown a high sense of responsibility in the way in which he has carried out his functions in this House. He will be missed by all honorable senators, and by myself in particular. I thank him very much.
I extend to you all the best wishes for Christmas. It is a little early to do so, but there it is. I look forward to seeing you all back here in the autumn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 1.15 a.m. (Wednesday) till a day and hour to be fixed by the President.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 November 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1964/19641117_senate_25_s27/>.