25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Is he aware that in Sydney last weekend a very large and widely representative gathering of citizens urged the Government to implement the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television? When does the Government intend to consider the Committee’s recommendations? Will the Minister give an assurance that the debate on the Committee’s report will be resumed in this Senate - it has been adjourned since 14th April last - and that a responsible Minister will announce the Government’s attitude, whether of support for or opposition to, the recommendations contained in the report?
– ] am aware of the gathering that took place in Sydney and 1 have read the Press reports of it. I am not in a position to make any statement on behalf of the Postmaster-General in regard to the implementation of the Senate Committee’s recommendations but I will bring the honorable senator’s question to his notice. The resumption of the debate in the Senate is a matter for the Leader of the Government in this place and I will direct that aspect of the honorable senator’s question to him.
– Is the Minister for Customs and Excise aware of a report in yesterday’s Melbourne Press to the effect that a Customs official has warned a Melbourne publisher’s agent not to import further copies of several books which have been on sale for some weeks? Is it true, as claimed in this article, that the agent was warned in a telephone call from the Customs official?
– This matter was brought to my attention yesterday and I instituted an immediate inquiry within the Department. The inquiry is continuing, but
L urn able to say that both books mentioned in the article were released at the State level and so are still freely available.
In December, following normal procedure in such matters, an officer of the Department informed the importing company by telephone that the publication “ Black Voices “ had been reviewed and released. The officer concerned states that at no time during his conversation with the representative of the company was any mention made of any possible future action by the Department. The other publication mentioned in the Press report, “ Narrow Action “, was not examined at the time of importation. Subsequently a copy was obtained from a book stall and was recommended by the officer for submission to Central Office in Canberra for further examination. The importing company advised an officer of my department that only seven copies of the book had been imported and that it was not selling well. In the light of this, the officer advised the company that no further action would be taken on that particular shipment.
I emphasise that no officer at the State level has the responsibility for demanding, or the authority to demand, withdrawal from circulation of an imported publication. The officer concerned emphatically denies having made any such demand.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate and preface it by saying that yesterday Senator Murphy sought an assurance that the Government would see that in future Australia was not associated or identified in any way with war against children or with the use of phosphorus bombs or poison gas in Vietnam. The Leader of the Government concluded his answer by saying -
I am unable to give the honorable senator the assurance which he seeks.
Does this mean that if the United States of America in its present campaign finds it necessary to engage in war against children or to use phosphorus bombs or poison gas, Australia will support such action or complacently will not oppose it? Should any Australian oppose such action, would he become a Communist and anti-Christian?
– I think the honorable senator has fallen into the error again of trying to anticipate the conclusions the Government may reach in certain circumstances which he has set out to specify. I recall for the benefit of the Senate that three or four questions were asked yesterday in relation to a number of newspaper reports on the use of phosphorus bombs and some types of gases in Vietnam. Honorable senators will recall that I undertook yesterday to let the Senate know the position. As might be expected, the Department of External Affairs is making inquiries into these reports. In the meantime, however, it might be worthwhile if I were to read some authoritative statements that have been made in respect of this matter. Speaking on 23rd March, the United States Secretary of Defence, Mr. McNamara, stated -
As far as we know they- that is, the gases have been used only two or three times, most recently on January 27th when, in an engagement :n Phu Yen Province, the Communist Vietcong look refuge among non-combatants in a village. Rather than use fire power- against the villagers, including children thereby jeopardising the lives of non-combatants, to drive the Vietcong out of the area, the Vietnamese troops dispensed the riot control agent. Their objective, of course, was to save life. These riot control agents which 1 have described and which the Vietnamese forces utilised are those that have been used on many occasions by metropolitan police forces worldwide in controlling civil disturbances. 1 read now the text of a statement issued by the United States Embassy in Saigon on 22nd March -
In tactical situations in which Vietcong intermingle with, or take refuge among, non-combatants, rather than use artillery or aerial bombardment, Vietnamese troops have used a type of gas which disables temporarily, making the enemy incapable of fighting. Its use in such situations is no different than the use of disabling gases in riot control. The gas is released from dispensers operated by Vietnamese personnel in helicopters.
In the questions in the Senate yesterday, there was some reference to the use of phosphorus bombs. There is no confirmation as yet that phosphorus bombs have been used, although, of course, it should be understood that phosphorus is an element which is used in a variety of weaponry including, for example, smoke markers ;md illuminating flares. A phosphorus bomb is no different from any other type of incendiary bomb used to ignite structures of various types. It would appear, therefore, from what has come officially to notice that the gases which have been used have not been lethal gases. They have been gases of a type used to disperse rioting crowds in many places in the world. The gas has been used by the Vietnamese only.
– I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. Has the Minister seen a Press statement in yesterday’s “ West Australian “ stating that the plan of the West Australian Government to proceed with irrigated settlement of the Ord was most illogical, according to a Dr. B. R. Davidson, formerly of the University of Western Australia now at the University of Sydney? As Dr. Davidson has continually acted as the greatest knocker of the development of Western Australia, can the Minister assure me that the Government will ignore his continued unrealistic attacks on this great venture and will rely on the information supplied from technical experts connected with the Kimberley Research Station on whose advice farmers, in their first year of operation, succeeded in making average net cash profits of approximately £2,000 per farm?
– Mr. President, I have not seen the newspaper reference to which the honorable senator refers. I can assure him that the Government, in considering this important matter and in reaching its decision, will take note of opinions which it considers are valuable and for which there is a scientific basis. This would not necessarily exclude the opinion of Dr. Davidson.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior. Is the Minister aware of the highly coloured and startling allegations made throughout Australia in the week-end Press of a high degree of immorality in Commonwealth hostels in Canberra? Is he also aware that these allegations are causing deep concern to parents of many young girls living away from home in Canberra? Will the Minister assure the Senate that these reports do not apply to the vast majority of the young people engaged in the Public Service in this city? Will the Minister have an inquiry made as to the truth or otherwise of the allegations and into the living and recreational facilities available in the hostels? Filially, are there any social workers employed in Canberra to assist young people with their problems?
– In reply to the honorable senator, first of all I should like to reassure her that this does not apply to the majority of young people living in Canberra. Regarding the rest of her question, I will certainly have it brought to the notice of the Minister for the Interior, obtain a reply and direct that information to her.
Senator MCCLELLAND__ My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. It relates to the question asked by Senator Cohen. Is the Minister aware that the national television congress held in Sydney last weekend was attended by 320 official delegates representing 141 organisations with a membership of approximately 543,000 plus, of course, many other affiliated bodies? Will the Minister ascertain, and inform the Senate accordingly, why the Australian Broadcasting Commission failed to report to the public any of the findings of such a representative congress which, amongst other things, made constructive suggestions in regard to the operations of television in Australia? Did the Commission join in the efforts of private commercial interests to silence as much as possible the criticism offered by the congress of the irresponsible use of the channels of mass communication, especially television?
– The honorable senator imported into his question some statements that I do not necessarily accept and from which I dissociate myself. I am not aware of the number of personnel who attended the conference and whom they represented. However, I did read a report which set out in some detail the kind of conference that was being held. Quite properly, I will not ask the Australian Broadcasting Commission certain categorical questions, but I shall certainly refer them to the Postmaster-General. It will be for my colleague to exercise his judgment in deciding what approach he will make to those questions.
Senator WEDGWOOD__ I address to the
Minister . representing the PostmasterGeneral a question which follows upon the answer that he just gave to Senator McClelland. Will the Minister ascertain for the Senate whether the representatives who attended the conference submitted to their organisations the resolutions that were passed?
– I shall direct that question also to the Postmaster-General with a view to getting the necessary information for the honorable senator.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Defence. Is it a fact that Colonel Serong, who until recently was the commander of the Australian military advisers in South Vietnam, is an outstanding expert on guerrilla warfare and that his experiences in South Vietnam would qualify him to be a most valuable adviser to the Australian Government? Was the Government aware of any difference of opinion between Colonel Serong and either the Australian Government or the Government of the United States of America about either the social or the military organisation in relation to its effect upon the military situation in South Vietnam? Has the Government in recent times considered the views of this expert about the overall situation in South Vietnam, particularly in relation to the military situation but having regard also to social and political conditions in that country? Was the Government’s decision in refusing Colonel Serong an extension of time in South Vietnam related to these matters.
– Colonel Serong made a very notable contribution to the Australian effort in Vietnam. He is held in very high regard by the Australian Government and his views, particularly those relating to military tactics, are very much taken into account. I am sure that, in whatever capacity he is engaged in the future Colonel Serong will continue to serve the Australian Government well and that his efforts will be greatly appreciated as has been the case in the past The termination of his appointment had nothing whatever to do with any difference of view between himself and the Australian Government. He had come to the end of a tour of duty which, as I recall it, had been extended on one occasion, and it was thought that this might provide a convenient opportunity to use his services in other fields of equal importance and value to this Government, and at the same time to make it possible for another serving officer in Vietnam to gain experience.
– My question, which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, follows on the question asked by Senator Tangney in relation to Government controlled hostels. Will the Minister ascertain from the Minister for the Interior how many Government controlled hostels are in Canberra and in which hostels, if any, a manager or manageress lives in? Where no manager or manageress is living in, will he ascertain what officer, if any, is in control of fire safety precautions and the discipline of the occupants?
– I shall certainly place the honorable senator’s questions before the Minister and have the replies forwarded to the honorable senator.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation: Is. the overcrowding of the international airport at Sydney considerably worse now than it was last year? Will the existing plans for extensions prove sufficient for foreseeable needs? Will the Minister take action to provide at the airport facilities not only for the present but also for foreseeable needs?
– I think the overcrowding is worse now at the international airport at Sydney than it was last year. This result naturally follows the considerable increase which has taken place both in the international passenger field and in the domestic passenger field. There has been a significant increase in passenger traffic in both these fields.
We have had to re-examine our plans for the new terminal at Sydney with a view to accommodating the increased passenger traffic. This increase is clearly shown in the figures for the last three years. The matter is before the Government at the moment and as soon as it has been considered I will make a statement to the Senate.
– The honorable senator was good enough to advise me of his intention to ask this question and l was able to obtain the following information for him from the Minister for Primary Industry: The Commonwealth Government welcomes the sugar industry’s achievement in selling a total of 550,000 tons of sugar to Japan for shipment in 1965-66. The industry has played an outstanding role in securing the export outlets necessary to underwrite the industry’s expansion of production from 1.3 million tons, actual, in the 1961 season to the 2.2 million tons expected in the 1965 season, which will commence about the end of May. The industry has built up a very big demand in Japan by the quality of its sugar, fair dealing and reliability as a supplier. Japanese refiners have steadily increased their imports of Australian sugar from 80,000 tons in 1954-55, when they began to import from us. In May 1963, a contract was negotiated between Japanese interests and the Australian industry for the supply of at least between 350,000 and 450,000 tons of our sugar annually between July 1964 and June 1967. The contract has since been extended until June 1968 and now the Japanese have paid a further tribute to the Australian industry by purchasing, at a time of very keen international competition, 100,000 tons more sugar than the annual maximum envisaged in the contract.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Did he observe a statement in this morning’s Press emanating from Sir Alan Westerman, addressing a meeting in Melbourne, to the effect that during a certain period when the general cost level in Australia rose by 140 per cent., the prices of primary products rose by only 70 per cent, to 80 per cent, and in which the distinguished author offered to the Australian primary producer the statement that his solution of that situation was increased efficiency? Will the Minister take the matter into immediate consideration, especially as the basic wage tribunal is at present assessing the effect on the Australian economy of a rise in the basic wage; and will he take such steps as are necesary to ensure to the primary producer an increase in the prices of his products more proportionate to the general increase in cost levels?
– I did not notice in this morning’s Press the matter brought up by the honorable senator, but I will undertake to take it up with the Minister for Primary Industry and get a reply from him.
– I wish to ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. Is there any truth in the Press statement today that yet another type of aircraft, namely the DC9, is likely to be used on Australia’s internal airlines? Can the Minister evaluate the advantages as against the disadvantages of introducing a new type of aircraft so soon after the introduction of the Boeing 727?
– I read with a great deal of interest the article to which the honorable senator has referred. The matter is entirely one for the domestic airlines. They are the ones to assess the value of any aircraft which they may wish to use in their services. This is not a matter for the Department of Civil Aviation. I have seen three or four types of aircraft mentioned as being under consideration by the airlines at the present time and I believe that out of that consideration will come the best choice for the Australian services. The honorable senator’s question is based on a newspaper report. I do not think any final decision has yet been made by the domestic airlines.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for
Shipping and Transport. Will he inform the Minister for Shipping and Transport that there is an erroneous but very widespread belief, both in Tasmania and on the mainland, that people not desiring to take their cars on the “ Empress of Australia “ and the “ Princess of Tasmania “ cannot book passages on those ships? Will he ask the Minister to suggest to the Australian National Shipping Line and its official agents that they should make it widely known, through normal publicity channels, that these vessels are passenger and/ or cargo carrying ferries and that passengers may travel on them without having their cars with them?
– I shall inform the Minister for Shipping and Transport of what the honorable senator describes as a quite erroneous belief in respect of this sniping service, and I shall ask my colleague to take whatever action is necessary.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he has any views different from those of his predecessor in regard to permitting TransAustralia Airlines to use intrastate routes in South Australia, as requested by Sir Thomas Playford when he was Premier of that State?
– I find myself at the moment in complete accord with my predecessor.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. Is it a fact that at present there is a delegation from the United Nations visiting the Territory of Papua and New Guinea? If so, can the Minister tell us what countries are represented in the delegation and what efforts are being made by it to meet the elected representatives of the Territory in their own electorates? Is the delegation being shown the general development, or is it merely anxious to stir up strife amongst the people of the Territory?
– All I know on this subject is what I have read in the newspapers. Since it is an important question I think it would be as well if it were put on the notice paper so that a considered reply can be given to the honorable senator.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. Was a company known as Interstate Parcel Express Co. (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., forced to obtain an order nisi from the Chief Justice of the High Court directing the DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not be issued ordering him to grant operating licences sought by I.P.E.C. to carry freight by air? Was this action taken when the Department of Civil Aviation failed to reply to applications by that company for permission to import aircraft and conduct freight services? If so, what was the reason for the Director-General refusing to answer the applications of I.P.E.C, thus involving the company in litigation?
– As I understand that this matter is before the High Court at the moment, I should think it is sub judice.
(Question No. 325.)
asked the Minister for
Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions - 1. (a) The Freedom to Read Association has proposed -
that such tribunals should deal with both locally produced and imported literature.
(Question No. 370.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
In view of the importance to Australian oil explorers of the question of the ownership of overseas tanker transport facilities, added to the international political and military situation, which makes it essential for Australia not only to press on vigorously with oil exploration and production but to ensure continuous transport facilities, will the Minister -
initiate an immediate inquiry into the activities of foreign owned oil transport tankers operating on the Australian coast; and
consult with Cabinet regarding the possibility of the Australian National Line purchasing the three R. W. Miller tankers which, according to press reports, are for sale and could undoubtedly be lost to the Australian coastal tanker fleet?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer -
These vessels will in due course be replaced by Australian built tankers. Single voyage permits are only granted to foreign flag tankers when a licensed vessel is not available for the service and it is considered to be in the public interest to grant a permit. The position is regulated by the Navigation Act and there is no necessity for initiating any special inquiry.
In considering any application to transfer the vessels under this section regard would be paid to the adequacy of tanker tonnage available to meet the requirements of the Australian coasting trade and the Question of their purchase by the Australian National Line to ensure their retention on the coast does not therefore arise.
– by leave - Honorable senators will know that in August 1961, the Government appointed a distinguished Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Leslie Martin to consider the pattern of tertiary education in relation to the needs and resources of Australia and to make recommendations to the Australian Universities Commission on the future development of tertiary education. May I express the Government’s gratitude to the members of the Committee for their work, which has resulted in a report that will play an important part in the development of tertiary education and hence in the development of our country during coming decades.
When we appointed this Committee, we knew we had given it a very large task but I doubt that we realised just how large the task was. The Committee had the enthusiastic co-operation of governments, institutions and sectors of the public with an interest in tertiary education. It was not until September 1964, however, that it was able to present its report to the Government - or, to be strictly accurate, to present volumes I and II with a promise of a third volume later.
Volume I sets out the Committee’s central argument and its proposals for the future pattern of Australian tertiary education. Volume II begins a survey of academic disciplines, particularly those with an important professional content. Volume III, which is not yet available, will conclude this survey and deal with certain other aspects of tertiary education but, we are assured, will not affect the recommendations contained in the first two volumes.
Immediately apparent to members will be the wide range of subjects covered by the report and the importance of its recommendations not only to the Commonwealth Government but also to -State Governments, universities and the public generally. Many of the Committee’s recommendations require action by the Commonwealth if they are to be implemented and in releasing the report as we now have it, I will announce the Government’s attitude towards the principal recommendations.
In doing so I wish to emphasise two important points. The first is that the aspects of education discussed in the Report are ones for which the States have constitutional responsibility. Therefore, while it is necessary for the Commonwealth to determine its attitude and to announce what it, for its part, stands ready to do, it will also be necessary for each State Government, in the knowledge of what the Commonwealth is prepared to do, to decide what it is prepared to do, and for consultation and discussion between the Commonwealth and each State to take place. The second point is that the Commonwealth is not to be regarded as having adopted any position in regard to any specific issue dealt with in the report except those on which I shall now state our views.
Amongst other things, the report makes recommendations as to additional aid to existing, and embryo, universities, as to assistance to students by way of scholarships, and as to a possible method of re-organising the control and content of teacher training. But the most important section of the report deals with what is virtually a concept new to Australia - the development of a broad comprehensive system of tertiary education, with an emphasis different from but complementary to, tertiary education at present provided by the universities. Because they are relatively simple, I propose to discuss first the less novel proposals of the Committee covering assistance to students and immediate assistance to universities, and to announce our decisions in these field’s before moving on to consider the new proposals of major importance stemming from the work of the Committee.
In the field of assistance to students the Committee has recommended that the number of Commonwealth university open entrance scholarships should be kept under periodic review, but also states that such scholarships ought not to be awarded at a standard lower than that obtaining at the end of 1963. The Government accepts, as it has in the past accepted, the necessity for periodic increases in these scholarships. The number available was last raised by 1,000- from 4,000 to 5,000- at the end of 1963, and we have decided that the number will be raised by a further 1,000 - from 5,000 to 6,000- at the end of the present year. Such periodic reviews will continue in the future.
The Committee further recommends that all students at universities who successfully complete the first year of their university course at the first attempt, and who are otherwise eligible, should be automatically awarded Commonwealth later year scholarships. At present the number of these awards available covers rather more than two-thirds of the full-time students who meet these conditions. The Government does not feel it should accept this suggested unknown charge on future Budgets but it has decided to increase the number of later year awards by 250 at the end of the present year. These awards, which at the inception of the Commonwealth university scholarship scheme were less than a hundred, have grown steadily since. The number available each year was last raised, from 780 to 1,280, at the end of 1963, and at the end of this year the number available each year will be raised from 1,280 to 1,530. Here, too, periodic reviews will continue.
In the field of the new look tertiary colleges to which I have referred, the Committee has recommended that there should be 2,500 new scholarships awarded to students who have passed matriculation or an equivalent examination and that these should carry the same financial benefits as do Commonwealth university scholarships, plus a means test free allowance of £100 to each scholarship holder. We do not feel able to agree with the recommendation as stated but we have decided to make available in this field 1.000 new scholarships, awarded on the conditions suggested, but carrying the same financial benefit as Commonwealth university scholarships. The net result of these decisions is that, as from the end of this year, there will be 2,250 more tertiary scholarships available each year than has been the case in the past, the number available rising from 6,280 to 8,530-7,530 at universities and 1,000 at the new technical institutions.
These scholarships are recommended by the Committee to be available to students for full time study only but the Government does not accept this recommendation. We believe there may well be many valid personal reasons why a student chooses to do a part time course, and that no student who does wish to do such a course, and who has earned a Commonwealth scholarship, should have his preference subject to a veto. Furthermore, the new Institutes of Colleges, and the industrial leaders with whom they will no doubt confer, may desire to include part time courses as part of their curricula, and in some States considerable emphasis may be placed on part time as opposed to full time courses. If this happens, students should not be prevented from winning a scholarship to take up such courses. Our scholarships for tertiary education will therefore in the future, as in the past, be available for either full time or part time study as the scholarship winner chooses.
In discussing the financial benefits which such scholarships should carry, the Committee confines itself to recommending that the living allowances and the means test applied to these allowances should be periodically reviewed. It recommends also that a text book allowance should be given to scholarship holders. We, of course, have always accepted the principle of periodic reviews of allowances and indeed, as a result of the last review, living allowances were increased as from January this year and the means test applied to such allowances was liberalised. We shall continue to accept this principle.
A text book allowance, however, poses very considerable administrative problems because it would be necessary to ensure that any allowance did, in fact, go to books and equipment, and because requirements would vary considerably between universities, between faculties, and between years in any given faculty. Therefore all I can say as to this proposal at the moment is that we intend to ask the Vice-Chancellors of the universities to discuss with us the problems raised by the recommendation.
The Committee suggested that the universities study and report upon the feasibility of their having funds available for making loans to students in special cases of hardship. While recognising the desirability of loan schemes, we regard these as matters for the universities’ internal administration.
The Commonwealth, therefore, will not make special financial provision for student loan funds.
Moving to specific and immediate financial proposals regarding universities, the Committee has recommended that some additional capital funds should be made available to some universities, which it designates, during this 1964-66 triennium. These grants are designed to ensure that the new Universities of Macquarie in New South Wales and La Trobe in Victoria will be ready to begin operation at the beginning of 1967 as planned; that Bedford Park in Adelaide will be able to open in 1966 as planned; that site works will take place at the University of Newcastle and the Townsville University College; and that a start will be made in taking the preliminary steps for the establishment of a second university in Brisbane by 1970. In the cases of Macquarie and La Trobe the grants are additional to the establishment grants of £1.1 million each for Macquarie and La Trobe. The Commonwealth share of these giants was appropriated by the Parliament for these universities in October 1963. All of these are grants for definite projects which have been examined in detail, and recommended on, by the Universities Commission and are in a field which is familiar.
The sums recommended for each university are given in the following list which, with the concurrence of the Senate, I shall have incorporated in “ Hansard “. They total £2,450,000 of which the Commonwealth share is £1,225,000.
Interim Capital Grants to Universities for 1965 and 1966.
The Commonwealth Government is prepared to provide its share, on a £1 for £1 basis with the State concerned, of the following special interim grants -
We stand ready to provide our share of this finance at once and will introduce legislation during the current session asking Parliament to appropriate it.
I turn now to consider the new concept which is the heart of this report. It is that Australia, during the next decade, should develop advanced education in virtually new types of colleges. These colleges would provide for those students who, though qualified, do not wish to undertake a full university course, or whose chosen course is not considered appropriate for a university or whose level at passing matriculation indicated a small chance of graduation from a university in minimum time or minimum time plus one year. The recommendation for the development of these colleges and the recommendation that new universities should not be established, taken together with other observations of the committee, indicate a belief on its part that universities should grant entrance only to those matriculants whose standard of pass was good enough to indicate a reasonable likelihood of graduation in minimum time or minimum time plus one year.
The Committee suggests that the new colleges, to give advanced education, should be developed from, and around, the existing tertiary segments of existing technical colleges. But it is clear that what is envisaged is not merely a bigger and better college for teaching technical subjects, for the suggestion is that technology should be only one of the education fields in which these colleges should provide advanced instruction. In them there should be, says the Committee, appropriate courses in the liberal arts for “ young men and women taking up administrative positions in commerce, industry, and government “. There should be a common core of studies at tertiary level aimed at providing for all students attending the college, “ breadth in education “, and the development of “ critical imagination and creative abilities “. Students engaged in such common studies would major in technological courses or in other courses provided by the colleges to fit them for particular careers after they had gained their diplomas.
These colleges should, recommends the Report, be provided with funds for capital and recurrent purposes sufficient to permit expansion and improvement in buildings, in equipment, in the teaching staff required, and in general educational facilities. The funds are recommended to be provided, half by the Commonwealth and half by the
States as to capital, and the ratio of £1 Commonwealth to £1.85 State as to recurrent expenses.
We, for our part, accept the broad concept and stand ready to provide, during the 1967-69 triennium, the £1 for £1 grant for capital and the £1 to £1.85 grant for recurrent annual expenses up to the limits envisaged in the Committee’s Report. These appear to be approximately £4 million a year for capital from the Commonwealth and £4 million a year for recurrent expenses from the Commonwealth during that triennium. These grants, if matched, would mean a total of approximately £24 million for capital and £34 million for recurrent expenses for the colleges during that triennium.
Commonwealth financial support for these colleges will be confined to capital and recurrent expenses for the development of tertiary education only, and we define tertiary education as consisting of courses before entry upon which a student must pass matriculation or an equivalent examination. It will be confined to new development - that is as regards to recurrent expenses, to expenses incurred over and above what is at present, in the 1964-65 financial year, being incurred in this field by a State. And it will be confined to assistance for strengthening, and expanding, and introducing, diploma courses. We have noted the Committee’s suggestion that at some time in the future the new Institutes of Colleges may build on present proposals in order to provide post-diploma courses leading to degrees. But the support now pledged by the Commonwealth will not go beyond supporting the basic concept of the Committee as to new type colleges, with a variety of advanced courses, leading on completion to a diploma.
We wish to emphasise this point for we entirely agree with the Committee’s statements that these new type institutions should “ resist the temptation to copy the educational processes and curricula of universiies “ and that the responsibilities of these colleges to the community are “of a different kind “ from those of universities. Our support is founded on acceptance of this principle, and we do not make our support available for the development out of these colleges of new universities. We see these colleges as designed primarily for teaching at the tertiary level and as catering for the diploma, not the post-diploma, student.
I now turn to the machinery which the Committee suggests might be set up in order to provide the means whereby Commonwealth and State support might be channelled to these new institutions. The Committee’s suggestion is that each State should set up an autonomous Institute of Colleges which would admit a college to membership when, in its opinion, that particular college had achieved an appropriate standard. This Institute would be charged with the responsibility of supervising the expansion and development of technical and other tertiary education in the member colleges and with co-ordinating their work to prevent waste and overlapping. It would be this Institute which would suggest allocation of available funds between colleges in its own State. Subject to this supervision the member colleges themselves would each be governed by their own independent governing body. We are attracted to this proposition and are prepared, for our part, to endorse and accept it. But we think that acceptance and implementation of the proposal are matters for which the State Governments are responsible. We do not, therefore, make establishment of the Institutes a condition of assistance, though we do endorse the idea. Therefore, we will be prepared to deal either with such Institutes or with a State Government direct should a State decide not to set up an autonomous institute.
The Committee further suggests that the Institutes should make submissions, in the way in which universities now make submissions, to an expanded universities commission which would deal not only with universities but with the new Institutes as well. We do not endorse this suggestion. We feel that it would be better that we should leave to the Universities Commission its present responsibilities of advising the Government on proposals from universities and that we should arrange other methods of distributing grants to the new colleges.
We therefore propose to have a separate advisory committee to which proposals from Institutes of Colleges - or from the State Education Department in any State which does not set up an Institute of
Colleges - will be referred, and which will make recommendations to the Commonwealth as to the distribution of Commonwealth funds after it has considered those proposals. As is the case with funds for universities, the funds available would be distributed throughout Australia on the basis of assessed need in any particular area.
I have no doubt that within the boundaries set out there will be great variations of methods of development among the States and, indeed, if the Institutes and colleges are given autonomy, among the various colleges in a State. It may be that we will see develop colleges which, in this discipline or that, provide courses which are analogous to similar courses in the earlier years at a university, and which are either an end in themselves in that they lead to a diploma recognised as a really significant qualification, or which may lead - depending on the standard achieved by the student - to post-diploma transfer to a university, with credit for work done, and progress to a degree. It may be that we shall see in the technical disciplines a diploma course which is still, as it is now, a course leading in itself to a significant qualification but which can lead to post-diploma study, not in an existing university, but in a foundation in each State which takes the best diploma graduates and conducts them to a Bachelor of Technology, or Master of Technology, degree in the single location where there can be concentrated the best teachers and the best facilities for practical research in conjunction with industry. Such developments, which can be determined only by discussion and agreement between the Commonwealth and each State Institute, are matters for hammering out in the workshop of ideas which will be contributed by academic circles, industrial circles, public bodies, and the community and their representatives. But I repeat that the Government does endorse the general broad concept and for its part will provide fi for £1 for capital and £1 for £1.85 for recurrent expenses to develop that concept within the bounds which I have specified.
Before leaving the subject I must refer to an immediate specific recommendation which the Committee makes concerning institutes of colleges. It recommends grants, of which the Commonwealth’s share is £2.5 million to be available in 1965 and 1966 in specified amounts to specified col leges. Honorable senators will find their list of these colleges, and the amounts recommended for each, in the appendix attached to this statement. With the concurrence of the Senate I shall include the list in “ Hansard “.
The actual purposes of these grants have not been examined in detail and are not known to us, or to the States, in the way in which the actual purposes of the interim grants to universities are known, and they will require further discussion. We cannot therefore specifically endorse them as we do in the case of the interim grants to universities. But we, for our part, now stand ready to receive from the relevant States, or from autonomous institutes of colleges where States have set them up, propositions for the expenditure at the named colleges of the amounts recommended for each college; and to carry on discussions with them on the approval of, and the application of, such amounts in those colleges. We do not, however, stand prepared to make interim grants to the proposed boards of teacher education or to the “ other institutions “ recommended by the Committee.
We do not, ourselves, intend to establish a Commonwealth institute of colleges, for the three colleges operated by the Services have a specialised role, as has the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Nor do we propose to establish an Australian college of external studies to be responsible for all external studies throughout Australia since we believe that the existing universities can best provide courses for external students who need to study at university level, and that other existing institutions can cater for those who wish to study at other levels.
The next important recommendation of the Committee is that the Commonwealth should enter the existing field of teacher training, both by way of an interim capital grant of £1.25 million and by way of £1 for £1 grants for capital and £1 for £1.85 grants for recurrent expenses in the 1967-69 triennium and after. Important as this field is, the Commonwealth is not prepared to enter it. It is one which has been the exclusive responsibility of the States and is, in each State, closely bound up with the State Education Department’s judgment as to the training it wishes teachers in its schools to have, and as to the manner in which it decides to run its primary and secondary schools. Moreover, on the evidence of the State education ministers themselves, the amount of capital required in this specialised field, in order to bring standards up to what they would regard as satisfactory, is not large - amounting to a total requirement covering the needs of all six States of £1.25 million annually over a period of four years. And the recurrent expenses of the teachers’ colleges - excluding salaries paid to trainees - are also, compared to the requirements of universities and colleges, not great. The impact of the Committee’s recommendations as to the length of a teacher training course, and as to the standard required of a student before he embarks upon it, would vary widely between States and the removal of teachers’ colleges from the control of State Education Departments is clearly one which is primarily for the States to determine. Therefore, while we do not in the least denigrate the importance of the Committee’s recommendation in this field, we believe that it is one where action can be, and should be, left to the State Governments who have before them the Committee’s recommendations for adoption and action should they so decide. It follows, also, that we have not accepted the Committee’s proposals for a separate scheme of scholarships for teachers’ college students.
I now turn to some general recommendations as to universities, on which, at this stage, I wish to make our views plain. First, the Committee makes the firm recommendation that no new universities, other than those for which provision is made in this Report, should be established during the period up to 1975. While we agree that during this period most of our effort as to new establishments should be concentrated on the proposed new type tertiary institutions, we feel that a firm decision against establishing any new university, looking so far ahead, should not be taken. The growth and distribution of population throughout Australia might, in the period under discussion, be such that a new university would be justified in this area or that. Consequently, while we endorse the general approach inherent in the Committee’s recommendations, we are not prepared to say firmly that during the period no new university should be established. Secondly, the Committee recommends the reduction and gradual elimination of part time and externa! studies at universities. The Government does not agree with this recommendation and does not wish the Universities Commission to adopt such an approach in its discussions with, or its recommendations concerning, universities. We believe, as I have said, that there are many reasons for not discouraging the part time undergraduate and we feel that part time courses and external studies have a valuable part to play in providing refresher courses for graduates and in providing instruction at university level to graduates or non-graduates whether such people are seeking to obtain a degree from such part time study or merely to master some one subject which they feel will be of assistance or benefit to them.
How much effort a university puts into part-time studies, or external studies, will be for the governing body of that university to decide but, for our part, we do not believe that any university which wishes to do so should be discouraged, and we are ready to continue to provide financial assistance for these purposes. Thirdly, the Committee suggests that universities should have enrolments which are not smaller than 4,000 or greater than 10,000. We agree that a university should have, or should have the reasonable prospect of achieving, an enrolment of at least 4,000; but we do not endorse the proposition that enrolments should not be more than 10,000. There is a substantial body of opinion which holds that much larger universities than one with an enrolment of 10,000 are necessary and desirable. We feel that the size of a university must be related, amongst other things, to the area it occupies and to the opinions of its governing body and we are not therefore prepared to endorse any arbitrary upper limit as to the size beyond which a university should not grow.
The Committee has recommended that the triennial grants to universities and also to technical colleges should be subject to review so that supplementary grants may be made when changes in salaries and wages justify them. We interpret this recommendation as being limited to reimbursing a university or college for increases in salaries paid directly by it to its employees. Such supplements have been the practice in regard to variations in academic salaries and the Government is prepared to consider recommendations for supplementary recurrent grants to offset increased costs arising from variations in awards affecting wages and non-academic salaries. However, we will need to be satisfied in each case that the increases cannot be provided from the normal recurrent grants. We will make this our policy both for universities and for technical colleges in the 1967-69 triennium. These are all matters on which we wish our attitude to be clear both to universities and to the Commission, for we would not wish future recommendations as to universities to bc influenced by a mistaken idea of our attitude.
The final matter I refer to in this review is that of allocations of funds to universities for purposes of research, and to scientific research generally. Honorable senators will recall that the second report of the Universities Commission recommended that during (‘he calendar years 1964, 1965 and 1966, a total of £5 million should be provided for universities to support research activities at post-graduate level. Of the £5 million, half was to be provided by the Commonwealth and half by the States. The Commission had not, at the time of the Report, reached a stage where it felt it could make recommendations for the distribution of these funds among universities and therefore confined its recommendation, in the first instance, to the distribution of £1 million in the year 1964.
When introducing the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill in October 1963, the Prime Minister accepted the recommendation for this initial distribution and said that he hoped the Government would shortly take an opportunity to look at the whole question of Commonwealth involvement in research in Australia. This we have now done. The universities were told, last year, that a further £1 million or our share of it, would be available in universities during 1965 for the same purposes as in 1964, and I now announce that our share of another £1 million will be available in 1966, on the same basis as to distribution. After that date, we feel, the Commission should include provision for this form of research grant, bound up as it is with post-graduate teaching, in the general recommendations which it makes for capital and recurrent grants to universities.
Of the £5 million recommended for research activities in the 1964-66 triennium, this would still leave undistributed £1 million of Commonwealth funds and a matching amount from the States. We believe that this sum should be available for particular selected research projects to be carried out by individuals or research teams. We therefore propose to make £1 million available for such particular research projects and to set up an advisory committee to which we shall refer requests for assistance from such individuals or research teams. We will look to this committee for advice as to allocations, within the limits of the money available, for such proposals. The committee will receive proposals, in the main, from research workers in universities, although applications from persons working outside universities will not be debarred unless such persons are working for Government authorities. Commonwealth money from this fund will be available on the advice of the committee, subject, in each case involving a university, to a matching grant from the State in which the research is to be carried out. As I have said, these research grants are not intended for use exclusively in scientific disciplines, nor need the total amount be spent in the 1964-66 triennium.
While on this subject I take the opportunity to announce that we have decided that there ought to be a body to advise the Government on the most effective methods of co-ordinating, and achieving results from, expenditure on research through the universities, through the Government’s own agencies, and through any other bodies to which grants are made by the Government. What we seek is a situation in which, the Government having decided what proportion of national income can go to scientific research, and having indicated its views of the general fields in which advances would, economically, most benefit the nation, some competent advisory body would recommend the allocation of available money among the various governmental research bodies, the universities, and others. We will therefore study the various methods which have been developed for this purpose in overseas countries.
The end desired to be achieved is clear, but it is also clear that the means to that end adopted by other countries vary considerably. But the best machinery for Australian conditions is not easily to be decided, and the study I have announced will therefore take place to try to arrive at the best answer for us. In conclusion I state that we are ready now to receive proposals from the States in those fields where agreement is necessary for action and. they now knowing both the extent and the limits of our assistance, to carry on the discussions necessary for agreement to be reached, and action to be taken.
I present the following paper -
Tertiary Education in Australia - Report of Committee - Ministerial Statement, dated 24th March, 1965- and move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman). - I have received from Senator O’Byrne 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 grave anomalies in the rates of pay to female members of the Defence Forces, in particular members of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps.
I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till tomorrow at 11.30 a.m.
Mr. Deputy President, it is with a deep sense of responsibility that I take the opportunity to raise this matter on behalf of the Opposition in the Senate. My purpose is to draw the attention of the Senate and of the people of Australia to the anomalies that exist in the rates of pay of female members of the defence forces, particularly members of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps. For the purposes of comparison I shall use the female ranks of the Army because they canbe more easily compared with the male ranks than is the case in the other Services. In the Navy, female personnel are classified mainly in the nursing section. In the Air Force, females are classified as wing officers, squadron officers and section officers, corresponding to the male ranks of wing commander, squadron leader and flight lieutenant. In the Army the ranks for both males and females descend as follows - major, captain, lieutenant, warrant officer 1st class and 2nd class, staff sergeant, sergeant, corporal, lance corporal and private. So, in order to bring the anomalies home clearly, I have chosen as the basis of comparison, the Woman’s Royal Australian Army Corps.
In this chamber on 9th April last year, the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), speaking in a debate on equal pay for the sexes for equal work, admitted that his Government accepted the principle of equal pay. I understand that that principle is embodied in the policy and platform of the Liberal Party as an objective which the party hopes to achieve. During the course of the debate last year the Minister went on to explain that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is accepted by the Australian people as the medium for determining rates of remuneration. I would like to point out that female members of the armed Services have no access to the Commission. As a matter of fact, in the reference library of this Parliament one can find very few records showing that Service pay has been considered in relation to the pay of females in industry.
I would like to point out to the Senate that a male lieutenant in the Army receives £41s. a day, while a female receives £2 10s. l1d. a day. A male capain receives £5 3s. 9d. a day, as compared with £3 5s. 6d. for a female captain. A male major receives £71s. 7d. a day as compared with £3 16s. 7d. for a female. This relative scale continues down the line. A male warrant officer 1st class receives £3 6s. 2d. a day while a female receives £211s. 9d. A male warrant officer 2nd class receives £3 3s. and a female £2 9s. 8d. A male staff sergeant receives £2 18s. l0d. and a female £2 6s. lid. A male sergeant receives £3 8s. Id. and a female £2 3s. lid. A male corporal receives £3 2s. 3d. and a female £1 15s. Id. A male lance-corporal receives £2 4s. 2d. and a female £1 12s. Id. while a male private receives £2 ls. 3d. and a female private £1 10s. 2d. For this comparison I have selected a lieutenant in the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps who receives lis. 4d. per day less than a corporal with no trade at all, and in many cases the corporal is under the control of and answerable to the lieutenant.
– Would the honorable senator give me the rates of pay for the corporal?
– A male corporal in Group 1 receives a base rate of £2 8s. 7d. per day, and in Group 7 he receives £3 2s. 3d. per day.
– What is the female rate?
– A female corporal in Group 1 receives £1 15s. Id. per day, and in Group 7 she receives £2 8s. 9d. per day.
– If the female lieutenant receives £2 10s. Hd. and the female corporal receives £1 15s. Id., I find those figures inconsistent with the statement that a female corporal receives lis. 4d. more than a female lieutenant.
Senator O’BYRNE__ I did not say that.
– It is confusing to me.
Senator O’BYRNE__ It is rather difficult to explain these matters because of the figures that have to be produced. I am establishing that the principle of equal pay for equal work in respect of females in the Army has not been followed in accordance with what the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) said last year when outlining the Government’s policy during the debate on equal pay for equal work. He referred to 8 statement which was made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) on 8th October 1962, who said, amongst other things -
The Commonwealth Government’s obligations under the Constitution of the I.L.O. with respect to the instruments are to consider itself whether effect can be given to them;
He also added - to refer them to the State Governments and consult with such Governments about their implementation; to inform the Commonwealth Parliament and the Director-General of the I.L.O. about the outcome; to submit reports to the I.L.O. as requested; and to consult with the States from time to time to review the possibility of implementation. The Commonwealth Government has honoured these obligations in every particular.
– When did he say that?
– Senator Gorton said that when he was speaking during a debate on equal pay for equal work on 9th April last year.
– The honorable senator has just referred to a statement made in October 1962.
– Senator Gorton was quoting a statement which the Minister for Labour and National Service made on 8th October 1962, The point I am making is that the female members of the armed Services have not been covered by the statements of either Senator Gorton or Mr. McMahon. As a consequence, we find that the differential between the male rate and the female rate ranges from 54 per cent, up to a little over 60 per cent.
In 1937 the Federal basic wage for females was fixed at 54 per cent, of the male wage. I can refer to cases in which the differential between the male and the female rate in the armed Services remains at the 1937 Federal basic wage level. In the 1949-50 basic wage inquiry the judges who conducted the inquiry fixed the female basic wage for Federal awards at 75 per cent, of the male rate. In most States the wagefixing authorities followed the Federal lead and raised the basic wage for females to 75 per cent, of the male rate.
A male lieutenant in the first year of service in the Army receives £4 ls. per day as against £2 10s. lid. per day for the female lieutenant, which is 63 per cent, of the male rate, but after four years or more the female lieutenant receives £2 14s. per day as against £4 14s. lOd. per day for the male lieutenant. That represents 56 per cent, of the male rate. A female captain after four years receives 53 per cent, of the male rate.
The Australian Labour Party has expounded from time to time its attitude towards this whole subject of equal pay for equal work. The Federal Leader of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Calwell, in his policy speech said -
The States which have pioneered the raising of the status of women, socially, politically and industrially, have been New South Wales and Tasmania. Women covered by the Female Rates Act were granted equal pay on 1st January 1963. All women teachers, of whom there were 12,000, and approximately 600 other public servants, 400 hostel cooks, 400 to 500 petrol sellers, many sections of :nunicipal employees and some 15 additional categories of shop assistants came under the provisions of the Female Rates Act of 1958. It is important to note that at the present time employers in New South Wales can avoid the implications of State legislation by transferring to the Federal jurisdiction. The point I am making is that the female members of the armed forces cannot transfer to any other jurisdiction but that of the financial section of the defence forces. Over the years these anomalies have been perpetuated, and it is the responsibility of this Government to make an immediate review of the matter.
During the course of the Senate debate on equal pay for equal work last year, Senator Wedgwood was quite forthright in her views. She said she regretted that the debate on equal pay for men and women was turning into a party political debate, because she felt that the cause of women would be greatly prejudiced should it continue in that form. I say to Senator Wedgwood that unless this matter of equal pay for men and women is raised, the present Liberal-Country Party coalition Govern ment will continue to shirk its responsibilities on the issue. Senator Wedgwood said -
There is a great amount of frustration in the minds of women in the professional classes. This is so particularly in the case of women teachers who are called upon to qualify for a certain position. They and many other women have to undergo the same competitive eliminative examinations as mcn and they find on appointment, particularly in the Public Service, that they work side by side with men who have inferior qualifications and inferior capacities, and they receive less remuneration than the men do for the work.
In the armed Services not only do people of equal rank working side by side and doing the same work receive differential rates, but also women with ranks which are three, four or five degrees higher are working for less remuneration than male members of their staff. Earlier, I pointed out that a female lieutenant receives £2 10s. lid. a day whilst a male corporal on her staff receives £3 2s. 3d. a day. A female corporal working in the same office or the same area receives £1 15s. Id. a day. A staff captain filling a male vacancy gets 2s. 6d. more than is received by the male sergeant clerks whom she controls on her staff.
These matters are of great importance because of the principle that is involved in them. It has been recognised by the defence forces and by the Government that there are certain areas in which no discrimination can be made. For instance, all army personnel living out receive the same living out allowances, irrespective of sex. Male and female members pay the mess fees appropriate to rank, regardless of sex. All members, regardless of sex, receive equal clothing allowance, travelling allowance and meal allowance, but a male member receives a marriage allowance whilst a female member receives nil. At this level there is discrimination but there is equality when it comes to a matter of the amount of money paid out of the pocket of the member. I bring these anomalies before the Senate for consideration. It is interesting to note that in the New South Wales Public Service equal pay is applied to these categories: Female clerks in positions graded for males, medical officers, microbiologists, pharmacists, psychologists, radiographers, laboratory assistants, analysts, cooks, dental officers, medical technologists, junior registrars, legal clerks, solicitors, draftswomen visual education directors, research officers, physical education supervisors, editors of school magazines, geologists, herd clerks, agronomists, plant pathologists, botanists, and extension officers in the Department of Agriculture. Amongst municipal employees there is equality in such categories as cashiers and car drivers.
I have seen the calibre and quality of the women who are selected and who become permanent members of the armed Services. They have a high level of intelligence and they are dedicated and conscientious. Their counterparts in the Public Service and in outside fields have had their status recognised. In New South Wales they have equality. Elsewhere throughout the Commonwealth women are entitled to at least 75 per cent, of the male rate. I have a comparison of the rates received in the teaching services of the various States. In Victoria women receive from 80 to 93 per cent, of the male rate, in South Australia an average of 85 per cent., and in Western Australia between 80 and 90 per cent. In New South Wales there has been equality since 1st January 1963. In Queensland women receive 90 per cent, of the male rate. In Tasmania women have averaged between 82 and 90 per cent, of the male rate and since 1st January of this year margins have been equal.
An effort was made in Tasmania to have legislation to provide for equal pay for equal work. It was passed by the House of Assembly but when it went to the Legislative Council - a notoriously reactionary group of people - the measure was defeated. As Senator Wedgwood said, the day will come when the principle of equal pay for equal work will be accepted generally. Included in that acceptance are many other things relating to recognition of the status of women.
– What is the present proportion in the Commonwealth Public Service?
– Seventy-five per cent. Various awards have included figures in excess of that, but that is accepted as the norm.
– What is the percentage in relation to margins for skill?
– I understand that in the awards that have been brought down by the courts there is equality in the margins for skill, but that is another matter. The point I continue to stress is that the base rate for females accepted by the arbitration tribunal is 75 per cent, of the male rate, but this is not the case with females in the Defence Forces.
I now refer to the legislation that has been introduced in New South Wales. On 1st January 1959 female workers in industry in that State were granted 80 per cent, of the male rate. In January 1 960 this was increased to 85 per cent., in January 1961 to 90 per cent., in January 1962 to 95 per cent, and in January 1963 to 100 per cent. That proves that this principle has been accepted in New South Wales. Legislation was introduced to give effect to the State Government’s proposals and the matter is no longer in dispute. But in the Commonwealth sphere, with the Government professing its desire to accept this principle and with the opportunity always at hand to implement its desire, nothing has been done. Is the Commonwealth Government for or against the principle? I should like to see the tame senators on the Government side do what governments do at the United Nations or at conferences of the International Labour. Organisation - either abstain from voting against their principles or vote in favour of action being taken immediately to correct the anomaly.
While this anomaly exists the best interests of the armed Services, particularly in relation to female members, are not being served. During the last 18 months I understand that 12 female officers have left the Army and only six have been recruited. In 1963-64, 163 other ranks left the Services and enlistments totalled only 142. Surely this alone should prove to the Government that its unfair treatment of female members of the Services is not only basically wrong but is also doing a grave disservice to the Army.
Women have come a long way in their battle for equality. I have met women in responsible positions and their claim for equality cannot be doubted. Senator McKellar stated last year that there is a difference in the nature of work performed by men and women. He asked who would like to see a woman in a shirt. Well, the Army girls wear shirts. He then went on with a lot of other nonsense about the mastery of man, but we must face the facts of life.
– It is the women wearing the trousers of whom we have to be afraid.
– They are doing that, too, in many cases.
– They are still rocking the cradle.
– They are doing that as overtime.
– They have gained civil rights.
– They have gained civil rights; they have gained equality and political rights; they have gained equality in educational opportunities, and they have gained entry to most occupations but their work is valued at a lower rate than that of men. Women in the social, political and educational field perform very important work, but it is a melancholy fact that in economic terms of hard cash women in the armed Services of this country have been robbed by this Government and will continue to be robbed by this Government until such time as the anomalies that exist in rates of pay have been removed.
– The Opposition has raised as a matter of urgent public importance alleged grave anomalies in the rates of pay of female members of the defence forces with particular reference to the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps. No-one in this place would wish anomalies to exist for any longer than is necessary. The Government has been made well aware of the position that the Opposition has now placed before us. Indeed, many government supporters in this and in another place have made representations about this particular matter. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, herself an ex-servicewoman of distinction, has been persistently active in this field as have her colleagues Senators Wedgwood, Buttfield and Breen.
– They have not had much success.
– If the honorable senator has a little patience I will tell him all about it. Following receipt of these representations the Government set up an expert inter-departmental committee to examine the matter. Only last week this committee completed its investigations and its findings are now under active consideration by the Government. Do I note an interesting coincidence in this matter of urgency which the Opposition has now raised?
– What is it?
– It is that the Opposition should raise this matter now when it is under active consideration by the Government following receipt about a week ago of the report of the expert committee.
– Madam Acting Deputy President, I raise a point of order. No honorable senator is allowed to imply motives to another honorable senator. I resent the Minister’s suggestion and I ask him to withdraw it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wedgwood). - Order! The point of order is not upheld. Senator Henty did not refer specifically to Senator O’Byrne.
– All I said was: “ Do I note an interesting coincidence?” The honorable senator’s reaction suggests that perhaps I touched a tender spot a little deeper than I had thought.
– The Minister did not touch deeply at all. He made an implication in a snide way.
– Then let me put the matter this way: It is an interesting coincidence that the Opposition has raised this matter as one of urgent public importance when, in fact, it is under active consideration by the Government following receipt about a week ago of the report of the expert committee which was set up to investigate this question.
– It has been kept a secret.
– I wonder whether it has been kept a secret. One is entitled to wonder whether the Opposition is trying to jump on the bandwagon knowing that increased male rates of pay became effective on 25th June 1964.
– Those increases applied to members of the Army but I referred to members of the Air Force and the Navy as well.
– I am referring to the Army because the honorable senator referred to the Army. That is the subject of this discussion.
– The subject referred to defence Services.
– One knows full well that male rates having been increased following an expert examination, female rates must follow. The question is not when female rates will be increased but by how much they will be increased. However, I have merely mentioned to the Senate what I think is a very interesting coincidence. It smells to me of a jump on the bandwagon.
During the review of the rates of pay of male servicemen it was decided to defer any review of female rates of pay until those of male officers had been determined. Increased male rates of pay became effective on 25th June 1964, as I have said, and the committee which was set up to investigate the question of increased female rates of pay has now completed its investigations and its report is before the Government. I suggest that any finding on increased female rates would, of course, operate from the date applicable to the male rates - that is, 25th June 1964.
The figures given by Senator O’Byrne were quite correct but he was quoting the new male rates which became effective on 25th June 1964 against the old rates for females which are under consideration and have not been brought up to the male rates at this stage.
– How could Senator O’Byrne have quoted them if you have not the new rates yet?
– I have said that Senator O’Byrne’s figures were correct but he was citing the new male rates against the old rates for females which are being examined. During the Second World War. members of the women’s auxiliary services, both officers and other ranks, were paid 662/3 per cent, of the equivalent male rates of pay. During that period a Labour Government was in office and was aware of these figures. On 16th March 1948, during the regime of the previous Labour Government, a sub-committee of the Cabinet approved a recommendation by an interdepartmental committee that rates of pay for women officers up to and including the ranks of major in the Australian Army Medical Women’s Services and matron in the nursing services should be broadly twothirds of the rates for male officers of com parable rank. That was a recommendation by a Cabinet sub-committee and at that time a Labour Government was in office. Rates approved for lieutenant-colonel and colonel were two-thirds of the “ on promotion” male rate for equivalent rank.
Following a review of pay rates of male members in 1950, pay rates were examined for the women’s services and early in 1951 a Cabinet sub-committee approved new rates for women officers based on 75 per cent, of the male basic wage and 662/3 per cent, of the relevant margin for skill. This was when the Liberal Government was in office in 1951. It increased the rates approved by a Labour Government subcommittee of 1948 to 75 per cent, of the male basic wage and 662/3 per cent, of the relevant margin for skill. The new rates took account of the application of the basic wage to female members of the Public Service.
In1958-59, the Allison Committee considered a recommendation by the Services that the basis for calculating rates of pay for women members should be 75 per cent, of the male basic wage, and 100 per cent, of the margin for skill and 75 per cent, of the margin for rank. The Committee accepted the 100 per cent, of margin for skill recommendation in respect of other ranks where the work performed was identical with that of males and where they were interchangeable with males and the productivity was the same.
– When was that?
– In 1958-59. Accordingly, it recommended that the existing basis of 662/3 per cent, of the male margin for rank be continued. The effect of this recommendation was to produce the following bases for calculating pay for female members of the Services -
In the Commonwealth Public Service females are paid 75 per cent, of the male basic wage and 100 per cent, of the margin for skill. In the Australian Capital Territory, women shop assistants recently were granted equal margins for skill. The trend in both Australian industry and the Public Service is clearly towards equal wages for women where skills and work values are equal. The same situation exists in several other of the more enlightened countries some of which have economies which are less developed than ours. The Allison Committee recognised the trend in its 1959 recommendation relating to pay rates for women other rank members of the Services.
Women Service officers fall into two main categories - nurses and “others”. In the past, the pay rates for both categories of women officers have been the same. This principle should be retained. Women officers are appointed to commissions in the regular forces in the same way as are male officers. They are appointed with the minimum equivalent rank of lieutenant in the Army and although the wastage rate is higher than it is with male officers, some make full careers in the Services. Because of their small numbers, established posts above the rank of captain are few and promotion prospects are not as good as for male officers. It is therefore important that women officers’ pay rates should be attractive and thereby compensate for limited promotion prospects.
Women officers are subject to the same disciplinary code as are male officers and possess the same disciplinary powers in respect of female and, in the Army, male subordinates. In this context, their responsibilities are directly comparable with those of male officers who exercise disciplinary control over subordinates. Women officers may be required to serve anywhere, including the forward operational areas and, ir. the case of nurses, in hospital ships and on medical air evacuation duties. Such duties expose them to the same occupation hazards and disadvantages of service life as male officers. Clearly, the duties of women officers of the Services are not directly comparable with any civilian counterpart. Their conditions of service and responsibilities are such that the only logical comparison is with male officers of the Services. It follows that their pay rates should also be related directly to male pay rates as they have been since the last war. All that remains is to determine what this relationship should be.
– What page has the Minister reached in his statement?
– Senator Cavanagh is absent from this House so many times that he does not have to know what page I have reached. He can adopt his usual practice and go out of the chamber. Since 1951, the basis of women officers’ pay has been 75 per cent, of the basic wage and 661 per cent, of the male margin. This is now a much lower relativity than most female salaries in non-service environments where equal margins or margins of a higher percentage than 66J per cent, are now paid. The pay rise which was agreed to apply from 25th June 1964 to male officers included a new look at the military profession and resulted in a rate suitable for the profession of arms being decided upon. This stems from the awards to engineers and other professions.
Women officers., when considered side by side with their civilian counterparts, have certain advantages which must be considered. In the Services they have rations and quarters provided equivalent to £187 per annum. They have free medical and dental treatment. They have an initial free issue of uniform plus a separate allowance and in addition a clothes maintenance allowance of £50 per annum. They have cover under the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act and the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act. They have furlough such as is given in the Commonwealth Public Service. Their salary includes £91 per annum compensation for disabilities of Service life and the non-availability of penalty conditions such as overtime.
This matter is under the Government’s active consideration, and I think that answers any suggestion made by Senator O’Byrne that the Government is shirking its responsibilities.
– You are taking a long while.
– I would like the honorable senator to note that I ask for no withdrawal of that remark. The honorable senator is a little tender this afternoon. I answer his remark by saying that this matter is completed. That is an answer to any suggestion that the Government is shirking its responsibilities. In his comparison of rates, the honorable senator said that married officers or married ranks in the Army received a special allowance while married females did not receive such an allowance. My advisers tell me that there are no married females in the Army. The husband is expected to keep his wife. Therefore this allowance is for males only.
Having these facts in mind, and the fact that this matter has been dealt with, I think 1 can say on behalf of honorable senators on this side of the chamber that it has taken a little longer to deal with than we would have liked and longer than the Opposition would have liked. I cannot get out of my mind - it is a suspicious mind - that ever since July 1964 when the rates of pay for male officers were altered we have heard not one word from the Opposition. Yet the Opposition brings this matter forward as an urgency motion one week after it has been decided by the Committee and when it is before the Government on recommendation. I really think that this is a case of grandstanding.
– I regret that the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) takes this attitude and says, as he terms it, that it is a case of grandstanding. He says that this matter was fixed a week ago. I even doubt that statement. I do not think it was fixed a week ago. As far as the official attitude is concerned, it is still not fixed yet. Any departmental committee that might be meeting or any departmental investigation that might be held certainly does not mean that it has been fixed, to use his term, and the matter is certainly not before this Parliament. Any decision that may have been made is not within the comprehension of this Parliament to be debated today and therefore, as far as this Parliament is concerned, the matter is still in abeyance.
The interesting thing is that on the Minister’s own data, wage rates were adjusted in the Army in June last and, as Senator O’Byrne corrected him by interjection, it was done in January of this year in the other two armed Services. To take Senator Henty’s statement that it was June of last year, it is now nine months later and the rest of the Services have not had their pay rates brought up to the same level or to the level that they think fit. There has been no investigation made of the matter for nin? months and yet the Government wonders why there is discontent, not only in the armed Services, but among whatever people the Government deals with. Today there are stop work meetings throughout Australia because two Public Service unions are merely asking that they be permitted to have talks with the Commonwealth Public Service Board. We have the situation of the High Council of Commonwealth Public Service organisations, which is the representative of the rest of the unions in the Public Service, waiting to go to the Prime Minister of Australia to say: “ For goodness sake, put more staff on the Public Service Board so that at least they will talk to us about our wage claims.” I mention that in passing. Does the Government realise that it is a lackadaisical attitude it is taking to these things over which it has jurisdiction?
There is a principle involved in this which the Minister was very careful to sidestep. I regret he did that. When Senator McKenna raised the general question of equal pay on 9th April 1964, there were two Ministers who tried to have 5s. each way. But at least they did say what the Minister did not say today - that the Government agreed broadly with this principle of equal pay for the sexes. The Government went on to say that because of this that and the other thing, the matter could be brought before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. In a past debate I remember congratulating the lady in the Chair today, Senator Wedgwood, when she put her finger on this whole problem. She said that the armed forces cannot be divorced from the general principle of equal pay for the sexes. She said that it was a question of simple justice. She did go on to say that even though it was a matter of simple justice somebody subordinate to the Government - suggesting the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission - could take up this whole question under its own steam. If the Government believes that, it should instruct the Commission tomorrow morning to investigate and report on the proposal for equal pay, the desirability of it, and its cost. I hope that if ever we can stir the Government to do that, that when the report is prepared it will not come down like the report of the Allison committee, which the Minister spoke about, which is the most secret document I have ever heard of in this place. The Minister took advantage of quoting from the Allison report but he is the only senator in this chamber who has a copy of it.
– Have you seen it?
– No. It has never been tabled and it has never been seen. The Government has it. The honorable senator should look at the questions in “ Hansard “ over the years where Government supporters and Ministers have said they were unable to get it. This matter was debated on the 9th April 1964. I quote from “ Hansard “ of that date. Senator Anderson said -
I make that point because the Opposition has based its case on the statement that the Government is diametrically opposed to equal pay for the sexes whereas in point of fact it is not.
But the Government could have fooled me because of the way it has carried on. Then Senator Anderson quoted from a document as follows -
Since the 1920’s it has been the practice in the Commonwealth Public Service to pay to females and males alike the same margin where they occupy the same positions.
As Senator Henty pointed out quite correctly a moment ago the situation in the armed forces today is that women do receive 75 per cent, of the male basic wage, as in outside industry.
– No. If I remember correctly it is 66) per cent.
– No. My information is that the Commonwealth Public Service and the women’s Services are in line with outside industry in general. They all receive 75 per cent, of the base rate for males. That base rate varies in outside industry. This means that there is a full total wage being paid and whether it is jiggled with reels or merry-go-rounds it does not matter. Sometimes a higher margin has to be paid to women to bring their pay up to the male basic wage. As I have said, women in the Services receive 75 per cent, of the male rate. When we come to the rate for responsibilities for rank it is then that the women receive 66) per cent, of what I might term the margin. There is a base rate for a person in the Army. Added to that is an allowance for their rank. If the person concerned is a lance corporal he is paid 2s. 1 Id. for the rank. In addition there is a variable rate for a particular skill which, in the case of a lance corporal, varies from 2s. 6d. to 17s. 2d. So actually there are three components in the fixing of the wage. In the first component women receive 75 per cent, of the base rate. In the second, they receive 66) per cent, of the component for rank. In addition they receive a margin for skill.
I suggest that in paying those rates the Government is not upholding what it claims to be doing in the Commonwealth Public Service where, to use the words of Senator Anderson, female employees receive the full amount for margins. In my book, a margin is a margin - that is, anything that one receives over and above the basic wage. It is true that some of the disability payments are the same for both men and women. As Senator Henty has pointed out, until comparatively recently, in calculating pay for female members of the Services officers received 75 per cent, of the male basic wage plus 66) per cent, of margin for rank. In the pay of an officer nothing is allowed as a margin for skill such as is paid to other ranks; the rate is fixed as an officers rate and is applicable to the appropriate rank. So the Government is not carrying through from the Commonwealth Public Service to the female members of the armed Services the rates that it ought to be paying.
I do not see how honorable senators opposite can debate this subject without discussing the principle involved. On 9th April last, when we were debating the principle of equal pay for men and women for work of equal value, we pointed out that the Government then had a golden opportunity to apply that principle to the Public Service. It was claimed that to do so would set a precedent. We are now asking the Government to consider the matter as it affects a narrower field. It is a field which does not come as much to the fore as does the field we discussed last year, because in peace-time a comparatively .small number of women are employed in the armed Services. When the Government introduced its conscription legislation last year, we pointed out that if it had run the armed Services in the way in which they should have been run there would have been no need to introduce conscription. The evidence we have brought forward today supports what we said on that occasion.
If the Government wants to bring women into the armed Services and wants them to make a career within the Services, it ought to be offering them some inducement. By doing that the Government would be helping to provide a firm base for further expansion. All that a government can do in peace-time is to ensure the establishment of a trained base upon which expanded infantry forces and the like may rest. The Government cannot establish that base so effectively when it gets away from this principle of equal pay for equal work, which has been enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights, which has been mentioned in debates of the United Nations ever since the establishment of that organisation, which has been referred to in declarations of the International Labour Organisation to which this country is a .party, and which has been upheld in the Treaty of Rome.
It has been stated that this principle has not been adopted in outside industry. Let me mention a few Federal awards under which the total pay received by women is the same as that received by men. I refer to the Confectioners Award of 1959; the Footwear (Wood, Heel, Last, Counter, Unishank and Toe Puff) Manufacturing Award of 1951; the Graphic Arts (Interim) Award of 1957; The Journalists (Australian Associated Press) Agreement of 1959; the Journalists (Worker Newspaper, Sydney) Award; the Marine Stewards Award; the Hotel Employees (Northern Territory) Award; the Musicians Award; the’ Printing Industry (Northern Territory News Services Ltd.) Agreement of 1954; the Rubber, Plastic and Cable Making Industry Award of 1957; the Saddlery, Leather and Canvas Workers Award of 1951; the Felt Hatting Award; the Commonwealth Hostels Award; the Dried Fruits, etc. Industry Award: and the Flax Industry Award. So it is not true to say that in no part of the Australian wage-fixing structure is provision made for equal pay for the sexes. In view of these facts, how can the Government continue to adopt the narrow attitude that has been adopted by Senator Henty and say: “We are doing this because we know there is an inquiry on “? Incidentally, I very much doubt whether the inquiry finished one week ago.
The Government has been set a lead by the United States of America. Indeed, in other spheres in which the Commonwealth has jurisdiction - interstate commerce, commerce with foreign nations and so forth - the Government has demanded that there shall be equal pay for the sexes. I have not checked on the position in the United States of America over the last 12 months, but when we considered this subject in March 1964 twenty-two of the American States had adopted equal pay for the sexes. In the United States, neither the unions nor the employers can sign collective bargaining agreements unless they make provision for the principle of equal pay for the sexes. As adoption of this principle is being advocated all over the world, as it is supported in declarations of the International Labour Organisation, as a lead is being given by the United States, and as we make much of the fact that we do not discriminate between peoples of different colour, class and creed, surely it is -time that we ceased to practise discrimination in the industrial field simply because a person happens to be born as a girl instead of as a boy. The American Constitution declares that all people are born with equal status, and at long last the Americans are recognising that fact in practice. The difference between America and Australia is that America has leadership but Australia is lacking in leadership.
.- I should have thought that the heat would have disappeared from Senator O’Byrne’s proposal after the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty), who represents the Treasurer in this place, had spoken. The Minister satisfied me, but apparently he has not satisfied all members of the Opposition, by his statement that, having removed anomalies in rates of pay for male members of the armed forces, departmental committees have been considering anomalies in rates of pay for female members of the Services. I should have thought that all argument on that aspect of the matter had come to an end.
Senator Willesee has raised an entirely new aspect of the matter. The honorable senator is always succinct and worth listening to. Apparently on this occasion he prepared his speech, which was ably presented, with great speed after the Minister resumed his seat. The honorable senator moved away from the problem of anomalies in rates of pay as between male and female members of the armed Services and dealt with the responsibility of the Government in relation to equal pay for the sexes in the wider civil field. He referred to declarations by the International Labour Organisation and similar bodies. We had a debate on that subject in April of last year. But today we are discussing the position, not of men and women who are engaged in industry, but of those who are engaged in military professions, whether they be in the Navy, the Army or the Air Force - I use the word “ military “ in its widest concept. An equality of service is not demanded from men and women who are engaged in the military profession. I do not care what anybody says to the contrary. We could never get an equality of effort from both sexes. Perhaps in theory an equality of sacrifice is demanded of men and women in the armed Services, but surely there is not one honorable senator in this chamber at the present moment who would advocate that the same risks be demanded of Australian women in times of war or urgency as are expected of men.
– Why not?
– All I can do is to speak from my own personal experience. Curiously enough, a certain standard of morality is expected from some people even when you are engaged in war. However, we discovered during the war against Japan that in relation to the treatment of prisoners, for example, we could not expect from the Japanese the normal’ standard of morality that could be expected of a European power.
In wartime it was the normal practice to establish a casualty clearing station for each division. In those days 12 members of the Army Nursing Service were allotted to a casualty clearing station and no commander in his right senses would put a casualty clearing station staffed by members of the Army Nursing Services in support of a division which could easily be penetrated by the enemy with which the division was engaged. The practice at that time was to place male nursing orderlies in the forward casualty clearing stations instead of members of the Army Nursing Service. I think that action was very proper because it seemed to me impossible that any Australian society would accept the placement of female nurses in forward and poorly defended localities. Who knows but that in the defence of Australia we will not be involved in that problem.
– Do not forget what happened to the Army nurses who were taken prisoners.
– It was because of that experience that we pulled the nurses out of the forward areas and I hope that in future we will do the same.
– Chivalry is one thing, but does not every member of the armed Services have the same duty?
– Not in a war. It is the risk of death that is involved in the profession of arms in wartime. We will go a little further since I seem to have fallen into a bed of feminism. However brave women may be - and they are brave, perhaps braver than the men - the fact is that they cannot adequately replace men in the theatre of operations.
– I have not gone through the pangs of childbirth so that on that subject 1 cannot make any comments. I. revert to my original postulate, that in the armed forces - in this profession of arms which requires the penalty of death in defence on one’s country - you cannot put women into forward positions to accept this responsibility and I would not be a party to such an action.
– I have seen a woman cavalry officer.
– In the Russian Army, when I was liberated from a prisoner of war camp.
– The honorable senator is not advocating that for Australia, is he?
– The honorable senator was saying that women cannot do it.
– I did not say that women cannot do it. I am saying that I would not be a party to such an action and this must be the basis on which you approach the problem as to the relative rates of pay for the sexes inside the Army, Navy or Air Force. Senator Henty, who represents the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes), has made it perfectly clear that, over a vast panorama where women can effectively replace men, in communications, in base areas and the like, they will get completely equal margins for skill. I regard a total wage in relation to the base rate, in the words of one distinguished member of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, as a social wage. I rest my case on this proposition: The social wage for a female officer or other rank in the armed Services is 75 per cent, of the base rate. 1 shall maintain that principle for as long as I am in the Senate, provided that the female margins for skill are equal to those of the males.
– Could the honorable senator guarantee that the report will give the females 75 per cent?
– I am not guaranteeing anything. Senator Henty has said this afternoon in the Senate that, ever since the anomalies in rates of pay for male members of the Services were attended to, an inter departmental committee has been sitting to deal with the problem of anomalies in rates of pay for female members. The Minister said that the committee has recommended that steps be taken to correct the anomalies and that the recommendation has been sent through government channels. 1 assume that it will be acceded to because he evidenced the fact that the trend has been established by other committees which have made recommendations to the Government. 1 am quite satisfied that justice will be done and, as far as I am concerned, this debate does not have much left in it. I am not going to say any more about it.
– This has been a remarkable debate. First the Opposition was accused of timing its raising of this matter of urgency to coincide with the completion by an inter departmental committee of its investigations. Let me say that the Australian Labour Party gave permission last Wednesday to Senator O’Byrne to raise this matter, but the Government had no work for us last Wednesday and the Senate rose on Tuesday. We had to wait until today to raise the matter. I believe that effectively refutes the accusation that the Labour Party knew that there was a report and that it was to be tabled.
Much as I believe in the principle of equal pay for the sexes, that is not the question involved in this debate. The question for discussion at the moment is whether the Government wants women in the Army, but only on the cheap. According to the statutory rules and regulations under the Defence Act of 30th July 1964, the male rates of pay in the Army were increased. What was wrong with increasing the female rates at that time? If the Government does not want women in the Army, that should be said, but they should not be kept in the Army for nearly nine months on the cheap.
Senator O’Byrne has said ; and it has not been contradicted - that a female captain in her first four years of service receives 63 per cent, of the pay of a male captain. After that period the percentage drops to 53 per cent, of the pay of her male counterpart. A female lieutenant receives 63 per cent, of the male rate in her first four years of service and after that she receives 56 per cent. Senator O’Byrne has asked whether this is why women cannot be attracted into the Services - they are cheap labour. If the Government wants them - and I take it that they are wanted - I cannot see why, at least where they are doing equal work, their pay should be kept down to the percentages I have stated, when the male rate has already been fixed. lt seemed to me to be a natural corollary of the increased rates for male members of the Services that the Government would examine the position of women in the Services and at least preserve the previous relativity. It is interesting to note that at this time, as Senator Henty has said, there is a report in front of the Government for consideration. I believe the Government deserves condemnation for not automatically fixing the rates for all members of the Services at the one time. Senator O’Byrne has said that women in the Services receive the same living out allowances as their male counterparts. They have to pay the same amount in the headquarters mess as do male personnel of equal rank; they receive the same clothing allowance, the same travelling allowance and the same meal allowance. It is astounding to me that this position has been allowed to continue since July of last year when the male rates were fixed.
If the figures quoted by Senator O’Byrne are correct - 1 have no reason to doubt them - is it any wonder that dissatisfaction exists? We find that the W.R.A.A.C. lost 12 officers last year and received only six recruits to take their places. Worse still, 163 other ranks left while only 142 were recruited. Does the Government need an extra nine months to consider raising the pay of women in the Services after the pay of the men is increased? Senator O’Byrne’s information is that the total number of women in the Army today is 55 officers and 525 other ranks.
I do not think anyone can fail to gain the impression that it was the intention of the Government to treat this Service, and particularly the women in it, in a way that will not induce people of the calibre that everyone wants to see in the defence of this nation to join up and make a career of military service. I understand, that if a servicewoman in the W.R.A.A.C. reaches the rank of captain at 28 years of age and remains in the Service, as I believe she can, until she has to resign at the age of 50 years, she may get no higher remuneration in those 22 years. The Minister has admitted that there are so few female majors in the Army that it is an impossibility for all of those who wish to attain that rank to do so. I heard what Senator Cormack said about active service. Am I right in saying that it takes eight men behind the line to keep one man in the line?
– It takes nine.
– That is one better. A woman in the Services should be entitled to at least the same rate as those nine men. We say that the Government will not enhance the prestige of the Army or help with the defence of this nation if it adopts what to my mind is a very mean attitude towards the women in the Services. Taking a cue from what the Minister said, all I hope is that the report on the pay of servicewomen will not remain before the Government as long as has another report that it has had before it for quite a number of years. I sincerely hope that if, in the future, rises in pay are given to male members of the Services, the Government will use a little commonsense in this regard. I do not say that in any offensive manner, but we are dealing with the Services and if the Government wants the co-operation which it is entitled to expect from employees, whether they are in the forces or anywhere else, it should treat them as they ought to be treated and not keep them waiting for nine months for well merited pay increases. Whatever the Government decides about the report on the pay of females in the armed forces - I refer particularly to the Army - I hope that it will do the decent thing and date any increase in remuneration back at least to the same time as the men were given rises.
– But the Minister more or less suggested that.
– He suggested it; but I have heard such suggestions for a long time. I suppose we in this place are more concerned with defence today than we have been for a great number of years, and I therefore wonder why a determination of this matter should take even the time the Minister stated. I want to know for how long the committee sat and whether it was asked to get a move on, or whether the Minister was satisfied that this was cheap labour? If that was his idea, the sooner he gets it out of his head the better. We want the best Army we can afford and one that we can be proud of.
– We have that now.
– That may be so, but judging by the way the Government is treating a section of the Army it must think that these people are second grade. We all recognise that, in the world as it is today, this country has an obligation not to rely always on friends, because those friends might not always be willing. Let us pull our weight but, above all, let us have Armed Services in which the personnel are happy with their conditions. I cannot imagine any woman in the Services today having to wait nine months or longer for a rise in pay similar to that granted to the men. All I say is that the Government should pay up and pay quickly.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– Senator Kennelly commenced his speech by saying that this has been a remarkable debate. I do not think that any honorable senator would take that remark away from him. When Senator O’Byrne opened the debate he said that his party was gravely concerned about the anomalies that existed in the rates of pay for the female members of the defence forces. He went on to suggest that the Government had shirked its responsibility in the matter and that it would continue to do so. After the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) had bowled over the Opposition’s argument, Senator Willesee opened up the whole question of equal pay for equal work. He referred to what various organisations throughout the world have said on the matter. Senator Kennelly, the last Opposition speaker in the debate, said .that all that the Government is trying to do is to get cheap labour and that it is not proud of its women’s services.
The Australian Labour Party has put forward its argument in a remarkable way. Dealing first with the question of cheap labour, I point out that during the 1939-45 war the Labour Government was responsible for the introduction of female rates of pay which were the equivalent of 661 per cent, of the male rates.
– Go back to the 1914-18 war.
– No, I will not, because I am moving forward. In 1948, when the war was over, a Cabinet sub-committee approved of a recommendation to pay women officers the equivalent of 66) per cent, of the male rate.
– That was a Labour Government.
– Yes. If, as Senator Kennelly says, this Government is looking for cheap labour, the Labour Party originated the practice. I do not think for one instant that anyone is looking for cheap labour, but there have been anomalies in the rates of pay of women in the armed Services. As the Minister pointed out, many honorable senators on this side of the chamber have noted the anomalies and have made representations to the Government to have them corrected. The Government has taken action through its departmental committee, and its recommendations are now before the Cabinet.
I think that all of us are proud of the part that the women in the armed Services are playing in the defence forces of Australia. Those of us who served in the Army, the Air Force and the Navy during the last war know only too well the part that the women played. I know that many men owe their lives to the work that was done by the women in the Air Force who packed parachutes during the war. 1 know how dependent 1 would have been on them if I had to jump from an aircraft. They worked for long hours to ensure that the parachutes were packed so that if they were required to be used they would save an airman’s life. Also in England we saw the remarkable performance put up by the girls in the Army who manned the anti aircraft guns under trying conditions. They worked in mud and slush and in the cold temperatures of an English winter. Anyone who does not know what an English winter is like has something in store for him if ever he should experience one.
At the present time the girls in the armed Services are training so that they can meet the requirements of a national emergency, should one arise. We want to welcome them into the forces. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber who have seen the anomalies in the rates of pay have endeavoured to bring them before the notice of the Government. I am pleased to hear that the Government has taken action to try to rectify the position. I only hope that Cabinet can see its way clear to act upon the recommendations made in the report by the departmental committee.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Prior to the suspension I was replying to criticism of Government policy which had been made by some Opposition speakers. One honorable senator said that the Government was not prepared to pay a decent wage to women members of the Defence Forces. He said that the Government was trying to get women on the cheap. I made the point that it was a Labour Government which, during the last war, made a decision to pay members of the women’s auxiliary forces, both officers and other ranks, 661 per cent, of male rates. After the war the same Government decided to approve a recommendation by an inter-departmental committee that women officers up to the rank of major and matron in the nursing services be paid, broadly, two-thirds of the rates payable to male officers of comparable rank. I was rather interested to hear Senator Willesee say that the Government should direct the Arbitration Court to lift the rates of pay for women members of the Defence Forces.
– You know that I did not say any such thing.
– I understood the honorable senator to say that, if that was his argument, what would his reaction be if the economic situation warranted a lowering of wages? Would he like the Government to direct the Arbitration Court to reduce them.
– 1 did not say anything like that, so there is no need for me to answer that question.
– I am sorry. One honorable senator opposite said that this Government was not proud of the women in the Services. I made the point that everybody in the country was proud of them. 1 mentioned how I, as an air crew member of the Australian forces during the war, appreciated the services that were rendered in the consientious way that these girls packed parachutes for airmen operating over Europe. Many men owed their lives to the way in which these girls did their work. All of us who served in the European theatre were very impressed with the work of the women in the Army who took over the ack-ack guns and, in atrocious conditions, carried out their duties as well as any man could do them. They certainly played a very valuable part during the war and I know that the women in the Services today would do exactly the same if they were called upon. I only hope that they will not be called upon to perform the duties that those women performed in those days.
In these days the field for employment of women is becoming broader and broader. Senator O’Byrne, I think, by way of interjection mentioned that women had now been put into space and were playing their part in the space age. These things prove that women can play their part equally with men. This enlarged scope for women has created a large number of new jobs for them. Even in the Services new jobs are being opened up every day for women and these new jobs must bring with them anomalies in pay. The Government has said: “ We have brought the male rates of pay up to date, as instanced by the rises for male officers from 25th June last year. Now let us have a look at the rates for women members of the Defence Forces.” I understand from the Minister that an inter departmental committee has examined the situation and made a report to Cabinet. I do not see that the Government could do any more. I am fully behind what it has done and I do not think the Opposition has any real criticism to level at the Government.
– First, I should like to say how much I disagree with the imputation leveled against the mover of the motion, that he acted with malice aforethought because of the imminent publication of this report. We are quite happy to know that the report has been prepared. We would be much happier if we knew it was to see the light of day within the foreseeable future. I should like to know whether Senator Drake-Brockman knew of the existence of this report before the statement was made in the Senate today by the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty). Nobody on this side of the chamber had any knowledge that the report was imminent. This motion was moved not with any idea of trying to steal a march on the Government or anything of that kind.
We have been interested in this question of equal pay for women and we believe that here is one field in which the Government could give a lead to the community. I remember quite well that when the matter was raised in a more general way in this chamber last year and on other occasions, some of my lady colleagues on the opposite side said that the Government could not do anything and that fixation of a wage for females could only be made by an industrial tribunal. They also said that the Australian Council of Trade Unions had not approached the industrial tribunals for a declaration in favour of equal pay for women. Here is one case in which the women concerned cannot apply to an industrial tribunal for a pay rise. It can come only through the instrumentality of the Commonwealth Government. Here is a perfect example where the Government can do something for the women workers who come completely under its jurisdiction without having an intermediary such as a trade union to speak for them.
We all know, of course, that to keep one man in the front line it takes nine men in the back lines. Carrying further the argument that has been adduced this afternoon by Senator Cormack and others, if a woman releases a man for front line duty, she is not doing work of merely equal value; she is doing the work of nine men in letting one man go for combat duty. It is simply begging the question for Senator Cormack to talk about women going into the firing line. We do not and would not want women to go into the firing line. But that is no argument against our plea for equal pay for work of equal value performed by women in the defence forces. We believe that when women in the Services arc doing work of equal value to that performed by men in offices, driving cars and ambulances and so on, they are entitled to equal pay. This is only a matter of elementary justice.
How would my fellow lady senators on the Government side feel if the Government decided to carry their argument further and to say that women senators would not be paid at the full male rate? Surely to goodness, what is good enough for us as women senators is good enough for women in the armed forces. That is my plea. In my prc-senatorial days when I was teaching, I was one of those who advocated that men and women teachers should receive equal pay. Women undergo exactly the same training as do their male colleagues. Very often we women teachers had many more responsibilities than did men, yet we were working for a lower rate of pay. Of course, in every State except New South Wales, the State which has led Australia in all legislation of a social nature, women teachers are paid a lower rate than are their male counterparts although, as I have said, they each undergo exactly the same basic training and need exactly the same qualifications. In fact, in many cases, women need higher qualifications to gain entrance to the profession. Although the field is very competitive, women teachers are paid a lower rate than are men. That does not come into the matter before the Senate tonight, but I have raised it because it is part of the much wider question of equal pay for work of equal value.
We are not asking for anything that is not just and right. We know that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value was accepted by the International Labour Organisation some 14 years ago, and that Australia was a signatory to the convention. We do not want merely lip service to this principle. We want this matter to be settled as speedily as is possible because 14 years is a long time for it to remain in the balance. Here is something which can be done by the Commonwealth Government. This comes completely within its jurisdiction. It should see that women members of the forces are given equal pay for work of equal value. That is the whole point of this argument. You have only to go into an Army office to see men and women doing similar jobs. In many cases, as has been stated by Senator O’Byrne, the woman has the superior qualifications and is ranked higher than the male clerical staff but there is this big disparity in their salaries. This should not be so.
Mention has also been made of the fact that the Labour Government of 1948 did certain things, and that during the war women did not receive equal pay although a Labour government was in office. We admit that. But the Labour Government was in office not by virtue of being elected, remember, but because those who had been elected did not do their job. Labour had to assume office in 1941 when the Japs were knocking at our door. It did not have a majority in either House at that time but despite that disability it was charged with the successful prosecution of the war. When the Labour Government did obtain a majority in the Lower House it was some months before it obtained a majority in the Upper House. Those are facts which cannot be disputed. But even at that time the Labour Government realised that all members of the defence forces, not merely the women, were most inadequately paid.
All honorable senators no doubt remember that the Menzies Government which was in office from 1939 to 1941 thought that our soldiers were worth only 5s. a day. The Labour Government took immediate action to see that all men in the fighting arms of the Services were better recompensed. We do not claim that they were adequately recompensed, particularly by today’s standards, but at least they got a better deal from the Labour Government than they did from the United Australia Party Government, as it was then known, in the first two years of the war.
Senator Henty compared conditions of employment in the armed forces with those outside. He also mentioned that women members of the forces receive board and lodging, medical and dental treatment and so on. We admit all that. But that has no place whatever in this problem. We are not comparing Service and civilian conditions of employment. We are comparing work performed by men and women in exactly the same categories in the Services. That is the point.
We know that these other factors come into the question. We know that members of the Services earn the right to live in barracks and to receive medical and dental treatment only to keep them in good physical condition to carry out their duties efficiently. We know all those things. That has always been the case. There is nothing new in that. No-one has just made the great discovery that members of the forces receive these special rights. They are entitled to these benefits - I do not believe that they are privileges - because they are part of the contract into which servicemen and servicewomen have entered. These things form part of their remuneration. We are not quarrelling with that. In fact, it does not even come into the question before us. But we do dispute the fact that women in the Services do not receive equal pay for work of equal value.
Senator Cormack’s sole contribution to the debate seemed to be his objection to women going into the firing line. We object to that too. We also hope that the day will come when neither men nor women will have to go into the front line. We want to be able to live in peace without the threat of war hanging over our heads. We want all people in the community to be free of the spectre of war and all that goes with it. But until that day comes we must all be realists and realise that in any defence programme provision must be made for certain jobs such as routine office work, car driving, catering and so on, to be performed by women. Because of their innate nature, some of these jobs are done much better by women than by men. We have heard many jokes about Army cooks. I am sure Senator Cormack will admit that women could not do a worse job than is done by men. The jobs that I have mentioned are the kind that should be paid for on the basis of the work performed, not on the basis of the sex of the worker.
All this is only part of the wider question of equal pay for work of equal value.
Other countries - countries which we claim are backward - have already accepted responsibility for this and have passed legislation to give equal pay for work of equal value. We claim that Australia is an advanced country. We talk about our great prosperity. We know that our living standards are ever so much higher than those in many other countries. We know we are very fortunate and we thank God for it, but at the same time we cannot claim all these things and then allow one very important section of the community - the women - to be exploited merely because they are women. For that reason we have brought this matter before the Parliament today. We want to ensure that women in one branch of the Public Service - those in the defence forces - receive justice.
Quite a lot has been made of the fact that the pay rises for men were announced last July and that the Labour Party has taken until now to move for rises for women also. It is said that the Opposition waited until the eve of an announcement by the Government of some alterations in the schedules. But we remind the Government that only quite recently while the Parliament was in recess, new schedules were brought down for the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force and the anomalies of which we complain were allowed to persist. So we hope that if it does nothing else, this debate will help to speed up publication by the Government of the report it has before it and what is more important, to act upon the report. If that is done in the near future, the debate initiated by the Opposition will have served its purpose.
– It is at times like this that I think it must be wonderful to be a member of the Opposition. Honorable senators opposite can rise in their places, make all the promises in the world and offer suggestions to cure the ills of the world and of Australia in particular, knowing full well that they have no responsibility to cure those ills or fulfil their promises. It is very easy to say “ We would do this or that “ knowing full well that one is not charged with that duty. Senator Tangney said that this should be done and that should be done. She anticipated an honorable senator on the Government side saying, “ All right. You were in charge of this country from 1942 until 1945 when the country was actively engaged in war and the Labour Government of that day paid women in the Services 66) per cent, of the male rate of pay. You know it was wrong “. Now the Opposition turns around and states, in effect: “It is true that we were not prepared to do anything about it but you have to do something about it now “. In 1948, the Labour Government agreed that pay for women in the Services should be lifted to 66) per cent, of the male rate. That is a fact; but it was not until 1950 when the Liberal-Country Party Government was elected to office that the proportion was lifted from 66) per cent, to 75 per cent.
– Is it 75 per cent, now?
– lt is 75 per cent, today. That is the figure I have been given. Senator Kennelly used some rather harsh words. He said: “ If we do not want women in the Army, let us say so “. The basis of his argument was that the Government had shown it did not want women in the Services because it was not prepared to pay them enough. I remind the honorable senator that the Australian Labour Party to which he belongs was prepared to use thousands of women in the Services in the Second World War for a much smaller percentage of the male pay than they receive today when they are not in the front line. He went on to say that the Government’s attitude is mean. If 75 per cent, of the male pay for women in the Services is mean what is 66) per cent, of the male rate? Senator Kennelly went on to say that it was cheap labour. If that is so, the Labour Government used plenty of cheap labour between 1942 and 1945. The honorable senator also said the Government considered service women to be second grade. If they are second grade now they were third grade when the Labour Government was in office but I would like to hear the comment of some of the nursing sisters I met in Singapore. Sister Bullwinkel was in one group, the remainder of whom were massacred while getting away from Singapore. The inference is that she was second grade. I know Senator Kennelly did not say that, but if he thinks we considered women in the Services to be second grade, the indications are that the Labour Government considered them to be third grade. It was good political tactics on behalf of the Opposition to submit this matter of urgency because if the women in the Services get rises in pay which are considered inadequate, the Opposition can say: “ We did our very best to get an adequate increase for you “.
– Which is true.
– Very well; but if a satisfactory increase is granted, the Opposition will still say: “ We got it for you “. I do not doubt the sincerity of Senator O’Byrne who introduced this matter on behalf of the Opposition. He was the logical and obvious choice to speak for the Opposition because of his war record. But I believe that the pay and conditions of women in the Services are under review at present. It is only logical to assume that as the Government has dealt with the pay and conditions of male members, it will deal now with the females. So I believe that this matter is under review, and I think the Opposition knows this. Members of the Opposition do not live in an airy fairy castle. I am sure they know this matter is under review and no one will convince me otherwise.
I had six years service to the day in the Second World War. Do not honorable senators opposite think I would be one of the first to try to get adequate pay, conditions and amenities for women in the Services?
– Did Senator Branson know there was to be a review of women’s pay?
– The point is I would be quite dimwitted if I did not realise that this matter was being examined ever since the day the pay for males was reviewed. Surely that indicated that there would be a review of the rates of pay for females. When Senator O’Byrne interjected I was about to say that these women are doing a wonderful job in the Services. Each one of them is a credit to the Services. But I want to revert to a point upon which Senator O’Byrne based his argument. Perhaps he could justify this point. He said correctly that a female lieutenant was receiving £2 8s. 4d. a day and then he compared that rate with the new rate paid to a male corporal. He used this as an unfavourable comparison.
– It is correct.
– The rate of pay of a male corporal has been reviewed and the other is being reviewed. If he had taken the rate of pay for the male corporal before the adjustment was made, he would have found it was £2 2s. 9d. which is less than the £2 Ss. 4d. paid to a female lieutenant. I have no doubt that the Government will increase the rates of pay for women in the Services but the Opposition will not get any credit for this, I hope, because I believe I am correct in saying that the Government is about to make an announcement on this matter. Surely it would be ready to do so by this time. Any sensible, thinking person realises that it takes some weeks to work these things out. A proposition has to be pu to the Minister concerned for his approval. I imagine that he would have to take it to Cabinet and the Department of the Treasury would have to be consulted. These things are not done overnight. Honorable senators opposite who have served as Cabinet Ministers in other Governments know that. If an increase in pay is granted to women in the Services, it will not be because of the action by the Opposition although honorable senators opposite might like to think so. The Government thought of this long before the Opposition submitted this matter of urgency. Those who think they will get kudos or publicity out of this move must be naive.
– But they want to see justice done.
– I do not think the Opposition will get any marks for bringing this matter before the Senate. The people outside who realise that the Government will make an announcement soon will take the Opposition’s move for what it is worth. Certainly this move by the Opposition was a well kept secret. I heard first about the debate when the Opposition’s motion was handed to the Government Whip. The Opposition kept its secret very well but I still firmly believe that someone on the Opposition side knew that the Government was close to making an announcement. 1 do not doubt the sincerity of Senator O’Byrne. I think he was given the job to do. But somebody knew that an announcement was near. The Opposition thought that this was a good move because it did not have a thing to lose. The Opposition does not have to implement any increases in women’s pay. I do not suppose there is one honorable senator - man or woman - who would not want to introduce some of the reforms in which we believe. I could recite half a dozen I believe in; but the Government is faced with the responsibility of running the country. It has a certain amount of money to do this with and it has to give correct priorities. Of course we would all like to see a Utopia but we are charged with the duty of producing Utopia. The Opposition is in the position of being able to say: “This is what we would do if we were the Government.” Well, the position is slightly different and I could not for one moment support the motion.
– Mr. Acting Deputy President, 1 support the position advanced by Senator O’Byrne and I hope that honorable senators will remember that this motion refers to the grave anomalies in the rates of pay of female members of the Defence Forces. I say that because during the contribution by the last speaker, Senator Branson, it seemed to me that he was mainly on the defensive, that he did not answer the propositions that we had advanced that there are anomalies, but that he simply said: “ If you were in power you would not be able to do the things you are asking us to do.” The Opposition makes no apology for its stand on this matter. We have taken it up on many occasions. For example, nobody would challenge that the Opposition has always advanced and supported the claims of industrial unions for advanced pay increases in a situation of inflation. We have argued that the Government should not intrude in basic wage cases opposing claims of the Australian Council of Trade Unions hut should assist the Commissioner and the unions particularly where claims are based on the escalation of prices. Only last year we argued a case for equal pay for the sexes. We have heard the Government’s attitude towards it and in my opinion it is quite wrong. I do not think, in this circumstance, that the Government’s attitude towards the anomalies and the claim for equal pay in certain circumstances in the Services can be sustained.
The Government cannot defend its attitude by referring to the situation during World War II and saying that the Australian Labour Party allowed the women’s rate to be set at 54 per cent, of the male rate. The fact is that during the last war the Labour Party pegged wages for females at the then prevailing rate of 54 per cent, of the male rate. But what the Labour Party did do during the war - and nobody acknowledged it - was to recognise the principle of equal pay by setting up the Women’s Employment Board. This Board decided to investigate the situations such as we have today where servicewomen are doing the job of men. What the Labour Party did was to set up a special board under the late Judge Foster to consider whether women doing the jobs of men were entitled to equal rates of pay, not just the basic wage or the margin but the total pay. The fact is, as we all know, that many women who worked on railway jobs, as conductresses, driving buses, in the factories as process workers or producing munitions received the full total of the male wage. In many cases this level has been maintained since those war years.
The Labour Party did this and other governments decided to follow the move. References have been made tonight to the pattern of increasing rates of pay for women. Following the move to which I have referred, the industrial movement went to arbitration and obtained the 75 per cent, margin of the basic wage for females. Later on somebody else pressed forward and got the J 00 per cent, margin. Speakers on the Government side have said: “ We did this; you did not “. The Government has belatedly followed the pattern outside the Services. What the Opposition is saying to the Government is that the pattern outside, even now, is not good enough and it has to take account of changed conditions
Of course what is happening is that an increasing number of women are not only entering industries and offices but are entering special jobs and doing tasks which they never did before. In these circumstances women have to be recognised as new units and hr.ve to be paid accordingly. This is happening in the Services. Everybody knows - and I hope nobody will dispute it - that the aim of the Services is to relieve men from desk jobs and administration, from accounting and from transport pools so that they can go onto the front line. If a service woman takes up this occupation surely she should get the same rate of pay as the man whose job she performs. This is the pattern in outside industry. As Senator O’Byrne said, the trend in every State now is for the rate of pay in special occupations, such as that of teacher, to be advanced from the old 64 per cent, to 80 per cent. Some times it is more in various Slates. Later on 100 per cent, will be paid in some classifications. I hope that this will be done in my own State where the new Labour Government has announced its intention to introduce new equal pay legislation. This is a first step. It is true that New South Wales Government has introduced equal pay legislation. It was followed by the Tasmanian Government but that legislation was held up. Now it will be followed by the South Australian Labour Government which has promised to legislate in this way. This is the background the Government should be considering when talking about rates of pay for women in the Services. Nobody can argue against this pattern which has developed in the community. Because of it the Government has to make provision for new rates.
I notice that amongst Government supporters there is a certain difference of opinion. As 1 understand the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty), when he was replying to Senator O’Byrne, he accepted that the general responsibilities and powers of servicewomen are the same as their counterpart, the males. If this is so it is another good reason why they should be treated the same as to pay. But when Senator Cormack spoke he claimed that this was not so. I am prepared to accept the Minister’s point of view. I know that this is so - that these people have the same responsibilities. Why should a female section officer in the Women’s Royal Australian Air Force who carries out the same job as a male who has gone on active service somewhere be paid less than the male officer? Why should the female transport officer receive less than her male counterpart? There are many women in the Services replacing men in transportation and other jobs. Why should they not receive the same recompense?
– Can you tell us how much it would cost?
– That is not the question. That is the attitude of all employers. Every time these moves are advanced Senator Buttfield gets up and says: “ Yes, the principle of equal pay is a good thing.” But every time we test that statement in this chamber she supports the Government and says it cannot be done. When the Opposition brought forward a motion on equal pay last year the same thing happened. The Government said: “Look, despite the fact that we have had representations from the Australian Council of Trade Unions to do something about this and despite the fact that the white collar workers have claimed that we should do it, our position is based on the fact that in Australia there is a basic wage. Because there is a basic wage which makes provision, according to history, for sustenance for a family unit, the trade union movement should go to the courts or should accept a single basic wage. What I am putting is that this is a negation of the Government’s responsibility because, under the charter of the International Labour Organisation, the Government had a responsibility to canvass the situation properly. If it found it could not instruct the sovereign States to carry out the principle of equal pay what it should have done - and what we are asking for tonight partly - was to offer equal pay to all Government employees and to consider, in the light of how the Services have been treated, the question of anomalies within the Services. We do not mind if the Minister says that the Government will canvass this question of equal pay and also the anomalies. But I want to put it to the Senate that in respect of Service pay honorable senators would think, to listen to the Minister, that these people are being handsomely treated. We know this is not so. The engineers’ case took four or five years to be heard. Upon it are based most of the engineering classifications for rates of pay. As I remember it this case was finished in 1963 after a very prolonged hearing. Because of the very low wage standard and the lack of housing, many officers left the armed Services. I think that at least 100 left. I received a reply from the Minister in which he stated that as a result of the increase in pay it was expected that that loss would be stayed.
Female members of the Services have npt been well treated. If it was right to adjust the rates of pay of males in July last year, it would have been right to adjust female rates immediately afterwards. I cannot see any reason why the defence Services should follow trends in industry, because the Services now find themselves in an entirely new situation. It is their intention to free men to take part on active service. Who will say that before this year has ended we all will not be in the front line and that the girl who is doing signals work, the girl who is doing transport work or the girl who is doing an accounting job will not be just as important as the man whose job she has taken over? I appreciate the sympathy that is displayed by the female supporters of the Government; but it is sad to see each of them, including Senator Buttfield, having supported the principle of equal pay for the sexes, at the last moment voting against the proposals we advance. I shall not quote instances from “ Hansard “ as my time is nearly gone, but everybody knows that that has happened.
There is no grandstanding in what the Opposition is doing tonight. We say that an anomaly exists. Everybody knows there is an anomaly in regard to the rates of pay of female members of the Services. I have already referred to the fact that adjustments in the rates of pay of servicemen were delayed for a long time - probably for twelve months. I have already emphasized the fact that female members of the Services have been very badly treated. How can the Government justify the lower percentage of margin for rank that is accorded to women as opposed to men? Why should a female non-commissioned officer or commissioned officer receive a margin of only 66) per cent, for skill, supervision or rank when a rating of 100 per cent, is accorded to men? Are not the responsibilities of men and women in similar positions the same? The Minister has said that they are. He has stated that the female member is subject to the same disciplines, has the same responsibility and has to employ the same skills as her male counterpart. We know that in the months ahead an increasing number of women will be performing the tasks that men are performing now. Because of these facts, we cannot compare the position of members of the Services with that of employees in outside industry. When Labour was in office at least it did set up the Women’s Employment Board - a development that was quite revolutionary at the time. Since then there have been a lot of industrial determinations which have provided for equal pay for the sexes where the same kind of work was being performed.
I suggest, Mr. Deputy President, that the motion has been well timed. There has been no leakage of information as far as we are concerned, because we have been told, upon making inquiries about the Allison report, that it is not yet available. All we know about is the industrial trend, the escalation of wages for male members of the Services and, more particularly, the anomaly that exists in relation to female members of the Services.
.- Senator Bishop said that there had not been any grandstanding by Opposition speakers during this debate. Being in a quite tolerant and perhaps generous frame of mind tonight, may I suggest that for the purposes of argument we concede that Senator O’Byrne, who proposed the motion, was not grandstanding. I should have thought that the reply of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) would have removed from the minds of honorable senators any thought of urgency about Senator O’Byrne’s proposal. The Minister told ns that a committee was appointed, that rates of pay for female members of the armed Services have been examined, that a report has been received, and that action is to be taken very rapidly. That being so, I simply cannot understand how subsequent Opposition speakers can say that there has not been any grandstanding on their part. The Minister told us, not only that the matter has been investigated and that it will be attended to at a very early date, but also that a large measure of retrospectivity will be granted in relation to any increased payments that are made. 1 admit that he did not tell us what the degree of retrospectivity will be.
– He said it would date back to June 1 964.
– Well, I did not hear it. If the Minister did say that, perhaps 1 should say with even greater emphasis than I employed earlier that any element of urgency that may have appeared to exist in Senator O’Byrne’s proposal has been removed. Probably I am expressing the views of many honorable senators when I say that I cannot quite understand why, when the general rates of pay of male members of the Services were being considered, the rates of pay of female members could not have been considered at the same time. Perhaps there was a very good reason. If so, I am quite ready to listen to it.
The increase in pay for male members of the Services came when the Services were urgently requiring more men. At that point of time there was a very great degree of urgency in the need to make conditions within the armed Services as attractive as possible. That could quite well be the reason why male rates of pay were considered first. Whatever the reason may be, the fact that a great deal of retrospectivity is to be applied to any increase in female rates removes any anomaly that might exist there.
I am rather astonished at the way in which the general matter of equal pay for the sexes has been introduced into every speech. I do not think that argument should have been introduced. We are now considering the position of employees, if I may so describe them, for whom the Government sets the rates of salary and wages. It is the responsibility of the Government and nobody else.
– Does not the Parliament have any say?
– Well, the Parliament sets them. I accept the correction. But the fixation of rates of pay for employees in industry is out of the hands of the Government altogether. That is a matter for our conciliation and arbitration courts. I am astonished that members of this House and of another place so frequently forget that written into our arbitration legislation is provision for our courts to award equal pay for the sexes for equal work should it be warranted or desirable. If honorable senators read the legislation they will very clearly see that authority written into it.
I know that on many occasions approaches have been made to different industrial courts. I speak .more confidently of the approaches that have been made to the Queensland industrial courts because that is the field in which I have the greater experience. On occasions when the court has considered it to be justified, it has awarded equal pay for equal work. When we consider the subject of equal pay, we must consider whether the work involved is, in fact, equal. That is the approach of the industrial courts. I think the Government must also approach this matter from the same point of view. Is the work that we are to ask the female members of the Services to perform equal in all ways to the work that we are to place on the shoulders of the male members of the Services? This question must be asked because it is the base upon which every industrial court must make its decision. So must the Government also make its decision. I ask honorable senators: Can any one seriously suggest that the work we will ask male members of the Services to do is the same as the work we will ask of the female members of the Services? If we are honest with ourselves, we must differentiate.
I say most emphatically that nobody has a more fervent admiration than I have for the work that was performed by the women members of the Services during the past war. Senator Drake-Brockman referred to the splendid work done in England during the height of the bombing. I saw at first hand the work being done by the female members of the Services and admired them tremendously. However, even then the problems faced by our servicewomen were not equal to the problems that had to be faced by our servicemen.
I wish now to turn to other theatres of war and to give as an illustration the North African campaign. Early in 1941 the Germans were advancing along the North African coast and certain of our troops were beseiged in the fortress of Tobruk for many months. Because it was obvious that a seige was imminent, the General Officer Commanding had immediately ordered the evacuation of all the female members of the Services - all the nurses. It was a responsibility of all members of the Services to make sure that the evacuation of the servicewomen could be carried out successfully, and it was. The character of the Australian servicemen of any age is and has been such that we will never willingly allow the female members of our Services to be subjected to the same stresses and strains as are the men of the Services. This must be acknowledged by honorable senators. Acknowledging it, we should now transplant our thinking back into the realm of the industrial courts. The commissioners of the industrial courts consider the type of work that has to be done and on many occasions they have awarded equal pay because the work involved is equal.
– Did the court which set the female basic wage at 75 per cent, of the male basic wage consider the type of work done?
– Because the work is equal. the *r;** have on occasions awarded equal pay. Senator Ridley, who is attempting to interject, can make his speech afterwards. I am telling honorable senators what actually happened. The industrial courts have considered the conditions of work and all other factors involved. If there is complete similarity, the court or commission decides to award equal pay.
– Does that happen in every industrial court in the Commonwealth?
– I would not say that it does, but I would say that it is a provision of every federal award. I think provision for this is contained in clause 33 of the Commonwealth Arbitration and Conciliation Act. I know that such a provision is included in clause 12 of the Queensland Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which states that the Queensland Industrial Court is obliged to award equal pay if the work is equal.
– Can the honorable senator give any examples of where it has happened?
– Yes, but not right at this moment. I believe I have previously given illustrations of where such decisions have been given by the Queensland Industrial Court. Senator O’Byrne, or one of the speakers from the Opposition, quoted New South Wales and Tasmania - or some other State - where such decisions had been given. I return to this question: Are we to ask our women members of the Services to do work equal to that of men? Obviously the answer is: “ No “.
– But they are doing equal work, senator.
– Let us be sensible about this, please. I hope honorable senators will be sensible, because the matter is too serious to be other than sensible. There are odd occasions when women, perforce, are faced with some of the gravest problems of war, but they are not so faced as a general rule. The practice of war is the practice of activities which we try to keep away from the female members of the Services. They are not recruited to do the same work as the male members of the Services. Honorable senators opposite know that perfectly well. Consequently, if we are to be responsible members of a responsible Parliament we must give as much weight to the argument about the type of work involved as does an industrial court judge when a similar case is referred to him.
I have every confidence that what Senator Henty, the Minister representing the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes), told us earlier today is to happen will in fact happen. That is, the report by the committee to which he referred will be considered, higher rates of pay will be awarded to the female members of the Services and the rates will be made retrospective. When we hear such a statement from a responsible Minister I think we ought to be prepared to accept it. I believe that any speeches made by honorable senators opposite subsequent to the speech made by Senator O’Byrne in raising this matter of urgency most definitely have been grandstanding in the hope that the Opposition may gain some kudos when the Government introduces - as it certainly will - increases in the pay of the female members of the Services.
– I do not think anyone can label as undesirables people who accept an opportunity to grandstand so willingly presented as has happened in this debate. Senator O’Byrne has raised a matter of urgency because of the grave anomalies in the rates of pay of the female members of the Defence Forces, in particular, members of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps. In his reply, Senator Henty, who represents the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) in this chamber, admitted that there would be justification to raise the matter if there were not in existence a report which apparently is to be released in the very near future. Although the Minister states that there may be justification for the Opposition to state that it is concerned at the grave anomalies in the rates of pay of female members of the Services, he states also that the anomalies are not as great as the Opposition makes them out to be. He would have us believe that there is something that we do not know - apparently supporters of the Government do not know it either - which will minimise the grave anomalies which exist at present. So, if this motion has done nothing else, it has brought to the light of day the fact that an increase of pay for females in the Services is ready to be announced. Whether that announcement would have been sat on or pigeonholed for another six months had the Opposition not raised this question, we do not know. The Minister had an opportunity today to tell us what was in this secret report and how much the words “ grave anomalies “ were inappropriate. He might have told us what will be the difference between the male and female rates of pay in the future; but he did not take that opportunity to say these things. Instead, he left us in the air and said, in effect: “ There is something here which makes the resolution unreal “. If we have gained any kudos by this motion we are entitled to it; if we have achieved anything for these women of the forces they are entitled to it. While the Opposition has been presenting a case for equal pay for women there has been no participation in the debate by the women on the opposite side of the House.
– They are not allowed to participate.
– I do not know whether they are not allowed to participate or whether they are embarrassed by the fact that while they pretend to represent women’s interests in this place, they have been silent on the whole question at issue in this instance. I do not think that anyone in his wildest dreams expects that the Committee’s report will recommend equal pay for women in the Services. It is. therefore, the opinion of the Opposition that the rates to be recommended for adoption will still show anomalies, though possibly not of as grave a nature as we claim to exist at the present time.
The Minister could have informed us today to what extent the existing anomalies will be minimised, but he refused to do so. I think he said: “It is presumed” that increases in pay for females will be retrospective to July of last year - the date of the increases for servicemen. I do not know how any such increase will be made up to those women who have left the forces in the interim. I do not think an increase now is worth as much as an increase granted last June would have been. Obviously, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and these servicewomen could have utilised the increase had they received it last June instead of having to wait until the Opposition moves in the matter before even an announcement of a pending increase is made.
The Government’s attitude apparently is that it is a matter for someone else to review the rates of pay and make a decision.
That attitude was very pronounced in Senator Morris’ utterances a moment ago. He claimed that the fixing of rates of pay for females, if not in this sphere, at least in the industrial sphere, was a matter for the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission. He failed to grasp the significance of the Labour Party’s advocacy of equal pay for the sexes, and that is the important issue. It is not so much a question of social responsibility. Equality of pay is one of the final stages of the emancipation of the female and the recognition of her equality with the male. This principle has already been accepted by many countries and for this reason it must become the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government rather than a matter for the Arbitration Commission.
Senator Morris said that the Commission takes into consideration skill, responsibility and equality of work in making its judgments. The Commission has to take a lot of things into consideration before making a decision. Certainly these things include skill, responsibility and needs. But they also include the ability of industry to pay. The Commission is bound by the principle it laid down in granting 75 per cent, of the male rate as the female basic wage, and before that principle can be broken down it is necessary to prove quite an extensive range of things about a particular industry. It is necessary to show that the principle is wrong in relation to that industry and that another declaration should be made.
To my knowledge, where equal pay has been granted to female workers, this has been, done by agreement between the union concerned and the employer - this happened in some sections of the transport industry in the eastern States - and it has been done in industries where it is not thought desirable that women should be employed, for instance, in the liquor industry in South Australia. These are the bases of the Commission’s procedure. It is not concerned so much with the status of women. It has a responsibility to consider needs and the ability of an industry to pay. Equal pay for the sexes is the Commonwealth Government’s responsibility because it has pledged itself at international conferences and in conventions to a recognition of the equality of women in industry. The Government of New South Wales now has an enactment which will give 100 per cent, equality of wages to women as from a specified date. In South Australia there has just been elected a Government which is pledged to support, and will adopt, this policy in the near future.
We have raised the issue of equal pay previously in this House, and we have urged the Government to accept its responsibility; but on this question of equal pay in the Services it consistently falls down. While it eulogises the activities of servicewomen, it at all times recognises them as something inferior. One cannot say that the work of a male nurse is any different from that of a female nurse working in the same establishment, yet they have different rates of pay.
During this debate Senator Cormack said: “ Well, you cannot give a woman the same responsibility and ask her to accept the same sacrifice as men “. I was pleased to hear Senator Buttfield interject: “Why not?”. I thought she was an upholder of the status of women, but her interjection when Senator Bishop was speaking suggests that she has some reservations and some excuses. Apparently she believes in the equality of women in everything but pay.
– I asked a normal question and did not make any statement.
– When Senator Bishop -was speaking the honorable senator asked: “ What about the cost?
– I said: “Tell us what it would cost.” It was a normal question.
– You said there was a limited budget. And that is the very reason why the Commission cannot increase the rates; it must consider the cost. But the Government has not advanced one reason why equal pay should not be granted to female members of the Services tomorrow, if necessary. According to Senator Cormack women are not capable of accepting full responsibility in the Services, but Senator Drake-Brockman told us, in his chivalrous manner, of the great help women gave during the last war; how someone owed his life to the woman who packed his parachute, and how the commander of a battalion owed much to those who packed the munitions, and so on. But women are always in the background, according to the Government, doing work inferior to that being done by someone else. The Government’s unwillingness to raise the status of women in society today is reflected in its refusal to accept the principle of equality in the rates of pay for all members of the Services.
As Senator Bishop pointed out, the men and the women in the Services accept equal responsibility in some instances. Women replace men in a number of positions in the Services and they are thus entitled to equal pay. When a male senator is replaced by a female senator in this chamber, we do not then suggest that there should be a lesser rate of pay for the female senator. There is no differential in the rates of pay that apply in the professions in Australia. But when it comes to granting equal pay to the women in the Services, honorable senators opposite think that an inferior rate to that paid to the males should apply.
If we are sincere on this question, and if defence or the war effort means anything, there should be equal contributions according to ability. The women in the Services volunteer not knowing the risks that may be involved. On many occasions they are subjected to the risks that the men have to face. If there is any belief that we should keep them out of the actual firing line, that belief must go in view of the methods of warfare that are adopted today. Everyone, whether male or female, may be affected. When phosphorus bombs are used, there is no greater protection for one sex than for the other. It should be readily recognised that in the last war and in previous wars women were prepared to take risks, and on numerous occasions they took the same risks as the men.
The Labour Party’s policy has always been equal pay for equal work. We say that the women should receive the rate of pay of their male counterparts who are doing the same type of work. The matter put forward by the Opposition expresses grave concern at the differential between the rates of pay for men and women in the Services. We are prepared to believe that there is a move on the way to increase the pay of the women. That may lessen the grave concern that was felt at the time of the introduction of the matter. Nevertheless, no-one expects that there will be equal pay for equal work. Some anomalies will still exist.
The whole position could be rectified. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) has apparently had the secret within his knowledge and kept it from his own party supporters. He could tell us the date of operation of the recommendations of the committee, and how they will affect the individual members of the Services.
– I would like to make a personal explanation.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Does the honorable senator claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. Senator Cavanagh said that my interjection, which I put as a question, implied that I did not sincerely believe that the principle of equal pay for equal work was a good one. I repeat, as I did by interjection, that I asked a perfectly civil question of Senator Bishop. I have listened with a great deal of interest to all of the arguments that have been advanced in this debate. I asked Senator Bishop whether he could give an estimate of what the proposal of equal pay for equal work for the women in the Services would cost if it were introduced. I would still like to know what it would cost. I am genuinely interested in this matter. After I interjected, Senator Cavanagh implied that I had not been sincere when I had been on my feet saying that I believed in the principle of equal work for equal pay and that I had said it could not be done. I think those were his words. I have never said it could not be done. I have said I believe it should be done in the correct way, by arbitration. I believe that it should go to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and that the various margins and so on should be looked at in the proper way. This is what I have said repeatedly in this chamber, and this is what I believe.
– The debate on the motion moved by Senator O’Byrne regarding grave anomalies in the rates of pay of the female members of the defence forces, in particular the members of the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps, has ranged over a very wide field. Three things have emerged from the debate. First, there was the timing of the motion; secondly, the confusion between civilian occupations and occupations in the forces; and thirdly, the question of equality, which is the Labour Party’s main argument. It based the argument on the pay that was paid to a woman lieutenant. Before I go further, I want to tell Senator Cavanagh that there are no male nurses in the Army. He talked a lot of poppycock about that section of the Army. It does not exist. Honorable senators opposite put up Aunt Sallys only to knock them down.
I come to the question of equal pay for the sexes for work of equal value. We have heard a great deal of discussion on the matter. Senator O’Byrne based his argument on the pay of a woman lieutenant in a particular corps, and he compared her rate of pay with the rate of pay that is paid to a male lieutenant. Senator O’Byrne did not say that anyone who has the leaving certificate plus six month’s training in the Army is eligible for a commission as a lieutenant in that corps. This is an important point, and he knows it. Never once did he mention the fact. Let us consider the case of the male lieutenant. He, at least, has to have the leaving certificate before he may enter the Royal Military College at Duntroon and he spends four years there before he becomes a lieutenant. Yet Senator O’Byrne spoke of equality. How can he base an argument on equality by comparing a female lieutenant with a male lieutenant? I think that is the end of his argument. For a lieutenant to be promoted to the rank of captain, he has to serve for a further four years and possibly have a university degree.
– They are not all Duntroon lieutenants.
– The honorable senator is speaking about the Army. He is confusing two things. We are dealing with appointment to this branch of the Service. He is saying that in his opinion a female lieutenant is equivalent to a male lieutenant who has spent four years at Duntroon and who has at least the leaving certificate.
– What about Portsea? It is necessary to spend 1 2 months there.
– That is a short term commission, but the person concerned also has to have his leaving certificate.
– I am willing to be corrected, but I do not know how he would enter the college otherwise. I do not know how he would cope with the course. Of course, I would not know, but that is beside the point. I come back to the timing of this proposal. Honorable senators opposite are like babes in the wood who go around with a lovely benign smile on their faces. The decision to increase the pay of the men in the Services was given nine months ago. Honorable senators opposite slept silently, except for occasional snores. All of a sudden they knew that this report was to be tabled in the very near future. I give them credit for this. They are like hens, they pick up a lot. They jumped onto the water cart, timing it nicely, so they could say; “ Look what the Labour Party has done”. During the nine months when they knew there was an anomaly, they did npt do anything at all.
I am sorry that this question of equal pay for women has crept into the debate because in the matter of urgency that has been stated there is no mention at all of that proposition. It merely refers to grave anomalies. If the mover of the motion and the subsequent speakers had kept to that, this debate would have been more to the point. From what has been said, one would think that members of the Services were being badly paid. The case of a lieutenant was cited by Senator O’Byrne. A lieutenant receives £2 10s. lid. a day plus quarters which could be valued at £187, plus a uniform, plus £50. For a person with a leaving certificate, that is not bad.
Civilian employment has been compared with Army employment, but the types of service are not comparable. Honorable senators opposite have compared the service of women in the Army with that of men. There may be anomalies. It has been said that people who go into the front line should be paid more than those who are in base jobs. After I came back from New Guinea, when Labour had the numbers and was in government, I never heard it said on their side that people in the front line were entitled to a little more. The Labour Government in 1948 raised the rates for women to 661 per cent, of the rates for men. This Government came into office in 1949 and in 1951 it increased the rates. In accordance with the Allison report, which came out in 1958, the proportion of women’s rates to men’s rates was raised to 75 per cent, and the margin for skill for women was 100 per cent, of the margin for skill for men. Honorable senators opposite never mentioned those facts.
– Where can we get a copy of the Allison report?
– The Minister has given an undertaking as to what is in the report. Some of the contents of the Allison report were known. There was no hole in the corner business about it. All of these things are conveniently forgotten in the case that has been put up today. When persons join the Services, they know the rates of pay and the conditions of employment.
– They thought that the Government was going to put value back into the £1.
– We have done that. Honorable senators opposite say that £1 does not buy as much as it used to buy. Let me say that we do not do as much work for the £1, either. The whole trouble with honorable senators opposite is that they cannot take it. They are not used to prosperity. I can remember when they were talking with long faces about having a pool of unemployed. They wept tears of compassion. The worst thing that ever befell them was that this just did not happen. They have had a life of misery. As a matter of fact, I think they came from Misery Farm, but some of them look affluent enough. They talk about putting value back into the £1. Many of us never had £1 to spend in those days. Today we have the pounds and we can spend them. That goes for the great mass of people in the community. The very fact that this Government has put value back into the £1 is reflected in the results of succeeding Federal elections.
I do not deny that there may be some anomalies in these rates of pay. It was up to honorable senators opposite to state what the anomalies were, but they did not mention one. They based their argument on equality of pay. In my opinion their whole argument is defeated by the fact that a woman with a leaving certificate, plus six months service, can get a commission as a lieutenant, whereas a man must have at least a leaving honours certificate and four years in the Royal Military College in order to become a lieutenant.
– What are you trying to prove?
– That an argument based on equality of pay for male and female lieutenants does not exist.
– Tell us about the woman driver. She need not have a leaving certificate.
– It is not my place to deal with that. Senator O’Byrne based his argument on the pay of male and female lieutenants. That was the crux of his case. I appreciate the force of Senator Murphy’s interjection as to who really pays for it. In the long run, I suppose the Parliament pays for it. I am glad that he raised that point because it has great implications.
– Order! As the time allowed for consideration of the motion under Standing Order 64 has expired, I shall now proceed to other business.
Reports on Items.
– I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects -
Shotguns and parts.
Copper and brass sheet, strip and foil.
Safflower seed and soya beans, safflower oil and soya bean oil.
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.
This Bill provides for a further Australian contribution to the Indus Basin Development Fund. The Indus Basin Development Fund Agreement Act 1960 (No. 87 of 1960) authorised the payment of an Australian contribution of £6,965,000 to that Fund which was set up by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and by Goverments friendly to India and Pakistan, to finance the construction of an extensive system of diversionary canals and dams in Pakistan. These works are to provide water in replacement of the waters of the three tributaries of the Indus which were allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty. Honorable senators will recall that signature of that Treaty marked the end of a long-standing and critical dispute between India and Pakistan over the use of the waters of the Indus River and its five main tributaries which form the Indus Basin.
The total amount originally pledged to the Fund was 895 million dollars of which Australia’s share was 15.6 million dollars, equivalent to £6,965,000. At the time the Treaty was signed it was thought that this estimated amount would be sufficient to cover the total cost of the diversionary works programme. However, in the light of further engineering studies and following the receipt of tenders from contractors for four large works in the system it became clear that the original estimate was too low. After long discussions between the World Bank and the Government of Pakistan and the other contributing Governments a modified scheme was adopted which required an additional 315 million dollars - approximately £140 million. The contributing Governments were asked to pledge further sums to find that amount in the same ratios as they contributed to the original fund.
The Australian share of the additional grant funds required was 10.46 million dollars, equivalent to £A.4,669,643. This sum would bring the total Australian contribution to £11.635,000 approximately. Of this sum, £3,270,000 has been paid so far and the remainder will be called up by instalments between now and 1970.
The Australian Government was glad to participate in this enterprise which means so much to the welfare of the peoples of Pakistan and India and benefits political relations between these two countries.
I commend the Bill to the Senate.
– At the outset let me say on behalf of the Opposition that we support at all times measures to assist under-developed countries with underfed people but we condemn this Government which has been in office since 10th December 1949 for its characteristic laziness, ineffectiveness and inefficiency. This Government’s sins of omission and commission are too numerous for me to mention in the time allotted to me, but may I say that the Bill now before us and the original legislation, the Indus Basin Development Fund Bill, show the measure of the Government’s laziness or lack of knowledge. I do not know at whose door the fault lies.
The Government proposes to assist another two Commonwealth countries but we have received no details of the proposal. It is no use the Government saying that because this is a supplementary bill only a very brief statement is necessary. If honorable senators cast back their minds to 1st December 1960 they will recall that the Minister who tonight introduced this Bill, on that occasion also provided very little information about the project under consideration to which Australia was to contribute £6.965 million, New Zealand £1.250 million, Canada £10 million, the Federal Republic of Germany £13 million, the United Kingdom £26 million and the United States of America £79 million. In addition, America was to make a loan of 70 million dollars and promised a further 250 million dollars to assist in the completion of the scheme.
On that occasion, although presumably the Minister or his advisers knew the details, only a broad outline of the project was given. At no stage were we afforded any measure of detail about, for example, the number of acres likely to be irrigated and. the number of people to be settled on the irrigated areas. He did not tell us how many acre feet of water would be made available. At no stage did he furnish us with any information about the amount of electricity that would be generated. Is this the way in which Government supporters, Opposition members and the people of Australia aire to be treated? Either the Government is adopting a cavalier attitude towards the expenditure of funds, or it just does not know in what directions the money will be spent.
The second reading speech on the Bill now before us covers little more than one page. As I have said, it is no use the Government claiming that this is only a supplementary bill designed to provide another £4,669,000 towards the cost of the project, because, when the initial Bill was introduced, little more information was furnished. It is time the Government realised that it has a real responsibility to this country even though, through a series of misfortunes for the people of Australia, it has achieved success at various elections.
On 2nd December 1960 I said that the Government was perhaps underestimating the cost of the project. Now, four years later, we learn that it has underestimated the cost. When we are going to spend money that is collected from the people, we have a responsibility to see that it is spent wisely. We have a responsibility - and this applies particularly to the Government - to see that the project planned is completed within the estimated cost and as near as possible to the estimated time. I know that in this case unusual engineering difficulties were encountered but we must remember that this project was under consideration for a number of years.
The Indus waters have been a bone of contention for many years, first between the princely States and provinces of India. After 1947 following the partition of India, they were the cause of dispute between India and Pakistan. Consideration was first given to a settlement of the dispute between the two countries in 1951. This was directed to the problem of the distribution of the waters of the Indus River and its five tributaries. The Indus Waters Treaty between Pakistan and India was not signed until September 1960. Previously the scheme had been submitted to the various countries which have subscribed to it. It appeared that reasonable time had been allowed to estimate the likely cost of the project. But the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) informs us now that the estimate has been increased by £140 million. Greater care should be taken in estimating the total cost of major projects and this is certainly one of the biggest in the world today. Perhaps some experts were left out of the picture. We know there is an inflationary trend all over the world. Costs are rising. Unusual engineering difficulties may be encountered in particular projects. But there must be some way to get closer to the actual ultimate cost.
By and large, the engineers know the problems they have to meet and they know the costs. Perhaps other experts should be called in to advise them on likely trends in costs and money values. We should not be faced with continual increases in the amount of money needed for a project after an estimate has been made.
– Like the Sydney Opera House.
– That is one such project and there are others which are the responsibility of this Government. We are not discussing the Sydney Opera House but the Indus Basin development scheme. I am speaking in general terms because this debate gives me an opportunity to say that this is characteristic of governments of all kinds. It is particularly characteristic, however, of successive Menzies Governments and I refer to the frequency with which the actual cost of completed projects has exceeded the original estimate. I could run through a number of them if the Senate wishes. I plead for a more careful estimate of the cost of completing major undertakings.
Despite the laziness of the Government and the cursory way in which the Minister has presented this Bill and its predecessor, the Opposition supports the measure. Throughout the years we have made our attitude plain. We believe that the haves have a responsibility to the have-nots even if it entails sacrifices because we have to do what we can to help countries whose people are under-nourished. This project comes within that category. The Indus River traverses approximately l.,800 miles. It rises in the glaciers of Tibet and, fed by the snows of the Himalayas and other ranges, it contains an enormous volume of water. The Indus is fed by five tributaries and its flow is largely seasonal.
The proposal is to harness this tremendous volume of water in the interests of a great number of people. There are 50 million people in the affected area and the land under irrigation totals 30 million acres. This is probably the largest area of irrigated land in the world. It is not irrigated according to our ideas with dams, pumps and concrete canals but entirely by the flow of the river. In some seasons, those at the lower end of the Basin do not get enough water for irrigation. By and large the three eastern tributaries are in Indian territory. When those in the upper reaches and along the tributaries are drawing water and the flow is not constant, those along the lower reaches, and particularly the Pakistanis, are deprived of adequate water for irrigation. As a result, agricultural production is not sufficient to feed the people. This is what led to arguments and acrimony between India and Pakistan.
The project under discussion is an attempt to solve this problem. Credit must go to Mr. Eugene Black of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development who realised that this was a question of equitable distribution of water between the two countries. He approached Mr. Nehru of India and President Khan of Pakistan. After discussion they concluded the Indus Waters Treaty. Plans for distribution were made in association with works to provide dams, irrigation facilities, hydro-electric power and other developments. India agreed to contribute £62,500,000 sterling which is near enough to £80 million Australian. Arrangements were made for waters of the eastern rivers to be available completely to India but for a period of ten years, to be extended if necessary to 13 years, water was to be permitted to go to Pakistan for certain periods of the year. The countries agreed to co-operate and to establish a commission composed of a representative of each country to handle disputes. It was agreed that in the event of a disagreement, an arbitrator would be appointed.
This was a tremendous step forward. It was agreed that a proposal should go to the International Bank for the completion of this enormous engineering undertaking. The plan visualised the provision of water to irrigate an additional 30 million to 60 million acres of reasonably good agricultural land. This would extend the range of agricultural products from wheat and cotton to rice, barley, various types of corn and oil seed.
Honorable senators can see that this does represent something really tangible to the ultimate future of these people. The Opposition says - and we have claimed so through the years - that Australia has been parsimonious. As a comparatively wealthy nation, considering the relatively few who live here, we have a responsibility, financially and otherwise, to our fellow man. I do not think that we have adequately fulfilled our obligation to these people. Nor does my party think that we have done so. For a number of years the Australian Labour
Party has suggested that it should be the responsibility of this country to provide 1 per cent, of its national income to assist underdeveloped countries, but actually, for the present year, and taking Papua and New Guinea into account, we will have provided little more than £40 million. We will have provided little more than half of one per cent, of our national product. That is not good enough. Of course, this is what you come to expect. Day in and day out, month after month, year followed by another year, we have this parsimonious approach by the Government, whether in regard to aid to underdeveloped countries, whether it is food for starving people, whether it is to meet the educational needs of our children or the adolescents of this country, whether it is to provide a reasonable and adequate health service or decent hospital services at a reasonable cost to the people, whether it is in regard to national development, particularly in the north, or whether it is to meet the needs of irrigation in Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales or South Australia.
The Minister, in reply, will rise and tell us that the Government is assisting with the Chowilla Dam in South Australia and with the Blowering Dam in New South Wales. Those are about the only two irrigation projects in Australia that the Government is assisting and this is the most arid continent in the world. We have become accustomed to our deficiencies and the careless recklessness of our Government. We just do not know when it will accept a real responsibility and whether it is capable of exercising responsibility.
We realise that in this area served by the Indus Waters there are 50 million people living at a very low standard. In many seasons they die through famine. We realise that the soil in that area is rapidly being spoilt by salination with the lifting of the water table. We realise that here is a way in which to help these people and that we can lift their standard of living somewhat, perhaps not to the level of our own but at least much beyond that which is their lot at the present time. We realise, as a responsible Opposition, that we have an obligation to support this Bill. We do support it but at the same time we do not hesitate to condemn the Minister - not as an individual person, but as the representative of a Cabinet - for the lazy approach which has been adopted. If it is not a lazy approach then it does betoken an almost complete lack of knowledge of where this money is going to and what really constitutes the project. We condemn the laziness and lack of interest displayed by the Government which has not provided a sufficient and reasonable amount of knowledge regarding the project to this chamber and to the people of Australia. The people’s money is to be devoted to this project. We condemn the Government for its ineffectiveness and its repeated acts of inefficiency.
Senator SCOTT (Western Australia) [9.551. - Mr. President, I rise to support the Indus Basin Development Fund Supplemental Agreement Bill and I would like to correct a few of the inaccurate remarks made by Senator Dittmer who has just resumed his seat. He started off by condemning this Government for its lack of knowledge of the scheme and for its inability to assess its cost in the first instance.
– The honorable senator is not accurate to start with.
– Senator Dittmer said that the Government’s inability to assess the cost of the scheme in its initial stages necessitated coming back for further finance from the Australian taxpayers in order to meet its commitments. The facts of the situation are that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development planned this scheme as far back as seven or eight years before 1957. Having planned the scheme it estimated the cost. Originally, it had to get the consent not only of the Prime Minister of India, the late Mr. Nehru, but also that of the President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan. That permission was granted in 1959, I think, and an agreement was drawn up in relation to the Indus Basin Development Fund.
Under this agreement several countries of the world agreed to give certain amounts of money. The amounts are set down on a formula I have here. Australia was to contribute £6.965 million, Canada 22,100,000 Canadian dollars, Germany 126 million deutsche, marks, New Zealand £1 million, the United Kingdom £20.860 million and the United States of America 177 million dollars. That was agreed to by the countries concerned. The Bank agreed to find from its sources an additional 90 million dollars. That was the start of the scheme - a plan by the Bank, costed by the Bank, proposed by the Bank to Pakistan and India, agreed to by the leaders of those two countries and then placed before certain countries of the world, which I have just mentioned, for participation by way of granting funds for the construction of these works. Those countries having agreed to the plan, as I have said, the Bank agreed to come forward with additional assistance in the sum of 90 million dollars so that it could be initiated. The agreement was signed in 1960. Four years later the Bank has found that, owing to increased costs or other circumstances it requires increased amounts from the donor countries. It has asked for an additional sum of £140 million, of which our share is to be £4.669 million. This will bring the total Australian contribution to approximately £11,635,000. Of that amount, £3,270,000 has been paid, and the remainder will be called up by instalments between now and 1970. It will be noted that our commitment over a period of 10 years will be a little over £1 million a year.
Senator Dittmer condemned the Government for not giving him more information, but in spite of that condemnation he said that the Opposition did not intend to oppose the measure. I congratulate the honorable senator and his colleagues upon adopting that attitude, because this measure is another instance of the way in which partly developed countries like Australia are contributing sums of money for developmental purposes to improve the standard of living in Pakistan and India.
I believe that the Indus River basin is the largest in the world and that it provides the greatest potential for irrigation that is provided by any river system in the world. The Indus River, which has six tributaries and has its source in the Himalayas, has an irrigation potential of almost 100 million acres. That is larger than the total area of Italy and is estimated to be one and a half times the size of the United Kingdom.
– Will any hydro-electric power stations be provided?
– Provision is made for approximately 300 kilowatts of electricity to be generated at one of the dams that are to be constructed. The development of this scheme will permit the growing of extra quantities of rice, sugar, sorghum and other hard grain crops including linseed, for the feeding of the people. I understand that the population of the basin is approximately 60 million people. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development estimates that the average annual discharge of the Indus system of rivers is twice that of the Nile River, three times that of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and ten times that of the Colorado River in America. The Indus system is fed by the melting of the snows of the .Himalayas. These rivers often flood very heavily in the summer months, but in the winter months they are red’uced to a trickle and sometimes almost dry up.
– How long will be the longest tunnel? Will it be seven miles?
– I do not know. Because these rivers more or less dry up in the winter months, it has become necessary to construct dams to hold excess quantities of water so they can be used for irrigation in those months. Being a partly developed nation, Australia ought to be proud of being able to help to provide facilities for increased agricultural production for the people -of the Indus Basin, whose income per head of the population is among the lowest in the world. I have very much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
.- I thank Senator Dittmer for the excellent contribution that he has made to this debate. As he said, the Bill is supplementary to one that the Senate passed in 1960 and which provided for considerable monetary backing for a scheme sponsored by the World Bank for the development of the Indus Basin in India and Pakistan. The sum provided for in the earlier measure, however, has been found to be insufficient to enable the scheme to be carried to a conclusion. It is interesting to note that this will be one of the greatest irrigation schemes in the world. It will be much greater than our own very great Snowy Mountains scheme. I understand that it will be ten times as great as the much talked of and famous Colorado scheme in the United States of America.
The Indus River flows for 1,800 miles through India and Pakistan and empties into the Indian Ocean. It has six tributaries. I thought Senator Scott was going to improve my education by naming them, but he did not do so. It is interesting to note that the Indus and its tributaries discharge twice the quantity of water that is discharged by the Nile and three times the quantity that is discharged by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which flow into the Persian Gulf. I have learned from my reading that in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers was the famous Garden of Eden. One does not know whether what happened there so many years ago was good or bad, but at least one can say that if there were no Garden of Eden, possibly we would not be discussing this legislation. I repeat that the Indus has ten times the flow of the Colorado River in the United States of America. The Indus flows through an area where the annual rainfall is ten. to fifteen inches a year and 16 per cent, of the surrounding land has less than five inches annual rainfall. While such a small amount of rain causes grave concern and great suffering amongst the people who live in the region, their troubles are increased by the fact that it is a very irregular rainfall.
The purpose of .the scheme is to dam the rivers and to irrigate the valley of the Indus, where more than 50 million people live. Honorable senators are aware that strained relations existed for some time between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir and over who was to control the Indus Basin. Fortunately, with the aid of the United Nations Organisation and its agency, the World Bank, the scheme has been commenced. As we all know, it will provide a great area of arable land suitably irrigated for food production to feed the people of a country where food is probably more needed than in any other country of the world.
It is also interesting to note that, as was stated in the first Bill, the amount to be contributed by Australia under that legislation was £6.9 million. Canada was to contribute £10.1 million, Germany £13.4 million, New Zealand £1.2 million, the United Kingdom £26.1 million, and the United States of America £78.9 million. I have stated the figures to the nearest million pounds. We can be proud that our country of 11 million people, which needs great amounts of money for its development, contributed under the first Bill a share that shows that possibly we are doing more than other nations with a greater number of people. The Bill before us now increases our contribution to £11.6 million. According to a statement made by the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) in his second reading speech, we have paid over £3 million; the balance will be paid in or before 1970. When the scheme is completed it will increase the area under crop from the present 31 million acres to at least 75 million acres. The additional area provided is almost as large as my own State of Victoria. Senator Scott has said that the amount to be irrigated on completion of the scheme is 100 million acres. The history of the scheme I have read stated that it would be at least 75 million acres but I shall not quarrel with Senator Scott over his figure. It will mean that the water provided and the improved farming techniques such as are used in Australia and other modern countries will provide sufficient food for millions of people. The number stated is 50 million people, the majority of whom unfortunately live today in conditions of semi-starvation.
Although the United Nations may not have fulfilled all that some of us hoped it would, it is to be congratulated for its work in getting the World Bank to commence this scheme and, we hope, to complete it. That feat alone satisfies me, at least, that it is a tremendously useful council of the majority of the countries of the world. Let us hope that sooner or later all countries will become members of the United Nations. I have always been a firm believer that we would stop the spread of the ideologies in which we do not believe if we could feed and house the people amongst whom they have gained supporters. The greatest success in stopping wars can be achieved by giving to the people a decent standard of living. It has been proved in our own country that where a decent standard of living is provided, foreign ideologies get very little support. Until we are able to deal with the everyday needs of the mass of the people of the underdeveloped countries - particularly in Asia - I believe we will always be troubled as we are today.
I join with Senator Dittmer in supporting the Bill. We are pleased with this legislation as it will give help to people who need it. Let us hope that it will give to a vast number of people sufficient food to eliminate living conditions of semi-starvation, reports of which have come to us in recent years, particularly from the area concerned in this legislation.
– Mr. Deputy President, I support the supplemental grant provided by the measure which is before the chamber. We of the Australian Labour Party have been critical over a number of years of the Commonwealth Government’s lack of generosity towards the underprivileged nations of the world. We see in this Bill a measure of generosity towards two members of the British Commonwealth of Nations - Asian countries close to us. It gives us some satisfaction to know that a contribution is being made towards the lifting of the living standards of underprivileged people. When we consider that approximately two-thirds of the world’s population - some 2,000 million people - go to bed hungry every night, and that some 500 million live in the area which will be assisted by this scheme, we can do nothing but support a bill which will relieve some of their hardships.
– Surely you do not refer to India and Pakistan as having a population of 500 million people.
– I am referring to India and Pakistan, Senator, and, if you want to speak, get up and have your say. This is a problem which we believe should be looked at and, over the years, we have urged that the Commonwealth Government should do more to assist other nations. It is strange that the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) should bring forward this supplementary Bill to provide greater expenditure on this scheme without giving any details. No details were given of the Indus Basin scheme when the original legislation was brought before the Parliament in 1960 and no details are now given of the modified scheme. Looking at this supplementary Bill we find that Australia’s contribution’ is to be increased by some 67 per cent., whereas the total supplementary amount required for the scheme is greater by approximately only 45 per cent. Surely the Minister, in presenting this measure and endeavouring to persuade the Senate to agree to it, should have given some explanation of the difference between these figures. But nothing of the sort has been done on this occasion. We are entitled to be critical of the Minister for this lack of information, even though we support the motive behind this supplementary measure.
We hope that the completion of this scheme will bring us a large measure of international goodwill and that we will make good friends in this area because it is one in which good friends are required. I hope that the spending of the Australian taxpayers’ money in this area will bear some fruit in international relations. I spoke last week on another matter and drew a parallel between assistance granted for a scheme in Australia and the assistance that the Commonwealth Government was prepared to give in other schemes. At that time I was accused by the Minister of suggesting a reduction in the assistance that Australia is giving to other countries - under the Colombo Plan, in Papua and New Guinea, and under the Indus Basin scheme. I emphasise that at no time did I suggest that assistance to other countries should be reduced. In fact the Australian Labour Party has said, all along, that a greater effort should be made in respect of these matters, and particularly in New Guinea. I was trying to draw a parallel and I am still doing so, but because the Minister got the idea that I was suggesting a reduction in international aid, he could see another schism in the Australian Labour Party. He would be better employed looking at the chasms in his coalition Government rather than trying to find schisms in the Australian Labour Party.
Most of the work connected with the Indus Basin scheme has been dealt with by speakers who have preceded me and I do not desire again to traverse that ground. But water is one of the most precious things in the world and if a country has an abundance of water and allows it to go to waste rather than putting it to use, that is a crime. Because this scheme will result in much better use of the waters of the Indus River system I think that a commenable attitude has been shown by the various governments concerned and by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. For these reasons I support the measure.
– in reply - I am pleased that the end sought to be achieved by this Bill is approved by both sides of the Senate. I agree with those who have already spoken that the economic results which will now from this dam will be of great benefit to India and Pakistan, and particularly to the people living in the areas to be served. I think I should say a word or two about Senator Dittmer’s attack on the Government, although I do not suppose anybody, least of all himself, took it seriously.
– You would not expect us to take notice of it.
– I said “ least of all himself”. He must realise, being an intelligent man, that his attack on this Government is, in fact, an attack on all the governments engaged in this scheme and on the World Bank, which did the engineering surveys and the estimating for the whole of the plan. I do not think that even he would claim that the World Bank and all the governments associated with the scheme were lazy and inefficient and did not pay any attention to the job in hand. The plain fact of the matter is that the World Bank did a survey of the scheme and this was the project that was put up to, and agreed to, by all the contributing governments. Subsequently Pakistan sought some alterations to the engineering works which she thought would be of some assistance to her. The World Bank made further investigations and suggestions and after a long period of protracted negotiations the original alterations sought were found to be too great to be approved by the contributing governments and a modified engineering scheme, with some increases in cost, was agreed to. This will provide a more effective economic benefit than that to be derived under the original proposition. In any case, if there is criticism to be levelled, it is levelled at all those governments engaged in the scheme. It is quite absurd to try to level it at a particular government which has joined in this scheme and has contributed about li per cent, of the total cost of it. I say that there is no real force or substance in the criticism which has been directed at this Government.
– I did not level it at the Australian Government.
– The trouble is that the honorable senator makes criticisms to which he is not prepared to stand up. When they are rebutted he relies on interjections.
– You are rebutting something that does not exist.
Sentaor GORTON. - I am rebutting the honorable senator, so perhaps we agree in essentials. Having dealt with that particular point, there remains little more to say because there is on both sides of the chamber agreement as to the benefits which will flow from this contribution to the living conditions of the people in that part of the world. The scheme has the added benefit that a possible area of conflict over water supply - where the source of the river is in one country and the flow of it is in another country, which could lead to great tension - has been resolved. Not only do economic benefits flow, but that cause of possible clash has, as a result of this overall agreement, been resolved.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
I have reserved my remarks on the Bill until now because I think they are appropriate for the Committee stages. Mr. Temporary Chairman, would you permit me to say how much I feel indebted to the honorable senators who have taken part in the second reading debate? May I also be permitted to say that in my visit abroad a year ago I had the opportunity of visiting Karachi? I saw there, at the mouth of the Indus River, evidence of the need for this scheme. I shall refer to this matter when I raise my second query concerning one of the provisions of the agreement.
In the first place, I want to ask the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) to deal in a little more detail with the discrepancy between the original estimate and the present estimate. It is a considerable difference. Despite the fact that reference has been made to a world inflationary trend, to proper safeguards by the Internationa] Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the amplitude of engineering and banking assistance available, the discrepancy is far more than we should allow to pass without criticism. I have in mind some very thoughtful remarks that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) has been good enough to include in the papers that he circulated on this subject yesterday. With the United Nations under threat at the present time, it is more than ever necessary to make it an effective body. We should not drift into the easy situation, because we are members of a partnership - in this instance, on the Minister’s statement, we have contributed about 1.5 per cent, of the capital - of relying on the principal partners. If we do that, the United Nations will become a centre of squandering. If it is going to become effective, we in the Australian Parliament ought to let its members know - that is, if they ever read the comments which are made here - that we will not tolerate that use of United Nations money.
One of the rocks upon which the United Nations is in danger of being wrecked is the contribution of money for its existence. If we are to follow this policy, as I hope we will, we should insist that estimates shall be reliable, that our money shall be spent in accordance with those estimates and that when the whole of our contribution has been expended the beneficiary shall have the project that was promised - one fully capable of delivering the goods. We are not entitled in the slightest degree to allow this responsibility to slip from us. The proposition put before us in 1960 was estimated to cost us £6.9 million. We are now asked for an additional contribution of £4.6 million, without substantial explanation why the 65 per cent, increase is required.
My second comment is that from my reading of the Bill I do not think there is any substance in Senator Cant’s suggestion of discrepancies between individual contributors concerning the ratio of these supplementary contributions. If there were any basis of fact for that suggestion, I would ask the Minister to explain the matter to the Senate. Why I think there is no substance in the suggestion is that in his second reading speech the Minister said that the contributing Governments were asked to pledge further sums in the same ratio as they had contributed the original sums. I read the Schedule as requiring the contributions to be made in the same proportions as the original contributions. I believe that New Zealand is omitted, so there may be a possible exemption for New Zealand in this regard. 1 find in Article 11 of the Schedule that against the United States grant of 118 million dollars the contributions repayable by Pakistan are 51 million dollars to the United States and 58 million dollars to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Can the Minister explain the meaning of that entry? I am reminded that the United States, great and meritorious as has been her attitude to the undeveloped world in the post-war era, has adopted the attitude of tacking on to this type of aid commercial advantages in her own favour. When I was in Karachi, I saw the wharfs of the port literally filled with wheat that had come from America. I have forgotten the terms on which it was supplied, but the position was quite alarming because 40 years earlier wheat was .being exported from that port. I just want to know whether or not there is any tag on the aid that the United States is giving under this agreement, and the explanation of the figure of 51,220,000 dollars which is that part of the United States’ contribution which is repayable by Pakistan.
– I did not participate in the second reading debate, but I should like now to make a few observations on the measure. Last year, with Senator Maher, I had the opportunity to visit Pakistan and India, and we saw the site of the Indus Dam. Although I was supplied with much propaganda material and information, unfortunately it is in Adelaide. Reference to that literature could have cleared up many of the points that have been raised during the consideration of the Bill. My recollection is that the Indus Dam is one of the mightiest water conservation projects in the world. Contrary to what has been said, my recollection is that it will not provide any additional acreage for cultivation. I understand that the project is a necessary result of the partition of the Indian sub-continent, under which the Indus River now belongs to India, which wants to use its waters for her own development. This would leave three rivers, which flow through irrigation settlements in Pakistan, without any water.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development had a look at the position with a view to finding a solution. The matter was urgent, as it was necessary to continue to feed the Pakistanis, and the maintenance of peace between the two countries was dependent upon the result. A decision was made to dam a basin - I do not think it was the basin of the Indus River - and divert waters into the three rivers which are being served by the Indus River.
– Was it the Jheiumt River?
– Yes. In 1966 or 1967, under the agreement the waters of the Indus River will no longer be available to Pakistan. Diversion of water into those rivers will, I understand, only supply the same irrigation area as is being supplied at present by the Indus River. No new area of land of appreciable size will be opened up but the scheme will avert the conditions of acute starvation which must have resulted if the area had been deprived of water.
An electricity generating plant was to be provided at the dam. In the course of construction it was found that three other low lying areas could also be used for the pur* pose of conserving water to supply the three rivers during the dry season. The work was being carried out by an American firm of contractors. The approval of an Irishman, who represented the International Bank, had to be received before any additional expenditure could be incurred. So it is not a case of the Government of Pakistan or the contractors deciding to do something without the approval of the International Bank. The Bank’s approval must have been obtained for the use of local materials, such as clay that was found on the site and rock which was crushed for the bed of the dam.
Camps had to be erected to cater for the 10,000 local employees on the project. That number was higher than had been anticipated. The Americans established a township for their key men, who could not live in the area without decent accommodation, including air conditioning and recreation facilities. Among other things a school, a hospital, a wet canteen, a bowling centre and a shopping centre were built for the 600 American families on the project. After those people leave Pakistan those facilities will remain. The question may arise of whether the money spent on them was justified. However, the Americans found that it was impossible to get key men unless they provided good living conditions. Irrespective of whether the expenditure on these facilities was justified, it was incurred with the knowledge and approval of the International Bank. When I was in Pakistan I was told that a further £150 million was needed to complete the scheme and that the various governments contributing to the scheme were to be asked to provide more funds.
While the nations that have undertaken to assist Pakistan and other under-developed countries have incurred expenditure on this scheme, it must be remembered that Pakistan itself has incurred heavy expenses in rehousing the hundreds of families who formerly lived in the area that will be inundated when the scheme is completed. The project is a most interesting one. I suppose all undertakings cost more in the long run than was originally estimated. Take, for example, the case of the Sydney Opera House. Very few undertakings are completed at the original estimate of cost. Additional costs were incurred on the Indus Basin project due to the fact that local materials instead of imported materials were used. This was done in order to conserve overseas exchange and to provide employment for the huge army of unemployed that exists in Pakistan. We were told that more money would be needed to complete the project and I think I have provided an explanation of why this is so. Although we should be more careful in our original estimates, on no account would anybody who has visited Pakistan and become aware of the consequences to that country if this project is not completed refuse to give wholehearted support to it.
– I have been trying to understand the figures that have been presented to us. Senator Cant mentioned a discrepancy and Senator Wright said that he was satisfied with the explanation that had been given. Unfortunately, I cannot find any satisfaction in the statement that has been presented to us. The amount originally pledged to the fund was 895 million dollars and Australia’s contribution was 15.6 million dollars, equivalent to £A6,965,000, near enough to £7 million. On my calculations, Australia’s contribution represents 35.2 per cent, of the original requirement. Adopting the same ratio, our contribution on this occasion would be not £4.669 million but £2.3 million. On the face of it, our contribution is now double what it should be. I should like the Minister to explain this apparent discrepancy. No doubt there is an explanation which has not been revealed to the Senate.
– I should like to answer some of the questions that have been raised so far. I think the answer to the point raised by Senator Prowse is that the sums which have been made available for the construction of this project, in both the first and the second Bills, have been made available in two ways, first by a straight out grant, and secondly, by loan. In both Bills portion of the total contribution has been made by grant and portion by loan. The proportion of Australia’s contribution has been calculated as a straight out grant and is the same in each case. For instance, in the particular proposition now before us Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States are contributing between them, as a straight out grant, £91,659,000 of which Australia’s share is £4,669,000. In addition, to make up the increased contribution of £140 million, there are loans from the United States of £22,900,000 and from the International Bank of £26,100,000. This explains the apparent discrepancy. The honorable senator is quite right in saying that there appears to be a discrepancy, but this has arisen because it was not stated clearly enough that the contribution referred only to the grant and not to the loan portion of the funds being made available.
Senator Wright referred to section 2.01 of Article II of the Schedule and asked where these loans are set out in the Bill. I did not quite understand his question but I take it he was seeking information about the amount to be repaid. The United States is contributing in two ways. It is contributing 118 million dollars as a straight out grant and an additional 51 million dollars as a loan. I know of no conditions attached to the loan except that, as is the case with bank loans, it shall’ ultimately be repaid.
He raised another point about justification for the increase. I cannot tell in detail the justification for this but I know that it was due in part to an increase in the estimated cost and also in part to an alteration in the engineering requirements as a result of a request from Pakistan, provision for the making of such requests being contained in the original Bill. A request was made to the administrator appointed, which in this case was the International Bank, seeking more security than in fact Pakistan thought was contained in the original Bill. Meeting these requirements would have meant a very large increase from the original estimate of 895 million dollars to 1,832 million dollars. The Bank and the countries concerned looked at this and decided it was far too great. Some engineering alterations resulted in an increase of costs. I do not have the details of them. The increases were not due to under-estimating of the costs of the original plan. I suppose the Department could secure the details for the honorable senator if he wished to have them.
I refer to Article V of the Agreement. It is headed “ Study of the Water and Power Resources of West Pakistan “. Section 5.01 provides -
The Administrator shall organize and administer a Study of the water and power resources of West Pakistan which would provide the Government of Pakistan with a basis for development planning in the water and power sectors of the economy within the context of their successive Five Year Plans. It is intended that this Study will be completed within two years from the date of its commencement. The first objective of the Study will be the completion of a report covering the technical feasibility, the construction cost and the economic return of a dam on the Indus at Tarbela. The Administrator will use its best endeavours to ensure that this report will be completed by the end of 1964.
I ask the Minister whether any report has been completed and whether the Australian Government possesses a copy of it. Section 5.02 provides -
The financing by the Fund of the Study shall not constitute or imply any commitment by the Parties to participate in any financing of any development project arising out of the Study, other than as provided in Section 4.02 of this Agreement.
In his second reading speech, the Minister said - in the light of further engineering studies and following the receipt of tenders from contractors for four large works in the system it became clear that the original estimate was too low.
I ask the Minister whether the further engineering studies relate to this report and whether there is any line of demarcation between the project under discussion and the report that has been asked for on the study of the water and power resources of West Pakistan.
– I am unable to tell the honorable senator whether the Australian Government has seen the report to which he referred. We are committed only to the works outlined in the Bill before us and not to the new dam referred to by the honorable senator.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a third time.
Bougainville Island: ToneleiTimber Lease.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to direct the attention of the Senate to a matter which was brought to my notice towards the end of the parliamentary recess. It concerns what I regard as the abject failure of the Administration of Papua and New Guinea to protect the rights and interests of certain indigenes of Tonelei, which is in the south east portion of Bougainville Island. As a result of this abject failure by the Administration, the indigenes have been exploited to the gain of a company known as the Bougainville Development Corporation and also to the gain of the Administration itself.
Let me say at the outset that I do not allege any malpractice on the part of the company concerned. I do not know any details of the company’s activities in connection with the lease of the land to which I shall refer but I allege negligence on the part of the officers of the Administration in failing to protect the interests of the indigenous people involved. My informant is a person of very high repute, and I have been given authority to name him. He is the Very Reverend Father Fingleton, a Roman Catholic missionary, who has been in the area for some 17 years. He knows the people and the area well, as he has lived and worked among them for that time. He believes that a grave injustice has been inflicted on these people which will have detrimental effects on the future of the natives who are living in the area and those who will live there in the future. He believes that this matter should be raised publicly in the interests of those people and, having heard the case he has made, I feel that this is so.
Father Fingleton has assured me that he has taken up this matter time after time on behalf of the indigenes but to no avail. Indeed, last November after having had a discussion with the Public Solicitor of New Guinea at Port Moresby, Father Fingleton wrote to the Public Solicitor setting out the case only to be advised by telegram -
Advise you consult another solicitor.
The matter concerns the payment of some £30,000 in a lump sum to the indigenes in the Tonelei area for a lease for 40 years of a stand of timber estimated on a conservative basis to consist of 500 million super, feet of good quality timber.
– Standing timber?
– Yes, standing timber. I am told that on a conservative basis, the timber is worth 6s. to 7s. per 100 super, feet and, if based on export prices, 10s. per 100 super feet, but in actual fact the average price paid to the indigenous people concerned is about lid. per 100 super, feet in round figures. If this is so, I suggest the whole transaction borders on the scandalous. Father Fingleton assures me that they are paying anything from 3s. 6d. to 7s. per 100 super, feet in this same area for timber for the construction of schools in the vicinity but the indigenes have received only lid. per 100 super, feet for the timber involved.
– Where did the honorable senator get the estimate of 500 million super, feet?
– That is the estimated quantity of timber standing on the land.
– From whom did the estimate come?
– I am coming to that. I understand that is the estimate made by the officers of the Administration. Negotiations to enter into the lease were commenced about two years ago and the arrangements were completed some time last year. I understand that throughout the negotiations no estimate was given of the total amount of timber in the area. Only subsequently after the arrangements were finalised was it announced over the service of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in the area that it was estimated that the timber on the land concerned was some 500 million super, feet. I am told that no formal contract was entered into between the company, the Administration and the indigenes concerned, and that no independent representative was available to the indigenes to advise them, during the course of the negotiations, on the estimated value of the timber. I am informed that the only advice they received was from officers of the Administration.
Bearing in mind this situation, and having regard to the elementary education of these people, we must consider the formula that was used to assess the value of the timber stand to the people involved. I am informed that the formula for calculating the price prescribes that royalties shall be paid irrespective of the location of the timber stand in the Territory. n unproductive period of five years was assumed because of the remoteness of Tonelei from the existing markets. Five per cent, compound interest was used as the discount rate as this was the current rate applying to Territory loans. In its simplest form the calculation can be shown as follows -
It is said that 12.38 is the conversion factor used for discounting an annual rental, applying compound interest at 5 per cent. An initial non-productive period of five years is assumed, with the remainder of the stand being cut at equal rates for the remaining period of 35 years. Frankly, although I have had some formal education, I find the formula I have just quoted quite difficult to understand. I just do not know what these people would make of it, having regard to their comparative lack of education. I am told also that the formula includes a clause which provides that half of the survey and equalisation costs to the Administration will be borne by the seller, or in other words by the indigenes. The expenditure necessary to effect the purchase and prepare tenders was estimated at £20,000, with a further estimated expenditure of £100,000 being involved before any development could take place.
– What does the honorable senator mean by an expenditure of £20,000 to complete the purchase?
– The expenditure necessary to effect the purchase and prepare tenders was estimated at more than £20,000. That is what these people have been told. Frankly, I just do not comprehend it, and obviously Senator Wright also has some misgivings. Honorable senators can understand what would be the situation of these people.
I am told that although the indigenes have received some £30,000 for this transaction, most, if not all of it, has since been spent at the trading stores in the area. Little or nothing has been left for those who, in the years to come, will be asked to live in and develop this area. I understand from the Reverend Father Fingleton that the indigenes concerned are now under the impression that they have been “ got at “. As a result, they have approached him for advice. He has taken up the cudgels on their behalf. He contacted the Administration, but apparently without success. He also sought the assistance of the Public Solicitor in Port Moresby on their behalf, but the only advice he received was that he should obtain another solicitor.
Having regard to the attitude of these people, I understand that their hostility is so great that when a survey team was sent into the Augusta Bay area last October the indigenes involved refused to allow it to land. This was because of this transaction and the feeling of the people concerned. I understand that later the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation was engaged on activities in this particular area and was using a helicopter for its purposes, but because the indigenes involved mistook this aircraft as being connected with Administration officers they also tried to stop it from landing in the area. The important thing, Mr. President, is that no contract was presented to these people. They were not afforded the advice of any independent representative. They were given the advice of officers of the Administration and all they did, in fact, was to sign a document to say that they had received the money, the sum of some £30,000.
I suggest that it would appear, on the evidence presented to me by a very reputable gentleman, that these people have certainly been the victims of Administration negligence or that there has been complete lack of interest in their welfare. The prices paid for the timber rights at Tonelei obviously were too low in comparison with the royalties that I understand will be received by the Administration when the timber is exploited. The payment of a lump sum for the timber rights, I suggest, was morally and politically wrong because the money has been squandered very quickly.
– Surely it is implied in the figures that the honorable senator has mentioned that 12.38 is the discount rate and that that indicates the lump sum as the true present worth of the other royalty rate which would be paid if spread over the years of the lease.
– The honorable senator is a lawyer, and I am not. He assumes that that is the situation and he might assume correctly. I do not know. He does not know. But just imagine the situation of these uneducated people being presented with a document of that type. I am suggesting to the honorable senator that it is completely unfair on the part of the Administration to expect people of this capacity to be able to comprehend a formula such as that. I suggest that the result will be that in a few years the descendants of the vendors will claim that they received nothing perhaps because of the ignorance of their predecessors, and that the Director of Native Affairs certainly should have had the right to invest the money, if it was paid to them in a lump sum, so that there would be continuity of payment to the vendors and their children.
– It seems difficult to think that the honorable senator has the story correctly and that the Administration would act in that way.
– It seems to me to be ludicrous. These are the facts presented to me by a gentleman who has lived and worked in the area for a period of 17 years, a gentleman who has taken the case to the Administration on a number of occasions at various levels. Apparently he has been told that the only advice that he can obtain is to get the services of another solicitor. I understand from the gentleman concerned that the royalties involved to the Administration will run into the order of some £2 million and that the timber lease to the company involved will be considerably in excess of that amount. I believe that if these are the facts - as they have been related to me and as I am relating them to this chamber - the Government should immediately investigate the whole of the matter. Obviously, if these facts are correct-and I have no reason to doubt them - these people have been taken advantage of because of the lack of business acumen on their part and because of the lack of independent advice made available to them by the Administration. They feel that they have been got at, to use an Australian expression, on the matters that I have cited to the Senate. It would appear that this is so. I certainly suggest that, if the facts as I have cited them are correct, remedial action needs to be taken by the Government.
– I come into this debate because once again this matter has been raised in the Parliament. The allegation is, in fact, that the indigenous people of this area have been fooled - that is what it amounts to - by a connivance on the part of the Administration to carry out a corrupt act against them. That is the essence of the allegation.
– Senator McClelland said that he did not allege any malpractice.
– In essence, this amounts to an attack upon the Administration in that it is suggested that the Administration has connived in a situation, to put it in normal parlance, to shake down the people of this area. This is the essence of the charge. This allegation has been rebutted once already in the Parliament by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes). I am quite convinced that the remarks by Senator McClelland tonight will bring forth from the Minister for Territories a suitable reply.
I am bound to make the observation that, in my own experience - and from what I have been able to discover - any attempt to prise away the land or the assets of the native people, who hold those areas in common, by the Administration from time to time when it wishes to alienate land for the benefit of the indigenous people is an almost impossible task. There is, in fact, in the precincts of the Parliament at the present moment one of the most experienced administrators in the whole of Papua and New Guinea, the present Speaker of the House of Assembly in the Territory. Talking to him last year, I was told that it is almost totally impossible to persuade the indigenous people anywhere in New Guinea to alienate any land or any assets which are held in common. That gentleman spoke not only from his current experience but from the wealth of his experience before he was elected as the member for North Markham, including his experience as District Commissioner for Morobe. This being the case - and this is a common situation in New Guinea - I fail to see how it was that the people in this area holding this timber in common were able to be persuaded to sell this timber under the pressure, apparently, of the Administration and alienate their assets in a way that leaves them bereft of that which is their just entitlement.
I go further than that and say that it is a common occurrence when land is obtained by consent for alienation for the advancement of the people of New Guinea, for the people in these areas who hold land in common to say that the community elders had no right to make an agreement for the disposal of the land or other assets held in common by the tribe, clan or people of that area and that, as far as they are concerned, the deal is off. In other words, an agreement having been obtained, I am assured by the Department of Native Affairs which is most vigilant in the protection of the assets of these people, that the indigenous people of New Guinea tend to reject unilaterally the undertaking that has been given. The honorable senator, from his surveys and experience in New Guinea, would know that this is a constant problem that is occurring in New Guinea at the present moment. Tribal lands are alienated with the consent of the people of the area and the people obtain the money for their land. It is their money and they spend it in whatever way they wish. They then reject the agreement and declare it to be null and void and there is agitation to have the matter reviewed. 1 have a strong suspicion that that may have happened in relation to this particular problem. I say that so that the Senate will not immediately regard this series of allegations, honestly made by the honorable senator, as reflecting on the probity of the Administration of Papua and New Guinea and of the officers who are charged with protecting the interests of the indigenous people.
.- in reply - Mr. President, tonight Senator McClelland has told us about things which may be facts and which he himself cannot vouch for as being facts but only as having been related to him as facts. Consequently, we really have not anything on which to bite. I should be glad to know whether the honorable senator has yet approached the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) with the story that he has related to the Senate and whether, with the Minister, he has investigated the truth or otherwise of what he has been told.
– No, I have not approached the Minister, because the matter was referred to me only on the day before the Parliament resumed and the gentleman concerned had already complained to the Administration without having received satisfaction.
– We are in the position where we have listened to allegations about things which have not been shown to be facts and where the Minister for Territories has not been approached in an effort to investigate the truth or otherwise of them. I shall bring the honorable senator’s remarks to the attention of the Minister. I suggest that Senator McClelland also should approach the Minister for Territories, whom I am sure he will find to be very cooperative, and satisfy himself, together with the Minister, whether the things that are alleged to have happened are or are not facts. Until that is determined, there is not much that we can discuss.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 March 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19650324_senate_25_s28/>.