25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Assent to the following Bills reported -
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 1) 1965.
Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Bill 1965.
Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill 1965.
Housing Loans Insurance Bill 1965.
– I have received the following letter from Lady Churchill expressing appreciation of the expression of sympathy on the death of her husband -
Dear Sir Alister,
I write to thank you most warmly for your letter and for the specially bound copy of the Resolution and speeches made in the Senate when the motion of regret at the death of my Husband was moved.
My family and I would like to thank you for your great kindness in sending this eloquent tribute, and your Senators for their manifestations of admiration and respect for him, and their sympathy to us in our personal loss.
Clementine S. Churchill.
– Has the Minister repre senting the Prime Minister seen in the Sydney “ Daily Mirror “ a report headed “Menzies Called Dictator” which states that the Australian National University Liberal Club has passed a resolution calling for the resignation of Sir Robert Menzies as Prime Minister? Does the Minister expect that the resolution of the Club will ever reach the top level council of the Liberal Party in Australia? Does the Minister agree that the resolution, if given effect, would meet the wishes of millions of Australian electors?
– I did read an account of the meeting that has been referred to by the honorable senator. I interpreted the resolution as being either an expression of levity on the part of many of the members of the Club who attended the meeting or as a gigantic leg pull indulged in by one section of the Club against the other. I noted, among other things, that the meeting unanimously carried a resolution supporting the activities of the notorious Mr. Mackie at Mount Isa. That resolution having been carried, I should have imagined that the members of the Australian Labour Party would have joined me in regarding this particular meeting and the motions agreed to as being something not to be accorded too much notice.
– Has the leader of the Government in the Senate noted that Mr. Calwell has been reported to have said in Townsville that there would be an early election for the House of Representatives? Is there any substance in the story that is being run by the Australian Press that there could be a snap Federal election in September?
– I have seen such reports in this morning’s Press. The matter seems to fall into two parts.
– Like Gaul.
– Well, that fell, as I recall from my all too inadequate studies, into three parts. Of the two parts to which I referred, the first is that the Press was perhaps stimulating Mr. Calwell into making the statement. On the other hand, it may be that something Mr. Calwell had said stimulated the Press into further speculation. Insofar as it arises from anything that the Press might have instigated, I make no comment whatever. Insofar as it may have arisen from an utterance of Mr. Calwell, I express the very strong suspicion that if this is so, Mr. Calwell started the rumour for the purpose of deferring consideration in his own party of many matters that might prove very embarrassing to himself, including the important question of leadership.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he is aware that an organisation known as the Australian National Television Committee, which represents a wide crosssection of the Australian community, recently has written to the Prime Minister and has also sent a deputation to the PostmasterGeneral, urging that the recommendations in the report of the Senate
Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television should be implemented at an early date. What consideration, if any, has the Government given to the recommendations in the report? Will the Leader of the Government ensure that the adjourned debate on the report is allowed to continue and is brought to finality in this chamber before the present sessional period of Parliament concludes?
– I understand that my colleague, Mr. Hulme, the PostmasterGeneral, has made a public reference to the fact that he has been in communication with the committee referred to by the honorable senator - or more correctly, that the committee has been in communication with him. I do not know the outcome of whatever exchanges have taken place. I shall find out and let the honorable senator know. The resumption of the debate requested by the honorable senator will necessarily depend on my discussions with the Postmaster-General and on the time which is available for the report to be debated.
– My question is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the Minister seen a report of a statement by the Western Australian Minister for the North West, Mr. Court, which refers to the Commonwealth Government’s decision to defer consideration of the Ord River scheme? Will the Minister comment on the statement from the aspects of United States financial interests and defence?
– I have seen a Press report of a statement attributed to Mr. Court. One part of that report states that Mr. Court has received a communication from American financial sources which might be prepared to undertake the financing of the Ord River scheme. In the report I have read there is no indication of the extent of the finance which might be made available by the American group, nor is there an indication of the particular works which might be undertaken. It is not stated whether assistance will extend to the entire £30 million needed for the scheme. According to the report I read, Mr. Court intends to discuss this proposal with the Premier, Mr. Brand. The proposal has not yet been forwarded to the Commonwealth Government. Indeed, while it is in this stage, there must be some doubt whether it ever will be presented to the Commonwealth Government. If the report is correct, I express surprise that Mr. Court has commented publicly on a matter he intends to discuss with the Premier prior to discussing it with the Premier, because it is a policy issue of such great importance.
The report states that Mr. Court referred repeatedly to the defence value of the Ord River scheme and that he claimed that he has from an overseas source an anonymous report which supports his comments in this respect. If Mr. Court is correctly reported, all that I want to say about his statement is that although I would listen to him by the hour while he talked about company finance or commercial finance and related matters, I would not undertake to give him so much time when he spoke about questions of defence.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether or not the representations made to him to the effect that the relationship which the pension for totally and permanently incapacitated exservicemen bears to the basic wage today, expressed as a percentage, is less than it was immediately postwar are correctly based. Can the Minister give us some information as to the trend of this relationship and later supply the actual figures from his Department?
– I shall obtain the information for which the honorable senator asks. So that it may be accurate I shall defer giving any other reply.
– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Will the 800 Australian troops soon to go to Vietnam enjoy repatriation and rehabilitation benefits identical with those granted to ex-service personnel of the Second World War? Will rehabilitation benefits and training facilities afforded to them be the same as those afforded to ex-service personnel of the Second World War and the Korean War?
– I suggest that the question be directed to my colleague, the Minister for Repatriation.
– The position regarding repatriation benefits for those who, perhaps, will require them at some time in the near future on account of the commitments that the Commonwealth has entered into is substantially this: Members of the forces serving in Sabah, Sarawak and North Borneo will be eligible for repatriation benefits. Members who serve in Vietnam are also included. The question of including further theatres will be decided as this becomes necessary. The question of rehabilitation and training is being thrashed out at the present time. We are hoping to have the benefits that have been granted to those who served in theatres of war in the past extended to those who will serve in such theatres in the future.
– I ask the Minister for Defence a question. In view of the increasing importance of Western Australia in the defence of this continent in the South East Asian region, and because of our commitments in Vietnam and elsewhere, has any consideration been given recently to the establishment of a naval base or a naval dockyard on the west or north west coast of Australia?
– This is a matter which has been under consideration for a long time. It remains under consideration. I am sure that the honorable senator is familiar with the advice provided on this matter over the years by Australia’s own defence experts, namely that although a naval base in Western Australia would be desirable there are other works which must of necessity take precedence over the establishment of a static base in Western Australia. I emphasise the word “ static “ because as the years have gone by the techniques of naval strategy have altered materially. Indeed, they are continually changing. For example, today service is taken to the ships at sea rather than having the ships removed from the line back to a static base for service. This system did not operate until 10 or 12 years ago. This technique is reflected in our naval building programme which provides for ships which take service to the ships at sea. The technique is seen more importantly and dramatically in the larger navies, particularly in the United States Navy and the Royal Navy, where service ships are built for the purpose of supplying and replenishing the ships at sea to avoid temporarily removing ships from the line and servicing them at a base. Putting things in a proper order of priority as far’ as our Navy is concerned; the overseas practice to which I have referred adds emphasis to the fact that priority must be given to the building of service ships which will service the ships at sea. As 1 have said, this is the accepted technique in the larger navies.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Acting Minister for External Affairs. At any time, before or since its decision to send a battalion of combat troops to Vietnam, has the Australian Government, as representing a nation directly involved in the Vietnam conflict, taken any steps to report its action to the United Nations Security Council or to move for the intervention of the United Nations in seeking to avoid an extension of the war in Vietnam?
– It is my impression that U Thant was informed of the Government’s proposed action. However, it would be better if the honorable senator were to place his question on the notice paper so that a positive answer might be obtained.
– I address a further question to the Minister for Defence. It follows on the answer that he has just given me, with which I am fully in agreement. I ask the Minister whether there is any possibility of these service ships, or a service ship, to service our Navy being based anywhere along the western coast of Australia to enable greater manoeuvrability of our ships which are engaged in South East Asian theatres of war.
– With respect, I think that the honorable senator has moved from a position where she asked for a static base to be established in a particular area to the question of the deployment of ships. Obviously, the deployment of these ships will depend entirely upon where the Navy is operating, either in peacetime or in wartime. If it is operating in the Indian Ocean and it appears that it will >be operating there for some length of time, I imagine that it would not be unlikely that such ships might be based, while operating in the Indian Ocean, in Fremantle. When they were operating in other localities removed from the western coast they would be appropriately based.
” VOYAGER » DISASTER.
– I wish to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, or of the Minister representing the Attorney-General. I refer to the comments of the High Court Judge, Sir Victor Windeyer, a few weeks ago when adjudicating upon a claim by a civilian in respect of the “Voyager” disaster, and, after consideration, the allowance of compensation to the dependants. He observed that there was no liability for the injury or death of a serviceman in respect of the actions of another serviceman. I ask the Minister: On what basis is compensation being paid to injured Naval personnel or to their dependants in respect of the disaster?
– I do not think that I should offer Senator Wright any legal advice without consultation with the Attorney-General’s Department or with the relevant Minister. If the honorable senator places the question on the notice paper I shall get the information for him.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services. Having regard to the increasing public awareness of the incidence of poverty in Australia and to the need to give special attention to large numbers of underprivileged and handicapped citizens suffering hardship and lacking satisfaction of basic human needs, will the Minister consider convening,, under Commonwealth Government sponsorship, an annual national welfare convention on a basis similar to the Australian Citizenship Convention? Representatives of Federal and State Governments and delegates from voluntary welfare organisations could be invited to attend with a view to discussing the many and complex problems involved and to planning and coordinating a community welfare programme on a national basis.
– I shall direct tha honorable senator’s question to the Minister for Social Services. At the same time I cannot accept much of the preamble to his question relating to poverty in Australia. However, I shall direct the question to the Minister and obtain an answer for the honorable senator.
(Question No. 375.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 440.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
With reference to the recent meeting between Commonwealth Ministers and commercial and industrial leaders regarding Australia’s industrial preparedness in the event of a serious war situation developing in South East Asia, did the Ministers present at the conference express concern at Australian industry’s lack of technological potential?
– The Minister for Supply has replied as follows -
I would assume that the question refers to the inaugural combined meeting of the re-constituted Industry Advisory Committee held in Sydney on 29th March, 1965, under the chairmanship of the Minister for Supply. No doubts were expressed at this meeting regarding Australia’s technological potential.
(Question No. 453.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
What advance has been made during the last five years towards the provision of equal pay for women in the employment of the Commonwealth and its instrumentalities?
– The Minister for Labour and National Service has supplied the following answer -
There has been no change in the last five years in the law and practice applying to scales of remuneration for female officers and employees of the Commonwealth Public Service or of Commonwealth instrumentalities vis-a-vis the scales for their male counterparts. The application of the industrial principle of the payment in addition to the female basic wage of a margin for skill equivalent to that payable to a male performing similar work continues.
– On 23rd March, 1965, Senator Breen asked me the following question without notice -
I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. In view of the action of the Australian Water Resources Council in establishing a special advisory group to prepare a report on water desalination methods and their relevance to Australia, could the Minister say whether there has been agreement to the recommendation by the Council that Australia should send two representatives to the first international symposium on water desalination to be held later this year?
I have been furnished with the following details from my colleague, the Minister for National Development -
The Australian Government has been invited by the United States Government to participate in the First International Symposium on Water Desalination to be held in Washington in October this year.
The Australian Water Resources Council considered this matter at its meeting in January last and recommended that Australia be represented at the symposium by two delegates - one from the Division of Chemical Engineering of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which is engaged on research into desalination, and the other from the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department which, because of the general scarcity of fresh water resources in South Australia, is following closely the practical and economic aspects of desalination. The Water Resources Council considered that the combination of a C.S.I.R.O. scientist and an engineer from South Australia would provide a well balanced team to represent Australia.
The Council’s recommendation is currently being considered by the Government, and an announcement on the composition of the Australian delegation to this symposium will be made shortly.
(Question No. 466.)
Senator AYLETT (through Senator
O’Byrne) asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
In the conversion to decimal currency will the country be zoned for the purpose of conversion of cash registers?
If the answer to 1. is in the affirmative - (a) Is it a fact that no conversion can be started in a second, third or following zone until such time as the conversion of all the cash registers of all the companies has been completed in the previous zone? (b) Will this mean that where a company has, say, 10,000 cash registers and another company has only 1,000 in a particular zone neither company will be allowed to start converting, although each may be ready and waiting, until such time as all the companies have completed the conversion of all their cash registers for the previous zone? and (c) How long will it take to complete the conversion of all zones?
Has the Government made any arrangements for the conversion of computing scales; if not, will any compensation be made to retailers?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
– On 25th March, Senator Sim asked a question without notice concerning the policies of the trading banks in relation to the provision of advances to primary producers in Western Australia for both carry on and development purposes. The Treasurer has supplied the following answer to Senator Sim’s question - 1 have consulted the Reserve Bank in this matter and the Bank has provided the following advice: Consistent with current central banking policy, the trading banks have been asked to exercise general restraint in approving new loans. However, within this general policy they have been requested to lean towards supporting productive rather than consumption expenditure in the distribution of their lending, and the Government’s policy of according preferred treatment in lending to rural and other export producers is well understood by the trading banks. There is no information available to the Reserve Bank to suggest that banks are not giving effect to these aspects of policy either in Western Australia or any other State. However, in considering individual applications for finance banks must, of course, have regard to all circumstances relevant to the particular propositions.
An expanded range of trading bank lending statistics has now been published’ in the March issue of the Reserve Bank Statistical Bulletin. -These statistics indicate that as at January 1965, rural borrowers’ aggregate advances and overdraft limits outstanding from major trading banks were higher than in January 1964. New and increased lending commitments to the rural sector during the six months ended January 1965 were also higher than for the same period in the previous year, while information available subsequent to that dale indicates that bank lending to this sector is continuing at relatively high levels. Classifications of limits outstanding and new lending are not available on a State basis but advances outstanding to rural borrowers in Western Australia as at January 1965 were higher than previously for that lime of the year.
Debate resumed from 4th May (vide page 559), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The purpose of this Bill is to amend that part of the Coal Industry Act which deals with the banking operations of the Joint Coal Board and the Board’s power to borrow money on overdraft. Due principally to changes that have taken place in the mechanics of Commonwealth Bank procedures, the change of titles and, I would think, the Government’s amendment of the banking legislation since 1946, the year in which the Joint Coal Board was established, the character of the Commonwealth Bank has changed a great deal. I think the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) will agree that because of these changes the Board has been operating in breach of the amended banking legislation. I do not know how serious that breach has been but this Bill proposes to legalise any breaches that have occurred or, at least, to cover them. When the Board was established it was required to open and maintain accounts with the Commonwealth Bank. In those days the Commonwealth Bank and the trading banks performed functions which were different from those that they perform today. They operated in a completely different way. The need has arisen, therefore, to put these things in order.
Because this is really a machinery measure and its purpose is as I have stated, the scope of my remarks is limited, but I think I am entitled to mention that the Bill is designed to legalise something that was originated by the Chifley Government. Honorable senators need not stretch their imagination too far to agree that 20 years ago, when discussing a bill of this kind, they probably would have argued that the Coal Board’s business should go through the private banks and not through the Commonwealth Bank. This is a development that has occurred over the years and, of course, it is a very favorable one. I am very pleased that we can support a bill of this kind. 1 wonder, Mr. President, whether I may step outside the bounds of this debate just a little. The Joint Coal Board borrows and spends money for the purpose, among other things, of obtaining markets for coal. It has been very successful in this activity. I imagine I am justified in referring to this matter just briefly. I have referred to it in this chamber many times, and I shall continue to do so. I am glad that Senator Sir William Spooner is in the chamber at the moment. I do not want to quote what he has said, or to paraphrase it, but I know that he shares my thoughts on this subject. A great danger faces the coal industry, particularly if the defence situation is as the Government says it is. We have been told that conditions to the north of Australia are quite serious and that we must do something to protect this country. I assume that that means that we must protect Australian industries, too.
The coal industry has had to develop an export trade, because the oil companies are adopting all sorts of methods to steal from the coal industry its internal markets. They are the safe markets. Therefore, I suggest that in the present military situation the coal industry is in a particularly serious position. Each year we export to Japan 2.726,000 tons of coal, to New Caledonia 134,000 tons, to Fiji 6,000 tons, to Ceylon 17.000 tons, to Pakistan 23,000 tons, to Hong Kong 11,000 tons and to Korea 70.000 tons. All those shipments of coal go to areas that are in extreme danger militarily at the present time. If, for some reason or other, those shipments could not be delivered, the Australian coal industry could find itself in a very serious situation almost immediately. Probably the Government is quite genuine in saying that we have” a lot to fear to the north of Australia. That is exactly where nearly all our external coal markets are. Nearly three million tons of coal go into that area each year. 1 should say that if the war situation were to worsen the first cargoes to be stopped would be coal cargoes from Australia to South East Asia. In those circumstances, the coal industry would be seriously hit, but the oil industry would be afforded protection. It would have the local market.
I note that the Minister for Defence is looking across at me. Probably I have spoken about something that I was not entitled to speak about; but the position confronting the coal industry is so serious that I believe I should again draw the attention of the Government to the fact that week by week and year by year the oil industry continues to filch the markets of the coal industry. We support the Bill.
– I rise also to support the Bill. I noted with interest Senator Ormonde’s statement that the Opposition does not intend to oppose the measure. The honorable senator referred to the coal industry and its importance to Australia’s economy and the earning of export income. It is interesting to note that in the last 15 years the production of coal in Australia has increased by 800 per cent.
– To meet the export demands.
– Not altogether. The export demands are at this moment for about five million tons annually whereas, before the present Government took office, we were net importers of coal. The honorable senator may remember that immediately after World War II the Government experienced great trouble in controlling the coal industry. A terrific number of strikes occurred, including in 1949 the largest strike we have had in this country. Lockouts also occurred at that time when we needed large amounts of coal to get our industries functioning after the effects of the war. When the present Government came into office Australia was importing coal. In one year from South Africa we imported over one million tons to meet our requirements until the Government could legislate for the provision of the machinery needed to mechanise our coalfields.
I had the opportunity one weekend to go down some of the major coal mines in Newcastle. Those mines were mechanised. Because of my realisation that the coal producers - which includes the miners - are facing very heavy competition from the oil industry, I was interested to learn that some mines were so highly mechanised that the cost of production had been reduced by about £1 a ton. Loading facilities underground and coal winning equipment had been highly mechanised but the Miners Federation would allow its members to man the new equipment for only one shift daily. That limitation has not helped the coal industry in its attempts to defeat the competition from the oil industry. Over the last four or five years the Government has installed or helped to install coal loading facilities in New South Wales and Queensland. As a result the industry has been able to export increasing quantities of coal each year. Our present exports are between five million and six million tons annually. I understand that the demand for coal is increasing.
The Bill before us is designed to give to the Joint Coal Board authority to operate accounts at a bank or banks approved by the regulations. In the absence of this authority the Joint Coal Board has been operating illegally. This legislation and similar legislation introduced by the New South Wales Government will correct the position. A new section 19A is proposed for the principal act to authorise the Joint Coal Board to maintain an account or accounts with an approved bank or approved banks. It is a minor section which will allow the Board to function legally. I have much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
.- The purpose of the Bill is to authorise a practice which has been in operation for a long time and has given satisfaction to all concerned. Nevertheless, what was being done was outside the law and the purpose of the Bill is to straighten matters out, for the Audit Branch, no doubt, and for the Department of the Treasury. I do not think that the Joint Coal Board will be any better off as a result of the arrangement. I have very little to say this afternoon on this question but I am taking the opportunity to discuss the trends of the coal industry in the Commonwealth. The industry was far more important only a few years ago.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman). - Order! I think that the honorable senator should restrict his remarks to the Bill.
– I am.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I am just warning the honorable senator.
– I am sticking strictly to the title of the Bill. It is a matter of money. You, Mr. Deputy President, no doubt know that in Queensland there is a board known as the Queensland Coal Board. Its establishment was agreed to by the coal authorities in Queensland during the war period. It is functioning as a coal board, but I do not think that it has the financial problems which the Joint Coal’ Board has. I did want to mention production. This restriction of debate is crippling in the Senate, which has not done anything for the past two or three weeks. Why the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge), who is in charge of the measure, is so sensitive about this matter is beyond me. I come from an important coal producing State. No doubt the Minister has engineered a stifled debate upon this- matter because he is not au fait with the coal industry, but surely I am entitled to mention the Queensland coal production figures over the past 12 months. I shall not be very far out of order if I mention that matter, surely. Last year 3,813,535 tons of coal were produced in Queensland. The quantity used amounted to 2,756,973 tons and 1,039,602 tons were exported. Arrangements are being made at the present time for what is known as Moura coal to be exported to Japan, where a ready market for it has been found. The point I am concerned about is employment in the industry.
– Contrary to what the honorable senator has suggested, I do not desire to stifle debate on the Bill, but I suggest that his remarks on Queensland coal production are entirely unrelated to the measure. The Joint Coal Board is an organisation comprising representatives of the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales. The Queensland Coal Board is purely a State body which has nothing at all to do with the Bill before the Senate.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the Bill.
– I shall confine my remarks to the Bill. The Opposition does not oppose the measure.
– in reply - 1 express gratification that the Opposition supports the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Senator Scott, when referring to a visit that he had paid to a mechanised colliery in Newcastle, said that the mine was fully mechanised from top to bottom and that the coal could be won ever so much more cheaply from a mechanised mine if the miners would agree to work the machines on two shifts. Senator Scott implied that the miners were partly to blame for the fact that more coal was not being taken from the mine at a cheaper rate.
In explanation and in defence of the mine workers I point out that for 10 years mechanised mining has been carried out on one shift a day and the number of men employed in the industry has decreased by 50 per cent. In other words, there are only half as many people in the industry today, with mechanised mining operating on only one shift, compared with 10 years ago. Now, I ask Senator Scott what would happen if mechanisation were applied to two shifts. No matter how mechanised coal mining becomes, we will always need men in the industry.
I would not like honorable senators to think that the miners do not have good reason to oppose mechanised mining “for two shifts a day. Although generally speaking coal mining in Australia is a one shift industry, awards are often varied by agreement to enable mechanical mining to be done during two shifts. Although this cuts across awards and customs there are instances where it is possible to work two shifts of mechanised mining.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Paltridge) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 4th May (vide page 560), on motion by Senator Anderson -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition does not oppose this Bil], which we regard as a procedural and machinery measure. In introducing the Aliens Bill in 1947 the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who was then Minister for Information and Minister for Immigration, said -
This measure is considered necessary, not only to ensure that we shall have some knowledge of the aliens in our midst, but also to provide for an analysis of Australia’s alien population, so that the Government may implement its immigration policy on sound and scientific lines.
In answer to questions on notice we have been told that as at 31st December 1964 there were 402,495 aliens over the age of 16 years registered in Australia. That number includes Asian students studying under the Colombo Plan. Of that number 250,000 are eligible for naturalisation.
In my view this Bill is tied up with the subject of naturalisation. The necessity to register aliens is a matter for concern. Legislation relating to the registration of aliens was first introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament in 1916. It was a wartime measure. It fell into disuse after the war and very little was done in connection with the registration of aliens until 1920 when the then Minister for Defence, Senator Pearce, felt the necessity existed for something to be done in that regard. The Aliens Registration Act was introduced in 1920. The Minister for Defence pointed out that one of the great difficulties which Great Britain experienced, and which was experienced to a lesser degree in Australia, was that our two countries did not have sufficient knowledge of the aliens in our midst. The United States of America had a complete record and a thorough knowledge of what happened regarding aliens during the war. It was able to proceed in a much more capable way in dealing with this matter than Great Britain and Australia. The Aliens Registration Act was repealed in 1934.
A lot of activity has taken place in the collecting of passports from people coming here, but very little is known by the
Department of Immigration of the location of aliens. During the war the control of aliens was more or less regulated by the National Security Regulations. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) stated in his second reading speech -
The Government considers that the replacement of the present ad hoc notification of changes of address and occupation as they occur by a system of annual notification by all aliens of these particulars, together with detail of marital status, will result not only in a more accurate and up to date Register of Aliens, but also that it will be a less onerous requirement for the aliens themselves, especially those who in their early years of residence frequently change their address.
It is proposed that the period in which annual notification will be required will be from 1st to 30th September in each year, with respect to any alien who was in Australia on 3 1st August that year. These dates will be prescribed by regulation.
I do not know whether that procedure will be of any great value. It is obvious that the Department is not able to keep track of the huge number of people who notify it of changes of address and occupation. I feel that it is hopeful that the new procedure will operate successfully.
I know that the Department and the Minister are concerned about the number of people who are involved. I believe that if migrants realised the advantages of naturalisation alien registration would not pose so many difficulties for the Department and the Government. As I have travelled on migrant ships coming to Australia and as I am a member of the Australian Labour Party Immigration Committee, I have witnessed exactly what is taking place. I would like to make a few comments which may be of some assistance to the Government and to the Department in this matter. It has been said by a number of people that when aliens get into difficulty they do not know to whom they should turn. The Britisher, of course, knows his rights. He speaks our language. He can go to a parliamentarian, to the Press or to a private individual and seek what he regards as justice. As a matter of fact, many migrants who return to the United Kingdom speak in what I regard as an unbecoming way about Australia. The alien who does not speak the language has a problem when a difficulty arises. To whom does he turn? He cannot turn to people who object to foreigners..
These people come here under all sorts of circumstances. I sometimes wonder whether too bright a picture is painted by our immigration officers. A wealth of material is poured into almost every country in the world. Are they too good us salesmen? Do the migrants expect too much when they come here? That is one of the problems to which I feel the Department might turn its attention. The Bill is concerned with the registration of aliens, and if there were fewer aliens the problem would not be so great. I feel that perhaps some of the dodgers and placards we put out lead people to expect to find streets paved with gold when they arrive in this great country. I read in the Press last Friday that protests had been made about lurid photographs which were, published in an American magazine. The article stated -
A magazine widely read throughout the United States has published a three-page feature liberally sprinkled with baretop and semi-nude Australian girls inviting Americans to migrate here.
I suppose that similar publicity is to be found in other countries of the world. It may help to bring people here, but I think that our Australian women do not require that sort of publicity.
When migrants find themselves in difficulties in this country they do not want to become naturalised. That, in turn, creates the particular difficulty which the Bill is designed to overcome. There is no difficulty concerning the question of employment of migrants at the moment because almost everyone is working. But the question of providing homes is one which presents difficulties. I have here a letter, which was published in the “Daily Mirror” of 4th May 1965. It refers to a previous letter of a Mr. Roberts who complained about what he was told before he came here. This is what a new Australian wrote on the matter -
I would like to comment on your article of April 30, “Mr. Roberts doesn’t like us!” I must agree with him on one of his major points - that publicity about Australia to lure immigrants is too highly colored. For instance, when you are interviewed there is no mention of the enormous prices one must pay for housing.
The Department should look very carefully at the question of the cost of homes and businesses. The large developmental undertakings, some of which have naturalised people at their head, and the smarties amongst the estate agents prey upon these unfortunate people. The migrants are meeting this situation in the early days of their association with Australia. It does not give them very much encouragement to become part and parcel of this land of ours by becoming naturalised.
We must overcome the problem which the Department is facing at the present time of keeping track of hundreds of thousands of people. While things are going smoothly there is no problem, but should difficulty, such as a conflict overseas, arise, it would be important to this country, as it was during World War I and World War II, to have some knowledge of the whereabouts of these people. There is no question that it is a major responsibility which the Government must accept.
I think that there should be a top-level Government investigation of land and property values and the rackets in this field. I suggest that a bureau, similar to the Legal Service Bureau which is available to discharged members of the armed forces, should be established so that migrants could discuss their problems and not have to go to people who might lead them up the garden path. There should be people in authority who are able to advise migrants on the complex problems associated with land and home purchase. Once these people have been taken down, they are not happy, contented citizens.
Another matter about which I am concerned, and, indeed, about which a number of people are concerned, relates to the question of migrants in Australia bringing members of their families to this country. Those aliens who have been given the opportunity to become naturalised and have not taken advantage of it are actuated by feelings of frustration for many reasons. This matter is one of them. Applications by aliens to bring some of their own kith and kin to Australia ought to be treated with enthusiasm by the Department of Immigration. It is desirable that. this should be done. I think that migrants who are not entitled to bring people of their own nationality to Australia are not entitled to be here. This is a very important matter. I personally feel that the Department should turn its resources inside out to assist the migrants to whom I refer. However, I find that a person who makes an application to bring out to Australia one of his own kind meets objections all along the line. As a public servant many years ago, I always tried to assist the people with whom I was dealing. I think that such should always be the policy of a public servant. When I was a public servant I would find all the reasons in the world to say “ Yes “ to a request.
I hope the Minister and the public servants who are listening to my speech will heed my plea, because frequently public servants find reasons why they should knock back applications they receive whether they are from politicians or from aliens in this country for permission to bring people from their own country to Australia. I make this plea because I have a number of cases at the present moment involving people who are good citizens and who want to bring out their own friends and relatives. I am certain that there are difficulties in this regard. One of them may be the matter of the age of the people who wish to come here, yet we are always talking about the importance of families being brought together. The problems which prevent aliens from bringing their parents, for instance, whether or not they are aged people, to Australia, must be overcome.
– What relevance has this matter to the Bill?
– It is relevant to the Bill because it is associated with the registration of aliens. We have to overcome the problems which are associated with the registration of aliens and in particular the problem of those who do not seek naturalisation. This is, I think, one of the most important matters associated with this Bill, because 250,000 persons are affected by this Bill who need not have been affected if action along the right lines had been taken.
The exemption of aliens from compulsory military service will hardly assist the Government in its drive to increase the number of naturalisations. I know that the Government goes to great pains to satisfy new Australians. The Government sponsors the Australian Citizenship Convention which is held each year in Canberra. The last convention, which was held in January of this year, dealt with the problem of naturalisation. I repeat that the question of naturalisation is very important. I would like the Government to remember some of the recommendations which were made by the discussion groups at the Australian Citizenship Convention. The group to which I particularly refer was made up of people who were dealing with migrants. It is important to know exactly what is happening in this field and just what the people are thinking. I shall quote a few paragraphs from the views of discussion group 3, and in doing so ask honorable senators to remember that the Convention adopted the slogan “ Every settler a citizen “. Group 3 reported -
The meeting was strongly in favour of a recommendation that naturalisation should be granted as a normal step after ‘10 years’ residence in Australia and without the requirement of a naturalisation ceremony. lt was stressed that a distinction is drawn between Australian citizenship and British nationality, since the word “ nationality “ is often used to indicate the previous country from which a person came.
Moreover, the word “ nationality “ bears implications of cultural traditions, while the word “ citizenship “ refers rather to present material and legal status.
The recommendation was that - New settlers should retain the right to naturalisation after five years residence in Australia, with ceremony; full Australian citizenship should be conferred automatically, without ceremony, on the new settler after 10 years continuous residence in Australia, at the discretion of the Department; acceptance of full Australian citizenship after 10 years would, of course, be optional.
The group felt that after 10 years in Australia a migrant would accept naturalisation if it is automatically bestowed on him.
The Opposition is not opposing this Bill. I hope the Government and the Department of Immigration will give some heed to the opinions that I have expressed because I feel sure that, if they were given effect, they would do much to help the naturalisation drive and ensure much happier citizens amongst old and new Australians.
– in reply. - I notice that the Opposition is not opposing this Bill. I should like to point out very briefly that Senator Fitzgerald, in indicating the attitude of the Australian Labour Party to the measure, canvassed a wide variety of matters most of which were not directly relevant to this Bill. He also, I thought, brought some arguments to bear in relation to aliens which, taken out of context, could be taken as the arguments which have been produced and propounded by certain British migrants who have come to Australia. These matters are in an entirely different category from those covered by this Bill.
The honorable senator made a point in relation to the Australian Citizenship Convention. At this Convention a tremendous number of organisations from many parts of Australia are represented by their delegates, who consider ways in which they can help in the assimilation of migrants. I think that there, in part if not in whole, the answers to some of the questions which Senator Fitzgerald has posed can be found. These organisations work to make the life of the new settlers in this country more comfortable and assist them to meet their immediate problems. The organisations which are working in their own way throughout Australia are playing a tremendous part in this field.
As regards the matter of bringing family units to Australia, the honorable senator knows this is one of the keystones of our migration programme. Our policy is to bring family units to Australia. The questions of employment and homes for new settlers are matters of quite considerable interest but, of course, they are not specified in and have no real and direct relation to this Bill. Here we have a short measure which is designed to amend the Aliens Act 1947- 1959 to require aliens resident in Australia, in addition to their obligation to register initially under the Act, to notify the Department of Immigration annually, in a specified form, of their address, occupation and marital status. That is the substance of this Bill. I am pleased to note that the Opposition supports the Government in the proposed legislation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I would like to ask the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson), who is in charge of this Bill, a question which, I hope, is not outside the ambit of the measure. Recently, when I was returning from overseas, I had a rather sad experience at Fremantle. I am not opposed to Customs officials. I think they do a good job generally. I am not talking about their right to search the luggage and baggage of passengers. But I was rather horrified to see the Customs officials at Fremantle searching the people themselves as well as going through their pockets. I saw one man being almost stripped. His pocket books were taken out and the Customs officials went through them and tore the lining at the back. I do not believe that such action is necessary. I do not think any honorable senator would expect to see that sort of thing on the tarmac or in a Customs office at an airport. It would almost appear that sea travellers are regarded as rather lowly customers and as such are entitled to be searched. I got the impression that migrants from the south of Europe and other countries might be given the once-over, but the officials went further. They went through them with a fine toothcomb. My query is: How can people who have that experience at an Australian port - I am referring to Fremantle - be happy about settling down here? I should have thought that the authorities at the point of reception of the migrants would have sufficient knowledge of them to guarantee them at least to the extent that they would not have to be searched on coming into the country. A personal search is a great indignity. I raise this matter only because I think the Department should look into it. I do not think such a procedure would entice people to come to Australia or interest them in settling down here. It would prevent them having the right image of Australia.
– I wish to raise the matter referred to by Senator Anderson-
-(Senator DrakeBrockman). - Order! I think the honorable senator is getting outside the ambit of the Bill.
– Only by a little, Mr. Chairman. I think the question of people becoming naturalised is a very important one. I personally believe that if it is a matter of reducing by perhaps 100,000 the number of about 400,000 people who are now affected in this, the point would be pertinent to the debate, since it concerns the main purpose of the Bill. Senator Ormonde raised the question of migrants being subjected to a personal search. People treated in that way would not get much of an introduction to this country.
It is obvious that aliens have not been co-operating with the Government in regard to notification of change of job, marital status or place of living that the law has required to be made by them every 12 months; otherwise there would be no difficulty in this regard, or need for this amended Bill. I believe that if the association between the Department and these people were placed on a better and higher plane we would get better results.
I turn now to the question of English immigrants. It is not suggested for one moment that aliens are receiving treatment comparable with that given to British migrants. Aliens are subjected to pressures - ‘because of their lack of knowledge of our language - that do not apply to British migrants. They are exposed to the operations of get rich quick artists operating in regard to housing and land. The fact that such people exist is not a reflection on Australians generally and I do not involve directly the Government in any blame for their existence, because they would exist under most circumstances. However, there is a problem which I think can be lessened. I do not think the Government has any false ideas about the complaints made by British migrants. There is a terrific hue and cry about the dissatisfaction of British migrants and to listen to them one would think they alone were the only ones being hardly dealt with. The fact, of course, is that British migrants do not face the language difficulties that many aliens face. Many aliens probably have not access to organisations which help them to the same extent as British migrants are helped. If aliens do not become naturalised they are subjected to frustrations that they might otherwise avoid, with a little more co-operation and concern from Government Departments.
– Quite clearly the matter raised by Senator Ormonde does not come within the framework of the Bill but I want to make a point, Mr. Chairman, as we are enjoying the indulgence of the Chair. The only persons processed through the Customs at Fremantle would be those disembarking at that port.
– Those disembarking there?
– Yes. They would be processed through the Customs at the point of disembarkation. Dealing with the second point raised by Senator Ormonde, the ‘normal procedure where it becomes necessary to make a search of a person would be to take that person to whatever room or office was available and make the search there. I would find it hard to believe that any person would be searched publicly for any reason. Honorable senators who have been overseas know that at foreign ports one is sometimes asked what one has in one’s bag. Human nature being what it is, that often happens, and to be asked what one has in one’s bag is a routine matter. The routine procedure, when a person has to be searched, is for that person to be taken to the appropriate office and searched.
T think Senator Fitzgerald was using, in relation to aliens, arguments which had been raised by certain British migrants to Australia. I agree that the argument he used might be applicable to both British and alien migrants, but I make the point that right across Australia there are voluntary organisations working in close co-operation with the Government to help in the problem of the assimilation of migrants into our community. Australia has a magnificent record for the number of alien migrants it has taken from the old world, and it is only natural, with the numbers so great, that there should be some problems at the outset - for instance, the problem of employment, which we have been able to cope with. We are coping now with the problem of housing. Generally speaking, there is a tremendous demand by people overseas who wish to come to Australia, and one of the fundamentals of our immigration policy is to bring in family groups wherever possible.
.- I should like some clarification of clause 5 of the Bill. Clause 5 reads as follows -
Section 17 of the Principal Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following subsection: - “ (3.) Notwithstanding that the period within which an alien under the age of twenty-one years is required by sub-section (I.) of section nine of this Act to notify a prescribed person of the matters referred to in that sub-section has expired, or that a parent or guardian of the alien has been convicted for contravening that section, each parent or guardian of the alien shall, until the notification is made or the alien attains the age of twenty-one years, whichever first happens, con tinue to be deemed to have contravened that section and is subject to the same penalty as if he had been proceeded against for contravening that section.”.
I ask the Minister: Is that not a departure from the normal practice in this country. A young person of 20 or 21 years of age might often have left the control of the family, yet the parents would be deemed to have committed an offence, despite the fact that they had no idea where their 20-year daughter or son might be. Does not that clause impose an extra burden on many of these people who are not well acquainted with our language and who might not understand English sufficiently well to become aware of their responsibility? Even though the Minister, in his second reading speech, said that the provision would be given wide publicity in advance of its being introduced I can foresee difficulty for many people whose knowledge of English is such and whose type of employment is such that they may not read our publications or even newspapers published in their own language. The come here as migrants.
In addition, I believe that we are in a difficult position in differentiating between an alien, in the spirit of this Bill, and a migrant. The purpose of this Bill is to protect the security of Australia against persons who are aliens in the true sense of the word. To do that, we must know the names and addresses of every alien in this country. That is fair enough. But we must also face up to the fact that many thousands of people are here as a result of our immigration programme. We are placing on the parents of young people an obligation which, I believe, is stretching our usual approach to these things a little far. Not only do we require that they should ensure that their 20 year old son or daughter registers but we hold them responsible for it. I should like to hear from some members of the legal fraternity in this place whether they do not think that is an imposition which departs from our normal approach to these things.
– The first point I want to make is that there is a discretionary power. It is not an absolute power. Proceedings can be taken against the parent or the child as circumstances warrant. The honorable senator raised the question of a parent’s being responsible for a child who has left the family circle. Quite clearly, discretion would be used in that case. There is no point in taking action against the parent when the child has left the family group. This opens up a wide issue in law which I will not attempt to debate. It occurs to me, and no doubt to those honorable senators who have children under the age of 21, that a great responsibility still rests with the parents in respect of those children. After all, until a child reaches its majority it does not have absolute freedom if it remains within the family circle. As a generality, the parents still have some rights. All I can say about this quite fascinating point that the honorable senator has raised is that this provision is not mandatory.
– It seems like it to me.
– Despite what the honorable senator says, I am advised that it is not. Provision is made to meet the type of situation to which the honorable senator referred.
– In reply to the invitation which was extended by Senator O’Byrne, let me say that I have looked at the provisions of clause 4, which relates to proposed new section 9, and clause 5, to which he particularly referred. Without having the original Act before me, it appears that new section 9 will be mandatory. Proposed section 9 (2.) (b) provides that if the notification is not made within the month each parent or guardian of the alien shall be deemed to have contravened this section. The question of whether a prosecution is to be made is another matter. Senator O’Byrne indicated that if notification was not made, an offence would be committed by the parent or guardian. This arises in rather curious circumstances because the obligation on the parent or guardian is expressed, not in imperative words to the effect that the parent or guardian shall do something but in words to the effect that he may do something. Proposed new section 9 (2.) is in these terms -
Where an alien who is required by the last preceding sub-section to notify a prescribed person, within one month after the prescribed day in any year, of the matters referred to in that sub-section was under the age of twenty-one years on that day -
the notification may be made on behalf of the alien by a parent or guardian of the alien; and
if the notification is not made within that month - each parent or guardian of the alien shall be deemed to have contravened this section.
That is a rather curious way to state the position. In the first place, the parent or guardian is told that he may do it but, later, it appears that if he does not do it he is guilty of an offence. One would think that, in order to bring home the true position to the parent or guardian, the wording would be to the effect that the parent or guardian shall do it. There could, perhaps, be some provision for it to be done by the minor on behalf of the parent or guardian. But to express it in this permissive way and then to go on to say that if it is not done the parent or guardian will be deemed to have contravened this section - that is to be guilty of an offence - seems to be a rather curious and deceptive way of stating the position.
Senator O’Byrne referred to clause 5 which provides that notwithstanding that the period within which the notification is to be made has expired and that there has been a conviction, the offence will continue. This concept is well known to the law, particularly in the industrial sphere. For instance, if one fails to pay wages on the due date the general result in law is that an offence is committed by the failure to pay not merely on that particular date but also on every day thereafter until the wages are paid, the notion in law being that there is a continuing obligation to comply with the requirements of industrial law to pay wages. In this instance the requirement is to give the prescribed notification.
– May I interrupt perhaps to help the debate? My advice is that there is a discretionary power on the question of prosecution but a mandatory power in relation to the need to register. If the parent, the guardian or the child fail to register - I think this is the point Senator O’Byrne had in mind - there is a discretion as to whether any legal proceedings will flow.
– That does not get away from the objection raised by Senator O’Byrne. He said that an obligation is cast on someone to notify in respect of a person under the age of 21. It is permissive for the parent or guardian to make the notification but then that person commits an offence if he does not, in fact, make the notification. That is a bad way to have this obligation come upon the parent or guardian.
– Either he is obliged to do it or he is not.
– As Senator Cohen has said, the position should be either that he is obliged to do it or that he is not.
– It is mandatory for him to notify, but if it is physically impossible for him to do so, for example, in the case of a child who has moved away, it surely does not–
– That is another question. Take the ordinary case, irrespective of whether the child is in the home. Proposed new section 9 (2.) (a) is permissive. It uses the words “ the notification may be made “, but paragraph (b) which follows immediately provides that if the notification is not made an offence is committed. This seems to be a very curious way to express an obligation, particularly as it creates a criminal offence.
– It is not a criminal offence, is it?
– Well, the proposed section states that there is a contravention. I have not the advantage of having the original Act with me, but the Minister has said that it involves a prosecution. I should think that that would be a criminal prosecution.
– Not under the Criminal Code, surely?
– Whether or not proceedings are instituted may be discretionary, but it seems from what the Minister has said that a prosecution is involved. Of course, there are prosecutions for what are known as civil offences, but they are rare. Normally a prosecution in relation to such a matter as this is in the nature of a criminal prosecution, even if it is brought before a court in summary jurisdiction. This is a very serious provision, because it creates these continuing offences. Senator O’Byrne’s point that some clarity is required is well made. The more general question relating to policy as expressed in the Act perhaps falls outside the scope of what I may deal with just now.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 4th May (vide page 570), on motion by Senator Gorton -
That the Senate take note of the following paper -
Tertiary Education in Australia - Report of Committee - Ministerial Statement, 24th March 1965.
Upon which Senator Cohen had moved by way of amendment -
That the following words be added to the Motion - “ but regrets
the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research,
the imprecision of the Committee and the Government in their outline of non-university tertiary institutions, and
the Government’s continuing refusal to establish a Ministry of Education and to hold a national inquiry into vocational, technical, secondary and primary education.”.
– I last discussed the Martin report on tertiary education in Australia a week ago. I dealt with the subject largely in a philosophic manner. I discussed whether or not the idea of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in seeking to establish what I might call a secondary group of universities in country areas where it was not possible to erect fully fledged universities might not be an attempt to implement a form of education which did not reach university standard. That was the theme I was developing, rightly or wrongly, when I resumed my seat.
During the last week I have contacted a few educationists who live in Wagga and Tamworth. They think as I do. They are not sure that the Government does not intend to give them a second class institution of less than university standard and that in so doing it will reduce the quality of education in these areas. I do not know whether such reasoning is right or wrong. But, as I said last week, again philosophically, even if secondary institutions of the kind that the Prime Minister has in mind - I think he calls them junior colleges - are to be made available to members of the community who want to pursue their education for one reason or another, and if there is no other way of catering for the mass of the people, in whom of course I am interested, it would be better to have that type of education than have no education at all. Some people want to be educated for other than utilitarian reasons; very many want to undertake further education just for the sake of being educated.
The Australian Labour Party has appointed committees to consider various specialist subjects, including one to deal with education. I am a member of the education committee. Members of this committee have considered the Martin report. Generally speaking, the members of the committee, and the Labour Party caucus generally, think that the report is a good one and that, although it has been criticised, it is a step in the right direction. Members of the Labour Party’s committee not only considered the report themselves, but also invited expert opinion. Experts sat in with us and discussed the problem of education throughout Australia. We are very thankful to people from the University of Sydney and the Australian National University who discussed the subject with us. Of course, their support, and their criticisms, of the report had an academic base and probably necessarily so, because the academics really have been the driving force behind the moye for more education, particularly improved tertiary education, in Australia.
As a result of their discussions and their consideration of the Martin report, members of the committee believe that there is a general demand by the Australian community for increased opportunities for higher education. That is a very fine thing, and the Government ought to do all it can to satisfy that demand. The Government is not doing all that the Martin Committee has suggested - probably no Government could implement all its recommendations - but at least what it is doing is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, the Government is not doing enough.
Members of the Labour Party’s education committee gleaned from the experts with whom they discussed this subject that the Martin report has established the principle that higher education in both the sciences and the humanities is an essential for solidarity and progress. Education in the sciences, of course, embraces technological education. Nowadays there is a tendency to talk not so much about the humanities as about the need for more technicians and scientists. There is a need for such men, but the need for a study of the humanities ought not to be forgotten. The Martin Committee has adopted the attitude that the sciences and the humanities are co-related and ought to be kept together. That is a very good attitude to adopt. The report of the Martin Committee states also that primary, secondary and tertiary education are inter-dependent. I am of that opinion myself. It is necessary to go right back to the primary stage to complete the task of reviewing our education needs. For years the Labour Party has referred to the need for an all round inquiry into education from the primary level to the university level. I think most honorable senators opposite would agree that such an inquiry should be held. Half the educational world does not know how the other half lives. I believe that every Australian child is entitled to the best education it is possible to obtain. The Governments should have a knowledge of the form of education the children are receiving. Without particularising, some students in Australian schools get through because of their sheer ability but the system breaks down in many cases at the primary level. The Martin report draws attention to that shortcoming and I am pleased that it does.
The Martin report states that the economic growth of Australia is dependent upon a high and advancing level of education. We all know that is true and I am again pleased that the report emphasises that point. It seems to me that we should examine the attitudes of governments to education. All governments look upon the cost of education as a great burden. In this country where there is an intensification of capitalism and the corporation system of ownership of industry, I believe that industry should pay its share of the cost of education. The centralisation of industry continues to grow and I do not think that the community should carry alone the responsibility of finding the money to provide scientists, technicians and all the people with top level education necessary to back industry. Some of the burden of educating those people should be carried by industry. In some countries education taxes are paid and I think we ought to examine that aspect in Australia. Throughout the report frequent references are made to the needs of industry. I doubt that there are ten pages in the report that do not contain such a reference. I appreciate that it was not within the Committee’s ambit to discuss taxation.
With the concurrence of honorable senators I shall include in “ Hansard “ a summary of an examination of the Martin report by a Labour Party committee. It is quite a constructive document.
The Martin Report is a cautious and conservative assessment of Australian educational needs. Its recommendations are not even the minimum necessary to meet the demands of the immediate future. It is astonishing that it goes too far for the Government.
The Parliamentary Labor Party affirms the following policy points arising from the Martin Report on Tertiary Education.
This inquiry would best be conducted continuously by a Ministry and Department. Failing the adoption of the suggestion for a Ministry and Department the needs of all other sections should be studied by a committee.
Party expresses opposition to any concept of an inferior grade of education in what might be called Junior Arts Colleges. The Party fears that four critical needs may be neglected if a cheap and inadequate form of tertiary education is provided. These needs are -
At the end of secondary education matriculated students should be able to proceed to degree courses.
The report refers to enrolments of students in the period from 1963 to 1975. In 1963 it was expected that 69,000 students would enrol at universities and about 34,000 at technical colleges, and that 14,600 trainee teachers would attend teachers colleges. Teachers are very concerned about what they call the Government’s lack of interest in supporting the extension of teacher training and the provision of training facilities. I have not been able to give the report a complete examination. Probably it has covered the aspect of teacher training. As far as I know, the Commonwealth Government is not doing anything to increase its aid to the States in respect of teacher training. [ understand that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) has said that teacher training remains the prerogative of the States. I believe that is incorrect. If the States are to develop a system of tertiary education which will increase their financial burden for teacher training, obviously the Commonwealth should act to increase its financial assistance to the States. The estimated figures I have quoted for 1963 illustrate the need to increase teacher training. Teachers who have come before the Labour Party committee which has examined education have said quite plainly that the supply of students to become teachers will fall off in the near future because the attitude of the Commonwealth Government to tertiary education will dry up some of the avenues of recruitment of teachers.
The report estimates that in 1967 there will be 86,000 enrolments at universities, 55,000 at technical colleges and 17,500 teachers will be in training. In 1971, 112,000 students are expected to qualify for university education and 80,600 for technical colleges. It is estimated that 20,500 teachers will be in training at teachers colleges. In 1975 the estimate of university enrolments is 125,000. Technical colleges are expected to enrol 96,000 students and 27,000 teachers are expected to attend teachers colleges. These figures illustrate that the bottom of the barrel will be scraped to obtain teachers. I believe that position should be corrected. The Martin report points out quite clearly that the Government has erred in not providing more financial assistance to the States for the provision of equipment and buildings and all that is necessary for teacher training.
The Labour Party accepts the Martin report as a valuable addition to the study of education in Australia. Those who are interested in education generally - and most people are - for the first time have a document which is the product of the concentrated effort of a special committee. The Martin Committee is one of the most specialised committes ever set up in Australia. It sat for about 31 years. The tables provided in its report are of great value to all people interested in education and particularly to the academics who make a study of education and keep it in the forefront of public interest.
I believe that we should compliment our educationists who build the education industry, as it is sometimes called, and their vocation of teaching into something monumental. Many fine people spend a lot of their time in trying to improve the educational standards of young Australians. It is a great problem. I am disappointed that so many members of the community are not receiving the education that they desire. The New South Wales Government has a very fine record in matters of education. As I informed the Senate last week, a fifth university for New South Wales is already on the planning board. The New South Wales Government has probably doubled the number of high schools in the State. My one criticism of that Government is ?n relation to technical colleges. This criticism probably applies to all technical colleges in Australia. I could not imagine that any other State Government would have a better type of technical college than exists in Sydney, but on going through it I found that most of the equipment was old. I suppose the authorities cannot keep on replenishing the equipment because it is so expensive.
In the modern world, boys who are studying electricity or electronics and allied subjects associated with electrical power ought at least to be able to learn more than the theory of the subject at a technical college. No government, probably, can keep up with the new inventions and developments that come forward every year. That is the reason why equipment becomes out of date. One of the lecturers told me: “ All that we can do here is to teach the principles “. We all agree that we are moving into a technical world, therefore some method has to be found to give the right equipment to these young boys who come from industry to learn trades in the technical colleges. The Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd. and quite a few other big companies have their own facilities for teaching apprentices. Their equipment is more up to date that the equipment available at Australian technical colleges. The Commonwealth Government could have a look at this problem and do something about it. We must have skilled people not only at the top but also in the centre.
Let me repeat something that I told the Senate last week. A short while ago we saw in the Senate club room a him on the Snowy Mountains project. On this magnificent work, in what I might call one of the most important industrial machines in Australia, three-quarters of the 8,000 men employed could not speak English and only about 5 per cent, of the top level men had a top level education. I think that we overstress the need for top level education if we forget about the mass that needs basic education. New problems are -developing all the time. I know a group of 8 or 9 young men, aged 20, 21 and 22. Two of them have had three years at university, one doing medicine and the other doing engineering. One was a King’s School hoy; all were from the greater public schools. Seven of these boys became builders’ labourers because they were getting big money in the affluent period on big capital buildings, where they worked the clock around, receiving double time for Saturday and Sunday. Why should they want to be educated? They gave it up. Some of them are getting £40 or £50 a week.
There is a great incentive for people like them to give up. They forget that they have had a top level education. Not everybody makes use of it. That is one of the anomalies in the present situation. There are no such things as over-award payments. Over-award payments today entice many people away from the higher levels of education which they would normally have attained. This is a problem that the Government ought to examine. I do not know whether it is a matter for the sociologists or whether it is the sort of thing that one forgets, hoping that when everything comes back to normal and we settle down young men who are well educated will follow their bent and go on to a university. We find this problem at all levels. It is a continuing problem in education.
The Government has made a very important addition to the volume of work that is being done in the interests of higher education in Australia. We shall propose some very small amendments. We consider that the Opposition is entitled to demand more, particularly in relation to teacher training. We think that the Government has not gone far enough. The proposed extratertiary institutions aTe being called by various names. I think that the Prime Minister referred to them as junior colleges. We would be happier if we thought that they were not to serve as substitutes for education at university level. People in major country towns think that this might be so and I hope that the Minister, in charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research will be able to say that this will not be so and that eventually these colleges will be able to grant university degrees with full qualifications. A professor who attended a meeting of our committee was most emphatic that there was a great danger of persons receiving second class certificates and degrees which would be of no value finally to them, because they would be competing with persons who had first class degrees. I leave the matter at that and ask the Minister to consider the ideas that I have mentioned, particularly the point that I have made in relation to what the Prime Minister has called junior colleges.
– I am pleased to support now the statement of the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) regarding education, and in particular to make reference to this splendid report of the Martin Committee on Tertiary Education. In my opinion, it is one of the most interesting and best compiled reports that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The enormous strides that have been made in both scope and standards of education in Australia are most heartening. It is particularly heartening now to find that the Commonwealth Government has seen that still more needs to be done and, as it is impossible for the States to spend the amounts that are obviously necessary, the Commonwealth Government has come in in a most generous way to assist in education. I do not think any of us needed to be convinced that more was required in the field of education and I am pleased that education is now moving forward on the wide basis outlined in the Martin report. Education is essential for the individual and for the community. The individual benefits by having his analytical faculties sharpened. Education increases his ability and his application for work and stimulates his energy and initiative. The community benefits from education in four ways, as outlined in the report. First, the work force itself becomes more skilled and efficient at doing a given task. Secondly, existing knowledge may be applied more rapidly in the modernisation of capital equipment and the introduction of new products and new methods of producing old products. Thirdly, new knowledge may be acquired. Fourthly, improved methods of management, whether at the level of decision making or at that of detailed control, may become available.
Obviously, we need these advantages to the individual and to the community. In this age of scientific development and technological skills it is quite unnecessary to go into the details of why education opportunities had to be improved. As many as possible of our people must have every opportunity for education. I think everybody agrees with that sentiment. It is pleasing to note that minds are being applied to this end and that we are creating in this country more and more independent analytical thinkers. I hope to stress this point as I proceed. It is interesting to note how enrolments have increased since 1953. Enrolments at universities increased from 27,700 in 1953 to 69,000 in 1963. It is obvious from the figures that the trend is towards higher education. People are aware that they need additional skills. It is estimated that by 1975 - a very short term - enrolments at universities will number 125,000. Enrolments at technical colleges numbered 34,300 in 1963. It is expected that the number will be 96,000 in 1975. It is expected, too, that by 1975 almost twice as many people will be enrolled at teachers’ colleges as were enrolled in 1963. I do not share Senator Ormonde’s pessimism about future numbers of teachers. The figures in the Martin report indicate that the numbers enrolling at teachers’ colleges are increasing.
I think we all recognise that education opportunities must be increased. If we expect the taxpayer to pay for education it is only right that the National Parliament should accept an added responsibility in this field. But I do not go all the way with Senator Ormonde and other honorable senators opposite in thinking that the Commonwealth Government should be the one to initiate investigations into education at both the primary and secondary levels. I think we should leave this responsibility to the States. There should be a clear line drawn between the responsibilities of the States and those of the Commonwealth. In my view tertiary education is a matter that should be placed in the hands of the Federal Parliament. Some people will say that teacher training falls within the category of tertiary education. I would agree with that view and I hope that in the future the Commonwealth will see its way clear to playing a greater part in teacher training, but I do not think this should be done at present. A great deal is required of the States in the field of teacher training before it may become a national responsibility. At present, standards and requirements differ as between States. These must be clarified and perhaps unified before the Commonwealth can move in this direction. For this reason I think it is reasonable for the Government to say that the States must retain for some time longer the responsibility for teacher training.
I congratulate the Government on tackling what I call a chicken and the egg situation. This year the Commonwealth is providing a most generous grant of £58 million for tertiary education in addition to providing large sums to the States for primary and secondary education. This, I believe, is the right way of dealing with the matter. Of course, we cannot do everything at once. The national coffers cannot provide enough money to do all the things that we would like to see done, but I am grateful for the generous improvement in education finance that has come about since this report was brought down.
Let me elaborate my statement that I hope to see the Commonwealth ultimately play a greater role in teacher training. If the teachers are right, everything else falls into place. That is why I referred to this situation as a chicken and egg situation. Many of the problems that beset students in tertiary colleges and universities may be traced to the shortcomings of teachers in the schools. In saying this I do not entirely blame the teachers. Many factors must be taken into consideration, including the size of classes, the standard of teaching and the experience of teachers. All of those things are related to the shortcomings in the system. Certainly we do not seem to have enough teachers and their qualifications are not always sufficiently high. I was interested in the contents of the Martin report relating to teaching methods, particularly in universities. I think these remarks apply equally to teachers in schools. For this reason I will quote the report. It reads -
In the Australian university of a quarter of a century ago the typical class was small, the academic staff had been built up gradually, the lecturers were teaching familiar courses, and had the time to give careful attention to the work submitted by students. In the intervening years, rising numbers have made teaching more impersonal, and lecture rooms and their equipment have not been adapted to ensure that every student in a class of several hundred can both see and hear the teacher . . . teaching methods have not kept pace with advances in knowledge, and insufficient attention is being given to the possibility of less formal lecturing, more and improved tutorials, and independent study programmes which may include some vacation study.
Although those remarks relate to university teaching methods they apply equally to teaching in the schools, and I repeat, if the teachers are right the rest will fall into place. It is the quality of the teacher that affects the student. The results obtained by the student are directly related to the teaching he has received. Many students are able to cram in order to pass the matriculation standard for entry to a university, but having entered the university they fall by the wayside, possibly because they have not been given sufficient background knowledge to enable them to work on their own.
I believe that in the past too much stress has been placed on the importance of a university education. I know that many people seek tertiary education in order to obtain better jobs, but there is too much snobbery associated with the belief that it is better for a child to attend a university than a technical college. Senator Ormonde laid great stress on this point. I do not agree that technical colleges, whose numbers are to be increased under the Government’s auspices, should confer degrees. Why should it be necessary to have a degree? It is the mental training that is important, not the possession of a university degree. This is where the snobbery creeps in. It was rather strange to hear snobbery of this kind from Senator Ormonde. People should have equal status whether they are trained in a university or a technical college. If a man has a degree or a diploma he is qualified to do a certain job. That is the important thing.
– I thought the honorable senator said there was no necessity for them to have a degree.
– I said that to have a degree or a diploma is immaterial; it is the training which is all important. That is the point I am trying to make.
– What about those who fail?
– I shall come to the question of failures directly. The training, the extending of one’s mind, is vital. It is pure snobbery to think that this sort of mind extension should take place necessarily in a university. There are two separate functions to be performed by these two types of tertiary training institutions. In the colleges the student will be trained in a practical way; and will acquire the techniques and skills which he requires for certain jobs, but at the university he will receive academic training. I stress the difference between practical and academic training, though many academics may not like my doing so.
In a university the student will be introduced to knowledge for knowledge sake, he will be introduced to research, and he will be introduced to the intellectual disciplines which are so valuable. But they are two completely different types of mental training. It is quite easy to understand that the two of them have their place. The technical colleges, the newer institutions, have four distinct values in modern education. To begin with, they will teach the techniques and skills required for modern living. They will cope specifically with the type of opportunity which will be offered to young people. There will be opportunities of a scientific, industrial and teacher training nature. For this reason teacher training eventually might fit into the Commonwealth Government’s plan for tertiary education - it is part of the whole.
Secondly, technical colleges offer opportunities to those who are unable to cope with or to satisfy university requirements. Many young people are not able to pass the type of matriculation examination which is required for entrance to a university, but that does not mean that their intelligence is deficient. They may pass a different type of examination which will gain them entrance to a technical college. Thirdly, the existence of technical colleges will help to reduce the size of the classes in universities, and this will have a great impact on the number of failures, which was referred to by Senator Murphy in an interjection. Tha failure rate is partly the result of the undue size of university classes. Fourthly, and I think this is the most important value of technical college training, they give an opportunity to the late developers.
Australian boys and girls grow much taller than young people of most other nations. This, I think, takes a great deal of their energy during the years when, perhaps, they should be preparing themselves for a university entrance examination. Because it takes so much of their energy, their mental development is, for that reason, postponed. It is not easy for young Australian boys and girls who grow so much physically to pass their examinations at the age of 17. They are then still in their physical growing period. Their mental development follows later, ft is unfortunate if, owing to their physical growth and late mental development, they fail to pass entrance examinations to universities and their intellect and intelligence should be lost to the community, and their further intellectual training prevented.
Under the proposed scheme the technical colleges will cope with the late developer. If he enters a technical college and does particularly well in the first or second year, he can still transfer to a university to undertake a type of course for which he is suited and which he is anxious to pursue. Alternatively, he can stay and complete his diploma course in the technical college. There is no bar to his transferring to any other type of tertiary education. I think Senator Ormonde was wrong when he said that degrees should be awarded in the technical colleges. As far as I can see, this would turn the colleges into universities in the end and aggravate our present problems. Further stress would be placed upon the available professorial staff. It would simply mean that more and more staff would be required for more and more universities, instead of having a different type of staff needed in technical training colleges. It would add to the present shortage of university staff.
Before I leave this question of the technical colleges, I want to say that I hope they will be given autonomy. I think it is essential that both universities and technical colleges should have autonomy for the reasons which I shall develop later. I was particularly interested to hear that the Committee had suggested that an autonomous institute of colleges should be set up by each State Government. This is an important point. The Committee indicated its belief in the responsibility of the States to set up these autonomous institutes of colleges. The Minister in his speech referred to the functions of the institute of colleges and the supervision, the expansion and the development of the various colleges to prevent overlapping and to encourage co-operation. Under this supervisory power it is suggested that each college should govern itself. The Commonwealth Government significantly endorses and accepts this suggestion. I hope that the States will see that the colleges, as well as the universities, have autonomy.
I now want to make some reference to the teaching staff in universities. I have referred to the fact that if the technical colleges are to be encouraged to grant degrees, stress will be placed on the university staffs. I want to say why that would be undesirable. In the past we have drawn a lot of our professorial staffs for universities from the United Kingdom. This cannot go on because pressures for increased university opportunities are being exerted there. Teaching staff for universities is required in the United Kingdom. The authorities in the United Kingdom are doing their best to stop what they call the brain drain. On the other hand, we have been losing some of our best brains, if I can use that word, to other countries because of lack of opportunity in Australia. But this problem is now being dealt with and the brain drain from Australia, I think, is consequently being reduced. The salaries of professorial personnel have been made more realistic. They are receiving good incomes. The post graduate training and higher -research opportunities have now been very much improved. The Australian Atomic Energy Commission and the National Health and Medical Research Council are offering further opportunities for technical and research work. It is also interesting to find that in the medical field higher degrees are now available in Australia. The degree of Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, which is one that many doctors like to get, is now available in Australia. This, I think, is helping to keep our higher trained people in Australia.
– That is the Royal Australian College of Physicians degree?
– Yes. Until recently this degree was not available in Australia. It meant that many of our trained people went overseas to study and, of course, many of them decided to remain there.
It was interesting to note that the Australian Universities Commission had recommended the grant of £5 million for research over five years. Of that amount, £1 million has already been granted for each of three years, and recently the Minister announced that the other £2 million will be made available to a grants committee for specific research projects. This is a tremendous help in the training of people wishing to receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. It helps to augment the supply of personnel available to universities and, perhaps, to schools as science teachers. But I hope that the committee, in its allocation of money for higher opportunities for research projects, will concentrate not only on science and mathematics, but also on the humanities. I think we need to go even further than that in relation to research opportunities.
I would like to see the Government making tax concessions available for gifts to research groups. Research is something which we need to encourage. I agree here with Senator Ormonde. I would like to see industry encouraged to make allocations for this purpose. I think private endowment might be made more attractive to industry and to private individuals if the Government could see its way clear to grant tax concessions in respect of money made available for research.
Now I would like to say just a little about students. Many of them, as I said earlier, either cram or pass their matriculation examination, but they are not suitable for university work at that stage. Either they have not learnt to work alone or they are not mature enough or there are other reasons why they are not suitable. I read with great interest the other day of a compulsory English comprehension and expression course set by the Australian National University for approximately 870 university students. The conclusions arrived at after the students had done this examination was that they were not able to express themselves properly on paper; that they could not write a proper letter; that they could not write a precis; and that they could not write a proper report.
– A lot of them could not spell.
– This is indicative of the fact that somewhere along the line their teaching at school is inadequate. I hope that teachers will take note of that particular result, and give more time to and place greater emphasis on the need for precision and for accurate analysis. In this way, I think, the failure rates would be greatly reduced. It is very alarming to see that the average failure rate at universities in the first year of study is 30 per cent. This figure goes as high as 50 per cent, in some universities. Further than that, only a small percentage of students who enter universities ever complete their courses. This is probably due to large lecture classes. Perhaps there is not sufficient trained staff, or qualifications are not high enough. There are all sorts of reasons for this alarming state of affairs.
But there is one other aspect that I would like to mention. This is what I call the human element. Lecturers in tertiary institutions, not only in universities, are human beings. They form their likes and their dislikes. These may be on a class basis, or on a political basis or it may be through sheer incompatability. But I think it is unfortunate that these lecturers are placed in the position of examining the students whom they teach and of failing or passing them. I think it would be much better if a system could be worked out whereby a visiting lecturer or examiner, whoever it may be, set the papers, corrected them, ‘and judged the ability of the students. This human element is one which cannot be eliminated if the person who teaches is the one to say whether or not the student should pass or fail. I think that the university boards should look at the value of outside examiners.
This is only one factor which needs examining by university boards. They should take stock of themselves in a general way. Many years ago, finance for universities came from private sources. At that time, as now, university boards, rightly, were autonomous. I think they should continue to have autonomy. But they did not then have the same degree of public responsibility as they should have now that the trend for finance has changed from the private sector to the public sector of the community.
The report by the Martin Committee states that, in 1947, funds to universities from private sources were £1.2 million whereas from Commonwealth and State sources combined there was less than £1 million forthcoming. In 1952, the trend had begun to change. The Commonwealth was providing £2.9 million while the States were providing £3.3 million and the private sector was contributing £2.2 million. By 1963, this trend had changed considerably. The Commonwealth grant was £24.1 million; the State figure was £20.7 million; and £10 million was received from other sources. Now, in this year, the Commonwealth grant is £58 million and, certainly, the contribution from the private sector of the community is reducing relatively quickly. If this trend continues and if governments are to be expected to allocate more and more from the public purse to universities; university boards have a very grave responsibility to the people. They must have a look at themselves. They must develop this sense of public responsibility and account for their actions to the public.
In the past, university boards have been a political embarrassment because they have refused to take public opinion into account. I repeat that I do not want to suggest that, by saying that they should account for themselves, university boards should in any way lose their autonomy. I find it particularly important that they should not. When I was addressing the Senate recently Senator Wright by interjection asked me for further details of education as seen by the Communist Party. I said then that the Communists look for the educated man. This is the person whom they seek to influence and to whom they can look to pass on Communist ideals to others. I would like to illustrate what I meant and why I think it is so important for universities themselves to control their own affairs rather than to have government control.
In Communist countries, education is used as a Party instrument. It is used to train minds for Party political purposes. In China, Party cadres sit in on all faculty or professorial consultations. They it is who direct what shall be done. This seems quite ridiculous. These Party cadres are the ones who explain what they want done for the purposes of the Party. Doctors and engineers are told by laymen what methods they should use. Always it is the Party which is of prime importance. The human being is of very little importance. Policies of the Party are very often dictated by shortages. To illustrate this point, I mention that herbs are used in China rather than antibiotics because antibiotics are scarce and expensive. Therefore, doctors are told that they must use herbs and that they must study herbal methods of treatment. The doctors are made to study and use the acupuncture rather than the more modern and more expensive techniques. In some cases doctors must use willow instead of bone in grafting because this eliminates the need for bone banks for this type of medical work. Always it is the Party which dictates to the intelligent man because he is a potential danger in his contacts with the public if he is allowed to think and act for himself. He can be influential and therefore must understand and disseminate Party methods and Party dogma. This is very clearly illustrated in the Russian type of education.
In Russia, the best brains are sent to the University of Moscow where all the students are studying pure science. I think there are between 20,000 and 25,000 students at that university, all of whom are studying in one faculty - science. They are sent to this university because they are the best brains available and have to be able to help in the propaganda and prestige race that the Russians are trying to win - the space race. But while these students are studying pure science, they must also study three political subjects, all of which they must pass before receiving their degree. This indicates that the students must be well indoctrinated in Communist Party principles before they may move into the community to do their more specialised type of work. This is something which I hope we will never impose on the young people of our community. We want them to learn to think for themselves, not necessarily to think politically and just be political puppets in their work. It is undesirable to have studies controlled, because control certainly does stultify thought and tends to turn people into puppets.
There is one other aspect on which I would like to touch. When we say that we need to provide opportunities for all types of people I would like to include in that opportunities for women. It is rather sad to know that only about 24 per cent, of those who enrol in our universities today are women and that many of the women who enrol are deprived of opportunity - even when they have completed their university courses - to continue in their work. This applies particularly in the Public Service, where women are forced to retire on marriage. This matter was touched on in the Martin report and I want particularly to refer to it because it is a matter in which I have always been particularly interested while I have been a member of this Parliament. At page 60 of its report the Committee says -
The proportion of married women with university training who are employed part time or full time in professional fields in Australia is less than in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and in a number of European countries. The Australian community is sustaining serious loss through the wastage of the talents of able women, particularly in government service. The legal and social barriers which require women to resign on marriage or to lose fringe benefits may not be in the best interests of the nation. It is probable that the abolition of discrimination in employment would encourage more women to complete degree studies and induce married women whose families are no longer dependent on them to resume the practice of their profession.
I hope that if it is the last thing that I achieve in this Parliament I can persuade the Government to take notice of this recommendation of the Martin Committee. This recommendation has been made not only in this report but has also been made elsewhere as the result of Public Service investigations. All sorts of other fair minded people have also said that this provision is an outdated and outrageous discrimination against women and that they should be given the opportunity to choose for themselves what they should do. I hope the Government will take notice of the recommendation and will not continue to deprive the nation of the services of able women by forcing them out of employment after they have completed their training.
To sum up what I have said: I believe we need to provide the widest opportunities for everyone - men and women, young and old - in all States of the Commonwealth on an equal basis. I believe that there should be in our Federal system a clear line of demarcation of responsibility as between State and Commonwealth. Responsibility should not be concentrated - in this case the responsibility for education - in the one central Parliament. I believe there is a necessity for more and more Government aid for education, but this does not mean that we should deprive the tertiary educational bodies of their right to autonomy. I believe the universities should take a more responsible attitude and should account for their actions to the public. We must see to it that Government control does not take over in education and thus give us the sort of educated product which thrives in Communist countries and under Communist party control, because this would deprive us of our famous resourcefulness, independence and initiative, the very things we want and desire now and in the future.
– Mr. President, we are debating a motion -
That the Senate take note of the Report of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia.
Tertiary education in Australia is a matter of the utmost importance. The Martin Committee has made an extremely valuable report. It spent a long time on its investigations and did a great deal of research, and its conclusions must give everyone cause for thought. Even if one does not agree with all the findings of the Committee it is obvious that the inquiry should not end here, because one of the things stressed not only by this Committee but also by the teachers and educationists of Australia as well as by the Australian Labour Party is that tertiary education is interdependent with other forms of education - primary, secondary, vocational, technical and other forms of education outside the universities, which have generally been regarded as the field of tertiary education. There is in Australia a widespread and deep dissatisfaction with both the quantity and quality of education in this country.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Before the sitting was suspended I was saying that there is dissatisfaction throughout Australia at the quantity and the quality of education at every level. This dissatisfaction is also apparent in the report on tertiary education which is before us. The dissatisfaction exists at the quantity of education because it is apparent that many students who are capable of receiving a higher than secondary education are not receiving it. The main reason for this is economic. The Committee has recommended that scholarships be provided. That will go a long way towards meeting this economic cause but the Government is not prepared to endorse the Committee’s recommendations. This means that persons who are capable of receiving a higher education and who should be receiving a higher education simply will not receive it. This means also that persons who would seek to have, not a university educaion, but an education in the type of institution which is covered by the Institute of Colleges will not receive it.
We have in the public gallery tonight students from Burnie High School, so perhaps it is pertinent to remark that the Government has failed entirely in its obligations in respect of tertiary education in Tasmania because it is not really prepared to do what it seems to be doing in other States. That is insufficient in any case, but the Government is not prepared to go even that far in relation to Tasmania. Representatives of that State from all political parties have complained bitterly about Tasmania being overlooked in the proposed grants to the States for these higher educational purposes.
We have a situation in which higher education is suffering in quantity. The universities are overcrowded and there still remain people capable of receiving a university education and capable of satisfying all requirements who are not able to attend the universities because of the social economic set-up in Australia. When other countries in the world - the older countries and the newly developed countries - are striving to their utmost to enable every citizen who is capable of receiving a higher education to receive that higher education, we in Australia are neglecting it. We are very concerned about getting out the iron ore. We are very concerned about developing our natural physical resources but the most important resource of all - the young people of our country - we are prepared to neglect. We are prepared to say that it is too costly to give them the education that they need and deserve. This is nonsense.
To fail to educate our young people is the most costly thing we could do. It is the worst thing we could do to them as individuals; it is the worst thing we could do to ourselves as a society. Yet that is the course upon which this Government has embarked. It has continued along that course, notwithstanding the protests which have been made to it by teachers through their organisations in the various States and through the Australian Teachers Federation; notwithstanding the protests which have been made over the years by State Premiers and Ministers for Education through the Australian Education Council; and notwithstanding the recommendations which have been made by the Committee which inquired into tertiary education in Australia.
Our Government is not prepared - that means the Menzies Government is not prepared - to spend what we should spend. The Menzies Government is not prepared to carry out the recommendations of the Committee in relation to scholarships, nor is it prepared to carry out the recommendations of the Committee in relation to teacher training. Honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have agreed that the training of teachers is fundamental to better education in Australia. The teachers, at least, have faced up to the problem and have said that more teacher training is needed. One of the wonderful things about this problem is that the teachers themselves have not tried to pretend that their training was all that it should have been, nor have they tried to pretend that all is well in teaching. They faced the situation. They have done their duty by their students and have said: “All is not well in teaching today. All is not well in education. Teachers should be better trained. There should be more of them. This needs Commonwealth assistance because it is beyond the capacity of the States.” What the teachers have said has been echoed by the Committee.
As well as the quantity of education in Australia not being what it should be, the quality of education also is not what it should be. This derives, in part, from the lack of proper teacher training and from insufficient teacher training. But it has other causes as well. We live in a community in which teaching is choked by the traditions of the past. We have broadly the same kind of higher education as existed in the Middle Ages. We are a community which educationally is choked by tradition. What was good for the people in the Middle Ages and what was good for the people in the 17th century is still by and large supposed to be good for us in 1965. We have the same system of lectures and the same set-up of faculties. We have the same kind of controls and it looks as though we will continue to have them.
There are great vested interests in education just as there are in other fields of life. We speak of the monopolies which exist in industry. There are monopolies in primary industry and in secondary industry. There are also monopolies and vested interests in tertiary industry - in the field of tertiary education. Those monopolies and vested interests are determined to maintain the same kind of set-up as has existed for generation after generation. It is heartening to learn that the teachers of this community, the Committee which inquired into tertiary education in Australia and the Australian Universities Commission which has endorsed the Committee’s report are willing to break away from the traditional patterns of education. It is about time that some new light was thrown on the subject. It is difficult to believe that with all the changes that have occurred in our society over hundreds of years our system of imparting education, especially at the higher levels, should continue to be the same in essence. But it is the same, and we suffer. What is at the top inevitably affects what is at the bottom. So in Australia and in other parts of the world we have a system of education which is not at all satisfactory to people who have to live with it.
Let us look at our system of education. If one looks at it as a whole one sees the need for many changes. The Martin Committee dealt with many aspects of the subject in its report. When dealing with universities the Committee recommended as follows -
Consideration should be given to organising on national basis ad hoc committees or conferences of scholars and teachers to examine:
The implications of modern scholarship for the content of secondary school courses in English, foreign languages, mathematics, chemistry, physics and biological sciences.
The principles underlying the matriculation examination.
The articulation of study in the final year of secondary schooling and the first year of university study.
A little further on the Committee statedUniversities should, from time to time, examine the content of courses to discover what should be added in the light of new knowledge, and also what should be discarded as outmoded.
It seems almost farcical that gentlemen of the eminence of those who comprised this Committee should have to meet and say that scholars and teachers should examine the implications of modern scholarship for the content of secondary school courses in subjects such as English. But is that not necessary?
We have reached the stage in relation to education where we have hardening of the arteries. There has not been the kind of examination that the Committee has said should be made. This is the most elementary thing that ought to have been entered upon. It concerns the quality of our education. Let us take the first subject that was mentioned - English. If we were to go throughout Australia and take a gallup poll of businessmen, professional men, men in the street, politicians or anybody else, asking them what they thought of the results of the teaching of English in Australia, an overwhelming majority would say that those results were disgraceful. As a community we are not satisfied that as a result of secondary school teaching, let alone teaching at the tertiary level, we are able to speak or to write as well as we should. The community as a whole is grossly dissatisfied with the standard of the teaching of English. English is basic to all our education; it is the flux, the ether, by which we communicate our ideas. It is in the use of English that most of the subjects achieve any real meaning for us. If we cannot understand this means of communication how can we really understand other subjects such as philosophy and psychology? As I suggested earlier, from time to time the whole community has expressed loudly and clearly its dissatisfaction with the standard of the teaching of this subject at every level.
What has been done about this shortcoming? As far as one can judge, very little has been done. Why is that so? It is because we have had a static approach to education; we have had the vested interests; we have had persons who have been concerned with preserving things as they are. What happens at the end of a secondary school education so far as English is concerned? I do not say that there are not exceptions, but at the best high schools in Australia, whether they be private or public, the best students really are not able to speak or to write English as they should. At the end of their secondary schooling most students have a complete dislike for English literature as it is taught to them. The amount of garbage that is fed to students during a secondary school course can only make tertiary education extremely difficult.
By way of illustration let me take the teaching of Shakespeare. Can one imagine anything more ridiculous than the way in which Shakespeare is taught in our secondary schools? Students, instead of being taught to love Shakespeare, to get a broad understanding of what he has done and to become familiar with his plays, are tortured to learn out of date expressions, to analyse and re-analyse his works, and to boil them down until they mean nothing. The plays and the spirit of this great playwright are so dissected, so torn about, that no student can really end up enjoying the course in Shakespeare. Yet this goes on year after year. Why is that so?
– Because the spirit of purpose is lost.
– As the honorable senator has said, it is because the spirit of purpose is lost. The honorable senator knows it, I know it, and everybody else knows it. It is wrong. Yet it is done. Why is it done? It is done because it was done last year, the year before, and the year before that. It has been done for a generation and it continues to be done. The students who are now sitting in the gallery no doubt will be subjected to the same kind of nonsense.
What I am about to say applies in other fields, not only in relation to English. We live under a system whereby an outstanding character like Shakespeare is made to become so like a god that he holds up progress in the understanding of English literature for hundreds of years, just as Aristotle was made a god and held up the progress of science for 2,000 years. The attitude is that nobody could be as good as Shakespeare, just as it was that nobody could disagree with Aristotle. The result is that students are forced to study something that is written in what has become old English and is difficult for us to understand. That is the kind of thing that the Committee was referring to when it said that we ought to be having a look at secondary school courses and at the methods of teaching that are employed. Just fancy our having such nonsense as putting students to secondary school for five years and having them study one after another Euclid’s theorems from No. 1 to No. 90. What is the purpose of it? It is said that there is no real purpose in their learning what theorem No. 60 or theorem No. 87 is but that by doing so they are being taught to think and to reason. It would be much more sensible to give them a short course in logic, the lessons of which they could apply in al! spheres of study.
Unfortunately, we seem to direct our educational system more to the acquisition of knowledge than of understanding and wisdom. Most of the knowledge gained under our present educational system is useless and the student, with the reaction of most human beings, forgets it soon after he has learnt it. Why should anyone carry around in his head - even a professional engineer - the theorems of Euclid from 1 to 90? It is a useless burden of knowledge which brings with it very little understanding and direction towards thinking in our secondary schools. The same type of pattern is carried over into tertiary education. The snobbishness which exists in our tertiary education is evident in our secondary education. It is regrettable that there is no snob like an intellectual snob. There is much evidence of such snobbishness on the educational scene today.
We have grown to think of our educational system as being one dimensional. We think of it as primary, secondary and tertiary. It is regarded as a yardstick, the first foot of which is primary, the second foot is secondary and the third foot is tertiary. It is not like that. We do not live in a one dimensional world. As we understand the world since Einstein, it is four dimensional. We ought not to think that our tertiary education is education of the university type which follows at the end of secondary education and that is all it is. There is a type of pure, distilled tertiary education which is university education, it is thought, and other types of education are said to be in some way impure or adulterated. It is held that other forms of tertiary education ought not to be allowed - or if allowed it is some kind of concession to persons who are not good enough to achieve the standards of a university. This is not right. We have in our community people of all types who are capable of completing a secondary education, matriculating, attending a university and satisfying the standards of a university. Sometimes university standards are rather peculiar. But we also have in our community people who have bents in other directions and who ought to be able to gain a higher education even if it is gained outside a university. There is no reason to look down upon those people. We have many people in the community who are capable of learning a great deal and benefiting themselves and the community by education gained outside a university.
The Martin report has done a great deal towards shattering the traditional patterns of education. It is said that education at the tertiary level ought not to be regarded in a single dimension fashion. There should be at least two other forms of tertiary education which would fall within the scope of the institutes of colleges and the boards of teacher education. Three forms of tertiary education would then exist - the universities, the colleges within the institutes of colleges and the boards of teacher education. This seems to me to be a most desirable development, notwithstanding the opposition which exists in universities to this development. Some persons in universities fear that a great deal of public finance will be directed to institutions outside universities. Their fears may be justified. I think that public finance should be so directed.
We have neglected for too long the other forms of tertiary education. We have treated them as though they were not quite right. It is time that this attitude was changed. Human beings are made with different talents. We have for too long neglected the talents of those who are not fitted for a university education. Those who maintain that a student should either meet the standards of a university or forgo higher education should recall the history of some of the greatest men of recent times who were barely able to meet the standards of a university. Louis Pasteur was barely able to meet the standards of the university he attended in France, yet once he had passed its barriers he demonstrated within 12 months that he was one of the greatest scientists the world had ever known. Other figures come to mind, one of the greatest of whom was Einstein. He also was not a star at a university. As I recall it, his attainments at his university were such that after he had completed his university course he was able to obtain a post only equivalent to one with our Registrar of Patents. Despite his lack of university success, Einstein came to be perhaps the greatest scientist in his field that the world has known. There are many other such cases. I refer, for instance, to Mr. Penfold who is recognised throughout the Australian scientific community as a great scientist but who did not have any formal course of education.
The problem of education is deeper than simply ensuring that proper standards are set up at each level in the one dimensional field. That does not mean to say that this Parliament and the Government ought to permit any relaxation of university standards. I firmly believe - and I think it would be the belief of all honorable senators - that the standards of the universities ought to be maintained and enhanced. I think they will be improved if those students wishing to attempt courses such as those to be covered by the institutes of colleges are removed from the universities. I do not suggest that they should be removed compulsorily. but many thousands of students now attending universities find it difficult to cope with the standards demanded. By their presence they make it more difficult for other students to get through their courses because of overcrowded conditions. All interests would be served if other forms of tertiary education were available outside universities to cater for such students.
– The first year failure rate bears that out.
– Yes, it does. This means that one must look outside as well as inside the universities for growth of tertiary education. The report itself has stated that these institutions outside the universities should deal not only with technological matters but also with other fields of study, and I believe that that is right. I think also that this would be a healthy thing for the universities. The competition from some of these outside bodies may make the universities stand a little on their toes.
The universities have contributed a great deal through the ages. They have contributed a great deal in our present time to the extension of education through Australia but there is this tremendous gap in the other field. It is proposed by the Committee that if the institutes were set up one would have a pattern of education which, for instance with engineers, would cover not only the four years course in the universities leading to a degree of Bachelor of Engineering and formal post-graduate courses for a Master’s or Doctor’s degree, but also a three years or equivalent part-time post matriculation course in technical colleges, including institutes of technology, the qualification to be a diploma, and post diploma courses of one year in selected institutions, leading to a degree of Bachelor of Technology.
There may be some question as to whether or not the institutes and the colleges which are represented within them ought to be able to grant degrees, but part of the Committee’s report is the emphasis upon transference from the colleges to the universities and transference from the universities to the colleges. This is a most important part of its recommendations, because people mature at different times. People come into their intellectual stride at different times, so that a person may be going apparently slowly at some institute and come into his intellectual flowering and be capable of going on further than it was anticipated he might do. On the other hand, some person may be at a university and apparently doing well and come to the end, virtually, of his intellectual course, that is, as a human being. He is no longer going on as he should, and although it appeared when he started that he would be able easily to cope with the university course, it then appeared that he was unable to do so. Such a person ought to be able to transfer to one of the colleges and end up with a diploma, so that he may make the utmost of his ability.
These proposals of the Committee, I think, are well made, as is the proposal that the status of the technical colleges should be raised and strengthened. This link between the tertiary institutions was dealt with by the Committee at page 174. It cites Doctor Darling, who said -
Wc have accepted as needs we must the doctrine of educational equality as a necessary corollary of democracy, but we have never made up our minds clearly as to what we mean by this education for alL
The report then states -
This comment becomes more significant when it is recognised how tenuous are the educational links between the groups of tertiary institutions.
The report then goes on to state, at page 175-
In particular there is a danger of higher education becoming identified in the minds of the community with university education, and of a university degree becoming the single symbol of intellectual aptitude. Ability is a complex human quality; and emphasis on university studies to the exclusion of others in higher education is wasteful of much human talent.
The Committee points out a little later on in its report that if these proposals were accepted the distribution of students among the major groups of institutions was likely to change. The report continues -
The education to be provided in some colleges, for example, should attract greater numbers of students than hitherto. Some students find difficulty in making wise decisions as to where their abilities and their inclinations lie. Further, the motivations of students often change as they grow older.
The Committee then says that it is of the utmost importance that this transference back and forth between the universities and the colleges should be made possible.
There is not at the moment an easy method of transference. This means that if a student finds that he is incapable of completing a university course now, he just drops it. We then have a person with wasted years, who has not achieved a goal, who feels frustrated and who goes on in life forever lacking confidence. He ought to be able to move across to an institution where he could complete a course and obtain a diploma which would give him status and the prestige attached to it and would enable him to use it, because these diplomas and degrees have an economic value. There are awards and agreements which are based directly on the holding of some particular degree or diploma. Equally so, a person going through a college ought to be able, if he finds that his abilities are greater than he thought, or if his goals are increased, to change to the university and obtain a degree. Alternatively, he ought to be able to obtain a degree as suggested by the report through the Institute of Colleges.
Mr. Deputy President, I see that Mr. Reynolds, the honorable member for Barton in the other place, is now in the gallery of the chamber. He is one who has strongly espoused this notion that there must be provision - and adequate provision - for tertiary education outside of the universities. It is an idea that I think will become generally accepted, but it is one which is a definite breach with our traditional thinking. It is something which this Committee has done and I think that it is the greatest thing that it has done because the other matters, for instance, the matter of teacher training, were things which were apparent. More money had to be spent; there had to be more teachers. It was obvious that more money ought to be spent on scholarships because we all want to make a higher education available to those students who are capable of benefiting from a higher education. Indeed, the Australian Labour Party considers that higher education should be fr.ee, in particular that tertiary education should be free to all who are capable of having it. Such tertiary education ought not to be limited to university education. This could be done, as Senator Cohen showed in his masterly analysis of the figures. It would take very little to make university education free for all who could use it, because the amount that is now gathered from fees is only a small fraction of the amount that is spent by the community through the universities.
The proposals of the Martin Committee have been slashed. The Government has not been prepared to take up tertiary education in the way recommended by the Committee. The Australian Labour Party does not agree with certain of the matters raised by the Committee in its report, but these are subsidiary to the main issues. The Committee has suggested, for instance, that a tertiary education commission be established. It has dissected the problem and laid it bare, giving its conclusions. In doing so it has performed a great public service. But we do not consider that this is the way to handle the problem. There ought to be a government department - a responsible ministry - looking after education. Surely if we are to spend vast sums on education we ought to know what we are -doing. There ought to be constant investigation in this matter. The problems of education are now national problems. We should have a Ministry of Education, with a Minister seated in one of the chambers of this Parliament, so that matters concerning education may be fought out in this place. The issues should be brought to light. Questions ought to be asked about these matters. We ought to have a responsible department constantly investigating these matters and dealing with them. Education ought to be brought nearer the heart of the nation. This Parliament is the heart of the nation. This is where these matters are determined. The closer we are to this place in matters of education the better served will education be. What subject is there greater than education which should call for the immediate and close attention of the National Parliament?
The Labour Party regrets that the Government has rejected the central theme of the Martin report, namely the organisation of tertiary education into three types of institutions. We regret that the Government has rejected all the Committee’s recommendations relating to teacher training. We believe that the Government’s proposals will result in incoherent administration of tertiary education by the proliferation of committees and indefinite areas of mini.terial and administrative responsibility. We deplore the Government’s failure to accept the Committee’s recommendations concerning scholarships. In an amendment to the motion -
That the Senate take notice of the following paper. we seek to add an expression of our regret that the Government has failed specifically to endorse the Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research. We regret also the imprecision of the Committee’s concept and the Government’s concept of nonuniversity tertiary institutions. The reason for this imprecision may arise due to various factors. One is because the Committee is, in a sense, breaking new ground and no doubt there will be opposition to its proposals. As I see it, if we preserve the status of our universities and the standards of our secondary education we should be prepared to support a great extension of the colleges envisaged by the Institute of Colleges. I would go along with what I understand to be implicit in the Committee’s report - that these institutions would not in any way be restricted to technological colleges. Why should we not have tertiary education dealing with the arts, such as music, and with the humanities? It has been said - a little unkindly by some people - that this would achieve little. It has been said by one person well versed in political science -
The greatest educational fallacy in the proposal for tertiary colleges is the assumption, implicit in the Report, that students can receive some kind of “ training “ in the liberal arts which can then be rewarded with a diploma. It is extremely doubtful whether the liberal arts can or should be regarded as a “ training “ for anything. If they are, it can only be a training of an unspecialised type whose vocational usefulness is quite unspecific
Those are the words of a learned writer. They illustrate the type of thinking with which I do not agree, although I have great respect for their author. If this type of institution trains people to think for themselves and to know more about the world in which they live - perhaps to improve their English, to give them an understanding of literature and to let them know more about the world than they learned at secondary school - what is wrong with it? Why should it not be encouraged? Why should not the financial and moral weight of the community be put behind these institutions? Why should not students be encouraged to go to them? When I refer to students in this sense I do not mean only youthful students because we are living in a four dimensional world not a one dimensional world. Progress is not from primary school to secondary school and straight to university. There should be room in our tertiary education system for persons of any age. We live also in a dimension of time and we have not made enough use of the talents we have. We have not been inventive enough in our institutions. The Martin Committee calls for an inquiry into education is Australia on a much wider basis than previous inquiries had. The Labour Party wholeheartedly supports that call, which is made also by the teachers.
I believe that we are slipping badly in Australia in our education. If we look at the world scene we see that the developing nations are accelerating at a much faster rate than we are. The young nations which are now behind us will soon be up with us. If we persist in pursuing our traditional modes of thinking in education, as in other spheres, we will soon drop behind in the race for life. It has happened to nations again and again in history. The young people who are sitting in the gallery have probably read about the growth of great empires. One remembers that the empire of the Arabs was one of the greatest that the world had seen. They were able to sweep across Europe. They had scientists, philosophers and artists. But because they did not keep up with their education they soon slipped behind until in our own generation they were downtrodden people. Let us not think that this type of thing cannot happen to us.
There are many ways in which tertiary education can be improved. It does not belong merely in the universities or in the institutes of colleges. Tertiary education is something which ought to be going on all the time. The Japanese are constantly calling international conferences to discuss all sorts of subjects. The conferences sometimes go on for weeks, educating the people in various ways on higher education. Other nations in the world are experimenting in higher education, but unfortunately we, until the advent of this report, were far too set in our ways. It reminds one of the Professor of Worldly Wisdom, spoken of by Samuel Butler in his famous book “Erewhon”. The Professor of Worldly Wisdom was one of the professors at the Colleges of Unreason. The hero of the book came up against him because he spoke of certain persons being men of genius. The author said -
The venerable Professor of Worldly Wisdom, a man verging on eighty but still hale, spoke to me very seriously on this subject in consequence of the few words that I had imprudently let fall in defence of genius. He was one of those who carried most weight in the university, and had the reputation of having done more perhaps than any other living man to suppress any kind of originality.
We have a report which though cautious and conservative in many ways, nevertheless seeks in one way to break out from the traditional patterns by way of emphasis. It seeks, and is supported by the community in seeking, to enlarge our notion of tertiary education so that we may carry it on in all spheres. Let us not attend only to those who are capable of going to the universities. Let us raise the standards. Let us spend more money. Let us make our universities of world reputation, but let us not neglect the talents of the rest of the community. Let us be prepared to spend heavily to overcome the legacy of our failure in the past. Let us make the utmost use of the talents of not only our young people but the rest of our people in all the spheres of higher education which lie outside the universities. I support the amendment and express my congratulations to the Martin Committee for the extremely valuable report which it bias rendered to the Australian Universities Commission for submission to the Parliament.
– It is true that in the last 20 years we have had a population explosion in Australia and also a revolution in our thinking, particularly on education. I am not as despondent as was Senator Murphy about what has” happened to Australia in the last 20 years. The picture that he gave to us, particularly coming from a man who has had the opportunity to enjoy a university education, was far too gloomy. Underlying it all was the claim that we had not done enough for education. I suppose that means that the States, which have been primarily responsible for education, have not done a very good job. I was delighted to hear Senator Ormonde take up the cudgels on behalf of the States and point to some of the things that have been done. We often ask in relation to the revolution that is occurring in our thinking: What are the causes of it? What needs to be done about it? It is true to say that the present and the future trends in education are occupying the thoughts of the Australian people. We are thinking of how the young people may be provided with education that is suitable for today and tomorrow.
The Commonwealth Government, alive to this question and anticipating the needs of the future, appointed the Martin Committee almost four years ago to inquire into and to report on education. Two volumes of the report have been presented to Parliament. The Government has set out proposals to meet some of the recommendations made in the report. Stangely enough, the Opposition has seen fit to move a series of amendments to the proposals. Senator Cohen, in moving them, used the word “ imprecision “. I think it was used completely out of its context. It is a horrible word in the manner in which it is used. I am staggered to think that a learned man, a Queen’s Counsel, could have moved the amendments with the word “ imprecision “ used in the context in which it is used. I know that honorable senators opposite do not even know what the word means.
– What is the meaning of it?
– It is something which the honorable senator has not got. I believe that he can say something with precision.
– The honorable senator himself is imprecise.
– I am trying to pay the honorable senator a compliment. There is nothing imprecise about him. I do not think that Senator Cohen attacked the Government, at all on the question of whether or not we should have an extension of education. His attack, to my way of thinking, was based on his opinion and that of the party which he represents, because he moved the amendment on behalf of the Australian Labour Party, that the Commonwealth Government should assume full responsibility in the fields of primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Before we advocate that the Commonwealth Government must assume full responsibility for education, we should consider what the States have done in the educational field. I am not going to traverse the ground. In my opinion, the States have done and are continually doing an excellent job in the educational field. It has been said in this debate that man may be known by his reasoning capacity. It is also true that he must live and he must work in the society of other people. That is one of the fundamentals of life. He must live and he must work in the society of other people. Does this higher education we have heard so much about - tertiary education if you wish - make him a more reasonable or rational person? Does higher education make a person acceptable to the less brilliant of the community? That is one of the important points that we have to consider: Whether these learned men who have had the benefit of a tertiary education are really accepted by the community. When I talk about the community in this context, I mean the hewers of wood, the drawers of water and the producers of goods needed for the benefit of mankind. This hard core of useful citizens is shocked at times at the attitude and behaviour of some of the university students towards the community. Such behaviour to them is irrational and undermines the community’s confidence in the value of tertiary education.
Certainly the world order changes. Environment is far different today from what it was 50 years ago. Moral responsibility should still be keystone of the nation. A university training should develop this to a greater extent than it did in the days that are past. I suppose we could look at tertiary education as an investment - a national investment, if you wish - because the money invested in tertiary education by way of providing buildings, professors, staff and so on comes chiefly from the taxpayer and by voluntary gifts. Tertiary education, if we look upon it as an investment, should pay a national dividend. We should be able to sec the dividends in tangible form. They should contribute to national production.
Senator Murphy said ; and I agree with him ; that tertiary education should develop aesthetic tastes. We know that tertiary education does contribute to increasing the income of the person who is able to have this higher education. However, these materialistic gains - and they are materialistic gains - should not wipe away a genuine appreciation of literature, the arts, and even philosophy. The higher education should produce a more responsible citizen rather than an anti-social person. As one who moves around quietly 1 sometimes regret that we see so much of this anti-social attitude developing not only in our students but also in our university staffs. Here again, we join issues. The ordinary taxpayer who pays heavy taxation has cause to wonder whether the diversion of some of his taxation into university education is justified. He often feels, and rightly so, that many of the demands being made for him to supply more money for this purpose are not appreciated by the recipients. He feels that even some of our learned professors, tutorial staff and students bite the hand that feeds them. Graduates as well as undergraduates should realise that it is not only their own material gains but also the human values involved which are so important to the nation. Their decisions affect the moral and social values and these in turn influence the lives of the ordinary people who actually make it possible for the undergraduates to go to a university.
I think it is generally agreed that higher education should be available to all. There is perhaps one reservation that might be made and it is this: Is the student of an eduational standard suitable for enrolment as an undergraduate or, if you wish, for enrolment into a technical school or technical college? Two things will determine whether or not a student graduates - that is inclination to study and capacity to study. The cost of attaining this objective - that is to graduate - will be great both to the student and to the taxpayer. This is a paradox as it appears to the ordinary taxpayer. He must provide most of the money although he is unable personally to partake of the advantages provided. Youth which contributes only in mind and body demands more and still more sacrifices by the taxpayer to provide what it claims is its right. So, there is at least a conflict between the students’ demands and the public’s ability to pay. Actually, the fees that the student pays are only a very small proportion of the amount of income that a university receives. Again, I agree with Senator Murphy and other speakers when they say that if the public is expected to pay for higher education, then, rightly, the public must be allowed some voice in the manner of how its money is expended - not only how its money is expended, but also the dividend it receives from its investment.
Whilst it is true - I think even the Opposition agrees with this - that some of the demands for higher education have been met by the Commonwealth Government, the demand for more and greater expenditure has been continuously maintained. Public interest has been aroused to such an extent that people rightly expect to get value for their taxes devoted to tertiary education. Looking at tertiary education, we find that the whole picture of the sources of supply of undergraduates has changed in the last 30 years. It is completely different. Many students are working under great financial pressure to complete their courses successfully. Therefore, a university must provide to the undergraduates effective teaching and guidance in research. The loss of a year through failure, perhaps, in one subject, and a boy or a girl has to do the whole year’s course again. This is a tragedy and creates great hardships not only to the student but also to the university because it clutters up the vacancies which may be available.
Traditional methods must give way to the advances made in technology and communications. Universities should get down to the realities and to the value of teaching. To the layman, it seems a national waste of effort when we consider that only about 50 per cent, of students who start a degree course complete it. Before entering university students must matriculate. The matriculation examinations are set by universities and passing the examination should show that a student has the ability to succeed in further study at the university. I admit that the standard of matriculation is a difficult standard to decide, but it seems to the layman that there should be greater liaison between the secondary schools and the universities. I think such liaison is lacking. I do not know very much about education, though I have paid for a lot of it. However, I think that greater liaison must eventually exist between the secondary schools and the universities. The university people must leave their ivory towers for a while and come down and mingle with the crowd. When a student passes at matriculation standard, that should fit him for the courses he proposed to take at university.
Much has been made of the question of teacher training. Teacher training at university level is one of the musts, and it will have to come. Much is done at the primary and secondary levels to train people how to teach, how to pass on the knowledge they have gained. While it is true that many of our brilliant scholars may make excellent teachers, it is also true that the average scholar may be better able to impart his knowledge than is the more brilliant student, because he understands and realises the hurdles which have to be taken by the student, whereas the more brilliant people do not experience, and therefore do not appreciate the difficulties. If either at the university or at secondary school a boy can go to his master and say, “ Sir, I do not understand. Would you explain? “, we will be getting somewhere. In my day if one wanted to go to a professor and say, “ Sir, I do not understand,” a peasant could pass through the door for that purpose.
I was delighted to hear Senator Cohen and other speakers mention English. I believe that every student and undergraduate should have a good knowledge of English. This applies particularly in secondary schools. First year English at university would be most useful to a student taking any course. In the case of my own children, I insisted that they do first year English in whatever course they took at university. I believe that the study of English is sadly neglected in both our secondary schools and universities. Students are not taught to express themselves and to get the joy it is possible to get from reading - the joy of a few leisure moments. Life, in spite of iti hustle and bustle, surely has time for leisure, and the aim of tertiary education is to equip one to enjoy leisure and to give people a little leisure. 1 think higher education is designed to provide more leisure for tha masses. Reading is a great asset in develop* ing social responsibility. Although I do not remember the quotation very well I think Bacon said “ Reading maketh a full man . . and writing an exact man “. There are other such quotations, but I have never liked Bacon for breakfast. Perhaps tha Minister can tell us about them. To repeat: “ Reading maketh a full man . . and writing an exact man “. It is true that the various faculties attract their own graduates and in some courses, such as agricultural science and veterinary science, there may be a tendency to advocate a dispersion into the country, or the splitting of these faculties from their mother universities. 1 believe this tendency is wrong at present.
I listened with a great deal of interest to what Senator Buttfield said this afternoon, particularly with regard to her two boys, both of whom had marvellous scholastic records at the University o£ Adelaide - something of which anyone can be justly proud.
– I did not say that.
– I know you did not, but I am saying it. They were extraordinarily successful. We know that a great deal has to be done for university students. I am not saying that the conditions under which they work are by any means ideal. I will deal with the matter of overcrowding later. There is in our universities a lack which makes things difficult for students of agricultural science and veterinary science. I am not in favour of splitting these faculties away from the mother universities. Students of these subjects can do their field work as they are now doing, but it is the mingling of the members of the various faculties, not only in scholastic work but also in sport and social activities, which makes university studies worthwile. After all, learning to live with your neighbour is an aim of education, and the mingling of the members of the various faculties is good.
The news that technical education is to receive much needed assistance was very welcome to me. I know that what I said in regard to secondary and technical education took a line that is not approved by very many people. We are calling up our young men for military service. I would like to see a broad education system introduced for our Service trainees, and I believe this will be possible as the years go by.
While speaking about technical education I would like to mention that in South Australia the School of Mines, or Institute of Technology, was established in 1899. There has been a long and happy association between Adelaide University and the School of Mines. Their buildings are close to one another and the staffs and students have shared facilities. The happy and successful working together of the two bodies has given wonderful service to the students and to the State of South Australia itself.
From the Martin report we find that in 1962 there were 57,030 students doing technical courses. Technical institutes provide vocational training and many of them have diploma courses in certain subjects. The Government accepts the Martin Committee’s central argument that tertiary education outside universities must be strengthened. If this is done two issues arise. The first is that of providing the necessary staff, buildings and equipment. In my earlier remarks I spoke of the teaching ability of university staffs. As the taxpayer has to provide the money for these extensions in education he asks several questions. He asks whether the staff is proficient. Of the 1420 personnel who may be required, apart from replacements, we ask: Are they proficient? We also ask: Who supervises the running of the universities and other tertiary educational institutions? How is the staff used? What hours do they work and, particularly in universities, how many lectures are given each term and at what hours of the day or night are they given? And can the student fit his studies in with the lecture times? What use is made of lecturers, as distinct from professors? The lecturers are a very important class of people in universities. It is common knowledge that some students attend not only the lectures by professors but also, wherever possible, those given by lecturers, because the lecturers are more down to earth.
In many cases they have the ability to create an interest between the lecturer and the student whereas the professor stands on his rostrum, delivers his lecture and the student can take it or leave it. In these large classes, overcrowded in many cases - ‘this is unfortunate but unavoidable - the students have the greatest difficulty in noting the professor’s lecture because they cannot hear him very well. I repeat that many students complete the various courses because they have access to a lecturer who is humane and able to assist them.
Very little has been said about the cost of the scholarships which the Commonwealth Government awards to students to enable them to attend the university. The cost is ever increasing. The 2,500 scholarships which are provided mean that at least 12,500 students are being educated over a period of a few years. I base that statement on the fact that an average course, including medicine which is six years at least, takes five years to complete. Assuming that there will not be a failure in any year, on my conservative estimate that a course takes five years to complete, the 2.500 Commonwealth scholarships awarded every year mean that 12,500 students a year are being educated.
It has been said that income by way of university fees is £5.1 million. Of that amount £1-8 million is contributed by the Commonwealth Government. The State Governments also assist the universities to a great degree so that does not leave very much for the private undergraduate, if I may call him that, to contribute by way of fees. The suggestion has been advanced that we wipe off the difference between £5.1 million and £1.8 million, which is £3.3 million, and make university education available to everyone. But that is not the only cost. The cost of buildings, equipment and staff also must be taken into consideration. The recipients of Commonwealth scholarships are indeed fortunate. They have talent and I hope that they apply themselves with all diligence as they have done in the past, as many are doing now, and as many will do in the future. I hope that the investment we are making in them will be repaid in the form of a substantial national dividend - more responsible citizens and people who are not anti-social.
I agree that the facilities which have been provided for part time tuition at the universities are a very valuable adjunct. I, for one, would not like to see them eliminated. Young people who have the courage, ability and willingness to work during the day and then to invest their brainpower and time in a part time university education Will do well. I have personal knowledge of many part time students who are a credit, not only to themselves, but also to the university.
I have spoken for far too long, so in conclusion let me say that the report tells us what the public is expected to do. It tells us what we are expected to do. It also tells the universities what they should do. The report is very personal in that it frankly tells the people who control and manage our universities that they must face up to their problems in a new manner. In a very distinct way it tells the university people: “ Look to yourselves. Do not be so concernedwith costs. Concern yourselves with the value of our recommendations for the community and the university.”
This is an excellent report and, I think, the first step in a. great forward march in the field of tertiary education in Australia I believe that the Government will give in the future, as it has inthe past, great consideration to the needs and requirements of education in Australia. I do not want to see it assume full responsibility for education, but a government which is prepared to appoint a committee - in this case the Martin Committee - and to implement at least some of the recommendations made by the Committee, shows that it is not unwilling to aid further progress and fame in the field of tertiary education. I support the proposal for the adoption of the report.
.- The Senate is debating a motion that is takes note of the report of the Martin Committee which inquired into tertiary education in Australia. Senator Cohen, on behalf of the Opposition, has moved an amendment in these terms -
That the following words be added to the motion - but regrets
the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships, teacher education and scientific and social research,
the imprecision of the Committee and the -Government in their outline of non-university tertiary institutions, and
the Government’s continuing refusal to establish a Ministry of Education and to hold a national inquiry into vocational, technical, secondary and primary education.’ “.
The report of the Martin Committee is a valuable and important document. It is of importance not only that I state what we of the Labour movement think about the report as a report but also that I set out on behalf of the Labour Opposition - it being the alternative government in Australia - our view of the report and our view on the subject of education generally. Senator Cohen, on behalf of the Opposition, already has done this, but I feel that the matter is so important that the public should be aware of the Labour movement’s attitude not only to the Martin Committee’s report but also to the important subject of education generally.
On 28th April a meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party carried the following resolution -
The Martin report is a cautious and conservative assessment of Australian educational needs. Its recommendations are not even the minimum necessary to meet the demands of the immediate future. It is astonishing that it goes too far for the Government.
The Parliamentary Labour Parly affirms the following policy points arising from the Martin report on tertiary education -
It endorses the assertion in the report of a clear need for an inquiry into all other levels of education. Tertiary education should not be considered in isolation, and this fact is responsible for some weaknesses in the report. This inquiry would best be conducted continuously by a Ministry and Department. Failing the adoption of the suggestion for a Ministry and Department the needs of all other sections should be studied by a committee.
It endorses the recommendations of the Martin report on teacher education, especially the recommendations for the establishment of autonomous teacher-training authorities and the extension of Commonwealth scholarships to student teachers.
While giving general support to the proposals of the Martin report on technological education, the Party affirms the need for raising the standard’s of general education in technical institutions. It also calls for a change in the attitude of employers towards schemes for day release and part time courses. Students should be free to spend more of their time studying so as to raise the standards of achievement in the national interest. In a world of rapidly changing technology the skilled worker needs flexibility beyond the requirements of an immediate employer.
The Party considers the Martin report lacks clarity in its recommendations for nonvocational tertiary colleges . . . The Party fears that four critical needs may be neglected if a cheap and inadequate form of tertiary education is provided. These needs are
The establishment of Liberal Arts Colleges of a high standard capable of awarding internationally recognised degrees but not proceeding to post-graduate research. If the Martin report envisages anything less than this it is reactionary and inadequate. In any event it needs clarification, as does the Prime Minister’s reference to it.
The establishment of a nationally supported system of adult education or further education (in the British sense).
A radical improvement in secondary education. There is a danger that the establishment of low standard tertiary education may be accepted as a substitute for the great improvements vitally necessary in secondary education. More and better trained teachers and better facilities arc acutely necessary at the secondary level,
At the end of secondary education matriculated students should be able to proceed to degree courses.
The Martin Committee envisages the establishment of an Australian Tertiary Education Commission. Instead, we would propose a Ministry of Education and a Department to undertake continuous investigation and research of all Australian educational needs and to guide national action to meet them.
There should be more active national support for research including the field of the social sciences. The recommendation of the report that there be established a National Science Foundation should be adopted.
The Labor Party asserts the need for free university education. In 1962 only £4.5 million out of £50 million university income came from fees. That 9% is declining. The abolition of university fees should be national policy. When that stage is reached, scholarships would be living allowances.
Those words affirm in clear, concise, succinct and, for the benefit of Senator Mattner, precise terms where the Labour movement stands in relation to the education of Australian citizens. In short, whilst we say that the Martin Committee has adopted a most conservative approach to the ever present problems of tertiary education the Government, by rejecting a great number of the Committee’s recommendations and by not stating its view on other important facets that have been raised in the report, is adopting a more conservative if not reactionary point of view.
The report of the Martin Committee, though it is a conservative document, is very valuable. It consists of two volumes, the first being of 244 pages and the second consisting of about 180 pages. In the time that has been available to me I have read as much of the document as has been humanly possible. I give credit to the members of the Committee for the obviously diligent way in which they have tackled what has been quite an Homeric task. In the preamble to the report the Committee indicated that the ramifications of the problem of tertiary education proved to be much greater than they themselves expected. When one looks at the index to tables and figures and takes into account the wide variety of subjects that have been discussed one can readily appreciate the almost insurmountable difficulties that confronted the Committee in compiling such a detailed and comprehensive report.
Having read the two volumes of the report - another volume is to be presented in due course - I have formed the impression that the Committee believed that much more than it has recommended should be done to ameliorate the conditions that are complained of by educationists generally. The Committee has approached the subject more cautiously, and the recommendations it has made seem to be what it regards as being the absolute minimum. One thing which clearly emerges from the report is that today, despite the sums that are being devoted to education generally by Governments of ail political shades, still insufficient is being done to cope with the needs not only today but also of tomorrow. Beyond doubt that is the tenor of the Committee’s report. One needs only to cite one or two of the conclusions and recommendations set out in the first chapter in the first volume of the report to furnish evidence of what I have said. In sub-paragraph (viii) of paragraph 1 the Committee said -
The Committee agrees with the view (widespread in Australia) that higher education should be available to all citizens according to their inclination and capacity. Such a view accords with the aspirations o£ individuals and serves the needs of the community in promoting dynamic economic growth.
Of course, today “higher education is not available to all citizens according to their inclination and capacity. Many would like to engage in some form or other of tertiary education but, because they have not the wherewithal to do so, they adopt an attitude of laisser faire. In sub-paragraph (x) the Committee said -
Public interest in, and government support for, higher education have greatly increased during the past decade. The climate of opinion favours further expansion, and the Committee supports such expansion on both social and economic grounds.
One can see that beyond doubt the Committee was of the opinion that not only are the needs of today not being adequately catered for by Governments of various shades of political thought but also that Until the presentation of this report very little if anything had been done to plan for the needs of tomorrow.
Mr. Wheelwright, now Professor Wheelwright, of the University of Sydney, recently wrote a booklet entitled “Costs, Returns and Investment in Education “. He pointed out that generally education is the largest industry in Australia today. He said that this industry, for want of another term, has an annual turnover of approximately £200 million, that it has a work force of approximately 100,000, and that it has a clientele of more than 2i million. Men and women, boys and girls are in this category, all clamouring for a greater knowledge and in quest of higher education. It is more than fair to say that the future of Australia is completely wrapped up in education. If we are to take our rightful place in the world of the future, much more money, effort and thought must be devoted to education.
On page 15 of the first volume of the Martin report is a table setting out estimates of enrolments. The estimated number of total enrolments at universities, technical and other institutions and teachers colleges for 1963 was 117,900. It is expected that by 1 975 - a decade from now - that number will have more than doubled. In other words, it is estimated that in the next 10 years the total number of enrolments at universities, technical and other institutions and teachers colleges will have reached the astronomical sum of 248,000. The estimate of enrolments at universities for 1963 was 69,000. In the next decade that number will be more than doubled. It is expected that enrolments at universities will rise by 1975 to 125,000. The problems involved can be appreciated, not only in the provision of buildings, staff amenities and the other appurtenances of universities, but also in terms of manpower. The Commonwealth “ Year Book “ for 1964 shows that in a period of a little over four years - from 1959 to 1963 - the number of students attending universities increased from 47,000 to over 69,000, a rise of almost 50 per cent.
The figures I have quoted should indicate to all honorable senators the difficulties that are being encountered and will be faced in the future in respect of accommodation, staff and administration. On 8th October 1963 in reply to a question placed on the notice paper by Mr. Whitlam in another place, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said -
Enrolments are now limited at the Universities of Sydney (all faculties), New South Wales (Medicine, full-time Architecture and part-time Commerce), Melbourne (all faculties except Education, Music and Physical Education), Monash (all faculties), Adelaide (Medicine) and Western Australia (Medicine).
The portion of the Prime Minister’s reply which I have quoted appears at page 1577 of “Hansard” of 8th October 1963. Because of population growth and the great demand for education it has been necessary to restrict the intake of young Australians who have matriculated and wish to obtain a tertiary education at a university. It has also been necessary to restrict the intake of overseas students. I understand that in 1963 about 12,500 overseas students were attending Australian universities.
I have sought to indicate that the problem of tertiary education generally will become greater in the future unless more is done to overcome it. The Labour Party believes that the Martin Committee has adopted a most conservative approach. As the approach of the Government is even more conservative, honorable senators will appreciate that insufficient attention has been given to education and insufficient finance is being provided to solve educational problems. It is understandable that not all students who wish to become university graduates can achieve that ambition. Obviously a greater strain will be placed upon educational institutions in a decade unless more is done to cater adequately for the needs of the rising generation. In Australia today 250,000 more children between the ages of six and sixteen are attending primary and secondary schools than four years ago. These children will eventually come on to the labour market as trained professional men or trained artisans. This increase illustrates the enormity of the problem facing the Government in the next decade.
I believe that there should be more and smaller universities. This is the important change that should be made. More important than the quantity of university graduates is the quality of university education. Smaller universities, established according to population requirements, would tend to improve the quality of education, especially in the sciences, and would assist to decentralise the educational system.
An example of decentralised education is to be found in the great city of Armidale on the northern tablelands of New South Wales. From an ordinary country town Armidale has become recognised throughout New South Wales as a city of education and the site of the great New England University, of teachers’ colleges and of training facilities. The economy of Armidale is now based on education from the primary level through the secondary level to the tertiary level. Other towns in Australia could follow this lead. Many bright children are attending schools in the country districts of New South Wales, the State I have the honour to represent in this Parliament. I have no doubt that there are many bright children in country towns in other States. Those children who do very well at primary and secondary levels are forced to travel to the big cities if they wish to obtain tertiary education. Their home life and the home life of their families are disrupted. There is an overloading of institutions on the coastline and in some ways, because of this centralising of university training in the great capital cities, there is a tendency for tertiary education to become bogged down.
Country areas and country people have to receive more consideration from those who are responsible for planning the future of tertiary education in Australia. Efforts have been made in other areas to get a university off the ground. I refer to the great Riverina district of New South Wales, where a committee led by a prominent citizen, Dr. Merrylees, has been working for some considerable time to establish a university to give service to the Riverina and the southwestern districts of New South Wales. One can imagine the untold strength that this would give the Riverina. One can imagine the untold wealth that would flow into the district as a result of this extension and expansion of tertiary education. These are the things that have to be viewed by those responsible for this important matter in the years to come.
I agree that the provision of Commonwealth scholarships has done and is doing much to assist those who are entitled to receive higher training but who, because of certain financial circumstances, have not the wherewithal to put themselves through their training. The scholarships have been of great assistance to a great number of Australian families and to a great number of young Australian men and women but I believe that this Government and all governments could well remember the efforts of the Chifley Labour Government in introducing and implementing the great Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme whereunder personnel returning from war service were given training in whatever avocation they chose to fit them for civilian life. Many men in the professional life of this community today owe their positions to that great scheme. Not only did we train university people, accountants and lawyers, but also we trained men in bricklaying, carpentry and skills of that nature. Economically, this country in 1947-48, immediately after the war, with a great body of men returning from the front, was poorer than it is today. I suggest that if we could afford such a great scheme for the training of men and women in 1947-48, we certainly should be able to do so now. That is why the Australian Labour Party asserts the need for free university education.
As Senator Cohen pointed out, in 1962 only £4.5 million out of £50 million of university income came from fees. Professor Karmel of the University of Adelaide wrote an article entitled “ Some Aspects of Education, 1962”. He compared expenditure on education in relation to gross national product in a number of countries. Some of these were -
It is important that we, as members of the Commonwealth Parliament, should take note of these figures and heed the warning of the Martin Committee.
– To what year do those figures refer?
– From recollection, I think that the year about which he wrote was 1959.
– Or J 956 - somewhere back there?
– The Minister could be right. My recollection is that it was 1959. The Martin Committee pointed out - it is well to reflect on this statement - that education should be regarded as an investment which yields direct and significant economic benefits through increasing the skill of the population and accelerating technological progress. The Committee believes that economic growth in Australia is dependent upon a high and advancing level of education.
I believe that greater efforts must be devoted by all political parties and by all men of influence in the community to the educational welfare of the younger generation of Australians. As I said, tertiary education does not concern itself only with the provision of adequate buildings, with the establishment of fine institutions. It deals also most realistically with the lives of men and women and with the future of boys and girls of this great Australia. I support the amendment that has been moved by Senator Cohen and believe that the policy enunciated by the Labour movement on this question of tertiary education is the only one that will provide a fitting solution to the problems facing this nation.
– in reply - The debate initiated on the Martin Committee’s report and the Government’s announcement of what it would do about the report has been a valuable one on all sides but as is perhaps natural, it has been confined largely to generalisations and it has revolved around the major questions which were first set out in the Government’s report on the Committee’s report. I do not propose to detain the Senate for long in reiterating what was said when this debate was initiated, although there are some points which have come out in a general sort of way upon which I would like to say something.
For instance, when Senator Murphy was speaking. I gathered an impression, and I think others may have gathered an impression, that very little had been done in recent years in the field of education or of tertiary education and that we were in such a sad state that newly emerging countries or under-developed countries - whatever the phrase was that he used - were liable at any moment to catch us up and surpass us in this field unless we pulled up our socks and really did something about it. Since there has been a tinge of that kind of approach in various speeches, I think I should put on record just what the Australian community and the Australian Government, using the community’s funds, have done in the field of tertiary education, in which the Commonwealth Government is interested, and in the fields of secondary and primary education, which are the fields of the States. A few illustrations will indicate what has occurred in this field and just how far we are from slipping backwards. One half of the 14 universities in Australia have been established since this Government assumed office in 1949. Many of those are new foundations but they are foundations which will exist to take into faculties the students to whom Senator McClelland referred who are now in primary and secondary schools. If we add to the list of universities established during this Government’s term of office the Australian National University, which was established in 1946 by a previous Labour Administration but which since 1949 has been nurtured and brought to its full stature by this Administration, then more than half of the university facilities in Australia have been provided in the last J 5 years during which the Government has been in office.
I have in my hands a report from the University of Sydney which is further indicative of the trend in this field. I think this was Senator Murphy’s university. The report outlines the progress made in the university since 1947. The number of professorial chairs has doubled. The number of students graduating has doubled. The number of books in the library has trebled. The annual budget has increased eightfold. Here is an illustration not of how the number of universities has been increased but of the growth within existing universities since this Government came to power. If you look at what has been done in the field of universities recently - this matter was brought to my mind most strongly by Senator Murphy’s denigration of what has been done - you will find that whereas, in 1950 there were 23,394 students enrolled in universities, by 1963- not 1965, but 1963 - there were 69,074 students enrolled in universities. In those 13 years the number of students attending universities trebled. If we express those numbers as a percentage of the 17 to 22 years age group, which is the group we would normally expect to attend universities, we see that in 1953 the number in the age group enrolled in universities represented 0.3 per cent, of the group, but by 1963 the number enrolled in the age group represented 7.1 per cent. I have emphasised 1963 because the figures have increased since that time.
Details of the financial backing which has made possible increases such as those to which I have referred appear in the Martin report. We see that in 1950 the Commonwealth was providing, in round figures, £800,000 for assistance to universities throughout Australia but that by 1963 it was providing £24,120,000 to enable the kind of increase that has been demonstrated by the report of the University of Sydney, for the development of established universities and for the new universities that have been created during that time. This is far from being a story of education slipping backwards in Australia in that period.
The Australian community and the Government do not have anything to be ashamed of in the assistance being provided to students in tertiary education. This matter has some relation to one part of the Opposition’s amendment. A table on page 201 of the Committee’s report shows that Australia ranks third behind the United States of America and the United Kingdom as regards financial assistance to students and that it also ranks third as regards the amount spent on students per head of population. AH these things show that in the field of tertiary education much has been done. It is true that much remains to be done. The report which is the subject of our discussion has indicated the ways in which more can be done. It has indicated that apparently too many people attend universities today if the first year failure rate is a sign of the capacity of university students to pass their courses. The report suggests, as Senator Murphy pointed out, that this is bad, because it means that you have somebody who has spent a year in the university and has not attained a goal. At the end of that year he has a sense of failure and he may be upset for the rest of his life. Apart from all those considerations, he has wasted the time of the teachers at the university and taken up space there without returning to himself or to the country the benefit that one might expect to be returned. The report suggests that there should therefore be an alternative to what has been done in the past in tertiary education and to what will no doubt be done in the university field. This is what remains to be done. This, I believe, was the central core of the Committee’s report - that new colleges for tertiary education should be established; that they should embrace courses in the humanities, commerce and public administration as well as technological courses; and that they should provide, according to the capacity and the inclination of the student, an alternative education to that provided in universities. This proposal has been accepted and more millions will be added in the next triennium to the costs of tertiary education borne by the Australian community and the Commonwealth and State Governments.
There has been some suggestion that in the fields in which the Commonwealth is not directly interested - the primary and secondary fields - -it has not played a proper part. I do not believe that the figures indicate that this is so. In the last ten years the reimbursements to the States of lump sum* which it is up to the States to allocate as between education and other fields have increased. Apart from this, those who are interested will know that the State Ministers for Education met and published a document indicating what they believed was the total capital requirement to bring primary, secondary and technical education up to the level at which they thought it should be in all respects. That level embraced all the matters mentioned in the report, including science ‘teaching facilities, technical facilities, gymnasiums, teacher training facilities, playing fields, curators, and housing for teachers. The total capital which they said was required over these four years was £98 million. By way of direct and unmatched grants to the States the Commonwealth will be providing over the four years, starting last year, by way of grants for technical education and science teaching education to the State Governments. £34 million, which is more than one-third of the total which was said to be required throughout Australia by the State Ministers for Education. It will be completely unmatched and the States, will still be able out . of their increasing revenues to increase, as they have been doing to their credit, what they have been putting into their education systems.
There were one or two other matters mentioned in the course of the debate to which I wish to refer. The amendment that has been moved indicates that the Opposition regrets the Government’s rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships. This is a most misleading way of expressing what the Government did. I am charitable enough to assume that the amendment was so written because of lack of ability to express properly in English one’s ideas, to which I heard Senator Murphy advert earlier tonight. The Government did not reject the Martin Committee’s recommendations on scholarships. It rejected some of them. I believe it is true to say it has accepted the Martin Committee’s recommendations on university scholarships but it has said that they should not be awarded at a level below that at which they were awarded at the end of 1963; it said that they should be kept under review as to the means test to be applied to them; and it said that they should be kept under review as to the living allowances paid. Indeed, after those words were written and before the report was produced, the Government reviewed the means test that was applied and also reviewed the living allowances which were payable. Since then it has increased by 1,000 the number of open entrance scholarships which were available. The Government did not reject outright the Martin Committee’s recommendations on later year awards. It partially rejected them and it partially accepted them, which is quite different from outright rejection.
If one reads the report one finds that the Martin Committee’s recommendation on teacher training scholarships was that the Committee itself would like eventually to see 10 per cent, of places in teacher training colleges reserved for unbonded students who went there with the equivalent of Commonwealth scholarships. But it pointed out that this would depend upon the State Governments being willing to make those places available. A student who wants a Commonwealth scholarship now can, as far as the Commonwealth is concerned, use that scholarship to go to a teachers training college. So far as the Commonwealth Government is concerned, this is perfectly permissible. But quite frankly, there are very few students indeed who would do it, because if they go to a teachers training college without a Commonwealth scholarship they go on a salary paid by a State Government, which is much more. The other night I was quite interested to hear a gentleman sounding off to the effect that the bonding of students - State Governments bond students who go to teacher training colleges to teach for three years thereafter - was a form of medieval slavery. He said that instead of bonding students they should be given Commonwealth scholarships to teachers training colleges. Quite frankly, I think that if he ever attempted to do this he would be very rapidly submerged in a howling mob of students. They would not like to lose £600 a year - which is the amount they are paid in Victoria, although it is less in other States - in order to take up such a scholarship.
There is one other point I wish to mention regarding the amendment. I, too, share Senator Mattner’s dislike of the word “ imprecision “. I suppose that it does exist, although I am not sure. I know that one can be precise or imprecise. I know that one can speak with precision or lack of precision. It may well be that one can speak with imprecision, but I am not convinced of it. I shall look it up later to see whether, in fact, there is such a word. Nevertheless, I know what is meant.
– I accepted the Minister’s statement that the word is the equivalent of lack of precision.
– That was to help the honorable senator out when he could not think of what it meant. However, that is by the way, because I know what is meant by the word. The Opposition objects to the lack of precision of the Committee and the Government ‘in their outline of nonuniversity tertiary institutions. I regret the Opposition’s approach because I think at this stage that it would be very wrong to come along with a rigid definition of exactly what these colleges of advanced education are going to be and of exactly what courses they are going to conduct; whether they are to be limited; and what tramlines they are to be set on. It ought to be possible - and it is possible I am glad to say, because we think differently from the Opposition on this matter - for these colleges to be developed under their own autonomous boards of governors and through their institutes of colleges in different ways within the States and in different ways as between State and State, within general boundaries but not precise and rigid boundaries which, if this amendment means anything, the Opposition would like to have drawn up at this stage.
I do not wish to detain the Senate any longer on this matter. I have said enough, I think, to show what great advances have been made by the Australian Government in the field of university education in the last’ decade and a half. The speech which initiated this debate showed how the Goverment stood ready to make new advances in the colleges of advanced education, the alternative to the tertiary system. I have indicated the assistance which has been given and which is being given to secondary education by means of the grants of which I have spoken. I can only say that I believe the Senate should reject the motion which has been moved by the Opposition and should accept the motion which I moved -
That the Senate take note of the following paper . . .
I only regret that I did not add the words -
Question put -
That the words proposed to be added (Senator Cohen’s amendment) be added.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Mr. President, I want to take advantage of this opportunity to discuss some questions in relation to immigration. Some of them might have been relevant to the discussion on the Aliens Bill which was before the Senate this afternoon, but they would only have bordered on relevancy. However, there are other matters concerning immigration which I think the Senate should discuss. These matters relate to the administration by the Department of Immigration of this particular Act. I have brought some of these matters up before. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson), representing the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman), said on 28th April 1965 in answer to a question asked by Senator Buttfield -
I agree that far too often statements are made about Australia’s migration policy that are not accurate and that tend to give a false impression.
The Minister concluded his answer by saying -
We have nothing to be ashamed of in relation to our immigration policy. It is desirable that everybody throughout the world should know precisely what is being done in this country in this connection.
If it is any assistance in letting people throughout the world know what is being done in Australia, I want to mention a few things that are being done in this connection because I think it is. fitting that the country should know how the Government is handling the Department of Immigration.
Mr. President, you will remember that some time ago I brought up the case of Von Elm, a retired German, who applied for permission to migrate to Australia. There V-S some misunderstanding as to whether he intended to migrate permanently or wished only to visit his children. Von Elm was a man who had reached retirement age. He has a son in South Australia with a grandchild whom he has not seen. He also has a daughter, who is a naturalised Australian, living in Tasmania with three grandchildren whom he has not seen. I assure the Minister that he wanted only a visitor’s visa so that, as one of his last acts before he passes on, he may see his children from whom he has been separated for a long time and also see his grandchildren whom he has never seen. His application was refused. Apparently, the only reason for the refusal was that immediately after the war, while the Communist Party of West Germany was a legal organisation, Mr. Von Elm Senior was a member of it for two years until it became an illegal organisation. He has taken no part in politics since. Because he once belonged to an organisation whose members, the Government has decided, are not permitted to enter Australia, Mr. Von Elm has not been admitted. The human question of the purpose of his application - to visit relatives - goes by the board.
I bring up again the question of Mr. Sieve Pappas. I have mentioned this case before. I raise the matter again to show the extension of the matter that has taken place since I last raised it. Briefly, to remind the Senate of the facts of the case, I mention that Mr. Steve Pappas is a Greek migrant who was born on 14th September ] 899. This means that in September of this year he will be 66 years of age and will have reached the stage in life which we consider, under our social services policy, is a reasonable age for retirement. The Commonwealth pays some benefits to a per son who has served this country and who has worked up until he reaches the age of 65. Mr. Pappas is now over 65 years of age and is continuing to work, as he has no other source of income. He arrived in Australia on 11th May, 1927, so he has resided in Australia for 38 years. During the whole of that period, he has worked continuously and paid taxation to the Commonwealth and State Governments on a basis of a single man’s earnings. He paid normal taxation for administration purposes and also contributed to the National Welfare Fund, which entitled him to some reimbursement by way of a pension when he reached the age of retirement.
He is not a man who has obtained the best jobs in the country. He is not a qualified man. When he arrived in Australia, he worked on a railway construction job at Darwin for 12 months. He then went to Queensland and picked cotton for 12 months. He returned to Darwin, and worked on a cattle station 64 miles from Katherine for three years. He came to Adelaide in 1931, worked for a brief period in Victoria, and was employed for four years at Berri on the River Murray. He has been in Adelaide since 1941. So, all in all,, he has played his part in the development of this country. During the last war, he volunteered for service in the Royal Australian Air Force in a Greek unit which I believe was being established. On physical grounds he was rejected for service in R.A.A.F. but, at all times, he was prepared to play his part in the development of Australia and in serving this country in its hours of danger and of need. In 1929, when he was in the Northern Territory he applied for naturalisation. He paid £3 17s. 6d. fees for naturalisation, which the Department claimed it never received. There was some mixup involving the constable to whom the fee was alleged to have been given, or the solicitor to whom the constable said he gave it. At all events, he never got his money back.
He filled in a form applying for naturalisation in 1932, although he paid no fee at that time. He applied for naturalisation as an Australian citizen again in’ 1948; again in 1959 and again last year. His application was refused, but no reason was given for the refusal. Even on my representations the present Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) - different from his predecessor, who would at least give a member of Parliament inquiring on behalf of a constituent the reasons in confidence - would give no reasons at all. Of course, we recognise the right of the Department of Immigration to refuse either naturalisation or migration, whether it is on the score of health or character or for security reasons. But immediately a refusal of naturalisation is noted without reasons being given, anyone who acknowledges the rights of the Government in this direction immediately thinks there must be something very bad about the individual whose application has been refused. The average person does not know whether the refused applicant is diseased or is of bad character, or whether he is a threat to security.
I told the Minister that to my knowledge over a long period of years this man took an active part in the industrial movement in South Australia and while he was, at all times, peddling Communist literature he was an inoffensive type of individual who carried on peacefully without indulging in any agitation on the job. I told the Minister I thought this man had given good service to Australia and was definitely no threat to our security. You will remember, Mr. President, that I previously brought out the fact that the Minister, in answer to a question, informed me that membership of the Communist Party was not, of necessity, a bar to naturalisation although it was one of the things which would be taken into consideration. He said that the main question considered was whether the applicant would become a good Australian citizen. When a man like Steve Pappas has been in Australia for 38 years and we have taken taxes from him over that period why, if he does not qualify to become an Australian citizen, has he been permitted to remain in the country for that time? Why have we taken his taxation contributions from him with no intention of giving him the refund, in the form of a pension, to which naturalised Australians are entitled? When I approached the Minister I admitted that on all appearances this man had been a member of the Communist Party but not an active member, and I said that he had played an important role in the industrial movement in South Australia. I asked the Minister whether in reconsidering this application, he would look into this man’s activities in the industrial movement in South Australia, and he assured me he would do so. When I finally got a rejection in writing from the Minister it simply stated -
I was in possession of all the facts of his case when I decided not to approve of the grant of naturalisation of Mr. Pappas in December last. The circumstances have not changed since then and I must reaffirm my earlier decision.
I submit to the Senate, as I submitted to the Minister, that although this man was selling Communist literature, before his application was refused there should have been a complete inquiry into the role he has played throughout his industrial life in South Australia. As the result of some of the publicity in my campaign to have this man granted naturalisation I have received correspondence from most places where Steve Pappas has worked, saying that he was a good worker and an inoffensive individual. Included in the correspondence that I sent to the Minister was a letter from Mr. S. J. Lawn, member for Adelaide in the South Australian House of Assembly. That letter reads -
I noticed your press statement a week or two ago wherein you complained that the Commonwealth Government would not permit Mr. Steve Pappas to become a naturalized Australian citizen. I meant to write to you shortly afterwards but have been away on the sick list.
However, I now des:re to advise you - for what it may be worth with the authorities concerned - that I have known Steve Pappas for a long time. I was Secretary of the Vehicle Builders Employees’ Union from 1944 to 1950 before becoming the Member for Adelaide, and I was also Assistant Secretary of the Union from 1938 to 1944. Prior to this I was President of the Union. I don’t know when I first knew Steve Pappas but he was working in our industry and attended our Union meetings. During this period I can honestly say that he never caused any trouble either at the Union meetings or in the factory. He was, as you stated, one of the quietest, most inoffensive persons I ever met.
Since relinquishing the position of Secretary of the Union I have met Steve on a number of occasions, either in the streets of Adelaide or at the Trades Hall, and I have no reason to change my previous opinion of him. From my knowledge of Steve Pappas I can say that I know of no reason whatsoever why he would not make a good Australian citizen.
If you can make any use of the above you are welcome to do so.
Despite all that, and despite the Minister’s promise to inquire into the industrial record of Steve Pappas, the Minister has still refused to grant naturalisation and has given no reasons for this. I say that the
Minister was not honest when .he ‘said he would make full inquiries, as he never inquired from those associated with the Adelaide industrial movement who would have known Pappas’s record. He did not inquire from people like Senator Bishop, who was secretary of the Trades and Labour Council of South Australia for a number of years while Pappas was a member and a delegate to that Council. Since the publication of this matter I have received correspondence from the Greek Workers Club, the Australian Railways Union and the tramways union, as well as a petition signed by 128 employees of Adelaide Ship Construction Ltd., who worked with Pappas, supporting his claim for naturalisation and claiming that he is a good citizen. Pappas’s only offence is that he has followed his own political inclinations, which he thought were right - whether they were right or not. We have taxed him for 38 years and now we will not give him the benefit of a pension, so that at the age of 66 years he will still have to struggle along in some employment as he has no other means of livelihood.
I now come to some correspondence from Mr. Christos Mourikis, who lives at 50 Bexley Road, Campsie, New South Wales. This correspondence again shows the Government’s attitude towards migrants who come to this country. Mr. Mourikis’s letter to the Minister for Immigration reads as follows -
I am a Greek migrant, residing in Australia since 1954 being employed as a waterside worker for the last 8 years. On three occasions I have applied for naturalisation and each time I was told that my application is “ not one for approval “. Needless to say I was astonished by the fact that no further comments were offered as to the rejection of my application. Tt must be that the Immigration Department was and is in possession of some very important information which prompted it to withhold my naturalisation. And this is what I would like to know. The specific and detailed reasons. As far as I can see, during the time I have been residing in this country I have done nothing contrary to the laws of the land. I have been employed ever since the first day of my arrival, I have been paying my taxes, and have been engaged in promoting functions leading to the improvement of relations between migrants and Australians. Are these the reasons for which the Department has become reluctant in granting me naturalisation, or maybe the fact that I am a job delegate? It is impossible for me to imagine such a thins. Therefore I repeat my question: - Which are the true reasons?
Later in his letter he pertinently asked the Minister -
Are migrants allowed to take .part in the social, economic, political and other activities of the country?
Can they have and freely express their opinions without the fear of being labelled “ security risks “?
Can they become members of the trade unions and participate in their activities?
Can they follow, support and become members cf any of the legal political parties of the country?
What is legal and permissible for old Australians, is it illegal and prohibited for new Australians? If so, why the declarations of assimilation by the Government?
Does the Government know that assimilation begins in the factories and work places where old and new Australians work side by side?
When the migrants do not feel free to participate in trade union and political activities, how can they regard Australia as a free country, how are they going to love her and consider her as their own?
I suggest, with respect, that those are pertinent questions which the Department should answer.
I bring up one further case which will show that, while this Government talks of freedom and liberty, there is freedom and liberty in this country provided that the freedom is the freedom to praise the Government. Any criticism of the Government demands the imposition of a penalty by the Department of Immigration, if it is possible for the Department to do so. I now refer to the case of Mr. J. D. K. Thomson who is a British migrant living in Lochinvar Street, Paradise, South Australia. He nominated his sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. McCormick, and their children, and a Mrs. Hazel Smith, for travel to Australia under the assisted passage scheme. The nominations were approved on 24th April 1964 - approval No. 16898. It then became known that Mr. Thomson had been elected as an official of the South Australian branch of the Australian Government Workers Association. I do not know of any Communist associated with that organisation and no allegation can be made that it is Communist controlled. Mr. Thomson became a shop steward at his place of employment, the Engineering and Water Supply Department in South Australia. When this became known the approval which had been granted for Mr. and Mrs. McCormick and Mrs.
Hazel Smith to come to Australia was withdrawn by the Department of Immigration.
This case has been taken up with the Department by the former Premier of South Australia, Sir Thomas Playford, by Mr. Dunston who is now the South Australian Attorney-General and by Senator Toohey, a senator from South Australia with whomI discussed this matter during the week. He agrees with me that he can go no further. The Department will give no reason for its action other than to say that these people do not now meet the requirements laid down by the Department of Immigration for approval to come to Australia. But on 24th April 1964 these people did meet those requirements. We are now trying to find out how, today, they fail to meet the Department’s requirements in the hope that perhaps they will be able to overcome their deficiencies and shortcomings. But there has been complete silence on these questions on the part of the Department of Immigration. The only thing which has happened in the intervening 12 months is that Mr. Thomson, the person who nominated the potential immigrants, has obtained an executive position in a trade union and is acting as a shop delegate for it. Nothing else has happened to this family.
We ask the reason for the withdrawal of the approval. Can we interpret the Department’s actions as indicating that anyone who has ever been a member of the Communist Party - I have in mind the Von Elm case - will never get into Australia? And if they do get into Australia and later join the Communist Party, is it a fact that they will never be granted naturalisation but will be kept here to work in and develop this country because we need migrants and will be required to pay their taxes and will receive nothing in return? Anyone who wants to bring a person into Australia must have a family record which is clean in the eyes of the Department, and those who seek to nominate a migrant must not participate in any trade union activities in Australia.
We ask again: Are the rights of old Australians not to be enjoyed by new Australians? Must new Australians be subjected to the penalties imposed by this Department?
– Senator Cavanagh has referred to Mr. Pappas and has indicated that I prob ably would have known him. I think I should say that 1 knew Pappas during the seven years that I was secretary of the Trades Hall Council in South Australia. I knew him to be a member of two unions, the Federated Ironworkers Association and the Vehicle Builders Union. I know nothing against this man which would prevent him being a good Australian citizen. I was aware that he had been in Australia for a long time and I knew that he had approached Senator Cavanagh for assistance in obtaining naturalisation. I make the point that, as far as I am aware, Pappas is an ordinary good Australian citizen. I do not know whether he is a member of the Communist Party. I would have suspected him of being only a mild trade unionist.
I can only assume that this case has been dealt with on a purely routine basis. It should be re-examined. It is possible that some investigation or scrutiny has been made, going back, perhaps, to the depression years when there were all sorts of turmoil and differences in organisations. Possibly this is the reason why this man has been denied citizenship for all these years. The opinion of Mr. Pappas’ general character which has been expressed by Senator Cavanagh, Mr. Lawn and myself, no doubt, can be readily checked by inquiry from his employers and certainly from the trade unions with which he was associated. I have already mentioned the Federated Ironworkers Association and the Vehicle Builders Union. If this re-assessment were made it is possible that the application would be dealt with in a new light. I trust that the Minister will occasion this investigation to be made and that inquiries will be carried out along the lines that we have suggested so that Mr. Pappas will receive the justice to which he is entitled at this late stage of his life.
– I can only say that I will direct the attention of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) to the remarks which have been made by Senator Cavanagh and Senator Bishop.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.49 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 May 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19650511_senate_25_s28/>.