25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - Mr. President, I desire to inform the Senate that I have been chosen as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Democratic Labour Party and my colleague, Senator McManus, has been selected as Deputy Leader.
– I direct a ques tion to the Minister for Customs and Excise. It concerns the manner in which the Government reached a decision to amend the regulation relating to the importation of aircraft which was subsequently published as Statutory Rules 1965 No. 91. Did the Minister initiate this action himself or did he act at the request of the Minister for Civil Aviation or the Attorney-General, or was the amendment introduced as a result of a Cabinet decision?
– I remind Senator Kennelly that the Leader of the Opposition has just given notice of a motion for the disallowance of a regulation on a matter related to the honorable senator’s question. The decision to which he has referred was taken by me on 29th June. The matter then went to the Executive Council. I answer the other part of the honorable senator’s question by directing attention to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations made under the Customs Act. I am sure the honorable senator knows that the regulations providing for prohibitions relate to many departments including the Department of Shipping and Transport, the Department of Primary Industry, the Department of Health and the Department of Civil Aviation. The honorable senator will know also that the Department of Customs and Excise is an administrative department and acts for these other departments in an administrative way.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question. On 20th October of last year, I pointed out that, because of frequent bad weather conditions in parts of the Cape York Peninsula, air crews operating in that area regard operations to and from some of the aerodromes as being often quite hazardous. I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he would take action to expedite the installation of equipment to aid night landing operations in this area. I now know that extensive work is in progress at Cairns aerodrome on this and other improvements, and I have been given to understand that other aerodromes north of Cairns are included in a planned works programme also. Would the Minister please advise me of the details of the planned and proposed work, and an approximate timetable for completion of the work at each aerodrome? Would the Minister say also whether installation of radio navigational aids is contemplated, as these would considerably improve the safety factor by offsetting poor visibility during the monsoon season?
– I am not aware that the Department of Civil Aviation has had any complaints from aircrews that they regard operation’s in this area as being hazardous. My Department, of course, does not regard operations in the area as being hazardous as procedures can be laid down which adequately satisfy any bad weather conditions that might be encountered. Provision has been made in the 1965-66 works programme of the Department of Civil Aviation for the provision of distance measuring equipment and a non-directional beacon to be installed at Weipa. It is intended that tenders will be called in January of next year but because of the difficulty of having work done in this location it is impossible to forecast accurately when the work will be completed. It is anticipated, however, that the navigational aids will be in operation before the end of 1966.
Because of the difficulties involved in having work carried out on aerodromes north of Cairns, my Department has recently equipped a new mobile maintenance unit. This unit has already commenced work at Cooktown. From Cooktown, it will proceed to other aerodromes in the area as the urgency and extent of the work permit. It is intended that works will be carried out at Coen, Iron Range and Horn Island. It is not intended to instal navigational aids in this area other than those to be provided at Weipa. If a new aerodrome is constructed at Weipa night landing facilities will be provided also. It is believed that the provision of these facilities will improve the operational characteristics of the area generally.
– Because of the continuing reports of atrocities in Vietnam, I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to give now the assurance which he failed to give on 23rd March of this year. It is this: Whatever has happened in the past, will the Government see to it that Australia is not associated or identified in any way with war against children, use of poison gas or other atrocities in Vietnam?
– Mr. President, I can tell the honorable senator without hesitation that, as far as the Australian Government is concerned, it will adhere on all occasions to those international standards of conduct and the international treaties to which it is a party in respect of the conduct of war.
– I have very great pleasure in answering this question. The pension payable at the intermediate rate, the introduction of which represents a breakthrough in repatriation pensions, will be £10 2s. 6d. per week. To elaborate a little, I point out that at the moment we have more than 22,000 pensioners on the 100 per cent, rate which amounts to only £6 per week. The next rate is that of the pension for total and permanent incapacity. Pensioners on the T.P.I, rate receive £14 5s. per week. There has been this big gap of £8 5s. per week between the two pensions. It has been found over the years that, very often, it is not in a person’s best mental interests to make him a T.P.I, pensioner because, in many cases, the pensioners then have the feeling - if I may use a colloquialism - that they have had it and are of no further use. Therefore, we felt that if we could get an intermediate rate which would give the pensioner something more than £6 per week without putting him on the T.P.I, rate it would be doing him a service. Payment at the 100 per cent, rate - which, as I said earlier, is £6 a week - means that the recipient is not totally and permanently incapacitated, but it frequently happens that a pensioner receiving a pension at this rate is not capable of earning enough, over and above the £6 a week, to keep him in reasonable circumstances. It was therefore decided that this new intermediate rate of £10 2s. 6d. a week should be introduced.
– Technically, my question concerns the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, but as it has application to defence perhaps the Minister for Defence will prefer to answer it. Has the Minister noted the statements which appeared in several newspapers on 12th August drawing attention to a serious shortage of skilled labour in the Government aircraft factory in Melbourne and iri the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, alleging that the shortage was adversely affecting the Mirage project and stating that a recruiting mission to Great Britain had failed to attract anywhere near the required number of tradesmen? If there is substance in these statements, will the Minister say what action is proposed to repair what is obviously a serious deficiency in our defence measures?
– I am not familiar with the statements to which the honorable senator has directed my attention. I think I should, however, take this opportunity to recall to him a recent statement by the Minister for Supply, to the effect that the Mirage programme was in fact on schedule. This does not mean - and I do not intend to convey the impression that it does - that this has been achieved without difficulties. There have been difficulties in connection with staff at the Commonwealth aircraft factory. In an endeavour to repair the staff deficiencies, attempts have been made on at least two occasions to recruit labour in the United Kingdom. The two recruiting drives have been fruitful, even if they have not achieved what were considered to be the optimum targets. I think it would be more useful if I referred the question to my colleague, the Minister for Supply, who could supply more up to date and complete information, but 1 direct the honorable senator’s attention particularly to the Minister’s statement on the progress of Mirage production.
– 1 wish to ask the Minister for Civil Aviation a question with reference to the terminal building at the Adelaide airport. Can he advise the Senate whether the terminal building currently in use is still regarded by his Department as a temporary building? Is it a fact that there is a site planned for a permanent building on the south-eastern side of the present passenger terminal? Is it also a fact that there are plans to spend approximately £500,000’ on the existing terminal building? Will the Minister examine the possibility and the probable cost of erecting a new and adequate building on the original site, thereby allowing utilisation of the existing building as well as total development of this airport?
– It is correct to say that the terminal building now in use at the Adelaide airport was regarded as an interim terminal building. It was thought that, when the building had outlived its usefulness, it could probably be used for freight services. lt is true, as the honorable senator says, that consideration has been given to constructing a new terminal building in the south-eastern area of the airport. A proposal for the extension of the existing building is at present before a departmental committee, but until I have the committee’s findings before me I am unable to give any promises or to make any further statements on the matter.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. Will the Minister indicate when a copy of the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and New Zealand will be available to honorable senators? Would it be correct to say that the reduction in import duties on canned and quick frozen pens will be on the same basis as that proposed for canned beans?
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has advised me that it is expected that the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement will be signed next week. As I mentioned in the statement I made on his behalf on 17th August in this chamber, arrangements will be made for the relevant documents to be tabled in the Senate at the earliest opportunity after signature. As I also mentioned in my statement on 17th August,, the duty on frozen peas and beans from New Zealand will be phased out over a period of nine years. The first reduction in the duty on frozen peas and beans will take place 12 months after the agreement comes into force. In regard to the other dutiable items included in the Agreement, the duty will be phased out over a period of up to eight years. Full details of the items included in the Agreement will be released as soon as practicable after the Agreement is signed.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. By way of preface I point out that the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s television station Channel 2 in South Australia has now programmed its evening news service for 6.30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. as hitherto. The new northern A. B.C. television station in South Australia. Channel 1, has also changed the time for its news service to 6.30 p.m. Will the Minister ask his colleague, the PostmasterGeneral, to discuss with the A.B.C. the question of reallocating the hour of 7 p.m. for the television news on Channel 1? From many representations that I have received, it appears that’ 6.30 p.m. is an inconvenient time for many residents of the area served by Channel 1, and 7 p.m. would be far more convenient.
– I shall direct the honorable senator’s question to the PostmasterGeneral. As I understand the question, it relates to the fact that the news which is telecast on the eastern seaboard at eastern standard time also is used in South Australia, but there is a difference of half an hour between eastern standard time and South Australian time. I shall ask the Postmaster-General whether he will have this matter investigated, and 1 shall advise the honorable senator.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. Did Dr. Rex Patterson, the Director of the Northern Division of the Department of National Development, deliver a paper to the conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science which was held in Hobart last week? In view of the wide publicity that has been given to the book “The Northern Myth”, written by Dr. Davidson, will the Minister obtain copies of Dr. Patterson’s paper and distribute it to senators and members?
– 1 shall refer the honorable senator’s suggestion to my colleague, the Minister for National Development.
– 1 address to the Minister for Repatriation a question which follows upon one asked by Senator Sir Walter Cooper. Will the Minister indicate to the Senate the categories of persons who will become entitled to the intermediate pension that was referred to? Will the pension be subject to a means test?
– The pension will not be subject to a means test. The fixing of the category will depend upon the decision of the determining authorities. The Tribunals will have before them the case histories of the people who appeal. They will have to decide whether the persons concerned will be placed in the totally and permanently incapacitated category, the intermediate category or the 100 per cent, pension category. It will be a matter for the Tribunals to determine after examining all the evidence and the files of the applicants.
– I ask the Minister for Repatriation whether, during the discussions that preceded the introduction of the present Budget, consideration was given to granting medical and hospital treatment to ex-service personnel of World War I, as has been advocated by the Australian Labour Party and the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmens Imperial League of Australia over a long period? If not, why not? If the matter was considered, what reasons were advanced for not granting these facilities to personnel who are in need of and are justly entitled to them?
– The submissions put forward by the ex-servicemen’s organisations were considered by Cabinet. As I think the honorable senator well knows, it is not customary for members of the Cabinet to give reasons why such submissions are npt agreed to.
– I address my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation, even though a lot of the matter referred to therein relates to the administration of the Attorney-General. I address the question to the Minister for Civil Aviation because he has been making public announcements on the subject in question. I ask: On what date was the AttorneyGeneral’s Department, the Parliamentary Draftsman or the appropriate authority requested to prepare Statutory Rule No. 91 of 1965? On what date was the AttorneyGeneral’s Department notified that the Executive Council had passed that Statutory Rule? Why was no intimation whatever given to Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd. before the morning of 5th July that the regulation on which it was basing its appeal to the Privy Council had been amended? On what authority did the Minister for Civil Aviation base his public statement that senior counsel for Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd. “ would be in London on another matter”?
– The honorable senator’s question concerns the AttorneyGeneral and I shall provide the following answers on his behalf: On Thursday, 24th June 1965, the Parliamentary Draftsman was asked to prepare an amendment to be ready if a decision were taken to amend the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. This amendment became Statutory Rule 91 of 1965. The Attorney-General’s Department was notified on Thursday, 1st July 1 965. A cable was sent to the SolicitorGeneral in London on Friday, 2nd July 1965 addressed “ for Solicitor-General from Crown Solicitor “ informing the SolicitorGeneral of the making of the Regulation. In the course of the transmission, from circumstances not within the control of the Crown Solicitor, the address was omitted and the Solicitor-General did not receive the cable. An express air letter reached the
Solicitor-General on Monday, 5th July, and he forthwith told counsel for Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd. The Minister for Civil Aviation based his public statement on information given to him by the Attorney-General conveying the terms of a conversation on 9 th June 1965 between the SolicitorGeneral and Mr. Holmes, senior counsel for Ipec-Air Pty. Ltd., and of a conversation between the Attorney-General and Mr. Holmes on I 10th June 1965.
– I preface my question to the Minister for Defence by reminding him that it is a question I have asked many times in the last 10 or 12 years. However, in view of the altered circumstances of the present time, I think I am justified in asking it again. I ask: In view of the secession of Singapore from Malaysia, will the Minister inform the Senate whether consideration will now be given to the establishment of a naval base on the west coast of Australia to safeguard Commonwealth interests in the South East Asian region should the naval base at Singapore be rendered once again inoperable in our defence?
– -The honorable senator’s question presupposes that the secession of Singapore from Malaysia will or might lead to an alteration in the circumstances surrounding the situation of the naval base at Singapore. I think that the Prime Minister of Singapore and the British Government have been at pains to indicate that the recent secession of Singapore has no bearing on the base, which will continue to be used by the British and will continue to be welcomed by the people of Singapore.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. Is it a fact that increasing amounts of capital are being subscribed to companies searching for oil in Australia and that record amounts have been spent this year? Is it also a fact that the overseas component is increasing substantially year by year? If those are facts, will the Minister give consideration to publicising, by statements in the Press, the advantages and concessions given to subscribers of capital to Australian oil companies, as these benefits are considerable and I believe that people who would wish to subscribe capital do not understand them at present? I should like the Minister to make a statement to this effect in the Senate so that additional Australian capital will come forward for this vital search for oil in Australia.
– The question obviously touches on a number of points of policy and administration of the Department of National Development. In the circumstances, 1 shall refer the question to my colleague, the Minister for National Development, and ask him to supply whatever information he has on the matter.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for Housing comment on what appears to be a serious fall in housing and flat approvals in the three months ended 3 1st July 1965 as compared with the figures for the corresponding period last year? The figures are stated as 33,682 last year and only 31,037 this year. In view of the importance of the building industry to both family life and the economy, has the Government any plans to arrest what seems to be a serious trend?
– The question is obviously one for the Minister for Housing himself and I shall refer it to him. In passing I think it is worth white noting that building activity generally, whatever has happened in the housing sector, is being maintained by virtue of the non-home building that is going on.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Government been drawn to a newsreel shown by the Australian Broadcasting Commission last week, which showed the Communists in North Vietnam training women and children in the use of arms, with a view to their becoming guerrilla fighters? Will the Minister express the Government’s abhorrence at this development and will he take steps to inform the Australian people of this fact, so that United States and Australian troops who are forced to take action against these people in the performance of their operational duties will be protected against being unjustly maligned, as was an unfortunate Australian soldier recently?
– I shall give consideration to the question.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for National Development. What progress has been made by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority towards installing a plaque to commemorate the names of the men of various nationalities who lost their lives in the construction of this national project?
– I have no information at all on this matter. I shall refer the question to the Minister for National Development.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Treasurer a question in relation to the surplus in the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund, a subject which I raised some months ago. Last May, in the final paragraph of an answer to a question I had placed on the notice paper, the Treasurer stated that he had given consideration to the views of all interested parties. I am advised that the views of the organisations covering former contributors were not sought. Will the Minister state why these people were ignored? Will the Treasurer also state when he contemplates submitting the necessary legislation to the Parliament? This point is an urgent one to many of the aged former contributors, and particularly to the widows. Does the Treasurer agree that the value of the unit has suffered substantial erosion during the last 10 years and that the retired public servant justifiably nurses a grievance? Retired public servants were incensed because they were not given an opportunity
– Order! The honorable senator is giving a lot of information. I ask him to frame his question.
– This is . rather an important question. I do not want to take up too much time, so I will finish by asking whether, in this age of so called prosperity, the Government will give some additional assistance to those former officers who were not permitted to contribute for more than sixteen units of superannuation and also to the widows of former contributors, many of whom are not as well provided for as are persons receiving social service benefits.
– If, as the honorable senator has suggested, some organisations were overlooked in this instance - 1 do not know whether they were - 1 am sure that no one would be more upset about it than would the. Treasurer. If the honorable senator will place the remainder of his questions on the notice paper J will obtain a reply for him from the Treasurer and I will ask my colleague to have a look at the organisations concerned so that next year he will have them in mind.
Senator MCCLELLAND__ Can the
Minister for Defence say whether three members of the Royal Australian Regiment who lost their lives earlier this year on the Indonesia-Sarawak border were killed by mines laid by Indonesian military personnel? Can the Minister confirm whether the land mines which caused the deaths of these servicemen were the latest model American mines, manufactured in the United States? If this is the case, will the Minister, as Australia’s Minister for Defence, request the United States authorities to cease supplying military weapons of any kind to any nation against which Australian troops may be engaged?
– This question is one for the Minister for the Army. I will obtain an answer for the honorable senator.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Defence. What was the percentage of 20-year-olds rejected from the call up on medical grounds? What was the percentage whose call up was deferred on medical grounds? Does the Minister consider the percentage of rejections to be high? If he does, and if this has not already been done, will he cause an investigation to be made to see whether any remedial action suggests itself to the Government?
– I would prefer to give detailed consideration to the question. T ask the honorable senator to place it on the notice paper.
– My question to the Minister for Civil Aviation relates to a previous question asked by Senator Davidson about congestion at the Adelaide airport terminal. Mas the Minister advanced to a further stage proposals that air services to and from Adelaide should be staggered, thus assisting in solving accommodation problems and improving air line schedules?
– As I advised the honorable senator on the last occasion when he asked a question along these lines, I have made some investigation of the possibility of staggering air services to and from Adelaide. After a comprehensive examination, I find that the matter is bound up with the utilisation of aircraft and with the fact that aircraft must be available at the times when passengers want to travel. For example, the great majority of passengers on the Sydney-Melbourne route want to leave Sydney for Melbourne at about 9 a.m. 1 understand that the utilisation of aircraft throughout Australia is greater than in any other country in the world. This utilisation of aircraft enables us to keep our fare structure as one of the lowest in the world. However, a big difficulty is that Adelaide is the meeting point for many aircraft. I have already answered a question relating to the airport itself. I have made no further headway in trying to solve the problem created by the great number of aircraft which meet at Adelaide and cause the congestion to which reference has been made. If the services could be staggered, this would be overcome. The utilisation of aircraft is most important in the operations of the aviation industry and the efficient utilisation achieved by Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. is a credit to both organisations. It has enabled them to absorb mounting costs and keep fares at a reasonable level in comparison with those charged in other countries.
– I direct a question to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. Will the Minister inform the Senate what has happened to the report of the Committee that was set up to advise the Australian Broadcasting Control Board on the future of educational television? Is it a fact that the report was presented to the Board in the latter half of 1964? Is it also a fact, as suggested this week by the Director of Visual Aids at the University of Melbourne, that the Committee has proposed an educational television channel in each State? Is it proposed to make public the report or the recommendations of the Committee? Does the Government intend to take any action on the report?
– The report of the Committee was presented to the PostmasterGeneral and I have read a copy of it. The contents of the report have not been released, however, and consequently I do not intend to enter into any discussion on the contents at this stage. When the Government has considered what it will do in relation to the report no doubt it will make the report public.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. In view of the huge unfavorable balance of trade against Australia in the year ended June 1965 will the Minister inform the Senate what policy the Government intends to adopt to rectify the situation? Will the Minister not agree that if this adverse trade balance is allowed to continue, it could destroy our economy? Is it true that the July figures show an excess of imports over exports exceeding £8 million?
– As the honorable senator knows, matters of policy are not dealt with in reply to questions without notice. As to the rest of his question, I believe that the adverse trade .balance is of a temporary nature although it may extend over the next year or so. If the honorable senator will take into consideration the current enormous development of Australia’s export trade in minerals and other products, he will realise that this is a temporary problem and one that will be overcome as a result of the tremendous efforts that are being made by the Australian people to develop export industries.
– I direct a question to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research. What was the nature of the Committee to which he referred in answer to Senator Cohen? When was the Committee constituted and what was the ambit of its reference? Might I add that I am most gratified to hear of the interest in this matter.
– I should like the honorable senator to put his question on notice so that he may be provided with the correct information on dates and other aspects to which he has referred. The Committee was presided over by Mr. W. J. Weeden, Director of the Commonwealth Office of Education, and comprised various other people associated with the Commonwealth Office of Education. The Committee was set up some time ago to inquire into the possible implications of using television in education.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. It relates to a question asked previously with reference to the trade agreement between New Zealand and Australia regarding certain products, including processed peas. Is the Minister aware that a firm with international ramifications, Unilever, has a technique for dehydrating, freezing and presenting peas for the Australian market that gives that firm and, in turn, that country, considerable advantages over the Tasmanian producers of processed peas? In view of the fact that protection is to be phased out over a period of years, would the Minister have this matter referred to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization with a view to our scientists doing their very best to provide the Australian pea processors with the same technique as that which is held by Unilever in New Zealand and so equalise the disadvantage that at present exists and which will exist in the future, too?
– I know the commodity to which the honorable senator refers. As a matter of fact, I have tested it to see its value. I can only say to him that, at the present time, those interested in the Australian industry, and the Tasmanian industry in particular, are carrying out a great deal of research into this par ticular project’ to see whether they can produce similar qualities in the peas from Tasmania.
– Will the Minister refer this matter to the C.S.I.R.O.?
– I shall do so with pleasure.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs: Have arrangements been made for an American commercial radio company to equip the Indonesian Army with modern radio equipment? Is it essential for this company to obtain an export licence from the Government of the United States of America to do this, and has such a licence been issued? Has the Australian Government made any representations to the American Government on this matter?
– I should like the honorable senator to put his question on the notice paper so that a definitive answer can be given to it once and for all.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army a question. Is it a fact that in a recent inquiry into the pay of servicemen in Vietnam, a questionnaire was issued to our soldiers making inquiries as to their expenses for dinner wines, mess uniforms, club dues, et cetera? Have any answers been received from the rank and file servicemen, and will they be published in an unexpurgated edition without risk of their publication being banned by the Commonwealth censor?
– I have no knowledge of the subject of the honorable senator’s question.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry in a position to state the rate or rates at which customs duties on the importation of beans and peas from New Zealand will be phased out over a period of nine years under the agreement recently concluded? Is there any definition in the agreement of what would constitute serious injury to the bean and pea industries? By whom or by what authority will it be determined whether serious injury has been suffered by such industries? What limitation, if any, has been imposed on the quantity of beans and peas which may be imported at reduced rates of duty or duty free?
– The answer to the first of the honorable senator’s questions is that the period is nine years. During the first year the status quo will remain. There will be no reduction of duty in the first year. Then, as I understand, the position will be that oneseventh of the duty will be phased out in each of the next seven years. I think it would be better if the second and third questions were placed on the notice paper. I do not like to answer off the cuff, but I think it would be the Special Advisory Authority which would judge the degree of injury suffered. If the honorable senator will also place the fourth question on the notice paper I will obtain answers for him from the Minister of Trade and Industry.
– My question deals with a matter of Army administration but since there have been representations from New South Wales to the Prime Minister on this subject, I direct the question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Is he in a position to state whether the bi-partisan attitude adopted by the major political parties in New South Wales in urging that the Department of the Army be restrained from despoiling Middle Head and North Head by the erection of dwellings has been successful, particularly as alternative sites are available?
– This matter has, I believe, been the subject of representations to the Prime Minister. My understanding of the situation - it arises from my own inspection of the proposed sites and an inspection made by the Minister of the Army - is that the erection of the proposed buildings will not, in fact, have any despoiling effect on the areas concerned. The houses to be erected will become part and parcel of an already existing residential area. In all the circumstances, the view taken is that no despoliation will occur and that the Army is completely justified in continuing with the erection of the houses.
(Question No. 406.)
Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 449.)
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Approximately how many students in Australia study each of ‘the languages: - French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Greek, Scandinavian group, Japanese, Chinese, Malayan, and African group at (a) secondary school level, and (b) tertiary level?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are set out in the table below. The figures given are the latest available -
I might add for the information of the honorable senator that, as far as Spanish is concerned, tertiary courses are to begin in the coming academic year.
(Question No. 471.)
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 499.)
asked the Minister represen- ting the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
– The Minister for Trade and Industry has supplied the following replies -
(Question No. 507.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - .
– The Minister for External Affairs has furnished the following replies -
(Question No. 498.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The Minister for Territories has now supplied the following answers -
– I wish to advise the Senate that on 25th May last on behalf of the Commonwealth Parliament I presented to the Malaysian Senate at Kuala Lumpur a chair for its President. I have received a signed copy of the resolution of thanks passed by the Malaysian Senate at the conclusion of the presentation ceremony. It reads as follows -
That this Senate accepts with thanks and appreciation the gift of the President’s Chair from the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia as a token of friendship and goodwill on the part of the Parliament and people of Australia towards the Senate and people of Malaysia.
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) - by leave - agreed to -
That, in accordance with the provisions of section 11 of the Australian National University Act 1946-63, the Senate elects Senators Laught and Tangney to be members of the Council of the Australian National University for a period of three years from 1st July 1965.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - I lay on the table the following paper -
Audit Act - Finance - Report of the AuditorGeneral accompanied by the Treasurer’s statement of receipts and expenditure for year 1964-65.
Reports on Items.
– I present to the Senate reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects -
These reports, which relate to matters arising out of section 7 of the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act 1961, were released on 28th May and 1st July 1965 respectively. Neither report calls for legislative action.
I also present a report by the Special Advisory Authority on the following subject -
Hot water bags.
– by leave - The Papua and New Guinea Act requires that where assent to an Ordinance is withheld, the Ordinance and a statement of the reasons for withholding assent shall be laid before each House of the Parliament. I wish to inform the Senate of the considerations leading to the withholding of assent to the Public Service (Papua and New Guinea) Ordinance 1965. While the Government cannot accept the Ordinance, it believes that some of the aims of the members of the House of Assembly, who prepared the Bill, may be able to be met in a different form.
Under the Papua and New Guinea Act there are some Ordinances of the House of Assembly to which the Administrator can assent and others which the Administrator must reserve for the Governor-General’s pleasure. Bills which Parliament has required to be reserved for the GovernorGeneral’s pleasure include those relating to the Territory Public Service. The Senate should know that this Ordinance was originally introduced in a form which would transfer powers to the Administrator in Council. There was no question of a board. This proposal would have placed the control of the Public Service in the hands of the Administrator in Council. The Administrator’s Council has a substantial elected majority. The proposal evoked strong opposition from local as well as overseas officers. To meet this opposition the Bill was amended at the last moment to the form of the present Ordinance and it passed all stages in the House of Assembly on the day it was introduced.
It is therefore understandable that the Ordinance is not satisfactory administratively, in that there are unresolved inconsistencies between this Ordinance and the principal Ordinance which it amends. From the standpoint of administration it would be a most unusual and obviously cumbersome arrangement to have provision for a Public Service Board, which on matters of policy is subject to direction by the Minister for Territories, and also for a Public Service
Commissioner and Associate Commissioners. Most important, however, is the principle involved. Constitutionally, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is at a stage of transition. The House of Assembly has been established, and we look to it to take an increasing part in Territory affairs. Australia is the Administering authority. As such, it is responsible for the executive government of the Territory.
The Public Service is one of the chief instruments of discharging that reponsibility. The Australian Government, as long as it has that responsibility, must therefore retain clear and effective control of the structure of the Public Service. Matters such as the creation of departments, levels of salaries and allowances, and recruitment from outside the Public Service not only are directly associated with the effectiveness of administration of the Territory, but also have budgetary implications with which the Australian Government must be concerned, since about two thirds of the Territory’s annual expenditure is financed by Australian grant, lt will be clear from this that the decision to advise His Excellency to withhold assent to the Ordinance was not taken without serious consideration.
I may now say that the Government has taken note of the dissatisfaction with present arrangements which was expressed by elected members of the House of Assembly when the Ordinance was passed. The Government is ready to consider changes in the existing arrangements with the object of providing opportunity for Territory opinion to be taken into account when significant decisions are being taken on the Territory Public Service. Such changes should, however, be worked out in such a way as to pay regard to the various interests involved. Opportunity must be provided for the opinions of the Territory representatives to be expressed. So must the proper interest of the overseas public servants and the local public servants. The arrangements should be effective administratively. They should clearly define where the authority lies. They should take account of the responsibility of the Australian Government.
As a first step towards arriving at arrangements which best meet these requirements, the Minister for Territories (Mr: Barnes) is proposing that the subject should be examined by a committee, consisting of two elected members of the Administrator’s Council, an officer of the Department of Territories, an officer of the Administration. The report of the committee will go to the Minister and to the Administrator’s Council. If necessary, it can be discussed between the non-official members of the Administrator’s Council and the Minister. The committee will be requested to examine the present arrangements for the Territory Public Service and to report on what changes, if any, by way of the establishment of a board or otherwise, should be made, consequent upon the constitutional and other changes that have occurred in the Territory. The committee will be asked to pay particular attention to ways and means of accelerating advancement of local officers to positions of responsibility in the Service.
The action that has been taken and the action that is proposed to be taken stem from the Government’s wish to establish arrangements for the Territory Public Service which will best meet the various interests involved and which will maintain the high standards of loyalty and efficiency in the Service which have been of such great value to the Territory in the past, and which are so much needed to meet the present and future challenges.
I now lay before the Senate the following papers -
Public Service Ordinance 1965 of Papua and New Guinea together with a Statement of the Reasons for Withholding Assent to that Ordinance.
Debate resumed from 5t.h May (vide page 575), on motion by Senator Gorton -
That the Senate take note of the following paper -
Report of the Mission from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the Economic Development of Papua and New Guinea - Ministerial Statement, 5th May 1965.
.- Mr. Deputy President, honorable senators have become accustomed to committees being set up by the United Nations Organisation for the purpose of travelling on conducted tours of Papua and New Guinea. From their findings on those tours, from consultations with the indigenous people. of the Territory and from examinations of the expenditures there, the committees furnish reports to the United Nations. I recollect that such a report was furnished only three or four years ago which indicated quite clearly that the Commonwealth was not doing enough towards granting selfgovernment to the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea.
Whenever I read a report furnished by the United Nations or one of its agencies, I examine the personnel of the committee which conducted investigations. I ascertain for myself from what country they came. Then I compare the conditions existing in the countries of the committee members with the conditions which exist in the Commonwealth. If the countries of the com:mittee members fail to have conditions equal to our conditions, immediately I am prejudiced against the report because almost every report contains advice for the Commonwealth. Some committees almost draw up blueprints for the Commonwealth Government to follow in granting selfgovernment to the people of Papua and New Guinea.
We are not foolish people. We are able to judge what is right and what is wrong when we are dealing with people who are little above stone age level. No doubt we could leave Papua and New Guinea tomorrow. The white settlers in the Territory could leave or stay there and we could say to the indigenes: “ We are now paying over £30 million a year towards your sustenance and support in assisting you to establish a worthwhile country. We leave you”. What would happen immediately? The population would become fragmented and village would fight village. I believe that within a week the indigenes would return to a level of savagery. They would kill, cook and eat each other, just as they were doing last year and ten years ago. It is the interpretation of the term “ self-government “ which decides whether a people such as the people of the Territory should have it. What is our conception of self-government? Is it not time for self-government when the people are able to provide for themselves the things that are essential in our civilisation? Is not one of those things housing for the family unit? Is not housing one of the things to which attention would have to be given? How, I ask honorable senators, would the indigenous people of Papua and
New Guinea go about providing houses for themselves?
Health and medical services are necessary. In Papua and New Guinea very few people have . matriculated, notwithstanding the fact that we have provided educational facilities there for a number of years. I believe that those facilities are inadequate. We should have forced the people of Papua and New Guinea to learn more and to take bigger steps towards assisting themselves. The indigenes who have matriculated, I understand, can be counted on one hand. How are they to be taken through university courses and trained to be doctors of medicine? That question must be answered in determining whether the time has arrived for self-government for a country such as Papua and New Guinea.
I turn now to food supplies. The people of Papua and New Guinea know nothing about the preservation of food. The food they obtain by hunting is eaten at once and the next day is another hunting day. We all believe in the principle of self-government but, as I have indicated before, we have to be people of common sense. We have to leave the people to come along slowly and psychologically to fit themselves for the responsibilities of government.
Not so long ago I advocated the appointment of an assistant minister to the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes), and advocated that he should be required to live permanently in Papua and New Guinea. I said that when Parliament was not sitting, he should tour New Guinea. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Paltridge) interpreted my suggestion as an attack upon the Minister for Territories. It was not. I asked the question in good faith. I know something of the poor administration of Papua and New Guinea. In saying that, Mr. Deputy President, I am not saying anything to the detriment of the Administrator, for whom I have the highest regard. I think that he is doing his best in Papua and New Guinea, but there are needs beyond the capacity of one man. Things go on in the administration field of which the Administrator is unaware.
Once I visited some of the hostels and camps in Papua and New Guinea. Believe it or not T saw there Delftware - saucers, cups, bread and butter plates, meat plates and dishes, soup plates and dessert plates - and all had been manufactured at the Crown Lynn Pottery Works in New Zealand. This story would not be worth telling if it were not for its significance as an example of maladministration. It is really a circus act. The crockery was inscribed “ Wau High School “. It was not spelt “ w-o-w “. There is a Wau district and township, in New Guinea. I made inquiries concerning the crockery and everyone of whom I asked a question started to laugh. There was no high school at Wau. There is not a high school there, but in Papua and New Guinea at the time was crockery valued at £10,000 to go to Wau High School. Some honorable senators were not here when I produced a sample of the crockery. I picked up some broken pieces and taped them together. I asked a question concerning the crockery in the Senate, but I have never obtained a satisfactory reply. I let the matter go but it was a positive case of maladministration. If that could go on not so far from the Administrator, what exactly is going on in other fields? 1 do not want to dwell on these aspects of self-government and economic improvement for too long. Nine out of ten travellers to Papua and New Guinea gain an impression of it as a vast forbidding country. They understand very quickly the problems which confront the Commonwealth Government in attempting to carry out a worthwhile programme there.
There are many villages. The inhabitants of one village speak a different language or dialect from that spoken by the people of an other village. There is no common language throughout the Territory. Transport from one place to another presents great difficulty. There may be fertile valleys between mountains, but those valleys have to be reached in some way. There is no modern transport such as even Australia has. In other words, the immense mountain ranges divide the Territory into many countries with many peoples. It will be a long, long time before the inhabitants are welded into one people or before they will even have national aspirations. When we speak about self-government for them, we are only chortling a sentiment, a principle in which we believe. In the climb to economic development we have to start the people on the bottom rung of the ladder. We have to start by providing them with suitable educational facilities, not educational facilities such as we have here in the Commonwealth.
This is one of the things to which I take strong objection. Only the other day I read in a newspaper a report that tourists from nearly every country in the world were going to Mount Hagen in New Guinea for the purpose of seeing a display by 3,000 or 4,000 natives. These natives were to wear horns, feathers, bones that had been polished, teeth from human beings, dogs’ teeth and other things. 1 do not know whether one calls their native dances corroborees, but they were to put on a show for the tourists from Europe and elsewhere. We should object to this. We should not allow them to revive their stone age ways for the purpose of entertaining tourists from overseas. Let us forget about their stone age habits. Let them develop as we did. I suppose our forefathers millions of years ago were stone age men. The people of Papua-New Guinea must leave that past. They must be brought up into another sphere which will allow them to think differently. 1 once had a discussion with an officer who showed a good deal of common sense and could speak with great knowledge of educational facilities for the natives. He said that they could be taught the simple things that are taught in the primary schools, that anthropologically they are at the same level as children in the Commonwealth. He said that if we could transfer suburbs of Melbourne or Sydney to the Territory so that the natives could engage in the commercial activities that are followed in Commonwealth cities, we would not be able to distinguish the natives from our own people. But when they have passed through the primary schools, what is left for them? They have to go hunting again. There is nothing to uplift them or to make them ambitious to develop into something worth while. I have noticed that one of the shortcomings is a suitable publication that can be distributed freely to all of the children who have completed the elementary course at a primary school. In Australia children run for comics or try to get a peep for their own entertainment at television programmes showing all types of criminals. We could provide for children of the Territory a publication that was reasonably good, to afford an opportunity for reading suitable literature after passing through the schools.
Some of the indigenous people are employed in the Public Service of the Territory. They are reliable and honest and they will develop into good officers. I remember the time when I objected to the fact that only a few were being admitted to the Public Service. Evidently, some notice was taken of what I said, because after that there was a greater flow of indigenous persons into the Public Service. The very first step towards self government should be in training the indigenous people to provide their own Public Service. 1 did not intend to speak for long. I rose on the spur of the moment to say these things, but I mean them. The Administrator of Papua and New Guinea is doing his best but there are many things that happen there that could not possibly happen in the Commonwealth. There is an arrangement whereby an Australian who works for the Administration for 21 months is granted 3 months leave. If he has a wife and children, naturally he comes to the mainland to spend his holidays- Fares for him and his family are provided. I know of a plant operator engaged in road making in the Territory who spent his leave in Townsville. Everybody will know that after a man with a young family had been in the Territory for two or three years and had spent a holiday in Townsville, he would have to be a very good treasurer or very tight fisted to have any funds left at the end of his holidays.
What happened, to this man? His leave was about to expire when he received a telegram from Port Moresby dismissing him from the service of the Administration. I took the matter up with the Administrator and with the Minister for Territories. This man had been living 30 or 40 miles out of Port Moresby in a small hut. He had left his furniture, goods and chattels stored there when he went on holidays. I asked for his reinstatement. I asked that the Administration pay the fares of himself, his wife and children back to the Territory and reemploy him. That request was blandly refused, but the Administration arranged for somebody to go to this man’s hut, 30 or 40 miles from Port Moresby, pack his furniture, goods and chattels, throw them into some kind of vehicle, transport them to Port Moresby, and throw them into a shed. I asked that this man’s belongings be transported to Townsville free of cost. It will shock honorable senators to know that the reply I received was that the Administration had no authority to enable it to send these belongings free of cost from Port Moresby to Townsville. This is the great Administration that we have established there. That is the power that it has. 1 have in mind a word that I am not allowed to use in the Senate. It starts with “ 1 “ and ends with “ y “. I think that honorable senators can fill in the missing letters.
– “ Lovely “?
– If the Minister likes it that way, I do not want to argue wilh him but clearly the word is “ lousy “. The Administration had the power and the might to go into the small cottage this man occupied 40 miles from Port Moresby and to take all his furniture, his goods and chattels and his kids’ toys to Port Moresby and throw them into a shed at the wharf. The Administration had the power to do that but not the power to transport the man’s property free of cost to Townsville. That is one of the things that is done in the Territory.
I claim that a slave outlook has developed in Papua and New Guinea. You see it in the houses. The boys, as they are called, are employed as domestics. Strange to say, the male population of Papua and New Guinea make good domestics although you cannot make an Australian aboriginal a good domestic. You can make him a good stockman and he can work with stock all day, but do not ask him to go into the kitchen and wash up the dirty dishes. That would be foreign to him, whereas, as I have said, the men in Papua and New Guinea will go into the kitchen. They are reasonably good cooks, they are clean and they do domestic work well.
What are these people paid? Provided they are given sustenance for their wives and children, some pittance seems to be all right. As I have said, a slave outlook has developed.
– But they are employed under certain ordinances relating to wages, are they not?
– There are ordinances. There were ordinances to prevent natives from being taken from the highlands and employed on plantations in the lowlands and other places. There were ordinances to prevent persons from blackbirding these natives, that is, inducing them to leave their village and to go to work on plantations. However, certain people were making a living by recruiting natives in one district and sending them to another. When the natives had worked for a whole season on a plantation during the coconut harvest or when they had completed taking the rubber from the rubber plantations, they returned to their villages without any money. AH they had were a few cooking utensils, something pretty, and probably only enough to provide them with food for a few days. We do not want that kind of thing to go on. If it can bc changed, let it be changed.
When you travel through New Guinea you see certain areas which you believe could be used to grow worthwhile commercial crops. 1 think sugar could be grown successfully in those parts of Papua and New Guinea which have a hot moist climate and the right kind of soil. From what 1 have seen, 1 am satisfied of that. But if an attempt were made by any company to establish an organisation which would have its own sugar mill, there would then arise a conflict with Australian interests. When travelling through Papua and New Guinea one deduces, innocently perhaps, that no industry will be cultivated or developed which will conflict with the economy of Australia. I may be wrong, but the impression that I have gained is that New Guinea must remain at its present level.
I am satisfied that many industries could be established there successfully. Those industries would dovetail, as it were, into the economy of Australia and would not conflict with it in any way. You must have industries before you can think about self government or anything else. There are good timber stands in certain parts of the Territory and a reafforestation scheme is in operation. I have been to the beautiful Bulolo pine forest. It is perhaps one of the best pine forests in the world. Wisely - perhaps accidentally - when harvesting of the timber on a large scale commenced a reafforestation scheme was also commenced so that now when one pine comes out another goes in. That is a good scheme.
There could be an interesting discussion on the matters that I have raised. Honor able senators have their own thoughts and opinions on how things should be done. When you read the reports which are furnished annually you do not get an insight into the life of the indigenous people of the Territory. You cannot picture in your mind what they are doing. For instance, the Administration will tell you that experiments are being conducted in the growing of a certain crop- cocoa, coffee or something else - but you cannot always picture this in your mind. Being a practical man, I have always held the opinion that if you could get a body of farmers from the Australian States, including Queensland, to go to the Territory, and if you were to give them freedom to establish the farms which they thought could be established there, within a year or two you would have flourishing farms in New Guinea.
.- I had hoped that this debate would take place in some kind of depth, to use the modern jargon which is used by those who live in the academic halls, because I think that the report of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is one of the most important reports which has been made available to the Parliament. The interesting thing about this report, as 1 see it, is that it is a cold, clear, analytical attempt to place into perspective the problem that Papua and New Guinea represents to the Commonwealth of Australia, lt is characteristic of the interest which has been exhibited, not only in the Commonwealth of Australia but also in Papua and New Guinea, that we have an emotional involvement in the Territory. We have been fulfilling the responsibilities which, from time to time in the post war years, have been considered the proper responsibilities of the Commonwealth to the Trust Territory of New Guinea and the dependent Territory of Papua.
In my opinion, the report which the Commonwealth Government asked the Bank to make on Papua and New Guinea is a salutary analysis, which would remove from most members of Parliament, if not from the electorate, at least some of the problems which are involved in the attempt to rehabilitate the Territory and its people and to raise them to the desired level. The United Nations is constantly insisting either that we do this or, alternatively, that we are not doing enough. Therefore, when Senator Benn commenced his speech I was hoping that he would begin to deal with the substantial problem with which I conceive ourselves to be involved, that is, the problem of advancing the Territory and its people.
The Bank’s report, in its published form, covers over 460 pages. In the time allotted to me and to the Senate I cannot make an analysis of every one of those 460 pages. What is more, I cannot make an analysis of the report of the Bank to the Senate unless 1 take some note of the proceedings of the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations that took place last year. Any honorable senator or member of this Parliament might have expected that the Council would at that time have involved itself in a critical examination of the economic responsibilities that devolve on the taxpayers of Australia in the development of Papua and New Guinea in attempting to make it an economic viability. The members of the Trusteeship Council, it seems to me, were haggling and higgling all the time about whether or not political viability was being achieved. Whether you can have a politically viable society in an area such as Papua and New Guinea and its outlying islands without having an economic viability I have yet to be persuaded. lt is well worth the time of any honorable senator to obtain a copy of the verbatim report of the proceedings of the Trusteeship Council last year in relation to Papua and New Guinea. Honorable senators can imagine my horror when I found stalking on to the stage, as it were, through the report of the debates none other than a man named Foot who, since 1 last took some time out in this Senate to designate him in terms that were less than complimentary, is now discovered to be Lord Caradon. This is the Ambassador or permanent representative of the United Kingdom in the United Nations, who went down through the trapdoor under the previous United Kingdom Government and now emerges on the East River in New York as Lord Caradon. Honorable senators can see the picture quite clearly if they read what he had to say. You can see him making his opening remarks as though he had a private telephone link with God. He is the man who first started us on this impetuous way to produce a full time parliamentary system of government in Papua and New
Guinea wilh common rolls, elected representatives of one sort or another and the establishment of the House of Assembly of the Territory.
I shall quote to honorable senators his opening remarks to the Trusteeship Council. I wish he had thought of these remarks and had used them when he last appeared before the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations. This time, he began by quoting Edmund Burke. I do not know what the Russian representative would know about Edmund Burke. No doubt if he could get some of his research staff to turn up the information on Edmund Burke he would put him down as a bourgeois character who lived some 200 years ago. Whether you can quote Edmund Burke to the Russian representative on the Trusteeship Council with any hope of achieving an important impact on him is a dubious proposition.
– He might have read of Edmund Burke.
– It is highly improbable. Senator Kennedy’s interjection brings to my mind what I had not intended to divulge - that the Russian representative at the subsequent proceedings spent most of his time quoting opinions of members of the Australian Labour Party in the House of Representatives.
– Then that would be one of the few occasions when he was entirely correct in his assertions.
– I suggest that Senator Dittmer study these words. He will see that the Russian representative would be relying upon pretty dubious people. Lord Caradon began by quoting Edmund Burke -
To make government requires no great prudence. Settle the seat of power, teach obedience and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the reins. But to form a free government - that is temper together those opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work - requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful and refining mind.
That is true. Many things that Edmund Burke has said are of great philosophical importance and wisdom. But as you read the subsequent remarks of Lord Caradon in his address to the Trusteeship Council, it is interesting to note that you are likely to find a reflective, sagacious and powerful refining mind only, of course, in Lord Caradon. Burke has said that the welding together of these elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work requires a refining mind. I suggest that the refining mind might be found embodied in the report of the Mission organised by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the economic development of Papua and New Guinea. But the interesting thing is that in the proceedings of the Trusteeship Council, as we might imagine, there is barely a reference to the economic viability with which this problem of the development and rehabilitation of the Territory can be sustained. It is all concerned with whether there should be a restrictive franchise for the House of Assembly, whether undersecretaries should be appointed and whether a ministerial system should be put into being straight away. There is no reference to the problem of whether you can sustain the seats of power and the management of people. On this point, there is not a single word.
One of the most pontifical debaters and vociferous characters in the Trusteeship Council was Mr. Corner from New Zealand. We can read pages of what he had to say about this matter. I do not know whether New Zealanders know any more about this than I do but one is left with the impression embodied in one of Mr. Corner’s remarks -
The Trusteeship Council has ahead of it the fascinating experience of assessing the efficiencies of these two systems.
He was referring to the American system in Micronesia and the suggested Australian system in Papua and New Guinea. But mark the intellectual arrogance of this statement; the people of Papua and New Guinea are no more than human butterflies so far as this man is concerned. He believes it will be a “ fascinating experience “ to see this, that or the other. Nowhere do you find this problem equated in terms of human emotion or human needs and we are left in this Parliament with the problem which the report of the Mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development places pretty firmly on our plates. In the opening chapter of the report of the World Bank Mission we find this statement at page 23 referring to the economic underwriting of the Territory by the Commonwealth -
The Territory has become increasingly dependent on external aid, which on a per capita basis is now exceeded only in Israel and Jordan among countries with populations of comparable or greater size.
There is not a word in the report of the Trusteeship Council about sums of money except a casual reference that Australia might be doing a good job but is not doing it well enough. Having looked at this, one finds at page 31 of the Bank’s report this significant statement -
While substantial economic growth is possible over the next five to ten years, economic viability in any meaningful sense cannot be achieved within several decades. The physical and human resources have not been developed to the point where economic viability is yet in sight. The program projected for the next five years can only set the pattern that development should take.
Then mark these significant words -
The Mission has assumed that the Commonwealth Government will be prepared to increase its financial assistance to the Territory.
This is an assumption that the Commonwealth Government will be prepared to increase financial aid to the Territory. Is this assumption valid? That is what the Parliament has to ask itself. At page 415 of the report of the Mission, in the annexure headed “Table A.l: Territory Administration Expenditures and Revenues “, it is shown in relation to the five year period ending 1968-69 that to fulfil all the matters laid down in the previous 400 pages of the report would require from the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Australia a sum of £182 million. This £182 million is only the first subvention to the first five year plan. The money is expended on matters which were at issue when the Bank began to make its investigation. In the period 1964-65 - that was last year - the sum of money that we voted as the subvention to New Guinea was already exceeded. The relevant papers have not been available in the Senate, but they are available in another place and I have read them. I assume that the subvention that we are being asked to vote to Papua and New Guinea in this financial year will be in excess of what the World Bank anticipated would be required for this year when it made its investigation. So, the result quite clearly is this: The Commonwealth of Australia has already put itself on a financial escalator in relation to Papua and New Guinea. I do not see how this escalation can be controlled.
The question we must ask ourselves is whether some sort of control should be put on the escalation of the Australian economic financial involvement in Papua and New Guinea. We must bear in mind, as I have already pointed out to honorable senators, that the World Bank proceeds on the estimation that the first five year period will require a subvention of £182 million. As I have pointed out, this amount will be exceeded. What is Australia going to face in relation to expenditure on Papua and New Guinea in the following five year period that will take us into the middle 1970’s? This is a matter which cannot be resolved by appeals to emotion. Substantial revenues collected by the Australian Government are to be pledged to Papua and New Guinea in order to follow an economic plan. If we have to withdraw some of the sums of money we have begun to put into Papua and New. Guinea to generate development, we shall create conditions of total chaos.
We are not generating, as far as I can see in the report of the World Bank, any capacity for Papua and New Guinea to develop any capital requirements for itself, certainly not within the next 10, 15, 20 or maybe 30 years. In fact, what we are setting out to do by putting ourselves on this financial escalator in relation to Papua and New Guinea is to create a client state which is going to be forever, it seems to me, at the doorstep of Australia requiring to be underwritten. The more Australia underwrites Papua and New Guinea, the less able it will be to maintain the rate of underwriting. When this happens feelings of resentment will be created which will ultimately be directed against the Commonwealth of Australia. There will be no feelings of gratefulness, because people have no capacity to be grateful. The moment we begin to withhold from Papua and New Guinea, for reasons we cannot foresee at the present time, sums of money which the Territory has become used to receiving every year as some sort of fantastic cargo cult, we shall lose in Papua and New Guinea the very thing we are seeking to obtain, that is. the friendship of the people.
I hope that honorable senators have this matter clearly in their minds. Let every honorable senator remind himself that, in going through life, at some time or other, in isolation or perhaps repetitively, we have to try to help people and, in fact, do help them. Such is the military quality of human nature that when a person is helped, the helper finds that either he has in this individual someone whom he will have to assist for the rest of his life or, if he has tried to put this person on his feet and inculcate in him, as an individual, a sense of his own responsibility, he has earned that person’s resentment. What is true of an individual is true of people in the aggregate. We are attempting to help the people of Papua and New Guinea. It seems to me thinking this problem through to its conclusion, that the end result will not be the end result which we hope to achieve but that we shall earn most probably the resentment of the people and shall not receive their thanks for what we have done.
I posed some questions to one of the indigenous members of the House of Assembly some two or three years ago when I was in Papua and New Guinea. I made sure that he understood the questions. He could understand and speak English perfectly. But I felt that perhaps I would be speaking to a man who would take refuge, if I pressed him with a difficult question, in the statement that he did not understand what I was saying. Therefore, 1 thought that it was important that I had with me a New Guinea Administration officer of high quality and great capacity so that, firstly, he should be able to repeat the questions for me if I did not make myself clear and, secondly, he would be a witness in fact of what I did say. I said to this indigenous member of the House of Assembly, who was much favoured by the Administration in Papua and New Guinea: “ Let us take a suppositious case. The wheat crop or another crop we produce in Australia fails, or we have a drought or some insect equivalent to the Kapra beetle gets into our primary products. So we do not have the money to make available to the House of Assembly of Papua and New Guinea for expenditure on those things which the people of these Territories have become used to spending this money. In other words, suppose we cannot underwrite any further for a period of some years the need which has become automatic in the people of Papua and New Guinea. What would be your attitude, as a man of high quality and great reputation, when that situation was reached? “
At that stage, what I expected might happen did happen. He could not understand what I was saying. I turned to the Administration officer and said: “ Perhaps I have not made myself clear. Will you explain to him in clearer and more coherent terms what I am asking? “ The Administration officer explained it to him, and he still would not answer. I then said to the indigenous man: “ Is this a reasonable supposition? When Australia’s crops fail and it does not have available the amount of money which it has been ploughing into Papua and New Guinea and which already the People of this Territory are beginning to become accustomed to receive as an annual subvention from Australia, where will you look for the money which you need? “ He again refused to answer. I said to him: “ Let me put it another way. Would you find it convenient to go to President Sukarno of Indonesia and ask him for the money to make up the balance that Australia could not provide? “ He thought for a moment and then he said: “ We are all brothers”.
This is the problem that is going to arise. The more money that we put into Papua and New Guinea, and the greater the speed with which we attempt to develop the economic viability of this area, the greater will be the possibility of creating the condition which we seek to avoid. I say, with the greatest solemnity that I can at the present moment, that honorable senators sitting in their places here, and the members in another place, have to take a good, hard, long look at this financial escalator on which we have placed our collective feet in relation to the economic development of Papua and New Guinea. If honorable senators go through this report they will find elements of a quite terrifying nature. For example, the World Bank reports that Papua and New Guinea need approximately 2,000 people from Australia or other parts of the world to carry out even this five year plan which the report of the Bank lays down and which we are debating now. I do not know where we are going to obtain those skilled people. Australia itself is in a fantastic position because of its difficulties in securing the skilled men who are required to sustain its own momentum. We may find ourselves, whether we like it or not, in the position of having to go to the United
Nations to see whether we can trawl some money out of that organisation or some of the skilled people from other parts of the world. Whether they will be available I do not know.
Allied to this crash programme - if I might use another idiomatic term; I do not like it, but it is a good enough one when we find ourselves involved in Papua and New Guinea - is the fact that when we start spending money at the rate at which we are spending it in this Territory without skilled administrators, or rather with a dilution of the skilled administrators, we find inevitably, as night must fall, great waste. In fact, the officers of the Bank, when making their report, drew attention to some of the instances of waste in which we find ourselves involved.
They pointed, for example, to what they considered to be an over supply of medical services. There is waste in the medical services. They suggested that parts of our education programme are wrong and that there are much more simple and effective ways of establishing schools - ways which would involve infinitely less capital expenditure and would enable us to do the job equally as effectively as we are attempting to do it at the moment. I suggest, with the greatest diffidence, that at this stage we would be failing in our responsibility as senators if we did not direct our attention to the cold, pragmatic facts of the economic viability of this nation, as dealt with in the report of the World Bank, and view our emotional involvement in Papua and New Guinea in that light. It is time that this Parliament began to measure our emotional approach to Papua and New Guinea against the escalating costs of the projects upon which we have embarked, and which, in the end, we may not be able to sustain.
. -I listened with interest to Senator Cormack, who, as usual, made a thoughtful contribution to the debate - thoughtful, but limited by his environmental circumstances. I realise that a tremendous amount of money is being poured out annually to assist the development of Papua and New Guinea, but nowhere and at no time have I read or heard that this Government, which has been continuously in office since 10th September 1949, has approached the United
Nations For any measure of financial assistance. There is a possibility, as visualised by Senator Cormack, that at some period it might be beyond the financial ability of this country to provide the financial assistance that Papua and New Guinea need. In each succeeding year the amount required to be made available for the development of this Territory has increased by from £2 million to £2,500,000. We now have this report, made at the request of the. Government, by representatives chosen by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The ten well qualified people who constituted the Commission of Inquiry have suggested that Australia should immediately make available £50 million a year for the development of the Territory.
We on this side of the chamber sympathise wilh members of the Government, because of their ignorance, but we condemn the Government for its inability to appreciate the difficulties brought about by the clan system in the area concerned and for its lack of appreciation of the trend of world opinion. Irrespective of what honorable Senators opposite may think, world opinion is forcing a rapid pace of development. World opinion has forced the United Kingdom out of various countries, which it has handed over to the peoples of those countries. lt has forced France out of former French territories and, in the process of time, we may be forced out of the Territory under discussion. The Government does not seem to realise how insistent the pressure of world opinion is. I am not going to say when the people of Papua and New Guinea will be ready for self determination, or whether, when they are, the Territory will become an independent nation or will constitute the seventh State of the Commonwealth, if we and its people see fit to follow that course. I do not think they will be fit for self determination for many years to come, but this is not a matter of what you think, Sir, or of what I think. It is a matter of how fast world opinion will force these people on and of how soon they will see fit to capitalise on world movements in order to force the pace.
As I have said, we have before us a report by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We have become accustomed to the callous disregard with which members of the Government treat reports. The United Nations has made a number of reports on New Guinea. We have had the Currie report, dealing with tertiary education. It was only public reaction that finally forced the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes), as the representative of the Government, to announce that there would be some measure of implementation of the Currie report in the future. Now we have this report, made at the request of the Australian Government and covering well over 430 pages. A draft report was submitted as far back as June of last year, and the final report was submitted in October. However, the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), who represents the Minister for Territories in this chamber, in making his statement, dismissed the report in a speech covering a little over two pages of “ Hansard “ and taking little more than ten minutes to make. This is an area which may be vital to the defence of Australia and which is important for the preservation of Australia’s prestige in the eyes of the world. Let me refer to the Minister’s speech. He said -
The Mission has recommended a five year development programme which places major emphasis on stimulating the productive potential of the Territory and on advancing the native people through education, vocational training and the acceptance of greater responsibility.
The Government endorses these objectives which are vital if the movement of the Territory’s 2 million people towards self government is to be paralleled by steady progress towards economic self-dependence.
The Government’s own actions condemn it. lt did not even accept the part of the Foote report relating to the establishment of a legislative assembly on lines outlined in that report.
– Why should it?
– 1 was very good to Senator Cormack; I interjected only once during his speech, when he hammered me down as usual. The Minister did not go further and say what the Government proposed to do, although, on the Government’s own admission, it has had this report by the World Bank since last October. Do not the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) and the Minister representing him in this chamber have a responsibility to the Parliament and the people of this country to make known in some detail what the Government’s intentions are? The Government has had almost 12 months in which to consider what it should do. During his speech the Minister said, further -
The International Bank Mission suggests that a service patterned on the British Voluntary Service Overseas scheme and the United States Peace Corps should be established to enlist people with special skills who wish to serve in the Territory for short terms. The Papua and New Guinea Administration in the normal course already offers employment for terms as short as two years and volunteers already work with the Christian missions in the Territory. However, the Government is examining the possibilities of the Mission’s suggestion in conjunction with a review of present arrangements and facilities for Australians to serve abroad in South East Asian and other developing countries.
Surely the Minister is not so ignorant - I have enough regard for him to say that I know he is not so ignorant - as not to know that the Mission would be quite familiar with what was already in existence in the Territory. Here again there is no definite suggestion as to what is likely to be done.
Further on the Minister said -
The Government has accepted the Mission’s strong recommendation that developmental credit should be made readily available in the Territory to encourage rapid expansion of private enterprise and in particular to finance small scale native agriculturalists. The requirements in particular fields are being examined- again after nearly 12 months and specific proposals for a development credit organisation suited to Territory conditions will be drawn up for the Government’s consideration.
Is it any wonder that the Mission, whilst commending the Government for its good intentions, called for more resolute, quick and informed action? I think that is the crux of the whole matter. In a nutshell, that is the opinion of the ten experts who were appointed by the International Bank. They praised the Government for its good intentions, but everyone knows where the road that is paved with good intentions leads. That is what the Government has done for Australia over the years, and that is probably what it is doing for Papua and New Guinea.
I do not think there is anything unreasonable in the report. But I think that the Government is to be condemned for its cursory approach to the matter after the International Bank saw fit to make available the expert personnel who spent more than three months in the area on site inspections and who must have spent months preparing the report and considering the data that had been submitted to them. When we realise what is embraced by the report, I think the Government’s approach calls for condemnation. When the Minister for Works made his statement on 5th May last, he said that a copy of the report would be available in the Library. There may have been one, two or three copies, but the report was not made available to honorable senators until comparatively recently - only in the last few weeks.
When one thinks in terms of the importance of the contents of the report and its size, one must realise that time should have been given for consideration of it. But because it happened to suit the Government, it decided to debate this matter today to fill in a particular period. This is completely unfair when one realises the vital part that Papua and New Guinea could play in the defence of this country, particular as Papua and New Guinea is contiguous with a region which, I think is accepted by everyone in the world, is a part of the Republic of Indonesia. We must remember that the present President of Indonesia is unpredictable. He may not reign for long. We do not know what the future of this contiguous area may be and the menace it may represent to us. Yet we have this report thrown in for a stopgap debate.
When we analyse the report we find that the Mission does not recommend anything of a greatly radical nature. It certainly calls for a more orderly approach. It suggests that there should be a system of economic planning. Such a system has been accepted throughout the world, more particularly since the last war. When we think in terms of the time we have been in effective control of Papua and New Guinea, we have little reason to be proud of what we have accomplished there. It must be remembered that for most of this time Labour was not in control of the Treasury bench. For a portion of the time when it was, the country was in financial difficulties and then we were at war. It is only because of the pattern laid down by the Labour Government when it was in control of the Treasury bench subsequent to the last World War, that the present Government has done anything at all for Papua and New Guinea. But we commend it for what it has done, however little it has been.
I come now to what the Mission suggested. It suggested that there should be yearly planning embraced by the Budget, as happens now, and that the amount provided should be increased by roughly £2 million to £2i million a year. It is assumed that with the expansion of the economy in Australia - which incidentally has occurred despite the Government that has been in office for the last 16 years - this amount will continue to increase on a yearly basis. But the Mission has asked for more than that. It has asked that there be a five year plan. I think that is a reasonable request. I do not think it took the pattern from the Soviet system. Other countries have laid down a period of years as the basis of planning, ls it unreasonable to assume that there should be a system of long term planning in a developing country like Australia with all its disabilities and difficulties?
The Mission pointed out that there can be great expansion of cash crops. When we speak in terms of cash crops, we think of copra, cocoa, coffee and rubber. The average person assumes that these products are counterparts of the vegetables that one grows and from which in a few months one receives cash returns. That is not the case in Papua and New Guinea. A period of years must elapse before there are cash returns. Other developments have been visualised. There is the production of pyrethrum and, in a small way, passionfruit. The Mission visualises an expansion of the timber industry. Incidentally, not so long ago the Minister defended the attitude of the Government when it was ceding the birthright of the people of Papua and New Guinea through their national forests. We know that, because of the high rainfall and the leached nature of the soil surface because of precipitous slopes, a great deal of the timber is not worth cutting, but there are tracts of good timber. Only comparatively recently the Minister announced that portion of the industry was being ceded to private enterprise. No honorable senator on this side of the chamber denies the role that private enterprise can play in the development of the country, but at the same time we recognise that the indigenous people, whose natural heritage is being exploited, have certain rights.
I i was suggested that through private enterprise roads would be made which would provide access for the proposed development. I think it was mentioned that an amount of £6 million would be made available over the years for roads, but no one mentioned that timber worth in the vicinity of £50 million or £60 million would be taken off. One would have to know the difficulties of the area and to visualise the possibilities of future markets, but to the ordinary person it seems a disproportionate approach to the whole problem. The Mission says that there is a future for the timber industry in Papua and New Guinea. It has been claimed that agricultural production could be expanded. We know that land in the Ramu, Wahgi and Markham Valleys is arable. We know also that the highlands have agricultural potentialities, some of which are being exploited. The Gazelle Peninsula in New Britain is very fertile. A small proportion of New Ireland is fertile, but a great proportion of that island is worthless.
The Government should look at these things, but we listen in vain for any statement from the Minister for Territories or his representative here, or from any other representative of the Government, about what the Government proposes to do. We eagerly await this information. Our constituents are waiting for it and they are entitled to get it. The people in the Territory are entitled to know what the Government proposes to do. But the Government tells us nothing. Perhaps it has no ideas but proposes to muddle along hoping that somewhere along the line a solution will be found.
– This is good stuff.
– It is good stuff. If the Government acts upon it in the comparatively near future, it will be displaying a measure of real effective activity, it will save our prestige in the eyes of the world, and it will be doing something for the unfortunate people who live in the Territory. It has been stated that there could be a tenfold expansion of livestock production within the next ten years. But again we hear nothing from the Government. I know that a subsidy has been paid in respect of a particular type of beast for the Territory. That is of some assistance but it is not substantial enough. How can the Government expect this area to have a viable economy unless it is willing to assist it substantially?
Attention has been drawn to the system of land tenure in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The Government has not been desirous of alienating land from the indigenous people, and we agree with it. The Mission has called for a review of the whole system of land tenure. It has been suggested that there , could not be a mass movement of the people of various clans. The Mission believed that, because of the limited means and the limited vision and knowledge of these people, such a movement would not be successful. However, it did suggest that there might be established small trial areas in which people could be settled on blocks of land. It suggested also that there should be an expansion of the co-operative effort and that an attempt should be made to increase production within the limits of the present clan system. But once again no information is forthcoming from the Government. The Mission condemned the harbours, more particularly those at Lae, Madang and Rabaul. But the Government has said nothing about the development of such facilities. The Mission suggested that, because of the difficulties that exist in regard to the transport of goods and passengers, a Department of Transport should be established. Surely the Minister for Territories could have said: “We are looking into this matter. We have considered it but we do not think it is feasible. We think that the Administration as at present set up can handle this particular matter.” But not a word has come from the Minister.
The Government seems to be adopting a casual approach to these problems. I am not the only one who has thought that this approach is characteristic of the Government. You know, Mr. Deputy President, how prone I am to look for the good points in the administration of this Government. But unfortunately, despite my Christian charity, I have extreme difficulty in finding any such points. The suggestions that have been advanced are simple, and they do merit some comment from the Government’s representative.
I heard an earlier speaker say that the Mission had said that we had been a little too lavish, or words to that effect, in the provision of certain facilities for education and medical care. I admit that the Government has made some provision for medical care. But how long did it take the Government to establish the native medical college? It was established only a few years ago, but many years have elapsed since one was established in Fiji. Formerly, residents or the Territory who decided to become qualified native doctors had to go to Fiji for the necessary training. The Government has adopted a parsimonious approach to the provision of education facilities. It has utilized the self sacrificing efforts of members of mission staffs who have devoted their lives to serving their God and their fellow men in the pursuit of their vocation. The Government has passed to them - one might say that it has slipped to them - a few pounds to enable them to carry on their activities in order to relieve the Government of its financial responsibility and its obligation to the people of the Territory. What is the position in regard to technical education?
The means pointed out to the Government by the Foot Mission for the establishment of democratic representation embraced the establishment of a Parliament. But the Government, because of its meanness or lack of vision, went only part of the way towards implementing the mission’s recommendations. That Mission pointed out the need for technical and tertiary education, but little has been done to satisfy that need. Public opinion forced the Government to accept the report of the Currie Commission which unanimously recommended the establishment of a university of a particular kind. But the Government was not prepared to accept the recommendation.
I do admit, however, that two years after the submission of the report of the Foot Mission the Government called for an economic investigation by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Government has had the Bank’s report in its hands for nearly 12 months, but it has not proposed any financial measures to enable it to implement the recommendations submitted to it. We must realise that events in the world are moving quickly, that world opinion is of paramount importance, that we are no longer isolated, and that these people in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are not to be regarded as savages with whom we may do as we like.
We just cannot afford to revert to the conditions that obtained when the B-pirates, the would-rob-Christ’ mob and the chiselling Willies, the three big merchants in the Territory, took out their millions but put nothing back. I must say in all fairness to members of the Government that none of them would want to revert to these days. I believe that members of the Government are eager to do a job in this region, but they are incompetent, and just do not know what is necessary. Possibly they are limited by their environment. They do not appreciate the difficulties and disabilities under which the people labour, lt is important for the Government to realise the deficiencies associated with its actions. The Government is entitled to a minute measure of commendation for the small amount of effort it has put into Papua and New Guinea. This little effort has been praised throughout the world. But there is a need for much greater effort today and Government supporters should say whether they are prepared to make that effort. If the Government is prepared to make the effort but cannot, a representative of the Government should approach another body such as the United Nations Organisation. This suggestion has been made repeatedly. The United Nations may reject the suggestion outright, but at least the image of Australia would be improved in the eyes of the world.
I am aware that millions of pounds will be spent in Papua and New Guinea this year and during the next few years. That expenditure will serve not only the interests of the indigenous people. Work and wages may be provided for some of them, but the money is to be spent more particularly in our own interests. I refer to sums being spent on defence measures which have been adopted and are to be adopted. Let us be realistic. We should not seek to convey that the money is being spent to confer benefits on the indigines of the Territory. We are acting selfishly. I am not saying that the expenditure is unjustified, in the light of the unsettled circumstances to our north, but we should be frank and fair in our approach. We should not expect, praise for our effort. We are acting in self-defence. I believe the expenditure is justified, but the Government must face up fairly and frankly to what it has done and what it should do for these people. Papua and New Guinea has been under our domination, rather than under our control, for a long time. For many years we did little rr nothing but exploit the people there. Over recent years, a little has been done in an endeavour to assist the indigines, but it has been comparatively little in view of the injustices we have inflicted on them in previous years of our long tenure of occupancy.
Very few indigines have matriculated and there have been very few graduates. A very small number hold technical qualifications and among the indigines are few highly skilled agriculturalists sufficiently trained to produce crops that can be sold for cash. Practically none has qualified to follow a technical calling. Very few indigines can conduct even a simple business. Almost none is qualified to enter manufacturing and a minimum number is in the professions. There is no law school in Papua and New Guinea and only recently was a native medical college established. It is vitally important that in the last 16 years no real endeavour has been made to provide a native public service. How can anybody, even by a great stretch of imagination, visualise a day in the comparatively near future when a people without a university, without their own qualified lawyers and without their own trained public service can take over control and run the country in their own way and in their own interests?
The Commonwealth Government has fallen down and it behoves members of the Government in the back benches to prod Ministers into action. Ministers should endeavour to rectify the sins of omission and commission of which the Government has been guilty in the last few years and should strive to administer justice to the indigines of Papua and New Guinea. The Government should carry out the suggestion made by representatives of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and do something worthwhile for Australia in the eyes of the world.
– I have been very interested in the debate. I think that Senator Cormack is to be commended for his contribution and particularly for his analysis of the report of the United Nations mission led by Mr. Foot, as he then was. I also commend Senator Dittmer for his contribution to the debate, although I did not agree with a lot of his comments. I thought his speech was overplayed in parts and underplayed in other parts. In any event, he has brought to the debate a number of interesting points. ) propose to deal at greater length with the speeches of Senator Cormack and Senator Dittmer in the course of my remarks, but first 1 wish to say a word or two about the report of the International Banks mission, because little has been said about that report by honorable senators who have preceded me in this debate. The report, has been produced in rather fine form by the Johns Hopkins Press in Baltimore, United States of America. I believe that the Commonwealth Government was wise in having the report so beautifully printed and bound because it will be in the hands of members of this Parliament for many years. The report was first issued in roneoed form and to have it bound in a hard cover and well printed and illustrated was quite a worthy move.
As the report indicates, a request was made by the Commonwealth Government to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which gathered together ten tremendously capable people and sent them to Papua and New Guinea. The party spent about three months there and about six months after that in preparing its report. The Commonwealth Government has had the report for about ten months. I join issue with Senator Dittmer for his criticism of the delay of the Government in presenting the report to Parliament.
The report contains about 500 printed pages and explores every aspect of life in the Territory. It has a great number of schedules. I would have been surprised and disappointed if the Government had presented its first findings in relation to the report at too early a stage. I believe that the assessment of the resources of the Territory and of its financial structure form a commendable part of the report. It contains a great amount of detail under the heading “ Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry and Fisheries “ and that heading seems to set the theme which runs through the report. I refer to the necessity to make the Territory viable at as early a date as possible, lt is interesting to study the way in which the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has dealt with the various aspects of primary production in Papua and New Guinea. 1 was there recently and the reading of this report after that visit illustrates to me how accurate and painstaking the Mission was. But Senator Dittmer was inclined to discount the work done by the Australian Government of recent years in the matter of production. Although the Government itself docs not produce anything - being a non-Socialist Government - it does create a climate in which production rises of most outstanding magnitude have taken place. There are some very interesting tables in that section of the “ Reserve Bank of Australia, Report and Financial Statements, 1965 “ which relates to Papua and New Guinea. They show great rises in the value of production of various commodities. In I960, production of cocoa was valued at a little more than £1.5 million. Last year, despite the very low world price of cocoa, it approached £4 million. The value of coffee production rose from under £1 million five years ago to £4.5 million. The value of timber and plywood production has risen from under £1.5 million to £2 million. Gold and rubber are the only two items of production that have declined slightly in value in the past five years. Pretty well everything else, including copra and its by-products, which range in value towards £10 million, is holding well. You can see, Sir, that the climate that this Government has provided in the Territory and the encouragement that it has given to the indigenes and to the planters have led to quite a marked rise in production.
Of course, as the report points out, there are 2 million people to be serviced and only about 50,000 of them play any part in producing cash crops. The rest live at the subsistence level. They just provide for themselves and their families and a little barter. Consequently the great point made in the Report is that to get this country really going there needs to be vastly increased development in the agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishery sections. On my recent visit it was quite obvious to me that there was vastly increased activity in these realms, greatly assisted by this Government by means of the money that it is supplying to the Administration. As you know, Sir, from the Budget recently introduced, a straightout grant of over £30 million is being made in the current year to the Administration in Papua and New Guinea.
Let me deal with one or two aspects that I saw. There is great scope for cattle development. As I have been able to ascertain, the indigenous native is completely unused to the handling of animals. He is inclined to be a little frightened of cattle. Consequently, about six months have to be occupied in teaching him to handle cattle.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Mr. President,I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– by leave - I propose to make a statement on international affairs in the terms in which it was made by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) in another place. When I use the personal pronoun, it refers to the Minister for External Affairs. The statement is as follows -
When I last spoke to the House in March of this year on the general international situation I thought it proper to outline for honorable members something of my own approach to the subject. The House will recall that I then addressed myself to four principal topics. I spoke about the realities of power, the relationship between Australia and Asia, the future of the United Nations and, finally, the importance of constant, unswerving adherence to agreed and established principles of international conduct. I reaffirm what I then said.
I propose tonight to address myself chiefly to recent events in Malaysia and in Vietnam. As we debate these events let it never be far from our thoughts that these are places where our own young men are serving Australia. In both places the basic issues that we face are unchanged. The defence of Malaysia against Indonesian confrontation has a new characteristic by reason of the separation of Singapore from the Federation, and the changes that ensue from it, and the conflict in Vietnam has undoubtedly intensified and entered on a highly critical phase; but in both cases the principles at stake, the nature of the conflicts and the Australian interests that have to be upheld are the same as when the House last debated foreign affairs. Let us concentrate on reality and not on the changing appearance.
On 7th August an agreement relating to the separation of Singapore and Malaysia as an independent and sovereign State was signed between the Malaysian and Singapore Governments. On 9th August an act was introduced and passed in the Malaysian Parliament to amend the Constitution of Malaysia and on the same day the Singapore Prime Minister issued a proclamation of Singapore’s existence as an independent, sovereign State. The Australian Government announced on 10th August its recognition of the State of Singapore. On the same day the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) sent personal messages to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Prime Minister of Singapore confirming our friendship, assuring them of our understanding and cooperation and expressing good wishes in their new responsibilities. The Government of Singapore having indicated its desire to become a member nation of the Commonwealth, the Malaysian Prime Minister has written to all Commonwealth Prime Ministers seeking their concurrence. Australia’s agreement has been given. Arrangements were completed on 13th August for the appointment of an Australian High Commissioner to the Government of Singapore.
In the separation agreement, as I shall call it for short, the articles which are of particular interest to us are those which provide for a treaty on external defence and mutual assistance between the two Governments; for an undertaking on the part of each Government not to enter into any treaty or agreement with a foreign country which may be detrimental to the independence and defence of the territories of the other party; and for future cooperation in economic affairs for their mutual benefit. The changes that now have taken place are due to internal political stresses within the Federation. While the Australian Government was not consulted on the separation, we had previously had many discussions with Malaysia and Singapore, both between Ministers and at the diplomatic level, in the last six to eight months.
The constitutional separation having taken place, we believe that Singapore and Malaysia still face the same tasks that they faced when they federated. They still have common interests, common opportunities and common dangers. Both States wish to maintain a unified defence arrangement. Both use the same currency and their foreign assets are jointly held; their citizens invest capital in the enterprises of each other. Malaysian prosperity is advanced by the use of Singapore’s facilties. Singapore earns 20 per cent, of its national income from trading in and processing Malaysian goods. Singapore vitally needs commercial access and outlets in Malaya, while Sabah and Sarawak greatly benefit from their trading arrangements with Singapore. There is thus much to be preserved and nourished through close association and common arrangements. We. for our part, will apply ourselves to co-operation wilh both Singapore and Malaysia. We believe that the reality pf living side by side and helping each other is more important than any legalism.
I turn to the effect of the new situation on the existing defence arrangements. The formal position is that under the separation agreement the two parties agree to enter into a treaty on external defence and mutual assistance. The Government of Malaysia will assist Singapore in external defence and Singapore will contribute units to the common defence. Existing treaties concluded between Malaysia and third countries, including the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Treaty, will be deemed to be treaties between Singapore and those countries. Whether any additional action is necessary by the Australian Government to associate itself with these arrangements is something still to be determined. At the moment, the efforts of Singapore and Malaysia are directed towards making adjustments to the existing machinery of defence planning and policy in order to introduce Singapore as a separate party. Meetings have been held between the Malaysian and Singapore Ministers for Defence and it has been agreed that the second battalion of the Singapore Infantry Regiment will proceed this month as planned to Malaysian Borneo as part of the Malaysian Security Forces.
I wish to mention two aspects of these very important matters. Honorable members will recall the statement by the Prime Minister in the House on 25th September 1963. He there referred to the consistent Australian policy of support in defence of
Malaya as part of the common effort for the common security. Malaysia having been formed, in accordance with the freely expressed will of its peoples, the Prime Minister declared that we were prepared to add our military assistance to the efforts of Malaysia and the United Kingdom in the defence of Malaysia’s territorial integrity and political independence. The essential features of the situation then described are still in being. Indonesian pressure continues, under the name of confrontation. Britain still has commitments. Both Malaysia and Singapore face the same defence problems and the facilities and resources of both are involved in the common defence. The Malaysian and Singapore Governments are entering into mutual defence arrangements, by agreements between them, and they wish to maintain the existing system of defence with the participation of the other countries concerned, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. As the Prime Minister said recently in a public statement -
We welcome the agreement of the two Governments to establish machinery for ensuring a common defence effort. We hope that this will be set up with speed, and that it will be effective. The particular Australian association with this common defence will require study in the light of the new circumstances. But we are determined to play our part with all the other countries concerned in continuing a common resistance to attacks upon the Malaysian area, an area which will still include Singapore, though it is no longer part of the Federation of Malaysia.
The second matter is the principle of what the Prime Minister called combined defence. The existing system of combined defence has worked extremely well; it is in our interests to continue with this existing system. In Borneo, substantial regular Indonesian forces in forward areas have been kept in check by the Malaysian Security Forces which comprise Malaysian, British, Australian and New Zealand units, to which a separate identifiable Singapore unit is now to be added. Efficient command arrangements, logistic systems and mobility of operations have been achieved. An equally efficient system of surveillance at sea and on the coasts of Singapore and Malaya have led to failure after failure for parties of Indonesian infiltrators and saboteurs. In other words, the Malaysian area is one theatre, operating under one operational system and governed by a common purpose. It is these arrangements which enable the collective effort to be made, with countries like Australia and New Zealand adding their military contribution to the total defence structure. It is, of course, quite obvious that considerable difficulties would be raised for us if it was a matter of entering into separate and possibly differing commitments with a variety of authorities. Nor, of course, would we have the means in terms of military capability to make a series of separate substantial commitments.
From what I have said it will be plain that Singapore’s separation from Malaysia is not the result of the pressures of Indonesian “ confrontation “. It is not the product of Indonesian policy. In this respect, the Indonesian Government has not as yet taken any action to recognise Singapore as an independent sovereign State. President Sukarno’s speech of yesterday - a speech of some 50 pages - is being studied. All I wish to say at present is that we deeply regret President Sukarno’s expressions of hostility towards the United States and the policies of. that country in South and South East Asia. Those policies, as I shall now proceed to discuss, involve the United States in great expenditure of men and material resources in preserving the national independence and integrity of the countries of South East Asia themselves.
In Vietnam the aggressive use of power is at present finding its clearest and most ruthless expression. Since March, with the growing seriousness of the situation, the Government has decided to extend our military commitment in support of South Vietnam. It is our considered judgment that Australia’s interests require this action and we believe it has the support of the great majority of Australians.
The wet season is now at its height in Vietnam and will continue for a couple of months or so. The Vietcong, with no fixed bases, centres of population or communications to protect, is seeking to make the best use it can of the advantage of mobility and surprise that guerrilla forces have. The Vietcong, even though suffering severe casualties, has been able to mount limited offensives in some areas, to disrupt communications and to threaten some centres of population, particularly in the central highlands of Vietnam, around Kontum and Pleiku. In that area the Vietcong forces are supplemented by units of a regular North Vietnamese division and are backed by heavy support in weapons provided by North Vietnam. Despite cloud cover and rain,’ United States and South Vietnamese airmen have taken great flying risks and have continued to inflict substantial losses on the Vietcong. They have also damaged the sources of supply and the supply routes by which men and arms are being infiltrated from North Vietnam.
The North Vietnamese Government and its subsidiary organisation in the South, the National Liberation Front, still speak confidently of military victory in South Vietnam. On 20th July the National Liberation Front was reported by Radio Hanoi as saying: “ With all the factors of victory within our grasp, let our entire people and army valiantly march forwards. We shall certainly win. We are resolved to win a great victory.” This intransigence and indifference to human suffering has been, reflected in the refusal of North Vietnam and Peking even .to consider discussions directed towards peaceful settlement. They want unconditional surrender by South Vietnam and those supporting her defence - that and nothing else.
In the past few months there have been fruitless efforts by the Canadian representative on the International Control Commission to sound out Hanoi’s attitude. There was in May a pause in the bombing attacks on North Vietnamese territory, accompanied by further efforts by the United States authorities to evoke from Hanoi some conciliatory response, however slight. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers, the President of India, the seventeen non-aligned nations, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and others have tried fruitlessly to bring about discussions. I propose to table a paper prepared by my Department giving an account in some detail of these efforts. Up to date they have all come to nothing.
With the North Vietnamese evidently determined to settle for nothing less than the total subjugation of South Vietnam, and in the face of increasing pressure .from the Vietcong, with the aid of more . men and more arms from the North, the Government of South Vietnam asked for further assistance from the United States. On 28th July, President Johnson announced that the number of United States troops in Vietnam would shortly be increased from 75,000 to 125,000 and that more would be sent as requested. At the same time, President johnson reiterated that the United States was willing to enter into unconditional discussions at any time and encouraged the United Nations and its individual members to search for ways of bringing about a just and lasting peace. The Australian Government welcomes and supports the resolution of the United States and its aim of seeking to bring about realistic discussions.
The Government and its advisers have examined these decisions in relation to our own contribution in South Vietnam. As the Prime Minister announced in the House, the Government has decided to provide support units to the battalion now in South Vietnam to make it up to a battalion group. These support units include artillery, engineers and light aircraft and raise the combat strength of the battalion by 350 men. It will continue to operate with American forces and the New Zealand artillery unit.
During this period the. Soviet Union has continued to furnish North Vietnam with equipment for an air defence system as well as transport and other forms of military aid. China, while also supplying military equipment, appears to have worked consistently against all efforts to launch discussions and enter negotiations leading towards a settlement.
I am laying on the table a series of studies made by the Department of External Affairs. These studies show that the Vietcong is controlled and led by the Vietnamese Communist Party, the Lao Dong Party, which is the party that forms the Government of North Vietnam; that the Vietcong movement is essentially a Communist movement using the organisational structure and the technique of guerrilla warfare evolved in the war against the French by the Viet Minh which, in its turn, drew heavily on Chinese Communist advice and experience.
These studies also show that the National Liberation Front was established under the sponsorship of the Hanoi authorities as the instrument of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Within the Front, leadership is exercised by the People’s Revoluntionary Party, an avowedly Marxist party and a direct offshoot of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Membership of the two parties is interchangeable and seniority in one applies to the other. Thus when Hanoi and Peking say that the Front must have the decisive voice in a settlement in South Vietnam and that the Front’s programme must be the basis of a settlement, they are talking about Hanoi’s own agency.
The studies show, furthermore, that the Vietnamese Communist Party, in defiance of the separation of zones and administrations brought about by the Geneva Agreement, has thought and planned consistently in terms of one Vietnamese Communist revolution. The Vietcong organisation extends from the South to Hanoi itself. Working initially through Vietnamese Communists of southern origin, the leadership in Hanoi has progressively committed considerable resources of arms, equipment, logistical support and manpower to the task of subverting and subjugating the region south of the 17th Parallel which was brought into being at Geneva in 1954 with the agreement of all Communist countries.
This is the reality. This is not a civil war which would end in substituting one government for another in South Vietnam. It is a war to destroy any separate existence for South Vietnam, to impose on the South the Communist government of the North and to unify the country solely on the terms dictated by the North. Whether or not elements of genuine and spontaneous antiGovernment sentiments have existed in parts of South Vetnam from the beginning, the facts of the matter are that the Vietcong movement is the creature of the Vietnamese Communist Party and shares the militant and ruthless characteristics of its parent movement centred in Hanoi.
What are the considerations of policy that follow from these assessments? The National Liberation Front, the Vietcong and North Vietnam are united and at one in the aim of destroying the non-Communist government of South Vietnam and achieving a unified Vietnam under a Communist system of government and society. They aim at the capture of power by force, using all the familiar techniques of terror and liquidation. This is what has happened in North Vietnam itself, where the Communist system has been imposed in its most rigorous and oppressive form. If the North were allowed to have its way the whole of Vietnam would be reunified, not by negotiation or by the processes of free election, but by force, by aggression and by killing political opponents.
What we have to ask ourselves is whether we can stand by and watch still another country brought under Communist domination by force, and against its will, by a minority supported from an external Communist centre of power. Are we to have no concern about what happens to these people and the people of neighbouring states?
In virtually every South East Asian country there are dissident movements in existence or in embryo which already hamper the efforts of national governments to weld their countries into homogeneous social and political entities. These movements inevitably attract Communist attention as the instrument for so-called wars of national liberation.
We face the fact that Communist pressure throughout South East Asia is something which is unremitting and which is directed not towards establishing some kind of co-existence with the existing systems of Government but towards the overthrow of the existing economic, social and political structures of the countries of the region. What does the voice of the “ Thailand Patriotic Front “ say from Peking and Hanoi? I repeat, from Peking and Hanoi in clear breach of the principle of noninterference by one State in the internal affairs of another. The programme is couched in militant Marxist terms. It calls for action to overthrow the Thai Government. That is to say, it calls for subversion and armed revolution to bring about a forcibly communised State in Thailand. To condone aggression in one place is to encourage it in others. To fail to defend sovereign independence and territorial integrity at this time of challenge would mean that we were already weakening our ability to resist the successive challenges to these principles which would surely follow the first surrender. We have not lightly asked our Australian men to enter this struggle. We have not lightly committed the Australian people. We believe this is something we Australians need to do.
What is it we are seeking to achieve in Vietnam? What are our positive aims? We are seeking to deter, not to destroy. What we are seeking to do is to help defend the Government of South Vietnam by a combination of military operations, political support and economic assistance. In respect of the aggressor, North Vietnam, we have no military designs and purpose other than to prove that aggression will not succeed. Within the South our objective is to hold and to blunt the guerilla offensive and make it clear to the Vietcong that their prospects of victory are non-existent. We want to bring about discussions to lead the way to a just and lasting peace. When we talk of our readiness to hold discussions let us be plain. The purpose of discussions is not just to talk for talking’s sake. They need to be held as a realistic approach to an eventual settlement. That settlement must serve the needs and interests of the Asian peoples themselves and ensure that they will be safe in their homes, go about their daily life in peace under the rule of governments of their own choice, and join in making these changes that will advance the welfare of their own kith and kin.
We believe that neither security nor the means of social and economic development can be found without external aid and that behind any local settlement lies the need for the great powers, all of whom have interests and responsibilities in this region, to join in the necessary guarantees and the necessary aid. In my speech last March I spoke about the realities of power and I reaffirm what I then said. I also repeat our belief that, in this grim and difficult contest, the United States of America has acted with care and restraint as well as with steady resolution in discharging its high responsibilities as a great power; we have faith in their dedication to the same principles and purposes as those which we hold dear; we support them in what they are doing and as best we can we will help them do it. This is no surrender of our right and capacity to make our own judgments as various situations may require its to do so. It is our judgment that we should not be neutral or non-aligned and that this is the side that we should take, both directly for our own interests and to help establish better opportunities for other small and independent nations of this region.
There seems no immediate prospect that the fighting will have an early end, but it is important that we state our aims and hopes for the future. It seems to me that what we should envisage is a return to the Geneva Agreement of 1954. That Agreement embodied the results of discussions and negotiations between the countries immediately concerned and the Great Powers. It provided for a provisional partition of Vietnam pending steps towards unification by free agreement between the North and the South. It also provided for the regrouping and movement of peoples between the two areas and for a system of international inspection and reporting. South Vietnam is entitled to its own administration and territorial integrity; the future relationships between the South and the North are for the two parties to settle through processes of freely reached agreement. That could be a starting point for more widely-ranging negotiations aimed at establishing, with appropriate guarantees, the conditions under which the nations of South East Asia can have some reasonable confidence in their future, be relieved of the present need to divert so much of their energy to fighting and be able, with help from their friends, to get on with the tasks of political, social and economic reconstruction, completing and consolidating the processes that brought them independence.
Let us recognise, too, that this struggle will test our own character in two different ways. It calls for resolution and also for moderation. Perhaps one risk we must avoid is that armed hostilities might engender their own passions or that in helping Asians to defend their freedom we might ourselves limit their freedom by making decisions for them. We oppose aggression so that Asia can be truly free and truly independent for the good of its own peoples and for the hope of lasting friendship with its neighbours for mutual benefit.
As honorable members would expect, these two dangerous situations, in Vietnam and Malaysia, commanded the attention of ourselves and our allies in S.E.A.T.O. and A.N.Z.U.S.
At the S.E.A.T.O. Council Meeting, which I attended in London in May, I took the opportunity to reaffirm the value we place in S.E.A.T.O., both as a deterrent to aggression and as a means of cooperation among like-minded countries. I also underlined the point that S.E.A.T.O. is more than a military treaty and that the members of the organisation are making a useful contribution to the improvement of the life of the peoples of Asia. I indicated our own readiness to continue our S.E.A.T.O. aid programme. The communi que issued by the Council on 5th May reflected its continued grave concern with the dangerous situation posed by the Communist aggression against the Republic of Vietnam. The Council was disturbed over evidence that the increasing infiltration of arms and combat personnel from the North into South Vietnam now includes members of the regular armed forces of North Vietnam.
The Council reaffirmed the conclusion reached at its meeting in Manila the year before that the defeat of this communist campaign against the Government and people of the Republic of Vietnam was essential not only to the security of Vietnam but to that of South East Asia as a whole. The Council noted with concern evidence of increasing communist subversion from outside against Thailand, and particularly its north eastern region. Determination to resist in Vietnam was linked to a like determination in respect of Thailand, which could fulfil for the Communists the role of “ next target “. The Council again recognised that subversion posed a serious threat to Asian member countries and agreed to maintain measures to combat it. I must take note here of the position of France, which decided not to send a delegation to the London meeting but to be represented by an observer. We regretted this absence as it deprived us of a French contribution to the debate. France took no part in preparing the communique, and does not consider itself committed to it. The Pakistan delegation reserved its position on the references in the communique to Vietnam and Laos, but voiced the hope that determined efforts would be made to restore peace in the area on the basis of the Geneva Agreements.
The United Kingdom and Australia raised also the situation arising from Indonesia’s confrontation of Malaysia. In making known its concern over this situation the Council noted that certain member governments had provided both military forces and other forms of aid to assist in the defence of Malaysia and that the strength and determination of this support had contributed materially to the stability of the area. The hope was expressed that an honorable and secure settlement would be arrived at on a basis acceptable to the Asian nations concerned. The Pakistan delegation expressed its particular concern over the continuance of the Indonesian-Malaysian dispute, stressing the need to resolve it by peaceful means and to avoid anything that would aggravate the existing conflict.
I should report also that the Council approved the appointment of Lieutenant General Jesus M. Vargas as SecretaryGeneral of S.E.A.T.O. for a three-year term. He is a distinguished Philippines soldier and citizen, and he has our good wishes in his appointment which he took up on 1st July. The Council expressed appreciation of the service to S.E.A.T.O. by the retiring Secretary-General, Mr. Konthi Suphamongkhon, so well known to us for his years of service in Australia. I added my warm personal endorsement of this tribute. An invitation which I extended to the Council to hold its next meeting - in 1966 - in Canberra was accepted, and we look forward to the opportunity to play host again to the Council as we did in 1957.
At the A.N.Z.U.S. Council in Washington on 28th June, with our American and New Zealand allies, we again discussed Vietnam. We noted particularly the substantial increase in the infiltration of arms and personnel into South Vietnam from the North, much of it via Laos, and that the infiltration includes identified units of the regular armed forces of North Vietnam. We also noted that the communists regard the war in South Vietnam as a critical test of the technique of infiltrating arms and trained men across national frontiers, and reaffirmed “ that the defeat of this aggression is necessary, not only to the security of South East Asia and the South West Pacific, but as a demonstration that Communist expansion by such tactics will not be allowed to succeed “.
The A.N.Z.U.S. Council also agreed that more intensive efforts should be made to promote the economic and social development of South East Asia. Along with the Prime Minister of New Zealand 1 welcomed the generous offer of the United States to contribute 1,000 million dollars to an expanded programme of economic assistance under the leadership of the Asian nations and the United Nations. This leads me to some observations about the size, nature and purposes of the wide variety of external aid commitments in which Australia is now involved.
First of all, some figures as revealed in the Estimates presented to the House of Representatives by the Treasurer. These show that total contributions by the Commonwealth Government in overseas economic aid are to increase from a total of £48 million in 1964-65 to £51 million this year. This will bring the total amount of aid given by Australia in the post-war period to £467 million. The main components in the Estimates for 1965-66 are multilateral aid, £6 million; bilateral aid £8 million; and aid to Papua-New Guinea, £37 million. All three components are properly included under the heading of economic aid.
Aid for the economic development of Asia is one of the main elements of Australian policy in South East Asia; another is resistance to aggression; a third promotion of those conditions of well-being that may forestall future crises. Recurrence of aggression, which has hampered application of Australian aid, has involved the Government in providing military aid. But although the need for military aid necessarily reduces the resources available for economic aid, the Government continues to provide economic aid on a substantial and rising scale.
Australia can claim a good international record as an aid contributor. In recent years our total official aid has averaged about 0.6 per cent, of our national income, making us, on this basis, the fourth largest aid contributor. On a basis of aid per head of population, our relative position is just as high.
This year Ministers have considered the external aid estimates against the background of a comprehensive report prepared by an interdepartmental committee established for the purpose of informing Ministers of the nature, extent and estimated effectiveness of our external aid. Following this review, while maintaining the essential priority of Papua-New Guinea, the Government will aim to intensify the concentration of our aid on South and South East Asia.
As an immediate result of the review, Colombo Plan funds have been increased by .15 per cent, for the new financial year - from £5.2 million in 1963-64 to £6 million. Within this increase, funds for economic development in the Colombo Plan area will increase by £700.000 and funds for technical assistance by £100,000. A new feature is the establishment of a South Pacific Technical Assistance Programme, for which £50,000 has been set aside for the first year of operation.
In the field of multilateral aid, our contribution to the international plan for development of the Indus River Basin rises this year by £600,000. An amount of £3.3 million has been estimated as our contribution for the year to the International Development Association. With £5.6 million still uncalled from our first pledge of £9 million, and with our decision to pledge a second contribution of £8.8 million over three years from November, 1965, we have now undertaken to provide £14.4 million to the Association by November, 1968. We have also for a long while made substantial contributions to programmes of the United Nations and specialised agencies. In the financial year 1964-65 these amounted to over £4 million. These should be thought of, not simply in terms of cash, but of specialists, training facilities, capital equipment, and sometimes commodities.
I would emphasise that the official aid figures do not reveal the Australian external aid contribution in its entirety. An increasing amount of aid is being provided by voluntary private groups and individuals. The Government welcomes such activities aimed at assisting our friends and neighbours overseas. A particularly noteworthy effort has been the Freedom From Hunger Campaign, to which £1.4 million was subscribed in the period ended 30th June 1964, for the support of projects designed to increase food production in a number of countries. I applaud the efforts of the many voluntary workers in Australia who are supporting this campaign. I welcome also the activities of voluntary groups which provide technical assistance to Asian countries and PapuaNew Guinea through the personal services of qualified individuals.
The Government realises, of course, that Australia’s capacity to assist countries less fortunate than ourselves is limited by our own large developmental needs, and by our dependence on a narrow range of primary products for the bulk of our foreign exchange earnings, which means we must be watchful of the effects of our aid programmes on our own balance of payments. But in so far as our resources permit, the
Government will join with other likeminded countries in helping directly and indirectly to increase the economic wellbeing of developing countries.
Honorable members will recall that on 7th April of this year the President of the United States called for a massive programme of co-operative development in South East Asia, and undertook to ask the United States Congress for 1,000 million dollars of additional aid funds for this purpose. The President hoped that North Vietnam would share in the benefits of such an expanded aid programme “ as soon as peaceful co-operation is possible “, and that other industrialised countries, including the U.S.S.R., would join the United States in providing aid on an expanded scale to the countries of South East Asia.
Closely associated with President Johnson’s initiative is the proposal to establish an Asian Development Bank, with a capital of 1,000 million dollars, of which 600 million dollars would bc contributed by countries of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East region, including Australia. The Australian Government will associate itself with other countries, including the United States, in the preliminary planning for the bank. As my colleague, the Treasurer, recently announced, useful exploratory discussions on the proposal have been held with members of a visiting consultative group of experts who were informed that Australia’s attitude to the proposal was sympathetic and positive.
In conclusion, I have time to refer only briefly to wider aspects of Australian cooperation with United Nations and about the future prospects of the organisation itself. The Australian Government has tried to play a responsible and constructive part in the United Nations, to fulfil our obligations under the Charter and to uphold its principles. We will continue to do so.
For the past year the main deliberative body of the United Nations - the General Assembly - has been unable to function because of the dispute over the payment of the costs of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The dispute - which I do not propose to analyse in detail at the present time - is more than a merely financial one. It has its roots in conflicting ideas about the respective functions and responsibilities of the
United Nations” principal organs for preserving peace and security. The prospect now is that the deadlock in regard to the functioning of the General Assembly will be removed and that it will resume normal work next month. The United States Government, which is the largest contributor to the United Nations and has made immense voluntary contributions in the past as well as its assessed contributions, has announced this week that it will no longer press for the application of Article 19 to deprive the defaulting countries of their votes. It has done this in the belief that a wide consensus exists among the members of the United Nations that the General Assembly should not continue to be deadlocked by this issue.
The United States has made it clear that there has been no change in its previous view - in which it has been fully supported by Australia - that the defaulting members of the United Nations should pay their due share of the costs of United Nations peacekeeping operations. But the United States hits also indicated that if any member can in future insist on making an exception to the principle of collective financial responsibility, the United States reserves the same option to make exceptions. The removal of the deadlock in regard to the functioning of the General Assembly does not, of course, mean that the basic issues which lay behind the financial crisis have in any way been solved. In the first place, the financial deficit of the United Nations still has to be liquidated. The Russians have stated in the past that if the threat to deprive them of a vote is removed they will make a “ voluntary “ contribution. They and other defaulters should now do this promptly and on an equitable scale. Even so, it seems likely that a substantial amount will have to be made up by the contribution of other members.
But more fundamental issues are involved. A breach will have been made in the principle of collective responsibility, particularly for peace-keeping operations which derive their authority from the General Assembly. This may have farreaching implications for the future functioning of the Organisation. Another aspect of great interest is the fact that, in deciding not to uphold Article 19 of the Charter, the majority of the United Nations have chosen to prefer an arrangement by which the General Assembly has in effect abdic ated part of its powers. This also will affect the future working of the Organisation, and in particular the relationship between the General Assembly and Security Council. These implications will require, and will receive, close study by the Government.
The Australian policies 1 have outlined in reference to Vietnam and Malaysia are based on our conviction of the necessity for upholding the principles contained in the United Nations Charter and trying to make them work. The regrettable but undeniable fact is, however, that as conditions are at present we cannot expect either from the Security Council or the General Assembly the kind of prompt and effective measures that are needed to deal with the sorts of emergencies that have arisen in South East Asia. In such circumstances the Charter contemplates action for regional security and for individual and collective selfdefence. The purposes which we are upholding there arc the same as those of the United Nations Charter - respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the peaceful settlement of questions in dispute between nations, and avoidance of the use of force or the threat of force. I suggest that no small nation, especially those which have recently emerged to full independence and in which attempts are being made from outside to subvert them, can have any secure hope for its future in a world that does not observe these principles. The action we have taken in Vietnam has been reported by us to the Security Council and the United States has done the same.
As the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, said recently -
Any workable system of world order for the foreseeable future will bea pluralistic one in which the United Nations, regional organisation, bilateral diplomacy and national defence forces play their several and sometimes mutually reinforced parts.
Our own experience, and the realities of international politics, attest to this in full measure.
I present the following papers -
Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 24th August,1965.
Department of External Affairs Information Handbook No. 1 of 1965 - Studies in Vietnam. and move -
That the Senate take note of the papers.
Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 49).
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the fact that the Australian Government has provided a climate in Papua and New Guinea for vast expansion of the production of copra, cocoa, rubber and cattle. I illustrated that the Government was training the indigenous natives to cope with the care of the cattle. When 1 was in Papua and New Guinea I saw allotments in which the natives had two, three, four, five or six cattle. In the highlands, in my opinion, the cattle were doing very well. I foresaw - and this was borne out by what I was told - that there was a great chance for expansion of the cattle industry.
The report of the Mission organised by the International Bank went very thoroughly into the production of tea. I shall refer the Senate to one paragraph on page 117, in which is set out three methods of organising the production of tea. Two of these methods are -
Nucleus estates, where a tea company grows ft sufficient area to justify its basic investment in processing and marketing, but relies on a considerable proportion of smallholder tea from closely adjacent units to make the whole operation economically viable to all participants; and smallholder production to supply all the green leaf for co-operative or corporate-owned processing factories. 1 found that in the Mount Hagen district the Manton organisation, which was formerly of Melbourne, had 1,000 acres of malarial swamp land. It had drained this swamp and is in the process of planting tea on it. I understand that the planting of this 1,000 acres will involve expenditure of about £i million. That would include the establishment of a tea factory. The justification for the expense is the fact that the natives living in the hills surrounding this area will all be encouraged to plant tea. The factory will process their tea as well as the tea from the estate. The report of the International Bank has gone into great detail regarding this tea project. The important point is that it will benefit, not only the natives employed by the European entrepreneur, but also the hundreds of small native growers of tea living in the surrounding hills. I understand that several tea estates are being established on that pattern.
I refer also to the section of the report dealing with coffee. On page 101 it states-
Coffee production by indigenes is one of the top success stories of the Territory. The Administration has been remarkably successful in stimulating native interest in the crop, in distributing planting material, in providing training for growing, harvesting and processing and in supervising the new industry. From an active beginning about 19S4, plantings by indigenes soon exceeded those of Europeans in the three main districts, so that by 1961-62 over 60 per cent, of all coffee acreage and about 43 per cent, of the output was under indigenous control.
Then the report sets out figures which show an amazing increase in coffee production. The comment concludes with these words -
The success of the program augurs well for the future economic development of natural resources of the highlands by indigenes.
It should be remembered that the highlands of Papua and New Guinea are the most thickly populated part of the Territory. I read those two passages to indicate that the agricultural development of the highlands may be anticipated with moderate expectation, if I may use those words. Those comments in the report rather answer Senator Cormack’s fear about the escalation of the cost of developing the Territory. The cost of development could well escalate, but productivity could escalate to a much greater degree. There is sufficient evidence in the report of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to lead one to think that there will be very great increase in productivity in this area.
I refer now to forestry. I should like to compliment the Government upon holding the last meeting of the Australian Forestry Council at Bulolo, within the last month. This was a conference of State Ministers in charge of forestry activities and the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn). The Government has undertaken a vastly increased planting programme. The plywood mill at Bulolo is one of the finest timber mills that I have seen in New Guinea or on the mainland of Australia.
The report of the International Bank refers also to the volume of manufacturing that is now taking place in the Territory. Admittedly, it is of not very great consequence at the moment. The report of the Reserve Bank of Australia, which was presented to the Senate today, states -
Manufacturing output increased-
That is in 1964-65- although it is still small in relation to the Territory’s primary industries. Several new industries were attracted to the Territory, among them factories for the production of nails, steel drums and paint. A Pioneer Industries Bill, which grants some taxation concessions to new industries, was passed by the House of Assembly in the latter h-alf of the year.
The report of the International Bank dealt also with tourism. The tourist industry might well get a great lift almost immediately following the introduction of Electra aircraft on the route between Australia and Papua and New Guinea. These aircraft in one trip take forward approximately 50 per cent, more people than it was possible for the DC6B’s to carry.
Let me sound a note of warning. Hotel accommodation in Papua and New Guinea, from the viewpoints of both the number of rooms available and the standard of accommodation, will have to be improved immeasurably. The standard of the hotels in the Territory generally is deplorable. The charges made are the same as those normally made by the leading hotels in Australia but the standard of accommodation is well below that of the poorest of the country hotels in Australia. Something will have to be done by the European section of the population who control the hotels. Whether it will have to be done by the breweries or the lessees I am not prepared to say. I repeat that the standard of the hotels must improve immeasurably before the Territory will develop as a tourist attraction. The Territory has scenery and points of interest which are second to none, but the accommodation provided by the hotels is very poor indeed.
The report of the International Bank has highlighted a number of aspects of life, industry and production that have never been highlighted before. I compliment the Government upon having encouraged the Bank to send representatives to the Territory and to submit a report. Senator Cormack drew attention to the strong demand for manpower which the report envisages. This problem should be examined. Many British people who served in former British colonies in Africa are now virtually out of a job. They have had a lot of experience in management and agriculture in tropical areas and they could well be encouraged to work in Papua and New Guinea. The report of the Bank refers also to the opportunity for volunteers to serve in the area in much the same manner as. volunteers served in the Peace Corps which was organised by the late President Kennedy in the United States of America. I was able to meet one or two such volunteers on my recent visit to the Territory and I was most impressed by their work. They were engaged in school teaching and were doing a splendid job.
As I see it, the main problems associated with the development of the Territory are related to education. We must be very sympathetic towards the indigenes. We are teaching them mathematics and history in a language that is foreign to them. Considering that fact, the progress that they are making is rather wonderful. The fact that the indigenes have to learn mathematics, geology, geography or history in the English language is a big barrier to educational development. I was rather impressed by the enthusiasm for education that is displayed by the parents, who themselves have not been educated. They believe that it will bring great benefits to their children.
Another factor that is highlighted in the report of the Reserve Bank is that the idea of a money economy is just now being embraced. The report states -
In a developing territory like Papua and New Guinea, which is in a process of transition to a money economy, a central bank must view its responsibilities and functions rather differently from those in a more advanced economy.
I compliment the Reserve Bank upon what it is doing in the Territory. At Rabaul it was my privilege to meet a young New Guinean who was on the staff of the bank. He interested me greatly in his work of trying to widen the experience of the New Guinea people in saving money and in joining the savings and loan societies which the Reserve Bank was establishing in that area. It was developing in the minds of the people the idea of saving and of pooling their savings in a common fund from which loans could be made to individual members for a wide range of worthwhile purposes at reasonable rates of interest. This was done by means of a small scale co-operative bank run by the natives. This banking system was designed by the Reserve Bank to train the natives in the use and saving of money and the making of loans to members of their own group for worthwhile purposes. I believe that the Reserve Bank is doing a splendid job in training the natives in the use of money.
The administration of justice is another great problem in Papua and New Guinea. As Senator Dittmer said - and honorable senators will appreciate this fact - there is not one indigenous lawyer in that area of 2 million people. Australians and Europeans have to control the whole legal system. I believe that if the local people hope to have self-determination in the form of government, superhuman efforts must be made to train a number of native people in the law. I was very interested to learn that the Law Council of Australia, through the great efforts of its President, Mr. Kerr Q.C., is actively concerned in the training of indigenes in the law. I believe that at the present time three or four indigenes are undergoing law courses in Australia, some in Sydney and some in Queensland. The training of indigenes in the law will be helped considerably when the University of Papua and New Guinea is opened in about eighteen months time. Great credit is due to the judges of the Supreme Court and the magistrates who are administering justice in the Territory. I hope that, in time, natives will become sufficiently trained to act as justices of the peace and administer justice in the courts of native affairs. But this will take time and it is an aim of which the Commonwealth should never lose sight. The higher rungs of the Civil Service are occupied by expatriate Australians. In the main, they are a dedicated group of men and women. The system of land titles is one of the greatest problems in Papua and New Guinea. It has been highlighted in the report of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development at pages 11 and 38. Honorable senators should realise that a country cannot be developed agriculturally without a sound system of land titles. In the introductory chapter at page 11 the report states -
In most areas, ownership of land traditionally has been vested in the community, with usufructuary rights granted to individuals or families by agreement of all members of the owning group. Inheritance has followed two patterns; the matrilineal in some groups, the patrilineal in others. Often inheritance patterns were complex, with a large number of people claiming rights in a given piece of land. Also complex were the social obligations existing among the members of kinship groups.
It is apparent that the system of inheritance, through the mother or the father, may give many people the right to own land. At page 38, the report states -
The social institution which affects the organisation of production most profoundly is land tenure. The indigenes own 97 per cent, of the land. About one per cent, is under the control of Europeans either as freehold land or as leasehold from the Administration. The balance of 2 per cent, is owned and continues to be held by the Administration.
Honorable senators will understand how difficult it is to establish a reasonable system of land development in an area where the indigenes own 97 per cent, of the land, mainly through a system of inheritance which includes rights of all the relations, amongst whom may be those who do nothing to contribute to production from the land but who have an interest in the income gained from the land. The report continues -
With few exceptions, native land is owned communally, but individuals can establish use rights for hunting, food gathering and gardening. Inheritance of use rights is complex. This tenure pattern, evolved by custom, and protected originally by tribal war and now by orderly administration,- may have fitted traditional subsistence production but it does not meet the requirements of an emerging commercial agriculture.
As I saw the situation while visiting Papua and New Guinea and as I see it tonight, land tenure is one of the great problems in the development of the Territory. I compliment the Administration of Papua and New Guinea on having dedicated civil servants as land commissioners who are doing their best to sort out the problems of land ownership so that land can be transferred in the interests of the natives to those who can place it in production.
I have referred to the problems described in the report of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. I am not of the pessimistic belief of Senator Cormack that the job is too big. Costs will rise, but as they rise, in my opinion, so will the fruits of production rise. Tremendous problems lie ahead and dedicated men will endeavour to solve them. This Parliament should stand behind those dedicated men’. I commend the Government for increasing the allotment this year by £3 million for the development of Papua and New Guinea. I do not agree with the rather unkind remark of Senator Dittmer that we are spending money on defence in Papua and New Guinea, not to help the natives, but solely to help ourselves. I believe that all money spent in Papua and New Guinea will assist in the development of the area and will help the indigenes. 1 am very glad that about £5 million or £6 million is being spent on defence in that area because nothing tells so much against production and development as uncertainty. The Government’s attitude towards defending this area more adequately than was done in the past is much appreciated in the Territory. I support the motion that the Senate take note of the Report.
Senator MCCLELLAND (New South Wales) [9.1 lj. - The Senate is discussing a very important document, namely, the Report of the Mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the Economic Development of Papua and New Guinea. This Report was organised by the International Bank at the request of the Australian Government. As set out in the preamble to the Report, the Mission consisted of 10 members from 6 countries. It spent some three months in the Territory between early June and early September 1963. Thereafter it took nearly 9 months to consider, compile and present its Report, which consists of some 432 pages. Naturally, in the time available, it has been impossible for me, as I suppose it has been for every honorable senator, to read in full the Report, which was presented to the Australian Government in June 1964.
Certain officers of the Mission came to Australia in July 1964 to discuss the Report with the Australian Government and it was not until May this year, some 11 months afterwards, that the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) presented the document to the Australian Parliament. The Minister and his Department having had some 1.1 months in which to study and analyse the Report, I am frankly disappointed that the Minister has not been able to indicate more clearly than he has done in his statement which parts of the Report are to be the subject of definite implementation. As I have said, the Report consists of 432 pages of facts, figures and opinions. The speech delivered by the Minister, when presenting the Report in another place on 5th May 1965 occupied a mere 2i pages of “Hansard”. In his presenta tion the Minister used one or two meaningless or, to say the least, ambiguous phrases as to whether or not a section of the Report would be implemented, whether or not it was worthy of consideration and whether or not it would be rejected. For instance, at page 1143 of “Hansard” the Minister is reported to have said -
The Mission has recommended a 5 year development programme which places major emphasis on stimulating the productive potential of the Territory. . .
In relation to this aspect, the Minister had this to say -
The Government endorses these objectives which are vital if the movement of the Territory’s 2 million people towards self government is to be paralleled by steady progress towards economic self dependence.
The Minister’s expression was: “The Government endorses these objectives. . .” Honorable senators will note that he carefully avoided using such expressions as “ Accepts “ or “ will implement the proposal “.
Let me quote another passage. The Minister said -
Increases in production under the Mission’s programmes are to be achieved partly by investment from overseas and by expatriate settlers and partly by Papuan and New Guinea farmers.
In relation to this recommendation in the Report, the Minister said -
Numerous proposals and suggestions have been put forward by the Mission for the development of manufacturing industry, tourism, mining, power supplies, transport and communications. These are accepted by the Government as valuable guides for policy and action.
Again, there was no definite statement by the Minister that the Mission’s recommendations on manufacturing industry, tourism, mining, power supplies, transport and communications would definitely become the subject of Ministerial and Government action.
Something was said by the Mission in regard to education. The Minister, in his statement of 5th May, pointed out that much had been done since 1945 to accelerate education throughout the Territory. He said that, according to estimates, some 2,000 more officers would be needed from outside the Territory, including about 500 qualified agricultural, livestock and forestry officers, and 500 teachers in Administration secondary schools. In a quite ambiguous statement, the Minister has not said what is to be done by this Government or by the Administration to obtain the services of these people.
Almost in his final paragraph, the Minister said -
The Government places a high value on this Report of the Mission from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The Report has been the subject of close and serious attention by the Government, and it will provide a constant reference in the Government’s consideration of economic policies in the Territory.
As I have said, the Minister and the Government had this Report available to them for some 11 months prior to its presentation to the Parliament. Into the Ministerial statement one can still read the Government’s attitude and the Minister’s attitude of uncertainty and hesitancy about what to do for the future of Papua and New Guinea. Surely the Minister could have been more definite and more adamant in his statement of Government policy on this very important Report by a Mission, the appointment of which was urged by the Australian Government itself.
To anyone who has been to Papua and New Guinea it is beyond dispute that a lot has been done to accelerate the economic, social and political development of the indigenous people. Indeed, one would expect something to have been achievd because this process has been going on for a period of 20-odd years. It was the Chifley Labour Government which established the AusIiaNew Guinea Administration Unit, known as Angau, which did so much in difficult times in a pioneering way to lay some of the foundations for what was to be achieved in the following years. Having read great slabs of the Report, I came to the conclusion that it was a typical banker’s document and that it intended to deal with the importance and the problems of money and investment rather than the problems of the lives of men.
Let us look at the people who comprised the mission. There was an economist and an agriculturist economist; there was an adviser on agricultural production, an adviser on education, an adivser on industry mining and power, an adviser on agriculture and livestock, an adviser on public health and an adviser on transport and communications. I believe that the gentlemen who comprised the Mission ma.de a close and detailed study of all the matters enumerated in the report, but one of the failings of the Mission was the lack of trade union representation or of an adviser on labour.
One of the great problems, if not the greatest problem, confronting the Australian Government and the Administration of Papua and New Guinea is to make the people believe that they - the ordinary men and women in the community, the indigenous people of the Territory - are getting a fair go, that they are not being exploited and that no person is taking advantage of another’s weakness to continue a form of exploitation. Let me be quite frank about this. When I was in New Guinea last year with a number of colleagues I came to the conclusion that certain district commissioners were doing excellent jobs. They were winning the confidence and respect of the people they were serving in their spheres of operations. I refer particularly to Mr. Tom Ellis, District Commissioner at Mount Hagen, who, I understand, has now been appointed a member of the Papuan House of Assembly, and to Mr. Orm Mathison, District Commissioner at Goroka. Only last week I was speaking to a friend of mine from New Guinea who told me that it was commonly claimed that it was a very shrewd move to appoint Mr. Ellis to the House of Assembly in Port Moresby because Mr. Ellis, having the confidence and respect of a great number of the indigenous people of the eastern highlands of New Guinea, could probably control, or certainly would be able to influence, the votes of six or seven members of the House of Assembly.
I pay tribute to the work of Mr. Ellis and Mr. Mathison and to the confidence that the indigenous people have in them. In their company we went to outlying places in New Guinea. We went to Wagi with Mr. Ellis and to Chimbu and Kundiawa with Mr. Mathison. It was obvious that men of this type were being of great assistance to the ordinary men and women of New Guinea. We went with them to many native ceremonials. We went to sing-sings and to bride prices. Certainly we were welcomed and treated with the utmost confidence and respect by the humble people of New Guinea.
Let me say quite frankly that in Port Moresby, and in Rabaul to a lesser extent, one could feel the envy and bitterness of some of the native people, and indeed an attitude of “ one day my turn will come “.
In these places, especially in Port Moresby, one could sense the great and obvious difference between the haves and the have nots. One has not to go far for evidence of this. Senator Cormack, who spoke earlier in this debate, was a member of the delegation to New Guinea. I respect his views on the Territory. Some four months after the delegation had returned, Senator Cormack wrote a letter to the editor of the “Sydney Morning Herald” about a mutiny among the native police at Port Moresby. That letter was published in the “Sydney Morning Herald “ of 6th July 1964. I shall not read the complete letter but shall refer to only one or two paragraphs to show that even from the honorable senator’s point of view there was differentiation and discrimination. He wrote -
Recently the constabulary have been changed from the Native Affairs officials’ control to newly recruited police officers from Australia in an attempt to set up a police force on a level appropriate to, say, that of New South Wales or Victoria as an example. During this period the Defence Department have been recruiting and training the Pacific Islands Regiment which has, in my knowledge, mutinied four times since 1944. Upon the last two occasions of mutiny in the Moresby area, the constabulary have been used to disarm and return the mutineers to their barracks, which are lavish in comparison with those of the constabulary. There is an enormous disparity between quarters, pay, rations and equipment of the two forces.
He went on to say -
The time is approaching with great speed when all Australians will have to take a long and hard look at Papua-New Guinea. It may be well to think over this mutiny for whereas it is understandable that a mutiny should occur in Port Moresby the significance lies in the fact that it broke out 24 hours later in Rabaul which is three to four hours flying time away. This is not a coincidence.
The Administration of the Territories does no service by seeking to convey the impression that new uniforms will solve the deep-seated neurosis that exists in Papua-New Guinea.
That letter was written in all sincerity by our friend Senator Cormack, a Government senator from Victoria. But that is only one portion of the evidence of the discrimination which exists and which is apparent to all keen observers who visit those areas.
There was the situation last year when the Government, or the Administration, decided to reduce the pay of new recruits to the Public Service of New Guinea on the stated ground that when independence did come to the Territory the economy would not be able to bear any added imposts. In other words, by Government action there were two rates of pay for employees of the Public Service of the Territory, one rate for those who had previously been in the service and another for those who were to enter in the near future or at some time in the future. This naturally has created bitterness, unfairness and a feeling of injustice.
If any further evidence is required, one need only look at one or two sections of the report. In the section dealing with manpower at page 276 of the report it is shown that whereas there is an adult male indegenous population of 600,000, only 80,000 of these people are in the work force of Papua and New Guinea. I shall quote several significant paragraphs from the report to indicate that dissatisfaction exists among the indegenous people of the Territory. At page 276 under the heading “ Manpower and Education “ the report states -
The employed labor force, totalling about 95,000 in 1963, reflects the level of economic development. The number of indigenes in reported employment at the end of March 1963 was 76,800 of whom 1,600 were women. If indigenes employed by other indigenes are added, the total of indigenes in employment was probably about 80,000. This was little more than 13 percent of the estimated adult male population of 600,000. Furthermore, growth in employment of indigenes has also been slow, especially if viewed against the increase in population.
Later on the same subject, the report states -
Data on the non-indigenous population in employment are available for two census years, 1954 … and 1961 . . . The industrial distribution of the non-indigenous groups is markedly different from the distribution of indigenous workers; only 8 per cent, are engaged in agriculture and forestry, while 36 per cent, are in the professions, business and community services, commerce and finance. Manufacturing accounts for only 6 per cent., mining for less than 2 per cent. Approximately 40 per cent, are employed by Government.
When you find that 40 per cent, of the non-indigenous are employed by the Government and last year the Government introduced an ordinance providing for persons entering the Public Service after a certain date new rates of pay lower than those existing previously, one can understand that bitterness, frustration and jealousy might exist. Another section of the report of the
Mission deals with the standard of living of these people. At page 279 the report states -
There are no price indices, so it is not possible to tell precisely how much rural cash wages have risen in real terms. From 1945 to 1956 the minimum cash wage was 15s. per calendar month: in May 1956 it was raised to £A1 5s. to enable the worker to buy as much with his money a;j he could do in 1945; in January 1961 the minimum wage was raised to its present level. On the basis of a broad comparison with price trends in major supplying countries, it is almost certain that the real value of the minimum cash wage is now greater than it was in 1945, but the difference is probably quite small
So there you have it. After a period of 20 years of economic development of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, in actual fact there has ;been very little improvement in the purchasing power of the indigenous people or in their living and working conditions and standard of pay. The report continues -
This comparison with 1945 would be of less significance if a high proportion of indigenous workers were paid more than the minimum wage, but in fact over 55 per cent, of workers receive the minimum. By far the greater part of wages is paid in kind, and although the cash wage is low, there is no over-all shortage of labour offering at this wage.
Why would there be any shortage of labour at this wage when there are 600,000 adult indigenous males in the community and only some 80,000 of them are in employment? While this sort of situation exists I was rather astonished to read a statement attributed to the Commissioner of Police for the Territory, Mr. R. R. Cole, M.C., as reported in the “South Pacific Post” of Monday, 16th August 1965, when he was officially opening the 15th annual congress of the Papua-New Guinea State Branch of the Returned Servicemen’s League in Lae. Mr. Cole is reported in this newspaper to have said -
The greatest danger to Papua and New Guinea was from the creation of discontent and dissatisfaction towards employers and Governments, subversive political approaches to weaken loyalties, fostering discontent among frustrated semieducated politicians).
Having regard to the conditions that exist for a great number of these people and their desire to improve standards for themselves, their families and their neighbours, the attitude of the Commissioner of Police savours of high handedness amounting to a form of arrogance and indicates a complete failure to appreciate that men are men; that they are entitled to a better way of life and to work and fight for it. The Commissioner of Police might have been playing to his audience. But this is all the more dangerous when one considers that on Anzac Day at Port Moresby in 1964 when I and a number of my colleagues were in New Guinea, some of the fuzzy-wuzzy angels, one of whom had been decorated with the Military Medal for gallantry in action, took part in the Anzac Day march but then were denied the hospitality of the club. Let us be frank and realise that men want to be recognised as men. They want to have a place in the community. They want to improve their standard of living and that of their wives, families and neighbours. When statements such as I have quoted are made by responsible people, the task is not made easier for any of us.
Let us consider the section of the Report of the Mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development dealing with health in Papua and New Guinea. I emphasise that this section of the report again indicates that the document tends to be a bankers’ report rather than a report dealing with the lives of men. At page 324 of the report we find this statement -
Despite an answer given to me in March 1964 by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes), the Mission came up with that rather astonishing statement. In March 1964 I asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories certain questions upon notice concerning the health standards of the people of New Guinea, the standard of training required of assistant medical officers in the Territory, and what estimate had been made of the total number of medical practitioners required in New Guinea to meet the needs of the inhabitants. I asked the Minister what the estimate was and when it was expected that the number of medical practitioners required would be obtained. I was told that at that time there were 1 19 medical practitioners in the service of the Administration, two in the armed
Services, 21 in the missions and nine in private practice. The Minister went on to say -
At present the number required would be approximately 400.
He continued -
Allowing for increases in population in the meantime it is estimated at present trends that this standard might be achieved by about 1983.
That is some 18 years from now.
Despite the fact that, according to the Mission’s own Report, 50 per cent, of all deaths reported occur in children under five years of age, that the life expectancy of people is between 30 and 40 years, that the crude birth rate is 40 to 50 per 1,000 and the crude death rate is 30 to 40 per 1,000, on page 342 the Report says - and, incidentally, the Government or the Minister seems to have taken a great deal of cognisance of this point -
The health services have now, by the standards of most undeveloped countries, been brought to an advanced level and, in the tight of the mission’s view that future Government spending should emphasise economic development rather than social services, the mission recommends that spending on health should grow much more slowly than in the past.
Finally, let me deal with a very important aspect as far as relations between Australia and Papua and New Guinea are concerned - that is, the one dealing with trade. It is obvious that trade with Papua and New Guinea is as vital to Australia as to any other trading nation in the world, because trade between nations means a natural tightening of the bonds of friendship of the peoples. But the February-March issue of the official journal of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales, which certainly could not be regarded in any circumstances as being a Labour Party organisation, points out that between 1958 and 1962 Australian trade with Papua and New Guinea increased by 22 per cent, while over the same period trade between that Territory and the United Kingdom increased by 57 per cent.; with Hong Kong, it increased by 95 per cent.; with Germany, it increased by 95 per cent.; with Japan, it increased by 90 per cent.; and with the United States of America trade increased by 28 per cent. So the increase of Australia’s trade with Papua and New Guinea, expressed as a percentage, is lower than that of the other five countries. The journal of the Chamber of Manufactures went on to say -
Publicity should be given throughout the Territory to the close political and economic ties that exist with a view to creating a “ Buy Australia “ image.
Exporters should closely examine the freight position with a view to negotiating better rates with the Australia/New Guinea conference.
The Territory should not be treated as an easy market so far as quality, fashion or personal representation are concerned. The technique of hard selling into a competitive market must be developed.
If all these factors are given due consideration, and positive action is taken, then the present deteriorating position could be arrested and Australian exporters should obtain at least a fair share of the Papua-New Guinea market.
Mr. Deputy President, 1 urge the Government to hasten expeditiously but nonetheless wisely in the economic and political development of Papua and New Guinea. I implore the Government to ensure that there are no signposts - I quote the words of Henry Lawson as I quoted them last year - which indicate: “ Wait here for second class “. It is time that this Government and all governments realised that, in the modern world, there can b£ no second class citizens of any class at all. I ask the Government to move on this report in the interests of man and not purely with an eye to money and investment. Give man encouragement and give him support. Give him just and reasonable conditions, just and reasonable wages and the feeling of co-operation. Give the people of the Territory confidence, hope and faith in the future. When such a policy is evolved and implemented, the Government will be on the way to fixing a target date for the rightful determination of the people of Papua and New Guinea.
– Mr. Deputy President, I rise to add a few words to the debate on this statement. First, I should like to mention some of the remarks passed by the previous speaker, Senator McClelland. He said to the Government: “ Get going and implement some of the recommendations laid down in the Report of the Mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.” He is speaking as a member of the Australian Labour Party. This is a serious matter, and I am sick of listening to’ some of the drivel which has come from the
Opposition side. In 1946-47 and, indeed up to 1949, the Labour Government was not expending an amount exceeding £2 million a year on Papua and New Guinea. Yet Senator McClelland gets up in this Senate and criticises this Government. He says: “ Pull up your socks, get going and implement “ - implement, mind you - “ the recommendations of this Mission.” What did the visiting Mission recommend, senator?
– Tell the Senate which part of the Report the Government is going to implement or recommend? Read the statement of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes).
– I have read the Minister’s statement.
– So have I.
– There is a great deal in that statement. I am going to tell the honorable senator something which may be of great value to him educationally. This Mission recommended to the Government that it should spend over the next five years - 1964-1969 - the amount of £50 million a year on the development of Papua and New Guinea. When this Mission visited Australia in 1963, the total Government expenditure in that year in Papua and New Guinea from all sources including income and money given by this Government was £37 million. This amount rose in 1964-65 to a total of £45 million. This financial year, Government expenditure alone is to be increased by £3 million.
I believe that the total amount expended on Papua and New Guinea this year will exceed the average amount recommended by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a period of five years. In the second year of the period, we are ahead of what the visiting Mission has laid clown regarding expenditure in these Territories. Senator Cant is shaking his head. I ask the honorable senator to prove that these statements are wrong. In the second year, since this Report has been laid on the table of the Senate, the expenditure by this Government in Papua and New Guinea will exceed the amount of the average that is recommended by the Mission for a period of five years.
– There are hidden subsidies also.
– Yes, there are hidden subsidies as mentioned by my colleague, Senator Cormack, exceeding some £5 million a year. These have not been mentioned. Honorable senators opposite are criticising the Government for riot implementing the recommendations of the visiting Mission, although they, or the Labour Government in 1949, would not spend more than £2 million a year on the development of this Territory. When we became the Government we had to start from scratch in the development of Papua and New Guinea, because at that time the people of the Territory could be said to be living right back in the stone age. We had to make a beginning, and we made it. Commonwealth expenditure on the Territory has risen from about £2 million a year in 1949 to almost £38 million a year, and I predict that the total expenditure this year, including taxes levied on the amount of income earned in the Territory, will exceed £50 million. To honorable senators opposite who are interjecting, I retort by saying that nobody started to develop the Territory until 1949, when Labour was ousted from office. From then on there has been progress. We are proud of the progress and development in Papua and New Guinea. 1 would like to give the Senate some figures relating to employment, population and production in the Territory. They are very interesting, and do not relate to the years when a Labour Government was in office. In the period from 1954 to 1964 the population of the Territory increased from 1.7 million to 2.1 million. There was an increase of 24 per cent, in those 10 years. In the Public Service, the employment of indigenous people - for this we were criticised at some length by Senator McClelland - increased, in the five years from 1960 to 1965, from 340 to over 4,000. That is more than an elevenfold increase. That is something to be proud of and, as a Government, we do not mind voicing our approval of what has been done in this regard. The number of expatriate employees in the Public Service rose from 3,620 in 1960 to 5,300 in 1964 - an increase of 46 per cent. So we can say that there has been a rapid expansion of the Public Service of the Territory.
Looking at production figures for the years from 1954 to 1964. we find that copra production in 1954 was 74,300 tons and that in 1964 it reached 112,000 tons. There was an increase of 50 per cent, over 10 years. In 1954 the production of coffee was 700 tons and in 1964 it reached 6,700 tons - almost a tenfold increase. Cocoa production was 680 tons in 1954 and 15,400 tons in 1964. Production in that field increased by 22i times. Production of rubber has gone up from 3,050 tons to 4,960 tons over the same period - an increase of 63 per cent. In the same 10 year period vehicular road miles have risen from 3,860 to 7,600, an increase of 97 per cent. I understand that at 30th June 1955 there were only 140 aerodromes, but in 1960 the number had increased to about 300 - an increase of 160 or more. The value of agricultural products has increased from £9 million in 1954 to £15 million in 1964. Timber production has increased in value from £182,000 to £1.73 million. The value of total production has gone from £11.22 million to £18.3 million. There has been an increase of 63 per cent, in the last 10 years, so we can see the rate of development of the Territory.
I would like to remind the Senate that it was at the request of the Commonwealth Government that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development made a report on what it thought would be the best ways of developing the Territory over a period. The Bank sent out a Mission consisting of ten highly qualified people. Among them were an economist, an agricultural economist, an adviser on agricultural production and advisers on education, industry, mining and power. There were also advisers on agriculture and livestock, on public health and on transport and communications. So the members of the Mission made a pretty full book. They spent three or four months in the Territory, examining all the details and obtaining information. They then made a report to the Bank, which subsequently had the document printed and made available to honorable senators. The Mission, realising that total expenditure in the Territory in 1963, when it made its report, was in the vicinity of £37 million a year, said it believed that the Commonwealth should raise expenditure in the Territory to about £50 million a year over a period of five years. As I have said, I think this target will be more than achieved. In fact, it is being exceeded in the second year. So, Madam Deputy President, we find that, in its desire to develop the Territory, the Government is spending large amounts of money.
This afternoon Senator Cormack said that we, the Australian people, who must mainly find the money, should be concerned at the escalation of expenditure on the development of this Territory. The visiting Mission believed that only about 27 per cent, of the total moneys required over the next five years could be provided by the Territory itself. So it is obvious that the balance must come from the Commonwealth. I go along with what Senator Cormack said about the escalation of expenditure. Under the present Government, during at least the last eight years expenditure has increased, on an average, from £3 million to £4 million a year. I have not examined the present Budget in this respect, but the previous Budget provided for an increase of over £3 million in expenditure on the Territory. I believe a similar increase will be found in the present Budget. It is our reponsibility, and that of the Australian people, to endeavour to raise the standard of living of the people of the Territory. We are increasing expenditure by Australia in the Territory but I think we are now rapidly approaching the stage where an increased amount of revenue can be earned in the Territory for expenditure on its own development.
I for one would say that in the foreseeable future we can rapidly reach the stage where, instead of increasing the Commonwealth’s revenues to supplement the development of the Territories because they cannot earn enough themselves, Territory revenues will increase. I say that because of the terrific potential of the areas concerned. I believe that when we can teach the people who are living in these Territories better methods of farming, agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining, which has been recommended by the Mission, they will rapidly reach the stage where they will be able to provide the whole of the financial requirements for the further development of the Territories. When they can do this, which I believe will be in the foreseeable future, they will be in a position to look after themselves, as far as administration and government are concerned.
We, as an Australian nation of fewer than 12 million people, can be proud of our achievements in developing an area of the size of Papua and New Guinea with a population of more than 2 million indigenes. The people have come from stone age conditions, in which they lived prior to 1940, to the state of civilisation that exists in the Territory today. The Mission said that this development would not be achieved in a few years or in one generation. It would be the work of quite a few generations. But we have definitely started on the road. I think that the Australian taxpayers can be proud of the results we have achieved since the last World War.
When I was in Papua and New Guinea two years ago I was indeed impressed by the amount of work that had been carried out to improve the educational facilities, the agricultural potential and the health services. We must all realise that we cannot attain the goal that we desire in a matter of a few years. We are starting from scratch. Senator McClelland mentioned the health aspect. He pointed out that the infant mortality rate was more than 50 per thousand births. When I was in the Highlands I visited a hospital near Goroka. The staff of this hospital consisted of one doctor, two white sisters and many indigenes. It was catering for a population in excess of 150.000 people. When I went through the hospital I was horrified at the condition of some of the patients. There were women who were suffering from malnutrition and who were trying to look after babies. They had been brought in to the hospital from farms or villages because they were suffering from malnutrition. They would have died otherwise. The hospital had sufficient beds for 300 or 400 patients. There was only one doctor and one dentist in the district, but this was better than the previous position. No doubt we will go on from there.
I believe that the infant mortality rate in the outback areas is in excess of 100 per thousand births. It is only in a town like Port Moresby that the rate is less than 40 per thousand births. As I mentioned, this improvement is still going on in the outback areas. These people have to be brought under the Administration. Two years ago there were 500,000 people living in the area who had not been contacted by the Administration. They have to be brought into contact with the Administration before they can be given the necessary health services. At least, we have started to do something in this direction. We have gone a long way since the end of the last World War. I would say that we have now reached a stage of development that has probably broken all records for development of this kind.
Senator McClelland spoke about the continued widespread occurrence of disease. I would like to refer to page 325 of the report, which is the page referred to by Senator McClelland. This appears -
Despite the continued widespread occurrence o£ disease, there have been significant advances in public health since World War II. With the spread of health services and education there is developing in the native people a growing confidence in the power of scientific medicine to deal with conditions which were formerly treated, if at all. by traditional means such as benign sorcery. Yaws, which in many areas affected large numbers of children in the immediate postwar years, has been almost eradicated. The prevalence of tropical ulcer has been greatly reduced by aid posts and other facilities which provide prompt first aid for cuts and wounds and other gross skin diseases have greatly diminished; 550,000 people live in areas protected against malaria; the infant mortality rate has been reduced in some areas and a systematic attempt to improve rural water supplies has commenced.
A general conclusion is difficult to formulate because of the extreme variations between different parts of the Territory. It can be said, however, that the state of the public health, which was very poor in 1945, has improved to the point where it is neither markedly worse nor markedly better than in- most developing countries.
We see that the health aspect has been taken care of.
There has been a significant fight against malaria. When I was in the Highlands I saw a school at which the indigenes were trained in the ways and means of combating malaria. When these pupils were trained they were expected to go out into the outback areas of Papua and New Guinea and endeavour to reduce to a minimum the incidence of malaria. They believed they would be able to do this. We are taking great strides as far as health is concerned.
The Government may be criticised by the Opposition for not acting precisely on the lines of some of the recommendations of the visiting Mission, but it is spending quite a lot of money in the Territory. In the House of Representatives on 5th May last, the Minister for Territories said -
The Mission was asked to make a general review of the economic potentialities of Papua and New Guinea and to make recommendations to assist the Government in preparing a development programme designed to promote economic growth and raise standards of living.
The Government has accepted some of the recommendations. The Minister continued -
The Government has accepted the Mission’s strong recommendation that developmental credit should be made readily available in the Territory to encourage rapid expansion of private enterprise and in particular to finance small scale native agriculturalists. The requirements in particular fields are being, examined and specific proposals for a development credit organisation suited to Territory conditions will be drawn up for the Government’s consideration.
The Minister said that he placed a very high value on the report of the Mission and that from year to year the Government would give it the utmost consideration.
He did not say that the Government would implement every idea that was put forward by the Mission. We could not expect it to do so. We must remember that this Mission, which was sent out at the request of this Government, spent three months in the area. Surely our own advisers make some recommendations which are not on the same lines as those of the visiting Mission. We must realise that the Government - the Parliament, if you like - has other advisers. Even though the recommendations made by the Mission were made honestly, they may not necessarily be what is required for this area. Of course, in many instances they were sound. As I indicated earlier, the Minister for Territories said that the Government had adopted some of the recommendations but not all of them. I suggest that it would be quite difficult for any person to leave his own country to visit another area and to make a complete set of correct recommendations for what should be done to develop that area. Such recommendations can be made only in the broad. The Mission which visited Papua and New Guinea said to the Government, in effect: “ We expect you to spend an average annual sum of £50 million over the next five years “. I conclude by repeating that in this, the second of the five years referred to in the report, the total expenditure on the Territory will exceed the amount recommended by the Mission.
– Having listened to Senator Scott, I am more certain than ever in my own mind that the Government has taken up a defensive position in relation to the development of Papua and New Guinea. Indeed, it has been too complacent about the development of the Territory and about the report of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. W.hen a senator from this side of the chamber makes a contribution that is based on the report of the International Bank, it is just not good enough for his comments to be rejected out of hand. Senator McClelland referred to the report of the Bank and pointed out that wage standards in the Territory were very low. What disgrace is there in an honorable senator rising in this chamber and arguing about the realities of the situation in Papua and New Guinea? We ought to be prepared to face up to the situation.
We all realise that some progress has been made in the Territory, but overall the situation in relation to the economy, labour conditions and political rights is not satisfactory. I have been asked by Senator McClelland to remind the Senate of what he said. I should like to repeat the passage that he quoted from the report of the International Bank in relation to the economic development of the Territory. The following passage, which must be accepted as being authoritative, was quoted by the honorable senator -
There are no price indices, so it is not possible to tell precisely how much rural cash wages have risen in real terms. From 1945 to 1956 the minimum cash wage was 15s. per calendar month; in May 1956 it was raised to £A1 5s. to enable the worker to buy as much with his money as he could do in 1945; in January 1961 the minimum wage was raised to its present level.
The Mission has pointed out something of which we all are aware. Of course, the Opposition has not been the only group in the community - we accept this - to complain about the lack of progress in the Territory. Over the years the Opposition has urged, for example, the adoption of the Foot report in relation to the extension of labour regulations to Papua and
New Guinea and acceptance of the need for the Labour movement to enter the Territory to establish facilities for organising the approach to such problems. We supported the sending of a tripartite industrial committee to this area many years ago, and we have argued that a similar committee should again be sent there.
Reference has been made to the discrimination that has obtained in the Territory. When I was present at the Anzac Day celebrations up there in 1963 I noted that there was discrimination against indigenous ex-servicemen, but at the direction of the Returned Servicemen’s League that discrimination has been relaxed within the ex-servicemen’s organisations.
We in Australia should be very much aware of the position in which we are placed. If we were situated elsewhere in the world and had as a neighbour a newly emerging nation, we would, in accordance with current international standards, accept the obligation of assisting that nation to improve its economic and social conditions. It is very much more important for us to accept the responsibility that devolves upon
Us in respect of Papua and New Guinea, which we have administered ever since the clays of the League of Nations. Honorable senators will recall that it was the late William Morris Hughes who fought to have the mandate over this Territory given to Australia.
It is futile for the Government to argue that it has done a great deal more for this area than have Labour Governments. When the Labour Party was in office during the last war it was not able to perform the task which international pressure in recent years has forced this Government to undertake. If we do not assist newly emerging nations, they will become not only a challenge to us but a real test of the value of parliamentary democracy. So we make no apologies for what we have to say about Papua and New Guinea. It is quite wrong to enter upon a debate of this kind in order to keep the pot boiling. The report of the International Bank is worthy of a great deal of consideration. We should have had the benefit of comments from the various Ministers and of an examination by them of the various recommendations that are before us.
We acknowledge that progress has been achieved in the Territory, but we argue that the rate of progress ought to be accelerated. We are very much concerned at the fact that the report of the International Bank has been dismissed in the way in which it has been dismissed by honorable senators opposite. We were all hopeful that the results of the survey conducted would be beneficial to Australia and the Territory. The expert advice offered in the report may enable the Government to establish in the Territory economic conditions which will raise the standards of living and possibly hasten the arrival of self government. This advice is the best offering to the Australian Government or to the Administration at the present time. There is no doubt that it is good advice. I do not’ agree with the emphasis some honorable senators - even my colleagues - have placed on the report. I am sure that they have been influenced by economic and financial considerations.
I agree with Senator McClelland that the report is an important document which requires careful study. I am concerned that the statement made by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) last May, after the report was made available late last year, is nothing more than a precis of the Press release issued by the World Bank last year in New York. The Minister does no more than briefly refer to the recommendations made by the World Bank for the development of the economy of the Territory and states that they will be considered by the Government. The Minister uses fine words but in my view is not sufficiently positive. At page 575 of the “ Hansard “ report of 5th May, the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) is reported as having said -
The Government’s acceptance of the Mission’s programmes for increased production in the Territory as a working basis for planning does not mean that the Government is committing itself to a series of cut and dried programmes or that it necessarily accepts all the Mission’s views. Moreover, there will be no question of imposing decisions on the Territory without regard to the views of the people’s elected representatives, . . .
That the Government should have properly considered the report, I believe, is the central point of this debate. Before the Senate was asked to debate the report, honorable senators should have been informed of the opinions that have been tendered or are being tendered to the Government. We should have had the advantage of the opinions of the legislature of the Territory.
Unfortunately, time does not permit me to deal with some of the important recommendations contained in the report. The report urges that a planning organisation should be set up. Improvement is needed in the method of planning by the Administration. Consideration must be given to a proper economic survey and to departmental co-ordination. The Minister does not refer to this point of view in detail, but says only that the Government will consider the recommendations. He does not say that it is a good idea or that the Administration will bc consulted.
The report also suggests the establishment of a development finance company and again the Minister does not deal with the suggestion in a positive way. The only two matters with which the Minister deals positively are the propositions relating to education and production. The report recommends group development of productivity. In respect to the other very important matters contained in the report there is no reference other than to state that the Government will consider them.
I suggest that the report is in the form expected by honorable senators. It is a technical report which proposes remedies which could be employed. It not only encompasses the financial and economic fields, but also deals with aspects of policy which the Labour Party has urged upon the Government for many years. One aspect is a study of the economy with provision for alterations.
Reference to tourism is also contained in the report. It is suggested that tourism should be developed and encouraged. I believe this to be true. I have asked questions - as other senators have done - about the advancement of tourism in New Guinea. I have always had the impression that the Government is complacent towards tourism. It is not regarded by the Administration and by the Minister and his Department as a lively issue, nor as a strong economic weapon. Tourist agencies in the States do not offer much publicity about Papua and New Guinea. It is difficult to find a tourist agency which advocates the encouragement of tourism in Papua and New Guinea. Publicity could aid tourism and help to win revenue.
Senator McClelland referred to trade and the attitude of the New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures. I asked a question about this matter but received an evasive reply, lt is still argued that Australia is not getting her fair share of the trade available with the Territory which we are administering. Visitors to New Guinea have noticed cars from many countries in greater numbers than cars manufactured in Australia. It is surprising to note how many motor vehicles in use in New Guinea are manufactured outside Australia although the best available vehicles are manufactured here.
I have mentioned some of the things which justify the Opposition in believing that we are taking the situation too quietly. We are resting on the prestige we have established in Papua and New Guinea. It is of no use Senator Scott’s saying that the Labour Government did not do very much in Papua and New Guinea. It is true that the prestige we have established in Papua and New Guinea was largely won during the period that Labour was in office. It was won because of our military prowess and not because of our political performances in recent years.
The Opposition is concerned that documentation should bc available from the Department after an examination of the recommendations in the report. I suggest that the Government should commence a proper consideration of the report jointly with the Administration and the legislature of the Territory so that the points of view expressed in the report may properly be evaluated. In my opinion, most of them are very valuable. Not only has a survey been made, but many statistics have been made available. The report of the Mission recommends expenditure not of the amount referred to by Senator Scott, but of about £50 million in each of the next five years. This is about a third more than the expenditure during 1963-64. It is not simply a matter of a cash payment. Regard must be had for general political considerations. The Labour Party accepts the fact that, in the Territory today, a great many dedicated people are aiming at its development so that it may be handed over to an educated and experienced native population as soon as possible. However, it seems that there are many people in the Australian community who are becoming complacent about the issue. This situation must be changed. The problem must be regarded as urgent and an opportunity must be given to Parliament to evaluate the report.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 August 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1965/19650824_senate_25_s29/>.