25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuilin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. May I say that today I received from the Clerk of the Emerald Shire Council a letter in which he mentioned a curtailment of air services to central and western Queensland. Although those affected may not be howling, they are howling mad al the attitude of the Government-
– Order! The honorable senator is giving too much detail. He must ask his question.
– That is part of the question, Mr. President. Does the Minister know that last week Queensland Airlines Pty. Ltd. commenced an altered service which precludes the transport of goods or passengers from Rockhampton to Emerald and other ports west? Does the Minister consider that the action taken by Queensland Airlines Pty. Ltd., as outlined by the Emerald Shire Council, is reprehensible and is a retrograde step? Has the Government reduced the subsidy that is payable to this particular airline? Will the Minister take the necessary steps to see that the previous services are restored to serve the worthy people of the central west and the west of Queensland and, if possible, have those services improved? This is one of the best cattle raising and grain growing areas in Queensland, and with justifiable help from the Government it could be made much better.
– Insofar as the question seeks information, 1 shall refer it to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I should like to dissociate myself from some of the comments made by the honorable senator. I suggest that it would be much better to get the facts and then to make a judgment.
– Does the Minister for Housing agree with the statement made yesterday by the South Australian Premier that there should be what he describes as a complete tightening up in relation to the sale of houses to migrants before they settle in Australia? If the Minister does agree with the statement, can she state ways in which this tightening up might be done? If not, can she inform the Senate about the housing information which is being given in London to intending migrants?
– I have not seen a copy of the statement that has been referred to by the honorable senator. However, I have been informed about the matters mentioned in it. I have been advised that some migrants who have intended to go to South Australia have been given misleading information by some private firms in London about the cost of houses in Australia and the availability of housing finance. I have been assured that every effort is made by officers at Australia House and by the office of the South Australian Housing Trust in London to give realistic information about the price of homes and, what might prove to be more important, the cost of bridging finance. I have been informed that families get into difficulties because the amount of interest they have to pay on bridging finance is more than they can afford. Moreover, when they are offered a loan by a lending institution, this frequently is insufficient to redeem the bridging finance without the assistance of a second mortgage loan at a high rate of interest. This, I believe, is another cause for concern.
Neither the Commonwealth nor a State may control the activities of private persons and firms operating outside the Commonwealth. I think that all we can do - and we should do it - is to advise as many intending migrants as possible to obtain information from official sources about the availability of housing loans and interest charges before they enter into a contract in their country of departure to buy a home in Australia.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Housing also. It refers to the recent request from the Housing Industry Association to the Prime Minister that the Government undertake a 10-year forecast of housing requirements and a research programme. The Prime Minister replied by rejecting the request and stated that home building was overwhelmingly the function of private enterprise. I ask the Minister whether her statements to the Senate on 30th August were representative of the Government’s view or her own personal opinion when she said -
The Government regards the availability of sufficient homes of an adequate standard, where and when they are needed, as being a basic requirement for Australia’s development. and added - all this highlights the need for adequate investigation and reporting facilities . . . We intend to develop improved facilities.
Will the Minister kindly explain to the Senate what appears to be a conflict of Government views on this subject?
– I can assure the honorable senator that there is no conflict of Government views on the matter of housing. This Government has always been very conscious of the importance of homes in the community and, indeed, of the importance of housing generally. I have seen in the newspapers the statements to which the honorable senator refers. The honorable senator asked, I think, about my remarks on the importance of homes and whether they expressed my view. I confirm my remarks about the importance of housing to the community. I would tell the Senate also that I think it is a good thing to be reminded of the fact that approximately half the existing homes in Australia today have been built since the present coalition Government came into office in December 1949. I think that this is very good. For the past five years, one new dwelling has been built in Australia for every increase of two persons in our population. This fact also shows the importance of housing in our community.
The last part of the honorable senator’s question referred to the establishment of research facilities. I would inform the Senate that my Department is establishing a statistical research section which will be charged with the responsibility of obtaining the most up to date information that it can concerning the need for more homes, the level of home building and the availability of housing finance. This new section will tabulate this information for the main regions of each State. In addition, a great deal of valuable, factual information will be gained from the 1966 census. It is our intention that this information will be published as soon as it becomes available. We hope to provide to those interested in housing up to date infor mation on what has happened in the immediate past.
I say again, Sir, that it will be for the home building industry and others to use this information which will be available to them to decide likely future trends for themselves. We will be happy to inform the home building industry of the climate in which we expect the industry to operate for some months ahead. But we feel that it is for private enterprise to arrive at its own conclusions as to when, where and to what extent the demand will materialise.
– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army. Is it correct to say that not one youth has been or can be unwillingly sent to Vietnam in as much as he can choose to join the Citizen Military Forces at any stage? If this is so, does it not refute completely the conscription issue levelled at this Government?
– The position is this: Our young men today who are eligible for call up have the opportunity to join the C.M.F. Until fairly recently, this opportunity did not exist in the country. It does exist now because extra units have been raised. If young men intend going into the C.M.F. and they are liable to be called up, they must decide to enlist in the C.M.F. before the ballot is due. It could well be said that a young man who has not decided to join the C.M.F. and subsequently is called up could be classified in those circumstances as being sent to Vietnam unwillingly. If there are some youths in this category, I would think that they would be very few.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. Will the Minister make an immediate investigation into allegations contained in the Sydney “ Daily Mirror “ attributed to the Port of London Health Authority, that 315 cases of contaminated kangaroo meat were amongst meat exports to the United Kingdom in the past 12 months? If these allegations are confirmed, will the Minister consider action to ban the export of such kangaroo meat which is a constant source of discredit to our meat export trade generally?
– In reply to the last part of the question, I do not agree that the export of kangaroo meat has brought discredit to Australia’s exports at all. I understand that there have been cases that fall into the category mentioned in the first part of the honorable senator’s question. I shall refer that part of the honorable senator’s question to the Minister for Primary Industry for an answer.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. As a matter of public interest and because senators, members of another place and the Australian public should be fully informed on what the Australian public thinks about our commitments in Vietnam, will the Minister obtain copies of the recent surveys made by Dr. Patterson and Mr. George Gray regarding government policy in respect of national service training and troops in Vietnam? When he obtains these copies, will he announce them to the Senate so that they can be incorporated in “ Hansard “, as a guide to Australians as to how they should make up their minds on this issue?
– Read it in the “ Telegraph “. You gave it to the newspaper.
– There seems to be a bit of disturbance from the other side of the chamber about this very simple question. I do not think there are any facilities open to me by which I can obtain from the two Labour members in question the papers to which the honorable senator has referred and which the members have in their own possession as a result of their own surveys on this matter. Indeed, I think it highly likely that I would be completely refused the chance to look at them at all, if the report in the “ Telegraph “ of the contents of the papers is correct, the report being that the two Labour members have found that the vast majority of Australians support the Government and its Vietnam policy. The Australian public will soon have the chance to cast its vote on this matter. I personally would prefer to rely on the positive policy of the Government rather than on the surveys which a couple of mem bers of the Labour Party have made on this matter.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services. Some weeks ago I requested the Minister for Social Services to investigate problems affecting young people, with particular reference to the rise in the number of illegitimate births of teenage mothers, the increased incidence of venereal disease and the anti-social behaviour of teenage groups. Can the Minister inform me whether any reply has been received? If not, in view of the urgency of the situation, will the Minister again confer with her colleague in order to try to find a solution to this very urgent problem?
– I will be pleased to make further representations to the Minister for Social Services.
Senator SCOTT__ I wish to direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. In view of the fact that Australian employment is running at almost record levels and in view of the fact that farmers are now rapidly approaching harvest operations, and some States are forecasting records, could the Minister advise me what steps are being taken to fill the urgent and vital need for additional labour for farm operations?
– I can find out the answer to the question of the honorable senator. Of course, the normal facilities provided by the Department of Labour and National Service will be available. Unlike the previous Labour Government, we do not have the power to direct labour, but all that can be done to assist in this field will be done.
– Has the Minister representing the Postmaster-General seen reports of a statement made at the weekend by the President of the Australian Association of Advertising Agencies, Mr.
– I really believe that the honorable senator is drawing the long bow in suggesting that certain action against the Australian Broadcasting Commission is being taken by the commercial television organisations. However, if any information on, the statement that has been made is available from the PostmasterGeneral, I will endeavour to obtain it.
– My question is directed to the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research, ls there any lack of interest on the part of the Commonwealth Government in making available to Western Australian country schools assistance under the Commonwealth scheme for the provision of science teaching facilities in secondary schools? Is there any discrimination between city schools and country schools in the allocation of such grants to the States? Whose responsibility is it, at a State level, to determine which school and which area shall receive the benefit of the Commonwealth grant?
– The answer to the first part of the question is that there is no lack of interest on the part of the Commonwealth Government in the provision of science teaching facilities at schools in country areas. In fact, my recollection of the position in the State from which the honorable senator comes is that approximately, but slightly less than, one-third of the total of 66 schools that have been assisted are in country areas. There is no discrimination in the way of country versus city. The grants are made on the criteria of the number of science periods at a given school, the existing facilities at a given school and all sorts of matters of that kind.
The ultimate responsibility for the making of a grant is with the Commonwealth Government. But in respect of each State we receive advice, from which we very rarely depart, from State advisory committees, two of which are appointed in each State - one to advise on priorities in Roman Catholic schools and the other to advise on priorities in schools other than Roman Catholic schools. We believe that the people on the spot are more qualified than the central Government in Canberra to offer advice on priorities among these schools.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that the Soviet Embassy protested to the Australian Government over the calling up for national service of unnaturalised citizens of the Soviet Union who are resident in this country? Can the Minister assure me that every country that has nationals in Australia will be treated in the same manner? Has the Government ever given consideration to putting a limit on the time an alien can stay in this country, so that he would have to decide whether he wanted to be an Australian or to return to his own country? In other words, do we intend to let migrants have the best of two worlds?
– The answer to the first part of the question is that I understand that the suggestion is correct. 1 have not direct confirmation of this, but I saw in a newspaper this morning a report that in fact this had happened and I have no reason to doubt it.
The answer to the second part of the question is that all people of the relevant age who come to Australia and who have the intention to make their homes here will be liable to the same requirements as are all other people, including Australians. I would like to qualify that by saying that there is one small area of which 1 am not sure, in the case of two or three countries which have a treaty dating back to British times, but this is just a minor qualification.
In regard to the third part of the honorable senator’s question, I think that this is a matter which impinges quite a bit on immigration policy and since it is, I think, a question of some moment, I suggest that the honorable senator might discuss it with the Minister himself or, if he so wishes - just as he prefers - he put that part of the question on the notice paper.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General elaborate in regard to the 4 per cent, of television films imported from countries other than the United States and the United Kingdom, as outlined in the current report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board? What nations are embraced in this grouping?
– I am not in a position to give the figures for which the honorable senator asks. I suggest that the honorable senator put the question on the notice paper, or raise it when we are dealing with the estimates for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, when I would hope to have the information available.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General been drawn to recent statements that the Australian Broadcasting Commission is endeavouring to compete with commercial television stations in an endeavour to obtain a wider viewing audience? If so, can the Minister explain why a film sequence showing the questioning of a Vietcong prisoner was cut from a Channel 2 news film while the same film without cut was shown on commercial television station Channel 7? Will the Minister ascertain what the reason was for the Ct.1 t? Was it for reasons of length or was Political influence brought to bear on the A.’S/Q. which indicated in the clearest terms that the Government objected to such a scene being shown?
– In view of the fact that the honorable senator has the original facts. at his disposal, I should have thought “That he” “would have the answer which also appeared in the Press - I think it was in the statement by Dr. Darling himself - in which it was made perfectly clear that any curtailment of any programme was made, not because of political censorship, but merely for the convenience of the station, in terms of time in relation to programming. With great respect to the honorable senator, I would doubt very much, the purpose of his question. He is trying to make a point in relation to political censorship, which is quite contrary to the conduct of the Australian. Broadcasting Commission or, indeed, of any other agency in terms of public pronouncements.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. In view of the approach of the Christmas season, will the Minister consider the introduction of special concession rates of postage for Christmas parcels and other such mail sent to the troops in Vietnam? Because of the many delays in the delivery of mail to these troops, will the Minister guarantee that all such mail will be delivered in a minimum time and at least in time for Christmas?
– I firmly believe that I can say on behalf of the PostmasterGeneral that every effort will be made to ensure the expeditious handling of mail for Australian troops during the Christmas period. However, I ask the honorable senator to put the question on notice so that she may receive a considered reply.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Does the Minister know that a Labour senator is reported to have told a meeting at the Monash University yesterday that Australia should cease to align itself with the Western powers but should build up its own defences and take a neutral stand?
– Name him.
– It was in the Press. It was Senator Wheeldon, addressing a meeting at the Monash University. Is this senator one of the 36 men who control the Australian Labour Party? If he is, can we assume that his statement means this is the policy of the Labour Party for the forthcoming Federal elections? Is Australia in a position to defend itself at all times without help from its Western allies?
– 1 have not seen the report to which the honorable senator has referred.
– I rise to a point of order. You have ruled previously, Mr. President, that any question asked in this place must be related to a matter that comes within the responsibility of the Minister to whom the question is addressed. Is this matter within the responsibility of the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs?
– Order! The question relates to a matter of national importance which comes within the responsibility of the Minister.
– I have not seen the report of Senator Wheeldon’s alleged remarks at the Monash University, nor am 1 quite clear about what position he holds in the outside body which controls Labour Party policy. I am not quite clear either what Labour Party policy is or is going to be at the next election. But I am quite clear that Australia is not able to defend itself without its Western allies.
– I rise to a point of order. I direct attention to the Standing Order which provides that questions - and, I take it, replies as well - shall not contain inferences, ironical expressions or personal opinions. I suggest that the Minister in his reply contravened all these provisions.
– On the point of order, Mr. President, might I make the comment that I had no desire to be ironical; I was simply completely bemused by what Labour policy might or might not be.
– Order! The Minister is entitled to reply to a question in his own way. I have no control over what he might say in reply to a question.
– May I ask you a question, Mr. President?
– No. The honorable senator may not direct any question to me in this context.
– May I not ask a question in relation to the Standing Orders?
– No. J have given my ruling on the point of order and the honorable senator cannot now direct a question to me in relation to my ruling.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Is it a fact that recently an Ansett-A.N.A. Viscount airliner had an engine on the port side catch fire and that this fire was automatically put out? After the Viscount landed, did an engine on the other side of the aircraft catch fire and was it found that the automatic fire extinguishing apparatus would not work? Does the Minister know that many engineers consider that not sufficient maintenance work is done on Viscount aircraft?
– Certainly, 1 have no information about what the engineers may think. I do not think that it is really fair to ask me to comment, because it is a technical question concerning a matter which affects everybody in Australia who uses air transport. I shall obtain from the Minister for Civil Aviation information for the honorable senator, but I deprecate any statement which would tend to suggest that a civil aviation organisation or any other commercial or governmental organisation involved in transport, including TransAustralia Airlines, was not carrying out proper maintenance. I would rebut such a suggestion utterly.
– My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Will the Minister inform the Senate why departmental reports are not available for examination well in advance of the date set down for the debate in the Senate on the respective departmental estimates? In explanation of my question, I point out that the report of the Department of Supply is not yet available and that the Defence report was distributed only a few hours before the first of the defence appropriations was discussed in the Senate.
– I can answer for the Department of Supply because I raised this question with officers of the Department at the time that the estimates for the Department were coming forward. The report was not ready because this year the Estimates are being dealt with so far ahead of the normal time. Usually, the Estimates are not dealt with for another month. This fact was overlooked in the Department, and so the report was not ready.
– It should not have been overlooked.
– If the honorable senator knows all about the subject, perhaps he can make a speech on it. Apparently, he has administered many departments in his lifetime. The position is that I asked the Department of Supply to see that the report was available for the Senate when it was debating the Estimates. I have made repeated requests to other departments to see that as many reports as possible are available to the Senate. I thank Senator Keeffe for raising this question because I think it is most important that the Senate should be as well advised as possible, by means of reports from the departments, when the Estimates are being debated. Otherwise, honorable senators are not able to ask intelligent questions.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate the following question: Has the emergence of the new Australian Centre Party in Tasmania, with the support of the Country Party, caused bitterness in the present Federal coalition Government? Will this not pave the way for further Australian Labour Party successes in the remaining nonLabour electorates in Tasmania at the forthcoming general election?
– This question can best be answered by giving an example. I wonder whether the formation of the Australian Democratic Labour Party caused any bitterness in the Australian Labour Party. If the honorable senator answers my question I may be able to answer his.
– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Does the Minister know that the Managing Director of Ansett-A.N.A. is considering making, or has made, a request to the Department of Civil Aviation seeking to have in the major towns a central depot for the picking up of passengers of both Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A.?
– So far as I am concerned, the answer to the honorable senator’s question is: No.
(Question No. 1028.)
Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
Will the Minister give an assurance to elderly members of the community, who are in receipt of pensions, that proposed increases in bus and train fares in various States will not apply to them and that the Commonwealth will make any necessary financial adjustments with the States?
– The Minister for Social Services has supplied the following answer -
The Government considers that, generally, any additional funds that can be made available by it for the benefit of pensioners should be granted to all pensioners by way of the pension itself irrespective of whether or not they use public transport. State Governments, within their own spheres of activity, may, and do, grant assistance to social service pensioners by way of concessional fares and in other directions. It is a matter for the State Governments concerned whether they continue to charge pensioners the same fares that applied before the recent increases in State charges.
(Question No. 1032.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Will the Government re-allocate the$50,000 provided for the training of native officers in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, as recommended by the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly recently?
– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answer -
A decision has not yet been made on this matter. (Question No. 1034.)
asked the Minister re presenting the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to assist the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to hold the 1969 South Pacific Games at Port Moresby, in view of recent newspaper reports that the official members of the Papua and
New Guinea House of Assembly have apparently influenced elected members to the extent that the Assembly rejected a move to hold the Games in Port Moresby?
– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answer -
No. The House of Assembly resolved that an invitation should not be extended by the Administrator of the Territory to the South Pacific Games Council to hold the 1969 Pacific Games at Port Moresby. (Question No. 1035.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Will the Department of Territories improve, in the immediate future, telephone and radio services in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?
– The Ministerfor Territories has supplied the following answer -
Improvements to the telephone and radio communication services in Papua and New Guinea are constantly being made within the limits imposed by available funds. Recently a national telephone plan was prepared by the Postmaster-General’s Department recommending the establishment of 30 trunk routes over the next five years. This plan has been accepted as a target for developing trunk telephone services in the Territory. In the plan the trunk routes to connect Port Moresby, Lae and Madang are given high priority. This trunk service would connect a significant area of the Territory to Australia and overseas via the Seacom cable which is being built to East Asia. The cable will enter the Territory at Madang and will be available for service to Australia early next year. Other telephone works planned are automatic exchanges, other equipment for local exchanges and improvements to the radio outstation system at various centres. Because of the heavy capital expenditures required for the above projects consideration is being given to the possibility of securing international financial aid. Failing this, the rate of development of telephone and radio services in the Territory will be determined by allocations for these purposes in annual budgets. (Question No. 1037.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Is any action being taken to control land prices at Lae, where it is reported that residential blocks, in short supply, are being sold for amounts up to $4,000?
– The Minister for Territories has supplied the following answer -
Land for residential purposes in the Territory is made available by public tender. Because of recent heavy demands land in Lae is in short supply and some recent tenders have been high. The Administration is doing everything possible to make more land available. Premiums for the last five residential leases at Lae ranged from $500to $1,500.
(Question No. 1043.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Air, upon notice -
– The Minister for Air has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 1049.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
In relation to the table of air navigation charges contained in the Civil Aviation Report 1965-66, at page 5, what are the details of the “ other “ international airlines which paid approximately $48,000 for 1965-66?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has furnished the following information -
The details requested are as follows -
– On 27th September Senator Breen asked, in a question without notice, whether consideration had been given to a request by the Australian National Council of Women that a famous woman pioneer be depicted on the proposed $5 note. I undertook to get an answer from the Treasurer. He has now furnished the following reply:
The Reserve Bank of Australia, which is responsible for the Australian note issue, has advised that the design of the new $5 note has now been settled. The Bank has indicated that, while it is not possible st this stage to release details of the design of the new note, it will include a portrait of one of Australia’s pioneer women. It is expected that SS notes will be issued to the public about the middle of 1967.
– I present the report of the Burton Committee on the following subject -
Advanced Education - Report of Committee of Inquiry into the need for a College of Advanced Education in the Australian Capital Territory.
I ask for leave to make a statement relating to the matter.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The report indicates that in. the opinion of the Committee there is a present need to start on the provision of such a College, and a time table for providing the College is set out by the Committee. This time table envisages the early appointment of an Interim Council, the opening of discussions between the National Capital Development Commission and that Interim Council as to the provision of a suitable site, the appointment of a Principal and Site Consultant, site planning studies, a beginning of construction in 1968, a continuance of construction during (he calendar year 1969, and the opening of the new College on its new site at the beginning of the calendar year 1970. The Government accepts these recommendations of the Committee but believes that the initial building programme should be confined to the proposed general purpose block and the proposed science block.
After the end of 1969 - that is to say, during the 1970-72 triennium - the additional requirements of the College will be the subject of examination and advice by the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Colleges of Advanced Education, of which Dr. Wark is the Chairman, and will be examined and reported on in conjunction with examinations and reports of the requirements of similar colleges throughout Australia.
The Committee suggests certain courses which it believes might be given by the new College, but the Government believes it is as yet too early to reach decisions on courses, which should be the subject of discussion between the Wark Committee and the Interim Council and of decision by the Government in the light of the advice so received. Another matter to be left for discussion is the one of the precise relationship, if any, between the Australian National University and the new tertiary College.
It is the Government’s intention that :he College, when established, should be under the control of a council which is autonomous in internal matters but which is without the power to initiate new courses without the approval of the Government and is under the obligation to provide courses if the Government requires them to be provided. It will be known as the Canberra College of Advanced Education.
We believe the new College will be of great value to the advancement of education and the provision of varying avenues of tertiary education in Australia, lt will be essentially concerned with providing tertiary education tailored to the immediate needs of the community. We are sure the courses provided will contain a substantial body of rigorous theory, but wilh that theory closely and specifically related to practice, for the ability to apply theory in immediate practical situations is the hallmark of the technologist. I envisage that liberal studies will be a required part of any course and also that, in time, tertiary courses in the practice of fine arts will become a part of the curriculum, for man does not live by bread alone.
I thank the Burton Committee and :he Wark Committee for the work which they have done in helping to bring this proposal to fruition.
– I move -
That the Senate take note of the paper.
I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This is a Bill for an act to amend the Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952-1965 for the purpose of securing an increase in the revenue from the various operators and owners of aircraft who make use of aerodromes and other facilities for air navigation provided, maintained and operated by the Commonwealth. It is the Government’s policy to move progressively towards the ultimate full recovery of that part of the cost of providing facilities that is properly attributable to the industry. Each year a careful review is made of the ability of the industry to absorb an increase in charges. Increases are not made automatically but, in the present case, the increase of 10 per cent. has been decided as fair and reasonable.
For 1965-66, actual revenue from air navigation charges was $6.888 million. With the 10 per cent. increase now proposed and with higher revenues resulting from natural growth in the industry, it is estimated that total revenue for 1966-67 will be some $8.75 million. This Bill does not change the method of assessing charges but simply increases by 10 per cent. the unit charges which are based on the weight of the aircraft. The new scale of charges will be applied to all domestic and international airlines and to charter, aerial work and private operators. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cant) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time. In his Budget Speech the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon) estimated that the excess of expenditures over receipts - the borrowing requirement - would amount to $533 million in 1966-67. Towards this borrowing requirement there will be available an estimated $114 million from drawings on the credits arranged for defence purchases in the United States of America. This would leave about $419 million to be financed by other borrowings. At this stage any estimate of net loan raisings in 1966-67 is necessarily largely conjectural. However, in the Budget we have used a tentative figure of $150 million for net loan raisings, which would leave about $270 million to be financed by temporary borrowings. The purpose of this Bill is to obtain authority for such borrowings and to provide authority to expend the proceeds of the borrowing.
Authority is being sought to borrow an amount of up to $300 million. This does not mean that we expect that we will have to borrow right up to that limit. However, because the figure of $270 million used in the Budget is subject to many uncertainties, particularly as regards net loan raisings, we thought it appropriate to set the upper limit on the borrowing authority being sought in this Bill at the round figure of $300 million.
The borrowings for which authority is now sought will be made for defence purposes and the proceeds will be applied to finance expenditure from the Loan Fund on defence services. Total expenditure on defence services in 1966-67 is estimated at $1,000 million of which about $114 million will be met from credit arrangements with the United States of America, leaving $886 million to be met from appropriations. It is proposed that, of the total estimated expenditure to be met from appropriations, an amount of up to $.300 million should be charged to Loan Fund where it will be financed from funds raised under the authority of this Act. Provision for charging part of our defence expenditure to the Loan Fund has been made in previous years when net loan raisings have not been adequate to finance the excess of expenditures over receipts. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McClelland) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on morion by Senator Henry) read a first time.
. -I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill will declare the general rates of tax for the current financial year 1966-67. Later, 1 will introduce a separate Bill declaring the special rates to apply to certain income of superannuation funds, trust estates and members of partnerships for 1966-67. Apart from a modification of the income limits within which primary producers may be taxed at the rate applicable to their average income, the two Bills will together declare the same rates of income tax as applied for the financial year 1965-66.
The income limits within which the averaging system may apply to primary producers are being raised from $8,000 to $16,000. Subject to these raised limits, the system will apply for rating purposes in the same way as previously. In some cases the raised income limits could operate to the initial disadvantage of primary producers who have not withdrawn from the averaging system. This will, however, be prevented by an amendment proposed in an Income Tax Assessment Bill which I will introduce shortly.
Some changes are proposed from last year in the age allowance provisions of the Bill. These changes are consequential upon the increases in age pensions announced in the Budget speech. The age allowance provisions may apply to men aged 65 years or more and women not under 60 years of age, if they are residents of Australia. For the 1965-66 financial year a person satisfying these tests and in receipt of a net income of up to $988 was not required to pay lax. In consequence of the increase of $1 a week in the age pension for single persons, the Bill proposes to increase the exemption point by $52 to $1,040 for 1966-67.
A measure of tax relief is also provided where a qualified aged person is in teceipt of a net income somewhat in excess of the new exemption level of $1,040. This relief was available for the 1965-66 financial year if the net income of the persons was not greater than $1,148. For the current year, the maximum net income to which this relief may apply will be $1,221. For 1965-66 exemption was provided for married couples subject to the age allowance provisions if their combined net income was not greater than $1,872. The exemption level is to be increased to $1,950 for the current year. Marginal relief was granted for these cases in 1965-66 if the combined net income of the couple did not exceed $2,700. This is to be increased to $2,882 for 1966-67.
A memorandum explaining the proposals I have mentioned and other taxation measures will be circulated for the information of honorable senators and I do not propose to speak on the Bill at greater length at this stage. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poke) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
.- I move-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill will declare the rates of income tax for the financial year 1966-67 on income of certain superannuation funds, trust estates and members of partnerships. The rates declared by the Bill are special rates for the purposes of legislation introduced in 1964 with a view to frustrating tax avoidance arrangements brought to the Government’s attention in the report of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation 1959- 61. The rates were declared for the first time in relation to the 1965-66 financial year and no change is proposedby this Bill for the current financial year.
For income of a trust estate, other than a deceased estate, to which no beneficiary is presently entitled and which is not taxed as if it were the income of one individual the rate declared by the Bill is 50 per cent. For income from a sharp in a partnership over which a person lacks, or is deemed to lack, real and effective control and disposal, the Bill imposes a rate of further tax sufficient to bring the aggregate rate on the income up to 50 per cent. If a taxpayer’s average personal rate is 50 per cent, or more, no further tax will be imposed.
For a taxable income of a superannuation fund that is not exempt from tax, the Bill declares a rate of 50 per cent. This rate does not apply to the investment income of a fund that is subject to tax only through the fund’s failure to comply with the 30/20 public security investment rule. The rates on this income are proposed by the Income Tax Bill 1966 and are not being changed. I mention that the additional rate of 2i per cent, payable for 1966-67 by individuals does not apply in relation to the special rates proposed by this Bill. Technical aspects of the Bill are explained in a memorandum being made available to ‘honorable senators. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Poke) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Income Tax Assessment Act. Most of the amendments proposed by the Bill will give effect to proposals announced by the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon) in his Budget speech. These proposals are principally concerned with the provision of a measure of tax relief for primary producers who have of recent years been affected by drought conditions. One amendment for this purpose will assist wool growers who, because of the drought, advanced shearing dates during the 1965-66 income year. Without this amendment, the proceeds of the two wool clips would be brought to account as income of the one year. It is proposed that these wool growers will be permitted to elect to transfer the net proceeds of the second clip to the 1966-67 income year, so as to restore the tax position to what it would have been if the second shearing had taken place at the normal time.
Another amendment proposed by the Bill will affect some primary producers who have made forced sales of livestock as a consequence of the drought. Under the present law, a primary producer may elect to have the profit from a forced sale of livestock taxed over a period of five years provided that the sale was in consequence of drought, fire or flood and provided also that the proceeds of the sale are used principally to purchase replacement stock. The Bill proposes to extend this right of election to primary producers who use the proceeds of the forced sale principally to maintain breeding stock for re-stocking purposes.
The Bill also proposes to remove the limit on the period for which past year losses may be carried forward for deduction where the losses have been incurred in primary production. At present the period for this purpose is limited to seven years. The limitation will not apply in future to a primary production loss incurred in the 1957-58 income year or a subsequent year. This amendment v/ill apply to assessments for the 1965-66 income year and future years.
A further important amendment affecting primary producers will permit producers who have elected to withdraw from the averaging system to come back into the system. Honorable senators will know that the averaging system operates so as to apply to the taxable income of a primary producer the rate of tax payable on the average of his taxable incomes over a period of up to five years. Some modifications of the averaging system were made in 1951 and, at the same time, primary producers were given a right to withdraw from it. Circumstances have changed considerably since 1951 and because of this, but particularly because of the effects of the drought, it Is now proposed to give any producer who has withdrawn from the system an opportunity to reverse this decision and once again become subject to the averaging provisions.
In broad terms, the Bill proposes that a primary producer who has elected, or elects, to withdraw from the averaging system for the 1965-66 income year or an earlier year will ‘be permitted to come back into the system in respect of any income year up to 1969-70. Any one of the four years 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69 or 1969-70 may be selected by the primary producer as his year of re-entry. In the year of re-entry he will be treated as if he had not withdrawn from the system. He will not, however, have the right to withdraw again. The practical effect of this amendment will be to confer an advantage on primary producers who withdrew from the averaging system in years of declining incomes and who re-enter in years in which, after the drought, incomes may be expected to increase.
In a separate Bill the income limits up to which the averaging system applies are being increased from $8,000 to $16,000. The new limits will apply for the first time in assessments for the 1966-67 income year. In some cases, however, the new limits could operate to the initial disadvantage of taxpayers who have not elected to withdraw from the averaging system. To avoid this, the Bill proposes that the application of the new limits will be deferred in these cases until a year of income in which they confer an advantage. After an advantage has been obtained from the new limits by a primary producer, they will then apply in his assessments in the ordinary way.
The final proposal affecting primary producers will provide an outright deduction for the cost of fences erected to exclude livestock from areas affected by soil erosion for the purposes of combating the erosion and reclaiming the affected areas. The deduction in the year of expenditure will take the place of depreciation allowances now given over a period of five years. This amendment will apply in relation to expenditure incurred in the income year 1966-67 and subsequent years.
The Bill also proposes some additions to the list of institutions to which gifts of $2 or more are deductible for income tax pur poses. The Australian Council of National Trusts and the Australian Conservation Foundation Incorporated arp being added to the list. It is also proposed that a gift to a prescribed college of advanced education will be deductible where the gift is for tertiary education activities of the college. These amendments will apply in assessments for the 1966-67 income year and subsequent years.
The only remaining amendment of substance is not a Budget matter. It relates to the priority for payment of income tax assessments by trustees in bankrutpcy. When the new Bankruptcy Act comes into operation, the ranking for payment of these income tax debts will bp provided toy that Act. Broadly, the Bill proposes the repeal of provisions of the income tax law that are inconsistent with the Bankruptcy Act. The repeal will be effective as from the date on which the Bankruptcy Act 1966 comes into operation.
More detailed explanations of the Bill are contained in explanatory notes which are being made available to honorable senators and I do not propose to speak at greater length on the Bill at this stage. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Mulvihill) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill proposes an amendment of the Estate Duty Assessment Act to implement a proposal announced in the Budget speech of the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon). Under the present law, gifts to the National Trusts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia are exempt from estate duty. The amendment proposed by the Bill will extend this exemption to the National Trusts of Queensland. Western Australia and Tasmania, lt will also extend the exemption to the Australian Council of National Trusts. The amendment will apply in assessments of estate duty of persons who die after the date on which the amending Act receives the royal assent. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Mulvihill) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– 1 move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to two payroll tax proposals that were announced in the Budget speech. One proposal is that certain non-government schools providing education at the secondary or a lower level of education are to be exempt from payroll tax. The exemption will operate from 1st September 1966 and will place these schools in the same position for payroll tax purposes as church schools that provide similar education.
The other matter dealt with by the Bill concerns the payroll tax rebate for increased exports that was introduced by this Government in 1961. As announced in the Budget speech, a general review of the export incentives schemes is now being carried out. The Government has, however, decided that one change might appropriately be made in the payroll tax incentive legislation at this stage. The change proposed will affect the way in which the payroll Ux export rebate is calculated. At present, an employer who pays sales tax or excise duty on goods - and recovers these amounts in the price he charges for the goods - is required to bring the recoveries into account for the purposes of calculating the rebate. This has the effect in many cases of reducing the rebate that would be available if the amounts did not have to be taken into account.
The Bill proposes that these amounts be excluded from the definition of the “ gross receipts “ that are taken into account for the purposes of the rebate formula. This exclusion will simplify rebate calculations both for the taxation administration and exporters. The amendment will apply to rebate calculations for the current financial year 1966-67, and subsequent years. Detailed explanations of the technical provisions of the Bill are contained in a memorandum that is being made available to honorable senators. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Ridley) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
– 1 move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Broadcasting and Television Act to extend to certain persons in receipt of an allowance under the Tuberculosis Act the right to be granted concessional broadcast listeners and television viewers licences. The Bill also takes the opportunity to state more precisely the conditions under which pensioners generally may be granted concessional licences. Provision is also made to formally convert all money references in the Act to their decimal currency equivalents.
Allowances under the Tuberculosis Act are available to persons suffering from infectious tuberculosis as an inducement to them to cease work and undergo treatment, thereby minimising the spread of the disease and promoting its better treatment. Should a person in receipt of, or eligible for, a Social Services Act pension contract tuberculosis, however, acceptance of the allowance automatically disqualifies that person from receipt of the normal pension, by specific provision in the Social Services Act. In addition, of course, the disqualification extends as well to concessions that go with a pension.
While there is no compulsion on persons to accept a tuberculosis allowance, it is desirable that sufferers do so for the sake of the individual and the community, and the Bill therefore seeks to provide that a person in receipt of a tuberculosis allowance who, but for that allowance would be eligible for a pension under the Social Services Act, may be granted concessional broadcast listeners and television viewers licences. Such action is made possible by including this class of person in the definition of “ pensioner “ in sub-section (4.) of Section 128 of the Broadcasting and Television Act.
The Bill alsocontemplates the amendment of sub-section (3.) of Section 128 to specify more precisely the conditions under which a pensioner may be granted a concessional licence. No change of principle is involved in this amendment but it has become necessary because of changes in the social services legislation since the original provisions were made. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Ormonde) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Henty) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend section 16 of the Commonwealth Banks Act 1959-1965 to allow a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation to be appointed as a member of the Board of the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank. Paragraph (f) of section 16 of the Commonwealth Banks Act provides that a person, who is a director, officer or employee of a corporation the business of which is wholly or mainly that of banking, is not capable of appointment, or of continuing to act, as a member of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation Board. This provision was enacted before the establishment of the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank and is consi dered to be inappropriate in relation to service with that Bank. The proposed amendment will provide that membership of the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank Board will not disqualify a person from being a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Willesee) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 13th October (vide page 1126).
Prime Minister’s Department
Proposed expenditure, $60,752,000.
Proposed provision, $7,002,000.
– I wish to make some comments in connection with Division No. 400-4 - item 09, Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. I note that this year we propose virtually to double the subsidy for the Trust in order, I suppose, that it may double the amount of the loss last year. Honorable senators may think from what I have said that I am not supporting the Trust, but that is not so. I believe that the Trust has done a considerable amount of good work, but unfortunately in my book it has several black spots regarding its dealings with the various forms of drama. I think it is time that we dropped the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. I do not mean that we should drop Dr. Coombs. Incidentally, I think that long ago Dr. Coombs should have been rewarded with an honour from the Government. However, I presume that because his policies are somewhat to the left he has never received an honour. Yet, he has done more than anyone in the country, apart from the financial side, for the arts. For that reason alone I think he deserves an honour; but he is still Dr. Coombs. I take my hat off to him for the work he has done in forming the Elizabethan Theatre Trust, but unfortunately this has now got out of control.
I wish to make a plea, as so many other people have, to the effect that it is time the Government stopped listening to the people who have got it into the mess that it is in at the present moment. I suggest that we should form an Australian Council. I do not believe that we should use the title “Performing
Council “ or “ Arts Council “. I think that the simplest and most direct way to change the whole scene is to take over bodily the example of the British Council and to let us have an Australian Council. As most people know, an interim committee of the Trust is being set up to consider the establishment of a Performing Arts Council. As I have said, I do not like that name, but the very fact that the Elizabethan Theatre Trust has suggested that there be an interim committee to consider that question implies that the Trust itself has failed. The Trust has more or less implied that it has failed, and it is now suggesting to the Gov.vernment that a Performing Arts Council be set up which would be advised directly by the Trust and indirectly, of course, by the Trust directorate. But, of course, all is not well with the Trust.
The time has come for the appointment of a statutory body which is autonomous and which can deal with matters without pressure being applied by the Government. I must pay a tribute to Sir Howard Beale who also has fought along the lines that there should be an autonomous body, completely severed from the Elizabethan Theatre Trust. Perhaps I may use Sir Howard Beale’s words. As the lawyers say, this new statutory body must not only be independent but must also appear to be so. At the moment, the suggestion put to the Government would never allow it to appear to be independent. What we want is a national cultural policy for all the arts, not just for the theatre and the ballet, those being the forms of art with which the Elizabethan Theatre Trust is concerned. Such a national cultural body, first, would act as adviser to the Government. In the second place it would disburse the money that the Government so willingly and quite properly I think hands out. But many of us believe that there should not be waste. The Elizabethan Theatre Trust wishes to retain control of overseas tours, but these should be in the hands of the body which 1 have suggested should be established and which I say should be called the Australian Council.
Honorable senators may wonder why I have an interest in the arts. For many years 1 have been chairman in northern Tasmania of a body which is equivalent to an arts council, although it is not part of the Arts Council. It has been very active and has a big following in Tasmania. Having established the kind of body I have suggested, the next thing is to set up a secretariat somewhere. I must point out tha; many of the remarks I am making now have been made by Francis Evers, a person who is far more capable than 1 am to make them. He has written some very good articles for the “ Australian “ and has been fighting for the establishment of a body of the kind I have mentioned, just as I and others have been, i know that anyone who criticises the Trust or a Government department is a no hoper, but let me say that in the arts world there is a considerable body of opinion behind Evers in his fight. We must have committees of experts in each division of the arts - drama, music, literature, ballet, the visual arts and so on.
We cannot allow the Elizabethan Theatre Trust to continue as it is at present, picking out so many plays to be produced throughout Australia, at such high loss. 1 point out that “ High Spirits “ cost the Government S48,000 and “ Finnian’s Rainbow “ S3 1,000. I know that the Trust stages performances around Australia so that people who would not otherwise have a chance to see plays may be able to do so.
– Do those figures appear in the Estimates?
– They appear in the report of the Trust, 1 think. The Estimates deal only with the proposed subsidy for the Trust. 1 also wish to comment on the Asian Pageant which was staged recently. Such secrecy surrounds this Pageant that one wonders about the exact amount of the loss. I hope the Minister will not fob me off and say that this was somebody else’s business, and so on. I hope he will get the officers who are sitting in the chamber to inform him of the exact loss, which was formidable, incurred in connection with the Asian Pageant. There is no reference to it in any report and nobody seems able to find out how much was really lost. If the Trust contends that these are cultural plays which should be taken around the country, and that therefore we should be prepared for a loss in connection with them, I go along with that, but most of the experts will not agree that the plays I have mentioned did anything to uplift anybody’s intelligence to higher things. Therefore the loss was a complete one, and the expenditure was useless. It seems peculiar that the Government should double its subsidy to the Trust and not query the losses incurred by it. The Athens Drama Company also incurred a heavy loss.
In my view the operations of the Commonwealth Literary Fund should be a part of the Australian Council that I have suggested, and the funds allocated to the Literary Fund should be disbursed by the Australian Council. I do not think that the Literary Fund people or the Association of Australian Authors, or whatever they call themselves, should demand a special fund of their own, as distinct from the funds for the other arts. 1 wish to mention the ballet, of which 1 am a great admirer. I saw the Australian Ballet perform in London, lt performed exceedingly well to empty houses. 1 cannot understand why it was necessary, wherever the Ballet went, to have Dame Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev with it. Our dancers are good. In fact, I think it can be said that the Australian Ballet is exceedingly good. If that is so, why cannot the dancers stand on their own feet - literally?
– Dame Margot Fonteyn helped the box office.
– Very well. But people go to see Fonteyn and they go to see Nureyev who overshadow completely our magnificent dancers. I know that when one asks why this is necessary the answer is that Fonteyn and Nureyev are big attractions. The result was to kill an appreciation of our own dancers. I thought it was pathetic that our excellent Australian dancers should have been overshadowed. The people who saw the performances did not talk about our dancers. They talked about the stars - Dame Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev. We lost a considerable amount of money and I do not know how much more we would have lost if those stars had not performed; but at least, had they not appeared, we would have stood on our own feet. The Australian Ballet would have been acclaimed in its own right, and not as a supporting ballet for outstanding stars. In other words, it became a second class ballet, supporting two international stars.
– Does the Ballet receive an independent subsidy?
– No. lt is financed through the Trust. I do not have the exact figures for its losses. I am somewhat biased when discussing the Australian Ballet. I do not mind how much it loses, because I believe it is educational. Rs performances could not possibly be seen in the smaller cities without heavy losses being incurred, because they are rather expensive to mount. On the other hand, the plays on which the Trust is losing money could be staged by an amateur or repertory society for the benefit of the people in the smaller towns. 1 think that the Ballet must be considered in a category of its own. The next time that the Australian Ballet tours abroad, I think we should ensure that it performs as the Australian Ballet and that it rests on its own laurels, lt performed very well in support of the international stars, after facing, I believe, a lot of difficulties. The organisers in London of the Australian Ballet’s tour rather messed up arrangements on several occasions by booking unsuitable halls. I believe that in Paris the Ballet had to perform in a boxing stadium. I know that there was a row, which had to be cleared up.
I submit that losses by the Australian Ballet are justifiable as there is no other means by which people in country centres could see its performances. I think it is deplorable, and the blame rests on the Government and the Trust, that the Trust should choose so many bad plays on which to lose so much good money, when that money could have been diverted to other purposes. I suppose it is a matter of intuition as to the plays that are chosen, but it certainly seems that the Trust has chosen the worst possible plays.
I ask the Minister not to fail to give me a reply as to the loss shown by the Asian Pageant. I also ask that the Government act on advice other than that obtained from the Trust itself. I think it was Mr. Evers who pointed out that people enter the field and say that they are experts in the art world, and induce the Government io listen to their advice. These people have made a botch of it. There is no doubt at all about that. There is a rising tide of feeling against the activities of the Trust, except for the Australian Ballet. The Ballet certainly has been well treated, but the experts have made a botch of the Trust’s other activities.
I urge (he Government to ensure that when an interim committee is set up, its composition is thrown open to all people, and is not limited to members of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust. In that way, a wide range of opinions and a greater divergence of views will be available to consider the setting up of an Australian Council, which I hope will be an autonomous statutory body.
.- I direct my remarks to the appropriation of $77,675 for a contribution to the Commonwealth Economic Committee, in Division No. 400 - Administrative. The same amount was appropriated for this purpose last year. 1 would be grateful if the Minister would inform me of the nature of the commitment.
I refer now to the appropriations for Grants-in-Aid in the same Division. I would like to be informed of the criteria used in deciding which particular bodies throughout Australia should receive contributions. The bodies listed under this sub-division are to receive quite substantial amounts in the coming year. I note that three life saving associations - very worthy bodies - are to receive assistance. The list also includes the Girl Guides’ Association and the National Youth Council of Australia. Certain associations of that type receive contributions, while apparently similar associations do not qualify for a grant. What is the criterion used in making a decision?
I now refer to Division No. 407, which relates to the appropriation for the High Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom. The appropriation for salaries and allowances continues to increase. The appropriation for rent and maintenance at Australia House and Canberra House is also included in this Division. I have noted that over a period it is very difficult to determine whether offices outside this country should be rented or purchased. The rental figure of $500,000 a year for Canberra House, which is now to be the site of our activities in London, gives me very much concern. The Parliament is asked to decide that payment of $500,000 a year for rental is a reasonable figure. I would very much appreciate an explanation of the economic considerations that would make it a wise decision to pay that amount. I understand that that amount of rental is to be paid for a bare building. Great costs are to be in curred for partitioning in the building. I wonder what will be the position if we decide to relinquish the quarters. I wonder whether an agreement has been reached by which the partitioning will remain in the building and will be purchased by an incoming owner.
I believe the same position applies to Australia House in relation to partitioning and what I would describe as “ capital works.” I have given a great deal of consideration to the Government’s policy as to whether buildings overseas should be rented or purchased. I ask the Minister to indicate the yardstick that is used in making such decisions in various areas.
I turn now to Division No. 428 - Audit Office. The appropriation for salaries and allowances shows an increase of about $400,000 over last year’s expenditure. I pay a great tribute to the excellent officers of the Audit Office, particularly th/e AuditorGeneral. I think all parliamentarians should be very pleased with the activities of this independently working office which is one of our greatest aids. 1 imagine that the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Primary Industry and other departments find it necessary at times to establish offices overseas. Because the headquarters of those departments remain in Australia and because of financial arrangements that must be made, I imagine that a need arises for public servants to proceed overseas to ensure, amongst other things, that audit procedures are carried out correctly. Let me shorten my remarks by saying that I believe that all external audit procedures should be brought under the control of the Audit Office. I ask the Minister to comment on that matter.
I refer now to Division No. 430 - Public Service Board. During the short time I have been a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I have seen leading officers of the Audit Office and of the Public Service Board appear before the Committee. I am able to say that as a Parliament we are well served by the officers of the Board and of the Audit Office. I note that the size of the Board’s staff is gradually increasing. Last year a sum of $1,896,200 was appropriated and this year we are asked to provide $2,419,600 for salaries and allowances. At a time when the Parliament should be looking at the overall picture and, in the light of great commitments for defence, should be endeavouring to contain the size of the Public Service, the salaries bill for this department is to rise this year by 25 ner cent. 1. ask the Minister to comment on the reason for this increase.
.- 1 shall deal first with the points raised by Senator Webster. Increases in the cost of the salaries of servants of the Audit Office and the Public Service Board have been occasioned, in the main, not by an increase in staff but by the increase in margins for officers of the Third Division. The honorable senator referred to the proposed contribution of $77,675 to the Commonwealth Economic Committee and asked what this Committee does. It consists of representatives of the British Commonwealth. It has been in existence since 1925 and its functions embrace those formerly carried out by the Empire Marketing Board. They include the preparation of periodical marketing intelligence notes for the Commonwealth, a world survey of production and trade, investigations into the production and marketing of Commonwealth products, and inquiries. The sum in question represents Australia’s contribution to the cost of the functioning of the Committee.
Senator Webster referred to Canberra House and Australia House in London. The matters raised by him are being examined by the Government. I draw his attention to a reply given by the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) to a question on this subject. The Prime Minister pointed out that the office space available at Australia House is inadequate to accommodate all Australian Government staff in London and it has been necessary to lease Canberra House to accommodate the overflow. Australia House is now very old and a major remodelling would be needed to bring its office space up to modern standards. In these circumstances, the Government has judged it provident to set up a committee of senior officials to review the position and to report back to the Government on the approach it considers the Commonwealth might follow to make satisfactory provision for its future accommodation needs in London. That committee will be examining the matters raised by the honorable senator and will be reporting back to the Government.
– It might be examining them after the act.
– After the leasing?
– Yes. The expenditure of $500,000 is an enormous outlay.
– But some of that $500,000 for Canberra House may be recovered from sub-tenants who will be paying for accommodation in the building. Senator Turnbull asked why the grant for the Austraiian Elizabethan Theatre Trust had been increased this year. Although a sum of $320,000 is shown in the Estimates for last year’s appropriation, the amount should have been $400,000. I do not mean that the figures shown were wrong. What happened was that agreement was reached with the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust for a payment of $400,000 a year over a period of years, of which the year in question was one. Because of the requirement to send a ballet company and an orchestra company overseas during the Commonwealth Festival and to extend the tour to countries such as France and Germany, an advance payment was made to the Trust of a sum which otherwise would have been shown for last year. However, there is still an excess of $200,000 over the agreed amount. I have not available a list of the exact purposes for which this money will be applied, but I can get the information for the honorable senator. If the report of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust does not contain information about the Asian Pageant, I think the way in which we could obtain the information for the honorable senator would be to write to the Trust and ask for it. I will do that.
– The Trust might provide it for the Minister, but it will not do so for anybody else.
– I think it would provide the information for a senator. Has the honorable senator asked the Trust for the information?
– I have not, but others have done so.
– I think the honorable senator might get it if he wrote for it. Other matters raised by Senator Turnbull were very largely matters of opinion. He asked whether, when an Australian ballet company goes abroad, its prestige is enhanced or otherwise if it has two top line world ballet stars working with it. I think arguments could be advanced to support both viewpoints. I can understand it being argued that an Australian ballet company might well consist entirely of Australian personnel. 1 do not necessarily find such an argument to be conclusive. I am not sure that a ballet company would regard as being conclusive the argument that the most famous ballet stars in the world should not be allowed to participate with an Australian ballet company. This is a matter of one’s own judgment.
– J relate my remarks to Division No. 430 - Public Service Board. The Board’s staff is a group of estimable men who work very hard. But sometimes I wonder whether they render justice to all those people who come under their control. Perhaps consideration might be given to delegating certain of their duties to some other authority. The professional engineers suffered economic injustice for many years. It was only after representation made by honorable senators on this side of the chamber that justice was rendered to these people. Monetarily they had suffered gross disparity when compared with their professional brethren outside the Public Service.
On this occasion I wish to direct attention more particularly to the monetary rights of officers of the Fourth Division. A tremendous number of government servants are embraced in this Division. It includes large numbers in the postal service. I think that many members of our Parliamentary staff are in the Fourth Division. In practically every department there are members of the Fourth Division. I could be wrong if I said that no consideration had been given to these people, but I do not know of any consideration that has been given to their economic rights.
Some time ago public servants in the Third Division received a measure of economic consideration in the form of an increase of salary. But those in the Fourth Division seem to be in neglected terrain. No consideration seems to be given to them. I should like the Minister to give honorable senators an assurance that early considera tion will be given to the rights of those officers in the Fourth Division and, more than that, that consideration will be given to making an early decision. These people have suffered far too long. There are far too many in their ranks. Perhaps it is because there are far too many of them that the Public Service Board has been somewhat dilatory in acting in the matter, realising the embarrassment that any substantial rise given to members of this Division would occasion the Government.
We know that the Government is loath to render economic justice to those that are deserving of it. I make a plea to the Minister to supply an answer to honorable senators regarding the position regarding consideration of the rights of Public Servants in the’ Fourth Division to economic justice and tell us how soon a decision will be made. We on this side of the Committee would not quarrel with that decision provided it was associated with a substantial salary rise, and even if the decision was made prior to the forthcoming Federal election in an endeavour to gain votes for Government members who may be in danger of defeat.
– What a serious statement.
– All we ask is that economic justice be rendered to these people irrespective of the malevolent motives that might stir Government members. Those motives do not concern us. All we want is economic justice to be rendered to these Public Servants.
Reference was made by Senator Turnbull to the establishment of an Australian Council with responsibility in the field covered by the Commonwealth Literary Fund and the authority administering the vote for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. Frankly, I do not think that the honorable senator can ask just for an Australian Council. Such a Council would have to be for a specific purpose or purposes. Consequently, if we have a body formed from the two authorities it would have to be the Australian Council for Literature and Art; and here I take a broad view of the term “ art “. Frankly, I do not think that the activities of the two groups can be related to one body. They embrace different activities and different personnel are associated with one or the other. The honor- able senator has made out a good case for an Australian Council of Art. Australia lags very badly behind many other countries some of which are, according to us, not as advanced as Australia is. We say that these countries are certainly not as advanced as we are in respect of trade. We take pride in our claim that Australia ranks among the 12 great trading nations of the world. Yet, many countries that are behind us in relation to trade and what we term national prestige far outstrip us in regard to the accepted forms of culture. I should like to draw the attention of the Minister also-
– Headhunting is an accepted form of culture in some parts of the world.
– That may be so. If 1 may refer to the honorable senator’s Party, I should say that a great deal of headhunting goes on in it. There is not so much in the Country Party. 1 know that members of the Liberal Party are trying to take the heads of representatives of the Country Party. I know that nothing lower has happened than what occurred in Western Australia recently when the Liberal Party paraded the name of a distinguished senator representing the Country Party in order to further the nefarious purposes of the Liberal Party in that State. 1 think that this is a shocking matter.
– Everyone with any sense of decency would be deeply shocked at this action.
– Order! The honorable senator must come back to the matter before the Committee - the proposed expenditure for the Prime Minister’s Department.
– I was dealing with this form of culture - headhunting - which is characteristic of the attitude of the Liberal Party.
I wish now to deal with the Commonwealth Office of Education and also the Australian Universities Commission. All credit is due to the activities that have been embarked upon by these bodies. But they have not gone far enough. We know that the Commonwealth Office of Education has taken an interest in education in general, yet its activities have been extremely limited. When we think of how far behind we are in education compared with other countries with which we claim we are entitled to associate in trade and when we consider the monetary allocation we make for education in comparison with Australian income per capita, wye should be really ashamed.
The Commonwealth Government is the central government which controls ail the finances of the nation. State Premiers, Liberal and otherwise, claim that the Commonwealth is doling out insufficient money to enable them to provide adequately for education. I do not intend to deal with other responsibilities of the States because they do not fall within the ambit of this vote. 1 do wish to deal, however, in the few minutes available to me with the subject of education. Every State has claimed that it has not sufficient money for education. Recently, the Deputy Leader of the Country Party in Queensland, Mr. Pizzey, appeared on television. He will be the next Premier of Queensland when the present Premier, Mr. Nicklin, retires next year. This is because there will be no election in the interim.
– There will be a Federal election.
– But no State election will be held.
Order! The honorable senator is getting away from the matter before the Committee.
– No, 1 am not.
I do not see what the position of the Deputy Leader of the Country Party in Queensland has to do with these estimates.
– In deference to you and the prestige of your position, Sir, I was about to tell the Committee what Mr. Pizzey, who is the Queensland Minister for Education, said on television. He said that sufficient money was not made available for education by the Commonwealth to meet immediate needs regarding the provision of facilities and amenities for children entering any sphere of education in Queensland. This applies in the field of tertiary education in relation to which the Commonwealth takes so much pride in what it has done, lt is entitled to some small credit for its work in this field. This applies also to secondary or technical education in respect of which the Commonwealth has done little, not a great deal anyway, and also to primary education in which the Commonwealth has done nothing, lt is quite evident that the Commonwealth intends to do nothing in relation to primary education. This stale of affairs does not apply only to Queensland. It is applicable to every State and every child in the Commonwealth.
A report was tabled today by the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) relating to a college of advanced education in Canberra. The committee which inquired into the matter has recommended particular dates for the commencement of building, completion of building and inauguration of this college. The Minister has said that the Government disagrees with the time and the proposed curriculum. The Government will determine the subjects that are to be taught. The college will not be autonomous. It will be under the direct control and subject to the direction of the Government. Surely this is not the way to control advanced education. I do not think that there would be one person associated with advanced education who would care for the Government arbitrarily interfering in that field. It is the responsibility of the Government to say how much money will be available by the Commonwealth in relation to the overall contributions by various sources. But to interfere in advanced education should be the last thing that the Government would dare to do. Yet we find this dilatory approach by the Government concerning the establishment of this college of advanced education in Canberra. I do not think that there is anything more deserving of condemnation than the real lack of interest displayed by the Government in education.
T have taken the Commonwealth office of Education and the Australian Universities Commission together in order to make it easy for the Minister to answer the points I raise. He can handle both subjects at the one time. I still do not know how the Government has come to adopt its attitude, and I would be pleased to receive an answer from the Minister in this regard, concerning teacher education or teacher training following the report of the Martin Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia which recommended a special approach to teacher education. The Government just arbitrarily wiped that. We must realise that possibly the most essential feature in the implementation of educational advancement is associated with a higher and higher standard of teaching. In many cases teachers are not being properly trained today, not only in the nongovernmental schools but also in governmental schools. They are not being permitted sufficient time to be trained as sufficient teachers. Yet the central Government has said that it will take no part in the field of teacher training. I give it credit for what it has done in the field of university training. It has provided the extra moneys that were badly needed, but surely it was long enough in taking notice of those requirements. Despite the dilatory approach, the Government did take some interest. I have repeatedly paid credit to the previous Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, for the interest he took in university education. However, even in this particular field, insufficient interest was taken and insufficient finance was provided.
Let me return to the question of teacher training: I would be interested to hear the Minister tell us whether the Government’s approach to the field of teacher training is a permanent one. Does the Government believe that the question of teacher training should remain absolutely and forever in the hands of the States? The States admit that they cannot meet the demands. They cannot provide sufficient accommodation for a large enough number of teachers to meet the States’ requirements. They cannot provide the finance to permit those who embark on teaching as a profession sufficient time to be trained as efficient teachers when they are allocated to the schools. If the Government, by some chance, is returned at the forthcoming election, will it give us some hope for the future and say that it will embark on a course of teacher training, assist the States in providing buildings and make provision for adequate finance for a sufficient number of scholarships?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN__
Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I want to address a few brief queries to the Minister. The first query relates to the late Dr. Evatt. Is there any possibility that the Government will be examining the question as to whether some form of remembrance, such as a portrait or a statue of our late leader, Dr. Evatt, will be placed in this Parliament, perhaps in King’s Hall? When this matter was rais:d in this chamber previously, some doubt was expressed as to whose authority was concerned. 1 was told at the time to ask a question during the debate on the estimates for the Prime Minister’s Department. That is why I ask it now.
I will be as brief as I can because 1 know that there are a lot of things that we can talk about in the Estimates. I want to speak briefly about our position in London. 1 was there recently with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I came to the conclusion that whatever the Commonwealth might do at Australia House to improve its status in London could be dissipated unless there were some liaison with the States to see that they did something about brightening up their offices. When one walks from one end of the Strand to the other and looks in the windows of the State offices one finds that the windows have not been changed for years. 1 think thai the New South Wales office windows have been changed only because the office has taken over a new shop front. The offices - the public look on these offices as embassies - of Queensland, Tasmania and the other States, usually are housed in shop front premises. There could be anything situated next to them, such as an hotel or a boot shop. One sees some of London’s famous shops alongside the State office windows of New South Wales, Tasmania or South Australia. One may see in those a dirty looking stuffed kangaroo that has been standing there for about three years. That is how the people who walk up and down the Strand estimate the value of the States, at least as regards their public relations. I think that by comparison we suffer greatly with New Zealand, which has a fine modern building, but that is another matter. We are really dwarfed by Canada.
I cannot understand why the Commonwealth cannot build a new Australia
House. The present one is almost hidden where it stands now, at the tail end of the Strand. By the time people walking up the Strand have looked at the State offices they are not very interested in seeing Australia House, because it is situated up around the corner. People have had enough by the time they get to the top of the Strand. Why cannot we have one major house for Australia? The six States could be accommodated in an up to date, modern way in the one Australia House. After all, they are all serving the different Slate interests, such as trade and the other functions that States perform. I think that this would improve Australia’s status in the eyes of the British people, particularly those who are wanting to migrate to Australia. I should like the Minister to take note of these comments.
The Commonwealth Centre in Kensington Gardens presents a very wonderful display. Australia is represented by a model of the Snowy River feeding into the Murrumbidgee area. One day I was present at the display with about nine or ten African delegates who would have been interested to know what it was all about, if they could have only understood it. In my view, it is really a poor job. I do not like to knock any man’s work, but I do not think that enough money has been spent on it. It does not tell the story of the Snowy Mountains project or of the Murrumbidgee area. I think that Senator Lillico will support me in these views, because we both had a look at the display. The African delegates certainly were not impressed, principally because they could not understand it. I do not know how one does these things because I am not an engineering type.
– Underground, you are all right.
– Do not go into my past. These matters are important. I think that the Government falls down on public relations. We ought to have our top men dressing these windows overseas so as to give Australia the best possible appearance. I suppose that the officers in London are working within the limits of the finances available to them. I would like the Minister and the Department to have a look at this matter.
I come to the last point that 1 want to raise: I have not a great deal of confidence in the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. We cannot expect the class of people that is interested in art to have any knowledge of business principles or financial methods. I think they can be excused on that score, but 1 would be interested to find out how such people are appointed as members of the Trust. What is the liaison between the Prime Minister’s Department and the Trust, which will spend the $600,000 provided for in these estimates. I do not intend to mention any names, but some members of the Trust have extraordinary records as members of the Sydney Opera House committee. 1 will not deal with the Opera House; we know what has happened there. These members of the Trust have sat on the Opera House committee and advised the New South Wales Government for eight or nine years- The Opera House is a basic proposition as far as the arts and culture, including ballet and opera, are concerned.
What qualifications must people have to be members of the Trust? Some people connected with the Opera House were appointed last year or are to be appointed this year. I believe that their records as administrators in relation to the Opera House should be reconsidered. I do not think they have very good records. I hope that a keener watch will be kept on them in relation to money that they will spend in the future than has been kept on them during the construction of the Opera House.
That brings me to my final point. The Government is spending money in order to develop the arts. That is very good. The principal disability from which the arts suffer in Australia is that they have no theatre accommodation. The Sydney Opera House was intended by Premier Cahill and the people who were associated with him - some of whom are now members of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust - to be a building capable of catering for the arts in Australia. ls it possible that the Commonwealth Government will be asked to contribute to the speeding up of the completion of the Opera House, thereby providing the accommodation required in this sphere, the lack of which is costing the Trust a lot of money in the form of payments that it has to make to private entrepreneurs? The provision of an institution in Sydney for the arts is being delayed by lack of finance. Would it not be better for tb-; Commonwealth Government to help the New South Wales Government to complete the Opera House?
I leave those three or four points with the Minister. I should like some consideration to be given to glamourising the front doors of the State Government’s offices in the Strand, and Australia House, too. I should like the Minister to check on what I have said. I will guarantee that the same window dressings - quite unprepossessing and uninteresting - have been there for a number of years. That position ought to be improved. The Government should do something in honour of a great man like the late Dr. evatt. It should see whether a portrait of him can be hung in King’s Hall or, if it cannot be hung there because he was not a Prime Minister or for some other reason, in one of the halls or passages close to King’s Hall. Then I ask the Government to consider the Commonwealth Centre in London. Unless it has been changed in the last few months, I do not think it is a credit to Australia. People are entitled to know and to be able to understand what is displayed there for us.
.- First of all, I support what has been said by other honorable senators in the debate on these estimates with regard to improving or encouraging the arts in Australia. Various points of view have been put forward. I do not want particularly to press for the setting up of an arts council in any special form. I do not know what precise machinery could be devised to improve the situation of the arts, which are widely held to be in a deplorable state in this country, having regard to our growth and our development in other fields.
-(Senator DrakeBrockman). - Order! To which item is the honorable senator relating his remarks?
– The item to which other honorable senators who have spoken on this subject have related their remarks. I assume that it would be Division No. 400 - Administrative. I have been particularly impressed by the case that has been made for a national inquiry into the state of arts and letters in Australia. On 24th August I. put a question on this subject on the notice paper. 1 suppose that is not so terribly long ago, having regard to the way things are done in this place. But it seems to me that I am entitled, before the Parliament rises, to an answer to my question, which was in these terms -
Has the Government received representations urging the institution of an official national inquiry into the state of the arts in Australia, with a view to, advising on means for improving what are widely held to be deplorable deficiencies in the various fields of artistic activity?
Is the Government considering these representations; if so, is it ready to take positive action to set up such an inquiry?
I do not know whether the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust does its work particularly well or whether it is deserving of a lot of criticism. Certainly, it has come in for some adverse comment in the course of this debate. However, I suggest that governments tend to get into habits in respect of institutions that receive annual assistance from them. In the community there are other bodies and other people holding views on the sort of activity that ought to be encouraged.
The first thing to do is to establish the facts as to the state of arts and letters in Australia. 1 believe that this is the proper time for the Government to set up a national inquiry. A very well documented case for such an inquiry has been made by the Australian Society of Authors. It points significantly to what has been done in other countries. A British White Paper on the arts was presented in 1965. It stated -
If a high level of artistic achievement is to be sustained and the best of the arts made more widely available, generous and discriminating help is urgently needed, locally, regionally and nationally.
Painters, poets, sculptors, writers and musicians are sometimes lost to art for lack of a comparatively small amount of money which would support their start in life.
In Canada, the Canada Council was set up in 1957 following a prolonged inquiry by the Royal Commission on National Development of the Arts, Letters and Sciences, lt is plain that in many European and other countries a positive national policy on the encouragement of the arts is adopted. 1 am pleased to see the attention that has been given to this subject in this debate. I suggest to the Minister that a good case has been made out for an inquiry in the first instance. in the very limited time at my disposal, I want to say something on a matter that was canvassed broadly by Senator Dittmer under the appropriations for the Commonwealth Office of Education and the Australian Universities Commission. I refer to the state of education in Australia. This is an enormous subject. I believe that there is a clear division of opinion between the Government and its critics. I would be the first to concede that not all the blame for the deficiencies and inadequacies of the various education systems that exist in the Australian States should be laid at the feet of the Commonwealth Government, which, in- an historical sense, has entered the field of education only recently. When the Commonwealth did enter this field, it was at the university level. Until just before the Federal elections in 1963, the Commonwealth, through the former Prime Minister, had turned a broad and ample back on all responsibility in connection with education, other than tertiary education. It was only under the pressure of the election atmosphere in 1963 that the Commonwealth moved into other fields - the secondary fields and the technical fields - and accepted some responsibility. But there are pressing needs in the Australian education system at all levels; not merely in the field of tertiary education at university level or at the level which is now to be covered by the Colleges of Advanced Education; not merely at the top of the secondary school level, but further down in the secondary schools, down into the junior technical schools and into the primary schools. One has only to listen to any State Minister of Education pleading his case to the public or to the Commonwealth to realise that somehow or other the Commonwealth and the States have to contrive to see that education gets a better deal, and that it gets the absolute priority to which it is entitled. When I say “ absolute “ I do not mean that no other claim in the community, no other need, is to be met out of the public purse - on the contrary - but we do have to appreciate that in every level of education there are deficiencies.
There is too little time on an occasion like this to recapitulate them. Take the problem of lack of qualifications of teachers - the alarming statistics showing that there is a declining percentage of qualified teachers in the secondary schools in States like my own State of Victoria. Take the problem of the accommodation in which scholars live and work in the schools, in what are often substandard conditions. Take the whole problem of the pupil-teacher ratio and as to whether any progress is being made in reducing the size of classes. Take the financial problems that face individual students, as to whether a sufficient percentage receive financial assistance in the universities, in the secondary schools, and in the technical schools. It will be seen that, in spite of the substantial progress that has been made in this direction and that direction, so much more remains to be done that there still remains a crisis in education.
There is a fundamental difference between the views expressed by the Opposition and all competent educationists in this country who share the view that there is a crisis, and the view that has been persistently put by the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton), and by certain Ministers in State Governments, denying the existence of such a crisis. In our view, there is no real basis for their taking such an attitude. The crisis is there. The question is: How are governments to deal with it? lt seems to us that there are two particular matters on which the Government may be said to be deserving of censure in the field of education. I do not canvass the wider question of the adequacy or otherwise of the grant for the university triennium. I do not canvass particular matters in respect of which the Government has seen fit to move over the last three years. What I do suggest is that what is urgently needed is a national inquiry into all levels of education so that we may understand what the needs are in order to meet the crisis. We go along happily without planning. How do we know what the manpower needs will be in the various professions for the next 10, 20 or 50 years? How do we know, in the context of the broad problem Australia has to face, and what kind of contribution a proper education system can make to them over the next few decades? These are questions of needs. lt is almost irrelevant to talk about millions and millions being spent upon education unless we know whether what is done measures up to what needs to be done. That seems to me to be the fundamental question that has to be asked. It is interestin” to say: We are spending $x million today, when 10 or 20 years ago we were spending only one quarter of $x million, but the figures are meaningless unless we appreciate that there has been a realisation that the national needs have expanded enormously.
Take one simple illustration of the rate of expansion. In the State of Victoria in 1947 the population, according to the official figures, was just over 2 million. In 1965 it had increased to something like Simillion, an increase of 55 per cent, over those 19 years. But the school population had risen from 204,000 to 523,000 over the same period, an increase not of 55.2 per cent, but of 155.2 per cent.
This is not to point the finger particularly at any one authority and say: “ lt is your responsibility that there has been such a substantial population explosion in the schools, dwarfing the ordinary population explosion “. But that brings with it new problems, and those problems have to be assessed at every level.
There is an urgent need for a national inquiry which sets out to canvass all of the problems in every aspect of educational work, in all sorts of educational institutions, in every educational institution. I except the tertiary level from this, because we know a lot now about the needs in the field of tertiary education, but in secondary education, in technical education and in primary education there is an urgent need for such an inquiry. Over the years, the Australian Labour Party has pressed for this inquiry. It is supported, I suggest, by the great majority of responsible educationists, and it is time the Government indicated that it is prepared to move in this direction, otherwise whatever good may be accomplished, its relevance cannot be assessed and its adequacy cannot be assessed, except against the background of such an inquiry.
The other matter to which I wish to direct attention is what I regard as one of the greatest blunders that this Government has made, and that is saying a mouthful, because it has made so many in the 17 years during which it has been in office. Sooner or later this Government will go, whether it is this time or next time, and in the years to come, when-
– Order! I suggest that the honorable senator come back to the item under discussion.
– I shall do that. I hope that you, Mr. Chairman, will allow me a little licence on this occasion. What I am saying is this: The greatest blunder, certainly in this field of education, that this Government has made is its rejection of the Martin Committee’s recommendations on teacher training. In my view, that was an act of monumental irresponsibility and in the years to come, when Ministers are thinking back on these problems, this will be regarded, certainly in this field, as a central error - central because the problem of teaching is central to education. We have only to look at the many problems that are raised concerning the qualifications of teachers, the recruitment of teachers, the effect-
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired. I suggest that honorable senators connect their remarks, while I am in the Chair, with particular items in the Estimates.
– Replying briefly - necessarily briefly - to some of the points raised by the three honorable senators who have spoken since I last replied, I refer first to what Senator Cohen has just put before us. He is perfectly correct in saying that 1 have maintained that there is not and has not been a crisis in education, and he will no doubt hear me repeat that. He did not say - and I know that he knows it is not true - that I have ever said that there was not a great deal that needed to be done in education, because I have said that a great deal was needed. But improvements were being made and this did not constitute a crisis. He raised a question as to whether there should be a national inquiry into the levels of primary, secondary and technical education; he excluded tertiary education. 1 listened to the honorable senator with great attention, but he did not indicate why this could not be done in the existing situation. In fact, I have never heard anybody explain why this cannot be done. We have in each State a State Education Department, in charge of virtually all education at the sub-tertiary level in that
State. These departments know what is happening in the fields of secondary and primary education within the States. The State Ministers for Education meet. They have published reports indicating what, in the view of the representatives of each Slate, is required in the way of expenditure on technical, secondary and primary education. They have in those reports given forecasts of teacher-pupil ratios, enrolments and matters of that kind.
Quite clearly, of course, there would be considerable variations in the views of the States as to what was required. What might be required in one State might not necessarily be required in another, because the education systems might have developed in different directions. For example, if one S’ate had some deficiency in technical education, it would not follow that what required to be done in that State required to be done in all States. It has never been explained to me - I do not believe there is an explanation - why the statements of the various State Ministers for Education on what they think is required in their own States do not put before us exactly the kind of information which Senator Cohen has said is needed.
Whether the Martin Committee’s recommendations on teacher training should or should not have been accepted is a question of policy, and I do not propose to elaborate on it in a debate of this sort. It is clear from the figures given by Senator Cohen himself that between 1947 and 1960 there was an increase in the population of Victoria of 55 per cent, and an increase in the school population of not 55 per cent, but 150 per cent. Victoria has coped with that situation. The increased school population has been provided with facilities and with teachers. According to spokesmen of the Department of Education in Victoria, the pupil-teacher ratio has been maintained and, if anything, is tending to drop. This still leaves a lot to be done, but the fact that the vast increase in school age population could be coped with indicates that, as I believe, there is no significant crisis in education at the moment.
I was interested to read the report of a Theodore Fink lecture given recently by Professor Karmel. He called it “ Buntine Revisited” because the figures he gave in his original Buntine oration have been quoted, requoted and misquoted so very often in debates on education. Professor Karmel’s views on primary and secondary education in particular are very interesting. He has pointed to the increases in the proportion of the gross national product directed to this field since his original Buntine oration. He has suggested that three-quarters of it is represented by an increase in the numbers of school children and an increase in those staying at school for a longer period, and that the other quarter of the total increase is represented by improved pupil-teacher ratios, higher salaries for teachers and things of that sort. Professor Karmel has suggested that universities have improved at a far greater rate. This indicates the progress that has been made.
Senator Dittmer referred to Fourth Division officers and the Public Service Board. So far as I know, there are no more matters outstanding between the Fourth Division and the Public Service Board than there are in relation to any other Division of the Public Service. If there are, the normal processes are open. Fourth Division officers may approach the Public Service Board with requests for alterations in salaries and conditions; they may seek, as is often done, to obtain consent agreements with the Board. Failing that, they may make an approach to the Public Service Arbitrator. 1 want to correct one statement that Senator Dittmer made regarding the College of Advanced Education which is to be established in Canberra. The honorable senator said the Government, had rejected the timetable recommended by the Committee for the opening of the College. In fact, the Government has accepted the timetable recommended, lt is open to the honorable senator to say that, in his opinion, it is quite wrong for the Government to retain power to require the College to establish a particular course after it opens, or to say that it is quite wrong for the Government to have power to say to the College: “ We do nol propose to finance a particular course It is open to him to make such suggestions, but it is open to me to say that I believe it is necessary for the Government to have this power. In all cases, these colleges are the subject of advice tendered by the Wark Committee on Advanced Education, and included in the advice to the Government is advice on the level of the courses, the level at which they should be begun, the courses that should be provided, their content and all other matters relating to such colleges.
Senator Ormonde raised the mailer of a memorial to Doctor Evatt. This matter would come under the purview of the Historic Memorials Committee. The Leader of the Opposition is a member of that Committee. In general, tributes placed in King’s Hall are almost entirely, if not entirely, devoted to former Prime Ministers, former Presiding Officers of each House of the Parliament and former GovernorsGeneral. If the honorable senator has any feelings on this matter, I think he should express them to the Historic Memorials Committee.
The Elizabethan Theatre Trust has come in for considerable discussion. It is a Trust through which money is paid by the Government and it is given a great deal of latitude as to how it uses this money in fostering one form of art or another. The question whether the present system should be replaced by one under which money would be given in some other way is one of policy. Senator Ormonde suggested that the Commonwealth Parliament should make money available to the New South Wales Government for the purpose of speeding up the construction of the Sydney Opera House. I have no hesitation in rejecting this suggestion absolutely and completely.
.- I direct the attention of the Minister to the schedule of salaries and allowances for the Public Service Board. The total salaries voted for the Central Staff and Inspector’s Staffs amount to* about $2.4 million, yet the vote for higher duties allowances is $2,389,374. In connection with a Board whose responsibility is pre-eminently to obtain efficiency and proper government in the Public Service, it seems to me to bp very odd that the amount for higher duty allowances should equal the ordinary salaries for the Central Staff and the Inspectors Staffs. I would like the. Minister to comment on this matter, explaining where my viewpoint is at fault.
The next matter tha* I want to mention relates to the salaries and allowances of the Australian Universities Commission
It appears that we are asked to vote the sum of $.16,000 for fees for Commissioners, compared with $10,500 last year. The item is of no major importance, but of course it is well that this Parliament should focus its attention on matters of detail when an increase which appears to be extraordinary occurs. The increase in this instance is approximately 50 per cent. May I say that any reference which I make to the Australian Universities Commission is of course made in a spirit of appreciation of the work that the Commission has done, particularly since the addition to it of Mr. A. W. Knight, from Hobart, whose prestige and achievements in the Public Service already have been recorded at the highest levels.
My last reference concerns the Commonwealth Grants Commission. We are asked to increase the vote for three Commissioners from $4,800 to $11,000.
– They are only part time.
– What difference does that make? The centre party ought to be concerned to see that the taxes of country men are not unduly filched even by part time officials, lt is unfortunate that I have used the term “ filched “ in connection with these Commissioners who are of great integrity and prestige. I do not wish to do anything other than put back into the centre of this arena the reference which implied that we should not supervise part time fees as well as full time fees.
– They ought to get the lion’s share.
– An increase from $4,800 to $11,000 is a steep yearly increment. I would like to know who brought this matter to attention. Who recommended the increase? I should also like to know the circumstances which, in the mind of the Government, warrant the increase. I attach particular importance to this matter because you will remember, Madam Temporary Chairman-, that we had a celebrated division in the Senate some 10 or 12 years ago when the Government, with the aid of the Labour Party and against the majority of its own members, was able to alter the Act constituting the Commonwealth Grants Commission so as to remove the Commissioners from the category of officers whose salaries should be fixed by vote of Parliament to the category of those fixed by appropriation.
That was a determination of the Government which has been imported into the Appropriation Bill.
This is a matter of very great concern, I think, because this Commission operates in a field where the pressures - State versus Commonwealth and Commonwealth versus State in relation to both claimant States and standard States - all are concentrated on this one body. The Commonwealth Grants Commission deserves to continue its history of great independence and integrity notwithstanding that altered view which this Government took of the salaries of the Commissioners some time ago. Therefore, I wish to maintain an unceasing vigil with regard to their salaries. I have seen some reference in recent days to a change in the personnel of the Commission. Looking at the report which the Commission has furnished to us and which was tabled in the Senate only today, I am not fully informed of the personnel who constitute the Commission. I should like the Minister to tell us the names of the Commissioners. Would he also be good enough to indicate the circumstances of any recent changes?
I come now to a matter which my colleague Senator Marriott half anticipated when he referred to the Lyons Party. It is a matter of history that the Commonwealth Grants Commission was constituted during the Prime Ministership of the late Mr. J. A. Lyons who had an acute appreciation of the disadvantage of Tasmania under the Federal system and a hand to mouth annual grant. Before 1933 that annual handout was voted to the less fortunate States, including Tasmania. During the Prime Ministership of Mr. Lyons there was constituted a permanent Commission whose performance since then has been such that there has not been an occasion when the Federal Government has failed to accept its recommendations. We have seen South Australia go from the position of claimant State to standard State. In the last report of the Commission we note that it is recommended that Western Australia should receive a grant of $19.4 million and Tasmania $20.6 million, showing that Western Australia gradually is earning its independence and growing out of the position of dependence. Hitherto, its dependence upon the Commission was such that its grant was much greater than Tasmania’s. But Tasmania still is largely dependent on the grant for its performance of major governmental functions. If the grant is not the major part of th; Tasmanian Budget, it is a very substantial component of it.
The sad fact is that, proportionate to the efficiency of the Commonwealth Grants Commission which scrutinises and criticises the budgetary performance of Tasmania year by year, the whole strength of Tasinr.nian government is derived from the supervision of the Commission. Otherwise, there would not have been the 39 years of Tasmania’s sad history under a Labour Government. So. the Commission, both in its financial assessments and its annual critique upon lh,2 Government, gives the Tasmanian Government the guidelines on which to continue its existence.
– The honorable senator is not suggesting that the Liberal Party in Tasmania should take over, surely.
– I wanted to work my way round to referring to the odd circumstance that after the distinguished origins of this Commission during the time of Mr. J. A. Lyons, there should have come into prominence Mr. K. A. Lyons, carrying with him the A. CP. I am told that in Tasmania that is read as “ Australian Centre Party “, but in other parts of the country some people lisp and say “ Australian Country Party “. Good luck to Mr. Lyons and gook luck to the Australian Centre Party. I. only hope that the importance of the Commonwealth Grants Commission is appreciated by the Senate. Therefore, I wish to know the names of the personnel of the Commission and the reason for the increase in the proposed expenditure to which I have referred.
– The first point raised by Senator Wright related to higher duties allowances payable to inspectors’ staffs employed by the Public Service Board. The answer is that the honorable senator misread the total. The higher duties allowances are not §2,389,374, which is a subtotal of two amounts listed higher in the table. The higher duties allowances total is $18,398.
Senator Wright also referred to the increased appropriation for fees payable to Commissioners of the Australian Universities Commission. The increase can be accounted for in two ways. The honorable senator will remember that two Commissioners were added to the Commission by Parliament during the year. The sum appropriated for 1965- 66 was for the number of Commissioners then employed. At some time between that date and the present, two Commissioners were added and were paid, but their payments would not have appeared before in the estimates drawn up before the extra Commissioners were added to the Commission. 1 think those two factors explain what appears to be a great increase.
Senator Wright also raised the question of the salaries paid to members of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. An increase has occurred, but again it is not as significant an increase as at first appears. The estimates show that the appropriation in the Schedule for Commissioners for 1965-66 was $4,800. That appropriation was made for retainers for the Commissioners who are employed part-time in that capacity. Five lines further down appears an entry “ Fees for Commissioners “. The appropriation for 1965-66 was $3,150, which represents sitting fees paid to the part time Commissioners, as well as the retainers. No appropriation appears for that item for 1966- 67, as it has been consolidated with the appropriation of $11,000 appearing against “ Commissioners “ in the Schedule. An increase has occurred, but it is the difference between $8,000 and $11,000. Previously a retainer and sitting fee were paid, but the nature of the payment has been changed to that of a salary.
– Would the Minister be good enough to give details of the exact sitting fee and retainer, just for the record?
– The amounts that used to be paid?
– Or the present amounts.
– As to the personnel of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, Sir Leslie Melville is Chairman, and Mr. H. Goodes is a member. Due to the retirement of Mr. P. D. Phillips, a vacancy has occurred which has not yet been filled.
– 1 rise for a few minutes to refer to Division No. 416 - Commonwealth Office of Education. A tragic position has arisen in South Australia in relation to university education. This morning’s edition of the Adelaide “ Advertiser “, a newspaper which circulates in South Australia, contains on its main page a report that the University of Adelaide next year will have to curtail seriously its intake because of lack of practically every facility. Construction of South Australia’s new university - Flinders University - has reached a standstill through lack of finance. Mr. Loveday, the South Australian Minister for Education, has stated in an article that the position is tragic, but nothing can be done about it. The State Government simply does not have the money required, and the only remedial action possible is a Commonwealth grant. South Australia is unfortunate in that it has been unable to accept all Commonwealth moneys offering for education because the claims upon it for other work have prevented it providing the necessary matching grants to enable capital works in the development of universities to be undertaken.
Previously in South Australia only the number of medical students at the University of Adelaide was restricted. Only 120 students were accepted. Now restrictions are to apply to all faculties and not all students qualifying for admission will be accepted. Irrespective of whether Senator Cohen or the Minister is right as to the existence of a crisis in education, there is a crisis in education in South Australia inasmuch as some students qualifying for admission to the University will not be accepted. The State Minister of Education has said that the only solution is a Commonwealth grant to provide the facilities for additional. training. With all respect, 1 ask the Minister to give consideration to the position that has developed in South Australia. I think he realises, with all honorable senators, the importance of educated manpower to the future development and possibly the future defence of this country. I ask the Minister to recognise the crisis and to confer with the State Minister of Education so that early action can be taken to make to South Australia a grant outside of matching grants for the future provision of tertiary education, so that students capable of absorbing a university education may have the facilities to receive it.
– Why should South Australia throw up a special problem?
– The fact is that there is a special problem. Possibly it has arisen because for some years South Australia lagged far behind the other States in providing a university education. South Australia had only one university. I am inclined to believe that another factor is that the school population has increased proportionately faster in South Australia than in the other States. Whatever the causes, the stage has been reached at which no solution can be found without Commonwealth assistance. Unless it is provided, not all South Australian students eligible for a university education will be able to receive it next year. My plea is that the Minister should recognise the seriousness of the situation. I ask him to confer with the South Australian Minister of Education to see whether a solution can be found to this impasse.
– I can say very briefly to Senator Cavanagh that a solution is possible in South Australia. I do not wish to cast aspersions on the South Australian Government nor to question its judgment, but the solution is in its hands; that is, to devote more of its Budget to the field of education. It took a decision to devote more of its Budget to other fields. I could not conceive of making a special grant to South Australia without making a similar special grant to all State Governments. That would abrogate completely the principles under which the whole scheme operates throughout Australia.
– I also relate my remarks to Division No. 416 - Commonwealth Office of Education. In the Senate we have previously discussed the crisis in education in South Australia and the failure of the South Australian Government to make matching grants. The evidence of the South Australian Minister of Education is that the position has arisen because of the South Australian Government’s budgetary decisions and commitments. However, I understand that the position is not peculiar to South Australia. From my information, quotas have been set for the intake of university students in all States on much the same pattern. It seems to me that if the pattern is general throughout Australian universities, the Commonwealth ought to face up to the need to provide more finance. I have been informed that South Australia is not alone in fixing quotas, and that the intake previously fixed by quotas in Melbourne has been reduced.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I had said that I had been informed that in most Australian universities a quota system operates and that it varies from State to State. During the suspension I had an opportunity to look at the Press report to which Senator Cavanagh referred and also to speak to the Minister of Education in South Australia. The origin of this report lies in the fact that yesterday in the State Parliament the Minister for Education, Mr. Loveday, was asked whether in his opinion quotas would become the pattern for the future. This was his reply, as reported in today’s “ Advertiser “ -
The Minister ot Education (Mr. Loveday) said the announcement of entrance quotas highlighted the need for more resources for education, apart from funds available to the States.
South Australia had done all that it could with the available resources.
Provision for universities in this State compared more than favorable with those of other States.
However, any additional money would have to come from the Commonwealth.
The report referred also to a statement by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide that quotas had been fixed for students in medicine, architecture and physiotherapy and that investigations would be conducted into the effects of the application of quotas. I was told by the State Minister that there would be no retrenchments. 1. should think the Government would be the first to admit that education will continue to be the subject of political controversy. It is a matter that will concern all governments but particularly the Commonwealth Government. Obviously, the position in South Australia must be considered in the Australian context. I was told by the Minister of Education in South Australia that he had reported to the State Parliament that in his discussions he had found Senator Gorton to be sympathetic. It seems to me that, as a result of the introduction of the recent Commonwealth Budget, the difficulty I have mentioned is common to most of the States. I have been informed that the Queensland Treasurer has applied a financial formula which restricts the amount of money that can ‘be available for education and fixed in proportion to other expenditure.
I wish to refer briefly to another matter - one which is causing some confusion. I refer to the statement made in the Senate on 21st September by Senator Gorton. I think it is fair to say that the Minister’s statement has at least caused some reaction. Mr. Badger in Melbourne and Dr. Crowley in Sydney have made some observations on the subject, and certain results have flowed in South Australia. The Minister said, as reported at page 588 of “ Hansard “ -
Accordingly the Commission recommends that sub-degree standard courses should be transferred from the universities to other more appropriate tertiary institutions by the beginning of the 1970- 1972 triennium, but that funds be provided for these purposes during the 1967-1969 triennium. The Commonwealth endorses this approach and hopes that appropriate arrangements for these transfers can be made. In this context the Commission has also recommended that Commonwealth financial support for adult education activities in universities should cease at the end of the 1967-1969 triennium and that those activities should from then be carried on either in colleges of advanced education or by a separate State agency. The Government agrees that universities should not set about developing adult education activities which could be done more satisfactorily elsewhere, but at the same time it recognises that there can be real advantages to the community in being able to use university facilities and the talents of university staff in these informal courses. This is a matter to which we will give further consideration in consulting with State Governments, the Universities Commission and the Advisory Commission on Advanced Education.
The Minister will remember that Senator Drury asked a question about this matter and referred to a statement nhat is alleged to have been made by Sir Leslie Martin.
As I indicated earlier, in South Australia there is confusion or uncertainty as a result of the Minister’s statement. I am not suggesting that the Minister’s statement displayed any uncertainty, but I shall be guided by any explanation the Minister might make now. The Minister agrees that adult education is necessary and that it should be continued but that where it shall be carried on is a matter for consideration later. I have been told that as a result of the opinion expressed by the Universities Commission the Adult Education Department of the University of Adelaide has withheld the appointment of an officer who should have been appointed to enable it to carry on adult education satisfactorily. Probably the Minister has noted, as I did, that from what Mr. Colin Badger of Victoria and Dr. Crowley of New South Wales have said there is some argument, about the meaning of the Minister’s statement. It was suggested in the “Bulletin” of 15th October that retrenchments would be only one of the effects if the Commonwealth Government were to go ahead with its plan to withdraw financial support for adult education programmes in the universities after the end of the 1967-69 triennium. 1 should like the Minister to put it beyond doubt that it is not the intention of the Government to restrict adult education. It is well known that the Adult. Education Department of the University of Adelaide and the Workers’ Educational Association have done a tremendous job over the past 30 or 40 years.
– What contribution has the Commonwealth Government made to adult education?
– It contributes part of the funds. The States provide the remainder. New South Wales, for example, provides a greater amount than does South Australia. J. suggest that a backward step would be taken if, as a result of the statements that have been made and the views that have been expressed, an officer was not appointed in South Australia to enable this very valuable work to be continued. 1 know personally from my association with the trade union movement, and from my interest in the work of the Workers’ Educational Association that, as in New South Wales, these organisations are doing a wonderful job. I would like the Minister to clear up the matter departmentally, quite apart from anything he may say in re-stating what was said on 2 1 st September.
– I do not know that I can exactly clear up the matter as the honorable senator has suggested. It seems to me that what was said in the statement to which he referred is fairly clear. However, I shall take him through it step by step. I said -
I continued -
The Government agrees that universities should nol set about developing adult education activities which could be done more satisfactorily elsewhere, bin at the same lime it recognises that there can bc real advantages to the community in being able to use university facilities and the talents of university staff in these informal courses.
Having made those two statements, 1 said -
This is a matter to which we will give further consideration in consulting with State governments, the Universities Commission and the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education-
That is, before the end of the 1967-1969 triennium. As 1 envisage it, this is to work out where particular courses could be best done. There might well be some in universities. There might well be some in universities and some that are done now in universities which could go to colleges of advanced education.
Quite clearly, this is not endorsing the plain recommendation that adult education should cease in universities in 1967-69. It is stating that the whole thing needs to be looked at. I would say that those concerned with adult education would not be averse to looking at this matter to see where particular parts of adult education could best be carried on. 1 do not say that without having spoken to these people, including Mr. Badger to whom the honorable senator has referred. I do not believe that the nonappointment of an officer for adult education activities in the University of Adelaide has anything whatsoever to do with that statement that has been made. 1 think that it is the result of the reduction in the recurrent vote for the University of Adelaide. That reduction in the recurrent cost was brought about because the State Government felt that it could match only a certain amount of fees from the Commonwealth.
I move back to the other question which the honorable senator raised and which Senator Cavanagh mentioned before the sitting was suspended. This was whether or not a special grant ought to be made for South Australia - one State out of the Commonwealth - in order to help it to provide for university education. The first thing I would like to say is that it is not correct to state that South Australia lagged behind other Stales in the provision of university education up to the present triennium. In fact, I would say that South Australia under the Playford Administration was in advance of some other Australian States in that in the University of Adelaide there were fewer restrictions than there were in other universities in other States. Having regard to the population of South Australia and the requirements of entry to its university, it is quite clear that this university did not provide fewer facilities in relation to its population and demand than other States provided. 1 wish to speak factually on this matter as it has been raised by senators from South Australia. 1 want as far as I can to get away from everything that is political and to speak factually. It is true that the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission as to universities relates to all the universities in all the Australian States. Further, it is true that the reduction from these recommendations was greater in South Australia than it was in any other State. It is true also that this reduction in South Australia came about as the result of discussions between South Australia and the Commonwealth as to. what South Australia felt it could contribute to university education and tertiary education generally in that State. The South Australian Government felt that it could contribute less than any other State could contribute. Since that time, since those discussions and since South Australia stated the upper limit on what it felt it could contribute to education, another look has been taken at the situation resulting from the decision made by the South Australian Government. As a result of that further look, South Australia has approached us and said: “ Perhaps we have cut it a ‘bit too much. Would you provide half of an increased amount for the University of Adelaide?” The Commonwealth has replied: “ Yes. we will “. The Minister for Education in South Australia and I have made a joint announcement of this increased sum which, again, was the sum suggested by South Australia.
As to why the South Australian Government had to reduce more than any other State in Australia the amount that it felt it could match, I do not want to say very much. The State Government made the decision. Certain grants are made to each State. These are general grants. The allocation of these general grants among various fields of State administration is the responsibility of each State Government concerned. The South Australian Government felt that its other requirements were such that it could not contribute as much in this field as other States were able to contribute. That is its business. The decision was that of the South Australian Government. In view of some of the things which may be said, I will state that I think it may be argued that this action could have been the result of some fairly costly election promises which had been made by the present South Australian Government. But it is the prerogative of that Governmet to decide the fields into which it proposes to put its funds.
The State Government has made its decision either because of promises made or decisions made which are within its province. It says that it cannot give as much to education as other States can give. But if as a result of that decision the Commonwealth is then approached and is told that some special grant ought to be made to South Australia, I suggest that this is without any proper foundation at all. All State Governments have income which is derived from general grants made to them as a result of the Premiers’ Conference. All State Governments have competing demands, just as the Commonwealth Government has competing, demands, upon the revenue which comes to them. If one State Government decides that its priorities are such that it cannot give as much to tertiary education as it would like or as other State Governments have given, then it is quite absurd to suggest that for that reason some special grant should be made by the Commonwealth to that State. If this line of argument is followed, remembering that the Commonwealth has come into this field to help the States in their responsibilities - and the Commonwealth has helped them greatly in this regard - then an open invitation is being made to any State to say: “ Our priorities are such that we propose to give more to roads, hospitals or whatever it may be, and cut down on tertiary education so that the Commonwealth can be asked to come in and make a special grant for education.”
The situation is really this: The general grants made to all the States are in respect of all the responsibilities which rest upon the States. If it is desired that the Commonwealth should move in and finance the field of tertiary education completely, the corollary is that the general grants to the States would be reduced by the amount given to them now to enable them to put their contribution into tertiary education. This would leave the situation where it stands now. 1 move no censure on the South Australian Government. I cast no aspersions upon it. lt is the responsibility of the South Australian Government to decide what its priorities are. If, for whatever reasons seem good to it, that Government cannot meet the requirement for tertiary education, this is nol something on which I propose to attack it. Nor do I propose to sit down under the attack that, because the South Australian Government cannot, because of its decisions, finance tertiary education fully, some special grant or some special provision should be made for South Australia, singling it out from all the other States in the Commonwealth. That is all 1 wish to say on the matter.
– I should like some information in relation to the Commonwealth Office of Education concerning oriental languages - courses at universities. With reference to the grant made for the study of oriental languages through various courses at our universities, 1 should like to know why the vote this financial year is less than half the amount that was appropriated and expended last financial year. 1 should think that at the present time the need for the extension of courses in oriental languages would be quite apparent. 1 am wondering whether the cost of the extension of these courses in the various universities is being absorbed in the general expenses of the universities or whether this grant which is being made is sufficient to cover the courses that exist at present. I would also like to know whether the Minister can tell me which universities provide courses in oriental studies, u very important section of university courses today.
The question concerning adult education, which was raised by Senator Bishop, is of very great in. crest to me in two aspects. First, there is the impact, in the Australian Capital Territory in particular, of any suggestion that the University should not carry on with adult education in the Territory. As was mentioned in the statement that was presented to the Senate this afternoon, there is the prospect of a college of advanced education being instituted in the Australian Capital Territory within the next couple of years. ‘ I am wondering whether that time will be sufficient for a transition in adult education work in the Territory from the University to a college of advanced education, and also who is going to finance it. In the Australian Capital Territory there is no means for financing adult education except Commonwealth assistance because there is no local government as such in the Australian Capital Territory.
The adult education system in Western Australia has worked very well for nearly 40 years. During the whole “ of that time’ adult education has been associated with the University of Western Australia. Many of the courses arc self-supporting because of the fees that are charged. They are quite nominal lees but the courses attract many people. I think that way back in the early I930’s the University was the first university in Australia to introduce a summer residential school for adult education, lt has continued these summer residential schools which have been a great boon to adults who are seeking to supplement their school education which in many cases they have had to leave before attaining university standard. I think that the schools of adult education have a great standing in the community because they are connected with the University. I would like to see the colleges of advanced education prove themselves and bc accepted as an alternative to universities before the Commonwealth Government stops any grants to universities for adult education. I do not think that it is the Parliament’s function to legislate as to what a university shall do.
We have found that adult education is a vital part of our University in Western Australia. We have found that the University not only caters for the youth who have matriculated, but also offers to people of more mature years the opportunity to further their education, particularly in the humanities field. As I have said before, I think that we concentrate far too much of our educational expenditure on other fields of education, such as the scientific field. This field is not over stressed in adult education because of the very nature of it. I think that a great deal more attention should be directed to the humanities which is a very important part of education and which I think is running a very bad second in modern educational programmes.
I sincerely trust that in any transition in adult education from universities to colleges of advanced education, the first question that will be kept in mind by the powers that be is: What is best for adult education and for those who have tried to benefit therefrom? I hope that the very best form of adult education will remain, whether it is associated with universities or not. I know that we in Western Australia will be very sorry indeed to see the control of adult education pass from the University which has done such a magnificent job for the past 40 years.
– I again refer to Division No. 416. I am concerned with what the Minister said regarding the plea for South Australia. This was that the Minister should have a look at the position in South Australia in view of the fact that quotas are to be instituted at universities next year. The Minister, I think rightly, asked why an exception should be made in the case of South Australia. Nevertheless, if a need exists, I think that the closest scrutiny should be given to see whether we can overcome the problem that has arisen, no matter what the cost involved. The Minister, whilst wanting to report factually and not enter into politics, said that South Australia’s request for assist ance had been due to costly election promises by the South Australian Government.
He said that it is spending its money on fields other than the education field. That is not quite correct. Costly promises were made in order to meet the State’s requirements which had been neglected over the years. There were such things as child welfare, the proper staffing of the magistrates’ courts and the streamlining of the arbitration system which had not been amended for 40 years. These were essential reforms that the Labour Government was pledged to put into operation. This cost the Government a great deal of money, but it was not done at the expense of education. The South Australian Government provides more money for education per head of population today, possibly, than any other State with the exception of Tasmania.
The publication “ Education News “, which is issued by the Commonwealth Office of Education, in April 1966 reported that the recent statistics of expenditure on education by the Australian State Governments showed that the Consolidated Revenue Fund expenditure on education for 1965-66 was 24.4 per cent, for Victoria and 21.7 per cent, for South Australia. These statistics also showed that the percentages of Revenue Fund expenditure devoted to education in Queensland and Western Australia are lower than that in South Australia, and that the Tasmanian percentage is the same as that for South Australia. Therefore, on the Minister’s own figures, Victoria is the only State that is spending a higher percentage of its Consolidated Revenue Fund expenditure on education than South Australia. If we examine the position - the publication acknowledges that this matter may need more examination - we find that the footnote at the bottom of the statistics states -
Because there are important differences between the States in financial accounting procedures the tables cannot be used to compare the expenditure in one State with that in another.
In South Australia, the 1965-66 Budget proposed the expenditure of £28.601,000 on education, including universities, agricultural education and pensions, from a Budget of £121,518,000. The expenditure on education represented 23.5 per cent, of the Budget. These South Australian figures do not include loan expenditures on buildings and so on, amounting to £5,810,000, or interest. In Victoria, the 1965-66 Budget proposed the expenditure of about £71,850,000 on a comparable basis from a Budget of £257,893,000. The expenditure on education represented about 28 per cent, of the Budget.
But a second and more serious factor is the comparison between total Budgets. There is a very much more limited scope in Victoria than in South Australia. For instance, metropolitan and a variety of provincial water and sewerage works and the main harbour works are excluded from the Victorian Budget but included in the South Australian Budget. Whereas Victoria’s population is three times that of South Australia, its total Budget is £258 million compared with South Australia’s total Budget of £121.5 million. Victoria’s total Budget is only 2.1 times that of South Australia. If the Victorian Budget had equal coverage with that of South Australia, the proportion of Budget expenditure devoted to education would be lower in Victoria than in South Australia. South Australia’s 1965-66 budget for education represents about £27 per capita; whereas Victoria’s represents about £22 3s. per capita. That makes the South Australian provision 20 per cent, higher than the Victorian provision. In addition, South Australia’s loan expenditure represents about £5 10s. per capita and Victoria’s represents about £4 16s. per capita. That makes the South Australian figure 15 per cent, higher than the Victorian figure.
So far from the present South Australian Government reducing the proportionate provision from ils Budget for education, as was suggested in Senator Gorton’s statement in which he mentioned the need to pay for costly election promises, that Government raised the proportionate provision from £26,068,000 out of £112,401,000, or 23.2 per cent., in 1964-65, to £28,601,000 out of £121,518,000, or 23.5 per cent., in 1965-66. Indications are that the actual proportions will be slightly better still. So the fact is that the position in South Australia has not been -brought about as a result of costly election promises. The State is spending as much on education as is any of the other States today. Whatever was the position in the field of education at the time the Labour Party came into office, the facts are that it had to pay for the major portion of the construction of a new university; it had to staff and supply the amenities for that new university; and there was an expanding school population. 1 have not the relevant figures, but I am inclined to believe that the rate of expansion of the school population in South Australia is greater than that in the other Slates. Those are the questions to which 1 ask the Minister to give careful consideration. Are there any special reasons why they should not receive consideration?
It is valueless for the Common wealth to say what it is doing for education in the States by offering matching grants when the States cannot match the grants. If the Commonwealth is to make a contribution to education, and if in my State, quotas have to be imposed on entry to the universities, I say that the Commonwealth has some responsibility to overcome that position. The figures would indicate that the South Australian expenditure on education is comparable with that of other States and that it is increasing its education vote year by year in order to meet the increased demand for education. But the State Budget, in view of Commonwealth allocations either for education or other purposes, is insufficient to meet the requirements. Therefore, some extra consideration should be given. I have said that in South Australia it has been necessary to introduce quotas. That position may exist to some degree in all the other States. But I am putting up a case for South Australia because it is in a very difficult position at the present time. We do not know what talent might have been developed in that State but may never be developed because people do not have the opportunity to reach the limit of their educational possibilities.
– I want to reply briefly to Senator Cavanagh because I would not like honorable senators to accept without question the figures and arguments that he has put before them. There seemed to be inherent in his argument some suggestion that South Australia was at a disadvantage as compared with the other States of Australia in the proportion of ils Budget that it could devote to education. That suggestion was contradicted by another aspect of his argument, which seemed to imply that South Australia was devoting more of its Budget to education than were the other States. It is up to him, not to me, to reconcile those conflicting opinions. I merely say at this point of time that the figures that he placed before honorable senators should not be accepted uncritically.
I have pointed out previously in this chamber that, in my belief, South Australia devoted a smaller proportion of its total Budget and loan funds to education than did any other State. That belief was challenged by the South Australian Minister of Education and the South Australian Government. Considerable and detailed correspondence took place publicly on the matter. In that correspondence the basis for the figures that I provided and the basis for those that the State Government provided were set out with quite a degree of particularity. They can be studied by anybody who is interested in them, who may then make up his own mind on who is right and who is not.
There is no question whatever that Victoria, for example, is devoting to education, not 20-odd per cent, of its Budget, as Senator Cavanagh suggested, but well over 32 per cent, of its Budget. New South Wales is doing the same. That figure excludes loan funds for education and eliminates things which are not comparable as between the various Stale Budgets. It gets down to a strictly comparable basis. When we exclude things which one State includes and which another State does not, we rationalise the situation and achieve complete comparability.
I could not say precisely on what the South Australian Government expended the sums of money that were available to it. Senator Cavanagh has suggested a couple of avenues in which the money was spent. For all I know, they were reasonable avenues. Anyway, it is not my business to decide whether a State is right or not right in spending the revenue available to it in a way such as the one Senator Cavanagh suggested, the provision of extra long service leave for public servants. But it is my business, if a State makes decisions of this kind, to point out that they are the decisions of that State and that it has decided to use the money available to it in a certain way and other than for education.
– Not out of the education budget.
– I would merely say to Senator Bishop that if an amount of money is available and it is used in avenues other than education, then the amount available for education is inevitably limited and is inevitably reduced. That, I think, is why the State of South Australia was able to match only 70-odd per cent, of the amount recommended by the Universities Commission, whereas other States were able to match a great deal more, ranging up to 90-odd per cent.
– The Minister knows that it has been spent on education buildings.
– I do not know whether the honorable senator is talking about university buildings.
– No, I am talking about education buildings.
– Education buildings generally come from loan funds. But whether it is spent on buildings or whether it is not does not matter. At the moment I am talking about universities.
-I am talking about the budget.
– Senator Cavanagh was talking about universities and asked that a special grant should be made because the State Government was not able to match, as other State Governments were, the amount available for universities. That is what he was talking about and that is what I am talking about.
– One is revenue and the other is loan.
– One is revenue and the other is loan - that is right - but this does not matter. We are talking of universities. Other States were able to provide 80 or 90 per cent, of the grant recommended. The State of South Australia was not. The reason was that it had other avenues of expenditure and it used the money in those avenues of expenditure, and therefore there was less for universities than was available in other States. It is just as simple and easy as that. I will not quarrel with the South Australian Government on that. It is its responsibility if it cannot make the money available to universities or if it thinks that there is something more important than that; that is its business. I do quarrel with the suggestion that because other States make their priorities in a different way from South Australia and other States are able to match a higher proportion of the recommendations for universities than is South Australia, at the expense of doing without something else, therefore some special consideration, some special grant, should be made to South Australia. It is for that State Government to sec whether it cannot match what other State Governments can match, and if it decides that it cannot and that something else is more important, that is its decision; that is its responsibility. But one cannot expect a special grant from the Commonwealth because of a decision that the State has made.
Proposed expenditure and proposed provision noted.
Proposed expenditure $10,526,000.
Senator MURPHY (New South Wales) I.8.43J. - I should like to refer, first of all, to Division No. 115 - Administrative, under which comes one of the responsibilities of the Attorney-General’s Department, that is, parliamentary drafting and legal drafting,’ including bills, regulations under Commonwealth Acts, ordinances, proclamations, orders and agreements. I refer in particular to the responsibility in regard to the drafting of regulations. 1 refer to the breach of undertaking by the Commonwealth Government in relation to the regulations under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which was passed through this Parliament last year. I raised this matter several weeks ago in questions, and the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton), who represents the Attorney-General, said that he did not accept that there was a breach of a promise by the Government, but at the same time he said that he did not reject it. I propose to read what was said by the Minister when the Bill passed through this Senate, by way of inducing the Senate to pass the Bill, lt is reported in Senate “Hansard” of 12th May .1965, at page 738. The portion dealing with this matter reads -
In keeping with the philosophy underlying this Bill, a party taking action under section .109 without notifying the Commission of a threatened breach or non-observance of an award will not bc entitled to his costs. This will be covered by regulation under provisions included in the Bill relating to the making of regulations as to costs. lt will be an incentive to notify the Commission of any threatened breach. While on the subject of costs - and clauses 8 and 14 are relevant - it is proposed, when the regulations are being made, to provide (list, that in order that a party should be encouraged to make the maximum use of the processes of conciliation as envisaged by this Bill, no cost will be allowed where action is taken under section 109 in respect of a threatened breach and the breach does nol take place. Secondly, it is proposed that costs of representation in relation to proceedings under sections .1 09 and 111 will be limited to junior counsel unless the Industrial Court considers that issues of such a nature are involved that the use of senior counsel is justified. These proposals as to costs should be seen as an integral part of our approach to the whole problem. If matters get to the contempt stage then clearly the party in contempt should carry the full responsibility. Our proposals limiting costs to those of junior counsel except where special circumstances exist are based on our study of past practice. They will remove any justification for the argument that costs of sanctions proceedings have been deliberately inflated by use of senior counsel.
If that was not a promise by way of inducement to the Senate to pass that Bill, 1 do not know’ what could be. It was said that the regulations which were proposed then were an integral part of the Government’s approach to this problem. It was the prob-lent which was being dealt with by the Bill and it was said that these regulations would be made. It was said not only in the Senate; it was said also in the House of Representatives by the Attorney-General and it was said outside to the trade union movement. That was in May 1965 and the regulations have not been made. The trade unions, which are concerned with this matter, have suffered because they have been engaged in proceedings and orders have been made against them. They have been involved in. the payment of extra moneys because of the failure of the Government to honour its obligation and they have been involved in orders for costs, some of which have not been met, as a result of the Government’s failure to honour its undertaking.
This matter has been repeatedly brought to the Government’s attention. It has been mentioned in the Commonwealth Industrial Court but the Court would not make orders in line with what was indicated here, because no regulations were made, so the position remains exactly as it was before then. Attention has been directed by officials to the fact that this regulation has not been made, yet the position continues that the Government is in default. It is fond of telling the trade union movement that the trade union movement is breaking various undertakings and doing the wrong thing. Here is a promise made by the Government of the Commonwealth itself, yet unions such as the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, the Shipwrights Union and others have suffered because of the failure of this Government to carry out its responsibility in this field under the jurisdiction of the Attorney-General.
I turn to another matter, that is, the matter of costs in general. I ask that the Government give serious attention to the question of eliminating costs completely from the field of industrial law. There should not be any provision for awards of costs, except perhaps in extremely special circumstances. Where we have public bodies dealing with matters of industrial law, the practices that apply to litigation between private persons should not be applicable. These organisations are set up for great public purposes and proceedings between them should not be treated as private matters.
As to the matter of the expense of litigation in the general field, where private citizens partake, the absence of any adequate system of legal aid or assistance at the Federal level is a national scandal. The provisions made, for instance, under the High Court rules are very much out of date. The means test under those rules is a ridiculous one which would not be met except by extremely few people in the community. It has been recognised all over the world that if the rule of law is to prevail and if there is to be a proper system of justice in a community, there must be a proper system of legal aid. Ordinary citizens cannot afford to meet the costs incurred under our system of justice.
In addition, we should see to it that proper provision is made so that not only the rich and the powerful will be able to invoke the processes of law or defend themselves in the law courts. At the moment it is only the rich or the powerful, or those supported by the rich or the powerful, who can afford to engage in litigation. For many people in the community, particularly the workers, the difficulty is mitigated by the existence of the trade union movement, which will stand behind them; but there are many who suffer financial disaster if involved in legal processes. This should not exist in a modern community. It is one of the ordinary rights of man that he should be able to have his rights established or his obligations litigated without endangering himself to the degree he has to under the present system.
I turn now to Division No. 117 - Reporting Branch. As one way of decreasing the expense of giving justice to the community, I would ask that the Attorney-General consider making transcripts of the evidence which is taken in Federal tribunals freely available to the parties. The transcripts have to be prepared anyway for the assistance of the courts, and it greatly increases the cost to the litigants if they have to purchase such transcripts.
Under Division No. 120 - High Court, 1 have been asked to raise a matter which concerns the Bar Council of New South Wales. It is that judgments of the High Court of Australia be made available forthwith, or very soon after delivery, to the Bar Council so that they may ‘be made available for counsel in the Library of the Bar Association and so that counsel may be able to advise their clients in the light of the most recent decisions of the High Court. At present, considerable delays are often experienced. There seems no good reason for this. The judgments are immediately available to the parties, so that they are public in that sense. If they are public, it should be the right of everyone to have access to them.
Also under Division No. 120, I would ask what progress is being made towards the establishment of a building for the High Court of Australia in Sydney. There was a proposal some years ago that Federal and State courts be set up in Sydney. The accommodation for the High Court at present is not consonant with the status of that Court. The major part of the legal work is done by the High Court of Australia in Sydney in temporary accommodation. The accommodation was provided for Criminal Courts, and is of poor standard. There seems to be some neglect in this matter or some indication of deliberateness in the apparently determined approach of the Commonwealth not to provide proper accommodation either for the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission or for the High Court in Sydney.
The accommodation for each of these tribunals is quite disgraceful. That of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has been commented upon most adversely by the President of the Commission in his annual reports. In that connection, I would ask why the latest report of the President has not been made available. These reports are for the year ended in August of each year. Why has not the latest report of the President of the Commission been tabled in the Parliament?
Under Division No. 124 - Conciliation and Arbitration, I wish to direct the attention of the Attorney-General to another matter. The Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is often the subject of challenge in the High Court of Australia in relation to its exercise of jurisdiction. For instance, in the ordinary course of its proceedings the Commission might make an award. An employer or an employer’s organisation might then decide to challenge the Commission’s award in the High Court of Australia on the ground that the Commission acted in excess of its jurisdiction. Then the trade union concerned which seeks to uphold the decision of the Commission - not on the merits of the decision but on the Commission’s authority to deal with such matters - is put in the position of being imperilled in costs before the High Court. Why should a body such as a trade union be put in a situation where it could be penalised in costs simply for seeking to uphold a decision which had been made by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, which was set up under Commonwealth law, with officers appointed by the Commonwealth? The Commonwealth, one would think, would stand behind the Commission. If it is not prepared to go into the courts and argue in favour of the jurisdiction of the Commission - not on the merits of some particular award but in favour of its authority or jurisdiction - the least it should do is to see to it that the parties who do defend the Commission are not left in a position where they have to pay costs for their defence on the tribunal’s jurisdiction. This is a very serious matter for trade unions. In logic, it applies also to the employers’ organisations. The trade unions have to raise subscriptions from the workers who constitute their membership, and it does not seem right that they should have to expend those moneys to uphold the jurisdiction of the Commission. This Parliament is responsible for the area of its jurisdiction and the Government is responsible for the officers who make the decisions.
I ask the Attorney-General also what progress has been made towards the establishment of a seat for the High Court of Australia in the Australian Capital Territory. Under the relevant Act, the seat of the High Court is to be in this Territory. What provision has been made to obtain land? When is it expected that the High Court will have its seat in the Australian Capital Territory? What progress has been made towards providing permanent accommodation in the A.C.T. also for the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission?
– I wish to detain the Committee for a few moments to discuss two matters relating to the application of criminal law in the Territories under the administration of the Commonwealth Parliament. I referred to one of those matters in the debate on the Estimates on 26th October last year. It is concerned with the possibility of legislative steps being taken to soften the harshness of the M’Naghten Rules which are currently applied to persons who wish to plead insanity as a defence to a criminal offence. As honorable senators know, the M’Naghten Rules impose a very stringent requirement on an accused person, in that it must be established to the satisfaction of the court that his mental defectiveness or his mental aberration is so great that either he is unable to understand the nature of his act or is unable to appreciate whether what he is doing is right or wrong.
I think it is obvious to most people, whether or not they have had any legal or psychiatric training, that this is indeed far too harsh a requirement. There are people who cannot satisfy the M’Naghten Rules but nonetheless clearly are not fully responsible for their actions. There have been some recent decisions by the House of Lords in England which have introduced the doctrine of diminished responsibility which at least has had some effect, but so far, to the best of my knowledge, it has not been applied in Australia. When I raised this matter last year Senator Gorton, in reference to it, said that he was informed that the Law Council of Australia, at the request of the Commonwealth Government, had undertaken an investigation into the matter. He said that it had undertaken to present reports on the matter and had in fact already presented one report on it. He said that the subject of these reports was criminal administration in the Territories and the question of criminal responsibility. 1 must confess that I personally do not know whether any further reports have been made, but certainly I am not aware of any action which the Government proposes to take on this matter. I think that there are great problems in this whole question. If one widened the definition of insanity too greatly, possibly the whole of us would be included, and although this might have some justification, I do not think it would make the administration of criminal law very satisfactory. But clearly, considerable improvements could be made in the present position.
The other matter to which 1 would like to refer briefly - and I am doing so briefly because 1 think that a number of other estimates are to be dealt with by the Committee - concerns the imposition of capital punishment. As the Committee is aware, it is now a year or so since capital punishment was abolished in Great Britain. I do not want to canvass all the arguments for and against capital punishment. I only want to say that this is a matter which has occasioned considerable concern amongst people of all sorts of political persuasions. At the time that capital punishment was abolished in Great Britain it was predicted by the opponents of the abolition of capital punishment that this would mean a substantial increase in the commission of illegal homicides. In fact, as I understand it, that has not been the case in Great Britain. This may be only coincidental, but I understand that there has been a falling off in the number of criminal homicides since the time when capital punishment was abolished. It may he of interest to the supporters of the Government that last week at the Conservative Party conference in Great Britain a proposition was submitted to the conference that capital punishment should be restored when a Conservative Government was returned. Mr. Quintin Hogg who, I think, is the shadow Home Secretary on the Conservative front bench, successfully opposed this proposal. The Conservative Party in Great Britain which for so many years stood for capital punishment, has now accepted the policy of abolition of capital punishment and has supported the Labour Government on this matter.
All that I wish to advocate this evening is that the Government should initiate a close study of both the questions I have raised. I think the Government is in a rather fortunate position in regard to criminal law. The National Parliament is the pre-eminent legislative body in Australia, but the number of people who come under the authority of the National Parliament in matters relating to criminal law is very small, consisting merely of the populations of the Territories, such as the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. I am not suggesting that these people should be made guinea pigs, but I do think that the National Parliament has an opportunity to engage in som: innovations and some experimentation divorced from the ordinary hurly-burly which surrounds any question of this nature, as it would in a State parliament.
I suggest to the Government that consideration should be given to the appointment of a royal commission to investigate fully both these matters of criminal responsibility and of capital punishment. If that is not done, possibly a select committee of the Senate could be appointed to consider the matters. There are some lawyers in this chamber and there are also many other honorable senators, who, I think, would take a very lively interest in these questions. Australia unfortunately is dragging behind many other countries of the world in reforms in the administration of criminal law. I do not believe there is any necessity for it to do so. I think that the National Parliament could give a lead to the States on these questions.
[9.7). - The subjects raised by Senator Wheeldon have no direct relation to particular matters depicted in the estimates before us but are connected with policy as to whether the M’Naghten Rules should be changed or whether they should not be changed. I am unable to commit the Attorney-General one way or the other on those matters of policy. Senator Murphy raised a number of points, one of which concerned the question of costs in various trade union cases before the Commonwealth Industrial Court. I thought I gave him an answer from the Attorney-General the other day indicating to him that th« matter was with the Parliamentary Draftsman for the drafting of regulations to deal not necessarily with the exact matters that he adumbrated or in the exact way that he adumbrated them, but with the question. I have a recollection of the answer, but 1 have not been able to obtain a copy of it.
– The honorable senator said that it was in hand.
– In hand with the Parliamentary Draftsman.
– 1 am concerned that a period of 18 months has passed.
– The honorable senator may be concerned, but he has asked me about it and the answer is that it is with the Parliamentary Draftsman for the drafting of regulations. I do not guarantee that they will meet the exact points raised by the honorable senator, but that is the situation, and the honorable senator asked me about the present situation. On the question of legal aid which Senator Murphy raised again, he may or may not have reasons for this particular policy being adopted, but it is being looked at. The officers of the Department have been studying the legal aid system in the United Kingdom. But this again is a matter which may or may not be recommended and on which the honorable senator can argue if he thinks it should be introduced. Other arguments can be adduced against it if it is thought that it should not be introduced. I want to make it clear that it is not to be taken, therefore, that I am accepting his view on behalf of the Government. I am merely stating that this question is being looked at.
On the question of whether transcripts should or should not be provided free of charge, there is a decision, which has not been altered, that they should not be provided in the cases referred to by the honorable senator. He also asked about the progress that had been made in providing a building for the High Court in Sydney. This is wrapped up with the provision of the joint Commonwealth and State law court building which has been the subject of considerable discussion between the Government of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Government. Committees have examined this matter, and so has the Department of Works. A joint committee of the State and Commonwealth was set up to examine it. A number of questions arise as to its implementation. I think I would be correct in saying to the honorable senator that it is likely that this particular provision of the joint Commonwealth and State law court building, which relates to the High Court, should be put in hand before very long. I do not necessarily include - because I do not know - the accommodation which the honorable senator thinks should be provided for the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The honorable senator said that the report of the President of the Commission covered the 12 months ending August 1966. My advisers say that it covers the year ending June 1966. Neither the Attorney-General’s Department nor I can answer the specific question of why the report has not yet been presented to Parliament.
I come now to the question of the progress made towards the establishment in Canberra of buildings for the High Court and the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. No decision has been made as to when those buildings should be erected in Canberra. No target date has ever been set for their construction. Undoubtedly they will take their place with the requirements of other departments for accommodation in Canberra when priorities are considered by the National Capital Development Commission and the Department of the Interior.
Senator Wheeldon raised the matter of alterations of particular rules. I can say only that that is a matter of policy and not a matter which 1 can explain in answer to a question as to why some particular course is followed in the estimates before the Senate.
– I must say that 1 am completely dissatisfied with the answer given by the Minister in relation to the first matter I raised, which concerns the policy of the Government in honouring undertakings given in the Senate. The Minister has now left the chamber. The awarding of costs in arbitration proceedings is a matter which has been raised by the trade union movement. It is extremely concerned about it. It is costing the unions money because the Government has breached its word.
It is not. enough for the Minister to say that the matter is now in hand. A period of 18 months has passed and no reason has been advanced by the Government as to why it has failed to honour its promise. I read out the Government’s undertaking. It is clear enough that it promised action would be taken. It is said to be an integral part of the provisions made in the legislation passed by this Parliament 18 months ago. There are no regulations now. Itcannot be said that it is not an urgent matter, because there have been cases almost every week in the Commonwealth Industrial Court in which the absence of the relevant regulation has been of the utmost importance to the trade union movement. The Government has broken its word and there is a continuing breach of its undertaking to the trade union movement. The Government has not given any answer as to how this maladministration has occurred. The Government has broken not only its promise to the trade union movement, but also its promise to the Parliament.
During the passage of the legislation it was said that the regulation would be promulgated. It has not been done. Only after 18 months is there an indication that something will be done although questions have been asked in the Commonwealth Industrial Court, by trade union officials, and by myself in this Parliament. It is an instance of maladministration by the Government, and its representatives do not have the decency or courtesy to admit that the Government is at fault. Either bungling and neglect have occurred at the administrative level, or there is a deliberate intention to breach the Government’s word. In either event, action is called for, and the matter should not be dealt with by attempting to brush it aside.
Proposed expenditure and proposed provision noted.
Department of External Affairs
Proposed expenditure, $38,060,000.
Proposed provision, $966,000.
Economic and Defence Support Assistance to Members of S.E.A.T.O. and Protocol States
Proposed expenditure, $2,000,000.
.- I wish to address some brief remarks to Division No. 207 - Permanent Mission to the United Nations. The appropriation for the coming year is $368,200, an increase of about $60,000 over last year’s expenditure. I am pleased to see the increased appropriation, because I believe that strict adherence to the United Nations as an international instrument of supra-national authority, and strict loyalty and support for the United Nations, are important aspects of a policy to which every self-respecting nation should subscribe.
The Australian Labour Party has always had in the forefront of its foreign affairs policy adherence to the United Nations as the appropriate instrument to settle international disputes. We say specifically on our platform that Australia must give unswerving and paramount loyalty to the United Nations and must seek to have carried out the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly in their application to the areas of the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.I am wondering whether, in spite of the increased appropriation for the Permanent Mission to the United Nations this year, the Australian Government does not in fact give merely lip service to the ideal of the United Nations. Again and again in this chamber and in another place, members of the Opposition have addressed questions to Ministers seeking to elicit a greater measure of support, and seeking to spur the Government on to closer loyalty to the United Nations and more frequent use of that body as a forum for ventilating Australia’s point of view. I have been extremely disappointed at the response that has come from Ministers whenever the question has been raised.
Only recently - it was not the first time and I was not the only honorable senator on this side of the chamber who raised the question - I drew attention to a statement of U Thant expressing disappointment at the lack of success of the United Nations in achieving peace, calling for a new spirit in the conduct of international affairs, calling almost plaintively for support for the United Nations, and expressing the fervent hope and conviction that that organisation is the proper medium for the settlement of international disputes.
Each time that Ministers have been asked about their reactions to statements ‘by U Thant, Pope Paul or some other international figure wanting to strengthen the fabric of international peace by strengthening the United Nations, the Ministers have made a negative response. They have said, in effect: “ U Thant is entitled to his opinion. Pope Paul is entitled to his opinion, but the Australian Government is entitled to follow whatever policy it wants to follow.”
– No - only Dean Rusk’s policy.
– That is Senat.tr Turnbull’s view.
– The honorable senator does not disagree with it?
– No, I do not disagree with what was put. What I am saying is that Australia never seems to say that she is going to press for some particular action in the United Nations. The best illustration of this is to be found in the way in which we have comported ourselves in relation to what we conceive to be our international obligations. Although the Government does not rely exclusively on this argument, k has often said that what Australia is doing in Vietnam is pursuant to obligations under the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. I have never conceded that that is a soundly based obligation. It rests entirely upon a request from the so called Government of South Vietnam to various nations for assistance. As I recall it, that request was exactly the same when addressed to nations that were not signatories to the Treaty as it was when addressed to S.E.A.T.O. countries. I particularly want to draw attention to the terms of die South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty, because if the Government relies upon the Treaty as part of its case for military intervention in Vietnam then it must be bound by what the Treaty states. Article IV of the Treaty reads -
I draw attention to the next sentence, because it is the one I want to deal with. It reads -
Measures taken under this paragraph shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations.
At that point, the Treaty reaches a full stop on this aspect of the matter. I would suggest that this Government reaches a full stop at that point, too. My recollection is that, when it was first announced that a battalion of Australian troops would be sent to South Vietnam in April/May 1965, we were told that this measure was being reported to the Security Council. We have not heard another word from the Government to the effect that it is interested in the United Nations beyond the purely literal obligation that it undertook under the Treaty.
I have not heard of the Australian Government, as one of the few nations that have combatant troops in South Vietnam, seeking to exhort the United Nations to do anything. We have not asked for specific action to be taken. We have not asked for a discussion before the Security Council. As far as I know, we have not raised the matter in the General Assembly of the United Nations. We have merely performed what we conceive to be the perfunctory obligation of reporting the matter to the Security Council and have left it at that. To my mind, that is a most unsatisfactory way in which to fulfil the obligation that we have as a member of the United Nations. I should have thought that we would have been bound to press for United Nations action. One of the greatest tragedies of the contemporary scene in relation to Vietnam is the complete inability of the United Nations to influence the position at the official level and the meek acceptance of that position by countries which have troops actively engaged in the conflict in that country. I cannot speak for, nor can we hope to influence, people on the other side of the conflict. But I do believe that there is a great deal more that this Government could have done.
I recall a speech made a few months ago by Sir Alan Watt, a former Secretary of the Department of External Affairs, in which he indicated quite clearly that Australia had several courses of action open to her under Articles 34 and 35 of the United Nations Charter. I do not believe that we should have taken the quite pessimistic view that nothing whatever could be achieved through the United Nations. I know that the United Nations is passing through a period of stress and strain. I know that U Thant has made a decision to resign, but apparently it is in suspense at the moment because of the possibility of certain international events and of the Vietnam situation taking on a more optimistic air. But I question, whether our country has responded sufficiently to the challenge that U Thant has thrown out. He has said: “I am disillusioned. 1 cannot get past the great power bloc. I cannot deal with the two colossi - the United States of America and the Soviet Union. I must give it away, because I feel that I cannot get anywhere.” Where was Australia when various countries were pressing U Thant to carry on? Did Australia say: “ We will help to make it easier for you ‘”? Did she say not simply “ You have done a good job and we would like to see you carry on “, but “ We ask you to stay on and we offer you our support in using the United Nations as the vehicle through which some peace action can be taken “?
I know that there are some obvious superficial answers to such propositions. 1 know they say that neither China nor North Vietnam is a member of the United Nations, that it is very difficult to get talks going, and that some of the principals involved are neither signatories to the Geneva Agreement nor members of the United Nations. To my mind, such answers arc not good enough when men, women and children are dying in Vietnam in one of the most tragic conflicts that the world has ever known.
I would like to see something closer to a pledge by this Government that it will take an active role in the United Nations. We want to see it take a more positive role in the solution of this conflict. Overall, it seems to me that little can be achieved until Communist China is admitted to the United Nations. In recent months the United States of America, the main protagonist in this matter, has shown signs of undertaking a reappraisal of fundamental policy. There is no such sign from the Australian Government in relation to China and the United Nations, ft is good enough for Australia to trade with China, but it is not good enough for her to recognise China. Whenever we press this question we are met with the evasive, double-talk answer that it is really not the Government which is trading wilh China but the Australian Wool Board, the Australian Wheat Board or some other instrumentality which the Government has set up. This is sheer humbug. The Government cannot have it both ways on this question. The simple formula would be to move to discussions about the recognition of China and about supporting China’s admission to the United Nations.
– Does China want to go into the United Nations?
– I will come to that point. One of the problems that we have about China at the moment is that China always seems to make it a little bit difficult for us at the crucial time to press for its admission. The American magazine “ Newsweek “ of 3rd October said -
In what is becoming an annual phenomenon, however, the Peking government seemed to be doing its best to sabotage it’s own case by its intemperance.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I wish to raise a matter that I have raised in the Committee previously. I intend raising it again as I intend raising any other matter that 1 regard as completely stupid or extravagant. I refer to Division 181 - Embassy - Kingdom of Greece. I will pin my remarks to this item but what I have to say applies to all embassies. ‘I have raised the matter before and I have not heard one answer to my complaint. I refer to the extravagance in relation to our embassies and the really, unbusinesslike way in which we carry out our affairs abroad particularly in relation to property dealings. I pinpoint Greece for the purposes of my argument. I wish to remind honorable senators as I remind the officers of the Department of External Affairs of this matter that I have raised before. But apparently the officers of that Department do not read “ Hansard “. I do not know why we get up and talk in this place because nothing is ever done about the matters we raise.
In Greece as in’ other places we rent a property for our embassy. We have rented four out of five floors of a building. What did we pay for that rent? We paid the capital cost of that building. That was the equivalent of the rent for 10 years. We paid that amount in advance. So, if a little more had been paid for the fifth floor, we could have bought that building and owned it outright.
At the end of 10 years, we do not own it; we have only rented it. We will have to lease it again at probably a much higher rental. This is the first stupidity I wish to mention.
The second stupidity regarding Greece is that for months on end our Ambassador to that country lived in the most expensive hotel there. Admittedly, there were two or three rooms in his suite but even so the area was cramped for his family and they were living under very difficult conditions for, I think, over a year. The fifth floor of the building that I have mentioned was available. It was empty. The building was put up to our designation and the fifth floor could have been the Ambassador’s residence, designed to his own wishes if he wanted it to be. But no, we did not lease the fifth floor. We leased four floors only. The fifth floor went to the Swiss consulate or to some other embassy that took it over. This is just one crass stupidity. Of course, I know what the answer is. It is that Treasury does not want to pay out a lump sum. So, Treasury does not pay out a lump sum. But it is prepared to waste our money in the process of not paying out lump sums. Why the payment of lump sums should worry Treasury, when I think of all the extravagances that we have, I do not know.
Let me refer to the situation in France. Our First Secretary, Second Secretary and Third Secretary are subsidised to the extent of approximately ?40 per week. Each has a flat. This is not the fault of each of our secretaries. Living in France is very expensive. But why should a Third Secretary have a flat when we have to subsidise this by such a colossal amount? We cannot purchase a building and have flats in it. No, we must continue with this rental business. Because I do not believe in just destructive criticism, I suggest to the Department of External Affairs that it send a businessman around to investigate this matter. Do not send a public servant because he will compare everything overseas with what goes on in Canberra. He will say: “ You cannot have it better than we have it in Canberra, so you are not allowed to have this or that.” What obtains in each country should be the basis of what Australia has in each country in this sphere.
On the other hand, our Embassy in the United States of America is quite a nice
Embassy. But the weather in Washington is exceedingly hot. We do not provide a swimming pool for our Ambassador there. We have become parsimonious. It may be said that it is extravagant to provide a swimming pool for our Ambassador to the United States of America, but if he has a family a swimming pool is essential. I would say that our Ambassador in Washington of all places would require a seaside cottage as well. But the public servant investigator would say: “It would be terrible to provide that. We cannot get it in Canberra. Why should we give it to our civil servants who become ambassadors in other countries?”
– Our Ambassador could not swim in the Potomac; it is contaminated.
– I am trying to think whether the Potomac is in Washington.
– I thought the honorable senator was referring to Washington.
-(Senator DrakeBrockman). - Order! Senator Turnbull will address the Chair.
– I am sorry. I am having difficulty with my geography. The point is that these stupidities apply wherever one goes. Let me turn to the United Nations. Senator Cormack is the one who keeps pressing this matter and I have raised it before. The overcrowding in the United Nations is such that it would not be permitted in Australia. But the Department permits this in the U.S.A. Monstrous numbers of people attend the United Nations, lt is all a matter of status at the United Nations in New York. We must have something slightly higher than some other country which may be a bit backward. We cannot appear to be backward. So, we have an Ambassador and a Minister to the United Nations. I think we also have five other top dogs. This is because other countries have so many representatives and therefore we must have so many representatives also. This is just plain silly. It is nothing but extravagance and a sheer waste of money.
I know that the Minister in charge of these estimates is not the Minister in charge of this Department. 1 suppose 1 will get into trouble with the Department of External Affairs just as I did with the Department of Customs and Excise which is the Department controlled by the Minister handling these estimates. After I criticised the Department of Customs and Excise, .1 was not. allowed to go down on to the tarmac when I wanted to meet a plane. I suppose thai, as f have criticised the Department of External Affairs, next time I want to go abroad 1 will not receive any help at all. But it is our duty to bring these matters before Parliament. When I bring a matter before the Parliament I will continue to insist that 1 receive an answer. I am not asking for an immediate answer because 1 realise that the Minister handling these estimates is not au fait with the matter I have raised. But surely, at some time, the Department of External Affairs could explain why it is following this practice. I will raise the matter every time the estimates for the Department of External Affairs come before the Committee.
– I refer to Division No. 165 and relate my remarks to Colombo Plan - Economic development. I. wish to refer briefly to a subject that was raised by Mr. Kelly, the member for Wakefield in another place. This relates to the offer of a gift or a sale of merino sheep to India. Recently, as a member of a parliamentary delegation, I visited the Central Agricultural Research Institute at Malpura in the State of Rajasthan in India where, with the assistance of Australians on the staff of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Indians are trying to improve the standard of sheep in India.
India is a fairly big sheep producing country. There are some 50 million sheep in India. Generally the wool of these sheep is very poor in quality and quantity. About 2 lb. to 2i lb. of wool only is cut per sheep. A great deal of work is being clone in trying to improve the quantity of Indian wool. The United States of America has made a gift of some Rambouillet sheep, which is an American sheep, and Russia has made a gift of Russian merinos. The Australian officers working for the Food and Agriculture Organisation are very keen that Australia should make a gift of Australian merino sheep to India. They believe that such a gift would have a very important effect on improving the standard of Indian sheep. In fact, the Indian Government and Indian scientists also told us of their attempt to obtain sheep from Australia.
The problem is that since 1930 Australia has had an embargo on the export of merino sheep. Whatever the merits or demerits of this embargo may be. I do not believe that it should apply to the less developed countries. This embargo should not be applied to those countries, in my opinion, if the supply of merino sheep will assist them in their economic development. 1 merely rise to make the plea that we consider under the Colombo Plan the gift of merino sheep to India. The South Australian merino is the breed spoken of as probably the best for this gift. 1 am assured by Australians with the Food and Agriculture Organisation that they would look after these sheep, if such a gift was made, and ensure that the best use was made of them. If we have the best type of sheep which will more rapidly develop the sheep industry in India, then it is my opinion that we should do something about it. We should not insist that this embargo should stand in cases such as this. Today, we have not a monopoly of fine wool in the world. In any case. India is not going to challenge us in the field of wool. All that it wants to do is try to improve its own sheep for home consumption. I rise to draw the Government’s attention to this matter and to make an urgent plea that we should give serious consideration to offering a gift of sheep to India in the very near future.
– I rise to speak briefly to Division No. 206 which relates to the creation of an embassy in Yugoslavia. We of the Opposition welcome this step because we believe that quite apart from the desire of the bulk of the Yugoslav community in Australia, a group that has played a very great part in the heavy industries, it would provide for better relations between the two countries. There is also the fact that it was in Belgrade that we first saw the commencement of the ideological thaw that followed the Stalin era. I think that the creation of this embassy will be a very good investment, so far as the operations of the Department of External Affairs are concerned.
I am curious to know the ultimate venue for the permanent embassy in Yugoslavia. Is it going to be in the new city of Belgrade across the River Sarva, or are we going to follow the pattern lo which Senator Turnbull referred as “ Embassy Row “ in old Belgrade? I feel that it would be better for a number of reasons, including those relating to the initial costs, if we were to build an embassy in the new city rather than be a part of the backwater of the old city. If we are wedded to the idea of building an embassy in the old Belgrade, there is the Marx-Engels Square, where the trade unions headquarters are situated. I do not know whether we have been shopping for a property there. My own view is that it would be better if we built an embassy in the new city of Belgrade across the River Sarva. I am curious to know what stage the real estate operations have reached. Before I resume my seat, I would also like some information on Division No. 238 - Other Representation Abroad. I am curious to know what countries are involved under that Division.
– Senator Sim referred to the question of gifts to less developed countries, and he linked his remarks with the sheep industry. 1 feel that perhaps the hard substance of his contribution should be directed not towards the estimates for the Department of External Affairs, but towards the estimates for the Department of Primary Industry. After all, the essence of the whole embargo is a long term consideration of the preservation of the Australian wool industry. It is not a question, I would have thought, of the immediate situation, but of the long term situation. The Australian Government very properly gets advice from those people in the industry who should be in a position to advise the Government as to the long term implications of the export of stud sheep by way of a gift to another country.
– Not stud sheep - just flock sheep.
– Very well. That is only a very general comment. But I think that the honorable senator should look at the situation in the light of what Australia is doing in terms of aid to other countries. I think that our record is a commendable one in this regard. One quick thought that comes to my mind when speaking of support to less developed countries is the question of tariff. I suppose it is natural that 1 should think in terms of tariff. In fact, we are doing something which is unique in the world and which has brought world wide commendation. We brought down tariff legislation - and the Senate played its part in this - which provided for the duty free entry of goods into Australia from cottage industries in the less developed countries. The Committee might say that this is not a very great thing, but it is an important start. It is something that no other country has done yet to any extent. We are a small country. We are a trading country which is attempting to build up its own industries, which are the life blood of the country. We are striving to increase our population, and if we are going to do that we must have secondary industry. As an earnest of our good faith, we are giving quite substantial concessions by way of free entry for a wide range of goods from less developed countries. Referring again to what Senator Sim said, I think the main issue is a matter, not so much for the Department of External Affairs, but for the Department of Primary Industry.
– Does not the Minister think that the two Departments could consider it together?
– I think that what Senator Wright says is valid, in the sense that if we accept the criterion in relation to this matter, then obviously the Department of External Affairs would become involved once we settled the first problem.
Senator Turnbull referred to Division No. 181 ; Embassy - Kingdom of Greece. He followed Senator Cohen, but I shall speak about the submissions in the reverse order. Senator Turnbull was most critical of the type of expenditure that is being incurred and the type of work that is being done at the United Nations. Senator Cohen, who preceded him, was making a case that, perhaps, we were not doing enough at the United Nations. Senator Turnbull was critical of the fact that we have an Ambassador and other officers at the United Nations. My understanding of what he said was - and I would not like to misrepresent him because he is not present in the chamber to put me right if 1 am wrong - that we are placing too much emphasis on the United Nations and that perhaps we should be giving attention to other embassies.
– The Government was not housing them as cheaply.
– That may have been the qualification. However, Senator Turnbull was critical of an aspect of our representation at the United Nations. The information I have is that the staff at the United Nations is to service the heavy programme of meetings which is carried on continuously throughout the year, and to keep in touch with the Secretary-General, his staff and other missions. That comment might be taken to apply, not only to what Senator Turnbull said but also to what Senator Cohen said.
Senator Turnbull also raised the question as to whether or not we were spending too much money in renting premises and not enough money in acquiring permanent buildings. I think that this is a nice argument, but 1 think that if the Department of External Affairs were to suddenly say: “ We are going to stop paying rent in all embassies in the world, and we are going to acquire properties.” that would be an oversimplification of the situation. When we establish an embassy - and the Embassy in Greece is a significant one because it is probably the latest one that we have established - we do not say: “ We are going to buy that building. We are going to set up office here.” A lot of evaluation is needed to assess the future needs of the embassy, such as the type of building and the number of staff that will be required. Those of us who have had some dealings in the acquisition of properties know that it is indeed a completely false economy to rush in and acquire a property until we know the climate, the values and our needs. I believe that the last of those points is the most important one in this respect.
I have been given a note. Perhaps I should follow it, because I am handling the estimates of another Minister’s Department at short notice. It relates to the position in Belgrade. It says that the Department is making a most intensive search for both office and residential accommodation. It has not yet found a suitable office. The search is extending throughout both the new and old parts of the city of Belgrade. In Athens, the fifth floor of the office block consists of privately owned flats and would not make a suitable ambassador’s residence even if it were available to the Department. That is the explanation that 1 have been given.
The only other comments to which I wish to refer are those made by Senator Cohen. It is very difficult to make much of a contribution in reply to what he said. He made what might be regarded as a general speech on external affairs, but we must not allow this discussion to develop into a general external affairs debate. He covered a tremendous area, including the South East Asia Treaty Organisation, Vietnam and the recognition of Red China. Any one of those matters could be the subject of an external affairs debate. I do not think it is fair to say that Australia has not played its part in the United Nations. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) has just returned from the General Assembly of the United Nations. Members of Parliament from both sides of both Houses are included in the delegations that attend the General Assembly every year. In fact, Australia keeps its sense of responsibility in relation to the United Nations.
It is fairly difficult to argue with particularity on what Senator Cohen said. I found some difficulty, for instance, in accepting his argument in relation to the recognition of Red China, which was based on the fact that Australia trades with that country. After all, Australia is not unique in that respect. Many countries trade with Red China but do not recognise it. Senator Cohen is arguing that because we do not do one thing we should not do the other. I do not follow the logic of that. It seems to me that the two matters are at different levels. If Australia were in a unique position in not recognising Red China but trading with it, perhaps the honorable senator would have a little more strength in his argument. The Government has made it perfectly clear that there is nothing odd about our position. It is a known fact that Australia trades with Red China. But the recognition of that country is an entirely different matter which involves the other China and other nations. Therefore, I suggest that the honorable senator’s argument is not a valid one.
Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) [9.55 J. - 1 seek some information about the contribution of $535,000 to the Stabilisation Fund, Laos, under the heading “ International Development and Relief “. What is that Fund? I refer also to the contribution of $8,000 to the International Social Service of Japan. 1 am also curious about emergency food aid to India. Under that item, last year wc spent §7,380,793; but this year the amount is to be reduced considerably to 5620,000. This seems to indicate that no emergency exists at the present time. Yet in respect of the item “ Cost of transporting to India private donations of food and medicine ‘*, last year we spent $5,200 and this year we are appropriating $10,000. Does that mean that the Government is seeking to transfer its contribution to India to individuals? lt seems that individual or public contributions to India will increase, because the appropriation for the cost of transport is greater. That shows thai there is some need. Yet the Government’s contribution will be reduced greatly. On the item “ Refugee relief - Vietnam “, last year we spent $103,581, but this year we are not making any appropriation at all. I thought the refugee problem in Vietnam had increased. Has the Government now given that away as something to which we should subscribe?
I wish to make some remarks on Division No. 207 - Permanent Mission to the United Nations. They could also come under Division No. .165 - Administrative - or Division No. 170 - Overseas transfers and regional conferences. What is the result of our sending delegations to the United Nations? How much notice is taken of their reports? I am thinking of the report that we have had presented to us by Senators Ridley and Cormack, who attended the 20th session of (he United Nations in 1965. I could not agree with it in toto. Many matters would need explanation to enable us to say whether we agree or disagree with them. But many queries are raised in the report. 1 wonder whether these reports are ever examined by the Department of External Affairs and whether any action is ever taken on them. In view of the fact that this matter has now been raised and that these honorable senators have presented their report, we should be informed of the consideration that the Department gives such reports. This is very important, because it has been said continu ally that the United Nations is an organisation that we could not rely on today to defend us or any other nation in time of emergency, but the attitude of the United Kingdom Government is that we must do everything possible to strengthen the United Nations so as to bring it to the stage where it is an international organisation that can afford us protection if the need arises.
The report of the two honorable senators asks, “ What is a nation?” and whether Nauru, if it sought independence, would be accepted as a nation in the United Nations. The report asks also whether the Organisation is weakened by some of the nations that are accepted, lt mentions also the proliferation of committees, which seem to perpetuate their existence and continue with no finality in their reports. There is a criticism of the officialdom of the Organisation, lt is said that representatives of smaller nations find more opportunity at the United Nations than they would in their own country and that they seek to prolong their stay there for the purpose of having better positions. These are all problems that have been reported on by our delegates. If these are factors that are weakening the United Nations, we should be looking into them and advocating some alteration, or at least getting a report.
What I am most concerned about in this report is the conditions under which our staff overseas have to work. Senator Turnbull told of some of the difficulties in relation to housing embassy staff in hotel accommodation. Senators Ridley and Cormack, after setting out details of the work that the junior officers were doing, stated that locally engaged staff were working late into the night on top of their daily duties on cypher, telegraphic, typing and filing work, and that their constant cheerfulness in the circumstances described was deserving of high praise. The report went on -
Wc feel it is our duty to inform the Senate of two disturbing aspects: They are working conditions as to offices and matters of pay and allowances. The working conditions were undesirable - to say the least. Long hours of work were performed in offices in which desks were edge to edge. We cannot believe that these conditions would be tolerated by the Public Service Board if they occurred in Australia, so it is beyond our comprehension why they should be tolerated in New York. We are not concerned to investigate where responsibility lies but only to indicate the matter to honorable senators. Wo note that New York is composed of men and women who place a high consideration upon appearances and the least that should suffice is the standard considered appropriate to the Consul-General’s offices.
Many honorable senators are aware that New York is the most expensive large city in the world. Many short term visitors may find it bearable for short periods but the plain blunt truth is that Australia’s public servants serving the Government in New York arc required to live’ at standards considerably below that which they have a reasonable right to expect; we mean that they are required to live at standards below their accustomed standards in Australia.
This is a serious indictment of the conditions under which staff in New York work. As the report has been for some time in the possession of honorable senators, 1 ask the Minister to say what has been done to try to rectify this position that our delegation to the United Nations discovered.
.- The rules of debate in Committee make it necessary sometimes for one to be interrupted half way through a thought and it is necessary for the speaker to return, if the rules permit, to dot a couple of i’s and cross a few t’s. I want to conclude the remarks I was making only by indicating that what I am putting forward and what I was putting forward in relation to a reappraisal of policy towards the admission of China to the United Nations, and in relation to my urging that the Australian Government take some initiative in the matter, is not a view that springs simply out of the matrix of Australian politics. It is a view that is widely held amongst the most responsible people in international quarters.
– The Methodist Conference in Adelaide yesterday supported it.
– I have not seen that report, but I am sure that what the honorable senator says would be correct. One of the people who speak most strongly on this aspect of recognition of China is Mr. Connor Cruise O’Brien.
– That is a good name.
– It is a very good name, as the honorable senator says. Mr. O’Brien, whose experience in international affairs is considerable, has made it very plain that it is impossible, without the presence of China in the United Nations, to grapple with the problems of disarmament in an international sense. He says that without representation from Peking the United Nations just will not work in what is presently the most dangerous area of the world.
I wish to conclude what 1 had to say on this problem by referring to the editorial in the “New York Times” of 18th September 1966. This is in relation to the disappointment that U Thant felt at his lack of progress and that led to his announcement of his pending retirement. This is what the “ New York Times “ said editorially, and as far as I know the “ New York Times “ is not a propaganda organ of the Australian Labour Party -
But there has been a deplorable absence of the one kind of persuasion likely to influence Mr. Thant most: Specific action by the two super powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, to overcome the dearth of “new ideas and fresh initiatives “ he bewailed in his withdrawal statement two weeks ago._ The latest sign of the power of negative thinking in Washington is Secretary of State Rusk’s disclosure that the Johnson Administration has decided not to soften its hostility to U.N. admission for Communist China after all. Mr. Thant stressed that one of his principal sources of dissatisfaction was the world organisation’s failure to achieve “ universality of membership “. In his view Peking’s exclusion retards real headway towards disarmament, peace in Vietnam and a stable world.
I agree with the assessment that was made editorially in the “New York Times”. It is time that Australia came to its senses, recognised realities, and went along with the mainstream of coherent international thinking on this question. It is not a question of making some concession to Communist China. It is a simple question of opening the way to discussions with China that would lead to her admission to the United Nations, because without that admission our aspirations in South East Asia become frustrated and our problems in world disarmament are magnified and in the end we will be left wondering why we did not take the logical step years ago. I suggest that what we need from the Government is a more full-blooded approach to its own responsibilities in the United Nations. We have had essentially negative thinking. We have been afraid to take any sort of lead whatsoever. We have waited for a lead from our great and powerful ally in particular, which has not come on this question. As the same edition of the “ New York Times “ stated editorially -
It is disappointing that after seeming to open the door on re-appraisal of policy, the United Slates Administration has again come down on the side of voting against the admission of China because il believes that apparently on this occasion as in the past the numbers are not there for iiic motion lo be carried.
I do nol believe Australia should always be caught in this negative complex. Wc should be prepared to break free to the extent of expressing a positive view on these issues. We should say that Australia is a power living on the periphery of Asia and has to contend with its own problems. We should use the United Nations, not only on the China issue but on other issues as well, as a positive forum for a new constructive approach to our neighbours.
– For the reasons I gave earlier, I do not propose to follow Senator Cohen info a general debate on the United Nations Organisation. The debate on the estimates does not lend itself to a discussion of that sort. I do not necessarily accept Senator Cohen’s approach to Australia’s part in the United Nations, and most certainly I do not accept his approach to the recognition of Red China.
asked a series of questions on items 13, 14, 15 and 19 under Division No. .165 - Administrative. I shall supply the information t have available to me. I hope that it will help the honorable senator. Item 13 relates to the stabilisation fund for Laos. The proposed vote is $535,000. compared wilh an actual expenditure last year of $673,270. Provision is made for the continuation of Australia’s contribution to the fund to the extend of a further $US600,000. The United States of America, France and Australia make contributions of foreign currency to stabilise the currency of Laos. So we are in this with France and the United States. The situation is reviewed annually by the three countries who are contributors to the scheme.
Item 14 relates to the International Social Service of Japan. The proposed vole representing Australia’s contribution is $8,000. On 28th November 1962 the Government authorised a grant of $40,000. This is the fifth of five equal payments of the grant towards the administrative costs of the International Social Service of Japan for ils work among the mixed blood children of Japan. We recall past circumstances in this regard.
The honorable senator also referred to the emergency food aid to India. The proposed vote is $620,000, which represents provision of the balance of $8 million. Item 16 relates to the cost of transporting to India private donations of food and medicines. This is met by the Government. If it were otherwise, the cost of transportation would make inroads into the contributions made by Australian citizens. Item 19 relates to refugee relief in Vietnam. The significant point, to which Senator Cohen directed attention, is that this year there is no vote. I am informed that this item had to go into the Estimates so that the figure for the preceding year could be shown; but there is no provision in the Estimates this year because no request for aid has been received by the Australian Government from the Government concerned.
Senator Cavanagh adverted to the accommodation for officers of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations, and his argument was in line with that of other honorable senators. There is a lease in New York which will expire in 1968. Negotiations are proceeding currently to acquire a considerable amount of additional space adjacent to the present office and this action should relieve the overcrowding to which reference has been made. As to salaries and conditions which apply in overseas posts, officers go from Australia to these places to investigate salaries and conditions from time to time. In making inquiries at the various embassies, they have regard to the conditions and pay and allowances applying to the indigenous people in the area employed in the same kind of work. That is a basis. To that must be added a loading to cover such things as travel, accommodation and other expenses. But the basic consideration is to ensure that our officers are not at a disadvantage compared with other people in the area. In the case of the United Nations, this would mean the nationals of the United States of America who are engaged in the same field of operations. That is the basic thinking in relation to salaries. There is a constant movement from Australia of officers who have regard to these matters, and they make recommendations to the Government. They are Public Service inspectors. 1 was also asked whether the reports of delegations which go overseas are considered by the Government. We all recognise that external affairs is a complex subject. It is not one on which a quick evaluation can be made. One cannot simply accept the views of one person or group of persons. The Department of External Affairs must consider all advice coming to it, including that from parliamentary delegations, as well as messages and signals from officers serving Australia throughout the world. Proper evalutions have to be made of the information so received. In that context, if a delegation representing backbenchers or private members goes abroad, any contributions they make and any documents they prepare will be carefully considered, because the Government recognises that parliamentarians are people trained to evaluate these things better than any other section of the community.
– I want to make one or two references to the statements of the Minister, and I am assisted very much by his statement that politicians are trained people who have ability to evaluate. We have sent such people overseas and some of them have come back with a report that the conditions of the staff of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations at New York put them at a disadvantage compared with officers working in Australia. The Minister has said that in fixing the salaries and allowances of officers at various places, we have to take as a starting point the recognised pay of nationals in that area. Then we add certain allowances to put our officers in a position comparable with that of others working in the same area. But here we have a report from two senators qualified to evaluate the position, and they have said that the method of deciding on the salaries in New York is such that it has brought about conditions which would not be tolerated by public servants in Australia. The Minister must agree that, if this is the case, there is justification for improving the conditions and wages of these individuals.
– May I interrupt the honorable senator to clarify a point? I take it he is referring to Australian officers who have gone overseas and not to officers who are employed overseas by Australia on a short term basis.
– I am referring to Australian officers employed overseas. In fact, I am referring to the whole position. We have before us a report prepared by two honorable senators who visited New York. I do not think we can doubt its accuracy. They saw the conditions there and they know the conditions under which people employed in the Public Service in Australia work. Because officers are serving the nation in a distant area their circumstances and conditions should not be less advantageous than they would be in Australia. I do not think that anyone can condone the position to which the two honorable senators have referred. The method which we use to determine salary scales has brought about this injustice and it is time that it was altered. On the question of overcrowding, if I understood the Minister correctly an attempt is being made to lease another portion of the building which will be available in 1968.
– No. The lease expires in 1968, and they are looking to see what they can acquire.
– If the overcrowding creates conditions, which should not be tolerated, the staff should not be requested to wait until 1968 for improvement. That is a long time for them to put up with the present conditions.
– An officer who went overseas would never be in a less advantageous position than he was in Australia.
– Two honorable senators have said that officers are in that position.
– I would challenge that statement. After all, under the Public Service system it is necessary to go through the gradings. That system is pretty well known to all of us. An officer who went overseas would never receive less salary than he received in Australia. The point I was making before is that officers of the Public Service Board would have to evaluate the loading on an officer’s basic salary, in order to meet different cost of living conditions and so on, to place him in a position reasonably comparable with that of his counterparts doing the same kind of work in the countries concerned. With great respect to the honorable senators whose report has been cited, 1 do not accept the suggestion that has been made. If I send an officer of the Department of Customs and Excise overseas 1 do not say: “ Right. The price of your going overseas is that you will suffer a reduction of salary.” An officer who is sent overseas probably will be in a higher grade because of promotion, but at the very worst he will have his basic salary with the loadings appropriate to the country to which he is sent.
– In connection with Division No. 207, I. wish to deal with salaries and payments in the nature of salary and also with conditions at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Senator Cavanagh referred to the report tabled by Senator Cormack on his behalf and on my behalf. In the main, we were not referring to the salaries of officers who were sent overseas, as the Minister seemed to think. We were speaking of the conditions under which they had to work and also the hours of work. In relation to salaries the report dealt more with the salaries paid to the typists, stenographers, cipher clerks and so on. I do not know for how many years the Mission has occupied the present offices, but people who visited there many years ago have told me that the offices were in the same building then. Delegates from this Parliament who have gone overseas have been told about the need to obtain fresh office space.
We have been told by the Minister that the present lease will expire in .1968. I suggest that the reason why the staff will have to put up with the conditions in the existing accommodation until 1968 is that somebody failed to make a decision three, four or five years ago when, as I understand it, office space that would have been suitable was available. Let me give honorable senators an indication of the conditions in which the girls and other officers have to work. In one room, of the size of a normal office, tables were placed so close together that if two people wished to squeeze past one would have to sit at one of the tables because otherwise the passage space would be blocked. Five or six people were working in the one office. The girls required to do the typing were jammed together as closely as possible, in the one room. Those are the conditions to which Senator Cormack and I were referring. We were not referring to conditions that came about because of a sudden explosion in the number of people working in the offices. The conditions we mentioned exist every year when the General Assembly of the United Nations is meeting. It is my understanding that these conditions have existed for a number of years. I would like the Minister to say whose authority it is to decide whether or not roomier office space should be rented when it becomes available.
– I think we have cleared up the point that Australian based officers are noc involved in the matter raised by Senator Cavanagh. As I have said, such officers receive their basic Australian salary and they also receive local allowances to meet higher cost of living expenses, over and above their normal salary. They are given a special allowance for children while they are overseas and they receive reimbursement of excess education fees they may have to pay in the country where they are stationed. They also receive an entertainment allowance. In addition, they are paid an amount to cover rent in excess of what they would pay under Australian conditions. However, I understand that Senator Ridley was concerned with the conditions of some of the staff who probably are not Australians but who are appointed locally.
– No. They are Australians.
– They may be Australians, but perhaps they have been appointed from the local scene. I understand that the honorable senator is referring to the conditions under which those people are working. I shall refer that matter to the Department. When I was in New York in 1961 and 1962 I went to the offices occupied by the Australian Department of External Affairs officers and I thought even then that they were fairly well jammed together. The point that there Is inadequate accommodation there has been well made. I hope that as a result of the review that is going on at the present time, improved conditions will be provided for the people who are working there. Beyond that, there is not much more that I can add.
– Can the Minister say which authority determines whether or not accommodation shall be acquired?
– I should think that recommendations would be referred back to the Department. In fact, the Minister, on the advice of his officers, must make the final determination.
– It would not be the Treasury?
– No. But let us face the facts of life. Every department must live within its estimates. Each department has to make representations each year and we have to handle the estimates. Throughout history, no Minister has ever been able to write his own ticket in regard to the amount of money he may spend. The estimates of expenditure must be rationalised and individual items of expenditure must come within the picture of the overall situation. Within that framework, I think that we as parliamentarians understand that the decision to which Senator Ridley referred would be made by the Minister on the advice of his officers.
Proposed expenditure and proposed provision noted.
Department of Defence
Proposed expenditure, $17,765,000.
– I wish to ask a question in relation to Division No. 648 - Plant and Equipment. The expenditure on this item in 1965-66 was $1,889,849, and the appropriation for that year was $2,016,800. The appropriation for 1966-67 is only $929,000. This is a considerable reduction, and no doubt there is a very good reason for it. I would like the Minister to inform the Senate of the reason for the greatly reduced appropriation.
. -In answer to the question asked by Sena tor Toohey, the information handed tome is that last year major computer equipment was delivered and paid for.Thereisa reduced equipment requirement for this financial year.
Proposed expenditure noted.
Department of Territories
Proposed expenditure, $2,166,000.
Proposed provision, $15,000.
Proposed expenditure, $241,000.
Proposed provision, $78,000.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Proposed expenditure, $123,100.
Proposed provision, $20,000.
Proposed expenditure, $76000.
Proposed expenditure, $28,674,900.
Proposed provision, $29,853,000.
Papua and New Guinea
Proposed expenditure, $70,933,300.
Proposed provision, $290,000.
– I desire to raise one or two important matters which relate to the estimates of expenditure in Papua and New Guinea by the Department of Territories. My remarks are related to Division No. 480 - Administrative. The staff of the Department has been increased. The number of assistant secretaries has increased by one. In what appears to be the positions of Third Division officers there has been an increase of 27. An increase of 22 has occurred in the secretarial staff. All told, the staff has been increased from 352 to 402. I am very concerned with some of the statements in the explanatory notes for the Estimates debate, under the heading “ Papua and New Guinea “, provided by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes). I refer particularly to section 7 which relates to mineral resources, and particularly the statements relating to capper. In paragraph 45 the Minister points out that active exploration for copper has commenced on New
Britain, an area with virtually no history of mining production. I emphasise the word “ virtually “ used by the Minister. The Minister went on to say -
Large low grade deposits of copper with an export potential equal to the whole of the Territory’s current exports have been discovered by C.R.A. Limited on Bougainville Island. The people of Bougainville-
I emphasise these words - have shown resistance to continuing exploration and investigations and have expressed dissatisfaction with the principle that minerals belong to the Crown. Efforts arc being made to educate the people on the benefits of ownership. . . .
The Minister pointed out the public benefits being gained from public works which are being constructed in that portion of the Territory. From the statements of the Minister, it appears quite obvious to me that the Administration fails to understand the mind or to comprehend the thinking of the indigenous section of the New Guinea community in this connection. I refer in particular to the area around Kieta on Bougainville Island. I think there is great cause for alarm at the Minister’s statement that the people of Bougainville have shown resistance to continuing exploration and investigations and that they have expressed dissatisfaction with the principle that the minerals belong to the Crown. On the evidence available, that seems to be one of the understatements of the year.
As recently as 4th October - about a fortnight ago - an article appeared in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “, which stated that additional police had been moved into the Kieta-Bougainville area to cope with any possible trouble arising from the prospecting activities of Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia Ltd. The article states -
Aborigines recently voiced their opposition to new ordinances giving rentals for land where there are mining activities, instead of paying royalties.
It goes on to say that the police detachment at Kieta has been increased from 15 to 25 and that a base camp is being prepared for Administration patrols in the Guava area where the company will be prospecting. Briefly, the Press report that I have referred to indicates that serious trouble could be looming in this particular area. The Minister and the Department have a responsibility to be quite frank about the matter. Whether we like it or not, the indigenous population on Bougainville feel that they are the victims of exploitation, not so much because of the activities of Conzinc Rio Tinto but more particularly because the present Government has failed to protect their interests.
A number of people who are engaged in missionary work in this area have corresponded with me about this and other matters. They assure me that the response of the indigenes to their lands being taken without their getting what they believe lo be a fair share of the profits in the form of royalties is common knowledge throughout the Territory, lt is alleged that the Administration did not prepare the indigenes for the invasion of prospecting and drilling teams. I am assured that officials of Conzinc Rio Tinto now say that they would not have gone in there at this particular time if the company had known that the Administration had not adequately tackled the initial public relations task involved. This is borne out by the statement of the Minister, who has said that efforts are being made to educate the people in relation to the benefits of ownership by the people as a whole and the benefits of mining development. It is like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. The Minister or the Department must accept a great deal of responsibility for any trouble that might exist or which might occur in this area in the future.
Anybody who has been to New Guinea realises that land is a possession that is prized by these people. Indeed, they refer to it as their mother, because they get their food from the ground. It has been suggested to me that in the Kieta area the indigenous people have told the missionaries that during the war bombs were dropped on the ground and as a result of the bombing food did not come up from the ground. They have said further that they believe that because of the drilling operations that are now going on the same effect will be seen. I ask the Minister and the Department to appreciate the thinking of the people who are immediately involved. They think they are being exploited. They believe that the Administration has not adequately catered for their requirements or their interests. They believe that the mining company has gone into the area with a blank cheque to take out the copper that is present and without giving them anything other than a share in the public works that are necessarily involved in the exploitation of this area. It is of no use the Minister saying, as he has said in the document to which 1 have referred, that they will get a road between Kieta and Toimanapu which will cost §470,000 and another road which will link Buin and Boku and which it is estimated will cost $1 million. The indigenous section of the community argue, first, that the public works are principally for the purpose of exploiting the copper; secondly, that they are losing the value and possession of their realty; and thirdly, that the production value of their land is being destroyed by these operations.
As I have said, they believe, rightly or wrongly, that they are the victims of exploitation as a result of the Government’s policy. I understand that already five members of the local community have bean gaoled, lt is alleged, rightly or wrongly, that they did not receive the normal treatment that is accorded to average people. What was their crime? Apparently it was that they hud removed a tent belonging to Conzinc Rio Tinto from land which they regarded as being their own. 1 have been informed that no permission has been sought or given for Europeans to establish camps on their land, lt is obvious that an ugly situation hits developed. Additional armed police have gone into the area. I understand that they were required so expeditiously that they had to be flown in by helicopter.
According to the information that has been supplied to me. the indigenes believe they are entitled to at least 5 per cent, of the profits. According to one of the missionaries who has corresponded with me the indigenous population was rather incensed at the abrupt treatment accorded them by the Minister for Territories on his recent visit to the area, lt seems that a number of times native spokesmen were told either to shut up - not by the Minister but by those in responsible positions in the area - or that they had nothing to say. I am informed that the irony of all this is that th.’ company involved would wish members of the local community to receive a royalty in order to make them satisfied and so that the company, in co-operation with them, could get the work under way. But because the Government has agreed only to rental of the land and not to payment of a royalty, this cannot be clone.
On 27th September last the Australian Broadcasting Commission broadcast a resolution which was passed unanimously at a meeting of 37 Roman Catholic missionaries which was presided over by Bishop Lemay. This was the resolution -
The Catholic Mission on Bougainville truly makes known the voice of the people in protesting against the present mining ordinance as being unsuitable for the trusteeship of New Guinea and as contravening native land custom and traditions.
In short, the people of Kieta believe that they, their children, their area and their island will get nothing from the activities of Conzinc Rio Tinto, not so much because of the attitude of the company but because of Government policy. They want a fair share of the wealth of the land that they believe is theirs. They believe they are losing their most valuable possession and that they will get little, if anything at all. in return from mining activities in this area. They believe that Conzinc Rio Tinto will meet its commitments from the gold obtained from the area and that any profit accruing from the copper mining activities will he sheer bunce for the company.
I ask the Minister for Territories and the Department to look closely and seriously at the Government’s present policy and its methods of administration in the area. I ask the Minister first to ascertain whether Conzinc Rio Tinto is prepared to pay the indigenous people a royally out of the proceeds of the operations in which it is engaging. I ask the Government: What are the educational efforts which are being undertaken and which were mentioned by the Minister in his explanatory document? I suggest to the Government that in view of the reports that I. have received, the Press statements that have been made and the points that 1 have raised, it must act expeditiously in the matter, because it appears that the indigenous people have become very suspicious of the motives of Europeans and the policy of this Government. It is in the interests of the local people, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and the Australian nation that we win and retain the confidence, trust and respect of the indigenous people. The matter that I have raised is important. I had intended to raise it in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate one clay last week, but I considered that as the estimates for the Department of Territories were to be considered this week, I should wait until they were before us so that the responsible Minister in this place, with the aid of departmental advice, would be able to answer me. I cannot emphasise too strongly to the Minister for Territories that the indigenous people, in their own minds, believe - genuinely - that they have a grievance and that the Government is acting against their interests. It is in the interests of the Government as well as the indigenous people to see that the two parties resolve the problem properly.
.- I believe that I should apologise to Senator McClelland.
– Order! With which item is the honorable senator dealing?
– The same matter as was dealt with by Senator McClelland.
– What is the item referred to?
– I am referring to the Bougainville Island situation. Surely I am entitled to reply to the remarks that Senator McClelland made in discussing that matter. Do you not agree?
– I do not know which item is referred to. I have only just taken the chair.
– I related my remarks to Division No. 480 - Administrative.
– -I thank the honorable senator for that information. As I have said, I begin by saying that I perhaps owe him an apology. When I heard him discussing the matter, I was availing myself of the facilities available to senators to listen to the proceedings from places within the building outside the chamber. I was not present when the honorable senator made his remarks, but I intervene in this discussion because I am aware of what he said. The Foreign Affairs Committee, which is a joint committee of the Parliament and on which members of the Australian Labour Party have never seen fit to serve, during the winter months appointed a subcommittee to look into the overall problem of the administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I believe that no honorable senator would quarrel with that action. It was inevitable that the subcommittee, in the course of its. inquiries, would have brought to its attention the problem of the extent and richness of the low grade copper deposits on Bougainville Island.
My colleague, Senator Mattner, with whom I had the honour of travelling in the course of this adventure into Papua and New Guinea, will recollect that wherever we went and wherever we were able to meet the indigenous population of both New Guinea and Papua - on the local government level, the House of Assembly level, on the leaders of the community level, or on the level of the policy makers or the opinion forming people for the whole of this area - we asked them what their attitude was to the development of mineral deposits or timber stands in Papua and New Guinea. Many of them could speak English. I have a reasonable understanding of Pidgin. On each occasion the indigenous people of Papua and New Guinea all expressed themselves unreservedly in favour of the view that the natural product, either timber or minerals, belonged entirely to the people of Papua and New Guinea. That was the view without reservation except of course for the Members of the House of Assembly in Port Moresby who represent the area of Bougainville.
The situation is that the people of Papua and New Guinea, who are not without understanding, have taken a good, hard look at this matter. They have argued it in their village councils. They have argued it out in their local government councils. Without exception - I am sure that Senator Mattner will verify this - we found not one indigenous person, with the exception of the representatives of Bougainville in the House of Assembly who are responsive to the electoral pressures to which we all find ourselves subject from time to time, with any objection to the thesis which we commonly hold in this country that the natural resources of a country belong to that nation, if I may put it in those terms, or to the people as a whole and not a section of the people. I should like to make it clear, as an unequivocal statement in the Committee, that with the exception of the Bougainville people themselves in the particular area in which Conzinc Rio Tinto of Australia Ltd. is conducting its investigations at the present time, all the people of Papua and New Guinea regard the natural resources of the area as belonging to all the people in that country.
I should think that honorable senators opposite at the present time would applaud this attitude because this has been the original thesis of the Australian people themselves in the development of their States and in the development of the Commonwealth of Australia. Therefore, I deprecate any attempt to make a diversion in the situation in Papua and New Guinea between the people of Bougainville and the people of the other areas of the Territory. If these people are to have their independence, if the country is to become an independent nation, if they have to stand on their own with the support, I hope, of the Australian people for many years to come, then they are entitled to regard this as a national entity and not be subjected to the parochial pressures which have been displayed and espoused, I suggest, by Senator McClelland.
– I would not want to add very much to what Senator Cormack has said in reply to the case put forward by Senator McCelland. The case that Senator McClelland puts touches on a difficult issue in Papua and New Guinea, because in ite development, there would be difficulties. 1 would think that is understandable. When we are dealing in terms of mineral leases or anything of that nature 1 think we all have difficulty in understanding the subject. The point Senator McClelland made, and perhaps on the public relations side the ground had not been properly laid, is a matter to which I should direct the attention of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes). However, I think that Senator Cormack answered the statement in a fairly reasonable way.
In all the circumstances, I think I would be wise to confine myself to repeating a comment made by the Minister for Territories. After all, there could be nothing more authentic on this issue than a statement made by the Minister. 1 will leave the matter there unless it is raised again by an honorable senator. On 27th September last in answer to a question the Minister, referring to Bougainville Island, said -
Unfortunately some of the people on Bougainville Island feel that they should have title to the mineral rights of the area, and that thereby only about 300 or 400 people should benefit from the mining operations.
This, of course, involves a principle which is completely opposed to our ideas in Australia, where the title to mineral rights is held by the whole of the community. We believe that our policy is the right one for Papua and New Guinea if we are to develop the country as a whole. We have to realise that there are areas of the Territory which are particularly poor, such as the Western Districts and the Fly Delta and Sepik River areas. Undoubtedly these areas will be developed in the future, but vast sums are required in the meantime to make New Guinea economically viable. I believe our policy is right. Also, 1 would point out that the people who have title to the land on which these mineral areas are located are being compensated for the loss of the use of land in the event of mining operations taking place. 1 believe this is a perfectly fair approach. It would be a tragedy for the Territory as a whole if this company were discouraged from investing millions of dollars which ultimately must be in the best interests of the Territory.
That is the comment made by the Minister for Territories as late as 27th September this year. I leave the matter there.
.- I seek some information regarding salaries paid under Division No. 480. 1 note that the amount sought to be appropriated this year for salaries is considerably higher than last year’s appropriation. I would like to know the reasons for this increase. I would like also to deal with the subject of postage, telegrams and telephone services as shown under this Division. 1 note here that the amount sought to be appropriated this year is significantly higher than last year’s appropriation or expenditure. Perhaps there is a reason for this increase.
This year, twice as much is sought to be appropriated as was expended last year under Division No. 480, item 04, Special purpose visits to Australian Territories. Under item 05, Publicity, the amount sought to be appropriated this year is considerably higher than the amount expended last year.
I take this opportunity to be somewhat critical of this Government’s activities generally. As Australians, we owe a debt of gratitude to Papua and New Guinea but this Government does not seem to have any policy of repaying that debt. I feel sorry for Senator Anderson having to represent in this chamber a Minister who is not very interested in his task.
– Order! The honorable senator may not say that.
– Well. I will say that the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) fs
Ineffective. The Budget discloses that operational expenditure in the Territories this year will amount to 851,700,000. In addition, there will be a grant to the Administration of Papua and New Guinea of $70 million, which is a commitment under our United Nations obligations. The overall administration of the Territory leaves much to be desired. 1 want to refer to two or three specific items. In mid-August of this year a shortage in the Central Treasury prevented the purchase of petro! for Government vehicles in Rabaul, lt is true that there were 500 gallons left in the first week of August. This petrol was used to keep police vehicles, ambulances and such vehicles on the road. I want to refer to a report which appeared in one of the Territory’s newspapers, in which Mr. D. Barrett, who is Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts, admitted that there was a weakness in the financial system which created a ridiculous situation, causing embarrassment to Australia’s work in the Territory. This would appear to be one of the weaknesses in the general administration. It is a serious thing, and ought not to have happened, that an important section of the Administration did not have sufficient petrol in stock, or money to purchase sufficient petrol, to keep Government vehicles on the road.
– Where is the honorable senator laying the blame for this?
– I am laying it at the feet of this Government.
– The Australian Government?
– Yes. It is responsible for the administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It may not be capable of seeing that the Territory is properly administered, but it has to take responsibility for the position to which I have referred.
– Where did the honorable senator get his information?
– The information was published in the “Telegraph” of 11th August 1966, as well as in newspapers in Papua and New Guinea. In addition, we have notes dealing with the estimates for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea referred to earlier by a previous speaker. Paragraph 10 of these notes shows that the Government is making some attempt, apparently, to discover whether certain types of sugar cane can be grown in the Territory. I suppose that most Queenslanders would be aware that the best types of sugar cane were originally imported from Papua and New Guinea. Now experiments are being carried out in the Markham Valley to see whether certain types of Queensland sugar cane can grow under the Territory’s conditions. This sort of thing should have been thought about 10 years ago. When the Government carried out earlier agricultural experiments, a number of the Territory’s prominent people said that a small sugar mill should be established and some areas should be planted with sugar cane to make the Territory self-sufficient. 1 have, of necessity, to be fairly brief in my references to some of the shortcomings of this Government. Communications in the Territory are almost non-existent. I will very quickly refer to an article which was published in the “Times Courier” of 1st October 1966. It stated -
A group of Lae business men will write to the Assistant Administrator (Services), Mr. L. W. Johnson, in an attempt to get telephones connected to their premises in Air Corps Road, Lae.
The men claim that the lack of telephones in the area is holding up operation of their businesses and costing them money.
The telephone system in the Territory is generally in a deplorable state. I asked in this chamber -
Will the Department of Territories improve, in the immediate future, telephone and radio services in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?
I received a lengthy reply, the first paragraph of which stated -
Improvements to the telephone and radio communication services in Papua and New Guinea are constantly being made within the limits imposed by available funds.
In the final paragraph the Minister stated that if sufficient funds were not available consideration would be given to the possibility of securing international financial aid. Why did the Commonwealth Government leave it until this late time to consider the possibility of securing international financial aid? Financial aid could have been obtained earlier not only for telephone and radio communication services, but also for other services associated with the Territory.
The health policy in the Territory is atrocious, and leaves much to be desired. In this connection, an article was published in the “ Canberra Times “ of 1 7th October 1966, which stated -
A cut in the use of antibiotics, X-ray films, dressings and other medicines has been ordered by the Papua-New Guinea Department of Health.
This follows a 20 per cent, cut in its Budget estimate for drugs and dressings.
The department estimated $1,168,750 for the year, but received $935,000 - $27,732 less than was spent in the last financial year.
As a consequence of the reduced allocation of funds, no serious attempt has been made in many areas to control diseases that arc peculiar to the Territory. The “Times Courier” of 1st October reported that leprosy is on the increase in an area outside Mount Hagen. More than 10 per cent, of the villagers in this locality are infected with leprosy. In another question on notice, I asked whether action could be taken to eliminate malaria in the Jim mi Valley. Again I received a fairly lengthy reply, but the final paragraph carries the sting, lt states -
Steps will be taken to eradicate malaria in :he Jim mi Valley but as it is a remote area without a developed road system no definite date has been set for the commencement of the programme in this area.
This is the sort of excuse that is constantly used by the Government when questioned about ils administration in the Territory.
I was surprised by the comment of Senator Cormack, who criticised my colleague, Senator McClelland, and in doing so revealed that he believes in white supremacy. Obviously, a person with a black skin who asks for a fair deal is unlikely to get it from him. The Rural Wages Board some little time ago recommended that wages bc raised by 50c a month. I emphasise that the increase recommended was 50c a month; it is not an hourly rate or a daily rale, such as we have in Australia. The Administration in its generosity granted $1 a month. This raises the rural wage rate from $3 to $4 a month in the first year and $3.50 to §4.50 in the second year. Of course, this wage is not sufficient by any standards to enable any person to live decently in any area. I know that the Government will say that the workers are given rations. But anyone seeing the rations would wonder how workers could keep domestic animals on them, let alone a family. The reply to a question I asked on this subject was deliberately misleading. The price of land in the Lac area-
– Why does not the honorable senator learn something about the subject?
– I suggest that Senator Scott-
– Order! The honorable senator will proceed with his speech.
– I suggest that the reply given today to a question I asked about residential leases at Lae was deliberately misleading. The Minister said that the price of the last live residential leases ranged from $500 to §1,500. If this is so, a rural worker receiving the wage of $4.50 per mon:h would take a long time to save enough money to buy a block of land in this area.
I want briefly to run through some of the other points of discrimination for which the Administration is noted. A seat to see a feature film in Port Moresby costs $ 1 .25.- Admission to the races at June Valley is approximately the same. What indigenous person working on these starvation wages would be able to pay for admission to see films or the races? I saw a Press report recently - 1 believe that it is very reliable - in which a person attending the races at June Valley reported that he saw only one indigenous person there. Discrimination is apparent in wage rates. The ordinance in 1964 set the basis for racial discrimination in relation to wages. People who are forced to live on these very low rates are not able to pay normal rentals or to purchase the type of food that we would normally purchase or even half the food that we would normally purchase. They have similar trouble with clothes. Do honorable senators think that they will be able to purchase a car, even a bomb, in which to drive around-
– Mr. Chairman, I raise a point of order, fs the honorable senator entitled to comment on matters that are now before the Public Service Arbitrator in Port Moresby? He is leading evidence which, I suggest, may become available to one side or the other, on matters which I consider are sub judice.
– Order! I advise Senator Keeffe that he would be very wise to keep off that subject.
– 1 will bow to your ruling, Mr. Chairman; but I still think Senator Cormack is wrong. The Government is building up a store of trouble for itself in this area. It will be only a matter of time before the Government has the blame for serious racial riots right on its own head. We talked about the establishment of a tourist board and educational television. One of the items on the notice paper is the resumption of a debate on the report of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on Papua and New Guinea; but the Government is not prepared to bring that on for discussion because it is frightened of the consequences of any publicity that might emanate from such a debate.
Recently the first of the directors of the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank were appointed, lt is significant that in the first 10 appointed there were only two indigenous people. It is ridiculous to say that the I.Q. of the local people is not sufficient for them to have greater representation on this board of directors.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– Senator Keeffe, no doubt under the heading of administration, has gone right across the board in this debate on the estimates for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I do not propose to follow him on that excursion beyond saying that the whole history of Australia’s effort in the Territory is one of achievement. Our efforts have been designed to bring the people to a degree of self government in a very short time, but by steps that are considered to be in their best interests. In a world in which we have seen tragedy after tragedy because of the inability of certain countries to bring to self government people who were under their control, the record of this Government and of Australia in relation to Papua and New Guinea stands out in stark relief. It shows a sensible approach based on the ability of the people to be assimilated and to play their part in self government. Everything that has been done in the Territory is contrary to the points that have been made in a general way by Senator
Keeffe in his excursion into movies, policies, salaries, petroleum and every other conceivable subject. 1 say that the history proves that he is completely wrong in his appreciation of the position.
I realise that it is difficult to deal with the estimates for the Territories because they cover such a large area. Another document has been produced, and sometimes it is very difficult for a Minister to know when an honorable senator is speaking to that document and when he is speaking to the Estimates. Appreciating all of that, I say that Senator Keeffe started off by asking some specific questions to which I will try to give him answers. He referred to salaries. It is true that activities in the Territories have been expanding. That has had its effect on salaries. It is also true that higher salary rates have been paid and that there have been staff increases. He then referred to item 03., Postage, telegrams and telephone services “ and asked for particular information. The estimate of costs for 1966-67 is $138,000 compared with the actual expenditure of $1 14,782 last year - an increase of $23,218. The estimated expenditure is $21,000 for postage, $42,000 for Telex services, cables and telegrams and $74,400 for telephones. The additional expenditure of $23,218 is caused, first, by the cost of telephone services to the National Mapping Division, Department of National Development, in premises jointly occupied with the Department of Territories. In 1 965- 66 and earlier years this cost has been recovered from the Department of National Development. Secondly, it is caused by the installation of a larger switchboard and other facilities to improve the telephone service in the Department’s Canberra office and by other costs caused by greater departmental activity. Thirdly, it is caused by services to be provided at the Department’s newly established office in Melbourne and an office to be opened in Brisbane.
The honorable senator sought information about the special purpose visits to Australian territories - item 04. - in respect of which there is to be an increased expenditure of $5,326 this year. The estimate of $12,000 will provide for a parliamentary delegation to Papua and New Guinea for Anzac Day observance, to cost $2,000, and for visits to Papua and New Guinea by United Nations representatives and others at a cost of $10,000. In respect of this item the explanatory notes state -
Selected persons visit Papua and New Guinea from time to time under the auspices or the Australian Government. The purpose of these visits is to give a better understanding of the problems of the Territory to persons who have some influence with the national delegations to the United Nations or wilh members of the Trusteeship Council, and, in special circumstances, to representatives of other countries. Invitations issued have been accepted in respect of 10 visits but final arrangements are still open and will depend upon the convenience of the visitors and the Administration of Papua and New Guinea. It is proposed to issue invitations for further visits in 1966-67.
In this explanation we see evidence of Australia’s willingness to provide facilities. Indeed, we have to give an account of our stewardship of the Territory to the United Nations. We have been able to do this over the years.
The honorable senator asked about item 05., “ Publicity “. The estimated expenditure for 1966-67 is $200,000 as against actual expenditure of $168,670 last year - an increase of $31,330. The objectives of the publicity to be obtained from this expenditure are the creation of a keener national awareness of the Commonwealth’s policies and activities in the Territories and the development of balanced opinions, both in Australia and overseas, of the Government’s policy and performance in the Territories. 1 am sure nobody could complain about that. Another aim is to accelerate development by private enterprise in the Territories by pointing out opportunities for profitable investment. This is the answer 1 gave to Senator McClelland. The Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) had said that with private investment co-operating with the Government the development of the Territory could be helped. Other aims are to promote trade and tourism and to ease the problems of recruitment by attracting attention to employment opportunities. In collaboration with the Papua and New Guinea Administration a great deal more needs to be done to secure an understanding on the part of the indigenous Territory people of Australia’s policy in and towards the Territory and to promote a knowledge of conditions in Australia, the Australian outlook, etc.
The honorable senator made some reference to the problems associated with petroleum supplies. The answer I give him is that there was a weakness .n administration in relation to this matter. The Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly Public Accounts Committee is currently invest’gating accounting and administration fun( tions and procedures in the Territory. .1 think we recognise that in the process of government weaknesses can well happen, and it is recognised that there was a weakness in the finance system. An effort is being made to rectify the position.
– Has that been corrected now?
– I can only supply the honorable senator with the information given to me. 1 would think and hope that the immediate weakness that emerged would be attended to. The answer that 1 am giving to the honorable senator is in relation to the whole of the problems associated with the administration. The honorable senator referred to telephone systems. The provision this year for telecommunications equipment will be $810,000. Last year it was $746,000. There is, therefore, an increased allocation in relation to that item. The matter 1 hal concerned me most about the honorable senator’s remarks was the reference to health. I well recall from my own general knowledge that quite a big effort has been made by the Department in relation to the health of the peoples of Papua and New Guinea. I well recall a team of medical officers and nurses going to the Territory in relation to tuberculosis. That is one particular matter that I recall. In the document published by the Minister for Health, under the heading “Item 11, Public Health “, the Minister and his officers paint an entirely different picture from the one painted by the honorable senator. Their story would be based on knowledge and experience of administration in the Territory in this particular field. For that reason, in the few minutes remaining to me, I propose to read the following passage from the document -
The Administration is working to a general plan of providing a network of hospital and public health facilities throughout the Territory. This includes base hospitals, a number of district, sub-district and rural hospitals, and the establishment of health centres and preventive services throughout the Territory.
The services provided by the Department of Public Health include infant and maternal welfare services and clinics, school medical services, malarial service, tuberculosis control, leprosy control, dental services, hospital services at a network of hospitals, aid pasts, medical centres and rur.il health centres. Health services are maintained at a high standard.
It is two or three years since I was in the Territory. I did a private tour and one of the features was to be able to go into all of the various parts and see evidence that the health services were being given, as .1 thought, very special attention. Lasses were being trained in nursing, and there was a network of services throughout the Territory. When the Minister says that the health services are maintained at a high standard, that statement means what it says. The standard is very high. The document continues -
The construction of a base hospital at Goroka is estimated to cost about J2 million spread over the two years 1966-67 and 1967-68. When this hospital is completed every major centre will have u modern, fully equipped base hospital. The cost of building a new hospital opened at Mount Hagen on 25th March 1966 was shared by the people of the Western Highlands District and the Administration.
I could go on, but I commend the document to the honorable senator. He has a copy in his possession. I suggest that he lake it home and read it. T am sure that he will come back to this place in all humility and say that he was misinformed in relation to the health services being provided in the Territory.
– As only one minute is left before the adjournment is proposed, 1 shall make my remarks very brief. J ask the Minister whether he will affirmatively state that he will draw the attention of the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) to the remarks that I. made this evening. I. assure him and 1 assure the Minister for Territories that they were made in a very genuine attempt to solve problems that obviously do exist. When the Administration finds that it is necessary to reinforce the police force in an area, obviously there are troubles, and great troubles, looming in that area.
– Yes. 1 shall direct the Minister’s attention to the matter.
Proposed expenditures and proposed provisions noted.
– Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Chairman do now leave the Chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative. (The Chairman having reported accordingly)1 -
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating lo the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I start on a different note tonight by saying that I make no apology for delaying the Senate for one or two minutes. 1 think the matter 1 am about to raise is important, because a practice could grow up thai could well be detrimental to the Senate in general. During question time today I asked a perfectly legitimate question. I will not canvass it now, but for the purpose of the record I think I should state ils substance. I asked whether a certain senator had said that Australia should cease to align itself with the Western powers but should build up its own defences and take a neutral stand. In the interests of the public, and having regard to the fact that an election is coming up, I asked that question and then asked the Minister - ls Australia in a position to defend itself at all times without help from ils Western allies?
As 1 have said, I felt this was a perfectly legitimate question to ask, but during the course of the reply, certain points of order were raised.
I agree that points of order and questions which are disallowed should not be rebroadcast, because to do so would frustrate the whole purpose of question time. While listening to the rebroadcast of questions tonight I was amazed to notice that the whole of that question and about twothirds of the Minister’s reply, to the stage at which the points of order were raised, had been deleted.
– What is the honorable senator complaining about?
– I have no quarrel with this. Points of order were taken, so the whole question was deleted.
– Everything? All of the question?
– The whole lot. If people on that side of the chamber or we on this side want to frustrate completely this very valuable period of question time, we can do it very well by the means which were adopted today - 1 believe unwittingly. 1 do not think things happened in the way they were intended to happen.
– Who erased the question?
– The Australian Broadcasting Commission in its wisdom. I will come to that in a moment. Black Rod and the Australian Broadcasting Commission have been most courteous in reply to my inquiries on this matter and have given an answer which is satisfactory to me on this occasion, but particularly with an election drawing near, when we all are pretty touchy, although not all of us are coming up for election, the situation could crop up-
– We are not touchy.
– The honorable senator is” not coming up for election; nor am I.
– We on this side are not touchy.
– You were today. You raised points of order and they led to the question being deleted from the rebroadcast.
– The question smelled a bit.
– To me it did not smell. When a question in what 1 consider to be the public interest is asked, when the sources are quoted, when the Minister is prepared to answer it, and after you, Mr. President, have ruled that the points of order have no substance, why should the public be frustrated by not being allowed to hear the question and answer because of those interjections? I respectfully suggest that we in the Senate have a look at this. What 1 suggest should happen is that after you have given your ruling, Mr. President, the questioner should then be permitted to ask his question again, because the points of order had been ruled out of order, and the Minister given a chance to answer. This practice could extend. A group of honorable senators, by repeatedly raising points of order, could frustrate completely question time in this place-
– Ministers are doing that by having questions placed on the notice paper time and time again.
– I am not going into that. I am trying to help the Senate. Take points of order by all means, let the President rule them out of order by all means, but let the questioner ask his question again.
– I wish to support the remarks of Senator Branson. Unfortunately I was out of the chamber when the question was asked this morning and I was delighted to learn that there had been a high level discussion between Senator Branson and the Minister for Works (Senator Gorton) on some observations I made yesterday at the Monash University. Although 1 was disappointed in not having heard the question myself, I was very pleased that the people of Australia would be able to hear this confrontation between two Liberal senators. I felt that this would be something like a debate between two medieval school men discussing the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas or Aristotle and I was disappointed to learn subsequently that this symposium or seminar on my writings had been frustrated because of some noise which apparently took place in the Senate so that the people of Australia were unable to hear this discussion.
It is most unfortunate that the important matters I raised were not debated in a full and frank manner so that any points of disagreement on interpretation between Senator Branson and Senator Gorton would be clarified in the hearing of those persons who happened to be listening to the rebroadcast of question time. Senator Branson very courteously invited me into a dungeon beneath this chamber where we had a tape played back to us. I, too, was unable to hear Senator Gorton’s interpretation of my remarks. I agree with Senator Branson that if this were to become a practice in the Senate and philosophical debates of 1his nature were to be so overwhelmed by the noise of senators that the proceedings could not be rebroadcast, a great disservice would be done to serious students of international affairs in the Australian community.
– I wish to direct the attention of the Senate to the following advertisement which appeared in the “ Courier Mail “ of Saturday. 15th October, at page .16 -
The A. B.C. Four Corners wants any who witnessed or look part in the “ Battle of Brisbane *’-
The inverted commas are mine - between American and Australian troops during World War II to ring 7-3161 between 9.30 and 10.30 a.m. for a possible T.V. interview.
– Did the honorable senator telephone and let them know?
– 1 am not of that type. The “Sunday Mail” of 16th October stilted on page I - and J shall paraphrase the report - that this information was necessary as the “ Four Corners “ programme wished to make a documentary relating to Australian-American relations. The report also staled that it was proposed to screen this documentary on Saturday night when the President of the United States of America was stopping over in Brisbane. In essence, that was the report of the ‘* Sunday Mail ‘”.
Following this, in the “ Courier Mail “ of Tuesday, 18th October it was reported that the Returned Services League in Queensland hud asked its national headquarters to request that the fracas should noi be shown during the visit of President Johnson. The R.S..L. Vice-President, Sir Raymond Huish, said that the proposal by “ Four Corners “ to revive this incident was in shockingly bad taste, and I agree. I understand that, the incident took place in November 1942. There were drunken brawls between men of the United States forces and Australian forces.
– Was President Johnson one of them?
– No, he was not here at that stage. It appears that an Australian unit, having served in New Caledonia in the role of a garrison force at this crucial stage of the war, involved itself in a situation which would not be novel to an ex-serviceman who had served in various parts of the world. There were drunken quarrels over matters and needs which time and again have sparked off military riots. I. believe that this is what happened in Brisbane. The riot was finally ended by the moving of an Australian brigade into Brisbane and the clearing of the streets of rioters from both sides and both countries. So much for the incident. it is proper that the Government should not proffer any advice to the independent Broadcasting Commission; but it is true also that people in other parts of the world often assume that a national television authority tends to express the opinion of the day in the country in which that national television authority occupies that position.
– lt allowed- the Commission to sack Michael Charlton for doing so.
Senator HEATLEY__ That is the Department’s affair, not mine. I do not assume that the general manager of the A.B.C. would treat the Brisbane episode other than in a balanced presentation and I affirm this on the reported statements of Dr. Darling, the Chairman of the A.B.C, upon the required responsibility of personnel of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. However, this coes not absolve the Parliament of the nation from taking note of matters which appear on the surface to be of dubious taste upon the occasion of the visit to Australia-
– Who wrote that for the honorable senator?
– I wrote it. It is in my own handwriting. If the honorable senator would like to see the copy, it is here.
– Do not worry about interjections.
– I am not worried in the slightest. As 1 say, this thing is in dubious taste - relating as it does to Brisbane, of all places - upon the occasion of a visit to Australia by the President of the United States of America to whom this nation and its people owe so much for help to Australia in the past, and the present and, 1 am sure, will owe in the future.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.43 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 October 1966, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1966/19661018_senate_25_s32/>.