25th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIlin) took the chair at 10 a.m.. and read prayers.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General a question with reference to the recent statement by the Postmaster-General in his annual report that further good progress had been made with the subscriber trunk dialling programme and that a faster extension rate would follow the use of new types of equipment. Will the Postmaster-General investigate the possibility of advancing this programme with regard to Adelaide and Melbourne?
– 1 will direct the attention of the Postmaster-General to the honorable senator’s question. I would point out, however, that the development of services provided by the Postmaster-General’s Department is not a haphazard procedure and has to be based on proper planning. That is the very essence of the undertaking, lt is significant that both the annual report of the Postmaster-General and a report made by the Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs within the last 24 hours refer to the tremendous speed of development of postal and other services and to the progress that has been made. One should not isolate an area of activity and suggest that extensions there be speeded up. Other areas must be considered and development must be on the basis of proper plans. I shall refer the honorable senator’s question to the PostmasterGeneral.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Repatriation. Has the Minister seen a report that almost the entire trained nursing staff at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital yesterday protested against a new award which, it is claimed, robs them of between $4 and $10 a week? Has the Minister also seen a report of a claim by a senior nursing sister at the hospital that the trained nursing establishment had not been increased for 20 years while the administration staff had trebled in the last 12 months? If this statement is correct, will the Minister agree that the nursing staff at the hospital is overworked and underpaid and that such conditions are not in the best interests of repatriation patients? While the Minister will claim that wages are a matter for arbitration, will he himself be prepared to review the staffing position at the hospital in order to ameliorate some of the conditions complained of?
Senator MCKELLAR__ There is a shortage of nursing staff at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital. This has developed only in the last couple of months. Honorable senators have heard me refer several times to the fact that we have had difficulties in recruiting nurses at Heidelberg, but we regard the conditions at Concord as temporary. The basic reasons for the dissatisfaction stem from the recent award by the Public Service Arbitrator which covered nursing staff in Commonwealth employment. This provided important general increases at the base grade - sister level and above in standard salaries. It also provided for the abolition of weekend penalty rates but included a loading in the basic salary to compensate for this. This decision of the Arbitrator was in line with the claim made by the two employee associations which presented the case before the Arbitrator - the Australian Nursing Federation and the Hospital Employees Federation.
While overall the award provided important benefits to nursing staff, the abolition of weekend penalty rates has the effect of reducing the take home pay of approximately 100 nurses at Concord who have been in the habit of working regular weekend duty. These arrangements were satisfactory both to the staff concerned and to the hospital, lt will now be necessary to revise these rosters to ensure a more equitable distribution of the work and this is being done.
It is understood that the specific grounds for the protest meeting are the way in which the employee associations handled the case before the Arbitrator, the fact that the decision abolished weekend penalty rates, and the overall level of increases granted by the Arbitrator, which the nurses consider to be unsatisfactory, lt is not known whether any of the sisters on duty at the hospital proposed to attend the meeting which was to have been held - and I understand it was held - outside the hospital grounds.
The honorable senator’s statement is quite right; the matter is basically a protest against the decision of the Arbitrator, which is binding upon the Department, lt is interesting to know that weekend penalty rates do not apply in any State determination covering trained nursing staff. It is also important to know that increases granted by the Aribtrator resulted in salaries which are higher than those payable under the New South Wales State awards. The associations concerned are the Hospital Employees Federation of Australia and the Australian Nursing Federation (Employees’ Section). As a result of the representations by the organisations concerned after the meeting yesterday, the Public Service Board has called a conference in Melbourne on Friday at 2.15 p.m. between the organisations and the Department to discuss the determination.
– Has the Minister for Customs and Excise received any reports that there is a crisis in the footwear industry and that there has been a number of dismissals? Can the Minister inform the Senate whether this results from the dumping of cheap footwear from countries of the Communist bloc, as reported? Can the Minister say what steps will be taken to rectify this situation in the interests of the Australian footwear industry?
– My attention has been drawn to a report in relation to footwear and, consequent upon that, I have sought some information from my Department. As the honorable senator will know, the question of dumping of footwear was recently examined by the Tariff Board. The Board found that leather footwear had been sold to Australian importers at dumping prices by Mainland China and Czechoslovakia. While the Board found that imports of this kind posed a threat of injury to Australian industry the Board concluded that past imports had not caused substantial injury to the Australian footwear industry. The Board’s report contains a number of suggestions regarding the dump ing of footwear. These suggestions are being examined. Pending the completion of this examination, a close watch is being maintained on imports of footwear from Mainland China and Czechoslovakia. If any significant increase in the rate of imports from these countries becomes apparent, immediate steps will be taken to invoke the anti-dumping law. Apart from the dumping question, the honorable senator will recall that a tariff proposal was introduced on 20th October which incorporated the new protective duties for footwear recommended by the Tariff Board.
– I direct to the Postmaster-General a question which J preface by stating that on an Australian Broadcasting Commission programme recently there was an interesting news review dealing with various aspects of the European Common Market and given by Brian Hungerford, of London. I telephoned the A. B.C. in Melbourne, asking to be supplied with a transcript of the commentary. 1 was informed by an officer of the Commission that it was not permitted to supply such a transcript because of copyright. Will the Postmaster-General cause inquiries to be made with a view to ascertaining whether the reply given to me was correct? I might add that I have always received very friendly co-operation from the staff of the A.B.C. in relation to my previous requests.
– Yes, I shall seek the information sought by the honorable senator.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. I preface it by reminding him that in reply to a question in the Senate yesterday he stated that the recent anti-Vietnam demonstrations were undemocratic and should be prevented. Does he know that included in the ranks of the demonstrators were the parents and other relatives of lads who will be conscripted, and relatives of some who have already been conscripted and are now serving in Vietnam? Does he know also that other demonstrators were respected clergymen of various denominations? Is he aware that community leaders of good standing not associated with any political group took part in the demonstrations because they were opposed to the Government’s policy on Australia’s involvement in Vietnam? Will the Minister now publicly withdraw some of the filthy remarks he uttered in the Senate yesterday-
– -Order! Senator Keeffe, you must withdraw that remark.
– They were filthy remarks.
– Order! You will withdraw that remark.
– I do not feel inclined to withdraw it, Mr. President, because the Minister made filthy remarks.
– Order! Senator Keeffe,I call on you to withdraw the remark.
– The Ministers remarks were quite wrong-
– Order! I name Senator Keeffe.
– Mr. President, I call on Senator Keeffe to make any explanation he wishes to make, otherwise we shall have to take the steps laid down.
– Senator Keeffe, have you anything to say?
– I regret this, Mr. President, but the Minister, when replying to questions of this kind, has been continually using the opportunity for a political campaign and his answers have not been in parliamentary language.
Motion (by Senator Henry) put -
That Senator Keeffe be suspended from the silting of the Senate.
The Senate divided.
Ayes . . . . . . 29
Noes .. ..18
Majority . . ..11
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– Senator Keeffe is suspended from the service of the Senate for the remainder of this sitting. (Senator Keeffe thereupon withdrew from the Chamber.)
– Is leave granted?
– Leave is not granted.
– Is the Minister for
Supply in a position to reply to my question about American control over defence equipment?
– Would the honorable senator like to ask his question again?
– The question, which I have asked on two other occasions, is: Is it a fact that American manufacturers exercise control over missiles and electronic devices that are in use by the Australian defence forces and that the Australian Government has no control over developments in these fields although the cost of them will be a debit item in the Australian Budget? Have the Minister and the Government any views or suggestions on this procedure?
– I sought information from my Department on the matter that the honorable senator raised. The position is that when we buy from the United States or elsewhere overseas we buy the hardware and the data to enable us to operate it. We do not buy the knowhow or rights to the development of the equipment. When equipment is purchased from the United States, the United States Government ensures that access is available to all information which is necessary to assess the servicing problem. Where support is to be provided locally and in depth, it is necessary to buy special test equipment, to have personnel trained and perhaps to have documentation prepared by the United States contractor at a negotiated price. In the circumstances, it is noi proposed that the Government should take any special further action.
– 1 ask the Minister for Repatriation a question. By way of preface, I refer to the frequent statements made by the Minister, and supported by all honorable senators, as to the high calibre of the nurses who constitute the staff of the repatriation hospital at Concord and other such hospitals. I ask the Minister to use his powerful influence to seek a satisfactory solution to the apparent wage injustice which affects members of the nursing staff at the repatriation hospital at Concord.
– I do not know whether the honorable senator was here earlier when 1 answered a question concerning this matter. I said then that a conference will take place in Melbourne tomorrow. The Department will be present at those talks. I am certainly very anxious to do all that I can to sec that the nurses at Concord and the rest of our hospitals are given the best possible conditions because they are entitled to them.
– My question is addressed to the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. Can the Minister inform the Senate whether he has received any objection or any comment in relation to the statement that he made in the Senate yesterday concerning demonstrations during President Johnson’s visit?
– I have not received any objections or comments until just recently. 1 thought that I had made it clear in the Senate before now that people in Australia have a perfect right to demonstrate. If the government in a democracy takes a course to which some citizens of that democracy object, not only have they the right to object, but also this is a right that ought to be protected. They have the right to object to that course by writing, subject to the law of libel and other laws, by publication of writings, by speeches, by public meetings or by orderly methods of any kind including what seems to me the rather puerile method of carrying signs. But, Mr. President, there are limits to the manifestations of such demonstrations of objections to the course of a government. When force is used as part of a demonstration, when the rights of ordinary citizens are trampled upon as the result of a demonstration and when the police are fought in the name of a demonstration because they are doing their lawful duty, then this is a manifestation which I believe cannot be permitted in Australia and which is a direct negation of the rights of the majority and of democracy. If this sort of thing is to take place, it will inevitably lead to the counter use of force by people who disagree with the minority and who will not have their own rights trampled underfoot. Once that kind of thing happens, then the Queen’s peace, the proper functioning of a democracy where both majority and minority have rights, is overthrown, and overthrown by violence. This is the aspect of the demonstrations to which I was addressing myself in the Senate the other day.
I repeat completely what 1 said then. I retract nothing from what I said. I. believe that these kinds of demonstrations, as I said then, have probably been encouraged or incited, though not in the form that they took, by the statement by Senator Keeffe calling for demonstrations.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service any knowledge of a demonstration that took place in Western Australia during May last when four young university students were arrested for demonstrating? Has the Minister any knowledge of the action of the police on that occasion? Has the Minister any knowledge of the out- come of (he court case against young Gerrison as a result of that demonstration?
-I have never heard of the case referred to by the honorable senator, soI cannot make any comment on it. But I have knowledge of the people who threw themselves on the streets, trampled over citizens and fought with the police during the visit of President Johnson.
(Question No. 977.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
In the event of a trader, living away from the seaboard in Australia, importing a container of goods from a factory, situated away from the seaboard in an overseas country, at what point will the contents of the container be inspected by the quarantine authorities to check for unwanted pests and diseases’.’
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply -
The quarantine problems associated with goods entering Australia in containers have been receiving increasing attention from the quarantine authorities. The word “ container “ in the context of the honorable senator’s question is taken to refer to the large permanent type of container which is carried in ships specially constructed or adapted for the purpose. As far as is known, the only such containers used in the Australian trade at present are those carried in ships using the coastal routes and not those from abroad. The circumstances of delivery, as set out in the question, present problems involving all three aspects of quarantine, namely, general, animal and plant. There have been discussions with the Department of Customs and Excise as to the procedures to be adopted. The present procedure in regard to goods entering Australia in packages cither by air, sea or post is to have the goods inspected, if quarantine is involved, at the point of entry.
The exact procedures to be carried out in future, when goods arrive from abroad in containers, have yet to be finally determined. The prevention of the introduction of disease into Australia will be the overriding consideration in determining those procedures.
(Question No. 992.)
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for National Development, upon notice -.
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers -
(Question No. 1047.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Army - upon notice -
Does the Department of the Army decide the type of training to be undertaken by school cadets?
– -The Minister for the Army has provided the following answer to the honorable senator’s question -
Army Headquarters prescribes a block syllabus of training in basic military skills which stipulates the periods to be allotted to the various subjects.
These include drill, weapon training and practice, fieldcraft and section leading, map and air photo reading, hygiene and first aid. Standard Army text books are issued for study.
The detailed syllabus is decided upon by cadet battalion headquarters in consultation with cadet units. Actual training is carried out under arrangements made by the commanding officer of each cadet unit, who is a member of the school staff. An annual exercise, to be carried out during the cadet camp, is prepared by the cadet brigade headquarters in consultation with the Command Headquarters training staff. The exercise is made available to units before the camp for their information and any comment they wish to make.
(Question No. 1060.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -
Have any steps been taken to implement the recommendation contained in the report of the Australian Atomic Energy Commisison that Australia should build plants to reduce plutonium and expedite the search for radio-active materials, in order to provide atomic energy for peaceful purposes?
– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answer -
Plutonium will have an important role to play as fuel for large commercial fast breeder reactor systems which are being developed overseas for the low cost production of electricity. These reactors are expected to be operating commercially by about 1980. The plutonium used initially for the fuel will be produced in uranium burning nuclear power stations which are now available. Later on, the fast breeder reactor systems will produce substantial quantities of plutonium.
A decision to install nuclear power stations in Australia depends largely on the relative economics of conventional and nuclear power plant. The honorable senator can be assured that the Atomic Energy Commission has been studying closely developments in nuclear power and is in consultation with the various generating authorities on the possibility of installing nuclear power plant. The Government is informed fully of the Commission’s investigations and will consider all relevant aspects at the appropriate time.
As to the second part of the honorable senator’s question, the Atomic Energy Commission is continuing production of uranium concentrates at its Rum Jungle plant in the Northern Territory and, in addition, the Commission has been permitting exploration for uranium in the Hundred of Goyder. There are signs of a revival of interest by private enterprise in uranium exploration in other areas. Australia has adequate reserves of uranium for her short term requirements, and the question of exploration to establish additional reserves is being kept under review by the Government which will consider recommendations from the Atomic Energy Commission as necessary.
(Question No. 1065.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
Has consideration been given to limiting the time an alien can stay in Australia before having to decide whether he wants to be an Australian or to return to his own country?
– My colleague, the Minister for Immigration, has supplied the following answer -
Parliament, over a very long period, has seen a fundamental distinction between naturalisation and the right to remain in this country.
The right to remain in Australia, after being lawfully admitted for residence, is part of the individual’s basic freedom and may not be taken away except on grounds specifically defined by Parliament in statutes. The grounds upon which a person may be deported are specified in the Migration Act.
On the other hand, the privilege of naturalisation is one to be conferred after the individual’s suitability for citizenship has been established. While the Government is anxious that all aliens should be naturalised and actively encourages them to do so, the decision to seek naturalisation must be taken freely by the alien. There can be no suggestion of compulsion. This has been recognised by all governments since the grant of naturalisation became a Commonwealth function in 1904.
The benefit of such a policy is that those who lake naturalisation as a free choice demonstrate that they are able and willing to be loyal Australian citizens in fact as well as in law.
-I present the following reports of the Public Accounts Committee -
Eighty-eighth Report - Treasury Minutes on the Seventy-fourth report, together with summaries of that report.
Eighty-ninth Report - The Sixth Committee. [ seek leave to make a short statement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
- Mr. President, the Eighty-eighth Report relates to a Treasury Minute on your Committee’s Seventy-fourth Report which referred to expenditure from the Advance to the Treasurer in 1964-65. Whilst your Committee is satisfied generally with the action taken in respect of that Report, two matters which are referred to in chapter 3 of the Report under the heading “ Observations of Your Committee “ have caused the Committee some concern. The first relates to Division No. 872, sub-division 2, item 03 administered by the Department of Health and the second relates to Division No. 668, item 03, administered by the Department of the Navy. In respect of these matters your Committee would emphasise that material tendered in evidence must be relevant to the subject of the inquiry concerned and further, that departments appearing before the Committee should submit all of the information and argument which they regard as material to a matter under current examination by the Committee.
The Eighty-ninth Report relates to the activities of your present Committee over its term of office and represents a distinct and new development in Committee reporting. The Committee has longrecognised that information relating to its activities, in terms of inquiries conducted, reports produced and the number of meetings held, would be of great interest not only to the Parliament but also to various organisations and students of political science or public administration, many of whom have requested such information over the years. Accordingly, in this report we have set out the objectives conceived when your Sixth Committee was appointed in 1964, the programme implemented to give effect to those objectives and an informative summary of the procedures adopted in the process. I commend the Reports to honorable senators.
Ordered to be printed.
Motion (by Senator Henty) agreed to -
That Government business take precedence of general business after 8 p.m. this sitting.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
. -I move-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is introduced to put into effect the decisions which the Government announced on 21st September 1966 in regard to assistance to be given to colleges of advanced education during the three years commencing January 1967.. The Bill appropriates $24 million for capital expenditure and $11.18 million for recurrent expenditure in these colleges.
Honorable senators will recall that the new colleges of advanced education are being developed as a result of a recommendation from the Committee of Enquiry into Tertiary Education and that interim capital grants totalling $4.8 million have already been appropriated for the purpose under the States Grants (Advanced Education) Act of 1965. It is expected that some$3 million of this amount will have been spent by the end of December 1966. and the balance will be spent later, in addition to the amounts now recommended for appropriation.
The present Bill contains schedules setting out in detail the capital and recurrent grants for programmes of the various institutions in all of the States. These programmes result from discussions with the States and have the support of each State concerned. Proposed grants for recurrent purposes are set out in the first and second schedules of the Bill, such grants being in the proportion of one Commonwealth unit to 1.85 units from State grants and fees. The Commonwealth grant for recurrent expenditure applies to expenditure by the States in excess of that in the base year 1964-1965. The proposed capital grants are set out in the third and fourth schedules of the Bill, such grants being in the proportion of one Commonwealth unit to one State unit.
The Bill appropriates within the $11.18 million total the sum of $500,000 for an unmatched grant from the Commonwealth for building up library facilities in the colleges. This grant is to be distributed to the colleges by decision of the Minister who will seek the advice of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and will report to Parliament what distribution has been made as a result. The Bill does not provide for appropriation of the sum of $250,000 as an unmatched grant for research into future lines of development of these colleges, as that sum will be appropriated separately. 1 draw the attention of the House to the discretionary powers which, under the Bill, are given to the Minister. As a result of such powers the Minister may vary the amount of capital shown in the schedule for a capital project within a State, but only provided the total grant made to a State for capital purposes is not thereby increased. This flexibility is necessary because estimates of cost of a project cannot be forecast with complete accuracy and the Government is concerned to see that a building which is provided is the building which was originally approved and is not smaller in size or inferior in quality. We would prefer, if the cost of a building is more than was estimated, to delete or delay some other project rather than reduce the capacity or quality of a needed building in order to meet a pre-determined cost.
The Minister also is given the power to add a project to those shown in the schedules, but only when the project so added is one for the acquisition of land for college development purposes. The land in mind is land other than Crown land. The opportunity may arise during the course of a triennium for a college ‘ to acquire property for development purposes and it should be able to grasp that opportunity, but again on the condition that the total sum available for a State for a triennium will not be exceeded. The Minister must inform the Parliament of any such project so added.
In the third place, honorable senators will note from the schedules that in three States, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, some colleges are grouped together with one overall figure shown for them for the triennium. This has been necessary because the States concerned were unable, in the time available, to make firm individual recommendations about certain colleges, although the total sums shown in the schedules have been agreed as being reasonable. Here again the Parliament will be informed of decisions taken by the Minister in consultation with the States about the distribution of these global sums.
The Bill also provides, as it must with the multi-level colleges with which the programme is concerned, for ministerial approval of the courses to be supported for grants purposes. There are also provisions for advances to the States, the usual appropriation clause and the -necessary legal framework for the good administration of the programme in association with the States.
In brief, the programme provides for the development in New South Wales of the New South Wales Institute of Technology and of two agricultural colleges in that Slate. The programme of the’ New South Wales Institute is on the basis of a large scale development of a central institute in the Sydney city area with feeder institutions planned for a number of suburban sites. In Victoria the provision is for a wide range of city and country colleges with coordinating influence being exercised -by the Victoria Institute of Colleges.
The programme in Queensland provides for the development of the Queensland Institute of Technology and also for the interesting development of new college centres of the Queensland Institute of Technology at Toowoomba and Rockhampton. Residential accommodation is being planned at both places. In South Australia the emphasis is on the development on a new site of buildings for the South Australian Institute of Technology, while in Western Australia there is the continued development of the Western Australian Institute on its new site, and also development of the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. The main Tasmanian provision is for the development of a new College of Advanced Education at Hobart.
In examining the details in the schedules, honourable senators will note that some of the figures differ from those set out in the Wark Committee’s report. Where they occur, variations have been made at the request of the State concerned and with the support of the Wark Committee. The only one of substance concerns the Western Australian Institute of Technology. In a supplementary report presented with its main report, the Wark Committee recommended that an amount of $350,000 be written into the triennial programme to cover the additional cost of an Administration building commenced under the interim capital programme. The final estimate suggests that a sum of $475,000 rather than $350,000 will be required and this amount has been written into the schedule with a consequential rearrangement of funds for Western Australia within the agreed total.
Before concluding, I should like to point out that, co-ordinated with these developments of staff and facilities in the colleges of advanced education, we are keeping under review the provision of Advanced Education Scholarships to enable students to take full advantage of the courses and the physical provisions being developed in the colleges of advanced education. We see these two aspects of development as being intimately related. The Bill seeks to put into effect a programme which we believe to be imaginative and certain to have longrange and beneficial effects on the quality of the institutions with which the Wark Committee has been concerned. It will be the start of a new range of educational opportunity in tertiary education in Australia and will. 1 am certain, prove to be a fine investment in both economic and human terms.I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
– I move -
Thatthe Bill be now read a second time.
In my statement on 21st September, I outlined the decisions taken by the Australian Government on the further development of universities and the development of colleges of advanced education during the three years 1967, 1968 and 1969. The purpose of the Bill is to authorise grants to the States under Section 96 of the Constitution for the Commonwealth’s share of the agreed programme for State universities over those three years. The Bill authorises a total Commonwealth contribution of approximately $175 million. The total programme for the State universities amounts to $446 million and the balance of the funds will come from State Governments, from university fees and endowments and other income.
The Bill follows the same pattern as previous legislation in this field andI shall refer briefly to the major heads of expenditure and to some matters about which it has been found desirable to modify previous arrangements. Grants from the Australian Government towards the general recurrent expenditures of universities in the States will be slightly in excess of $114 million which will be provided under a formula which requires the Commonwealth to contribute $1 for every $1.85 that a State university receives from State grants and fees, up to the ceiling set out in the First Schedule to the Bill which provides details year by year for each university.
Honorable senators should note that an upper limit of $40,000 has been placed on the extent to which general recurrent funds may be used for the purchase of a single item of teaching equipment. Current practice is to apply a ceiling of $10,000, but the increased amount is to be provided to afford greater flexibility to the universities in meeting their special needs for equipment, particularly in departments which are not being provided with new buildings. The programme of capital expenditure on general university buildings is set out in the Second Schedule. Provision is made for a maximum Commonwealth contribution of approximately $41 million on buildings, furniture, equipment and computers during the next three calendar years. The Commonwealth contribution is on a $1 for $1 basis with each State.
The lists of projects for each university in the Second Schedule have been agreed to by the Australian Universities Commission and the university concerned, in further discussions which have been held since the Australian Government announced the financial ceilings for this part of the programme, following consultation with the State Governments. There has been one variation in the total amount since the announcement on 21st September. This is an increase from $2,178,000 to $2,968,000 in the university buildings programme at the University of Adelaide, to which the Australian and State Governments have agreed.
The Commonwealth’s total contribution for university buildings will be increased by 5395,000 as a result of this variation.
Once again, special provision is to be made during the next triennium for grants to universities for special research purposes, that is, primarily in connection with the training of post-graduate students. In the triennium just ending, a total amount of $10 million has been paid equally by the Australian and State Governments to encourage research in the State universities. Of this sum, $6 million was allocated to the universities throughout the triennium on the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission. The other $4 million was directed to special research projects, only a very few of which were outside the universities, on the recommendation of th/e Australian Research Grants Committee. This new programme came into operation only in September 1965.
The Government has made it quite clear that it is prepared to continue to support both avenues for promoting research and would be willing to meet half the cost of a $5.76 million programme under the control of the Universities Commission and, in addition, half the cost of a further $11 million programme under the control of the Australian Research Grants Committee. However, we have stipulated that if a State is unwilling to match in full the grants recommended for its universities by the Australian Research Grants Committee, to thai extent we will reduce our own contribution to the Universities Commission programme within a total contribution by us of $9 million. It would then be up to the State to provide the funds required under the Universities Commission programme. Two States. Western Australia and South Australia, have agreed to support both programmes. We understand that at present Tasmania is undecided while the other three States have said that they regard the Australian Research Grants Committee’s programme as being something purely for the Australian Government and therefore they may not be inclined to support it.
The Third Schedule to the Bill sets out the amounts allocated to each university under the $5.76 million programme to be administered by the Universities Commission. The Bill itself provides flexibility for the Minister to reduce the Commonwealth’s contribution to this programme in respect of any universities whose State is not prepared to support the programme recommended by the Australian Research Grants Committee. Commonwealth contributions to the latter programme are authorised under the State Grants (Research) Act 1965 and an appropriate amendment is being proposed elsewhere to that Act to meet the new situation.
This Government has always attached considerable importance to the development of proper residential facilities at Australian universities. In the present triennium we have seen an ambitious programme of construction of halls of residence and affiliated colleges brought to reality. We will continue to support a vigorous programme for this purpose in the next triennium. The total value of the projects covered by the Fourth Schedule is $18 million of which the Commonwealth’s contribution will be S9 million. As in the past, (he Commonwealth will provide half of the approved cost of all residential accommodation, whether halls of residence or affiliated colleges. The State Government will meet half of the cost of halls of residence, and will share with the college authorities in providing half the cost, of affiliated colleges. The Bill provides for the maximum flexibility for variations in the programme for student residences by decision of the Minister after consultation with the Universities Commission.
The Commonwealth will continue to pay unmatched grants to student residences as a contribution towards their tutorial functions. On the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission the rale of payment to affiliated colleges will be liberalised. The formula for this is set out in the Bill.
Grants from the Australian Government towards the capital cost of teaching hospitals commenced in the 1961-1963 triennium and recurrent grants commenced from July 1965. Both forms of grant will be provided again in the next triennium. Details of capital grants involving a total Commonwealth contribution of $4,927,000 are set out in the Fifth Schedule to the Bill. This represents a half share of the cost of the programme. In New South Wales the State Government has not yet finally determined the allocation of teaching hospitals between the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales and therefore global amounts for both capital and recurrent grants have been provided in the schedules, with provision for the Minister to determine the precise allocation at a later date. The recurrent grants to universities for specified costs of their teaching hospitals are set out in the Sixth Schedule and, as with general university recurrent grants, the Australian Government’s contribution will be on the basis of $1 to $1.85 with the State.
Honorable senators will appreciate that this legislation is not concerned with grants to the Australian National University which are dealt with each year in the relevant appropriation bills. The approved programme for the Australian National University in the next triennium will require a Commonwealth contribution of almost $66 million. The total amount of $175 million appropriated under this Bill for grants to State universities during the 1967- 1969 triennium represents an increase of approximately 30 per cent, over expenditure in the current triennium. The programme has been arrived at after close consultation with the State Governments. Approval of this measure by the Parliament will constitute a firm commitment on behalf of the Australian Government and it will then be for each State to determine the extent to which and the manner in which it will make its own contribution to the programme. Mr. President, 1 commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to make amendments to the legislation which authorises grants from the Australian Government to the States for their universities over the three years 1964, 1965 and 1966. In one respect the legislation covering the 1961-1963 triennium is affected also. Recently the Auditor-General questioned the practice adopted by the Australian Universities Commission since 1960 of regarding alterations or additions to buildings costing less than £5,000 as a recurrent rather than a capital expenditure. This is a generally accepted practice and meets the wishes of the States and the universities. The Auditor-General did not consider the matter such as to require that he draw attention to it in his report but he is of the opinion that the practice is not in accord with the definition of capital expenditure in section 6 of the I960 Act and section 2 of the 1963 Act. It is therefore proposed to amend that definition in those Acts to exclude from it expenditure on alterations costing less than £5,000.
Honorable senators will be aware that the former University of Adelaide at Bedford Park became Flinders University of South Australia as from 1st July of this year and a formal amendment is proposed to take account of this change in titles. Provisions authorising Commonwealth grants to universities for their teaching hospitals were included in the Universities (Financial Assistance) Act (No. 2) 1965. That Act defined teaching hospitals as those listed in its Fifth Schedule where the teaching hospitals to receive assistance with capital projects were set out. However, certain other teaching hospitals are eligible to receive recurrent grants only during the present triennium and an amendment is proposed to authorise this.
On 7th March this year the Government announced that, in view of the special circumstances deriving from the rapidly increasing enrolments there, the Australian Government and the Government of Queensland had agreed to increase the maximum recurrent grant to the Townsville University College for the year 1966. The increased Commonwealth contribution of £19,000 will be authorised by a further proposed amendment. Finally, the description of two projects at universities - one in Queensland, the other in New South Wales - is to be changed because of changes in the location of these projects. Mr. President, I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
.- I moveThai the Bill be now read a second lime. Mr. President, this is a Bill to amend the States Grants (Research) Act 1965. which authorises payments to the States for special research projects recommended by the Australian Research Grants Committee. Where under the existing Act a payment is for research to be carried out in a Stale university, the Australian Government’s contribution is conditional upon an equal matching contribution by the State. The purpose of the Bill now before the Senate is to vary the condition so that the Minister, after discussion with the State, may require an equal matching amount or a lesser amount or no contribution at all from the State towards special research projects in a State university.
This flexibility is required because not all States may share with the Australian Government in supporting grants recommended by the Australian Research Grants Committee for projects in State universities. The extent to which a State shares the cost of the special research projects under this legislation will determine the extent to which the Australian Government will contribute to research grants recommended under the programme of the Australian Universities Commission. The circumstances which have brought about this change in the arrangements were explained in some detail in the second reading speech on the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill 1966. Mr. President, I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (a motion by Senator Cant) 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 bc now read a second time.
This Bill will give effect to the Government’s decision to introduce a subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers used in Australia and is further evidence of the Government’s policy of promoting primary production in this country. 1 know that honorable senators on both sides of the Senate recognise the vital importance to our national economy -of healthy and growing rural industries, not only to meet the needs of our own people, but also because we must continue to expand exports and rural origin and increase our export earnings if we are to be able to maintain both our present rate of development and our standards of living.
The increasingly competitive nature of world markets, with severely depressed prices for some of our products, notably sugar, requires that we not only increase agricultural output but also achieve this without undue increases in cost. By the application of improved techniques, including adequate fertilisation of the soil, we must strive for maximum economic production from all our lands. The introduction of a subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers will mean that use of the two major plant nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, to promote the production of bigger crops, more wool, meat, milk and butter, fruit and vegetables and other products of the land, will be directly encouraged by the Government meeting a significant part of the cost of fertilisers containing these plant nutrients. 1 do not need to refer here to the role which the Government’s bounty on phosphate has had in increasing rural production over the past three years.
Nitrogen is also a most essential element for plant growth. With the exception of legumes all plants obtain their requirements of nitrogen from the soil, but most soils are naturally deficient in nitrogen and additional quantities need to be added to improve productivity. Shortage of nitrogen is probably the most widespread nutrient deficiency in world agriculture. The need for adequate nitrogen fertilisation is recognised in all countries, particularly in the more advanced countries with an intensive pattern of agriculture. World output of nitrogenous fertilisers increased enormously in the post war period. For example, world production was 3.6 million tons in 1948 but had reached 15.4 million tons in 1963-64 and 17.4 million tons in 1964-65. A still greater increase was expected in 1965-66 and yet production is barely keeping pace with demand. Compared with other countries with an advanced agriculture, for instance, those of Western Europe and North America, Australia has been a relatively small user of nitrogenous fertilisers.
In Australia the main users of nitrogenous fertilisers in the past have been the sugar, fruit and vegetable industries where the use of nitrogenous fertilisers is essential for efficient crop production. In these intensive industries the high cost of fertilisers is an inescapable and major item in the cost of production. The price of nitrogenous fertilisers produced from inorganic nitrogen is influenced very markedly by scale of production. Production of nitrogenous fertilisers in Australia has been at a relatively low level and we have had to import not only sulphate of ammonia to augment local production of this material, but also other forms of nitrogenous fertilisers. The price of nitrogenous fertilisers is very much higher in Australia than in countries where large volume production has resulted in the availability of low-cost nitrogen to farmers. In the United States, for example, sulphate of ammonia is $A30 per ton ex works compared with SA61 free on rail ex works, New South Wales, $A68 Brisbane, and SA72 Cairns. In the United Kingdom sulphate of ammonia is §A50 per ton on the farm with a net cost after subsidy of SA33 per ton. lt would, however, be an oversimplification of the situation to attribute the low total usage of nitrogen in Australia solely to the high price of this plant nutrient. Leguminous plants, such as clovers, are host plants for nitrogen fixing bacteria which live in nodules on the roots of the legumes and have the ability to extract nitrogen from the air. This nitrogen then becomes available to the host plant and ultimately to non-legumes in the same soil. Where legumes can be grown in association with other plants, or in a crop rotation, they are responsible for a substantial accretion to the nitrogen status of the soil and may go a long way towards meeting the nitrogen needs of non-leguminous plants. However, there are many regions of Australia, where the role of legumes in nitrogen fixation is limited by climatic or other factors. Despite the tremendous importance of legumes to our agriculture and the enormous quantities of nitrogen added to our soils annually by reason of the growth of leguminous plants, there is undoubtedly scope ,for much greater use of applied nitrogen in our cropping and pastoral industries. I shall refer to this aspect later.
The purpose of the subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers is therefore two-fold. In the first place it will have a cost reducing effect for industries which have been the major users of nitrogen. The most important of these is the sugar growing industry which everyone knows is going through a period of serious depression. Nitrogenous fertilisers have increased in price by almost 25 per cent, over the last three years and for sugar growing which accounts for over 40 per cent, of total nitrogen usage, the cost of nitrogen represents a major cash cost item for the industry. The average sugar farmer would spend SA800 to SA900 annually on nitrogenous fertilisers. World free market prices for sugar are at the lowest level for some 25 years, and while strenuous efforts are being made internationally to raise the free market price it is difficult to foresee any substantia] improvement in the short term.
About 70 per cent, of Australian sugar exports - about 50 per cent, of tola! production - is sold at prices related to the free market price. The cost reducing effect of the subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers will help alleviate the problems of the sugar growing industry. The fruit and vegetable growing industries have also been major users of nitrogenous fertilisers. The fruit industries, especially, contribute significantly to export earnings but export markets are highly competitive and price-conscious and there is need to reduce costs or to produce more with no greater cash outlay on fertilisers. The nitrogen subsidy will give some relief from increasing costs. I should add that these sugar, fruit and vegetable industries did not benefit from the Government’s superphosphate subsidy to anything like the same extent as the pastoral and grain growing industries which are the main users of superphosphate.
The second important purpose of the nitrogen subsidy is to encourage the use of nitrogenous fertilisers in newer fields such as cereal growing and pasture improvement. The low rate of nitrogen used for these purposes has been due in part as I have said, to the valuable role of pasture legumes as a means of providing soil nitrogen, but the high cost of nitrogenous fertilisers has been a real deterrent to the greater use of these fertilisers.
As a result of intensified experimentation carried out by Departments of Agriculture, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, universities and fertiliser companies in recent years, and the introduction of new types of fertilisers, there are now fresh avenues of usage of nitrogen in cereal growing and pasture development. Whilst evaluation and farm trials are continuing and the technical and economic aspects have yet to be fully worked out, it appears that nitrogenous fertilisers can bring significant benefits from increased productivity in such fields as the establishment and improvement of temperate, sub-tropical and tropical pastures and in wheat, oats, winter and summer forage crops and summer grain crops.
From experimental work with wheat and oats it appears that the application of appropriate quantities of nitrogen can be expected to give worthwhile yield increases on an area in excess of two million acres of wheat and on some half million acres of oats. The additional production could be in excess of 15 million bushels of wheat and 5 million bushels of oats. Nitrogenous fertilisers have also given worthwhile responses from pastures under a range of circumstances. In the higher rainfall areas of southern Australia it has been shown that the winter depression of growth which occurs even in good clover - grass pastures can be overcome by applying nitrogen. In Northern Australia striking responses have been recorded from nitrogenous fertilisers applied to grass pastures. There is also evidence that nitrogen applied to forage crops can result in substantially greater production.
The extent to which nitrogen can be used to advantage in the newer fields I have mentioned is still a matter for experimentation but it is already clear that the scope for increased productivity from existing resources of land is indeed considerable. The subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers will be a major inducement to individual primary producers to investigate the role of nitrogen on their own properties. This will repeat the pattern of development in other advanced agricultural countries. The total usage of nitrogen in Australia for fertiliser and stock feed supplement is currently about 70,000 tons per annum, with about another 20,000 tons being used for industrial purposes. Australian production meets only part of this demand and imports of nitrogen for all purposes in 1964-65 were 49.000 Ions. Imports of nitrogen for the first ten months of 1965-66 were at the annual rate of about 44,000 Ions.
Until a few years ago, the main nitrogenous fertiliser used in Australia was sulphate of ammonia, either applied alone or mixed with superphosphate and/or potash and most of the demand was met from local production. More recently there has been increasing usage of other forms of nitrogenous fertilisers, including aqueous and anhydrous ammonia, urea and compounds known as “NPK fertilisers”. These new forms are now made locally but the quantities available are as yet insufficient to meet demand. Moreover, there is a continuing though small demand for some types such as sodium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate which are not produced in Australia.
An important development in recent months has been the announcement of investigations into the establishment of large scale plants for the production of ammonia or ammonia based nitrogenous fertilisers. However, the present shortfall situation could continue for several years until new production capacity is established in Australia. The subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers will therefore apply not only to nitrogenous fertilisers produced and sold in Australia but also to imports of these materials sold for use within Australia by primary producers. Nitrogen used for industrial purposes will not qualify for the subsidy.
The level of imports which will qualify for subsidy will be limited to that quantity needed to meet the shortfall between local production and demand. The level of imports which will be eligible for subsidy will be assessed annually taking into account local production and trade and other information. This assessed quantity of imports will be allocated amongst importers on the basis of their shares of imports in a past representative period. Importers will be free to decide the imports they wish to make but imports not eligible for subsidy will obviously be placed at a price disadvantage.
The Government confidently expects that the increased usage which the subsidy will encourage and the enlarged market which this will provide will encourage local manufacturers to expand production to meet the shortfall. In turn, this expansion in production should assist manufacturers to lower their unit costs of production.
The subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers will be administered by my Department - the Department of Customs and Excise - along lines similar to the superphosphate bounty which is paid to manufacturers with provisions to ensure that it is passed on to the primary producers. In addition to use as fertilisers, a small amount of nitrogen, mainly urea, is used as a stockfeed supplement. These stockfeeds are often made up by the pastoralist himself and it is intended that nitrogen, when used as stockfeed supplement will qualify for subsidy. The quantity involved is estimated at about 2.000 tons of nitrogen per annum. The subsidy will be restricted to fertilisers - and stockfeed supplements - manufactured from inorganic chemical nitrogen and to naturally occurring nitrate of soda. The subsidy will not be paid on fertilisers of plant or animal origin.
The subsidy to be paid on nitrogenous fertilisers will be related to the nitrogen content of the products and the subsidy will be payable from 17th August 1966 until 31st October 1969. Because of the pattern of distribution in the nitrogenous fertilisers industry it has been decided that the subsidy will be paid on fertilisers sold by distributors ex stocks held at midnight on 16th August 1966. The Government has given a good deal of consideration to the level of subsidy to be paid. The actual price at which nitrogen becomes an economic proposition will vary for different primary products and from one district to another. It will depend also on the level of return for the commodity concerned at any point of time as well as the type of fertiliser used. In this situation the amount of subsidy has been assessed in relation to the need to assist existing major users, particularly sugar growers, and to encourage greater use in other fields of production where worthwhile benefits can be expected.
With these considerations in mind, it has been decided that the rate of subsidy will be $80 per ton of nitrogen payable pro rata on the nitrogen content of the particular material. As examples, subsidy at the rate or S80 per ton of nitrogen would provide subsidies of $36.80 per ton of urea - 46 per cent, nitrogen - and $16.80 per ton of sulphate of ammonia - 21 per cent, nitrogen. The subsidy would represent about 25 per cent, of the present f.o.r. prices of sulphate of ammonia at Brisbane.
I conclude by repeating that the Government has had two main objectives in introducing a subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers. The first of these is to reduce the costs of those industries which are major users of nitrogen and which, as it happens, are currently encountering low returns abroad; the second is to encourage the usage of these fertilisers particularly in industries where productivity may be raised by the application of nitrogen. The result in either case will be an improvement in the welfare of our farmers and in the efficiency of our agriculture. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Wheeldon) 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.
The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the payment of bounty on agricultural wheeled tractors during the period commencing on 26th October, 1966 and ending on 30th June, 1971. The Bill will replace the current Tractor Bounty Act 1939-1966. The proposed legislation incorporates recommendations on bounty made by the Tariff Board in an interim report on the tractor industry. I understand that this report has been tabled.
Hitherto, bounty has been payable on tractors having a range of between 20 and 80 belt pulley horsepower and produced in Australia for use in the Commonwealth or a Territory of the Commonwealth. There is, however, no maximum limit to horsepower in the proposed new bounty scale under this Bill. The demand for tractors in the higher horsepower ranges is growing and already some tractors exceedingthe existing horsepower limit for bounty purposes are being used for agricultural purposes.
This Bill continues the existing provision whereby maximum bounty is payable when the factory cost of materials and parts wholly made in Australia is not less than 90 per cent, of the factory cost of the tractor and whereby the bounty shall be reduced by 14 per cent for each1 per cent, by which the percentage is less than 90 per cent. No bounty is payable if the percentage of local content is less than 55 per cent. Bounty payments under the earlier legislation weresubject to a profit limitation clause, but it has been decided, on the recommendation of the Board, not to impose this restriction in the proposed legislation. Other changes to the existing legislation extend bounty to tractors sold for use in Nauru, relate the bounty rates to the currently accepted method of rating tractors by horsepower at the power take-off, provide for advance payments of bounty, and permit the delegation of the Minister’s powers.
The Tariff Board recommended, in addition to bounty, that agricultural wheeled tractors and derivatives thereof should be subject to an import duty on and from 1st January 1970, at the rate of 10 per cent, preferential tariff, with the general rate in accordance with international commitments. The Board took the view that the deferred duty would serve as an indication to importers that future assistance to the tractor industry is likely to be substantially, if not wholly, by means of protective duties. The Board was of the opinion that such a duty would reduce the present somewhat high selling margin available to distributors of imported tractors. The Government has not accepted this recommendation, because it is concerned that a tariff on imported tractors could lead to increased prices. In recent years primary producers have been meeting rising costs and many have also been severely affected by the drought. Further, it is considered that bounty assistance would be more appropriate than assistance by duty, or by duty cum bounty, so long as imported tractors are supplying the greater part of Australia’s requirements. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Fitzgerald) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a first time.
[1 1.251. - I move -
Thatthe Bill be now read a secondtime.
This Bill makes provision for the payment of a bounty on urea produced and sold in Australia as a fertiliser during the period commencing on 26th October 1966 and ending on 31st December 1969.
The question of assistance to producers of urea was examined by the Tariff Board in conjunction with its overall inquiry into the production in Australia of industrial chemicals and synthetic resins. The relevant Tariff Board report was tabled earlier this day. This Bill gives effect to the Board’s recommendation concerning urea. In accordance with the Board’s recommendation, the rate of bounty will be$1 6 per ton and the amount of bounty payable in any one year is limited to $500,000. The Government has also accepted the Board’s recommendation that payment of the bounty should not be subject to profit limitation provisions. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Fitzgerald) 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 lime.
This Bill provides for the extension of the operation of the Sulphate of Ammonia Bounty Act 1962-1966, under which bounty ceased to be payable on sulphate of ammonia after 30th September 1966. The Tariff Board has completed its review of the question of assistance to producers of sulphate of ammonia in its recent inquiry into an Australian chemical industry.
In accordance with the Board’s recommendation, the Government has decided to continue the payment of bounty on sulphate of ammonia until 31st December 1969. However, as from 26th October 1966, it is proposed to change the conditions attached to the payment of the bounty. At the present time, the limitation on the amount of bounty payable is governed by a maximum annual payment of $900,000 in respect of all producers and a 10 per cent, profit limitation clause in respect of individual producers. The Board has recommended that assistance to this sector of the chemical industry would best be met by merely raising the allowable annual payment to $1 million and deleting the provisions relating to profit limitation. The Government has accepted this recommendation. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Fitzgerald) 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 Bill makes provision for the extension of the Cellulose Acetate Flake Bounty Act 1956-65, until 31st December 1969. This is another chemical recently examined by the Tariff Board and the extension proposed is in accordance with the Board’s recommendation. No changes are made to the existing provisions in the Act except for the extension to the end of 1969 and the conversion of money references to decimal currency. I commend the Bill to honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Fitzgerald) adjourned.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate to this Bill.
Debate resumed from 19th October (vide page 1213), on motion by Senator McKellar-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman). - There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– The three Bills affect the Australian poultry industry. I do not think that 1 need to stress the fact that this is a most important industry which is becoming more important to the Australian economy every year. It is important from the viewpoint not only of its operations within Australia, but also those in the export field. It is not an inconsequential feature of Australia’s export trade. Because of this the industry’s welfare becomes very much the concern of Parliament. I point out at this stage that the Australian Labour Party supports wholeheartedly the amendments to the Bills that I have mentioned. I intend to make a few brief remarks that I think should be made in respect of the poultry industry. I do not want to retrace the second reading speech of the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar).
I remind the Senate that in the main the Bills cover the poultry industry generally. The Poultry Industry Levy Bill has the effect of giving exemption from the levy in respect of broiler hens and removing anomalies in regard to this matter. It makes other minor but necessary amendments. It refers briefly to the translation to decimal currency of the amounts of money mentioned in the Act. Of course, this is a very necessary but minor amendment, lt is one which will not be the subject of controversy. The Poultry Industry Assistance Bill, defines the meaning of “ research “ under the Poultry Industry Assistance Act. Finally, the Poultry Industry Levy Collection Bill repeals section 1 1 of the Poultry Industry Levy Collection Act and inserts in its stead a section which provides power for the Minister to authorise in writing a person to enter any premises to carry out a count of hens. The Government argues - and I think rightly - that this is necessary to enable the levy to be correctly calculated. All of the State Governments support this amendment and believe it is necessary.
I want to direct my remarks to the provision which deals with the right of search of premises. 1 know that everybody in the Senate will agree that this gives very wide powers indeed to boards to enter premises and ensure that the provisions of the Act are being carried out in their entirety. These provisions have exercised the minds of certain people in the poultry industry who fear that such wide powers will be used indiscreetly and perhaps even oppressively against sections of the industry. 1 do not share that opinion. I have received correspondence from a group of people who call themselves the Free Traders and Egg Producers Council. The Secretary is Mr. James F. Robinson. The Council has put forward a very wide range of objections to the Bills that are now before the Senate. It. disagrees almost entirely with the whole of the amendments with which the Senate is now dealing.
The submission, which I have no doubt other honorable senators also have received, contains the following passage - . . Council, representing producers throughout Australia, asks you lo give serious consideration to the possible results of the application of the sweeping powers contained in the legislation which is now before you.
There is a very significant omission in the submission. The Council says that it represents producers throughout Australia, but it does not mention the number of producers it represents. This is an important matter because I am of the opinion - and I think it would be shared by other honorable senators - that in the main the great number of egg producers throughout Australia believe in orderly marketing and would support the amendments which are now before the Senate.
When I say that, I reject the submission that has been made by the Council in the letter which has been sent to me, but I do not want it to bc believed that because I do not agree with the submission, first the Council has no right lo send submissions to any member of the Senate, and secondly, we should not give those submissions our earnest consideration. In this country we give people the right, to say that th. ey do not believe in schemes that are introduced from time to time for the purposes of orderly marketing, either in the egg producing field or in other primary production fields. We do not contend that people should not have the right to say: “ We do not believe the Government should introduce these provisions.” People have the right to dissent, and wc have an obligation to study and analyse carefully the submissions they make from time to time in connection with these matters. Whilst 1 do not agree with the Council’s submission, 1 think it is important, that we should make that point regarding its rights.
The Council expresses fears concerning the sweeping powers contained in the amendment that deals with the searching of premises. I must confess that these powers are sweeping, but I do not think they will be abused. If they are abused, of course, the Senate and another place will know what to do when the matter comes before them on another occasion. As a counter to the submission made by the Free Traders and Egg Producers Council, Senator Devitt was good enough to supply me with a letter that he had received from the Chairman of the Egg Marketing Board in Tasmania, who agrees entirely with the amendments that are now before the Senate. He has stated - this applies to Tasmania - that he wants to convey to Senator Devitt that when these amendments are enacted- there will be no fear of the Stale Egg Marketing Board allowing its inspectors to become a menace to poultry farmers.
He goes on to say -
The Slate Boards are policing the Commonwealth legislation on behalf of the C.E.M.A.A. and have full authority in connection with the direction of the inspectors in relation to their duties.
Although 1 have not sought the opinions of the chairmen of the egg marketing boards in the other States, I know the views of the Minister in South Australia. The amendments meet with his full support. I think they meet with the support of the South Australian board also.
– It is the same in Western Australia.
Senator TOOHEY__ I am informed by
Senator Wheeldon that Western Australia gives similar support. Be that as it may, the fears that have been expressed by the Free Traders and Egg Producers Council are perhaps valid with respect to the width and depth of the duties and powers granted under the amendments. We are aware of this, but we know that powers of a similar character are given by quite a number of other acts of the Commonwealth. It is the duty of both Houses of this Parliament, when they assent to the granting of these powers, to make sure that they will not be abused. I have taken the step of referring to the letter I received from the Free Traders and Egg Producers Council in order to pay those concerned the courtesy of letting them know through the pages of “ Hansard “, if they wish to read them, that their submissions have not gone unnoticed. I do not entertain the fears that they do, but consideration has been given to their submissions and they have been placed before the Senate. Having said that, I want to say again that the Australian Labour Party supports in full the proposals in the three Bills.
.- 1 have been interested in the remarks of Senator Toohey and I will advert to them in a moment. I should like to tell the Senate that my attitude to these three Bills, in a philosophical way, can be expressed by the story that I shall relate. A few years ago, when walking around a picture selling gallery, I saw a rather pleasing 1 8th century oil painting, obviously of central European origin, which 1 bought. When 1 took it home, my wife asked: “ Why did you bring that picture here? “ I said: “ If you look at the picture, you will see it is a picture of a farm such as we would have known when we were young, showing the farmer’s fowls scratching around the garden - fowls which provide eggs and chickens for the farmer and his family. 1 will attach a piece of paper to the back of this picture so that when our great grandchildren ask their parents about it, their parents can take it down, turn it over and say: ‘ This was a common scene in the days of your grandparents when people could have a few fowls and eggs.’ The children will ask: ‘ In those days were people allowed to own fowls? ‘ Then their parents will be able to tell them the story of the great change that took place. They will be able to explain that, in a primitive society, people could have a few fowls to get a few eggs, but that about 50 years ago the Government of the day took action to see that people could have only 12, 20 or 24 fowls. A few years later, they were allowed to have only 6 fowls, and now no one is allowed to have any fowls at all.”
Perhaps I will live long enough to see the Council of Egg Marketing Authorities get itself statutory powers and then proceed along the path of other statutory authorities. There will be a big quarrel in the Senate about whether a new 20-storey building for the Council is to be located in Hobart or in Perth, in the interests of decentralisation.
There will be a quarrel between Melbourne and Sydney about whether the building should be in one of. those cities. The Public Accounts Committee will examine whether $20 million should be spent on a computer. There will be great correspondence with the Research and Development Corporation of California to see whether the computing systems are right, and the Council will be projecting egg production in Australia, both in shell and in pulp, for the next 25 years and fixing prices accordingly. The levies imposed on the industry will go up to a marked degree, but there will be so many people involved that it will not be possible to make any changes.
I have a rather fanciful picture in my mind. Associated with this industry we will have a whole horde of people who will be characteristic, I suggest, of a great deal of our scientific effort today. They will look around to find some sources of revenue to support their scientific endeavour. There is quite a system about this. First of all, they will find out where the money is. Then they will go to the Department of Trade and Industry and suggest that a great deal of money could be saved in packaging if we could get square eggs. Then some files will be opened in the Department of Trade and Industry and the problem will go to the Department of Primary Industry. The system will start to operate. There will be another increase in the levy on the poultry industry and the money will be used to start a scientific inquiry into the capacity of the industry to produce square eggs in order to save 33 per cent, of cargo space.
I must be entitled to indulge in some sort of satire. What I am going to say now will come under the heading of bathos, because 1 am going to relate to the Senate a problem in parliamentary rule which has existed for some hundreds of years. Honorable senators might wonder how the Privy Council sitting in the Star Chamber has anything to do with the Bills before us. Of course it has. because in the Poultry Levy Collection Bill there is a clause which gives power, under a ministerial instrument in writing, to enter and search. This question was raised by Senator Toohey. I have no particular interest in the Free Traders and Egg Producers Council but I have a profound interest in the wheel of history, which has turned full circle.
When we were young we were all taught about the Court of the Star Chamber. What was that? lt was the Privy Council sitting in the Star Chamber, and it was devised and designed by the Tudor kings to enforce their ruthless totalitarian government of England, or, as one historian said, to provide the means of enforcing the government’s will. Pronouncements or judgments of the Privy Council sitting in this way caused Parliament itself to rebel in the middle of the 17th century, and the Court of the Star Chamber was abolished. On the occasion of its abolition, one of the members of the House of Commons rose to his feet - 1 quote from Christopher Hill in his book “ The Age of Revolution “ - and said -
Parliament now stands sovereign and there is no Star Chamber to enforce monopolies.
The wheel has turned. Sitting in this Parliament we are being asked lo provide full power to the Minister of the day so that he may, by an instrument in writing, enforce the Government’s will. Each time a government comes to this Parliament and asks for such powers, exactly the same arguments are put up. On each occasion there is what appears to be a valid exercise of governmental and parliamentary procedures. On each occasion there is a request for additional power in order to enforce the Government’s will. In the case of the Department of Primary Industry, the Bill that relates to the collection of the poultry levy is the eleventh bill that has been brought into this Parliament by that Department in the past 10 years asking for powers to enforce the Government’s will on the people.
– It is a pretty foul approach, is it not?
– Yes. Later in the day T would admire that pun but it is too early in the morning to do so. This is the eleventh bill that has been brought in since 1 956 to provide the Government with power to enforce its will by an instrument in writing. It is the aggregation of these powers, not the single request to Parliament for additional power, that is beginning to disturb me. In clause after clause of the Therapeutic Goods Bill which was presented to the Parliament in this session, the power of enforcement of the Government’s will is given by instrument in writing of the Minister. The rebellion of the Parliament against the authority of the Crown to use these powers began in the middle of the .seventeenth century and the powers were finally destroyed. Over the last 50 years and accelerated by two great wars, constant approaches have been made to parliament, not only in the Commonwealth jurisdiction but also in State jurisdiction, for additional powers in order that a government’s will may be enforced. I suggest again, as 1 suggested when T spoke to the Therapeutic Goods Bill, that the time has long passed when the Parliament has to make a survey of the growth of the use of ministerial powers by instrument in writing, in relation to eggs, wool, fruit or anything else. There is this constant aggregation of power to the executive component of government, by which the Government’s will may be enforced by an instrument in writing. Once the Parliament gives this power, then all of the powers of the executive in its political and administrative component are exerted to resist any attempt by the Parliament to make a survey of how these powers are being used. 1 freely admit that in the complexities of modern government it is necessary that powers should be available. Senator Toohey, who has been involved in trade union activities, will acknowledge that power must bc given in respect of entry into factories in the State jurisdiction to enable the inspection of cranes, safety devices and machinery. Senator Bull, perhaps, is not very happy to have a horde of itinerant inspectors, all with instruments in writing in their hip pockets, come along to see whether he has killed the rabbits on his property, whether his septic tank is operating properly, or whether the poles on his farm that carry the power lines have dry rot. When one makes out a list of the number of people who can invade the privacy of a man’s home today, one must be appalled.
– Is the honorable senator suggesting that they should not have those rights?
– I am suggesting that the time has arrived when Parliament must have a good, long, hard look al what the future is for a free citizenry when these powers continue to aggregate. I refer honorable senators who feel deeply about this - and I think a great number feel as I do - to a short book that may be obtained from the Parliamentary Library. It will not take them long to read the book. It is published by Stevens & Sons Ltd., London, and is entitled “ Freedom under the Law “. Tt is a series of lectures by the Right Honorable Sir Alfred Denning, then one of the Lords Justices of His Majesty’s Court of Appeal. I shall not adorn the proposition that I am putting to the Senate by reading all this book, nor do I want to confuse the issue by quoting gobbets of information out of context. On the subject to which I am addressing myself Lord Denning, as he now is, has some pretty important things to say. For instance, at page 100 he cites Lord Acton -
All power corrupts. Total power corrupts absolutely.
He continues -
And the trouble about it is that an official who is the possessor of power often does not realise when he is abusing it. Its influence is so insidious that he may believe that he is acting for the public good when, in truth, all he is doing is to assert his own brief authority. The Jack-in-office never realises that he is being a little tyrant.
This is the sort of thing that distresses senators such as myself, including a number of colleagues on this side. I am sure that honorable senators opposite will have the same feeling of unease as we have on this side.
– Surely I indicated that.
– Indeed, I said so. A great number of senators sitting opposite will have the same sort of feeling. Denning goes on later to say -
Let me next put on one side cases where the officials actually exceed their powers. Sometimes, for instance, the public authorities will slip into their schemes something which goes beyond anything that Parliament intended.
Whereas the Senate has set up its Regulations and Ordinances Committee - a standing committee - to observe how the subordinate legislative processes are being used and to report to the Senate so that the Parliament may discover whether those powers are being used in excess of the authority that the Parliament intended in the particular statutes, we are now reaching a situation in which there is no capacity in the Parliament to examine in an orderly method how the third echelon of administrative processes is being used in relation to instruments in writing of Ministers.
– We cannot provide one?
– This is the whole basis of my argument. If we are to continue to give these powers to the administrative component of the Executive, the time has arrived - in fact I suggest the time is long overdue - when a formal standing committee of the Senate should be set up to examine the use of ministerial powers by instrument in writing, or the Senate should set up a committee to report in the first instance .how these powers have been used and what safeguards should be provided by the Senate in future in relation to the use by the third echelon of the power of ministerial instruments in writing. Denning goes on to cite Chatham’s magnificent speech in the House of Lords in dealing with the question of search and entry. He states -
Let us consider, then, the power to enter a man’s house against his will . . .
This is the power that is being sought in this Bill- . . for this is a power which has been greatly extended of late. lt is a power which we must walch with care, because, next to our personal freedom, we value most the freedom of our homes. “ An Englishman’s house is his castle “, we say, and our feelings about it were well summed up by the great Lord Chatham when he said: “ The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown, lt. may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter - all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement “.
– An inspector may enter.
– An inspector may do so, on instrument in writing given by the Minister. Denning goes on to say -
This did not mean, however, that the King or his officers never had any right at all to enter a man’s house. All that it meant was that they had no prerogative right to enter.
But we give that prerogative right to enter by an instrument in writing.
A householder could not, of course, be allowed to abuse the freedom of his house so as to give refuge to malefactors and thieves. The law therefore allowed the King’s officers lo enter in order to arrest a felon who was taking refuge there.
These ancient principles were acknowledged at some stage or other. This acknowledgment can be found in the customs and excise legis lation in which the Minister for Customs and Excise limits the delegation of these powers. But there is no reference in these Bills having their origin in the Department of Primary Industry to any limitation upon the extent, in terms of time, of the authority handed to the itinerant person in possession of an instrument in writng by the Minister. Denning’s next chapter is headed “ New Powers of Entry “. It states -
But it is different with the new powers of entry and search which the new age has ushered in. Enforcement officers of the Minister of Food may enter shop premises, inspect all the goods in it, require the shopkeeper to produce his books and so forth. Factory Inspectors, Sanitary Inspectors, Town Planning Officers may all enter all kinds of premises for various purposes.
Here was a storm signal hoisted by an eminent judge in the United Kingdom in 1949. lt is now 1966 but the arguments he adduced in the Hamlyn Lectures he gave are the arguments which are adduced in this Senate by honorable senators each time the Government seeks to say lo the Parliament: “ This is a small power. It will not be abused “. lt is the aggregation of these powers which concerns us. 1 hope the Minister in charge of the Bill will not be tempted to roll up the arguments I have heard adduced in the last six or eight weeks while the Government was keeping this Bill buried in the midden heap of another place, lt has been produced in the concluding stages of the life of this Parliament. The argument which has been put up is that this power should be given because it is only the criminal who need fear it; the honest citizen has nothing to fear. This argument is advanced every time a power of this nature is sought. We are told that the honest citizen has nothing to fear; it is the rogue who has something to fear. The Government first creates the crime and if an individual attempts to resist or becomes innocently involved in the crime it is then said: “ This man is a criminal and therefore we must have this power to pursue him.” This is a very old argument.
During my reading in the Library when I was reminding myself of the history of the struggles by Parliament to curb the power of government in the interests of the citizen I noticed, for instance, that the Crimes Act is carefully denned so that no policeman may enter except by warrant. It is thought proper under the Crimes Act that a warrant must be obtained to enter premises but not when it comes to ascertaining whether a person has 22 or 500 fowls or chickens. No warrant is needed. No, you just go and have a few drinks in the nearest pub, listen to the people gossiping and then say: “ Are there many fowls around here?” If you get the reply: “ Yes, Mr. Smith at Longhorn Creek has 100 fowls “, you drink your beer, go to Mr. Smith, produce a piece of paper and say: “ I want to count your fowls “. An inspector need only produce his piece of paper but a policeman in New South Wales, Victoria or South Australia is carefully controlled by the respective State Parliaments and by the Commonwealth Parliament in the matter of searching premises. We give power to a person to inspect premises to see how much butter is in stock. If a person resists and resents an official of the Department of Primary Industry who is seeking to enter premises to see how many cases of dried fruit arc on hand that have not been declared, he is faced with a fine of $200, but in the case now under discussion the fine is only $100. Apparently there are more rogues in the dried fruit industry than putative rogues in the egg industry.
At what stage will the Parliament look at the use of these powers? To what lengths will these powers be further extended? At what stage will we cry “ Halt “ and ask: “ Should we look at this? Must we look at this?” I suggest that the clear duty in front of the Senate - not now but next year - is to lake the stand it took back in 1935 in relation to the supervision of subordinate legislation. I suggest that the time is either long past or very shortly due when the Senate must set up its own committee to examine how these powers are being used and what safeguards the Parliament should impose upon the government of the day which seeks these additional powers of entry and search.
Having said that, let me now say that I am prepared to support the Bill but this is the last time that I will stand in my place in the Senate and support a Bill of this nature.
– Why support it? Why not strike a blow now?
– It is too late.
– It is never too late.
– It is too late now but this is the last time 1 will support any further Bills of this nature unless the Senate expresses its collective will otherwise. I say to the Government that I will not support any further Bills giving these powers until the Senate has examined their use and decided where this road on which we have our feet at present is taking us.
.- We seem to live in an age when orderly marketing has become necessary. Generaally, I support the principle of orderly marketing with this qualification, that I believe the producers should have the right to express their opinion on such schemes by democratic vote. Like Senator Toohey, I have received representations from two organisations claiming to represent producers. One organisation - the one opposing this Bill - as Senator Toohey has said claims to represent a wide section of the industry all over Australia.
– No, a section, not a wide section.
– The organisation told me it represented a wide section. The other body - the one which supports the Bill - has claimed to me that its opponents represent rather the large scale operators whose interests are said to be opposed to those of the small scale operators. So there are two organisations, one supporting the Bill and the other opposing it. In the representations made to me by the representative of the organisation opposing the Bill strong claims were made in regard to the dangers inherent in the powers of search that are given to inspectors. A categorical statement was made to me that one producer returned home one day and was met by an inspector who produced certain of the producer’s private documents in relation to his production. The producer asked: “ Where did you get those? “ The inspector replied: “ Well, I went into your home while you were absent and searched it and I got these documents.” I told the representative who made that claim that I considered it to be a remarkable and very serious claim and that I would strongly oppose anything of that kind. I said to him: “ I want you to go to the producer concerned and get a sworn declaration for me that that actually happened “. He told me that he would endeavour to do so. This occurred a couple of months ago but I have not heard from him since.
In King’s Hall three or four weeks ago I met representatives of the organisation that is opposing these Bills. They said that they were here to interview the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann). I told them what their representative had said to me. 1 said that, if they wanted to make any further representations, Senator Gair and I would be pleased to see them. They indicated that they would come to see us after they had seen Mr. Adermann. But they did not appear.
I read a report of a statement made by Mr. Adermann in which he said that he felt that he had satisfied them on some issues. 1 said to myself: “ Perhaps they are satisfied and that is why they have not come to see me.” But last week I received a telegram saying that they denied the statement made by the Minister for Primary Industry in the House of Representatives to the effect that they had accepted his assurances as satisfactory. So, frankly, I am a little bewildered by the attitude of these people. If it is true, as they claim, that this very serious entry of a person’s home in his absence took place, why have they not supplied me with evidence pf it and why have they apparently not made further representations? T. believe that it would be preferable for them to do that than to communicate with me by telegram.
However, I agree with Senator Cormack that the powers given in these Bills are very wide and, to a degree, alarming. I notice that in another place the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), who is a recognised authority on primary production matters, had something to say about these powers. I believe that his words are entitled to a good deal of credit because of his experience in these matters. He made a statement in which he said - . . the amendment . . . will enable an inspector of the authority to go on to the premises of an egg producing farmer and inspect not only his hen pens, or whatever they are called, but to enter the poultry farmer’s own home, buildings or offices. This seems to be a great power and some people are fearful that inspectors may be indiscreet or may become obsessed wilh the large measure of power vested in them and may carry their inspectorial power to extreme lengths in invading premises unnecessarily, and, indeed, Invading homes similarly in search of records they consider may be secreted therein . . .
I have given the facts. This power could well be abused in some circumstances. We must ask ourselves whether it is not a fact that all heads of power granted to all governments can, without the exercise of common sense, be substantially abused. However, I think it can be said in the circumstances we are considering that the Ministers in the respective States will ensure that before this power is exercised the inspector will be warned to be discreet and will be required to report his suspicions to the Minister or his deputy and obtain approval to make an inspection.
Apparently Mr. Pollard is satisfied that the State Ministers will see that nothing wrong is done. I cannot accept that view so easily. All of us have had brought before us cases in. which bureaucrats, dressed in a little authority, acted in a way which was not merely undesirable’ but constituted a gross interference with the ordinary civil rights ot citizens. Therefore, it seems to me that powers such as this should be subject to some form of supervision greater than a vague suggestion that a Minister or his deputy will probably say to the inspectors: “Do not be too rough.” I should like to hear from the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar) a clear statement on what safeguards there are against abuse of this power. Are we, as has been suggested, to grant this power and then offer a pious prayer that the inspectors will not make it too hot? Is there any safeguard against abuse of this power to which the Minister can point?
The only other matter to which I want to refer is one (hat has been raised by both producer organisations. They are not at odds on everything. Both of them are somewhat concerned about the possibility that an inspector, who inspects one area in which there are fowls and then goes to another and then to another, may convey, on his boots, his clothing or something of that sort some infectious disease from one set. of fowls to another. There must be something in this contention when, although the two groups of producers differ in their attitudes to these Bills, on this question they are as one. They both say that they are very concerned to know what action will be taken to ensure that there will be no communication of poultry diseases. I conclude by asking the Minister whether he will answer those two questions: First, is there any safeguard against abuse of this power, or are we just hoping for the best? Secondly, what precautions will be taken against the communication of poultry diseases by inspectors’?
– I do not know very much about eggs and poultry. But there is one thing for which I have stood up throughout my political life; that is, the rights of the individual. 1 am interested in these Bills not so much as Bills relating to egg production but as another classic example of infringement of the rights of the individual. The apathy that has descended on this Parliament is amazing. I suppose this happens because today is the second last day of this session and we want to get through these Bills as fast as we can. We have only another 26 Bills to pass before tomorrow night. So the attitude is: Let us not do anything about this. Senator Cormack points out, quite rightly, what is being done under this legislation. Yet, when we suggest that something should be done, he says that it is too late. Are we, as legislators, to agree that it is too late? If we, in our own consciences, believe that something wrong is being done under this legislation, surely we should attack it right now. I do not care if we sit for an extra week. We should rectify this injustice to these people.
What is the injustice? We have received u screed from one group of people and a two page document from the opposing side. Let me remind honorable senators that the opposing side is the government instrumentalities - the egg marketing boards in the States. Naturally, they will be in favour of any bureaucratic control that can be imposed on the people. What surprises me is the apathy and lethargy of members of the Government parties. They should be the very first people to rise in their places and defend the rights of the individual. Yet so far we have heard only one speaker from the Government side. 1 hope that we will hear more. I hope that Senator Wright will stand up and give us a lead on how we can stop this injustice and how we can eliminate clause 5 of the Poultry Industry Levy Collection Bill. That is the clause that deals with the right of entry into a person’s home and the right to search his papers.
I cannot find the right adjective to describe my disgust that a Country Party Minister, who, even more than a Liberal Party Minister, should want to see that the rights of farmers and other primary pro ducers are kept intact, should introduce a bill that will allow a public servant to enter a farmer’s property and search his bouse. It is no good saying that there is no right to search. The document from the egg marketing board authority said that this does not really mean that there is the right to search. But it does mean that. That is the way I read the provision in the Bill. An officer can go into any home and search for papers. He can say that it is for the purposes of the Act. We do not allow anyone else to do this. The police have to obtain a warrant before they can go into a person’s home. The basic, essential provision in this Bill should be that if an egg authority wants to search a man’s place its officer should obtain and produce a warrant to do so. But in the apathetic state that we have got into, we say it is too late for us to do anything about the matter now. But this is the time to do something, right now, when the Bill is before us. We can stop this by eliminating the provision. I would eliminate the whole Bill. But we could have this matter given proper consideration and see that the necessary provision is made in a better fashion.
I am surprised that a number of senators on the Government side are prepared to let this Bill through. 1 am not so surprised about the state of affairs on this side of the Senate mainly because members of the Australian Labour Party are more used to bureaucratic controls. But let honorable senators examine this matter in the light of their own activities. How would they like to have officials come to their premises and say: “ We are going to search through your company’s books?” Yet, we sit here in a state of paralysis, fearful to do anything because we will offend the Government if we lake time to safeguard the rights of the individual. If we accept this Bill, we are throwing away the freedom of the people about which we speak.
The Bill deals with egg producers. But the procedures it makes possible can affect other people- Why do we not say: “ If it is true that the combined egg marketing authorities believe in this principle, why has not the matter been put to egg producers by way of referendum?” That is the second point I wish to make. I believe, as Senator McManus said, that there should be orderly marketing in the industry but, surely, who should be the people to discuss orderly marketing but the producers themselves? No referendum has been held and no vote has been cast by the producers to indicate whether they want the levy and the research. That brings me to my next point.
In one of these three Bills under consideration there is provision for research. But research is so wide. The Bill does not say whether it is marketing research or whether it is research into the production of more eggs for a market which is already over-supplied. What is the research for? Another little department will be set up. I think that the free traders have quite a sound suggestion when they say that this research, which involves a very small amount actually, could be carried out by the Department of Primary Industry itself instead of setting up another little section to undertake it.
This levy was instituted for one purpose. That was to provide money to offset the export losses and to spread costs evenly and fairly throughout the industry. The levy was not instituted for research. Yet egg marketing boards are using some of the money that they obtain by way of this levy for research purposes. If egg producers want research work to be financed by this levy, they should be allowed to say so. I suppose the Minister will suggest that the egg marketing boards want research to be undertaken. But do the egg producers want research? How many egg producers are there on each of the egg marketing boards? There would be very few indeed. I feel that if we go on with this Bill we should make sure, just as we did with the legislation concerning wool growers, that egg producers have the right to voice their opinions as to what they want and that it will not be the egg marketing boards that decide what they want for egg producers.
This is what Senator Cormack pointed out. He proposes the appointment of a committee of the Senate to examine the powers that the Minister hands out by instrument in writing. As I said when this matter was first raised, what we want is an ombudsman so that the people can appeal to someone in authority when they feel that some injustice has been done. This is an unjust Bill. Instead of sitting here complacently, we should be fighting against it. I know that the Bill does not affect us. We do not have eggs. We do not have one hen in the place. Perhaps we could not care less. But is this the attitude that we should adopt? Just because the matter does not interest us, should we say: “ Let it go. It does not matter. We will take action next time the matter comes before us? “ But next time a similar bill comes before us we will allow this control to continue. So I say that this is the time to take action and to stop this process. I will oppose the whole of this Bill even if I have to do so on my own.
– We have heard quite a bit of criticism regarding these Bills. Before this criticism was expounded, some facets of the poultry industry should have been taken into consideration. As Senator Toohey has pointed out, there are three Bills now before the Senate. They are being debated together. The original legislation was introduced in July of last year. 1 believe that embodied in the Acts and the amending Bills is a scheme which will give the Australian egg industry the opportunity lo achieve a reasonable degree of stability. Each and every one of us knows that the poultry industry is a very important industry. It is one of our industries that is not taken into account very much by the average Australian. The poultry industry is a very good money earner in export markets. The industry not only supplies food for local consumption but also has a very good export potential.
The poultry industry is not an easy industry in which to be engaged. A commercial poultry farmer is subject at all times to more trials and tribulations than a producer in any other section of primary industry. Poultry is more susceptible to disease than any other farm animal. It is subject to changing climatic conditions. Differences in temperature between hot and cold can have a large bearing on the production of eggs. Every poultry farmer has to work hard and be right on the ball if he is to achieve success in this industry. When all is said and done, no fortune is to be made out of egg production. A farmer with 1,000 fowls and a 60 per cent, egg production from them would have a profit amounting to approximately $72 a week. This is not a great amount of income when we consider the amount of work that a poultry farmer puts into his industry.
There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that prior to the establishment of C.E.M.A. - the Council of Egg Marketing Authorities - the dangers confronting the poultry industry were enormous. Interstate and pseudo-interstate trade in eggs was taking place. This trade was growing fast, lt was being assisted by section 92 of the Constitution which provides that trade and commerce between the States of the Commonwealth shall be free. 1 refer honorable senators to a speech on the egg industry by the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) in another place. It is to be found at page 1885 of “Hansard” for 18th October 1966. The egg industry was being retarded because of the trade that was taking place across the borders from one State to another at this time, commonsense economic practices were going overboard and large numbers of eggs were passing from one State to another. There was some times fierce and irrational competition depressing egg prices to an unprofitable level. The despatch of eggs from one State to another was detracting from the stringent and excellent efforts of the marketing boards to sell more eggs on the local market. A band of loyal producers kept the organised marketing system in operation. They were forced to bear ever mounting costs and had almost reached the stage of being so fed up that the complete collapse of orderly marketing was threatened. Honorable senators arc aware of what that would have meant to the poultry industry if it had come about. lt was thought at the time that if orderly marketing was to go. so also would go the only possible means of removing surplus production of eggs from the local market. This development would have been disastrous to the egg industry.
The criticism has been made of this legislation that it will take away the rights of individuals. Let us consider for a moment the reason for the introduction of this Bill and the provision that an inspector may enter a farm property to count the number of hens over the age of six months. That provision was made necessary because the large producers of eggs would not cooperate. They were not submitting true returns of the number of egg producing hens on their farms. I believe they are the people who are kicking up about this legislation. They do not want it, because they have been getting away with dishonest practices. An egg producer who has been honest in the past has been penalised for his honesty. I believe that every egg producer should share in carrying the burden so that it will be spread over a greater number of people.
– How does a man in possession of an instrument in writing tell the age of a bird?
– I believe that the egg producers keep records which show the time of hatching of the birds. They are brought up to certain stages and finally to the laying stage. I believe that this Bill extends a little freedom to the egg producers because some of the lighter breeds of poultry produce eggs from the age of four and a half to five months, while this legislation covers hens only from the age of six months. The’ larger egg producers are mainly responsible for the introduction of this legislation, because they were not registering the correct number of birds in their possession. They knew that there was no authority to force them to effect correct registration. No power existed to force an egg producer to declare correctly the extent of his egg production. As Senator Toohey pointed out, the South Australian Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Bywaters, is in favour of this legislation, as are most of the egg producers in South Australia.
I believe that this Bill will protect the honest producer. Every effort has been made to prevent some poultry farmers from evading the bird tax, but under the existing legislation it was not possible to prevent evasion. Some farms were not even registered; others did not account for the complete number of birds producing. The burden of equalisation has been borne by the honest farmers. I believe this is neither desirable nor necessary. The burden should be spread over the whole of the industry, irrespective of whether the farms are large or small. The Labour Party believes that the Bill will achieve this result.
Mention has been made of inspectors entering properties. It is true that the possibility exists of the spreading of disease from one farm to another through the clothing or footwear of inspectors. However, I believe that the query raised by Senator McManus will be answered by the Minister and the necessary precautions will be exercised to prevent such an occurrence. Reference has been made to the rights of individuals. I wish to quote a passage from a speech by the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Armstrong) in another place in which he referred to the rights of individuals. He is reported as saying at page 1888 of the House of Representatives “Hansard” of 18th October-
Exaggerated viewpoints have been put forward on the rights this gives to inspectors. It is true to say that many people in authority do abuse their power and cause inconvenience to others but this is very rare particularly when they are responsible to competent authority. It is akin to the rights and powers of say, a rabbit inspector in New South Wales. I was and still am a member of the’ Pastures Protection Board and I know there are people who object to these powers. They insist on an inspector reporting to the homestead, which may be 10 or 20 miles away, before he is allowed to enter the property. It’ is more than a coincidence that the people who ask for these conveniences are the ones who are rather reluctant to destroy rabbits. I venture the suggestion that the people who object to this kind of thing in relation to the poultry industry arc similarly situated.
It is clear that every precaution will be exercised to ensure that inspectors who are given the power to enter farms will carry out their duties in a proper manner. Protests have been made by some parts of the industry. I believe that the people who are protesting are the ones who will be affected most by this legislation. It has been said that the inspectors, knowing very little of poultry matters, might endanger the health standards of young birds. The majority of producers in the industry believe such claims to be unfounded. This legislation is necessary if the poultry industry is to function as it should. It is a very important industry and a lot of work has been put into it. Until legislation in respect of the egg producing industry was introduced, it was in a very poor state. As I have said, a producer with 1,000 birds, working seven days a week, would make an average profit of about $72 a week.
– That would not be his whole income, would it?
– Under the present circumstances, with automation in the industry, he could have other pursuits, but the fact remains that he would have to be on the job for seven days a week.
– Surely $72 a week would not be his total income. He could look after several thousand birds.
– I am citing the case of a man with 1,000 birds. Senator Toohey referred to free traders and the egg producers. I think I have answered the objections raised to this legislation. Quite a number of organisations support it. The Australian Primary Producers Union in New South Wales supports it and says that it will protect the honest producer. Since this legislation was introduced, egg production in New South Wales last year reached a record level. Usually, record production is accompanied by a reduction in return to the producers. The return is not as great as it is in a lean year. However, last year in New South Wales the return to egg producers compared favorably with normal years under the old system, when the way was open to trade between the States, and that sort of thing.
Over production has always been a worry to the poultry industry. It has never claimed that C.E.M.A. has been a cure-all for all the problems of the industry. This legislation is doing something at last to put the egg producing industry on a sound footing. Reference has been made to research. This could be very useful to the poultry industry. Australian birds produce fewer eggs than do birds on similar farms in th: United States of America. The whole environment in Australia is almost the same as that in America yet, as I have said, egg production in this country is lower than in the United States. Research could be of benefit in ascertaining the reason for that state of affairs.
– They might have belter roosters over there.
– As the honorable senator probably knows, breeding has a very important bearing on the production of eggs. Although better management and feeding could help to bridge the gap that exists between production in Australia and production in the United States, efforts will have to be made by poultry breeders to improve the genetic ability of their stock to produce eggs and to improve other characteristics of economic importance such as viability, hatchability and egg weight. Greater attention to modern methods of breeding would enable the Australian poultry industry to achieve this progress. As I said, a greater degree of research would be of assistance.
Since its introduction last year, the orderly marketing legislation has helped to reduce pseudo-interstate trading and, most of all, the evasive practices of some unscrupulous producers. The scheme has brought to the industry a degree of equity that was not achieved under the old pool system. That has been a step forward. At its annual general meeting in July of this year, the Red Comb Egg Co-operative Society Ltd. of South Australia carried two motions which were to be forwarded to theMinister for Agriculture in that State. As I said earlier, the Minister is in favour of the legislation now before us. The Society requested him to support two amendments] to the Poultry Industry Levy Collection” Act. It asked that C.E.M.A. be invested with the necessary powers to ascertain the correct number of birds that were owned by any registered producer and that owners of 20 or more laying fowls be required by law to keep records of the number of birds in their possession at any given time.
I believe that the Bill now before us has been necessary. Some people have not played the game; they have not registered the number of birds that should have been registered. In effect, they have thumbed their noses at the authorities. .
– What about the restaurant inspectors? They have’ the right to inspect a restaurant or any other shop that produces food.
– That is correct. This sort of thing must be slopped, even though some members of the community might oppose the steps that are being taken. There is much legislation that could be opposed ostensibly on the basis that it infringes the rights of individuals. A few moments ago Senator Toohey asked by way of interjection: “ What about the restaurant inspectors? They have the right to inspect a restaurant or any other shop that produces food.”
– Otherwise we all could be poisoned.
– If they were not enabled to do so by law, we all could be poisoned, as Senator Toohey has stated. Together with Senator Toohey and the rest of the Australian Labour Party, I have much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
– This is a place where we may debate matters that are of interest to the people whom we represent. Senator Turnbull has no basis for suggesting that the Senate is treating this legislation casually or that, because of pressure of time, we are being precluded from giving proper consideration to it. Senator Turnbull, like Senator McManus, raised the point as to whether this legislation, which is designed to establish organised marketing in the poultry industry, should have been preceded by a poll: I remind each of those honorable senators’, and the Senate generally, that when the original legislation was before us last year I proposed an amendment which was designed to have that procedure adopted. It was only because of the lack of even one supporter that I did not take the matter to a division. I merely want to put matters into perspective. 1 asked for a poll in the wool industry. It was granted very late in the piece. But, due to a lack of consideration of the proper franchise in one measure, the poll failed to some degree. But that is past history. Let me proceed to the Bill now before us.
The main considerations that are exciting discussion are not those to which Senator Drury, I thought quite persuasively, referred. I gained quite an understanding and a good deal of conviction about the general principles which justify orderly marketing in this industry from the honorable senator’s obviously intimate knowledge of the subject matter. I am indebted to him for that. But those matters are no longer in issue. I think there is general acceptance in this chamber of a properly balanced scheme for orderly marketing in the industry. It is not merely while this legislation is before the Senate that we give consideration to it. There is no basis for Senator Turnbull’s imputation that the legislation will have been considered only for a few minutes while being publicly debated in this chamber. As Senator Cormack indicated, because of the need for rugged reconsideration this Bill has been on the business paper for several weeks. Consideration has been given to the imbalance that existed in an otherwise acceptable scheme for orderly marketing. 1 refer mainly to proposed section 11. I say this only to keep the record straight, because it was obvious that Senator Turnbull had not the text of the matter before him. He did not speak with the particularity that betokens a precise understanding of the nature of the powers that are to be given under the proposed section. I am bound to say that a speech based on generalities in regard to a matter of this kind is not of great value. Now that I have identified for the honorable senator the particular subject matter that is being discussed, I want to point out what the new section seeks to do. lt seeks to introduce into this orderly marketing legislation for the first time a power of search and entry. It seeks to replace the old power with a new power which is more extensive and more particular. One may well have some anxiety regarding that.
I firmly hold the view that the new section proposed to us is too wide and disregards proper principles. To my way of thinking, in the implementation of an orderly marketing scheme and the provision of search and entry, properly guarded powers should be given to officers to see that the scheme is made effective. But just because there is a majority in favour of an orderly marketing scheme, that does not mean to say that you should throw overboard the whole of the principles that have protected individual rights hitherto.
Section II (1.) of the present Act provides -
For the purposes of this Act, a person authorised in writing by the Minister to exercise powers under this section may, at all reasonable times and on production of that authority, enter any building or place where, in the opinion of that person, there are any books, documents or other papers relating to (lie keeping of hens for commercial purposes or the hatching of chickens, and may take extracts from, and make copies of. any such books, documents or other papers.
Sub-section (2.) remains unaltered. I have sought in vain to get an explanation, but it has not been with the perseverance that I usually employ because the initiative in this matter was well taken by others and I did not wish to usurp that initiative but merely to give it support at all times. But in reply to requests I have not received any explanation as to why the proper purposes of the Act failed under the existing section and why it is necessary to spell out with such particularity the new and expanded powers.
I do not justify the existing section. When we debated the previous Bill this matter was not considered, not because of inadvertance but because of a certain psychology that exists regarding the acceptance of authority and because of lack of interest in individual protection from authority. I say that advisedly because it is ten years since the Senate’s Regulations and Ordinances Committee wrote into one of its most dynamic reports the very excerpt that Senator Cormack quoted from Lord Denning’s Hamlyn Lectures about the Jackinoffice, who, in 99 cases out of 100, thinks that he is doing right. He is the person lo be feared. The person who is most arrogant and likely to exceed his powers is the over zealous saint. He knows no earthly bounds, according to his conscience. It was with great refreshment thai I heard Senator Cormack quote from Lord Chatham’s celebrated statement.
We should be reminded at all times that it is from the protection of privacy and of one’s home that common men, not the lords and great barons, get their freedom. The quotation graphically reminded us of the fact that though the cottage is not weatherproof and the storm may enter, the King of England cannot enter except by lawful authority. From time to time wc are responsible for moulding lawful authority.
– The King cannot enter but. his agent can.
– That is a contortion of the spirit of the matter. The honorable senator should not say that regarding a quotation which is enshrined with respect everywhere that a British heart beats. This statement was made after Britain had sustained an arrogant usurpation and exertion of royal powers. Parliament was involved first in a civil war and then a revolution before it asserted its ascendancy over the royal powers. The statement was made a century after that revolution. We have gone on for two centuries since then and have created a complicated society in which as individuals wc are infinitely more interdependent.
So, very thoughtfully in the Hamlyn Lectures Lord Denning went on to say that in later years we would not expect the rigid’ opposition to authority in the protection of individual rights that was appropriate to the eighteenth century. In the agricultural acts of England, even in regard to ordinary farms, the Labour Government brought in power for supervising committees to be set up. After a period of trial if the farmer was not farming efficiently, power was given to require him to move on. I shall not continue with that. It simply illustrates the point that where land was scarce and the production of food became a matter of vital national importance, as it did in England, after the war, the utilisation of land was no longer a privilege that an individual could neglect with impunity. This power was given-
– lt was a wartime power.
– No, it was a postwar power introduced by the Labour Government and it was maintained with modification by the Conservative Government. I am not adopting it. I am using it only as an illustration.
In our own community, wages board inspectors have come to my office and without my permission asked my accountant to turn up my books and documents relating to the wages that I pay. I sent a gentle remonstrance. When I found that these inspectors were coming in my absence I simply said that at least out of courtesy they should call on me first. Since I said that, only by inadvertence on one or two occasions have the inspectors not consulted me first. There has never been any need to refuse to produce documents. Under the food and drug acts there must be power to inspect. Trusted authorities can be expected properly to carry out those functions. I refer to these powers only to show that whereas the fundamental principle of a private individual’s protection still exists, it has to be considered in the light of the complex society which we have developed, I think greatly to the improvement of the individual and every unit in it. Therefore we have to mould this principle on a proper balance. If we do so, it seems to me that simply for the purposes of supervising the egg marketing scheme it is not necessary for the Minister to give an officer general authority to enter and search, nor is it necessary, in my view, to give him authority which may be exercised, say, in the hours of darkness.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended I was saying that a new provision proposed by the Bills gives power of search and entry to a person who is authorised generally by the Minister. It is not required that the Minister should consider the facts of a particular case and then give a particular officer or officers authority to search and enter certain premises. So there is a great extension of power there. The new provision also states that right of entry shall be “ at all reasonable times “. I have no doubt some officers would contend that some time after dark would be the appropriate time to search and enter. I think that that should be absolutely prohibited. Further, although search and entry as to hens is limited to any place or building where the officer has reason to believe hens are kept for commercial purposes, search and entry for books and documents applies to any place, irrespective of whether the officer has reason to believe that hens are in that place or in that building.
– Would that apply too if the owner of the property were absent?
– That is another point I shall come to. I want to make a point at the moment as to the extent of the place or building. Where an officer is searching for hens, search and entry is limited to a place or building where the officer has reason to believe hens are housed. But as to books or documents, there is no such limitation. It is a monstrous extension of power to pen this provision in such terms as to permit entrance to one’s dwelling house. I have not looked at the Income Tax Act recently, but terrific powers of entry are given there. It is now well known that taxation officers can enter a farmer’s house and go to his banker, even to his solicitor. I say “ even “ because a solicitor is the repository and the custodian of the innermost confidences of his client. Needless to say, even when that power is given by statute, a solicitor sturdily stands against any authoritarian intrusion. But in this case the power is to be given by a Minister or by a department. It is a power penned in such a way that it would extend to a man’s dwelling house. In no instances do the merits of organised marketing with regard to hens or eggs justify any officer crossing the threshold of a man’s domestic dwelling against his will. In these respects, I fully support the honorable senators who have spoken against the amplitude of this power. lt would be possible for us to pursue the course of trying to obtain amendments that would create a balance, but I am prepared to accept the view that a protest, which I hope will be regarded as respectable, has been made so as to bring this matter into focus and ensure that this power, given by a general piece of legislation, can be curtailed, along wilh similar powers given by the 1 1 other statutes to which Senator Cormack has referred. But it does appear to me that we have got to a stage where ministerial powers and official powers in this respect could well be studied from the point of view of principle - from the point of view of reconciling proper powers to enforce statutes of this description with proper protection of individual rights. 1 am content not to oppose this clause but if anybody has any useful amendment to propose, I shall express my continuing interest.
Senator MURPHY (New South Wales) [2.6. - I should like to commend those who have spoken, especially Senator Toohey and Senator Drury, for their thoughtful contributions on the operation of the measure. The Senate is also indebted especially to Senator Cormack for dealing in so much detail with the rights of the citizen as they arc affected by such a measure. The matter which has excited the concern of all honorable senators is the provision for the entry and search of premises and the examination of books and documents. The Opposition is just as concerned about this provision as arc those supporters of the Government who have spoken. Senator Toohey indicated that the Senate would not tolerate any abuse of the power.
Perhaps I might bring the matter into perspective and indicate to the Senate that there is some protection. The bald words of the Bill are not to be taken as giving some absolute and arbitrary power to those who might be authorised to enter and inspect. First of all, the power is limited in that it is exercisable only at reasonable times. Next, it is limited in that production of the authority is required. Presumably that would be production of the authority to the person who is on the premises. So it is envisaged, not that there will be entry in the dark of night or when persons are absent, but that there will be entry when persons are present - at a reasonable time and after production of the authority.
More important, perhaps, than the expressed limitations of this power are the implied limitations. This power, as all other powers, is subject to certain unexpressed limitations. The power must be exercised in good faith. Next, it must be exercised for the purposes for which it was granted, not any other. Next, the power must be exercised with due regard to the rights of persons who may be affected by the exercise of the power. Those are the limitations which the law writes into this. They are there just as much as if they were actually written into the statute. An abuse of the authority would mean that the action of the person purporting to exercise the authority would in law be unauthorised. Arbitrary action is not permissible under this clause. Capricious entry and search are not permissible under this clause. This should be brought home to those who are administering the Act. lt might be helpful if the Minister were to ensure that those who are given the authority are warned that this does not mean that they can act capriciously or arbitrarily in the exercise of that authority. They are bound by the limitations to which 1 have referred and if they act contrary to those they do so in an unauthorised manner and at their peril.
Nevertheless we, I think, share (he concern that powers should have to be granted in this way. I think it is fair to say that those who do not oppose the Bill and do not oppose this clause do that only because they have been satisfied that there is a special and exceptional need for this power to be in the Bill. That was indicated by Senator Toohey and by Senator Drury. I think this has been accepted by those who do not oppose the Bill, but as was rightly put by Senator Cormack, there can be too much of this. There can be too many exceptions. There can be too many special cases. 1 would agree that it is time that some committee of this Senate looked at the provisions of this nature in the statutes of the Commonwealth, with a view to arriving at some guidelines whereby the rights of the citizen could be properly protected.
This provision here seems to be rather crude. More protections could be inserted, but we will accept it on the basis that it is subject to the limitations that I have expressed, that it is an exceptional measure, and that in future we will not only look closely at such measures but also open up this whole topic, because we ought to look at the enactments that have already been passed, and we should satisfy ourselves that proper legislative standards are reached in determining the area in which the freedom of the citizen to his own privacy can be invaded for some social purpose.
– in reply - First, I should like to thank honorable senators for the contributions they have made to the debate. I want to point out that this Bill deals with an industry that is worth approximately $18 million. It ls quite an important one. I want to emphasise also that the industry itself asked for the present scheme, as did all the Slate Governments and the Federal Council of the Poultry Farmers Association. Having disposed of that point, 1 think it is important to make a point at this juncture so that my subsequent remarks may be assessed in the proper light.
I have been aware of the misgivings of quite a large number of senators from both sides of the chamber about what has been called encroachment on the rights of the private individual. I have taken the matter up with the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) and I know that the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty) has given certain undertakings to Senator Cormack that he, too, will make representations on this matter. We are all agreed on that.
The substance of some criticism levelled at us by Senator Turnbull was that this Bill was being rushed hurriedly through the Senate. Obviously, we have had the answer to that claim. Senator Turnbull made a remark about coming back next week if necessary in order to consider legislation. I do not suppose it would affect the honorable senator much, because I. Say without any fear of contradiction that he spends less time in this Parliament or in (his Senate than does any other senator.
– That is not relevant.
– That is a very cheap jibe on the Minister’s part, very cheap indeed.
– Still, it is true and the honorable senator cannot deny it.
– It is not. Get the official figures.
– This scheme gives to the poultry industry an opportunity to carry out stabilisation, which has been available to most other primary industries. Again I remind the Senate that this Government has never .yet foisted any scheme for the control of a particular industry’ without a request coming from that industry. I think it is important to make that point.
One question was raised as to why the Government wanted to bring in this Bill, seeing that we had the existing legislation. Some boards have regulatory powers and some have rights of inspection, but it is necessary for this power to be provided in this legislation. I remind Senator Wright that in my second reading speech on the Poultry Industry’ Levy Collection Bill I stated -
As the subject matter of the legislation constituting most of the State Egg Boards is eggs, not hens, as in the Commonwealth legislation, there seems to be doubt in some States whether authority can be given to the Boards to enter premises for the purpose of counting hens. In the interests of uniformity, and as the levy is imposed by a Commonwealth Act, the inclusion of the necessary provision in the Commonwealth legislation now seems desirable and all State governments support this course.
A question was raised as to the necessity for it. Obviously, if the Act is to be workable, this right of inspection must be written into it. Only a few individuals have not been playing the game, but this has made it necessary to introduce this provision. These individuals - probably not many in number - have been attempting and, indeed, as I understand it, succeeding in evading their financial responsibilities, while sharing the benefits of” the scheme, lt is obvious that they should be called upon to pull their weight in this connection.
Reference has been made to right of entry. The point has been made that going into fowl pens does not constitute going into a home. If the home is to be sacrosanct, as many would wish, there would be nothing to prevent a poultry keeper putting his books there, knowing full well that access could not be gained. I suppose that this is what would happen. There is another reason for this. Senator Murphy must have cleared up some of the doubts of those who are worried about the times of inspection. He correctly pointed out that the inspection must be made at reasonable times.
A question arose as te the type of officer being appointed as an inspector. Inspectors are not appointed willy nilly. They are picked men and they are permanent employees. If any abuse were reported to the Minister action would be taken immediately, as it should be. Senator McManus voiced a complaint that was lodged with him. Let me inform the Senate that the Minister has not had one complaint made to him. Surely this is the answer. If people are genuine in their complaints, surely the correct procedure is to take them to the Minister. None of us who know him would have any doubt that he would act very promptly and in a manner that would probably prevent any abuse, if it had occurred, from recurring in the future.
One honorable senator asked what safeguards are provided to prevent diseases being carried from one poultry yard to another. All State inspectors are required to wear plastic boots before entering the sheds and, if the farmer so requests, they leave the boots at the farm for destruction. I think reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of disease. Senator Turnbull, I think, wanted to know the composition of State Egg Boards. There are 39 members. Of those, 36 are producers, and 25 of those 36 are elected. I am sorry 1 am not able to deal seriatim with the points raised by honorable senators but I hope to cover them all.
Now we come to the question why a search warrant is not necessary before an inspection is made. As 1 understand it, a search warrant can be procured by applying to any Justice of the Peace but this is done only, or mostly, in case of criminality. The Minister is very strongly opposed to doing anything which would suggest any criminal intent on the part of a person who refuses to allow an inspection of his hens. This is another reason why the inspectors are clothed with the proposed powers. I agree with it. I think there is a lot of substance in the Minister’s view. If a search warrant is required for each individual inspection there may be difficulty in locating a Justice of the Peace. Even knowing where he is may not solve the problem. Many poultry farms are some distance from the nearest village or town and the Justice of the Peace may not always be handy. From the point of view of convenience, this is an added reason why these inspectors are being clothed with these powers.
Mention was made of the Customs Act and the inspectors who operate under it. I understand these inspectors are given the right to enter and search premises but that right is valid for a period of six months, so their position is different from that of the inspectors covered by the legislation under discussion. There is another objection to obtaining a search warrant, particularly from a Justice of the Peace. I am not suggesting that Justices of the Peace are the only persons who can issue a search warrant. We know a warrant can be procured from a magistrate. As I understand it, when a Justice of the Peace issues a search warrant he has no responsibility to anyone in regard to it. I. happen to be a Justice of the Peace myself but I have never been asked to give authority for a search warrant. The Justice of the Peace who issues the warrant is not responsible to anyone but surely the Minister is responsible to the Parliament, and that responsibility to the Parliament provides an added safeguard. lt has been slated during the course of the debate that this proposal has no similarity to any other proposal in any other schemes affecting primary producers. I do not know that this is correct because, after all, inspection rights are granted in other legislation but I will not dwell on that aspect at any length. A member of the police force, for instance, is the only person authorised under the wheat legislation to enter premises for purposes of an inspection. Another point is that inspectors may not be prepared, even though they should be if they are carrying out their duties in the prescribed manner, to go to the trouble of obtaining a search warrant if one is necessary before a search can be carried out, but having been armed with this they find it comparatively easy to carry out the duties with which they have been entrusted. The Minister feels that it is not possible to clothe the Act with the need to obtain a search warrant. For this reason and for the reasons I have stated already, the Minister has come to the conclusion that it is only necessary to give the inspectors authority in writing.
Mention has been made - once again I am repealing myself to some extent - of the danger of these powers being abused.
But where is there in this country any guarantee that a person clothed with authority will not at some time abuse that authority? lt could start here in this very chamber.
– lt has.
– I do not think it has. We have no guarantee against such an occurrence and I do not think any reasonable person would expect one. The only safeguard lies in giving this power to a person who, one expects, will not abuse it. But if the power is abused the remedy lies with the Minister. He can call the inspector to account. Therefore, it is most important that this feature of the legislation should exist. I think it was Senator Cormack who said facetiously that this seemed to be the end of the practice of people running a few fowls. I point out to him that the tax is levied only on fowls which are kept for commercial purposes. In view of the very heavy programme before us 1 hope that we can now move to the Committee stage and that the Committee of the Senate will give these three Bills a speedy passage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 3 (Mooneys to be paid into the Fund).
– I want to reiterate a point. As I happen to bp in Parliament I may as well speak. It is amazing the number of times Ministers now come to me and say: “ Why do you not go away because it makes it so much easier for us? “ That remark is just as relevant as the jibe the Minister made a few moments ago. Now let me return to clause 3 of the Bill which provides that the Commonwealth and the farmers will each provide one-half of the funds necessary for research.
– I raise a point of order, Madam Temporary Chairman. This is not concerned with clause 3 of the Poultry Industry Assistance Bill.
– Will the honorable senator please relate his remarks to the clause?
– Then I shall seek information from the Minister. Does not clause 3 of the Bill state that section 5 of the principal Act is amended by inserting a paragraph relating to amounts equal to one-half of amounts from time to time payable out of the Fund in accordance with approvals given under section 6b. Does this not refer to research?
– Clause 3 deals with moneys to be paid into the Fund. This particular Bill amends the Poultry Industry Assistance Act 1965. The honorable senator may be discussing the wrong bill.
– May I speak on a point of order? I doubt whether the Minister is correct. The Poultry Industry Assistance Act dennes “ research “ in clause 2. I have no doubt that it does so for the purpose of indicating the purposes to which the fund referred to in clause 3 can be applied. I submit that Senator Turnbull is in order in referring to research under this clause.
– I call Senator Turnbull.
– 1 would not mind speaking to proposed section 6b if the Minister would like me to do that. I could go back to the definitions clause and speak to the definition of “ research “. But it seems to me that clause 3 provides for half of the money for the research fund to come from the contributors and the other half to come from the Government, and therefore we might as well talk about research under this clause as under any other.
I want to know why the producers have not been given a chance, by referendum, to decide for themselves whether they want this research fund. The biggest commercial producers, who I presume are the most interested in this matter, seeing that they produce the greatest number of eggs, are opposed to this research fund, if we can take any notice of the document that has been circulated by the Free Traders and Egg Producers Council. They are definitely against this money being spent, because they do not think it will be spent wisely. Of course, they may be quite wrong. But they believe that the producers themselves should have an opportunity to express their opinion on this matter. I ask the Minister why no such opportunity has been given, whereas the Government was quite happy to give the wool producers an opportunity to say what should be done with their wool.
– There are two reasons: First, no request has been made by the industry for an opportunity to express an opinion. Secondly, the projects on which the money is being spent are those that are recommended by the industry itself.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 and 5 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Mckellar) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 19th October (vide page 1214), on motion by Senator Mckellar -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses I to 4 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 5 (Access to premises, books, etc.).
.- I wish to put one brief question to the Minister. I was very interested in what Senator Murphy said. He said that there were certain inherent safeguards. May I take it as definite that, when this clause says that inspections must be made at reasonable times, that means that an inspection will not be made while the owner or the producer is absent?
.- I was not seeking to catch your eye, Madam Temporary Chairman, because I thought the Minister would answer the specific question that was asked by Senator McManus. This clause amends section 11 Of the principal Act, which deals with the problem of search and entry. This problem was exercising my mind during the second reading debate this morning. I hope I have interested honorable senators on both sides of the chamber in it. I wish to deal with the arguments that were trailed round the Senate at the second reading stage. One of the arguments is that the existing section of the principal Act should be sustained and reinforced by this amending Bill because the power that it confers is needed in order to deal with a few people. I emphasise the words “ a few people “ because that is the phrase that has been used. If only a few people are involved, I suggest that this is a pretty strong enlarged power to seek from the Parliament.
The second argument that has been ventured in this chamber today in support of the granting of this enlarged power is that reasonable citizens should nol bc embarrassed to any degree by this power, which is being sought only in respect of a few people. I wish to inform you, Madam Temporary Chairman, that in my researches into this matter J discovered that the same argument was put forward by the last head of the Okrana in Russia at the turn of this century. The Okrana was the father of the secret police of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, lt was the apparatus used by the Czars to maintain and enforce their will inside the old Russia. It had the same powers as are being used by the Communist Government in Russia today to enforce its will on the slave population of that country. The last head of the Okrana advanced the same argument as the Minister has advanced in this chamber today. That secret police organisation advanced it in relation to the surveillance of mail. The Okrana said that honest citizens need not have any worries about this power because it was interested only in catching people who were putting stuff through the post illegally. It was said that this power should be in the possession of the secret police in those Czarist days. That is the same argument as that adduced by the Communist Government in Russia today in order to arm the secret police of that country so that they may have surveillance over the rogues. And the same argument is being adduced in this Parliament today. The Minister says that this enlarged power should be accorded to the Minister for Primary Industry of the day so that he can take care of a few rogues.
The argument is that, therefore, the great mass of honest citizens should have no fear.
J should like the Minister to answer those comments. In essence, these inspectors are secret policemen. They are not under any supervision by either the Parliament or the courts. They are secret police. I should like the Minister to answer that statement.
– That is an extravagant statement.
– These men are secret men. No-one knows who they are. They do not wear a uniform. The second point is that the Ministry, which in my view is always seeking pretty extravagant powers, through the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) has asked the Parliament for an increase in power. But the Minister has not adduced one argument to show why this extra power is required. If a government asks the Parliament for an increase in power, it is proper and pertinent for the Parliament to require from that government the reasons why it wants that increased power. But not one single argument has been advanced. Therefore, until these questions have been answered, f am not prepared to let this Bill go any further.
– I did not answer the first question asked by Senator McManus because, as a rule, more than one question is asked. I knew that Senator Cormack was rearing to go. 1 wanted to hear him before I answered Senator McManus. The question asked by Senator McManus was: Does “ reasonable time “ mean that the inspection will be held only when the owner is present? I think that is the question the honorable senator asked.
– The owner or the producer.
– Yes. 1 would say this: It is not stated here nor could I commit any inspector to this. But inspectors are drawn from the type of people to whom I have referred already. Surely to goodness, an inspector, if he is worth his salt, will not invade premises at a time that is not a reasonable time or at a time when the owner or producer is not there, unless the inspector knows that the owner or producer is absent deliberately. I do not see that any one of us can say to an inspector: “You must not enter a poultry run unless the owner is there.” If we were to lay that restriction on an inspector, an owner could well see to it that he was never there when an inspector was about. I think that is the answer to the question. If any dereliction of duty occurs, the matter need only be reported to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) and the person concerned will not be an inspector very long.
I come to the question raised by Senator Cormack. J think that he and I could talk till sundown on this point. Senator Cormack will not convince me, and I will not convince him. I start my reply on that premise. But a reasonable citizen is not being inconvenienced. I assure the honorable senator that I am not an okrana. I am not suggesting that he thought I was. I say to him that a reasonable citizen is not inconvenienced. This measure is before the Committee because it has been forced on the Minister as some people - not a lot; I think I used the word “few “, and it is comparatively few - have been evading their duty. Therefore, it is necessary that those who are prepared to abide by the Act, stand up to their responsibilities and thereby share in the benefits, should know that they are not to be called upon to do this while the evader goes scot free.
This is a simple consideration. We might as well ask why we have traffic laws if only a few people disobey them. I think that analogy is as good as the one produced by Senator Cormack. I turn to this talk about secret police. My goodness. I think that this hardly deserves an answer. The officials, before they can go onto premises to inspect them, can be called upon to produce an authorisation which is approved and signed by the Minister. If this is secret police, I have a different idea of secret police from that of Senator Cormack.
.- I know that the Minister would like to bring this debate to a speedy conclusion. However. 1 am bound to say that this will be facilitated by a factual statement from the Minister with the aid of his advisers and, for my part, by nothing else. That is to say, mere assertion of a general nature will not satisfy my mind. I think the Committee is entitled to a definite statement - the best that the Minister and his advisers can give - in answer to the question from Senator
Cormack as to whether or not this authority can be lawfully exercised in the absence of the owner of the hens or the producer of the eggs. The proposed section says that “ on production of that authority “ an inspector may search, f would have thought that the departmental advisers and their legal advisers would have a firm view about whether that phrase connotes lawful exercise in circumstances where the producer or owner is absent and the authority is not in fact produced to the owner or producer. If there is any view other than that I have put forward, this Committee is entitled to have a definite statement on whether the authority that this proposed section asks us to confer upon the Minister and his officers can be exercised in the absence of the owner or producer.
– What if the owner or producer is absent for the purpose of evading the call?
– Then it may be thai the Act has been improperly drawn and a clause should be introduced to match that occasion. But 1 am considering the case where an owner or producer is thought to be evading the Act and, in his absence, his hen roost is entered and his home and his books are searched. To say that should be so in any circumstances requires, in my view, a little justification. We can always gel over the case referred to by Senator Toohey by a simple statement such as “ upon notice posted to his last known address seven days before the date of inspection “. If honorable senators did not wish to do that, some other means could bc woven into the Act in order to catch the deliberate evader.
But once we go hungry, hot foot, in exercise of authority against people, let us consider the honest man for a little time. That is all I am .saying. I am not arguing now the question as to what the law should be. I am asking quietly but firmly only for the best answer that the Crown can give us to the question whether, if this clause is passed, it means that this authority to enter and search can lawfully be exercised in the absence of the owner or producer. If we get that fact before us in the form of a responsible statement, we can proceed to argument then. I content myself with those remarks at this moment.
– Am I correct in thinking that the Minister stated that plastic boots would be supplied to and worn by the inspectors and would be destroyed at the request of the poultry farmer? If I am correct, I ask: At what point of time will these boots be destroyed? Will it be when the inspector is leaving a farm or will they be destroyed at the request of the next farmer whom he visits? This is a very important matter. Disease could be transmitted on boots from one farm to another. If a farmer has a disease on his farm and he does the right thing, he will ask the inspector to destroy his boots on his farm. If the boots are not destroyed on that farm, they will be worn to another farm. If the inspector tells the poultry farmer that he has come from the other farm and if the farmer to whom he is speaking knows that disease is prevalent on the o’.her farm, he will say to the inspector: “ Before you come onto my farm, destroy those boots “. The question I ask is: At what point of time will the boots be destroyed?
.- 1 wish to refer to the point I made before. The suggestion of the Minister is that we justify an inspector going to the home of a producer. If the inspector finds that the producer is absent, he can enter then not only the hen roost but also the home. In the absence of the producer he can search the whole place. To me this is one of the most amazing provisions I have ever read. The Minister has said that under this legislation an inspector has the right to enter the home of a producer, in the absence of the producer, and search the premises on the ground that he is looking for evidence. J think it is a disgrace that any government should include such a provision in legislation.
Having said that, I am in a position now to help the Minister to answer a question asked by Senator Drury. In another place, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) said that any inspector who goes on to a poultry farm must, if required to do so, put on a new pair of polythene boots. He leaves the boots at the farm and there is no possibility of his carrying disease.
– The Minister gave a very evasive answer to Senator McManus who raised a query about an inspector’s right of entry. When
Senator Wright prodded the Minister, he obtained a reply Cram his advisers, and has given us an astounding answer. The Government believes that it is empowered by the people of Australia to allow inspectors to go into any home if they have a reasonable belief that somebody has one egg or one hen too many. They are entitled to search the premises of the owner. I think that the Government exhibits a deplorable state of mind. The Minister has said that the provision is necessary because people have evaded the law.
– I did not.
– All right. The Minister says that he did not. He issued a challenge, saying that nobody had complained about the provision. I ask the Minister: How many people has the Department found to be guilty? What is the number that has made it necessary to bring in this sledgehammer legislation in order to counteract the iniquitous activities of people who are defeating the Government’s intentions by having a few too many hens? The Department must know how many cases there have been. When the suggestion was made that a warrant could be obtained, we were asked: “ How can an inspector go and get a warrant? After all, the poultry farms may be in the hillbilly areas, in the backwoods. It would be difficult and far too troublesome for an inspector to go away to get a warrant “. According to the Minister, we trust the inspector on another occasion because, when he comes to an empty house he does not do anything about it. If he is too lazy to get a warrant, he would be too lazy to say: “ I will come back at another time.”
I believe that the provision should be eliminated from the Bill. I suggest to honorable senators that the clause should be removed so that the present provisions of the Act will continue to apply. I am not saying that I agree with them, but at least they are not as bad as the proposed clause. I would like to hear from the Minister how many cases the Department has had of trying to catch people and of being unable to do so.
– Senator McManus gave to Senator Drury the correct answer about plastic boots. When the inspector arrives at a poultry farm he puts on the plastic boots and when he leaves he hands them to the producer. It is then up to the producer to decide whether to destroy them. In other words, he puts on a fresh pair of boots at every place he visits.
asked about an owner or producer being absent at the time of an inspector’s visit. Honorable senators will remember that I was asked by Senator Wright to give a factual reply. He asked whether it was necessary for an owner or producer to be present, and the information I gave to the Senate was that his presence is not necessary; that an inspector can conduct a search in his absence. That was a factual reply, as requested by Senator Wright. 1 want to add, now, information which Senator Wright did not request. Someone must be present to whom an authority can be handed or shown by an inspector.
– Then we can take it as definite that there will not be a search if no one is present?
– If the inspector has grounds for believing that people arc deliberately absenting themselves, to be truthful, I do not know what will be the score. However, I know what I would do about inspecting a farm in those circumstances. I draw the attention of honorable senators to proposed sub-section 2 of section 11, which states -
A person shall nol, without reasonable excuse, obstruct or hinder a person . . .
That is another safeguard. It would be quite a valuable provision if an inspector were to exceed his power. I am not suggesting that he would do so, but in that event, a producer may believe that he has a right to obstruct him. Senator Turnbull asked how many cases the Department has had. The Department does not know, because a record of court cases has not been kept. So we cannot answer that one.
– The Department must know, roughly.
– My information is that we do not know.
.- I ask for a factual answer to this question: Can lawful entry be gained by an inspector against closed doors - first locked, and secondly unlocked? That is to say, can lawful entry be exercised where a henhouse is locked? Then, can an officer break open a door? What is the position at a homestead, where an officer has reason to believe that books relating to hens are kept? Can an inspector’s authority be lawfully exercised by breaking windows or doors or any part of a homestead fabric?
– 1 wish to ask a question of the Minister about the term “ all reasonable times “. Is there a definition or will there be a definition of what are reasonable times in this connection?
– In reply to Senator Wright, the information J am given is that after an inspector has produced his authorisation, he is empowered to use all reasonable force to carry out an inspection. In reply to the question from Senator Prowse concerning the expression “ all reasonable times “, again I say that the inspector will be an experienced individual. The Minister will not issue authorisation to a nincompoop who does not know the first thing about the poultry industry. After all, some reliance must be placed on the individual.
– I am not yet satisfied. Of course, Senator Cormack cannot pursue the Minister with the same vigour that I can use, because he does not happen to be my Minister. Senator Cormack queried the purpose of including this provision. He asked why it was necessary to bring it in, but no answer has been given. When I asked how many cases had been noted by the Department, the reply was, in effect, that the Department has a completely blank memory. It knows nothing about the cases, apparently. It seems that they have not been brought to the notice of the Department. But there must have been a reason for introducing excessive powers. We have not been given one reason why the Government seeks such excessive powers. It wants to catch criminals who are keeping extra hens and producing extra eggs. We are told that not all producers act in that way, only a few. When I asked how many cases the Department had had. I was told by the Minister that the Department does not know. Nothing is known about them. Yet (hat is the reason for including this provision.
– I am not in a position to give Senator Turnbull the exact number of producers who have evaded the provisions of the Act. The honorable senator said that no reasons had been given for seeking additional power. All I can say is that he must have been asleep for the last half hour. I have given at least half a dozen reasons.
.- I join with Senator Turnbull in suggesting that we should be told, not all the cases or even half of the cases, but at. least two or three which fairly illustrate the deficiencies of the existing section and which illustrate the need to give to an officer power to break open locked dwelling houses and locked hen houses. It would be less than responsible for us not to ask to be told about two or three cases. I would like to have those cases stated briefly in order to have a basis for judging the claim for additional power.
– There has been no attempt up to this point of time to enter premises, because the power to do so has not. existed. Senator Turnbull might glean some additional information if he studies the statement made by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) about the operation of the Act. He will not find there the particular information that he is seeking, but he will find quite a lot of information regarding other aspects of the matter. I am sorry that I cannot help Senator Wright on this occasion. All 1 can do is to say that after the inspectors produce their authorisation they will be entitled to use what force is necessary to carry out the work they have been asked to do.
.- I should like to take a minute or iwo to follow up that point while it is still in our minds. The existing section, which has been in operation since 28th May 1965. contains a power to enter. If that section is deficient and if cases have shown it to be deficient, it is not because power to enter has not existed. The present section 11(1.) provides -
For the purposes of this Act, a person authorised in writing by the Minister to exercise powers under this section may, at all reasonable times and on production of that authority, enter any building or place where, in the opinion of that person, there are any books . . . and may take extracts from, and make copies of, any such books . .
There is no power to enter for the purpose of inspecting and counting hens.
– That is what 1 was referring to earlier. I am sorry if I misled the honorable senator.
– Are we to lake it that the Department knows of no case where entry to inspect books was foiled because of a deficiency of power?
.- I rise to reinforce what Senator Wright has said. After two or three hours we have got to the kernel of the problem that has been exercising the minds of honorable senators and which certainly has been exercising my mind. The kernel of this nut is that an enlargement of powers is being sought. I am sympathetic to the Minister for Repatriation. He is in an extraordinarily difficult position. But the fact remains that no evidence has been adduced to support the enlargement of powers. Any such enlargement can be justified only on the basis of experience gained. It is proper, and important to the well being of the Parliament, that the Ministry. in seeking these powers, should be utterly and absolutely Crank about the matter. If there is no evidence to support the seeking of increased powers, then I fail to see why they should be sought.
.- Senator Wright said a moment ago that the existing section had been in operation since May 1965. Earlier he said that I had claimed that there should be a poll of the producers in relation to such matters, and he rebuked me because he did not get a seconder when he moved an amendment in 1965 that was designed to ensure that a poll would be held. I was not a member of the Senate in May 1965. Therefore, his rebuke cannot be applied to me. He rebuked Senator Turnbull and me. I have now vindicated myself.
I shall be compelled to vote against the clause we are now considering. The Minister for Repatriation said originally that a producer’s home could be searched in his absence. Later he qualified that statement by saying that there was a provision for issuing an authority and that that authority would have to be shown to somebody. Later he said: “ If nobody was there, 1 know what I would do.” In other words, the Minister said categorically that the home of a producer could be ransacked in his absence. I am amazed that some of the members of the Australian Country Party have not taken a stand on this matter. I ask them what their altitude would be if a producer came to their home one day and informed them that on returning from an authorised absence he discovered that his home had been ransacked by a poultry inspector. I should say that they and their supporters in that area would become strong activists. I shall have no alternative but to record a vote against this clause. I could not have on my conscience the fact that 1 had permitted the home of an individual to be searched and ransacked in his absence without a warrant, and his personal property examined without anybody being present to represent him.
. Several producers known to be keeping large numbers of hens have refused inspectors a right of entry to count them. They have also denied that they kept records. This is another of the reasons 1 am giving in reply to Senator Turnbull. Senator Cormack said that no reasons had been advanced for seeking an enlargement of power. None is so blind as he who does not want to see. Senator McManus went too far in trying to read u certain meaning into my remarks. What he said was the cause of some amusement to honorable senators, including some of my colleagues. I was referring to cases in which the inspecting officer had proof that the producers concerned were deliberately absenting themselves from their poultry runs so the inspector could not produce his authorisation and go ahead with a search. The honorable senator stated that I had said that I knew what I would do in such circumstances. I do know, but the honorable senator does not. Senator Cormack wanted information about people who have been prosecuted. If the honorable senator wants those people to be named, I understand that the officers of the Department are in a position to name them. If he does not want that done, we can proceed. Senator Wright also asked why we have not been able to inspect books. 1 understand that the excuse given on those occasions was that no books were kept. 1 think that 1 have answered as best I can, most of the questions that have been asked.
Question put -
That the clause stand as printed.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator T. C.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 19th October (vide page 1214), on motion by Senator McKellar -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 1294), on motion by Senator Henty -
That the Bill be now read a second lime.
– With the concurrence of the Senate, I dealt with ali three of the previous Bills together. If there is no objection, I intend to deal now wilh the Superannuation Bill, the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill and the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill together. All three Bills make provision for pensions for orphans in certain circumstances.
– There being no objection, that course will bc followed.
– It is not without some trepidation that I speak on these Bills, because I was the first speaker today on the Poultry Industry Bill and I am still trying to recover from the furore thai was created in that case. 1 hope there will not be a reptition of that in the debate on these Bills. Broadly, the Superannuation Bill establishes a new basis for orphans pensions by relating them to the father’s former salary and pension entitlement. This will enable such children and their mother to enjoy a more reasonable standard of living, and will make it possible for several orphan children to be absorbed into the household of a relative without imposing an impossible financial burden on that relative. The existing benefit of $10 is retained as the minimum benefit. The Australian Labour Party supports this proposition in respect of the Superannuation Bill. We think this is something that could have been done before. Still remembering what happened in the debate on the poultry industry bills, I am of the opinion that the debate on the Superannuation Bill will not engage much of the Senate’s time.
The Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill has no other purpose than to extend to the children of serving members of the Permanent Forces and pensioners under the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Act the new basis of entitlement proposed for orphaned children under the Superannuation Bill. Therefore, this measure is in the nature of a machinery Bill, supplementary to the Superannuation Bill. Finally, the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill is designed to increase the existing rate of $6 a week to a minimum of $10 a week. This amount may be increased to an amount calculated by dividing the pension that would have been paid to the widow by the number of eligible children or by four, whichever is the greater. 1 understand that not much consideration was given to the question of orphans under the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Act, for the very good reason thai until recently no orphans were concerned. The fact that in recent times three orphans have become concerned makes it necessary to amend the Act to provide for this contingency. All three measures have the approval of the Australian Labour Party, and not much debate on them should ensue.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed from 20th October (vide page 1294), on motion by Senator Henty-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Consideration resumed from 20th October (vide page 1295), on motion by Senator Henty -
Thai the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 1363), on motion by Senator Henty -
Thai the Bill be now read a second time.
– I want to refer to only a few matters relating to the provisions of this Bill. I am pleased that the Government has seen fit to grant to the States almost the whole amount they sought under the States Grants (Special Assistance) Act. I want to refer to a table at page 34 of the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, showing the average weekly earnings per employed male unit. Western Australia shows the lowest amount earned in any State, at $49.30 a week. Personal income per capita is lowest in Western Australia, being $1,139. It is interesting to note what the Grants Commission had to say in paragraph 35 -
It may be observed from Table 10 that the increase in average weekly earnings in Western Australia over the period 1960-61 to 1964-6S was 18.3 per cent., which was also the average increase for New South Wales and Victoria. The Tasmanian increase was about 17.3 per cent. In respect of personal income per capita (Table lt) the Western Australian increase was only 20.2 per cent., compared with an average increase in the standard States of 22.7 per cent. The Tasmanian increase was about 22.6 oer cent. It should be noted that in 1964-65, as compared with 1963- 64, the “ standard “ increase in average weekly earnings was 7.4 per cent., whereas in Western Australia and Tasmania it was only 4.4 per cent.
This, of course, is not a complete analysis of incomes in the claimant State of Western Australia. In paragraph 36 the Commission stated -
Table 12 set; out the information contained in Tables 10 and 11 on page 34 as an index for each year based on the average of New South Wales and Victoria equated to 100. This Table shows thai the disparity in personal incomes between the claimant Slates and the standard States is greater than the contrast in average weekly earnings per male unit employed. This seems to indicate that there are proportionately more persons wilh large incomes in the standard States than in the claimant States.
Table 12 shows that in Western Australia the index for average weekly earnings per male unit employed is 87.33, compared wilh an index of 100 for New South Wales and Victoria. Personal income per capita in Western Australia is 79.93 compared with an index figure of 100 for New South Wales and Victoria. In paragraph 37 the Commission stated -
Average weekly earnings for Australia as a whole rose in 1965-66 by about 4 per cent., which was somewhat less than the increase of about 7 per cent, in 1964-65. In 1964-65 the increase was due to a rise in the basic wage of $2 as from the first pay period after 19th June 1964. In 1965-66 the main factor was the increase in margins awarded by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in June 1965. This increase did not of course flow to al) workers. In 1965-66 basic wage rates were only increased in two Slates, Queensland and Western Australia, where the State basic wage is still subject to quarterly cost of living adjustments. There was no alteration in 1965-66 in the Commonwealth basic wage. 1 mention this because the Commonwealth Grants Commission holds against the State of Western Australia the fact that the basic wage is subject to quarterly adjustment, and because the wage increases in accordance wilh the C series index and the Western Australian Government gets an adverse grant in respect of the basic wage. The Premier of Western Australia stated in his Budget speech this year that legislation would be before the Parliament to abolish the discretion of the Industrial Commission to grant quarterly adjustments. He has said recently that this must be done because the amount of the increases cannot be recouped to the State by the Commonwealth Grams Commission. 1 hope that I have been able to point out that Western Australia is the low wage State of Australia. Despite what the Liberal propagandists may say about the Sta’.e and its booming property, it is the low wage Stale of Australia.
That is shown in all of the statistics presented by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Nevertheless, the Commission comes to the conclusion that non-income taxation in Western Australia is the most severe in any State. 1 propose to refer to some of this non-income taxation. Let us look first at the position in relation to motor vehicles. We find that the fee to register the transfer of a motor vehicle is §2 in New South Wales, in Victoria it is 25 cents per horse power, and in Western Australia it is $2. In Victoria the fee for a driver’s licence is S6 for a 3-year term, and there is an addition of $2 for each original driver’s licence. In Western Australia there is a tax of $4 for each original driver’s licence.
Let us turn now to probate and succession duties as at 30th June 1965. In New South Wales there is an exemption up to $20,000, and the rale of tax is 5.75c per $2, where the final balance of the estate is §20,002, rising to 54c per $2 where the final balance exceeds $200,000. In Victoria an estate of SI 2,000 is exempt from probale duly and a rate of 20c per $2 is charged where the final balance is $12,002, rising to 45c per $2 where the final balance exceeds $189,334. In Western Australia the amount of exemption is $5,000 and the tax is 7.5c for each $2 by which the final balance exceeds $5,000, rising to 39.37c per $2 on an estate of $150,000, plus 33i per cent, on any excess over $1 50,000.
Now let me move to the next table which relates to land taxation as at 30th June 1965. There is a general exemption in New South Wales up to $16,500 reducing by $6 for every $2 by which the value exceeds $16,500. Rates are charged on the basis of 83c for each $2 of taxable values up to $5,000 rising to $2,428 tax plus 6.66c for each $2 of value exceeding $130,000. In Victoria the general exemption is $6,000 reducing by $4 for every $2 by which value exceeds $6,000. Rates are charged on the basis of .83c for each $2 of taxable values up to $17,500 rising to S2,849 tax plus 5.83c for each $2 of value exceeding $170,000. In Western Australia there is no exemption. Tax is paid on the total value of the land - the unimproved value of the land, I might add, although one can assess one’s property on the improved value. Rates are charged on the basis of 1.25c for each S2 on all values up to $10,000 rising to $1,812 tax plus 5.83c for each $2 of value exceeding $120,000.
Looking at Table E which deals with racing taxation we find that stamp duly on belting tickets in New South Wales is 1.67c in the paddock and .83c elsewhere. In Victoria it is 1.67c in grandstand enclosures on metropolitan courses and .83c elsewhere. In Western Australia it is 2.5c in the enclosure and .83c elsewhere. There is no stamp duty on betting tickets used by off course bookmakers in New South Wales and Victoria but in Western Australia the stamp duty is 1.25c on bets up to S2 and 2.5c on bets over $2. There is no betting investment tax in New South Wales and Victoria but in Western Australia it is 2.5c on bets up to $2 and 5c on bets over $2. In respect of totalisators on the course, there is a tax on turnover in New South Wales of I2i per cent., in Victoria of 12 per cent., and in Western Australia of .15 per cent. In respect of totalisators off the course, there is a tax on turnover in New South Wales of 12± per cent., in Victoria of 12 per cent., and in Western Australia of 15 per cent. There is no betting invest ment tax in New South Wales and Victoria but in Western Australia it is the same as that applicable to off-course bookmakers, namely, 1.25c on bets up to $2 and 2.5c on bets over $2.
I have brought these facts to the notice of the Senate - because of the lateness of the hour I will not delve into them any further - to try to impress upon the Senate that although those who have earnings in Western Australia are the lowest paid in Australia they are, in many instances, the highest taxed. This is something the Commonwealth Grants Commission should look at in the verynear future.
I should like to invite the attention of the Senate particularly to the’ matter of education. I. do not know how the Commonwealth Grants Commission correlates charges for education in Western Australia, with its vast area, with those of the standard States.It is true that over the years all the States have developed centralised education facilities and bus services to take children to and from school. Because of the long distances involved and the difficulties of terrain this has been more expensive in Western Australia than it has been in the two standard States, not only because of the distances that have to be travelled and the types of buses that have to be provided but also because of the smallness of the population spread over these vast areas.I refer to paragraphs 111 and 112 on page 69 of the report which states - 111. With regard to the cost of transportation of children to schools, the Commission’s investigations have disclosed that the concessions in providing transport or reducing fares in public transport services arc markedly similar in the claimant States and in the standard States except that in New South Wales a charge is made to a parent whose children arc carried on buses under contract to the Education Department. The concessional fares on the public transport services in the claimant States are not dissimilar to those prevailing in the standard States. The costs of carriage of children in contract buses depend no doubt upon various factors affecting motor transport in each State. At the present stage the Commission is not aware of any reason for supposing that these contracts arc. not “ let “ upon the normal rates prevailing in each locality. 112. In its last two Reports, the Commission has explained that, although the cost of transportation per school child was conspicuously higher in each of the claimant Stales than in the standard States, these differences were probably due to a variety of factors such as a more elaborate system of public transport in the standard States, the longer distances travelled in Western Australia and the topography of Tasmania. The Commission indicated that these considerations might dispose the Commission to allow to the claimant Stales the higher cost of transportation for each child but it was felt “that the process of consolidation in rural schools has resulted in economies on the side of education but higher charges in relation to transportation “. As a result, for the last two years of review the Commission allowed part only-
I emphasise the words “ part only “ - of the additional costs of transportation and disallowed $484,000 for Western Australia and $272.000 for Tasmania.
I ask the Senate to consider whether this is a fair attitude for the Grants Commission to adopt in view of the sparsity of population and the broad acres of Western Australia where children have to be carried over long distances, and whether the Commonwealth Government should make a greater contribution to primary education in that State.
I wish to draw attention to only one other matter in connection with the report. In Western Australia we have the State Shipping Service. It is a developmental service. It is designed to provide a service for the people who live in the outback areas in the north west of the State. Irrespective of the cost of operating that service and whatever burdens increases in wages, the cost of living or anything else might impose on it, the Grants Commission has set the amount that it will allow in respect of the operation of that service at $2.4 million.
We all know that over the 17 years for which this Government has been in office there has been an inflationary spiral which has been sponsored or encouraged by the Government. I do not say that it has been detrimental to the working people of Australia. But it has led naturally to increased costs. While that inflationary spiral continues, costs will continue to increase. For the Grants Commission to say: “ The limit that we will allow in respect of this service, despite the fact it is a developmental service, is $2.4 million “ is not to recognise the fact that there will be increases in costs and wages.
This forces the Western Australian Government to impose additional charges on the people who live in the outback areas. I believe that it is time the Grants Commission had a second look at this matter. Perhaps it could fix a standard year in respect of costs and then apply a formula to take care of increases. 1 would not be opposed to that, because the increases must occur. But it is completely unrealistic to have a fixed cost in a period of inflation. 1 suggest that the Grants Commission have a second look at this matter and that proposition.
I think 1 have shown that Western Australia is a low wage State and that nonincome taxation imposes a higher burden on people with lesser incomes in that State than in the standard States. 1 refer to the provisions of the recent Commonwealth Budget in which the Commonwealth Government dodged the issue of increased taxation and passed the buck to the States in this election year. It is problematical whether the Western Australian Government has usurped the functions of this Commonwealth Parliament by imposing what is generally recognised as a turnover tax or a sales tax under the name of a stamp duty. That must have its effect on the cost of living in that State because, if retailers, wholesalers and all the other people who sell goods are compelled to pay 3c for each $1 of sales, that must be loaded on lo costs.
The reason why I say that it is problematical whether this tax is legal and whether it crosses the path of the Commonwealth Government is that, for the purpose o£ payment of the tax, sales can be aggregated on a monthly basis into §10 lots. Instead of a person having to pay 3c tax on a 5c sale, he is able to aggregate his sales and pay 3c on each $10 that he receives. It is a wonder to me that the Commonwealth Government has not had a look at this intrusion by the Western Australian Government into the field of turnover tax, sales tax or stamp duty - whatever name one wants to give it - and the practicalities of it.
The Western Australian Government has also been forced by the Commonwealth Budget to increase bus fares and to disallow certain freight exemptions that were given previously. That imposes a further burden on the low income earners in that State. In New South Wales and Victoria - the two standard States - hospital charges have been increased by 30 per cent., but in Western Australia they have been increased by 50 per cent. Tn the first instance, that imposes a charge on people who are unfortunate enough to be ill and to require hospital treatment. It also imposes an increased tax on the great majority of the people of Western Australia because they will have to pay increased contributions to hospital and medical benefit funds in order to protect themselves against the financial consequences of illness. This represents an imposition on people who earn less money per week or per annum than any other group of workers in Australia. 1 refer now to the recent decision of the Commonwealth Government on the Ord River scheme. I do not think I am out of bounds in doing so because the title of the Bill refers to special assistance grants. 1 believe that I can bring the Ord River scheme within the debate on this Bill. I appreciate the position of Western Australian members of the Government parties. I give them credit for taking up their position. I know that in this Parliament they are bound by the decisions of their parties. I am in the same position. I am bound by decisions of my party. I respect them for supporting the decisions of their parties.
Nevertheless, last Friday the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) made a statement which he termed a deferment of any further assistance for the Ord River scheme. I remind the Senate that over the years wc in Australia have built up a secondary industry that fabricates the product of the cotton farmer, lt spins the cotton and then fabricates the cotton into cloth. The fabrication industry is dependent upon a continued supply of this raw material. I point out to the Senate that over the years we in Australia have had two arms of. government. We have had the Senate and the House of Representatives to deal with the problems of Australia. In another country with which we are very closely associated - the United States of America - there are three arms of government - a Senate, a House of Representatives and a lobbying section. The lobbying section in the United States of America is as powerful as either of the houses of parliament there. In respect of the Ord River scheme, we have had introduced in Australia the counterpart of the lobbying section of the American parliament. People came here to advocate, not a case for assistance to the cotton growers of Wee Waa and Narrabri, but the case against the further development of the Ord River scheme.
Why did they do this? It is because a Commonwealth bounty is payable on the production of colton. This bounty is limited to $4 million, and is paid in respect of a standard grade of colton and the amount of cotton produced. Once production exceeds a certain level the amount of bounty that will be paid is reduced. The Narrabri and Wee Waa growers want the whole of the $4 million subsidy to be paid to them. They do not want any further cotton production at the Ord. This attitude is completely selfish. I remind the Senate that there are a number of American cotton growers at Narrabri and Wee Waa.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brock,nan) - Order! I think that I have given the honorable senator a fair amount of latitude. I do not think the honorable senator can discuss the Ord River scheme under this Bill. But he may refer to it fleetingly.
– I am sorry that you have ruled in this way, Mr. Deputy President, because you have forced me to speak On this matter on the motion for the adjournment at approximately 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock tomorrow morning as I intended to say what I have to say before I leave this Parliament at the end of this session, if you will tolerate me for another 4 minutes or 5 minutes, I will be very grateful. I said at the opening of my remarks concerning the Ord River that we have this fabricating industry, lt is reliant upon a continued supply of these raw resources. We expect that these raw resources, if they can be produced in Australia, will be produced in Australia, and will not be imported. About three years ago. cotton could not be grown at Narrabri and Wee Waa because those areas were flooded out. That, experience created the first uncertainty as to whether this raw material could be supplied from this area. I know that the Government has blamed the drought in New South Wales and in Queensland for a number of its troubles. 1 do not deny that a number of its troubles have stemmed from the drought. But I remind the Senate that at present the amount of water in the Keepit Dam that provides the irrigation requirement for the growing of cotton at Wee Waa and Narrabri is only 8 per cent, of its capacity. It is unlikely that the area will get rain-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order! I ask the honorable senator to relate his remarks to the Bill.
– I will not take the matter any further. I will speak on the motion for the adjournment.
– 1 wish to make a few observations in relation to the latest report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. We are indebted to the Commission for the excellent nature of the report and the information contained therein. But there are one or two aspects of the report which I would like to make mention. Some of these aspects have been touched on by Senator Cant. He referred to the State Shipping Service. I want largely to support what he said concerning the Commission’s decision. I cannot understand why the Commission is penalising Western Australia because of the loss that is being incurred. That loss is due partly to competitive services. One such service is the Commonwealth subsidised airline. Therefore, the receipts and earnings of the Slate Shipping Service are reduced very considerably by the loss of traffic occasioned by the development of a service that is subsidised by the Commonwealth.
The Grants Commission places an arbitrary figure in its assessment of what would be a reasonable loss figure for the Service without any real justification. This is more or less an arbitrary figure decided upon by the Commission. The fact is that the losses are greater than that figure. So, irrespective of the conditions that apply - the increased costs or any effect on its earnings - there will be a negative adjustment. That negative adjustment was come $406,000. It seems to me that in this decision the Commonwealth Grants Commission has gone beyond its charter in measuring the comparable services to the States. This is a matter of policy. This is a matter in which the Western Australian Government has decided that for the purposes of developing its vast territory it will accept a loss on an essential service to the people in the remote areas of the State. But the Western Australian Government, because of this, is being faced not only with carrying a loss on the Service but also with having a negative adjustment in regard to its grant. I think that this is a completely unfair assessment of the financial position in Western Australia.
Another matter to which I wish to refer was touched upon also by Senator Cant. This was the negative adjustment on the basis of the higher basic wage in Western Australia. Surely if there is to be a negative adjustment because the Western Australian basic wage is higher than basic wages in other States, there should be a corresponding adjustment because of the fact that in Western Australia the average wage - this is the wage that matters in the overall economic situation - is a great deal lower than the average wage in the standard States. 1 cannot see the reason or the logic in making a negative adjustment in one ca.;e and refusing to take into account the factors involved in Western Australia having a lower average wage in the other case. In this respect, I think the Grants Commission is being unfair to Western Australia.
A further matter that 1 wish to discuss in this connection is the fact that in the assessment of the taxation burden and the economic situation in the two standard States in relation to Western Australia, no account at all is taken into consideration of the expenditure on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. Vast sums of money are being poured into this undertaking. This expenditure has a direct and immediate benefit upon the economy of New South Wales and Victoria. The expenditure involved is some $40 million u year. The planned overall expenditure is approximately $800 million. This expenditure has a vital effect upon the economy of the two standard Slates. But nowhere at any stage does the Commonwealth Grants Commission appear to take cognisance of this expenditure. Surely it is obvious to everyone that, although this money does not appear in any accounts, it is expenditure for or on behalf of the States. Here wc see that there is an elaborate accounting made of expenditure- per head in this respect between the two States. But this is never taken into account when assessing the effect of the Snowy Mountains Authority on the direct welfare of the two States. We have to take into account the fact that this Authority has enabled production of electricity at lower cost in these States and has therefore given the manufacturing interests of the two standard States a considerable advantage over Western Australia, which has no such expenditure to lessen power costs.
There is, of course, the additional benefit of the vast quantity of irrigation water that is provided free of cost to the two States. In deference to the Chair, 1 will not make a comparison with the attitude to the provision of irrigation water in another area of Western Australia. These are economic benefits that the Commonwealth Grants Commission ignores when making a comparison. 1 must also make a passing reference to the economic effect of defence expenditure. Our expenditure on defence has been greatly increased. A direct economic effect results. The great bulk of defence expenditure occurs in the two standard States. Again the Commonwealth Grants Commission ignores these benefits in making its assessment. These factors need to be taken in account. I have offered criticisms of the Commonwealth Grants Commission and its method of assessment of grants to the two claimant States. I will conclude now. having drawn the attention of the Senate lo these failures of the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
CANNED FRUITS EXHORT CHARGES BILL 1966.
Debate resumed from 25th October (vide page 1388’). on motion bv Senator McKellar-
Thai tha Bill be now read a second time.
.- This Bill has a threefold purpose, lt is designed to tidy up anomalies that have existed in the Canned Fruits Export Charges Act. As honorable senators are aware, the purpose of export charges is to raise funds for the general administration and activities of the Australian Canned Fruits Board. Over the years, the Board has organised the export and marketing of canned fruits. It has done a very good job for the canned fruits industry. However, an anomaly has been found to exist in relation to payment of the charges. Up to the present, each shipment had to be paid for as it was exported. Under this legislation, the charges will be paid in one sum to cover all exports within 30 days of the month of exporting. A lot of extra book work will be avoided and a lot of irritation on the accounting side will be removed. I think it is a most desirable amendment.
The introduction of decimal currency posed some problems for the Board and this Bill will assist to remove those problems. A charge was made at the rate of one-fourth of 1d. per 30 oz. of canned fruit exported. With the conversion’ to decimal currency, the rate became two-tenths of a cent per 30 oz. As this has led to complications involving calculations to decimal places, this Bill authorises that a charge per carton will be made, calculated at an exact number of cents.
An ambiguity existed in the method of expression of the charge. It could be taken as relating to volume fill of the can or to its actual net contents. The new method of calculating the charge will be on a carton and the difficulty will be eliminated. The Opposition appreciates the advantages of the amendments. They will assist in the general administration of the Australian Canned Fruits Board. We want to assist the Board in the good job it is doing and we place our imprimatur on the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.
Debate resumed from 25th October (vide page 1390), on motion by Senator McKellar-
Thai the Bill bc now read a second time.
Senator TOOHEY (South Australia) 14.18]. - This Bill has a twofold purpose. First, it modifies the method of arriving at the average return as prescribed in the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Act 1964. Secondly, it provides a new procedure for bounty payments under the Act which is designed to simplify administration and to fit the industry’s financing pattern. Honorable senators will remember that the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Act and the two associated Acts came into existence in 1964. At that lime a fairly comprehensive debate was conducted in the Senate touching on all matters relating to the legislation. I took part in that debate and expressed the hope that the scheme as outlined by the Government would meet the requirements of the industry. 1 must confess that having closely examined the operation of the scheme and discussed it with a wide section of growers, apart from a few consequential requirements, the legislation has served its purpose well. This seems an appropriate time to mention that fact.
The scheme will operate for five years as from .1964. It is now in the second year of operation. Some anomalies have occurred in the first two years of operation. The Bill before us is designed to remove those anomalies and to provide for smoother operation of the legislation. In his second reading speech, the Minister explained the proposed amendments in detail, lt has never been my practice to weary the Senate with a repetition of the details of a Minister’s second reading speech, and I propose to run true to form today. However, I think I have an obligation to outline briefly the purpose of the amendments. The Bill deals with the ascertainment of the average return as prescribed in section 7 (2.) of the Act. Experience gained over the last two years has revealed some anomalies which need to be corrected. The Bill seeks also to correct some of the administrative disadvantages present in the existing method of payment as provided for in section 9. Provision is being made for payment by a central industry authority, with necessary safeguards. The amending legislation recognises traditional industry practice. Special arrangements are entered into whereby packing houses make loans or. advances to growers, and later the picking houses recoup those moneys from the proceeds of the sale of the growers’ fruit. As 1 indicated, that practice is recognised in this legislation. The amendments set out in the Bill are necessary and wise. They meet with the approval of the Australian Labour Party.
The only other comment I wish to make concerns the concluding statement in the Minister’s second reading speech. The Minister said -
In conclusion, I should like lo report very briefly on the operation of the scheme to date. The 1964 season’s returns to growers were satisfactory, and a contributory charge on all three varieties was collected and paid into the funds. I will be happy to give details on request. 1 suggest that, when dealing with a scheme which is of importance to a very worthy section of Australian primary industry, something more than details given upon request should be provided. I have followed the progress of the stabilisation scheme by discussing it, as I said earlier, with the growers themselves. I am happy to be able to report that the vast majority of growers are pleased with the progress of the scheme to date. Whilst we all appreciate the Minister’s offer to furnish details upon request, 1 believe that a full report of the progress of the scheme and any difficulties that have been encountered should be given to the Senate at regular intervals. From time to time J get the reports of the Australian Dried Fruits Association. By reading those reports carefully 1 am enabled to ascertain what the growers are thinking about the scheme and what difficulties are encountered. I know that a minority of the growers find fault with the scheme. Nevertheless, as I said a moment ago, the vast majority of the growers are quite happy with the progress of the scheme thus far. I suggest that if a full report were given to the Senate from time to time we would be better able to assess the position.
– in reply - I thank the Opposition for its support. I express my appreciation to Senator Toohey, who led for the Opposition, for the manner in which he approached his task. The only figures I have relate to 1964. It will be appreciated that it takes some time for figures to be finalised. In 1964 the charge payable on currants was $6.13 per ton and the balance held in the Fund was $72,388. The charge on sultanas was $17.80, and balance in the Fund was $1,530,000. The charge payable on raisins was $20 per ton, and the amount held in the Fund was $165,000. The only information I have for 1965 shows that the charge payable on currants was $4.12 per ton. If the honorable senator wishes to have some later figures which are not now in my possession, I shall see whether I can get them for him.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 25th October (vide page 1393), on motion by Senator Anderson -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- This Bill and the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill are the only two comprehensive pieces of legislation relating to extradition that have come before the National Parliament. I suppose it can be said, therefore, that these Bills are significant in that they are mile posts along the road of Australia’s progress to independence. The law relating to extradition is a most important branch of the law, because it affects very substantially a number of basic aspects of civil liberty. In past years the rights of asylum which people who were being sought in the countries of their origin could have in other countries were very important indeed. If it had not been for the free institutions of the Netherlands, for example, in the 17th and 18th centuries, a number of eminent British political figures like Hobbes and Locke would not have been able to survive or to make their contributions to human thought. The Bill with which we are dealing today replaces an old imperial act known as the Fugitive Offenders Act of 1881. One of the many reasons why this Bill is necessary is that owing to the constitutional changes that have taken place inside the Commonwealth of Nations, the Fugitive Offenders Act is now inoperative in a large number of countries which are no longer monarchies but are republics within the Commonwealth. Other matters are being attended to in the Bill which, to a certain extent, appear to modify the law relating to extradition.
I do not intend to speak at any great length on this Bill or on any particular provisions of it. I think that my colleague, Senator Murphy, will have something to say on some of its provisions later on. But I think it is a shocking state of affairs that a most important and complex piece of legislation like this should be presented to the Parliament with so little time for adequate research or adequate discussion of it. The Parliament has been in possession of the Bill for perhaps a fortnight. It contains some very complicated law relating to extradition. There are seven lawyers who are members of the Senate. I think it is very unlikely that any of them could possibly have had an opportunity to consider the Bill in the way in which they would like to consider it. This appears to me to be a clear example of the necessity for having committees of the Senate or of the Parliament to consider legislation of this nature, lt is very unfortunate that a matter of so much complexity should be considered in this cursory manner.
The Opposition is not opposing the Bill. From the perusal that we have been able to give to it, we believe that in most instances adequate safeguards are provided. One of the most important and serious difficulties that can be faced in any extradition legislation concerns the person who is being sought for some political offence inside his own country. In recent years there have been bad examples of countries seeking to extradite their citizens from other countries in order that they might be brought back to face some sort of persecution or harassment for their political views or activities. This Bill makes an effort to overcome this situation. It deliberately precludes people who are being charged with political offences. It also allows exemptions to people where, although it appears that they are to be charged with a non-political offence, there is in fact a political motive in bringing the charge against them. Of course, often it is difficult to draw a line between a non-political offence and a political offence. If some sort, of riot or civil disorder takes place and somebody is charged with injuring or killing a policeman, for instance, during the course of the upheaval, under the laws of most countries that person is liable to ordinary criminal prosecution, and yet at the same time I suppose one could say that if it were not for the political disturbances which were taking place and the political activities of the assailant, he would not have become involved in the situation and would not be sought by the country of his origin.
Parliament will have to watch constantly the workings of this Bill because, as I remarked earlier, it is a piece of law which is most important to the maintenance of people’s civil liberties. I repeat, however, that nothing like adequate attention has been given to the Bill. It has been quite impossible for members of the Senate to give adequate study to the detailed provisions of the Bill and to the case law on extradition which could be found only with some difficulty.
– I rise to join Senator Wheeldon in the remarks that he has made. This is an extremely important Bill. The courts of our land and those of the British Commonwealth generally have always regarded these matters of extradition and of fugitive offenders as being among the most important questions to come before them. In such matters one is dealing with a person who has committed no crime against the State in which he is being apprehended and from which he is being sent. So it is a very serious matter that the State should deal with a person and say: “ Because a charge has been levelled against you in some other State, you are liable to be arrested here and taken against your will out of this country - perhaps to a place thousands of miles away - to face a charge somewhere else “. One can imagine the inconvenience and the disruption to life that is involved in all this, irrespective of whether the person ultimately is convicted or acquitted. There are many instances of persons being extradited but finally acquitted in the places to which they were taken. Of course, the reverse can apply. Under a Bill such as this we seek to invoke powers in order to bring people back from some other country to face a charge.
This is an extremely serious matter indeed. It is an interference with the liberty and security of persons in the State in which they are living. Of course, we must have some interference with liberty and security where it is proper for the protection of the society in which we live, and because of the comity of States we need such arrangements as are dealt with by this Bill. However, the matters are of such great concern that we feel that a more adequate opportunity ought to have been given for examination of the provisions of the Bill than has been given. The proposals for alteration of the law have been discussed at a confidential level for years. An enactment such as that now before us is undoubtedly intended to serve as the law for a very long time. But it does not seem right that this matter should be brought into this chamber to be dealt with in the dying hours of this Parliament, as it has been, lt does not matter whether the Bill has been before the Parliament for a few days or several weeks, lt has come to the Senate only in the last couple of days.
In view of the programme that we have before us and the coming of the election, it is quite obvious that no proper examination could be made of this legislation. This is simply not good enough. I expect that many honorable senators who would have liked to engage in an examination of this measure will simply be unable to do so. They have not had the time or the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of the law on the matter or with principles which should obtain in such a measure.
I agree with Senator Wheeldon that the Bill properly provides that a person will not he removed to meet charges which are substantially political charges or where the object of the removal is to prosecute a person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions, or where his trial may be prejudiced because of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions. This is something which we would jealously guard in respect of our own citizens, or indeed in respect of any persons who happen to be resident in our community. We would not want them to be removed to face charges elsewhere if there were something about the proceedings which indicated that the charges or the circumstances had a political or similar content. 1 am not altogether satisfied with the provisions in the Bill in relation lo writs of habeas corpus and appeals. There is provision for a writ of habeas corpus to be issued in relation to an order which has been made by a magistrate committing a person to custody. The traditional method has been used - that is, examination by a superior court of the order by the magistrate. Over the years, great questions have been raised in the courts on whether a superior court, on a writ of habeas corpus, is entitled to go beyond the merely formal matters of the jurisdiction of the magistrate and the authenticity of documents and to look at the quality of the evidence given before the magistrate. If the superior court was satisfied that there was not a substantial enough case against the person, it could then issue the writ on that ground. We know that there is provision elsewhere in the Bill for persons to take the view that the matter concerned is trivial and so on, and not to act on an order that is made, but the question whether, in habeas corpus proceedings, the superior Court can order release on the merits of the case does not appear to have been dealt with in the Bill. It ought to have been.
Another matter that should have been clarified - it has been the crux of some of the most famous cases in British law - is how a writ of habeas corpus is to operate in respect of these persons. It was said in one of the great cases, that of “ Cox v. Hakes” in 1880 - I am using my own words now but I think J fairly express what was said in that case - that the writ of habeas corpus was the great safeguard of the liberty of the British people, and that that safeguard was founded on two important aspects of this great writ. First, one could go to any judge of the High Court in Britain - that is, to any of the justices of the superior court - and, if the writ was refused then, to any other judge. When the liberty of the citizen was at stake, one could go to each judge in turn. If one of them granted a writ, that was the end of thi matter. Under the old enactments on habeas corpus, there were serious penalties - I think amounting to some thousands of pounds and forfeiture of office - if a judge refused lo entertain an application for that writ. That shows how highly it was regarded. The next aspect which was said to be a cornerstone of British liberty was that once a writ was granted and the citizen was set free, there could be no appeal against that decision. The citizen could always appeal if the writ was refused, but if he was set free no appeal could be made against that. This is paralleled by the situation where a man is acquitted of a crime. Once a man is acquitted, the fundamental principle of the law is that there can be no appeal by the prosecution against discharge following that acquittal.
We have seen in recent times the erosion of these two aspects of this great writ. In Great Britain, the liberties which were once prized by the average citizen have become of less and less moment. The State and, indeed, some of the judiciary seem to have been bent on breaking down the traditional liberties of the citizen. One has seen the cutting away of both of these aspects. In Great Britain a citizen is no longer entitled to go from judge to judge on a writ of habeas corpus. There has also been an invasion of the principle that there can be no appeal against a decision to issue the writ. In New South Wales the law was that there could be no appeal against a discharge on a writ of habeas corpus, but such is the lack, of concern in our community for these great rights that honorable senators perhaps will learn without surprise that, by a schedule to a procedural act in New South Wales, an appeal was granted, for the first time, against discharge on a writ of habeas corpus. This was done in such a manner that no person, even a vigilant person, would realise that this great safeguard was being swept away. The provision was tucked away amongst dozens of other ordinary procedural amendments. That means that the operation in New South Wales of this enactment, as I conceive it, is now such that a citizen who had gained his liberty on a writ of habeas corpus by the order of a justice of the Supreme Court would be liable to have an appeal made against that decision to the Full Court of the State. Since no special steps have been taken otherwise, it would seem - ‘perhaps the Minister, with the assistance of his advisers, will be able to give some enlightenment on this at a later stage - that the citizen who had obtained his liberty by an order of habeas corpus from a Supreme Court justice would still be liable to have an appeal against that to the High Court of Australia. Has any step been taken to protect such persons from what otherwise would be the general constitutional appeal to the High Court? 1 raise these matters because traditionally they have been regarded as the great bases upon which not only the citizen but even the alien within the shores of a British country receives protection.
One other matter to which I should like to refer is the special provision in relation to extradition to and from certain Commonwealth countries neighbouring Australia. Clause 28 of the Bill seems to provide that the person bringing the warrant may apply to the Supreme Court of the State for a review of the decision of the magistrate. This means that even where an application is made to a magistrate, and he hears the matter and decides that he is not satisfied, nevertheless a person who, in the opinion of the magistrate, may have committed no crime at all against this community will be liable to have his liberty further imperilled and to be put to the trouble and inconvenience of defending himself in further proceedings before the Supreme Court of the State or Territory in which he is apprehended. 1 should like to know whether, even if he were to succeed there, he would still be liable to a succession of appeals to the ultimate tribunals. If that is so - and it would seem to be so - this is the very thing that the great judges of the past said could never be tolerated, that is, that the liberty of the citizen should be subject to successive appeals. If the citizen has been imprisoned or detained under an order. Ibr the sake of the Community he should be entitled to appeal, but if a judicial tribunal has stated that he is to be set free, his liberty ought not to be subjected to further and further proceedings by the State. If that is the position of the Bill, it seems to be a very unhappy one.
A further matter to which I should like to refer is the special provision in relation to extradition to and from certain Commonwealth countries neighbouring Australia, which reads -
For the purposes of a review under this section a copy of a public document or of a document filed in a Department or office of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, certified to be a true copy of the document by the person purporting by the certificate to have charge of the document, is admissible as evidence of the facta stated in the copy.
This seems to bc a very unusual provision in a matter which affects the liberty of the subject. On the face of it, it appears to provide that if a document is filed in an office of the State or Territory or the Commonwealth, as long as somebody produces a copy of it and there is a certification that that is a true copy, that is admissible as evidence of the facts stated in it. There is no limitation on what the facts are that are stated. These are not only formal matters. It deals with any facts at all that may be stated in the document.
– It is more than unusual: it is peculiar.
– Such a provision may exist elsewhere, but I am not aware of it. It does not appear to be in the provisions which deal with extradition between other Commonwealth countries, that is. other than these certain neighbouring countries, or foreign States, and I would be amazed if any country would allow the liberty of its citizens or even that of aliens resident within its shores to be dependent in extradition upon evidence which could be presented in such a manner that with the simple production of a copy of a document from an office this could be then available as evidence of the facts stated in it.
– Would the legislation require proof of the authenticity of that document?
– Merely certification that this is a true copy of the document, by the person purporting to have charge of the document. In other words, some files from the security service, some statements in a social services document - anything at all, whether it be the wildest hearsay or anything of that nature - apparently could be evidence of the matters stated in the document, not in a mere civil matter, not in a mere matter where a person is liable to be tried perhaps next week and perhaps released because he can show that these matters are untrue. This is to be available to have him taken perhaps to New Zealand at great expense and considerable inconvenience to himself.
– In order to have allegations accepted as facts, all one would have to do would be to file a document.
– Senator Wheeldon observes that in order to have evidence of facts for the court, all one would have to do would be to file in an office a document setting out those facts. This does seem to be strange.
– To which provision is the honorable senator referring?
– Clause 28 (4.). It may be that there is some explanation of this. As we have already put, this is a most involved Bill and senators have been given in the circumstances very little time to examine it. The time is not the true test, because the legislative programme has made it virtually impossible to give it the examination that is called for.
– Has the honorable senator noticed that in clause 33 (3.) there is something in the nature of a qualification in respect of a similar matter?
- Senator Toohey has directed my attention to the provisions of clause 33 (3.) which states -
Nothing in this section prevents the proof of any matter, or the admission in evidence of any document, in accordance with any law of the Commonwealth or any law of a State or Territory.
That does not qualify the provision to which I was referring. It makes clear that we are not confined, if “ confined “ is the proper word, to these peculiar modes of proof. Those seeking to detain the person have available to them, under clause 33 (3.) to which Senator Toohey referred, ali the normal modes of proof. There is no restriction on them in that regard. Then they are given these other extraordinary methods of proof mentioned in clause 2S (4.) in relation to extradition to and from certain Commonwealth countries. That is an aspect which calls for some explanation. Why has this peculiar provision been inserted in the Bill?
Now I turn to clause 37 which provides that the Governor-General may make certain regulations. These regulations deal with some matters which may be thought to be the proper subject of regulations. But there are also other matters which one would think should not be the subject of a regulation making power. According to the clause, the regulations may deal with - all matters required or permitted by this Act to be. prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act, and, in particular -
Surely those matters, which include the protection and immunity of magistrates and persons appearing before magistrates, and of witnesses, are not proper subjects for a regulation making power. The immunity of persons is a matter of substantive law. It is not some procedural matter which should be dealt with under a regulation. This is a matter which should engage the attention of the Parliament, not of the Minister in some subordinate legislative capacity. This is regulation making run riot. The Bill should have dealt with these matters. I suppose it is some indication of haste on the part of those who have introduced the Bill that these important matters are left to be dealt with by regulation instead of being dealt with in the Bill itself.
We have said that we do not oppose the Bill because in principle it relates to a matter of comity of nations, the reciprocal arrangement for the arrest and deportation, in effect, of persons to answer criminal charges. We believe there should be such provisions. In a civilised world there must be such provisions. However, the Bill contains some very unhappy features.
.- I rise to speak upon this Bill but briefly. I am happy to say that my brevity has been enabled by the very helpful and co-operative consultations that the Attorney-General in ano:her place (Mr. Snedden) was good enough to have with us. At the outset 1 should like to acknowledge the initiative of interest and the assistance I received in consideration of this Bill from the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). A Bill of this kind dealing with the extradition law that will operate in Australia in relation to extradition to other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations is, of course, one that I would think all sections of the Parliament would concede to be proper legislation because it is of first importance that each unit of the British Commonwealth accord to the other units facilities for rendering, in the case of serious crime, fugitive criminals to the country where the crime was committed for justice to be meted out to them.
As I understand it, the introduction of this legislation stems from the transformation of the legal systems in the units of the Commonwealth which have now grown to independence but which formerly were bound together as colonies under the Crown. Each now has become an independent law making body and each has some sort of judicial system and penal code. lt is obvious, or course, that there is a disconformity of outlook between the present members of the Commonwealth inter se which was absent 80 or 90 years ago when the first Fugitive Offenders Act was passed. We owe a tribute to the Hon. B. M. Snedden, the Attorney-General, for the initiative he has taken in this matter, first of all, in the consideration of the legislation and his contribution to the London conference while he was there, as well as for the formulation of this legislation for the Parliament because, due to the assumption that all units of the Commonwealth had a parity of outlook, procedure and jurisdiction for the treatment of criminals, under the old Fugitive Offenders Act there was a complete absence of any protection from extradition for a person in respect of a political offence.
One of the facets which has gone to build up the tradition of British freedom has been not the individual protection accorded by the courts of Great Britain to her citizens, but her history as an asylum for political refugees who have been driven out of their own systems by undue coercion. I think it is grand that Australia has taken the initiative, within the group of nations which call themselves the Family of Nations, to establish that Australia will maintain herself as an asylum for political refugees who may be coerced from systems of other Commonwealth countries on political grounds. So the first thing that 1 note in regard to this Bill is that for the first time it establishes Australia as a political asylum for people from other members of the British Commonwealth if they escape to this country and a claim for their return is made because of their implication in a political offence.
It was in this field that the honorable member for Moreton made his most notable contribution. His researches brought up for consideration some authorities which were fairly old and which were qualified by cases that have come before the Queen’s Bench and the Privy Council in the last 10 years. Nevertheless, those authorities stand in the precedent books of 1890 and 1894. They are to the effect that, before an offence can be considered to be in the category of a political offence, it must be an activity by an individual as part of one party faction opposing another party faction in the country in which the offence is alleged to have been committed. In other words, they presuppose the existence of two parties, each contending for power. Mr. Killen, with his circumspection in relation to states in which one party systems are erected, was vigilant to see that a political refugee could be established in asylum against the claims of a state in which the political offence was committed and which maintained a one party system. The amendment, which he suggested in another place and which explained that a political offence may occur in those circumstances, was accepted. That relieves us of any contention on that score in this place. I find that addition to the courts’ general interpretation of what is a political offence completely satisfactory.
The next thing that I wish to note in regard to this Bill is the unique feature - I believe that this legislation introduces it for the first time in this field - that enables the Attorney-General of this country, of his own authority, to protect any person who is claimed by his country of: origin, in the following circumstances -
I lay emphasis on that phrase because of what occurred in the Cypriot case in 1963, and because of the language which was used in that case -
That safeguard, which is entrusted to our Attorney-General and which protects a refugee in Australia against what we would regard as injustice on the grounds set out, is, to my way of thinking, a grand contribution to this field of law.I understand that our Attorney-General submitted that proposition to the London conference to which I have referred. I should like the record to show that 1 give great credit for such initiative.
The third thing that I want to mention in regard to this Bill is that, after our consultations with the Attorney-General, he was good enough to have introduced into this measure-
– When the honorable senator says “ our consultations with the Attorney-General”, to whom is he referring?
– A group of Liberal Party and Country Party senators who sought consultations with the AttorneyGeneral on the Bill.
– For all we know, Labour Party senators may have wanted to have consultations with him.
– This was in no sense a party matter. I have no doubt that the Attorney-General would have been only too glad to-
– Would the honorable senator call it a presidiumof Liberal Party and Country Party senators?
– No. Do not say “ presidium “. When I was interrupted, I was about to say that the Attorney-General was good enough to introduce in another place an adjunct to this safeguard that is entrusted to the Attorney-General; namely, that if the Attorney-General does not protect the refugee on the grounds that I have mentioned - race, religion, nationality or political opinions - nevertheless a magistrate is given certain powers to do so. AsI understand - I hope I will be corrected if my understanding is wrong - a magistrate sitting in this jurisdiction will be exercising judicial functions. Clause 1 6 states -
If a Magistrate … is satisfied that, by reason of -
the trivial nature of the offence that the person is alleged to have committed or has committed;
the accusation, against the person not having been made in good faith or in the interests of justice; or
the passage of ‘time since the offence is alleged to have been committed or was committed-
That is, if it is excessive -
That is, to the country claiming him -
. the Magistrate or Court may -
Emphasis should be placed on that clause because of the use that was made of the principle embodied in it in the case of Zechariah v. Cyprus, which is reported in 1963 Appeal Cases at page 634. In that case a refugee from Cyprus had actually been assisted out of Cyprus by the then existing government in order to take asylum in England because of attacks that had been made on him - to the extent of two or three attempts to murder him as a result of his complicity in assistance of United Kingdom efforts to preserve peace against rebellion on the island. When the government of Cyprus changed, he was reclaimed from London to stand his trial in Cyprus on a further charge of murder. This unhappy individual’s previous experience was that he had been arrested, 1 think, three times on charges of murder. In one case the charge was not proceeded with. In the other two cases the charges failed. In connection with one of the cases, a shot was fired at him as he came out of the court. By good chance for him, the bullet missed him but killed his custodian policeman. 1 simply give that recital of events that may lake place in some turbulent corners of this troubled world. Yet, we have-
– He must have had a lucky charm.
– 1 think that it was a case of protecting a native species of Cyprus in this instance. The House of Lords dealt with the matter. I regret to say that a majority of the House of Lords was not able to find in the circumstances of that case sufficient evidence that the claim as to recovery was oppressive. But 1 make this somewhat extensive reference to the case because of the impression made on me by the clarity and force of the dissenting judgment of Lord Radcliffe who had a special insight into Cypriot affairs. He was able to be convinced-
– Should he have curried his special insight with him onto the bench when considering the case?
– That is not fair to any judicial conception of the matter.
– A judge is not supposed to have any knowledge at all.
– That is on the view implied in Senator Murphy’s rather jocular interjection. The first thing insisted on with judges is that they are men; the second is that they are men of the world; and the third is that they are judges.
– What about women judges?
– The women judges I know only too well. When I used the term “ men “ I included women. But these interjections and my replies are extending my speech which 1 intended to be brief. I want to say that there is in the judgment of Lord Radcliffe a clear and forceful consideration of circumstances where extradition may be oppressive, lt elucidates the application of clause 16, for the introduction of which I am particularly grateful, adding as it does a second line of defence. If the AttorneyGeneral does not take action to protect the refugee on the ground of race, religion or political opinion, the court is enabled to take action to protect him on the ground of triviality, injustice, oppressiveness or too severe a punishment. These are factors which make us grateful for this legislation.
I notice that since the introduction of the Bill in another place, the Attorney-General has moved for the omission of Part IV of the measure which was the employment of regulations as between members of the British Commonwealth which he thought were sui generis to give them practically an automatic reciprocal right to reclaim any criminal from their country upon request. That provision was in the original Bill as Part IV. But it has been omitted. I have mentioned that matter in order to emphasise that we are no longer concerned with that particular Part. I found the proposal therein for the employment of regulations far beyond what regulations should effectuate, and the principle was so novel that I am pleased that it is not being persevered with in this Bill.
I now wish to note the last argument that fell from Senator Murphy. Before I do so, perhaps I will be permitted to note what Senator Murphy said in relation to Part III of the Bill. Much of his criticism as to the severity of this Bill, I thought, was concentrated on this Part which is a special Part applicable only in relation to this country and New Zealand, Fiji, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands and the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. I understand the explanation is that historically we have had this arrangement for half a century or more. As it applies to New Zealand and Australia, in matters such as these I would anticipate not the slightest degree of divergence. This almost automatic reciprocation between the two countries is good - not that there is automatic reciprocation, because there are protections even on the ground of injustice, oppressiveness or other such considerations of that sort.
The last item to which Senator Murphy has referred is a matter that will come up in Committee because it is not a matter for debate at the second reading stage. His reference to clause 38 (a) is one that I mention only because it immediately excites my attention. In respect of clauses 37 and 38, I cannot for the life of me anticipate a circumstance in which anybody understood that it was necessary to make special provision for the protection and immunity of magistrates in this jurisdiction or of barristers and solicitors appearing before magistrates in this jurisdiction. If there is any reason for the special provision in this jurisdiction, I should like to be informed of it. If there is reason for special jurisdiction I will await with interest any statement that the Minister cares to make as to why that provision should take the form of regulation and not the form of substantive provision in the measure. I have great pleasure in supporting the Bill.
– in reply - The Bill before the Senate deals with the matter of seeking to extradite persons from countries which are declared to be Commonwealth countries in one section of the legislation and from specifically named Commonwealth countries in another section of it in an endeavour to see that criminals in Australia who commit serious crimes - murder, rape, embezzlement or whatever the crime might be - are not enabled to escape the consequences of their crime by leaving the shores and jurisdiction of Australia. The Bill also seeks to ensure that people who commit that type of crime in other Commonwealth countries are not enabled to escape the consequences of their crime by leaving their countries and coming to live in Australia. No doubt exists in the mind of anyone in this Senate, I know, but that is a necessary and proper thing to be done.
It has been pointed out that the difficulty that arises particularly in the modern world is in ensuring that this is done but that no injustice is done. This is the difficulty of ensuring that people who are sent from this country to another country have committed in fact a crime of the kind of which I have spoken and what we call a political crime. Also, when it is alleged that they have committed a crime of the kind of which 1 have spoken, it is necessary to be sure that this accusation is not made merely for the purpose of obtaining possession of the person of that man in order to wreak some political vengeance upon him. In other words, it is essential, first, not to return someone who actually has committed what we regard as a political crime and, secondly, not to return somebody on the pretext that he has committed what we regard as a crime.
– How would the Minister relate that statement to the case of Eichmann in Israel who was forcibly taken back to that country, stood trial and was dealt with?
– I rather think he was kidnapped. These provisions, in laymen’s language, are wanted by honorable senators on both sides of the House. We believe, and the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) and the Government believe, that this Bill translates into legal terms and gives legal backing to the process of extraditing people who have committed crimes, and for the bringing back to Australia of people who have committed crimes and are fugitives. However, safeguards are incorporated against extradition for political purposes.
Senator Wheeldon was worried about the length of time allowed to him to consider the Bill, lt has been in printed form - not precisely the form of the document before us, because changes have been made - for over a week in this place. I believe that Senator Wheeldon’s concern was in respect of legal matters. He wishes to see that the legal language of the Bill does what I said we want it to do. It would have been perfectly open for the honorable senator and for other honorable senators who might wish to make alterations, to seek consultations with the Attorney-General. It is not difficult for legal members of this Parliament to consult the Attorney-General. From time to time, it has been done by members of all parties. Senator Murphy raised a number of points to which I shall refer. As I understood him, he was disturbed about the provisions for a writ of habeas corpus.
– As to the lack of clarity about how they would operate.
– Yes. But the honorable senator was also disturbed, I think, about whether they would give the full protection which is sought to be given. 1 seem to remember the honorable senator’s referring to a schedule in a New South Wales act. We are dealing with people who are sought to be extradited to a Commonwealth country other than New Zealand or places in that area - to a Commonwealth country which will be declared to be a member of the Commonwealth. We are dealing with people in those circumstances. They come to Australia. The first protection accorded to them against being returned to their own country for a political crime is that the Attorney-General needs to be satisfied that the crime was actually committed for which their extradition is sought. That is the first protection accorded to such people, lt was referred to by Senator Wright. If the Attorney-General is satisfied that their extradition is not sought merely for persecution because of race, political activities or things of that nature, the request for extradition goes before a magistrate who, 1 am told, is not acting judicially but administratively. We can deal with that aspect later. The magistrate has to be satisfied as to the nature and the actual commission of the offence. That is the second protection such a person is given under this Bill. Further, clause 17 provides that if the magistrate commits such a person to prison so that he may be returned to the country whence he came, the magistrate must tell that person that he has 15 days within which to apply for a writ of habeas corpus. It has to be made known to him that he has that opportunity open to him for further protection.
If he applies for a writ of habeas corpus - I think I am now coming into the area about which Senator Murphy was disturbed - it seems to me that clause 16 gives to a court, indeed, I would think it requires a court, to have full regard to how trivial is the offence, to whether an accusation is made in good faith, and whether the passage of time since the act objected to took place has been too great. It is all set out in clause 16. That is the next protection. It is clear that a lol of protection is provided all the way through the Bill. 1 gather that Senator Murphy was worried about whether a State law might inhibit an appeal to the highest courts for a writ of habeas corpus if such an application were refused in the lower courts.
– It would not permit of an appeal in the case of a man actually released.
– The honorable senator is referring to clause 28. I am referring to clause 16 which contains provision for a writ of habeas corpus. I will discuss the other point a little later. At the moment I am referring to the habeas corpus provision and the distress that the honorable senator thought he might be justified in feeling because a schedule to a New South Wales act had prevented the proper application for writs of habeas corpus.
– No. lt enabled an appeal against an order releasing a man.
– That provision occurs later in this Bill. I am talking about a writ of habeas corpus. If the honorable senator is not worried - if he believes that this Bill does give a prisoner full protection of a court to obtain a writ of habeas corpus, we can leave the argument.
– No. I am quite concerned.
– The honorable senator is concerned about another point. He may be concerned because there is a right of appeal. Is the honorable senator concerned that this Bill does not give the full protection of a court to issue a writ of habeas corpus?
– I am satisfied that that provision is included in the Bill.
– That is the point I wanted to make. Under the Constitution, the opportunity is available to anybody to make an appeal to the High Court in the case of an application for a writ of habeas corpus. The next point raised by Senator Murphy related to clause 28, which is in Part III of the Bill. It relates to citizens of New Zealand or countries near New Zealand. It relates to a man who is brought before a magistrate on a warrant for a decision of the magistrate as to the commission or non commission of a crime with which he is charged. It is perfectly true that clause 28 allows an individual charged to appeal against a decision of a magistrate if a magistrate says that he is guilty and commits him to gaol or to deportation. It also provides that the people bringing the charge may appeal against a decision of a magistrate if the magistrate says that in his opinion a man charged is not guilty and should go free. It permits in both cases an appeal against a decision of a magistrate to an Australian court acting judicially. I do not see the provision as in any way unfair or unusual.
Senator Murphy referred to clause 28 (4), which provides -
For the purposes of a review under this section, a copy of a public document or of a document filed in a Department or office of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, certified to be a true copy of the document by the person purporting by the certificate to have charge of the document, is admissible as evidence of the facts staled in the copy.
The honorable senator seemed to indicate that, he thought the clause unusual, oppressive and wrong. But we are dealing here with citizens of New Zealand and surrounding areas. The provision is taken from the existing Service and Execution of Process Act which operates between the Australian States. It is taken directly from that Act.It seems to me that, in view of the people with whom we are dealing, the clause is not unusual or extraordinary.
I move on now to clause 33, the next clause to which the honorable senator referred. He had some doubts or some worries and suggested that it was new, or an unusual or modern inovation. This clause is taken directly from the United Kingdom Extradition Act which, I am told, has been in operation since 1870. As far as 1 know, it has operated without complaint in the framework of the English judicial system since that time. I wish to make only one point in regard to clause 37, to which Senator Murphy and Senator Wright referred. It may well be that the reason why provision for the protection and immunity of magistrates is included is -that they are said to be acting not judicially but administratively. Of course, on appeal, the courts would be acting judicially. I have done my best to give the information which was sought about the legal application of the principles which all of us want to see applied.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I should like to refer to several clauses. I refer first to clause 28 (4.), which provides -
For the purposes of a review under this section, a copy of a public document or of a document filed in a Department or office of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, certified to be a true copy of the document by the person purporting by the certificate to have charge of the document, is admissible as evidence of the facts stated in the copy.
We have been told that there is nothing wrong with this provision because a similar provision was included in the Service and Execution of Process Act. I have not a copy of that Act with me, but my understanding was that objection was taken on that occasion. In any event, the purpose in including that provision in that Act was only to prove convictions and so forth. This is an altogether different situation. Here we are dealing with a charge against a man. Here we are not simply dealing with the collection in one State of a fine imposed on a man in another State and with the need to prove the conviction. The very fact that the Government seeks to justify the insertion of this provision in the Bill now before us by referring to its inclusion in another enactment shows how dangerous it is to allow such provisions to creep into statutes. It seems that no limitations are set. One may pull a document out of a file in any office of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, make a copy of it. put it in against a man, and then he can be, as it were, committed for trial, the evidence being the facts stated in that document.
– The honorable senator said that the matter was debated here at some time. When was that?
– My recollection is that there was some discussion of this matter in relation to the Service and Execution of Process Act.I think the matter was discussed when we were considering the interstate enforcement of orders.
– I think that provision was inserted in 1953.
– If that is the position, I am incorrect. However, 1 say it is wrong in principle that, when a most serious charge is made against a man and it is sought to remove him from one place to another to answer the charge, you can prove the case against him merely by producing a copy of a document from a file in a public office.
– A lot of expense and difficulty would be involved in bringing the original witnesses from the claiming country.
– The purpose of these general enactments is to provide for evidence to be taken in such places and transmitted here.
– You take affidavits.
– You take an affidavit in, say, New Zealand. You put that before the magistrate, and that is the case. Under the provision now before us, one may produce from a file a document which states that Mr. Jones did this or that or had certain goods in his possession, without there being any limitation of the nature of the matters that are to be proved. This cannot be justified.
– The only other comment I would like to make is that this relates only to an order for transmission; it is not an order for imprisonment or anything like that.
– AsI understand the position, it is an order to commit a person to custody to await transmission to another country. We should recall that the Bill does not simply deal with aliens who commit crimes elsewhere and who happen to come to this country. We may well be dealing with Australian citizens who have visited some other country and who have returned here, this being their homeland. Under the provision now before us, they could be taken from here to that other country on the basis of facts established by pulling a document out of a file.
– They could be taken back to New Zealand.
– Or elsewhere.
– No. This provision relates only to New Zealand and its environs.
– That is so. But are the citizens of New Zealand to be treated here as second class citizens or are citizens of Australia to be treated as second class citizens in relation to charges made in New Zealand?
– They are to be treated in precisely the same way as are Australian citizens.
– But this ought not to be the method of establishing a case against a person here, whether he be a citizen of Australia or not.
– But it is.
– The whole case could be established by taking a document from an office in a State or a Territory, with no limitations whatever? That cannot be right.
.- It might be better if I deal with each point as it is raised. The provision we are considering seeks to establish that documents can be adduced as evidence. It does not seek to establish that those documents are conclusive evidence or that they have to be accepted, but that they are admissible as evidence for the purpose of deciding, not whether a man is guilty or innocent, but whether there is a sufficiently strong case in respect of which he should stand trial inNew Zealand or the areas around New Zealand. That is precisely what happens to Australian citizens in Australia under the Service and Execution of Process Act. This provision deals not with fining or imprisonment but with apprehending Australian citizens in one State for the purpose of returning them to another State to stand trial for some crime that they are alleged to have committed in that other State. I understand that the provision in the Service and Execution of Process Act has been in the Act since 1953. If a Victorian who is alleged to have committed a crime goes to New South Wales, the provision is used not to determine his guilt or innocence but to return him to Victoria to stand trial. This is not a matter of treating New Zealand citizens as being second class citizens: it is a matter of treating them in exactly the same way as Australian citizens are treated in Australia.
. -I simply say in answer to what the Minister has said, that it is quite wrong that any person in this community should be committed to gaol on evidence of facts established in that manner. I turn now to the other matter that I want to raise. 1 refer to clause 17. The point which I was making in relation to habeas corpus indicates the lack of clarity. In the operation of this enactment, if a person is released on a writ of habeas corpus by a justice of the Supreme Court, is he liable to appeal against that to, say, the Full Court of the Supreme Court of the State in question? In other words, is his liberty to be subject to an appeal in that way? Associated with that, because it is the same kind of principle, is the provision made in clause 28. This is going back, of course, to the near Commonwealth countries. If the magistrate declines to make an order of committal and frees the person concerned, why is thai made subject to appeal by an order for review? It is no answer to say that both sides can appeal because that is contrary to the fundamental and traditional principle of justice. Under our system, when a person has been discharged on a criminal charge, the authorities are not entitled to appeal against it. That is the end of the mutter.
– Not when he is discharged by the committing magistrate.
– The normal principle is that if a charge is made and a person is acquitted, that is the end of the matter. The great fundamental and traditional principle is that such a person should not have his liberty further imperilled. In thi’ instance we have a double jeopardy principle when a person is released, rightly or wrongly that is the end of it. He should no1 be subjected to further proceedings.
The same kind of principle was basic to the habeas corpus proceedings which dealt with matters quite apart from convictions or acquittals. If a man was released by the authority which was set up by the community to deal with such matters Ana was discharged, that was the end of it.
– After a substantive hearing, not after the committal hearing or the preliminary hearing.
– The traditional principle was that if the habeas corpus proceedings had been used and the man was released, that was the end of it. Never was he to be subject to appeal in relation to the matter. The notion was that a man’s liberty in our community should be established once and for all. If he gained it by the judicial process, that was the end of it. He was not put in the situation where his liberty could be subject of an appeal, cross appeal and so on. As we all know, it might take months or years to come to finality and the citizen would be subjected to all of the uncertainties. Rightly or wrongly, even if he had been guilty of some charge, it was thought desirable in our society that once he was released that should be the end of it.
This principle is broken into by clause 28 which states, in effect, that even if the magistrate says: “ No, I am not satisfied to commit this man to custody; he has to go free “, the authorities can turn round and apply to the Supreme Court of the State or Territory for a review of the order.
– There is nothing unusual in that.
– There is in matters such as this. I am not concerned with departures that might take place in various places. I am speaking of the traditional principle that runs through our law, that once a man is freed by an order of a court, that is the end of the matter. It seems to me that not a great deal is done by those clauses lo pro:ect the liberty of the individual.
– What I wish to say can be said in three or four sentences. First, we must remember that we are not dealing with the trial of a man who is before a court and whose liberty and life are in jeopardy. We are deciding whether there is a case against a man sufficient to send him lo that trial. The second point I wish to make is that this precise provision for an appeal by both sides against the initial order of a magistrate in cases of arrest is applicable throughout Australia where a citizen of one State is sought to be apprehended in another State.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 25th October (vide page 1394), on motion by Senator Anderson -
That the Bill be now read a second lime.
– The Opposition’s attitude to this Bill is the same as ils attitude to the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill which has just been passed by this Senate. The Bill replaces a series of Extradition Acts of the Imperial Parliament which were passed between 1870 and .1935. In common with the Bill which we have just passed, it forms part of the first comprehensive piece of extradition legislation brought before the National Parliament. I repeat what I said earlier during the second reading debate of the previous Bill. Depite what the Minister has said, the Opposition’s submission is that we have not had anything like adequate time to consider the implications of this Bill, lt is true that it has been printed for over a week. It is also true that had members of the Opposition approached the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden), no doubt he would have been prepared to talk to us. I can remember that last year when the Matrimonial Causes Bill was before the Senate, members of the Opposition, including myself, had some very fruitful conversations with the Attorney-General regarding some of the provisions of that Bill. But I still think that the present situation is not a satisfactory one. A week is by no means sufficient time in which to consider a Bill of this nature. This is not so much because of its magnitude, although it is a bill of considerable magnitude, or because of its implications, but because of the extremely complex legal provisions that are contained in it and the very important aspects of both public and private international law and criminal law which have to be dealt with in a bill of this nature.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
– 1 inform the Senate that pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, I notified the Governor of the State of Victoria of the vacancy in the representation of that State caused by the death of Senator C. W. Sandford. 1 have now received, through His Excellency the Governor-General, from the Governor of the State of Victoria, a certificate of the appointment of Arthur George Poyser as a senator to fill the vacancy.
Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.
Senator Arthur George Poyser thereupon made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
Senator WHEELDON (Western Australia) [8.4J. - The Opposition is not opposed to the general principles contained in this Bill. In fact, we support them, but, as was explained earlier by Senator Murphy, we are not satisfied with the time given to us to consider this matter. We agree in broad outline with what the Government is trying to do, we agree that foreign countries with which Australia has friendly relations should be able to extradite criminals who come to Australia and we agree that Australia should be able to extradite criminals who leave Australia to take refuge, in some other country, but we believe that in such a complex branch of the law there is plenty of room for anomalies and errors. It is our view that there should have been a much more serious discussion of this matter. Clearly, it is one suitable for examination by a committeee either of the Senate or of both Houses.
At some time it may well appear, although I trust it will not, that there are some serious errors in or omissions from the Bill we are debating. If this does appear, whether in six months, a year or ten years, this Senate and honorable senators will be held responsible for those errors or omissions. The Opposition does not feel that it can accept responsibility for the details of the Bill, because we clearly have not had an adequate opportunity of examining them.
Nevertheless, we support the general principles and intentions of the Bill and will not oppose it in the Senate.
– f rise to speak briefly on this Bill. Earlier, by way of interjection, 1 raised the question of the Eichmann incident, involving Israel and other countries. Adopting the attitude of the man in the street. I was anxious to know before the enactment of this Bill what would be the position if a country like Israel were able to detect a war criminal and asked for his extradition to Israel. I mention Israel because I agree that if we talk of Europe we become bogged down in different ideologies, and it is often hard to be rational in such circumstances. I am particularly interested in this legislation and how it would apply if the Israeli Government asked the Australian Government to extradite a war criminal to Israel.
[8.71. - The case mentioned by Senator Mulvihill concerns a man who was kidnapped, but that does not necessarily mailer in this context. The honorable senator asks what would happen in a hypothetical case. My reply is that it would depend entirely on the specific crime of which the individual was accused. If what the individual did would be a crime if committed in Australia, the provisions of the Bill would apply. If not, they would not apply, lt would be for a court to decide whether this was so or not.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through ils remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 26th October (vide page 1461), on motion by Senator Anderson -
Thai the Bill be now read a second time.
– This is a Bill to amend the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956-65 in relation to long service leave for waterside workers and incidentally in relation to decimal currency. The first thing I say in putting the Opposition’s point of view is that, as the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) said in his second reading speech, there has been quite a lot of delay in bringing forward this legislation, lt was hoped to introduce it earlier this year. Because of this, the operation of the Bill has been made retrospective to 1st January 1966. Because it has been agreed to by the negotiating committee which represents the unions, the employers, the Department of Labour and National Service and the Stevedoring Industry Authority, the Opposition supports the Bill. I want to make one or two observations about it, which I think are important.
In the first place, the Bill carries into the stevedoring industry the pattern of long service leave which has been well established in outside industry for some time. It might be well to point out that in 1951 the New South Wales Government first enacted long service leave. In 1952 the Queensland Government also provided by legislation for long service leave and about 1954-55 the waterside workers started a campaign to gel long service leave. But it was not until 1961 that they were able to get from the Government any legislation for long service leave and then, I suggest, it was just on a restricted basis. Reference to it is made in the 1962 report of the Chairman of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority. I make the point that it had taken from 1951, when the pattern was established, until 1961 for waterside workers to be awarded long service leave. This might have been the reason for some of the troubles in the industry. In the 1962 report, the Chairman said -
As might be expected, some anomalies became apparent during the course of assessment of entitlements and the Government was kept informed of these as they came to the Authority’s notice. Representations were made to the Government by the Federation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and at a conference held on 15th June 1962 with these bodies tile Minister intimated that the Government would consider certain amendments.
The Chairman referred to the amendments. One was the extension of long service leave to “ B “ class ports. The second was the relaxation of the provision relating to allowable breaks in continuity of registration. The third does not matter. The fourth related to benefits to be made payable to men registered on 1st May 1961 in lieu of 6th June 1961. The fifth referred to an extension of the provisions relating to qualifying service. It is evident to me that if at that time, at the first impact of long service leave, there had been thorough negotiations between Authority and the union, combined with the A.C.T.U., some of the troubles that have occurred since that date would have been avoided.
However, in 1962 amendments were wade to the Act but these were only partially satisfactory. There was a provision to try to cover workers in “ B “ class ports, but because of having to take into account for entitlement purposes only the days on which there were stevedoring operations it would have been impossible for those workers to earn long service leave. I want to make the point that this view has been strengthened by the statement of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson), who delivered the second reading speech. He said -
Secondly, up to the present, waterside workers in “B “ class ports have been under a considerable disadvantage. At present, a man has to accumulate 13 weeks’ long service leave before he can take such leave. This concept is quite satisfactory in industry at large and also in “ A “ class ports where each day a man works or is eligible for attendance money counts to qualifying service.
The point is that in “B “ class ports there is nol this continuity of employment. The Minister went on to say -
However, in “ B “ class pons where work is intermittent, a waterside worker only receives credit towards long service leave for days when stevedoring operations are actually taking place in the port and the man works or is available to work.
The main point 1 want to make is that it seems to mc that in 1966 the Minister has said something that the union said in 1961. The Minister continued -
This means that in some “ B “ class ports a waterside worker could spend a lifetime in iiic industry, without ever accumulating sufficient qualifying service to enable him to qualify for 13 weeks’ long service leave.
I know that this is being rectified in the present legislation. I only want to connect some of my own points of view and the points of view of the Opposition in general with what has been done in the waterfront industry. The Minister has said that in recent years there has been better relationships in the industry. He thinks that this legislation will make a valuable contribution. 1 think that this is true but you, Mr. Deputy President, will remember that during the debate on the 1965 amendments we on this side of the chamber expressed the view that there should have been more conciliation. However, it is good to remember that in the discussions that have taken place between the Government, the Authority, the Department of Labour and National Service, the union and the A.C.T.U., it has been possible to get some improved form of long service leave. As 1 mentioned, probably the most important gain is the attempt to cover waterside workers in “ B “ class ports. This is a good thing.
I should make reference to the Act as it stands at present. As most people recognise and as the Minister stated, the Act is very complex and cumbersome. Since it was consolidated in .1962 there have been various amendments and with the new variations it becomes most difficult for anyone to follow the pattern of the legislation. 1 appreciate the Minister’s view that it would be most difficult to work these amendments into the legislation, Therefore, he has proposed an alteration of section 45 - in fact a remaking of it - to include all the provisions that go to make up this new form of legislation. I suggest to the Minister that it is very important that the Act be consolidated quickly, so that people will be able to pick it up and read its provisions in numerical order. I know that my copy of the Act has various amendments attached to it and it is very difficult to follow.
Apart from that, the legislation and its intent, I suggest, are very easy to follow. The Bill provides for the pattern of 13 weeks long service leave after 15 years service, which obtains in outside industry. This must be recognised as a good thing. On that, we have no quarrel. We appreciate what has been done by the union in consultation with the various other bodies to settle matters in dispute. I am advised that the union is quite satisfied with the scope of most of the Bill. The important alteration is on the question of qualifying service. This provision is being altered so that in future the concept of qualifying days as the basis of long service leave will apply to “ B “ class ports. There are some outstanding matters which have arisen from the discussions of the negotiating committee to which the Government ought to give more considerations. These are things which could be settled, I suggest, by continuing discussions of the sort that were held between the union, the Government and the
Authority. I refer to the fact that although the legislation will lead to a coverage of groups who were left out before, and takes into account time spent in the Army, Air Force and Navy, for some strange reason service in the maritime industry and in the merchant navy is still excluded. I am told that the union raised this question during the negotiations. 1 cannot understand why the Government did not make some sort of provision for this. 1 am told that during the negotiations the Waterside Workers Federation and the A.C.T.U. suggested that persons who had served in the merchant navy should be given the same status as those who had served in the defence forces in relation to continuity for the purpose of long service leave. This has been rejected. I have been told of the case of a prisoner of war who went straight from the forces into industry but his service will not be counted. We think it should be. This particular discretion is covered by clause 45c (7.) by which other groups of servicemen st covered.
Another case mentioned in the other place is that of a waterside worker who gravitates to a supervisory position as foreman. Clause 45c (4.) gives a discretion to the Authority to decide whether such a man has temporarily left the occupation of waterside worker, lt seems to me there are strong grounds on which the Government could have stated that there would be no break in continuity of service. After all, the position of foreman is associated with the industry, if a man decides to take on the job of foreman, subsequently finds that for personal or other reasons he cannot carry on and then returns to the position of waterside worker, I believe that he should be credited with continuity of service. The Opposition generally and the union support that contention. I am told that negotiations in this respect failed and the Government decided not to accede to the union’s request. 1 can see no reason for that.
The last case 1 want to mention is that of union officers. I know this is something quite new. Under clause 45c (J 1.) union officers - that is, waterside workers who gravitate to the positions of officials of the union - are credited wilh continuity of service for the time they were engaged as waterside workers but by leaving that position and becoming officials of the union they lose their continuity of service, despite the fact that they returned to their former position. This is understandable in respect of payments which may apply but I am told that the union has suggested to the industry that the industry might make a contribution equivalent to the contribution which is made by the Authority thus affording the waterside workers concerned continuity of service in their qualification for long service leave.
Those are the three categories of employees whose position has not been resolved. The Government should continue discussions about them, in relation to the first two categories, I can see no reason why some arrangement has not been made to cover persons who served in the Merchant Navy and persons who gravitate from the position of waterside worker to the position of foreman and then return to their former position. There may be some general reasons for the obstacles which have been placed in the way of union officers being granted continuity of service but I cannot see them. If in the latter case the organisation, which nowadays is a component part of the industry, decides to make a contribution to make up what would be an employee’s long service leave payment, there should be continuity.
With those observations I. conclude my comments on the Bill. As I have said, the union, having negotiated and campaigned for so many years, and having been successful to an extent, naturally is anxious to see the proposal cover as wide a section of the employees as possible. The Government’s action in deciding that the proposal should be retrospective is sound. I hope the kind of negotiations which made this possible will continue.
– in reply - I express pleasure that the Opposition does not oppose this Bill. I am sure the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury) in another place will consider - I do not put it any higher than that - the remarks made by the honorable senator.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
– by leave - I present the following paper -
Manila Summit Conference - Ministerial Statement, 27th October 1966.
I propose to read a statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) in another place. Honorable senators will understand when 1 use the personal pronoun “ I “ it refers to the Prime Minister.
I report to the Senate upon the Manila Summit Conference from which 1 have just returned. Following the Conference I have made some comment in Manila and also to representatives of Press, radio and television who were awaiting me on my return last night at Mascot airport. All this has been widely publicised. Earlier today I tabled in the House the official documents which emerged from the Conference. They are the “ Joint Communique “, the “ Declaration of Peace and Progress in Asia and the Pacific “ and “ The Goals of Freedom “. lt is not necessary, therefore, for me to go over all of the same ground, lt is proper, however, that there should be on the record of the Parliament an authoritative account of the Conference and ils results.
I had attended with my colleagues, the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), the Minister for Defence (Mr. Fairhall) and other members of the Australian official delegation in response to the invitation received from the President of the Republic of the Philippines after his consultations with the President of the Republic of Korea and the Prime Ministers of Thailand and the Republic of Vietnam.
This week history was made at Manila. Sometimes we are too close to great events to measure their significance. But time, I suggest, will convince us all that the Manila Conference was an event that helped to shape contemporary history in our region of the world. The leaders of seven nations in the Asian and Pacific region met on 24th and 25th October to review their wider purposes in Asia and the Pacific. They had gathered together to chart a programme for the peaceful and free development of a great and changing area of the world. This, remember, is also our part of the world. We were there in Manila with our Philip pine friends, our Vietnamese friends, our Korean and Thai friends and wilh our American and New Zealand friends, all of us looking to the future.
The future is vividly and in a few words expressed in the Conference document “ The Goals of Freedom “ -
To be free from aggression; to conquer hunger, illiteracy and disease; to build a region of security, order and progress: to seek reconciliation and peace throughout Asia and the Pacific.
This is not an empty set of words. Although we were at Manila to assess the military situation in Vietnam, our greater task was this vision of the future. The participants were President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, President Park Chung Hee of the Republic of Korea, Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn of Thailand, Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Cao Ky of the Republic of Vietnam, Prime Minister Keith Holyoake of New Zealand, President Lyndon Johnson of the United States of America and myself.
We had agreed to make a thorough review of the Vietnam situation. This was to include an assessment of the military position and of continuing resistance to Communist inspired and directed aggression and subversion. We wished to look at the progress being made through programmes of social development and pacification; the tasks of economic stabilisation and rehabilitation; and the evolution of democratic institutions.
It was part of our purpose to look at practical means for peaceful settlement of the conflict in Vietnam. Problems of regional security, co-operation and development relating not only to Vietnam but to Asia and the Pacific generally were also to be examined. The products of our discussions are to be found expressed in some detail in the three documents which I have earlier today presented to the Parliament - the “ Joint Communique “, the “ Declaration of Peace and Progress in Asia and the Pacific “ and “ The Goals of Freedom “.
I have described the Summit Conference as historic. There have been various meetings in the past of Asian and Pacific Governments, a recent notable instance being the Asian and Pacific Council meeting (A.S.P.A.C.) at Seoul in Korea, where nine Governments came together for discussions on matters of common interest. But until the Conference at Manila, it was unprecedented for Heads of State and Heads of Government of seven countries in the Asian and Pacific region to meet for a collective purpose, lt was historic in that particular sense.
But it is historic in even more important ways. Only great issues can bring such a meeting about in times when Heads of Government are so busily engaged. The issues in this case affect the security and prospects for a better life of 15 million people of South Vietnam. They closely affect the future of the neighbouring countries of South East Asia. They affect the basic security of the whole Asian and Pacific region. Indeed, the world as a whole is involved in the consequences of the outcome. These issues produced the meeting. The documents express our particular conclusions.
I should like to say a word about the Australian and New Zealand participation in the meeting. 1 say with gratification that each of the Asian Heads of Slate or Heads of Government warmly welcomed me and the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Mr. Holyoake, into their counsels. This is a very important factor in the approach of the Asian countries to the Conference and, even more, to the Vietnam issue. Honorable members and ail Australians will be interested to note the words of welcome that President Marcos accorded our participation and New Zealand’s in this Conference -
The participation in this meeting of (he Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand is also a hopeful augury. These two freedom loving nations arc our neighbours by the accident of geography but our friends and partners by deliberate choice. They are as fully committed as ourselves to the freedom of Asia and to the attainment of the secure and just peace indispensable to the economic development of these combined nations. They have much to contribute to the attainment of our common goals.
The opening speech was made by President Marcos at a public ceremony. It set the stage for the confidential discussions which were to follow. In an eloquent and memorable address, he expressed with deep personal conviction a longing of the Asian people for social and economic stability and for freedom from insecurity and from military threat. This theme, with particular emphasis on the problems of Vietnam, became the focus of the Summit Conference activity. It is ‘ this theme which finds expression in the communique, the declaration and, notably, in the statement ‘* The Goals of Freedom “.
The language of official documents, however warmly and graphically stated, for understandable reasons can rarely reproduce the atmosphere of a conference or its full significance. As one who not only was present throughout the Conference proceedings but shared in the intimate discussions of the Conference meetings confined to the participating Heads of State and Heads of Government, I regard this as as important a conference as I have ever attended, or believe myself likely to attend. I can recall no conference in which agreement was more readily forthcoming on all matters of substance.
I have read various reports since the Conference which allege that there were delays because of wrangling, and there has been surprise that documents of such weight could emerge from so limited a period of discussion. There was no wrangling in our talks together. They were strength of purpose, firmness of resolution and dedication to the principles which we expressed in our declaration and the statement “The Goals of Freedom “. As to surprise, it must nol be overlooked that our discussions together neither began nor ended at Manila. The Governments represented are in contact by one means or another, including diplomatic representation, cabled advices and the like, almost daily. We are familiar with each other’s views. The Foreign Ministers had met together informally and done some useful ground clearing immediately prior to the Conference.
Later they did their work of drafting while the Heads of Government went ahead with their own ideas of what the contents of the document should be. lt is not to be wondered at that a good deal of time was required for’ these purposes and the exchanges of thinking until a final meeting together of Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers produced the documents in the form they ultimately took.
The communique deals principally with the situation in Vietnam and the problems of the present and the future there in military, social and economic fields. The “ Declaration of Peace and Progress in Asia and the Pacific “ sets out the principles on which we base our hopes for future peace and progress in the Asian and Pacific region. As the declaration states -
In the modern world men and nations have no choice but to learn to live together as brothers.
The “ Goals of Freedom “ expresses briefly, and in language which all should be capable of understanding, the essence of our declaration. We said there that we, the seven nations gathered in Manila, declare outunity, our resolve and our purpose in seeking together the goals of freedom in Vietnam and in the Asian and Pacific area. lt struck me as quite remarkable that the representatives of the Republic of Vietnam should be able to accept so explicitly and, however regretfully, a continuing line of demarcation between North and South Vietnam until a decision had been taken democratically by the people of both areas for reunification. They stated that the work of the Constituent Assembly, elected to draw up a constitution for the Republic of Vietnam, was proceeding ahead of schedule. They gave an undertaking that general elections to select a representative government would be held within six months of the adoption of a constitution. Believing that the democratic process must be strengthened at the local as well as the national level, the Vietnamese leaders announced that, to this end, village and hamlet elections would be held at the beginning of 1967.
They further announced that they are preparing a programme of national reconciliation; they would open all doors to Vietnamese who had been misled or coerced into casting their lot with the Vietcong; they would be given amnesty and assisted to resume a normal existence as to their employment and community participation. Further, the Vietnamese representatives made it clear that they were not making any demands on North Vietnam, other than that the aggression should cease.
When it is considered that the Republic of Vietnam is still subjected daily to military and terrorist attack with continuing infiltration and eternal subversion, the attitude of the Vietnamese representatives at the conference must be regarded as most helpful and forthcoming. The Vietnamese leaders stated their intent to train and assign a substantial portion of their forces to “ clear and hold” actions, in order to provide a shield behind which a new society can be built. The tactics of “’ search and destroy “, so frequently employed by the allied forces in the past, have been found by experience to be inadequate for satisfactory follow-up action of reconstruction, civic action and pacification. This is because the civilian Vietcong remain in the area to commit acts of terrorism and sabotage after the military forces have moved on. Illustrations were given to us of the construction of schools in the wake of departure of Communist military forces, only to be followed by the physical destruction of school buildings by individual Vietcong or small marauding bands drawn from the civilian element of the Vietcong, lt is now proposed that the clearing operation should be more thorough, and that a military component capable of securing the area should be assigned to enable civic action and rehabilitation operations to be carried through with enduring benefit.
The Government of the Republic of Vietnam wishes to forge what is described in the Communique as a “ social revolution of hope and progress. Even as the conflict continues, the effort goes forward to overcome the tyranny of poverty, disease, illiteracy and social injustice”. The Vietnamese Government is working on a “ series of measures to modernise agriculture and to assure the cultivator the fruits of his labouring”. Top priority is to be given to land reform and tenure provisions. Agricultural credit is to be expanded; crops will be improved and diversified. The leaders recognise that to build confidence and cooperation among the people they must be convinced that honesty, efficiency and social justice form “ solid cornerstones “ of the Vietnamese Government’s programme. The participating governments applauded these declarations, recognising that they open brighter prospects for the people of Vietnam. Each undertook to give its continuing assistance according to its means, whether in funds or skilled technicians or equipment. The Vietnamese appreciated the help being given in non-military fields by other countries and expressed the hope that this help will be substantially increased. The participants further agreed to appeal to other nations and to international organisations working for the full and free development of all nations, for further assistance to the republic of Vietnam.
We devoted a good share of our discussions to place objectives, reviewing the many efforts for peace already undertaken. What is sought is a just and reasonable solution, but Hanoi has still shown no sign of taking any step toward peace, either by action or by entering into discussions or negotiations. We all agreed that the search for peace must continue. The Vietnamese representatives pointed to the suffering they have experienced from the ravages of war for more than 20 years. They declared themselves to be second to none in their desire for peace, and would welcome any initiative that would lead to an end to hostilities while preserving the independence of South Vietnam and protecting the right of its people to choose their own way of life.
The detailed views of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam are set out in the communique. The other participating governments endorsed these as essential elements of peace and agreed that they would act on this basis in close consultation together. We pointed out that allied forces are in Vietnam because that country is the object of aggression and in response to the support requested by its Government.
We agreed that our troops would be withdrawn, after close consultation, as the other side withdraws its forces to the north, ceases infiltration and the level of violence subsides. Our forces will be withdrawn as soon as possible, not later than six months after the conditions mentioned are fulfilled.
My own contribution was designed to indicate our sense of partnership with our allies, our awareness of the great common issues at stake, and our determination with our allies to see the issue through. I spoke, of course, against the background of the views which had been offered by early speakers - President Marcos and Chairman Thieu at the public session and Air ViceMarshal Ky in private session. Separate statements on particular aspects of the Vietnam situation were made by members of that country’s delegation. There were military reviews by General Cao Van Vien, Chief of the General Staff in Vietnam, and General Westmoreland, Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Others spoke on the civic action, revolutionary development and rehabilitation programmes.
I said at the time I had no need lo go over ground already covered beyond confirming the Australian Government’s clear recognition of the military realities and the vital issues at stake. I expressed our belief that Vietnam is, unhappily for its people, a battleground for not only its own national security, freedom and integrity, but of even wider issues - issues of freedom, security and progress affecting generally the future and stability of all free peoples in the Asian and Pacific regions. 1 spoke of aggression as an age old enemy of mankind - a challenge to be taken up and defeated just as poverty, disease and hunger, other age old enemies, are to be taken up and defeated. I expressed the view that, it would be useful to seek to build up world opinion more widely against the aggression which now manifests itself through tyranny and oppression in Vietnam.
There are many countries throughout the world who seem more indifferent than is desirable or wise. This is not necessarily a question of seeking military assistance by other groups or individual countries. It is important to secure a wider acceptance of our narrow but essential objectives in Vietnam, and also a widening of the economic effort for the development of Vietnam, both immediately so far as this is practicable, and after the fighting has terminated. I assured the Conference of my Government’s determination that the Australian Government would conduct itself as a dependable ally, continuing its contribution on both the military and non-military sides. I mentioned specifically the aid which we have been giving on the medical, engineering and education fronts.
Plainly, while the fighting continues, it is not practicable for us and others to give, or for Vietnam to receive, more than the level of assistance of a material kind than can be absorbed. But if peace could be brought about, we and others would be in a position to divert more resources to civil rehabilitation and Vietnam would become capable of gaining more benefit from the contributions that could be made.
I have already said that the question of peace was given a great deal of attention in the Conference itself and, as honorable senators will see, it takes up quite lengthy passages in the Conference final documents. It was the view of all of us that we not only stand ready but are anxious to consider any possible approaches to a settlement, and in general to enter into unconditional discussions at any time provided that concessions prejudicial to our basic objectives must not be made. The peaceful settlement of the Vietnam conflict must be just and enduring. A settlement achieved at the cost of freedom and security for the South Vietnamese people would be unacceptable.
In the words of President Marcos, the peace we want is not the peace of death or the peace of betrayal. We want a purposeful peace that will guarantee the option for liberty and progress of the people of South Vietnam, and of all other peoples similarly situated. This is why we have said in the communique that we are united in our determination that the South Vietnamese people shall not be conquered by aggressive force and shall enjoy the inherent right to choose their own way of life and their own form of government, and that we shall continue our military and all other efforts as firmly and as long as may be necessary, in close consultation among ourselves, until the aggression is ended. lt was the view of all of us that only when the other side realised that our countries mean precisely what they say - that there will be no weakening or flagging, that all the necessary measures will be taken - it is only then that the other side will conclude that the aggression will not succeed.
That conclusion on their part is the essential requirement for the bringing about of peace.
Whether peace is to be reached through discussion and negotiations or whether through a dwindling away of the conflict, serious efforts will be maintained through all avenues to bring the other side to peace. Part of the peace effort is convincing them through our steadiness of purpose and our capacity and readiness to meet force with force that aggression will not succeed.
The benefits I derived were not confined to the results of the Conference, itself, highly successful though, in my judgment, they were. The venue of the conference provided me with my first visit to the Philippines. 1 had not previously met President Marcos nor had I previously met President Park Chung Hee of the Republic ofKorea.
It will be helpful in my future contacts and discussions to have built these new friendships and to have further consolidated those already made with the other Chiefs of State and Heads of Government.
Let it be understood that we are not engaged in Vietnam because we want to roll back the frontiers of Communism, but because we do not want the frontiers of Communism to roll back down over South East Asia. But always we must see the conflict in Vietnam in its greater context as a battleground for human values of freedom and dignity.
All Asia looks today at the future of free choice in South Vietnam. If it is preserved - and it will be - the basic future and stability of all free peoples in the Asian and Pacific regions will, I believe, be guaranteed. And this is a prospect equally important to us in Australia, and indeed to the whole world.
– 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.
Assent to the following Bills reported -
Public Service Bill 1966.
Air Navigation (Charges) Bill 1966.
Loan Bill (No. 2) 1966.
Income Tax Assessment Bill 1966.
Income Tax Bill 1966.
Income Tax (Partnerships and Trusts) Bill 1966.
Estate Duty Assessment Bill 1966.
Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill 1966.
Debate resumed (vide page 1513.)
– The Opposition offers no objection to this Bill. Its purpose is to authorise payment of the subsidy forecast in the speech of the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon). lt follows the granting of a subsidy on the use of superphosphate some time ago. It provides assistance to the farming community and will be of particular benefit to the Queensland sugar industry. It has been found that the payment of a superphosphate bounty has been a success, although some difficulties have been experienced because of rising prices. Nevertheless, the farming community has been assisted by payment of that bounty. At a time of a world shortage of food, we believe that payment of such a bounty is essential. Science has proved that nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth and payment of this subsidy will greatly assist the farming section of the community.
In the past, the main use of nitrogenous fertilizers has been by people not affected by the superphosphate bounty. Payment of a bounty on nitrogenous fertilisers is of particular advantage to the sugar, fruit and vegetable growing industries. The use of nitrogenous fertilisers is essential for efficient crop production by those industries, lt is also valuable in putting into effect crop rotation. In these intensive industries, the high cost of fertilisers is inescapable. It is a major item in the cost of production. For that reason, the government has found it necessary to subsidise the use of nitrogenous fertilisers. We believe that the Government has surveyed the industries using nitrogenous fertilisers and has found that its use is necessary in the farming community. We are prepared to give the Bill a speedypassage.
– I think all honorable senators are at one in respect of the purpose of this legislation which is so clearly set out in the excellent speech of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson). It is a very clear exposition that contains a great amount of detail in explaining the purpose and nature of the Bill. It is interesting to note the cost disadvantage facing Australian producers in respect of their nitrogenous fertiliser requirements. Australian producers are paying nearly twice the price - in some cases more than twice the price - of their European and United States competitors in the production of essential foodstuffs. The world population is increasing at such a rate that it is highly desirable that we should do everything possible to increase to the maximum the efficiency of utilisation of our natural resources and rainfall. As an agriculturalist, I welcome the Government’s decision to encourage the use of nitrogenous fertilisers.
The purpose of the legislation goes beyond simply encouraging the increased usage of nitrogenous fertilisers. We confidently expect that Australian manufacturers may reduce their costs of production, because of the expected increase in output. The need for subsidy payments should be correspondingly reduced. It is devoutly to be hoped that this situation will come about and that Australian producers will be placed in a competitive position with manufacturers of nitrogenous fertilisers in other parts of the world.
I have one criticism to offer of the Bill as it stands. This concerns the decision not to pay the subsidy on organic fertilisers, particularly on the organic fertiliser in most common use - blood and bone. Blood and bone has a considerable nitrogen value and has special effects on soil. Because of ils nature, it is highly desirable in some combinations of product, soil and climate. The decision not to pay the subsidy on organic fertilisers could react to the disadvantage of users so that they may be encouraged to switch to the use of inorganic and more soluble forms of fertiliser. From an agricultural point of view, this would be undesirable. The relatively small quantity involved would not materially affect the Government’s objective of increasing overall production of inorganic nitrogen. I do not think it is advisable to increase production at the cost of organic fertilisers. The relative disadvantage that organic fertilisers could surfer might have some quite serious repercussions on the meat processing industry, of which organic fertiliser is an important by-product. If the effect were to be a reduction in the demand for blood and bone, for instance, costs in the meat processing industry could well be increased. This might not happen, and I am prepared to wait and see what the effect will be. If the damaging effects that I fear become evident as time goes by, I hope the Government will give further consideration to iis decision not to pay a bounty in respect of organic fertilisers.
– As the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Willesee) pointed out in my absence, the Opposition is not opposing the
Bill. However, there are a couple of observations that 1 should like to make. Quite a substantial sum of money will be involved annually in the payment of this subsidy. A subsidy of $80 per ton is to be paid to the producers of nitrogenous fertilisers. I understand from the second reading speech of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) that it is estimated that 2,000 tons of nitrogen will ho used annually. So the subsidy on this commodity will amount to approximately $160,000 per annum, provided the rate of consumption remains reasonably constant.
There does not seem to be any doubt that there is a need for the increased use by Australian farmers of nitrogenous fertilisers. lt is well known that large areas of Australia do not have sufficient nitrogen in the soil, lt seems to be very difficult, if not impossible, to increase the amount of nitrogen by the use of natural fertilisers. For that reason the use of artificial fertiliser is very necessary. The introduction of nitrogenous fertilisers is one of the great developments that have taken place in agriculture over recent years. Soil which previously was regarded as being useless has been made very productive by the application of artificial fertilisers. Naturally, the Australian Labour Party welcomes any steps that are taken to increase Australia’s agricultural productivity.
One matter which seems not to have been put before the Parliament by the Government is the financial basis of the subsidy, lt seems that at the moment, because the price of fertilisers is rather too high, farmers who should bc buying them are not buying them and that the price would need to be reduced in order to induce the farmers to do so. The Bill makes provision for the payment of a subsidy to the farmers themselves if they buy nitrogenous fertilisers. There does not seem to have been any survey of the economics of the production of nitrogenous fertilisers. This, of course, is one of the stiutations that arise when we try to use private enterprise for public and social purposes. By doing this we subsidise people who are producing a certain commodity for private profit. It would seem that, in an instance such as this, there is a lot to be said for public enterprise. I do not know, I do not think the Opposition knows, and I do not know whether the Government knows the resources and the profits of those who are producing nitrogenous fertilisers and, if the consumption of these fertilisers is increased by the payment of the subsidy, what the effect will be on the economic structure of the industry. These are matters which very often are neglected when the payment of subsidies of this kind is discussed. Such matters should not be neglected. There should be an overall approach to the economic structure of the nitrogenous fertiliser industry and the social benefits that are obtained from the use of such fertilisers.
As has been pointed out, the Opposition is in favour of the general principles of the Bill, but we submit that there should be further discussion about the economics of the industry, having regard to the profits that are enjoyed by the people who ultimately benefit from the payment of the subsidy.
.- 1 compliment the Government upon introducing this Bill, lt will provide for a major breakthrough in Queensland, where much of the soil is deficient in nitrogen. Indeed, the nitrogen content of much of our soil is nil. Queensland does not get much benefit from the superphosphate bounty. A comparatively small quantity of superphosphate is used in Queensland when compared with the quantity that is used in other States. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) pointed out in his second reading speech that in less than 20 years the world consumption of nitrogenous fertilisers has increased approximately fivefold. He said that production was barely keeping up with demand.
The sugar industry is one of the most prominent users of nitrogenous fertilisers. As has been pointed out, the fruit and vegetable growing industries have been major users of this commodity, too. If the economics of the use of nitrogenous fertilisers are right, one of the most significant breakthroughs could be in the use of these fertilisers for pasture improvement. It has been stated that experiments have been conducted with the use of these fertilisers in the production of wheat and oats. If we can keep up the production of nitrogenous fertilisers and, if through the payment of the subsidy, the cost can be kept within reach of the people who need to use them, the prospects for the future are almost unlimited.
I again congratulate the Government upon its introduction of this measure, i hope that the Bill will receive the full support of the Senate.
– In the unfortunate absence of Senator Keeffe, I should like to say a few words about the Bill. If circumstances had permitted him to do so, he would have made a contribution to the debate. The Bill is designed to reduce to farmers and other users of nitrogenous fertilisers the cost of these chemicals. Any effort that is made to lower the cost of agricultural production is desirable. That is why the Opposition supports the measure.
As Senator Wheeldon indicated, the Bill is concerned not only with the agricultural economy but also with a very sensitive part of the secondary industry economy - that is, the manufacture of agricultural chemicals. We have been fortunate in having had presented to us within the last few days the report of the Tariff Board on industrial chemicals and synthetic resins. Apparently this report was presented to the Government on 13 th April last, but it has been handed on to us only within the last few days. The report deals with the nitrogenous fertiliser industry. At page 24 it states -
By 1969 the structure and production patterns of the nitrogenous fertiliser industry in Australia should have become more stabilised and the need of assistance to local production should be capable of complete reappraisal.
Roughly, this Bill fits in with that observation by the Board. The report continued -
The information available to the Board suggests that local urea production is not likely to need assistance when the new plants come into operation . . .
The Board stated that if there was a movement of further producers into the field, there would have to be a division of the bounty which was being proposed by the Board and which is dealt with in another Bill. That was the view of the majority of the members of the Board.
The third member of the Board had a dissenting opinion in relation to the chemical industry generally, including this portion of it. If I might use my own words, he took the view that an over-protective attitude was being taken towards the industry and that there was a tendency for the chemical industry in Australia to be encouraged by protection to indulge in unreasonable excess capacity and undue persistence with outdated production processes. He said that these forms of development tend to maintain costs at the highest levels permitted by the operative rates of duty. He believed that the Board had been unduly optimistic about the prospects of future reduction in the rates of duty recommended so long as assistance is intended to cover cost of production and profit. When one reads that and the other remarks, it is quite obvious that this industry is being run on the basis of getting the highest the market can bear. If the costs of agricultural production are to be reduced, it calls for something more than the mere subsidising of the production of these fertilisers or the subsidising of the cost of the imported fertiliser. A more drastic approach is called for.
We have an example in a great country of Europe of how this problem was solved. It is especially pertinent to Australia with the important discovery of natural gas this year. In Italy great deposits of natural gas were discovered and an organisation was set up which became known as the Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, or as it is commonly known, E.N.I. This organisation was able not only to exploit the natural gas deposits but to use them in the production of various commodities, and nitrogenous fertilisers in particular. The organisation has brought out a publication which sets out its tremendous record of achievement and its contribution to the miracle of industrial revolution in Italy.
– Where is this publication to be obtained?
– It is in front of me at the moment.
– Is that natural gas?
– No, fertiliser, which is a by-product of the natural gas industry. This great organisation was able to achieve a considerable amount for the agricultural industry. I shall read from the publication. It states -
From the very begininng ANIC– which is one of the agencies of this body known as E.N.I. - has offered its nitrogenous fertilisers at a unified price for the whole country and this price is 15 per cent, lower than the average price previously prevailing on the market which had been ruled by a strong oligopolistic concentration. The handicap which the southern parts of the country used to sutler because of the heavier transport charges arising from their remoteness from production centres was thus removed.
That statement was repeated in more general terms in the introduction to this hook, which dealt with the exploration which brought about the growth of this industry. Perhaps it might be interesting to honorable senators if 1 read from it as follows -
Italy steps over the threshold of her second century of national unity and enters upon the full Dowering of her economic life.
An outstanding contribution to the quite exceptional growth of the country’s economic activities both al home and abroad, to the rising standard of living, and to the so-called “ Italian miracle “, has been, and continues to be, given by the coinpanics of the E.N.I. Group.
They, by assiduous exploration both in Italy and abroad, have placed large amounts of natural gas and oil at the country’s disposal, supplying Italian industry wilh energy on conditions which arc, for the first lime, belter than those obtained by ils European competitors. They have also helped to build up powerful refining and manufacturing industries to convert the oil and gas discovered into a wide range of motor fuels, fuel oils, liquefied gas fertilisers, synthetic rubber and plastics. By their bold intervention and price policies they have managed to break up certain oligopolistic combines barring the way to the growth of consumption. They have become the prime movers of new projects in less industriallydeveloped areas.
It is apparent that if Australia were to use the same imaginative methods we might be able to do far more for the farmers of this community, as well as for other sections of it. If we were prepared to enter boldly with public authorities into this field of natural gas and into the field of the nitrogenous fertiliser industry and again by bold price policies to reduce the cost of production, we would be making a more direct and positive approach than that of ladling out subsidies to organisations which apparently arc proceeding to charge as much as the market can possibly bear. Really, one might think that when we pay these subsidies the ultimate result is simply to increase the profits of the great chemical combines. In our present situation it will not be possible over the next three years, so far as the farmers are concerned, to do anything other than what is being done, that is, to subsidise the cost of nitrogenous fertilisers and hope, temporarily anyway, to reduce the cost. Since this benefits the whole of the agricultural economy, we therefore support the bill.
– in reply - I thank the Senate for its cooperation in the speedy passage of this Bill. 1 would like to make two points. The first one relates to the point made by Senator Prowse when he projected the cost for blood and bone. The fact is that this is a Budget Bill. The Government decided to provide this bounty as a matter of policy, but blood and bone was not included in the bounty provisions. Subsequently representations were made to me and the Minister for . Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) and we referred them to the Government, but it was decided nol to extend the bounty beyond nitrogenous fertilisers. This is a new bounty. All the factors were taken into consideration by the Government and it decided not to extend the bounty. If any honorable senator or any organisation wishes to make representations in the future, the way is open, but I cannot offer any assurance that there is any intention to extend the provisions of the scheme.
Senator Murphy, acting, 1 gather, as a locum, referred to the producers. This is a bounty which is to be passed on to the farmers. That is the clear intention of the legislation. Urea has a nitrogen content of 46 per cent. On the basis of a bounty of $80 a ton on nitrogen, the farmer will get a bounty of S36.80 on urea. Sodium nitrate has a nitrogen content of 16 per cent, and will attract a bounty of $12.80 a ton. This bounty is a progressive move and is in accordance with the consistent policy of the Government to encourage primary industry and thereby to assist the economy of Australia.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I was interested in the references to the Italian company, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, known as E.N.I, and the use of natural gas for the production of fertilisers. I had hoped that Senator Murphy would proceed a little further with his statements on /.bis1 subject. I gathered that he was perturbed particularly about the cost of sulphate of ammonia. It is interesting tq know what has taken place in Italy with E.N.I. and I hoped to have more information about the possibility of work in this field in Australia. Preliminary investigations have given us hope that by the use of some by-products of natural gas, the price of nitrogenous fertilisers can be reduced by at least 50 per cent. Victoria and South Australia are particularly interested in this development. But nothing can be achieved overnight. In the meantime we have to rely on the Electrolytic Zinc Co. (Aust.) Ltd. to produce sulphate of ammonia in quantity. There is hope, however, that in the near future, with the advent of natural gas, the cost of nitrogenous fertilisers will be reduced. As one who uses sulphate of ammonia I can say that this will be a great benefit to the farmers.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Anderson) read a third time.
Debate resumed (vide page 1514).
– This Bill, provides for the payment of a bounty on the production of agricultural tractors, lt is designed to encourage Australian engineering works to manufacture tractors. There is market for 18,000 of these vehicles annually but only 6,000 are manufactured in Australia. The Opposition supports the general principle of a bounty to encourage the production of agricultural tractors in Australia. This has been our policy for a number of years. The Bill provides that the full bounty shall not be payable unless the content of materials and parts wholly made in Australia is equivalent to 90 per cent, of the cost of the tractors, and no bounty is payable if the local content is less than 55 per cent. The bounty is payable until 1971.
I am advised that only two firms in Australia are engaged in this form of manufacture. One is Chamberlain Industries Pty. Ltd. and the other is the International Harvester Co. of Australia. It is suggested that 18,000 tractors annually is not a bad market and that every effort should be made to encourage Australian engineering firms to go into production. The Australian Labour Party supports the measure. We hope it will achieve the objective of a large agricultural tractor industry in Australia. The Government would be well advised to encourage this industry. It would be of value not only to engineering firms but to Australia as a whole.
– I thank the Senate for its co-operation.
Question resolved in the affirmative
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed (vide page 1515).
.- This Bill provides for the payment of a bounty on the production of urea sold in Australia and produced at registered premises. The period of operation will end on 31st December 1969. The proposed rate of bounty is $16 per ton, and the amount of bounty payable in any one year is limited to $500,000. Urea has been described by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) as a type of nitrogenous fertiliser superior to sulphate of ammonia; also, it is more easily transported and stored. It has been produced since .1964 on the shores of Botany Bay by the Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Ltd. This, unfortunately, is the only company at present producing it. The legislation provides for a bounty for the manufacturer, lt is not a subsidy to the user. The Bill seeks to give effect to the Tariff Board’s recommendation. The Australian Labour Party does not oppose it, but supports it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed (vide page 1515i.
– This Bill provides for the continuation of the bounty payment on the production of sulphate of ammonia. At the present time fife arnount ofbounty payable annually is limited to $900,000 in respect of all producers, and there is a 10 per cent, profit limitation clause in respect of individual producers. The Tariff Board, which brought down its report on this subject on 13 th April - over six months ago - recommended that assistance to this sector of the chemical industry would best be met by merely raising the allowable annual payment to $1 million and deleting the provisions relating to profit limitations. The Government has accepted this recommendation.
I should like the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson), when he is replying, to state the reason for the deletion of the provision relating to profit limitation. This is quite an important aspect and one on which the Opposition would like further advice. A bounty has been payable on sulphate of ammonia for some considerable time,It was intended to benefit primary producers. The Australian Labour Party feels that the direct beneficiaries have been the large companies that produce sulphate of ammonia. The Australian Labour Party is at all times anxious to assist the man on the land and, although we protest against the lateness of the stage in the session at which the Bill was introduced, we will not oppose its passage.
– in reply - I thank the Opposition for its assurance of a quick passage of the legislation. Senator Fitzgerald raised one question which is applicable to all these bounty Bills. The answer thatI give in this instance in relation to profit limitations may be accepted as the basis for them all. The question of profit limitation has always been a difficult problem. There is a problem of administration within the Department of Customs and Excise, I can assure the honorable senator, because profit limitation based on invested capital becomes a very difficult arithmetical calculation, having regard to all manner of diverse uses of plant, questions of depreciation and the like. The principle has been discussed by the Tariff Board in its annual report for the year 1964-65 at page 13. The view taken by the Tariff Board in its annual report was that a limitation on rate of return on funds employed often frustrated the purposes underlying the grant of bounty. The manufacturers involved, anil the administering department, are faced with clerical and administrative costs and there can be a lack of incentive to increase production and sales once the specified rate of profit is achieved. In effect, it can act as a disincentive towards increased efficiency, reduced costs, technological development and cost control improvements. The incentive to export can also be reduced as a profit limitation becomes a disincentive when the profitability of export is less than the reduction in bounty. It will also be noted that the alternative to bounty assistance, tariff assistance, is not subject to any profit limitation and there seems little justification that bounty assistance should be differentiated against. For the foregoing reasons the Government has decided not to insert provisions relating to profit limitation as such.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through ils remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed (vide page 1515).
– This legislation provides for the extension of the existing bounty of 6d. per lb. on the production of cellulose acetate flake. The Tariff Board in its report dated 13th April 1966 made this reference to the subject -
In its report on Acetyl Products dated 30th November 1964. the Board recommended assistance by way of bounty for local production of cellulose acetate flake sold for use in the manufacture in Australia of cellulose acetate rayon yarn, because protective duties would lead to increased costs of acetate yarn and subsequent products, and might also result in some diversion of demand from acetate to viscose yarn.
This Bill provides for extension of the bounty until 31st December 1969. We on this side of the chamber do not oppose it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Papua and New Guinea Act to make changes in the composition of the House of Assembly and in the Territory judicial system. I refer first to the proposed changes in the judicial system. Under the Papua and New Guinea Act, the Supreme Court of the Territory is established as the superior court of the Territory. An appeal lies to the High Court of Australia by leave from all judgments, decrees, orders and sentences of the Supreme Court wilh such exceptions and subject to such conditions as are provided by ordinance. In order to provide for an appeal within the Territory from a decision of the Supreme Court, the Bill constitutes a Full Court of the Supreme Court to hear and determine appeals from or cases stated by single judges of that Court. The Bill also provides for the High Court of Australia to have jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from all decisions of the Full Court with leave of the High Court.
The effect of these new provisions is that there would be no appeal directly to the High Court from the judgment of a single judge of the Territory Supreme Court: appeal would lie only after an appeal had been heard and determined by the Full Court. The underlying principle ofthe establishment of a Full Court is that the judicial system should be appropriate to the emerging status of the Territory.It should, therefore, as far as practicable be self contained and possess those characteristics which a Supreme Court has, namely, a form of review of decisions by way of appeal by a Full Bench. There are, too, clear practical advantages in local appeals; nol only for the development of the resident profession but also, for example, in providing an opportunity to promote uniformity in judicial approach to sentences.
Section 55 of the Papua and New Guinea Act sets out certain classes of ordinances which the Administrator is required to reserve for the GovernorGeneral’s pleasure. The Bill proposes that
Section 62 of the Act provides that the jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the Supreme Court shall be as provided by or under ordinance. It is proposed to replace this section with provisions under which the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court will be conferred by ordinance only. Matters of practice and procedure will be dealt with either by ordinance or by rules of court made under the authority of this Act. The Bill, therefore, makes provision for rules of court to be made by the judges of the Supreme Court. The changes proposed in clause 10 relating to the appointment of judges are formal only. The Bill also makes provision in clause 5 for an officer of the Commonwealth Public Service appointed as Administrator of Papua and New Guinea to retain his existing and accruing rights as a Commonwealth officer and to apply to such an appointment the Officers’ Rights Declaration Act. 1 turn now to proposals for changes in the composition of the House of Assembly. On 31st March of this year I informed the Senate that the House of Asembly had appointed a Select Committee on Constitutional Development which would, among other things, be inquiring into changes in the composition of the House of Assembly to be made effective in time for the next general election in the Territory in March 1968. The Select Committee has now reported to the House of Assembly and copies of the report have been circulated. The report was adopted unanimously by the House of Assembly on 1st September. It recommends that the size of the House, which first met in 1964, should be increased substantially. The Government has accepted the view that the circumstances of the Territory warrant smaller electorates. Clause 6 of this Bill proposes amendments of the Papua and New Guinea Act to bring about those changes which are required to be made by this Parliament.
The Bill proposes to increase the number of members of the House of Assembly from 64 to 94. This will be achieved by increasing the number of ordinary seats from 44 to 69; by abolishing the 10 seats now reserved for non-indigenous residents of the Territory, and by providing for 15 seats of a new kind, described as regional seats, which will be open to candidates who possess a minimum educational qualification. The Bill does not propose to change the number of official members, which will remain at 10. The Committee recommended the increase in the number of ordinary seats because of the difficulty which members now have in covering their electorates adequately. With a total enrolment in excess of one million electors the increase will mean that there will be one member representing approximately 15,000 electors or 30,000 residents.
The present 10 special seats, for which only non-indigenous persons may stand for election, were established because of the wish of the people of the Territory for an assurance that some Australians would be elected to the House. The Select Committee considered that the previous need for this special form of non-indigenous representation did not now exist, lt saw, however, a continuing need to have some members who could bring broader experience to the House of Assembly. At the same time it desired to remove the principle of representation based on racial grounds. The report recommends that a number of seats be provided for which the candidates must have a minimum educational qualification of the Territory Intermediate Certificate, and that these electorates be based on the present administrative district boundaries with one member for each district except in the cases of the Gulf and Western, East and West New Britain, and Manus and New Ireland which would return one member for the two districts concerned. This results in 15 regional electorates.
There are certain other recommendations of the report to which the attention of honorable senators should be drawn although they do not entail amendment of the Commonwealth Act. In paragraph 71 a recommendation is made that, in addition to the normal qualifications, a candidate for election to the House of Assembly who was not born in the Territory must have resided there for at least five years. It is proposed to give effect to this part of the report by amending the Territory Electoral Ordinance.
Paragraphs 46 to 50 of the report deal with the control of internal revenue. The Select Committee regarded it as desirable that elected members should, as far as practicable, assume some control over locally raised revenue. The Committee mentioned for further consideration two methods of achieving this - either a separate budget for local revenue of a budget committee working in conjunction with the Territory Administration. The Select Committee proposes to discuss this matter further with the Administration. Present arrangements provide for the Administrator’s Council to be consulted regarding the framing of the Budget. Elected members of the House of Assembly are in a majority on that Council. The Government is, however, in general accord with the move by the Select Committee for discussions on how elected members of the House of Assembly can participate more effectively in the framing of the Territory Budget.
In the course of the House of Assembly debate on the Territory Budget, elected members adopted a resolution calling for action on the lines proposed by the Select Committee in respect of future budgets. A majority also voted in favour of a reduction in the item in the Appropriation Ordinance dealing with recruitment expenses for the Territory Public Service. The framing of the Territory Budget is one aspect of the general question of constitutional arrangements in the Territory. On this particular aspect the Government wishes to see improved arrangements which will give elected members of the House a more effective voice in the formulation of the Budget and which will, at the same time, preserve the Government’s ultimate responsibility.
On the more general question of possible changes in the form of the executive government of the Territory, the Government’s attitude was set out earlier this year in statements to the Senate on 31st March and 21st April. In these statements it was made clear that the Government has no desire to press upon the people of the Territory constitutional changes which they do not want or for which they think they are not ready; nor will the Government refuse to make changes if there is strong and widespread support for change in the Territory. Consistently with this attitude, the Government is now proposing to give effect to the changes in the composition of the House of Assembly recommended by the Select Committee in accordance with the views of the Territory people.
Consistently with this attitude, also, the Government would regard it as appropriate at this stage for transitional steps towards eventual responsible ministerial government to be taken if the people of the Territory desire change of that kind. Such transitional steps could operate after the next election for the House of Assembly and amendment of the Papua and New Guinea Act in 1967 would permit this. It is the Government’s attitude that as the capacity of the Territory to contribute to its own revenues increases it should progressively be given more financial autonomy and that more and more of the Territory administration should be put into Territory hands by the development of the local Public Service and by the progressive enlargement of the measure of self-government. It needs to be recognised, however, that the maintenance of effective financial relationships between the Commonwealth and the Territory is not a simple straight forward matter.
In the years when the Commonwealth carried virtually the complete responsibility for administration in the Territory, no problem of conflicting views or of respective responsibilities could arise. Increasingly, however, the institutions of the Territory are being developed so that decisions are shared between elected representatives of the Territory people and the Commonwealth. This is fundamental to the Government’s policies for the Territory and it is a development we welcome and wish to promote. Yet it is necessary for the Government, for this Parliament and for the Territory representatives to face the fact that while it is important to recognise the principle of sharing responsibility it is equally important to work out practical workable arrangements to give effect to the principle.
The principle that the Territory elected representatives should take an increasing share of responsibility for decisions is accepted by the Government. Arrange ments to give practical effect to this principle must, however, pay regard to the ultimate responsibility which must remain with the Government while it continues to be the administering authority for the Territory. The Government must remain finally responsible, for example, for constitutional arrangements and for decisions on the Public Service and the machinery of administration. The Australian Government must retain responsibility to this Parliament for the way in which the Australian grant is spent. The grant to the Territory this year of $70 million represents 58 per cent, of the total Territory Budget. In these circumstances and under present constitutional arrangements the Commonwealth must be responsible for the strategy of the Budget.
These responsibilities of the CommonGovernment need not prevent arrangements being made under which Territory elected representatives .would take an increasing share of responsibility for decisions. They do, however, have the consequence that much care and deliberation will be needed for the working out of practical measures. Thus the approach taken by the Select Committee to the question of financial relationships is eminently sensible. It says, in effect: “ We think there ought to be some changes to give the House of Assembly a more effective voice in budget making. We want to have some talks with the Administration to see what can be worked out and how it can be done.” ft is an approach which allows the realities of the situation to be taken fully into account - realities which include the necessity of maintaining effective machinery of administration as well as the need to give increasing scope for the House of Assembly whilst recognising the continuing responsibility of the Commonwealth. These realities cannot, if the interests of the Territory are to be paramount, be ignored.
The development in the Territory over the past decade or so is very heartening. The Territory Budget, for example, has increased from $20.5 million in 1954-55 to $120 million in the current financial year. In 1954-55 exports were valued at $24 million. In 1965-66 the figure is nearly $44 million. School enrolments have expanded dramatically. The quality of education has greatly improved. An institute of higher technical education and a university are being established. Similarly in other fields, expansion and advancement are apparent. This has of course been achieved only at the cost of increasing the Territory’s dependence on Australia. In 1954-55 the Commonwealth grant was $14 million, compared with this year’s $70 million.
With this economic, social and political advance, demands and requirements are expanding. The capacity to do more is growing. In looking to the Territory’s future, however, none of us can lose sight of the fact that, if the Territory is to stand on its own feet politically and constitutionally, it must be brought closer to the stage where it can stand on its own feet economically. This aim will in itself require an increase in external aid in the immediate future if dependence on external aid is to be subsequently reduced. Social, political and human factors cannot be ignored or under weighted. In the process of budget making in the Territory a proper balance must be kept and as large a share of the available resources as possible has to go into strengthening the economic foundations. This, along with the advancement of the indigenous people of the Territory, is the basic strategy recommended by the International Bank Mission. A substantial part of present Australian aid to the Territory is directed, in accordance with this basic strategy, to accelerated economic development.
The Government is willing to help in this way if the help is wanted. The help can be truly effective only if it is based on cooperation between the Australian Government and the House of Assembly and the people of the Territory. If there is basic harmony between the views of the Government and the views of the House of Assembly and the people of the Territory regarding the aims, the strategy and the fundamental policies which the Government regards as essential to its approach to assistance for the development and advancement of the Territory, then that approach can be continued. If this basic harmony on aims, strategy and fundamental policies were to disappear, the Government would not take the view that Australian opinion should prevail over Territory opinion. The situation would, however, plainly be different from that on which the Government’s present approach to assistance for the Territory has been developed, and the Government’s responsibilities to this Parliament and to the taxpayers of Australia would require it to re-examine the position, including the level of Australian aid.
These matters directly relate to the Papua and New Guinea Act which establishes the institutions of government in the Territory. When institutions of government are under consideration, regard must be had to the context in which they operate. When changes are contemplated, regard must be had to the longer term consequences as well as the short term effects. In the case of Papua and New Guinea the interests of the people and their future are vitally affected by the relationships that exist between Australia and the Territory. Everyone who has a part to play in these relationships has a responsibility to look at the situation as a whole and at the interests of the people of the Territory as a whole, to recognise both the complexities and the realities of the situation, and to ensure that he does not damage the future by a short sighted view of the present.
Debate (on motion by Senator Murphy) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 1507), on motion by Senator Anderson -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
- Mr. President, I suggest that this Bill, the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill 1966 and the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill (No. 2) 1966 are complementary measures. It might suit the convenience of the Senate if the second reading debate on the States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill 1966 is permitted to cover the other two Bills.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin). - There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– I hope the Senate will not mind too much if I speak on the States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill 1966 as I should like to say something about the importance of this measure even at this late stage of the Parliamentary session. I draw attention to the importance of the measure, first, insofar as it gives expression to it in rather more than a formal way and, secondly, to emphasise the sense of public responsibility. This measure, in conjunction with similar measures, involves the expenditure of a great deal of money. It provides educational facilities for a vast number of people. All of this means that education is available to a wide range of people which will be to the ultimate advantage of the nation. Therefore. I hope the opportunities provided by these measures will not be wasted.
This Bill puts into effect an announcement made by the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) on 2.1st September regarding the assistance given io colleges of advanced education during the forthcoming three year period. An amount of $24 million is appropriated for capital expenditure and approximately $11 million for recurrent expenditure for these colleges.
May I lake a moment to refer to the first report of me Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education in relation to Colleges of Advanced Education 1967-6.9. Colleges of advanced education are the substance of this Bill and f describe the whole project as a new concept in education. These colleges will provide a superior form of training in educational development mainly for certain arts. Students who for various reasons do not wish to undertake a full university course or whose vocations may be within certain sections will be catered for by these colleges. I think that it is important to observe that these colleges are not limited to teaching technical subjects. I quote the words used in various phases throughout the report - . . and the liberal arts for young men and women taking up administrative positions in commerce, industry and government.
The Minister has recently drawn attention to the fact also that a college of advanced education is to be established in the Australian Capital Territory. While this may only bc one in a pattern, I think that at least it gives the rest of Australia some idea of the line of development of colleges of advanced education throughout Australia during the next few years.
According to this report, the college to be established in the Australian Capital Territory will have provision for some 12 courses. The recommended courses which will be taught initially at this college are: Biological technology, park administration, rural studies, nursing, architecture, administration, advanced secretarial studies, general studies, statistics, librarianship, journalism and art. These subjects at a tertiary level indicate the breadth and scope of such a college. This college with other such colleges in addition to universities dealing with the educational development in Australia surely are indications of the concern of the Government for total advancement in the education field. This advancement will be not only for professional people but also for people with a wide variety of interests and talents. So, we are developing an educated community that can apply itself in a wide range of activities.
I think that it would be true to say that the essence of the Bill and its relationship to colleges of advanced education will be related, if I may put it in a broad or perhaps even philosophical way, to leadership and communication. To become a leader in any kind of community whether it be a small community or a large community, whether it be a narrow community in terms of interest or whether it be a diverse community, one must be able to think clearly, cogently and imaginatively and indeed with comprehension and perhaps, more importantly, one must develop the capacity to think for oneself. Side by side with these qualifications must go the inestimable benefit of communication. There must be a channel between groups of people with different backgrounds. I suggest that the establishment of these colleges of advanced education represents a different approach to the matter in comparison with that to which we have been used over the years and will be of inestimable benefit in developing this side of our national education thinking.
There is not time for me, nor would it be extremely useful at. this stage, to go over the Bills or 1his report line by line or phase by phase. It only remains for me to select one or two subjects which I think have some importance as far as the total theme that 1 have been trying to make out is concerned. I draw attention with some pleasure to the reference in the speech of the Minister to the fact that the amount of $500,000 has been appropriated for library services. The Minister will seek the advice of the
Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education in relation to these services and report to the Parliament when the distribution has been made. I take it from these remarks that this gives the Minister a certain amount of discretion. It provides him with the opportunity for making inquiry, reaching a decision and implementing it according to the need. It has been an interesting exercise.
I refer honorable senators to chapter 6 of the report to which I referred. This chapter is entitled “ Libraries and the Training of Librarians.” The Committee speaks fairly plainly about the situation as it found it during its inquiries. Amongst other things, the Committee reports -
In the visits to the tertiary colleges few deficiencies have struck the Committee more forcibly than the inadequacy of the libraries. This is no reflection on the administration of particular colleges and of their libraries; it is rather that here is one easily identifiable instance of the low standard of facilities generally prevailing in this field of education.
The Committee traces, as we would expect it to do. the various possible reasons for this state of affairs. Many of these reasons revolve around lack of finance in this area. The Committee makes the point that it is convinced as a result of its investigations that libraries represent one area in this field of education that requires what it calls “ urgent, generous and expert attention.” The Committee continues -
Library services must be brought to the point where they are not only capable of sustaining present activities but are able to support the greatly diversified activities which this Committee is charged to promote.
I hope I have conveyed already in my remarks the fact that there are and will be greatly diversified activities in education. Therefore, I stress the importance of adequate library facilities and services with which we in this Parliament are familiar and upon which we place such high value.
– Do they advocate general library establishments in colleges, or one specialised group?
– As I have read, the general idea in due course will be to establish libraries in the various centres for different reasons. Each of the colleges, as they are expected to be located throughout Australia, will have basic similarities but certain diversity of activity. Therefore, lib rary facilities will need to be related to the college that is located in a particular area. 1 have no doubt that eventually when the field has been fully investigated there will be co-ordination of the services. Perhaps eventually one central library will bc built to meet the demands. Many other aspects are related, and some of them refer to adult education. This is rather well laid out in detail in the programmes for the various States.
As might be expected, I would like to refer to the institutions set out on page 10 of the Bill, and particularly to the South Australian institutions, namely the South Australian Institute of Technology and the South Australian School of Art. The report that was tabled recently relating to South Australia refers not only to the Institute of Technology, which is located in North Terrace, Adelaide, but also to extensions at the suburb of Islington. A plan is set out for the future development of the Institute which will be the advanced college of education, so far as South Australia is concerned. This has had a strong appeal to me because of its proximity to the headquarters of the Institute at North Terrace. However, for various reasons the plans have been changed and difficulties have arisen because of the unsatisfactory nature of the soil and drainage problems at Islington. Representations have been made to the Minister for Education for a move and South Australian senators will be familiar with the new area that has been selected, known as the “ Levels “. It is adjacent to Parafield Aerodrome, about seven miles from the city. I think it is rather a pity that the move has to be made. I would like to know, in due course, the reasons for the change. I have been given to understand that considerable architectural inquiry and planning had been conducted in respect of the Islington site. Apparently it is not now to be used. I would have thought that such problems as the unsatisfactory nature of the soil and difficulties with drainage would have become apparent rather earlier in the programme, as they are incorporated in a most elaborate way together with plans in the report which has been tabled in this Parliament.
Summing it up in a brief way, and referring to the diversity of activity, the many provisions of the programme of advanced education and colleges of advanced education will provide in the Australian community, in a general, but, I am certain, a direct and positive way, the answer to the section of the community which accuses government authorities of a smugness in their attitude to education. 1 borrow my phrase from the vice-president of the Victorian Institute of Colleges, Dr. Law, who returned from abroad the other day. He described the Australian scene as being far behind Britain and the United Stales in tertiary education. I do not think this is a fair comparison, because of the differences in population and history, lt is not without relevance to compare their relationship geographically to other social and educational centres of the world.
The colleges of advanced education meet the need for all round training. We arc living in the age of specialisation. We cannot do without specialists. However, I fear wc have reached the stage in our community development when there is a tendency to depend entirely upon specialists. The colleges of advanced education will meet this situation - I will not say in an adequate way - but at least adequately for our time. The whole legislation is geared for further inquiry as time goes on so as to take advantage of situations that may arise and to keep the pattern sufficiently flexible to become efficient and effective. I reject the criticism made by Dr Law, particularly as he has listed a number of items relating to the requirements for more ali round graduates. He described our adult education as inadequate and dealt with certain other related subjects. The establishment of these colleges will go a long way towards meeting the need and the criticism that has been made. 1 repeat the phrase I used earlier in describing this legislation as “ a new concept in education “. I highlight this because not so many years ago - 100 years is not a long time in the history of a nation - there was no concern at all for widespread national education. Indeed, it was our business to try to make as many people literate as possible. There was no concern about the development of their minds, or initiative, or anything else. Today the programme of education, within Australia and beyond, could be described possibly as “ an education explosion “. This Bill is to take advantage of the need and to provide the opportunity for the need to be met. We can rightly be enthusiastic about it. We can endorse it willingly and readily but, at the same time, I hope that nol only the Government but also the people whom it benefits will exercise a great measure of responsibility in regard to the new advantages that have been extended to them. 1 hope that these people will not be indifferent but will take full advantage of the new facilities so that in the end we will have a community of weil trained people with a sense of responsibility and a realisation of their own dependence and the interdependence of group upon group within the Australian community.
The education programme is costing a lol of money. I imagine that, as it develops, it will cost more money. But at least it can be said with credit, and enthusiasm mat education now is much more widely available to the Australian people. 1 support the Bill.
.- The Bills before the Senate appropriate both capital and recurrent expenditure by the Commonwealth for two types of institution - -the colleges of advanced education and the universities of Australia. The Bills come before this Parliament as a result of the Government’s review of recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and the Australian Universities Commission.
We have to evaluate what is being done by the Commonwealth in the field of tertiary education in the light of the two splendid reports by these bodies. 1 find myself very much impressed by the maturity of thinking in the report of the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education - the so-called Wark Committee - and by the report of the Australian Universities Commission. It is always fair to give a proper measure of commendation where such substantial work as has been accomplished in the field of education is being considered.
But the note that I want to sound on behalf of the Opposition is that we become too easily anaesthetised with statistics. We are too ready to. react to large figures as though they indicate that monumental progress is being made. When the Commonwealth says that it is committing itself to the expenditure of $175 million in the 1967-1969 triennium in the field of university education and that it is committing itself to an expenditure of $35 million on colleges of advanced education, the average reaction is to bc extremely impressed by the magnitude of those sums and to believe that the Commonwealth is taking massive steps in the field of tertiary education. The surface magnitude of the sums appropriated obscures the magnitude of the problems that are left unsolved.
Anybody who looks” at the problem of education today, whether it is in the tertiary, secondary, technical or primary field, must acknowledge that a crisis of great proportions exists. 1 regret that the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) is not in the chamber. He knows my views on this subject; I have had occasion to explain them on many occasions. He knows the views of the Opposition. The Minister has been the foremost amongst those who deny the existence of a crisis in education. Wc are getting to the stage where the impact of the financial crisis, particularly in the case of the universities, will lead to a crisis in regard to confidence. The tertiary institutions arc at the crossroads. What is not referred to in the Minister’s second reading speech, although it is freely acknowledged in the statement that was made by the Minister in this chamber on 21st September, is that the amount of the allocation that was recommended by the Australian Universities Commission for the current triennium has been slashed by $56 million. That sum is not peanuts. That is a very large sum of money to take from the budget of the Australian universities. The Universities Commission does not operate in a vacuum. Up till now its recommendations for each triennium have been accepted by the Government. On this occasion the Government has departed from its practice of enacting the Commission’s recommendations as legislation. Instead, as I have already indicated, $56 million has been chopped off the sum recommended. In what position do the universities find themselves as a result? They are wondering where they will go from here.
– Who is responsible for the curtailment of the appropriation?
– The Government says that it has had to approach the matter in this way because the States have not been willing to come to the party with matching grants.
– That is a matter which I would like the honorable senator to discuss.
– One could select 30 important aspects of this subject to deal with. I shall deal now with the matter that Senator Wright invites me to deal with, because I will have to get around to it sooner or later. The Commonwealth says that it cannot go any further because the States are not prepared to go as far as the Universities Commission recommended. Then the Minister sounds a warning note and says: “ However, it must not be assumed that even if the States had been prepared to go the full distance the Commonwealth would have come to the party.” Senator Wright should not look so incredulous.
– I am not looking incredulous. I am interested.
– That is what the Minister has said. Where do we go from here? Nowhere in all the manifold problems that face this nation is the crisis in Commonwealth and State financial relations so clearly demonstrated as it is in the field of education, particularly in the field of tertiary education. The States are saying: “ We have to find money for secondary, technical and primary education. We cannot allocate our budget in the manner recommended by the Universities Commission, because if we did so we would be starving other forms of education.” Where is national policy to lead us in regard to education? ls the Commonwealth to say: “ We cannot be party to the States robbing the primary technical and secondary education fields. Therefore, we will not insist upon their coming to the party. But we will not come to the party ourselves.”? Obviously money must be found for education. It is of no use the Commonwealth and States chasing each other around in circles, the victims being the students and their families, whether they be in the tertiary, secondary, technical or primary field.
It is ali very well to ask: “ Whose responsibility is it?” My answer is that it is everybody’s responsibility. Not least, it is the responsibility of the Commonwealth. That is where the money ultimately must come from. I am disappointed that the Government has failed to measure up to the challenge that has been put forward in the reports of the Australian Universities Commission and the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education.
Let mc go back to the problem that was raised in the report of the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education. I have not the lime tonight to delineate the various areas that these bodies covered. We dealt with a lot of them when the Martin report was presented. The report of the Wark Committee is the first to be presented by that body, ft is an important report, because at the very threshhold of its work the Committee dealt with the matter that Senator Wright raised, lt dealt with the subject of matching grants from the States and considered whether, in the case of recurrent expenditure, there should be a readjustment on the basis of $1 for $1 which applies in relation to capital expenditure. Honorable senators will recall that in respect of recurrent expenditure incurred by universities and colleges of advanced education the Commonwealth provides SI for every $1.85 contributed by the States.
– The Australian Universities Commission does not lake note of anything other than needs, does it? ft does not accept responsibility for appropriating money?
– Ultimately there has to be agreement between the Commonwealth and the States about the allocation for the triennium. The States have to accept their share. The States’ share in the case of recurrent expenditure is $1.85 for every $1 contributed by the Commonwealth.
– The Commission considers only what is desirable from the viewpoint of need, does it not?
– The Commission considers all sorts of things.
– lt does not consider the respective responsibilities of the States or the Commonwealth.
– I do not think the Commission operates in a vacuum. Sir Leslie Martin, the distinguished Chairman of the Australian Universities Commission, has for many years had experience in doing three things - first, in assessing the needs of the universities; secondly, in assessing the needs of any one university in the light of the total needs of all Australian universities; and thirdly, in seeing what it is politically practicable to recommend.
– But is it suggested that he would comprehend all the other claims of government on the moneys? That is the point I want to make.
– 1 do not think that he by himself would assess the competing claims for housing, health and other things.
– That is a function that State Premiers have to perform.
– I do not want to carry on with this dialogue for too long because I have a number of other points 1 want to make. But traditionally, the Chairman of the Universities Commission deals with the universities and reaches agreement with them usually on a more modest level than the universities themselves desire. It is a compromise based upon what the Chairman of the Universities Commission thinks is reasonably practical for him to recommend in the total situation. He gets from the universities what they desire and he relates it to the overall needs and budgetary problems of the Government. He says to the universities: “ You want $30 million, but 1 think I can get you only $20 million.” The universities say: “ If we can get $20 million, we can readjust our programme to fit in with the revised plan.”
What I am saying is that by the time the Universities Commission has dealt with it - I am not suggesting this is an improper approach, but 1 think this is related to the question - it is already pruned and the matter has been adjusted as between the universities and the Commission, even though the universities might not be completely happy about it. So the universities have come to accept the position that what Sir Leslie Martin and his Commission recommend will become the final situation and will be what is ultimately adopted by the Government. On this occasion they have been very seriously let down by the Government which has slashed $56 million off the recommended appropriation. I cannot think of anything which is more disturbing to university administrators and scholars. 1 believe that this has caused profound concern and uneasiness in the universities. I know that from my own inquiries and from discussions with a number of distinguished people who are working either on the administrative side or the academic side in several universities in Australia.
– lt is true as far as Queensland is concerned.
– lt is true as far as every State in the Commonwealth is concerned. When universities are faced with this kind of action by the Government, how do they go about planning their development? What do they do if they are planning to have a new chair of Greek, Economic History or Pacific Geography? These are areas of academic endeavour which are all part of university work in its fullest sense. How do they plan to expand when what is happening is chopping down by the Government?
– They do not plan for expansion; they restrict themselves.
– Senator Gair says that they restrict themselves. 1 agree with him. They are, in fact, beginning to lower their sights.
– But their sights have never been higher. They have never had so much.
– They have never had so much in one sense. The honorable senator was nol present when 1 commenced my speech.
– Yes, I was present.
– If the honorable senator was present, I apologise. But the position is that it is not the slightest use talking about what is achieved unless we measure it against what has to be done. The Wark Committee - and I am grateful to Senator Wright for introducing this matter - was fully appreciative of this, and in its very first report on its work it recommended -
That the Commonwealth Government give consideration to adopting for colleges of advanced education the formula SI Commonwealth to $1 Stale for recurrent expenditure above the base year.
The Committee also stated -
Our terms of reference require us to advise on the conditions under which financial assistance should be granted. We therefore feel justified in pointing out that for 1967-69 a ratio of $1 State to St Commonwealth on recurrent expenditure above the level of the base year would have had most beneficial effects. However the ratio of 1.85:1 has been adopted in making our present recommendations, in terms of the Government’s instruction. We urge that there should be further consideration along these lines in the belief thaI a change to the ratio 1:1 would encourage and assist the Slates in bringing in a more vigorous development in this area - an area which the Commonwealth has already recognised as one for urgent action.
The point I make to the Senate is that this Committee realises that there has to be some kind of readjustment of the formula for Commonwealth and State contributions in the field of education. Unless the total Commonwealth and State financial relations are reviewed comprehensively in the very near future, education will be one of the first areas to suffer, as it is at the present time. There is no other area of public activity which is so much the victim of the Commonwealth-State financial morass as is education.
– That sums up the real situation. It is a matter of the Commonwealth determining its responsibilities in education.
– It must do that. I agree with the honorable senator’s interjection. The Commonwealth must decide what is to be the role of national planning in the field of education. It is only the Commonwealth that can provide the money. One has to think big and nationally about this problem because there are pressing needs in so many sectors of the education problem.
Senator Davidson seemed to attempt to write off or to write down the assessment of Dr. Philip Law, the Vice-President of the Victorian Institute of Colleges - and after all, this is very close to the problem that we arc discussing at the present time - when he returned from a study trip abroad and denounced smugness about the Australian education system in all sorts of places. His remarks provoked sympathetic noises from the great journals of public enlightenment. The “Age” of 21sl October in its editorial referred to “ The Morass of Education “. That was the title of the editorial, lt dealt with Dr. Law’s strictures and stated -
The sheer magnitude of the education problem has far outstripped the experience and the energies of many of the older people who are responsible for solving it, both at the Ministerial level and among senior administrators. They have spent great sums of money on multiplying the number of schools to meet booming post-war needs, and they have trained many more teachers. This gives some of them the feeling that the problem is well on the way to solution.
This is far from the truth. Even a massive new application of money, though it is badly needed, would not bring Australian education to parity with the world’s best.
The editorial refers to the problem of integrating secondary and tertiary training. It refers to the scandalous lag, as it puts it and I agree with the description, in teacher training. It also refers to the quota systems which, by keeping many would-be teachers out of universities, have lowered the standards of training. It goes on lo state -
Much of the blame for this must rest on the Commonwealth, for failing to implement the recommendation of the Martin report that the Federal Government should subsidise the training of teachers.
An editorial in the “ Australian” of 20th October stated -
At this rate, we shall need two, not one, fulltime Federal Ministers to face the mind-boggling problems of education.
It refers with approval to the remark of Dr. Law that there is in Australia a smugness and unwarranted self-satisfaction about the education system. I have said that, in relation to the universities, the appropriations recommended by the Universities Commission have been seriously curtailed. This is not so with the Colleges of Advanced Education which have been given the green light, at any rate in relation to this first report. They have been given the green light in the sense that the recommendations have broadly been adopted and are to form the policy, the framework, for the next three years.
This does not mean that they have all been adopted. The recommendation relating to re-assessing the Commonwealth-State basis has been rejected by the Government. Some recommendations have been accepted and others have been rejected. There has been an acceptance of the recommendation relating to an appropriation for libraries, an acceptance of a sum of, 1 believe, $250,000 for research into the problems of these Colleges of Advanced Education and so on. One can wish the development of that system well, while agreeing with the view of the Wark Committee that there should be a new basis of allocation between the Commonwealth and the States in relation to recurrent expenditure. Basically, although the Wark Committee says the most pressing requirement is in the field of buildings and equipment, in the long run recurrent expenditure outweighs capital expenditure. It is here that the Commonwealth is not prepared to be on a parity with the States. It provides $1 for every Si. 85 provided by the States, instead of Si for $1, as with capital expenditure.
Turning again to the universities, I believe the Government still fails to face up to the fact that a crisis in one aspect of the educational system infects every other aspect. So there is a crisis not only in tertiary education but in secondary, primary and technical education as well. This will not get better; it will get worse, unless the Commonwealth can lift the whole problem on to a national plane so that we can see where we are going.
– What does the honorable senator consider to be the whole problem?
– In the first place, the problem of finding enough money to finance education at every level and in all educational institutions; and secondly, finding procedures which will enable problems of education to be tackled from the grass roots. Critically important in this connection is the training of teachers. The action of the Government in rejecting the Martin Committee’s recommendations on teacher training was completely irresponsible, in my opinion. It is something for which the Government will have to pay and for which Australia will have to pay in the years to come unless there can be some reassessment of policy. I have talked about the slashing of the grants.
– In what respect does the honorable senator suggest that Australia will have to pay for that decision?
– I am saying that an education system is defective which is prepared to muddle along with inadequate methods of recruiting and training teachers, a system which is prepared to put up with unqualified teachers - and in Victoria a large proportion of secondary school teachers are unqualified, so that the Education Department is actually closing down matriculation classes-
– Is that involved in the decision to cut back the amount recommended?
– 1 am raising the wider question. It is useless for Senator Wright to shrug his shoulders. I am saying that the presentation of these Bills gives us a hurried opportunity-
– I was going to say that the honorable senator is hurrying, and 1 want, to get an understanding of what he is saying.
– I shall have to go slower. What I am saying is that a monumental error was made in relation to the Martin Committee’s recommendations on teacher training. Every educationist in Australia, bar none, will agree with me on that. No teacher or educationist will defend the Government’s decision in rejecting the Martin Committee’s report in relation to teacher training. I have yet to hear of anybody who knows the slightest bit about education in any field who is not prepared to say that that was the heart of the Martin Committee’s report, but the Government cut it out.
– Do they know anything about Government responsibilities?
– Most of them know as much as Senator Marriott.
– A leading Minister said teacher training was not the responsibility of the Commonwealth. 1 think that was a tragic statement from a leading Minister in the Commonwealth Government.
- Sir Robert Menzies, who was Prime Minister when the Martin Committee’s report was presented to the nation with the Government’s own assessment and decision on it, said -
Important as the field of teacher training is the Commonwealth is not prepared to enter it.
– That was the report on Advanced Colleges of Education.
– No, it was a report on teacher training.
– But you were discussing the report of the Commission, ft is a different report that the honorable senator is now discussing, is it?
– lt is not the same report. The Committee happened to have the same chairman. What 1 am saying is that when one deals with these university problems you do not just see them in a vacuum. You have to see them in relation to the total education system. An education system, at whatever level you consider it, which rejects the notion that teachers are critically important, is defective. The Commonwealth has to take active steps to see that we have an adequate number of teachers, properly paid and properly qualified. All these things are central to an education system.
We have an enormous bulge in the education system now at the top of the secondary school level. We have a higher proportion of the young population of Australia going to the universities. We have a higher proportion staying at school to the later years. In 1954, 18 per cent, of the 15 to 18 years age group was at school. In 1964, the proportion was not 18 per cent, but 32 per cent. They number 1 in 10 of all school pupils instead of 1 in 20 as they did a decade ago.
– Has the honorable senator the numbers?
– I have not got them with me, but of every 100 children who started secondary studies in government schools in 1950, 8 sat to matriculation level, but of children commencing in 1960 the comparable figure was 20. These are statistics I have had supplied to me. I have no doubt about their authenticity but I have not the document in my hands at present.
– If we translated the proportions into numbers, the increase would be enormous.
– Indeed it would. In the period from 1956 to 1964 when the proportion of the 17 to 22 years age group enrolled in Australian universities had risen from 4.7 to 8 per cent., the percentage of 17-year old students in secondary schools more than doubled in all States, I am informed, except Western Australia. For Australia as a whole, the percentage rose from 8.4 in 1956 to 17.9 in 1964. We have a population crisis in the group who are the most expensive to educate, children in the top years of secondary school, because they need highly qualified teachers. They need a high level of scholarship to accompany teaching competence. They need proper facilities and equipment if the full advantage of the longer years of schooling is to be realised.
The cost of educating more children at those levels is higher than it is at the lower levels. Right on the heels of the universities, a problem is chasing them. It is the problem of the enormous bulge at the top of the secondary school population. When we look to the future, we wonder why in that situation, where the predictions of numbers in higher secondary school and the predictions of university numbers are so high, there is this curtailment of support to the universities. I know it is anticipated that some of the people will go to colleges of advanced education instead of to the universities, but to cut the budget of the universities by approximately 10 per cent, over the next three years is to invite them to go slow, and to look not to expansion but to limiting their activities within their resources. They have to pay for increased costs of staff. The universities are subject to economic factors in management in the same way as are other groups in the community.
– -“ What is the truth?” asked jesting Pilate. Is it true to say that that represents a cut in the budget of 10 per cent. There has been a great increase, has there not?
– Yes, but there has been a cut in the recommended allocation. Every responsible person in the universities, administrative or academic, has come to expect that what the Australian Universities Commission recommends will be accepted because those recommendations are themselves the result of intelligent, round the table compromise. A university may say that lt wants $1.5 million for a science block and Sir Leslie Martin’s Commission says: “We can give you only just over $1 million.
If you like to wait for three years we may be able to give you a better block, but if you want it now we can give you only a block costing $1 million.” The university will say: “Right, we will take it.” That reduces its demand in the case of a particular building by half a million dollars and it becomes more practicable. That is the problem. The universities have been let down. There is no mistaking the fact. Some of their vice-chancellors are vocal, some are less vocal, but they are all disappointed because their plans are in disarray.
Mr. President, I have to race the clock. I do not want to do any more on this occasion ‘ than to refer to one other problem, the problem of financial assistance to students and the proportion of students who are really getting assistance. There is still an important economic factor limiting people going to the higher levels of secondary schools and to the universities. It has been assumed, I think inaccurately, that the extension of scholarships in recent years has made it possible for almost any student to get to a university, irrespective of means. Scholarships have certainly been of very great assistance to many students of outstanding ability whose parents lack the means to send them to a university. In such cases they can win scholarships and get to a university. But for those who are unable to win scholarships, the costs are prohibitive. Fees in all of the universities are rising. The first reaction of some of the Australian universities to the Government’s cutting down on the Commission’s recommendation was to raise student fees, or to talk of raising fees, because that is the only source from which the material assistance can be got by which the commitments can be met.
It is interesting to see what is happening in this field of assistance. From 1966, that is, from this year, the Commonwealth made scholarships available for students taking approved courses in tertiary institutions other than universities. The benefits under this type of award are the same as those under the Commonwealth university scholarship scheme and the two schemes are treated as one for the purpose of assessing entitlement to living allowance. This year nearly 900 of the new Commonwealth advanced education scholarships have been taken out. They include just over 520 open entrance awards for which there had been almost 25,000 applicants, and almost 380 later year scholarships for which over 1100 persons had applied. A big majority of the students beginning approved tertiary level courses receive no Commonwealth assistance.
Those are the facts of the matter and it is important that we keep our feel on the ground in seeing whether there is as yet complete equality of educational opportunity. Parents - people who have children at school and at university - know that the financial pinch is on. If the scholar docs not have a university scholarship or an advanced education scholarship, there is a real financial problem. 1 do nol pretend to have the complete answer to all of this, but I am certain that Australians must slop thinking about these problems in terms of achievement by referring to amounts spent, because compared with the problems that have yet to be solved these amounts are pretty modest. I will nol say that they are insignificant, because they are not. In the field of tertiary education a great deal more has been done than has been done in other fields of education to raise the sights and to reach real levels of achievement. I only wish that the Commonwealth had long ago recognised ils responsibility in fields other than tertiary education. It was only in 1963, wilh the pressure of a Federal election coming on. that for the first time the then Prime Minister. Sir Robert Menzies, acknowledged any Commonwealth responsibility for education other than in the tertiary field. That is just nol good enough.
Those are the things that I wanted to say. The Opposition supports these Bills. Naturally, we would want to see as much money as possible made available to the universities, but lel us not be complacent about these problems. Let us appreciate that in the long run the responsibility for Australia’s education system being in crisis rests with the Commonwealth Government, and no amount of shilly shallying, no amount of denying that there is a crisis in education, can obscure that vital fact. There is an immense problem to be confronted. 1 do not think that it is being met wilh sufficient momentum and sufficient aggression by the Government. It is time we had a completely new look at Australian education, because that is what this country needs. That is why my Party has pressed and will Undertake, when it is elected to government at the end of November, a comprehensive national inquiry into all levels of education, primary, secondary and technical. We must know what the country needs. We must know what problems exist. It is no good sticking to old fashioned and established attitudes if they do not really meet the demand. 1 indicate the Opposition’s support of these measures but I indicate also our dissatisfaction with the Government’s failure to give positive leadership in the fields to which I have referred.
– in reply - At the outset of his speech on these Bills Senator Cohen said: “It is easy lo be impressed by figures “. Then, in a speech which I felt contained much interest he set about building an argument upon the proposition that the Commonwealth in fact had not made its contribution to the financial support of universities, teaching schools and the like although, on the face of it, the figures may appear to be impressive. I do not profess to have any great knowledge of this particular field, but front the limited knowledge I have gained as a practising parliamentarian and a Minister with responsibilities, I must say that the honorable senator cannot just wipe it off as simply as he did in his opening sentence because the facts of life are that in a young nation of I I million or 12 million people on a vast continent, and with all the heavy responsibilities of nationhood which are bearing down upon us, we cannot isolate the problem of education and say: “ Whatever is asked for we will give”. If the Government were to do that it would be ignoring completely all its other responsibilities in a budgetary sense.
In the broad, the honorable senator’s argument does not have regard for that issue or for the magnificent entry by the Commonwealth into the field of education - a magnificent entry in terms of astronomical sums of money, of labour, sweat, energy and everything else involved in this field. I think the honorable senator is begging the question and completely ignoring the fact that prior to 1959 the Commonwealth, as distinct from the States, did not enter the field of education to any great extent. In a short period of approximately six years the Commonwealth has seized the responsibility and has done magnificent things in terms of assistance to tertiary education. I believe history will prove (his to be so.
The honorable senator talked about the slashing - I think that was the word he used - of the appropriation for education by $56 million. Listening to him the uninitiated and inexperienced would assume he meant that the Commonwealth had slashed its appropriation by $56 million. That is not true, and the honorable senator knows that it is not true.
– He did not say that.
– He did say that.
– I said the recommendations of the Universities Commission had been slashed.
– The honorable senator said that the Commonwealth had slashed the appropriation by $56 million, and “ Hansard “ tomorrow will prove it. I want to direct his attention to a statement made by Senator Gorton, the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research, on 2 1st September this year. He said -
I earlier indicated that the financial programme which we offer to support during the next triennium will be $512 million and will represent an increase of approximately $120 million over this present triennium. But large as thatprogramme is, it is approximately $56 million less than the programme recommended by the Universities Commission.
That is the point. I want to make it perfectly clear - I am sure Senator Cohen knows this - that in the reduction of $56 million there is not only the Commonwealth content but also the State content and the income from the universities themselves. I think it must be accepted that Senator Gorton did not seek to evade the question because later in the speech to which I have referred he said, when referring to universities -
Indeed we felt, just as the States felt, that in total the suggested programme made too great a demand on the resources available for education, having regard to the competing claims of other tertiary institutions and of primary, secondary and technical education, and that some reduction was necessary. We have adopted, for the major items of university buildings, student residences and general recurrent grants in the State universities, the upper limits proposed by the States.
SoI say in truth that during this triennium the Commonwealth has in fact increased the appropriation. True, it is not as large as the Commission recommended but that is not unique.
– What, $120 million?
– The Commonwealth has granted an increase. Many people in this Senate would know the principles on which any commission, any select committee or any advocate before a conciliation tribunal operates. They would not expect the Universities Commission to base its recommendation on anything less than the maximum it would be possible to obtain. Governments, both Commonwealth and State, and the universities themselves, are not necessarily committed to accept bang on the recommended amount or to accept the proposition advanced. So it is not true to say that the Commonwealth has not played a real and responsible role in this field.
We are living in changing times. Back in 1959 or 1960 the Commonwealth, looking at the problem, said: “ We are prepared to enter this field and to accept a degree of responsibility “. The only other point I make in my comments, having noted that the Opposition is supporting the Bill, is that the Government has accepted the responsibility and is making a very real contribution to education. In the result, that is all to the good. Perhaps the Commonwealth’s contribution does not meet the full requirements of education in Australia, but it is not true to say, as the honorable senator has suggested, that the reduction represents a reduction in the Commonwealth allocation. It represents a reduction made by the Commonwealth, the States and the universities themselves. I thank, the Senate for the assurance of a speedy passage of these Bills.
Question resolved in the affirmative
Bill read a second time.
– My remarks will be very brief. I approve strongly one statement by Senator Cohen which I think sums up the situation. He said that there is an urgent necessity for the Commonwealth to determine its reponssibilities in the field of education. I have seen and read statements by various Ministers in the last 12 months which indicate some differences of opinion. It is obvious that one Minister is strongly in favour of
Federal action in the matter of teacher training, and I have heard another Minister violently oppose any entry by the Commonwealth into the field of teacher training on the ground that it is not an appropriate field for the Commonwealth to enter. A couple of weeks ago I attended, by invitation, a lecture given at the University of Melbourne by Professor Karmel of the Flinders University of South Australia. He dealt with these financial questions. The following morning I attended a seminar at the same University. It is perfectly obvious that the definition by the Commonwealth of its responsibilities is the crux of this situation.
The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) has said that the Commonwealth did a very good thing in entering this field in 1959. Of course, we all say that that is true. But why did the Commonwealth enter this field? It did so because it has the money and the States have not. While that situation exists, this problem will become more and more urgent all the time. I have been shocked to hear a Minister say that in his view it is not the responsibility of the Commonwealth to enter the field of teacher training. Any person in Australia today who is closely associated with education realises that, if there is one field in which there is an urgent, need, it is the field of teacher education. I was deeply disappointed when it was neglected in the Budget. As I said, I. will not detain the Committee for very long. If this problem of education is to be solved properly, the Commonwealth has to decide at a very early date what its responsibilities are and into what areas of the field it must enter. Until it does that we will be faced with unsatisfactory solutions to the problem.
.- I rise to make three points. The first relates to what Senator McManus mentioned in adding to what Senator Cohen said. 1 regard it as entirely inappropriate for any honorable senator, in the atmosphere of this debate, to pretend that any deliberate view has been either debated or analysed tonight. lt is offensive to an intellectual consideration of this matter for such an overwhelming, general proposition, unrelated to any particular clause of this Bill, to be advanced in the Committee stage. I do not mean by that comment that I controvert the proposition. 1 protest against the pretence that this is the beginning of a debate on the subject. The subject is of such national importance that, if it is to be entered upon, the Senate should resolve to take the proper opportunity and make the proper approach to it.
When it is said that there is an urgent necessity for the Federal Government to determine its responsibilities in education and that one of the first fields into which it should move is teacher training, surely that must be meant only in the sense of providing money for colleges of advanced education which include the training of teachers as part of their function. In that respect, months ago the Government made a decision varying the report of the Martin Committee. I, for my part, regard that decision as being very debatable. But let us have a real debate on the subject. Do not let us mock it.
The second matter to which 1 wish to refer is a statement that fell from the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) in his reply to the second reading debate. It was a restatement of the position that, in fact, an extra $120 million will be provided by the Federal Government, during the next triennium for university purposes, whereas the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission was for an increase in excess of that. I am trying to put the matter in perspective in a few brief sentences. J remind honorable senators that Senator Cohen said, in the course of his remarks, that the victim of this morass - the confused relationships between the States a;v.i the Commonwealth with regard to finance and function - was education. We had references to the confused constitutional setup by Senators McKenna and Cotton last night in relation to the National Debt Sinking Fund. This indicates to me that, instead of hurrying away some time before the next rising of the sun, as 1 understand we propose to do, the Senate might take three days for a seminar in this chamber on this very subject of Federal-State financial relations. Let us proceed to it in an orderly Fashion. But recognising that we will keep this confusion with us for our comfort at least until after Christmas, let us approach Senator Anderson’s proposition that the Government is not obliged to accept the recommendation of the Universities Commission in amount.
– Completely or in toto.
– That is what I said. The Minister’s proposition is that the Government is not obliged to accept the amount recommended by the Universities Commission. At this stage I neither accept nor reject that proposition. This was one of the points on which I was moved to speak at the second reading stage; but then J thought that, in the immaturity, confusion and haste of the debate, it was better to abstain. However, the precise proposition having fallen from the Minister in his reply, I believe that it is proper that honorable senators, who contribute to this debate and who think as I do, should say that that proposition is not acceptable without debate. There are some considerations in favour of it: but there are very important considerations against it. I merely mention this one: The universities, in their functioning and in the advancement of learning, proceed on the still uncontroverted theory that they are to have independent command of their revenues. I conceive that it was for that reason that the Federal Government issued its invitation to the great scholar who presided over the committee that recommended the establishment of a universities commission in Australia - Sir Keith Murray. I. believe that his recommendation was for a universities commission on parallel lines wilh the universities commission in Great Britain. The reason for establishing the Universities Commission independent of government was that a functionary of government should not have the task of advising on the revenues available to (he independent universities, lt is a matter which, I think, deserves more consideration than has been given to it. lt is a matter of whether it is not essential, if we are to have efficacy and economy proceeding from the recurrent recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission, that it be accorded such a degree of recognition that only in the most exceptional circumstances will an amount it has recommended be varied.
I remind the Committee that in another field - a field divorced from education but where the political implications demand the utmost independence of a Federal-State commission - the Commonwealth Grants Commission advises or recommends grants for the claimant States, Western Australia and Tasmania. Ever since that Commission was established and began to report annually, as it has since 1933, the amounts it has recommended have not been varied by one penny. I do not say that this is a logical analogy but the principles that permit the expectation of the complete independence of that Commission may be similarly potent in relation to the Universities Commission. Unless the Universities Commission can expect from year to year, except in the most exceptional circumstances, the complete acceptance of the figures that it recommends, we are likely to have less than full efficiency and full economy proceeding from its recommendations. 1 do not think that it would be wise for the Government to get the idea, from the approach of the Commission to its problems, that it is a compromising Commission and that it submits a figure that it expects the Government, if it has a different view about the need of a project. to cut down.
Mr. Chairman, please understand me that I am abstaining from debating this matter. I am simply registering the view that nobody should accept completely the submission by the Minister. I hope that the matter will be debated because I know that the applications made by the universities to the Commission for finance during this triennium were substantially reduced before they were transmitted through the Commission to the Government in the form of recommendations. If we are to maintain the spirit of responsibility most necessary in university finance at the present time when from the universities themselves is proceeding a spirit of unbridled expenditure and irresponsibility regarding revenue, and if we are to maintain the Universities Commisson as a really responsible scrutinising agent, we need definitely to formulate a policy after careful thought as to whether, except in exceptional circumstances, the figure that the Commission recommends ought to be accepted from triennium to triennium.
The third matter that I wish to raise is proper to the Committee debate. I raise it in order to see whether the Committee will consider it in relation to clause 12 of the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill and clause 10 of the States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill. Honorable senators will notice that clause 10 of the States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill provides -
In addition to the conditions specified in any other provision of this Act, an amount of financial assistance to a Stale under this Act is granted on the conditions that - fa) If the Minister informs the Treasurer of the State that he is satisfied that the Stale has failed to fulfil the conditions applicable to that amount, the State will repay that amount to the Commonwealth;
Ho. o ruble senators will note that we are making the financial assistance available to a State on the condition that the Federal Minister “ informs the Treasurer of the State. . . . “lt continues -
Now, if honorable senators will look at clause 12 of the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill, they will see that for some reason a slight variation has been made. An ambiguity is introduced. This reads -
In addition to the conditions specified in any other provisions of this Act, an amount of financiu.1 assistance to a Slate under this Act is granted on the conditions that -
if the Minister informs the State -
Not in this instance “ informs the Treasurer of the State”-
One of the constitutional developments that have been spawned in this web of confused relationships between the Commonwealth and the States is this idea of making grants upon conditions. Here we have a grant which is to be made upon the condition that the States shall repay the grant. What is the condition? In one instance, the condition is that if the Federal Minister informs the Treasurer -
-(Senator DrakeBrockman). - Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Opposition Senators. - Hear, heat.
.- Mr. Chairman, I wish-
– I was half way through a submission when I was cut off, and there were “ hear hears “ from the Opposition side.
- Mr. Chairman, I wish to take the opportunity to reply to one part of Senator Wright’s submission after which he will have full opportunity to continue with the other part of his submission. I trust that that will not upset the honorable senator too much. The part of his submission to which I wish to reply is the suggestion that there ought to be considerable debate and some considerable doubt as to whether it is proper to say that the Commonwealth Government is under any obligation to accept the recommendations of . the Universities Commission in regard to universities in the States. I have no hesitation in saying quite unequivocally that I believe the Commonwealth Government is under no obligation whatsoever to accept the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission in relation to universities in the States and that 1 do not believe that I could ever be convinced otherwise.
Firstly, the Commonwealth obviously is not under any legal obligation. I do not think that there can be any argument about that. I do not think that Senator Wright would suggest that that is so. The Universities Commission is established under an Act of Parliament. The functions of the Commission are laid down in that Act. The functions of the Commission are to provide information and advice on matters in connection with the grant of financial assistance by the Commonwealth to universities. So, clearly, I do not think this will be argued. There is no legal obligation on the Commonwealth Government lo accept any recommendations of the Universities Commission. I may be putting this in a slipshod way, but the Commonwealth has no responsibility to accept the obligation or to agree to provide its proportion of whatever the Universities Commission suggests should be given to the universities. Even if the Commonwealth Government did accept the obligation or if the Commonwealth Government did accept the recommendation of the Universities Commission, all that would mean was that the Commonwealth Government was saying that the Universities Commission had recommended a certain amount to be given to Universities of which the Commonwealth’s share was so much. All that it means is that the Commonwealth is saying that it will meet that share on condition that the States meet their share. That does not mean that the whole amount is in fact agreed to. Quite apart from that consideration, a commission is established to provide advice and information. Great variations occur from time lo time in the economic requirements and position of a nation. It would be quite intolerable if committees of advice which were established on this or other matters-
– 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 lo the Senate.
Question resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till tomorrow at 10 a.m.
– I present the sixteenth report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Senate adjourned at 11.33 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 October 1966, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1966/19661027_senate_25_s32/>.