26th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senatorthe Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 2.15 p.m., and read prayers.
(Question No. 84)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– This is the question about which Senator Gair expressed some concern last week because he had not received an answer to it. The Minister has now supplied the following information:
The National Capital Development Commission’s design and construction programme is carried out through agent consultant architects, including the Department of Works. It is the Commission’s policy to avail itself of the best professional skills within the Commonwealth in the development of the National Capital and since its inception it has engaged various consultants from every Australian State. The Commission maintains a register of architects from all States who have expressed their interest in undertaking work in Canberra. From this register and having regard to the particular skills, organisation and reputation of the architects concerned, the Commission selects the architect considered most appropriate for each individual project and offers the selected architect engagement. A pre-requisite is that the architect has, or is prepared to establish, an office in Canberra.
In the case of major national buildings it has been the practice of the Commission to furnish a short-list panel of architects for consideration by the National Capital Planning Committee and. in the case of the National Library, by the National Library Council. The Mint was designed and supervised by the Department of Works. The Academy of Science was not a Commonwealth undertaking, but was financed and built by private enterprise. Australian National University buildings have been designed by many architects from different Stales of the Commonwealth. The Commission no longer controls the design of the University buildings, or the appointment of architects for University projects.
As yet the Commission has not conducted any competitions for building design. While the Com mission has more than one hundred architectural firms registered, it will be recognised that it is not possible for all to be offered an engagement.
(Question No. 126)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
In view of the announcement that the Government is to establish a defence base on Manus Island and has in recent years undertaken important and expensive defence work in the area, has any estimate been made of the approximate cost in millions of dollars to the Australian taxpayer of the decision in 1948 of the then Labor Government which refused to accept Manus Island as a going concern from the Government of the United States of America?
– The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:
It is not possible to make an estimate of the nature sought by the honourable senator. The position insofar as Australian development of facilities at Manus is concerned is that the R.A.N, has used the facilities at HMAS ‘Tarangau’ since 1949 to provide general administrative support to R.A.N, units in or passing through the area, and as a headquarters and training establishment for the Papua and New Guinea Division of the R.A.N. These functions continue to be the role of HMAS Tarangau’ on Manus Island. Since 1949 capital expenditure on these base facilities has been approximately $4m. The Government has recently approved the expenditure of an additional $3.6m for further progressive development which is designed primarily to provide for the expansion of the Papua and New Guinea Division of the R.A.N, and for the rehabilitation of various existing facilities.
(Question No. 140)
Senator KEEFFE (through Senator
O’Byrne) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:
Is the Government completely satisfied with present health arrangements for the prevention of the entry into Australia of rats which may carry bubonic plague germs?
If the Government is not satisfied, what steps are being taken to ensure that laws in this regard are strengthened?
and 2. Yes. The measures taken in this regard have proved to be effective for many years and are in line with measures adopted in other countries. Masters of vessels arriving in Australia from overseas are required to hold a current deratting certificate or deratting exemption certificate issued in a form complying with the International Sanitary Regulations of the World Health Organisation, and all such vessels are also inspected by quarantine authorities for the presence of rats.
In addition to these precautions, all vessels in Australian ports, including vessels engaged solely in the Australian coastal trade, are regularly inspected while in port and measures for the destruction of rats are applied where necessary. Quarantine officers also carry out daily inspections of vessels tied up in Australian ports to ensure that requirements in relation to the fixing of rat guards to ropes, the screening of openings and other measures to prevent rats coming ashore are being fully observed. It is considered that these arrangements are adequate and no alterations to the relevant laws are contemplated.
(Question No. 160)
asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Works, upon notice:
– The Minister for Works has supplied the following answers:
(Question No. 187)
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
– The Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answers: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8. The honourable senator is referredto the answers given to Question No. 119 from Senator Cavanagh.
– Mr President, upon the gracious invitation of the Leader of the Government in the Senate I now ask whether we may return to questions without notice.
– There being no objection, that course will be followed.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs. Has there been any interference in Australia’s relationship with Greece following the recent military takeover of that country? In particular, what is the attitude of the new Government towards the free flow of tourists and migrants?
– I know of no interference at all in the relationship between the Government of Greece and the Government of Australia. I am not responsible for answering on behalf of the Government of Greece as to its approach to tourism, but I shall endeavour, without being responsible for the answer, to get some information on that topic for the honourable senator.
– Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs been directed to the recent debate in the United States Senate, during which Republican Party and Democratic Party senators both urgently called for the de-escalation of the air war against North Vietnam and new peace efforts before China’s intervention becomes inevitable? Has the Government reviewed these recent events, which have contributed to a serious increase in tensions and now threaten to engulf other nations in the Vietnam conflict? Can the Minister say whether the Government will lend its support to this current call for a new peace offensive, now considered necessary to obviate critical trends towards a third world war?
– I have not read in detail, and I doubt whether the honourable senator has rend in detail the debates to which he refers, but 1 have seen some comments in the newspapers relating to them, just as I saw comments in the newspapers relating to a debate held a few days previously, when the United States Senate, by a majority of about 78 to 2, increased the call-up of American youth. J have been asked whether the Australian Government would support talks leading to a just and lasting peace. I do not know how often the honourable senator wants it to be reiterated that the Australian Government will support talks which do offer a real prospect of leading to a just and lasting peace.
– I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for the Army a question which refers to an answer given yesterday by the Minister to Question No. 30 on the notice paper, which I originally asked last February. My question asked whether certain national service trainees from Western Australia hail to travel by train without the use of sleepers between Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and Enoggera in Queensland, and whether efforts would be made by the Government to prevent that happening in the future. A very long answer was given by the Minister. He answered the first part of my question, to the effect that the national service trainees had to travel without the use of sleepers. I now ask: Will the Minister answer the second part of my question? Will he assure the Senate that when conscripts who are being sent to Vietnam - where no doubt some of them will die - travel by train, the Government will take steps to see that they are provided with the same facilities as are provided to members of Parliament who voted for conscription and will be allowed the use of sleepers instead of having to sit up all night?
– ( think the main part of the honourable senator’s question was answered yesterday in the reply furnished by the Minister for the Army. I think it contained the implication that the reason why these chaps could not be provided with sleepers for all sections of the journey was the volume of Christmas traffic. Regrettably once again 1 have to remind the honourable senator of his unfortunate habit of referring to national service trainees as conscripts. This is typical of the Labor Party’s attitude towards these young men. I had the privilege on Friday last of seeing the national servicemen who have returned from overseas. They are a credit to Australia and it is a disgrace to members of the Opposition that they should refer to them as conscripts.
(Senator Kennelly having commenced to address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation.)
– Order! The honourable senator will not be in order in asking a question on a matter that is before the Board of Accident Inquiry.
– I ask that Senator Kennelly be permitted to finish his question. He is asking about a directive to be given by the Minister in respect of aircraft generally that maintenance requirements be observed.
– In the first part of his question the honourable senator directly involved the present inquiry. He may finish his question.
– Will the Minister, pending the results of the inquiry, issue a firm directive to all commercial operators to require strict compliance with all air navigation regulations and prescribed maintenance procedures?
– 1 rise to a point of order, Mr President. T would like the Senate to consider the first part of the honourable senator’s question in which he referred to the finding of the inquiry. No finding has yet been made. The inquiry is still being held. I think the first part of the honourable senator’s question should be expunged.
– Senator Kennelly referred only to disclosures at the inquiry. Could the matter be resolved if Senator Kennelly let the first part of his question go and persisted with the second part of it?
– T am quite happy to delete the first part of my question. I am more concerned with the meat in the second part of my question.
– The second part is in order.
– I ask the honourable senator to place on the notice paper the part of his question which is in order. It is clearly a matter that concerns the Minister for Civil Aviation.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for National Development whether he has seen a report of a statement by the Minister for National Development in another place that the Commonwealth Government would be prepared to consider granting finance to the States in connection with the laying of gas pipelines along routes that might assist decentralisation? Has the Minister received any requests from the South Australian Government in connection with the laying of the gas pipeline in that State? Can he say whether any conversations are pending with the South Australian authorities so that the proposed pipeline may follow the western route and more effectively assist decentralisation in South Australia?
– The routing of the gas pipeline referred to by the honourable senator is entirely a matter within the constitutional authority of the Government of the State in which it is situated. In this case it is a matter for the South Australian Government which had the benefit of advice from Bechtel Pacific Corporation Ltd, which is a very competent engineering organisation of world standing. After fully considering this matter the Corporation advised the South Australian Government on the most economical route. If the South Australian Government wishes to vary the route suggested it lies within its competence to do so. As to the second part of the question, I understand that the Premier of South Australia did make respresentations to the Commonwealth Government. As much as we sympathise with his problem, it is his problem. It is for the Premier of South Australia to decide which route this pipeline should follow.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Territories. Has Dr John Gunther, Vice-Chancellor of the University of New Guinea, warned that serious deterioration in race relations will take place between overseas administration officers and New Guineans as a result of the Territory’s discriminatory wage policy? Will consideration be given to his proposal that the administration should embark on an all out effort to replace the 6,000 to 7,000 overseas officers by indigines over the next ten years?
– 1 am not conversant with what Dr Gunther said. The second part of the question asks what the Government’s policy will be and is not a matter appropriate to be answered at question time.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Repatriation. Has his attention been directed to the publicity given to the comments made in the Senate regarding the pension rate paid to the widow of a South Australian soldier killed in Vietnam? In view of the incorrect statements which have been made, either intentionally or otherwise, will the Minister advise the Senate of the pension payable in this instance?
– I understand that this case was ventilated on television in Adelaide and that further reference was made on Thursday night of last week in the course of a discussion in this place. I think the matter was raised by Senator Bishop. The case in question relates to a Mrs Hanley.I welcome this opportunity to put on record the correct position.I am sure that Senator Bishop also will be glad to hear what the widow is entitled to. Far from getting the amount which was stated - I think the suggestion was that she would receive only $34 - she will receive the war widows pension of $26 per fortnight plus a domestic allowance of $14 per fortnight. For the first child she will receive $7.80 and for the second, third and fourth children she will receive $5.50 each, making a total of $24.30 for the children. This means that she will receive $64.30 per fortnight.
In addition to that amount she is entitled to medical benefits and is entitled also to education for her children through to the tertiary level. Further, she will receive an entitlement from the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund. Her husband was an acting corporal at the time of his death. Therefore, she is entitled to superannuation benefits at that level. She will receive $1,251 per annum, plus, in respect of children under sixteen years and up to twenty-one years if they are still at school, $208 per annum for each child. This makes a total of $2,083 a year. Therefore, the total amount that she is entitled to receive is about $3,748 per annum. That is very different indeed from what were stated to be facts on the television programme and the facts as mentioned by Senator Bishop the other night. I am very pleased indeed to have the opportunity of placing on record the amount that this widow is entitled to receive.I am not suggesting for one moment that she should not be entitled to more, but those are the circumstances of the particular case.
– I address a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In view of the fact that the Australian Democratic Labor Party, with the full support of the Leader of the Opposition and members of the Australian Labor Party have been successful in defeating the Government in its attempt to increase Post Office charges, would the Leader of the Government in the Senate consult with the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party and his Labor supporters to see what action should be taken to put the Post Office once more in a payable position?
-I am not going to suggest that the question be put on notice by any chance becauseI have never yet found that the Government has not been able to find a very satisfactory answer to any problem that arises - an answer which is accepted by the people of Australia who have elected it regularly for almost twenty years now.
-I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health whether he is aware that any person who visits an eye specialist who is a medically qualified ophthalmologist, and who has glasses prescribed by that specialist as a result of the consultation, is not entitled to Commonwealth medical benefits. Is he also aware that if no glasses are prescribed, Commonwealth benefit is payable? Would the Minister have a further look at this matter with a view to adjusting what appears to everyone to be a great injustice?
-I shall be very pleased to take this matter up with the Minister for Health and obtain a reply for the honourable senator.
– I address a question to the Minister for Repatriation supplementary to that asked by Senator Webster. Will the Minister make inquiries into the case mentioned in South Australia with a view to granting supplementary assistance if it is found that the widow is suffering acute hardship?
-I have already made some inquiries about this particular case and I have given an answer relating to what the widow is receiving financially.
If the honourable senator can give me any evidence at all that she is suffering any hardship, we in the Repatriation Department will be very happy to see what we can do to alleviate it.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Territories whether it is a fact that education in Papua and New Guinea is lagging to such an extent that in order to bring it to a level comparable to that of Australian education expenditure on education in the Territory would need to rise from $ 18.8m to $150m per annum? Since this year’s total Territory Budget is only approximately $116m does it not become increasingly apparent that generations of people will be deprived of reasonable educational opportunities unless increased financial support is made available? ls this beyond Australia’s capacity? Has any request been made to United Nations authorities for obviously needed financial aid for Territory education?
- Mr President, the matter of education in the Territory is of course one for the Minister for Territories. But the question appears to be based on the premise that educational facilities in Papua and New Guinea could be made comparable with educational facilities in Australia overnight, and that finance is all that is required for that to be achieved. Quite clearly, for example in the tertiary field, no matter how much money was spent on universities, the use made of them would be limited because of the limited number of students available to go to them. Similarly, that situation would arise in relation to secondary education. I do not think that the sort of parallel that the questioner appeared to try to draw in his question can be drawn.
– I ask the Minister for Education and Science a question. I refer to a reported statement by Sir Frederick White, the Chairman of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, advocating closer collaboration between the universities and CSIRO in order to make the best use of Australia’s limited resources of finance and manpower. Sir Frederick is said to have referred to a report by a committee established last year by the Council of CSIRO to consider the relationship between CSIRO and Australian universities. I ask the Minister: Has this report been published? If not, may it be made available to members of the Senate to study?
- Mr President, this is not a report that is the property of the Government or of a Minister; nor was it commissioned by the Government or by a Minister. I understand that the report has been published. I suggest that the honourable senator get a copy from the committee that published it. It is not a governmental publication.
– It is a CSIRO publication.
– It is the report of a committee established by CSIRO. I understand it has been published. I do not think the honourable senator will have any difficulty in obtaining a copy from the Organisation.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister for Education and Science. By way of preface I point out that it is reported that rabbits have been seen in the highland region of Papua and New Guinea. I ask: ls CSIRO still working on methods of rabbit control; and if so, would CSIRO be available to assist in the scientific eradication of rabbits if called upon so to do by the Administration of Papua and New Guinea?
– To the best of my knowledge, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is not only investigating new strains of myxomatosis to be introduced in order to overcome the immunity which rabbits have acquired lo the original strain, but is also working on new vectors of one kind and another, including Spanish fleas which were the subject of a question by an honourable senator on the other side of the chamber. I can say that the CSIRO is doing work not only in that field but also in the use of poison including the best method of spreading poison, the best times at which to spread poison and such other questions. I am quite sure that the CSIRO would be prepared, if called upon, to offer all the information that it has to the authority in Papua and New Guinea so that it can cope with this problem.
-I ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Does the Minister consider that the question of the size of the DC9 operating crew has been finally and successfully resolved?
– Quite clearly, I am not competent to answer that question. I must refer it to the Minister for Civil Aviation in order to get an answer for the honourable senator.
– I wish to direct a ques tion to the Minister representing the Ministerfor National Development. Is it a fact that nuclear power stations are now providing cheaper electricity in Europe and in America than are conventional stations? If this is so, when can we expect a nuclear reactor or reactors to be erected in Australia?
– From what I have read of this matter, I understand that in the United States of America and in some parts of Europe nuclear power reactors are now producing power as cheaply as, if not more cheaply than, are either thermal power or hydro-electric power stations. As I understand the position, the enormous output of a small plant makes it an economical proposition. It is only where there is a very large demand in one particular area that these nuclear plants become economical at the present time. I know that science and industry throughout the world are working on projects to produce nuclear plants which will provide cheaper power, but at this stage such plants could be used only in those parts of Australia where there is a sufficiently large demand to make a nuclear power plant an economical proposition. As I only represent the Minister for National Development in this chamber, I think that is as much as I can say. If the honourable senator wishes to obtain any further advice from the Minister for National Development, I suggest, that he place the question on the notice paper andI will see what additional information I can get for him.
– by leave - Honourable senators will recall that from time to time I have mentioned generally the subject of CommonwealthState negotiations on uniform censorship. These negotiations commenced in November 1965 when I met the State Ministers concerned. I discussed with them the principles involved in a plan which the six States had presented to the Commonwealth for establishment of a joint CommonwealthState advisory board to deal with imported and locally produced works of literary, artistic or scientific merit.In May 1966, I announced that the Commonwealth had agreed in principle to the establishment of such a board to replace its existing Commonwealth Literature Censorship Board and Appeal Board. Since that time I have engaged in extensive correspondence with State Ministers on details of their plan. The officials concerned met on these matters last June.
On18th December 1966I issued a comprehensive public statement giving details of the establishment and operations of the proposed national literature board of review. At that timeI said a draft agreement to give effect to the understandings reached was under consideration. This document was forwarded to State Ministers on 10th February 1967 and as a result of their comments a further meeting of officials was held last month. A final form of agreement has now been achieved and I have requested each State Minister to advise me that his Government has authorised its signing. When each State does this I will be in a position to seek formal approval from my Government to enter into the Agreement.
At this stage I have not heard from every State and thus am prevented from formally concluding the negotiations. Furthermore, it will be required of each State, following formal agreement, that certain legislation be enacted. It is a condition of the Agreement that it will not operate in respect of a State which does not enact and maintain in force the required legislation. Because the proposals for uniform censorship were jointly originated by the six States I do not propose to establish the new board in terms of the Customs (Literature Censorship) Regulations until each State has enacted the minimum legislation envisaged by the Agreement. This is simply that a State should legislate to protect Board members from civil litigation which might arise as a result of their duties. Such provision exists in respect of the present Commonwealth Boards.
Although I expect the Agreement to be entered into soon, legislation in at least four States will not be enacted until after 30th June this year. Thus I have no alternative but to recommend to the GovernorGeneral the re-appointment of the present Commonwealth Boards for a further six months when their terms of office expire on 30th June 1967. The Boards were last re-appointed for one year in the belief that the national literature board of review could commence on 1st July 1967. Concerning the need to re-appoint the present Commonwealth Boards, I feel it worthy of mention that the Chairman of the Appeal Board, Sir George Currie, has advised me that he does not wish to be considered for membership of the new board. However, Sir George has indicated that if the Government so desires he will continue in his present role pending establishment of the national literature board of review. I propose, on behalf of the Government, to retain the valued services of Sir George Currie during the forthcoming interim period.
Assuming that all States will have enacted the legislation outlined above before the end of 1967, I would envisage commencement of the new board on 1st January 1968.
– by leave -I move:
I ask for leave to make my remarks at a a later stage.
Leave granted, debate adjourned.
– I present the report of the Parliamentary
Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed work:
Provision of engineering services to Casuarina sub-division, Neighbourhood No. 2, Darwin, Northern Territory.
I ask for leave to make a short statement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
Senato. PROWSE - The summary of recommendations and conclusions of the Committee is as follows:
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a first time.
Since the passage of the States Grants (Advanced Education) Act 1966, there have been a number of developments which require amendments to that Act and which, taken together, suggested to the Government that the best course would be to repeal the original Act, and, in the form of the Bill before the Senate, to present an up to date and self-contained statement of the present position.
In a statement made on 22nd February 1967 I gave honourable senators details of the most important of these developments, which I would like to recapitulate briefly. Under the 1966 Act, we offered the States a matching arrangement of SI Commonwealth to SI. 85 of State contributions and fees for annual recurrent expenditure in colleges of advanced education, with the proviso that this should be limited to expenditure in excess of that incurred in the base year 1964-65. The Government announced at the recent Premiers Conference that it was now prepared to waive the base year condition and to take its share on the same ratio of I : 1.85 of all recurring expenditure in colleges of advanced education up to the maximum figures given for colleges in the 1966 Act.
The result is an increase in the Commonwealth commitment of $6. 768m for the triennium. The distribution as between States of this increase is shown in the following table which, with the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate in Hansard.
We have, on different grounds, agreed to an increase in the grants for recurrent expenditure for Tasmania additional to the increase resulting from our decision to waive the base year requirement. This State recently informed us that the calculation which it had made to apportion recurrent costs over the triennium between advanced education courses and other courses, although at first appearing reasonable, did in fact under-estimate considerably the real share attributable to advanced education courses.
We have accepted that this was a mistake on the part of the State and that, if the recalculated figures had been put to us at the time the original Act was being prepared, we would, on advice from the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education - the Wark Committee - have accepted these figures. Consequently, the Bill before the Senate seeks to correct this error. This necessitates a further increase of S369, 110 over the triennium, making the total maximum grant towards recurrent expenditure S554.420, as shown in the First Schedule to the Bill.
In the .1966 Act a number of colleges in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania had to be grouped together against total figures of Commonwealth grant for each group. This was necessary because the States concerned were unable, in the time available, to make firm individual recommendations about these colleges, although the total sums shown in the Schedules had been agreed. The Act provided for Parliament to be informed of approvals given by the Minister about the distribution of these aggregated sums. I have taken these decisions in consultation with the States and the amounts for the individual colleges formerly grouped in the Second and Fourth Schedules to the 1966 Act have now been incorporated in the First and Second Schedules respectively of this Bill, on the same basis as for any other college.
On the capital side there has been a further updating of the Schedules. Honourable senators may recall that, for the sake of flexibility, the Minister has, and under the present Bill will continue to have, power to approve the addition of projects to those already listed for a State provided these projects are for the acquisition of land. He can also approve the transfer of funds between projects within a State’s programme of approved projects. Since the 1966 Act was passed I have given approval for the purchase of land at the South Australian Institute of Technology and the Swinburne Technical College and for a number of adjustments to the New South Wales Institute of Technology and South Australian Institute of Technology building programmes. These variations which, as required by the Act, do not entail the provision of any additional money, have been incorporated in the Schedules to the Bill before the Senate.
Following a reappraisal by the State of New South Wales of its likely needs for the triennium we have agreed, at the request of the State, to rearrange the distribution of recurrent funds within the State and within the total amount previously agreed. The new programme for New South Wales places a stronger emphasis on the development of courses under the control of the Department of Technical Education and honourable senators will note that we have agreed to the inclusion of the New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music. This inclusion is subject to a further examination of the courses at the Conservatorium by the Wark Committee. On the other hand, the grants for the agricultural colleges in New South Wales have been reduced as the State has now decided that the entry level for a number of the courses at these colleges will not be raised to meet the Commonwealth’s criteria for advanced education courses at any rate during the present triennium.
All the variations of the 1966 Act which I have described are acceptable to the Wark Committee and have the agreement of the States concerned. We would expect, now these adjustments have been made to meet the States’ requirements, that the programmes presented in this Bill will be adhered to for the triennium. I commend this 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 put into effect the Government’s promise to make unmatched grants to the States for the construction and equipping of colleges for the training of teachers throughout Australia. The Bill provides for expenditure of up to $24m spread over the three financial years starting in July 1967. Payments will be made to the States in respect of college projects which are selected by the States, to be erected on sites selected by the States and in accordance with plans and standards drawn up by the States and approved by the Minister. A schedule showingtheir projects is attached to the copy of this second reading speech which is circulated to honourable senators.
The offer to the States has been made on two clear understandings. First, the State undertakes not to reduce its own expenditure on teacher training. Secondly, at least 10% of the places made available as a result of the Government’s offer are to be available for student teachers not bonded to the State Education Departments. This applies whether the places be new or replacement places and whether they are teaching places or places in residential accommodation. Winners of Commonwealth Advanced Education Scholarships or of university scholarships will be able, if they wish, to apply their scholarships to courses at these colleges.
Commonwealth assistance in the construction of teachers’ colleges is regarded as of the highest priority by the States. This became clear from discussions 1 had during 1966 with the State ministers and directors of education. As a result, the Government included in its last policy speech the offer of capital grants and, subsequently, at the beginning of 1967 after further discussions, I reached agreement in principle with each State on a programme of work within each State as part of a Commonwealth threeyear$24m programme. Honourable senators will be pleased to know that because of the early attention given to these matters both by us and the State Governments in at least one State tenders have already been called for one large project and in another State planning is almost to the same stage.
At this point I draw the attention of the Senate to the Schedule of the Bill which gives a preliminary estimate of how the amount of $24m is to be distributed among the various States. I emphasise that, because the amounts estimated for each individual project are only estimates, and because the actual annual rate of expenditure in any State is also only an estimate, the Bill gives the Minister power to vary the amounts both between individual projects in a State, and between States. This
Is done to provide the flexibility which is necessary to ensure that individual colleges are built to the proper standards and to ensure that the money provided overall in any one year is used to the best advantage. Similarly, because some States may take some time to develop their programmes the total amounts required in any one year may not be equal to the amounts required in another year. Therefore the Bill provides, not for$8m each year, but for a limit of $8m in the first year, of$1 6m in the first two years, and, of course, of $24m in the three-year period. Honourable senators will note that the Bill requires the Minister to table in the Parliament each year a statement showing the amounts he authorised for all projects in the various States in the past year.
I now give the Senate a brief statement of the projects to be developed with these grants in each State. In New South Wales two new teachers colleges will be built, one at Chatswood and one at Shortland. In addition to providing new places, these colleges will provide up-to-date facilities to replace existing facilities at Balmain and Newcastle respectively. In the country, the first stage of a new college with residential facilities will be built at Goulburn. In Victoria, projects include a new secondary teachers college, a new technical teachers college and other projects to be selected by the Victorian Government from the list of projects in the schedule which [ have circulated to honourable senators. In Queensland, additions will be built at the Kelvin Grove Teachers College and a new college will be built at Mount Gravatt, and $200,000 will be used for site development works on the site adjacent to the University College at Ross River in Townsville. In South Australia, a new Northern Teachers College will be built on a site near Elizabeth and there are other projects yet to be selected by the South Australian Government. In Western Australia, a secondary teachers college will be built at Nedlands. In Tasmania, a teachers college will be built at Launceston.
We believe that these grants will enable the Stales to provide new places and to replace out of date places in teachers colleges a good deal earlier than they could ever hope to do from their own resources. We further believe that the grants will accelerate the introduction of a three-year training course for primary school teachers which is a widely expressed hope among Australian educationists. When this Bill becomes law. capital expenditure during the 1967-69 triennium on universities, colleges of advanced education, and teachers colleges will be at least $68m a year of which the Commonwealth will provide $41m a year. I commend the Bill to the Senate.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
– I wish to refer briefly to division No. 250 in which appropriation is to be made for the Department of Health in respect of contributions to the World Health Organisation. I understand that the World Health Organisation, to which Australia is a contributor, has done and is doing a wonderful job in combating disease, particularly in Asian countries, through investigations and research. I hope that the funds that we as a nation contribute to the World Health Organisation will do a great deal for humanity. Notwithstanding the funds being subscribed by many nations, a very difficult disease is now raging in South East Asia and in America and is moving rapidly into Australia. I refer to venereal disease. There are many forms of this disease, some of which have now been proved to be incurable. I believe that we as a nation should do everything possible to assist by research and in other ways to find means of curing the disease.
Reports on this subject are coming in from overseas. In America and in other countries like Thailand and the Philippines the disease is reported to be almost out of control. A report which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Herald’ of 2nd May states that there are now 4,000,000 people in America who are suffering from venereal disease. A comprehensive report which appeared in the ‘Age’last Saturday in Victoria said that in that State the disease is rapidly spreading and the figures now are almost double the figures of just a few years ago. A similar situation is reported in an American magazine which was published only yesterday. An article in that publication confirms completely the figures which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Herald’ of the 2nd of this month indicating that more than 400,000 persons are receiving treatment. The doctor in charge of the communicable disease centre in Atlanta, Georgia, claimed that only 10% of the persons suffering from this disease were seeking treatment or were reporting the disease as they should under the law.
Honourable senators may wonder why I am referring to this matter at this stage of the debate. We in Australia are facing a situation in which we will have, according to figures published in the Press last Sunday, about 4,000 American soldiers coming to the Gold Coast and to Sydney on leave. I believe that the influx of these troops will create a tremendous problem for Australia. I know that the Government will do everything in its power to see that persons carrying this kind of disease will not be admitted to Australia, but I remind the Committee that there is an incubation period of nine to ten days before it is even known that a person has the disease. In my view this creates a very difficult task for the Government to ensure that American soldiers are not associating or coming in contact with persons suffering from the disease within a period of ten days or longer immediately prior to their flying to Australia. One aspect of the disease now prevalent in South East Asia is that it is a new exotic strain.
An article in the ‘Age’ relative to this matter stated:
But the real danger here is that infected men - particularly in the case of syphillis - will be on their way to Australia before the disease has shown up.
Once in Australia there are two frightening prospects:
The first is that a new difficu’t strain of gonorrhoea appeared in Vietnam, which is not only difficult to cure but is unknown here. 1 understand that antibiotics have no effect whatever on this new exotic strain of VD which is apparently very strong in South East Asian areas. To show that the alarm which I expressed today is not something which is not shared by other countries I propose to quote from the Sydney ‘Sun’ of last Sunday in which an article appeared referring to the visit of GI dollars, as they were called, which will overflow in Sydney. The article states:
Thai businessmen have claimed that the Americans have increased the rate of prostitution in Bangkok and Filipinos have expressed alarm that the troops have introduced an incurable strain of venereal disease from Saigon.
I ask the Government to have a very close examination made of this disease because of its incubation period and the short time within which people can be flown from Vietnam to Australia.
We have stringent quarantine rules and regulations relative to the importation of animals and plants from certain countries because they may carry some disease which will affect our cattle or sheep industries.
– It is more important to have dollars, surely.
– It is true that this is the attitude in some cases. Wc prohibit the importation of cattle or other animals from some countries, yet we run the grave risk at this time of bringing into Australia a serious disease which is affecting people mainly between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five years. I have discussed this matter with people, some of whom are of the opinion that one of the reasons why VD is spreading so quickly through the world and is multiplying is the availability of the contraceptive pill to young people. This is one factor that we must look at in Australia. I ask the Government to make a close examination of this question to see whether it can implement a scheme to ensure that no person can carry this disease into Australia. If we can insist upon an isolation period of from ten to twelve days before troops are shipped to Australia we may save ourselves a problem which otherwise may remain with us forever.
– I take advantage of the Committee stage of the Bill to refer to a matter which is very important to New South Wales. I relate my remarks to item 158 under the Department of Education and Science. I refer to an expenditure of $86,600 for the Australian Universities Commission. I raise the matter at this time so that I may refer to the failure of the Federal Government to provide funds for the establishment of a university or a university college in the Riverina area of New South Wales. I propose to refer also to the obvious continued hoodwinking by members of the Liberal Party and the Country Party, both in this Chamber and in the New South Wales Parliament, of the people who live in the area and who are so vitally affected by the failure of the Governments, both Commonwealth and State, to heed what I consider to be a very reasonable demand. The Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton) said in this place on Thursday last that the Commonwealth Government had accepted the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission that the Government should not support the establishment of a new university or the establishment of a university college in the Riverina area. He added that the Commonwealth was prepared, within the ceiling of finance provided to New South Wales for the forthcoming triennium, to support the establishment of a college of advanced education in accordance with the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission. But of course it is a college of advanced education which the Government is prepared to assist in financing - not a university or a university college.
In a ministerial statement delivered in the Senate on 21st September 1966 the Minister for Education and Science, in presenting the third report of the Universities Commission, referred to the proposal of the New South Wales Government to establish a junior university college in the Riverina. At the time of presenting his statement to Parliament on 21st September, a mere two months before the last Federal election, of course - and that is an important point - he said that the Commonwealth would be prepared to hold further discussions with the State Government and the Australian Universities Commission on this proposition. In other words, the Government was accepting the report of the Australian Universities Commission that it would not establish a university or a university college in the Riverina; but a mere two months before the Federal election, when the Minister made his statement in this place, he said the Government was prepared to have further discussions with the New South Wales Government and with the Australian Universities Commission on this matter.
I mention in passing that it has been the policy of both the Liberal Party and the Country Party in New South Wales to establish a university in the Riverina area, and at the State elections in that State in 1959, 1962 and 1965, this was stated by the leaders of both the Liberal Party and the Country Party. Although I cannot find anything specific so far as this Government’s policy is concerned relating to the establishment of a university or university college in the Riverina, the fact is that, according to the Wagga Wagga ‘Daily Advertiser* of 2nd September 1966, a deputation from the Riverina area supporting the establishment of a university in the area saw the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Country Party, the Right Honourable John McEwen. According to the report in the Wagga Wagga ‘Daily Advertiser’ of 2nd September, Mr McEwen told the deputation that waited on him that decentralisation of education was one of the aims of his party, the Australian Country Party. He is reported as having said that wherever possible the party would express this opinion in support of the New South Wales Government’s proposal on the Riverina university. So I would assume from those remarks that it certainly was the policy of the minority of the present coalition, the Australian Country Party, to support the establishment of a university in the Riverina. The article in the Wagga Wagga ‘Daily Advertiser’ continued:
As Acting Prime Minister, Mr McEwen had said that he would bear the deputation’s submissions in mind when Cabinet made its final decision on the matter.
Mr McEwen had added that Cabinet was influenced but not dictated to by its expert advisers, in this case, the Universities Commission. He further added that in his opinion the deputation could not have been more forceful in the presentation of its case.
But, despite these political pronouncements that have been made from time to time in the arena of New South Wales politics and in the arena of politics in the national sphere the fact is that the Australian Universities Commission has not recommended, nor has the Government accepted responsibility for, the establishment of a university or, indeed, for that matter, a university college, in the Riverina. Again, despite the fact that discussions had taken place between the New South Wales Government and the Australian Universities Commission, and despite the fact that further investigations had been made, as promised in this place by the Minister for Education and
Science (Senator Gorton) on 21st September last, the people immediately affected - the people who live in the south west of New South Wales and, to a lesser extent, the people who live in the northern parts of Victoria - ‘are still left up in the air. At page 11 of the report of the Australian Universities Commission presented in this place by the Minister last Thursday, the Commission stated:
The Commission believes that improved tertiary educational facilities should be provided for the Riverina. This could best be achieved for the present by the establishment of a college of advanced education sited at Wagga providing courses in arts and sciences, and specialised courses in agriculture in association wilh the Agricultural College. The Commission suggests- lt does not recommend - that the stuff or the college of advanced education could be supported by existing leaching staff in the Teachers College, the Agricultural College and the research institutions and perhaps by staff provided for specific purposes for short periods by the NSW Institute of Technology.
So far as the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission is concerned, it appears that il agrees with the establishment of a college of advanced education, but it does not agree with the establishment of a university college or a university. For the college of advanced education it would rely on support from existing staff at the Wagga Wagga Teachers College and the Wagga Wagga Agricultural College. Then the Commission goes on in ils report to say: ll is likely that in the years to come the proposed college of advance education will be supplemented by a traditional university designed to serve the special needs of this extraordinarily rich and developing area. lt is an extraordinarily rich and developing area, but, as I have said, the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission which has been accepted by Cabinet is, for the lime being at any rate, that there will be no university college or university established in the area. I reiterate, on the recommendation of the Australian Universities Commission and the Minister, the people of this area have been left up in the air.
The New South Wales Government has stated that it is anxious at least to have a university college established in the Riverina. It has made submissions to the Federal Government. Indeed, the Assistant
Minister for Education in the New South Wales Parliament, Mr Fife, who is member for Wagga Wagga in the Legislative Assembly, has said that nothing can be done about the matter until such time as the Federal Government comes good with the funds. If one reads further through the Minister’s statement and the report of the Australian Universities Commission, one will see that a submission has been made by the New South Wales Government to the Commonwealth Government suggesting that it is prepared to establish a university in the Riverina provided the Commonwealth is prepared to make its normal capital contribution of $1 for every $1.80 invested by the State. 1 believe it is quite right to say that unless the Commonwealth comes to the aid of the party there will be every risk that the establishment of a university or a university college on firm ground will be considerably affected because of insufficient finance.
According to the report tabled with the Minister’s statement here last Thursday on this matter, both the Government of New South Wales and the Riverina University League approached the chairman of the Australian Universities Commission intimating the value of a visit to the area by the Commission. This matter was discussed by the Commission and as a result it was agreed that the chairman of the Commission, Sir Leslie Martin, and the secretary, would visit the area between 6th and 12th November last. I point out that the Federal election was held on 26th November last and the visit was to take place between 6th and 12th November. 1 emphasise again that prior to the visit being made a deputation waited on Mr McEwen, the Deputy Prime Minister, who had said that his party’s policy was the decentralisation of education. During the course of the visit by Sir Leslie Martin and the secretary of the Commission, public meetings were held and certain Press reports were made. One of these Press reports, incidentally, related to a public meeting being held at Junee in the south west of New South Wales to press the claims of the residents of the Junee district for the establishment of the proposed university college in or around Junee. Great public clamour surrounded this matter. Tt is interesting to note that the New South Wales
Minister for Education claimed that at no time during Sir Leslie Martin’s tour was it intended that the actual site of the university would come under discussion. But if one peruses the itinerary prepared by the Commission one will see that on three separate occasions three different sites for the proposed university were taken into consideration. One was a visit to a site outside Wagga. One was a visit to a proposed site at Junee. 1 think the other one was a visit to a proposed site at Leeton.
It is interesting to note also, bearing in mind the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission and the decision of the Government as placed before this Parliament last Thursday, a Press statement attributed to Sir Leslie Martin during the course of his visit to the area. This statement is reported in the Wagga Wagga ‘Daily Advertiser’ of 9th November last, only a fortnight or so before the last Federal election. It concerns a public meeting that was held in Leeton. For the. record, I will quote this report at some length. The report begins:
The Chairman of the Universities Commission, Sir Leslie Martin, said at a largely attended public meeting here tonight that it had never been necessary to convince the Commission of the need for a university in the Riverina.
That is the first line of the first paragraph the Wagga Wagga ‘Daily Advertiser’.
– Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– Senator Poyser has raised a most important question. I assure the honourable senator that Australia is continuing its financial support of the World Health Organisation. I will draw the attention of the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) to his remarks but I can assure him that the Minister for Health will have this matter under close attention. It is a most important one. We are all aware that a number of servicemen will be on recreation in Australia. This matter must be watched very closely and I think that the honourable senator has done us a service in drawing out attention to it.
Senator McClelland raised a matter with which he dealt only last Friday. I thought that the Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton) answered him fully on that occasion. But the honourable senator has again raised the matter. If honourable senators are to spend the next fortnight reiterating matters that have been ventilated already - in Senator McClelland’s case, only last Friday - we will not make much progress, lt is quite simple for any Stale to say that if it could obtain additional money from the Commonwealth Government it would do all sorts of things, including providing extra universities and teacher training colleges. The States regularly say that they could carry out new undertakings if they obtained additional funds from the Commonwealth Government. Obviously any government would do a great deal more if it could obtain additional funds without crippling the taxpayers of Australia. But there is a limit to the amount of money that can be raised by taxation. The State governments confer with the Commonwealth Government at Premiers’ Conferences and Loan Council meetings. There is a Financial Agreement under which certain amounts of money are made available to the Slates. The States know what moneys will be available for their projects.
The facts of this matter are contained in the answer that was given by the Minister for Education and Science to Senator McClelland last Friday. The Minister said:
However, I am aware that Sir Leslie Martin has been the Chairman of the Australian Universities Commission for a period of years and that he was the chairman of the committee that inquired into and reported on the future of tertiary education in Australia. I am aware that he signed a report, as did all the other members of the committee, specifically recommending against the establishment of a university or junior university college in the Riverina, particularly at Wagga.
– That is completely contradicted by his remarks in this Press report.
– Is the honourable senator taking what he has read in the Press as being gospel? I do not know whether Sir Leslie Martin said what he is reported in the Press as having said and the honourable senator does not know that either.
– It has never been denied.
– We do know that Sir Leslie Martin signed the report of the Committee of which he was Chairman and that the report specifically recommended against the establishment of a university in this area. If the honourable senator prefers to rely upon newspaper reports, we can judge his sense of responsibility accordingly. At least he ought to say: ‘] am relying on an unconfirmed newspaper report”. But the answer is not to be found in any unconfirmed newspaper report. It is to be found in the documented report sought by and supplied to the Government on this matter. That report is much more reliable, I think, than the newspaper report to which the honourable senator refers, be it correct or otherwise.
– Mr Temporary Chairman, I have several questions to ask. [ refer first to Australia’s contribution to the World Health Organisation. I understand that the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) is abroad at the moment for the purpose of attending the meeting in Geneva of the World Health Organisation. I want to know what contribution the Minister can make to such a meeting in view of the fact that he is not a doctor. What benefit will accrue to Australia from the Minister attending this conference? It seems to me that when Ministers make trips abroad they should have some specific purpose. Obviously there is a specific purpose for this trip but what benefit can accrue to us from it?
– What benefit resulted from the honourable senator’s trip abroad?
– I have only had one trip abroad. It was when I was Minister for Health in the Tasmanian Government.
– Was there not one trip just recently?
– No. I paid for that out of my own pocket. Unlike other members of Parliament whose trips are paid for by the Commonwealth, I paid for both of my trips. They were private visits.
– Does that apply to the trip to New Guinea?
– Every member of this Parliament is entitled to go to New Guinea. At least, I worked there and the people of New Guinea applauded the report that I gave to the Press.
The second matter to which I wish to refer relates to the Department of Immigration. I cannot quite fathom why Australia has migration offices in the Lebanon and the United Arab Republic. Do we get enough migrants from these two centres to necessitate the maintenance of offices there? I know that we have not a White Australia policy. Presumably, therefore, we should have migration offices in every country in Africa. Coming nearer to home, I find that we have a migration office at Hong Kong. Only $26,900 is spent on that office as compared with 563,300 for our Lebanon office. Why is there such a difference between these two offices? The cost of the migration office in the United Arab Republic is $25,800 - approximately the same as that of our office in Hong Kong. Hong Kong after all, is a British colony. It is nearer to us than the other countries to which I have referred and people from Hong Kong would make excellent migrants to Australia. So, I ask that question regarding that matter.
I refer now to the contribution to the Commonwealth Secretariat of $61,500. This comes under the appropriation for the Prime Minister’s Department. I know that a Commonwealth Secretariat is to be set up. I understood that the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, was not in favour of it. I just wonder what the position is now. fs this to be an annual contribution? Is this to be a real secretariat set up for the Commonwealth? If so, what parts of the Commonwealth will be involved? Who will benefit from this sum of money that we are spending on this item?
The next matter to which I wish to refer relates to the Department of the Treasury. I refer to Division No. 570, sub-division 3, item 05, which refers to the payment of a pension to a former officer in special circumstances. I would like to know whether this is a new item. Who is this former officer who is to be paid a pension in special circumstances? Of course, the money appropriated under this item refers only to onethird of the next financial year. I would like to know whether we will be making an appropriation under this item for the whole of the next financial year. How does the Government know that there will be such an officer in the next financial year? I do not fully understand this item which refers to a pension to a former officer in special circumstances. Obviously it refers to only one officer. Perhaps when the Minister replies he will elucidate the question of who this officer is and why $2,000 is to be given to him in special circumstances.
J refer now to the Department of the Navy. Some time ago, I suggested in this chamber that the medical services of the armed forces should be combined. I can see no reason why they should not be combined. I am wondering whether the Government has done anything as a result of my suggestion. I am pleased to note that the Government is receptive to ideas. In fact, it has actually accepted two of my suggestions. I am hoping that I may get a third victory and that the Government might do something regarding my suggestion to combine the medical services of the armed forces.
– It must have been an accident.
– That is probably so, but there were two accidents. There are medical services in each of the armed forces - the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. These medical services could easily be combined. There is little difference in the medical treatment of a man. whether he be an Air Force officer or an Army national serviceman. In fact, there is none. The only variation in treatment between the forces probably would be something to do with air sickness or sea sickness, or a few minor illnesses. It would not be beyond the capacity of medical officers to get knowledge of these illnesses into their heads and to treat them. Why do we insist on the three branches of the armed forces having three medical services when one medical service could do the job for all of them? Admittedly, a small section of the medical service would have to go forward with the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, but that would not upset the whole concept of a combined medical service for the armed forces. I would like to know whether anything has been done as a result of my suggestion. Did the Government take any notice of it? 1 probably know the answer, but I would like to get it officially.
The next matter to which I wish to refer relates to the Department of Air. I cannot find the item which covers VIP aircraft. 1 do not want to raise this matter again because the Minister does not like us raising matters which we have raised recently. All I want to know is the item under which VIP aircraft are listed. Perhaps they might come under the item ‘Aircraft and other equipment’. Anyhow, perhaps the Minister can tell us under which item they are listed in the appropriation for the Department of Air. It is an atrocious method by which the Government includes the appropriation for VIP aircraft in the Defence vote.
There is one other matter to which 1 cannot find a reference. I do not know whether the Minister can help me. It concerns Tasmania where a George Howatt receives a grant from the Commonwealth for investigating the electoral system of the Commonwealth. There has been some dispute about this matter. I know that Senator Wright is as interested as I am in ascertaining why this grant is paid year after year. We were told last year that the Government would look into the matter. But, of course, in this Supply Bill (No. 1) the Government is budgeting for the next financial year. I suspect that the Government is asking for an appropriation for this grant to which 1 have referred. I would like to ascertain under which vote it is listed. If it is listed in this Bill, does the Government intend to give this man a further scholarship for doing nothing at all? After three years I think he gave one report which was nonsensical. We are still waiting to see what magic comes forth from his pen. Those are all the matters that I wanted to raise. However, I would like to take the Minister to task for condemning an honourable senator on this side of the chamber for believing a newspaper report. After all, what better example could Senator McClelland have than the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) who in the House of Representatives read from an anonymous letter?
– I rise to speak generally in relation to the Supply Bill (No. 1) but in particular I refer to Division No. 505 which relates to the Australian Tourist Commission. I note that under item 01 an amount of $400,000 is to be allocated for expenditure by the Commission. 1 wish to raise general matters relating to that item. The main point that
I wish to raise relates to the policy of establishing overseas offices. I would request the Minister to make clear to me whether the Government has any co-ordination policy relating firstly to premises and secondly to the use of staff in overseas posts. I have raised these matters on several occasions previously but I have not heard any stated policy on them. In a number of countries we find that various departments establish offices in various buildings and each pay rent for either an adequate or inadequate portion of the buildings. Some departments may be situated in buildings which have been purchased by the Government and other departments may be situated in rented premises.
The. question of the use of staff is a most important one. As an instance I refer to the Department of Trade and Industry and to the proposed expenditure for the Commercial Intelligence Service in the Federal Republic of Germany. Putting aside the item which relates to salaries and payments in the nature of salary, the administrative costs, which f would imagine would include maintenance costs on the premises which are used, amount to S7.600. If we take as another example the Department of Immigration and the Migration Officer in the Federal Republic of Germany, putting aside the item which relates to salaries and payments in the nature of salary, we find an appropriation of 5100,000 for administrative expenses. If we take as a further example the Department of External Affairs and the embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany, again putting aside salaries and payments in the nature of salary, we find that it is proposed to spend $33,000 on administrative expenses. I suggest that the same situation could apply in many other countries.
Now I come to the point that I want to make. The Australian Tourist Commission is being established for the purpose of promoting visits by overseas tourists to Australia. In my thinking, this will mean the establishment of offices in certain countries, and the Minister has indicated that this will be the case. J suggest to the Minister that some policy is needed now. Perhaps wc could adopt a policy whereby we would purchase, where possible, premises overseas. 1 believe that the question of co-ordinating the staffs that are to be found under the various headings could provide a reasonably good study.
I refer to this question of purchasing properties because previously I have referred to the fact that the Government pays some $500,000 per annum for renting the premises known as Australia House in London. I do not believe that this policy has been carefully worked out although it may be one which, perhaps, taken in the short view is necessary in order to acquire new and better premises. I suggest that if we capitalised the amount of $500,000 per annum and considered purchasing a property valued at the resultant figure we could very adequately cater for the needs of the various departments. This comment refers not only to the offices which are listed under the departments which I have cited, but also to (he establishment of the Australian Tourist Commission and any further departments that may require offices abroad in the future. They also should be involved in the question of policy which I have raised in relation to the purchase of premises and also in relation to the coordination of staffs attached thereto.
– I do not propose to speak at any length. I rise merely to refer to question No. 126 on the notice paper in the name of Senator Marriott which relates to Manus Island. Apparently certain people like to repeat the old canard about Manus Island. On 20th October 1966 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to inform the Senate of the facts relating to Manus Island after World War II. As I stated on that occasion, my remarks were a precis on an article written by the Hon. J. J. Dedman who was Minister for Defence at the relevant time. Through the courtesy of the present Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) Mr Dedman had access to official files, on the understanding that what he wrote would be shown to the Prime Minister before it was printed. The article was shown to the Prime Minister and it was then printed in a publication called ‘Outlook’. Through the courtesy of the Senate I placed the facts on record in Hansard.
Despite that, the honourable senator placed a question on the notice paper which supports a canard which has been repeated since the end of the Second World War to the effect that because the then Labor
Government refused to accept Manus Island as a going concern from the Government of the United States of America the Australian taxpayers were faced with a bill for millions of dollars. I know that at election times many things are said by people who, if they were asked to substantiate their statements, would not be able to do so and the election would be over before the half truths were nailed. But I think it is nauseating, to say the least, that in this Senate in May 1967 we have an honourable senator more or less accusing the Labor Government of 1946 of doing something that was not in the interests of this nation.
If necessary, I will rise repeatedly and nail this canard. I am sure that the paper written by the then Minister for Defence - I have stated already that it was shown to the Prime Minister before it was printed - contains the facts because Mr Dedman was permitted to see the official files. The fact that the paper contained nothing which was contrary to the facts, and also that the Prime Minister, Mr Dedman’s political opponent, allowed the paper to be printed, should be sufficient to stop this canard being repeated ad nauseam.
I hope I will not have to rise again in relation to this matter. The facts are in the official files for all to see. The Labor Government of the day is not to blame because we do not have now a satisfactory arrangement with the United States. We did not take Manus Island because the then Government felt that the conditions laid down were not in the best interests of Australia. I regret that I have to repeat the true story in the few minutes allotted to me, but one gets sick and tired of hearing incorrect stories. If anyone wants to read the facts, they appear on page 1334 of Hansard of 20th October 1966. I do not think that the prestige of Australia or of the Senate is enhanced in the eyes of the world if we have in this chamber people who, for some reason that I cannot fathom, continue to repeat a canard that was nailed many years ago.
– I shall reply to Senator Turnbull at this stage and to other honourable senators a little later. I do not think he requires an answer to his suggestion that we should combine the medical services of our three armed forces and place them under one administration. However I will direct his recommendation to the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) in another place and point out that the honourable senator feels that its adoption would strengthen the medical services of the armed forces. That is as far as I can go.
I understand that the Fulbright scholar to whom the honourable senator referred had a three years research scholarship and that he is now in the last year of that scholarship.
– This is not a Fulbright scholarship; it is a Commonwealth scholarship.
– The scholar is an ex-Fulbright scholar and he has been employed by the Commonwealth on a three years research scholarship which is now in its last year. The honourable senator referred to the expenditure at our migration offices in Lebanon and the United Arab Republic on salaries and payments in the nature of salary. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, who represents in this chamber the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) is not here at the moment but I can say to the honourable senator - I am sure he will accept my assurance in the spirit in which I give it - that the staff must be paid, and those are the places where the staff is located. However I am not purporting to give him at this stage a reply to his question.
– How many migrants are we getting from those countries?
– The honourable senator has asked for information off the cuff. This is not covered by the Supply Bills but I will endeavour to get for him before the end of the day the information he seeks in relation to that and the other matters he raised. He also asked me about other expenditure. The payments he mentioned were made to Sir Leslie Martin and Mr S. R. Carver in respect of Commonwealth superannuation for which they did not qualify but which the Commonwealth agreed to cover.
– The first question that I ask concerns the Department of Social Services, Division No. 470, sub-division 3, item 02 - ‘Homes for aged persons - Grants to eligible organisations under the Aged Persons Homes Act, $5.2nv. That amount is being set aside for the first five months of the next financial year. From lime to time 1 have said that I am not opposed in any way to the aged persons homes legislation. But I do nol believe that it is being administered in the spirit in which it was passed by the Parliament. I have here more than 200 letters from people in all States who have complaints about homes for the aged.
The question that I ask the Minister for Repatriation (Senator McKellar), who is now in charge of the Bill, is: Why does not the Commonwealth exercise some jurisdiction over the organisations to which it makes these very large grants for the construction of homes for the aged? Yesterday Senator Marriott said that because the Commonwealth was making grants to Tasmania for bush fire relief it should have some say in the way that money was spent. As the making of grants for aged persons homes is a continuing process, 1 believe that it is much more important that the Commonwealth should know - I do not say influence - the conditions under which these homes are being made available to aged people.
The Western Australian Minister for Health, who is not a Labor man, stated last year that these homes were only for the wealthy and the healthy. Fortunately, since he said that the ‘healthy’ part has been remedied by the Commonwealth Government amending the Act to include hospitals for the aged. I am also pleased that the Government has made a further concession by making the subsidy available to local governing bodies - a move that I had been advocating in this chamber for some time. 1 believe that some organisations are just making use of old people and are charging exorbitant entrance fees which they call donations. Recently a lady who lived opposite where I live paid £1,000 as a donation for entry to one of these homes. She died before the home was constructed. Her son tried to have the £1,000 refunded. He was told: ‘No fear; that was a donation’. As a matter of fact, he was very fortunate not to be compelled to pay another £1,000 which would have been necessary to complete the donation before his mother could have taken charge of a unit. That £2.000 would have been subsidised to the extent of a further £4,000. That is the kind of thing that is going on.
One of the letters that I have here states that most of the people to whom these homes are allocated already have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin. As soon as they slip, along comes another person from whom the operators of the home obtain another enforced donation. So I am interested - quite rightly so - in the payments that are made to some organisations. I have received an answer from the Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair) saying that he does not know what happens; that he has no control over the workings of the organisations that provide these homes; and that one of the conditions is that the people who occupy a home, or at least one of them, must be of pensionable age. Some people who live in these homes go to business. Others conduct their businesses from these homes. It is about time the Senate set up a committee to inquire into the operation of this Act.
I was very upset by a parcel that I received on Christmas Eve. I thought that one of my friends had sent me a Christmas present. But when 1 opened the parcel I was astonished to find that it contained a lot of mortar and other stuff from one of these aged persons homes which had come apart. Because it had been built so quickly it had just about fallen to pieces before it was occupied. The standard of workmanship in these homes is very good, but this parcel was sent to me to show me the shoddy building materials that are being used in some of them. I am not knocking all of these homes. I know that some of them are doing excellent work. Some of the people who live in them would have no other place in which to live. Those people really have a haven in these homes. While there are complaints of this magnitude, T believe that it behoves the Senate or the Parliament to have an inquiry made or to set up a committee to inquire into them and to see whether people are being treated as the letters that I have would have us believe they are.
I refer now to the appropriation for machinery and plant for naval dockyards aand establishments in Division No. 681 under the Department of the Navy. I came into the chamber well documented this afternoon. I have here photostat copies of all the questions that I have asked in this chamber since 3rd July 1951 about the establishment of a naval base in Fremantle.
We have been told that the Government now proposes to make investigations with regard to this matter. 1 ask the Minister how far those investigations have gone. About fifty-four years ago, before many honourable senators were born, an official function was held in Fremantle. The then Minister for Defence, George Pearce, laid the foundation stone of what was to be, as he put it, a very remarkable and very important step forward in the defence of I he Commonwealth, lt was the foundation stone of a naval base al Fremantle - the Henderson naval base.
Apart from when I have mentioned it, 1 have nol heard mentioned in this chamber the name of Admiral Henderson or the work that he did in connection with investigations for a naval base on the west coast of Australia south of Fremantle. I hope that the present experts, who will just go over the same ground - perhaps I should say the same sea - as Admiral Henderson went over so long ago, will give some thought to the findings that he made on that occasion. Had the suggestions that I made in the Senate seventeen or eighteen years ago been followed, that base would have been an accomplished fact by now. I am not saying that I am clairvoyant, but I did foresee what would happen in regard to Singapore. We are now worried about possible future developments in the Indian Ocean from the point of view of our trade routes as well as that of our defence. I should like the Minister to let us know, if he can, how far these investigations have gone and when we can expect a repetition of ,he 1913 ceremony. When will another foundation stone be laid to mark one of the most auspicious occasions in Australia’s history, namely the beginning of a naval base on the west coast?
– I seek information on two items. 1 refer firstly to the appropriations under the Department of Trade and Industry for the Commercial Intelligence Service in numerous countries including Argentina, Austria and Ceylon. I seek information on the operations of the Commercial Intelligence Service. Do its officers evaluate trade prospects for Australia and relay information back to the Commonwealth Government, or is the information fed to private enterprise in Austrafia?
Secondly, I refer to items 03 and 04 in sub-division 4 of Division No. 270 under the .Department of Immigration. I can fully appreciate that item 03 deals with the passage costs of migrants who come to Australia under assisted passage schemes. The number of countries in which we have consular representation and with which we have immigration agreements is increasing and 1 cannot understand the need for the Inter-Governmental Committee for European Migration. Is it concerned with the migration of persons in displaced persons camps? It is now twenty years after World War II and there has been a gradual tapering off in the numbers of political escapees or political refugees. Why is an appropriation of §247,000 required under this item? With the renewal of immigration agreements, what is the overall number of persons in displaced persons camps? Are they people who will never meet Australian health requirements? Will the contribution that we make under this item diminish or will it remain a permanent feature?
– I think Senator Kennelly took this opportunity to get off his chest something that has been worrying him for some time. Nothing that he said requires a reply from me in this debate. Senator Tangney mentioned homes for the aged. 1 know that she has been interested in this subject for a long while. It is true, as she said, that to get a grant from the Government these institutions have to be of a certain standard. They have to meet certain requirements before they become eligible for a grant. If they do this and receive a grant, as Senator Tangney correctly stated, the Government has no further jurisdiction over them or the manner in which they are run. 1 quite appreciate the problem that she mentions. My own feeling is that if, when an intending occupant dies, her money is retained this is not the correct thing, and I hope that something can be done about it.
If these abuses - 1 think we may so term them - are occurring in any numbers, surely action can be taken if the matter is taken up with the Minister for Social Services (Mr Sinclair). Of course, if these amounts of money are paid before the intending occupant enters a home, they will enable additional accommodation to be provided at a later stage and will, naturally, attract Commonwealth assistance, thus providing some benefit for others who would in the absence of such provision not be able to get homes. So it is not lost to the community or to those people who are in need of this provision. I appreciate the problem which Senator Tangney mentioned is occurring in relation to some categories.
She mentioned also the matter of a naval base in Western Australia. I have no knowledge of the foundation stone having been laid at the time suggested by the honourable senator but I am not querying the facts as stated by her. The matter of a naval base in Western Australia has been raised fairly regularly by Western Australian senators. 1 for one think that most of us in this chamber will probably see the day when such a base is established. The honourable senator states that had her suggestions been followed this base would have been established. I remind her that only in the last few days we have been subject to a lot of criticism about the expenditure on the Fill aircraft that we are to get. We know that this expenditure is enormous. The establishment of a naval base, too, requires a very large expenditure. As a matter of fact, the cost of the Singapore base is estimated at about £stg80m. I point out to the honourable senator that up to this point of time the Singapore naval base has been of very great value in this area not only to the United Kingdom but also to Australia.
There has been a lot of talk to the effect that the United Kingdom will eventually pull out of Singapore naval base. Whether or not this will eventuate, I do not know. My own feeling after visiting it in the latter part of last year is that the Singapore naval base will not be vacated at the request of Lee Kuan Yew, because it means too much to the financial economy of his city and state. It is a matter of whether the United Kingdom can afford to pay the enormous sums required to keep the base at Singapore. If she cannot and if this naval base has to be removed from Singapore, I for one feel that we could well see, in the not distant future, the establishment of a naval base in Western Australia. Here I am expressing a personal view and not a view on behalf of the Navy.
Senator Mulvihill wanted some information on the subject of commercial intelligence services. The proposed appropriations are of amounts that are normally expended on trade inquiries and the information that is obtained is made available to Australians here or elsewhere who are trying to develop trade in the areas mentioned. He referred to the question of migration. After all, in considering Supply we are dealing only with amounts sought for a continuation of policies that have been laid down already. The situation is somewhat different from when we come to consider the Estimates because then, I feel, we have to show the reasons why the proposed appropriations are necessary. Supply relates only to a continuation of existing policies. I am unable at this juncture to say how many immigrants are coming.
– I again take up the time of the Committee to discuss further Division No. 158, which relates to the Australian Universities Commission. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty) said half an hour ago that I had raised this matter in the Senate last Friday. It is true that I raised the matter in the Senate last Friday, but merely by way of a question. I now wish to amplify the remarks I made in my question and to deal with the answer of the Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton). I raise the matter because of its importance to the people of the Riverina area of New South Wales and the fact that the Government’s policy on it seems to have changed somewhat. Earlier, when my allotment of time expired, I was referring to a report in the Wagga ‘Daily Advertiser’ of 8th November last, which attributed certain remarks to Sir Leslie Martin. Last Friday I asked the Minister for Education and Science whether he was aware that on 8th November the Chairman of the Australian Universities Commission was reported as having said at a public meeting at Leeton that it had never been necessary to convince the Australian Universities Commission of the need for a university in the Riverina. This report, which was never denied, was published in a very large provincial daily newspaper. The report, which came from Leeton, read:
The Chairman of the Universities Commission. Sir Leslie Martin, said at a largely attended public meeting here tonight that it had never been necessary to convince the Commission of the need for :i university in the Riverina. But the difficulty had been lo do what the Commission wanted to do with the finance available.
Sir Leslie was speaking at the conclusion of a meeting which had accorded enthusiastic support for the proposal of the establishment of a university college in the Riverina. Sir Leslie said the Commission was not concerned only with universities in cities but was interested in the country areas. The Commission had noi been unheedful of the pleas cif the Chairman of the Riverina University League, Dr W. A. Merrylees. Sir Leslie noted that any decision as to where a university would he situated had yet lo bc made. He said he was hopeful that by the time lie left the area the logical centre for a university would be known. 1 suggest that it is fair to infer from the remarks made by Sir Leslie Martin at a large public meeting in the Riverina area thai his purpose in going there was to inspect suitable sites to determine the area in which a university should and would be established - not on whether a university should bc established. It is interesting to note the reference to this matter in the report of the Australian Universities Commission on tertiary facilities in the Riverina. At page 9 it states that as a result of the visit of Sir Leslie Martin and the Secretary of the Commission to the Riverina, they were not unsympathetic to the aspirations of the New South Wales Government which was proposing the establishment of a university college to provide for the first two years of courses in arts and science under the direction of a parent university which would provide the third year of training leading to a degree. suggest that it is fair to say that that section of the report presented to Parliament last Thursday supports the remarks attributed to Sir Leslie Martin at a large public meeting held at Leeton on 8th November, only eighteen days before the last Federal election. On page 10 the Commission’s report states:
The Commission decided that, as political implications were not matters for its consideration, the recommendations already put forward in the Tertiary Report and in the Third Report were the correct ones.
Note the phrase ‘political implications’. The Commission was saying in effect that political policies did not enter into the question so far as they were concerned. I feel that it is my duty to put the record straight. I raised this question last Thursday as a result of a report in a prominent newspaper circulating in the Riverina area. It is causing concern and public discussion there. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge. Many areas have been inspected and much time has been taken up but still there is no university. Once again the Government has decided, notwithstanding, in particular, the policies enunciated in this place by the Australian Country Party, not to proceed with the establishment of a university or university college in the Riverina. I believe it is an absolute disgrace that the people of the Riverina have been led up the garden path for so long. The question is still left in the air and the Commission’s report does not provide an answer. Probably we will not have the subject resurrected until just prior to the next Federal election. At page 1 1 the report states:
It is likely that in the years to come the proposed college of advanced education will be supplemented by a traditional university . .
I have raised this matter because it is causing great concern in the south west portion of New South Wales. I believe it to be my duty, as a senator representing New South Wales, to air the ma’ter in this debate and to put the record straight.
– I regret that 1 omitted previously to answer Senator Webster’s question about the proposed Australian Tourist Commission. I remind htm that the present appropriation is $862,000 and that this Bill provides in division No. 505 for an appropriation of $400,000. Formerly the funds were appropriated under division No. 500, sub-division 3 for the Australian National Travel Association to meet administrative costs and the costs of promotion and advertising campaigns overseas connected with tourist activity. Legislation has been introduced which will create the Australian Tourist Commission and the amount requested is approximately five-twelfths of the anticipated appropriation which will be sought to finance the operation of the Commission for 1967-68. As Senator McClelland did not raise any matters dealing with supply, no answers are required.
The Minister may not have heard whatI said previously regarding this Bill. I addressed my remarks to the proposed Australian Tourist Commission simply to open up the matter of the establishment of overseas posts and government policy in respect of the purchase or rental of overseas premises. I drew attention to the fact that the Commercial Intelligence Service, under the administration of the Department of Trade and Industry, has offices overseas. Overseas offices are established for the Department of Immigration and for the Department of External Affairs. I sought to direct the interest of the Minister to the procedure adopted by the Government in relation to the proposed Australian Tourist Commission. Are separate establishments to be purchased or rented overseas for the Commission? I pointed out that in this Bill provision is made under three or four headings for the overseas administrative expenses of three or four departments. I expect that the appropriations relate entirely to expenses associated with office accommodation.
Can the Minister inform me whether the Government has a policy in relation to ownership or rental of premises in overseas countries and whether there is any likelihood of co-ordination between departments in that respect? In particular I refer to the establishment of the Australian Tourist Commission. I expect that there will be some co-ordination of office accommodation overseas, whether purchased or rented, flowing from the setting up of the Commission and that regard will be had to the overseas office needs of future organisations.
– The Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities (Mr Chipp) is quite intelligent and I would anticipate that the points raised by Senator Webster would be considered by him. The honourable senator is asking me to explain in some detail the activities of an organisation the establishment of which has only recently been proposed. I cannot answer his questions and I do not know whether at this stage the Minister can answer them. We are dealing with supply, not policy, and for that reason I am unable to answer the honourable senator’s questions.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without requests; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator McKellar) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 12 May (vide page 1460), on motion by Senator Henty:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition supports the Bill. There is one matter thatI should like to bring to the notice of the Senate in connection with payments to or for the States of $14m and the advance to the Treasurer of $20m. Although I am quite certain that all honourable senators are sick and tired of hearing me mentioning this matter, I intend to continue until something is dons about it. I refer to the establishment of some kind of fund to help the people of the outback areas of Australia in their fight against floods, bush fires, and other national disasters. Since early 1951, as I can evidence by photostat copies of questions I have asked in this place, I have been advocating the establishment of a national disaster fund. Unfortunately, events in Australia this year have justified what I have said in the past. Firstly there was the disastrous fire in Tasmania, in respect of which yesterday we passed a Bill for the payment of $l4.5m towards the relief of those who suffered from the bush fires and to whom personally I should like to tender my sympathy. This is the first occasion on which I have been able to do so since the fires occurred. Secondly, we have the problem in the eastern States of the great drought which is gripping this country and which is causing a great deal of personal distress to those engaged in the pastoral industry. If is also a great blow to our economy generally.
I have been told from time to time throughout the last seventeen or eighteen years with deadly monotony that the Government is looking at the problem but that nothing can be done. At one stage I produced in the Senate details of similar schemes in New Zealand and the United States of America to deal with national disasters in those areas. I feel quite certain that we have in Australia men with sufficient brain power to be able to adapt some of those measures to the needs of the Australian scene. I remember quite well the late Senator Spooner saying to me at one time when people went into outback areas which could be subject (o floods or bush fires they knew what they were doing and should take out insurance against it. He said that generally the price of the property depended upon the area in which they lived and the risks that they were taking. That is a great incentive for people to go out and to live away from the safety of the cities! It is rather interesting to note that in the ten years between 1955 and 1965 the amount of assistance granted by the Commonwealth was almost entirely given over to floods and bush fires. In my own State of Western Australia at the same time we had bush fires in the south and cyclones and floods in the north. The township in which 1 spent my very early years was destroyed.
I think I have mentioned in the Senate on an earlier occasion that the home in which I lived, the school to which I went and the church in which I worshipped as a child were all swept away in one night in the bush fires at a place called Dwellingup, a timber town 60 or 70 miles from Perth. Then as now in the case of the Tasmanian bush fires we found that the charity and assistance given by the people throughout Australia was absolutely outstanding. It has been suggested that the bringing into being of a national insurance scheme might perhaps quell that charity among people, but I do not think it would do so. I believe that people throughout Australia are fair minded and sympathetic enough to continue to assist’ even though there is a national disaster fund. After any of these national disasters when funds are opened we find the same people donating all the time. Many people are giving the widow’s mite and others much more, all giving according to their means and some giving much more than they can afford out of the kindness and compassion of their hearts.
I feel that the fairest way of dealing with this problem, which unfortunately will always be with us, is by creating a national disaster fund. Disasters are not confined to only one portion of the Commonwealth. Every part of the country has in some way or the other suffered in the last ten or twenty years from a national disaster. There have been floods in northern New South Wales, bush fires in Victoria, bush fires and drought in Tasmania, bush fires and cyclones in my own Stale and bush fires in South Australia. No State of Australia can be said to be immune from a national disaster. Therefore it has become the duty of every member of the community to help those less fortunately placed than themselves by building up a national disaster fund. This could be done in many ways which I leave to those who are much more expert at figures than I am. I suggest that even by adding Id in the £ to income tax we would achieve the nucleus of a very good fund which could be drawn upon instead of having to wait to go through all the machinery of a State Government approaching the Commonwealth. No matter how sympathetic governments are in this respect, there must always be a time lag before relief funds come into operation. 1 know also that people likely to be affected must try to take out insurance policies, but as was stated by the late Senator Paltridge in reply to a question which I once asked, the districts in which risks were high attracted higher insurance premiums which many people found beyond their means. If there is to be a national insurance fund I think it. should be undertaken by the Commonwealth and should be additional, perhaps, to the extra taxation which I believe would not bear hardly on any person in the community. Surely to heaven those of us who are living in areas which are not affected, or generally not affected, by national disasters owe enough to this country to be able to pay a very small extra contribution in taxation to enable us to build up a special fund of money which will not go into the Treasury to be whittled away but will be available for the relief of those affected by national disasters. If the establishment of a fund provides more security for people who go out to develop the outback areas then it is worth while. I think it is long overdue.
We all talk about decentralisation and yet in Carnarvon in Western Australia practically every year the banana growers have to face the probability of floods and tha possibility of cyclones. Further north the area is now coming into its own as a mineral producer. People are inclined to forget that in that area there is a constant danger from cyclones. I consider that these disasters are national problems. After all, we are not just Western Australians, Victorians, New South Welshmen or Queenslanders - we are all Australians. As Australians we should be willing to help to build up a fund from which those who unfortunately become victims from national disasters over the years can look for some relief and protection in their time of need. By assisting them, they will be encouraged to assist themselves. I do not believe in giving everything for nothing.
I believe that there should be a form of Government insurance, a national insurance scheme with which people in outback areas can insure against risks which ordinarily are difficult to insure against, unless one happens to have quite a lot of this world’s goods. Therefore I take this opportunity in the second reading debate on this Bill to raise this matter. I do so because each year we find that the Treasurer has to make a grant to the States to help those who have suffered loss through national disasters over which they can have no control. I am quite certain that honourable senators need only to have been through one of these areas where such a disaster has taken place to realise how real are the sufferings of the people involved. In any case, quite apart from the loss of material possessions, the actual suffering of people in drought stricken areas or areas which have been ravaged by bushfires has to be seen to be believed. We in the safety of our own homes have little concept of this. All we can do to help is to subscribe a little out of what we have to see that those who suffer in this way are recompensed to the best of the country’s ability to do so. Otherwise, no matter with what good grace the Commonwealth gives assistance similar to that which it gave in an excellent manner in connection with the bushfires in Tasmania for which $14.5m was approved yesterday - I believe there will be more - the assistance will not be complete. Of course, the money voted for the purpose for which it was voted yesterday will not be available for other purposes. If a special fund were set up we would not have cause to fear so much the advent of these natural disasters which menace those people in the outback who are doing such a sterling job of developing the country, and to which they have been subjected over many years now. I take off my hat to those people who continue to five in the outback developing properties there and who suffer the heartbreak of drought and fire. I wish them all the luck in the world and hope that something will be done on a broad scale similar to what has been done already in New Zealand, the United States of America and also, I believe, in Canada to establish a permanent fund so that those who suffer from these disasters will no longer be required to depend upon the whim of a government as to whether relief will be given in time of national disaster.
– in reply - Once again we have heard from Senator Tangney a tangible expression of the humane attitude she adopts towards people in distress. Many times have 1 heard her requesting that a fund such as she has just described be set up in Australia. This matter has been looked at from time to time not only by the Government but by various organisations. Indeed, prior to the breaking of the last severe drought in New South Wales, my own party in that State drew up a plan which I think has some merit for submission to the Government.
I think we have to remember that insurance is always available so far as fire is concerned. We appreciate, of course, that every now and again we do have fires of the proportion of the fires that swept Tasmania and which did tremendous damage there recently. But in the ordinary course, it is possible to get fire insurance cover on one’s property, on the stock on that property and on one’s home. On the question of homes, if one proposes putting a home on a property near a river, the first thing one should assess is the probability of flood damage. This is a risk that has to be accepted if one intends to acquire a property which could be susceptible to flooding.
Then there are the inevitable droughts in Australia. They are part of the Australian weather pattern and again constitute another risk that has to be faced. Measures can be taken at least to alleviate the effects of normal droughts but when we have droughts of the nature and severity of those experienced recently in New South Wales and Tasmania and the ones which Queensland is experiencing at the present time, and Victoria to a certain degree, it is very hard to provide sufficient fodder to see one through the full period of the drought. It is also difficult to provide sufficient water. As to loss of crops, the loss of one year’s income is bad enough, but when it comes to the loss of two years income, the position is even worse.
Senator Tangney suggested that the average individual would not mind making a contribution to a national disaster fund. I think that in the main this is true, but I think that when people in the outback areas are experiencing a prosperous time, as they do from time to time, the people who are making contributions could well be having anything but a prosperous time and under those circumstances they might object to paying a levy.
I emphasise that here again we have to try to remember that we are not a welfare stale. 1. for one. hope that we never will be. We have gone a long way towards becoming :i welfare state, but. after all, there is a limit to how far one can go. In any case, the spirit of independence that has made this country what it is would be opposed to such a state of affairs. There are risks that have to be taken and although I again commend Senator Tangney for bringing the suggestion forward and although I would hope that something along these lines could be established, I am not giving her any information when I tell her that, up to this point of time this has not been possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 12 May (vide page 1462). on motion by Senator Henty:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill proposes certain changes in taxation arrangements so far as Australia is concerned. I note from the provisions of the Bill that the changes proposed fall into roughly three categories. I do not propose to delay the Senate unduly with a long discussion of these particular items particularly since the proposals are outlined fairly clearly in the Minister’s second reading speech and as the Senate has had the advantage of the explanatory notes which have been supplied by the Department of the Treasury to assist us in our understanding of the ramifications of the Bill. I shall therefore deal as briefly as I possibly can with the proposals contained in it.
The first matter - this is not in the order in which they were presented to the Senate, but I shall deal with them in the order in which 1 think they should be considered - relates to the proposal to extend for a further three years the provision allowing tax concessions on subscriptions to certain mining and mineral research ventures in Australia. This becomes necessary because of the fact that the present arrangement in this regard expires on 30th June of this year. So we find that it is proposed to extend for a further three years the provision with relation to capital investment in mining ventures in Australia.
The Bill points out that there are certain reservations with relation to this, lt provides concessions for subscriptions to petroleum exploration companies and mining companies and others whose principal business is mining. Gold mining, uranium mining and oil recovery are excluded from the provisions of this Bill. The Opposition has no argument against this provision which apparently has worked and is working quite satisfactorily. One can conclude that were it not working satisfactorily then in all probability some other arrangement would be made to meet the situation.
During the course of the day I was interested to read comments attributed to Sir Frederick White, who is Chairman of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, concerning mining in Australia. A section of the Press article reads:
Australia badly needed imaginative scientific research in the development of new mineral discoveries, the Chairman of the CSIRO, Sir Frederick White, told a meeting of the organisation’s advisory council in Adelaide yesterday. ,
In the light of recent experience in mining in Australia, Sir Frederick White may well be correct in many of his observations. I believe it has been stated that the mining industry will become the top primary industry in this country in the foreseeable future. No doubt exists that very exciting discoveries in mining fields have been made in recent years in Australia. I only hope that the product of the present activities will be made to serve the interests of the Australian people.
The second aspect of this measure is that bringing two United States undertakings, Project Sparta and the Joint Defence Space Research Facility near Alice Springs, into line with an arrangement made in connection with the North West Cape communications base. It will be recalled that in 1963 provision was made in the taxation laws of Australia to exempt from our taxation assessment laws the incomes of people working on the North West Cape project and also the incomes of contractors who were undertaking work on that project. This provision applied where the persons concerned were citizens of the United States of America and where the companies were registered in that country. The taxation exemptions did not apply to Australian citizens working on that project; nor did the Bill grant the benefit of those provisions ito Australian based and registered companies. The precedent was established in relation to the North West Cape project. Therefore, there does not appear to be any valid reason why this same arrangement should not be extended to Project Sparta and to the Joint Defence Space Research Facility, lt is worthy of note also that the arrangement lasts only so long as the incomes of the people and the companies concerned aTe subject to the taxation laws of the United States of America.
The third aspect of this legislation is a little more complex perhaps than the other two that I have mentioned in that it changes an arrangement which was made, I understand, in 1960 concerning the system of withholding tax that was introduced at that time. This tax has been levied on dividends derived from investments in Australia and in Australian industries by people who are non-residents of Australia. That is as I understand the provision. The tax is levied at a general flat rate of 30% of the gross dividend of companies operating in Australia, except those registered in countries with which Australia has double taxation agreements. In respect of the latter companies the tax drops to 15%. Overseas investors have had an option to elect to be taxed on the dividends on an ordinary assessment basis instead of accepting the withholding tax as a final liability. This Bill proposes to make the withholding tax the final tax. The option of assessment is to be removed. 1 understand that this change is consistent with the recommendation of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation which, under the chairmanship of Sir George Ligertwood, considered these matters. One of the features of this provision is that the procedure is simplified. Apparently in the past it was found that it was a rather messy business to have the right of accepting liability for the withholding tax or accepting assessment of income in the ordinary manner.
It ought to be borne in mind also that at the time this provision was introduced no provision existed in the country of origin of the invested funds for a taxation arrangement in respect of income earned outside the country of origin. By and large, I understand that this situation has been corrected now and, in the main, countries from which overseas investment comes to Australia have their own taxation laws which deal with dividends paid to citizens of those countries. The simplification of the procedure has been essential. Because of other things that have happened during the period since the arrangement was first made, it has been decided by the Government - I believe quite properly - that this simplification of the system should be introduced, with the withholding tax now becoming the final tax.
Under this legislation residents of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea will come under the provisions applying to Australian citizens. In the normal course of events their tax will be assessed as if they were residents of this country. The withholding tax will be taken out by the company concerned in Australia and the funds from this will be transmitted to the Taxation Branch and ultimately to our Department of the Treasury.
The only thing that perplexes me is whether Australia wins or loses in this deal. I am not able to determine clearly whether this is of benefit to us in the financial sense, although certainly it must be an advantage in administration. If the new system is to benefit Australia generally, we can conclude that it will be of some disadvantage to the country of origin of the invested funds. Relative to this, I have endeavoured to weigh whether it is a desirable thing in a measure of this kind that we should take steps that might be calculated to discourage, to some degree anyway, the investment of overseas money in Australia.
The only other question that I wish to endeavour to relate to this measure in a general way is this: What bearing will these provisions have on the new proposal to set up an Australian bankers development refinance corporation and the further mooted project to provide some facility in Australia for the receipt of overseas funds for use in developmental projects, but not in the sense of buying shares or other equity in undertakings here? I agree with the Government that we need overseas funds to develop our industries, particularly as it has been found that Australia does not have sufficient of its own finance available for risk projects, as they are sometimes referred to. People who are reserved about what they will do with their spare cash are not usually prepared to venture into these fields. The new proposal is for the establishment of some organisation in Australia to receive overseas funds which will be interest earning rather than dividend earning through the activities of the companies concerned.
I do not want to become deeply involved in this matter and 1 notice that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) agrees with me. Obviously a person can become very deeply involved in considering a question of this kind. Suffice if I say that I would like some clarification of the matter if it is possible to obtain this in a general sense. I wish to know whether we are in front or behind on this score and whether this provision might not be calculated by some people to be a deterrent to the investment of overseas money in developmental projects in Australia. But let me assure the Minister that the Opposition offers no objection to the Bill.
– in reply - I can tender the information that has been given to me. There would not be any loss of revenue in embracing the new procedures because, quite obviously, when these people opted to take the previous system, they would opt to do that because of a tax advantage which might be inherent in that system. The second point raised concerned the effect this proposal might have on capital investment in this country. That is a pretty valid question. The answer, I gather, is quite clear. There would not be any loss of incentive for capital investment in Australia because additional taxation paid would become a credit to the persons or companies concerned in relation to the taxation that they might pay in their own country. I thank the Senate for the speedy passage of this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 12 May (vide page 1463), on motion by Senator Henty:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill, which is one of four Bills to which Senator Devitt has referred, authorises exemptions from estate duty in accordance with the terms of our agreement with the United States Government relating to the Joint Defence Space Research Facility in Australia. It would appear that since the construction of the North West Cape naval communications station two other developments, namely, the Joint Defence Space Research Facility and the Sparta project at Woomera, resulting from an arrangement with the Governments of the United States of America and Great Britain, have come into being. The Government now finds it necessary to make certain amendments to this Bill and to the three Bills which are complementary to it. The purpose of the Estate Duty Assessment Bill is to exempt from Australian estate duty certain personal property that is in Australia because of the presence in Australia of persons connected with the Joint Defence
Space Research Facility. The exemption will apply only where the property is subject to the estate tax of the United States Government. It will not be available to Australian citizens or persons ordinarily resident in this country. The four Bills were dealt with in globo, as it were, in the other place. My Party did not oppose them. Therefore, we do not want to delay the passage of this Bill. As Senator Devitt said when speaking to the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 2) we have no objection to this Bill or to the other Bills.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 12th May (vide page 1463), on motion by Senator Henty:
Thai the Bill bc now read a second time.
– This is one of four Bills arising from our agreement with the United States Government relating to the Joint Defence Space Research Facility, lt proposes an exemption from Australian gift duty for certain personal property which is in Australia by reason of the presence here of persons connected with the Joint Defence Space Research Facility. The exemption is to be conditional upon the gift being subject lo the gift tax imposed by the United States Government. The Bill provides that persons who are Australian citizens or who are normally resident here will not qualify for the exemption.
As was pointed out in the debate on the Estate Duty Assessment Bill, the amendments to these Bills are consistent with the principles of existing provisions which provide certain exemptions for United States persons in Australia for purposes connected with the North West Cape naval communications station. This is a complementary Bill to the Income Tax Assessment Bill which was debated previously. It is also complementary to the Income Tax (International Agreements) Bill and the Estate Duty Assessment Bill. We do not oppose the measure. We desire it to have a speedy passage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 12 May (vide page 1462), on motion by Senator Henty:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) [5.I7J - In general terms the Opposition’s attitude to this enactment is similar to our attitude lo the Bills we have just discussed. We believe they are an indication of the times in which we live and the fact that Australia, as a continent, has to enlarge its financial links. It is obvious that for this purpose reviews of the position must be made from time lo time. The Opposition has referred on a number of occasions to certain of our agreements with the United States and other countries because we believe that although on a government to government basis we can ensure a certain degree of commercial ethics, the fact remains that at times, in the jungle of private enterprise and big monopolies, governments must exercise a certain supervisory role.
I think one of the difficulties in the world today is the anti attitude displayed by certain people, whether it be anti-American, anti-British or anti-Asian. Such attitudes are not necessarily encouraged by the actions of governments. I believe they are the direct result of actions by individuals. Legislation of this nature gives us an opportunity to lay down a code of conduct. Within reason. I believe a lot of the present hostility can be avoided. I suppose we need do no more than look at Indonesia where the present anti-Chinese feeling has probably resulted from actions by a certain section of the Chinese community - the merchant class - which has exploited the Indonesian people. I suppose we can apply that position to Australia. We can cast our minds back to some of the shadowy figures in the depression days, people representing banking interests who came to Australia and laid down certain forms of conduct by which we had to abide. Probably much of the feeling which was exhibited then has carried on to the present time.
When governments meet to work out some reasonable scheme in relation to a matter such as income tax, it should be a case of cards on the table. I would go further and say that the Australian Government, the United States Government and any other government with which this legislation links us have an equal responsibility to ensure that the people of the respective countries do not shelter under the flag of patriotism and claim that it is pretty smart business practice to outwit the people of another country. I would be the last to suggest that Australian industries should more or less play second fiddle to their rivals in other countries. 1 have in mind the Du Pont company and others in the chemical group of industries in the United States which have placed America in a very invidious position because of the activities in which they have indulged. We have had their counterparts in Australia.
While the Opposition supports this legislation our motives are quite clear. We want to see a higher sense of ethics in commerce because that, in turn, will create better and deeper understanding in international relationships. After all, the major powers involved in this, such as the United States and Britain, are countries with which we need to maintain pretty sound relations. If this legislation does that, it will achieve something.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Debate resumed from 12 May (vide page 1467), on motion by Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin:
That the Dill be now read a second time.
– This Bill seeks to continue beyond 30th June 1967, the present expiry date, the assistance being given by the Government to the wool industry and, in some respects, to increase that assistance. Perhaps I should review in some small detail the events which led to the provision of the assistance. It is generally recognised and appreciated that wool pro ducers have done a tremendous amount to increase the efficiency of their industry and to promote the sale of wool both at home and abroad.
A few years ago the International Wool Secretariat decided that in view of the increasing competition from wool substitutes it was necessary to draw up a considerably expanded programme to promote the sale of wool throughout the world. In its report the International Wool Secretariat stated that the cost of this campaign would be in excess of the funds contributed by the growers so the Government was asked to assist. In 1964 this assistance was granted for a three-year period, which is due to end in June 1967, on the basis that the Government would match each §1 contributed by the growers after the first dollar per bale.
The position is further complicated in that a research grant is also made to the industry to enable wool growers to adopt better and more efficient methods. The producers, in their own interests, have been willing to contribute 20c per bale towards this research fund. The Government, for its part, has subsidised the research fund on the basis of 40c per bale, which is twice the amount that the producers have contributed. This aid does not cease in June 1967. But, as the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) pointed out in her second reading speech, it is recognised that the cost of research is greater than the amount of money that is accumulating in the fund. So at the present time the fund is being depleted in order to meet the demands of research. The Government has recognised this as a fact.
In this Bill it proposes that both matters - promotion and research - be taken together and that it meet the contributions made by the growers on a $1 for $1 basis. A limit of SI 4m per annum is placed on the Government’s contribution. That may be considered reasonable. I do npt propose to argue whether it is reasonable or not. I stress the point made by the Minister in her second reading speech when she “aid:
Wool is still Australia’s most important export commodity, providing not less than 30% of our foreign exchange earnings and often a great deal more.
It seems to me that in respect of an earner of foreign exchange of that order we might consider granting assistance on a basis greater than the $1 for $1 basis suggested by the growers themselves. Of course, they have a vested interest in this very important industry, but so have all the people of Australia. So in my opinion it would not have been wrong for the Government to h.we agreed to go further than it has gone Beyond making that comment, I do not propose to discuss that matter.
I wish to have a quick look at the functions of the Australian Wool Board. As far as I can see, it has four functions which are laid down in the Wool Industry Act which brought it into existence. They are, firstly, to promote the use of wool at home and abroad; secondly, to promote research into ways and means of improving the industry; and, thirdly, to examine methods of marketing and to report to the Australian Wool Industry Conference. Fourthly, it has a blanket function; namely, to carry out such other functions as are conducive to the achievement of the purposes of the Act. I want the Senate to note that the Board is not a marketing authority. We are not considering it as such. However, the point with which I wish to deal and which is the basis of the amendment that I will move is its function of examining methods of marketing and reporting to the Australian Wool Industry Conference.
The marketing of wool has been a considerable problem over the years. I think all wool growers are congenital complainers. They never obtain the prices that they expect. This has been the position for as long as I have been associated with the wool industry, anyway. If we go back forty odd years we find that the British Australian Wool Realisation Association - the BAWRA scheme - was instituted at that time in order to prevent the export price of wool being less than 8d per lb. I ask honourable senators to note that. It is extremely interesting. That happened in 1921. That scheme was discontinued in 1924. At that time a poll of the growers was held. The relevant legislation laid down that 75% of the growers had to be in favour of continuation if the scheme was to continue. In fact, the scheme just missed becoming a continuing one, because 744% of the growers were in favour of continuation. That shows that a tremendous number ot people appreciated the BAWRA scheme.
Since that time there have been fluctuations in wool prices. Many suggestions have been put forward. In 1945 3ohn Curtin introduced the Joint Organisation scheme. It functioned very successfully while it was in existence and paid out about £95m to the growers in profits.
– It was almost the exact counterpart of the BAWRA scheme.
– Yes, it was. lt was a very successful scheme; but it, too, went out of existence. Over the years there was much concern about wool marketing and the way it was being carried out. In 1965 the Wool Industry Conference recommended that another referendum of wool growers be held with the idea of setting up a wool marketing authority. That referendum was defeated, in my view largely because the case for it was not presented as well as it should have been. It was carried by well over 50% of the growers in four States. But in New South Wales and South Australia only 35% of the growers were in favour of it. Of course, it had to be carried throughout Australia, and the overall vote in favour of it was only about 46%. Many schemes for improving wool marketing have been suggested. Generally the people suggesting them have been either broker interests or buyer interests. What I am concerned about - and what I hope the Senate is concerned about, too - are the interests of the wool growers.
In order to appreciate the urgency of the need to solve this problem, let us look at the situation as we find it now. The trend in wool prices has been downward for the last twenty years. They went up to a peak in 1947. There was another peak in 1956-57 and they jumped-
– And in 1951.
– There was one in 1951, too; but there was also a fair drop in purchasing power at that time. Although the return was good in 1951, because of purchasing power it was not as good as it would appear to be. In 1956-57 prices averaged 66.38c per lb. They are dropping. By last December they had dropped to 49.18c per lb. This is the trend. It is important to note that that low average price occurred in December in spite of the drought conditions that existed in many parts of Australia and the fact that the amount of wool produced in that year was 8% less than in the previous year. Of course, that was the result of the drought conditions. In spite of those facts the price was depressed.
– Did the economic situation in the United Kingdom have anything to do with that?
– I think so. 1 will show in a moment that although the economic situation does result in the price of wool going up or down other factors seriously restrict the return that we get from wool. This is the point that 1 want to develop now. Experts advise that very little improvement can be expected in marketing conditions under the present arrangements. We have now reached the stage where our wool clip approaches five million bales a year. At this point we find that the saving resulting from handling large quantities diminishes, so we shall be faced with greater costs of wool handling than has been the case in the past. This has to be looked at. The last figures that are available to me. which are for the year 1962-63, show that of nearly five million bales 33.2% were one-bale lots. This means that wool has to be broken in the store and brought up to the selling floor and each individual bale has to be looked at for sale. lt is obvious that we must have some better method of handling our wool which does not depend on some 300,000 bales of wool being brought up for inspection. There are only about 1,900 different classes of wool in Australia and there is no need to have every one of these bales brought up for inspection. A wool selling authority of the kind proposed by the Australian Wool Industry Conference when it suggested the referendum would get over a lot of this duplication, the costs of which are really tremendous. I have figures from two firms that went into the costs. One of them reckons that to set out a bale costs $3.20, whereas to leave it in the store and not bring it up costs only 20c. A terrific saving could be made if we could get rid of the need to bring up for inspection every one of the 300,000 bales. Many lots arc not big. They range between one bale and ten while others run into hundreds.
– I always understood that there was inter-lotting.
– Only if this is asked for. Thirty-three per cent, of the lots offered in 1962-63 were single bale lots. This is a statistical fact. I have figures from another firm. I do not know whether it is bigger or smaller than the one to which 1 referred earlier, but it is a big firm, lt calculates that the cost of displaying a bale to sell is $5 and the cost of keeping it in store is about 70c. There is a certain similarity in the costs estimated by these two firms. I suggest that there are two ways in which this situation can be overcome. One of these is by grouping under one authority. The other method, which is being used considerably to reduce the cost of assessing a bale of wool, is core testing. This method is being used all over the world. As a matter of fact, 50% of the wool of one of the biggest top makers - I think it is Woolcombers Ltd - is core tested. This cuts down the cost of opening up a bale and going through it to find how much has clover burr and how much is dirty or impure. If we were core testing about five million bales the cost, it is estimated, would be no more than 10c a bale. Added to the cost of storing, this is quite a small amount and it would mean a tremendous increase in the return to the wool grower.
It seems to me that when dealing with the wool industry it is important to look at three factors. One is the efficiency of the industry itself. Another is the efficiency of the promotion of sales. The third is the efficiency of our marketing, and this is the line that I am suggesting ought to be examined. I do not think that 1 need say any more on the subject. I should like to mention something about the way in which the sales by the grower could be financed in a scheme such as this, with one authority. It would be possible to pay 50% of the value within seven days. Another 20% could be paid within five months and the final 20% could be paid in another five months. This means that the wool grower would have most of his wool cheque almost immediately after shearing and sending the wool to store. The last 20% would be available just before he was getting ready to do his next shearing. This would meet the needs of two very important phases in the farmer’s year. To a degree this type of grouping is being carried out in Western Australia. I know only the situation there. Wesfarmers Pty Ltd has a spring wool pool and has recently started an autumn wool pool. This has been so successful that Elder Smith Goldsbrough Mort Ltd is considering doing the same. This is an advance but it is not good enough. If we had one authority we would be getting a further improvement in orderly marketing. For the reasons that I have put forward, I move:
At the end of the motion add: ‘but recognising the urgent need for wool marketing reform, and believing that Iiic full benefit of Wool Promotion cannot be reflected in wool prices until adequate marketing reform is instituted, the Senate is of the opinion that the Australian Wool Board should be requested to make such recommendation in that regard as it may see fit at the earliest possible time.’
I hope that the explanation that I have given of the reasons for this amendment will be acceptable to honourable senators. We do not oppose the Bill as it stands and we hope that this amendment will be accepted.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laught) - ls the amendment seconded?
– I second it and reserve my right to speak later.
– I support the Bill and oppose the amendment for reasons that I shall give in a moment. I congratulate the Government on the contribution that it is making in the interests of wool growers and of Australia’s most important industry. I oppose the amendment because 1 do not think thai it will achieve anything. The industry has already established a Wool Marketing Committee and everybody who has had anything to do with the wool industry knows that it will be reporting to the Australian Wool Industry Conference in October. I agree that marketing is an important issue, but this Bill deals with promotion and with research. I do not believe that promotion and research should be absolutely tied to marketing. There is a great divergence of opinion on marketing. People have a right to express their opinions according to their consciences. Therefore 1 hope that the Senate will soundly reject the proposed amendment. The Marketing Committee will be making a report to the Australian Wool Industry Conference and I do not believe that the Senate should become involved in this question.
When the Wool Industry Act was passed in 1964 the wool growers of Australia thought that the levy of a maximum of 2% would fully meet the requirements of promotion and research. At that time there were over 170 million sheep in Australia and the price of wool was reasonable. We were hopeful that a levy of li% would suffice. We were reasonably confident that it would not be necessary to impose the maximum levy of 2% because sheep numbers were rapidly increasing and the price of wool was reasonably stable. But limes have changed. Last year the sheep population had decreased to 157 million and unfortunately drought conditions have persisted. Sheep numbers could be further reduced in the coming year and I think that the Government is particularly to be commended for the assistance it is providing.
– Has the average price of wool declined?
– Taken over a three-year period I think it has declined a little. I have not look.’d specifically at this question, but I think that generally the price is about the same. It is, of course, down a little this year. In these circumstances the wool industry is finding the levy of 2% a heavy impost. The wool growers are very conscious of it, but are prepared to pay it. Most wool growers believe that promotion and research are making a valuable contribution to the industry. At the present price of wool the levy represents a contribution of about $3 a bale. lt is of the utmost importance to the industry and this Government that the maximum contribution which can be afforded should be paid and thus assist to keep wool prices at a reasonable level. Increased production can be obtained by applying the results of research. I refer to textile research, pasture research and animal husbandry. Great progress is being made in pasture research but I would be happier if it were extended so that more people could take advantage of the research results now available to them. In areas of good rainfall the results of research can be applied to the best advantage and should be used to the fullest extent.
Textile research is directed towards the benefit of three groups: The wool growers of. the world, particularly in those nations which belong to the International Wool Secretariat and are contributors to the fund; and the processors and manufacturers who, as honourable senators are aware, must be prosperous if they are to continue to use wool, because their prosperity is our prosperity. I believe that not enough people are conscious of that position. If the manufacturers decide to change from wool to synthetics, it could be most difficult to attract them back to the use of wool. The third group to benefit from textile research is the consumer group. I consider that of the three groups, the purchasers of woollen products arc the most important. If the customers are not satisfied, it must work to the disadvantage of the wool industry. 1 wish to refer particularly to the launching of the Woolmark symbol by the International Wool Secretariat about two years ago. I believe it has helped greatly to promote the sale of woollen products, particularly overseas, where so many synthetic fibres are used. The Woolmark is a guarantee not only that the product is made of wool, but that it is of a high standard, lt is a guarantee to the purchaser. Independent surveys have been conducted by IWS in the countries where it is in operation. People in various walks of life have been approached and the results of the surveys have been of great importance. They have shown that recognition of the Woolmark has greatly increased in the last twelve months. I wish to cite some figures supplied by Mr Vines, managing director of IWS. In 1964 27% of the people approached in Britain recognised the Woolmark. In 1965 49% of the people approached there recognised the symbol. Probably the survey was conducted amongst ordinary individuals in the streets. Not only did the percentages 1 have stated recognise the Woolmark but they also were aware of its purpose. In Germany, strange as it may seem, 62% of the people approached recognised the Woolmark and were aware of its purpose. In the Netherlands 54% recognised the symbol and 50% were aware of its purpose.
The wool industry is faced with heavy competition from synthetics. The International Wool Secretariat estimates that production of synthetic fibres will be doubled by 1971, as compared with production in 1964. Unless the wool industry generally recognises that wool must be lifted as a quality product out of the field of synthetic fibres, it will be very serious for the industry. The Woolmark is a guarantee to the consumer. It is estimated that by 1971 the selling prices of synthetics will have fallen 20% below the present prices. That fall is expected to be brought about by the great volume of production by the chemical processors. Their expenditure on marketing activities in the countries where IWS has its branches is expected to increase from the 1964 expenditure by £Stg40m by 1971. This trend demonstrates that the synthetic fibre industry is conscious of the value of promotion and advertising. Otherwise it would not be prepared to spend such great sums of money or to increase its expenditure on promotion each year. The wool industry must try to hold its percentage of the world’s market.
The men of the International Wool Secretariat - Mr Vines and his directors - are dedicated to the wool industry and are making a tremendous contribution in its interests. The industry is facing difficult times because of drought conditions, prices that are not as good as we would like them to be, and lowering production. We need sufficient faith in the industry to make a contribution for research and promotion which, in my judgment, will be of great assistance to maintain present prices, or even to increase them. Far too many people, including many wool growers, regard the money that they pay for promotion as being used only for advertising, for fashion shows and so on. As 1 said a moment ago, it is difficult to assess what is achieved ny advertising and promotion. This is recognised by all industries. However, 1 feel that although advertising and other promotion is of great importance, the great thing about this is how the money has been used for product development, a term which not many people really understand. Fortunately, I believe that the good judgment of the International Wool Secretariat in spending a considerable amount on product development and research is bearing fruit. 1 should like to read to honourable senators a couple of paragraphs written by Mr Vines, the Managing Director of the International Wool Secretariat, when reporting to the International Wool Textile Organisation last year, when he brought forth very strongly what has been achieved in product development. His report stated:
We decided that we had to try to assist the textile industry to improve the quality and performance of its wool products, and then to help them to sell those products in increasing volume, and at better profit margins. Clearly - efforts lo improve wool products have to begin by knowing what products need improvement, and in what respects, and in what order of priority. This knowledge we have gained through our world-wide and continuous market research activities, from which is derived a programme of fundamental research work. This programme is allocated to research institutes in our own three countries and in nine other countries also. It is reviewed and revised annually. The cost of such research borne by the woolgrowers and the Governments of our three partner countries during the past year was at the record level of nearly £2 million. That was the cost of wool textile research alone - in addition, an approximately simitar amount was expended on research to improve wool production - on sheep and pasture problems. Most research is, of course, long term in character, and some of thi results may take years to emerge. The research financed by the growers, however, is becoming increasingly fruitful and productive, as the number of new inventions published during this year testify.
Following logically from the considerable increase in research effort, came the need lo speed up the work of converting the discoveries of the research scientists into commercially viable products and processes. This work is carried out by the IWS product development and technical service staff. Our expenditure on these activities during the past year has increased to over £1 million. The number of skilled and technically qualified staff in the nineteen IWS branch countries who are engaged in this work now amounts to more than 200. They are supported by the facilities of ten demonstration pilot plants located in key centres throughout Europe, the U.S.A. and Japan.
This demonstrates very briefly that the money that we, the wool growers, and the Government are contributing is being used to the best advantage in advising manufacturers and processors. With the launching of the Woolmark symbol a large percentage of the licensees of Woolmark are providing finance in ever increasing amounts for promotion and research. Whilst I cannot go into detail and read further from Mr Vines’ report to the International Wool Textile Organisation, he does say that the manufacturers in the interests of the International Wool Secretariat - which eventually means in the interests of the woolgrowers - are contributing very substantially to the funds for promotion and research overseas.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– This Bill provides in the main for a continuation of Government assistance for the promotion of wool for a period of three years. It also includes some minor amendments of an administrative character. As was indicated by my colleague, Senator Wilkinson, the Opposition does not oppose the proposal in the Bill to provide $14m for wool promotional purposes, but we on this side do say that promotion and marketing go hand in hand. We believe that it is in the interests of the wool industry that marketing be assured. It must be assured before promotion can be truly effective. This has been argued not only by the Labour Party but by many wool growers throughout the length and breadth of this nation.
There has been a considerable amount of discussion amongst wool growers as to whether the present promotional stunts are of any real benefit to the industry. Many believe that the major part of the money spent has benefited the fashion houses and retailers of fashion garments rather than the producer. One wonders whether schemes like Sir Francis Chichester’s trip round the world are really worthwhile. I do not say this in any criticism of Sir Francis who has proved to be a man of great skill and courage and whose achievement will go down in history as something truly magnificent, but it was not until he actually arrived in Australia that many Australians became aware that this trial of skill and endurance had been sponsored from funds supplied by the Commonwealth Government and the wool growers.
In case some may consider thai the publicity has been of benefit overseas, I wish to say right now that 1 have taken particular notice of the Press publicity which has appeared in overseas newspapers and I have failed to find sufficient emphasis on the promotional purposes for which the trip was sponsored. They may have received some emphasis in appropriate trade magazines which 1 have not had the opportunity to peruse. Indeed, the chief President of the Victorian Wheat and Wool Growers Association, Mr P. J. Meehan is on record as saying that promotion has not been of any benefit to the Australian wool growers. He was addressing 300 delegates representing more than 1 1 .000 Victorian wheat and wool growers at the opening of the Association’s annual conference in Melbourne. He said:
The Association was not against wool promotion, but believed promotion and marketing went hand in hand. The Federal Government has promised up to $14m for promotion and is claiming because of this that it has done something wonderful for Australian woolgrowers.
The high promotional expenditure over the pas three years has no doubt increased the sale of woollen goods and, in consequence, the profit of all those along the ‘pipeline’ right down to the retailer. However, there has been no apparent benefit to the woolgrowers. In fact, with continually rising costs and falling prices their position is becoming desperate.
So that the great Victorian Wheat and Wool Growers Association believes quite clearly that the industry must have a wool marketing scheme in association with the promotional scheme for which this legislation provides. Certainly promotion is vital to the industry if it is to flourish. It is also vital that Australia have adequate overseas funds. We are meeting with real competition from man made fibres on the world’s market. The Managing Director of the International Wool Secretariat, Mr W. J. Vines, who has been mentioned already by Senator Bull, and who is also a noted Australian, has predicted that the price of synthetic fibres will be cut further over the next five years - perhaps by as much as 30%. He has indicated quite clearly that this is going to be a real threat to the trade. He made it equally clear in his statement that up to the present point of time wool has been able to compete with the increased production and increased use of these particular fibres. He is reported in a statement that appeared in the ‘Financial Review’ of 21st April as having said that despite the sharp downward turn in textile activity in 1966 and the severe price cutting by synthetics, the consumption of virgin wool in the seven major wool producing countries was 3% greater in 1966 than in 1965. The consumption of all other fibres including synthetics rose by only 2% in the same period. Mr Vines said that the key to the future of wool lies in what happens when the Australian Wool Board presents its recommendations on marketing later this year. I emphasise that this was the opinion of the Managing Director of the International Wool Secretariat. He has come out strongly on the side of a marketing scheme for the wool growers of this country. I think it is high time that the Government, in association with the Australian Wool Board, initiated a system of marketing that will go hand in hand with the promotional schemes that are under way. If this is done we will eventually see full value for the wool received by the growers of this country. It is of little use to either the growers or this country if promotion is successful at the retail level and the growers are facing economic ruin.
As I indicated earlier in my speech, promotion and successful marketing have been demanded by many growers of this country. It is becoming imperative that a reserve price system or some other satisfactory system of orderly marketing be introduced in Australia. It is true that the growers rejected a reserve price scheme in November 1965, but I am quite certain that many thousands of growers would change their vote if they had the opportunity to do so at this point of time.
It will be recalled that the referendum campaign developed into a bitter fight between the supporters of the case for a Yes vote and the supporters of the case for a No vote. I believe that the tactics used by the campaigners for a No vote was, to say the least, in the very worst possible taste. Some of the advertisements which appeared were misleading and I believe absolutely contemptible. I say this because they dragged the old red herring of Communism into the campaign on an issue involving an orderly marketing scheme for a product of this country. I have with me some of the advertisements that appeared in ‘Weekly Times’, the Sydney ‘Telegraph’ and possibly many other publications throughout the length and breadth of Australia. Here is one advertisement by the campaigners for the No vote:
This scheme has the endorsement of the Communist Party.
Although the Prime Minister of Australia has not given this scheme public, active support and although it has been attacked by growers, brokers, merchants and spokesmen in the world wool trade, it has at least received the endorsement of the Australian Communist Party.
This was the type of advertisement used by the No campaigners to frighten wool growers into rejecting the wool marketing plan. The implication there is that if the Communists eat bread then nobody should produce bread and nobody should eat it because the Communists do. I do not know whether the Communist Party supported the scheme or opposed it hut this type of advertising was deliberately engaged in to frighten the growers into voting against a marketing plan that 1 believe would be beneficial to the interests, not only of the producer, but also of this nation. The Australian Labor Party is submitting an amendment in an endeavour to ensure that orderly marketing is associated with the promotion that we believe is essential to the industry. We believe that only when we get the two operating together will we derive full benefit from the $14m provided in this Bill for expenditure on promotion and only then will this benefit be enjoyed by both the growers and the community in general. 1 am also very disturbed at the fact that since the Marketing Committee of the Australian Wool Board has been closely examining the question of an orderly marketing plan we have seen published what have been alleged to be statements from spokesmen for the Government to the effect that, irrespective of what the Australian Wool Board recommends or submits within the next few months, it will be ignored by the Government lor a period of at least three years. These reports have appeared not only in the Melbourne dailies but also in the Australian’ of Monday, 8th May of this year. The heading in the ‘Australian’ reads: Canberra to ignore wool plan for 3 years’. The article goes on to say:
The Government has decided that it will not back any wool industry marketing plans at least for three years. Industry sources indicated in Canberra at the weekend that the Government was in no mood to listen to proposals for another referendum on wool marketing. lt would appear to me that if this is the attitude of the Government it is time that the Minister who is in charge of this Bill in the Senate came up with an unequivocal statement as to where the Government stands concerning this matter. The wool growers are entitled to know whether the efforts that they have put into their representations to the Wool Board and the investigations that the Wool Board has made of this matter are to receive any consideration at all. If not then I suggest that they be told immediately that they will be wasting their time if they persist at least in the next three years.
Alternatively I think that the Government, in the course of this debate, should announce quite clearly that it is willing and prepared to accept a recommendation from the Wool Board regarding this matter. It is quite obvious that the industry is very disturbed concerning this statement that has appeared in the daily Press on the marketing of its wool. So much so that quite a number of prominent growers have gone on record in protest against this statement that is allegedly from an official Government source. Within the organisations to which they belong, these growers have very strongly opposed the present position which is that they will not be heard or their plans reconsidered for a period of at least three years. If this is the case it means that this period will extend beyond the next Federal election. A Federal election will be held in which the Government will be uncommitted on this vital question. If the Government wins that election - I believe that it will not - the position will be that the Government will listen then to the pleas of the wool growers concerning this matter.
The Australian wool growers are battling for an orderly wool marketing scheme. 1 believe that all wool growers, particularly the Victorian branch of their organisation, will fight tooth and nail in an endeavour to obtain a marketing system which at least will give them an opportunity to make a profit in this industry. The wool industry is in dire straits at the moment, not only because of the price of wool at the present time but also because very serious droughts are being faced in many parts of this continent. Victoria is probably experiencing the worst drought for this time of the year that it has had for many, many years. The situation in the western district of that State is becoming absolutely desperate. I can see some real troubles in front of the wool growers if this situation continues.
Again, meat producers and wheat producers could be vitally affected by any changeover from wool production to meat or wheat production because this could mean deflated prices in three fields. We must make every endeavour through promotion activities to see that wool is sold at a profit. It is of no advantage to be selling all the wool that is produced in this country if the growers are selling at a loss and are leaving the industry. So, I do suggest to the Government that it should look at wool marketing in association with this plan. The Opposition has placed before the Senate an amendment which will permit this to be done. The amendment will permit the Government to look at the recommendations and then decide what it proposes to do with them. What is wrong with putting the proposition before the wool growers again if the Government believes that the necessity exists for the holding of another referendum? If the Government has the courage to submit the scheme to the Parliament for its endorsement, this may be even better for the interests of these people who are so vitally concerned in this industry.
I support the amendment. Not only will it do what I have suggested it will do, but also it gives senators on this side of the Senate an opportunity to debate the marketing system of wool when speaking to this Bill. Because of the short time that is available this evening, I cannot speak at greater length. But I believe, that in the short time that I have had, I have submitted some arguments that should be given thoughtful consideration.
- Mr Acting Deputy President, I think it is about time that the Senate came back to debate the Bill that is before it. We have heard two speeches from the Opposition that have been entirely irrelevant to the Bill which deals with promotion and research. Promotion and research are closely related. Marketing has not the same close relationship with promotion and research. Whatever system of marketing is followed, promotion and research will still be essential. 1 am not going to be led off the track to discuss the marketing of wool. I could challenge many of the statements made by Senator Poyser, but this is not the purpose of the debate. Senator Bull very rightly reminded the Senate that a committee of the Australian Wool Board is at this moment examining the whole question of marketing. That committee will produce its report around October. I suggest that this is where the matter should stand. Let us come back to discussing the matters contained in this Bill - promotion and research.
This Bill seeks to give legislative form to the statement by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) during his policy speech at the last election campaign, lt does vary from that statement in some minor respects because it also deals with the sale of assets or patents derived from expenditure of wool research funds. I can find no objection to this proposal. However, in the main, the Bill deals with the Commonwealth’s contributions in conjunction with those of the wool grower to the very important work of promotion and the equally important work of research. Wool, as we have been reminded in the Minister’s second reading speech, is Australia’s greatest single industry. Wool is our greatest export earner. Even today with a greater diversification of exports wool still earns some 30% of our export income. However, this figure has fallen from a peak of nearly 50%. Therefore, the welfare of the wool industry, as we have been reminded on both sides of the Senate, is of vital concern not only to the wool grower but also to every Australian.
The wool industry has a remarkable record and is one of the few industries in Australia that have been prepared always to help themselves and not in times of trouble come crying to governments or someone else for help. Over the years, the wool industry has received very little assistance other than that towards promotion and research and in those fields it was first prepared to help itself. I believe that the wool industry is one of Australia’s efficient industries. The Australian wool clip is unique in the world. It is a great tribute to the skill of the Australian wool producer and of the stud master and also a tribute to the dedication of our wool producer. Our wool is grown overall in a harsh and cruel climate. 1 think that the years of work and dedication by the Australian wool producer deserve a tribute from every Australian.
It is true that the wool industry today faces great problems of costs and prices. I cannot resist the temptation to remind the Senate that it is estimated that tariffs add approximately 13% to the costs of the wool industry. How effective is wool promotion? This is difficult to measure. Some critics - Senator Poyser quoted one - claim that wool promotion has not succeeded in increasing the price of wool or even halting the fall in wool prices. I doubt whether this argument is valid. The price of wool is affected by many factors. The economic and financial policies of our major customers and the internal economic position in our major customer countries have a drastic effect upon the price of wool. The movement in the British bank rate in the past has had a considerable effect on the price of wool.
I think that it is logical to argue that if we had not had wool promotion and if the demand for wool had not been sustained the price of wool would be lower than it is today. I know that neither of these arguments is easy to prove. But. I think that it is a valid argument to say that wool promotion has sustained the demand for wool. It has promoted wool, as Senator Bull so rightly reminded us, as a quality product. The Woolmark symbol overseas has been, without doubt, an astonishing success. Wool has largely maintained its proportion as a fibre in the world market. It has fallen from a previously higher figure, but this is not because of any lessening of demand for wool. World population has increased and wool production has been able to meet the demand of increased population.
We are faced with the great increase in synthetics. As the Minister reminded us, synthetics today are taking over many of the former preserves of wool. The quality of synthetics is improving. The price of synethetics is falling. Many experts consider that the prices of synthetics will pose a problem to the wool industry because at least it places an upper limit on the price of wool. So whether we like it or not, synthetics are with us. The hard headed synthetic producer considers advertising worth while. His advertising is clever and, perhaps, sometimes unethical. There is no question but that by clever promotion the synthetic manufacturer has convinced the people that synthetics have many of the qualities of wool. Synthetics are gaining a substantial share of the market.
I shall make only one or two observations concerning wool promotion in Australia. It is not of great importance in Australia because we are a small market for wool. But the one thing that concerns me is that the synthetic manufacturer has been able to get down to the salesman - the man who sells the product. When we go into the large retail stores, time and time again we find that the salesman or saleswoman will try to push on to us a suit or a garment that is made of synthetics. We find that the sales man or saleswoman knows all about the garment. Quite obviously they have been well drilled in the sale of this product by the synthetic manufacturer. I know that this is a difficult problem to overcome. I believe that we in the wool industry should try to get down to this level, in order to overcome this problem and get these people to push our product.
– Do all honourable senators wear woollen suits?
– I am wearing a woollen suit. I cannot speak for other honourable senators. However, I point out to Senator Wilkinson that whenever I have gone to buy a suit, the first suit that has been produced to me has been either a blend or a terylene suit.
Another question that rather concerns me - and I do not know the answer to it - is that we see many advertisements for very attractive woollen garments but we are not told where we can buy them. When we see an orion or some other synthetic product advertised, we are always told the store from which we can purchase it. Obviously there is a close tie-up between the synthetic manufacturer and the retail stores in this respect. 1 think that here is an opportunity for wool promotion to do something in order to inform the people from which stores they can purchase our products. From time to time I have heard many complaints on this particular score.
I want to make one other point regarding promotion. This might appear to be a backhanded compliment to wool; nevertheless the ethics of the type of promotion that we are meeting today from the synthetic manufacturer are, I believe, open to serious question. Recently two products have been advertised. One is called Courtauld wool and the other one is called Terylene wool. This might be a compliment to wool. Obviously the synthetic manufacturers recognise the superior quality of wool. They are trying to deceive the buying public into thinking that what they are selling is, by some stretch of the imagination, a woollen product. I think that this practice is unethical advertising and is something at which we should have a very close look. I come down on the side of promotion. I believe that increased promotion is absolutely essential if, in the face of this tremendous competition from synthetics, wool is going to hold its own. I believe that overall, wool promotion has been successful.
Now I turn to the question of research. Here I think that we all should pay a tribute to the Australian wool research organisations. Several years ago I had the opportunity of visiting the wool textile laboratories of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation at Geelong in Victoria. There a very small number of Australian scientists were doing a magnificent job in producing better woollen garments. From the work of a very small number of research scientists we have seen developed Si-Ro-Setting, shrink proofing, mothproofing and easy wash and wear garments. Without doubt, although we have a quality product, if we do not have good promotion we cannot sell the product. I think that the work of the CSIRO laboratories in this respect has been quite outstanding. However, although they have done considerable work, I believe that there is room for a great deal more work in the field of trying to make a more efficient and economical process of wool processes. This is a problem because although some quite outstanding work has been done in this respect, we have to convince the manufacturer that it pays him to put in new machinery at high capital cost. But this is being done. I think that more research is required in this field in order to try to cut down the cost of the processing of wool because in this connection synthetics certainly have an advantage over wool.
I believe that this Bill will prove of great assistance to the wool industry, both in regard to promotion and research. I believe that there is room for ever expanding research into wool in order to maintain its position. The synthetic research people are not standing still and wool research cannot stand still. Outstanding work has been done in pasture development and animal husbandry. However, those of us who are engaged in farming know that when one problem is solved another one arises. So this work must be a continuing process. I have very great pleasure in supporting the Bill. I believe that it will go a long way towards helping to retain and expand the demand for wool. It will help to produce woollen garments that retain their advantage over synthetics and thereby help further to assist this great wool industry of Australia.
– As other honourable senators have pointed out, the principal object of this Bill is to extend the arrangements for the financing of wool research and promotion for the next three year period from 1st July 1967 to 30th June 1970. Having read the second reading speech of the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin), I thought: ‘This is something for which the industry has asked and the Government has been more than generous in deciding to match the industry’s contribution on a $1 for $1 basis up to $l4m.” I also thought that no-one in this chamber would oppose such legislation but, as is always the case whenever a Bill relating to a primary industry comes before the Parliament, there was a great deal of debate. On this occasion I decided that I would stay out of the debate thinking that it would probably conclude in a very short time, but having heard Senator Wilkinson propose his amendment I felt impelled to make a contribution. I could understand Senator Wilkinson referring to marketing. Like myself, he comes from Western Australia. Knowing very well how the Western Australian wool growers feel about wool marketing and wool promotion, I can understand why he entered the debate.
Having been an executive member of one of the Western Australian wool growers organisations for many years, and having been a vice-president of the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation, I should like to make a few comments on the proposed amendment. In the first place, there is a great feeling in Western Australia that marketing is vitally associated with promotion and research. At one stage a large proportion of growers in that State felt that they should not make further contributions to the wool promotion fund until they had a marketing scheme. However, commonsense prevailed and the growers now are of the opinion that wool promotion is vital to the industry although they are still looking for a marketing scheme.
I was very interested in Senator Poyser’s reference to the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation, particularly to the part played by Victoria in the establishment of a marketing scheme. I point out to him that back in 1955 when I attended the meeting of the Federation as a delegate from Western Australia, we tried everything we knew to get Victoria to join us in an approach to the Government for the establishment of a marketing scheme, but Victoria refused to do so. However, Victoria later backed Western Australia solidly in a resolution from the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation meeting to the effect that a marketing scheme was necessary and that an approach to this end be made to the Commonwealth Government. Eventually that approach was made, a referendum was held and the proposal was knocked back by the Australian wool growers.
What do Senator Poyser and Senator Wilkinson hope to gain by the proposed amendment? Do they seek to call upon the Australian Wool Board to implement some scheme and then thrust it upon the growers irrespective of whether the growers want it? I cannot go along with that because it would mean that we, as parliamentary representatives of the wool growers, would be telling them what we think they should do. Basically I believe that the produce of the land belongs to the producer and that the producer has the right to determine the method by which his product - wool in this case - shall be sold. I say this because I have noticed a tendency, particularly of recent times, for brokers and middle men to have far too much to say on how a grower should market his wool. Decisions of that kind are indisputably the prerogative of the growers themselves.
I recognise that through the years many enterprising firms have invested large sums of money in the provision of facilities for receiving and handling wool. I am not suggesting for a moment that growers would or should brush aside the vast financial investments that those firms have made on behalf of the industry, but I would emphasise that irrespective of the system of marketing the growers decide to adopt, there would still be a need for the kind of facilities presently being provided by the wool broking and merchandising firms.
– I agree with the honourable senator.
– If the honourable senator allows me to continue he may find that he will agree with me a little more. I am confident that the wool growers would agree that benefit would flow to both parties if they took advantage of the facilities and skilled staff of these houses - on the basis of some reimbursement, of course - in an effort to preserve and promote Australia’s greatest export industry.
I believe that we should not accept the proposed amendment. I oppose it and support the Bill.
– in reply - 1 thank honourable senators who have participated in this debate. I think some valuable points have been brought out. I state at the outset that the Government does not accept the proposed amendment for reasons which have already been stated and for reasons which I shall touch upon later. I was interested to hear Senator Wilkinson ask who in the chamber was wearing wool. I must confess that I made a very bad blue in not wearing my Woolmark tie tonight. I tried lo borrow one from another Minister but he would not play. It is important that we should exhibit good sense in wearing woollen garments because they are the best.
The honourable senator mentioned a clip preparation. This is being investigated at the present time. Reference was made to the amount the Government is now contributing. The Commonwealth made a rather small contribution at the outset to assist the industry in marketing research. This contribution has been running at about $1Om or $llm a year. The measure we are now discussing sets the ceiling at $14m.
Those of us who are associated with the land are concerned at the decline in the growing of merino wool in Australia. This is a pity if only on sentimental grounds because it was merino wool that made Australia great and still plays a very large part in our export earnings. The tendency now is to change to other avenues of income, particularly the stocking of what are commonly called cross-breds and the breeding of fat lambs. This trend has militated against New Zealand because she produces more coarse wool than does Australia and the price has not been good. That is one of the problems confronting New Zealand.
I think Senator Wilkinson and Senator Poyser mentioned the plight of wool growers because of the drought. I have no doubt that many wool growers, particularly in New South Wales and Queensland which experienced drought before the drought which is now afflicting Victoria and Tasmania, have gone out of business and it will be many years before a number of those who managed to stay in business return to a reasonable state of prosperity. They are in that position not only because of losses occasioned by drought but also because of the low prices that they are receiving for their wool. The prices of greasy wool today are running at an average of 45.24c per lb. That would have been all right eight or ten years ago when costs were not nearly as high as they are today. But on present day costs those prices are too low to enable the average individual to make a go of wool growing. Because of low prices and losses occasioned by drought wool growers in these areas will be very hard hit.
Many wheat growers in New South Wales, Western Australia and parts of Queensland, with the record crops that most of them had last year, were able to get out of their financial difficulties very quickly. That could happen again this year, provided rain falls soon. But the man who is confined to growing wool and does not have the opportunity to grow wheat, perhaps because of the nature of his land, has not the same opportunity as the wheat grower. Cattlemen have suffered to a very large extent because of the drought, too. But when the drought breaks they are in a far better position than are wool growers because they are receiving a better return for the product that they are marketing.
There has been a lot of talk about wool marketing schemes. The various suggestions that have been made over the past three or four years have attracted much attention. 1 point out to people who are not familiar with this matter that these schemes can only assist the wool grower, if there is not a demand for wool at a price that is favourable to him, by perhaps reducing his marketing costs or enabling his wool to be marketed or presented for sale in a better manner. But they are not the cure all that so many people seem to think they are.
I was rather surprised to hear Senator Poyser refer to a statement in a newspaper. I want to be fair to him. I point out that he said that it was only an allegation in a newspaper; he did not say that the Government had made the statement. I saw a cutting from a Canberra newspaper which allegedly quoted a senior Government official as saying that the Government would not look at any referendum for a wool marketing scheme for quite a reasonable time.
– The honourable senator mentioned three years.
– Yes. 1 think the article mentioned a period of three years. A question on this matter was put to the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) only quite recently. I think it was this month. He replied in these terms: T saw the report, but there is no information in my possession which would confirm it’. There is certainly no such information in my possession. The first I knew of this matter was when I saw the cutting from the newspaper.
The policy of the Government has always been that, if the grower organisations - those who are qualified to speak for the growers - request a referendum on the establishment of a marketing board or put forward fresh marketing proposals, the Government will give the growers an opportunity to decide the matter themselves by way of referendum. That was the policy that gave the wool growers the opportunity which has been mentioned here tonight, namely to decide whether they would accept the wool marketing scheme that was proposed only two or three years ago. The growers rejected that scheme. The Government gave the growers the opportunity to vote on it. It did not attempt to influence them, lt was a matter for the growers themselves. That policy has not changed.
I think honourable senators would be interested to hear an extract from a cablegram that was received today from Mr McEwen. He comments on the wool position. I believe that we all have read about the agreement that has been reached regarding wheat. The part of Mr
McE wen’s cablegram relating to wool states:
What will ultimately come out of bilateral agreements stilt being negotiated and which did not have to be completed according to strict time limit imposed for multilateral negotiations under American legislation held promise of still further gains of considerable advantage to other items of trade.
Bilateral negotiations with United States which had to be completed no later than Kennedy Round as a whole in Geneva had not succeeded. Australia had thus not been able at this time to negotiate a reduction in wool duty. 1 emphasise that last sentence -
However Australia at this point of time has grounds for being hopeful that successful conclusion will be brought about to bilateral negotiations with Japan, EEC and Scandinavian countries.
I believe that, although it has not been possible to reach agreement as yet, we can detect a ray of hope in those words. 1 turn now to the amendment moved by the Opposition, which reads as follows:
At the end of the motion add: ‘but recognising the urgent need for wool marketing reform, and believing that the full benefit of wool promotion cannot be reflected in wool prices until adequate marketing reform is instituted, the Senate is of the opinion that the Australian Wool Board should be requested to make such recommendations in that regard as it may see fit at the earliest possible time.
Honourable senators will note that the amendment does not affect the passage of the Bill through the second reading stage; all it does is add a request to the Australian Wool Board. 1 point out to honourable senators opposite that the amendment is really redundant for the following reasons. Since the rejection of the reserve price scheme proposal in December 1965, the Wool Board, through its Marketing Committee, has continued to investigate the whole question of marketing. To assist the Marketing Committee in its investigations, in July of last year the Board appointed two special committees, one of which is examining private selling and the other onebale lots, bulk classing and preparation of the clip. There are two separate committees.
In response to a request from the Australian Wool Industry Conference for a further report on wool marketing at an early date, the Board said that it would use its best endeavours to present such a report to the Conference by the end of June of this year, but pointed out that this depended largely on whether the special committees could submit their reports well before that date. The two special committees have been unable to complete their work as early as had been hoped. Because of this and the need for careful and detailed assessment of many complex matters that the Marketing Committee itself still has to undertake, the Board has decided to defer the presentation of its report to the Conference until the end of October of this year. So the amendment moved by the Opposition is clearly redundant because what it is asking the Board to do is already being done.
– The Board did not do it in June and it will not do it in October.
– If this amendment is carried, will that bring the report in any sooner? The honourable senator knows perfectly well that it will not. The amendment merely expresses the hope - the pious hope at that - that this report will come along. It will come along whether this amendment is carried or not.
– There is nothing wrong with being pious.
-I do not think there is any point in suggesting something that is already being done. That is the reason why the Government, does not accept the amendment. I thank the Senate for the speedy passage that it has given the Bill through the second reading stage.
Question put -
That the amendment (Senator Wilkinson’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The. President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Dairying Industry Bill 1967.
Processed Milk Products Bounty Bill 1967.
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 amend the Broadcasting and Television Act to make certain adjustments considered desirable in the provisions relating to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The Bill also takes account of recent changes in social services legislation insofar as eligibility for concessional broadcasting listener’s and television viewer’s licences is concerned.
The Act currently provides that there shall be seven members making up the Australian Broadcasting Commission, one of whom shall be the chairman and another the vice-chairman. This number of Commissioners was set in 1948 and since that time there has been a considerable expansion in the activities of the Commission. In particular the Commission now runs a television service - a new service which has grown from nothing to an almost nationwide coverage of population in ten years. The Government is fully aware that the Commission is faced with many problems of considerable magnitude in fulfilling the range of its responsibilities to the community and if these responsibilities are to be fully and competently met the representation on the Commission must always be sufficiently wide to ensure that the national service is employed only in the interests of the community at large. From time to time there have been recommendations made for an increase in the size of the Commission. I refer to the reports of the Royal Commission on Television and a committee of the Senate. This Bill seeks to raise the number of Commissioners from seven to nine.
Other provisions of the Bill are designed to improve administrative arrangements within the Commission. At present, when the Commission creates a position in its service it must, when determining the salary to be paid, have the approval of the Public Service Board, and when the salary exceeds $5,000 per annum the concurrence of the Minister must also be obtained. The $5,000 limit was set in 1960 and the Bill proposes that, in the light of changed values since that time, a higher limit of $7,500 should be set which is more in keeping with the level of salaries now being paid. In addition, to facilitate management in the future, it is proposed that any further variations in this limit should be prescribed by regulation. The proposed amendment is in accord with the approach in other legislation in recent years.
The Commission, like most otherlarge undertakings, has a constant and increasing need for trained staff in specialised fields. Trainees are recruited and trained at the expense of the Commission with a view to filling technical positions in due course. Such trainees naturally expect to be promoted on the satisfactory completion of their course but, under the present legislation, the Commission must promote them provisionally and confirmation of the promotion can only be carried through when any appeals have been duly considered. The Bill seeks to provide that the Commission may advance these officers automatically to the positions for which they have been trained and that the positions to which this procedure will apply will be prescribed by regulation. The Public Service Act was recently amended to provide that married women may be employed as permanent officers of the service. Clause 7 of this Bill seeks to improve the staffing flexibility of the Commission by similarly removing the present restrictions on the permanent employment of married women under the Broadcasting and Television Act.
The recent social services legislation raised the permissible limit of income for pensioners and at the same time introduced a new allowance to be paid to incapacitated persons who undertook sheltered employment.
The object of the sheltered employment allowance is to encourage disabled persons to seek gainful employment within the limits of their capabilities. Such persons would normally be invalid pensioners and would thus qualify for consideration for a concessional licence under the Broadcasting and Television Act. This Bill therefore provides for an amendment to include in the definition of pensioner, for concessional licence purposes, persons who are in receipt of a sheltered employment allowance under Part VIIa of the Social Services Act. The amendment will also mean that any approved pensioner, living with the recipient of a sheltered employment allowance, will retain his rights to a concessional licence.
In addition to the sheltered employment question, the Bill takes cognisance of the increase made in the income limit for pensioners, as far as residential qualification for licence holders is concerned. A concessional licence may only be granted to a pensioner who lives alone, with another pensioner, or with another person or persons each of whom has a total income which does not exceed that permitted for a pensioner. For the purposes of the Broadcasting and Television Act the total income permitted for a pensioner is the total of pension plus permissible other income for a single age pensioner. The recent social services legislation has raised this limit which is now derived by the addition of the amounts specified in section 28 (1a) (a) and section 28 (2) (a) of the Social Services Act. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Cohen) adjourned.
Debate resumed (vide page 1618).
– There being no objection, that course will be followed.
Senator COHEN (Victoria) [9.2J- These two Bills make certain financial provisions in relation to two very important areas of Commonwealth interest in education - the colleges of advanced education and teachers colleges. J say at once that the Opposition does not oppose the passage of either of these Bills. This debate presents an opportunity to study the progress of Commonwealth interest and activity in these areas. I suggest to the Senate that a survey of the position produces the feeling that the Commonwealth has failed to face up to some of the major responsibilities in these areas. Indeed, in some respects the approach of the Government to these questions is dangerously inadequate.
The States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill repeals the States Grants (Advanced Education) Act, which has had a short life of only one year, or less. It inserts in its stead legislation which increases the financial commitment of the Commonwealth by $6. 7m. Special provision is made for Tasmania of an extra $369,110 over the period of the triennium, the three years that the legislation is to operate. The grants to New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania are regrouped. Powers are given to the Minister for Education and Science to approve additional projects for the acquisition of land and to approve of the transfer of funds between projects within a State’s programme of approved projects. We are told by the Minister for Education (Senator Gorton) that these variations are acceptable to the Wark Committee the special committee of advanced education, and have the agreement of the States concerned. So in that context the Opposition offers no resistance to the passage of the Bill.
The States Grants (Teachers Colleges) Bill provides for the sum of $24m to be spent over three years by way of unmatched grants to the States for the construction and equipping of colleges for the training of teachers throughout Australia. The offers to the Slates, the Minister has told us, are made on two conditions: Firstly, that a slate undertakes not to reduce its own expenditure on teacher training; and secondly, that at least 10% of the funds made available as a result of the Government’s offer arc to be available for student teachers not bonded to the State Education Departments. In due course I will refer to those matters and to the general context in which the Commonwealth is entering into these commitments in two very important areas of education. 1 direct the attention of honourable senators to the report of the Commitee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia - the Martin Committee. More than two years has elapsed since the report was presented to Parliament. I want to try to assess what is attempted in these Bills and whether its provisions are in any way commensurate with the recommendations of that learned and respected Committee which sat for many months. Its investigations covered years. Ils very comprehensive report was debated in this Parliament early in 1965. Of course, a government does not have to accept every recommendation of every special committee that is set up to investigate big national problems. I do not suggest that the Government was under an obligation to implement every one of the Committee’s proposals down to the finest detail. But there were in the areas of teacher training and tertiary educational institutions specific recommendations which pointed the way to the real advances to be made in the Australian education system. In both areas for which provision is made in these Bills the Commonwealth Government has fallen down badly on its job.
I want now to examine the recommendations of the Martin Committee in the fields of teacher training and tertiary educational institutions. Unless one can get a broad picture of what is necessary in the national interest according to expert opinion, there is no way of measuring whether the particular provisions of these Bills are in any way adequate to meet the challenge. In the view of the Opposition this legislation falls far short, of what is required to be done. As to teacher training, Sir Robert Menzies, former Prime Minister, said in relation to the report of the Martin Committee: ‘Important though this field of education is, the Commonwealth does not propose to enter it. It is a matter for the States.’ Sir Robert Menzies had shown a good deal of interest in the problems of tertiary educational institutions, if not in secondary, technical and primary education. What made him say at that stage that the Commonwealth had decided not to enter this important field?
What were the recommendations of the Martin Committee? Firstly it drew attention to the very great difficulties under which State education systems and non-government schools were labouring in the provision of adequate numbers of qualified teachers. The Committee estimated that very large numbers of teachers would be required in the coming years if the education system were to be properly staffed. It stated: lt is clear that, in order to cope with the increasing school population and to reduce classes to a reasonable size Australia needs already many more teachers, and this need will continue to increase in the future. Consequently, additional places will be needed in teachers’ colleges and additional colleges will have to be established. It is estimated that about 10,000 new places will be needed for primary teacher training alone in teachers’ colleges by 197S, as well as extra places for secondary teacher trainees and places in universities for the training of secondary and some other teachers.
The Committee went on to say:
The Committee’s survey has left it in no doubt that, in addition to making more ample provision for the preparation of teachers, there is a pressing need to improve the quality of that preparation. It is in the training of teachers for primary schools that this need is most apparent. In the opinion of the Committee, a course of two years’ duration affords inadequate opportunities for preparation for a calling which, in primary as well as secondary schools, is making increasing demands upon the professional competence of teachers. The Committee believes that the extension of the course of training for primary school teachers to three years is not only highly desirable but, given the facilities and the will is an objective which could be attained over a period of some six or seven years. Teachers’ college places additional to those mentioned in paragraph A-
That is the paragraph to which 1 referred earlier - will be required to permit this extension.
The Committee is convinced that both the increase in the supply of teachers and the improvement in the quality of their professional preparation are matters of urgency in the interests not only of the schools concerned but of the whole of the nation’s educational structure. lt is equally convinced that this dual demand cannot be met without a special endeavour involving both the states and the Commonwealth.
The Committee then went on to make some specific recommendations. It said that it believed that: in each state, a Board of Teacher Education should be established as a statutory body.
The Committee said that it reached this conclusion for three reasons. Firstly, it considered that all teachers should be professionally trained. J pause to ask: Who could possibly say nay to that? Secondly, it believed that there were dangers latent in the close relationship between State departments of education and teachers colleges preparing teachers for government schools. Thirdly, it believed that, to ensure a continuing recruitment of high quality staff, appointment to teachers colleges through open advertising was a prime prerequisite. It recommended the establishment of boards of teacher education in each State, the principal functions of which would be to improve the content of courses and the standards in all institutions which were training teachers. They were to be the authorities which would grant the teachers certificates to be recognised throughout the State. It continued:
Ultimately, it should be the prerogative of this Board to grant the first professional degrees in education.
That is a summary of the more important recommendations of the Martin Committee on this extremely important subject. I believe, and the Opposition believes, that we must test the Slates Grants (Teachers Colleges’) Bill against that recommendation to see whether we are really touching the core of the problem. I do not know quite how the Commonwealth managed to slip into this field of teacher training. In 1965 Sir Robert Menzies, the then Prime Minister, said that the Commonwealth did not intend to enter this field. By the end of 1966, during the election campaign, the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) came up with the promise of $24m for teachers colleges buildings over three years. The Bill is now presented in fulfilment of that election promise.
– It was a new Prime Minister, was it not?
– It may have been, but I think it is the same Government.
– Does not the honourable senator allow new thoughts for a new ministry?
– All I know is that the schools and the universities are in a state of utter confusion. Sir Robert Menzies said that the Commonwealth did not intend to enter the field of education, yet within eighteen months his successor was making the present proposals. He did not say specifically that the Commonwealth intended to enter this field, and this is where I take issue with the Government. It is not yet clear to me that this is anything more than a gesture. It is not clear to mc, and it certainly is not clear to the Australian educationists, that the Government really intends to enter the field of teacher training and to finance the resources for teacher training. It has made limited capital grants. I have no doubt that they will be accepted with glee by the State Education Departments because this is obviously S24m that they will not be getting from elsewhere, but to suggest that this is solving the real problems related to teacher training is either to misread the Bill or to be somewhat less than frank about the whole situation.
This Bill to grant financial assistance to the States for the purpose of building projects in connection with teacher colleges is evidence merely that the Government is hesitantly accepting some, but by no means an extensive, responsibility in the matter of teacher training. But the financial assistance provided, as I said, falls far short of the recommendations of the Martin Committee which I have discussed. The Bill means that instead of what is required, that is, a comprehensive plan for teaching training, Australia will get a few buildings, a few visible symbols which are monuments to the Government’s largesse. Of course, educational administrators who are harassed by the problems which have their roots in the unsatisfactory Commonwealth and State financial relationship will express their gratitude for the Commonwealth’s generosity. Educationists in Australia are in no position to look any gift horse in the mouth. One of the conditions of the Bill to which I referred earlier is that 10% of the places at the teachers colleges are to be made available to private students.
We recognise that insufficient teachers are being trained annually for both government and non-government schools. However, we question the desirability and the effectiveness of this condition. Implied in this direction to State Education Departments is acceptance of the practice of bonding students. The question of bonding trainee students is a controversial one. We believe that the Martin Committee’s recommendation for a scheme for teaching scholarships should be instituted. I wonder whether the Commonwealth Government has devoted sufficient thought to what will happen in practice and to the ramifications of this provision. What will be the effect of the Commonwealth Government’s stipulation that at least 10% of the places at teachers colleges are to be available to private students on State Government policies regarding the allocation of positions at teachers colleges? If there are more applicants than positions available for both types of students, that is, more private student applicants than the minimum of 10% and more bonded students than positions available, which students will be rejected first? The Bill says not less than 10% of the number of students’. Perhaps economic considerations will encourage some State departments of education to give preference to private student applicants. I do not know. The consequences of such a policy have to be considered carefully. One wonders whether the insertion of this condition for a minimum of 10% of places for private students may be any more than a piece of gallery play, a manoeuvre that will benefit very few in the long run. What is really urgently needed in the field of teacher training is an assurance not only that there will be capital assistance for building projects but that finance will be available to provide a three year training course for teachers instead of the present two year course.
In his speech introducing the Bill, the Minister made some reference to this. He referred to his own belief that the grants will accelerate the introduction of a three year training course for primary school teachers which is the widely expressed hope among Australian educationists. That expression ‘widely expressed hope’ is perhaps one of the understatements of the decade because for twenty-five years now educationists have been screaming for just that provision. It is an enormous problem. It cannot be solved in a day. But the Martin Committee expressed the view that with determination and a proper approach it could be done in six or seven years. I say quite definitely that if we are to proceed at the present pace only it will not be done in six or seven years.
There are not enough teachers these days adequately to staff the education systems in all the States on the basis of a two year training course. How much worse off are we going to be if we have to have a three year training course, which is a desirable optimum, for teachers? These are really significant questions. They are going to demand a great deal of effort, attention and resourcefulness from the State Governments and from the Commonwealth Government. It is from this source that the assistance has to come. Let us not beat about the bush. Nobody suggests - certainly we do not - that the Commonwealth should take over the State education systems and run them, but everybody knows that the Commonwealth is the financially ascendant partner in the federal compact in Australia and if we are to get any major advances in almost any section of Australian life, in any area of national activity, it needs an acceptance of national responsibility - of Commonwealth responsibility - for providing finance. Otherwise, we run round in the vicious circle that we have discussed on many occasions in this chamber and that all educationists know about. The Commonwealth says: ‘We will put up so much money if you put up some yourselves.’ The States say: ‘We have not the money because you will not give us the money to put up.’ In the end. it is the community and the students who suffer as a result of this Federal-State financial deadlock over these matters. That is not to say that the fountain of money is inexhaustible. It merely emphasises that we need some kind of assessment of national needs. 1 turn now to the other area of colleges of advanced education. This is also a new area. What the Martin Committee envisaged in this area was that we would be opening up a development at the tertiary level of the Australian education system which would result in the establishment of a whole new range of tertiary educational institutions other than universities. The Martin Committee virtually said that there was too much concentration on university courses proper and not enough attention given to university type or other tertiary type institutions. It also said that a vigorous programme of development was needed and that colleges of advanced education should be developed with a sense of urgency.
Again and again the Martin Committee made its recommendations under the shadow of the enormous pressure of numbers of students enrolled. I do not want to go over the figures that have been quoted many times in this kind of discussion. Its projections of student enrolments looking forward to the 1970s and the 1980s were of frightening dimensions. We will have to learn in Australia over the next decade or two to accommodate ourselves to the idea of an explosive increase in the number of students applying for admission to educational institutions at every level - primary, secondary, tertiary and technical. So what is needed in the sphere of advanced education is what is needed in the teacher training area as well - an assumption by the Commonwealth of a responsibility for opening the purse strings and for making increased commitments in these areas.
The one thing we do not want to see is a piecemeal development which is not part of a plan. Of course we want to see development in every area, and so far as these Bills make provision for increased amounts to be made available in the educational area, one can do nothing but welcome them. But one would like to see that the Government really had some sort of plan for education on a national scale. Every single day that passes emphasises the need which the Australian Labor Parly has been advocating for years for a national inquiry into all aspects of education, primary, secondary, technical, tertiary, vocational and so on.
What is being done by the Commonwealth, as I have said, is being done piecemeal and not as part of an overall assessment of the Commonwealth’s role in education. The Commonwealth, although its financial assistance is welcomed whereever it is given, has no real idea where it is going. Nobody knows the nature and extent of future Commonwealth commitments in the field of education.
I believe we are clearly at the crossroads. The Commonwealth has been living in two worlds at once. On the one hand, it adopts the position that education is largely the responsibility of the State Governments and it refuses to enter the field of teacher training. At the same time, it grants to the States $24m over three years to build and expand teachers’ colleges. It claims credit for this measure as if it were part of some broad plan which it has to develop teacher training. But in fact, as I have said, side by side with that situation, it has refused to implement the critical recommendations of the Martin Committee in this field.
Similarly, as I have said, it has failed to measure up to the challenge of the Martin Committee on colleges of advanced education, lt put the brake, to some extent, on the development of universities so that the new institutions would be encouraged. But the present Bill gives no indication that the Government appreciates the urgency of the task of establishing the new look colleges.
These are extremely important matters for the chamber to consider. I believe that the Commonwealth’s approach in these matters is deficient because it stems from a failure to recognise something that has been the subject of vigorous debate between the Government and the Opposition over many months now. It has given rise to bitter criticism by educationists of the Government, and indeed of the Minister in his approach to these things because, resolutely, the Minister and the Government refuse to recognise the existence of a crisis in education.
Now that the Victorian elections are safely over, the organs of public enlightenment are able to tell us that our schools are in serious trouble. I wish to quote from an article that appeared in the Melbourne Herald’ of 10th May 1967 in which a teacher who had resigned from the Education Department after twenty years as a primary and secondary school teacher in Victoria pointed out:
Education in Victoria must be the only multimillion dollar business that continually shows a loss in its key subsidiary - the secondary-school system
The loss is in teachers, professional status, morale, incentive - and hope.
He bases that comment on the mounting loss of permanent qualified teachers in most high schools. He says:
Since 1961, resignations of permanent teachers have trebled.
In 1965, for example, the secondary service lost 461 permanent teachers, including 52 young teachers who stayed long enough only to serve out their bond period.
In relation to this matter, the President of the Technical Teachers Association of Victoria, Mr G. A. Lawson, is reported as saying:
Secondary school pupils in Victoria spent 40% of their time with teachers unqualified to teach certain subjects.
The newspaper report continues:
The most alarming factor was the large number of qualified teachers resigning, Mr Lawson told the conference.
This year we had witnessed a terrific drift of qualified teachers to Canada, where conditions are better’, he said.
Mr Lawson then referred to the teenage social problem:
Mr Lawson suggested that the teenage social problem also had some of its roots in the unsatisfactory state of secondary education.
We can’t expect youngsters who have spent their secondary school life in sheds and shacks to have much respect for property’, he said.
Everywhere around us - I do not want to lay it on too thickly - people are saying that there is a state of crisis in our education systems. They call for crash programmes to provide emergency accommodation. They call for the urgent injection of funds to assist with teacher training. Only one authority in Australia can sponsor a national inquiry to determine Australia’s education needs in the next twenty, thirty or forty years: that authority is the Commonwealth Government. The Technical Teachers Association of Victoria which was addressed by Mr Lawson yesterday called on the new Victorian Minister for Education, Mr Thompson, to institute a full and immediate inquiry into Victorian education. From what I know of education conditions in other places, Victoria is not alone, although it may have some very special problems and it may be rather worse in some aspects than some of the other States. We have to start with a recognition of the fact that education is a national problem. What is being done in these Bills, useful though it may be to those who are the glad recipients of the aid, really only scratches the surface of Australia’s educational problems.
The same kind of phenomena was mentioned in the first report of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education. This Committee, which was presided over by Dr I. W. Wark, drew attention to the run-down condition of some of the educational institutions that it had to survey. The Committee in its report said:
One of the most urgent problems facing the whole of tertiary education in Australia is the increasing pressure of numbers.
I have referred to that fact. The Committee continued:
Clearly this trend adds urgency to the advanced education programme since the colleges of advanced education must play their full role in coping with the justifiable ambitions of an increasing percentage of the agc group qualified and eager to move to the next education level.
We saw that in too many areas of study, and in loo many localities, the work of tertiary institutions has been severely handicapped by being housed in run-down or makeshift buildings, such as converted gaols and a brewery, and often by being provided with only minimal equipment. In certain localities we have been made very aware of the frustrations of staff whose achievements in the face of severe handicaps must be highly commended.
At this stage we feel the key to development is buildings and capital equipment
What the Wark Committee did recommend and what the Minister did not refer to, because apparently it is not part of the Government’s plan at this stage, is that the system of recurrent grants should be amended. The ratio at present is 1.85:1. The recommendations made by the Wark Committee were in these terms:
We therefore feel justified in pointing out that for 1967-69 the ratio of $1 State to $1 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 that a change to a ratio of 1:1 would encourage and assist the States in bringing in a more vigorous development in this area - an area which the Commonwealth has already recognised as one for urgent action.
We realise that the implementation of this proposal might lead to similar proposals in other fields of education. However, we believe that this Held needs special and immediate encouragement. During the period from 1947 to 1962, while the percentage of students on technical courses having some tertiary content rose from thirty-four to thirty-seven per cent of the total of all tertiary students, the share of the overall budget to support them fell from twelve to seven per cent. We therefore feel that there is a strong justification for a change in ratio without a corresponding change for the universities.
Now there is no mention of that recommendation in the Bill. Clearly it does not give effect to that recommendation. We do not know - I hope that we will hear this from the Minister - what the attitude of the Government is to the special request of the Wark Committee when it made its first report in June 1966, almost a year ago, that the basis of the grants for recurrent expenditure should be charged.
These are not mere quibbles. These are extremely important matters because they enable the institutions concerned to chart a more positive course if a lead comes from the Government. If the Government says: ‘This is what we want; you operate within this charter or within a greatly expanded charter’, everything is all right. But if the Government is hesitant it is because no doubt it feels pressures from many States. I acknowledge that those pressures are there. I concede that massive problems face the Commonwealth in deciding, as it stands at the crossroads, where it is to go. We believe that the position is confused and uncertain. We believe that the Commonwealth Government has failed in its obligation to the next generation not because it does not want to do anything about education but, firstly, because it fails to recognise the gravity - and the ever-increasing gravity - of the crisis in education and, secondly, because it has no plans to meet the crisis in education. We cannot really have a plan to meet a crisis if we do not acknowledge that the crisis exists. That is where we stand on these important issues.
We do not oppose what is being done in these Bills. However hesitantly the Government acts, we welcome an indication of things to come. We welcome an indication of support for education. But it cannot be sporadic and it cannot be piecemeal. It has to be part of a plan which deals with all the nation’s needs and which does not jump precipitately or slip inadvertently into a new area of activity without having regard to the overall picture. With those observations I indicate that the Opposition supports the measures. Although it is not the first occasion on which we have presented this point of view to the Minister, and I daresay it will not be the last occasion, I hope that he will give us some indication that the Government is giving consideration to the recommendation of the Wark Committee in relation to changing the basis of assistance to a payment of $1 for $1 in respect of recurrent expenditure as well as in respect of capital expenditure. I hope that at some time - and the sooner the better - the Government will indicate its intention to give us this national inquiry into all aspects of the Australian education system.
– We are debating together the States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill 1967 and the States Grants (Teachers Colleges) Bill 1967. At this time I do not propose to answer Senator Cohen in his assertion that the Government has no plan in education. I believe that the Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton) when he replies later will deal very effectively with that statement by Senator Cohen. I found it very difficult to follow Senator Cohen when, after saying that the Government should be making ever-increasing grants in the area of education, he then proceeded to give grudging acknowledgment of the fact that these Bills do that very thing. They provide more money to the States for education.
The States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill repeals the States Grants (Advanced Education) Act 1966. It follows a statement by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) on 22nd February, that under the 1966 Act the Commonwealth offered the States a payment of $1 Commonwealth for each $1.85 of State contributions and fees for annual recurrent expenditure in colleges of advanced education, with the proviso that this should be limited to expenditure in excess of that incurred in the base year 1964-65. We have heard from the Minister that the Government is prepared to waive the base year condition, and that the result of this will be an increase in the Commonwealth commitment of $6.768m for the triennium. That is a substantial increase in the Commonwealth commitment.
The other Bill, the States Grants (Teachers Colleges) Bill puts into legislative form the promise of the Government at the time of the general election that it would provide unmatched grants of up to $24m to the States for the construction and equipping of colleges for the training of teachers throughout Australia. Senator Cohen dealt with the needs so far as teachers were concerned, and it is true to say that the Martin Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia drew attention to the need to train all teachers professionally, [t also drew attention to the fact that the number of teachers colleges, though growing, was insufficient to meet the reasonable demands of schools. At that time the. forecast was that to meet the increase in school population and to reduce classes to a reasonable size it would be necessary to provide 10.000 additional teachers college places by 1975. The Committee recommended that the length of training of primary teachers, which was referred to by Senator Cohen and which has been advocated by educationists for many years, should be extended to three years. It was said that that would require u further 7.000 teachers college places.
The Martin Committee recommended Commonwealth capital and recurrent grants for teacher training, excluding maintenance of students, on a State matching basis. As honourable senators are aware, the Commonwealth has been contributing to recurrent, costs of universities on the basis of $1 for each $1.85 contributed by the State. In the same way the Commonwealth has been matching State capital expenditure on universities on a SI for $1 basis. Therefore, the proposal of unmatched grants of up to $24m is certainly more generous than a matching grant. That is the point that Senator Cohen completely overlooked in his reference to the Martin report.
The Minister has informed the Senate that in discussing this matter with the State Ministers and Directors of Education, they indicated that Commonwealth assistance in the construction of teachers colleges was regarded by them as being of the highest priority. Despite the grudging tribute paid by Senator Cohen, this assistance will enable the States to provide new places and to replace old ones in teachers colleges much earlier than they could have done through their own resources. As the Minister stated, I believe that it will accelerate the introduction of the three year training course for primary teachers. The Minister informed us that the S24m grant will be spread over three financial years starting in July 1967, and that already projects are in hand. Flexibility is provided by giving the Minister power to vary the amounts that are paid both between individual projects in a State or between States. I think it was interesting to note that the flexibility is necessary to ensure that individual colleges are built to proper standards and to ensure that the money provided overall in any one year is used to th? best advantage.
The Minister pointed out that in order to overcome rigidity in the programme, the Bill provides lor a limit of S8m in the first year, $l6m in the first two years and $24m in the three year period. The projects will be selected by the States and erected on sites selected by them. They also will bc built in accordance with plans and standards drawn up by the States and approved by the Minister. That provision is necessary. One of the undertakings the States were asked to give was that they would not reduce their own expenditure on teacher training. Another was that at least 10% of the places made available as a result of the Commonwealth Government’s offer should be available for student teachers not bonded to State Education Departments. I found Senator Cohen’s argument on that aspect hard to follow. I should have thought he would have seen the merit in asking that 10% of places be made available to students other than bonded students particularly as the funds to construct and equip training colleges were being provided by the Commonwealth.
As a Victorian I was most interested in the list of projects to be undertaken in Victoria. If I remember rightly, the Minister obtained leave to incorporate the list in Hansard. It includes extensions to the Secondary Teachers College at Parkville and the construction of a new Technical
Teachers College at Hawthorn. Additional projects are to be selected from the following proposals - the construction of a new hostel at Ballarat Teachers College, the construction of a new hostel at Geelong Teachers College, extensions to Burwood Teachers College, extensions to the Arts and Crafts Teachers College and the construction of a new Primary Teachers College.
Because of the time factor and the need to have this legislation passed as quickly as possible, I shall conclude. I congratulate the Government and the Minister on the decision to make what 1 believe to be a very valuable contribution towards the provision of more facilities for the training of teachers. I believe the States will benefit greatly by these unmatched grants because the States will be able now to carry out projects much more quickly than otherwise would be the case. I firmly believe, as the Minister does, that the grants will accelerate the introduction of three year training courses for primary school teachers. I support the Bill.
– I listened with interest to the speech delivered by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. As Senator Cohen spoke, I could not help smiling because I wondered what he would have said had he been opposed to the Bill. He said that he favoured the Bill and supported it but he was most caustic in his criticism. He suggested that the Federal Government was merely making a gesture and he suspected that it would be short lived. I rise merely to commend the Government for what it is doing.
There is little to be gained by harping on the Government’s delay in entering the field of education. There is little to be gained by being critical of the fact that the Government is not fully acquainted with all the requirements in the field of education in all States of the Commonwealth. We have seen a great revolution in education in the past fifteen or twenty years because of the marked increase in our population and because of a change of attitude to this very important commodity of education on the part of parents, governments and teachers. Governments, both State and Federal, have been required to provide educational facilities far in excess of their expectations.
It is undeniably true that the field of education was primarily that of the States and it is only of recent years that the Commonwealth has assisted them, but it must have been evident to everyone who had any thought or regard for this matter of education that the Commonwealth’s participation was inevitable because education had grown at such a fast rate that it was beyond the capacity of the States to keep abreast with demands. As education is a national matter - I believe most thinking people would agree with that assertion - the whole responsibility for education should not remain forever with the States.
However much we might feel that the Commonwealth Government should have entered the field of education earlier than it did, the fact remains that it has now done so and its contributions up to the present must, I think, be appreciated by all sections in this field. I commend the Government for what it is aiming to do by these two Bills, particularly the proposed aid for advanced education and teacher training. That, of course, is an indispensable need in our educational system. It is useless building grand schools or colleges unless we have qualified men and women working within the walls of those buildings inculcating in and transferring their knowledge to the students who sit before them, just as it would be absolutely useless to build fine and grand hospitals unless we had qualified men and women to take care of the sick and injured.
Teacher training is the most urgent phase of the education crisis. I believe that we must concede that there is a crisis in the field of education. But it is not one from which we should run away. It is one that throws out a challenge to those in government, in both the Commonwealth and State spheres. We must accept that challenge and do the best we can to meet it. I repeat that teacher training is imperative and urgently needed. Just how far and how rapidly we can advance towards meeting our requirements it is difficult to say. We have to persevere to the best of our ability and capacity. Perhaps in a year we will be able to see what progress has been made. If there is a need for an acceleration of what we are doing, let us accelerate. There is no going back. We must face up to the challenge that confronts us. Lel us grapple with it. Let us grasp it resolutely and firmly in the hope that we will achieve what we are endeavouring to achieve.
We cannot recognise any division at all between the Commonwealth and the States in this matter. This should be entirely a co-operative effort, with the States doing as much as they can within the limits of their financial resources and the Commonwealth, as the tax gatherer in Australia, playing its part. It might be more than a year or two before we see any appreciable improvement in the teacher position. Nevertheless, that is no justification for further deferment or delay. We have the responsibility of going on. 1 hope that none of Senator Cohen’s suspicions or doubts in connection with this matter is properly based. Naturally he has been impatient for greater efforts before this time. I suppose many of us could share his feelings in that connection.
I repeat that the Government is to be commended on what it is doing. It should be encouraged to do more. Let us hope (hat in co-operation with the States early relief of our problems will be seen, many of our difficulties will be overcome and there will be a more satisfactory atmosphere in the field of education, both public and private. We have been served by a dual system of education for a long time now. Unless all governments, State and Federal, recognise the importance of generously assisting- the independent education system that system will break down and then we will have a real crisis on our hands. The States would not be equal to the task. There would be a very definite aggravation of the difficulties that we have in the field of education at the present time.
The dual system of education has functioned very successfully because some of our people were prepared to bear a double burden of taxation, as it were, in order to maintain the private schools. But they now find that the burden is beyond them. Let us face up to the problem in that connection so that there will be no breakdown in our education system which has given such good service over the years. I want to be fair. 1 commend the Government on what it is endeavouring to do in this connection. I. believe that it is quite conscious of its responsibility and quite conscientious in its desire to work in with the States and to help to lift our education system out of the difficulties in which it may be at the present time.
– in reply - It is pleasing to know that, in spite of Senator Cohen damning these Bills with faint praise, the Opposition is not objecting to what they seek to do. lt would be very difficult for the Opposition or anybody else to object to what they seek to do. The Opposition and the Australian people have already accepted that the Commonwealth did something good when it accepted the recommendations of the Martin Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education and the proposition that colleges of advanced education should be built throughout Australia, and built with Commonwealth assistance. Because Senator Cohen said that the purse strings should be let free a little in this connection, it is worth pointing out that as a result of agreement by the Commonwealth the sums df money spent on these tertiary colleges on the capital side will rise from $20m in the last triennium to $90m in this triennium. A rise of 350% indicates that the purse strings have been rather loosened.
We are told that this is not done as a result of any plan. But it is. It is done, in the first place, as a result of the recommendations of the Martin Committee which suggested that these colleges should be established and, in the second place, as a result of the recommendations of the Government’s own Advisory Committee on Advanced Education - the Wark Committee - which suggests which colleges in the States should be assisted by means of capital and recurrent grants. One has only to look at the developments going on at Rockhampton and Toowoomba in Queensland, Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria and the new site at The Levels in South Australia, to which the South Australian Institute of Technology is being transferred, to see that each of the State education departments is planning the colleges that it desires to build and is receiving our support for those plans. That support is given not blindly but after the Wark Committee in the first instance has conferred with each State department and quite possibly discovered that the State department did not intend to go as far as the Commonwealth would like it to go or did not intend to provide all the facilities that the Commonwealth would like to see provided, and by discussion has come to a joint agreement, as has been the Case with every State in respect of all the colleges that are being built. I point out that the Government accepted virtually every recommendation on this matter that the Wark Committee made in its advice to the Government.
– Not the one about altering the basis of recurrent grants.
– The Government accepted all the recommendations except that one and possibly something else; but virtually all of them. The one to which Senator Cohen has referred suggested that the Government might alter the basis of the recurrent grants from a basis of SI for $1.85 to a basis of $1 for $1. Senator Cohen asked whether I would tell the Senate what the Government proposed to do about that. He also wanted to know why we had not told the Senate before what we proposed to do about it. I remind the Senate that when I presented the report on tertiary education I said that we accepted the recommendations of the Wark Committee but we did not accept the recommendation that the recurrent grant should be altered from $1 from the Commonwealth to $1.85 from the States, to $1 from the Commonwealth to $1 from the States. That is made clear in my speech which is recorded in Hansard. In deference to the honourable senator I make that clear once again.
– I thank the Minister. I had overlooked that statement.
– There was one other somewhat extraneous question with which the honourable senator dealt but it is brought up time after time and no doubt it will continue to be brought up time after time. It is: Why does not the Commonwealth engage in a Commonwealth wide survey or investigation of what is needed in Australia in the tertiary, secondary, technical, primary and all other areas of education? I do not see that the value of a Commonwealth wide investigation of this kind could be greater than that of the investigation that each State department of education can make inside the boundaries for which that State is responsible. There will be a variation in the educational requirements as between States. Some States may have more problems than other States in technical education. Some States may be in a better position than other States as regards primary education. There will be variations of all kinds as between the States and a report on an Australia wide basis would be quite useless unless it came down to saying: ‘In this State this is what is particularly required. In that State that is what is particularly required.’ This is something that the States themselves are best fitted to do, which they do from time to time, and on which they publish documents such as that which they published in 1963 entitled ‘Some Needs of Australian Education’, which all of the State Ministers met to consider.
The Bill makes some alterations to the previous legislation. Those alterations represent a considerably increased amount of money for State governments and in particular a considerably increased amount of money for the Governments of Victoria and Western Australia over the triennium. This is because we have decided that we will, as a Commonwealth Government, share to the extent of $1 to $1.85 in all recurrent expenditure and not only, as was the case before, in recurrent expenditure in excess of that incurred in the base year 1964-65. I suggest to Senator Cohen that the sums of money so saved for State governments may be, if the State governments are so prepared, expended in other fields of education because the State governments would have spent these amounts in this field of education if the Commonwealth Government had not come in and picked up the tab. These amounts are now available to help in other directions. The States may or may not apply them in the field of education, but these are accretions to State budgets which can help in other directions. This is the main point in the Bill relating colleges of advanced education. Another matter is the codification or setting out in greater detail for the Senate of what the States propose to do in relation to various tertiary colleges. We can now put this to the Senate. We could not put it before because the States themselves had not dissected their expenditure between the various colleges.
The Commonwealth’s financial provision for teacher training colleges has, of course, gone from nothing to a capital expenditure of S24m. The result will be a provision in the three years concerned of 5,600 new places for trainee teachers in teacher training colleges throughout Australia and 1.400-odd replacement places. Those 1,400-odd places will enable teachers who are in places that are substandard to be properly housed in new colleges. So a total of some 7,000 places will be available as a result of this financial provision. The Martin Committee pointed out in its report that some 10.000 places would be required by. I think. 1975 for primary school teachers, and that provision for secondary school teachers would also be made in universities and colleges.
Against that background - the provision of 5,000 places from Commonwealth finances alone, unmatched by the States, leaving the States to continue, as they are supposed to Jo, to provide what they were providing before in the way of teacher (raining - it does appear evident that by 1970 we will he approaching what the Martin Committee said would be needed by 1973. I do not wish to weary the Senate with any great detail on this matter, but I think it is worth going through, State by State. In New South Wales, for example, there will be over 1,000 new places, and in Victoria over 470 new places - over 1,200 altogether; in Queensland, 1,250 new places; in South Australia. 1.600; in Western Australian secondary teacher colleges, 800: and in Tasmania, 200 new and 200 replacement places. That cannot be presented as any small contribution to the provision of places for teachers which otherwise would not be provided.
It was suggested that the Government in providing as it does in the Bill that 10% of the places at these new colleges must be reserved for teachers who are not bonded to State departments of education was indulging in - 1 think the words were - ‘a little gallery play’, lt was said that there was a little difficulty in understanding why this should be done, that it was just playing to the gallery. But in the Martin Committee’s report on tertiary education in Australia it is specifically suggested in chapter 7 on financial assistance to students that:
Scholarships with benefits equivalent to [nose proposed for the Institutes of Colleges should be available, without bond, to the number of 10% of places in teachers’ colleges. The implementation of this scheme may, however, have to wait increased accommodation in the teachers’ colleges.
We are providing in this Bill for increased accommodation in teacher colleges and we are meeting the suggestion that 10% of the places should be reserved for unbonded teachers. We will, in providing scholarships for the full 10%, enable anyone who wins an advanced education or university scholarship to apply it to teacher training in these unbonded places that we are providing in this Bill.
I do not think there is very much more that 1 wish to say. We have heard tonight and on other nights and in other places from leaders of the Opposition strictures against so-called sporadic action, the lack of any plan, and the lack of any coherent forward march in these fields of education. While we have been listening to these kinds of complaints, things have been happening; things have been done.
– At intervals short or long?
– They have been happening constantly, without cease. Technical schools are being built all the time from the grants made by the Commonwealth, unmatched by the States, totalling $10m a year for sub-tertiary technical schools. I opened a technical school in South Australia only a week or so ugo. The honourable senator knows that they are being built in Queensland. At the same time, buildings are being erected to accommodate the people who wish to go on to tertiary education. The honourable senator has seen one at Toowoomba. They are being built at Rockhampton, Bendigo, Ballarat and so on. People are on the job, laying bricks and mortar and drawing plans so that there will be provided for the technological future of Australia an opportunity for sub-tertiary education with proper equipment for training, and to people wanting tertiary education an opportunity to go on and become technologists - and more than that - technologists with a liberal education.
It is all very well for that sort of talk to come dribbling out, but the people who say such things ought to stop and look at what is actually being done and how it all fits into the proposals contained in this legislation. It can be clearly seen how developments flow from the recommendations of the committee of experts which suggested that in the fields of teacher training and colleges of advanced education we should do certain things. For the most part we are doing those things. We are not acting down to the minutest details of the recommendations of the Martin Committee. In that respect I agree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cohen) that nobody could be expected to finance all the time accommodation, equipment and facilities not only in the field of secondary education in which we have been engaged, but also in the field of tertiary education, and at the same time take the load off the State governments, making it easier for them in the fields with which they are more directly concerned - the primary and secondary fields of education. They are free to devote in that direction more of their resources, which in any case the Commonwealth gives them.
– Has the Minister read the last report of the Teachers Federation in relation to the failure of the Commonwealth Government in the field of teacher training?
– I do not know which is the last report, but I want to make this clear because it underlines the sense of unanimity of the House on this Bill: The provision of capital for these purposes has been publicly accepted with pleasure by the Teachers Federation, although naturally it has asked for all sorts of other things as well. The proposals have been highly commended, and on that note I leave it to the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I draw the attention of the Minister to clause 5 of the Bill, which states in part:
– (1.) For the purposes of this Act, the Minister may -
The point I am raising may be far away from the important matters of finance and grants we have been discussing and about which we have just heard from the Minister. However, perhaps the Minister could elaborate a little on this point. Does the clause imply that there will be some uniformity in the courses of study at the colleges of advanced education throughout the country? Will there be a tendency towards what I will call a concept of similarity? I think I am correct in saying that in any scheme on a federal basis firm steps must be taken to ensure that proper standards are maintained and kept at a high level. This legislation provides that the Minister may do certain things. He may revoke or vary certain things. I hope that there will be allowance for a reasonable degree of variety in expression and a degree of flexibility of interpretation in these colleges.
I refer also to the library material.Is it implied that there will be quantities of material available at the national level and that the same material will be available from time to time to the colleges of advanced education? To what degree does the Minister expect to revoke any particular material that may be required by an institution? The Minister said in his reply that situations vary from State to State. I put forward the view that they also vary in the area of colleges of advanced education. I would be pleased if the Minister would make some comment or give some information on this clause.
– There is no intention in this legislation of uniformity being imposed by the Commonwealth Government. A number of courses are provided by the colleges and a decision has to be made as to which of those courses should attract Commonwealth assistance by way of recurrent grants. In nearly all of the colleges there are some courses which are sub-tertiary and are carried on in the same buildings as those in which diploma courses are conducted.
The South Australian Institute of Technology has in fact a post diploma course which leads to a degree. There are varieties of courses with varieties of entrance standards, lengths and final qualifications. The Martin Committee advised - and the advice was accepted by the Commonwealth Government - that the courses to be accepted as colleges of advanced education courses should have a matriculation entry standard and a period of training of two or three years leading to a diploma. It is the type of course rather than the content of a course upon which a decision is made.
As to the library proposals, the honourable senator will remember that the Wark Committee recommended, and Parliament and the Government approved, the provision of $500,000 for an unmatched grant to upgrade the libraries of these institutions. A proposition would come from them if they are autonomous, or from the State education departments if they are not, for the expenditure of that money.
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a third time.
Debate resumed (vide page 1619).
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I refer to the schedule attached to the second reading speech and to the amount of $7 . 5m to be granted to the State of New South Wales. I ask the Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton) to clear up something for me. In the course of his speech he referred to a new teachers college at Chatswood and another one at Shortland. He said also that the first stage of a new college would be built at Goulburn. He mentioned that the ones at Chatswood and Shortland would replace existing facilities at Balmain and Newcastle. In the attachment to his speech he has referred to Chatswood as providing in part replacement places for Balmain Teachers College. Is there any significance or discrepancy in those two statements? The same thing applies to Shortland where the attachment states that it is a new college providing, in part, for replacement of existing facilities in Newcastle. Next I refer to the provision of $5. 35m for Victoria. In the second reading speech there is a reference to a new secondary teachers college, but the attachment refers to extensions to the secondary teachers college at Parkville. I should like the Minister to explain these references.
– The honourable senator referred first to Shortland. Shortland is Newcastle, in case there is any confusion in that respect. When one speaks of the Teachers College at Shortland one is referring to the establishment at Newcastle. There is no significance in saying that this is in part a replacement. The new colleges to be built will provide a number of new places and will also take in the people who are in existing colleges which are to be superseded. They will be in part replacements, but they will go far beyond being mere replacements. Chatswood will provide 510 new places and 340 replacement places. The people going into the college will not be all new. Perhaps it might have been better if one had said that the colleges provided for the replacement of existing colleges and provided also for a very great increase.
– What happens to Balmain? Will that cease to exist? I have been told that it is quite decrepit.
– It is a matter entirely for the State Government to decide what use, if any, it will make of it before it falls down. Similarly, in Newcastle there will be 270 new places and 700 replacement places. The honourable senator sought information about one other matter.
– The extension to the college at Parkville.
– This is in fact a new block forming a new wing. It is a separate part of the college but is built in conjunction with the existing one.
– It is not to replace the existing college?
Bill agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill (on motion by Senator Gorton) read a third time.
Motion (by Senator Gorton) proposed:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to take some few moments to discuss a matter which I think is of great importance, that is, the censorship of books which is at present being imposed under the Customs (Prohibited Import) Regulations. With the courtesy of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) I have had the opportunity over the past month or six weeks to look through a number of banned books which are at present held by the National Library under authority from the Department of Customs and Excise. With his assistance I have been able to see a number of these volumes, the names of which at present appear on the list. It is not my purpose this evening to argue the merits of whether there should be censorship although certainly much could be said about it. Rather, 1 propose to point to some examples of what I would regard as arbitrary and rather senseless censorship of books which should be allowed to be published and distributed inside this country.
In the course of my examination of the books which have been banned under the Customs Regulations 1 certainly did find a large number of books which, to use the American term, could be described as hard core pornography. Clearly they were published with no purpose other than a pornographic one. They were lacking in both literary and artistic merit, and in fact they lacked merit of any other type. I do not intend to discuss those books. However there are a number of other books which have been banned and which I believe are of such a nature that the fact that they are banned puts this country in the status of a mediaeval society and puts us well behind most countries so far as our freedom to read is concerned. There are books which are banned in Australia which are not only freely available in most other countries but which are also regarded very highly by serious literary critics and scholars in those countries.
From my investigations among some of the more serious and valuable books which are banned I made six classifications. In the first classification are those which are novels; in the second are studies of a sociological nature of morals; the third category would be works of a philosophical or quasi philosophical nature; the fourth are some very ancient classical writings; and the fifth are some magazines and books of cartoons. Then there is a sixth category which would include serious scientific works. I intend to enumerate some of these books. I have made up a list.
– Does it include any Donald Ducks which are a couple of weeks old and which have come from the other place?
– No, it does not include them. I thank the honourable senator for his assistance. Yesterday I provided the Minister with a list of these books and told him that 1 would be speaking on this subject tonight. I asked him, if he would, to give some reasons as to why these books had been banned, whether perhaps he has looked at them himself, and as to what arguments his officers have put forward for banning them.
I deal first of all with the novels and works of fictional literature. First is Aubrey Beardsley’s ‘The Story of Venus and Tannhaeuser’. He was one of the most eminent figures in late Victorian England and his works are highly regarded throughout the world. But the people of Australia are unable to see this famous work by this famous Englishman. We are unable to see Vance Bourjaily’s ‘Confessions of a Spent Youth’ in an unexpurgated edition. That is another quite modern literary work which has been highly praised throughout the world. We are unable to see ‘The Soft Machine’ by William S. Burroughs. I know that there has been some cases about this recent American novel in various courts throughout the world. This book deals largely with homosexuality, but it is a book which is regarded as being of serious literary merit. William Burroughs is regarded by most eminent literary critics at the present time as being one of the foremost American writers. Almost the entire works of Marquis De Sade, including Histoire de Juliette’, published in French, are banned. I should imagine there would be a limited number of people in Australia who would be perusing that around the corner.
– It may be an incentive to them to read French.
– As Senator Mulvihill has pointed out, in these days when we are trying to sponsor tertiary education, if the book is as attractive as the censorship authorities seem to think it is, :t might be an additional incentive to study a modern foreign language. It does, however, appear in an English translation, and that is also banned. De Sade is a controversial author. He is an author who has written about incidents which in themselves 1 suppose would be regarded as rather revolting. I must confess that I have read a number of his works while 1 was not in this country. There may be those who would suggest that 1 am at. the present time rather morally corrupted. If they would suggest that, then the only thing 1 can say is that I am no more morally corrupted now than I was before 1 read those books.
Also amongst the banned novels are almost the entire works of the modern French author, Jean Genet, who is regarded as one of the greatest contemporary French novelist. His ethical theories were the subject of a massive study by Jean-Paul Sark who I suppose is one of the leading, if not the leading French and indeed European philsophers or novelists of the present time. Genet, again, writes about a number of incidents which in themselves I suppose would not be regarded as pleasant, but he writes in such a difficult abstract style that certainly only someone with a very advanced literary taste, whatever his other tastes may be, would ever read his works. He is a most difficult writer to read and the incidents which he depicts are depicted in such a way that it would be difficult io follow exactly what he is writing about without having had a considerable literary background.
Frank Harris’s book, which is half novel and half autobiography - ‘My Life and Loves’ - is also banned. Harris is an eminent English author. This book has been referred to frequently by critics throughout the world. I do not want to bore the Senate with this list. Harris is a very eminent writer and I feel rather distressed at the fact that a Customs official is to say that I or anybody else cannot read the works of Frank Harris. Norman Mailer’s novel, ‘An American Dream’, is another banned publication. Norman Mailer is one of America’s greatest novelists. His book can be purchased in Australia only in the abridged form. The unexpurgated edition of ‘An American Dream’ is unavailable to any Australian reader. I do not think that Norman Mailer who again writes in a very difficult literary style is the sort of novelist whose works are going to be read by perverse teenagers or people who are looking for some sort of sexual fantasy from their literature.
It seems to me, also, that almost the entire works of Henry Miller are banned. Miller is another great American novelist who writes about subjects which I suppose one would not want to discuss in the Senate at any great length. But he is regarded as one of the major novelists of the 20th century. The books of his that are banned include ‘Black Spring’, ‘Quiet Days in Clichy’, ‘Tropic of Cancer’, ‘Tropic of Capricorn’, and another book entitled ‘The Rosy Crucifixion*, which I have not read. This contains three works. They are Book 1 - -Sexus. Book 2 - Plexus and Book 3 - Nexus. It is possible that Book 3 would be found offensive by some members of the Senate as I understand that in Book 3 Henry Miller eulogises the nexus. I had intended suggesting to Senator Gair that he might move that the Senate take note of Henry Miller’s views on the nexus along with those of Sir Robert Garran.
The book ‘Powdered Eggs’ by Charles Simons is also banned. Simons is one of the greatest contemporary American novelists. I think that concludes the novels to which I wish to refer at the moment.
As well as the novels there are some serious studies of morals, and I am completely bewildered as to why these books should be banned because amongst them is ‘An A.B.Z. of Love’ by Inge and Sten
Hegeler, a Swedish husband and wife who are authors. This book has been favourably reviewed not only by literary critics but in psychiatric and medical journals. As I say, it is banned to people in Australia. It is certainly not a pornographic book. It is anything but a pornographic book. It does deal with sex, but it is a book which has been favourably commented on from a literary point of view, from a psychiatric point of view and from a medical point of view. I repeat it is banned in Australia.
Another banned work is ‘The Other Victorians’ by Stephen Marcus. This is a sociological study of certain aspects of late Victorian life in England by a scholar at Columbia University. It is banned in this country. So also is Wayland Young’s book ‘Eros Denied*. This is another serious sociological study.
Among the works of a quasi philosophical nature I find one of the most extraordinary inclusions on the list, lt is Simone de Beauvoir’s essay, ‘The Marquis de Sade’. The only explanation 1 can think of for banning this work is that somebody in the Customs Department saw de Sade’s name on the cover of the book and assumed that he must have written it and therefore banned it. Possibly the book contains some small extracts from de Sade in it. I do not know. But it is, in fact, a philosophical study of de Sade’s political theories and his ethical theories. It must be remembered that however objectionable some parts of de Sade’s literature may be found to be by some people he is a man who is still being studied constantly throughout the world. Simone de Beauvoir, an eminent French philosopher and novelist, has written a study, not of the details of the episodes described by de Sade, but a study of de Sade’s ethical and political theories. I think that anybody who is familiar with Simone de Beauvoir would know that she is not a pornographic writer. This is a serious philosophical work about de Sade’s general ideas, but one is not allowed to read it unless one obtains a certificate, apparently, from a professor of philosophy that one is of good character.
Stephen Vizinczey’s book, ‘In Praise of Older Women’, another book which has been favourably reviewed throughout the world, is also banned. We find that we are returning to the 18th century in that John Wilkes is still banned in this country. Fortunately none of the issues of the ‘North Briton’ still remain on the banned list but his famous ‘An Essay on Woman’ is banned in this country. Colin Wilson’s Origins of the Sexual Impulse’ is also banned in Australia. He is another serious British writer, although I must confess that he is one whom I do not find very attractive.
Amongst the classical works that are banned are the ‘Ten Tales from the Decameron’ by Boccaccio, one of the greatest late Renaissance Italian authors. I find it completely insulting to the Australian people that a book written by Boccaccio, one of the greatest European authors of the late middle ages, should not be available to them. He writes in a completely classical style and no cheap pornographer is going to be reading this major classical work. But it is banned in Australia.
I come now to the Kama Sutra. This publication is banned in Australia. It is a book which deals very largely with sex, but it is a classical work of Indian writing. Another book ‘The Golden Lotus’, a work written in Latin and translated by Clement Egerton is also banned. The edition by Arthur Waley is not banned. In it, the passages which are regarded as objectionable are translated into Latin, but anybody who has a Latin dictionary can look them up. The translation by Clement Egerton, another eminent scholar, include translations of all the passages which the Customs inspectors think are objectionable. This work is therefore banned.
We find that certain issues of ‘Evergreen Review’, a serious American literary review are banned here because they contain some articles by and about Henry Miller and others mixed in with other very serious articles. Cartoons of the famous contemporary French cartonist, Sine, are banned. A book entitled ‘Sine Massacre’ to which there is a preface written by Malcolm Muggeridge, is banned to the people of Australia. He is one of the most eminent European cartoonists, a sort of contemporary Daumier. His works are banned in Australia, although they are freely available from one end of Western Europe to the other.
When we come to the scientific works we come to where the whole thing seems to become completely grotesque. For example, Wilhelm Stekel’s two books, ‘BiSexual Love’ and ‘Homosexual Neurosis’, both complex physchiatric works, one dealing with bi-sexuality and the other with homosexuality, which would be read only by somebody who had a scientific interest in the subject, works consisting of graphs and surveys of the incidence of homosexuality and so on, works which have nothing whatever pornographic in them, are also banned unless one can obtain special permission to read them.
The people of Australia are placed in the position of backward children. Any Australian who goes abroad can obtain these books and freely read them. People living in Britain, in Scandanavia and elsewhere in Western Europe, and in the United States of America can freely read these books. There is one other book that is banned that I think is interesting. It is an annual French publication ‘Erotisme Au Cinema’. This is a serious study which resulted from a film congress held at Sorbonne in Paris in 1957. lt was decided to make annual studies of various aspects of the cinema. One of the publications consists of a study of eroticisms in the cinema. This publication consists of stills from various films made throughout the year. The 1964 issue of ‘Erotica Au Cinema’ is banned in Australia, lt consists of a number of illustrations that are placed in the book for the purpose of study by people who are seriously interested in the cinema, lt contains no illustrations which would not be seen every day in either of the Sydney evening newspapers or every weekend in most of the Sunday newspapers published throughout Australia. It is a publication which, compared with the Melbourne Truth’ looks like a supplement to the Seventh Day Adventist Annual. Yet, it is banned in Australia. 1 believe that these are serious matters. We find that a considerable amount of sadistic trash is published in the form of comics and pulp magazines but we Australians are probably the only people in the Western world who are not allowed to read the works of serious, literary, sociological, philosophical and scientific merit to which I referred. I could have quoted many more instances but I feel that 1 have spoken for a long time already
– Hear, hear!
– That may be so, but I believe that these are important matters, lt is not a matter for laughter when great works of literature are prohibited to the people of any country, lt is a deprivation of the freedom of the people when great and serious works of literature, some of which have been the admiration of cultivated people for hundreds of years, are prohibited to the Australian people. It places us centuries behind most of the civilised countries. If these books are to be banned, I believe at least that the Senate and the people of Australia are entitled to some explanation from the Minister for Customs and Excise as to why they are banned.
- Mr President, I intervene at this late hour of the night because I do not consider that this is a matter that should be raised on the adjournment. If questions of literature censorship or any other form of censorship, such as film censorship, are to be canvassed, they should be the subject of a serious debate by the Senate. But I am not prepared to allow Senator Wheeldon’s remarks to pass unchallenged from this side of the Senate. He overlooks the fact that the basic problem of literature censorship is embedded in the jurisdiction of the States, lt is based on the common law test as to what is pornographic, indecent, blasphemous, obscene, or tends to deprave and corrupt. This is the basis of the common law judgment. So, it is manifestly wrong, in terms of the administration of the Minister for Customs and Excise, to allow to be imported into Australia books which, immediately they are passed to the State governments, will not be permitted to be sold. The real test as to what is pornographic, indecent, obscene or tends to deprave and corrupt lies in the hands of the States, and the essential matters for the consideration of the Minister for Customs and Excise-
– lt is not the ban by the States about which Senator Wheeldon is complaining.
– It is no good the Minister for Customs and Excise allowing books into Australia that will not meet the tests that the States will apply to them when they come to be sold in the States. That is the point. The Minister for Customs and Excise may, through his censorship authority say: ‘Yes, the books of the Marquis de Sade will be- ‘
– How will the Minister know that the States will refuse the release of these books after they are imported?
– At this late hour 1 cannot deal at length with the administration of the provisions of the Customs Act relating to the importation of matter that is blasphemous, indecent, obscene, and tends to deprave and corrupt. There are systems in the jurisdiction of the Department of Customs and Excise to deal with these matters. It is equally true that the Minister administering the Act must take cognisance of the attitude that the States will adopt to matter that he allows to be imported.
– The States know nothing about it.
– I suggest that that is not true. Senator Wheeldon by implication I suggest - I do not want to appear to put words into his mouth - said that these books should be allowed to be imported quite freely into Australia.
– That is not my main view.
– Let us take the books of the Marquis De Sade. We have an illustration that these are books that perhaps tend to deprave and corrupt. It is only two years since we read of the most bestial murders that have ever disfigured the annals of English jurisprudence. These murders occurred in Yorkshire in the Midlands of England. The two depraved creatures concerned murdered nine or ten children. These people were sadists who learnt to be sadists by reading the books of the Marquis De Sade. There we have an illustration, perhaps in isolation, that books of this nature do tend to deprave and corrupt.
Let me say this in passing: The attitude of Senator Wheeldon in his advocacy tonight is similar to that of Mr Jenkins, who is now the Home Secretary in the Government of the United Kingdom. In 1958 Mr Jenkins attempted to get through the House of Commons a model Bill under which books of the kind mentioned by Senator Wheeldon tonight would be allowed entry into the United Kingdom. The Bill was known as the Jenkins Bill and, with the sanction of the House of Commons it became law. Speaking from recollection, by 1963 the flow of pornographic material into the United Kingdom as a result of the new Jenkins Bill was such that the Home Secretary himself - the author of this new freedom - had to take action to try to suppress the flood.
– May 1 interrupt the honourable senator? I am not advocating the free entry of books at the moment. I am specifying certain specific books.
– I do not doubt that for a moment. But this cannot be divorced from the problem that I am outlining. The writings of the Marquis de Sade may not tend to deprave and corrupt the honourable senator but they are quite capable, as I have illustrated, of making others depraved and corrupt. 1 do not wish in any way to anticipate what the Minister for Customs and Excise will have to say. That is his problem. I say that this is not a close-ended argument. It is an open ended argument. I would loathe to see any precipitate action taken or any undertaking given by the Minister until the Senate, for example, at a time that was proper, discussed the whole problem which worries a great number of people on the other end of the spectrum to Senator Wheeldon.
– Mr President, I listened with interest to the remarks of Senator Wheeldon and Senator Cormack. I appreciate the position in which both are placed. One honourable senator wants to read books and the other honourable senator does not. There has been talk of homosexuality and bisexuality but no mention of heterosexuality which seems to be a common practice. In any case let us forget the intellectuals now. With all due respect to them, I wish to get down to the common level, the level of the ordinary people. I had intended to deal with a matter last Friday when the Superannuation Bill came before the Senate. Because of some peculiar reasoning, the order of business was changed. The National Library Bill was to be followed by the Superannuation Bill. But for some peculiar reason, as I have said, the order was changed. I was at a committee meeting and I could not be in the chamber until 2.27 p.m. By that time the Superannuation Bil] had been dealt with. I know that it referred to widows in particular circumstances and to people who had worked beyond the normal retiring age. This is the reason why honourable senators have to put up with me tonight. If I had been given a chance to deal with this matter in the ordinary, legitimate order of business I would have done so. However, as I was not given that chance I shall deal with it now.
I want to refer to superannuation funds and provident funds, to the rights of people who contribute to those funds and to the Government’s policy in relation to these funds. I do not propose to deal with the question of people who cannot join superannuation funds because of particular medical reasons and who have to join provident funds. I want to raise this matter in order to give a nationwide lead, lt concerns people who enter the employment of the Commonwealth and State governments or private employers. Hundreds of millions of pounds are involved in superannuation funds and provident funds throughout Australia. People who contribute to these funds have basic inherent rights which 1 believe are being denied to them. I am not saying that they do not receive something when they leave the funds. 1 am not saying that they should get any more than that which they get if they leave the funds after a few years. But if honourable senators will bear with me I will put the case of these people. When at the age of 16 years, 18 years, 21 years or maybe a little older they join a particular firm or enter the employ of a State government or the Commonwealth Government they become involved in superannuation funds or provident funds. Then according to a reply which I received from the Deputy Premier of Queensland yesterday, they should be bound to that employment for the rest of their lives, whether it be for 40 years, 50 years, or whatever the case may be.
I will concede that if they work for only a few years they are entitled to draw out that which they have contributed with or without a small amount of interest. But if they work for the Commonwealth
Government, a State government or a particular enterprise - be it a newspaper company or some other company - for fifteen or twenty years, then I think that they have given reasonable service. Let us concede for the purpose of argument and in a sense of fairness that in the first two or three years they would be learning the business. But if they work for a particular enterprise for fifteen or twenty years, I do not think that the employer has the right to bind them for the rest of their lives. They could be offered an opportunity of advancement. Other work may appeal to them in the field along which they have been travelling. It may be that it will give them a greater opportunity to utilise their talents. Yet all over this nation we find people who when they leave a position cannot receive other than that which they have contributed. To me it seems so totally unfair and unreasonable that anyone should be bound to one particular firm for forty or fifty years. 1 know that the Commonwealth is trying to find a way in which people who transfer from employment by State governments to employment by the Federal Government can have their superannuation rights recognised by the Federal Government. But this is not a big enough approach to this problem. I know that a general superannuation scheme would be the answer. Even though a former Prime Minister resigned, 1 think in 1938, because the then Prime Minister would not accept his superannuation scheme, when, from 1 0th December 1949 until he retired last year, he had an opportunity to introduce a superannuation scheme, he did nothing about it. It is quite evident that there will be no real attempt to implement a general superannuation scheme. In the interim period the Commonwealth Government has approached the State governments with a view to introducing legislation which will compel governments and private employers to recognise the right of a person who has worked for them for fifteen or twenty years to transfer not only his own contributions but the employers’ contributions to another scheme that he might join with his new employer. There is nothing unreasonable about this approach. I think it is human and humane. I do not see how anyone who adopts a reasonable approach to this particular problem can say that any particular employer is entitled to bind a girl or a boy for the rest of their lives to one particular firm or government. That is completely unreasonable, unfair and inhumane. I would say that it is divorced from basic human rights.
I plead with the Government to take a lead in this matter, lt is not often that it takes a lead. On occasions it follows Labour’s advice. Tonight J heard the Minister for Education and Science (Senator Gorton) say that the Government does certain things. But whether it does them in the short or long term depends on its mental reaction and how it thinks the vote will go. This is what determines the length of time before the Government acts. But in this particular matter here is a suggestion being made by a humble and comparatively unknown senator. The Government can take all the credit for it. 1 do not begrudge it that. I am only asking that the rights of these people be recognised. These kids who give fifteen or twenty years of good service to one employer should be given this right, f am not saying that they will of necessity transfer from the position that they occupy, but if they do transfer, surely they should not be denied the right to take with them that which they have contributed and that which their employer has contributed to a superannuation fund. They have given the service of which they were capable. They have given of their best. I am not saying that the employer demanded the best, but these people have given it. 1 have tried to advance this suggestion for a considerable period. I will be quite frank. I have put it to some of the financial experts in my own Party. They have said: ‘That is a good idea, Doctor’, but they have never done anthing about it. I would have liked them to have derived credit from the suggestion. I have listened and waited for so long, but nothing has happened. Now on this occasion, irrespective of the late hour, I have taken the opportunity to raise this matter. To sum up: Why should these people be bound for the whole of their lives? If they have given twenty years service, surely the employer has obtained enough from them. It could so happen that a man or woman who is aged 35 or 40 years could be worth more than is offered by the employer. I am not talking now of a callous employer. As everybody knows, there are not many callous employers, but there are some. These employers could say: Taking the superannuation fund or the provident fund into consideration, these people cannot afford to leave me. They are too tied up in the fund to which they have contributed’. These employers are certain that these people will not leave them. So instead of offering them a rise of §20 a week to which they would be entitled, they say: Give them S5 a week’.
I make the plea that the whole question of superannuation funds and provident funds should be considered. We have in the Press Gallery young people who are learning the trade. Why should they be tied to the ‘Courier Mail’, the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ or any other newspaper?
– They are freelances.
– If they are freelances they are on their own, but most of them are not. They receive a salary from a newspaper and most newspapers have a superannuation fund. If they leave one newspaper and go to an independent newspaper which is not a member of the chain to which their previous employer belonged, there is no transfer of the employer’s contributions to the superannuation fund. We know that they are learning the trade and that they cannot appreciate a good speech because they have no capacity for assessment. They just happen to be here training. I do not believe that these so-called journalists should be able to leave an employer within five years and take with them the employer’s contribution to the superannuation fund, but if they have been employed for fifteen or twenty years by the one employer - they would then be thirty-five or forty years of age and most of them would have learned the trade - they are entitled to take to the new employer not only their own contribution but also their previous employer’s contribution. This will enable them to participate in a more beneficient scheme, or at least a scheme equal to the one they left, without any penalty being imposed on the new employer in the matter of contributions.
I leave this point with the Minister. I know that he is not the most responsible
Minister in the Government, but that is a matter of choice for the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt). Irrespective of his intelligence, I know that he will put the case fairly and clearly to the Leader of the Government who, in his own limited way, will raise the matter in Cabinet. I leave the matter with the Minister in the hope that this National Government will give a nation-wide lead in relation to superannuation and provident fund benefits that are payable to an employee after ten or twenty years service.
– I will certainly refer Senator Dittmer’s comments to the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). I do not cast any reflection on Senator Dittmer but I regret that the continuity of Senator Wheeldon’s comments was broken and it is now not as easy as it perhaps otherwise would be for me to reply to him. I fear I must take some time to make some general as well as particular observations on the matters raised. In the first place I want to make it abundantly clear that under a special arrangement books are provided to the Parliamentary Librarian and then made available to members and senators to read in the precincts of the Library. Afterwards the books are returned to the custody of the Department of Customs and Excise. Senator Wheeldon rattled off at bewildering speed the titles of a number of books, the vast majority of which he did not read in the Library so I presume he must be a well travelled man and that he has read many of them outside Australia.
– That is true.
– I thought so. In fact for the first ten minutes he did not mention any book that he had read in the Library. 1 make that point in fairness to him. I do not want it to be thought that he spends all his time in the Library because he would have to be a very fast reader over a sustained period to get through all the books he mentioned. In any case, he did not read them there.
– I will tell the Minister where I read them.
– I am not suggesting any impropriety on the honourable senator’s part. He could have read some of them at the university where they are made available by the Department for study purposes. I make the point that if I got half a dozen people into a corner and started a conversation on the subject I would get a wide diversity of opinion. I invite any honourable senator next weekend when he is at home to get a group of people to discuss the merits of whether we should have a more rigid or more relaxed form of censorship and I am sure he will find a wide conflict of view.
The second point is that contrary to what might be thought from reading certain views of people who write on these matters, I receive an overwhelmingly greater number of representations to adopt a more rigid approach to censorship than I receive from people or organisations who tell me that the present approach should be relaxed. I have received many communications in which I have been told by people that I will be mentioned in their prayers because of the attitude I have taken in relation to the prohibition of a certain book. I point out that any action I take is on the basis of a recommendation from the Literature Censorship Board. I emphasise that because it is not often understood.
Senator Wheeldon referred on a number of occasions to banning by customs officers. He must understand that it is necessary to do one’s homework to know the way in which the system works. In the first place we have the Literature Censorship Board. For the record, I shall mention the names and backgrounds of members of that Board.
– And their ages?
– I do not have that information here but I can provide it at a more appropriate time. Then we have the Literature Censorship Appeal Board and I shall also mention the names and backgrounds of members of that Board. Subjects considered to have literary merit are referred to the Literature Censorship Board for report and recommendation to the Minister. Obviously the Minister is tremendously influenced by the recommendation he receives from his Board. Chairman of the Board is Professor E. R. Bryan, Professor of English at the Royal Military College; Deputy Chairman is Professor K. C. Masterman, retired Professor of
Classics at the Australian National University and the members are Professor E. K. T. Koch-Emmery, senior lecturer in German at the Australian National University; Mrs A. H. Hewitt, senior lecturer in English at the Australian National University; Mr H. C. Chipman, a retired Victorian Crown Law officer and Mr K. Slessor, poet, author and journalist. Mr Slessor, who comes from New South Wales, is the only new appointee since I have been the Minister. The other Board members have been re-appointed.
The Literature Censorship Appeal Board has as its Chairman Sir George Currie, retired Vice-Chancellor of the University of New Zealand and the mem’bers are Mr A. A. Phillips, a schoolteacher and literary reviewer and Mrs R. Axon, a housewife and qualified librarian. As f have said, the people I have mentioned receive the various books, documents and articles which are considered to have literary merit of any degree and they make a recommendation to the Minister. The Minister, while reserving the right to reject their view - there are regulations governing this - is tremendously influenced by the recommendations they make to him. If matter has no literary merit and falls within the class of pornography or is merely fiction of no merit, it is dealt with in a different way. Let me take the opportunity to impress upon the Senate the sheer volume of the kind of material handled. This is the area in which the volume is overwhelming.
At the point of entry customs officers do not have the power to prohibit; they have the power to release. It is only when they consider that an article falls within the field of possible prohibition that they refer it to Central Office. 1 then have to take a decision in terms of item 22 of the regulations. I take that decision on the recommendation of up to only three of the most senior officers in my Department. We read in the newspapers - it is nice, easy stuff to read - how clumsy footed, simple minded customs officers all along the line make decisions to prohibit books. They do not do that. In fact, the only point where the officers come into the matter is in the consideration of items of fiction or of nonliterary merit where, because of the sheer volume of the work, the Minister has to have the advantage of a power of delega tion to the most senior officers in his Department.
That is the background to what happens. That is the way the system works. Most honourable senators would understand the system in general, but’ because Senator Wheeldon said that customs officers prohibited books I wanted to make the position quite clear. Books are prohibited under a series of regulations that represent the policy of the Government. The honourable senator referred to a number of books at tremendous speed. It was impossible for me to take note of them as he went through them.
– I gave the Minister a copy of the list.
– Yes, but the list that the honourable senator gave me was a general list of books unrelated to books that he had to study in another place.
– What has that to do with the matter? I gave the Minister a list of the books to which I proposed to refer.
– -The honourable senator spoke about censorship generally. He is entitled to take the view that those books should be released. But I point out to him that those books, with a couple of exceptions to which I shall r:fer in a minute, in fact were referred to the Literature Censorship Board. The very first book on the list - ‘The Story of Venus and Tannhaeuser”s - was prohibited in 1929. Senator Wheeldon referred to books written by Miller. He said that they had all been prohibited. As a matter of fact, ten have been released and eight have been prohibited.
He referred to ‘An ABZ of Love’, which is a book to which I wish to refer particularly because it points up the procedure that applies in respect of books when matters of health are considered to be involved. It is true that ‘An ABZ of Love’ is a prohibited book. But it is prohibited on the recommendation and the reaffirmed recommendation of the Commonwealth Director-General of Health.
– On what ground?
– -When it is suggested that a technical matter is involved or when it is a question of medical science and a special application is made, the book is referred to the Director-General of Health or the Department of Health because we believe that they are more competent to give advice to the Minister for Customs and Excise, who in the ultimate has to make the decision under the regulations, on whether the book in fact is a medical book or whether it is a text book, as suggested by Senator Wheeldon. I put this to him: What other course is open to us if we are not to have absolute freedom? The honourable senator admitted that he was not advocating absolute freedom. He is suggesting that there should be a more liberal approach to the release of books.
There have to be criteria. We have to find criteria for judgments on these matters. The law, including the regulations, provides that I shall have the Literature Censorship Board to advise me. 1 tell the honourable senator that I lean on its advice and that in respect of medical books and the like I lean on the advice of the DirectorGeneral of Health.
– Would the Literature Censorship Board refer ‘An ABZ of Love’ to the Department of Health or would the honourable gentleman do that as Minister for Customs and Excise?
– -T referred it to the Director-General of Health originally and in more recent times, too. Another point that I wish to make in reply to Senator Wheeldon relates to his reference to the book that was put on the list way back in 1929. The Literature Censorship Board is a part time board. It is working very hard. There is a panel of the Board and a book has to be circulated to each member of the panel. Each of them has to make a judgment and then write a report. Eventually the reports are consolidated and they come before the Minister.
From time to time a review takes place. The last main review was in 1963. In that review quite a number of books were taken off the list. It is perfectly competent for us to ask - from time to time we do ask - the Chairman of the Board to continue this review of the huge list of matter that remains with us. Members of the Board are limited in the extent to which they can undertake review work because of the volume of the work. When we get, as I hope we will within the next six months, a new board and a new structure under which the States will be brought into the matter to a degree - I do not want to go into that aspect at the moment - it is proposed that the Board will be increased to nine members. I hope that will mean that there will be more members for review work than there are at the present time.
If any person, including any parliamentarian, or any organisation believes that a particular book has been put on the prohibited list, that it is a long time since the Board made a review of the book and that the book is worthy of review, it is perfectly competent for such a person or organisation to make representations to the Minister. In that event an effort will be made to have that book brought up for examination and review by the Board.
This is a terribly difficult field. ( am sure thai everybody realises that As I said at the outset, nothing that I do can be right in the view of some people. It is a matter of judgment. But our law, including our regulations, which 1 have to administer, puts upon me the responsibility of making a judgment. I try to obtain the best possible advice that I can. Tn the time that I have been Minister for Customs and Excise, I have tried to be sensible in my approach to this matter. It is tremendously difficult. A certain group of people, such as the freedom to read people, take a certain view in favour of the release of books. A large number of people who make representations to me have the view that 1 should take a more severe line than I do. Somewhere in between I have to make a judgement.
All I can say in reply to Senator Wheeldon is that we have the Literature Censorship Board which advises the Minister on matters of literary merit. Books are not prohibited at the point of entry. In fact, all that the officers at the point of entry can do is release a book. Only when it comes to a question of prohibition is a book referred to Central Office, where I have to make a decision in terms of the regulations, which use the words ‘in the opinion of the Minister’. I have the advantage of having three very senior officers with whom I can discuss a matter before I make a decision on it and in respect of whom I have a degree of delegation. I have tried to be completely frank with the honourable senator. I have tried to tell him how the system works. If any matters arise subsequently, it will be perfectly competent for us to discuss them on a motion for the adjournment of the Senate or by using other forms of the Senate.
– 1 wish to say shortly that 1 am very disturbed about the main matter that Senator Wheeldon has raised; that is, that a great number of books apparently are freely available in most civilised countries, yet they are prohibited imports to Australia. I wish to answer what Senator Cormack said-
– Mr President, 1 raise a point of procedure. Had I known that Senator Murphy intended to speak I would have kept my remarks until last. 1 should like to know whether I will be able to reply to him. If I will not be able to do so, it makes things difficult for me.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIlin) - The position is that Senator Murphy may make his speech, but Senator Anderson may not answer it.
– I will not make things difficult for Senator Anderson. I wish to answer what was said by Senator Cormack in criticism of Senator Wheeldon. Senator Cormack said that it is no good allowing the importation of books that will be banned by the States. He said that the Commonwealth should take cognisance of the State laws. We say that that cannot be right. That would amount to an abdication by the Commonwealth of its obligation to determine whether a book came within the criteria set out in the regulations. Senator Cormack did say that it was no good allowing in books which were to be banned by the States. That cannot and should not be the approach. If that approach is being entertained at all by the Commonwealth authorities, it should be abandoned, because there is a law that controls the conditions under which books are to be admitted. That should not be departed from, irrespective of what the provisions of the State law might be. I suggest that Senator Wheeldon has done the Senate a great service in raising this matter. The Minister has indicated that there might perhaps be debates on it in the chamber. It is disquieting to many senators and to many citizens that so many books that are freely available elsewhere are prohibited in Australia and I would invite the Minister to take the opportunity to have an early debate on this most important subject matter.
– On the matter raised by Senator Murphy, if 1 conveyed the impression that he accorded to me I wish to correct it. What I said was that the test is a common law test based on a judgment, I think in 1869, by the Lord Chief Justice-
– I raise a point of order. Is this a personal explanation?
– I am just sorting that out.
– I bow to your judgment on this matter, Mr President. I shall wait while you cogitate.
– If the honourable senator claims to have been misrepresented he may correct the misrepresentation. He cannot engage in a debate on the matter.
– In view of the lateness of the hour, Mr President. I submit myself to your authority.
The Senate adjourned at 11.33 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 May 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1967/19670517_senate_26_s34/>.