26th Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. Does the Government realise that its persistence in holding the recently imposed lines over the heads of the postal workers is not improving but worsening industrial relations? As we live under an industrial system aimed at conciliation and arbitration. I ask the Minister whether the Government will reconsider the matter with a view to waiving the fines imposed on the postal workers as a gesture of conciliation and so encourage a better atmosphere for sensible discussion of the outstanding issues and the end of inconvenience to the public?
– I shall direct the honourable senator’s question to the Postmaster-General but I feel bound to say that the Postmaster-General has at all times made perfectly clear the view of the Government in connection with the present dispute. I am conscious, as we all are, that there are still talks going on in the various unions involved. For that reason I do not want to say anything at the moment which might reflect upon any consideration that the unions are giving to their positions. However, I shall certainly draw the attention of the Postmaster-General to the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition.
– I ask the
Leader of the Government in the Senate whether there is any truth in the statement that the Government’s intention is to discontinue the policy of compulsory military service in Vietnam for 20 year old youths, in view of the wholehearted support of Government policy by Young Liberal Party supporters both inside and outside Parliament who are eager to serve in this theatre of war.
– The honourable senator raises what 1 understand to be a matter or policy. It is not the practice to discuss Government policy or intended Government policy in answer to questions without notice.
– Yesterday I asked tha Leader of the Government in the Senate a question concerning sections of the Europa rocket which had been found in the Northern Territory and which measured approximately 7 ft by 8 ft and were too heavy to move. Today I ask whether the Minister has taken steps to obtain information in connection with my question.
– Yesterday I undertook to obtain some information for the honourable senator. The fact that large pieces of the rocket have been found does nol mean that the exercise was not completely safe. Every available precaution is taken to protect property and persons from injury. In the first place the impact zone is planned in an area where there is no habitation and the flight path crosses areas of very sparse habitation. Homesteads in the neighbouring areas are provided with shelters and are given warnings of the firing. Air searches for itinerants are made before the firing. During flight the rocket is tracked and a comprehensive computing system predicts where pieces will fall should it become necessary to terminate the flight. The safety system includes a method of breaking up the rocket before it returns to earth. As stated in the Press, tha probability of injury to unprotected persons within the impact zone is estimated at less than one in a million. The flight safety system worked perfectly and the flight was under control at all times. The pieces in question were found in the planned flight corridor.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. It refers to Dr Coombs’ statement to the effect that there should be a reconsideration of our tariff policy. I remind the Minister that reference was made to this subject in the Vernon report. I ask whether the Government is currently giving consideration to the question of establishing a competent tribunal to reexamine the basis of tariff policy.
– 1 read with great interest Dr Coombs’ statement. Naturally enough, one takes notice of any statement made by such an eminent person as Dr Coombs. I ask the honourable senator to put the question on the notice paper and I will obtain a reply from the Minister for Trade and Industry on Government policy in relation to this matter.
– Will the Minister for Housing advise whether it is the Government’s intention under the new constitutional powers in respect of Aboriginals to improve housing conditions for these people? Will the Minister, as a matter of urgency, examine the prospects of obtaining Commonwealth land at Thursday Island for the construction of suitable homes for local people on a rental and purchase basis?
– I could not quite hear what the honourable senator said, but I understand that he was inquiring whether or not available land on Thursday Island could be used for the housing of Aboriginal people.
– Commonwealth land.
-Firstly, housing for Aboriginals which is undertaken in any State is a matter for the government’ of that Slate. Already I have seen in Queensland, particularly in the far north, some excellent housing which is being provided by the State Government. I shall note the point which has been raised by Senator Keeffe concerning the land which he has mentioned, but I remind him that housing in that area is a matter for the State Government.
– I ask the Minister for Housing a question. She will recall my not very congenial interest in the way in which institutions which are approved for housing loan finance are so approved by instrument in writing and not by regulation. I remind the Minister that for the Tasmanian jurisdiction a list has been published including banks, insurance companies and four public companies incorporated in that State. What criterion has been adopted by the Minister to determine whether an approved lending institution shall be included in the list? What criterion actuates the Minister to approve of an institution by instrument in writing as one which will be recognised as being able to give a loan for housing purposes and so attract the insurance from the Government corporation?
– The approval of societies as approved lending institutions is a matter for the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. Each application is given very real consideration to ensure that only suitable bodies are approved by the Corporation.
– 1 address my question to the Minister for Education and Science, ls the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation currently conducting tests with regard to the possible effects of the presence of fluoride in superphosphate which has been used for the top dressing of pastures? If tests are being conducted, are they related to malformation of bones, weakening of muscle and sterility in sheep?
– Although I am responsible for the CSIRO I am afraid 1 do not have that information off hand. I should like the honourable senator to put the question on notice so that the answer can be a matter of record.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is he aware that the Commonwealth Tradesmen’s Rights Regulation Act and regulations made thereunder enable migrants with trade qualifications and trade certificates from other countries to make application to a tradesmen’s rights committee in Australia to have their overseas qualifications recognised in this country? Is the Minister aware also that the regulations made under the Act do not provide any right to technicians and cameramen who have overseas qualifications and who are now working in Australia to apply for Australian recognition? Will the Minister take this matter up with the Minister for Labour and National Service and ask him to extend the regulations in a way which will give this right to overseas technicians and cameramen now engaged in the Australian television industry and also take such other steps as are considered necessary to bring the regulations into line with present day technological developments?
– I do not know but I am prepared to accept the statement that the Tradesmen’s Rights Regulation Act does encompass the conditions that the honourable senator says it does. I would be prepared to take to the Minister for Labour and National Service the suggestion made by the honourable senator for extending the regulations in the directions that he mentioned. I do not know whether any representations in this regard have yet been made by him. Perhaps he could tell me whether they have.
– No. J learned of this only today.
– This matter having been raised for the first time, J will take it to the Minister for Labour and National Service and see what is involved in it.
– Does the Minister for Repatriation recall that a few weeks ago 1 directed to him a question about the eligibility of certain war widows for extra payments under the terms of the amendments of the means test under social services legislation? As he promised to investigate the matter and to have the persons concerned informed of their entitlement by means of a notification attached to pension pay cheques, will he now accept my sincere thanks, and those of persons who raised this matter with me, for the expeditious manner in which he has dealt with the matter in that such action has already been taken? However, will be assure me that in future, whenever additional benefits are available, those people who may be entitled to them will be notified immediately so that no-one will forfeit such benefits through lack of knowledge of his entitlement?
– It is a unique experience for me to be given a vote of thanks in the manner in which this one has been given by the honourable senator. It is very refreshing and gratifying. I accept it gladly. With regard to the second part of her question, I say that the usual procedure when increased payments are available to people receiving repatriation benefits is that they are advised when their next payment is made to them. They do not suffer because of the slight delay. If we were to advise them straight away, that would involve extra expense, particularly when the number runs into thousands as it sometimes does. These war widows were in a different category, as I think the honourable senator would agree. But in the main I assure her that the suggestion that she has made will be adhered to.
– I direct a question to either the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry or the Minister for Customs and Excise. Docs the trade agreement between Australia and the Socialist Republic of Romania give preferential customs tariff rates to that country as beneficial as those granted to the United Kingdom and more generous than those granted to most countries from which Australia imports?
– The first point I make is that Australia has a special trade agreement with the United Kingdom Government under which there are preferential tariff rates for goods of United Kingdom origin. This is the British preferential tariff as distinct from the general tariff. So the answer to the honourable senator’s question is that there is no parity between our treatment of Romania and our treatment of the United Kingdom. Quite clearly the latter country has special consideration under its trade agreement with Australia. The most favoured nation rate has now been incorporated with the general rate.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry. What is the present position of the quite substantial quantity of Tasmanian fruit in ships trapped in the Suez Canal en route to the Continental market? Can the Minister say what is the present condition of the fruit? What hope exists for some financial recovery by the growers concerned? Are there any other means of disposal which would prevent a complete loss of the fruit?
– I am sorry that I cannot tell the honourable senator what the condition of the fruit is. I have no knowledge of that. It has been stored in the ships for quite a considerable time. I understand that it is insured. I also understand that the Australian Apple and Pear Board is in consultation with the Government on the matter of insurance and the amount of money that might be recovered. At this stage it would probably be better to wait and see the outcome of the discussions that are taking place between the Board, the insurance companies and the governments involved.
– Without prejudice to the peace of the Senate I should like to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Air a question about VIP aircraft. I hope that this may be the second occasion this afternoon on which he receives con.tratulatory remarks. Has the Minister seen his colleague yet and has he any answer to the questions asked yesterday?
– So many questions were asked yesterday that I am not quite sure to which ones the honourable senator is referring. I have not seen the Minister in connection with the one to which I answered No a fortnight ago. I hope to be in a position to provide at a date not later than tomorrow what I hope will be suitable answers to the honourable senator’s other questions.
– Thank you.
– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a Press report of a statement by the former Chairman of the Snowy Mountains Authority, Sir William Hudson, that the Government had acted deplorably - to use his expression - in not using the skills of the Authority in other parts of Australia? 1 ask, further, whether the Minister has noted Sir William’s statement that Australia had searched the world for an expert project team which now would vanish. Having regard to the views of Sir William Hudson and others, will the Government urgently review its decision to disband the Snowy Mountains Authority, and allow it to play a constructive role in Australia’s future?
– I noted the comments of Sir William Hudson, who was responsible for the great loyalty and teamwork that were built up in the Snowy Mountains organisation. I understand that it is a little wrong to say that the Authority is being disbanded. We have consulted the States as to works that they wish to be investigated by the Authority. I understand that the main sections, other than the constructing departments, of the Authority are being kept for consultation by the States and the Commonwealth on schemes that may arise. A great deal of the nucleus of the technical side of the Authority, I understand, is still to be kept in operation.
– I understand that the Minister representing the Minister for Territories has just received information dealing with question No. 329, so with your concurrence, Mr President, I now repeal that question:
Will the Minister confer with the Administrator of the Northern Territory to ascertain what prompted the Administrator to permit a departure from a pledge given to the Secretary of the World Protection of Animals Society that spinal wounding of buffaloes, a practice which was highlighted in a recent ‘Four Corners’ television programme, would be discontinued?
– 1 have some notes on this question which have been provided by the Minister for Territories. He states that a recent ‘Four Corners’ programme on the Northern Territory showed a sequence of buffalo shooting in the Top End which highlighted the shooting of buffaloes in the spine. This method paralyses the buffalo which remains alive until the operators are ready to slaughter it for meat. The Administrator has advised that while it was known that spinal shooting was practised some years ago the Administration advocated its abolition and had no evidence that this method of shooting buffaloes was still being used. All of the major operators in the buffalo industry ensure that the animals are either shot cleanly in the head or transported alive to the abattoir for humane killing. Spinal shooting as highlighted in the recent ‘Four Corners’ television programme does not have the approval of the Administrator and is not in any way typical of conditions in the buffalo industry. The Minister for Territories states that he has directed that proposals for amendment of the Northern Territory Wildlife Control and Conservation Ordinance be submitted to the Legislative Council to make the buffalo a partly protected animal over the whole of the Territory and to give the Administration power to enforce humane killing.
– My question, which I direct to the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs, is supplementary to the question asked by Senator Devitt. Is the Minister in a position to inform the Senate when the Suez Canal may be re-opened? The closure of the Suez Canal has had an adverse effect on the Australian economy and has caused price increases on commodities such as petrol. What action, if any, is being taken by Australia’s representatives to have the Canal re-opened?
– I do not believe that either I, the Minister for External Affairs or the Government is in a position to assure the Senate when the Suez Canal is likely to be re-opened, since so much depends on the United Arab Republic and Israel, over which countries we have no control. It certainly would be of advantage to Australia to have the Canal opened as soon as possible, but these things are not within our power.
– I ask the Minister for Housing: Does the Government agree with the proposition that finance ought to be available for home purchasers in Australia, especially young married couples, on the basis of a 10% deposit? If so, what is the Government doing to support and encourage that procedure among banks and the other lending institutions in this country?
– The honourable senator’s question relates directly to the comments he made in his speech last night during the Budget debate. He referred then to deposits on home purchases and to the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. The Government through its housing policy has endeavoured to assist young people to obtain their own homes.
Particular assistance has been given through the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. I draw the honourable senator’s attention to the recent report of the Corporation, which shows that on the average housing loans insured during 1966-67 were equal to more than 83% of the valuations. The report also shows that about 32% of those loans were equal to between 86% and 90% of the valuations, and about 10% of the loans were for amounts in excess of 90% of the valuations. These figures illustrate the very great assistance that the Corporation has given to young people to obtain their own homes.
– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Government any general policy to provide practical assistance to working mothers with dependent children? Does the Minister agree that the development of such a policy could receive a valuable stimulus from the Working Mothers and their Children’ seminar to be held at the University of Melbourne next Saturday under the sponsorship of the Professional Women’s Committee of the Australian Labor Party? Does the Government propose to have an observer at the seminar, which is to be addressed by a number of experts, regardless of political affiliations or attitudes?
– The honourable senator has raised this matter once before. I am not in a position to tell him whether the Minister for Labour and National Service proposes to send an observer to the seminar. As to the rest of the question, leaving aside matters which possibly relate to future policy and are not properly the subject of questions without notice. I will endeavour to get from the Minister a statement of what, if anything, is done in this field at present.
(Question No. 318)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following replies to the honourable senator’s questions:
(Question No. 321)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
With reference to a Press report that the Broken Hill Ply Co. Ltd, in association with a Japanese company, is considering the construction at Whyalla of a series of ships similar to the ‘Liberty’ ships, can the Minister give the Senate any details of this proposed construction, and advise whether the consortium of these two companies will be eligible for a shipbuilding subsidy in Australia?
– The Minister for Shipping and Transport has supplied the following reply:
I understand the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd, in conjunction with Ishikawajima-Harima Industries of Japan, is studying the feasibility of constructing ships of the ‘Freedom’ class at the Whyalla Shipbuilding and Engineering Works shipyard. I understand also that the examinations made so far have been of a preliminary nature and that no definite prospects have yet emerged.
At the present time the shipbuilding subsidy regarding ships built by the Whyalla Shipbuilding and Engineering Works, is payable only on ships over 200 tons gross, excluding mining dredges, intended for use in Australian coastal or inland waters.
– I have received from
Senator Keeffe an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of public importance, namely:
The failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects.
Is the proposed motion supported? (More than the number of senators required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -
– I formally move:
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till tomorrow at 11.15 a.m.
I do this for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of public importance, namely, the failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects. This Government has had power for very many years but we would rather have the power and water development projects. I should like to remind the Senate of a couple of statements in the policy speech delivered on behalf of the coalition conservative Government by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt). He said:
We have in mind a national water resources development programme. Its purpose would be to increase water conservation activity, to reduce hazards of drought and expand primary production.
We contemplate, however, that the contribution to be made by the Commonwealth for selected additional works could amount to $50m over the next5 years.
It is a shocking state of affairs that over a period of many months even the surveys that would be necessary before this expenditure, or even part of it, could be incurred were not carried out. This point was raised by my colleague, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), in another place yesterday when he discussed a similar proposal. Afterwards the honourable member for Dawson was taken to task by the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn), who is reported in Hansard as having said: in fact after about 61/2 months the Government was in touch with the States and asked them for their projects.
Later he said:
So far only half of them have come in.
To me, to Queenslanders and to honourable senators on this side of the chamber this shows the great delay that has occurred on the part of the Government - that is, if it was fair dinkum about its promises in the first instance.
Over a long period of years we have heard of the Government’s intentions, but they have never got past the point of being intentions. We have no concrete evidence that anything will be done within the foreseeable future to provide facilities for the storage of water or the manufacture of power. The Australian Labor Party’s attitude to this question - it was stated quite clearly at the last Federal Conference and on numerous occasions previously - is that it would carry out an investigation and development of the Burnett, Fitzroy, Pioneer, Burdekin and Herbert river systems. It is tremendously significant to note that at no point of time during the present campaign for the Capricornia by-election has the Minister for National Development been seen in the area. Why has he not appeared at some point of time to explain the Government’s attitude? Why has he not appeared on behalf of the Liberal Party’s candidate in an effort to overcome the problems with which he is now faced? I suggest that the Minister has not appeared because, in the good old Australian term, he is scared stiff. He is not game to be seen in that area because he has no explanation to offer. At a later stage I want to refer to a statement that was made by the Minister in conjunction with two other people a few weeks before there was any thought of a by-election campaign. It is one of the most pious statements that I have ever heard.
Perhaps there are some people in the southern part of Australia who think that Queenslanders adopt a parochial attitude when they ask for Commonwealth assistance for such projects. I assure honourable senators that my State has a great water potential. Indeed, the whole of northern Australia has a great water potential. All we lack is the means to conserve our water. Year after year millions of gallons of water that is available in the wet season flows out to sea or is lost through evaporation. Consequently, we need conservation projects. In a recent bulletin published by the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology, this statement appeared in relation to Queensland:
July is a dry season month and many places, particularly in the inland, received no rain in July 1967. The only district in which rainfall was above average was the Upper Carpentaria where the district figure was about half an inch and even in this district some places were rainless. The Western, Far Southwest, the west of the Warrego and the South Peninsula districts were entirely rainless. The slight rainfall of the North Peninsula was much below average. Elsewhere rainfall was about average but did not exceed two inches.
On 31st July, the Callide dam, on the Fitzroy River held only 0.1% of its total capacity. Let me quote now a summary that was incorporated in a report produced by the Rockhampton and District Regional Research and Promotion Bureau. I might say here that the Government candidate in the Capricornia by-election was one of those associated with the compilation of the report. This report is dated 21st November 1966 - almost a year ago - and the Government has not taken any notice of it. In fact, the Government has treated it in the way in which it has treated its candidate in the Capricornia by-election; it has cast the report aside. If the Government had not cast aside its candidate in the byelection, the Minister for National Development would have taken part in the campaign on his behalf. This report is the result of negotiations extending over a very long period and many approaches for assistance to enable a start to be made on this major water conservation scheme in the Emerald area. Government spokesmen in another place have said that the Government is not prepared to grant this assistance at this point of time because it wants all proposals to be submitted before allocating the funds. I venture the opinion that no attempt will be made to allocate any of the $5 Om which the Government proposes to spend over the next 5 years until just prior to the next federal elections in 1969 when the Government will suddenly remember that it made certain promises. In the meantime, Queensland will be forced to remain dry for another 2 years.
I come now to some of the points contained in the summary to which I have referred. They have particular reference to the question under discussion and they are of urgent interest to the people of the Emerald district. They are as follows:
Irrigation is the main development need for Central Queensland as it has only 6.2% nf the irrigated land in Queensland.
The Emerald Scheme would lead to a population increase of over 4,000 persons.
Benefits to the Beef Industry are many and include: Drought relief at economic prices for Central and Northern Queensland.
The establishment of a permanent chilled beef export trade. The introduction of early weaning as a profitable management practice on at least 1,000 breeding properties.
Other induced benefits from the scheme include: Local manufacture of insecticides, and possibly, fertiliser, as the scheme will require £300,000 worth each year. Increased railway earnings of £230,000 per year, without capital outlays.
Generally increased activities at meatworks, wharves and cotton ginneries. Additional ginning payments of £700,000 per year to be circulated throughout the community.
Increased demands for power, and all tertiary industries supplying goods and services.
More efficient use of existing basic facilities, because of increased demand.
The scheme will benefit Australia as a whole because it will bring:
Decentralisation and development of the north.
Export earnings from beef and grain, and direct import savings on raw cotton and vegetable oils, amounting to over £3.5 million per annum.
A major conservation scheme to the largest river basin on the east coast of Australia, described in the joint report as ‘one of the richest areas on comparable size in Australia in terms of land, mineral and water resources.
This is probably the first public airing that this report hashad. It has been in the hands of the Government since 21st November 1 966 and the Government has done nothing about it.I suggest that the Government does not intend to do anything about it. All parts of Queensland need water, but it is needed most urgently in those areas which have a low annual rainfall and in which no conservation facilities have yet been provided. There are some areas in which conservation facilities have been established, but they have been provided by the State Government, and in particular by State Labor governments in past years. Tinaroo, Koombooloomba and many other schemes were initiated, and in many instances completed, by Labor governments. Recently a Mr F. Beaver, who was associated with the Monver Development Company Pty Ltd said that northern Australia lost $80m every year from stock losses due to mortality and very low calving percentages resulting from lack of feed. He is associated with the establishment of a new stock feed manufacturing plant at Kairi, which will come into production early in November with an annual production rate of 15,000 tons on a one shift basis. This area of the far north is given over largely to maize, tobacco, dairying and in recent times the growing of peanuts and other types of crops. Again, water is needed in the area. Those who know the far north would know that the channels which run into the tobacco country from Tinaroo Dam have made a tremendous improvement to the cropping qualities of the areas in this particular part of the State. I am deliberately putting these schemes in their various groups, not necessarily because of their order of importance, because they are schemes that are well known to many Australians and most Queenslanders.
The brigalow area, which extends from a range in the northern parts of New South Wales to the vicinity of Collinsville, is an inland tract with a total length of some 700 miles. It has been developed in recent times with some Commonwealth assistance, it is true. As has been said by many people who know the country well, sometimes the cart has been put before the horse; in other words, the development has taken place but no power will be made available and no water will be conserved in the manner in which it ought to be conserved for proper development of the scheme. The Fitzroy River basin scheme covers some 11 million acres.
I referred earlier to a joint statement made by the Minister for National Development, the Queensland Premier, Mr Nicklin, and Mr Court, the Western Australian Minister for Industrial Development. The statement was made at Rockhampton in these words:
We have reached the point where it is no longer practicable for Australia to think of northern development solely in terms of individual projects, even though some involve hundreds of millions of dollars. We have agreed that the future overall approach should be to regional and industrial developments based on the great natural resources already known to exist throughout the north. In short, we feel that we can now pursue more positively the sort of development in depth that we envisaged when we held our first ministerial meeting on northern development in May 1964.
After the first meeting was held many months elapsed before these people attended this meeting Honourable senators will recall that a similar statement was incorporated in the Government’s policy speech prior to the 1963 general elections. when the newspapers referred to the big three and much publicity was given to the fact that Western Australia, Queensland and the Commonwealth were to meet on northern development. Many months elapsed before another meeting was held. Finally, a few weeks ago, this statement was issued at Rockhampton. The Minister has not been game to go back to Rockhampton from that day to this because he cannot supply answers to the questions that are continually being asked in Capricornia at the moment. At Gladstone. Mount Morgan or anywhere in the Callide area of Capricornia the same. old question is asked: ‘Why does not the Minister come up here while the by-election campaign is on and tell us why we will not get our water and why no conservation schemes will be made available to us or capita] for us to build on?’
In 1966 the National Farmers Union carried a resolution in these terms:
That the National Farmers Union make representations to the Commonwealth Government requesting that the personnel of the Snowy Mountains Authority should not be disbanded, particularly the investigation and design section, but that the Authority should be utilised in other areas of Australia.
Earlier last year the Queensland Cane Growers Council annual conference carried a similar resolution. The one carried by the National Farmers Union was a follow up to that. My colleague, Senator Tangney, passed to me a while ago a copy of a Press statement. A report had been made by Sir William Hudson in which he stated in part that the Commonwealth Government had acted deplorably in not using the skills of the Snowy Mountains Authority in other parts of Australia. These words are very significant and they come from one of the greatest engineers of our times, one of the most capable men who have been associated with the Snowy Mountains Authority at any moment of its history. Last year we debated in this chamber an urgent matter of public importance for the express objective of conserving the Snowy Mountains Authority. We said that we needed this organisation for the future of Australia, but the Government saw fit to almost disband the Authority because it considered that ils work was finished.
We find in the Budget this year that expenditure on the Snowy Mountains
Hydro-electric Authority will taper ofl. This year the expenditure is estimated at $42 m, which is nearly $7m less than last year. Quite recently the Leader of my Party. Mr Whitlam, quoted figures to show that Mie returns for the current year from the Authority were of the order of $25m If honourable senators believe thai the conservation of water and the provision of power are projects which lose money they are quite wrong. All these projects in their time produce revenue for the Government of Australia. I remind honourable senators also that of all the millions of dollars that have been made available for the conservation of water, not one cent has ever gone to Queensland.
Another member of the Opposition in another place had information supplied to him by the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) in relation to water conservation projects since 1950. The first one mentioned was the Comprehensive Water Supply Scheme in Western Australia for which the Commonwealth made a grant of $10m. For stage one of the Ord project in Western Australia the grant was Si 2.2m. This is a shocking situation. Honourable senators opposite will recall the rebuff they received in Western Australia in 1966. This was due largely to lack of development in that State and the Government’s failure to grant additional money for the Ord project. The reply continued:
Chowilla Reservoir, South Australia - under the River Murray Waters Agreement the Commonwealth, along with the Stales of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, is contributing towards the cost of the Chowilla reservoir, in addition the Commonwealth is making a loan to New South Wales of its share of the cost.
This was the subject of another very lengthy and very involved debate in this chamber. The reply continued:
Blowering Dam (New South Wales) - the Commonwealth is making a loan to New South Wales of half the cost of the Blowering Dam.
South-West Region Water Supply (being the second stage of the Comprehensive Water Supply Scheme) Western Australia - the Commonwealth is providing financial assistance of $10.5rn by way of loans.
Even these loans are indicative of the attitude of a cheese-paring Government towards national projects. But Queensland is even worse off because it has been given nothing. It is all very well for Government supporters and Cabinet Ministers to visit the
Stale now that we are to have a by-election - I exclude the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) who is scared stiff about going there - but they do not stay more than overnight before leaving again. They have been able to produce streams of figures in respect of development that is taking place, but very little Commonwealth money is included in the figures for any project. Certainly there has been none for developmental purposes. When a Liberal member of the House of Representatives was in Queensland he introduced all sorts of strange figures. They were effectively debunked a day or two later. He quoted private enterprise jobs such as the building of factories and things like that.
The Government says that it is spending this money. The Prime Minister; when he is not making social speeches or fishing on Dunk island, goes out of his way to quote all sorts of fishy figures - that is the only way one can describe them - about the development that is supposed to be taking place. It is nonsense. He gives figures that are years old or figures on money that is supplied by private enterprise or the State Government at some point of time. Not at any point of time has this Government supplied money.
If we had water we could grow many crops effectively in Queensland with advantage to that State and to Australia. Wc need water to grow stock feed. We need it to grow cereals. Rice is one of the new crops that are being experimented with in the Burdekin dam area. .Last year the Australian consumption of milled rice was 30,000 tons; and we exported 30,000 tons to Papua and New Guinea, 25,000 tons to Okinawa, 15,000 tons to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, 8,000 tons to the United Kingdom, 2,000 tons to Hong Kong and 6,000 tons to Guam. Experimental crops are being grown in the Burdekin area. We have talked about the Burdekin dam scheme in this Parliament until we are blue in the face. Prior to the defeat of the Federal Labor Government on 10th December 1949 agreement had been reached between that Government and the Queensland Labor Government to proceed with the scheme. But immediately this Government took office all of these progressive projected items of legislation were shelved. The Government has never been able to find them since. Neither has anyone else in Australia. If water were made available in increasing quantities in the Burdekin area, it is obvious that not only rice but also many other types of crops could be grown there. At the moment the little water that is available is required largely for the sugar industry.
Let me recapitulate some of the points that I. have made: In the Townsville area, where the Government is establishing a major Army base, in the immediate future there will be insufficient water to supply the city. The city of Townsville is the second fastest growing major city in Australia. Only Canberra has a rate of growth exceeding that of Townsville. Last year Townsville had 20.3 inches of rain. That was the total rainfall for the year. Except for a few weeks, people were not able to use sprinklers for their gardens. In the latter part of the year the use of hoses held in the hand was reduced to a few hours a week. In the early part of this year the rainfall was good. We received some rain in the middle of winter. But again there has been a long period of dry .weather. Hosing restrictions have been instituted. The city fathers, parliamentary representatives and. most of all, local residents who have to have plenty of water in order to earn a living are asking what will happen in the future.
It is true that a second pipeline from Mount Spec is being built, but nothing has been done to speed that up. The Commonwealth does not take any interest in that. We will probably be forced to subscribe to the development of the Five Head Dam scheme to enable the second fastest growing city of the Commonwealth to have enough water to be able to survive. The real need is for Commonwealth finance to be made available so that the Burdekin scheme can be instituted. If that were done there could be unlimited water supplies not only for the Townsville area but for tens of thousands of acres of country around that area.
Let us look at another side of the picture. We want power development too. What has the Government done about that? It ls a pity that we have to criticise. Of course, if we did not have an alternative policy we would be in no position to criticise. The Labor Party as the alternative government has a policy arid I can assure the Senate that these underdeveloped parts of
Australia would not remain underdeveloped under a Labor Government. Some years ago natural gas was found in very extensive fields in the south, in the central west and in other parts of my State. We also found fairly extensive deposits of oil. Almost invariably the Country Party dominated Government in Queensland - I am not quite sure who dominates whom in this Government: while its members are not fighting they are trying to make excuses for themselves - this Government’s own colleagues at the State level blame the Commonwealth Government and say that it is responsible for holding back the State of Queensland. They have said this and it appears in the Slate Hansard if honourable senators opposite want to read it.
In South Australia, where deposits of natural gas were found in measurable commercial quantities, the Labor Premier did not beat about the bush. He got out and got moving and he was successful, because of the case that he and his Government were able to put and because of his personal ability and the ability of his Cabinet and colleagues, in obtaining Commonwealth finance, provision for some of which is made in this year’s Budget, for the development of natural gas deposits. What happeed in our State? We probably have as good a field as has South Australia. We probably have as good a field as has been found off the coast of Victoria, but only now are we talking about building a pipeline to bring our natural gas to the coast. There is no suggestion that any of it will go to the central area, where it could conceivably be taken. Who will own the pipeline? It will be owned by private business, which is setting the terms on which natural gas will be made available to the people of Queensland. If the Government is incapable of doing something, surely to goodness it could collaborate with private enterprise and put in a share towards the development of these great reserves. When the pipeline was built to take oil from the Roma area to the coast there was a great how do you do as to who would construct the pipeline. Finally private enterprise, with no opposition from the Commonwealth Government, decided to buy the pipeline in Japan and in many instances the pipes have been full of holes ever since.
These are things about which we have a very real grievance. The Government should give us an opportunity to govern this country. Tt is obvious that it will not do that but the people of Australia will sooner or later, and much sooner than the Government thinks. They will give us an opportunity. We will put a progressive policy into practice. We will see that a Minister is appointed to take charge of the development of the whole of northern Australia. We believe that the Government adopts a cheeseparing attitude towards this development and deals with it in a piecemeal way. It does not think that the north of Australia matters except when there is an election on. Finally 1 ask this question again: Why does not the Minister for National Development appear in the Capricornia by-election campaign?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– I think Senator Keeffe set the standard of his contribution right at the very beginning and he topped it off at the end. At the beginning he said that the reason why the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) had not been in the Capricornia area during the by-election campaign was that he was scared stiff to go there. I want to abide by parliamentary practice so I cannot use words that 1 would like to use to describe such a statement. I satisfy myself under the circumstances with saying that there is not one shred of truth in it nor was there a modicum of truth in the whole of the contribution that the honourable senator made. If I were not required to abide by parliamentary practice I could describe that very much moTe succinctly and very much more emphatically. 1 say again that his contribution has not been a contribution of truth. Having said that, let me look at the terms of the matter that he has raised. Senator Keeffe wandered over every aspect of northern development and did not confine himself to the terms of the matter of urgency that he has raised, which relates to Queensland. It does not by any stretch of the imagination bring in other States, particularly Western Australia. These were all brought into the debate by Senator Keeffe but I do not want to do this. I want to stick to the matter that is before us, which relates to the failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects.
Let us look at this. First let us deal with the question of financial assistance for urgently required water development projects. It may be interesting and educational for Senator Keeffe to learn that at present there are twenty irrigational projects in process of establishment in Queensland. Do Senator Keeffe and his colleagues expect that the developmental work that takes place in any State must be on the basis of a special and particular grant for that special and particular purpose? This is ridiculous. The honourable senator ought to learn that the funds which every State gets come in the main from tax reimbursements by the Federal Government. They comprise the States’ shares of tax revenue. This is the large bulk of the finance available to any State government. Out of that bulk of finance it is expected to proceed with its own development. There are occasions when very special needs are projected and special applications are made for these particular purposes. But in the main it is the responsibility of all States to attend to their own developmental needs from the funds which they receive in bulk as tax reimbursements.
Having that point in mind I again remind the Senate that at present twenty irrigational projects are in course of construction in Queensland, all of them being financed by money which has come from the Commonwealth not in direct grants for these particular purposes but in tax reimbursement payments. In addition, the Queensland Government has been very much aware of the need for two other major developmental projects, one being the Nogoa project and the other the Kolan project. I have not the figures at my fingertips but broadly speaking these two projects will require some $50m. This shows one of the aspects of the timing of the raising of this matter for discussion. The Queensland Government has applied to the Federal Government for special assistance for both of these water resources schemes. At this moment Commonwealth departments are investigating in depth both the Kolan and Nogoa water schemes to discover whether they are economic propositions. Do honourable senators opposite expect any government to rush in and establish a huge irrigation pro ject without first satisfying itself about the economics of the scheme? That would not be good administration, lt would be culpable negligence. Obviously Senator Keeffe would like the Federal Government to follow that course, but he has not the responsibility of determining whether the schemes are satisfactory.
Not very long ago I spoke in this chamber on the Kolan and Nogoa schemes. It will be remembered that the Nogoa scheme was proposed some years ago by the Queensland Government and a request was made to the Federal Government for assistance. Rightly, the Federal Government referred the project to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to discover whether it was practical and economic. At that stage, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), who proposed yesterday in another place that the subject of water and power development be discussed as a matter of public importance, was a senior officer in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. The Bureau reported that under the conditions then operating it was not an economic scheme for the Federal Government to encourage. To the credit of the Federal Government it said that until a report was submitted- indicating that it would be an economic project, it was afraid that it could not proceed.
The Queensland Government investigated the matter still further in width as well as in depth. It explored the possibility of starting other projects in the area, apart from those first discussed. As a result of the widening of the investigation the Queensland Government now believes that the Nogoa scheme is quite economic and practical. It has applied to the Federal Government for assistance. Several members of the Liberal Party have been interested in the Kolan and Nogoa schemes. We have done all we can to ensure that early attention will be given to them. We have every reason to believe, because we have been told of the deep investigation now being made by the Federal Government, that the Queensland Government will be given assistance for the two schemes. I am not prepared to say that we will get the total of $50m for which application has been made, but 1 believe that an amount of assistance will be determined when investigations are completed.
T would like a little later in my speech to return to the subject of water. I would like to turn now to the second leg of the matter of urgency, which relates to power development projects. Perhaps 1 should give some credit to Senator Keeffe for referring to water conservation projects. It is true that we would like to see more irrigation projects in Queensland. However, we should not forget that under present living conditions throughout the world today we cannot get everything we want. We hope for a continual and steady improvement. At present I think there are about 322,000 acres in Queensland under irrigation. Each month more areas come under irrigation. Turning to electricity, I think honourable senators ought to know that the Queensland Government has made no request whatsoever to the Federal Government for special project assistance for electricity reticulation, at least in the past several years. Why not? It has proceeded with its electricity reticulation and development out of the broad general funds received through taxation reimbursement. Since 1963 electricity generation in Queensland has increased by about 32%, and 1 believe this to be a record for all States. Only the general resources of the Queensland Government have been used, from funds granted through normal channels by the Federal Government. How can the Federal Government properly be charged with laxity when in fact in the past 4 years electricity generation and reticulation in Queensland have been expanded by about 32%?
I am not saying that the picture of the expansion of electricity resources in country areas of Queensland is bright and shining. Electricity has been reticulated in areas of Queensland where even 3 or 4 years ago such development would not have been anticipated, at least for another 5- or 10 years. I think the State Electricity Commission of Queensland has done a remarkably fine job, as has the Queensland Government in the way it has stood behind the Commission and ensured that our people get the services they require.
I have restricted myself very carefully to the terms of the matter of urgency, which apply to water and electricity. Had the terms been made a little wider, I could have said a great deal about other development works which have taken place in Queensland. The motion has been moved in timing with the by-election that is to take place in the Capricornia electorate on Saturday next. I appreciate that Senator Keeffe is trying to make every post a winner, but he will find that every one will be a loser. The Federal Government has assisted mightily in the Capricornia electorate in the development of the brigalow scheme. Various opinions are held about the total value of the brigalow scheme. It covers many millions of square miles. I think it is at least generally agreed that had the scheme not been proceeded with the turn-off of cattle in Queensland would have been seriously below what it is now and what it will be in future. I repeat that this scheme could have been proceeded with only with the assistance of the Federal Government.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– It is interesting that in a debate such as this, held at this time, the Minister for Supply (Senator Henty) who represents the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) in this chamber, did nol take the lead for the Government.
– The Government trusts me.
– Well, it must be very trusting, and it might be incompetent too. Senator Morris referred to the right of Senator Keeffe to mention the absence of the Minister for National Development from the electorate of Capricornia during the present by-election campaign. The Minister might have every reason not to have been there. He may not have been invited. The people there may have been very disappointed with him since he became the Minister for National Development. The Government might not have been game to allow him to go there. It might even have held him here.
It is interesting to note that although he could afford the time to be in Brisbane last week to appear on ‘Meet the Press’ he could not afford the time to appear in the electorate of Capricornia even though the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt), the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr McMahon, who is also the Treasure - not that he was very much help to the Liberal Party in the campaign - the Leader of the Country Party, Mr McEwen, who is the Minister for Trade and Industry, the Deputy Leader of the Country Party, M r Adermann, who is the Minister for Primary Industry, the Minister for Housing in this place (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin), the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) and many others could go there. The Minister for National Development could spare the time in Brisbane to appear on ‘Meet the Press’ despite the fact that it is his Department which is being challenged in this byelection campaign. We make no apology for bringing this matter forward at this time. The people are entitled to have the Opposition’s views ventilated before them and the Government is entitled to defend itself if it is capable of doing so.
Senator Morris also mentioned that at present some twenty water schemes are being inaugurated or constructed in Queensland. Does he know that a number of those are town water supplies? Certainly they are probably being used for irrigation purposes, but it is the irrigation of gardens to grow lettuce, cabbages and so on. We are talking about major schemes, not town water supplies. We realise that the State Government through the local government authorities is responsible for its own town water supplies. Although the Minister said in the other chamber and also on ‘Meet the Press’ that there were twenty schemes in Queensland, even he admitted that some were town water supplies. Surely the Government cannot claim credit for those.
We have heard talk about the Nogoa Gap and the Kolan River. In 1962 the Nicklin Government approached the Federal Government in relation to schemes on the Nathan, Kolan and Dawson Rivers. The Fitzroy has a watershed of over 58,000 square miles. Its major tributaries are the Dawson, the Comet and the Nogoa, all with eminently suitable dam sites but not a damn thing has been done in relation to damming. That is the unfortunate thing.
– They must be damn lazy.
– The Federal Government is lazy. The only major water schemes which have been inaugurated in Queensland are on the Tinaroo and Koombooloomba, and these were inaugurated by a Labor Government. I concede that successive Nicklin Governments have introduced minor irrigation schemes. That is to their credit because they have received no direct assistance from the Federal Government. I have said that the Fitzroy watershed extends over 58,000 square miles and has many eminently suitable dam sites and much arable land.
The Bureau of Agricultural Economics investigated the Nogoa Gap proposal in 1965 and its report was available in the middle of last year but even as recently as yesterday the Minister for National Development refused to table the report. He said that he would not make it available. All we have is the word of the Minister and of Senator Morris that the report was condemnatory of the project. If that is the position and the Government feels justified in refusing to accede to what we consider to be the legitimate demand of the people, why does it not table the report in the Parliament and make it available to the people in general - to the electors of Capricornia in particular - so that they will know that the Government considers they are not entitled to an irrigation scheme that would water 51,000 acres at a cost of $26m? The Government has agreed to provide $16m by way of loan and $10m by way of grant in relation to the land needed by the sugar industry in the Burnett district, but it has done nothing in relation to the Nogoa and proposes to do nothing. It has not said anything about the likelihood of acceding to the request of the Queensland Government, yet we hear Senator Morris and other honourable senators on the Government side telling us what the Federal Government is doing.
The Minister for National Development, in justification of his refusal to provide Commonwealth money for power and irrigation projects in Queensland, even said that over the next 5 years the Government, will provide $20m by way of loan for softwood plantations and another $3m this year for mapping the whole of Australia - approximately $1 a square mile of Australia’s 3 million square miles. That is the Government’s attitude. It talks almost in terms of threepenny bits at a time when the gross national product is $23 billion and in a year in which the Government will collect and distribute $6,483m. It will not talk in terms of one major project in
Queensland, a State which has a tremendous water run-off each year and which has eminently suitable rivers and watersheds - the Burdekin, the Pioneer, the Fitzroy with its major tributaries and the Burnett. Not one project is receiving Commonwealth assistance.
– What would be grown on the irrigated land?
– Sorghum. If the honourable senator went to the hinterland of Capricornia he would see crops growing there now despite the limited average rainfall of 15 to 25 inches a year. If the honourable senator went to Capella and around Emerald he would see sorghum and maize growing there, and doing well too, despite the lack of an assured supply of water. The honourable senator should read the report of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and think about the 51,000 acres which would be irrigated from the Nogoa Gap scheme. I have seen the report. Even though the Government has not made it available, there are ways of getting hold of such reports.
Senator Morris mentioned that the Queensland Government had not made any approach to the Federal Government in relation to power. I think that fact condemns the Queensland Government as well as the Federal Government because at Weipa in Queensland are the major bauxite deposits in the world. There are probably 1.600,000,000 tons of bauxite of commercial grade averaging up to the present 50% alumina. It is taken to Gladstone where it is refined into alumina and it is then carted away. Some 600,000 tons of alumina is now being produced every year and it is proposed to increase this to 900,000 tons a year.
The bauxite in Western Australia which is not of such a high commercial grade as that at Weipa is taken to Port Henry in Victoria. The Victorian Government under Mr Bolte - certainly a Liberal Premier but I concede the merit of his approach to this problem - ensured that smelters were available. Metallic alumina is being produced. The lower grade and smaller deposits in Western Australia are refined at Kwinana and are shipped to Port Henry for smelting into alumina. In Queensland, because of a lack of power no consideration is given to the establishment of an alumina industry.
We have heard Senator Morris say that there is no need for power, on the one hand, and a need for electrical expansion on the other. We are not talking about house supplies. Senator Keeffe was talking about the legitimate demands of industry for expansion in a State bursting at the seams and where almost every month new mineral deposits and new potentialities are being revealed to the world at large. But these are being exploited by overseas interests. A lot of our raw materials is being shipped overseas. We could have an alumina industry at Gladstone. After all, the high standard of living in certain countries of the world is determined not by their primary production but by their secondary industries. In the ultimate that is what establishes a high standard of living. You cannot live at a really high standard if you depend entirely on primary production. Consequently it is too ridiculous for words to hear it said that there is no need for any more power in Queensland. Senator Morris should know that as well as anyone else.
When Senator Morris referred to the brigalow country I pleaded with him to enlarge the debate. When we consider the benefits conferred on Queensland by the Federal Government we see that the only grant the State has received has been in relation to beef roads. In 1961, when the Federal Government decided to make an advance for this purpose, it agreed to provide two-thirds of the cost by way of grant. Now this has been whittled down to onehalf of the cost. Certainly it is still a large amount. Some $23.5m is to be made available for three brigalow areas, all of it by way of loan, and all to be repaid over a comparatively short period at a high rate of interest.
Let me refer to the development of Gladstone Harbour to handle the shipping of coal. Out of a total cost of some $400,000 the Commonwealth Government was so miserable that it made available only $200,000 by way of grant and the remaining $200,000 by way of loan, whereas at Newcastle and Port Kembla it made available $6m, a large part of it by way of grant and a smaller portion by way of loan. That is the position. We are talking about a discriminatory approach. We do not begrudge funds being made available to the southern States of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia for the
Snowy Mountains hydro-electric scheme, the Blowering Dam and the Chowilla Dam. The Government is now reneging on the Chowilla project, but whether justifiably or not I do not know. We are not talking about the Si Om that was granted to Western Australia for its water supply. We are not talking about the $12. 4m that was given for the establishment of the primary section of the Ord River scheme. We are not talking of the large amounts of money that were made available - 70% of them by way of grant - for the Albury to Melbourne railway or the sum of $40m that was required for the Port Pirie to Broken Hill railway, again 70% of which was by way of grant, the balance being repayable over 50 years. We are not talking of the $40m or $50m which is to be made available to Western Australia for the standardisation of the Kalgoorlie to Kwinana railway. We are not quarrelling with the fact that approximately $34m was made available for the reconditioning of the Townsville-Mount Isa-Collinsville railway. This money was made available by way of loan, and it is repayable at a high interest rate over 20 years.
Surely this is sufficient to indicate the discriminatory approach that has been adopted over the years, lt took successive Federal Governments 12 years - that is from 10th December 1949 until the last 2 days of the sitting of the Senate before the 1961 election - to agree to provide £650,000 for the first beef road from Normantown to Julia Creek and then £20m as a loan for the reconditioning of the Townsville-Mount Isa-Collinsville railway. Before the last election the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) said he realised how essential water conservation was, particularly following a period of drought such as that which has just been experienced in Queensland and New South Wales. The Prime Minister said that $50m would be made available by the Federal Government over 5 years for water conservation. Does he not realise how miserable $50m is? In some years the Government has spent $60m on the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric scheme to serve the interests of the southern States. All this money was taken from the Australian taxpayers.
– Some of it came from the World Bank.
– No. In only two years was money received from the World Bank for this project. I will not be sidetracked, but let me tell Senator Scott the truth if he can recognise it. For a number of years the Government spent between £20m and £30m a year on the Snowy Mountains scheme. Then 3 years ago it went to the World Bank and borrowed $44m. Now the Commonwealth is receiving a return of $25m or S26m each year. It will spend about $43m on the project this year. But I do net want to digress as a result of the rude interruption of Senator Scott, who is usually so courteous.
The position is that the Prime Minister said that $50m would be made available over 5 years for water conservation. Does he realise how far that money would go or how little it would do? 1 do not think he does, particularly when we consider that although Australia is the driest continent in the world it has some of the greatest runoffs of water of any country. In Senator Scott’s own State of Western Australia there is a terrific run-off from the Ord and Fitzroy rivers. It is larger than the run-off from the Darling River system in the south, although it probably occurs in a shorter time. In Queensland we have the Burdekin River, the Pioneer River, the Burnett River and the Fitzroy River and its tributaries, but we can get nothing at all for water conservation in this particular State.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired. Before we proceed any further, I suggest that when referring to amounts of money honourable senators should do so in terms of dollars and not pounds.
– Having been a member of the Senate for a long time and having watched the members of the Australian Labor Party, I am amazed that for the first time in history they have moved an urgency motion in relation to water and power projects in Queensland. I think that we have to ascertain to the satisfaction of our own minds why Senator Keeffe has moved this urgency motion and why it is being supported by all Opposition senators. The first and second speakers on behalf of the Opposition are Queensland senators. The interesting thing which immediately springs to my mind is thai there must be a by-election in Queensland.
– Whereabouts is it?
– It is in an electorate called Capricornia. That is the reason why after all these years the Labor Party has seen fit to bring forward this proposal relating to water and power. It is doing so in the hope that it will gain a few votes for the candidate that it is supporting in the by-election for the seat of Capricornia. It is quite plain to everybody in the Senate and in Australia that the Opposition and the Government have quite different views on development in Australia. The Labor Party believes in developing this country by using moneys which have been derived from the taxpayers. Its own candidate in the by-election for the scat of Capricornia has said that he believes in government control. Senator Keeffe in his speech today did not’ say anything about private investment. He referred to what the Government should do in relation to developing water and power in Queensland.
When we look at what this Government has done not only in Queensland but throughout the length and breadth of Australia we find that the achievements of no other political party can compare with those of the Government parties. This is factual. Senator Dittmer mentioned that there are large deposits of bauxite in northern Queensland. He said that it was being sent to Gladstone to be turned into alumina before being exported overseas to be treated and turned into aluminium. This is a wonderful thing for Queensland. But all the money that is being used in the development of Weipa is being provided by private enterprise.
– The Government provided some money.
– The only money that we have spent on Weipa is $2m or $3m for the development of a port. When we look at the development of coal in Queens.land we find that Theiss, Peabody and Mitsui Coal Co. Pty Ltd has export contracts which will amount to 45 million tons between 1965 and 1978. They will be worth approximately $392m. The company delivered 1.6 million tons of coal in 1966 and it expects to deliver 2 million tons in 1967 and 5 million tons in 1968. The capital investment in that project is $30m or $40m. This a tremendous amount of money. We can go from one end of Queensland to the other and see what private enterprise is doing to develop the State.
– What is the Government doing?
– It is not the Government’s job to do the spending. It is the Government’s prerogative - and it is our policy - to create a climate which will attract private capital into the country to develop it. We know what the Labor Party’s record has been down through the ages. We know that the moment a Labor government gets control of the finances of the country capital ceases to flow from overseas and development stops. This has happened in all States of Australia. I repeat that the moment a Labor government is elected money ceases to flow from overseas for development of the country by private enterprise.
Let me show just what money is being used for the development of the northern part of Queensland at the moment. Take Cape York Peninsula first. Private enterprise is spending $20m on developing the cattle industry there by the introduction of pasture improvement, the use of superphosphate and so on. The carrying capacity of the land is being increased from one beast to 100 acres to one beast to 2 or 3 acres. What does this Government believe its functions to be? We believe that it is the Government’s responsibility firstly to encourage private enterprise to find the money for the development of projects such as these and secondly to provide facilities for the export of the products of those projects. The Government’s task is to build roads, to develop ports and ro develop landing facilities for aircraft.
– The Government is not building the roads.
– The honourable senator claims that the Government is not supplying money for the development of northern areas. Let me point out to him that between 1961 and 1967 this Government spent, a total of $20. 5m on beef roads in Australia. During that period, the Queensland Government found the sum of $2m. making the grand total spent on beef roads $22. 5m. These moneys, largely provided by the Commonwealth, are being spent to provide transport facilities for the promotion and development of the beef industry of Queensland. Before we came to office in 1949, very little money had been spent by the Labor Government on projects such as this in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and north Queensland. I repeat that since we have been in office wc have provided $20.5m, and we will continue with the beef roads scheme. It is important that wc do this because our policy is to encourage private enterprise to come in and develop these areas. We have been very successful because hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on development throughout Queensland during our term of office whereas if a Labor government had been in office during that period that money would not have come in.
Let me refer briefly now to the reason for this debate. It is introduced in order to help the Labor candidate in Capricornia D. N. Everingham. He comes from Queensland and has written an article which was published in a journal called ‘Discussion’ dated April 1967. I have a copy of it with me and I shall refer only briefly to it because it is headed ‘A Socialist’s Thoughts on the Documents’.
– This is out of order.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Cormack) - Order! Senator Dittmer will remain silent.
– I propose to proceed with my quotation because it gives a Socialist’s thoughts as published in a Communist journal known as ‘Discussion’. The Labor candidate for Capricornia is a doctor. In the article to which I have referred, Dr Everingham said: lt is unnecessary to nationalise banks and insurance companies since the Commonwealth Reserve Bank can now dictate lending policy, thanks largely to Tory precedents. Decentralised lending co-ops ought to take over the bulk of the banking subject to general central bank limitations. There is no need to ‘begin’ with Ansett Industries since they can be forced to sell out to Trans Australia Air Lines by the simple expedient of giving TAA all the free enterprise rights now reserved to Ansett (road transport, hotels, intrastate flights, capital ploughback etc.). lt may be desirable to keep some of the benefits to the consumer of a competitive situation by encouraging the setting up of ‘teams’ within the combined TAA-Ansett complex. Big producers like Australian Consolidated Industries-
This is the Socialist talking - . . Colonial Sugar Refining and Broken Hill Proprietary, ought to be under the general control of a national bureau of resources and conservation. The boards of control of public enterprises ought to have representation from consumers as well as producers, e.g., for BHP there would be spokesmen from building, toolmaking, automotive etc. trades, for ACI spokesmen from pharmacists, veterinarians, agricultural schools etc.
That is the comment of Dr Everingham, the Labor candidate for Capricornia, a selfconfessed Socialist.
– What is wrong with that?
– Nothing at all, but everybody in the electorate should know that he is a self-confessed Socialist. I have not. yet had explained to me to my satisfaction by any member of the Opposition the difference between a Socialist and a Communist. I do not know the difference. The next speaker for the Opposition might be able to tell me the difference between a Socialist and a Communist. As I have said, this Socialist is standing for the seat of Capricornia.
– I rise to order. I ask that the honourable senator be required to keep to the subject matter under discussion. He has now become completely irrelevant. The subject matter is the failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects. The Standing Orders require that he be not irrelevant and I ask that you, Mr Acting Deputy President, require him to keep to the subject under discussion.
– I rise to speak to the point of order. Senator Murphy obviously was not here when Senator Scott began his speech. At the outset, Senator Scott referred to the difference between the approach of the Socialists to national development and that of private enterprise. What he has said subsequently is relevant to the point he made at the outset and I suggest that his remarks are not beyond the scope of the matter we are discussing.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! There is no substance in the point raised by Senator Murphy.
– As I was saying-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with and support the terms of the motion I believe that the mover could not be credited with the highest ideals or motives in introducing it in the Senate today. There have been ample opportunities for this important question to be discussed, and indeed it merits more frequent discussion not only in this chamber but in another place than has been the case over the years. Honourable senators do not have to accept my assessment of the motive, because the Leader of the Opposition in another place (Mr Whitlam) has admitted that the matter is part of the propaganda campaign associated with the Capricornia by-election.
– The honourable gentleman was misreported.
– If he was misreported it is a revelation to me.
– What is wrong with the Government and the Opposition changing their attitudes?
– There is nothing wrong with a discussion of this subject at the proper time, but surely to goodness the campaign that has been waged in Capricornia for the last 3 weeks or thereabouts, and in which the leaders of all parties have engaged with great enthusiasm and vigour, has created an adequate forum for discussion of the matter without prostituting the Senate by introducing the subject at a most inappropriate time.
– I take exception to the use of the word ‘prostituting’ in this connection. The forms of the Senate are available to all honourable senators. There is nothing to suggest that this is not a perfectly valid motton for Senator Keeffe to propose. I object most strongly to the use of such a word by Senator Gair and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I believe that the term 1 have employed is adequate to describe my feelings. If honourable senators continue to follow the practice of moving urgency motions of this character the time will soon be reached when the Senate will have a standing order similar to one in Canada where the merits of an urgency motion have to be debated before permission of the House is granted for its introduction. There is no doubt that the real purpose of this motion - and I repeat that the Leader of the Opposition in another place has admitted it - is to form part of the propaganda campaign associated with the Capricornia by-election. The Leader of the Opposition in another place having admitted it, the Opposition here must accept some responsibility for having dragged this matter into the chamber by the hair of the head at the present time. Are members of the Opposition desperate and full of fear that their candidate, who has been disguised in this campaign as a true Australian Labor Party member when in fact he is a regular correspondent-
– I object to this line of discussion. I ask you, Mr Acting Deputy President, to ask the honourable senator to keep within the limits of the motion. The motion calls upon the Senate to express its concern at the failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to north Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects. The honourable senator is introducing personal material relating to a candidate and is using a great deal of unsavoury innuendo. I suggest that it is quite improper to do so. He has already used strong language to criticise the Opposition for introducing this motion. But I suggest that he is going much too far in introducing the type of innuendo that he is embarking on now. I suggest. Mr Acting Deputy President, that you ask him not to persist in it.
– On the point of order, would you, Mr Acting Deputy President, consider asking members of the Opposition to stop criticising the Minister for National Development for not attending to this electorate during the election campaign? Both Senator Dittmer and Senator Keeffe did so, and when Government senators reply honourable senators opposite take objection.
– The honourable senator is not replying on behalf of Senator Gair.
– I am, but honourable senators opposite cannot take it.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laught) - Order! I ask honourable senators to observe the terms of the motion. I realise that Senator Gair has been provoked by some remarks made by Opposition senators, but I ask him to keep to the terms of the motion.
– Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. Even the introduction of the motion at this stage is provocation. Members of the Opposition should have expected some reaction to or repercussions from their attempt to widen the forum of debate on this issue. I probably could debate this question more proficiently than any other member in the Senate or in the other place because 1 have been more closely and intimately associated with it. My interest in it has not arisen just at a by-election period; it has been constant over many years. I can speak with intimate knowledge with regard to the attitude not only of Liberal-Country Party Governments but of ALP Governments before the Menzies Government took the reins of office in this country.
– Why did not the honourable senator challenge them then?
– Why does not Senator Dittmer shut up and give me a chance to express myself?
– The honourable senator is doing all right.
– 1 did not interrupt the honourable senator. I will do all right in contest with him at any time.
– I wish to raise a point of order. I take the view that protection should be afforded to Senator Gair, who is trying to advance his views at the present moment.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - There is no substance in the point of order. The honourable senator is achieving his object.
– I will handle the situation. I was saying, when I was rudely interrupted by the garrulous senator who is sitting in the corner, that my experience is and has been over the years that the central Government in Canberra has never been very interested in the development of north Queensland. That goes not only for the
Menzies and Holt Governments but also for the Chifley Government. When Government supporters make charges against successive Labor Governments in Queensland they do not know what they are talking about. It was a Labor Government, of which I was a member and later Premier, that built the Tinaroo Dam and undertook and completed the Walsh River irrigation scheme which has played such an important part in the development of the tobacco industry in Queensland. It was a Labor Government in my time that undertook the Burdekin River scheme and the Koombooloomba hydro-electric scheme. All those schemes were carried out without one penny of Commonwealth money being spent. Until 1961, when the Menzies Government was nearly voted out of office, there was not one project in Queensland that one could say, with truth, had received any degree of Commonwealth financial aid. I attended meetings of Premiers and Loan Council meetings year after year and pleaded for Commonwealth assistance to enable us to develop our water resources and develop Queensland in common with the rest of Australia. I feel that much more could have been done. The policy of the Party which I lead in this Parliament contains definite provision for the development of Queensland and for the utilisation of its water resources. We do not accept for one moment the statement by the Leader of the Opposition in another place, Mr Whitlam, who is reported to have said at a Citizenship Convention in Canberra in January 1966:
We are an urban population. 1 am not suggesting that the distribution of the population of Australia is ideal - far from it.
Then he proceeded to say:
At the same time it would be wrong to suggest that any other people in the world would have developed our north more rapidly than we have or than we are able to do it. 1 do not believe anybody would have done a better job or is in a better posture to do a job than this nation is in the different areas.
– Who said that?
– That statement was made by Mr Whitlam. He is satisfied with our rate of progress in the development of Queensland and other States of the Commonwealth. I repeat that the Democratic Labor Party does not go along with that statement. I say very definitely and emphatically that much more could have been done. For far too long our central Government has been influenced and controlled by the big interests of New South Wales and Victoria, with the result that there was little interest in States like Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.
– We are doing all right.
– Yes, Western Australia is doing all right and I suppose South Australia is also, but those States like Queensland for many years were the Cinderellas of the Commonwealth family. Do not let anyone run away with the idea that the Commonwealth Government, irrespective of political colour, has been generous to Queensland. Both parties which have been in Government stand charged with the neglect of Queensland. The Chifley Government promised my predecessor in the Queensland Government financial aid for the Burdekin scheme but it was never forthcoming. He went out of office and the succeeding Menzies Governments refused to give one penny. In one of my early speeches in the Senate I gave honourable senators the benefit of my knowledge and also documentary evidence in support of what I said. I had retained copies of some of the correspondence because I believed that some day it would be valuable. I have had letters-
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– It is one of the interesting astronomical facts of this world that it takes the earth precisely 365 days to travel around the sun. I have discovered by a political coincidence of a major order that it takes Senator Keeffe approximately the same time to move from one urgent matter of public importance to another. I have discovered that on 28th September 1966 - 364 days ago - the honourable senator moved a motion in much the same terms as the one today in an attempt to get into the records of the Senate a debate upon some particular want that he had in Queensland. On that occasion it was to move the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority into Queensland as a planning authority. But 364 days later, by a remarkable coincidence which was demonstrated by Senator Scott about half an hour ago - this happens to be the occasion when we see turning up a satellite matter of importance, the by-election in Capricornia - we see that the urgency motion has changed from the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority to the grave difficulties existing in the Federal electorate of Capricornia in terms of power and water.
I know how sensitive honourable senators opposite are about straying outside the terms of reference. Senator Cohen has drawn the attention of the Chair to this a couple of times already. Therefore I hope it will not be construed from what I am about to say that I am straying outside the terms of reference. I propose to use an analogy to illustrate the reflex actions of politicians when it comes to questions not of economic priorities but of electoral priorities. Honourable senators will recall that a few years ago in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics there was a politician who, when he found things were going bad, began to distort the whole of the Russian economy. That was a planned economy, as everyone knows. He decided that things were not going well enough and determined that the whole of the economic resources in Russia would be thrown into growing maize. This was the reflex action of a politician who felt that something was becoming uneasy. This is what happened to Premier Khrushchev. Bur he made a mistake, because the policies that he was seeking to enforce had no true economic foundation. This is basically the problem with which we are involved in Queensland at present.
Any attempt to place undue sums of money, either from the private sector or the public sector, into an area which is being saturated with public funds and private funds at present will end in two things which I suggest will be simultaneous. Firstly, there will be a distortion of the economy in the area in which they are seeking to fund undue quantities of public and private finance. Secondly, distortions will be thrown on other areas of the Commonwealth which are deprived of funds in both the private sector and the public sector. I believe it is not a coincidence that Senators Bishop, Toohey and Ridley from South Australia are not sitting in the chamber and have not been sitting here this afternoon. It must rankle with senators from South Australia, a State which you so gracefully distinguish, Sir, that they are being deprived of funds to meet the urgent economic needs of South Australia. I suggest that if there are surplus funds about the place for public investment at the moment the Chowilla Dam has a priority over water developments in north Queensland or central Queensland. I see that Senator Hannaford is nodding his agreement. Senator Davidson agrees with me and I am pleased to see from the expression on your face, Sir, that you also agree with me.
We see that in his greed for a short term electoral advantage Senator Keeffe has moved in the Senate this afternoon to deprive, for example, South Australia of public funds which are available to build Chowilla or a new dam at Murray gates, which would enable South Australia to get the increased flow of water which it so desperately needs. As a Victorian senator I concede this. This motion is an attempt to wrest from South Australia investment which properly should be put there. It will be recalled that Senator Keeffe made some remarks that could have been challenged. I thought the South Australian senators were very generous in allowing those remarks to go by. For example, the honourable senator challenged the expenditure in South Australia of public funds to develop the gas pipeline.
– Does the honourable senator suggest that Chowilla is being held up through lack of funds?
– I am not suggesting this; all I am suggesting is that the political reflexes in the Opposition are becoming slightly distorted at present. They play clown the reflexes of the South Australians in order to put some injection of stimulus into the reflexes of Queenslanders who are involved in seeking a short term political advantage in the division of Capricornia. They are not measuring the needs of Capricornia against the long term need for investment in the public sector in South Australia. That is all I am saying.
Before I was interrupted I referred to Senator Keeffe whining because no public money was going into gas pipelines in Queensland. Four or five sentences later he described the magnificent seams of coal that Queensland has. South Australia is deprived of all forms of power sources. It has no water, coal or oil. It might have some oil in the future. It has gas, and what it desperately needs is gas pipelines. The Commonwealth Government, in accordance with its order of priorities, helped South Australia in order that some hydrocarbon fuel, of which it has been totally devoid, might become available to it. This debate has that characteristic. For a momentary, short term political advantage the Queensland advocates on the other side of the chamber are trying to distort the economy, I think, to the distress of South Australia.
I advert now to a matter that has been totally disregarded by Senator Keeffe, Senator Dittmer and members of the Labor Party who have spoken on this matter in another place. I refer to the political reflexes of hungry politicians who wish to sit on the government benches.
– We are hungry for a decent go for our State.
– All that Senator Dittmer and Senator Keeffe are advocating is that there should be an open go so that hands can get into the public trough and extract public funds from it for the benefit of one small area of Queensland without regard to the needs of the whole of Australia. Shorn of all the rhetoric, that is all that is involved in this matter.
– We are asking for a fair go for our State; that is all. We are not asking for something for a small area of the State. We are asking only for a fair go-
– Have I your permission to proceed, Mr Acting Deputy President?
– You have my permission.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order!
– The third element in this matter is that politicians in need of votes are seeking, by every means within their capacity, to obtain votes. They are operating out of a reflex which is a hunger for votes. They are involving themselves in an exercise which I thought disappeared from Australian politics 40 or 50 years ago. This is the sort of thing that we have heard in the Senate this afternoon: Joe Blow stands up and says: ‘This is a good place for a dam’. Someone else stands up and says: ‘This is a good place to cut up so that wheat can be grown on it’. In my lifetime I have seen many such instances in which the place turned out not to be a good place for a dam or not to be a good place to grow wheat or anything else.
That leads me to a point that 1 made to Senator Keeffe 364 days ago in this chamber. When members of the Opposition come into this place and advocate the expenditure of vast sums of public money on specialised projects, at least some costbenefit analysis should have been made of those projects. The validity or otherwise of the projects should have been established by cost-benefit analyses. It is perfectly clear that all three of the Queensland projects that have been mentioned this afternoon have been referred to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. From a statement made by the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) in another place yesterday afternoon, it is clear that those projects did not stand up to the test of cost-benefit analysis. Apart from those specialised projects, a whole clutter of additional projects is introduced for the purpose of illustrating the so called incompetence of the Commonwealth Government in its refusal to distort the economy by funnelling vast sums of money into areas of north Queensland at the expense of other northern areas of Australia.
With the most generous will in the world, which I always display towards Senator Keeffe and Senator Dittmer, under no circumstances can I acknowledge that there is any urgency with which this matter should be brought forward. I state in the clearest and sternest possible terms that no case or argument that would bear any critical test has been advanced. When the critical test of logic is applied to the arguments advanced by Senator Keeffe and Senator Dittmer, they fall to the ground, just as some of the great projects that have been mentioned would not stand up to the critical test of cost-benefit analysis. Therefore, in no circumstances can I support this motion by my vote. I have used such skill and rhetorical capacity as I have to condemn this matter of urgency on the floor of the Senate this afternoon.
– Great credit should be given to Senator Keeffe for raising this matter in the Senate this afternoon. The Government has run away from its responsibility to give an account of its policies and actions in Queens land. The words of the matter of urgency stress the failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects. Senator Dittmer, in his very eloquent speech, referred to the potential of north Queensland and other parts of Queensland. He went into detail on proposals that should be the subject of investigation. In fact, by now water conservation programmes should be being carried out. Ten months ago the Government produced in its policy speech a plan for the expenditure of 550m over a 5-year period. But we do not know how long the Government intends to live on the fat of its election promise. Over the years we have seen it make a number of promises and fail to fulfil them. If it runs true to form, this will be another unfulfilled promise to the people of Australia as a whole and the people of Queensland in particular.
It is easy to find a motive for the Government’s policy. Queensland is a vast State, ft has many hundreds of thousands of acres of land. It has many rivers where water should be conserved. But it has not many voters. It seems as if the Government’s policy favours the places where :t receives the most votes. The Government stands condemned for its apathy and its neglect of this very important national problem of water conservation. Senator Cormack said that no case had been advanced for providing financial assistance to Queensland for development projects. Queensland has been saddled with a tremendous amount of State debt and interest on loans from the Commonwealth over the years since the Government changed its policy. Instead of borrowing money and lending it to the States, as well as making substantial States grants, the Government has farmed out to the States an enormous burden of debt. By doing that it has balanced the Commonwealth Budget and put the States in a position where it is practically impossible for them even to contemplate big water conservation and development schemes or to enter upon a true policy of development of their natural resources. That can be illustrated by the fact that in the next 20 years Queensland could pay back more than $80m in capital and interest on loans for northern development, but it has received no more than $50m from the Federal Government. That indicates that the Federal Government is imposing intolerable burdens on Queensland.
As a Tasmanian, more than ever now [ realise the value of water, because we are experiencing a weather cycle the like of which has not been known since meteorological records were first kept in our State. As a result of low rainfall we are to introduce next week a policy of electricity rationing because our water storages are at an all time record low. With this at the back of my mind 1 support wholeheartedly the raising of this matter of urgency. After all, Australia is the world’s driest continent. Yet our rivers discharge into the sea every year enough water to cover 280 million acres of land to a depth of 1 foot. In the far north of Queensland, where few people live and fewer people work, there is water in abundance. North Queensland rivers such as the Tully, Burdekin and Jacky Jacky dump into the sea every year more than 60 million acre feet of water. The whole of the city area of Sydney, with its vast population, has a water storage capacity of only 2 million acre feet for general domestic and garden purposes. This gives an idea of the extent of the challenge that confronts us in applying ourselves to water conservation.
If the merits of our argument need to be stressed any more than has been done by Senator Keeffe and Senator Dittmer, let mc refer to what was said by Sir William Hudson. In the last few days he has been in Western Australia examining water conservation there. He deplores the Commonwealth’s attitude towards the breaking up of the Snowy Mountains Authority. When we debated this matter some time ago in the Parliament the Government evaded the main question by saying that some of the technical staff would be maintained. Sir William Hudson states:
I believe (hal anything associated wilh the development of Australia’s water resources is of great national importance and that the use wc make of its water resources will be one of the main factors determining the ultimate growth of the country. Australia is the driest of all continents. Its average rainfall is only about 18 inches, compared with an average of over 26 inches for all land surfaces of the world. Despite these dry conditions, overall Australia has enough water in its rivers to greatly increase production. At present the total water used for irrigation throughout Australia is about 5 million acre feet a year, whereas the total annual flow of all our mainland rivers amounts to something like 240 million acre feet a year. . . . Two-thirds of Australia’s water resources lie to the north of the Tropic of Capricorn.
It is to this area that the matter raised for discussion relates. During the debate there has been quite a lot of criticism of the timing of the raising of this matter. If the Government fails to recognise the importance of the matter it must take the consequences. There is a by-election pending in the electorate of Capricornia, but not only the people in that electorate should be reminded of the inadequacy of the Government’s policy and actions in relation to this area; the rest of the people of Australia, too, should be reminded of it. We just cannot take lightly the matter of embarking on a wide and deep study of the great problem of water conservation and irrigation.
Mention has been mt.dc of experiments in the northern part of Australia in the cultivation of sorghum and other crops. In the present state of the world’s markets, with the price of wool falling and the likelihood that, synthetic fibres will make much more dangerous inroads into sales of our staple basic export commodity, and with sugar facing a crisis in the world market, we must find other commodities to sell. North Queensland is relatively well off for rainfall, which is the richest thing that mankind can have. Man cannot live without water, lt is a basic cornerstone in the triangle of nature’s pattern of sun, <oil and water. Tn that area more than in any other part of Australia we have these components in large measure. Last weekend people came to my home to speak of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. They were well meaning, devoted people who realised the importance of directing our minds to other parts of the world where so many people are less fortunate than we are. Hunger comes from lack of food. We have great natural resources that we are failing to develop.
We can make our best contribution towards relieving food shortages in other countries by the production of more food. The trigger is water conservation. The Government takes the view that the Snowy Mountains Authority has no work to do in the States. Let anyone show me a State that could not superimpose on its present works programme projects on a national level. No State Premier would be worthy of the name of leader amongst his fellow men if he were not to use to the fullest extent this great accumulation of scientists, engineers, and other people with knowhow. One of the excuses of this Government for selling our birthright and heritage to overseas investors is that these people have capital and knowhow. The Snowy Mountains Authority had to search throughout the world to get these great technicians, engineers and authorities on water conservation and reticulation. Now they have nowhere to go. It is the Federal Government’s responsibility to find a place for them to go. That part of Queensland north of the Tropic of Capricorn offers an immediate project to which their undoubted ability should be diverted.
It is some time since we have heard a public outburst from such a highly respected and able administrator as Sir William Hudson. Now he is freed from the restrictions of Commonwealth employment or associations with a Commonwealth instrumentality, this criticism of the Government in relation to the dispersal of the personnel of the Snowy Mountains Authority will, I feel quite certain, be only the forerunner of many more. Sir William Hudson understands the needs of this country. Perhaps he could put forward a policy and a plan which would not be regarded with suspicion, as Government supporters always regard any suggestions made by members of the Labor Party, either inside or outside the Senate. We are accused of playing politics, but I know very well that Senator Morris and other honourable senators opposite are very conscious of the responsibility of both Slate and Federal governments to carry out a vigorous and urgent policy of water conservation. Senator Morris feels inhibited because he is a member of a Government party, and the Government is under attack. But in the vastness of northern Queensland, amongst his own fellows, I am sure that he would repeat the exact words and sentiments that the Opposition has expressed today. I do not accept that this matter of urgency has been raised entirely for political reasons. It concerns a great national problem.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Dame Ivy Wedgwood) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– We heard a lot yesterday and earlier today about the use of VIP planes for electioneering purposes. Today the forms of the Senate have been used, and I understand that yesterday the forms of another place were used, as a very expensive method of electioneering. It seems that we are now being subjected to special pleading on behalf of the electors of the Capricornia division by the Australian Labor Party in an attempt at this stage of the campaign to demonstrate that Parly’s very great concern, particularly with regard to urgently required power and water development projects. I have listened fairly carefully to the speeches of honourable senators opposite but I have failed to hear them demonstrate in any way that the Queensland Government has had rejected any of its applications, or whether indeed it has made any urgent requests for specific power and water supply projects.
– The Queensland Government has requested assistance for the Nogoa and Kolan projects. The applications are being considered now.
– I thank Senator Morris for identifying the extent to which any requests have been deferred. I believe they are under consideration. The whole tenor of the arguments of the Opposition is that Queensland has been discriminated against in relation to two specific development projects. The Opposition has not ventured into extending the claim of specific discrimination into the general field of payments for and on behalf of the States. Figures recently made available to us would completely demolish any argument that in any way Queensland is being discriminated against.
Surely the way in which funds arc made available to the States is a responsibility of the States themselves. Does the Opposition in the Senate suggest that the Commonwealth Government should take over the business of directing the affairs of Queensland? If honourable senators opposite advocate that step I would like to hear it put forward as a proposition. I think the people of Queensland wish to direct their own destinies and the allocation of funds to projects, and this is what is being done. An examination of figures recently published shows that in 1966-67 the total amount per head allocated to Queensland, for all grants, specific purpose loans and specific purpose capital payments, amounted to $111.89. That figure compares with the figure for Victoria of $84.86; New South Wales $93.09; South Australia $119.88; and Western Australia $194.6. These funds are distributed, as has been done over the years, according to the needs of the States in regard to area and other commitments. There has not been a suggestion in the past, or in this debate, that the allocation of general funds shows a discrimination against Queensland. If that suggestion were made, we would expect to find that Queensland was lagging seriously behind the rest of Australia in development. However, when the electoral redistribution takes place, New South Wales is to lose a seat and not Queensland. So it is fairly evident that in the rale of development Queensland Ls not lagging behind the rest of the Commonwealth.
Wc have heard a great deal about the need for dams and the conservation of water. Nobody will deny that we need to conserve water for specific purposes. It is very important to know the purpose for which water is to be conserved and whether that water will bc used economically to grow products for which there is a market. We appreciate the need for water for the sugar industry to obviate the difficulties that arise in dry periods, but surely in the light of the state of the world’s markets for sugar we should not contemplate a considerable expansion of the sugar industry. There is a place for water conservation in our planning but k must be considered with the overall requirements of development. The role that water conservation plays has been tremendously exaggerated in discussions on drought mitigation. It is interesting that the great champion of Queensland’s requirements in this regard recently said: f have always acknowledged the technological fact that in the pastoral areas and some arid areas of Queensland it is extremely hard to mitigate economically the ravages of drought.’ We need to recognise that dams of themselves are no answer to drought situations.
In speaking on this matter of urgency Senator Keeffe told the Senate that the Callide Dam was practically dry and had been so for about 2 years. We know that the Keepit Dam has very little water in it. If we are to build dams as a means of mitigating the effects of drought I am afraid we will run into some very hard and unpleasant economic facts, lt is of no use conserving water unless it can be used economically. In the process of time a dam will fill with rain for use in production. But if there are 2 succeeding years of dry conditions there will be no water in the dam. How on earth will an empty dam mitigate droughts? ls it being argued that it is economically feasible to build dams, keep them filled and not use the water in them except as a reserve in time of drought? In that case we could well have a dam being held filled for a period and being subject to rapid evaporation and a very rapidly increasing degree of salinity so that when it was needed for drought mitigation its saline content could be too high to make its use economically sound.
– To use the water in dry periods, not necessarily in time of drought, makes such dams valuable.
– To use it in a dry period means that there must be water. A dry dam is no damn good. This is so evident a fact that it is surprising to see so many people rushing into the trap of thinking that we can defeat drought in Australia by the simple expedient of building dams in inland areas.
Queensland has a vast potential for the production of power. I wish that Western Australia was as well situated in the matter of coal supplies. I noted with interest reference in this debate to a rapid increase in the overall usage of power in Queensland.
– Some 32% over the past 4 years.
– That is a terrific increase. It shows that the Queensland Government has been developing its power resources. I have no doubt that it will continue to do so as rapidly as possible. There is no evidence on any ground that Queensland has been neglected unduly by the Commonwealth or that the Commonwealth has failed in its responsibility to measure up to the reasonable requirements of Queensland. If it is suggested that Queensland should be taken over by the Federal Government and that the policies to be pursued in that State should be directed from Canberra, I think (hal should be slated clearly in Capricornia and elsewhere.
Sitting suspended from 5.43 to 8 p.m.
– The Senate is debating a matter of urgency raised by my colleague, Senator Keeffe, on behalf of the Opposition. It expresses the concern of the Senate at the failure of the Government to provide financial assistance to Queensland for urgently required power and water development projects. The case that has been made out by Senator Keeffe and Senator Dittmer from Queensland in support of the raising of this matter of urgency is completely unanswerable. Indeed, the honourable senators on the Government side who have spoken have run away from the issue and have not attempted to answer the case that has been made out on behalf of the Opposition.
The case has been thoroughly documented. It is incontrovertible that Queensland alone of the Australian States has received no Commonwealth money for the development of water resources over the whole of the 18 years of Liberal-Country Party administration. In the 18 years since the Menzies Government took office in 1949 the Commonwealth Government has allocated or committed to the Australian States a total of $900m for water conservation for power, irrigation and flood mitigation. That sum includes the cost of the Snowy Mountains complex which is of great benefit to New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and which was the creation of the Chifley Government; the Blowering Dam in New South Wales; as much as has been done on the Chowilla Dam; flood mitigation projects and the Ord River scheme in Western Australia. But not one cent has been given to Queensland during that period of 18 years for water conservation for power, irrigation and flood control projects. Nol one honourable senator on the Government side has risen in his place and suggested anything else. Those who have spoken have wanted to speak about everything else under the sun. They have made suggestions that this debate is only something connected with the Capricornia byelection. They have wanted to talk about politics. They have not wanted to talk about the issue that is acknowledged to be the prime issue in the Capricornia byelection campaign; that is, the Government’s failure in northern and central Queensland development.
This is not a matter on which the Australian Labor Party stands alone. The case that we are making out is supported widely in Queensland. This is not a parochial matter, lt is a matter of national importance deserving the attention of the National Parliament.
– Particularly on the eve of a by-election.
– lt does not matter whether it is on the eve of a by-election. That does not make the problem any less acute. On the contrary, only when this Government has been given a fright in an election has it been willing to lift a finger to do anything about Queensland. After the 1961 election, when the Government was brought to within an inch of defeat by the loss of eight seats in Queensland as a result of its failure to do anything, it started to move. It did one or two things that were of use to areas of Queensland - brigalow land development, the construction of beef roads and so on. It is no good talking about this debate as only something that has been conjured up at the height of a by-election campaign. What better time is there to focus attention on the needs of central and northern Queensland than at the time of a by-election campaign in that area?
Honourable senators opposite who are interjecting arc all great bleaters. They can try to stop a man making his speech in the Senate. But I draw attention to the fact that in Rockhampton, in the heart of the Capricornia electorate, the ‘Morning Bulletin’ - which is not exactly a newspaper favourable to the Labor Party - has written an editorial on the Labor Party’s northern development policy. I believe that it is worth while to listen to a few sentences from that editorial. 1 am pleased that I am now being met with some respectful and decent silence. On 11th August the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin’ said this editorially:
Only the politically purblind in central Queensland can fail to see the sense in the newly announced Australian Labor Party policy on northern development, for it contains much that all political interests throughout the region have been seeking for many years . . .
The basis of the ALP policy is the retention of the Snowy Mountains Authority for investigation, design and construction of power and water projects. This has been sought from the Federal
Government, with increasing urgency, by Queensland’s State Government. It has not got very far, and the Authority’s disbandment. as a construction group, has already been foreshadowed.
I pause to say that only yesterday Sir William Hudson, the retired Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Authority, said in a speech in Perth that the Commonwealth Government had acted deplorably in not using the skills of the Snowy Mountains Authority in other parts of Australia. The report of his statement continued:
Australia searched the world for an expert project team. Now it would vanish, he said.
Tonight the Melbourne ‘Herald’ editorially criticised the Government for taking up the position that it has. The editorial stated: lt is not enough for the Government to retain a small nucleus of consultants from what has become a highly skilled and experienced force in the planning and building of public works. The Government’s argument that there is not sufficient work for the Authority, following completion of the Snowy project, is miserably short-sighted.
I return to the editorial in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin’. It stated:
ALP policy envisages the use of the Snowy Authority in the development of river systems in the Fitzroy, Burnett, Pioneer and Herbert systems, and for the steady development of other water resources in the State’s pastoral areas . . . lt is bound to spur the Government- 1 suppose that is a pious hope - . . into going at least part of the way towards matching it, for such a clear cut northern development policy cannot be ignored.
– The ALP’s policy is to pull our troops out of Vietnam, too.
– 1 hope that those honourable senators opposite who are listening to me will not attempt to silence me in the few minutes that I have left. The editorial in the Rockhampton ‘Morning Bulletin’ also stated:
The ALP now has a proper policy; the first one put out by any party in nearly 70 years since Federation. Is it asking too much for the Government to sec that such a policy is needed and to do something about formulating one?
That gives the lie direct to the suggestion that has come from honourable senators on the Government side today that there is nothing of substance in the matter that has been put forward by the Opposition. Not one single honourable senator opposite has been able to contradict the case that has been made out by the Opposition, because the fact is that honourable senators opposite cannot point to one cent that has been spent by their Government on water conservation in Queensland.
– Or by any previous government.
– I am talking about this Government. It has had 18 years in which to tackle the problem of water conservation in Queensland. I am sure that, in his better moments, Senator Gair would agree with me. The present position is scandalous. Queensland has not been receiving from the Commonwealth the support that it deserves. It has great natural resources. Nobody doubts that the basic resources for power development are available in central and northern Queensland. Nobody doubts that this Government is neglecting that State. Everywhere within the State Queensland is regarded as the Cinderella State.
I speak as one who comes from a southern State but as one who wants to see all parts of Australia developed and who believes that the Australian Labor Party’s policy for national development, particularly for northern development, is the correct one. It is an elaborate and convincing policy. It is convincing to such independent - certainly not pro-Labor - critics as the Rockhampton ‘Morning Bulletin’. Surely members of the Government parties will not try to tell me that that newspaper has a particular interest in patting the Labor Party on the back. The fact is that the people in that part of Queensland believe that their interests have been neglected. The facts support their case. The Australian Labor Party at its recent Federal conference set out a very comprehensive platform on northern Australian development. I have not the time to speak at length about this policy, so with the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate it in Hansard.
Creation of a Ministry for Northern Australian Development
Labor believes that the development of the whole of North Australia is both necessary and urgent. Therefore the whole attention of a Minister should be devoted to it.
Co-operation and co-ordination with Queensland and Western Australia with respect to development will be achieved through the establishment of a North Australian Development Organisation consisting of Commonwealth and State Ministers concerned with the resources of
Northern Australia, along the lines of the N.A.D.C. successfully established by the Chifley Government but abandoned by the Menzies Government.
Water Resource Development
Labor will immediately initiate a full scale investigation of the areas which have been devastated by droughts to ascertain the most feasible methods of assisting these areas from the viewpoint of large and small scale water storages.
Priority will be given to the proven and established areas in coastal Queensland where huge economic losses are incurred in every major drought period and where the major share of Australia’s surface water is located but which is at present almost completely undeveloped.
The investigation and development of the Burnett, Fitzroy, Pioneer, Burdekin and Herbert River Systems will be undertaken on a national basis utilising the Snowy Mountains Authority in conjunction with State organisations.
Labor will determine priorities for the steady development of water resources both for stock and agricultural purposes in the less developed and lower rainfall areas. Labor will honour the Commonwealth’s obligation to the West Australian and Northern Territory people and will ensure that the Ord River Project will be completed without delay.
In the assessment and determination of water development action, top priority will be given to power projects urgently needed to promote industrialisation particularly in Central and Northern Queensland where the basic resources for power generation are available.
Snowy Mountains Authority
Long term utilisation of the Snowy Mountains Authority in investigation, design and construction of water and power development will be the hard core of Labor’s positive policy towards the systematic development of water resources. This work would be carried out in conjunction with water conservation authorities in the States of Queensland and Western Australia and in the Northern Territory.
Priorities and programmes for water conservation projects for irrigation, power and flood mitigation will be a function of the N.A.D.O.
The implementation of a long term fully coordinated road development programme taking into account the present and future requirements of the pastoral, agricultural processing and servicing industries. These development roads would broadly follow the priorities established by the Commonwealth Beef Roads Report.
The provision of realistic low rates of interest (2-3% p.a.) for long term development loans in line wilh successful policies followed by overseas Governments. (The present high rate of interest for development loans in Australia is the result of the reluctance of the Government to compete with Private Banks, Private Lending Institutions and Hire Purchase Companies.)
Labor will reconstitute the present ineffective Farm Loan Fund in order to provide a satisfactory policy to those applicants who possess sound financial propositions but who do not meet the rigid criteria of present banking policy. In addition the Fund will be expanded to cater for small secondary industries which are an essential part of regional development. This policy will involve the expansion of the Development Bank.
Commonwealth-Private Enterprise Partnerships
In order to promote basic industrial development - e.g. steel, power, paper - Labor will not hesitate to take the initiative and, if necessary, will enter into partnership with private organisations which do not possess the necessary resources to initially finance the establishment of industry.
If it appears that the development of our natural resources - particularly mining - would be ruthlessly exploited by overseas interests, Labor will not hesitate to establish Commonwealth owned processing works.
Tax Free Provisions for Pioneering Industrie*
Labor will initiate income tax free provisions along the lines adopted in New Guinea and other developing countries to assist pioneering industries in Northern Australia during their initial development period. These tax free provisions will bo administered within specific zonal areas.
Revision of Zonal Boundaries and Taxation Allowances
Labor will authorise a revision of the existing zonal boundaries in Northern Australia which are now completely outmoded. In addition a review of existing taxation allowances, social services and general living conditions within these particular zones will bc made with the overall objective of alleviating the severe economic disabilities being encountered in these areas.
Labor recognises that the sugar industry is the backbone of the economy of Northern Queensland. lt will appoint a Committee of Enquiry to investigate whether this industry would be better served by expanding the functions of the Australian Sugar Board so as to give cane producers greater responsibility in the production and marketing of raw and refined sugar. The Committee of Enquiry would be given full powers to investigate the costs of refining sugar and the establishment of new refineries in North Queensland.
The Committee will ako report on the practicability and desirability of giving the responsibility for the sale of export sugar to the expanded Australian Sugar Board as compared with the present practice of allowing the C.S.R. Company to have a complete monopoly of the sale of export sugar.
Percentage of Annual Budget to be Devoted to Northern Development
Labor will demonstrate its genuineness to assist in the systematic development of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory by making provision for a permanent allocation in each budget for development work. This allocation will be tied to a specific percentage of an economic measure in the budget which will thus remove northern development from the atmosphere of emotionalism and general political pressures. The provision of an annual floor allocation will allow both Commonwealth and State Governments to plan for the steady growth of the northern areas.
Labor believes that a first class University should bc located in Northern Australia preferably at Townsville. A tropical University could lead the world as a training ground for tropical disciplines particularly post-graduate work in tropical livestock, pastures, marine science and engineering. If we are to successfully undertake northern development, University facilities must be available to train students - particularly those who live in these areas.
Portion of the funds required for a steady rate of northern development will come from current and future repayments being made by the States for development projects. Funds from these repayments would form a Development Revolving Fund.
I am obliged to the Senate for granting leave to incorporate that material in the record of proceedings. The Labor Party’s policy for northern development includes a forthright attitude to the problems of water development and power development. We believe that the way to tackle future development is to place the Snowy Mountains Authority and its resources in those parts of Australia that need development. We are pledged to see that if we have anything to do with it this great Authority which has done so much for water and power in the States that it has covered is not disbanded or allowed to disperse with the four winds of heaven. We believe that it has great talents and great resources and that it. is little short of criminal to regard its disbanding or dissolution as the natural course of events. The proof of the pudding, as has often been said, is in the eating. In the course of the election campaign that is going on in Capricornia one would have thought-
– It is always going on here. It is going on as far as the honourable senator is concerned and as far as we are concerned. He did his little bit when he had a few minutes to keep the campaign going. In the whole of this campaign the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has not been seen in the electorate. One would have thought that if there were any answer to the case that is being made by the Labor Party on this issue in the by-election we would have heard from the Minister for National Development. This debate has been going on for some 21 hours but we have not yet heard from a Minister in the Senate. The only two Queensland Labor Senators who were available - Senator Benn being overseas - have spoken in this debate. We are looking for some kind of answer from the Government. The position is that the Government has not an answer. There is no reply to this. There is no contradiction of what we have said.
– Wishful thinking.
– It is not wishful thinking. Honourable senators opposite have not been able to say: ‘We are satisfied with the Government’s policy’, because there is a complete absence of policy. How can they be satisfied with a non-existent state of affairs. If they say that they are satisfied with things as they are-
– I take a point of order. I take exception to the fact that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cohen) has said that the Minister for National Development (Mr Fairbairn) has not seen fit to take part in the by-election campaign in Capricornia. I take exception to this on the ground that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition took a point of order during the debate today because a Government, senator mentioned the by-election in Capricornia and matters pertaining thereto. I think the Deputy Leader should confine his remarks to water and power in northern Queensland.
– Order! The point of order is not upheld.
– I conclude by saying that this is not a matter that we press merely at a by-election. We have the authority of the Rockhampton ‘Morning Bulletin’ for that. It is the first time a party has produced a proper policy on this question in almost 70 years of Australian nationhood. Senator Keeffe moved a similar motion concerning the resources of the Snowy Mountains Authority almost 12 months ago. as Senator Cormack pointed out this afternoon, and no by-election was going on then. We have again and again insisted that the Government has failed to do its duty on this matter. We will keep on insisting and we will keep on putting forward our constructive alternative suggestions, whether or not there is a by-election pending.
– lt is very interesting to have a senator from Victoria taking so much interest in Queensland. I notice all of the Victorians speaking tonight but unfortunately the matter was proposed for discussion by Senator Keeffe on a political basis and not on a development basis. The main Issue has been made quite clear. It is a by-election issue and nothing else. The Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the other House confirmed this yesterday. For the sake of those southerners who arc suddenly taking this keen interest in our State of Queensland I mention that we are not discussing northern development in this by-election campaign; we are discussing central Queensland development. That is quite different. The major difference between the Opposition and the Government parties is that honourable senators opposite discuss Government development whereas we on this side discuss national development. The Rockhampton Press has been referred to. Senator Cohen is rather sore, I think, that the Press up there has not given his Party the run it thought it may have got as a result of the southern invasion. Despite the numbers that were taken up there the southern influx has not received much notice at all. Our fellows were very well received in this respect.
The Labor Party is probably in quite a state of panic, lt has reached the stage where it is now using the Senate and the House of Representatives as a place to electioneer. How much more worried can it bc? Let us discuss the issue at hand. Dr Patterson, who raised this matter in another place, has a very short but very convenient memory. He does not remember that when he was in the Department of National Development the one road which would have assisted this central Queensland area which his Party has raised here as a political Issue, was in his opinion in category K In priority.
– We are not talking about roads.
– No. He has got ofl roads onto water because he is frightened of roads.
– The honourable senator does not know the roads.
– I know them perfectly well, much better than does Senator Keeffe. In fact I have walked and ridden as well as driven over most of them, which is more than he can say. Such a state of panic has been reached in Rockhampton that twice today the television advertisement for the Australian Labor Party has asked: When is the Prime Minister coming?’ So lacking in knowledge of the interests of the electorate and so insincere is the Labor Party in its policy that it does not know that the Prime Minister has already been there, addressed large meetings and had a very good response. This rather hurts honourable senators opposite.
– He went on a VIP plane.
– Yes, in the same way as the honourable senator’s Leader went there to electioneer with Dr Patterson. Tha honourable senator’s Leader does not like to mention that he flew around the whole of Queensland in a VIP aircraft with Dr Patterson as a passenger, electioneering tha whole of the time. Our Prime Minister goes up there quite openly, saying: ‘I am going up there in a VIP plane to an election campaign’ or ‘to a function’. He says quite openly what he is doing. Honourable senators opposite are trying to prove that they arc discussing local development.
– Get on to water and power.
– I will deal with water and power in my own time, when I am prepared to do so. Let us consider development in the Capricornia electorate. A fortnight after I entered the Senate I was delegated to speak at a seminar at the Townsville University College in opposition to Senator Keeffe. Of course, I was unaware that the honourable senator would be raising today the matter of urgency wa are now debating. The situation has not changed in the slightest. I do not know why
Senator Keeffe should have been chosen to raise this matter today, because he is not interested in national development. His interest in development is governmental and political, and nothing else.
I turn now to the achievements of the Queensland Labor Government when it was in office. For almost 40 years it did not put forward one proposal for water or power development in the Capricornia division.
– The honourable senator is on dangerous ground now.
– To my knowledge the Queensland Labor Government did not put forward one such proposal.
– The honourable senator is out of his depth.
– -I think I am on safe ground. To my knowledge in that period the Queensland Labor Government did not make one application to the Commonwealth for assistance for water or power development. Since the CountryLiberal Party Government came into office in Queensland it has considered seventeen propositions.
– Too many.
– Not too many for Queensland. The more we have to consider, the more there are to choose from and the better are the priorities we can lay down. Three proposals have been forwarded to the Federal Government by the Queensland Government. They are quite well known. They have been discussed quite openly. We hope that they will be accepted by the Federal Government. When a Federal Labor Government was in office, nothing at all was done in the way of development. Since the Country-Liberal Party Government has assumed office it has invited the State governments to submit proposals for water conservation. Senator Keeffe is again interjecting. He spoke in this debate this afternoon but I do not think many people listened to him. I was not interested in what he had to say. I have heard him too often. One proposal forwarded by the Queensland Government to the Federal Government is the Nogoa project. It was being investigated when Dr Patterson was in the Department of National Development. It was he who raised the subject of water and power development projects as a matter of public importance yesterday in the other House. The Nogoa proposal had to go back three times for further investigation. I think Dr Patterson learned and abided by the rule that national development proceeds by an order of priorities. I know that he stood by that policy and when submissions were sent back to him for re-investigation he went through them again and re-examined the assumptions on which he had based his original report. He has changed completely and is trying now to change the rest of the Labor Party. It is a very good Une to play along with. He believes that because many people supported him in the Dawson by-election the rest of the Queensland people will now be similarly hoodwinked.
– The honourable senator had better hurry up and start his speech. His time has nearly gone.
– I have plenty of time. Let us examine what the Federal Government has done in the way of water conservation in Queensland and the rest of Australia. In 1962 it established the Australian Water Resources Council. It has instigated water flow investigations on a logical basis of priorities. Senator Keeffe says, ‘Put a dam there’, just for the sake of saying it. As recently as 5 days ago I spoke to some of the graziers whose properties are near the proposed Nogoa Dam. They said: If you go ahead with the Nogoa Dam you will be making a mistake.’
– Who said that to the honourable senator?
– That is their opinion, not mine. I invite Senator Keeffe to visit the area and see whether he can find people to speak to him. Tonight the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority has been freely criticised. Have honourable senators opposite studied the research done by the Snowy Mountains Authority in Queensland? We do not advocate wiping out the Snowy Mountains Authority. We have never said that. We will retain the Authority.
– The skeleton, the bare bones.
– As a skeleton, as a research body.
– Who is the Government retaining - two of the office boys?
– Senator Keeffe seems to be enjoying himself tonight. He thinks people are listening to him on the air, but I do not think that they would understand him any more than he is understood in the Senate. I have a list of irrigation and water supply works undertaken by the Snowy Mountains Authority in Queensland. Their total value to date is $450,000. With the exception of New South Wales, Queensland has called on the services of the Snowy Mountains Authority more often than has any other State, particularly for investigatory work. The figures for 1 966 show that the area of land irrigated in Queensland for crop production was roughly 300,000 acres, and for pastures it was 35,000 acres, making a total of about 335,000 acres. The total area of land in Australia under irrigation was about 3 million acres. Therefore Queensland had about 10% of the total area of irrigated land. Senator Keeffe is not very interested in pastures or in anything to do with agricultural production.
I could turn to roads. Of course, Dr Patterson has left the subject of roads because of his showing in the Capricornia electorate. I could refer to development in minerals, forestry and harbours, particularly in the Capricornia division. At Port Alma and Rockhampton the wharves were almost decrepit and broken down until the CountryLiberal Party Government came into office in Queensland. The employment situation in Gladstone was very poor after the meatworks closed. In the area of Rockhampton and Gladstone were some of the highest unemployment rates in Queensland. Now the area has about the lowest unemployment rate in the State.
– Do the people there go fishing?
– No, Sir. They are busy developing the State and they are proud to do it.
– Wilh Commonwealth money?
– Yes, Commonwealth money is helping the development. I h;i ve not the slightest idea what Senator Keeffe does when he visits that area and the people up there do not know either. The necessary element for development is money. It is quite clear that all government departments are calling for money. The Federal Liberal and Country Party Government cuts its cloth to suit the situation and lays down priorities as to the way in which the funds shall be expended.
– Which priorities?
– The priorities for all types of development.
– Where is water considered in the priorities?
– As I said before, water conservation is considered by our Party to be quite important. So much so, that the present Prime Minister was the first Prime Minister of Australia to ask the States to submit proposals for water conservation. I do not know whether the mentality of Senator Keeffe is adequate to comprehend that. The differences between us are as great on domestic policies for national development as they are on foreign affairs. We stand for national development; the Opposition stands for government development. We stand for co-operation and teamwork between government and private enterprise. The Opposition stands for government or socialistic development, as in everything else. Labor’s platform is: ‘Let the Government do all’. Who pays? I do not know. Our policies are development and security with government and private enterprise co-operating.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - Order! The honourable senator’s time has expired.
– Much has been said about the political opportunity that has been taken by the Labor Party in this debate because a byelection campaign is in progress and the people of central Queensland will vote on Saturday. 1 deny the implication that the Australian Labor Party is not interested in the development of Australia generally, or northern Australia in particular, except when a by-election is in sight or some political advantage is to be gained. The Labor Party has pressed practically every programme that has been proposed for the development of northern Australia
On many occasions we have moved the adjournment of the Senate to discuss the subject of water conservation, particularly on the Ord River in Western Australia, and in Queensland. We have done it again on this occasion and we will probably do so again before the Parliament rises. So it is quite wrong for Government senators to lay that charge. It is also quite wrong for Government senators to be frivolous on such an important matter as this and to try to raise the red bogy of Communism and turn this debate into a political debate when in reality it is a national debate.
– Oh no.
– I hope the honourable senator will not stand in his place and repudiate what Mr Charles Court has had to say on this important matter because I know the priorities that Mr Court said should be used. This is what he said:
Let me express the essence of it now In the simplest terms: Firstly, I believe that northern development can only be conceived as part of a great programme of national development.
The honourable senator cannot see northern development in any context. Mr Court went on:
Secondly, the vastness of Australia ls such that its ultimate balanced development can only be truly effective if it is conceived in terms of regional programmes - balanced and linked together - so that the special needs, special opportunities and individual motivations can be given the kind of localised treatment that maximise their effectiveness.
Does the honourable senator quarrel with that? Does he do anything about it? Of course he does not. Mr Court then said:
Thirdly, because people are the vital element in success in any region, we must be prepared to commit ourselves to long term plans and projects so that they will not be constantly subjected to the uncertainties and delays and inhibitions of year-by-year gropings for policy.
This Government will not plan for anything. Planning is a dirty word so far as this Government is concerned. Planning was only a clean word after the 1961 election. During the 1963 election campaign the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, had a plan for northern development but as soon as he obtained a majority of twentytwo in the Parliament he forgot all about it and nothing has been done since that time. Mr Court continued:
Fourthly, and again in consideration of the human element, we must be prepared to plan not so much on the basis of rigid patterns of develop,’ ment, but rather on the basis- of programmes of encouragement to stimulate Individual initiative.
Does the honourable senator repudiate any of that?
– Is the honourable senator speaking to me?
– Well, the honourable senator was the person who wanted to drag the red herring across the trail earlier today. He did not want to talk about national development. Senator McKellar wants to repudiate Sir William Hudson now that that gentleman has retired. What did Sir William Hudson have to say about this matter? He said:
Docs the honourable senator repudiate that statement? I suppose he would now that Sir William Hudson has retired; now that the Government can make no further use of him; now that the Government proposes to disband the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority and leave the bare bones of that organisation with not one bit of meat on them. That is what the Government proposes to do while hiding behind the fact that it has set up the Australian Water Resources Council and has prepared a water conservation programme. What does either of these moves do for us? How much water does either of them give us? How much power does either of them give us? Queensland is rich in practically everything that man requires yet not one penny is being spent by the Commonwealth Government to try to develop it. Senator Gair should tell Senator Heatley what happened in Queensland because Senator Heatley said that when Senator Gair was Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland the State
Government did nothing. 7 do not know how long Senator Gair will remain quiet in his place and allow the honourable senator to make a statement like that.
– I did not remain quiet.
– Senator Heatley said that nothing was done for 40 years, and that period includes Senator Gair’s term of office as Premier of Queensland. A document has come from the Prime Minister (Mr Harold Holt) which sets out what the Commonwealth Government has done in relation to water conservation since 1950. There is not a mention of any project in Queensland, yet Government senators tell us what the Government is doing in that State. What results have been achieved by the Australian Water Resources Council? Why has the Government now prepared a water conservation programme? Why is it introducing legislation during this sessional period to set up a statutory body on water conservation? Why is it coming to this place and telling us that Queensland is getting its deserts? I hope that the Government gets its deserts on Saturday for its neglect of the northern part of Australia.
– I think the honourable senator is backing the wrong horse.
– The wrong ones come up at times too. All that the honourable senator can throw at our candidate will not stop him if the people want him. We think he should win, having regard to this Government’s record, and we think he will win. This Government has done nothing to relieve the burden on Queensland. If any State wants money the Commonwealth Government will lend it money - money that it collects from the taxpayers for practically nothing, other than the cost of servicing the Taxation Branch - and charge interest on the loan. Not very many years ago Sir Robert Menzies said that that was bad financing yet that is the basis on which the Government wants the States to develop. It wants to put the States in pawn while the Commonwealth remains debt free. The Commonwealth debt is constantly falling but the debts of the States and local authorities are constantly rising. And that is the way in which the Commonwealth Government thinks it can develop Australia.
Senator Heatley said that the Government which he supports believes in private enterprise development. If he will point out to me any project in the field of water conservation that private enterprise has carried out, I will have a look at it. Which water conservation programme has been carried out by private enterprise? Private enterprise will not go into water conservation because it is a national project.
– In every State in Australia at the moment private enterprise is developing water. You are saying that private enterprise will not go into it. You want to get on to another subject.
– They have a windmill and a couple of bores on a couple of million acres in the north west, but is this water conservation in the sense of a national project? Of course it is not. Senator Scott, coming from the area from which he does, should know better than to make that statement.
– He has not been back for a long time.
– 1 think that the pickings have gone from the area now. There is nothing left to pick. Still I do not blame him for that. He is one person who should know the value, of water conservation, lt there is one honourable senator who should be backing any project for water conservation it is Senator Scott. 1 support the motion proposed by Senator Keeffe in order to give this matter an airing. I do nol support the Government’s theory that the proposal is wholly connected with the Capricornia by-election. It certainly hits a connection, but it cannot be said that we are directing our attention to this type of a debate only because there is a by-election pending. Whatever has been achieved in the field of development in northern Australia has been done at the urging of the Australian Labor Party. The Government is the greatest mimic in the country. Whenever the Labor Party propounds a scheme Government supporters throw cold water on it, but within 3 or 4 years they pick it up and claim it as their own baby. This is the way in which they have operated since they assumed office. Instead of acting responsibly the Government is trying to play the country by ear. To play a country as rich as Australia by ear is not a very good policy. As
I have said, I support the motion proposed by Senator Keeffe.
– It is interesting to note that quite unadorned the Australian Labor Party has introduced a political campaign into this chamber because of a by-election which is to be held next Saturday. Opposition members in another place quite frankly admitted this. Honourable senators opposite have advanced exactly the same proposal in this chamber, lt has been introduced as part of an election campaign to try to influence the electors of Capricornia. Honourable senators opposite are worried about the fact that they have a way out candidate up there, and they have to use every device they can to overcome the difficulty with which they are confronted. This is the first time that I have ever seen such a brazen attempt by a party to use the Senate for the purpose of conducting a political campaign for a by-election which is only 2 or 3 days off. Senator Keeffe tried to dampen down the fact that the Labor Party has a way out candidate who has written a very interesting manifesto for a Communist Party paper.
– That is a smear.
– No. lt is there. I will give the honourable senator a copy of it if he wants it. He may read it. What will he see? He will see what Labor’s candidate suggests the Communist Party should do. He says, in effect: ‘When you get in, do it. You do not want to talk about it, or you will put people off. Get in and do it. That is the way you do it.’
– 1 rise to a point of order. Under the Standing Orders we are devoting this debate to one subject, that is, the development of water and power projects in Queensland. The Leader of the Government is introducing extraneous matter.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Wood) - The point of order is not upheld. Before I occupied the chair the debate had ranged over quite a wide area. I do not wish to confine it at this stage.
– I want to deal with two matters which are very interesting to the City of Rockhampton. One has never been mentioned. Apparently honourable senators opposite have forgotten about it, but I have not forgotten about it. I refer to the copper bounty which this Government introduced. It had a great effect upon Mount Morgan at a time when it was in the doldrums. The introduction of the copper bounty which was financed by the Commonwealth Government produced this great development. Honourable senators opposite are interjecting. I know that they do not like the truth in this matter. But if they go and talk to the people of Rockhampton who know what this bounty meant to the Mount Morgan Mine and to the employment situation in that area they will know what we have done in Queensland. As my colleague, Senator Heatley said, if they go to Port Alma they will see the tremendous development that is taking place there. What will this development mean? It will allow the hinterland of Rockhampton to develop as a result of the exports from the greatest cattle development area in Australia. The cattle will be able to be exported through Port Alma. They will not have to be carted hundreds of miles down to Brisbane. This will be of great benefit to the City of Rockhampton. Honourable senators opposite know this. I can understand why they are very worried. They come in here unashamedly and say: ‘lt is getting close to the by-election on Saturday. Let us use the time for which the people are paying and let us use this place for an election campaign.’ They should go out and do this in their spare time. They should not introduce these sorts of things into a House of the Federal Parliament.
Honourable senators opposite should not say that we have not spent any money in the division of Capricornia. That is not true, and they know it. We more than any other government have been responsible for the development in this area which has helped the city of Rockhampton. Honourable senators opposite talk about stability of government. We have been in office for nigh on 18 years. In the last 18 years Queensland has seen greater development than has any other State. Honourable senators opposite should not go around with their eyes shut. They should go to Weipa, where I was a few weeks ago, and look at the development there. They should also have a look at the enormous development that has taken place at Gladstone. They talk about private enterprise. They want to socialise these things to help a candidate who is way out to the left. How far out to the left he is, I do not know. Honourable senators opposite want to back him against the development that has taken place in Queensland as a result of private enterprise.
Members of the Labor Party are crazy about socialisation; but socialisation has never initiated anything. All it can do is to lose money on industry. There are great industries in Queensland. Look at the development which has taken place at Gladstone as a result of private enterprise. If that development has not been of great assistance to Queensland, I do not know what has. I could give instance after instance of the great development that has taken place in Queensland. When I was in Cairns I saw a small manufacturer who has a contract worth $lm with the Department of Supply. He received this contract against competition throughout the Commonwealth. He was a small manufacturer who was doing a tremendous job. Look at what private enterprise has done and is doing right throughout Queensland. Look at what it has been doing in the development of land. Look at what it has done in developing Cape York Peninsula. Why, development in that area alone is going to be tremendous, and again private enterprise will be doing it. The land has been lying there undeveloped for years and years and years. All the Socialism in the world would never have done anything about developing it; but private enterprise has now come in with the result that today Queensland is on the brink of being a great exporter of cattle.
Mention has been made of Aboriginals.I invite honourable senators to go and see what is being done on Groote Eylandt. I invite them to inspect the tremendous development of the manganese deposits there and to see how the Aboriginals are now living. They have good homes, with electricity and all modern amenities. They are enjoying the standard of living to which they are entitled.
– Order! The time allotted for consideration of the motion under standing order 65 having expired I shall now proceed to other business.
– I ask for leave to move a motion for the tabling of certain papers relating to VIP aircraft.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
I wish to speak only shortly to the motion because some of the matter has been canvassed in previous debates in the Senate.
– You are giving notice of motion, are you not?
– No. I have moved a motion pursuant to leave.
– I would have thought we would all be entitled to notice of a motion of this sort before being called upon to debate it.
– I rise to order. I refer to standing order 115 which reads:
No senator shall, unless by leave of the Senate, or unless it be otherwise specially provided by the Standing Orders, make any Motion, except in pursuance of Notice openly given at a previous sitting of the Senate, and duly entered on the Notice Paper.
I am quite confident that the Senate was of the opinion that the Leader of the Opposition was giving notice of a motion. This would be the normal procedure and we thought that the Leader of the Opposition was following that normal procedure.
– I wish to speak to the point of order. I was clearly under the impression, when I assented to the suggestion that Senator Murphy have leave, that he was seeking leave to give notice of a motion. I do urge that, out of respect to all sections of the chamber, debate on a matter of this sort should be initiated only after honourable senator? have had time to consider the motion. 1 would like to have the shorthand note of the proceedings read back because I understood that Senator Murphy was seeking leave to give notice of motion. I do not want to engage in the debate any further except to promise Senator Murphy that so far as I am concerned, when his motion comes on for debate it will receive thoughtful and determined consideration.
– I made it quite clear - my language was unmistakable - that 1 was seeking leave to move a motion. There is no question about that. However, in view of what Senator Wright has said, I now say that if he feels that further time should be given to the Senate to consider this matter 1 am prepared to adopt a certain course. I would have thought it was a formal matter because it is only a motion for the tabling of papers. It is not a motion of condemnation or a substantive motion of that type; it is merely a motion for the tabling of papers.
– But you laid down a time factor. You mentioned January of this year.
– From January to today. Nevertheless, in view of what has been said by Senator Wright and implied by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty), I would be quite happy to have the matter dealt with at some convenient time - perhaps tomorrow, or perhaps next week - so long as it is clearly understood that an opportunity for debate will be given. If the Leader of the Government indicates that whatever steps are necessary to be taken will be taken to allow full and free debate on my motion I shall act accordingly.
– My understanding was that Senator Murphy was seeking leave to give notice of a motion that would be debated tomorrow. I think that would be the proper way to act, and I would agree to that course.
– A proposition has been put by a number of members of the Senate and I have acceded to it. Their proposition is that if a debate is to take place on my motion ‘a little more time should be given to consider the matter. Although this is a reasonably formal motion it is fair enough that honourable senators should have time to consider it if that is what they feel they need. The Leader of the Government does not seem to accept this point of view because he is suggesting that a course be taken which would perhaps not enable-
– ls the honourable senator speaking to the point of order at this stage?
– I am speaking in accordance with the leave that has been given tacitly. The Leader of the Government is not adopting the suggestion that I have put. He is suggesting a course which, if the Government wished to adopt it, could prevent this matter being debated properly by the Senate. I am willing to accede to what the honourable senator says, as long as he agrees that he will facilitate the opportunity to deal with this matter. Perhaps it could be discussed conveniently tomorrow night. Honourable senators need not be concerned about the technicalities of the matter. All that the Minister has to do is to say that he will facilitate discussion of the matter, and I will agree.
– The honourable senator wants to put this on the business paper for tomorrow?
– If the Leader of the Government agrees that he will facilitate the introduction of the matter for debate tomorrow night.
– I agree.
– Then, if I may, I will take the step of transforming this into a notice of motton.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Post and Telegraph Rates Bill 1967.
Post and Telegraph Regulations Bill 1967.
Debate resumed from 26 September (vide page 903). on motion by Senator Dittmer:
That the Canberra Community Hospital
Ordinance 1967, as contained in the Austrafia!
Capital Territory Ordinance No. 28 of 1967, and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910-1963, be disallowed.
– by leave - The position in this matter is that there was a hospital ordinance which made provision for the election of a Board. That positionwas altered by the Canberra Community Hospital Ordinance 1967 which repealed the provisions of the existing ordinance and instituted a new system under which the Board was to be appointed by the Minister for the Interior. In the last few days an ordinance, called the Canberra Community Hospital Ordinance (No. 2) 1967 has been tabled. This sets up a new system and its clause 3 repeals the Canberra Community Hospital Ordinance. I had given notice of a motion of disallowance of the Canberra Community Hospital Ordinance 1967. The motion was moved by Senator Dittmer and is pending before the Senate. The effect of the new ordinance that has been tabled is that the purpose of the motion to disallow has been achieved already. Assuming that that portion of the new ordinance stood no further purpose would be gained by the motion. The motion is not strictly ineffective because it could be required under certain circumstances. But the substance of the motion to disallow has been achieved.
The position now is that the new system provides for three appointed members and two persons appointed by the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. It is open to those in the community who might take objection to the new system to refer to honourable senators the points that they want to have considered or raised, or for any honourable senator to take steps to deal with the substance of the new ordinance. The ordinance to which objection was taken has been effectively removed. Nothing further is to be gained by the motion. Therefore I ask on behalf of myself, who gave notice, and Senator Dittmer, who moved the motion, that it be withdrawn.
Motion - by leave - withdrawn.
Debate resumed from 26 September (vide page 926), on motion by Senator Henty:
That the Senate take note of the following papers:
Civil Works Programme 1967-68.
Commonwealth Payments to or for the States, 1967-68;
Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure, for year ending 30th June 1968;
Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the services of the year ending 30th June 1967;
Particulars of Proposed Provision for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30th June 1968;
Government Securities on Issue at 30th June 1967;
Commonwealth Income Tax Statistics, for income year 1964-65;
National Inome and Expenditure 1966-67.
Upon which Senator Murphy had moved by way of amendment:
At the end of motion add the following words: but condemns the Budget because:
it places defence costs on those least able to pay them;
it fails to curb administrative waste and extravagance;
it defers and retrenches development projects; and
it allows social service and war pensioners to fall still further behindtheir fellow citizens’. and upon which Senator McManus had moved by way of amendment to Senator Murphy’s proposed amendment:
At end of proposed amendment add ‘; and (he Senate is of the opinion that the Budget should be withdrawn and re-drafted to provide for:
increases giving justice to pensioners of all kinds to compensate for higher living costs; and
no postal increases pending reconstitution of postal administration under a statutory authority’.
– I would like to refer to certain matters, particularly in relation to statements by Senator Sim last Thursday. I am sick and tired of Government members being ignorant of the Australian Labor Party’s socialistic thought. Apparently Senator Sim has read our rule book. He spoke about democratic socialism and democratic socialisation. He spoke a lot of mumbo jumbo. He claimed that Mr Calwell, the then Labor leader, said that he would not implement the Socialist policy for 3 years. The honourable senator is completely divorced from reality when he speaks in that way. When Mr Calwell was the leader of the Labor Party, he said that he would not embark on a programme of nationalisation. This is where the confusion arises. As everyone knows, under the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth the Government does not have the power to own many facets of activity in Australia. Let us be quite clear when we deal with Australian Socialist thought. 1 have heard Senator Scott, Senator Cormack and other honourable senators opposite speak on this matter. I am sick and tired of the way in which they misrepresent the position. I suggest that they read the rule book of the Australian Labor Party. According to the Blackburn interpretation Labor policy adopted at the Brisbane conference, there was to be socialisation of the means of distribution, production and exchange. That was a simple statement with no amplification, lt wa:> misunderstood by many and malevolently misrepresented by many. At the feder.il conference in March 1957 the meaning of this statement was set out. I hope that members of the Government will not misrepresent the policy again. Most of the supporters of the Government, men and women, are basically decent and do not want to tell an untruth or misrepresent the position. We are proud to be socialists. On many occasions a previous Liberal Party Prime Minister embarked on Socialism when he discovered that it won voles for the particular government of the day. There is no doubt about that. There is no capitalist country in the world today that does nol embark on socialistic programmes. Let us bc quite clear on what Labor has intended to convey by socialism or socialisation for a little more than 100 years. The term has been tossed about and given various interpretations. There have been the English, French, German, Belgian and Russian schools of socialistic thought. They all had different ideas of what they hoped to achieve in the interests of the ordinary people, their welfare and their wellbeing.
In Australia we of the Australian Labor Party were entitled to develop an Australian school of Socialist thought to meet the needs of the Australian people and to develop this country for the people who live here. Is it any wonder that I get sick and tired, having come here for more than 8 years, with the way that this is misrepresented. I do not think it is intentionally misrepresented because they just do not know what we mean. But we in Australia are entitled to develop an Australian school of Socialist thought. In France they developed it through the years in relation to trade unions, communities and so on. In England Sir Robert Owen developed it in relation to co-operative ownership, and following him there were Church of England clergymen and Socialist thinkers who were not in the church. Even in the Catholic Church there were ideas of Socialist rights. In Russia they developed their own ideas and they did so in Poland also. Let us be quite clear about this so that once and for all we know where the Australian Labor Party stands in relation to social responsibility and Socialist thought.
There is no reason why any member of the Australian Labor Party should ever be ashamed of being a Socialist. Let us tell this story properly now. I know it because, by and large, I wrote it. It was developed in March 1957 at the Federal Conference in Brisbane because of the confusion which had been cultivated, I believe by the opponents of Labor, from the Blackburn interpretation in 1921. It was then simply the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange. But then we set out to make it clearer in relation to the rights of Australian people and the needs of the environment in which they live. We said then that it should be a democratic socialisation. In other words, if there was going to be a social responsibility it should be in the hands of the people. That is quite clear to anyone. No one on the Government side or on the Opposition side who opposes Labor should oppose this. But then what happened? We were asked what we meant by this. We said that we meant to the extent necessary to prevent exploitation and eliminate, anti-social features. Is there anything wrong with that? I cannot see anything in it which is unAustralian or anything that is even foreign in its significance.
– It is basically Christian.
– Yes, and basically it deals with the rights of individuals. We then endeavoured to define what we meant by socialisation. Perhaps Government supporters should realise that 4 years ago in England 200 people were interviewed in an endeavour to get a definition of the words Socialism’ and ‘socialisation’. Academics were interviewed and so were trade union officials and business people. By and large 200 different definitions were given of what was meant by ‘Socialism’ and ‘socialisation’. So we of the Australian Labor Party in March 1957 endeavoured to define what we meant by those words in relation to Australia and the people who live in it. We said that by ‘socialisation’ we meant the utilisation of the assets of the country in the interests of the people and not in the interests of the State or nation; in other words, the human being was of paramount importance. We believed that he was greater than the environment in which he lived or the machinery he used.
We of the Labor Party accept the rights of the ordinary human being, lt is of no use for Government supporters to try to confuse this issue as they have done so repeatedly. Sometimes I believe that they do it in ignorance, but sometimes J think they are frying malevolently to misrepresent the position in order to obtain power and endeavour to control power in perpetuity. We said then that scientific and technological advances should be the right of all and not the privileged possession of a few, as the Government believes they should be. This is the Government’s basic policy. We say that these things should contribute to the wellbeing of the great majority of the people and if anyone falls foul of this it is just bad luck. We do not say that a few should own all scientific and technological advances; we say they should contribute to the wellbeing of the majority of people in Australia and, if possible, to all people in Australia. Pages could be written on this subject. It was suggested by the late Jack Schmella that I write a book on it, but I have not had time to do so as I have been so busy countering the arguments raised in ignorance by Government supporters.
What then do we aim to achieve through democratic Socialism? We aim to achieve economic security and social justice. Surely no honourable senator opposite would quarrel with that.
– All of them would.
– Is the honourable senator on the Government side?
– No, I am on the same side as the honourable senator, and I hope that he will be on my side in a few minutes.
– Sometimes Senator McManus shows a measure of brilliance - when he is with us. We said also that there should be freedom of organisation, education and religion, and in education we included freedom of speech. Surely there is nothing wrong in including the young and old of Australia in this. We said that there should be a universal adult franchise with one vote for each person, with a rule by majority and a recognition of the rights of minorities. That is why the Democratic Labor Party is in this place. It was the Australian Labor Party that enabled it to be here. It is certain that the Government of the day would not permit that. We said that there should be a right to develop the human personality untrammelled by arbitrary interference by the State. Surely there is nothing wrong with that. We said that the rule of law should be the right of all. That, simply, is the policy of the Australian Labor Party, so do not let us hear any more challenges as to our rights to be Socialists. Surely no Government supporter would quarrel with that.
We realise that in Australia there are individual responsibilities and’ individual needs. We realise that the country has a right to develop. Surely we of the Australian Labor Party have the right to develop our own school of Socialist thought. It is of no use to say that we would aspire to own the farms, that we would seek to own every home in Australia or the right to tell children when they reach adolescence what course- they should follow. If the Russians want to do something that is their right; if the French, the Germans, the English or the Americans want to do something, that is their right also; and in Australia we have a basic right to do this in relation to the determination of the rights of individuals. Basically we say that we accept the responsibility for the human personality and that we accept the human being as being of paramount importance. But we do not say that we shall guide them in everything they do. We do not want to direct them in everything they do. As I have said, we do not want to own the farms. Frankly, I would not like to have the control of farms in Australia because farmers work too hard, too long and they are underpaid under the present Government. Yet in some measure these people accept their responsibilities. It is their right and I do not quarrel with that right. Surely we are entitled to do this.
Is there any shame in being a Socialist? That docs not make one a Communist. In fact, there is no real Communist in the world today in the sense of Communism as visualised by Karl Marx. He visualised a dictatorship by the proletariat, but there is no dictatorship by the proletariat today. There are State dictatorships such as in Italy, Germany and Russia. In some cases they are wrapped around State ownership of capital assets and in other places they are wrapped around private ownership. But this is not what we visualise for Australia. It is all very well for Senator Sim to say that Mr Calwell would not embark on Socialism in the next 3 years. Mr Calwell did not say that. What he said was that he would not embark on nationalisation within the next 3 years. Frankly, under the Constitution, with rare exceptions the Commonwealth Government has no authority to embark on nationalisation, if by that we mean national ownership. When we say ‘socialisation’ we do not mean 100% ownership of particular assets by the nation or the state. We mean that in some cases it might be necessary to have 100% ownership and in other cases it might bc necessary to have 50% control. Surely we are entitled to this idea. It does not mean that we will take away from the people all of their rights. We are seeking to preserve their rights.
In the time of the Government led by Sir Robert Menzies, from time to time we suggested that the Government should show a measure of social responsibility. It did not always follow our suggestions immediately; but within 2 or 3 years it went part of the way along the road. Whether it did that because of the consciences of members of the Government parties, because they thought they had a responsibility to the people of Australia including the aged, the adolescents and the children, or because they thought that was the way they might obtain votes, I do not know. Perhaps the last reason was the one. Sir Robert Menzies was a particularly smart academic and he was realistic, particularly after 1949. He was not so realistic politically earlier. He was arrogantly, academically brilliant in the earlier days. When he led Australia in the early days he could not survive because he was not typically Australian. But between 1946 and 1949 he was prepared to do anything. He even grovelled to the wharfies of Australia, although he did not ever sec them again. He also went to sporting clubs.
I pay every tribute to him because he sought to bring back to power the party that he founded, namely, the Liberal Party, which was the successor of many other parties that changed their names from year to year, following failures. The point is that he was fortunate in that he led Australia during a succession of good years and good seasons.
– Lucky years.
– They were not lucky years. They were fortunate years for Australia, but Australia was not fortunate in the Government that was in power. It must be realised that we are entitled to our own school of thought. We are becoming sick and tired of the way members of the Government parties and others try to describe us as state dictators or national dictators. We are not. We represent the ordinary people. We represent every section of the community. We accept a social responsibility. We are glad to be called socialists if that term is identified with a sense of social responsibility, in many cases with social ownership and in some cases with social control.
If any members of the Government parties, irrespective of what they have read of history, care to read what has happened over the last 100 years in France, England, Poland, Germany or Russia, they will see that Socialists in those countries all had their different ideas. We in Australia had the right, which we exercised in March 1957, to adopt our own school of Australian Socialist thought. In some cases it will amount to 100% ownership; in other cases it will amount to a measure of social control. I believe that certain things should be owned by the nation; that is, by the people as the representatives of the nation. There are other things that I do not believe should be owned by the nation. I do not think they are worth owning. Some of them are too difficult for the nation to own. But the nation should control them. Over the years we have accepted a measure of control. No State in this country does not have its own laws under which it controls people. There is nothing wrong in our saying that we will control or govern the habits of people or what they do, in some cases in the interests of other people. After all, the majority is entitled to rule provided it pays due regard to the rights of minorities. Basically that is Labor policy.
The Government would have people believe that it recognises the rights of minorities. Only yesterday we saw that it does not recognise those rights at all. If members’ of the Government parties could walk over us they would - not in ignorance; just in aggression. That is the way that some of them are cast. The others become enthused and follow. Let it be quite clear that we are not entitled to the insults that we have copped over the years. We are sick and tired of them. We will not cop them for much longer. I do not think we will have to do that after the senators who are elected on 25th November take their places. It behoves the Government to play the game fairly. That is all we are asking.
If the Government parties control the House of Representatives, we are prepared to recognise that, irrespective of how they attain that control. But we are entitled to be recognised as representatives of an Australian school of Socialist thought. On many occasions we represent the majority of the electors as they cast their votes; but because of the unfortunate distribution of electorates and the way preference votes are cast in some places we do not control the House of Representatives.
– And also because of the donkey vote.
– Not necessarily because of the donkey vote. I do not think it is as big as some people say it is. In fact, 1 do not think there is a donkey vote. The Government has a responsibility to pay due regard to our rights, including our right to speak as representatives of ordinary Australians. 1 plead with Senator Sim, Senator Scott and others - but particularly Senator Sim because last Thursday he was so abusive and quoted only part of the Australian Labor Party rule book. If he were honest he would say that there is no mumbo jumbo in it at all. The policy is set out in a page and a half. We did not intend to write a book. But if he wants to come and see me one day, I will amplify the policy for him.
There will be no mumbo jumbo. But if. after seeing me, he still thinks that there is mumbo jumbo, he can come into the chamber and say so. However, I will bet that he does not come and see me. He would not be game to.
I was very upset the other day. I have been upset for quite a while because it is so damned ridiculous to accuse us of being disloyal or of being Communists, particularly when according to Karl Marx there would be no Communists in the world today. Had there been Communists nearly 2,000 years ago, they would have been Christian Communists. If there is any parallel today, although I would not aspire to this, we would be the nearest to Christian Communists in the Western world, including the South East Asian world. I say to members of the Government parties: For Heaven’s sake be fair. Realise what the Labor Party means and what it has written in its rule book, how it has changed its policy on different aspects since 1921 without changing what it aspired to at that time, and how it has amplified its policy so that the ordinary person can understand what we mean by ‘the Australian school of Socialist thought’.
I have not much time left, but I wish to speak on a few matters. I was entitled to say what I have just said because of my annoyance. It was not so much annoyance as being upset. As honourable senators know, I am an emotional fellow. I am easily upset. Honourable senators opposite upset me very often.
– They do that deliberately.
– Yes, they do. Let me now talk about the Budget. A total of S6,483m is to be collected and spent. Surely the time must come when the Government must embark on planning. Members of the Government parties live from year to year or from season to season. If the season is bad they do not do too well; if the season is good they do well and they tell the people about it. The people are probably quite happy because they are doing reasonably well. Surely, as the Vernon Committee suggested years ago, there should be a measure of planning of the economy of a nation such as Australia which is isolated from the rest of the world. irrespective of the alliances to which we might be tied - some not so secure; others perhaps secure. Incidentally we do not know what the future holds for Australia. Surely the Government through the Treasurer (Mr McMahon), whether in a White Paper or some other document, should be able to say. In the last White Paper that the Treasurer published on the economy, there were a lot of maybes in relation to what overseas sales would amount to, what agricultural or primary production would amount to and what mineral production would amount to. Surely there must be a responsibility on the Government of the day to set targets for 5, 7, 8 or 10 years ahead - I do not care how long - instead of just for 1 year. The people of this nation are entitled to something more than that. Surely the Government has a responsibility to have a set system of planning, to know what is visualised for the future in relation to primary production, whether it be in respect to wheat, sorghum, iron ore or other minerals. There must be some system. The Government has advisers who are experts. It has the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Bureau of Mineral Resources to give it ideas. If a mistake is made, let the Government come forward and say: ‘We were wrong this year.’ We will be tolerant and we will accept that.
It is of no use to live from year ro year and to say that certain things could happen. Only today I read that our overseas reserves are the lowest that they have been since 1952, when they were extraordinarily high after having been built up by the Chifley Government. Now they are extraordinarily low, about 42% of what we need in view of our present imports. This is not good enough. We have to do better than this. This is a modern age. We have a responsibility not only to the adults but also to the adolescents and the infants, to ensure that they can survive and survive well. This is a country that is isolated. We have an obligation to defend it, to develop it and to educate the people who are here. We have a responsibility to develop the talents with which the children are endowed by nature. We have an obligation to provide for their physical and economic well being. Frankly, the Government is failing in this respect. I am not blaming the Government. This is just the way in which it has gone on haphazardly, expecting good seasons from year to year.
God forbid for the sake of Australia and the Australian people that the Government will continue in power. That would be the most tragic thing that I could imagine from the point of view of the wellbeing of Australians and the nation. But if it continues in power surely these points will not fall on deaf ears and it will plan for the economic future, and for the wellbeing of the people - adults, adolescents and children. Surely it will plan for education. I; has shown no interest in primary education, little interest in secondary and technical education, and insufficient interest in tertiary education. It has the most expensive and one of the most inefficient health, hospital and ancillary services schemes in the world. I am not saying that the Government is wrong but at least it should conduct an inquiry to see if this scheme is the best that we can afford or provide. I have not time to deal with development. I could have told the real story and what the Government could have done, but I am grateful for the time that has been permitted to me.
– in reply - We have had a long discussion on the Budget in the last 2 or 3 weeks. I have made notes of matters raised by the honourable senators, on some of which I will remark a little later. Senator Dittmer, the great Socialist, would be so busy planning that he would never get anything done. That is a great feature of the Socialists. They are always so busy planning that they never get anything done.
– That is not true.
– It is more than true. I want to comment first on one or two matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy). He made great play of overseas investment and overseas ownership and the damage that this was doing to Australia. Anyone who reads his case will realise not only that he overdid it but also that he suffered from a very short political memory. One of the matters to which he referred was the great motor industry, quite forgetting that it was the Australian Labor Party that gave the great General Motors Corporation a franchise to come to Australia, making no provision for any Australian interest at all in the undertaking which has developed to such a tremendous asset. He quite forgets this. I can understand it, of course. It is such a long time ago since the Labor Party was in office that he can be forgiven for forgetting such things but I thought it would be interesting to mention this aspect.
He not only has a short memory; he also ignores history. Very recent history shows that the two great Hamersley and Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd enterprises are seeking an Australian interest in their great Australian undertakings. I read with very great interest only last week that three of the most successful ventures in Australia - the North Broken Hill, Broken Hill South and Western Mining Corporation undertakings - which were all predominantly overseas owned at the time of their establishment, are today between 80% and 90% Australian owned. This is the type of development that takes place. According to the Leader of the Opposition and other honourable senators opposite this sort of development should not be encouraged. The Leader suffers not only from a short memory but also from a lack of knowledge of recent history. The Australians who now have an interest of between 80% and 90% in these great undertakings had to take none of the risks of establishing them. When we consider the industries established by overseas interests let us recall the huge losses incurred by them in the Northern Territory rice growing enterprise and many others. What a tremendous benefit it is to have the three great industries to which I have referred, in which Australians have a predominant interest, having taken no risk whatever of losing their capital. lt is estimated that our overseas trade credit to which the Leader of the Opposition referred, will rise from $93m in 1966 to over $700m in the early 1970s. I believe that minerals will rival wool, our greatest export earner, by that time. These great mineral resources which have now developed a large export market have resulted mainly from the investment of overseas capital and from the efforts of private enterprise in Australia.
I wish to comment on one or two other matters raised by th- Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. I wish to refer particularly to the voluntary health insurance scheme. Senator Murphy said that the scheme has broken down. He charged the
Government with spending too much money on the scheme; but in the next breath, of course without any responsibility and without any wories at all, he called for a completely free dental scheme plus abolition of the means test within two parliaments. Yet he said we are spending too much money on the health scheme. He gave no estimate of the cost of abolition of the means test, nor did he give an estimate of the cost of a free dental scheme. To say that the voluntary health scheme has broken down is sheer nonsense. It is regarded as one of the best schemes in the world. It is being adopted by some governments which achieved office by promises to increase the great benefits then available to the people. I refer particularly to the Labor Government of Great Britain, lt promised a tremendous increase in benefits to the people of Great Britain but now it is busily dismantling the scheme as it existed, lt Ls doing exactly what we have been doing in Australia - that is, encouraging people to help themselves. At the same time, we help them from the public purse. We say to the people: ‘You insure yourself for a certain amount and the revenues of the Commonwealth will find the difference.’ They are given the assistance they need and the incentive to help themselves. 1 repeat that the statement that the voluntary health scheme has broken down is absolute nonsense.
When it comes to a consideration of the great Socialist state, I cannot help commenting on exactly the same set of circumstances that has arisen in New Zealand, our sister dominion. Social service benefits have reached the stage there that the Government is entering into the same type of scheme that we have in Australia. It is the scheme which has stood the test ot time. It gives to the people the initiative to help themselves and at the same time to gain assistance from the Government. Senator Murphy said explicitly that expenditure on defence must be reduced.
– I did not say that.
– 1 wrote down what the honourable senator said. The current policy of the Australian Labor Party .s quite clear. The Party failed to convince the Australian people with its defence policy at the recent Federal election. The Labor Party spent some days under the auspices of its Executive endeavouring to manufacture a synthetic cloud around its policy. It said: It is the same policy, but let us put a cloud around it so that the people will not understand it.’ Previously Mr Calwell came out with a clear policy which said: ‘We will pull the Australian troops out of Vietnam.’ That was clearly understood by everybody. There is no doubt that at the time of the election last November the people clearly understood that that was Labor’s policy. But now it has a synthetic cloud around it. The policy now is: ‘If elected to office we will say to the Americans, “We have certain terms. You shall stop bombing. You shall withdraw to a certain holding line. You shall stop using certain weapons and methods of destruction and you shall recognise the National Liberation Front as a negotiating party.” ‘ We are to say all these things to the Americans. We are to tell them to do this and to do that, and if they do not we will pull our troops out of Vietnam. Labor would have us believe that a country of Australia’s size - we are indeed fortunate to have the United States as one of our great allies - should level a gun at the heads of our American allies and say: ‘You do these things or we will pull our troops out of Vietnam’.
Frankly, I preferred the honest and clearly understood policy of Mr Calwell. I know that the people of Australia did not like it. They did not accept it. By the time we have finished they will not be misled by the synthetic cloud that Labor has put around its present policy. The modern method of the Australian Labor Party is to write its policies so that they cannot be clearly understood. The procedure is to have a back door and a side door as well as a front door so that members of the Labor Party can get out one way or the other. The plan is never to allow these things to be understood fully. I ask any honourable senator opposite to explain to me the difference between saying clearly, as Mr Calwell said: ‘If elected to office we will pull our troops out of Vietnam’, and saying what Labor now says, that is: ‘We will tell the Americans that they are to do this and do that. If they do not obey, we will pull our troops out of Vietnam*. It is the same thing. Of course, Mr Whitlam, the new Leader, goes along with the new policy.
– According to Mr Calwell it is not a new policy; it is the same one.
- Mr Calwell says it is the same one. He and I recognise it because we have been here long enough to understand what Labor is trying to do. No Budget in the last IS years has received a better reception than the present Budget, because its purpose is quite clear. Public spending is slightly dampened down. That had to happen. It has been dampened down only slightly so that the private sector of the economy will be able to play an increasing part in the development of the Commonwealth. I heard Senator Cormack say clearly that the private sector earns the profits which are taxed and provides the revenues for governments to spend in the public sector.
It is high time that the step was taken to give the private sector its opportunity to develop. If the Government can fairly be criticised at all it is for over-spending to a degree in the public sector. This Budget sets the position in order. Australia will benefit eventually from additional private profitability. The funds for the Government to spend are obtained from the revenues furnished by the private sector. Those revenues, through this Budget, will be used to assist the family man. Taxation allowances for a man’s wife and children have been increased and child endowment for the fourth and subsequent children has also been increased. This is a clear benefit to the larger families.
During the course of this debate I heard criticism about the increase from $800 to $1,200 in the permissible taxation deduction in respect of payments to superannuation funds and insurance premiums. Surely the self-employed man is entitled to an opportunity to provide his own superannuation. This is the one class in the community which has no superannuation to look forward to other than that which it provides for itself. Surely the self-employed man - the doctor, the lawyer, the little storekeeper - is entitled to provide as much as he can for his own superannuation because no-one else will do it for him. That is the purpose of the Government’s proposal and I am sure no fair-minded man would dispute it. The new proposal to tax the net income of pensioners, instead of the gross income as was previously the case, represents a steady advance in the Government’s policy of allowing pensioners to increase their earnings. This will provide a further measure of assistance for them.
I should like to refer to the increase in defence expenditure. I have taken out figures covering the 6-year period from 1962-63 to 1967-68. They are most interesting. Defence expenditure in 1962-63 was nearly $700m. There has been increase of over 160% in the 5 years since 1962-63.
– Where will the Government get the money?
– We wilt get it from the profits of private enterprise which we tax. If the honourable senator had been listening he would have heard me mention that earlier. I do not know whether he was asleep. The Australian economy has been kept going at a good rate and on sound lines. The high rate of investment by the private and public sectors has been sustained. Exports have been rising and our external financial position has been kept in a sound condition. Considerable improvements have been effected in social and welfare services, and assistance to the States has increased rapidly.
Let me quote some figures relating to our proposed expenditure during 1967-68. In round figures, we will spend $1,1 00m on defence, an increase of 161% on 1962-63 figures. We will spend $ 1, 071m on the National Welfare Fund, an increase of $3 1 2m or 41%. We will spend $5 16m on Commonwealth capital works and services, an increase of $167m or 48%. We will spend $976m on Stale works and housing and capital payment to the States, an increase of $326m or 50%. Our revenue grants to the States will total $ 1,028m an increase of $31 Im or 43%.
– What about the National Welfare Fund?
– I have already mentioned an increased expenditure of $321 m - an increase of 41% - in respect of the National Welfare Fund. Of course, when we compare payments from that Fund with the cost of living, we see that the position is far better than it was.
The Government has aimed at a balanced economy. We have achieved this to an unparalleled extent in the past 5 years. The Leader of the Opposition in another place laid that the economy was barely rolling and that there had been a down swing in the past 2 years, but he did not quote any figures to substantiate that statement because he could not find any. I shall cite the increases in national productivity over the past 5 years. In 1962-63 there was an increase of 6%; in 1963-64 there was an increase of 7%; in 1964-65 the increase was 7%; in 1965-66 it was 2% and in 1966-67 it was 5i%. The average for the 5 years was 5i%. Only one country in the world - Japan - has a better record than Australia for that 5-year period. Japan has shown an immense increase of 91% in its national productivity. Australia’s average increase of 5i% has been equalled by Canada and the United States of America while Denmark has recorded 5%, France 5%, Italy 5%, the Netherlands 5%. New Zealand 5%, West Germany 4i%, Sweden 4*% and the United Kingdom 3%. Those figures, I believe are worth recording.
I shall refer to only one other matter - the magnificent bounce back of rural industry from the effects of the 1.965-66 drought. In 1966-67 the gross value of farm production was a record $3,733m. This was $999m more than the result in 1961-62. Of this amount, $680m was swallowed up by costs. This is one of the many reasons why the Government is more worried about inflation than is the Leader of the Opposition who submitted certain recommendations for social welfare and other expenditure in his speech on the Budget. Since 1962-63 Commonwealth expenditure on education has increased from $59m to an estimated $194m this financial year. Included in these amounts are specific purpose payments for education in the States. Those payments are expected to increase almost four-fold. Indicative as these figures are, the story of the Commonwealth’s evolving role in education in terms of changes in its scope and direction over this period is even more dramatic. I want to mention only one or two statistics. In 1962-63 expenditure on the Commonwealth scholarship scheme amounted to $7m. This year expenditure on a wider range of scholarships is expected to amount to $24m. In 1963 there were about 15,000 students in training in receipt of Commonwealth scholarships. This calendar year the number is approximately 49,000 and next year it is expected to increase to 54,000, so in four years there has been an increase from 15,000 to 54,000 in the number of students in training receiving Commonwealth scholarships. These statistics indicate the great strides that have been made in education by reason of the funds which have been made available by this Government.
Honourable senators have referred to other matters with which I have not dealt. I should like them to know that their remarks have been noted and will be examined in due course by the departments concerned.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Laught) - The question is: ‘That the words proposed by Senator McManus to be added to Senator Murphy’s proposed amendment be added’.
– Now that I understand that those who have spoken in support of my amendment have concluded their remarks, I rise out of courtesy to state the Opposition’s attitude to the further amendment moved by Senator McManus. I am not entitled to deal with the whole question, notwithstanding the latitude that was extended by all to the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Henty). The Federal Parliamentary Labor Party has considered the amendment moved by Senator McManus and has decided not to support it. The first reason for not supporting it is that the amendment which was moved by me condemns the Budget. It might be convenient if I read the amendment whichI moved to Senator Henty’s motion that the Senate take notice of the papers. My amendment was as follows:
At the end of motion add the following words: but condemns the Budget because:
Senator McManus’s amendment to my amendment is in these terms:
At end of proposed amendment add ‘; and the
Senate is of the opinion that the Budget should be withdrawn and re-drafted to provide for:
Senator McManus’s amendment is merely another way of phrasing my amendment. However well meant, it does not improve what was put in my amendment.
The second reason for not supporting Senator McManus’s amendment is that the invitation to the Government to withdraw and redraft the Budget is not realistic. The Budget is for the financial year commencing 1st July last. It is now 27th September. Some of the legislation to give effect to the Budget has already been passed. The Social Services Bill (No. 2), which was designed to adjust child endowment, has been passed without opposition. Legislation to give effect to the post and telephone increases has already been passed by both Houses. Therefore, as we conceive it, the Australian Democratic Labor Party’s amendment, which was moved by Senator McManus to improve the amendment which was moved by me, is really not capable of doing so at this juncture and it would be inconsistent with what has already happened.
Further, it would be futile to ask the Government to go back and produce a better Budget giving effect to what has been said. The Budget is the product of a bankrupt philosophy. The only solution is to remove those who produced the Budget, not to invite them to go back and produce another one. We would no doubt get a Budget which was equally deficient and perhaps more so than the one which has already been presented.
– It might also mean an election, and of course the Australian Labor Party could not face that.
– If the Democratic Labor Party thinks that steps should be taken in this chamber to defeat the Government on financial measures or on any measure which could produce an election, it can be only on the basis that the Government should be replaced. What members of the Democratic Labor Party say here, what they did in the electorate of Corio and what they are doing at this moment in the division of Capricornia destroys the seeming sincerity which has been advanced by them. How can they speak here with one voice and say: ‘We want you to take steps to force this Government to an election so that we can replace it’, and at this very moment in Capricornia speak with another voice and say: ‘Return the Government candidate’? They will give him their preferences. This is how they go on. They have one voice here and another voice out in the electorate. That is the purpose of Senator McManus’s amendment. That is what the DLP wants.
– It is for the purpose of warning the people against your Communist candidate.
– What did you say?
– The honourable senator heard what I said.
– Did you refer to Dr Everingham as a Communist?
– Yes. a subscriber to a Communist paper.
– I ask that that statement be withdrawn, it is an offensive remark. Dr Everingham is a member of the Australian Labor Party. It is a disgraceful remark for Senator Gair to make in this chamber. I think it is most disgraceful and an offensive reflection upon the Australian Labor Party to say that it is putting forward a Communist candidate. This is personally offensive to me and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– I am not reflecting on any member of the Senate.
– Mr Acting Deputy President, it must be offensive. Dr Everingham is a person with whom members of the Australian Labor Party are associating. He is regarded by us as being a man of good standing. He is a personal friend of mine. If Senator Gair has any decency at all he ought to withdraw his statement. He would not dare to make it outside the chamber. If he is to be fair to himself, to the Senate and to everyone concerned, let him withdraw it. Let that be the end of the matter and let it never be said again.
– I do not think that it is necessary for me to withdraw the remark. There is no point of order, according to my understanding. I have not reflected on any member of the Senate. I said that the
ALP candidate in Capricornia was Communist in inclination - a man who contributes to the Communist papers, recommending ways and means by which the Communists might increase their membership, and who addresses meetings of Communists.
– I raise a point of order.
– I ask Senator Gair to withdraw his statement.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Order! I want to hear the point of order raised by Senator Cavanagh.
– I am taking a point of order because Senator Gair said that the Labor candidate in Capricornia is a Communist. As a member of the same Party as the Labor candidate in that electorate I find Senator Gair’s remarks to be offensive. I ask for a withdrawal of those offensive remarks. I do not think that Senator Gair should make a speech further criticising an individual if he does not intend to withdraw the remark. In view of the fact that the remark is offensive to honourable senators on this side of the chamber we are justified in seeking a withdrawal and if necessary an apology.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Under what standing order does the honourable senator make that application?
– I rely on Standing Order 418 which reads:
No Senator shall use offensive wonts against either House of Parliament cr any Member of such Mouse, or of any House of a State Parliament, or against any Statute unless for the purpose of moving for its repeal, and all imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections on Members shall be considered highly disorderly.
The practice of this House over the years has been that when a remark which is offensive to other members of the Senate is made an honourable senator is entitled to ask for and obtain a withdrawal of that remark. It has not been the practice to submit us to an elaboration of the remark, which aggravates the offence. The words used by Senator Gair were offensive to me. He called a member of my Party who. after next Saturday may be a member of this Parliament, a Communist. I find his remark highly offensive, and 1 ask for its withdrawal.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT - Standing Order 418 expressly rules: _ No Senator shall use offensive words against either House of Parliament, or any Member of such House, or of any House of a State Parliament, or against any Statute . . .
No offensive words have been used against any member of any House. I understand that Dr Everingham is a candidate for election, but he is not a member of the Federal Parliament or of a State Parliament. There is no substance in the point raised.
– I ask Senator Gair, who may have spoken without thinking, in all fairness to withdraw a remark which I am sure would not be made by him outside the Senate. He used the expression: ‘A Communist candidate.’ I ask him to indicate that he will withdraw the remark. We can then let that be the end of the matter. Will Senator Gair indicate that he will do this? If he does, we will take the matter no further.
– Through you, Mr President, I ask: Will Senator Gair, as a matter of fairness and decency withdraw the remark?
– If the honourable senator will sit down I will have an opportunity to speak.
– Then I will continue my remarks on the Budget. The amendment moved by the Democratic Labor Party is not acceptable to us. It is of no use the members of the Democratic Labor Party saying they want to force the Government to an election. We know that that cannot be true. Surely that is not the purpose of the amendment they have submitted. If it is the purpose of their amendment, then they are speaking with two voices and the people of Australia will know they are speaking with two voices. Here they say: Let us rush in and take action which will force the Government to an election so that we can get rid of this Government. This is a terrible Budget. Every step must be taken to replace this Government for the injustice it is doing to the pensioners and to other persons in the community.’ But what are they doing outside the Parliament? What are they doing in Capricornia? They are doing just what they did in Corio.
At every election they go out and fight for the Government. They put up candidates who have no hope of success in order that their preferences may go to the Government. Let them answer that. If steps are taken in this Parliament to force the Government to an election, are the members of the DLP prepared to go outside and speak in the same way as they do here and say: Let us replace this Government. Let us have a Labor Government. Let us get rid of the Government. Let us have justice for pensioners. Let us have all these other things that which we all agree are necessary for the public welfare’? The Opposition will not accept the amendment which has been proposed by Senator McManus. We ask the Senate to vote for the Opposition’s amendment.
– I take it that I am in order in addressing myself to the amendment moved by Senator McManus?
– Yes, the honourable senator is in order.
– I do not intend to delay the Senate at any great length but 1 must say that T could not imagine any member on the Government side of the Senate making a greater apologia for or a greater defence of the Budget than that submitted to the Senate tonight by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy). Throughout the course of this debate we have heard violent criticism of the Budget from Senator Murphy and those who sit behind him. They have been most critical of the Government’s failure to recognise the just claims of pensioners. They have also complained bitterly about the iniquitous increases in postal rates and charges. Last week when they had an opportunity to prove the sincerity of their criticism of the increased postal charges, they walked out of this chamber rather than vote with the members of the Democratic Labor Party and so assist in defeating the Government. Such defeat would have meant that the Government would have had to withdraw its proposals for increased charges for postal services. In effect, they said: All the things we said in criticism were just empty platitudes uttered merely for the purpose of gaining some political advantage.
We cannot be relied upon as representatives of the workers to pursue a definite course in opposition to the Government. We cannot be relied upon to defend the interests of the working class people and the customers of the Postmaster-General’s Department.’ Tonight again we heard Senator Murphy offering innumerable excuses for the failure of members of the Labor Party to support the amendment proposed by Senator McManus. That amendment is expressed in clear, plain language. It is:
At end of proposed amendment add ‘; and the Senate is of the opinion that the Budget should be withdrawn and redrafted to provide for:
increases giving justice to pensioners of all kinds to compensate for higher living costs; and
no postal increases pending reconstitution of postal administration under a statutory authority’.
The amendment is not ambiguous. Clear language has been employed to express our feelings and the feelings which I believe were possessed by members of the Australian Labor Party. From what Senator Murphy has said tonight it is evident that members of the ALP were not sincere in their criticism of the Budget and of the postal charges and in their pleas for the pensioners. Now they are content, just as they were a week ago when acquiescing to the increased postal charges, to say: ‘Well, it is September and so 2 months of the new financial year have elapsed. That is a good enough reason why we should forsake the pensioners and those who have been affected by a Budget which has been described by our members, who have spoken in the debate, as the most terrible and neglectful Budget ever presented to this Parliament’. Members of the Opposition might believe that that is a very expedient way of disposing of this matter. But let me warn them, if they did not already know, that the public is conscious of their attitude to the postal charges and to the Budget. Could the public have any respect for an opposition that carried on a fight as has been carried on here in the last few weeks and then capitulated, as the Opposition has done in one instance and as it is prepared to do again tonight?
I believe that the amendment moved by Senator McManus is an expression of the feelings of the great majority of the Australian people. Wherever I have gone I have heard expressions of disappointment and disgust at the Government’s flagrant neglect of the pensioners and also complaints regarding the impost of additional charges on the customers of the Post Office. The public knows that the present telephone subscribers are required to find the capital for the extension of the service to people who are listed and who are applicants for telephones.
I am disgusted beyond limit to think that alleged Labor men would conduct themselves in this fashion and forsake and run out on the people of this country, particularly the pensioners who rightly look to Labor representatives to plead their case and to show the Opposition’s strength against a Government which has been so neglectful of the just claims of this large section of our population. I leave members of the Opposition to the judgment of these people. I believe that the judgment will not be in their favour but will be without question a vote of no confidence in an inept, ineffective and useless opposition which is afraid to face the people and which does not want an election at any cost. If members of the Opposition want an election they have the facility to obtain one by voting with the DLP and defeating the Government on this issue. In relation to the postal charges members of the Opposition would at least have made it necessary for the Government to examine the position and decide whether it would put the matter before the people. After all, in a democracy the people should be the judges of these questions as they arise if agreement cannot be found in the parliamentary halls of the country. It is evident that the Opposition is not ready to go before the people; indeed it has publicly stated that its present position has not been consolidated sufficiently to go before the people. Its position will never be consolidated until members of the Opposition make up their minds whether they are real representatives of the people of this country or whether they are just time servers under our parliamentary system, ready to make any excuse and take any course of expediency to relieve them of the responsibility of making a decision on a vital matter.
– I also wish to oppose the amendment which has been moved by
Senator McManus. The reasons which have been advanced by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Murphy) for our opposition to the amendment moved by Senator McManus are quite clear. The Australian Democratic Labor Party on this occasion has not endeavoured to bring about the defeat of the Government on behalf of the pensioners.
– It wants the Government re-elected.
– As Senator Toohey says, it wants to take whatever steps it can to ensure the success of the present Government and extend by 3 years its term of office. It has no other purpose in mind than that. I do not want to deal in any detail with what is contained in the Budget. I merely want to outline the reason for the Australian Labor Party’s refusal to accept the amendment moved by Senator McManus. Senator Gair has hist said that he is ashamed of the Australian Labor Party and that if the workers of Australia were to have the sort of Labor representation which they wanted to have they would want to see a Labor Party acting in such a way that it would lead to the defeat of a government which bad deprived the pensioners of their just desserts. I can only say that this is obviously an admission by Senator Gair that he is not in any way a Labor man. From the actions of the DLP in the by-elections that have taken place since the Budget was introduced it can be seen that it has acted to secure the return of this very Government which it pretends to condemn because of these shocking injustices.
– In Corio you undertook to vote against the postal charges.
– I made no undertakings of any sort. 1 was not even in Corio. I will be making some undertakings when I am in Capricornia later this week.
– Did you help to bring about tha defeat of Nelson Lemmon?
– Senator Wheeldon was only a child then.
– I was enjoying the side show. I see that Senator McManus does not want to continue the discussion. The Senate was told recently that the reason why the DLP was working as best it could, which probably is not very effectively, to secure the defeat of the ALP candidate in Capricornia was because he is a Communist candidate. I understand that Senator Gair was saying that Dr Everingham was a Communist candidate, but when the honourable senator was in the division of Capricornia he said he was an idealist and a pacifist. On that occasion he did not make any mention of his being a Communist. According to the Press this is what he said while in the district, yet now he says that Dr Everingham is a Communist candidate. This would hardly seem to be an explanation for the Democratic Labor Party’s refusal to give its preferences to the candidate for Corio. I have heard no suggestion so far that he was a Communist candidate or a Communist member. If members of the Democratic Labor Party are of this opinion then possibly they could have said so. But what they are endeavouring to do is to secure a double dissolution because although they know very well that their percentage of the votes is microscopic, that they have no hope whatever of gaining seats in the House of Representatives, they believe that with a double dissolution and ten senators to be elected from each State on the basis of proportional representation, they possibly would be able to gain some seats in the Senate from this manoeuvre.
We would be perfectly happy if the Democratic Labor Party were to say to us: ‘We are concerned about the fate of the pensioners. Their plight is shocking. We realise the difficulties of the workers of Australia. What is needed is a rejection of this Government which has so shabbily treated the pensioners. We are so sincere about this that not only will we join with you against the Liberals but we will carry this through to its logical conclusion and will give our preferences to the Australian Labor Party candidates.’ Then, of course, everybody would be able to see the sincerity of the Democratic Labor Party on this matter. But we know very well that if the Australian Labor Party were foolish enough to vote for the amendment which has been moved and if an election were held, that would be the last that we would hear from the Democratic Labor Party about the pensioners. What we would be hearing about then would be the Communist candidates, about what happened to Nelson Lemmon, about what Joe Chamberlain was doing, about the Communists in control of the American Republican Party, about the secret hot line between Governor Romney and Ho Chi Minh, about the serious influx of dim sims into Melbourne brought in under the auspices of the Labor candidate for Yarra, and many other stories such as would terrify all the people who habitually become terrified by the Democratic Labor Party when an election comes around.
But one thing we are quite certain of is that we would not be hearing them say. Let us get rid of this Government which has so shabbily treated the pensioners’. That is the last thing that would enter their heads to talk about because they would conduct their election campaign in precisely the same way as they have conducted every election campaign in the past. The only reason for their existence is to act as a pilot fish to the Liberal Party, to act as a runner for the Liberal Party, to do what they can to defame the Australian Labor Party in order to secure the return of the Liberal Party to the Treasury bench. 1 know that they are a bit upset at the present time because the President of Italy was here and members of the DLP were down among the ruck when the soup was being served and were not at the high table. This has distressed them a little. Understandably, they are somewhat annoyed with the Government at present and possibly there is a little more venom and hate in their remarks towards the Government while this matter is before the Senate than normally there would be. But 1 am sure that missing out on the first class ravioli would be forgotten once an election came around. We would be back where we were about Communist control in the ALP, about the sinister Communists at work inside all the trades halls, and we would hear not one word about the pensioners. There would be not one Australian Labor Party candidate anywhere in Australia who would be given Democratic Labor Party preferences.
– How many preferences would the ALP give us?
– We would not give the DLP any so far as I am concerned because the attitude of the Australian Labor Party is that if we are going to have a Liberal Party we would rather have a genuine Liberal Party than a disguised one. We would rather a Liberal Party which makes no pretence of standing for private enterprise, anti-Communism and antiworking class policies than a party which acts under a masquerade and pretence to be a Labor Party while at the same time being even more vicious than the Government in discrediting Labor Party candidates. That is why we would not give any preferences to the Democratic Labor Party, because we know that the reason it is here is solely for purpose of destroying the Australian Labor Party. At least the other parties have some motives, whether those motives be good or bad.
– The Australian Labor Party is destroying itself.
– The honourable senator will see whether it is destroying itself when the results of the Capricornia by-election come out. We will invite Senator McManus to comment then on what the Labor Party is doing.
– The honourable senator never makes a comment when 1 have an opportunity to speak after him. He always speaks when I cannot follow.
– I am scared stiff.
– It happens regularly. Every time he talks when he is safe. He only speaks when he knows that I cannot reply.
– I should be perfectly happy to speak with Senator McManus inside this place or outside it on any occasion that he cares to nominate and I am certainly not scared of him.
– The honourable senator was in the Young Liberal speakers’ group. He and Billy Snedden were the two top pupils of the Young Liberal speakers’ group in the old days. Is that not true?
– Yes, that is true.
– I knew it. He and Billy Snedden were the two star pupils of the Young Liberal speakers’ group.
– I confess that I was once a member of the Liberal Party.
I confess that, and 1 hope that this will nol be held against me by honourable senators opposite who were not always members of the Liberal Party themselves. I make no secret of it. but 1 fail to see its relevance to this Budget debate. I am not in the least embarrassed by having changed my mind politically al the age of 19 years. However, I would be embarrassed if I had been a pledged member of the Australian Labor Party, occupying important positions in the Party while well into middle age, and then turning on the Party which had kept me for years and publicly maligning it. That would embarrass me. But I am not embarrassed by what I did as a teenager.
– That would not embarrass the honourable senator.
– I am not in the least embarrassed.
– He would be on any side.
– J repeat that I am not in the least embarrassed. I can see Senator McManus is becoming so agitated about this that he seems to have forgotten all about those pensioners who were worrying him a little while ago. He has forgotten all about them and now he is worrying about me. This is precisely what he would be doing if there were an election. Of course I am in a rather peculiar situation. Tonight there has been a somewhat different approach, as I can understand it, taken by the Leader and Deputy Leader of the DLP to members of the Australian Labor Party. The Leader of the DLP is discrediting Dr Everingham by saying that he is at present a Com. The Deputy Leader of the DLP is apparently discrediting me because I was once a Liberal. If we look at the DLP senators we find that they were once Labor and now are merely hangers-on to the Liberal Party. All the most extreme rightist views in this country come from the Democratic Labor Party. That is why the Australian Labor Party does not give it any preferences and that is why the Australian Labor Party does not intend to give it any preferences.
The ALP will work to bring about an election at a time which suits it and not at a time which suits the DLP. The Democratic Labor Party has no purpose in this operation other than the hope of picking up, through a few donkey votes, a few extra seats in the Senate. It has no intention of doing anything about the pensioners and no intention of doing anything about the Budget. We would hear nothing about the Budget from the DLP senators once an election were held. All we would hear would be personal smearing of Labor candidates, in the same way as we have heard personal smearing tonight against Dr Everingham and then against me. Senator McManus said that I am afraid to speak before him. I defy him or any other member of the Senate to name one occasion when I have personally reflected on any senator in this chamber since I have been a member of it. I have never once personally reflected on any member of the Senate and I defy any honourable senator to produce Hansard to show anywhere that I have referred to anybody’s earlier life, previous occupation, previous opinions or anything that he has done in any respect before coming into the Senate. Yet this is the only stock in trade of Senator McManus - to make personal smears of this nature upon members of the Labor Party and upon Labor Party candidates. I assure the Senate that I am not frightened of Senator McManus. I am prepared to debate this issue or any other issue with him, Senator Gair or anybody else who wants to debate with me either in this chamber or outside it. I am certainly not deterred by a bit of personal smearing.
The people of Australia are sick and tired of smearing. They want to discuss matters on their merits. Great issues are facing the world at the present time. I do not think the people of Australia are interested in Senator McManus’s opinions on what one Australian Labor Party senator did at the age of 19 years or in what Senator McManus thinks about Dr Everingham. The two members of the Democratic Labor Party here tonight have revealed the sort of policy that they would follow if an election were to be held. Is it any wonder that the Australian Labor Party rejects their manoeuvre? ls it any wonder that we reject the amendment that has been moved by Senator McManus?
That the words proposed by Senator McManus to be added to Senator Murphy’s proposed amendment be added.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 41
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question put -
That the amendment (Senator Murphy’s) be agreed to.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question put -
That the Senate take note of the Budget papers.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator Sir Alister McMullin)
Majority . . . . 41
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Henty) agreed to:
That the Senate resolve itself forthwith into a Committee of the Whole for the purpose of considering the Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the Service of the year ending 30 June 1968, and the Particulars of Proposed Provision for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30 June 1968.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Although I moved a further amendment to the motion to take note of the Budget papers I did not have an opportunity to take part in the very interesting and enlivening discussion which has just taken place. I hope therefore that 1 will now be permitted to express some views on the much discussed question of the niceties which should be observed in debate in this House. May I point out that there are two schools of thought on this very important question. There is one school of thought in the Senate which takes the strongest exception to the use of the word ‘Communist’, particularly in regard to anybody with whom it has an association. But that school of thought which has such strong objections to the use of the word ‘Communist’ repeatedly uses the words ‘Fascist’ and ‘rat’ about people who are associated with my Party.
– Not for a long time.
- Senator 0’Byrne used those words within the last fortnight.
– And meant it, too.
– Just as I mean it when I say that Senator O’Byrne is unfit even to be replied to. I have heard him on occasions complain about things that are said here under privilege, but he made one of the most disgraceful attacks ever known.
– I would like to take a point of order.
– I thought you would be up.
– Just sit down for a moment.
– Do not tell me to sit down. The President is in charge of this house, and you ought to know it.
– In good time the President will tell you. Mr President, I would like a ruling from you as to whether, when the Budget debate has been completed, the forms of the House as to its adjournment can be used to continue the Budget debate.
– Order! Is the honourable senator taking a point of order?
– Yes, Mr President. I would like you to rule whether the Budget debate can be continued after it has been concluded and a vote has been taken.
– On the same day.
– Yes, on the same day, and referring to the previous debate.
– Order! The point of order is not upheld.
– As I was saying when I was interrupted by the protagonist of freedom of speech who has just resumed his seat, there are certain niceties which I believe should always be observed in discussion. It has always been my attitude that if a man likes to use decent English at all times in debate he is entitled to receive similar treatment in reply. But if a man like Senator O’Byrne likes to use the language of the gutter - there are others on his side who do, although I know that some of them . do not use that language - then he and those who use such language have no right to complain when strong words are used against them. In short, if they give it, let them take it.
We have had discussions tonight upon party politics and upon attitudes of the Australian Labor Party. We heard the remarkable statement that the ALP was afraid to face an election unless it could be assured of the preferences of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. This is the fighting new look party - a party which says that it will fight in 1969. It tells the pensioners that the policy of the ALP for them is that they should tighten their belts. To those people who have said that the attitude of the Australian Labor Party to an election is all right, let me say this: Why did the Federal President of the Party fight for an election this year? Senator Keeffe and his supporters may not thank me for saying this, but at least they spoke the language of Labor when they said that they were prepared to fight. I say to all the people who have put forward noble sounding reasons why they could not fight on this occasion that there were some people in their Party who knew that it should have fought. The people who put them here would respect them more if they had fought than they will now that they have run away. We heard some remarks from the star pupil of the Young Liberal Group, who, along with Mr Snedden, worshipped at the shrine of Liberalism.
– That does not say much for Mr Snedden.
– I am trying to keep the debate on a high plane. I do not want to be hard on this young neophyte who has explained that at 19 years of age be was wrong but at 39 years he thinks he is right.
– No, 38 years.
– Who knows where he will be in another 10 years? I want to explain to him something which seems to have him worried; that is, why the DLP does not give his Party its preferences. When there was a split in the Party in 1955 in certain States we gave the ALP our preferences. We learned our lesson, because the ALP won six seats on our preferences. But members of the ALP took darned good care in the same election that anywhere any of our candidates had a chance of winning the preferences of the ALP were given to the Liberal Party. In other words, they said: ‘There is to be no pulling of punches. It is all in, boots and all.’ They made it that way so that they would kill our candidates on the preferences. They decided that was the way it was to be fought, and we accepted it. We said: ‘All right. If that is the way it is to be fought, we will fight it that way.’ But what is happening now? The ALP is saying: ‘You are playing it too rough.’
I think that the time when I last stood for election to the Senate provided a classic example of the behaviour of the people who said what a shocking thing it was for us to give our preferences to the Liberals. When I stood on the last occasion as a candidate for the Senate, at a certain stage when I looked like winning a recount was called for. While the recount was being held the Leader of the Australian Labor Party rang the Liberal candidate every night asking for the latest figures and assuring him that he was praying for his return, even though such an event would have given the Government a majority or a near majority in the Senate. It was an amazing situation. To the people who say that you have to play it fair, I point out that the Leader of their Party was ringing the Liberal candidate and saying: ‘I hope you get a majority in the Senate.’ When the count was to be taken, in a number of areas the Liberal Party did not supply scrutineers. Why? It was unnecessary, because Mr Hartley, the secretary of the Victorian Branch of the ALP and a fellow member with Senator Wheeldon ot the Young Liberal Group-
– No, he was not.
– Well, he was President of the Perth Young Liberals, was he not? And he led a flying squad of Young Liberals which defeated Nelson Lemmon in 1949.
– Who did?
– Hartley, the man I have been speaking about. I invite Senator Wheeldon to ask the Labor men in Perth whether I am right. Senator Wheeldon will probably say that he was too young.
– He was not a member then.
– When the recount was being held, Mr Hartley, the ex-Young Liberal sent letters to members of the ALP all over Victoria asking them to scrutinise at the recount. He said: ‘My instructions are that you endeavour to have Labor votes declared informal and have Liberal votes declared formal.’ He put that in a letter. I have always understood that it was absolutely unworthy conduct in the ALP to ask a man in the Party to destroy the votes of his own Party, but the secretary of the Party sent a letter throughout Victoria saying to ALP members: ‘Your job as an ALP scrutineer is to get as many Labor votes declared informal as you can and to get as many Liberal votes declared formal as you can.’
– To get the lesser of two evils.
– Our friend agrees with it. If Senator Cavanagh thinks that is the way it ought to be played, I do not mind. What I object to is the revolting hypocrisy of people who say: ‘Let us fight on a high and noble plane’, and then when it comes to the point, they get down as low as they can to achieve their desires.
I merely say in conclusion - I do not want to detain the Senate - that I am always prepared to fight on any basis that the other side is prepared to fight on. If the other side wants to fight on a high plane, that is all right with me but in the field where I worked for years we were told that if the other side gave it. give it back. One thing 1 have never done is what has been done here tonight, and what has been done on numerous occasions, when I have heard people use the filthiest gutter language about the members of my Party. I have never asked anyone to protect me. I will protect myself. One has only to say a word in reply to those people and they are on their feet asking the Chair to protect them. That is one of the reasons why I think that in some respects the Opposition is no longer a Labor party. The members of the Labor Party did not fight that way in the old days. In the old days they took it and gave it. They did not want any protection.
So to the young 19-year olds and all the others I say: if you are not game to fight an election until 1969. then be men enough to admit it. as your leader did a>l the caucus meeting. But do not come in here and make excuse., for your own cowardice by trying to load other people with the responsibility for what you know in your own hearts is wrong: for what you know is a betrayal of all the principles your Party stood for. Accept the blame yourselves and do not try to put it on others.’
– Last night on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate Senator Turnbull referred to certain matters he had raised on 6th September concerning judicial discretion given under the Matrimonial Causes Act. He said last night that his purpose in rising was to ask Senator Anderson to take up this matter with me to sec whether a statement could be made in reply to the matters he had raised on 6th September. He complained also that no notice had been taken of those matters.
My purpose tonight is merely to inform the Senate briefly that in fact I, on behalf of the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen) in another place, made a statement in the Senate on 20th September on the adjournment motion replying to the matters raised by Senator Turnbull on 6th September. Senator Turnbull was absent from the chamber on that occasion but my statement appeared in Hansard. I speak tonight - Senator Turnbull again being absent - so that the record may be set straight. The reply which he sought last night was made a week ago.
– I too rise to refer to matters which were raised in the debate before the motion for the adjournment of the Senate was put, and to Senator McManus’s subsequent comments. I suggest that the accusation about Senator O’Byrne did not arise until after the adjournment motion had been moved when the honourable senator sought a reaction from Senator O’Byrne by referring to rats. I listened to the debate very carefully. 1 certainly resented much of Senator Gair’s speech about the Labor Party’s attitude to increased postal charges because Senator Gair completely misrepresented the mission of the Labor Party.
The members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party are, of course, ex members of the Labor Party. They know that the mission of the Labor Party is to gain office and to govern. None of the aims of the Labor Party or of the trade union movement, of which Senator McManus has had some good experience, can be achieved unless the Labor Party is in office. We will not be pushed into the situation in which the DLP or the Liberal Party will determine when we should make a move towards government.
What has happened in this instance? There have been comment* about Dr Everingham and the Communists, which Senator Murphy properly objected to. Senator Gair’s comments as reported in the Press indicated that he was very fair about Dr Everingham. He simply said that Dr Everingham was an idealist and a pacifist. That could be interpreted to mean that Dr Everingham was a man who had some ideals. Nowhere was there reference to the fact that Dr Everingham was a member of the Communist Party.
– He was speaking outside the Parliament then.
– Of course he was. In that respect Senator Gair was much fairer than was the Liberal Parliamentary Treasurer (Mr McMahon). 1 accept that. In conversations I had with the honourable senator I gathered the impression that he disagreed with what the Treasurer had said, but in this chamber tonight he called the Labor candidate a Communist.
– Because he is protected here.
– Of course he is. He knows as well as I do that a Communist cannot be a member of the Labor Party. So does Senator McManus. He may argue about left wing persuasions but he knows as well as I do that the Labor Party numbers in its ranks many people who hold many points of view but all subscribe to the Labor Party’s policy. Whether they want to move quickly or slowly towards achieving the Labor Party’s objectives does not matter to the Labor Party, but each is bound by the obligation stated at every meeting of the Labor Party that anyone who belongs to any other political party must leave the meeting. Senator McManus knows that too. That is nothing new to him.
Tonight he complained about the Labor Party. We know that from now until the by-election in Capricornia and, after that, until the Senate election, the DLP will insist that the Labor Party is influenced by the Communist Party. Members of the DLP will do all they can to stop the Labor Party gaining a majority in the Senate. We know that they have always said that they will stop the Labor Party becoming the Government because they say they do not trust the Labor Party. They do not like the Labor Party’s foreign policy. So we in the Labor Party, and most other people, believe that the DLP exists to keep the Liberal-Country Party coalition in office. There is no question about that in my mind or in the minds of most people.
For this reason we suspect members of the DLP when they talk about their proposed social and economic policies. We know that they want us to cause an early election because they want to increase the strength of the DLP and keep the Labor Party out of office for a further period. The Labor Party will decide when it wants an election. We have a mission in this political democracy and we can achieve our aims only if we become the Government. We will not retard our prospects further by listening to the DLP. I charge the DLP with supporting the Liberal-Country Party Government on the hustings. During the Senate election campaign members of the DLP wilt speak out against the Labor Party. lt is obvious that they will attempt to frustrate the Labor Party’s achievement of its objectives by ensuring that we do not become the Government.
If we took up the challenge in relation to the increased postal charges what would happen? The DLP senators say to us: ‘Take up the challenge. Be militant. Vote against the Liberal-Country Party Government.’ But as soon as we took up the challenge and an election was called on they would say to the people: ‘Do not vote for the Labor Party because it cannot be trusted’ and the coalition would be back in office. What would the DLP senators do when the proposal was advanced relating to increased postal charges? Would they vote against it when the Liberal-Country Party Government was returned after the defeat of the Labor Party? For how long would they keep it up?
The Labor Party’s objective is to obtain control of the Government of this country. We cannot do the things that we want to do for the people and for the trade unions until we are in office. We will decide when we will make our move to obtain control. Senator McManus’s remarks are incorrect. Whatever provocation he may have been subjected to was occasioned by his attacks on people like Senator O’Byrne.
If one recalls every important issue which has been before the Senate one will see that the DLP has always come down on the side of the Government. It has declared - it is on record, because ex-Senator Cole said it - that it will ensure that the Liberal-Country Party Government is kept in office. For these reasons we should be very cautious about the sort of tests that members of the DLP apply to the Australian Labor Party.
P 1.201 - The matter having been raised. I would like to say a few words about Dr Everingham. I have known him for a long time. He is an honest man of great moral integrity. He is a Labor man through and through and we arc proud to have him as our candidate in the Capricornia by-election.
– During the course of this continuing debate - earlier I took exception to the continuance of it-
– Order! The honourable senator cannot canvass my ruling.
– No, I am not canvassing your ruling.
– Order! The honourable senator should be very careful or he will be ruled out of order.
- Mr President, when I attempted to draw your attention to what was going on Senator McManus interpreted my action as asking for protection. I do not want to ask for protection because I have every justification for making certain remarks about members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party. I do so with quite a background of experience. I take exception to a man who casts aspersions at another man’s loyalty, integrity and attitude to his own country. I take exception to a man who did not have the intestinal fortitude even to defend his country when he was at the age group to do so. Being a school teacher, he skulked behind when other men were defending this country. Now he wants to send the youth of this country away to war. In my view a man who does that is beyond contempt. This is the man who sets himself up as being an example to the young Catholics in the country who wants power without glory and who associated himself in Victoria with the worst intrigue in the history of the Labor Party. Eventually the ALP caught up with him and now he sits on one of the cross benches. This man is a master of distortion, of half truth, of smear and of the imputed lie.
– Order! I remind Senator O’Byrne of the standing orders that were quoted earlier tonight in regard to imputations.
– I do not want any protection from the Chair. In conclusion, I must say that I have nothing but contempt for a man who tries to impute motives to another man who has no apologies to make concerning his loyalty to his own country and who has to sit here with his colleagues and listen to imputations of Communism from that man who thinks that this word can do his fellow men damage. But it does not do me any damage. I have proved in every field that I am a good, loyal Australian. I would only expect such a remark from a man of equal standing, and even then I would challenge it. Sometimes I show my resentment by using terms and expressions that are unparliamentary. But in these instances I am goaded by the impertinence of some political animals who try to impute motives against another man who believes that he is doing the best for his country, his Party and his fellow men. I want to bring the matter down to this rock bottom level at the present time. I do not want any protection. There is nothing for which I have to apologise. If Senator McManus wants to mix it, I will mix it with him at any time anywhere.
– I want to say a few words as 1 was one of those who tonight sought a withdrawal of the remark that Dr Everingham was a Communist. I thought it was a bit beyond the pale to make, under parliamentary privilege such an attack upon a man who is not here to defend himself. That is the sad thing about the attack. High praise is due to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) for appealing very strongly to the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party (Senator Gair), who had spoken in the heat of the moment, to reflect upon whether this was not a cowardly approach to a man who did not have the right to defend himself. This approach was not adopted towards him outside the Parliament. Reference to him was made in more affectionate terms outside where the laws of libel would apply.
I rise to speak tonight because the words You can’t take it’ were used when I sought a withdrawal of the remark. My reason for seeking the withdrawal was that an attack had been made on someone who was not here to defend himself. Possibly I more than anybody else in this chamber have been referred to as a Communist. I have never found it bad to be referred to in the most derogatory terms that those who represent the political opponents of Labor can think of. At no time have I asked for a withdrawal of any reflection on myself, even though at times some hard things have been said about me. I acknowledge that the words Fascist’ and ‘rats’ have been used by me whenever in. my opinion they were applicable, and at times they have been accepted without any request being made for a withdrawal. But this question has arisen: ‘You can give it. Can’t you take it?’ There are some persons within the Senate who have no other ambition in life than to engage in condemnation and character assassination. Here we had the young senator from Western Australia, Senator Wheeldon, getting up and attacking the speech which was made. His political past, about which he is not ashamed, was raised with the express
Intention of condemning him for his activities when he was 19 years old.
Let us hope that we can adopt anew approach to these questions. I do not ask that restrictions be placed upon condemning anyone who has the right to defend himself in this chamber. But let us relate such remarks to what that person has said recently and not to what he may have done at some earlier period in his life. I hope that we do not adopt the gutter tactic of condemning and making derogatory remarks against persons outside the Parliament who seek public life but who are not in a position to use the procedures of this chamber to defend themselves.
– I am always reluctant to enter into a debate that may savour of personalities. But I believe that tonight the Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party (Senator Gair) reduced this House to one that could not command respect when he told an untruth and showed no willingness either to apologise or to withdraw it. I refer to the statement he made about the Labor Party candidate in the Federal by-election now taking placein Capricorn ia. I have known Dr Everingham for a good number of years. He is a man of the highest personal integrity. The fact that he has been defended by two Anglican bishops and a Catholic bishop against the character assassination campaign that is being conducted against him amply demonstrates the character of the man himself. He is a very moral man. In fact, he is a much more moral man than many people who attend church regularly. I wanted to say that in defence of Dr Everingham because after Saturday he will be in this Parliament representing the division of Capricornia. The statement by Senator Gair was one el the most comptemptible statements I have heard uttered in this place during my short stay here. As a result of it, I have now lost any personal respect I might have had for him. That his deputy should use the motion for the adjournment tonight to pursue this argument further is beyond my comprehension.
Senator McManus mentioned a couple of matters.I regret that this should have happened because I do not believe that the Parliament should be used for this sort of thing. First, let me say through you, Mr President, that the Labor Party needs no assistance from Senator McManus, Senator Gair or anybody associated with their splinter party. When we make decisions on the Budget we do it in the democratic way - by exercising our right as members of a democratic party to vote in our party caucus. It is perfectly obvious, of course, that the DLP has not enough parliamentary representatives to enable it to constitute a caucus and therefore those representatives are not in a position to make decisions in the democratic way. In fact, if they are honest, they will admit that they are being told by people well outside their so-called political party what decisions they must take in this Parliament and when they must take them.
We do not need the protection of anybody in this chamber. Politics is a rough and tumble game. I have mixed it in the industrial and political fields all my life and although I say we do not need protection, I strongly resent the Standing Orders being blatantly broken. I believe that the onus is on me to see that they are preserved. At the same time, if untruths are being told, I believe that we are entitled to claim the protection offered by the Standing Orders. Only on such occasions have I resorted to reliance on the Standing Orders and the protection of the President, to which Senator McManus contemptuously referred.
I believe that this Parliament is a democratic institution. It ought to be used for the proper government of the country. The Opposition has a responsible role to play, just as do members of the Government. But after tonight’s display by the Leader of the DLP and his deputy, I relegate them to that small group of bad mannered people who are associated with the Government parties. I do not see any of them in this chamber this evening. There are a couple of senators on the Government side with whom I do mix it occasionally, but they are fair in their arguments. There are two or three others however, whom I would put in the same category as our two friends of the DLP.
Again I express regret that I found it necessary to rise tonight, but I did wish to assure the Senate that Dr Everingham is a first class individual, and a darn good Australian. He will be an asset to this Parliament when he arrives here next Tuesday.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 11.34 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 September 1967, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1967/19670927_senate_26_s35/>.