28 August 1968

26th Parliament · 2nd Session

The PRESIDENT (Senator (he Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m.. and read prayers.

page 357


Minister for Supply · New South Wales · LP

– by leave - Mr President, it is my sad duty officially to inform the Senate of the death in London yesterday of Her Royal Highness, Princess Marina, the Duchess of Kent. Princess Marina who, as we all know, was the aunt of Her Majesty the Queen, and widow of Prince George. Duke of Kent, had a particularly warm place in our hearts. With her charm, her natural beauty and her quiet courage she was regarded with special affection not only in Britain but throughout the Commonwealth of Nations.

The youngest daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece, she quickly endeared herself to the British people on her marriage to the Duke of Kent in 1934. She took an active part in public life, travelled widely and showed a special interest in hospital and nursing work. The war robbed us of the pleasure of having Princess Marina in Australia as the wife of the Governor-General. The Duke of Kent was appointed GovernorGeneral Designate in 1938 and we will recall that with the outbreak of war he became involved with naval duties. Her courage and composure on the tragic death of her husband in 1942 won universal admiration and sympathy. Despite her grief at her husband’s death she bravely took over many of the Duke’s interests and public duties.

Princess Marina was frequently called upon to carry out important royal duties. She made a Far Eastern Commonwealth tour with her son, the Duke of Kent, in 1952. In 1954 she toured the United States of America with Princess Alexandra, with whom she also visited Canada and Latin America.In 1957 she was the Queen’s representative at the independence celebrations in Ghana and in 1966 she represented the Queen at the independence celebrations of Botswana and Lesotho. We were delighted, Mr President, to have her with us in Australia in 1964. She came here for the British Exhibition and while in Canberra, you will remember, she declared open the headquarters building of the Department of Defence at Russell Hill. We also had the honour of entertaining her at a reception at this Parliament. When we think of Princess Marina we also think of her daughter, Princess Alexandra, who, reflecting in every way her mother’s grace and charm, made her own memorable visit to this country.

Princess Marina had other links with us. She was Honorary Commandant of the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service and, of course, ever since the war years, was Chief Commandant of the Women’s Royal Naval Service in Britain. Also, who can forget the films and pictures of Princess Marina, the tennis enthusiast, enjoying Wimbledon and handing over the trophy to a champion, more often than not an Australian. She was. in fact, President of the All England Lawn Tennis Club for 25 years.

I think. Mr President, even from these few highlights, it is clear that Princess Marina enjoyed high regard and warm affection.It has been revealed that Princess Marina had known for months that she was suffering from an incurable sickness. Yet, as might be expected, she faced death in the way she faced life, with that same quiet courage and dignity that had endeared her to us all. I move:

Senator MURPHY:
New South WalesLeader of the Opposition

– On behalf of the Opposition I. second the motion.

Senator GAIR:
Leader of the Australian Democratic Labor Party · Queensland

– On behalf of the Australian Democratic Labor Party I support the motion submitted by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson). It was my privilege when, accompanied by my wife I represented the people of Queensland at the coronation of the Queen, to meet Princess

Marina on a few occasions. She was a charming, humble lady. She was attractive in every way in character and in appearance. She demonstrated at all times a dignity befitting her position and the title that she held.

At that time, her daughter, Princess Alexandra, who has been to Australia since, and who in my opinion, outside the Queen herself, was the best ambassador Britain ever sent to Australia, was a teenage girl. I always admired the great and close relationship that existed between mother and daughter, lt was really inspiring and most gratifying. As the Leader of the Government in the Senate has said, the character of the mother is certainly to be found in the daughter.

The daughter herself, who, as a princess, came to this country and carried out her duties with a dignity and refinement that impressed the Australian people very greatly indeed, is 1 am sure, likely to carry on the great record that her mother has set for her. I know that in the hearts of all Australians there is a feeling of extreme regret that Princess Marina has passed away at such an early age.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable senators standing in their places.

page 358


Senator MURPHY:
Lender of the Opposition · New South Wales

– 1 give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move:

That the Senate approves the United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 253, of 29th May 1968 on Southern Rhodesia and requests that the Australian Government do all in its power lo implement the resolution.

Rather than incorporate the resolution, which is somewhat lengthy, in the notice paper, where it might stay for some weeks, I will, with the concurrence of honourable senators, incorporate the text of it in Hansard.

page 358

RESOLUTION 253 (1968)


The Security Council,

Recalling and reaffirming its resolutions 216 (1965) of 12th November 1965, 217 (1965) of 20th November 1965, 221 (1966) of 9th April 1966, nml 232 (1966) of 16th - December 1966,

Taking note of resolution 2262 (XXII) adopted by the General Assembly on 3rd November 1967,

Noting with great concern that the measures taken so far have failed to bring the rebellion in Southern Rhodesia to an end,

Reaffirming that, to the extent not superseded in this resolution, the measures provided for in resolutions 217 (1965) of 20th November 1965, and 232 (1966) of 16th December 1966, as well as those initiated by Member States in implementation of those resolutions, shall continue in effect.

Gravely concerned that the measures taken by the Security Council have not been complied with by all States and that some States, contrary to resolution 232 (1966) of the Security Council and to their obligations under Article 25 of the Charter, have failed to prevent trade with the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia,

Condemning the recent inhuman executions carried out by the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia which have flagrantly affronted the conscience of mankind and have been universally condemned,

Affirming the primary responsibility of the Government of the United Kingdom to enable the people of Southern Rhodesia to achieve selfdetermination and independence, and in particular their responsibility for dealing with the prevailing situation.

Recognizing the legitimacy of the struggle of the people of Southern Rhodesia to secure the enjoyment of their rights as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and in conformity with the objectives of Genera! Assembly resolution 1514 (XV),

Reaffirming ils determination that the present situation in Southern Rhodesia constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Chaner,

  1. Condemns all measures of political repression, including arrests, detentions, trials and executions which violate fundamental freedoms and rights of the people of Southern Rhodesia, and calls upon the Government of the United Kingdom to take all possible measures to put an end to such actions;
  2. Calls upon the United Kingdom as the administering Power in the discharge of its responsibility to take urgently all effective measures to bring to an end the rebellion in Southern Rhodesia, and enable the people to secure the enjoyment of their rights as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and in conformity with the objectives of General Assembly resolution 15.14 (XV);
  3. Decides thai, in furtherance of the objective of ending the rebellion, all States Members of the United Nations shall prevent:

    1. The import into their territories of all commodities and products originating in Southern Rhodesia and exported therefrom after the date of. this resolution (whether or not the commodities or products are for consumption or processing in their territories, whether or not they are imported in bond and whether or not any special legal status with respect to the import of goods is enjoyed by the port or other place where they are imported or stored);
    2. Any activities by their nationals or in their territories which would promote or are calculated to promote the export of any commodities or products from Southern Rhodesia; and any dealings by their nationals or in their territories in any commodities or products originating in Southern Rhodesia and exported therefrom after the date of this resolution, including in particular any transfer of funds to Southern Rhodesia for the purposes of such activities or dealings;
    3. The shipment in vessels or aircraft of their registration or under charter to their nationals, or thu carriage (whether or nol in bond) by land transport facilities across their territories of any commodities or products originating in Southern Rhodesia and exported therefrom after the date of this resolution;
    4. The sale or supply by their nationals or from their territories of any commodities or products (whether or nol originating in their territories, but nol including supplies intended strictly for medical purposes, educational equipment and material for use in schools and other educational institutions, publications, news material and, in special humanitarian circumstances, food-stuffs) to any person or. body in Southern Rhodesia or to any other person or body for the purposes of any business carried on in or operated from Southern Rhodesia, and any activities by their nationals or in their territories which promote or are calculated to promote such sale or supply;
    5. The shipment in vessels or aircraft of their registration, or under charter to their nationals, or the carriage (whether or not in bond) by land transport facilities across their territories of any such commodities or products which are consigned to any person or body in Southern Rhodesia, or to any other person or body for the purposes of any business carried on in or operated from Southern Rhodesia:
  4. Decides that all Slates Members of the United Nations shall not make available to the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia or to any commercial, industrial or public utility undertaking, including tourist enterprises, in Southern Rhodesia any funds for investment or any other financial or economic resources and shall prevent their nationals and any persons within their territories from making available to the regime or to any such undertaking any such funds or resources and from remitting any other funds to persons or bodies within Southern Rhodesia except payments exclusively for pensions or for strictly medical, humanitarian or educational purposes or for the provision of news material and in special humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs;
  5. Decides that all State Members of the United Nations shall:

    1. Prevent the entry into their territories, save on exceptional humanitarian grounds, of any person travelling on a Southern Rhodesian passport, regardless of its date of issue, or on a purported passport issued by or on behalf of the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia; and
    2. Take all possible measures to prevent the entry into their territories of persons whom they have reason to believe to be ordinarily resident in Southern Rhodesia and whom they have reason to believe to have furthered or encouraged, or to be likely to further or encourage, the unlawful actions of the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia or any activities which are calculated to evade any measure decided upon in this resolution or resolution 232 (1966) of 16 December 1966:
  6. Decides that all State Members of the United. Nations shall prevent airline companies constituted in their territories and aircraft of their registration or under charter to their nationals from operating to or from Southern Rhodesia and from linking up with any airline company constituted or aircraft registered in Southern Rhodesia;
  7. Decides that all States Members of the United Nations shall give effect to the decisions set out in operative paragraphs 3, 4, S and 6 of this resolution notwithstanding any contract entered into or licence granted before the date of this resolution;
  8. Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations or of the specialised agencies to take all possible measures to prevent activities by their nationals and persons in their territories promoting, assisting or encouraging emigration to Southern Rhodesia, with a view to stopping such emigration;
  9. Requests all States Members of the United Nations or of the specialised agencies to take all possible further action under Article 41 of the Charter to deal with the situation in Southern Rhodesia, not excluding any of the measures provided in that Article;
  10. Emphasises the need for the withdrawal of all consular and trade representation in Southern Rhodesia, in addition to the provisions of operative paragraph 6 of resolution 217 (1965);
  11. Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to carry out these decisions of the Security Council in accordance with Article 25 of the United Nations Charier and reminds them that failure or refusal by any one of them to do so would constitute a violation of that Article:
  12. Deplores the attitude of States that have not complied with their obligations under Article 15 of the Charter, and censures m particular those States which have persisted in trading with the illegal regime in defiance of the resolutions of the Security Council, and which have given active assistance to the regime:
  13. Urges all Slates Members of the United Nations to render moral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom and independence: “14. Urges, having regard to the principles stated in Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, States not Members of the United Nations to act in accordance with the provisions of the present resolution;
  14. Requests States Members of the United Nations, the United Nations Organisation, the specialised agencies, and other international organisations in the United Nations system to extend assistance to Zambia as a matter of priority with a view to helping her solve such special economic problems as she may be confronted with arising from the carrying out of these decisions of the Security Council;
  15. Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations, and in particular those with primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security. to assist effectively in the implementation of the measures called for by the present resolution;
  16. Considers that the United Kingdom as the administering Power should ensure that no settlement is reached without taking into account the views of the people of Southern Rhodesia, and in particular the political parties favouring majority rule, and that it is acceptable to the people of Southern Rhodesia as a whole;
  17. Calls upon all Slates Members of the United Nations or of the specialised agencies to report to the Secretary-General by 1st August 1968 on measures taken to implement the present resolution:
  18. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the implementation of this resolution, the first report to he made not later than 1st September 1968;
  19. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28- of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, a committee of the Security Council to undertake the following tasks and to report to it with its observations:

    1. To examine such reports on the implementation of the present resolution as are submitted by the Secretary-General;
    2. To seek from any States Members of the United Nations or of the specialised agencies such further information regarding the trade of that State (including information regarding the commodities and products exempted from the prohibition contained in operative paragraph 3 (d) above) or regarding any activities by any nationals of that State or in its territories that may constitute an evasion of the measures decided upon in this resolution as ft may consider necessary for the proper discharge of its duty to report to the Security Council;
  20. Requests the United Kingdom, as the administering Power, to give maximum assistance to the committee, and to provide the committee with any information which it may receive in order that the measures envisaged in this resolution and resolution 232 (1966) may be rendered fully effective;
  21. Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations, or of the specialised agencies, as well as the specialised agencies themselves, to supply such further information as may be sought by the Committee in pursuance of this resolution;
  22. Decides to maintain this item on its agenda for further action as appropriate in the light of developments.

page 360



Senator O’BYRNE:

– I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. The Minister is no doubt aware of the widespread epidemic of Asian flu throughout the country which is causing personal distress, absence from employment and distressing side effects. As the virus has been identified, can the Minister say whether the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories have investigated or developed a vaccine to counter this particularly objectionable virus, and, if so, would the Government ‘ give instructions that such vaccine shall be made widely available for prescription through the various outlets used by the pharmaceutical benefits scheme?


– I agree with Senator O’Byrne that there is a distressing number of serious cases of influenza at present. T cannot give him a detailed answer to the points that he has made. T believe that they are important. I will take the question up with my colleague, the Minister for Health, and not only obtain an answer for the honourable senator but also place before my colleague the suggestion that he has made.

page 360



Senator LAWRIE:
QUEENSLAND · CP; NCP from May 1975

– Will the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation arrange for jet aircraft from Australia to unload passengers closer to the entrance to the customs building at the Port Moresby Airport, as this would do away with the long walk in the heat which passengers now have to make because aircraft are unloading their passengers about 10 to 15 chains away, down the far end of the apron?

Senator SCOTT:
Minister for Customs and Excise · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– Some passengers disembarking at the Port Moresby Airport have to travel a distance of 680 feet. Others sometimes have to travel a little further, but the additional distances are very seldom in excess of 400 feet. This position is brought about by the fact that new pavements have been provided to take overseas jets at Port Moresby and at present they are serviced from the older terminal building, lt is expected that when the new building is erected passengers will have a minimum distance to walk.

page 360



Senator GAIR:

– I presume to direct a question to you, Mr President. On 20th August I received from Mr James, the Opposition Deputy Whip in another place, written advice that the North Vietnamese propaganda film ‘Inside North Vietnam’ would be screened in the Senate Opposition Party Room at 6.30 tonight. Can you inform me whether this film will be shown as part of the usual Wednesday night film session presented by the Parliamentary Library under your authority and the authority of the Speaker of the House of Representatives?


– This film will be shown tonight in the Senate Club Room in place of the usual parliamentary programme. There has been a little confusion about it. The Parliamentary Librarian gave permission. I thought it was wrong for him to give permission, and I withheld it. But Mr Speaker and I reviewed the matter and agreed to permit the film to be shown there tonight. But it will not be shown under the auspices of the Library Committee, the Speaker or myself.

page 361




– Has the

Minister representing the Treasurer seen a statement attributed to the New South Wales Minister for Housing to the effect that pensioner tenants of the New South Wales Housing Commission will have to pay increases in rents ranging from 25c to 30c a week as a result of the $1 increase awarded to pensioners in the recent Federal Budget? ls this increase in rents brought about by a formula provided for under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement? Was that known to the Federal Government when it decided to grant the $1 increase to pensioners? Will the Minister admit that, as a result of this Commonwealth-State arrangement and the new wheat stabilisation scheme recently announced by the Minister for Primary Industry, a great deal of the $1 awarded to pensioners will be swallowed up in additional charges in the immediate future?


– The honourable senator’s question is an amalgam of a speech on the Budget and references to housing and Treasury matters. Quite clearly, I could have interpreted it to mean that he was advocating the non-provision of additional amounts of pension; but I know that he does not mean that. 1 think the substance of the honourable member’s question should be directed to the Minister for Housing because, while the Treasurer provides for certain improved pension rights in the Budget, the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement is a matter strictly within the responsibility of the Minister for Housing.

page 361



Senator BISHOP:

– Has the attention of the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral been drawn to a recorded news headline service available by ringing the telephone number of an Adelaide broadcasting station? The call is answered by a recorded voice giving news and finally an advertisement. Have such telephone services been approved by the Minister? Are these special facilities to advertise over the Postal Department’s telecommunications systems provided on the basis of special rates, or is the Postal Department in fact at a financial disadvantage as a result of such methods? If special approval was given for the service, did the Minister have regard to reasonable and just competitive conditions for all interested in the broadcasting and Press sectors of the community, and for the interests of journalists employed by news media?


– Owing to the very detailed nature of the information requested by the honourable senator, 1 ask that he place his question on the notice paper.

page 361



Senator DEVITT:

– 1 direct a question to the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation, ls it a fact that due to the system called rationalisation in relation to -the operations of the two domestic airlines in Australia, the norm is a lower rather than a higher level of service to the public? ls it also the position that Trans-Australia Airlines is not able to operate sufficient aircraft to meet the demands for its service? Does TAA not have a serviceable Viscount aircraft at Essendon which, because of rationalisation, cannot be put into service to ease the demand, as that would give TAA one aircraft more in service than its competitor, even though it would ease the present unsatisfactory position for the public? Will the Minister institute a full scale inquiry into all aspects of the domestic airline industry in Australia to ensure that the needs of the travelling public receive first consideration, and that many of the ridiculous attitudes and practices now prevailing are discarded, before the deteriorating standard of service declines even further, to the disadvantage of the Australian travelling public?

Senator SCOTT:

– Because of the anxiety of the Government to give an adequate service to the Australian travelling public, the two-airline policy was introduced back in 1953. I believe that this policy is the most successful airline policy being carried out in any country in the world. 1 do not know of a country that has a better airline policy than Australia has. Indeed, many countries arc sending representatives to Australia to study our system of airways, with the idea of themselves introducing that system. I ask the honourable senator to place the latter part of his question on the notice paper so that I can obtain a detailed answer for him.

page 362




– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration: In view of the- recent speech made by her colleague while in the United States of America, urging mass migration of Americans to Australia, and in view of the honourable gentleman’s interest in the Negro population of the United States, can the Minister advise whether immigration agreements have been signed in the United States? How many American Negroes will migrate to Australia in. the corning years?


– Possibly the honourable senator has misunderstood the comments made by ‘ the Minister for Immigration when he was in the United States. I think it is worth my while te inform the Senate of the comments that were actually made by the Minister.

He said that following the Australian Government’s review of policy in relation to- the entry of non-Europeans in March 1966, it has been possible for applications lo be considered individually on their merits, and subject to the general suitability of an applicant, his capacity to integrate and his having qualifications positively useful lo Australia. The Minister said that the majority of applications approved to date have come from persons eligible to practise in the professions in Australia. This policy is the same for people in the United Stales as in other countries. The Minister made this point at the hews conference that be had overseas.

In reply to a statement that there were reports of criticism in the United States of the policy because Australia will not admit negroes, the Minister said that in fact we will admit them provided they meet our criteria. The Minister emphasised that we expect the applicant to be well qualified to the extent that he possesses skills of positive value to the Australian community. Bearing in mind that each application must be considered individually, we expect his way of life to be such that he could fit into our community and become part of it. Since the policy review in March 1966 to the end of June 1968, of the 918 applications which have been considered, 376 have been approved, comprising with dependants 1,148 persons in all. Though the successful applications were lodged in 35 different countries, many in Western Europe and North America, they comprised persons almost entirely of Asian or Pacific origin. Only a handful of Negroes have applied.

page 362



Senator POYSER:

– My question is directed to the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities. By way of preface, I wish to say that my attention has neon drawn to a letter in a Sydney newspaper which stales that tourist literature on Canberra is nol available through normal tourist agencies in Sydney. The letter further states that one cannot even buy a small tourist handbook, on Canberra at the New South Wales Tourist Bureau. Will the Minister advise whether tourist pamphlets and booklets . are available? If they are, will he see that tourist agencies obtain copies for distribution or sale as the case may be?

Senator WRIGHT:
Minister for Works · TASMANIA · LP

– The Canberra Tourist Bureau, maintained by the Department of the Interior, ensures each year adequate supplies of brochures giving tariffs and - tourist information on all facilities in Canberra and distributes this information to some 700 travel agencies throughout lue Commonwealth. Further supplies of these brochures are available freely to any travel agency which has exhausted its supplies or wants additional material. No handbook on Canberra has been published, but it is well known to honourable senators thai many publications which come within the classification’ of a tourist handbook and set out all the distinctive features of Canberra of interest to tourists are available.

page 362




– Will the Minister for Customs and Excise follow up an assurance given by his predecessor to endeavour to have shown to members of this Parliament a film dealing with drug addiction - a film which, incidentally, has been shown already to several State parliamentary groups?

Senator SCOTT:

– Yes. Mr President, I will follow up the question that the honourable senator placed before my predecessor and give the honourable senator an answer to his question as soon as possible.

SenatorMulvihill-I do not want an answer; I would like to see the film.

Senator SCOTT:

-I realise that.

page 363



TASMANIA · IND; AP from Aug. 1969; IND from Jan. 1970

– Has the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation receivedan answer to my Question No. 420 on the notice paper? If he has not, what is holding the matter up? Finally, when might I expect an answer to that quesion?

Senator SCOTT:

– I have looked into this matter. The provision of the details that are required is not usual. Therefore, I do not. intend to go any further in answering that question.

page 363



Senator ORMONDE:

– I direct myquest- tion to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I ask: Has the Associated Chambers of Manufactures asked the Government to place a ceiling on the building of defence factories in Australia? Is this because, as the association says, Government factories are under-producing and in over-supply?


-I am not aware precisely of the matters stated in the honourable senators’s question, soI think I would need to make some inquiries. 1 hope to have a reply for the honourable senator tomorrow.

page 363



Senator RAE:

– I direct a question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. With a view to encouraging decentralisation and the development of the rural sector of the community, will the Postmaster-General take steps either to equalise the charge for connecting telephone services in isolated areas with the cost of such connections in urban areas or at least to apply a substantial degree of equalisation as applies in relation to petrol “prices?


-I note with interest the question raised by the honourable senator. I will have pleasure in placing it before my colleague, the Postmaster-General.

page 363



Senator GAIR:

– Will the Minister repre senting the Minister for External Affairs provide honourable senators with a copy of the statement in which Hanoi declares support for the Soviet action against Czechoslovakia which, I understand, was broadcast over Hanoi Radio and reported in some Australian newspapers on 23rd August 1968? Will the Minister ascertain whether Hanoi was the first Communist capital publicly to declare support for the actions of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact regimes against Czechoslovakia?


– If the document is readily available I will most certainly put to the Minister for External Affairs the proposition that it should be published to all honourable senators.

page 363



TASMANIA · IND; AP from Aug. 1969; IND from Jan. 1970

-I have a further question to ask the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation. Is he aware that 3 years ago 1 asked a similar question to that which he answered earlier today and that the details of the tender were supplied to the Parliament without any equivocation? Why has the Government changed its policy in announcing public tenders? Is the Minister aware that there is considerable discontent among the car rental companies in regard to the granting of the present concession to Avis Rent-a-Car System Pty Ltd? The fact that the Government on this occasion refuses to answer can only encourage their belief that the Government has something to hide.

Senator SCOTT:

-I thinkI should examine the honourable senator’s original question, which was:

  1. How many firms tendered for car rental concessions at Commonwealth airports on4th March 1968?
  2. What were the amounts offered by each firm which tendered?

It is not usual Government policy to announce what each firm tendered in respect of a particular contract. That is the reason I am not prepared to answer that part of the question. As the honourable senator has raised the question again 1 will see whether it is possible to obtain for him an answer to the first part of the question and to let him know the number of firms that tendered. I hope that will satisfy him.

page 364



Senator COHEN:

– On 20th August 1 asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether the Australian Government had protested, as had such eminent people as Vice-President Humphrey and Senator Mansfield of the United States of America, against the 5-year gaol sentence imposed on Mr Truong Dinh Dzu, the runner-up in the last South Vietnam presidential election. The Minister undertook to obtain an answer and I placed the question on the notice paper. I now ask him: When may I expect an answer to this simple but, I would suggest, very important question?


– The over emphasis placed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition on the time that has elapsed would suggest that he does not understand the mechanics of parliamentary procedure.

Senator Cohen:

– It is. a very important question and 1 expect an answer.


– The honourable senator had his turn. He should let me have mine. The facts of the matter are, as we all know, that when questions are placed on the notice paper Ministers seek to obtain answers to them. I will follow up this question in view of the fact that it has been asked a second time. I think it should be understood clearly - and I hope everybody understands this - that the responsibility for the answering of a question rests with the Minister to whom it is in fact addressed, not with the Minister who represents him in this chamber.

page 364




– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. When can I expect an answer to Question No. 218 standing in my name on the notice paper, which has been on notice since 30th April?


– I do not know exactly when the honourable senator will get an answer. I assure him that as soon as it comes to me he will receive it.

page 364



Senator KEEFFE:

– I direct a question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week 1 asked two important questions concerning the sale and maintenance of Dakota aircraft. When can I expect an answer to those questions?


– I would hope, tomorrow. I did say that I hoped to get both answers together. The fact is that the subject matter of the second question relating to expenditure on maintenance of aircraft is not in my portfolio. I could have sent the question back and said that it was really a question for the Minister for Air, but I have chosen to attempt to get the information myself to supply to the honourable senator. That is the cause of the delay.

page 364



Senator MURPHY:

– Would the Leader of the Government convey to the Prime Minister that there is considerable dissatisfaction in the Senate at the delays in the answering of questions in the Senate?


– The Leader of the Opposition has a responsible position. II: he wants me to convey .that to the Prime Minister I certainly will do it. But with great respect to the Senate and to you, Mr President, I remind honourable senators that except in extraordinary circumstances there is not an undue delay. In fact, during this series of sittings there have been wide expressions of acclaim because of the promptness with which questions have been answered.

Senator Gair:

– There has been an improvement - I will give you that - but there is a lot of room for more.


– You will agree that there has been an improvement.

page 364



TASMANIA · IND; AP from Aug. 1969; IND from Jan. 1970

– I direct a further question to the Acting Minister for Civil Aviation on the same subject as that of the earlier question to which he did not give me an answer. Is he aware that on a previous occasion 3 years ago the Government was not secretive’ about disclosing the amounts of tenders. Three years ago, in answer to a similar , question, the amount offered by each firm was stated in this Chamber. Why has that policy been changed?Since when has it been Government policy that public lenders are private properly?

Senator SCOTT:

-I was not aware that 3 years ago this information was made available to the honourable senator. 1 will have another look at the whole question and give a detailed answer tomorrow.

page 365



(Question No. 264)

Senator POYSER:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

  1. Is the issue of hearing aids for rental to pensioners being held up becausethe Commonwealth Acoustics Laboratories are unable to supply the number required, unless additional finance is made available by the Government?
  2. Have representations been made to the Government by private enterprise companies which manufacture hearing aids, requesting that the hiring of hearing aids to pensioners be not proceeded with?
  3. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Acoustics Laboratories can manufacture hearing aids for about $7 and that similar aids produced by private enterprise are retailing for up to $90?

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply:

  1. No. Because of the large numbers of pensioners and their dependants eligible for hearing aids, it was decided, for practical reasons, to proceed with the scheme in stages, by extending it successively to various age groups in selected areas. The scheme commenced on 1st April 1968, in Adelaide and Newcastle for pensioners in the 65 to 69 years age group and was subsequently extended to other major centres and other age groups as facilities and trained staff became available. At present, the service is in operation in all capital cities and at Newcastle, Townsville and Launceston for all age groups. As well, staff of the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories now travel to a number of other major provincial centres with portable equipment for conducting hearing tests and fitting the aids. Stocks of Calaids on hand and in course of production are sufficient to meet the foreseeable continuing demands on the service now in operation.
  2. Representations were received by the Government from private firms supplying hearing aids requesting that the scheme not proceed in the form announced and be reconsidered. The Government only decided to proceed with the scheme after taking into account all the points put forward by the hearing aid industry.
  3. The costs of parts, assembly, calibration and earmoulds of the hearing aids produced by the Commonwealth Acoustic Laboratories is approximately $18.50 for the Calaid T, which is a bodyworn type of aid, and $21.50 for the Calaid E, an in-the-ear type. In addition to these direct costs, there are also other costs incurred with testing and fitting of hearing aids, servicing, etc. There are many different healing aids sold throughout Australia and it is understood that their prices include overhead, testing and fitting costs and’ in some cases varying degrees of aftersales service.

page 365



(Question No. 306)

Senator KEEFFE:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. Will the money to be spent at Townsville airport include an enlargement of the parking area?
  2. Will the Minister lake the necessary steps to enable both public and private vehicles to collect luggage at the loading bay at Townsville airport, and so remove the ban that now exists in this regard
Senator SCOTT:

– The following answer is now supplied:

  1. I am hopeful that some improvements to the car parking facilities at Townsville airport will be made during the 1968-69 financial year.
  2. I understand that, in regard to the collection of luggage at the loading bay at Townsville, a system has been arranged whereby taxis and private cars are required to queue up before moving into the bay. The alternative for private drivers is to leave their cars in the car park and take their bags from the loading bay to the car, as is quite normal at most of our airports If, however, the private driver does not wish to do this he can move into the queue and await his turn. I am informed that there is no ban on a private driver operating in this manner and I see no reason to change this system unless, of course, there is some other factor of which 1 am unaware.

page 365



(Question No. 311)

Senator KEEFFE:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:

  1. How many aerodromes in Queensland have modern landing aids?
  2. Where are those aerodromes located?
  3. How many aerodromes in Queensland have night landing facilities for both commercial and light aircraft?
Senator SCOTT:

– The following answer is now supplied:

  1. There are thirty-nine aerodromes which have one or more modern navigational facilities used as an aid for the approach and landing of aircraft.

At all of the thirty-nine locations there are modern navigational facilities which provide guidance to the aircraft in such a way as to enable it to approach the airport and, by means of an established operational procedure, to descend to heights Of the order of 500 feet to 600 feet above the highest terrain features of the area. In the generally prevailing weather conditions in Queensland these aids enable the aircraft to descend to heights from which a visual final approach and landing can be made.

Of the thirty-nine aerodromes four, namely Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Mount Isa, have a Tee-Visual Approach Indicator (TV A), which is an Australian developed visual landing aid which indicates whether the approach course is correct, too high or too low. This type of aid will also be installed at Coolongatta, Mackay and Rockhamplon in association with the runway developments approved for those aerodromes.

Furthermore, at Brisbane and Cairns instrument landing systems have been provided for landings in conditions of very low visibility.

  1. Twenty-eight, the locations being marked with an asterisk in the list set out above.

page 366



(Question No. 341)

Senator KEEFFE:

asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice:

Which companies or individuals, if any, engaged in the retailing, wholesaling, and/or exploration for petroleum and/or petroleum products have registered on Norfolk Island and on the Australian mainland?


– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer:

Inquiries indicate that there are no companies - including individuals - engaged in the retailing or wholesaling of petroleum and petroleum products or exploration for oil which are registered in both Norfolk Island and Australia.

page 366



(Question No. 398)

Senator COHEN:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

  1. What percentage of the population of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is covered by local government council?
  2. What provisions have been made to train Papuans and New Guineans to work professionally in local government fields in the Territory?
Senator WRIGHT:

– In answer to the question of the honourable senator, which was placed on the notice paper on 20th August, the Minister for External Territories has supplied the following details:

  1. 82.43% or 1,858,564 people.
  2. A local government training centre at Vunadidir has for many years provided formal training for council clerks and assistant council clerks. Practical training with councils is given on completion of the course.

A 2-year course requiring higher minimum education entry qualifications to train council administrative officers was introduced in 1966.

Councils in Australia have from lime totime assisted by providing practical experience to selected indigenous trainees.

page 366



Senator McKELLAR:
Minister for Repatriation · NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– On 14th August, in a question without notice, Senator Buttfield commented upon the state of the honey industry in Australia and asked whether, in view of the importance to rural industries of pollination by the honey bee, the Government intends to do something positive to maintain the bee-keeping industry.

The Minister for Primary Industry, to whom I referred the question, has furnished the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

I am aware that the economic situation in the Australian honey industry is unsatisfactory. Export returns are not high due to strong competition from low cost countries such as Mexico, Argentine and mainland China. In addition, pricecutting is rife in the domestic market with a result that domestic returns are usually no betterthan export returns. I believe, however, that the honey industry can obtain some stability for itself if it can agree upon a ‘two price scheme’ similar to schemes operated satisfactorily by several other rural industries.

I have directed my Department to give industry leaders any assistance requested if they feel the proposal is worth pursuing.

It is not a fact that, at a recent conference in South Australia, attended by 1,000 apiarists, an officer of the Department of Primary Industry urged apiarists to organise themselves and adopt a plan for stabilisation. An officer of the Department attended a conference of about fifty apiarists in Adelaide on 16th July and explained the principles of price equalisation as generally practised in some primary industries. The same officer in the last few weeks has also attended, by invitation, conferences of beekeepers held in Melbourne, Perth,Tamworth and Dubbo for the same purpose.

A great deal of interest has been shown and invitations have been received by the officer to attend further conferences to be held shortly in Brisbane, Bendigo and again in Adelaide on 6th September by a different group of beekeepers.

If, after studying these principles and applying thom to their own industry the industry leaders can place before mc a proposal which has the substantial support of Australian commercial beekeepers, I will . bc pleased to give it full consideration.

page 367




– I have an answer to a question without notice which was asked by Senator McManus on 14th August. The question was in these terms:

My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industry. So that honourable senators may have the facts without which they cannot debate properly the sections in the Budget which announce (a) an increase of S27.5m in the wheat subsidy bringing it to S43m and (b) compensation of $35m for losses as a result of devaluation, will the Government make available to honourable senators before the debate begins (a) the complete contract terms for the sale of Australian wheat to Communist China in the past 10 years and

  1. the text of the communications with the Government which resulted in the Government advising the Australian Wheat Board and other agencies not to insure wheat sales against devaluation losses thus causing the losses to which 1 have referred?

The Minister for Primary Industry has supplied the following answer to the honourable senators question:

  1. The Australian Wheat Board, which is the sole authority for the export marketing of wheat and flour is a commercial enterprise. As a trader it has consistently taken the view that the prices at which it sells wheat to overseas buyers are to be regarded as information between buyer and seller. In this it has regard to the buyers’ rights and interests as well as to its competitive position vis-a-vis other suppliers. Its attitude is in line with normal commerical practice.

The Board has from time to time provided information on other aspects of its sales to Mainland China. These are brought together in the following table.


  1. The question of insurance by the Board against possible devaluation has been examined by the Board on several occasions over the last twenty years. In1950-51, for example, representations were made to the Commonwealth Bank seeking approval for forward exchange cover but this was refused by the Bank. In 1964 the Board approached the Reserve Bank seeking a review of the previous policy determination laid down in1950-51 but was again told that forward exchange facilities were not available to the Board in respect of wheat sold to overseas buyers.

More recently the Board took the matter up with the Government but nothing had happened to change the earlier position when devaluation occurred in November last.

page 368


BUDGET 1968-69

Debate resumed from 21 August (vide page 231), on motion by Senator Anderson:

That the Senate take note of the following papers:

Civil Works Programme 1968-69

Commonwealth Payments to or for the Slates, 1968-69

Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure, for year ending 30 June 1969

Expenditure -

Particulars of Proposed Expenditure for the service of (he year ending 30 June 1969

Particulars of Proposed Provision for Certain Expenditure in respect of the year ending 30 June 1969

Government Securities on Issue at 30 June 1968

Commonwealth Income Tax Statistics, for income year 1965-66

National Income and Expenditure 1967-68

Upon which Senator Murphy had moved by way of amendment:

At end of motion add - but the Senate is of opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision -

to lighten taxes and health costs for families and to increase benefits;

to plan defence procurement and expenditure;

to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities; and

to retain control and promote development of Australia’s mineral, fuel, land and marine resources’.

Senator WEBSTER:

– Last Wednesday evening the Senate discussed the Budget papers, and it was on that evening that Senator Maunsell, from Queensland, delivered his maiden speech in this chamber. 1 congratulate him on the thoughtsand words he put forward for our consideration. Last Wednesday was an important day because it was on that day that the significance of world affairs was emphasised by the movement by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics into Czechoslovakia. Indeed, its importance was further emphasised by the motion which this Senate carried unanimously in refutation of the claim that the USSR was acting in accordance with the desires of Czechoslovakia.

The debate on the Budget revolves around the many financial proposals of the Government, and there is no more important proposal in this year’s Budget than that to expend the sum of $1,2 1 7m on defence during the coming year. It would appear to me, from the concern expressed by the Treasurer about the impact of defence expenditure on he economy of the country, that we can expect that in future Budgets more will be expected of the community by way of contribution to our defence commitments. But I believe there will be an opportunity to speak more on defence as we progress through this sessional period.

At the conclusion of my remarks last WednesdayI was referring to the importance place upon social welfare by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). I emphasised the following words of the Governor-General:

My Government will review the field of social welfare with the object of assisting those in most need while at the same time not discouraging thrift, self-help and self-reliance.

As a member of the Government parties, I lay great stress on those words. All honourable senators will accept the comment that the Government has turned its energy to a proper assessment of the assistance that the Australian community is to give to the less fortunate sectors of it. I believe that it must quickly be recognised that aid that is given by way of pension and other relief measures is not all directed to the indigent of the community. It is necessary that support be given to those who have not been able to accumulate sufficient to keep them in later life and to those who through little fault of their own find it necessary to seek the assistance of the community. But there is also that sector of the community which is disadvantaged directly by the order of the government. I believe that it is imperative that the latter body receive the unstinted support of the people.

I congratulate the Government on its very humane approach to social services in its 1968-69 Budget. I ask that future social service benefits not only be treated on a compassionate basis but be directed where the greatest need exists.

Senator Gair:

– The speech of a rich man.

Senator WEBSTER:

– Let us hope that it will ever be borne in mind that the handing out of the community’s affluence can lead very quickly to a loss of incentive for people to provide for themselves. I am quite sure that Senator Gair will agree with that. To my mind this is a very real problem. I view the problems that have arisen in other socialised countries as being created by the demand, and the satisfaction of that demand, for a handout. I believe this to be the cause of many of the problems that exist in socialised Great Britain at the present time. May it not occur in our nation. I suggest that the policies we already have lead to disquiet in some minds and that it will be better in the future if our pension policy encourages individuals in the community to save.

Let me make two points in support of my remark. The Government pursues a policy of development which of necessity creates an inflationary trend. I agree with the policy; I disagree with the inflation and regret that it occurs. But for the person who has denied himself, his wife and his children while providing a contribution to a private pension fund or superannuation scheme, the result of his saving during his life is often scarcely worth while. He is taxed on his income when it is beyond a minimum point. I hope that Senator Gair will pay attention to these remarks, in view of what he said about the limit of pension that he would apply. The encouragement not to provide can best be expressed by simply stating that the combined pension of a married couple under these Budget proposals will be the equivalent of the income from an investment of just under $22,000 at 6% . 1 put it to the Senate that this country and this Government have little to be ashamed of in their social service proposals. There are “always areas of need. I suggest that the social welfare committee that has now been established will find good work to do in the future. I hope that its members will make an aggressive and continuing review of our social services.

I said earlier that there are people who are disadvantaged by the order of the government. My reference is to those who become entitled to repatriation benefits. I doubt whether any government prior to the Holt-McEwen Government and the GortonMcEwen Government did more for its ex-servicemen and ils servicemen. The taking of national servicemen into the defence forces retirement benefits scheme was a step that received far too little praise from those who are so vocal in criticism of this Administration. No grant, pension or benefit is too good for those whom we command to the defence of this country. Repatriation benefits must always be the first provision for personal benefits from our Budget. A most commendable policy which is to become a reality under this Budget is the assistance in health services for those who are afflicted with long and continuing illness. The Budget is characterised by its reflection of the Government’s compassion for the needy. It is regrettable that sectors of the community do not see fit to commend such an outstanding achievement by this Government.

I believe that financially 1967-68 was unique. I doubt that any past year has been more eventful in the field of finance. I choose three happenings which I believe were of major significance and each will have a marked effect on future Budgets in this country. I suggest that the devaluation of sterling and the consequent devaluation of currencies by countries with which we must live and trade is a major matter for consideration in the future. The exploration and exploitation of newly discovered minerals will surely have a great impact on our future. I also suggest that the commencement of major transplant surgery of such human organs as the heart will have an enormous effect on future Budget requirements. Such developments serve as a basis for conjecture for the future.

A unique feature of the last Budget is that the Treasurer budgeted for a deficiency of $596m, and found at the end of the year that his forecasts were so accurate that a deficit of $595m resulted. Few private bodies could budget so accurately. However, a closer study may show that all credit is not due to management, and that circumstances played their part. It is sufficient to commend the excellent Budget results.

The Government found compensation for industry affected by the devaluation of sterling and more than $26m to assist States and individuals affected by drought. lt must be recognised that at least the private sector of the community was held to a reasonable limit of growth; it was the public sector which was unable to control its growth. The expansion of government expenditure beyond the Budget target was, I believe, a contributing cause to the inflationary trend. I pose this criticism for the purpose of emphasising that the private sector of the community wishes to see a marked increase in efficiency gained from governmental expenditure. In this respect I refer to the latest report of the AuditorGeneral wherein references occur to losses of documentation by government departments so that accounts, although paid, could not be verified; property dealings of an unsatisfactory kind overseas and within Australia by certain departments; losses by fire not covered with appropriate protection by the departments concerned; and losses by theft amounting to many thousands of dollars. These references indicate to me that there is insufficient control of government business.

Certainly the business community is concerned about overtime payments within the Public Service. The extent of such payments gives food for thought. Last year’s overtime payments of $41,773,000 within the Public Service rose by over $6m this year to about $47,900,000. At least there is some comfort in the fact that the Auditor-General found that the provisions of the Constitution, the Audit Act and related legislation were properly carried out. I think that is a matter deserving of congratulations to the heads of government departments.

Senator Gair:

– But it reflects on the Public Service Board.

Senator WEBSTER:

Senator Gair and I are of one mind on this matter. I believe it to be- necessary to call on the Public Service Board, as the responsible government body, to seek to encourage greater output from the employees under its control. 1 put this point: From figures that I have been able to gather it appears that the private sector of the community added insufficiently to its employment numbers during the last financial year. I put these further points to the Senate: In primary industry at the present time there are some 3,078,000 employees. In government employment there are 1,085,000 individuals. These figures spell out to me the fact that 1 in 4 of those employed in our community are associated with the public service. It is a pretty serious position, I believe, if we are to say that those working in private industry must supply the income that is necessary for the conduct of our government. If this is so 1 believe that it is wise, as was mentioned, for the public service to see that every possibility for gaining increased production from employees under government control at this time is availed of. I believe that computerisation and modern methods of . control will reflect in the near future some increasing benefit in ability to control the proliferation of staff required by government.

I mentioned previously the inflationary trends with which we must struggle, lt is very comforting to study the figures in this respect for the last financial year, lt is estimated that the British community contended with inflation’ at a level of approximately 6%. America contended with the same problem at the rate of 4.45%. Japan had this problem at the level of 5%. But Australia held its level of inflation to 3.3%. I believe that this fact is a great justification of the policies that have been pursued by this coalition Government. Certainly, credit must be given for the control of Australian financial affairs and the fiscal policies that have been pursued by this Government oyer the last few years. At least . I . feel that people beyond our shores give credit to, and indeed endorse the management of this country by their contributions in hard cash and invest: ment.

Senator Gair:

– Particularly Red China.

Senator WEBSTER:

– Red China does not happen to invest in this country. So, the Budget for 1968-69 proposed with its recommendations for our endorsement will do two things. Firstly, it will bring restraint to inflationary trends. Secondly, it will bring assistance to the needy. I pray that this policy may be successful.

At this time I believe that, primary industries generally have more . problems than are faced by any other sector of the community. Three significant proposals affecting primary industry arise in this Budget. I give credit to those who have secured these benefits for the farming community. I refer first to the proposal which has been voiced by many sectors of industry and certainly in this Senate by Country Party members, Senator Edgar Prowse and Senator Tom Bull, for drought investment bonds to be made available to producers who have been subjected to the effects of drought. I endorse this policy. The farming community will welcome this proposal to insure against the possibility of being put out of business in time of drought.

The words used by the Treasurer appear to spell out a thinking more confined than one might assume to be the case. The Treasurer stated:

The Government has- decided in principle to introduce ‘a scheme of Drought Bonds in order to assist those people, mainly in arid areas, who derive the bulk of their income from grazing sheep and cattle and are unable to conserve fodder and water. They will be able to set aside funds as a provision against drought, fire or flood by investing h) these bonds within limits to be specified. The amounts so invested will be deductible in the assessment of taxable income and will earn interest. The bonds will be redeemable in time of drought or if substantial losses are suffered through fire or flood. The amounts received on redemption will be taxable.

There does appear to be the suggestion that this insurance may hot be available to all producers. I wOuld think that considerable benefits might be gained both by the investment pool and the investor by encouraging the Government to raise its level of thinking to provide an incentive for all classes of primary industry to invest in drought bonds. One could well argue a case for thinking well beyond primary industry. The point T make is that according to the words of the Treasurer no provision exists for instance for a wheat farmer who certainly in this past year may have had problems which should draw attention to his inability to finance in times of drought. When the legislation is introduced, perhaps we shall be able to influence thinking further in this matter.

Indeed I would suggest that industry should commence making submissions to encourage further thinking in this matter. I note that the amount invested will be considered as a deductible item for taxation” purposes. The Treasurer has stated that interest will be paid on these drought bonds. This interest rate must ‘ be commensurate with a fair return taking into account the capital lost through inflation. Perhaps the return could be 3i% or 4% plus an adjusted percentage being credited each year for the loss through inflation. I put this forward as a sound suggestion. I believe that the capital pool could be used well to support research into problems creating the need. I also note that the bonds will be taxable on redemption. Every effort is required by primary producers to gain taxation benefits that are possible by this method suggested. Again, I commend the ambit of the proposed legislation to interested primary producer bodies find organisations. The legislation is not finalised. But it should commence a new era in financing for astute management in the field of primary production.

The second major factor in this Budget affecting primary industries is the increase in the superphosphate bounty. The relevant legislation will cover a period of 3 years and the superphosphate bounty will increase by $2 per ton to $8 per ton. This increase will have effect as from 14th August 1968. This proposal has been a matter of considerable interest to my Party which has promoted it. I note that the cost of this proposal, to the Government will be about $37m this financial year. If the result of the encouraged use of fertilisers in the future is the same as the benefits that have been obtained for Australians over the past 5 years, the investment is good. I wish to place on record some figures in this regard.

The superphosphate bounty was introduced in August 1963. Consumption of superphosphate in that year was 2.8 million tons. During the following years consumption rose to 3.4 million tons, 3.7 million tons, 4.2 million tons and 4.3 million tons respectively. In the financial year just concluded consumption of superphosphate was 4 million tons only. One must take .into account the fact that the decline in consumption last year certainly is attributable to drought and, indeed, the high price of superphosphate-

Senator Prowse:

– And the lower return.

Senator WEBSTER:

– As Senator Prowse has reminded me, there is also the matter of the lower return. This is something that is bugging primary producing industries at the moment. I do wish to note for the consideration of the Senate the price change in the range of this product. In 1963, when the bounty was introduced, ex works bulk standard superphosphate was $18.45 per ton. These are the figures applicable in Victoria. On 1st October 1963, with the introduction of the bounty, the price dropped by $6 per ton. Since that time, progressive rises have taken place. A small change did occur on 1st August 1968 to bring the price down by 20c per ton. But until the end of this financial year the price to the consumer stood at $21 per ton. I suggest that the increase in price since the bounty was introduced has been well over 40%. J emphasise the point because I hope that the projected rise in the amount of the bounty will not be reflected by a rise in price in the near future. The Government announced that approved compounds of trace elements are to attract the subsidy where they are incorporated with bountiable phosphate fertilisers. Certainly science is making great contributions to the improvement of arid lands and that will be of benefit to the Australian community. The proposals are welcome, but they are achieved purely out of strength of negotiation and argument. No section of the revenue producers of the community is presently encountering, or will be facing in the near future, such enormous problems as those faced by people engaged in most areas of primary production. I refer particularly to the dairying, the wool producing and the fat lamb industries.

I would like to spend some time in discussing decentralisation because I believe it is here that possibly the Federal Government is not doing all that it should. Perhaps some greater provision should have been made in the Budget, but I will leave my remarks on that matter till a later time. I wish to mention devaluation compensation, to which I referred at the outset of my speech, and the important effect of Australia holding to the value of our dollar at the time of sterling devaluation. For many primary producers the effect of the Australian Government’s policy will be felt for many years. I note that the Treasurer stated: . . devaluation compensation for primary industries is estimated at S35m, or St 4m more than last year. Compensation in respect of manufactured exports is estimated at $2m. 1 believe lt is wise thinking that assistance to export industries must be maintained so that no great harm is done to sections of the Australian community which bear the hurt of our non-devaluation decision. 1 suggest that the dairying industry is being hurt by the effects of the Government’s nondevaluation policy. I hope the Government committee set up to study the continuing problems of devaluation in relation to primary producing industries is able to direct attention to the tosses experienced directly by primary producers due to the policy of writing up the value of our dollar. I believe the Government should announce its plan for continuing assistance to those established industries which cannot sell now on overseas markets because of cost and price variation.

With many other matters of importance to be mentioned I direct my remarks to one area of industry where the threat of unemployment looms significantly and has a bearing not only on our ability to compete on world markets but also on our domestic markets. All sectors of industry from time to time feel the cold wind of competition, but Australian industries, 1 believe, are well prepared to meet this. In late 1967 and on numerous occasions this year I have mentioned the problem of protection for local manufacturing industries. 1 did this in the interests not only of primary producing industries and manufacturing industries but of all sections of our indigenous production. I have spoken strongly against the proposals of the Tariff Board to list in categories Australian industries which require high, medium or low tariff protection. An opposite view to this argument has been expressed. I suggest that the publication ‘The Tariff Debate’, a copy of which has been given to honourable senators, is a valuable contribution to thinking on this matter. I am anxious to hear sound arguments, which I have not heard put to date, as to why the Tariff Board is contemplating this step. I mention this in my speech on the Budget because I feel so strongly about the adverse effect that this will have on some industries. For the Board to publish this list with the idea of drawing public attention to those industries which will receive high tariff protection is a most, dangerous step. It is not for the Board to do this. As 1 understand the terms under which the Board functions, that is not its charter, lt is not for the Board to decide into which areas of industry the resources of this country should be directed or from which they should be withdrawn. The Board, in its last report, states:

The basic reason for the changes now being suggested by the Board is to relate the operation of the Tariff more fully and consistently to the Government’s national economic objectives. The main means of doing this would be by encouraging the development of, and the flow of new investment into, the more - rather than the less - economic activities within the protected sector.

By these words it is contemplated that it is to be the Tariff Board which will assist in directing new industrial development. With this I heartily disagree. I quote the reaction of the then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, to the Vernon Committee’s advice on economic growth when it suggested that an advisory council on economic growth ‘would be a material assistance to the Government and to the community in general in the making of economic decisions’. That reference is to be found at paragraph 17.112 of volume 1 of the report. Sir Robert Menzies expressed the view of the Government, with which 1 agree, and of the Government parties, when he said:

These words clearly contemplate - as indeed does the nature of the suggested Advisory Council - that the views of the Council would be published from time to time and that those views would be designed to advise the Government in relation lo the making of what must be. though related to economics, high decisions of political policy. We unhesitatingly reject this.

That statement is contained in Hansard of 21st September 1965, at page 1085. I shall attempt quickly to illustrate my case for the consideration of the Senate. To the uninformed, the thought of high protection immediately spells inefficiency. 1 recall the emphasis placed on high rates of protection by the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) when he abhorred a high rate of protection being afforded the chemical industry. Honourable senators will recall his being aghast at the suggestion of $1,100 per ton being afforded on some items. He was eloquent on a subject of which I suggest he knew little, except that the protection appeared high. The point is that high protection apparently is not a good thing. The tariff listing of industries very obviously will mark categories of industry for a dampening of expansion, difficulty in (he availability of bank lending and difficulty in attracting public confidence and investment in such industries. I once cited in the Senate the problems of the footwear and knitting industries. These are industries which may be placed in the high category listing when the system is introduced. I know of no reaction from the Government in relation to this matter, but 1 believe that time is running short for the Administration to make its attitude clear. This comment is true in more ways than one. The points I make with regard to knitted goods are H ue in regard to many other industries. The figures that 1 have are the most accurate that T could obtain from various sources. In 1963-64 two-thirds of all imports of knitted goods came from the United Kingdom and Europe. The balance came mainly from Hong Kong and Japan. In 1966-67 more than 80% of all imports originated from low cost Asian countries. This indicates that the European protective duties have been effective in respect of the traditional markets for which they were designed but completely ineffective against low cost Asian competition. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard figures showing the imports of knitted coats, jumpers, cardigans, sweaters and the like from 1963-64 to the 9 months ended 31st March 1968.

I put the level of protection as being in the 55% class for this industry. I refer now to the wages paid to employees in the manufacturing industries in various countries. They are as follows:

The reference has effect on all Australian indigenous industries, primary and secondary. One manufacturer alone purchases over 1,000,000 lb of Australian wool each year to use in manufacture. The report in question will affect his industry, the indigenous fibres industry and particularly the ability to provide jobs in the community. With the concurrence of honourable senators I incorporate in Hansard a table showing jobs that have been displaced because of the increase in imports:

I do not criticise reasonable protection, and 1 believe that we should not support unreasonable protection for inefficient industry: but if the ability which the antiSocialist governments have demonstrated over the past 19 years is still to be evident, action must be taken this year to endorse policies which do not allow local industry, whether it be primary or secondary, to be hurt by the inflow of goods from places where wage conditions and returns are not a fraction of those demanded within our community.

With your permission, Mr Deputy President, I display to the Senate three articles of knitwear of a kind which come into Australia from low cost countries. They are available in the main retail stores in this country. The first is an imported article which can be purchased at $4 retail. A garment of that type produced in Australia under our standards would cost over $8 on our retail market. The second is a most beautiful article, which is available in retail stores in Melbourne at a cost of $7. Produced with our labour and materials it would cost over $18 retail on our markets today. The third article is of similar quality. Honourable senators can see evidence of the glorious hand work that goes into such an article.

Senator Byrne:

– I do not think you can ask that they be incorporated in Hansard.

Senator WEBSTER:

– No, but I believe that I have displayed articles that are sold at a mark up of 100% or 150% and I do not deny that to the people who are able to bring in these articles if they are free to import such goods and obtain a market at the price, that is business. The third article would cost $21 if it were manufactured locally and sold in our retail stores.

Senator WRIGHT:

– You did not state the price of that article imported.

Senator WEBSTER:

– I have a receipt which shows that this article cost $7 retail. It is evident that with that hand work and a 50% mark up for the retail store, a similar article produced by our own manufacturers would cost $21. Can we give a protection of 400% to that industry?It cannot live. This is the basis then for the comment that ‘we abhor high protection’. I think it is necessary that the Government take some action in this matter to re-state that all areas of Australian production, whether they be primary, secondary or manufacturing, will be adequately protected. We must protect our local sources of production if we are to maintain our living standards.

The Budget introduced by the Treasurer is one which, we may be confident, will bring restraint to inflationary trends and assistance to the needy. This year will find Australia better equipped to defend itself. No Budget will do everything that every section of the community thinks is just. I believe that sound consideration has been given this year to most problems in this community. I hope that on the foundations laid by this Budget the Australian community will continue to have the individual prosperity and the standard of living that it has experienced in past years.

Senator COHEN:

– It is always tempting in a debate of this kind to pursue the previous speaker into the many alleys and byways that he has traversed. On this occasion 1 want to resist the temptation to join issue with Senator Webster, because he dealt with matters that 1 do not propose to canvass. 1 must say that if I had known it was permissible for an honourable senator to come armed for the Budget debate with his samples 1 might have been disposed to equip myself with some articles of apparel that one wears outside the chamber. 1 was interested in his remarks, and I look forward also to the remarks of those honourable senators who will be making their maiden speeches in this Budget debate. I understand that in. the course of the next few hours we are to hear initial contributions to Senate debates from senators representing all parties.

The Senate is engaged on this annual exercise which we call the Budget debate. In any discussion on the Government’s plans it is inevitable that credit should be given where credit is due. On one side or another of the discussion it is apparent that senators are concerned to draw attention to particular aspects of the economy, particular aspects of the Government’s work, and particular failures in the Government’s performance, according as one sees the problem. This year there is no exception to that. We all know that a Budget is concerned to spell out the Government’s general policies on broad economic issues, that it is concerned to indicate the Government’s views about the allocation of the country’s resources and particularly the way in which the burden of conducting the affairs of the country is distributed throughout the community. The Opposition does not accept the view that the Senate should merely take note of the Budget papers, and I speak in support of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) that these words be added to the formal motion: but the Senate is of the opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision -

  1. to lighten taxes and health costs for families and to increase benefits;
  2. to plan defence procurement and expenditure;
  3. to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities; and
  4. to retain control and promote development of Australia’s mineral, fuel, land and marine resources.

When one spells out and develops the criticism of the Government on each of those four planks, it is obvious that there are whole areas in which this Government has failed Australia.

Senator Wright:

– Well, take minerals.

Senator COHEN:

– I will take it inthe order in which 1 want to develop it, if you do not mind. The honourable senator will be making his speech at some other time. I will be obliged if he will allow the procedures of the Senate to take their ordinary course. I am suggesting that what we have on this occasion is a series of proposals, many of which are good in themselves, but, overall, if one were to visit Australia from another planet and have a look at the immense potential of this country in human and material resources - including mineral resources - and one were to examine and test the performance in various areas in this interesting new place against what is required of the country in this day and age, one would go back to his own planet scratching his head, wondering what we thought we were going to do with the country. To my mind, the essential weakness in the Government’s performance as indicated in this Budget is that it lacks a plan. It lacks any kind of nationally thought out approach to the many problems in the various areas. The best authority for that proposition is the Prime Minister himself.

Last night in another place when dealing with the very issues with which we are concerned the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) directed attention to the fact that we could not overhaul in 6 months a social services structure - I am dealing now with only one aspect of his speech - that has not been overhauled for some decades. There is an eloquent silence at this point from honourable senators on the Government side because thai cannot ‘be denied. The Prime Minister, white claiming progress in this field of welfare, says: ‘You cannot expect us to do it all in 6 months because this has not been looked” at properly for decades’.

The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) was reported yesterday as having said something to the same effect. He said that Australia was destined to become a welfare states- destined, of course, connotes the future, not the present - and that every Australian who pulled his weight would do well. He went on: ‘After having poineered much social service legislation Australia has lost ground compared with other nations of the world. In many cases Australian social services have grown without a plan and with responsibility being shared by numerous Commonwealth, State and private authorities.’

What do wc learn from that? We learn that this Government is thinking ahead to the time when we can do a lot more with this country and for its people than we have been doing up to date. The abject confession is that during the 19 years of anti-Socialist government that Senator Webster, who has just concluded his speech, was boasting about, no plan in relation to social services has been developed, no plan for national development on the broadest scale has been put into effect and, in areas like education and health, we lack a national approach to national issues.

The simple broad criticism one must make of this Budget is that it just does not fit the description that has been applied to it by those who have sought to defend it as something different. The suggestion has emerged in the several weeks since the Budget was introduced in another place by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) that in some way or other this Budget has a new aspect in comparison with the previous Budgets that have been produced by the LiberalCountry Party Government which has held office since 1949. I challenge that suggestion because I believe that in quality and in character it is no different from a dozen budgets which have been produced by the Liberal-Country Party Government. It is in the familiar pattern of Budgets that we have seen down the years. It does not redistribute fundamentally the burden of financing the public sector of the economy.

It does not spell out fundamentally the broad objectives to which Australia as a nation should be committed.

We are a nation located in an interesting part of the world, a part of the world where 2 out of 3 people go to bed hungry every night; a part of the world where the people in the less developed countries have to live out their lives and find their place in the sun as best they can; a part of the world where the gap between the rich countries and the poor countries is not being narrowed but is getting wider. The authority for that statement is not some wide-eyed idealist who does not understand the economic realities. The authority is the Vernon Committee of Economic Inquiry which this Government, or its predecessor under Sir Robert Menzies - the same by any other name - set up some years ago. In that Committee’s report Australians were faced with a series of very important challenges. What have we done as a country to measure up to the challenges? What would the visitor from Mars say about what has happened to the various challenges put before the country and the way in which we have responded to them?

In the relatively short period that I have available this afternoon, I should like to take time to deal with one area in which 1 suggest the Government has been singularly lacking in the kind of approach that is needed in the second half of the 20th century. I refer to the field of education. It is obvious that we, as a country, must invest our resources in those fields of the greatest long term growth and development. I would regard education as being very high among the priorities, indeed I would suggest that one of the things that is singularly missing in Australia - this notwithstanding the belated creation of the Ministry of Education and Science after a decade of procrastination and refusal to face the inevitable - is an understanding of the priority to be accorded to education in national life. Education must be the subject of a complete reassessment.

As I understand it, this Government takes up the stand that the Commonwealth’s role in education is merely to put the icing on the cake. Those words were used by the Prime Minister when he was the first Minister for Education and Science. His attitude was that education is a matter for the States constitutionally and the Commonwealth, while it can assist, must regard itself as having the limited role, as he put it, of putting the icing on the cake. There was no mention of how large the cake was to be or of the quality or kind of ingredients in the cake; it was only a matter of putting the icing on the cake. I do not think that is good enough.

Senator Wright:

– You are again speaking from the outlook of a Martian are you?

Senator COHEN:

– On the contrary 1 am speaking from the outlook of one who, as the Minister knows, has paid very close attention to the Government’s approach to educational policy and to complaints about the piecemeal, ad hoc approach of the Government to all of these issues.

Senator Wright:

– How can you say that in relation to the Murray report?

Senator COHEN:

– The Murray report goes back a long way.

Senator Wright:

– Yes, and it is the foundation of national university policy.

Senator COHEN:

– National university policy started before the Murray Committee was set up. The Australian National University was the creation of the Curtin Government back in the war years. There was never any Commonwealth interest in education, and the Minister knows it, until the Curtin Government introduced the scheme of financial assistance to university students, the post-war reconstruction scheme and founded the Australian National University, lt was not until 1963 that the Government under Sir Robert Menzies, after having been in office for 14 years, was prepared to acknowledge responsibility in any field of education other than in respect of universities. We waited and waited and waited. We urged the Commonwealth to take some interest, on a national basis, in the many problems of education which are notorious throughout the community at every level of education and in every variety of institution. We waited for this.

Senator Gair:

– He would not have done it then if the Democratic Labor Party had nol forced him to act.

Senator COHEN:

– The Democratic Labor Party may have had a lot to do with it. He was very interested in your votes in 1963. That is why money was allocated for science blocks. There was a whole host of proposals in 1963 when Sir Robert Menzies having pulled on an’ early election, apparently thought that the Government was in a lot of trouble.

Senator Gair:

– And your Party was opposed to State aid at the time.

Senator COHEN:

– Wait a minute. We are not talking specifically about State aid. Senator Gair has introduced that subject. What I am saying is that it was not until the election of 1963 that we had any manifestation of Commonwealth interest and then, suddenly, scholarships were granted to secondary school students, scholarships were granted for technical school students and grants were made for science blocks. All this happened in the one breath. Since then the Government has moved piecemeal, without principle, without being seised of an overall approach to. the problem on a national basis. That is why the science blocks project is now being somewhat exhausted. The Government is now turning its attention to libraries. Nobody, of course, would suggest that it is not a good idea to have school libraries. Of course it is. It is a jolly good idea to have libraries. But it is very important that this question of library development be planned on a rational basis.

One of the most urgent criticisms I have heard since this scheme was announced is contained in the question: Why is it limited to secondary schools? 1 am told that the New South Wales Department of Education says in the primary school syllabus that the library is the heart of any school. Yet primary schools have been left out of this scheme. I know thai the Minister will say that a start has to be made somewhere. What I am complaining about is not that the Commonwealth should be prepared to move into this new area and provide finance for libraries but that it moves one step at a time without that step being part of any broad plan of development. I think we have long since passed the time when the Government should face up to a critical essential in all fields of Australian education, that is. to find out where the needs arc. It should determine the national needs and come to grips with the problem after a searching inquiry in which the facts and the principles can be established.

This seems to me to be the important thing. For years now - getting on for a decade - we have asked again and again thai the Commonwealth appoint a national inquiry into all forms and all levels of education - pre-school, primary, secondary and technical. The universities, of course, have been the subject of extensive inquiry. A separate inquiry may not be needed into universities because there is the continuing work of the Australian Universities Commission and so on. But unless we get to the stage of establishing needs and priorities we will never be able to conduct a national debate on educational issues. We will never be able to develop Australian educational institutions and do our best for every child in the country without such a basis of facts.

I urge the Government, even at this late stage, to decide to conduct such an’ inquiry. A motion to this effect is on the Senate notice paper. We have never had any encouragement from the Government to show that it is interested even in the Senate inquiring into the matter. There is a lot of talk about these things and there is a lot of useful work being done. I do not want to withhold a measure of credit. One cannot watch millions of dollars being spent and then say that it is all too silly. It is not loo silly - it is useful - but this does not represent part of a coherent approach in which there is some kind of community consensus, lt happens only as the Government, sees the situation unfolding. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) referred to this in the special statement he made on new measures in education. He said:

P.a:h measure has, been devised following dis cussions wilh educational institutions, and together they represent the highest priorities, as the Government secs them, of the various proposals which have been put to it.

Senator Wright:

– Does the honourable senator think that the State educational authorities are nol able to pui appropriate proposals?

Senator COHEN:

– I think we have fo look at the whole education system on a national basis. I know that Slate education authorities understand a lot about their own problems. The difficulty is that there has to be a recognition throughout the country hat there is a crisis in education: that in spite of all the millions of dollars being spent on education the situation is not getting better but is getting worse.

Senator Gair:

– And it will become worse and worse.

Senator COHEN:

– On the present indications, that seems to be the position.

Senator Gair:

– lt is going to cost the Government S230 to educate a child whereas it could get out of it for half that sum.

Senator COHEN:

– 1 suppose 1 would be ungracious if I refused to accept the assistance that Senator Gair is proffering.

Senator Gair:

– I am always helpful to you. You acknowledge that.

Senator COHEN:

– 1 would like to pause every now and then to wonder how helpful the honourable senator wants to be. The real situation is that when we talk in terms of millions of dollars we become anaesthetised by statistics. The magnitude of the sums involved sometimes obscures the magnitude of the problems that are left unsolved, lt is not much good telling us that in Chifley’s day the Government was spending so much and that the Government now is spending .10 times or 20 times as much. That is immaterial. In Chifley’s day we had just emerged from participating in a world war which had almost bled this country while. Very great effort was being made to rehabilitate ex-servicemen, to provide education for them and so on. This is 20 years later. The test is not how it compares with what was done in Chifley’s day. of what was done in the pre-war years, but. whether it measures up wilh what Australia needs today.

I had hoped to have time to deal with some other issues but I am conscious of the fact that other honourable senators are to follow me in this debate, some of whom are to address the Senate for the first time. I hope that the Government will regard the education problem not merely as a question of allocating priorities within an almost static share of the Budget - only S4.7m is to be spent on the new provisions for the whole of this financial year - but as one of priority in national planning. In other words the Government must consider what place it should give to education in the national planning.

Senator Wright:

– What was the increase that the honourable senator mentioned?

Senator COHEN:

– The new measures announced in this Budget will cost the Commonwealth $4.7m in the current financial year.

Senator Wright:

– The appropriation for education is over $30m.

Senator COHEN:

– 1 know that. I am reading from what the Treasurer said and I know I am not speaking inaccurately. Mr Deputy President, I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. I believe that the Budget is deficient in all the respects set forth in the detailed amendment moved by him on behalf of the Australian Labor Party. In due course, when we vote on that amendment, I will support it.

Senator LILLICO:

- Mr Deputy President, I have listened with a good deal of interest to the speeches made to date on the Budget. Of course, a budget is always a contentious document. I suppose it can be said that the Budget is never popular with a lot of people; but a week ago tonight we listened to a most gloomy speech from Senator Murphy. In fact, I think it could be described as a funereal oration. He could find very little good to say about the Budget. As I listened to him I began to wonder how any of us had survived. If he had interspersed his speech with a few bright spots I think he could have been very much more effective.

Now we have just listened to Senator Cohen. He also was critical of this same Budget. I suppose one’s point of view depends very largely on what political party one has to represent. Senator Cohen said that if a visitor from Mars were to come to this continent and see the vast potential we have here - and it is a vast potential - he would go back wondering why on earth we had not done more to develop it. I think that was the essence of what the honourable senator said. But let me say that the potential is as nothing unless it is developed along economic lines and in a way that will bring most advantage to the people of this continent.

It can truly be said that the development that has taken place over the past 15 years has been phenomenal. I believe it can be truly said also that this Government has created the conditions that are necessary to encourage and prompt private enterprise to enter upon that development and bring it to fruition. I do not think there can be any denial of that whatsoever. As a result, we have forged ahead; our production has increased mightily and our population has increased. We have more jobs, and we have a record for full employment which is probably unsurpassed anywhere in the world. And we have all of this without any inflexible plan that would probably end up in being hidebound and in defeating the very purpose for which it was introduced- lt behoves all of us to see that this country goes on from strength to strength.

I said, earlier that a budget is never a popular document, but, having regard to newspaper and other comments, and having regard to the criticism that is usually levelled at budgets, J really believe that this Budget has escaped with less criticism than have the Budgets for several years past.

Senator Gair:

– Because of the threat of an election.

Senator LILLICO:

– lt is for the future to tell that story. Senator Gair said that the economy of the country is on a knife edge.

Senator Gair:

– Do you say it is not?

Senator LILLICO:

– I agree that it is on a knife edge, but for altogether different reasons. It is not on a knife edge because of anything that this Government has done, and certainly not because of any clumsiness or ill balance in the Government’s policy. I do agree that had it not been for the influx of overseas capital and the great boost in mineral exploitation and exploration, the economy of this country could have been in a very invidious position. But these are all factors outside the control of this Government. Although the Government has made mistakes, just as. all human beings make mistakes, its policy, in the main, has been conducive to bringing about a set of conditions under which this country can trade in the world and pay its way. And this is one of the basic things that must be done if we are to go ahead and develop as a country in the way in which we should.

Some time ago the Treasurer issued a WhilePaper on the Australian economy. In it he made some most elementary observations. They were so elementary that they are scarcely worth repeating; but they are so true that they can stand a lot of repetition. He said this:

Whatever the lime may be before an increase in costs appears in final prices, it can be safely assumed that, in general, prices will rise if the increase in average earnings is much in excess of the national average gain in productivity.

That is obviously true. He said further:

Experience in recent years suggests that productivity tends to improve at the rate of about21/2% annually. If, however, average earnings are rising by 6% or more a year, the upward push of wage costs will be strong and the general price level can be expected to rise.

That is perfectly true. I do not think anybody can gainsay that. He went on to say:

Although increases in money wages will increase real wages in the short run, the gain in real terms will be whittled away if prices rise in due course.

Senator Murphy speaks about the atmosphere of inflation that surrounds the Budget. He attributes this to restrictive trade practices and other business methods which he said lent themselves to this inflationary cycle. I question whether the Tasmanian Royal Commisison about which he spoke uncovered very much. I would be inclined to say that the influence on the price spiral of these practices is minimal. In fact, I think that even if they were cut out completely the same pressure on the wages system of the country would continue. My point is that unless that pressure is accompanied by an increase in productivity then ultimately it confers no benefit onanyone at all.

I have just referred to a 21/2%increase in productivity. A few days ago I noticed a news item dealing with the Japanese economy. The report stated that the economic planning agency had said that Japan’s gross national product was 18% higher in nominal value and 13.2% higher in real value than in the previous financial year. I submit that if those conditions obtained in Australia - if our gross national product were rising at a rate commensurate with that at which the gross national product of Japan is rising - we might be able to afford these rises that are taking place as a result of the decisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. But, unless these rises are accompanied by those con ditions, all we are doing is adding to our cost structure, making it difficult to export at competitive prices and placing on the back of the primary producer a burden that is becoming insupportable.

Senator Webster referred on two or three occasions to the problems confronting primary producers. Every word of what he said is true. The other day I was talking to a man who said to me: ‘When you talk about the problems confronting primary producers in this country many people look at you incredulously; they almost seem as if they do not accept what you say, although it is true’.

Senator Gair:

– They drive around in Chrysler cars. That is the reason.

Senator LILLICO:

– I know that things like that arc said, but a motor car is a necessity for a farmer today. If one looks at the Commonwealth Statistician’s returns of income over all sections of the community, the story is there to read. We could easily reach the stage where the profit margin, which is small today, will no longer exist, and then something disastrous will happen to the trading balance of this country. It is good to see that the Government has conceded the point and has granted concessions to primary producers in the form of subsidies on fertilisers, drought bonds and other things.

I wish to devote part of my time to something that is profoundly worrying to the people of my State, particularly the primary producers. It is the ominous position that is confronting the pea and bean canning industry. Let me say this about the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement: From their inception New Zealand and Australia have depended on just about the same export markets. They have depended mainly on the United Kingdom market.Latterly each country has launched out into Japan and South East Asia. It so happens that one of these countries has an industrial potential and the other has not. In Australia we have raw materials that can be used to build up a manufacturing potential. A manufacturing potential has been built up behind the protection of a tariff wall to which the primary producers have contributed mightily.

It so happens that it suits one of these countries - New Zealand - to purchase manufactured goods from the other - Australia. If it did not suit New Zealand to do that, it would purchase its manufactured goods front England, the United States of America, Japan or somewhere else. The fact that it suits New Zealand to purchase its manufactured goods from Australia has brought about the imbalance of trade between the two countries. It is completely farcical to expect every country to break even in its trading relations with every other country. That cannot be done. We have a 2:1 adverse trading balance with the United Kingdom and a 2:1 adverse trading balance with the United States. We make up the deficit in our trade with Japan and some other countries. But these adverse trading balances are a fact of nature. They cannot be obviated.

Before the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement was entered into the whole matter of the importation of canning peas and beans into Australia had been investigated by people who are supposed to be, and who I believe are, competent to investigate such matters, namely, the members of the Tariff Board. In my view they brought down a most admirable recommendation, which was put into operation. It was for a sliding scale tariff under which peas and beans landed on the Australian market at less than a certain figure were subject to such-and-such a tariff and if they were landed at a still lower figure they were subject to a greater tariff. It was a system that was used to prevent the dumping of cheap peas and beans on the Australian market. The Tariff Board said in its report, amongst other things:

The evidence submitted to the Board shows that New Zealand vegetables could be landed at Sydney or Melbourne at the same price. The Board made a comparison of the prices for peas in retail packages charged by three Australian processors to their Melbourne distributors with the landed cost under present conditions of the comparable New Zealand product. Taking the lowest Australian price as being 100 the Board found that the Australian prices varied from 100 to. 120. On the same basis the present duly paid landed cost from New Zealand was 89. lt also said:

The evidence submitted indicated that Australian processors pay more for their vegetables than do the New Zealand processors. The evidence also indicated that the labour costs of the Australian processors were higher than they are in New Zealand. Total costs per lb of processed vegetables, as submitted by the New Zealand processors, were, however, not very much lower than total costs as submitted by some of the Australian processors.

But the crux of the report seems to me to be in this statement:

The Board feels that the whole stability of the Australian industry would be seriously threatened if through absence of protection against what might be termed abnormally low prices the Australian industry were exposed not only to the normal vagaries of its own market but also to competition from overseas processors anxious to dispose of surplus production at extremely low prices.

The Board has indicated again and again in its report the dire threat that could exist to the Australian market if protection is not afforded. People who are completely au fait with the industry have issued such warnings. The devaluation of New Zealand’s currency was not foreseen when the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement was signed. That devaluation on its own represents a 20% advantage to the New Zealand industry. In other words, in the second year of the Agreement the tariff will drop not by 20% but by 40%. The devaluation of New Zealand’s currency makes complete rubbish of the Agreement.

I have a report of an industry survey conducted in New Zealand by an association of canning, pea growers. It stales that Australian processors and growers are asking for a 2-year deferment of the second reduction of tariff due on 1st January 1969. This is a modest request and is made so that the industry can obtain a breathing space. Peas for processing by freezing are grown in the late spring and summer in both New Zealand and Australia. The report sets out how much lower production costs are in New Zealand than in Austrafia and contains some very worthwhile information. Tt states:

Processors in New Zealand pay pea growers an average of 3c per lb on the North Island and 2.6c on the South Island compared to more than 5c per lb in Tasmania and more than 4c per lb in Victoria. . . .

Transport costs of peas to factory are lower in New Zealand. Factory wages are very appreciably lower in New Zealand. Overheads are lower due to lower salaries.

The report mentions another very important factor - that the New Zealand Government pays exporters a 10% to 15% subsidy on f.o.b. values. That is a built-in freight subsidy. The time has come to take note of the threat to the Australian pea growing industry. I hope that the Government will take notice of what I am saying: It is a matter of the gravest concern lo the people engaged in the industry in Tasmania. The report of the industry survey from which I have quoted is full of foreboding. One member of the organisation which sponsored the survey said that in May 1968 imports of frozen peas by Australia were four times greater than for the whole of 1967. That is the total of imports of frozen peas for just one month. He goes on to say that Watties, a New Zealand processing company, has purchased an Australian food distributing company for $300,000. Because of the building up of an exportable surpl’us in New Zealand, the worst is to come.

The New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement, it was said, had safeguards built into it. 1 remember saying at the time the Agreement was signed: ‘The safeguards are all right, if you can only goad the Minister into acting’. My experience in politics extends over a good many years and 1 have found that the great difficulty is to get the Minister to act in circumstances such as those operating at present. I say without any hesitation that the threat exists, lt is serious and it will grow. If it is not checked it could extinguish the industry. 1 hope that as a result of my comments the Government will carry out further investigations.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Cormack) - 1 call on Senator Georges. I remind honourable senators that Senator Georges is making his maiden speech in the Senate.

Senator GEORGES:

– As a newcomer to Canberra I have gained two firm impressions. The first is the magnificence of the city. It is a beautiful place because of its avenues, gardens and the lake. At night the light of affluence pours out of many thousands of windows. But by contrast, on 13th August, the first day of this sessional period, I gained my second impression. It was a sobering experience. On that day I was asked to address a small group of pensioners who had gathered on the front steps of this House. It was a cold and windy day. It seems that the pensioners had come to Canberra to beg for justice. They were sent away humiliated by the Budget and the antics of the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). The Budget contains the so-called compassionate relief of an increase of $( a week in pensions. It is the first increase for two years and therefore can be measured as an increase of 50c a week for each year. That is enough to buy a packet of soap, providing it is being sold as a special. It would buy a cup of tea and biscuits at ‘The Lobby’ restaurant. It represents one twenty-fourth of the daily allowance of a member of this Parliament while in Canberra. The increase has been granted following a prediction by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) that there would be new thinking in the field of social services.

I remind honourable senators that an increase of $1 a week is payable only to single pensioners; married pensioners are to receive an increase of 75c a week. Promises made ranging over the whole field of social services were not kept. It is said that the Budget is designed to encourage thrift. It is difficult to encourage thrift amongst people who do not have sufficient substance to practise it. Thrift must be carried out each day by pensioners in order simply to exist. How can we fairly advise to exercise thrift a family man with several children who has a take home pay of $40 a week? How can we advise him to make provision for bis old age? How can we advise him to buy insurance so that he will have something when he reaches retiring age? This is a thrift that is imposed upon the needy by a Treasurer who has no vision or no foresight or no humanity.

Coming to the family unit, J point out that no grant and no assistance whatsoever were given in the Budget. Where has the Treasurer been all these years if he cannot appreciate the problems of a man with such a small take-home wage as $40 per week? There are many, many men with families living on this level. How can a man receiving that wage keep a family in comfort and dignity? Where has the Treasurer been if he has not been able to realise this simple fact? Does he not appreciate that by denying justice to the family man, he denies to that man the right to raise, educate, clothe and keep in good health his family as it ought to be provided for?

The consequences of failure to provide for the family are far reaching. This means that a man must work beyond his 40 hours per week. He fought for years for a 40-hour week. He must seek for himself extra remuneration, for instance, some overtime. He works his 40 hours, but, seeking overtime, he works 6 days or for 48 hours. If this remuneration is nol sufficient or if the opportunity lo work overtime is not available, a greater tragedy becomes necessary. A second wage must come into the family. The wife and mother who has raised her child to the stage at which it must be educated must go back to work lo supplement the income at home. This denial by the Government of the rights of the family has us in such considerable trouble, lt makes it necessary for us to seek abroad the great numbers of migrants who come each year in their thousands but who also leave each year in their thousands. No-one here will deny that it is far better to assist our own families to increase in numbers. It is better to support our own families than to look elsewhere so that our country can be populated.

I turn my attention to the field of repatriation. Here also do we find niggardly response to the needs of the exserviceman. If we are to wage war, we must accept our responsibility to those men who serve in areas of danger. It is not right or just that a person who has served his country and perhaps has had too much pride to apply for assistance under our repatriation legislation should have to seek evidence, which is difficult to find after a considerable number of years, to justify the granting of a pension. We have reached a stage where the full responsibility must be accepted by the Government. Those who serve should not have to establish the proof of their necessity to. receive repatriation benefits. In answer to a question respecting those engaged in the Vietnam war at this time, the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Mckellar) indicated that the problem concerning TB sufferers from .this conflict would bc investigated when it arose. No necessity exists for this attitude. The principle is there. These ex-servicemen should be included and without any question this disability should be included in the list of services available to those who have served in Vietnam and require treatment.

The matter of development and national development is my prime concern. Here too we find that the Government has not been as effective in its actions as it declares it has been. If honourable senators were to travel to the middle west of Queensland they would find that there is not the healthy development of the economy there that the

Government has stated there is. I fear that the same situation exists in the middle west of New South Wales and Western Australia as well as in the inner parts of Australia, including the Northern Territory. The growth rate of this young nation is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the people. Yet, in the last 20 years, $ J 0,000m has been spent on war. What have we to show for this expenditure at this time? What have we to show for this expenditure in defence effectiveness? What have we to show for this expenditure more than we had 20 years ago?

This situation reminds me of the grand old Duke of York, who had 10,000 men. He marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again. This is what we have been doing with our defence expenditure over the last 20 years. The sooner we learn to relate our defence expenditure to national development the better it will be. We should get away from the ideas, the thoughts and the principles that for so long were. held that if we built major roads to our north as part of our defence system those roads might be return tracks for invaders. We must develop our north because it needs to be developed. We must protect our national assets because they are the basis of our future industries. We must take the initiative as a Parliament. We must see that the whole of the responsibility for our development does not rest with the private sector. The private sector will go only where the profit is. lt is the responsibility of government to see that the initiative is taken. It is the responsibility of government to see that the basic materials that we require for our future industries ar« protected and are not given away.

Overriding all these things is our attitude concerning Vietnam. This is the overriding fear in the minds of people who look with hope to the future of Australia. We are a small nation. We cannot afford a warlike attitude. We cannot commit the whole of the future of our young people to ia continuing practice of war. Yet, when we look at Vietnam, we begin to feel - and .1 have yet to be convinced otherwise - that if Vietnam is permissible and if Vietnam is to be supported, what can be denied? From what can we hold support? 1 have listened to many peace debates. I have heard the suffering of children in tha south of Vietnam measured against the suffering of children in the north of Vietnam. I have seen atrocity weighed against atrocity. But it is my firm conviction - and here 1 display my attitude - that the major atrocity is the war itself and that we are guilty of this atrocity. The greater contains the less. We must appreciate the consequences of our action in Vietnam. It affects our economy because, as I have stated, thousands of millions of dollars are spent on Vietnam. The pensioner can with justice say that he is bearing the responsibility for our actions in Vietnam. lt can be stated also that by our actions in Vietnam we are compromised in our attitude to Czechoslovakia. Those of us who want peace - and there is a considerable number of us - want to know just how far the great nations of the world, the United States of America, Russia and the other major nations, are to be permitted to interfere in the affairs of smaller countries in their own defence, as the larger nations say. Australia, a small nation, is involved, with the United States, in a warlike attitude. When it was suggested that there was some similarity between our actions in Vietnam and the actions of the Russians in Czechoslovakia the Prime Minister burst out in justification of our actions in Vietnam. The halfinvestigated position adopted by Government members is not to their credit. If they were to seek the truth in Vietnam; if they were to go back to the first act of infamy against the Vietnamese in 1945; if they were to consider the actions of the British division which rearmed the Japanese against the resistance forces in Vietnam; if they were to investigate the position in 1954 under the Geneva Agreement and the Geneva Accords; if, instead of listening to the Prime Minister read only half of the Control Commission report to justify his attitude that our position in. Vietnam was the exact opposite of the Russian position in Czechoslovakia, they were to go beyond that and read the rest of the report, they would see condemnation of the United States action in Vietnam.

Why the half truth? Why the deceit? Dissent from the war in Vietnam is not required. Unless we all accept guilt for the disaster and the agony of Vietnam the war will not be brought quickly to an end, as it ought to be. I hope that members of Parliament will have another look at the evidence and perhaps look humanely at the problem, as did the late Senator Hannaford. Perhaps then there would be a stirring of conscience and an end to our involvement because, paradoxically, what we do in defence of our freedom, as we are supposed to be doing in Vietnam, destroys that very freedom. The 20-year olds should be able to voice their minds in this direction because we have imposed upon them limitations of freedom that should not be imposed upon any group of people, under a restrictive regime anywhere in the world. We have denied them freedom of. action. We have committed then to the role of sacrifices to the minotaur. We have taken a small section of the community, the 20-year olds, subjected them to a ballot and sent them to Vietnam. The reason is shabby enough, lt seems to be to promote goodwill with the United States for some future occasion.

I should like to read a prediction in the Governor-General’s Speech delivered on 1 2th March. He said:

My Government will review the field of social welfare with the object of assisting those in most need while at the same time not discouraging thrift, self-help and self-reliance.

The Budget has been presented to us as a human document and as action on the part of the Government to assist the needy of the nation, to assist in the development of the nation, to assist in the defence of the nation and to assist in the achievement of peace throughout the world. I say that on every one of these issues it has failed.

Sitting suspended from 5.36 to 8 p.m.


– I call Senator Young. I remind the Senate that this is the honourable senator’s maiden speech.

Senator YOUNG:
South Australia

Mr President, in rising to speak to this debate, I do so fully conscious of the honour and responsibility that have been given to me by the people of South Australia. One cannot but feel proud to be associated with this chamber, which has through the years maintained a tradition of dignity and decorum and has also maintained the principles of democracy and the rights of man. These things are very precious. We in this country can indeed feel proud and thankful that we have this precious freedom, when we think of countries such as Czechoslovakia, where today force has once again taken away from the people the right to speak freely or even to think. 1 should like at this stage to express my appreciation to you, Sir, to’ my colleagues - in fact, to all honourable senators - and to the Senate staff for the kindly manner in which I have been welcomed and assisted on coming into this chamber. This is something which I, as a new senator, appreciate very much indeed. Even though on many occasions 1 wilt not agree with honourable senators opposite - and, no doubt, they with me - I hope that in the course of my activities and deliberations I will do nothing that will cause them to lose their respect for me. At this stage, Mr President, 1 should like to make reference to Mr Ted Mattner, who served in this Parliament for a number of years. He served South Australia and this national Parliament for some 23 years with dignity and a sense of purpose and responsibility. I, as a new senator, could find none better to emulate.

We as Australians can feel very proud of the country in which we live and of what has been achieved, particularly in the postwar era. When compared with what has happened in some other countries, what we have achieved is outstanding. Reference has been made to our development and the gross national product. In the last 10 years we have seen our gross national product increase by some 60%. If the present rate is maintained our gross national product should double itself in the next 13 years.

At the same time, Mr President, we have seen also a great increase in our population, due to the immigration policy of this Government. This great influx of migrants has also brought a great wealth of talent and culture. Carrying this exercise further, we also know that we have at the same time maintained a standard of living as high as that of any country in the world and, very importantly, we have maintained a very high rate of employment. The diversi fication of the economy which has taken place in the postwar era has, I feel, been a great thing for this country. It has enabled the economy, which was previously based predominantly on primary industry, to be spread over many sections of industry. But here I must emphasise, Sir, that primary industry is still one of the main contributors to the economy, and no doubt it will continue to be for a long time. This great diversification has enabled us to put our eggs in many baskets and so gain greater strength economically, because in primary industry particularly we are prone to seasonal and marketing fluctuations. One has only to think back to the very recent period of droughts that hit all States of the Commonwealth and the adverse effect not only upon individuals and properties but also upon the overall economy.

I agree with the expansion that has taken place, particularly with regard to secondary industries. I. have already stated one of the reasons but there are certainly many others. The need to develop and make use of our natural resources, the importance of secondary industry from a strategic and defence point of view, the diversification of our production as a trading country and, very importantly, the ability to absorb a large work force - secondary industry being labour intensive - are a few more of the factors. Likewise, Sir, I support the tariff system, which has been necessary for the development and protection of many of the secondary industries that have been established in this country. In saying this I suggest also that we must look to the other side of the ledger.

The tariff system has had some effect upon cost structures in both primary industry and secondary industry. Although I am not opposed to the tariff system. I say quite firmly that this area must be watched very closely so that one section of industry is not encouraged to the disadvantage of another. Here, Sir, I must in all fairness say that the Government has recognised this problem area with regard to rural industries and has given much assistance through the years. This has been continuous. In the present Budget we see that the Government has again made allowances for assistance to sections of primary industry. But we do have many problems with regard to the cost structure arising from the tariff system. Recently 1 read an address given by Mr Rattigan, Chairman of the Tariff Board, to the Australian Associated Chambers of Commerce in Perth, in which he stated that the structure of the Tariff Board must be reviewed and revised to bring it more into line with our economic environment and present day conditions. This, Sir, is a suggestion with which I agree very firmly, because the system actually was based on conditions of quite a few years ago when the United Kingdom was our main trading partner. Conditions today are entirely different and in many ways the tariff system cannot be used to the best advantage for some industries. To carry it further, at times it is used to the disadvantage of some sections of industry, both secondary and primary.

Costs today are, perhaps, the greatest significant factor in our economy because they affect each and every one of us, but secondary industry generally is in a more fortunate position than primary industry inasmuch as it is able, in the main, to pass on its costs so that the consumer is at the end of the pipeline and has to absorb these costs through increased prices. Primary industry, on the other band, is not so fortunate. The man on the land is at the end of the pipeline and he has to absorb these increased costs. The only way in which he is able to counter them is by increasing his productivity. In many ways perhaps this has been a very good thing from the national point of view in that primary industry has made a significant contribution to the development of Australia and to the great increase that has taken place in our gross national product. But at the same time there is a limit to the extent to which productivity can be increased. For many rural industries the burden of costs has become very heavy, and in fact quite a few sections of rural industry today are virtually at the crossroads. I emphasise that we should not forget that primary industry has played an important part in this country’s development. Australia has relied to a great extent upon the earning ability of primary industry to pay for much of the material needed by our secondary industries and to supply the capital necessary to establish and operate our secondary industries.

Having said that, I want to make it clear that I am not crying from the wilderness on behalf of primary industry. I am trying to emphasise that a balance must be struck and that this area must be watched very closely. Cost structures should be the concern of all of us whether we be employers or employees. Ali of us have a stake in this country whether it be in the investment of our skills, our energies or our finance. Today we are regarded as a major trading country even though our population may be small when compared with the population of some of the’ major, trading countries of the world, but as we continue to expand - I refer particularly to the expansion which must take place predominantly in our secondary industries - we must look more and more to our export trade.

At this point I commend the Government for the encouragement and assistance that has been given in the development of our overseas trade throughout the years. At the same time as a people we must watch ourselves very closely and critically to ensure that we do not jeopardise our export ability by allowing our cost structures to become too high. In this regard we must look to the area of efficiency. This applies to all of us, whatever :our . occupation or trade. Quality and price : are two of the main contributing factors to our ability to compete on an overseas market.

There is another area of costs which has been of great concern to this country. I referred to Australia as one of the main trading countries of the world but geographically we are in such a position that we are very reliant upon shipping. This brings us directly into the problem associated with increases in freights’ that we have had to face over the years. When we consider that in the last 10 years freight rates to the United Kingdom ‘ and the Continent have risen by about 50% and that there have been big increases in freights on other trade routes, we must come to the conclusion that this is an area which is of great concern to us.

For a number of years I had the pleasure of serving on the Federal Exporters Oversea Transport Committee, an organisation which negotiates freights with the conference group of shipowners from the United Kingdom and the Continent in an endeavour to protect, to the best of its ability, the interests of the . exporter . groups and. for that matter, the whole Australian community. Unfortunately the Committee aas not always been as successful as it would have wished to be due to certain limitations with regard to its negotiating ability or, more specifically, its negotiating powers. However, this Committee has done a very good job within its limitations and I commend the men who serve on it. The recently -proposed reduction in freights of some 4i% for general cargo and 2% for refrigerated cargo is still in the melting pot with negotiations taking place between the Federal Exporters Oversea Transport Committee, which is known as FEOTC and the Overseas Shipowners Representatives Association, which is known as OSRA. The indications are that we will get a reduction of at least 4i% on general cargo and 2% on refrigerated cargo. If this is the case much of the credit must go to the FEOTC, and here I must include Sir Alan Westerman of the Department of Trade and Industry who did an excellent exercise on rationalisation which not only reduced the number of ships on the voyages between the United Kingdom and the Continent but also reduced greatly the number of unnecessary voyages around the Australian coastline. This resulted in a reduction in the amount of vacant space and eliminated great areas of inefficiency.

I mentioned that FEOTC had done a good job within the limits of its negotiating powers and ability. I was very pleased to see that in the Trade Practices Act certain powers were given to the Minister in relation to shipping. These powers will give us far greater strength in negotiations in the future and should be of invaluable assistance with the introduction of containerisation. Containerisation is an area which Australia, like many other countries, has entered. Like many other countries we are hoping to see not only a holding of freight rates but also a reduction of freight rates. At this stage to my knowledge there has been no indication from OSRA that there will be any downturn in freights but we are hoping that there will be a reduction with the introduction of containerisation.

This bulk handling method, if I can refer to it in that way, which is extremely capital intensive, has brought with it many problems. Here again 1 must give full marks to the Federal Government for its approach to this new concept of freight transportation in calling together representatives of all facets of trade, industry, commerce and transportation, including the shipowners, for discussions on various aspects of and considered problems associated with the introduction of containerisation. Many of these problems have been overcome. We hope that the remainder are not insurmountable although there are still some areas which give me cause for great concern.

As we all know, with the introduction of containerisation there will be three main terminal ports at Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle while Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia will be serviced by feeder ports. This means that the container ships will be calling only at the three main terminal ports and that the feeder ports will be relying on feeder services by air, sea, road or rail. Under the present formula arrangement and our agreement with FEOTC and OSRA there is a standard freight rate between the United Kingdom and the Continent and Australia irrespective of the port from which the goods ara shipped, lt is proposed that with containerisation the present uniform rating of freights will be maintained. But this will be under a gentlemen’s agreement.

Being a South Australian, and because my State has a feeder port, 1 am not particularly happy about this aspect. Gentlemen may not always be gentlemen. This’ being the case, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia are placed in a questionable position. In time, for example, the exporters in the terminal States might suddenly decide that they are subsidising the freights from the feeder States which are a few hundred miles from a terminal port. If this happens and memories may become short, this could create quite a big problem. I would like to see this aspect of uniformity covered by some legislation, if possible, to give confidence to those involved in trade and industry in Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia so that they might not one day find themselves at a great disadvantage when compared with other people in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland who will be serviced by terminal ports. We must also ensure that at the feeder ports the transport facilities will be sufficient to handle the volume of goods efficiently and effectively. Feeder States must not be placed at any disadvantage in transportation from the terminal States.

The ownership of the wharf facilities is another area of concern. In some terminal ports in Australia the wharf facilities are owned by two big consortia. I refer to Overseas Containers Ltd and Associated Container Transportation Ltd, two big consortia which are growing stronger and tighter. As all honourable senators know, the concept of containerisation requires very specialised equipment, particularly on the wharf. In order to handle containers and this specialised type of bulk transportation it is necessary for all exports and imports, if containerised, to move through a very narrow specialised area in a port. These areas are privately owned in some Australian terminal ports and this could create problems. No doubt as the need arises there will be a further increase in container facilities in these ports. But we must make sure that any shipping company which is not within OCL or ACT will be given equal rights and opportunity to use the very special equipment required for containerisation. We do not want to see these two big consortia exercising control which may not be in the best interests of Australia.

Still referring to containerisation, I say that an attempt is being made by the Overseas Shipowners Representatives Association to gain control of and to enter into the area of high density dumping of wool. If successful this group could gain influence well back along the line of the physical handling of wool. To be quite frank, this is an area which does not come within the ambit of shipping transportation. Unfortunately time does not permit me tonight to go into the concept of wool villages and high density dumping. But, quite frankly, the shipping companies should confine their activities to transportation and leave the physical handling of wool to the wool industry where it rightly belongs. There are other areas involved in containerisation but I shall not deal with them tonight as time does not permit.

As a South Australian I would be very remiss if I did not mention the Chowilla Dam project. Much has been said already and no doubt much more will be said. Whatever the outcome of the current investigation I hope that it favours the Chowilla site. Any alternative to that site can only mean a deferment of this project. South Australia needs this dam and not just for irrigation and agriculture. As honourable senators know there are many hundreds of miles of water mains throughout large areas of South Australia serving various centres with water, much of which comes from the River Murray. I want to emphasise that the future development of South Australia is dependent upon the Chowilla Dam. South Australia has played its part in the development of this nation and it deserves its right. 1 want also to refer to the standardisation of our railways. In the very near future the Port Pirie-Broken Hill railway line will be standardised. Then all capital cities of the Commonwealth, with the exception of Adelaide, will be connected by a standard gauge railway line. I hope the Commonwealth Government will see fit to give urgent consideration to the standardisation of the railway line between Port Pirie and Adelaide so that South Australia - a progressive and developing State - will have the same opportunity of accessibility to uniform freighting and connections between any of the other capital cities.

Mr President, I have listened with interest to the discussion on the Budget. As always, it has had its critics. It would be impossible to produce a budget which did not have its critics because we cannot please everbody. But, deep down, I think we must all admit that this Budget will encourage continued development and at the same time keep a check on the economy. Again this year there is a large commitment for defence. All honourable senators must agree that this is necessary if we are to accept our responsibility, both nationally and internationally. Most importantly, the Budget reflects the attitude and approach of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) to people. I say that because the Prime Minister, in this Budget, has made an earnest endeavour to assist those people in the community for whom he has so much sympathy. I refer particularly to the widows, the aged, the sick and the infirm. I think I could summarise by saying that the Budget reflects responsibility, security, credibility and humanity and I support it.


Mr President and honourable senators, in the first instance I want to offer my congratulations to those honourable senators who have addressed the Senate for the first time. I refer to Senators Maunsell, Georges, and Young. I believe their contributions to this debate will be of assistance and advantage to the Senate.

Tonight I find 1 am both humble and proud. I am humble because I have a keen appreciation of those who addressed the National Parliament in the past and because I know of their work for Australia.I am surrounded by the memory of those great names in Australia’s political history, names that have become household words in Australia. 1 am proud to think that the people of Queensland have elected me to represent them in Australia’s National Parliament. I can do no more to repay those people than to express my determination to do my best. This 1 shall do. I should like to pay tribute to the two retiring senators from Queensland - Senator Archie Benn and Senator Sir Walter Cooper. Those of you who have been here for quite a time would know of the work of the two retiring senators, and I desire to express on behalf of the people of Queensland our appreciation of their efforts for the State.

On an occasion such as this many thoughts crowd one’s mind, but. I believe 1 should express, in the first place, my thoughts on the tragedy in Czechoslovakia. I do not think there is anything we can do other than carry the motion of condemnation that we have carried. I do, however, believe that the takeover of Czechoslovakia was initiated by the leaders of the offending countries and not by the common people. I have visited many countries overseas; I have talked with the people of those countries, and I am firm in my belief that they desire peace. Therefore I do not think they should be associated in our minds with the work of the leaders who are marching into Czechoslovakia.

On the local front,I might ask the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) would he endeavour to ascertain the whereabouts of those Australian citizens who are at present in Czechoslovakia. I know that their relatives and friends living in Australia are most anxious as to their whereabouts and I believe it would be to the advantage of those people in particular if the Minister could use his good offices to ascertain whether they are safe and whether they will be able to return home.

I rise to support the amendment moved by Senator Murphy. I believe that it is a necessary amendment. I believe that the Budget does not go anywhere near far enough for the year 1968 in Australia. There, we are saying: but the Senate is of opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision -

  1. to lighten taxes and health costs for families and to increase benefits;
  2. to plan defence procurement and expenditure;
  3. to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities; and
  4. to retain control and promote development of Australia’s mineral, fuel, land and marine resources. 1 suggest those four points are most important in the year 1968 in the annals of Australia. In all walks of life,I believe that in order to succeed there must be sincerity and purpose. Far be it for me to suggest that there is no sincerity in the minds of those authors who compile the Budget; nevertheless 1 firmly believe there is no purpose in the Budget, and it is on that note that 1 offer my criticism of what has been presented to us.

I suggest there is a right in the Opposition to criticise the Budget in that direction. WhilstI suggest that, 1 do not doubt for one moment the sincerity of the authors of the Budget, butI do repeat that there is no purpose in the Budget. If there is a modification of such a reservation, it is certainly that it assists the big financial interests associated with theland. Indeed, one wonders why they have been selected as the favoured ones in Australia. They are, to my way of thinking, the only ones who have really achieved anything out of this Budget, and one is entitled to the thought that perhaps the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) is anxious to cement the differences that exist between the Leader of the Country Party (Mr McEwen) and himself. To look on the more cheerful side, I suggest that the bounty that is being given to the big land interests in Australia will assist in the establishment of the overseas fertiliser industry which has recently commenced operations in Australia.

The Budget has been described in numerous ways. I would suggest that it has had a most lukewarm reception from the supporters of the Government itself. 1 therefore describe it as a BWP Budget - a Budget without purpose, lt professes to be a compassionate Budget in that it gives increases in social service benefits of amounts up to $1 a week. On the other hand, it takes away part of that $1 by way of increases in the cost of services - increases in postal charges, increases in television and radio licence fees and other - and hidden - costs. Only today Senator McClelland showed where there is one hidden cost when he pointed out that recipients of age pensions in New South Wales will be required to pay up to 30c a week extra for their accommodation. Consequently, in my opinion, the Budget provides no real relief for recipients of age, invalid or repatriation benefits, and the social service payment, the unemployment benefit, has been neglected entirely.

I wonder whether one day a Treasurer, irrespective of who he may be, will sit down and analyse how he could live on the miserable pittance now being paid by way of pension. Would he then consider that the recipients of pensions have paid for a worthwhile pension by way of their weekly lax deductions during their working days? Gone are the days when this payment should be regarded as a pension. It is an entitlement, to people having paid for their retiring allowance during their working lives whilst they have been contributing to the progress of the nation. Surely we will one day recognise ‘ the fact that it is an entitlement and not a pension.

I believe that a well documented case oan be presented by the workers of western Queensland for a review of their taxation zone allowances. For instance, in 1943 the zone A allowance was $60. It is now increased to $540 whereas the zone B allowance has increased only from $40 to $90. 1 suggest to the Government that it should - give consideration to a more realistic examination to the question of zone allowances for western Queensland. There is a case to be answered and I believe that 1 may have the opportunity to present further evidence in relation to this matter on n subsequent occasion.

Of course, the question which the supporters of the Government will advance is: Where wilt the money come from?’ My answer to that is: ‘Where there is a will there is a way’. But most certainly, Australians will never reap the benefits of the wealth of their country whilst we accept from overseas interests royalties of 5c a ton for our coal, whilst we allow overseas interests to earn inflated dividends from Australian enterprises and whilst we fail to develop our own natural resources. Do not allow others to find our oil and gas and then expect us to pay more for petrol. If American interests can develop Cape York Peninsula, why cannot Australians develop it? Why cannot banking and insurance interests be required to provide the money for this very purpose? I would suggest that if they were required to do so then they would reap benefits from the results of this undertaking.

When we tackle properly the question of water conservation we will reap a rich return. While we permit millions of gallons of surface water to run into the ocean we have no right to claim that we are endeavouring to advance Australia fair. Is the Government serious in endeavouring to preserve for Australia the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and to protect our territorial waters? Because of its inactivity, one must question, its sincerity in this direction. Notwithstanding the protests from the Queenslanders, the Government appears to be complacent on these issues. No forthright statement of intention - most certainly, no positive action - has come from the Government. Queenslanders remain bewildered and astonished that a government could be so indifferent to this problem. History records that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Future historians, I suggest, will record that the Australian Government procrastinated while our waters were plundered.

Another area of disgraceful neglect is to be found in the disregard of amenities for people resident in western Queensland. I believe that we must arrive at a determination on whether we favour decentralisation or not. To date it appears that the Government has lost interest in decentralisation. Population in the western areas is most certainly not keeping pace with the growth of the nation. In some areas it is actually declining. From material contained in Bulletin No. 18 of 1968 published by the Bureau of Census and Statistics I have prepared a short tabulation showing percentage increases or declines in Queensland country divisions. With the concurrence of honourable senators, I incorporate the tabulation in Hansard.

page 391


Bulletin No. 18 of 1968

I will not attempt to analyse the document. When honourable senators see it in Hansard they will note that many towns in western Queensland are losing their population. For instance, towns in the far western division lost 2.9% of their population in the intercensal years from 30th June 1961 to 30th June 1966. That has also happened in other divisions of Queensland.

But it is in the material things of life that the Government is showing its lack of interest, with emphasis on the neglect of the provision of television reception. The people of the west will not tolerate the procrastination associated with the nonperformance of the Government. The people demand television reception, and the Government, if it believes in governing in the interests of the people, should heed their just demands. For too long have these people been silent. For too long have they tolerated a situation in which they have become a second class section of the community. Not for long will they continue to accept this denial of 1968 conditions that are available to others.

They suffer the summer heat of up to 110 degrees. They accept single strip bitumen roads that pass as main roads. They put up with the fact that air conditioning would be available to them were it not for the prohibitive cost of maintaining and running the plants. They deplore the high freight charges that they are called upon to meet. They know of the inadequacies associated with cultural activities, limited radio reception, cuts in air services, the late supply of daily newspapers which makes them out of date on arrival, lack of variety and lack of choice in recreation, the necessity to travel long distances for competitive sports, the high cost of living, sub-standard facilities for training apprentices and high transport costs when travelling on recreation leave.

They know of these things, but they question whether the Government really appreciates their difficulties. They have put up with these disabilities of country living with a minimum of complaint. But now they demand - and rightly so - that the Government make available to them television reception as a choice of the mass media. I appeal to the Government, therefore, to make it available to them and thus to indicate a small appreciation of the- work of these people who are deprived of so many of the amenities available to their counterparts in the cities of Australia.

Buy Australian made goods’ becomes a slogan of denial when one recognises how the Government pays lip service to the implementation of such a fine phrase. As an example, let me refer to the ‘ fact that many books are processed to the film stage in Australia; then the films are air-mailed to Hong Kong for printing and binding; and then they are returned to Australia as printed articles. This work of printing and binding can and should be done in Australia. I suggest that the workmanship would be of far better quality and the price would be comparable. In my opinion it is a tragedy that these books, particularly education books, are then circulated throughout the schools of Australia. I wonder what school children must think when they open a book and find on it the imprint ‘Printed in Hong Kong’ and then leave their classrooms and- find on hoardings advertisements for a government backed programme to buy Australian made goods. I suggest that the fact that the Government has not moved in this area is another example of procrastination. The Government is aware of the feelings of the people in the industry. They are explosive feelings. Unless the Government acts, it will be held responsible for any industrial disputes that arise in the industry. 1 believe it would be agreed that no government looks forward with political pleasure to increasing the incidence of taxation. In Australia the Treasurer has been most fortunate in that he has not had to increase the incidence of taxation. The reason for that is the work of the Australian trade union movement in improving the wages and conditions of its members. In this connection I pay a special tribute to the officers of the Australian Council of Trade Unions - Mr Albert Monk, Mr Harold Souter and Mr Bob Hawke. In particular let me say that Australians should recognise Albert Monk as a fine Australian, a man who has done many things for the Australian people and one who would have done much more for the Australian workers had a Labor government been in power to hear his representations on behalf of workers.

We see why the Treasurer, expecting a further increase in wages as a result of the present economic review, has not had to increase the incidence of taxation to pay the expenditure on war materials and things of that nature. Consequently it is difficult to appreciate the views expressed by him on 3rd June when, at a public function, he warned the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to watch for what he saw as the inflationary tendencies resulting from the Commission’s wage decisions. But the Treasurer did give that warning. He is on record as having given it.

However, we find that the Budget pinpoints the unfairness of the Treasurer’s remarks. On folio 3 of the printed Budget Speech he states that the economic outlook is bright. I suggest that honourable senators read that section of the Speech in particular and then relate it to the Treasurer’s words when he warned the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission about inflationary trends resulting from wage increases. I suggest that the Treasurer’s tirade can be seen only as an attempted direction to the Commission to refrain from increasing award wages - and this at a time when many workers in Brisbane who work under a federal award receive a wage of $35.75 a week. This inadequate amount is expected to sustain a worker, his wife and his family.

I turn now to the words of another Minister - the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury). Following the metal trades work value inquiry in December 1967, Mr Bury lost no time in publicly accusing the Commission of sidestepping its responsibility and of disregarding the most elementary workings of the Australian labour market. Phrases such as ‘History will determine whether the members of he Commission came to a calamitous decision’ flowed from Mr Bury’s lips. Again, in the Budget for 1968, the economic outlook is completely different from that predicted by Mr Bury.

I wish now to return to deal with the magnificent weekly wage of $35.75 paid to many workers in Brisbane working under federal awards. The combined weekly rate paid to pensioner married couples is $25, and this figure is regarded by all as lamentably insufficient. What words should therefore be used to describe the weekly wage of $35.75 paid to a worker in Brisbane employed under a federal award? His annual wages reward him with a total of $1,859. The deductions of income tax from his wages total $189.90, leaving him with the princely annual sum of $1,669.10, or about $32 a week, to provide for his wife and family. That illustration, to my way of thinking, serves to emphasise the absurd position we face in respect of taxation and social service payments. The combined weekly amount paid to a married pensioner couple is $25, and a weekly wage of $35.75 is paid to a worker who is expected to maintain his wife and to raise, his family with that amount.

I could offer trenchant criticism of the provisions of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, of its record of harsh penalties imposed on unions and its un-Australian provisions which deny the right of appeal. I ask Government supporters to read the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and to study therein several provisions under which a convicted person has no right of appeal. Surely that should be regarded as unAustralian. The Act includes provisions enabling employers to move in a speedy manner against dissatisfied workers in times of industrial disputes. Time does not permit me a proper analysis of the Act,, but I would like to refer to a recent episode in which a body of workers, acting in concert with some trade unions in Queensland, stopped work for 4 hours in order to have related to them aspects of a claim for higher wages by the Australian Council of Trade Unions. As a result of the stoppage, the employers concerned immediately invoked the provisions of section 28 of the Act. It is indeed fortunate for employers that the same provisions cannot be invoked against them when they regularly stop work during working hours to play a game of bowls or golf.

I wonder whether the Government is aware of the way its money is being spent on public works in Townsville. Contracts for Government works are let. These in turn are let out to subcontractors. The quotes submitted by subcontractors are so ridiculously low that these people are required to work up to 80 hours a week to earn an amount somewhere near the express award wage. 1 suggest that this is a denial of the law of the land, which provides that a worker is to receive an express amount of money for a standard 40 hours of work each week. 1 offer a suggestion to the Government that it might investigate the complaints registered by the unions concerned. I repeat that the practice is a denial of the Australian labour system.

I offer a further suggestion that the Government should consider amending the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to deny employers an opportunity of transferring workers employed under a State award to the working conditions provided by a federal award, unless the workers concerned seek federal coverage. This suggestion may be scoffed at by supporters of the Government, but I say that it would prevent a tremendous number of industrial disputes. Recently in Queensland dispute after dispute has occurred on that score, because a commissioner acceded to the request of employers to transfer workers under a Slate award to the provisions of a federal award. By so doing he reduced their weekly wages by amounts up to $4. He also worsened their industrial conditions in respect of sick leave, long service leave, annual leave, rest periods and so on. None of the provisions of the federal award concerned is anything like the provisions of the State award.

Workers under State awards have fought for many years to obtain their award con ditions. At one fell swoop a commissioner has taken away the gains they fought for over many years and has introduced a federal award. I say that that is not in the interests of Australian workers or of the nation. Workers are entitled to the conditions provided by State awards. I put. it to honourable senators that if a commission were set up to investigate the salaries paid to them, and as a result their salaries were reduced by up to $10 a week, they would act in the very same way as did the workers in Queensland to whom I have referred. They would show their industrial strength. 1 compliment the workers in Queensland for refusing to accept the change. They are now brought, under the long service provisions of a federal award, which are entirely different from those under which they worked for many years.

I want to illustrate the paucity of justice in the federal long service provisions. It is stated that unless a worker is required by a pressing emergency to leave his job, he cannot obtain pro rata long service leave, notwithstanding the fact that he may have been in that job for 10 or 12 years. I will demonstrate to honourable senators just how tightly that provision is administered. Recently the spectacle was provided of a married woman, who had worked in an industry for 1 1 years, leaving her job because of approaching motherhood and applying for pro rata long service leave. She was denied her entitlement because her departure was not regarded as being due to a pressing emergency. If that is not a pressing emergency, I do not know what is.

The time allotted to me in this debate has almost expired. I will conclude on the note that I was fortunate to be selected on two occasions to travel overseas to represent Australian workers at meetings of the International Labour Organisation. I was very proud of the honour accorded me on both occasions. During those journeys I tried to see as much as I could of the countries I visited. I saw the good points and some points that I thought were not quite so good. On my return to Australia I said that this is a wonderful country. I pray that I may be able to assist to advance the interests of this wonderful country.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Drake-Brockman) - Before calling Senator Little, I remind honourable senators that he is about to make his maiden speech.

Senator LITTLE:

- Mr Deputy President, I suppose that it is fitting that a minority party such as the Australian Democratic Labor Party should disagree with both the Budget introduced by the Government and the amendment that has been moved by the Opposition in criticism of that Budget. We feel that that amendment does not cover the real weaknesses of the Budget. Indeed, my colleague, Senator Byrne, will suggest a further amendment at the appropriate stage during this debate.

In reviewing this Budget, let me first make some comment on the claim by the Government that this is a social welfare Budget and that it does fulfil the promise by the Government to assist those ‘in most need without discouraging thrift, self help and self reliance. 1 am one of those who would have thought that if the Government wished to encourage self help and self reliance it at least would have given some consideration to an amelioration of the means les) that acts so unfairly against people in our community who have shown the most thrift, the most self reliance and the most self help. Yet, not one word is to bc found in this Budget to assist the people who are carrying the burden in social services today. I refer to those who are excluded from receiving social service benefits because of their thrift, their self help and their self reliance. But the Government suggests that this Budget has taken into consideration these very factors. Well, 1 do not think that the Government will convince the people who are struggling today on the resources that they have built up over a lifetime of - thrift and self help to meet the added costs of life as it is in 1968 that this is a social welfare Budget: The suggestion is not even made that to these people can be extended -the medical benefits that are given to age pensioners and others in receipt of social services.

But let us search the Budget for something good that may be in it. I found something good, something almost generous. The best social service benefit contained in this Budget is the one that makes provision to pay an age pensioner whose marriage partner dies - be that surviving pensioner eligible also for the pension, of course - the combined pension of both partners for a period of 12 weeks after the death of one partner. It is a very sensible provision. This nation can well afford it. It even could be described as generous if we take into account the parsimonious approach of the Government on the question of pensions. But even this one good provision has been made in a manner which proves that this is not a human Budget. It is a computeBudget. Even a generous benefit has to be given at a time when there can be little joy in it for the beneficiary. Yes, it will lessen problems. It even may help to adjust an injustice that has been building up over the years and one that is perpetuated in this Budget by a miserly $1 increase in age pensions being cut by 25c if the pensioner is a married person.

The Government seems to be careful to ensure that no rear joy will flow from this generosity. The one generous provision in this Budget is forthcoming only when the Angel of Death has struck a blow. What about getting rid for all time of this nonsense that a married pensioner should get some less pittance than that received by a single pensioner? Do we undervalue the institution of marriage that succeeds to an age pension stage to such a degree that we believe that the reward for a good marriage should be. in the age pension, such a redduction in the pension itself? Why should two of our elder citizens who decide lo live together without marriage be in a better financial position than those who do marry? Why should a man and a de facto -wife get $3 a week more than a married couple receives?

Anyone who studies the needs of elderly people in our community knows very well that the greatest problem that they face in many instances is the one of loneliness. In our old age pensioner clubs some opportunities exist for many who are old and lonely to meet others carrying a similar burden. There are widows and widowers. But this computer-minded Government Budget says emphatically: ‘If you want the joy of companionship, if you want what companionship can add to this life, it will cost you $3 per week. You may live together in sin free of charge, but if you are married it costs you $156 per year. But, of course, if you do marry, we will reward you when the Angel of Death intervenes by giving the surviving partner a bonus - 12 weeks on the dual pension rate’. Yes. this is a generous provision but not a humane one. This is not a provision that will add a little spot of joy to the barren wilderness of the lives of many of our pensioners.

Why can we not put a little joy into the lives of these people while they still can share it with each other? Let us say to all those who are old: ‘If you have been married 30 years, 40 years or 50 years and if you want to contemplate a little companionship for the time that is still left to live, your pension is your right’. We are told that two can live cheaper than one. I doubt it when I take into consideration the hazards of mental costs at this agc in life when very often there are two lots of medical costs to meet in many instances instead of one. I mention one of the costs of living. If a pension is a right, why can we not say: ‘Good luck to you, if two can live cheaper than one. May it add a little joy to the living that still remains to you’?

Let me turn now from the question of social services to one item of expenditure that, from what I have read in the Press, seems to be giving the Government a great deal of concern. The amount involved is nearly equal to what the proposed pension increases for age pensioners will cost the Government this financial year. I refer to the amount of $43m in 1 year of subsidy necessary to maintain the wheat stabilisation scheme. It is a substantial sum. It is a very substantial sum when we realise that the taxpayers have to find it. In reply to a question asked by my honourable colleague, Senator McManus, only this day in the Senate, the answer came from the Government that the Australian Wheat Board can obtain, this subsidy of $43m in 1 year - and I repeat that this is taxpayers’ money - and it does not have, to account at what price it has sold the commodity to Communist China.

Well, the Government may not have any information respecting this matter. 1 have some. If it is inaccurate or incorrect, 1 do not apologise because surely if the Government cannot find out how can we be blamed if, in the search for the facts in this question, we may be slightly astray. I believe that my figures are reasonably accurate. For years we of the Democratic Labor Party have criticised the Government that has allowed the Australian Wheat Board to continue to promote expansion of the trade in wheat with Communist China. We feel that other and better markets would be available if they were sought. Indeed the figures show that the prices paid by other countries certainly are more advantageous. We believe that the trade wilh Communist China should not have expanded to the stage where the wheat acreage has increased to the present total to meet the demand. This is quite apart from the great mystery about the price at which we are selling the wheat.

I have seen figures which indicate that over the last 7 years China has purchased our wheat at a price which is 7*c per bushel less than the price India has paid in the same 7 years. In some years the price paid by China has been 11c per bushel less than that paid by India. Once only was it as low as 3c per bushel less. Never once in the 7 years has the price paid by Communist China for our wheat been equal to or in excess of that paid by India. Does this mean that the Chinese are better bargainers or do we prefer them to the Indians as customers? The wheat growers have asserted that the home consumption price of S 1 .651 per bushel is the actual cost of production. Yet over the last 7 years the average price received from China has been $1.37 per bushel, which means that every bushel sold to China in the. last 7 years has been subsidised to the extent of 28ic. In 1966-67 China bought 36% of the total wheat exports. India bought a far smaller proportion but the average price over the 7 years was $1.45 per bushel.

I am one of those who expects a Communist country to use every means within its power, including trade, to promote its own international political cause. I would express concern if we overdeveloped our trade with a Communist country to the extent that we became dependent on it. Recent events in Czechoslovakia show what can happen when a country is dependent on a Communist country. When we do this very dangerous thing of exporting wheat to China a.nd then have to subsidise it to the extent of $43m at our own expense the situation becomes so foolish that I should expect even the Government to recognise that this is a path along which we should not be treading. I suspect that the subsidy that we are paying - allegedly to help sustain the wheat growers - is being used, in the instance of our wheat trade willi Communist China, - to assist that country to supply at practically no cost the arms and munitions that are killing women and children in the streets of Saigon; indeed to provide the weapons that are taking the lives of Australian soldiers who, at the Government’s insistence - and rightly so - have gone to the aid of the civilian people of South Vietnam to protect them and to help suppress the terrorism that threatens their liberty. I hope the magnitude of the sum. involved in the subsidy will force the Government to insist that the activities of the Wheat Board, whilst we are paying a $43m subsidy, are not just the domestic affairs of the Board or of a particular industry but are the concern of all Australian taxpayers.

I wish to criticise a provision contained in the Budget that I think could well develop into an issue in the future as to whether or not our federation of Australian States is long to survive, lt may seem presumptuous that I, as a very new member of the Senate, should speak authoritatively and with certainty on the matter of Commonwealth-State finance. I remind honourable senators that the Senate has a particular responsibility to represent the interests of the States. Indeed that was its original purpose. We cannot disregard the fact that all the States are complaining. Victoria and New South Wales, the States with the largest populations, have the greatest problems. The complaints are made irrespective of the political character of the government of the Stale concerned. The Slates now threaten to challenge the whole structure of uniform taxation.

The Government in the Budget boasts of a capacity to spend more on defence and social services, with an increase only in company taxation and sales tax as a means of raising the money. This is deceitful. The Federal Government knows, and indeed approves, of extensive forms of indirect taxation being forced on the States because of the insufficiency of returns from uniform taxation. Some State governments are now considering introducing taxes so that they can continue their education, health and development projects. Let us be very clear about the economic repercussions of the forces of dissatisfaction that are slowly building up within the several States. There are very obvious advantages to the economy of this country in a common tax standard for the whole of the Commonwealth. The advantages are not unlike those that ure accruing to the European nations which have banded together as the European Economic Community for the purpose of mutual trade arrangements. Here in Australia we have a group of sovereign States which derive far greater advantages, in an economic sense, than the European Common Market countries because our association is closer than that of the nations in the European Common Market.

From the tragic experiences of the world in the 1930s we know that an economy cannot be allowed to manage itself. The capacity to produce and to consume must be kept on a stable basis. If the monetary and credit resources of the nation, the velocity of circulation of money and the development of the credit resources that can be built upon it are carefully planned and equated to the general trends in productivity we will have a stable economy. This can be achieved only by a national approach to all these things. There could easily be chaos if each State were pursuing a different course. It would be nonsensical to suggest that we had anything to gain by having six separate State monetary systems or financial structures. It would be foolish to think that we would gain by separate State economic policies. We, as Australians, can accept - and indeed all honourable senators, I am sure, will accept - that k is best that a uniform tax system should continue and that the Commonwealth should continue to administer control of the Australian economic structure. I stand for that. But with the acceptance of this economic sensibility comes a great responsibility. It is this responsibility that I fear the Commonwealth Government is trying to avoid. If we subscribe to the principle of uniform taxation, then taxation must be uniform in all the States if it is to succeed, and if there is an unpleasant task of increasing taxation to be faced it must be done by the Commonwealth and it must be by fair income tax. It serves no good purpose for the Commonwealth to boast that taxation is not increasing when in actual fact it is.

Let us examine what the Federal Government has approved in this direction and also the dissatisfaction that it has expressed with the comparatively very small section of taxation recently forced onto the Victorian Government by federally created shortages of revenue. Victoria has recently imposed a dual tax. It is a tax on turnover and a tax at a similar rate on the receipt of wages. The Federal Government has stated that it disapproves of the smaller section, the lc stamp duty on the receipt of every $10 of wages. It hypocritically gave Victoria 2 years to stop the tax or else it would take action within the formula to reduce by a similar amount the income allocation under the Commonwealth-State uniform tax system. If it is wrong, why the period of grace of 2 years? The Federal Government knows that all of these forms of taxation are bad. This is, of course, an extra income tax masquerading under another name. It is a far fairer tax, though, than the one of which the Federal Government has approved in the case of the State of Victoria.

The Federal Treasurer (Mr McMahon) has expressed approval of the turnover tax to be levied by the States and it is right that as parliamentary representatives of the people of the States we should closely examine here in this Senate its application and extent. A. wage income could well be described as a profit on the sale of labour power, but turnover may be in no way related to profit or income. It often ‘happens in the business world that turnover is achieved at a loss - the greater the turnover the greater the loss. Is it reasonable or fair that such turnover should be taxed? In this modern world, every man who conducts a business becomes a subsidiary tax collector for the Federal Government. I am certain that honourable senators will readily see that point.

Included in the turnover of Australian businesses is $l,725m which the Federal Government raises by customs and excise duties and sales tax. If the general approval by the Federal Treasurer of the iniquitous system of turnover tax is taken up by all the States as the urgent need for more money increases, this will mean that Australian businesses will pay $1,725,000 tax for the privilege of collecting taxes in those directions for the Commonwealth. It is a tax on tax. Where does it end? I think it was appropriate that it was the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Scott) who, when supporting the Budget in the Senate, cited the gross sales figure of General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd. This was $370m in one year. He mentioned that the company’s income tax was $20m. He failed to explain that if the whole of the gross sales turnover figure had .been achieved in the sale of private motor cars, one-quarter of the whole would be sales tax amounting to $90m. If all States were levying the same rate of lc in every $10 of turnover that has been forced on the Victorian Government with the approval of the Federal Government, this would mean that General MotorsHolden’s Pty Ltd would have to pay turnover tax on that figure. But that is not all. To the $370m of turnover is added $90m, being 25% sales tax, making a total of $460m. General Motors-Holden’s Pty Ltd would only pass the goods to their distributors, who sell them to the public with their profit margins added. Of course, the distributors would pay turnover tax on the gross sum, whatever it is - well in excess of $460m.

This minute tax that is not going to worry anybody does not end there. It is not nearly the whole of the turnover tax component in the motor car. Every supplier of every part - upholstery, fabric, paint, electrical systems, tyres, plastics, door fittings - has to pay the turnover tax at each stage of this complex system of modern manufacture, so the innocent looking minute tax of lc in every $10 grows and grows through the whole complex of modern manufacturing processes. What its ultimate cost may be, nobody could compute. It is unfair as a form of taxation. By its very cumulative character it must indeed be inflationary.

This brings us to the point made by the Federal Treasurer, whose words were:

This form of tax is acceptable to the Commonwealth if levied by the States, providing it remains small.

What is a small turnover tax? Does it remain small if it is doubled from the lc in $10 now suggested to 2c in every $10? Yet Mr McMahon is in a position to know that if turnover tax is the only way out of the present problem of the States then turnover tax must grow and grow. All the States are reaching a stage of indebtedness that now involves them in interest payments that are in themselves crippling. The Commonwealth is approaching a situation where it is a creditor and it is owed more now than it owes. The interest rates have been allowed by the Commonwealth to rise several times in the last 20 years - in broad figures, from 3% to 5% on long term government borrowing. With each rise in the interest rates the Commonwealth is becoming enriched and the States inpoverished. Let us remember that at the outset we showed conclusively a case that the Commonwealth should manage the economy. It has managed the economy, and if interest rates have gone up by 2% the Commonwealth has the responsibility.

If the States are to meet their increasing debt commitments they must either get a larger share of what the Commonwealth collects in income tax or they must continually increase those very limited tax fields that are left to them, and very rapidly turnover tax will become the main source of their revenue. Commonwealth economic policy dictates that the Commonwealth shall provide its capital works and finance them from revenue but that State capital works shall be financed from loans. Here is a basic reason why the public debts of the States are rising until now the States collectively owe $9,334m while the Commonwealth’s public debt is only $l,875m. The Commonwealth holds its own securities of $ 1,639m leaving it with a net debt of only $236m. The sums are so huge that perhaps a more simple comparison illustrates the point better. The Commonwealth’s debt is only one-tenth of the debt of the State of Victoria and only one-fortieth of the total debt of all States.

The Commonwealth demands that it be allowed to control the economy so it must take responsibility for the fact that interest charges have risen. There have been only minor taxation adjustments by the Commonwealth in thelast 10 years, yet expenditure has increased enormously. This has been done by financing it from the long term growth factor in income tax. It is claimed by State Premiers that it is the loss of a fair share of the growth rate of income tax which is crippling the States. If they are to be expected to meet a growing interest bill on State indebtedness from present allocations, then the States will have to increase their present spheres of taxation or find new fields of taxation to survive.

I said at the outset that a situation was developing which was threatening the very life of our federation. To substantiate my case let me quote what a Liberal Party

Premier of the State of Victoria said in his recent Budget speech:

The result of this situation-

The situation I have outlined here tonight - is that yet again–

Not for the first time- the Commonwealth Government has forced the State of Victoria into a position ‘ of taking responsibility for new taxation while being able to use for itself that part of the natural growth of income tax which it has filched from the States.

That, I maintain, is the case against this Budget, and on that case we stand.


-In all fairness to the possibly vast radio audience that the Senate has today - the people who choose Wednesday night to listen to the broadcast of proceedings - it is only right that I should explain why the Senate is unusually calm. It is because we have been following a parliamentary tradition and exhibiting a courtesy in not interrupting while new senators make their initial speech to the Senate. Possibly when they rise on the next occasion they will draw fire from one side or the other. I say with great sincerity that I look forward to some excellent debates during this sessional period with the new senators participating in them. The new blood which has been infused into the Senate should result in very keen debates. I congratulate all those who have made their initial speech.

For the purposes of the record I want to clear up what I regard as two misstatements. One was made by Senator Milliner who decried the. fact that although we increased the pension of aged people by $1 a week we took some of it from them by increasing radio and television licence fees. To set the record straight let me read to the Senate what the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) said when referring to increased radio and television licence fees. He said:

The licence fee for pensionerswill remain unchanged.

Senator Little, if I heard him correctly, had some complaint about the Government’s social service legislation. I understood him to refer to the medical costs of age pensioners. I believe his criticism was wrong. The Government’s scheme affords pensioners free medical and hospital treatment, therefore the argument that two cannot live as cheaply as one because of medical costs is not valid.

We have launched into a debate on the Budget. I should like to read a paragraph from the Treasurer’s Budget Speech because I think it states concisely the economic position of Australia today. He said:

The annual Budget is a time for taking stock of where we stand and what lies ahead of us. It should never be confined wholly to a short-term view. On the most sober assessment, great opportunities have opened up for Australia. The new resources so far proved are now adding more and more to the ever-increasing output of national wealth. These developments hold possibilities of immense future growth; and it is safe to assume that there are more to come.

I believe that it was with those thoughts in mind - correct thoughts in my view - that the Treasurer and his Cabinet and ministerial colleagues prepared the Budget. It has been known to the public for over a fortnight. It has been debated widely by learned commentators. It has been discussed by many sections of the community. I believe it has been accepted as a Budget suitable to the times, to the economic climate and to the developmental growth that is taking place in Australia today. The fact is that now the members of the business community, and Australia as a whole, know the Government’s fiscal policy. Trade and commerce face the future with a high degree of confidence in their own welfare and in the prosperity of Australia. .

We have a high level of employment in Australia but we need more skilled artisans, professional people and specialists. Our economy is so stable and we have such a lot to offer that we can hope for an increased flow of migrants into Australia. We must be ever mindful of the fact that the great immigration programme started by Labor in 1947 and continued with increasing success since then has been of immense value to this nation.

The Senate is faced with an amendment to the normal motion that the Budget papers be noted. In my view this amendment illustrates Labor’s lack of thinking on important matters such as the Budget. Although I do not believe that the Australian public is taking much notice of

Labor’s attitude to the Government’s financial, developmental and other policies, we in this Senate should pay a certain amount of heed to it. It is the job of honourable senators on this side of the chamber not only to praise or criticise our own Government but also to remind the people of the thinking, as stated in this Parliament, of the only alternative government. If the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Murphy) reflects the attitude of the Australian Labor Party to the economic problems and trials of Australia and to all the responsibilities of government, it shows that his party is ill fitted even to be considered as an alternative to this Government. However, that may not be the purpose of the amendment. It may be that members of the Australian Labor Party believe that there is a federal election in the offing and so they have not taken their policy out of the mothballs in which it was placed in 1949 when they went out of office.

If we are to judge by his reaction this afternoon, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Cohen) does not like us to refer to the bygone days of Labor rule and therefore I will not refer to those days. In the time allotted to me to speak I am not going to detail to the Senate all the benefits that accrue to the people through this Budget. Enabling legislation will be before the Senate with respect to social services, health, repatriation and other matters dealt with in the Budget and I will stand in my place in the Senate and discuss them then. If Senator Little then repeats some of his views on social services and the Government’s attitude towards social services legislation, we may have some difference of opinion.

I want to examine carefully some aspects of the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition on behalf of the Australian Labor Party. Honourable senators must realise that this amendment is not a censure of the Government. I cannot understand a live, sincere Opposition not moving a censure on the Government when it has the numbers that ithas, when it has a centre party which was once part of it, and when there is an independent senator who may, if he is here, vote against the Government. However, the fact is that the Leader of the Opposition, on behalf of the Australian Labor Party has moved an amendment to the motion That the Senate take note of the papers’. He moved that these words be added: but the Senate is of opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision -

  1. to lighten taxes and health costs for families and to increase benefits;

Briefly, the Australian Labor Party wants the Government to reduce taxes. The Government, if it reduces taxes, would have less revenue. In the same sentence, the Labor Party wants the Government to increase benefits. It wants the Government to fool the people by giving back to them the money which must come, first of all, from them.

I believe that this is a guide to one point on which I agree with the thinking of the Australian Labor Party. I acknowledge that it is probably saying that the family man needs great consideration. I agree completely. The most important entity in the nation is the family group, the young couple or middle aged couple who are bringing up a family. They need every consideration so that they can live healthy, prosperous and meaningful lives and have good employment opportunities.

Housing is a very important aspect as it is the basis of family life. This Government can be proud of its record in respect of housing - the continuing provision of money in increasing amounts for the States and more finance for housing by way of that example of forward thinking, the homes savings grant scheme, which is greatly appreciated by young people who are saving in order to buy a home. The Government has also set up the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. The Corporation has some money lenders worried. So successful has been the operation of the Corporation that many money lenders, who were getting 8%, 9% and 10% for second mortgage loans on homes - a heavy interest burden for home buyers - are finding it impossible to invest in second mortgages. Cheaper money is available through building societies and other lending authorities because of the guarantees given by the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. In regard to family life, this Government does not deserve censure or criticism from the Australian Labor Party.

I want to refer now to employment. We in Australia arethe envy of the Western world and many other countries because of our continuing high rate of employment, because of our healthy competition for highly paid jobs and because of our economic security and stability. What greater gift can be bestowed on parents than the knowledge that they can raise their family in this nation?

Turning now to education, I must comment that in the last 2 years, since the advent of the academics to the leadership of the Australian Labor Party in the Senate, we have heard more about education than ever before. This has come from the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, both highly respected academics. I have not heard many speeches criticising the Government’s education policy from honourable senators who sit behind them. Quite frankly, I think Opposition back benchers would rather attend to some of the problems facing the workers and the unions, such as arbitration, conciliation and other important national questions. I acknowledge the fact that the Australian Labor Party has taken the lead in these matters in the past. However, we are now in the new era, the Murphy-Cohen era, of education. I would bet that both those gentlemen, who have attained great heights as academics - I am not being cynical because I honour them for it - when looking back at what was offering to them and remembering how difficult it was for them to attain their present status, envy the young men and women who have the advantage of the facilities now provided in Australia. I do not give all the credit to the Federal Government. Under the Constitution education is not the responsibility of the Federal Government. However, this Government, realising its taxing powers, its powers over money and therefore its power over the States, has come to the rescue. Since the days of Sir Robert Menzies, many millions of dollars have gone from Commonwealth revenue and by way of loan moneys to the States for all spheres of education.

There are a number of further moves forward in education set out in this Budget. I am glad that Senator Cohen is present and is listening. I understood that he was critical of the Government because of what it was doing in the field of education as set out in this Budget. He said that the increase in expenditure by the Commonwealth on education this year was $4.7m.

Senator Cohen:

– That is on new measures.


– On new measures in the Commonwealth Territories and the Northern Territory. This is debatable on the reading of it. I am advised that the new measures referred to there will mean additional expenditure of $15m a year. But in case it is thought that the increase in expenditure on education by the Commonwealth is only $4.7m - and I do think the Treasurer’s speech is a little difficult to follow on that one aspect - I point out that this year an additional sum of $10,069,000 will be spent by way of capital expenditure on universities, $3,304,000 is to be spent on colleges of advanced education, $6,282,000 is to be spent on teachers colleges - a new concept in Commonwealth help in education - $350,000 is to be spent on pre-school teachers and $3m is to be spent on school libraries. This makes a total additional expenditure of $23,104,000 on education by the Commonwealth. I understand from a quick talk I had with a departmental officer that if we read the small print under the Budget figures we will see that the actual increase in expenditure on education by the Commonwealth this financial year will be $134m. Before we offer any form of criticism, or say that there is a crisis, let us realise that during this year $2 10m will be provided by the Commonwealth specifically for education. This represents an increase of 19% over the amount provided last year which in itself represented a great increase over the amount provided in the year before that. Each year, more dollars are flowing towards education, and I believe that if sincerity could rule the day there would be less criticism of the Commonwealth’s attitude towards education.

The second part of the Labor Party’s amendment still relates to the family aspect. I agree with the importance of the family aspect. It relates to medical care. I am not exceptionally pleased with the medical and hospital benefits scheme, but I am certain the taxpayers of Australia are very pleased that the scheme that the Labor Party attempted to have adopted in 1949 was knocked on the head and that we did not follow the schemes in operation in the

United Kingdom and New Zealand, both of which have contributed much to the creation of the current economic crises in those countries.

The Government has shown that it realises that there is room for improvement in the hospital and medical benefits scheme, and currently has a committee inquiring into this matter. It is providing money for a committee, set up at the instigation of the Australian Labor Party - I give credit where credit is due - which is comprised of senators who are inquiring into the scheme. I am not going to prejudge the committee’s findings, but I have found in my contacts with people that one important point of criticism of the scheme is the very small return on the costs of a visit to the ordinary general practitioner. The return paid is less than 50% of the doctor’s charge. I interviewed a medical benefit fund on this matter the other day and was informed that under the Medical Benefit Fund of Australia Ltd scheme, irrespective of what the patient is charged by the general practitioner for a surgery visit, only $1.80 is refunded by the Commonwealth and the fund combined. This is something that really needs to be looked at.

Also, in Tasmania at any rate, we have the problem of the unreferred visit to a specialist. The benefit funds do not help greatly on that, and I believe that the medical profession should have a look at this question. If a doctor is a specialist, and if the medical benefit funds, of which the doctors are in many cases the administrators or governors, will not pay an appropriate amount towards the cost of an unreferred visit to a specialist, then the specialists of today should be like the specialists of olden times and take only referred patients.

I believe that the administrators of hospitals also have got to look at their systems of finance and cut out waste. They should not just blame the Government. They should not say that the Federal Treasurer should meet all costs and then try to make out that the Government’s policy is wrong.

Senator Poyser:

– Would you give the pensioners specialist treatment, too?


– I would. I think they get it if they are referred by a general practitioner; but they have got to go first to the general practitioner.

The next part of the amendment seems to criticise the Government for failure to plan defence procurement and expenditure. There is no criticism of the defence policy of the Government. Nor is there any criticism - and I am glad of this - of the defence forces of Australia. All we have is criticism for alleged failure to plan defence procurement and expenditure. I believe that hidden in this vague, innocuous part of the amendment is the inference that more hardware and equipment for our defence forces should be manufactured and serviced in Australia.

This is not a new thought. This is a thought that has been gripping the Government’s attention, and Australian participation in the defence procurement has been increasing by leaps and bounds in the last few years. The total proposed expenditure on defence this year is $1217m. This represents an increase of 9% over the amount provided last year. Only one-third of that sum is to be spent overseas; that will be for aircraft and ships of war. Australian participation is rightfully increasing, and I hope that the Minister for Supply, the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Anderson), will elaborate on this more when he addresses the Senate on the Budget, because I think the Australian people and the Labor Party should be advised of the facts. As much work as possible with relation to hardware for our defence forces is being done in Australia.

What I want to see is a closer liaison with our sister country, New Zealand. I believe that the more we can integrate our defence services, the more we can provide New Zealand with hardware, or the more New Zealand can provide us, the better it will be for both countries. New Zealand is an important ally, New Zealanders are blood brothers of the Australian people. New Zealand is not blessed with the great natural resources that this Commonwealth owns, and it does have its economic problems. But I believe that on this aspect there should be very close liaison. If our factories can make defence equipment for other allies and provide it to them at reasonable cost, this aspect of our industrial life should be further expended.

Time does not allow me to elaborate on any other aspects of the four-point amendment moved by the Opposition. I believe that I have shown that the Australian Labor

Party does not want to play its hand; that it wants to hold its cards close to itself either because it thinks that there will be an early election or because it has not got down to real thinking on what it would do if it got the shock of its life and became the government. I oppose the amendment. I congratulate the Government on the Budget.

Senator Keeffe:

– What about the pensioners?


– I believe that the Australian people have every reason to be very pleased that the fiscal policy of the country, which is the important thing to them, is in the hands of the present Government and not in the hands of the Federal President of the Australian Labor Party, who keeps yapping away.

Senator O’BYRNE:

– I rise to support the amendment which has been placed before the Senate and which reads: the Senate is of opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision -

  1. to lighten taxes and health costs for families and to increase benefits;
  2. to plan defence procurement and expenditure;
  3. to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities; and
  4. to retain control and’ promote development of Australia’s mineral, fuel, land and marine resources.

In supporting that amendment let me say that members of the Government parties who have spoken in this debate have been saying what a great Budget this is. After hearing Senator Marriott’s speech, I realise how fortunate we are in having the new blood that has come into the Senate. I extend my congratulations to the four honourable senators who have made their maiden speeches. I believe that their future contributions to the debates in the Senate will be of great value.

The Treasurer (Mr McMahon) has claimed, and the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has concurred, that this is a compassionate Budget and a social welfare Budget. But let me express the views of the people who are on the receiving end - the members of that big section of the

Australian community to whom we, as a relatively prosperous nation, are indebted and whom we are pledged to provide with the dignity and comfort to which they are entitled. We have received from these people expressions of opinion in which they say:

The present Government has reached the lowest depths of hypocrisy and deception in the “putover’ that it is a ‘social welfare’ Budget.

Senator Marriott:

– ‘Who said that?

Senator O’BYRNE:

– The pensioners. The Australian Commonwealth Pensioners Federation said:

The Federal Treasurer, Mr McMahon, in opening his Budget Speech, immediately tossed in the grand conception of social welfare to cloak the Government’s deception.

As an affront to our intelligence, the Treasurer dared to use the word ‘compassion’.

While brandishing aloft the noble word ‘compassion’, in its name the Government robs us of the means of life. . . .

The reality cannot be cloaked by fine words. Our shopping baskets will be lighter. Out ‘pittance’ will be swept away by rising prices before we get it.

We heard of an example of that today when Senator McClelland mentioned the immediate increase in rentals. It has been announced that there will be a 40% increase in the Australian Capital Territory. All along the line and ever since the changeover to decimal currency, people receiving social service benefits have been virtually robbed of a great proportion of the value of their social service pittance. The Federation goes on to say:

Where is the compassion for the dependent wife? The pittance of $1, for which she has ‘waited for 5 years since the last increase in 1963, makes a mockery of her cares and hardships.

Where is the compassion for the future citizens of our country - the dependent children, of the civilian pensioner? For their pittance of $1 a week they have waited 7 years. . . .

Where is the promised ‘re-thinking’ of Government policy on social services? The provisions of the present Budget show the policy of your Government remains as before - to give as little as it can, and to stave off as long as it can any cash or other social services benefits, thereby saving millions of dollars at the expense of ‘those in most need*.

The last four words were used by the Governor-General in his Speech and by the Treasurer in his Budget Speech. The Federation went on to say:

The Government is only yielding when public pressures and the demands of the electorate can no longer be denied.

If Senator Marriott says that he does not believe that the Australian public is taking much notice of the criticism of the Budget, that only underlines how very much out of touch he is with the very deep disappointment with this Budget, which fails in so many directions.

Let me refer to repatriation. I have before me a pamphlet which was published by the Returned Services League and which shows soldiers marching away under the heading ‘Honoured in War’ and also ex-servicemen, sitting on a park bench and looking lonely and underfed, under the heading ‘Forgotten in Peace’. Senator Marriott may think that when we criticise this Budget we do so for political purposes. But I remind him that the case that has been put by the RSL is a very strongly based one.

Senator Marriott:

– That was put before the Budget, was it not?

Senator O’BYRNE:

– I also have before me the League’s case in which it restates the position under the heading ‘General Review of Pension Rates’. This case was presented at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, 28th May 1968.

Senator Marriott:

– That was before the Budget, too.

Senator O’BYRNE:

– The document is headed ‘1968 Pensions Plan Submission’. The Budget did not go anywhere near meeting the requests made by the RSL. In this submission the League has accused the Government of neglecting to increase pensions for incapacitated ex-servicemen to take account of the inflation that has occurred and of neglecting the discrepancy between that to which ex-servicemen are justly entitled and that which is being paid. The RSL has stated:

Consideration of the question of war pensions must be based on the fundamental principle that all repatriation measures, and especially pensions, are compensation, not gratuity. A member and his dependants are entitled to receive them. This assistance is a right that has been earned in service to Australia.

Yet the total and permanent incapacity pension rate is still below the minimum wage.

Senator Marriott:

– What about the fringe benefits?

Senator O’BYRNE:

– The fringe benefits are available to recipients of other forms of social service benefit I ask this question: Where in mis Budget is there compassion for the many thousands of children who are in the care of departmental institutions? What is being done to alleviate the condition of those children? I refer also to the children and adolescents in the community who are neglected because economic circumstances are forcing their mothers to go out to work. What compassion is there in the Budget for children, such as blind and deaf children, with multiple handicaps? We have heard the general statement that increases are being made, but far too little is being done in each field.

The chronically ill members of the community are in need of domiciliary services. Only now is the Government realising that those people are not being properly provided for in our society. The same can be said about the school medical services. Not enough attention is being paid to children in need of psychological assessment, vocational guidance and speech therapy. Some children must wait months before receiving attention. There is no compassion in the Budget for those members of the community.

I pass on now to deal with what I will call the taxation swindle. I have with me a document prepared by the Taxpayers’ Association which outlines the incidence of taxation. Individual taxpayers under the pay as you earn system in 1966-67 paid the gross sum of $l,612m. In 1967-68 the figure rose to about $l,841m, an increase of about $228m, borne by the wage earning taxpayers. Refunds totalling $45m were deducted from the gross amount in 1967-68 so that a net increase of $184m was paid by the wage earning taxpayers. Customs duty increases each year. In 1967-68 it increased by $37m. Excise duty increased by $48m and sales tax by $38m. Further sales tax increases are included in this Budget. Who are the people who are paying the increased charges? It is clear that increases are being paid by the wage and salary earners. In 1967-68 individuals paid net income tax of SI, 507m; companies paid taxation of $837m. The dividend withholding tax yielded $22m; payroll tax $184m; estate duty $55m; and gift duty $9m. The figures I have cited demonstrate where the incidence of taxation bears most heavily.

I want to emphasise the point that the taxation system is a swindle. With the course of- inflation, increases in wages place taxpayers in brackets subject to higher rates of taxation. Thus the Government receives a higher proportion of wages and salaries in the form of taxation. Last year the average family man with a wife and two children needed to work for 8 weeksto pay his taxes. Ten years ago such an average family man needed to work only 5 weeks to pay his taxes. It is a confidence trick and a swindle that over that period of time it has become necessary for a working man to give an extra 3 weeks work in a year to pay his taxes. To explain that, the Government will have to be more convincing than it has been in the past.

Today wage earners are paying double the proportion of their salaries in taxation that they paid 13 years ago. The top level of salary earners, companies, and taxpayers in other fields have suffered an increase of only 25% over that period. Furthermore, they do not have to bear the same share of increases in sales tax. In this Budget the sales tax on school requisites has been increased. I received the other day a letter from a friend of mine. He is one of the critics of the Budget referred to by Senator Marriott. He keeps his ear to the ground. He wrote to me:

As far as education is concerned 1 feel that this Budget has been a vast confidence trick. Is it possible to make some estimate of the extra taxation that will come from the increased taxation on goods used by school children? When the tax on text books, exercise books, rulers, school bags, sweets, etc. are added together, the added income for the Government must be enormous. I would like to find out whether the Government has taken more from the school children in these indirect taxes than it has put back into the schools by means of the new library grant. I feel that it has taken away more than it has given. We all realise that the only money that can be put into the community comes, from what is collected in taxes, but surely thereis no cause for congratulation when there is unfair collection and distribution.

He goes on to refer to the fact that an affluent community spends such a paltry amount on schools. He wrote that Senator Scott mentioned that the Budget contains no flamboyant gestures. My friend went on: We do not want flamboyant gestures; however, the country needs good schools and they will not come unless there is a more realistic approach to the needs of schools, and tha surely means the needs of the country. If the best that can be offered is to give some schools a library sometime during the next 3 years when there is such a drastic need for an overall appraisal of the needs of the young men and women of the country, then the Treasurer and his advisers ought to look for new jobs.

That letter was written by one of the people referred to by Senator Marriott who said that the Labor Party in its criticisms did not represent the view of the community. The honourable senator also said that he does not hear many speeches on education from this side of the chamber. The point is that the Government has been squeezing the most advantage it possibly can out of its intermittent and sporadic grants for education. It needs to be pressed home to the Government that all levels of the education system, and not simply the tertiary level or other odd points, need to be assisted.

The provision of scholarships to secondary schools is very important, but greater grants are required for teachers colleges. The primary schools are also in need of more assistance. When one sector of education is divided from the other sectors a bad influence is created. A unified approach to education right throughout Australia is required. There is no mention in the Budget of the need for proper planning in education. The children in our schools today are the citizens of the future. The teenagers leaving school are frustrated and are protesting in their search for leadership. They need a national purpose in order to feel that they are participating in events and are wanted for something in life. There is nothing in the Budget to give them a purpose and an avenue to follow in order to feel that they can join with their fellow men in making this a great country.

Senator Greenwood:

– The honourable senator appears to be saying that the students who protest do not know what they are protesting about.

Senator O’BYRNE:

– That is the very point, that they do not know what they are protesting about. These students feel like protesting because the future to them seems to be like a blank wall. The foreign policy of this Government has been so completely wrong in fact that it has disillusioned the youth of this country. This Government has conscripted 20 year old youths. It has introduced discriminatory legislation which has picked out of the community - by marbles taken out of a barrel - these young men who have not the right to vote or to say whether this legislation should be given effect. These young men are sent away to a war which they do not understand and to which they should never have been committed. The Government is completely to blame for this action and for the repercussions.

The situation in the Australian community today is that our youth, who should be brought together to approach the future with confidence and a knowledge of where they are going, have set out to illustrate the frustration that they have within them. I believe that this is a tremendous challenge to the Government. It would be a challenge to any government. Certainly this matter would be one of the first tasks to which we on this side of the Senate would set our hands when we re-occupied the treasury bench. We would seek to give our youth a purpose in life. Today the outlook for a young person after leaving school is either to enter private industry or the public service. What happens when a young person does this? He finds that all the time the value is going out of his earnings. He is asked to be provident. He is told to save his money and to be prudent. But he sees people who have done those very things. He notices that by the time they reach the age of retirement the value has gone out of their savings or their superannuation pensions. Those people are suffering because of the pernicious means test which achieves the very opposite result to what is desirable for those who have been prudent and who have saved.

Young persons, seeing this situation, lack incentive to save for their retirement. That is the position. These basic contradictions occur all the way. I am saying not only that young people should be given a purpose in life but also that a basis should be laid upon which every young person in the community should be given the fullest opportunity from preschool, primary school and secondary school to the tertiary and post graduate fields of education. Young people should be equipped to carry out the jobs that the world of the present and of the future will demand that they carry out. It is in this respect that I believe that the Government has fallen down on the job.

I now wish to say a few words about the attitude of the Government towards health services. No doubt exists that the pharmaceutical, medical and hospital bensfits schemes of this country cry out for thorough investigation. The average wage earner pays his taxes, a big proportion of which is in the form of income tax, and also the extra imposition of sales tax. What does the taxpayer find after he has paid his contribution to the Treasury? A big proportion of his payment goes into the National Welfare Fund or the appropriate fund related to health matters. Then the taxpayer is obliged to protect the interests of himself, his wife and his family by paying into a pharmaceutical, medical or hospital benefit scheme. This is the second contribution that he makes in the field of health services. When the taxpayer goes along to his doctor for treatment or to the place with which he is insured, he finds that he has been swindled. When he makes a claim for a refund of his expenses he finds that he is not paid the full amount of his medical costs. He is paid about two-thirds of the doctor’s account. Therefore, he pays not only into Commonwealth revenue and an insurance fund for health services but also cash for his treatment. He does not receive full recompense. If this is an equitable scheme in a country that has the affluence that Australia claims, I say that the Government should have another look at it.

Hospital fees have risen by about 100% in the last 6 years while the basic wage has risen by only 18%. The cost of public ward accommodation, as a result of the policy of this Government of allowing inflation to run riot, is continuing to rise. In one case, it is up to $8.20 per day. Further, the cost of medical service - consultation, diagnosis and surgery - varies widely. The patient may have to bear anything from 20% to 50% of the cost involved in his treatment depending on the amount of the benefit that he receives from the fund or organisation to which he belongs. It appears that these medical and hospital benefits organisations seek more to underwrite increasing fees and charges in hospitals than to provide benefits for the good of the patient.

Let me quote some figures to show the Senate how this works out. In 1965-66, medical and hospital funds received from the public $19m more than they paid out. Their operating costs were $ 16.5m, representing 13.2% of contributions. By way of comparison, the net cost of collections by the Commonwealth Taxation Branch was less than 1% of the total. There are 109 registered hospital benefits organisations in Australia. Of these, 27 have under 1,000 members, 30 have between 1,000 and 5,000 members, 22 have between 5,000 and 10,000 members and only 2 have more than 500,000 members. There are seventy-eight registered medical benefits organisations in Australia. Of these, 6 have under 1,000 members, 27 have between 1,000 and 5,000 members, 17 have between 5,000 and 10,000 members and again only 2 organisations have more than 500,000 members. This proliferation of funds leads to all sorts of bureaucratic setups in the various offices that are being built. The Hospital Contributions Fund purchased an aircraft worth $40,000. I ask: What sort of a scheme is it that is supposedly looking after the needs of the wage earners and people who need medical assistance in this community which has this sort of top heavy administration and whose surplus funds are invested in buildings and such things as aircraft?

Senator Greenwood:

– What is the policy of the honourable senator’s party on this matter?

Senator O’BYRNE:

– The policy of my party is a national health and medical scheme. This means that the scheme would be administered throughout the States at such a level that these enormous overhead costs and these other rackets would be controlled. In this respect, I wish to quote from an article that was written by a very distinguished doctor and senator. I refer to Senator Dr Felix Dittmer who said:

The drug industry … is plundering the Australian people of untold millions in excess profits. . . .

The same situation applies throughout Australia in each phase of our health scheme. So, Australia is paying very dearly for its health scheme.

Finally, in the few minutes at my disposal, I wish to make some remarks about one of the tremendous problems being faced today in Australia. I commenced my speech by speaking about the people in our community who received social service benefits. I refer now to the impost in the form of rates and taxes on those people. I raised this matter recently in the Senate. The impost on age and invalid pensioners is becoming intolerable. Councils and other local authorities are finding that they cannot afford to make concessions to them. The policy of the Commonwealth is such that these authorities are forced to deny any concessions to age pensioners.

I believe that the Commonwealth Government is duty bound and morally obliged to grant some concession to pensioners. Many of them are now paying in rates and taxes as much as they were paying for the rent of their homes when they were rearing their families. This is iniquitous. The position is such that a good deal of cynicism has arisen about local governments generally because they cannot supply the facilities and amenities that are expected of .them. The Federal Government’s plans to increase the population by immigration are carried out at one level. Immediately the immigrants pass through the hands of the Department of Immigration they are dispersed throughout the community. Eventually the buck passes to local government. I think that this calls for careful revision. The Leader of the Opposition in another place (Mr Whitlam) recently referred to the percentages of unsewered homes in capital cities. We are trying to set ourselves up as paragons of the democratic process, yet figures show that only 76.8% of the homes in Melbourne are sewered. In Perth the percentage fell from 76.4% in 1946 to 43.4% in 1966. Over that period the increase in Brisbane was only 0.3%. In Sydney it was only 1.4%. Provision is not being made to provide more homes with sewerage.

The emphasis in the Budget is on the provision of more money for war. I believe that history will show that the Government made a colossal blunder and a tragic mistake, and has laboured under it from 1954 onwards, through the early 1960s and up to the present, when it was misinformed and deluded into believing that it should embark on military activities in Vietnam for some nebulous purpose. I believe that history will show that decision as being one of the most disastrous that the country has made in its entire history. Such military activities have been wasteful and have served no purpose. We have been disgraced in the eyes of the world. Our ally, the United States of America, has been aided and abetted by statements such as ‘All the way with LBJ’ and similar statements. We have been leaning on each other and whistling in the dark when most other countries have had nothing to do with the war and have condemned us for our policy. In the United States today tremendous public opinion against American policy and our policy has brought about disorganisation on a scale which could wreck its democratic society. The ridiculous situation has been reached where, at a preselection rally, armed guards, barbed wire and the like are needed for protection. Yet this is the nerve centre of western democracy. This has happened mainly because of the stupidity of our policy and the misdirection of our resources towards our involvement in the war in Vietnam.

The time that was allotted to me has almost expired. In conclusion I say that the Budget is lacking in so many directions, but mainly in that it fails to give a lead to the youth of the country. It is encouraging people to exploit and to use Australia as a quarry and to obtain the greatest concessions that they can possibly wring out of a government of expediency that lives from hand to mouth, from year to year, trying to balance its Budget. The Government allows a deficit in our overseas balances and relies on overseas investors to buy up our natural resources and take over our established companies. That is a very negative approach by any government. I believe that the Government deserves censure. I support the amendment.

Senator BULL:
New South Wales

– I congratulate the new senators who have made their maiden speeches. I am sure that they will add to the debating power on both sides of the Senate. I strongly support the motion before the chamber and oppose the amendment. I congratulate the Government on the Budget and on its economic policies over the last 12 months. In my opinion the presentation of a Budget is of great importance to the country. Its presentation to Parliament also is of great importance. It records what the Government has done with the revenue available over the preceding 12 months.

This is important from the point of view of the Government and of the nation. The Budget also estimates the likely revenue in the next 12 months and indicates how that money is to be expended. If there is to be an increase in revenue, it shows how that extra revenue is to be obtained. I think these are all important matters. Equally important is its use as an indication of the overall economic policy of the Government. From time to time the Government has to be very much aware of economic trends. If we have a slackness in the economy the Government needs to take measures to stimulate the economy. Conversely, if we have a tendency towards over-inflation it has to take measures that will slow down or stop the inflation from continuing at that rate.

The Budget has been called a compassionate one. Despite what the Opposition says, I think the Government is justified in so describing it. Any man who looks fairly and squarely at the figures will agree. Last year the Treasurer (Mr McMahon), in presenting the Budget, mentioned some slackness in the business of the country brought about largely by the very severe drought that was being experienced. The Government took measures to induce incentives in the economy in order to overcome the problem. I am quite sure that any fairminded person will agree that the Government has achieved its objective and has overcome the slackness which was apparent. The objective was achieved in spite of probably the worst drought that the country has ever experienced. Today we have a high rate of employment and the economy is on a fairly even keel. Because of the measures that the Government has taken in the Budget it has been necessary to find ways and means of increasing revenue. We have to bear in mind that the Government is providing additional money for social services, repatriation and housing to the extent of approximately $11 lm. Expenditure on education has increased by 19.5% and on defence by 9%, representing about $100m. I support what the Government has done in these directions. To fill the gap between the estimated revenue and expenditure the Government has increased company tax by 2.5c in the $1 and has increased sales tax by 2i%.

I believe that some small increase in income tax might have been preferable, in spite of its unpopularity. A flat rate of increase in company tax prevents expansion of industries, which is so important to everybody, including the work force. An increase in sales tax is passed on by industry in that the cost of production and the consumer price index level are raised. It is a hidden tax which is not so apparent to the electors. Many people are clamouring for more money to be spent by one department or another on certain projects. We have to remember that if it is necessary to raise further revenue, an increase in personal taxation affects those most able to bear the extra tax. More importantly it brings to the taxpayer an awareness of his responsibility in the raising of the extra revenue and in its expenditure. That is why I think it has certain attractions as compared with the levies imposed by the Government in the way of company and sales taxes. The Australian Labor Party, as we have heard during the debate, wants to spend $Xm more than is provided in this Budget.

Senator Ormonde:

– So does the Country Party.

Senator BULL:

– It is very easy to say this when in Opposition. We all know that this money has to be .taken out of somebody’s pocket. Anyone who advocates these things must face up to that position. Because I have a keen interest in the affairs of primary producers I welcome particularly the decisions of the Government in regard to two matters. The first is the introduction of a drought bond scheme which has been advocated by various organisations over the past few years. In relation to this the Treasurer referred to arid areas but at this stage the proposal is not very well spelt out. During this session the Treasurer will explain how he proposes to implement the scheme. If there is a section of the rural community that is entitled to this type of bond it is those people in the arid pastoral zone of Australia, because they have been more affected by drought than has any other section. They have an acute problem. Unlike many other sections they are not able to diversify their industry or increase productivity. So this is a worthwhile measure which will be appreciated particularly by people who live and earn their incomes in those areas.

The second matter to which I refer is the superphosphate bounty. There is to be an increase of $2 per ton which will only partially restore the value of the bounty as it was when fixed originally in 1963 at $6 per ton. I believe that this increase in bounty will pay dividends to the economy in all directions. In 1963, when the bounty was introduced, the effect was to increase greatly the use of superphosphate, with the result that people were able to increase their productivity and increase exports. In the more prosperous times that followed much of this money came back to the Government in the form of increased tax. I am glad to see these measures in the Budget.

I now wish to bring to the attention of the Senate some criticism - I hope constructive - of aspects of the economy affecting particularly primary industry, and especially the wool industry. I have referred to this matter in previous sessional periods, but it is of great significance and I want to direct particular attention to one aspect of it. I fully agree with the Treasurer’s reference to immediate prospects for a high rate of employment. Nobody can deny that. The rate of employment is very high by Australian and world standards. We have an immigration programme which is a credit to the Government. Probably in the next 12 months we shall see a big improvement in this direction as a result of events in central Europe over the last week or two. Business is on an even keel. Seasonal conditions are above the average for the last 10 years. All of these things mean that we will get high production in all parts of the economy. In the short term I support the Treasurer’s contention but in the long term I have some reservations and I am not quite so optimistic. I believe that we should be paying closer attention to one very important aspect of our economy.

I refer to the failure of our exports, particularly our primary exports, to expand sufficiently to meet our growing import requirements. Some of these requirements are for defence. I strongly disagree with Senator O’Byrne’s remarks in this respect and I agree with the Government’s defence policy. Imports are required also for development generally. Equipment of all sorts is required. I know that there is a heavy bill in this regard. I am also aware that over the last year or two we have been able to fill the gap between exports and imports by a large inflow of capital, which I think is a good thing for the Aus tralian economy. I take issue with Senator Murphy and Senator O’Byrne, who decried this flow of capital into Australia. Senator Scott, when speaking in reply to Senator Murphy, adequately dealt with this matter. Let us face the fact that if this inflow of capital dried up we would have a lot of unemployment. Honourable senators opposite criticised this capital inflow.

Senator Mulvihill:

– We would have it only in selected fields.

Senator BULL:

– The Australian Labor Party is pretty general in its criticism and I cannot go along wth it. Because of this inflow of capital we have been able to expand our economy and develop to the position we are in today, so I join issue with the Labor Party on this matter. I recognise also that this capital inflow could seriously decline at any time. We have it because the financial people of the world recognise that Australia is a stable country with a stable government and a stable economy in all directions. This is what has attracted capital to this country. If this capital inflow were to dry up, there would be a terrific drain on the finances available in Australia for development, defence and other matters. In addition, higher interest rates would make that money much dearer. Our growth rate over the last 5 years has averaged approximately 5% and our exports, despite the drought, have increased by 40% in value in the same period. As our growth rate increases, so do our export requirements increase.

To maintain this growth rate of 5% in the next 5 or 6 years - which I select as a reasonable period - allowing for a reasonable influx of overseas capital, it will be necessary, according to some official sources, to lift our exports to $5,000m as compared with $3, 046m in the year ended 30th June 1967. We have to face up to what is before us in this direction. We must gamble on increased capital inflow - which in spite of what has happened over the last few years is, I think, a most uncertain element - we must increase our exports dramatically - which I hope will be the aim of the Government and of Australia - or we must be content to tighten our belts and be satisfied with a slower rate of growth. I am quite sure that the Government is not prepared to do that. To gamble on an increased capital inflow, or even on the inflow continuing at its present rate to fill the gap to which I have referred, would be dangerous and something which I am sure this Government would not countenance.

I am fully aware of the great contribution that our mineral exports are making to our economy. No doubt they will expand tremendously. I am aware also that our discoveries of large oil resources and so on will reduce imports within the next few years, helping us still further. But all of this is a tremendous challenge to our exporting primary industries which still provide well in excess of 60% of all exports. In spite of lower overseas prices and some normal increases in costs, and given average seasonal conditions, I am confident that primary industry can play an important part in filling the gap I have mentioned provided - I emphasise this - the Government’s economic policy is directed to ensuring that primary industry, particularly the wool industry, operates in a more favourable economic climate than that in which it has operated during the last few years.

I am not one who is pessimistic about the future of good wool. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics, which recently put out a report on this matter, and the Managing Director of the International Wool Secretariat, Mr Vines, have expressed confidence that wool prices will hold at somewhere about their present level which, while it may not be very satisfactory, is perhaps an improvement on what we were wondering about 12 months ago. Then there is the impact of the International Wool Secretariat woolmark which has broken the price tie between synthetics and wool to a degree we did not expect a few years ago. As a consequence I believe that wool is recognised now in the textile field as a superior article. If this trend continues in the future at the rate of movement of the last few months it will prove of great importance to the wool industry and to Australia.

I return to the question of increases in productivity. I believe that some increases in productivity can be expected but they probably will do no more than cover the average annual increases in costs that are taking place. Again I refer, of course, to the pastoral areas which, as I have mentioned already, have a particular problem. If the Government requires the wool in dustry to continue to be our No. 1 export industry it must pay close attention to the cost-price squeeze that is depressing the industry’s operations at the present time. If one looks at figures, which I believe are quite convincing, one finds that there has been a steady decline in prices over the past 4 years. In 1963-64 we produced 1,785 million lb of wool which was valued at $l,023m. In 1967-68, 4 years later, our production fell by 17 million lb, which is not very much really, but the value fell by $306m, quite a substantial amount, to $7 17m. Unfortunately that is only half the story. If one looks at production and marketing expenses over that period one finds that according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, they have risen by 19% during the 4 years and the effectual value of the $717m is reduced to $581m compared with $l,023m in 1963-64. Quoted as a percentage, this means that the relative gross value of the wool clip dropped by 44% in 4 years.

Looking at some of the costs that have been incurred in this direction one sees that the estimated cost of transporting and selling the Australian clip of 5 million bales, from woolshed to the overseas mill, is $151m or $28 per bale or nearly 20% of the gross value of .each bale. I point out that 54% of these costs is incurred in Australia. Let me carry this a little further and examine it in another way. I remind the Senate that from 1961-62 to 1963-64 we had relative stability in rural industries and movement rose only 5 index points. Contrast that with the year ended 31st March 1968 during which the cost price index rose 3.3% whereas the index of farmers production and marketing expenses rose 5.6% over the same period. I point out to the Senate that these figures have been supplied by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.

Taking things a little further, we find that the cost of goods and services in rural production increased by 4i% in recent years. I think it must be agreed that it would be quite unrealistic to imagine that the wool industry had a ghost of a chance of increasing productivity by 41% to offset this annual increase in costs. To me these figures illustrate the tremendous disabilities under which the industry operates. As we all know, there is a huge investment in this industry. In spite of all that has been said in recent months and the difficulties under which it operates it still provides about 28% of our export income.

It is well to remember that when we speak of the export of other goods such as minerals. I agree that they have made a tremendous contribution but the wool industry is still our major export industry. Here is an industry which believes in and practices, as much as it is allowed to do, free enterprise, reluctant to seek Government assistance but unfortunately forced to do so at times because of factors’ outside its control, selling its wool on an open market and operating in a protected economy. I think it is well to recognise that at all times.

Having cited those figures to the Senate let me say that I for one recognise the problems confronting any government, Commonwealth or State, in attempting to overcome them. Unless some measures! of a fundamental nature are taken I believe that vast areas in the wool growing industry gradually must grind to a standstill, particularly in the drier areas of Australia. One must pose this question: What are the areas in which the Government can assist?

Debate interrupted.

page 411


The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:

That the Senate do now adjourn.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 11 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 August 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.